action, adventure, comedy, fantasy, martial arts, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 24th, 2014 Movie – Big Trouble In Little China

big trouble in little china

Ok. I have been a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for a long time, both as a wrestler and as an actor. That being said, I will never forgive him if his plans of remaking this movie ever come to fruition. I wish Hollywood would stop with the whole remaking everything possible instead of trying to come up with more original ideas. When it comes to this movie, this is one of those movies that I have always loved watching because it is so ridiculous. Ever since I first saw the trailer, where Kurt Russell’s character knocked himself out, I decided that this was a movie I had to see. I managed to watch it on HBO years ago and every time it came on TV, I would watch it. So of course I had to pick up a copy on DVD so I could watch Big Trouble In Little China whenever I wanted.

The plot: Egg Shen is talking with his lawyer, who asks him if he knows the whereabouts of Jack Burton, but Egg tells him to leave Jack alone, as they were in his debt. The lawyer persists in finding out what happened, as Egg is being blamed for the destruction of a city block in a ball of green flame, and Egg says it was magic, revealing himself to be a sorcerer himself, and starts telling the lawyer what all happened. Some time earlier, Jack Burton is driving his truck, The Pork Chop Express, outside of San Francisco to make a delivery and as it is being unloaded, he gambles outside of the warehouses with his friend Wang Chi and several other people. Jack ends up winning $1148 over the course of the night and as morning breaks, everyone else leaves to start work but Wang convinces Jack to stay for one more bet, offering double or nothing. Wang proposes to cut a bottle in half with a large knife and Jack takes the bet but when Wang goes to cut the bottle, the bottle ends up flying towards Jack, who quickly catches it, citing his reflexes. Jack asks Wang to pay up but Wang says he doesn’t have the money on him and asks Jack to stop by his restaurant later, as he has to go to the airport first, but Jack says he will give Wang a lift, as he wants to ensure he gets paid. At the airport, Wang is there to pick up his childhood sweetheart Miao Yin, who he intends to marry, but as they are waiting for her, Jack notices a woman, Gracie Law, and heads over to talk with her. As they are talking, members of a Chinese street gang called the Lords of Death push by them and Gracie gets nervous about why they are there. Gracie moves away from Jack and spots her friend, another Chinese girl, and calls out to her but the Lords of Death move to grab her. When Jack tries to intervene, one of them pulls out a knife and baton and moves to attack him, allowing a second member to sweep Jack’s legs out from under him. Miao Yin shows up but ends up being grabbed by the Lords of Death, who escape from the airport. A pissed off Jack decides to go after them and Wang tells him that they have a club in Chinatown. After following Wang’s directions through some alleys, they find their path blocked by a funeral procession of the Chang Sing. Jack starts to back up when he notices some other figures approaching and Wang says they are the Wing Kong, the rivals of the Chang Sing. A massive fight breaks out between the two gangs when suddenly, a burst of green fire erupts from the ground and the Three Storms (Thunder, Lightning, and Rain) appear and kill three members of the Chang Sing, before moving forward to continue fighting. Wang tells Jack to get out of there and as Jack drives forward, the Three Storms move out of the way but Jack ends up running over David Lo Pan. Stopping his truck to inspect the body, Jack discovers that Lo Pan is still alive and hsi eyes and mouth suddenly start glowing, temporarily blinding Jack. Wang helps him get away and splashes water on Jack’s eyes to restore his vision when they find themselves approached by the Lords of Death and are forced to run, only to discover that Jack’s truck has been stolen while the Three storms are slaughtering the Chang Sing. Making their way back to Wang’s restaurant, Jack is on the phone with his insurance company about his truck when Wang’s friend Eddie Lee shows up and tells him that the Lords of Death stole his truck. Gracie shows up, saying she feels bad as the reason Miao Yin was taken was because of her and tells them that She was taken to the White Tiger, an illegal brothel the the Lords of Death run. Jack, Wang, Gracie, and Eddie head over to the White Tiger and Jack heads inside on his own, leaving the others waiting outside. As they are waiting, Gracie sees another car pull up and heads over to it, as it is her reporter friend Margo, and she tells her what is going on. Inside, Jack tries to find out if Miao Yin is there when suddenly, the building starts shaking while outside, Wang and Eddie see a giant green cloud over the building. Suddenly, the Three Storms appear, blowing a hole through the roof and they grab Miao Yin, who was being held in a secret room, and fly off with her. Realizing that Miao Yin must have been taken to Lo Pan’s place, Jack and Wang head in there disguised as telephone repair men and attempt to locate her only to be captured by the Rain. Rain tortures them briefly before tying them up and taking them to see Lo Pan, who appears as a decrepit old man. Lo Pan asks Wang about Miao Yin, and Wang realizes that Lo Pan intends to marry Miao Yin in order to appease the God of the East, then sacrifice her in order to remove the curse that he was inflicted with. Suddenly, Lo Pan sees Gracie, Eddie, and Margo on the monitors and he has Jack and Wang taken away, while Thunder ends up capturing the others. Jack and Wang are taken to a cell but Jack manages to free himself and Wang, then quickly pretend to be tied up again when Thunder enters with Eddie. Jack jumps onto Thunder, holding his knife to his throat, while Wang helps Eddie down and they go to leave when Thunder suddenly starts expanding, sending Jack flying off of him and into one of the wheelchairs he and Wang were tied to. Jack goes rolling backwards down the hall, knocking out some Wing Kong fighters that were coming to deal with them, and Wang and Eddie quickly lock Thunder in the room and head out after Jack before Thunder gets free. The three go looking for Gracie and Margo and find them locked in cages along with several other girls and as Wang and Eddie deal with the guards, Jack frees all of the women. When Thunder arrives with more Wing Kong warriors, they all make a run for it, diving into a pool of water and making their way through the sewers. After climbing back up to the warehouse that Jack and Wang first entered, they go to leave only to find their way blocked by more Wing Kong warriors but Jack and Wang manage to deal with them. Jack and Wang create a distraction so they cna lead everyone past the front guards but Gracie ends up being captured by a strange, orange furred monster. Outside, Jack and the others find Egg and Wang’s uncle Chu waiting for them in Egg’s tour bus and the manage to get away but realize that Gracie is missing. Gracie is taken to the room where Miao Yen is being held and Lo Pan approaches her and uses his powers to mesmerize her, just as Miao Yin is, as Gracie has green colored eyes like Miao Yin. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Egg shows up with the surviving members of the Chang Sing and they head out with Jack and Wang to stop Lo Pan, making their way through the underground sections of the city and deep under the earth towards Lo Pan’s temple. Meanwhile, Lo Pan has the Three Storms initiate the test for Miao Yin and Gracie, both of him pass, and he has them prepared to be married to him to appease the God of the East, then will sacrifice Gracie and keep Miao Yin for himself. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s temple and encounter a beholder, which Lo Pan uses to watch for intruders. Seeing what the beholder sees, Lo Pan taunts Egg Shen until Jack shoots at the beholder, driving it away. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s office, wondering where everyone is, and after finding the secret elevator, Egg gives everyone a magic potion to help them in the upcoming battle. They take the elevator down and see Lo Pan in the midst of the wedding ceremony and Egg tells them all to wait until the wedding is completed, as Lo Pan would be mortal and able to be killed. When they spot the wounded beholder nearby, Wang stabs it with his sword but Lo Pan sees them and has the Wing Kong attack them. Wang and the others rush to meet them while Jack ends up knocking himself out briefly before joining the fight. As Wang fights with Rain, Egg uses his magic to save Jack from Thunder, then begins battling Lo Pan. Their battle ends in a stalemate and Egg leaves with Miao Yin and Thunder, while Lightning attempts to seal the door behind them, then leaves himself. Wang manages to kill Rain then chases after Miao Yin, while Gracie, having snapped out of the trance, gets Jack and the go after him, dealing with the orange furred creature in the process. Taking the elevator back to Lo Pan’s office, Jack and Gracie end up kissing before the doors open, and they go looking for Miao Yin. They find Lo Pan talking with her and Thunder and Jack approaches them, joined by Wang. Jack and Wang attack Thunder and Thunder ends up chasing after Wang, leaving Jack to deal with Lo pan. Jack throws his boot knife at Lo Pan but misses and Lo Pan lets go of Miao Yin and picks up the knife. Complimenting Jack on the knife, Lo Pan throws it at him but Jack manages to catch it and throw it straight back, embedding the blade in Lo Pan’s head and killing him. Jack then goes to help Wang, who returns to the room with Thunder in tow and when Thunder sees Lo Pan’s body, he begins swelling up and ends up exploding. Thunder appears and Jack and the others run away, getting help from Egg to escape while Egg ends up killing Lightning by dropping a statue on him. Making their way through Lo Pan’s building, they find Jack’s truck and get in, driving through the warehouse doors and getting away, as Miao Yin and Wang kiss. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Jack, Wang, Gracie, Miao Yin, Egg, Eddie, Margo, and Chu are celebrating their success and Egg leaves, telling Jack he had promised himself a vacation when he finally defeated Lo Pan. Wang hands Jack a check for triple the money he owed him, saying he earned it and Jack approaches Gracie and talks to her about selling his truck and settling down. She offers an alternative of his getting a bigger truck with a sleeper compartment big enough for two and he says he will think about it, then leaves. As Jack heads down the road, he is talking on his CB about his experiences, unaware that the orange furred creature had stowed away underneath his truck.

Big Trouble In Little China met with mixed reviews from the critics on it’s release but has since received more positive results, holding an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.” 20th Century Fox hired James Carpenter to direct the movie and rushed it into production, as they wanted to release it before a similarly themed movie, The Golden Child, came out. This fulfilled Carpenter’s wish to direct a martial arts movie but the mixed reviews from the critics left Carpenter disillusioned with Hollywood and influenced his decision to return to independent film making. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $11.1 million off of a reported $25 million but has since become a cult classic.

This movie is so fantastically ridiculous to watch and so much fun as a result. Kurt Russell was great as Jack Burton, while Kim Cattrall (Gracie), Dennis Dun (Wang), and Victor Wong (Egg) were also good. The story was interesting, trying to mix a martial arts movie with a fantasy/sorcery movie and it made for an interesting blend of styles. I also loved how Jack was trying to make sense of everything that was going on before finally just accepting it, while Wang was struggling with the fact that all of the stories and fairy tales he was told as a kid were coming true. The special effects were pretty cheesy at times but a lot of the fight scenes were decent and helped make them enjoyable. This really is a fun movie and one that is worth watching if you are in the mood for some not so serious entertainment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, drama, movie, movie review, western

February 27th, 2018 Movie – Tombstone

tombstone

It’s been a while since I have watched a western. This is probably due to the fact that it is not a genre of movies that I particularly care for as a whole, but there are several standout movies that do catch my interest. I mean, there are a couple of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies that I have watched and enjoyed, while some more recent movies and remakes have also been entertaining. However, today’s movie is somewhat a first because it is the first western that I actually liked enough to buy on video/DVD, well maybe the second because I did buy Blazing Saddles first. Anyways, I remember going to see this movie in theaters and thinking it was a lot of fun and even though I own it on DVD, it has been a while since I have watched it. Now let’s see if the teenage memories do today’s movie justice as I watch Tombstone.

The plot: In 1879, a group of outlaws known as the Cochise County Cowboys ride into a Mexican town and interrupt a police officer’s wedding. Holding up two red sashes, which the Cowboys are known for wearing, their leader, William “Curly Bill” Brocius, tells the assembled officers that they killed two of his men, then he and his men proceed to kill all of the police officers there, including the newly married groom and his wife. When the priest starts saying that their acts will be avenged, quoting Revelations and it’s passage of Death riding on a pale horse, he is shot as well. Meanwhile, retired sheriff Wyatt Earp arrives in Tucson Arizona and is approached by two U.S. Marshals but he turns down their offer to work for them. He is then met by his brothers Morgan and Virgil and their wives Allie and Louisa. Wyatt introduces them to Mattie Blaylock, his common–law wife, and then starts putting his suitcases in the wagon for their trip, while Allie gives Mattie a bottle laudanum, which she says is for her headaches. Wyatt and his family eventually reach Tombstone, Arizona and are greeted by Johnny Behan, the town sheriff, who speaks with Wyatt and offers him the use of three cabins that just came up for rent. Later, Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil are talking with Marshall Fred White, who points out some Cowboys nearby and says they are really the “law” around there. He then talks about the various casinos in town and mentions one, the Oriental, that has fallen on hard times. Wyatt heads over to the Oriental and speaks with the bar tender, commenting on how nice it is and wondering why it is so dead. The bartender explains that a dealer had shown up and taken over one of the tables and essentially run everyone out so Wyatt confronts the man and gets rid of him, then offers his own services for 25% of the house. Wyatt rejoins his brothers to tell them about his good fortunes, not noticing the dealer coming up behind them with a shotgun. Suddenly, Doc Holliday appears, calling out the dealer, who he knows, then shakes hands with his friend Wyatt and the others. After chasing off the dealer, Wyatt introduces Doc to Behan just as a gunshot is heard at a nearby saloon and they see two associates, Texas Jack Vermillion and Turkey Creek Jack Johnson, involved. The two Jack’s say hello to their friends but Fred tells them they have to turn over their guns. When a theater troupe arrives in town, Wyatt finds himself attracted to Josephine Marcus, an actress in the troupe and attends the show that night with the rest of his family as well as Doc and his companion. After the show, Wyatt heads off to work and has an encounter with Curly Bill and his lieutenant Johnny Ringo. Ringo’s attention is focused on Doc, wanting to test his skill against Doc’s but Doc refuses to take the bait and things end up settling down as Curly Bill, Ringo, and the other Cowboys leave. The next day, Wyatt is on his way home when he runs into Josephine and the two end up riding together and talking, where Josephine asks him if he is happy with his life. The next night, Curly Bill gets drunk and ends up shooting his gun around town and when Behan refuses to do anything about it, Fred heads out and tells Curly Bill to turn in his guns but ends up getting shot. Wyatt knocks Curly Bill out and starts taking him to the jail but Ike and Billy Canton, and some of the other Cowboys tell him to let Curly Bill go. Wyatt refuses, saying Curly Bill will stand trial, then holds a gun to Ike’s head while Doc, Morgan, and Virgil back him up. The next day, Curly Bill is let go due to a lack of witnesses to the shooting and the U.S. Marshalls ask Wyatt and his brothers to become the new marshalls but they turn them down at first but later, after rescuing a boy from getting trampled by the Cowboys as they leave town, Virgil becomes the new marshall, and Morgan joins him. Virgil’s first act is to forbid guns from being carried in town, forcing people to check them when they enter. That night, a drunken Ike loses to Doc in a poker game and as he cusses him out, Doc collapses to the ground and Wyatt and Morgan carry him to the hotel. Ike gets his guns from the bartender and drunkenly declares he will kill Wyatt and Doc the next time he sees them but Virgil knocks him out and locks him in a cell. When some Cowboys show up to pick up Ike and get his weapons, they threaten retaliation and Wyatt has Virgil swear him in as a Marshall. Later, 6 Cowboys, including Billy and Ike, ride into town and head over to the O.K. Corral. Doc joins up with the Earps and Wyatt wants to just let them simmer down but Virgil wants to arrest them for carrying weapons as a show that they can’t break the law so Wyatt relents. The four men head over to the corral and are met by Behan, who says that he disarmed the Cowboys but when they continue, he quickly hides inside a nearby building. When they get to the corral, they discover that Behan lied and a gunfight ensues, with Morgan and Virgil getting wounded, Billy and most of the Cowboys getting killed while Ike manages to escape. The next day, a drunken Ringo tries calling out Wyatt and his brothers to fight but they refuse and Curly Bill pulls him away before he starts a fight with Doc, saying that the time isn’t right. A few nights later, Behan tells Josephine, whom he has been seeing, that he knows of the attraction between her and Wyatt but after tonight, he will be the only law in town. Josephine heads over to Virgil’s house to warn Mattie, Allie, and Louisa, then saves them when a Cowboy attempts to kill them. Meanwhile, Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil are eating dinner and Virgil leaves to go home but is ambushed by the Cowboys and stumbles back into the bar. Wyatt and Morgan carry him to his home and the doctor says he will lose his arm, prompting Morgan to storm off while Allie blames Wyatt for what happened. As Wyatt leaves, he runs into Sherman McMaster, who says he had no part in what happened and is no longer with the Cowboys, throwing his sash on the ground. Sherman is accompanied by the two Jacks, who tell Wyatt that if he needs them to let them know, then the three ride off. Morgan had gone to shoot pool but is shot in the back and ends up dying from the wound. The next day, Wyatt and Doc place Morgan’s coffin in a wagon and ride out of town, with Virgil and the wives following behind them. Wyatt stops to tell Curly Bill that it is over between them but after they leave, Curly Bill sends Ike and Stillwell to follow after them to kill Wyatt. Wyatt has Virgil and the women get on the train but when Stillwell and Ike show up to kill them, Wyatt kills Stillwell, then sends Ike with a message to the other Cowboys, saying that he is coming for anyone wearing a red sash and will kill them. Swearing in Doc, Sherman, and the two Jacks, Wyatt and his posse begin riding out and killing every Cowboy they find. When they come to a river, they get in an ambush set up by Curly Bill but Wyatt walks out into the river, untouched by any of the bullets, and kills Curly Bill, but afterwards Sherman says that Ringo will be coming out for blood. Some time later, Behan has deputized Ringo and the other cowboys to arrest Wyatt and his posse and they come across a stage coach containing Josephine and Mr. Fabian, who was shot by one of the Cowboys while preventing them from robbing them. Josephine chastises Behan for his actions and Behan’s deputy leaves, saying that there has to be some sort of law around there. When Doc’s condition worsens, Wyatt’s posse takes refuge at a farmhouse but a Cowboy appears, dragging Sherman’s body behind him, and tells Wyatt that Ringo is calling him out for a duel. Wyatt agrees and he and the two Jacks ride off, leaving Doc in the care of the rancher. When they get to the meeting place, Wyatt is told where Ringo is and before he leaves, he tells the two Jacks to take off for Mexico if things go south. At the oak tree, Ringo sees a figure approaching but is surprised to find that it is Doc, who had ridden there ahead of Wyatt. Ringo agrees to fight Doc but Doc quickly shoots him in the head then turns as Wyatt approaches and Wyatt says they should finish it. Wyatt and his posse head off to finish killing the Cowboys, with Ike being spared when he removes his sash and leaves the group. Some time later, Doc is placed in the Glenwood Sanatorium where he tells Wyatt to start a new life with Josephine before he ends up dying of his tuberculosis. Wyatt heads to the town that Josephine has moved to and speaks with her after her performance, asking her to go with him and she kisses him and they dance outside in the snow.

Tombstone met with positive results from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many critics felt it was one of the best Westerns to come out in years but others felt that there were too many characters to try and focus on  plot was unfocused while the plot was unfocused. The gunfight scene in the river is supposedly true, with Wyatt Earp actually walking out into the water unscathed and shooting Curly Bill point blank with a shotgun, then shooting a second person in the stomach. Unlike the movie, Johnny Barnes (the man that was gut shot) did not die right away but managed to escape and make it to a farmhouse, where he reported what happened and how Earp walked up to Curly Bill unscathed before killing him. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $56.5 million off of a $25 million budget.

This is still a great Western and a highly enjoyable movie, but I will say that it does have it’s faults. The acting was really good, with Kurt Russel doing a really good job as Wyatt Earp, but I think Val Kilmer stole the show as Doc Holiday (in fact it might be his best performance in my opinion). Powers Boothe (Curly Bill), Michael Biehn (Ringo), Sam Eliott (Virgil), and Dana Delany (Josephine) were also very good in their roles as well. The story was pretty good and I liked how they tried to keep it fairly accurate to the events. However, one of my favorite, somewhat underrated scenes, was after Doc killed Ringo and placed his badge on top of him, telling Wyatt that his hypocricy can only go so far. This is because he knew what they were doing had nothing to do with the law or justice, but was simply revenge for the Cowboys killing Morgan, but was going along with it to help out his only friend, Wyatt. The one thing I didn’t like was that they had soo many characters that they introduced, that they couldn’t really do half of them any justice. There were several times a character would show up briefly, then you wouldn’t see him again till the very end but he is given a poignant moment in the movie (like the deputy). The special effects regarding the gun fights were pretty good, though a little flashy at times. A great movie and definitely something that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, mystery, sci-fi

February 16th, 2018 Movie – The Thing (1982)

the thing

So I had a pretty rough night last night which is why I am getting a late start on today’s blog. So this is the second John Carpenter movie this week and I am almost certain that it has the distinction of being the first horror movie that I ever saw. This is one of those movie, that I tend to watch whenever it comes on and it would be years before I learned that it was something of a remake (which makes me wonder why I have not watched the original The Thing From Another World yet). Anyways, I bought a copy of it on on DVD as a “cheering myself up over getting a divorce” gift to myself and will pop it in anytime the mood hit’s me. Now lets have a nice dose of terror to kick off the weekend as I watch today’s movie, The Thing (1982).

The plot: Centuries ago, a flying saucer crash lands in Antarctica and ends up being buried underneath the snow and ice. In 1982, a helicopter piloted by two members of a Norwegian expedition is chasing after a Malamute, attempting to shoot it as it makes it’s way across the snow. Their chase leads them to a US research station, and the Norwegians attempt to use explosives to keep the dog away. from there. The commotion bring out several of the American researchers and as the helicopter lands, the dog runs up to one of the men. One of the Norwegians grabs another grenade but accidentally drops it in the snow and as he tries to dig it out, he ends up dying when it explodes, taking out the helicopter as well. The other Norwegian fires his rifle at the dog, hitting Bennings in the leg. As the Norwegian continues after the dog, he is eventually shot and killed by Garry, the base commander. After tending to Benning’s leg, Dr. Copper wants to go check on the Norwegian camp, as they have been unable to raise them and they are the closest people to them if there is an emergency. Taking advantage of the slight break in the weather, Copper convinces their helicopter pilot R.J. Macready to use their helicopter to head to the Norwegian camp. While they are gone, the Malamute wanders around the station and eventually heads into a room with a single occupant inside. MacReady and Copper arrive at the Norwegian camp to find it has been burned and the rest of the team killed. Exploring further into the ruins, they find a hole where something had been dug out of the ice but find no signs of it. Heading back outside, they soon find the body of something that had been burnt and take it back to the station, where Copper orders Blair to perform an autopsy on it. As Blair performs the autopsy, he discovers that the strange body has a normal set of human organs inside it. As night falls, Bennings has Clark place the Malamute in the kennel with the other sled dogs but once he leaves, the Malamute transforms into a strange creature and begins attacking the other dogs, absorbing them into it’s body. Clark hears the dogs barking and goes to check on them and after opening the door, he gets knocked down by two dogs that quickly run away before seeing the creature and quickly slamming the kennel door shut. MacReady hears the commotion and sounds the fire alarm to alert everyone else in the station, then grabs a shotgun and heads to the kennel. Seeing the creature, he yells for Childs to grab the flamethrower, then he and Garry begin firing at the creature before Childs arrives and finally burns it. The next morning, Blair works on performing an autopsy on the creature and discovers that it is perfectly able to mimic any creature. As he goes with Clark to check on the other dogs, he is surprised to learn that the Malamute had free reign of the camp all day and had only been placed in a kennel that night. Meanwhile, MacReady, Norris, Garry, and Copper are going over the Norwegian data Copper brought back and determine that the Norwegians had been focusing on a site a few miles north of their camp. MacReady, Norris, and Garry fly out to the site and discover the Norwegians have unearthed a flying saucer and apparently dug something up that had been buried nearby. Returning to the station, MacReady explains what they saw to everyone and theorizes that something had crawled out of the crashed saucer and been frozen in the ice, which was what the Norwegian’s had dug up. It somehow was thawed out and began to attack the Norwegians before turning into the Malamute and running from the survivors when they tried to kill it. Blair conducts some tests of the alien’s blood and cells and theorizes that if the alien creature got to a civilized area, then humanity would be completely overrun by the creature in a matter of months, with the whole planet being assimilated within a few years. Bennings and Windows move the creature’s body into storage chamber and Windows leaves while Bennings stays behind to gather a few supplies. Meanwhile, Fuchs asks to speak with MacReady in private and voices his concerns about Blair, saying he locked himself in his room. Fuchs then says he found Blair’s notes and reads some of them to MacReady, noting that the creature has to be in close proximity to it’s prey and strikes when it is alone, and that it’s cells are not dead within the body. Meanwhile, Windows returns to the room to see what is keeping Bennings only to find him being absorbed by the creature. Windows goes and gets MacReady and Fuchs and when they return, they find Bennings had escaped out the window. Macready sounds the alarm and they chase after him and as everyone gathers around him, they see he is really one of the creatures. MacReady dumps a nearby barrel of fuel onto Bennings and sets him on fire, then has everyone gather the other bodies and pour fuel on them before he sets them on fire with the flamethrower. As they watch the bodies burn, Garry asks where Blair is and Fuchs goes to look for him while Windows tries calling for help on the radio. MacReady notices Blair leaving his helicopter and when he checks it, finds that Blair has destroyed the console. Suddenly, a shot rings out and MacReady heads inside the nearby building to find Blair trashing the radio and computers, shooting at anyone that tries to stop him. MacReady and the others eventually subdue him and learn that he also disabled the other vehicles and killed the remaining sled dogs. The group lock him in the tool shed and as MacReady talks to him, Blair says he doesn’t know who to trust and warns MacReady to watch Clark, as he was alone with the dog for quite a while. Outside, MacReady talks with Childs, Garry, Copper, and Fuchs and ask if there is any way to determine who is human. Copper suggests taking a blood sample and comparing it to old samples they have in storage but when they go to get the old blood, they find that it is all ruined. Tempers start flaring, with Garry and Copper arguing as they were the only ones who had the key to the storage fridge, and Garry ends up stepping down as leader so MacReady takes over. MacReady has Garry, Copper, and Clark shot up with Morphine and isolated from the others, with Childs and Norris keeping watch. MacReady makes a recording detailing what is happening, which he plans to hide so that there is a record of events in case none of them make it, then goes to check on Fuchs, who is trying to come up with a new test to determine who is human and who might be a creature. After MacReady leaves, the lights suddenly goes out in the lab and as Fuchs lights a candle so he can see, he sees someone move past the doorway. Leaving the lab and walking outside, Fuchs calls out to see if anyone is there, then discovers a ripped jacket with MacReady’s name on it. Inside the rec room, MacReady tells the others that Fuchs is missing and they decide to split up and go looking for him, with MacReady, Windows, and Nauls checking on Blair outside while Palmer and Childs check inside. MacReady speaks with Blair, who asks to be brought back inside and promises that he wont hurt anyone but Macready leaves him in the shed. They then discover Fuchs burned body and theorize that he was attacked and tried to burn the creature with a flare, or killed himself to avoid being assimilated. MacReady sends Windows back inside to tell the others about Fuchs while he and Nauls check his cabin, as he had turned the lights off when he left the day before but they are suddenly on now. After 40 minutes with no sign of MacReady or Nauls, Childs and the others start boarding up the windows and doors when Norris sees someone coming back. Nauls enters the building and tells them he cut the tow line, leaving MacReady outside to freeze to death, after he found a ripped up jacket with MacReady’s name on it, believing that he is one of those things. As they all argue on whether MacReady really is one of those things, they hear him break into the supply room. Childs breaks down the door to discover MacReady holding a bundle of dynamite and threatening to blow them all up. Nauls and Norris attempt to jump MacReady but he throws them aside and Norris collapses to the ground, appearing to have a heart attack. MacReady has Windows untie Copper and bring him in there to tend to Norris but as he goes to use the defibrillator, Norris’ stomach opens up and transforms into a mouth, biting off Copper’s hands. As Copper dies from shock and blood loss, MacReady burns Norris’ body with the blow torch but the see his head separate and move attempt to get away so he burns it too. Clark attempts to stab MacReady, who shoots him, then he has Windows tie everyone up, then draw a sample of blood from them. MacReady then heats up a wire and begins poking it into the blood, figuring that if they were one of the aliens, their blood would react and attempt get away from the fire. MacReady tests Windows first, who is proven to be human, then has him grab another flamethrower while he checks his own blood, then Copper and Clark, proving that they are all humans. When MacReady tests Palmer’s blood, it reacts and Palmer transforms into a creature and breaks free of it’s bonds, then kills Windows before MacReady is able to set him on fire. Palmer smashes through a wall and collapses to the ground and MacReady lights a stick of dynamite and throws it at him, blowing up the body to ensure he is dead. MacReady then burns Windows’ body, then begins testing the others blood and determines that they are all human. Realizing the only person left to check is Blair, MacReady, Nauls, and Garry head to the tool shed only to find that the door is open and when they check inside, they find a tunnel underneath the shed. Following the tunnel, they find that Blair had been working on building himself a spaceship in secret. Making there way back to the shed, Nauls sees someone moving around outside just as the generators go out, plunging the base into darkness. Realizing that the creature knows there is no way out now and is trying to freeze itself and wait for a rescue team, MacReady tells the others that they aren’t going to survive so they might as well ensure that the creature doesn’t as well. Blowing up the shed, and the alien ship, they then make their way to the main building and begin blowing up all of the rooms. Reaching the generator room, they head inside to look for the creature and discover the generator is gone. They start planting more dynamite in the room but Blair appears and secretly kills Garry, then kills Nauls when he goes to check on him. MacReady asks if they are set and discovers they are missing and as he moves to check, something begins burrowing through the ground and grabs the detonator. The creature then emerges from the ground but MacReady grabs a stick of dynamite and throws it at him. The dynamite ignites the rest of the dynamite and the creature explodes, destroying the room as well. As MacReady recovers from the blast, Childs approaches, saying he though he had seen Blair moving around outside and had gone to check but gotten lost in the storm. Realizing that there is no point in distrusting each other, the two men sit back and watch the fires burn as they pass a bottle of scotch between them and wait to freeze to death.

The Thing (1982) met with mostly negative reviews from the critics when it first came out but has since gained more positive remarks from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950’s take, John Carpenter’s The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.” The movie was unfortunately a disappointment at the box office, only earning $19.6 million at the box office in North America off of a $15 million budget but would gain more views and a cult following once it was released on home media, with critics and fans alike reappraising it and considering it to be one of the best sci-fi/horror films of all time. John Carpenter has stated that this movie was his favorite of all his films and he took it’s failure at the box office, and the criticism about the gory effects and bleak tone particularly hard.

Yes, this is a bit graphic, but this is a fantastic movie to watch. The acting was really good, with Kurt Russell doing a great job as MacReady. I also liked Keith David (Childs), Donald Moffat (Garry), Thomas G. Waites (Windows), and Richard Dysart (Copper), but the biggest surprise was Wilford Brimley, as the lack of his famous mustache actually made his paranoia seem even more disturbing. The story was great, playing up the alien invasion aspect to a new level while making the focus more on the paranoia that people faced trying to figure out who was human and who was alien. The end scene was especially powerful, as you really had no idea if MacReady or Childs were human or alien, and they knew it as well and knew that there was nothing to do to stop them if they were so they might as well just wait to freeze to death. The special effects were incredible, especially considering the year this was made and can match up, and even top, a lot of modern movies in how well they were done. Definitely a must see movie for sci-fi and horror fans alike and one that deserves every bit of praise it received.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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November 22nd, 2017 Movie – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

guardians of the galaxy 2

First off, I learned a valuable lesson last night/this morning that I should do a better job of NOT leaving an app running on my phone, which drained my battery and ended up causing me to oversleep. Thus, I find myself being late in getting today’s movie reviewed. Now, the first Guardians Of The Galaxy became a surprise hit in the MCU and I absolutely loved it. So I was hoping for a sequel to come about and sure enough, a sequel was announced and I eagerly awaited it. The fact that it came out on Cinco de Mayo made it even more fun, as my friends and I went out for Mexican and had some margaritas before going to watch the movie, with some more beverages during the movie as well (got to love how movies have changed now-a-days). So it’s time to have some more laughs with today’s movie, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.

The plot: In 1980 Missouri, an alien named Ego had fallen in love with Meredith Quill and he takes her into some woods to show her a plant he had planted in the ground, saying that one day the plant will cover the universe. Meredith embraces the alien, saying she doesn’t understand what he is saying but loves him, and the two kiss. 34 years later, the Guardians Of The Galaxy (Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot) have been hired by the Sovereign race to defend their super batteries from an interdimensional beast. When the beast appears, Quill, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket begin attacking it while Groot finishes hooking up Quill’s stereo and begins dancing around the area until Drax is thrown into the stereo and breaks it. Drax, saying that the creatures hide is too thick to pierce from the outside, decides to try attacking it from the inside and leaps into the creature’s mouth, despite Gamora trying to stop him. Quill and Rocket begin distracting the beast and making it look up, allowing Gamora to exploit a cut on the beast’s neck and slice it down to it’s stomach. The creature falls over and dies and Drax emerges from the wound and starts laughing, claiming to have defeated the beast single-handedly. The Guardians head to the throne room, where Ayesha, the ruler of the Sovereign race, thanks them for saving the batteries and gives them their agreed upon reward, Nebula (who the Sovereign had captured attempting to steal their batteries). As the Guardians start to leave, Ayesha asks Quill about his heritage, sensing something reckless within his genetic makeup. The Guardians leave the Sovereign homeworld but are soon attacked by a Sovereign fleet, as Rocket had stolen some of the batteries himself. Trying to evade them, they head towards the nearest jump point, which happens to be on the other side of a quantum asteroid field, but Quill and Rocket argue over who should pilot the ship and they end up taking damage. While Drax takes out the last of their pursuers, they make it out of the asteroid field only to find that a second fleet had gone around the field to cut them off. They start taking massive fire when suddenly, a strange man riding on top of a ship destroys the entire fleet, allowing the Guardians to make it through the jump, where they end up crashing into a forest. As Gamora chastises Quill and Rocket for not working together to get through the asteroid field, the strange man lands his ship and reveals that he is Ego and he is Quill’s father. Meanwhile, Yondu and his Ravagers are taking some R&R on a planet when Yondu spies his old teammate Stakar Ogord and attempts to speak with him. Ogord tells the establishment owner that he has lost the business of serving 99 of the 100 Ravager guilds for serving Yondu and his men, as Yondu was exiled from the Ravagers for taking part in human trafficking. As Yondu stares at the retreating Ogord’s back, one of his men, Taserface, comments about how Yondu has grown soft, but goes quiet when Ayesha approaches Yondu and offers to hire him to locate and capture the Guardians. Back in the forest, Ego attempts to explain to Quill about hiring Yondu to bring him to his planet after Quill’s mother died and offers to take Quill there and try to be the father he wanted to be. Quill and Gamora walk off to discuss the situation and Gamora convinces Quill to at least give Ego a chance, as he had wanted a father all his life. Meanwhile, Ego’s assistant Mantis is speaking with Drax and starts bonding with him. Quill, Gamora, and Drax agree to go with Ego and Mantis, leaving Rocket behind to repair the ship and watch over Groot and Nebula and as they leave, Rocket continues to insult Quill. That night, the Ravagers arrive on the planet to capture the Guardians but Rocket, who had set traps around the perimeter, manages to hold them off but gets captured by Yondu. As the other Ravagers surround Rocket, Yondu says he isn’t going to turn the Guardians over, planning on just taking the stolen batteries and selling them. This angers Taserface and he begins to organize a mutiny against Yondu, causing a standoff to occur between those siding with Taserface and those loyal to Yondu. Suddenly, Nebula, whom Groot had set free to help Rocket, shoots Yondu’s control fin, knocking him out, then shoots Rocket before taking control of the Ravagers. Returning to their ship with the prisoners, Taserface jettisons the Yondu loyalists into space and prepares to kill Rocket and Yondu but Nebula convinces him to turn them over to the Kree for the bounties on them. She then grabs a new robotic hand and takes a ship so she can go after Gamora, who she blames for all the suffering she endured at the hands of Thanos. While in their cell, Yondu and Rocket start to bond and they get Groot to help them escape, sending him to retrieve a prototype fin out of Yondu’s chest in his room. After returning with several mistaken items, Groot is helped by Kraglin, one of Yondu’s supporters who had sided with Taserface during the mutiny but didn’t expect his friends to be killed, and returns with the fin. After Rocket attaches the fin onto Yondu’s head, Yondu is able to control his arrow again and uses it to kill the Ravagers attempting to stop them. As Yondu ignites some explosives to detonate the ship, Yondu, Groot, Rocket, and Kraglin head into the forward section and jettison it to go after Quill but Taserface relays their coordinates to the Sovereign before he is killed. Back on Ego’s planet, Ego explains to Quill and the others that he is a celestial and had fashioned the planet himself but wanted to experience more and see if there was other life out there. He created a human form and set off into space, meeting Meredith shortly afterwards. When Quill asks why he left or didn’t come back, Ego explains he has to return to the planet to recharge in the light or else he becomes mortal and dies and he was too heartbroken to go back to Earth after Meredith died, which is why he hired Yondu to bring Quill back to him. Ego then starts trying to train Quill in using his celestial powers, showing he can make and reshape matter if he tries. Meanwhile, Drax and Mantis grow closer and Mantis starts to tell him something but stops when Gamora appears. When Gamora asks her what she was going to say, she refuses to say and shows them where they will be staying. Gamora voices her suspicions about Ego to Quill and her concerns about not reaching Rocket but Quill, who has finally started accepting Ego as his dad, argues with her and says she is jealous that he finally found his family. Gamora goes to be alone when she is attacked by Nebula, who ends up crashing her craft into a cave chasing after Gamora. Gamora save Nebula’s life by dragging her out of the wreckage but Nebula continues the fight and starts to choke her before releasing her and the two sisters end up reconciling. As they make their way out of the cave, they find a cavern filled with hundreds of skeletons, causing Gamora to worry about Quill. Meanwhile, Ego talks with Quill and explains that he had a plan and needs Quills help to fulfill it. Mantis sees them leaving together and wakes up Drax, telling him that Quill is in danger. Drax and Mantis head to the chamber and are met by Nebula and Gamora, who attacks Mantis but Mantis uses her empath abilities to make Gamora release her and explains what is happening. Ego explains to Quill his plan for the “Great Expansion” and says he needed another celestial to help him, which is why he attempted to create a hybrid to have someone help him but Quill was the only one of his children to have the celestial gene in his body. When Ego tells Quill that he had put the tumor in Meredith’s brain, Quill attacks Ego but Ego regenerates and then attacks Quill and uses him to help power the Expansion, causing the flowers he had planted across the galaxy to start expanding and absorb the planets they are on. Rocket and Yondu arrive and head down to the planet’s surface with Groot to rescue their friends, severing Ego’s connection with Quill. Quill and the others head onto the ship but instead of leaving, Quill has them head to the planet’s core so they can destroy Ego’s power and save the universe. Drilling down to Ego’s core, they attempt to destroy it but come under attack by the Sovereigns. Drax, Gamora, and Mantis are knocked out of the ship and when Ego starts to manifest, Mantis uses her powers to put him to sleep and try and keep him that way as long as she can. Quill, Rocket, and Groot head down to the core, where Rocket fashions a bomb but they are unable to make their way down to the center. Quill says Groot is small enough to make his way down there so Rocket attempts to teach Groot what to do but Groot keeps motioning to the wrong button and when Rocket’s attention is turned, Groot grabs the bomb and heads into the core. Nebula helps Yondu destroy the Sovereign fleet but some of the debris knocks Mantis unconscious and Ego manifest in the cavern and begins attacking the Guardians. Yondu’s ship is destroyed and Gamora is knocked down a crevice but Nebula leaps after her and saves her. Kraglin brings the main ship down and Quill gives Drax his rocket disk and has him take Mantis and get on the ship. Gamora and Nebula make their own way up while Quill, Yondu, and Rocket begin attacking Ego. Ego manages to capture Quill again and start absorbing the rest of the Guardians, while his flowers across the galaxy start growing and threaten all of the various planets. Yondu yells out to Quill and helps him control his powers and Quill begins attacking Ego, distracting him enough to release the Guardians. Gamora and Nebula make it to the ship and Groot manages to activate the bomb and make his way out of the core. Rocket grabs Groot and goes to get Yondu and Quill but Yondu tells him to get Groot out of there while he stays behind to rescue Quill. Rocket looks at him sadly and says he only has one rocket disk and space suit left and hands them to Yondu, then flies off. When Rocket gets on the ship, Gamora asks where Quill is and when Rocket doesn’t answer while Groot points back to the planet, Gamora starts to head back to the planet but Rocket stuns her, saying he can only lose one friend today, then tells Kraglin to blast off. The bomb goes off and Ego’s human form dissolves and Yondu uses the Rocket disk to carry him and Quill up into space, putting the space suit on Quill so that he survives as Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill. After the Guardians pick up Quill and Yondu’s body, the hold a funeral for him before casting him out through their engine into space. As Yondu’s body burns up and the dust starts to drift out of the ship, Quill and the others are surprised to see Ogord and all of the other Ravager guilds arrive to offer their respects and send Yondu to the next life in a blaze of colors and Rocket explains that he got in touch with Ogord and told him what Yondu had done, causing Ogord to reinstate him as a Ravager. Nebula leaves to go hunt down Thanos and Gamora hugs her sister, which Nebula eventually returns. Kraglin stays with the Guardians, taking over Yondu’s control fin and telekenetic arrow but he has trouble mastering it, stabbing Drax in the throat at one point. Ogord, touched by Yondu’s sacrifice, decides to get his old team of Ravagers together in Yondu’s honor. Back on the Sovereign home world, Ayesha says she isn’t finished with the Guardians as she has fashioned the ultimate being, dubbing him Adam, which she plans to use to get her revenge. Elsewhere in the galaxy, a group of beings known as the Watchers, are listening to stories from their agent on Earth and the eventually take their leave of him, leaving the man stranded on an asteroid in space.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘s action-packed plot, dazzling visuals, and irreverent humor add up to a sequel that’s almost as fun — if not quite as thrillingly fresh — as its predecessor.” According to Visual Effects Artists, Ego’s planet consisted of a trillion (yes, trillion with a T) pixels and is considered to be the biggest visual effect ever made. The movie was a box office hit, earning $863.6 million off of a $200 million budget.

The first movie was fantastic and while it didn’t quite catch that same magic, this movie is no less entertaining. The acting was really good, with all of the returning characters doing a great job reprising their roles. I also liked that the started to do a bit more with evolving the relationships between the characters, doing a great job in making them more like a dysfunctional family than a random group of people. The story was pretty good, though there were some changes made to some of the new characters from their comic book counterparts. I liked that they had the brief cameo of Howard the Duck (who was shown in a post credit scene in the first movie) but my favorite cameo was the Stan Lee one, as they basically wrote in an explanation for why this man is all over the MCU. The special effects were pretty good and very vibrant and colorful while the soundtrack was just as good as the first movie and in some scenes, really added to the emotion in some of the scenes. One of these days, the MCU may have a bad movie on their hands but this is definitely not one of those days.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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November 18th, 2017 Movie – Stargate

stargate

Oh look. It’s a movie from my least favorite duo; Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich. I know that at some point, I should let go of my hatred towards them (I mean, it has been almost 20 years), but I think I am going to keep holding onto it until they redeem themselves for Fraudzilla. Now before that travesty, the two had actually made a decent name for themselves in the sci-fi realm and had a number of box office hits (yes, I know that THAT movie was also a box office hit). Today’s movie was not the first time the two paired up but it is an early collaboration and one that I did not see in theaters. I ended up getting it on DVD years ago when I was bored one day so let’s see how this impule purchase holds up as I watch Stargate.

The plot: In 8000 B.C. Egypt, a bright light appears in the night sky above a small village and massive winds begin blowing away their tents and supplies. Most of the villagers run in terror but one man approaches the light to see a pyramid-shaped structure just as a ball of light flies from the top and strikes him. In 1928, archaeologist Professor Langford, along with his young daughter Catherine, is at a dig site in Giza when his foreman shows him a large cover stones that form a circle, which seem to fit inside a large disk they found close by. As they lift the disk up, they discover a strange fossil had been buried underneath it. In 1994, Dr. Daniel Jackson, an Egyptologist and linguist, is approached by an elderly Catherine for help in translating some artifacts, as she knows he is poor and has been evicted from his home, but Jackson doesn’t like the secretive nature of the assignment and refuses at first but reluctantly agrees to go. When Jackson arrives at converted Air Force bunker in Colorado, where he is introduced to Dr. Gary Meyers and Dr. Barbara Shore, who Catherine had also recruited to help her with the artifact. As Jackson examines cornerstones and the hieroglyph that are written on them, he corrects Meyer’s initial translation and says they refer to something called a “Stargate”. When he asks why the Air Force is concerned with it, Colonel Jonathan “Jack” O’Neil, who had been  reassigned to manage and provide security for the installation, tells him that the matter is classified. After two weeks of studying them, Jackson realizes that hieroglyphs actually refer to star clusters and constellations and during a meeting, explains that the symbols are used by the Stargate to travel from one planet to another. Meyers doesn’t believe Jackson, saying that they haven’t located the 7th symbol that Jackson says is necessary for travel, and General West, the man in charge of the project, tells them to show Jackson the Stargate. When Jackson locates the missing symbol, they activate the Stargate, which opens a wormhole and they send a probe through to find out where it leads. The probe heads to a planet in another galaxy, sending back data that the air is breathable as well as images of a Stargate on that planet but the symbols don’t match the ones on their Stargate. West says that they might have to scrap their plan to send a recon team through the wormhole but Jackson says he can translate them and, despite O’Neil’s reluctance, West orders Jackson placed on the team. Catherine gives Jackson an amulet that she had found when her father discovered the Stargate and he joins O’Neil and his team as they make their way through the wormhole. Arriving on the distant planet, the team find themselves inside a pyramid and walk outside to find themselves in a desert environment. O’Neil orders Jackson to start translating the Stargate while they work on setting up a base camp but Jackson tells him that he can translate the symbols but without knowing the order that they need to go in, he won’t be able to send them home. Jackson says they need to look around for a tablet or something that would have the symbols on it but the other soldiers get upset that they are stuck on the alien world. O’Neil heads back inside the temple and begins setting up a nuclear device, which they brought as a means of last resort to destroy the Stargate so that nothing can get back to Earth if they fail. Meanwhile, some of the other soldiers yell at Jackson and throw his gear down a sand dune and as Jackson goes to pick it up, he notices tracks leading across the sand. Following the tracks, Jackson discovers a strange creature that appears to be domesticated, as it has a harness attached to it. When O’Neil and two other soldiers, Brown and Kawalsky, arrive to check on Jackson, the creature gets startled and starts running away, with Jackson being dragged behind it as his feet had gotten tangled in the rope harness. O’Neil, Brown, and Kawalsky follow after him and eventually catch up to the creature only to discover a settlement, with people mining some strange material. Jackson, O’Neil, and the others approach the settlement and when Jackson goes forward to try and speak with them, one of the men notices the amulet and cries out, causing everyone to suddenly bow to the strangers. O’Neil has one young boy stand up and attempts to shake his hand but the boy runs off and gets the settlement’s chieftain, Kasuf, who greets them and offers them some water. Jackson offers Kasuf a candy bar in return and says they have a chance in finding what he needs to activate the Stargate in their city so O’Neil radios the base camp to secure the site while they are lead towards the city. Inside one of the buildings, Kasuf shows them a disk with the symbol of Ra, the Egyptian Sun God, and Jackson says they people believe the 4 of them are emissaries of Ra that were sent to them. When an alarm sounds and the people bar the gate, O’Neil, Brown, and Kawalsky make their way to the gate and fire warning shots at the people when they try to stop them from opening it but the boy, Skaara, motions for O’Neil to follow him and shows that a sand storm is approaching and O’Neil and the soldiers apologize. During dinner, Jackson attempts to speak with Kasuf and tries drawing out the symbols but Kasuf quickly erases the symbol, causing Jackson to theorize that writing is forbidden to them, and them hastily drags Jackson away. Jackson is taken to a tent and cleaned before Kasuf’s daughter Sha’uri is presented to him as a gift. Jackson stops her from disrobing and starts to leave but, not wanting to insult Kasuf, stays in the tent and begins talking with her. When Sha’uri indicates she has seen the symbols before, Jackson takes her hand and asks that she show him where. Meanwhile, the other soldiers head inside the pyramid in order to take refuge from the storm when the alien spaceship lands on top of the pyramid, merging with it. The soldiers attempt to defend themselves but they are quickly captured or killed by the aliens. Back in the city, O’Neil starts to befriend Skaara, who reminds him of his son, who died years ago. When O’Neil asks Skaara and some other children about where Jackson is, Skaara uses Jackson’s scarf to allow one of their animals to track him. They find Jackson and Sha’uri inside a temple, and Jackson explains to them that the people’s dialect is Ancient Egyptian, and tells them how Ra had come from an alien planet to escape dying and ended up taking over the body of the boy who had approached their ship in Ancient Egypt. Ra then became ruler of the land and began transporting people to the alien planet to mine the minerals needed for their weapons and technology. However, a rebellion occurred back on Earth so Ra forbade the people on the planet from being able to learn how to read or write. Jackson discovers a slab that shows 6 of the symbols needed to operate the Stargate on this planet but the last symbol is too faded for him to make out. O’Neil decides they should head back to the temple but when they get there, they see no sign of the other soldiers. When they head inside, Brown is killed Kawalsky is captured by the aliens, as Skaara watches from a window, and O’Neil has Jackson follow him down to the Stargate, as he wants to arm the bomb but finds it missing. The two are captured and taken aboard the ship and brought before Ra, who accuses them of wanting to destroy him. When the guards remove their armor, O’Neil attacks one of them and grabs his weapon, killing a second guard but when Jackson tries to get them to stop fighting, he is killed and O’Neil is knocked unconscious and dropped into a dungeon cell, where he finds the rest of his captured men. Outside the pyramid, Skaara and some of the other children are going through the supplies from O’Neil’s camp but take cover when they see two craft fly away from the pyramid towards their city. The two craft begin firing at the city, killing many of the people inside and when Skaara returns, Sha’uri says Ra is punishing them and Kasuf says they shouldn’t have helped the strangers. Back on the ship, Jackson finds himself brought back to life and is brought to Ra’s chamber, where Ra speaks with him. Ra tells him he plans on sending the nuke, made even more powerful by mixing it with the elements from the planet, back through the Stargate so that he can wipe out Earth’s civilization. Ra then offers Jackson a chance to live by executing his teammates but if he refuses, then he can join them in death, as Ra wants to show his slaves that he is the only person they should worship. Back in the city, Sha’uri is in the temple when Skaara and some others tell her that Ra has summoned the city to witness an execution and Sha’uri tells them they have to stop it, explaining what Jackson told her about their history. When the people arrive at the pyramid. They see O’Neil and three of his soldiers lined up as Ra approaches and sits in his throne. Jackson appears and is handed a weapon, then motioned towards O’Neil and the others but as he approaches them, Skaara signals him and shows that he has one of their weapons with him. Jackson turns the weapon on Ra and blasts the throne area, while Skaara and the other kids begin firing the weapons in the air, creating a diversion that allows Jackson, O’Neil, Kawalsky, and the others to escape. They head towards some caves and O’Neil angrily grabs some of the weapons from the kids and Jackson accuses him of not telling his men the truth about his mission and the bomb. The next day, Jackson sees Skaara drawing a symbol for their victory and realizes it is the last symbol and says he can get them home. When one of Ra’s guards shows up at the mine to get the people to work harder, O’Neil kills him, which upsets Kasuf until Jackson removes the armor to show him that his gods are just normal people. Disguising themselves as part of the caravan, O’Neil, Jackson, and the other soldiers join Skaara, Sha’uri, and their friends in approaching the pyramid and begin attacking the guards. Jackson, Sha’uri, and O’Neil head down to the Stargate, where Ra’s guards had taken the bomb for deployment, but Sha’uri is killed by one of the guards and O’Neil activates the bomb, telling Jackson he has 7 minutes to activate the gate and get himself and the rest of his men back to Earth. Outside, two flying craft begin attacking the rest of the soldiers and Ra orders his head guard to send the bomb to Earth. Seeing the teleporter activating, Jackson grabs Sha’uri’s body and jumps onto the platform, telling O’Neil to wait for him, and he teleports onto the ship while Ra’s guard arrives in the pyramid and begins attacking O’Neil. Onboard the ship, Jackson activates the regeneration chamber and uses it on Sha’uri, then heads back to the portal but Ra sees him and attacks him. Back in the pyramid, O’Neil manages to overpower the guard and activates the teleporter, sending the guards head back to Ra’s ship while inadvertently rescuing Jackson and Sha’uri at the same time. Outside, Kawalsky and the others run out of ammo and are forced to surrender but as the two guards approach them on foot to finish them off, Kasuf and the rest of the tribe appears and attacks the guards, killing them. Seeing his men are defeated, Ra decides to leave the planet but Jackson and O’Neil, realizing they can’t turn off the bomb, use the teleporter to send it onto Ra’s ship, causing it to explode in outer space. Seeing the explosion, everyone cheers as Jackson, Sha’uri, and O’Neil emerge from the pyramid and later, Jackson activates the Stargate to send O’Neil and the others back to Earth but he chooses to stay behind with Sha’uri.

Stargate met with mixed reactions from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that over-abundance of special effects in the movie was to try and make up for the weak plot. The early pre-release screenings were disastrous and the executive producer realized the main problem was that the plot made no sense so he had Ra’s dialogue subtitled and made it so it presented a clearer story line, which helped later test audiences. The movie was a box office hit, earning $196.6 million off of a $55 million budget, and spawned 3 TV spin offs.

Long and boring. That’s about the best way to describe this movie. The acting was ok, but James Spader (Jackson) and Kurt Russell (O’Neil) both seemed completely uninspired in their performances. Alexis Cruz (Skaara), Mili Avital (Sha’uri), and Erick Avari (Kasuf) were much better with their performances, while I was kind of indifferent towards Jaye Davidson (Ra). The story was really weak, and felt like it was stretched out even thinner in order to fill the length of the movie. The special effects were pretty good but I honestly thought that they would have been better considering the money spent on the movie. I remember there being a lot of hype surrounding this movie when it came out in theaters but I honestly can’t see it being worth it but it’s worth a watch, at the very least if you want to see what the TV show was based on.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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April 7th, 2016 Movie – The Hateful Eight

the hateful eight

Today I am about to relearn a lesson about impulse buying, something I always try to remember but then fall victim to it again and again, hence my relearning it. Now I am not a major fan, but I have liked most of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, and do own several of them. I did not see today’s movie in theaters when it came out and when it was released on Blu-Ray, I had it in my cart but put off buying it for a while before finally giving in to the urge and buying it. So let’s see if my impulse was a good decision or not with today’s movie, The Hateful Eight.

 

The plot: A stagecoach on it’s way to Red Rock, Wyoming is forced to stop due to a man sitting on top of three bodies in the road. The man, a bounty hunter named Major Marquis Warren, asks for a ride into Red Rock but the driver says the man inside the coach paid for privacy and that Marquis should talk to him. As Marquis approaches the coach, the man inside orders him to drop his guns on a nearby rock before approaching. Doing so, Marquis and the man, John Ruth, recognize each other, as they once shared a steak dinner in Chattanooga. John is reluctant to let Marquis ride as he has a female bounty, Daisy Domergue, cuffed to his wrist and he is bringing her to Red Rock alive for the $10,000 bounty. However, learning that the three men are worth $8,000, and knowing that Marquis isn’t likely to try to steal his bounty, John agrees and they load up the bodies and ride off, with a blizzard coming up fast behind them. As they are riding along, John asks to see the letter from Abraham Lincoln that Marquis has, and when he shows it to Daisy, she spits on it. Shocked, Marquis lashes out and hits her, knocking her from the coach and dragging John along with her. As Marquis grabs his letter, the coach driver, O.B., tells them there is a man on foot on the road ahead. John, feeling paranoid, worries that this  might be some sort of trap, demands Marquis put on handcuffs. After having the man disarm himself, John recognizes him as Chris Mannix, a former member of a Confederate patrol, and wonders what he is doing up in Wyoming. Chris explains that he is the new sheriff of Red Rock, which John finds hard to believe. When Chris refuses to wear handcuffs in order to ride on the coach, John uncuffs Marquis and gives him back his guns, making a deal with him to watch each other’s backs so they can collect their bounties. On the ride, Chris comments about Marquis and the bounty he had on him. Chris tells John about how Marquis was once a prisoner in a war camp in West Virginia when he set fire to the camp in order to cover the escape of himself and several other former slaves. However, he ended up burning a rookie regiment of Confederate soldiers, as well as some Union prisoners, prompting the bounty on his head. After some tense conversation prompts Marquis to put his gun to Chris’ head, Chris decides to stay quiet and try to sleep. The coach arrives at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach lodge, but they learn that Minnie is not there, leaving a Mexican named Bob in charge. John takes Daisy inside while Marquis, Chris, and O.B. help Bob put the horses up. Inside, they see three other lodgers and one of them, Oswaldo Mobray, starts a conversation and introduces himself as the local hangman. Outside, the horses are led to the barn and Chris and O.B. set up a line from the barn to the outhouse and to the lodge, so that people will be able to follow it in the storm, while Marquis helps Bob feed the horses. Back inside the lodge, John Ruth talks to the other two people in the lodge; Joe Gage, a cow puncher on his way to visit his mother, and General Sandy Smithers, a former Confederate general. O.B. and Chris enter the lodge and after securing the door, try to warm themselves up. As introductions are made, Mobray asks if Chris is the one with the letter from Lincoln and John says that Marquis has the letter, which shocks Chris. Chris recognizes Smithers and strikes up a conversation and when Marquis and Bob enter, Chris points out Marquis, who recognizes Smithers and tensions start to flare before Mobray makes an attempt to keep the peace. Marquis talks with John, who believes that one or more of the people in the lodge are there to try and prevent him from delivering Daisy to Red Rock. John decides to disarm everyone except for Warren, who is still honoring their agreement, and has O.B. take the bucket out to the outhouse and drop it into the hole. As the group is eating dinner, Chris asks Marquis about the Lincoln letter and believes it is a fake. Marquis admits that it is, which angers John, but Marquis explains that the letter helped keep most white people from being outright hostile towards him. Warren leaves the table and gets another bowl of stew and sits it next to Smithers, and sits across from him, engaging him in conversation. Bringin up his family, Warren said that he knew Smithers son, as he was the one that killed him. Leaving a gun next to Smithers, Warren walks over to the bar, telling Smithers how he killed his son. Smithers grabs the gun to kill Warren but Warren draws his gun and shoots him in self-defense. As everyone was watching the confrontation, Daisy witnesses someone poison the coffee but chooses not to say anything. As she plays a guitar, she watches John and O.B. grab a cup of coffee and John cuffs himself to Daisy. As Chris lights some candles around the lodge, he pours himself a cup of coffee and is about to drink it when John and O.B. suddenly start to vomit blood. When Daisy mocks John, he punches her before he calls out a warning to Chris about the coffee and dies. Daisy grabs John’s gun but before she can do anything, Marquis takes it from her, then has the other men face the far wall. Marquis has Chris join him and gives him a gun, trusting him because he almost drank the poisoned coffee. Figuring one of the men poisoned the coffee when he killed Smithers, Marquis questions Bob, who claims his innocence as he was playing the piano when Smithers was killed. Marquis said that he didn’t think Bob poisoned the coffee, but was working with whoever did. Marquis says he believes that Bob killed Minnie and Sweet Dave and anyone else at the lodge that morning and after finding blood in Sweet Dave’s chair, he kills Bob. Faced with getting shot, Gage admits that he poisoned the coffee but before they can do anything, Marquis is shot in the groin by an unknown assailant hiding in the cellar. Seeing Chris is distracted, Mobray pulls out a hidden pistol and shoots Chris, who shoots Mobray back and turns his gun on Gage, who says he is unarmed. In flashback, we see a stagecoach arrive at Minnie’s and Bob, Mobray, Gage, and Daisy’s brother, Jody Domergue, enter the lodge and after warming up for a bit, killed everyone at the lodge except for Smithers, who Jody convinces to keep quiet. The men then wait for the stagecoach carrying Daisy to arrive, where they plan on killing John Ruth in order to free Daisy. Back in the present, Warren and Chris threaten to shoot Daisy, causing Jody to surrender, but Marquis shoots Jody after he comes out of the basement. Daisy tells Chris that if he doesn’t let them go, there are 15 members of their gang that will burn the town down before coming up here and finding them. Daisy says that if he lets them go, he can have the bounty on Bob, but Marquis says that since he blew his head off, the bounty is worthless. Mobray says that he will die before the blizzard ends so he can claim the bounty on him. Marquis shoots Daisy in the foot, then shoots Mobray, killing him. When Gage goes for a hidden pistol, Marquis and Chris both shoot him. Chris then turns down Daisy’s deal and is about to shoot her but passes out from blood loss. Daisy drags herself over to a small hatchet, which she uses to chop off Johns arm, allowing her to go for Gage’s pistol when Chris regains consciousness and shoots her. As he is about to kill her, Marquis stops him, saying that they should honor John Ruth’s memory, since he saved both of them from freezing, and decide to hang her instead. As the two men lay dying from their wounds, Chris asks if he can see the Lincoln letter, and after Marquis hands it to him, Chris proceeds to read it out loud before he crumples it up and tosses it away.

The Hateful Eight met with mostly positive reviews, holding a certified fresh rating of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus on the site is that, “The Hateful Eight offers another well-aimed round from Quentin Tarantino’s signature blend of action, humor, and over-the-top violence — all while demonstrating an even stronger grip on his filmmaking craft.” While the movie was nominated for several awards, including three Academy Awards, Ennio Morricone’s score seemed to be the best thing in the critic’s eyes as it not only won the Academy Award for Best Original Score, but also won the Golden Globe and just about every other award it was nominated for. The movie was not as successful as some of Tarantino’s other movies but it was still a box office success, earning over $154 million off a $44 million budget.

I generally don’t watch, or own, too many western movies but this was a pretty good movie. The acting was pretty good among the entire cast but I think Jennifer Jason Leigh probably stood out the most in her role, probably because this character seemed so different from most of her other roles. The story itself was pretty good and did a good job of adding a little mystery and suspense to Tarantino’s usual blend of over-the-top violence and humor. The pacing of the movie was great and definitely helped keep you invested in the movie, keeping you from noticing that it is an almost 3 hour movie. Not his best work but definitely one that is worth watching more than once.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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