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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comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 20th, 2018 Movie – Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood

tales from the crypt- bordello of blood

I hate having to go to work on s Saturday, as it kind of throws my whole day off. Anyways, today’s movie is the second in the Tales From The Crypt trilogy and, like it’s predecessor, I never saw it in theaters. However, I had many opportunities to see this movie as it seemed to always be on TBS, TNT, and just about every other cable channel around during the late 90’s. Anyways, about the same time as I picked up Demon Knight, I decided to go ahead and pick up today’s movie as well. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood.

The plot: Opening – In Tierra del Fuego, a dwarf named Vincent Prather leads an expedition team deep into the jungle and has his workers start digging into a a cavern. After they all lower themselves down, they find a casket and open it to discover the skeletal remains of Lilith, the mother of all vampires. His men think he is mad to lead them there, but Vincent explains that he scoured the Earth for the 4 pieces of her heart so he can give it back to her. Opening a box and removing the barriers, the heart merges into a single organ and Vincent places it inside the skeleton, where it begins to regenerate the skeleton. Lilith begins to attack and kill three of the men, almost completely healing herself, but when she goes to attack Vincent, he pulls out the Demon Key (from Demon Knight), and says that whoever holds the key controls her. Vincent then asks if she will behave after finishing off the last guy and Lilith answers, Anything for you, lover.” then kills the man as he tries to climb to safety.

Prologue – The Mummy is finishing telling a story to the Crypt Keeper while they are having lunch. After briefly saying hi to a guy named Jack, who is also in the movie business, the Mummy asks the Crypt Keeper if he wants to play a high stakes game of rock, paper, scissor. The Crypt Keeper agrees and when he loses, the Mummy cuts off his hand with a cleaver. The Crypt Keeper laughs and says it doesn’t hurt and when the Mummy asks if he is ready for Round 2, the Crypt Keeper agrees, then addresses the audience and introduces the movie.

Main movie – Katherine Verdoux is arguing with her brother Caleb about his music and when he makes plans to leave, she begs him to stay in but he ignores her and goes out with his friends. After hanging out at a bar with his friends, he decides that they should leave and try to get laid. A stranger at the bar, Jenkins, tells them to head to a nearby funeral home if they want to get laid and Caleb and his friend Reggie head out while there other two friends stay behind. When they reach the funeral home, they are greeted by a mortician, McCutcheon, who directs them towards a coffin and tells them to get inside. When they refuse, he forces them in at gunpoint and sends it towards the cremation oven, but it is really the secret entrance to a brothel. Inside, Caleb and Reggie are approached by two women, who take them to separate rooms but before Reggie can get started, Lilith enters the room and explains that the girls’ job is to get them warmed up so she can finish them off, then proceeds to kill Reggie, then Caleb. Several days later, Katherine is at the police station trying to file a missing person’s report on Caleb but they refuse to help her, saying that they have too many cases. She is approached by Rafe Guttman, a private investigator whose office is in an old adult theater. Katherine is hesitant to hire Rafe but he persists and she finally relents and agrees to hire him, giving him the name of some of Caleb’s friends to go to for information. Rafe tracks down Caleb’s friends and after pestering them, he gets the address for the brothel they went to. When he goes there, he finds a funeral taking place, with McCutcheon presiding over the services, and notices Jenkins slathering himself with sunblock. Meanwhile, Katherine has gone to her job at Current Ministries, where she works for J.C. Current and as they are talking, Vincent appears, saying he has some blueprints for Current to sign. Rafe heads to Current Ministries and, after briefly being introduced to Current, he tells Katherine what he learned about her brother and she thanks him for his time and pays him. Rafe heads to the bar and laments about losing a chance to start something with Katherine and Jenkins starts telling him about the brothel. Rafe heads to the funeral home and tells McCutcheon the phrase Jenkins told him but McCutcheon tells him to come back tomorrow. Sensing something strange going on, Rafe climbs up to the second floor and hears Lilith talking to a woman and later, after avoiding McCutcheon, he hears the woman scream and a body hitting the floor. When Lilith heads downstairs, Rafe quickly hides to avoid being seen, then heads towards the back room where the bodies are worked on and finds one of Caleb’s earrings. Rafe heads back to Current Ministries, where Katherine and Current are not happy to see him, but Rafe hands Katherine the earring before walking off. Katherine catches up to him and apologizes, then asks if they should go to the police but Rafe says the police will want more proof before they act so he is going back there to try and get another look. That night, Rafe heads back to the funeral home just as Jenkins gets there and McCutcheon allows Rafe to go in, yelling at Jenkins to wait there. After getting out of the coffin, Rafe is met by Tamara and taken to a part of the home intended for BDSM. Meanwhile, Lilith goes to talk with Jenkins, who is complaining about the process turning him into a vampire hurting, and she ends up taring off his head. Back in the BDSM room, Rafe manages to turn the tables on Tamara and lock her in the restraints, then quickly leaves the room but accidentally drops his wallet. Rafe makes his way out of the greeting room and hides in a coffin to avoid being seen by McCutcheon but does a double take when he sees that Jenkin’s body was also in the coffin. Lilith frees Tamara and licks Rafe’s blood from her fingers, saying it is a rare blood type. After noticing Rafe’s wallet on the ground, Lilith heads over to his office and attempts to seduce him, but Rafe is able to resist her just as Katherine shows up and Katherine is disgusted by Rafe being with Lilith and says she is going to the police and Rafe follows after her, attempting to explain what was going on. At the police station, the sheriff doesn’t believe Rafe’s story, then informs Katherine that Rafe’s PI license had been suspended a year ago. Humoring them, the sheriff takes them to the funeral home and McCutcheon allows them in but when Rafe is unable to show them the secret entrance to the brothel, Katherine believes he is a fraud and leaves with the sheriff. On the second floor, Lilith and Vincent watch Rafe leave and Vincent asks if he should kill Rafe but Lilith says to let him be, then speaks with Vincent about changing their operation. At Current Ministries, Katherine asks Current about doing an expose on his religious channel about the sin of lust and Current agrees to it. Later that night, Current discovers that Vincent had stolen the money from his safe and tracks him down to a strip club, where he is sitting in a booth with Lilith. Current approaches them and it turns out that he was the one who sent Vincent with the key to retrieve Lilith for his own ends but Lilith wants to change the plan. When Katherine appears at the strip club to interview some of the patrons, Current and Vincent quickly leave before she can spot them but Katherine notices Lilith and talks to her before she is escorted outside. In the alley behind the club, Current and Vincent start to argue when Lilith grabs Current. Current tells Vincent to give him the key but Vincent throws it to the ground, causing it to explode, and Lilith says she is going to let Current live knowing he is powerless to stop them. Meanwhile, Rafe had observed a funeral procession and noticed the pallbearers struggling with the coffin when they were placing it in the mausoleum. Sneaking in that night, he opens the coffin to discover Jenkin’s body in there with another man’s and quickly takes some pictures. The next day, Rafe takes the developed pictures to show Katherine, who only sees one body in there, and Rafe tries to explain that there were two bodies as he is being thrown out. Turning back to her TV monitor, Katherine and her editor are going over the video she took at the club when Katherine notices that Lilith is not on camera when she should have been. Katherine takes the tape to Rafe and as he is watching it, he notices Current and Vincent in the background. As they try to figure things out, Katherine gets a phone call from Caleb, saying he needs help and ask to meet them at the power plant. When they get there, they find Caleb’s body lying on the ground but when Rafe goes to check on him, he finds that Caleb has become a vampire. Rafe and Katherine try to run but Rafe ends up falling out the window and onto the sheriff’s car while Katherine is captured by McCutcheon and Vincent. When Rafe regains consciousness, he finds himself strapped to the hospital bed but gets free just as Tamara kills the sheriff. Rafe starts fighting with Tamera and during the course of the fight, her uniform is ripped and when she gets exposed to the sunlight, she explodes. At the funeral home, Katherine pleads with Caleb to let her go but Caleb says he likes being a vampire, just as Lilith arrives and starts to feel Katherine up, planning on making her one of her girls. In the foyer, Current arrives to talk with Lilith but McCutcheon and Vincent don’t believe him and plan on killing him. Suddenly, Rafe drives his car into the funeral home, running over McCutcheon, then shoots Vincent. When he questions Current’s loyalties, Current admits her is there to stop Lilith. Rafe hands Current a water gun filled with Holy Water but Current says that won’t work on Lilith, as they need to cut her heart out of her chest. Heading into the brothel, Rafe and Current begin shooting the women with Holy Water, causing them all to burst into flames and explode. As Rafe deals with Caleb, Current goes to rescue Katherine only to discover it is Lilith in disguise, who stabs him with his own knife. Rafe manages to injure her with an axe but she pulls her body together and quickly diappears before he can do any further damage. Rafe finds Katheirne and, after checking her neck to make sure she wasn’t bitten, unties her and they go check on Current, who dies from his wounds. Heading to Current Ministries, they come up with a plan to expose the vampires to the world but Lilith shows up to stop them, handcuffing Rafe to a railing before attacking Katherine. Rafe manages to activate the crucifix laser, burning Lilith’s chest, but she tells him that it won’t work and approaches him to finish him off. Before she can kill him, Katherine stabs her in the chest with a pitchfork, sending her heart flying out of her chest and finally destroying Lilith. The next day, they cremate Lilith’s remains so that she can never come back and as they leave, Katherine starts flirting with Rafe. Reacting to her advances, Rafe starts kissing her but when he smells something funny, he asks her about her perfume. She tells him it isn’t perfume, but sunblock, just as he discovers a bite mark on her thigh, and Katherine grabs him and bites into his neck.

Epilogue – The Crypt Keeper jokes about how if Rafe and Katherine got married, she would know what is eating him, “she is.” It is then revealed that the Crypt Keeper has gotten the better of the Mummy in their game, as the Mummy is down to just his head.

Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood was panned by the critics, holding a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Bordello of Blood is not as scary or funny as it thinks it is (or should’ve been), and all of Dennis Miller’s lines sound like castoffs from his stand-up material.” William Sadler’s cameo as the Mummy was similar to a role he played in an actual episode of Tales From The Crypt titled “The Assassin”. In it, Sadler played the Grim Reaper and  got into a high stakes game of chance with the Crypt Keeper, even taking his hand during the game. The movie was a box office bomb, earning $5.8 million, and caused the studio to cancel plans for releasing a third movie.

This is a ridiculous movie to watch but it does have some funny parts to it. The acting was ok, with Dennis Miller being his usual sarcastic self but I was pretty unimpressed with everyone else, though the Whoopi Goldberg cameo was kind of funny. The story honestly felt weak, seeming to be about as contrived of a vampire movie as you could expect to find. The worst part was the deal with the key, as it was made to be this powerful artifact in the Demon Knight but seemed to be reduced to a trinket that was easily destroyed in this movie. The special effects were not as good as felt they could have been, as the make-up effects didn’t look that good at times, especially when the vampires were being killed by Rafe and Current. On the whole, it is kind of disappointing but can be fun to watch just because of it’s ridiculousness.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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