action, adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review

May 31st, 2018 Movie – Willow

willowSo here’s the deal about today’s movie. I never saw this in theaters and honestly, had no real desire to go see it. However, I do remember an arcade game for the movie and playing it at Putt-Putt every now and then. Then there was the Nintendo game, which was a little fun but also had some annoying moments to it, and I finally decided to go ahead and rent it one day. Yes, video games compelled me to watch a movie, instead of the other way around. So let’s have a little fun and go back with today’s movie, Willow.

The plot: When a young baby girl with a special birthmark is born in a dungeon, the mother pleads with the midwife to smuggle her baby out of there or else the sorceress Queen Bavmorda will kill her. The midwife agrees and smuggles the baby out of there in a basket of laundry but when Bavmorda learns the baby is missing, she kills the mother and then sends her hounds after the midwife. Hearing the hounds approaching, the midwife places the baby in a makeshift raft and sends it floating downstream on the river before the hounds attack and kill her. The raft ends up coming to a stop near the home of Willow Ufgood, a Nelwyn (dwarf), who doesn’t want to have anything to do with the baby but his wife Kaiya and children fall in love with the baby and take it back to their home and after being forced to hold the baby, Willow reluctantly agrees to let Kaiya take care of the baby, growing to care for it as well. The next day, Willow and the kids head to the town festival, where Willow hopes to become the new apprentice to the High Aldwin. When the High Aldwin appears, he asks the three contenders to choose which finger has the power to rule the world. The first two choose incorrectly and Willow hesitates before making his choice but he is also wrong. Suddenly, a Nockmarr hound appears in the village, terrorizing everyone before it attacks an empty cradle. Nelwyn warriors manage to kill the hound and when they figure that it was after a baby, Willow rushes home to check on Kaiya and the baby. Reluctantly, Willow takes the baby to the high council, where the High Aldwin determines that the baby has a prophecy about her and must be taken to the Daikini crossroads. After speaking quietly with Willow, the High Aldwin says that Willow is in charge of the baby’s care, then asks for volunteers to go with him. Willow’s friend Meegosh volunteers as does Vohnkar, the village’s strongest warrior, but Burglekutt, a powerful villager that constantly bullies and belittles Willow, refuses to allow Vohnkar to go, until the High Aldwin says that Burglekutt must also go. The Nelwyn’s set out for the crossroads, avoiding Nockmarr soldiers when they learn that they are searching for them. The eventually reach the crossroads but see no sigsn of any Daikinis, except for Madmartigan, who is locked inside a prisoner’s cage. Burglekutt wants to free Madmartigan and give the baby to him but Willow refuses so Burglekutt leaves Willow and Meegosh there on their own while he leads the other Nelwyns back to their village. When an army approaches, led by Airk Thaughbaer, Willow tries to get them to take the baby but Airk refuses, as they are on their way to battle Bavmorda’s forces. Madmartigan, who is a former comrade in arms with Airk, tries to convince him to release him and let him help fight but Airk refuses, saying he is still loyal to his city while Madmartigan is loyal to nobody but himself. After Airk’s army leaves, Meegosh frees Madmartigan and Willow reluctantly hands the baby over to him. As Meegosh and Willow make their way home, they see the baby being carried off by some brownies and when they give chase, they end up captured. The brownies take Willow and Meegosh to the Fairy Queen Cherlindrea, who tells Willow that the baby’s name is Elora Danan and she is the future queen of Tir Asleen. She tasks Willow with taking the baby to see Fin Raziel, a sorceress, and help keep Elora safe so she can fulfill her destiny of bringing Bavmorda down. Willow sends Meegosh back to their village and then heads off, with two Brownies, Franjean and Rool, to help guide him to Fin Razael. The eventually stop at an inn, where they run into Madmartigan, who is dressing as a woman to avoid being attacked by a jealous husband, Lug. Suddenly, Sorsha, Bavmorda’s daughter, and Nockmarr troops arrive at the inn and begin searching the babies there. When Sorsha goes to examine Elora, Madmartigan shoves her away but she quickly reveals that he is a man. Discovering Madmartigan is a man, Lug attacks the soldiers in an attempt to get to Madmartigan and Madmartigan quickly escape on a horse and cart, with Willow jumping on board as well. Sorsha’s soldiers chase after them and Madmartigan fends them off before they are able to hide from the rest of Sorsha’s forces. As Madmartigan leaves, Willow follows after him to try and convince him to help them get safely to the lake and Madmartigan, having grown fond of Elora, agrees. They reach the lake and Willow finds a boat to take him and Elora to the island where Razael has been exiled and Madmartigan says his goodbyes to them. When Willow reaches the island, he finds that Razael has been changed into possum by Bavmorda’s spells and she asks Willow to help change her back. When they return to the mainland, they find that Madmartigan has been captured and forced to show Sorsha and her men where Willow is. Willow and Razael are captured and taken with Madmartigan to rendezvous with Kael’s troops on a snow covered mountain. As night falls, Razael tells Willow to try and change her back to human but he only manages to change her into a raven. Franjean and Rool show up and work on freeing Willow and Madmartigan and when Madmartigan tries to do it himself, Franjean hits Madmaritgan with the Dust of Broken Hearts. They eventually free Willow and Madmartigan and they go to find Elora but when Madmartigan goes to try and grab Elora from Sorsha’s tent, he ends up falling in love with Sorsha. Madmartigan approaches her, reciting poetry when she threatens him with a knife. Kael captures Willow as he tries to escape with Elora and Sorsha believes Madmartigan was simply saying things to distract her but Madmartigan grabs a sword and cuts the tent support, then kisses Sorsha before the tent collapses. Willow and Madmartigan escape the tent and then use a shield to slide down the mountain, reaching a village near the base. As Kael and his troops approach, they are given shelter by one of the villagers only to discover Airk and some of his men hiding there, as the most of his army was slaughtered by Bavmorda’s troops. As Kael takes some of his men to search elsewhere, Sorsha searches the house and discovers the hidden basement only to be captured by Madmartigan, who forces her troops to back off. Willow and Madmartigan take Sorsha with them as they head to Tir Asleen, and Airk and his men kill the rest of Sorsha’s forces. During the journey, Madmartigan and Sorsha discuss what happened the night before and Sorsha is angered when Madmartigan says it was merely fairy dust that made him say those things. She struggles with him and manages to get away and Madmartigan tries chasing after and recapturing her but as Razael warns that Kael is coming, he is forced to keep going with Willow, though he does look back at her while she does the same before they go their separate ways. Willow and Madmartigan reach Tir Asleen only to discover that the castle’s residents have been cursed by Bavmorda and turned to stone, while the castle itself has become infested with trolls. Madmartigan is upset at first but then quickly works on arming himself and setting up some defenses to fend off Kael and his men. As Willow goes to hide Elora, he is attacked by a troll and uses the wand on it, which cause it to change form and Willow quickly kicks it into the water below the tower. Kael’s forces break into the castle and Madmartigan starts to attack them when they suddenly turn and leave the castle, and Madmartigan turns to find the troll had changed into an Eborsisk, a giant, two-headed, fire breathing creature, and he quickly runs as well but then heads back inside when Kael tries to have his men attack him. As Madmartigan starts fending off Kael’s men, Sorsha watches him and starts to realize she is attracted to him. Willow comes under attack by some more trolls and he manages to deal with one, and Madmartigan helps him with the second one. Madmartigan then hands Willow a short sword before jumping onto one of the Eborsisk’s heads and plunging his sword into it’s neck. As he recovers on the ground, Sorsha approaches and helps him to his feet, then kisses him while the Eborsisk’s head explodes, killing the creature. Some of Kael’s men discover Elore but Willow manages to kill them, only to be knocked down by Kael. As Airk and the rest of his army arrive, Kael rides off with Elora, noting that Sorsha is fighting alongside Madmartigan as he does, and takes Elora to Nockmarr castle. After checking on Willow, Madmartigan, Sorsha, and Willow chase after him, joined by Airk and his men, and they prepare to lay siege to the castle. Kael presents Elora to Bavmorda and tells her of Sorsha’s betrayal and Bavmorda angrily tells her wisemen to prepare for the ritual. She approaches the castle ramparts and looks down on the army and starts laughing. Razael, who had been turned into a goat by Willow in Tir Asleen, quickly shoves Willow into a tent and tells him to use the wand to cast a protection spell on him. When Madmartigan calls out that they want Elora, Bavmorda tells them they aren’t an army but merely pigs, changing the men into pigs, including Franjean and Rool. When Sorsha begs her mother to stop, Bavmorda changes her into a pig as well. When Willow looks out the tent and sees everyone turned into pigs, he begins to despair but Razael says there is still hope and tells him to try and turn her back to human again. Willow tries, changing her into several animals before finally changing her back to human and after recovering for a bit, Razael tells Willow to start letting the pigs into the tent so she can change them back. As Bavmorda and her council begin the ritual to banish Elora’s spirit, Willow, Madmartigan, Sorsha, Razael, and Airk discuss their plans to try and rescue Elora and Willow comes up with a plan. In the morning, Willow and Razael approach the castle and call out for them to surrender Elora. Kael laughs at the request and sends his men to kill them but as the men approach, Willow gives a signal and Madmartigan and the other soldiers, who had been hiding in holes dug inside the tents, burst from hiding and charge the soldiers and the castle. As the fighting commences, Sorsha leads Willow and Razael up to Bavmorda’s tower to rescue Elora. Bavmorda sends her council to stop them but Sorsha easily deals with them but when she goes to grab Elora, Bavmorda uses her magic to send her flying towards a spiked gate. Razael stops Sorsha and Bavmorda drops her, then turns her attention to Razael and the two sorceresses begin battling. During the fight, Willow enters the room and attempts to grab Elora but a stray blast from Cherlindrea’s wand causes a table to come to life and attack him. Outside, the battle continues raging and Kael fights with Airk, stabbing him. Madmartigan sees his friend fall and goes after Kael eventually managing to impale him with his own sword. Back in the tower, Bavmorda manages to overpower Razael and then stops Willow from escaping with Elora. As Bavmorda demands Willow place Elora on the sacrificial altar, Willow refuses and uses his “disappearing pig” trick to make it seem like he sent Elora to another dimension. An enraged Bavmorda goes to attack Willow but accidentally knocks over the blood on the altar and a bolt of lighting strikes Cherlindrea’s wand, which she was holding, completing the ritual and banishing Bavmorda’s spirit instead of Elora’s. In the restored Tir Asleen, Razael gives Willow a spellbook, telling him he is on his way to becoming a great sorcerer, and Madmartigan and Sorsha, who are staying there as Elora’s guardians, say their goodbyes to him as he heads home. When he returns to his village, he is greeted by a cheering crowd and watch in amazement as he changes an apple into a bird, which poops on Burglekutt, before Willow sees Kaiya and his family and rushes forward to embrace them.

Willow met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Good production value and decent special effects, but the story is too insipid and slowly paced.” The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $57.3 million off of a $35 million budget. With the box office receipts less than expected, George Lucas chose to continue Willow’s story in books rather than movie sequels, and co-wrote them with Chris Claremont, of X-Men comics fame. Recently, Director Ron Howard and Val Kilmer have both stated that there have been talks of a Willow sequel being considered.

This is still a pretty entertaining movie to watch, though it does have it’s flaws. The acting was pretty good for most of the characters. I thought Warwick Davis (Willow) and Val Kilmer (Madmartigan) had some great chemistry on the screen. I also liked Jean Marsh (Bavmorda) and Patricia Hayes (Razael) and thought that Kevin Pollak (Rool) and Rick Overton (Franjean) were absolutely hilarious but Joanne Whalley (Sorsha) was kind of bland while Pat Roach (Kael) was honestly to over the top, with his almost always yelling out commands. The story was really good and definitely showcased George Lucas’s ability for creating a unique universe. The special effects were pretty good for the most part except for one or two instances. Mainly the scene where the trolls were crawling along the buildings, as the looked really fake, and the scene where the table came to life and attacked Willow, as it just didn’t seem to synch perfectly with the background. Those aside, this is still a fun fantasy movie that is worth giving another watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

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crime, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

April 13th, 2018 Movie – The Usual Suspects

the usual suspects

Some times, the best way to hear about a movie is word of mouth. If a movie gets a lot of good word of mouth among people, then their friends will be more likely to go see it. That is definitely the case with today’s movie. Everyone that I knew who had seen it had enjoyed it and I ended up seeing it myself. But that word of mouth extended even further when it came out on video, as even more people were talking about it who missed seeing it in theaters. I liked this movie and would always watch it when it came on TV, then finally decided to go ahead and get it on DVD after a while. So let’s enjoy today’s movie, The Usual Suspects.

The plot: On a freight ship docked in San Pedro, California, a badly wounded man, Dean Keaton, lights a match book and drops it to the ground, setting fire to a trail of gasoline. As the flames head towards the gas tanks, the flame is put out by a man urinating off of an upper deck. The man then approaches Keaton, who calls him “Keyser”, and the two talk briefly before Keyser shoots Keaton, then drops a lit cigarette onto the gasoline, reigniting it and causing the ship to explode as the man leaves. Some time later, Roger “Verbal” Kent, a con artist with cerebral palsey, is being interviewed by the police. Verbal tells them that the whole thing started 6 weeks ago when a shipment of guns was hijacked and while the drivers didn’t see anything, they heard one of the thieves speak. The New York Police Dept. pick up Verbal as well as Keaton, Michael McManus, Fred Fenster, and Todd Hockney, and placed in a police line up and each are made to read the line on a card before beginning to interrogate them. When they are placed in a holding cell, McManus and Hockney discuss the rumors about Keaton going straight since hooking up with a criminal defense attorney. They then all discuss why they are there and realize that they are being set up as the police have no real idea who stole the guns and  McManus wants to get back at the cops. Back in the present day, FBI Agent Jack Baer arrives at the dock and asks one of the officers if there were any survivors and learns that there were two; one who was badly burned and taken to the hospital, and one, Verbal, who was taken into custody by the police. Baer heads to the hospital and learns that the injured man had regained consciousness and as he goes in to try and speak to him, he recognizes him as Arkosh Kovash, a Hungarian Mobster. Baer makes a call to arrange for a security detail and an interpreter but as he is on the phone, Arkosh starts yelling out the name “Keyser Soze”, making Baer pause briefly before telling the person on the other phone to locate Dave Kujan. U.S. Customs Special Agent Dave Kujan has flown down to San Pedro to question Verbal but learns that he is going to be posting bail and released the next day. Kujan manages to get in to talk with Verbal before he is released and asks him what happened after the police line up in New York. Verbal explains that McManus had come up with a plan but they needed 5 men to pull it off and Verbal goes to try and convince Keaton to help them. The men all work together to rob some crooked cops that operate an illegal taxi service, robbing the recent customer of some jewels he was carrying, then torching the police car. Keaton calls in an anonymous tip and the media arrives and they end up bringing down the whole ringing, which extends all the way to the chief. McManus plans on heading to California with Fenster to meet with a fence that he knows but Hockney and the others don’t like the idea of them going alone and decide to go with him. Back in the present, Baer has his superior and the interpreter brought into the room and when he learns that Arkosh has seen Keyser Soze’s face, he has a sketch artist brought forward so they can get a sketch from Arkosh’s description. Back in the San Pedro Police Department, Kujan continues to question Verbal and Verbal tells him that after they arrived in California, they met with the fence, Redfoot, who paid them then offered another job. Keaton didn’t want to do it at first but finally relents and goes through with it. They go to steal a suitcase from a courier but unlike the police heist, this time they end up having to kill the men they were stealing from. When they open it, they find the suitcase contains heroin instead of jewels and McManus gets upset and when they meet with Redfoot, he accuses him of setting them up. Keaton calms him down and then questions Redfoot about who hired them and says he wants to meet him and Redfoot says the man has already said he wants to arrange a meeting. Back in the present, Baer heads to the station and meets with Kujan, telling him that according to Arkosh, the Hungarians were meeting with some Argentinians to buy some cocaine when Keyser Soze showed up and killed everyone. When Kujan returns back to the room and asks Verbal about Keyser Soze, he gets visibly upset. Verbal explains how they met with a lawyer named Kobayashi, who tells them he works for Keyser Soze. Kobayashi explains that Soze wants them to do a job for him, which could kill them but if they survive, they will get $91 million to split between them. When Keaton starts to refuse, Kobayashi explains that all of them have stolen from Soze at one point or another, and the only reason they are alive is because they didn’t know they were stealing from them. Soze feels this is simply making things even between them, and Kobayahsi leaves his suitcase on the table and leaves. When Keaton opens it, he finds envelopes with each of their names on them, with details of their lives contained in each one. Back in the present, Verbal tells Kujan a story he was told about how Soze was simply a low level dealer in Hungary when the mob wanted to expand into his territory. They held his wife and children hostage and killed his son in front of him, demanding he turn over his territory or else the others die. Soze proceeds to kill two of the mobsters, then kill his own family, telling the lone survivor he would rather see his family dead. After letting the man go and burying his family, Soze proceeds to go after the mob, killing their children and wives in retaliation, which led to him becoming a myth among criminals. After meeting with Kobayashi, Fenster decides to try and run but he is killed by Soze and Kobayashi tells the others where to find the body. As they argue over what to do, they bury Fenster, then decide to go after Kobayashi but he warns them against killing him, saying that their loved ones will end up dead, showing that he has brought Keaton’s girlfriend to be part of a trial and telling Keaton that the bodyguard he arranged will kill her if he turns up missing. Realizing they are trapped, Keaton and the others head out to the dock and await the meeting between the Hungarians and Argentinians. When the men show up, Keaton, McManus, and Hockney head out to deal with them, leaving Verbal, due to his disability, to cover them. The three men proceed to kill the guards outside and as Keaton and McManus head onto the boat, Hockney heads to a nearby van and finds it full of cash but ends up getting shot. Keaton and McManus make their way through the ship but find no sign of any cocaine on board. Verbal is tired of waiting and goes trying to help but when he finds Hockney’s body, he closes the van doors and goes to drive off but is unable to find the keys. Meanwhile, McManus is stabbed in the neck and as Keaton checks on him, he is shot in the back, which paralyzes him and brings us to the beginning of the movie. Back in the station, Kujan asks Verbal why he didn’t help his friends and he says he was too scared of Soze. Kujan then tells him that there were no drugs on the ship, but it was a witness who had knowledge of Soze, including who Soze really was. Kujan believes that Keaton was really Soze and tries to convince Verbal of that and turn state’s evidence but Verbal refuses and leaves, as his bail has been posted. After Verbal leaves, Kujan is talking with Sergeant Jeff Rabin about the situation and as he looks at the cork board behind Rabin, he realizes Verbal had lied to him, using names and elements from the cork board for his story. Kujan goes chasing after Verbal, just as a fax comes in from the hospital, with Verbal’s picture being listed as Keyser Soze. Outside, Verbal reveals that his disability was faked and he gets into a car that Kobayashi is driving and they drive off, leaving Kujan standing there frustrated at ebing unable to catch Verbal/Soze.

The Usual Suspects met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Expertly shot and edited, The Usual Suspects gives the audience a simple plot and then piles on layers of deceit, twists, and violence before pulling out the rug from underneath.” The line-up scene was scripted as a serious scene, but after a full day of filming takes where the actors couldn’t keep a straight face, director Bryan Singer decided to use the funniest takes. A making-of documentary shows Singer becoming furious at the actors for the constant cracking-up. The movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $34.4 million off of a $6 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and while Kevin Spacey would win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

This is a great movie but I will admit that the ending was a little predictable. The acting was great, with Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, and Chazz Palminteri doing great jobs in the roles of Verbal/Soze, Keaton, and Kujan respectively. Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollack, and Benicio Del Toro were also good as McManus, Hockney, and Fenster while Pete Postlethwaite did a great job as Kobayashi. The story was interesting and I liked the concept of the mysterious puppet master pulling the strings for all of the events. However, I did think that it got predictable that Verbal was really Soze before the “big reveal”. I did like that they showed Kujan realizing that he had been played and chasing after him before the sketch of Verbal gets faxed in, as his reaction and the slow motion showing all of the names Verbal had used was revealed was definitely a good way to start the close of the movie. The drama was well choreographed and the special effects in the final fire fight and explosions were well done. This is definitely a solid thriller of a movie and one that everyone should watch at least once.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, crime, drama, movie, movie review

March 29th, 2018 Movie – Truth Or Consequences, NM

truth or consequences nm

You ever go looking at a DVD and wonder why you own it, or how for that matter? That is the first thing that comes to mind regarding today’s movie. I mean, obviously I bought the movie but I don’t remember when or why for that matter. I have never seen this movie before so I can’t really say what would have motivated me to buy a movie I have never seen, with a subject matter that would not necessarily make for a leap of faith purchase like this. Well, no choice but to go ahead and see what I have with today’s movie, Truth Or Consequences, N.M.

The plot: Raymond Lembecke is getting released from prison and is met outside by his girlfriend Addy Monroe. 8 months later, Raymond and Addy meet with Marcus Weans and Curtis Freley at a diner, then head across the street to a photo shop. Sneaking around to the back, Raymond picks the lock to reveal it is the hideout for a drug dealer named Eddie Grillo. Raymond and his group are shocked to find Eddie and another man there, as the place was supposed to be empty at that time of day, while Eddie is pissed at seeing Raymond there. Eddie accuses Raymond of betraying him but Raymond tells him that he had gone to prison for Eddie and Eddie’s way of repaying him was to give him a lousy job. As tempers start to flare, Curtis shoots Eddie, then the other man and as he searches him, discovers that the man was an undercover cop and wearing a wire. Grabbing the cases of drugs, the group make a run out of the shop, getting in a shoot out with three police officers that show up and killing them as they make their escape. As they travel down the highway, they all begin arguing over what they should do, with Marcus blaming Curtis for putting them in the situation by shooting Eddie and the cop. Realizing that they need to switch vehicles, though Curtis doesn’t want to get rid of his car, they come across a couple, Gordon Jacobson and Donna Moreland, having a picnic and decide to steal their car but when they realize that they have an RV, they decide to take the couple with them. Meanwhile, the police are going over what they know of the incident and the people involved and it is revealed that Marcus is a deep cover fed working for the DEA. As Raymond and his group make their way towards Vegas, intending to sell the drugs and get away, Marcus attempts to leave notes for the police whenever he gets the chance. As the days pass, with a couple of close calls from the police, Gordon starts to develop a case of Stockholm Syndrome towards the group, which worries Marcus. When they stop at a rest stop, Marcus attempts to lead Gordon and Donna away from the RV so they can get away but Gordon yells out for Curtis when he goes looking for them. When a suburban pulls up at the rest stop, Curtis wants to kill the man and steal his car but Raymond and Marcus both tell him not to kill the guy so Curtis knocks him out and they place him in the RV while they all get in the suburban and leave. The police locate the RV and put an APB out on the suburban, resulting in Raymond driving the suburban off road to escape the cops. Pulling into a motel, they quickly switch cars and drive away, with the police driving right past them. They reach Vegas and Raymond, Marcus, and Curtis go to see Tony Vago to make a deal for the drugs, only to learn that Eddie was working for Vago, meaning the drugs were his. Curtis starts to apologize and says they will give back to drugs, then suddenly kills both of Vago’s bodyguards. As Curtis holds Vago at gunpoint, Raymond and Marcus loot his safe and they leave, with Curtis shooting Vago on the way out. Later, as Vago’s men try to figure out what they should do, a man named “Sir” shows up and says he has been sent by Vago’s boss to deal with the situation. The group head over to Raymond’s friend Wayne’s house and hide out there for a while, and Donna gets upset with Gordon over his wanting to imitate and befriend Curtis and the others. When Raymond, Curtis, Marcus, and Gordon go out to get some food, Gordon gets into an argument with a guy that bumps into him. The man starts to beat Gordon up when Gordon grabs a broken bottle and cuts the guy’s throat, shocking Raymond and the others. Curtis quickly grabs Gordon and shoves him towards Raymond, then finishes him off, then they head back to Wayne’s house to grab Addy and Donna and leave, with Raymond telling them they are heading to his brother’s place in New Mexico. Meanwhile, Wayne returns to his home to find Sir and some men waiting for him and they proceed to torture Wayne to learn where Raymond and the others are going, then kill him. Raymond and the others arrive at Raymond’s brother’s house and head inside, unaware that Sir’s men have the place under surveillance. That night, Marcus attempts to call his boss to let him know where they are but is forced to hang up when Raymond walks out of the bedroom. Getting suspicious and paranoid, Raymond has Marcus call the number back to verify what he said but Marcus’ boss, understanding the prearranged signal Marcus had used when he hung up, is able to convince Raymond Marcus was telling the truth. The next day, Raymond gets spooked and wants to go ahead and leave, especially after Addy tells him that she is pregnant. Curtis finds Sir’s lookout on the hill and captures him, just as the men show up to make the deal for the drugs. As the deal commences, Sir and his men arrive and begin shooting up the place, killing Curtis, the dealer, and his bodyguard. Marcus, who told Gordon and Donna the truth about him, tells them to follow his lead and get out of there. Raymond and Addy try to escape and get pinned down and as they exchange fire, Addy is killed while Sir goes to kill Donna but ends up being killed by Gordon. The DEA arrives and finish off the rest of Sir’s men, and Marcus goes to arrest Raymond, who is carrying Addy’s body. Seeing one of Sir’s men attempting to shoot Marcus, Raymond shoots him, prompting Marcus to fire and shoot Raymond but after realizing what happened, feels bad about it and walks away.

Truth Or Consequences, N.M. met with mostly negative results from the critics, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that it was a decent thriller, though somewhat unoriginal in it’s scope. Despite the title of the movie, no filming took place in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, as all the filming took place in Utah and Nevada. The movie received a limited theatrical release, which some feel is why it didn’t get more critical reviews, and only earned $122,046 during it’s run.

Going in unawares, I have to admit that this is not that bad of a movie. The acting was pretty good, with Vincent Gallo (Raymond), Mykelti Williamson (Marcus), Kim Dickens (Addy), and Kiefer Sutherland (Curtis) all doing good jobs in their roles. I have to admit that Kiefer pretty much stole the show with his performance while Mykelti showed a much wider range of acting, which probably will surprise most people that only know him as Bubba from Forest Gump. I will admit that the story was a little unoriginal and honestly felt like it was kind of a poor man’s Tarantino movie stylistically. That being said, this was a pretty solid, albeit slow-paced, thriller. The drama was pretty good while the action scenes added some intensity to suck you in even further into the story. It might not be something that knocks your socks off but this is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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crime, dark comedy, horror, movie, movie review

January 12th, 2018 Movie – Otis

otis

Well, we have about another week’s worth of movies that I got over Christmas and I am hoping that they keep getting better. Today’s movie is one that my friend Mark gave me. When my friend’s buy me movies, they tend to help feed my love for the completely cheesy, campy variety of movie. Mark will go along with that too but he also tends to buy me movies that are interesting or usually get better reviews than some other movies (though he did get me the Leprechaun 4-pack of movies so he is not completely without faults in this regard). Anyways, today’s movie is one of his picks and one I am looking forward to watching so let’s get started with Otis.

The plot: As an alarm wakes up a young girl named Kim, she is called by Otis, the man who has kidnapped her and has her chained in the room. Otis taunts her about what will happen that night, torturing her to get the responses he wants but Kim eventually yells at him and hangs up the phone. She then proceeds to cover up the camera’s Otis uses to watch her before going to hang herself. Otis races down to stop her only to find Kim had tricked him and she had actually pulled the chain free from the floor and uses it as a weapon to attack him. Otis tries to stop her and during the struggle, Kim falls into a bathtub and is electrocuted when a lamp falls into the water. Otis unplugs the lamp and after yelling about the 6 weeks wasted on her, he proceeds to saw her body into pieces. Some time later, Will and Kate Larson are talking about daily life while watching the news, where the Larson family is pleading for their daughter’s safe return, though the news anchor says she is most likely the latest victim of the serial killer. Meanwhile, their daughter Riley is dancing in her room in her underwear, when she notices someone watching her from the bushes outside her window. Heading out there, she discovers her brother Reed and his friend had been videotaping her and she quickly grabs the camera and takes it inside to show her parents. Sitting across from Reed, Will asks Reed what his problem is, as this is the latest in a string of incidents that he has done. When the doorbell rings announcing their food is there, Riley goes to get it and pays the delivery man, who happens to be Otis. Otis gives Riley the pizza and after she leaves, he smells the money she gave him, and a light shines on him as he has found his next victim. The next day, Will and Kate get onto Reed again about his grades and his antics at school, and he tries to deflect attention onto Riley before he leaves. Riley leaves to go to school when she is confronted by Otis, who quickly shoves a sack her into a sack and places her in his car, then knocks her out to keep her from screaming before driving away just as Riley’s parents leave the house. Riley comes too and finds herself chained to a bed and when the phone rings, she begs for help only to find it is Otis on the other end, who calls her Kim. Riley yells at him and tries to find a way out but Otis tortures her by turning the lights in the room super bright, burning her, and keeps telling her to say her name is Kim. That evening, Reed comes home to find his parents talking to a police officer and they question him about the fact that he put up pictures of Riley on the internet. Will receives a phone call from Otis, who tells him that he is dating his daughter Kim and asks for his permission to take her to prom, and says that if he plays along, his daughter will be returned to him, shocking everyone there. The next day, Otis talks to Riley, who discovers that she has been dressed in a cheerleader’s uniform, and when she refuses to say what he wants, he enters the room and yells at her to play along. Back at the Lawson’s house, the FBI are setting up to monitor any calls coming into the house so they can track the killer, informing Will and Kate that there have been 5 victims now, but Reed is more concerned that they are tearing up his room and computer than he is for his sister’s safety. Back in his lair, Otis is dressed in a football uniform and asks Riley to cheer for him when a sensor goes off and he quickly takes her back to her room and chains her to the floor, warning her to keep quiet. Otis then heads outside and is confronted by his brother Elmo, who yells at him for being late to work and the condition of their parent’s old house. When Otis asks about Kim, Elmo yells at him some more, saying Kim want’s nothing to do with him as his obsession with her has her freaked out when she caught him licking her underwear. Heading inside the house, Elmo stops when he notices a box containing his pictures of him in his football uniform and gets upset at the coach for never playing him, then chastises Otis again before leaving. That night, Otis calls the Lawson’s house again, this time talking with Kate, and the FBI attempts to trace the call. Reed tries to tell his dad that they won’t be able to save Riley, as they were unable to save the previous girls, but Will tells him to let them do their job, as they are all unaware that Otis was calling from right outside their house. Otis continues to go on pretend dates with Riley while her family continues to worry. When Otis calls the Lawson’s house again and tells Kate that he plans on having sex with Kim, Kate starts yelling out at him, surprising Reed with her venom, before Otis hangs up and Kate worries about what will happen to Riley. In his lair, Otis, calls Riley and asks if she is ready for prom, and she replies that she is and has her dressed picked out, saying everything Otis wants to hear. Otis has turned his garage into a makeshift prom and starts dancing with Riley, then puts her into the car and starts kissing her. Trying to keep from being raped, Riley tries to please Otis by giving him a hand job but when Otis ejaculates prematurely, he freaks out and drags her back into her room, and knocks her out, then leaves. As Otis heads outside, locking the shed that he keeps Riley in, he is confronted by Elmo, who asks what Otis is doing and proceeds to verbally abuse him. Meanwhile, Riley comes too and, realizing that Otis did not secure the chain to the floor, works on trying to escape. Riley uses the underwire from her bra to short out the electrified grate covering the air duct and proceeds to climb out through it and manages to escape as Elmo continues to berate Otis. Back at the Lawson’s house, they are all getting pissed off at Agent Hotchkiss, who is being too cavalier about the situation. As they talk outside, they get a call from Riley, who tells them she escaped and tells them who kidnapped her and where she was being held. Kate tells Riley to lock herself in the bathroom of the supermarket that she is at, as she will be sending an ambulance to pick her up, and then tells Riley not to repeat what she told them. After hanging up the phone, they are approached by Hotchkiss, who asks what is going on and they tell him that Riley had just called them and is okay. The Lawsons head to the hospital to see Riley before the doctor asks to speak with them. As they leave the room, Hotchkiss tries to question Riley about her kidnapper but she doesn’t tell him anything. Meanwhile, the doctor tells the Lawsons that Riley had suffered some head trauma and the hemorrhaging could cause some paralysis. That night, Will wants to let the police deal with Otis but Kate and Reed want to take justice into their own hands and convince Will to go along with them. They head to Otis’ house and wait for him to come home so they can attack him. Elmo shows up, bringing some groceries for Otis to eat and the Lawsons, mistaking him for Otis, proceed to attack him and knock him out. They then take Elmo to the garage and proceed to torture and beat him, with Will reluctantly helping them but when Kate says that Riley could be pregnant with Otis’ kid, Will gets into it. Back at the hospital, Hotchkiss is sitting in Riley’s room and when Riley wakes up, he questions her again and Riley tells him Otis’ name. Hotchkiss calls the Lawsons and tells them that Riley gave him a description of Otis and they realize that they have been torturing the wrong man. When they discover that Elmo is dead, they freak out and figure out what to do, eventually deciding to dump the body in a dumpster. When Otis returns home, he finds the mess in the garage and after trying to figure out what happened, he watches the feed from his video cameras and sees what they did to Elmo. At the hospital, Riley wakes up to find her family there and as she notices their guilty expressions, realizes they went after Otis themselves but doesn’t say anything when Hotchkiss shows up. Hotchkiss asks to speak with the Lawsons and tells them that they found Otis’ lair and how he had motion activated cameras that captured everything. As the Lawsons start feeling nervous, prompting Kate and Reed to pull out a knife and throwing star respectively. They are temporarily relieved when Hotchkiss says they cameras were facing the wrong way so they couldn’t see anything but they had the audio. Hotchkiss then says that he doesn’t plan on turning them in, only wishing that he could have gotten a piece of Otis himself. When Riley is brought home, she questions them about what happened and they admit that they killed Elmo by mistake, which horrifies Riley. As they argue about what they should do, Reed goes to get a shotgun and makes plans to kill Otis, placing an order for a pizza but Riley tells him that Otis never raped her. When the pizza gets there, Reed fires the shotgun repeatedly through the door but when the door falls off the hinges, Riley tells them that the delivery guy isn’t Otis.

This was a pretty good movie but there were some aspects that reminded me of a couple of other dark comedy’s I have watched. The acting was pretty good, with Daniel Stern (Will) and Illena Douglas (Kate) playing off each other very well as parents. I also felt that Jere Burns was rather creepy in his portrayal of FBI Agent Hotchkiss while Ashley Johnson (Riley), Jared Kusnitz (Reed), and Bostin Christopher (Otis) all did great jobs in their roles. The story was pretty good, with Otis basically reliving the glory days he felt his brother should have had, as well as living out his fantasy with his longtime crush Kim. The second half of the story, where the Lawsons decide to get some vigilante justice, was a little disturbing, but did have some humor to it to try and make it a little less gruesome. The only thing that I didn’t like was the lack of a real ending, as Otis basically just disappears and nothing else really comes of the whole situation except for Reed mistakenly killing someone else. The special effects were ok but the big thing was the dialogue, which really helped telling the story in this movie. This is a good movie and definitely well worth watching if you are a horror fan.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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