action, comic book, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: May 11th, 2014 Movie – Blade: Trinity

blade trinity

Ahh, the end of franchise and was it a good ending or tragic. Well, for the Blade series, I honestly feel like it was tragic. When I first saw commercials for this movie, I was not the least bit interested in seeing it. At the time, I was kind of surprised with myself as it seemed like this movie might be a lead up to having more of the Midnight Sons characters showing up in the movies, which would mean a Ghost Rider movie could soon happen. But I honestly had no interest in seeing this movie in theaters, though I did get the novelization of it, and only got Blade: Trinity on DVD just so I could complete the set of movies. One of these days, I really have to stop doing that.

The plot: In the Syrian desert, a team of vampires led by Danica Talos investigate an ancient tomb that had recently been uncovered, as she believes it to be the resting place of Dracula, the first vampire. Breaking through the floor into a previously unexplored chamber, one of the team members locates a body buried beneath them, just as the ground suddenly begins to open up at their feet. Suddenly, a gauntleted hand reaches out of the opening and grabs one of the team members and drags him into the opening and as Jarko Grimwood and the other man pull him back up, they find his head has been removed and he quickly turns to ash. When an armored figure emerges from the ground, he causes the vampires to drop their lights in surprise and as the darkness flickers around them, Danica screams out in fear. Some time later, Blade and Whistler take out a den of vampires in New York but when Blade shoots the last vampire with a silver stake, he is surprised to see he doesn’t turn to ash. When Blade approaches the dying man, the man taunts him by saying he was human and had helped set Blade up, as Danica is filming the interaction unbeknownst to Blade. As the authorities show up, Blade quickly leaves while Danica returns to her hideout to start editing the footage she shot and sends it to the FBI, who begin to hunt down Blade. Finishing her work, Danica heads down to see Dracula, who had been feeding nonstop since arriving in New York. Dracula tells Danica that she shouldn’t have woken him but she says that his people need him, to which Dracula scoffs at her and calls her  shadows of their former selves. Meanwhile, Whistler goes to pick up some newspapers, unaware that he is being followed by the FBI, and when he gets back to their hideout, he tells Blade that his recklessness has caused them to have to worry about the rest of the world, not just vampires. He then tells him he worries about Blade being on his own, as he is getting older and won’t be around much longer, and tells him that they can’t keep doing things on their own and will need to have friends to help them out. In another part of the city, a young mother is waiting for the subway when she is attacked by 4 young vampires but when they take the baby from her, it is revealed to be a doll, and the woman quickly attacks and kills the vampires. Back at their hideout, Blade asks Whistler what he is worried about when they are suddenly raided by the FBI. Whistler shoots some of the agents while initiating a data protection program on their computers, causing their contents to be transferred to another location before exploding, ensuring the data can’t be traced. Whistler ends up being killed as he initiates the last program, warning Blade to get out, before activating the self destruct of the hideout but as Blade recovers from the blast, he finds himself surrounded and reluctantly surrenders, as Whistler’s death fully hits him. At FBI headquarters, Blade is placed in an interrogation room and questioned by the FBI when they are interrupted by Dr. Edgar Vance, who is there to examine Blade. Vance argues that Blade should be taken to a mental facility while the FBI and New York Police are arguing over jurisdiction. Vance injects Blade with a drug to make him weak, revealing that he is a familiar, and tells Blade he won’t be there long. As Blade falls under the effects of the drugs, Danica and her men show up to take Blade with them when suddenly, a vampire’s disintegrating body smashes through the observation room window. A man named Hannibal King appears, killing another vampire and giving Blade an inhaler based version of his serum to counteract the drugs effects, telling him he is there to rescue him. Danica and another vampire escape while Grimwood fights with King before Blade recovers and kicks him through a wall. Telling King to leave, Blade grabs his gear and follows after him, taking out officers on the way. Reaching an intersection, they encounter Abigail Whistler (the woman that killed the vampires earlier), and she helps them deal with the cops as well as Grimwood and his men but Blade suddenly disappears through an air duct, leaving King and Abigail to fend for themselves. They manage to make it outside and as the police surround them, Blade jumps out a window, having gone back to get his sword. Suddenly, an SUV shows up, with he driver telling them to get in, and they make their escape, with Abigail shooting Grimwood in the eye to keep him from following them. Blade is taken to their headquarters and they explain that they are the Nightstalkers, (King, Abigail, Sommerfield, her daughter Zoe, Hedges, and Dex) a sleeper cell of vampire hunters meant to serve as Blade’s reinforcements should he need them. After King introduces them all, Blade says they are kids acting like this is a joke and asks what makes them think they are qualified and King tells him that he used to be a vampire. In her office, Danica is angry about their losing Blade when Dracula shows up and decides to go into town and see things for himself. Wandering the town, he enters a sex shop, where they sell Dracula merchandise and, feeling like the clerks are mocking him, he throws the make through the store window before biting the female. Meanwhile, King infroms Blade about the vampires that tried to capture him (Danica, her brother Asher, and Grimwood) and informs him that they had resurrected Dracula, as they feel he can help them with a “final solution”. However, King explains that they have their own final solution that could destroy all vampires on the planet but they need Dracula’s blood to finish it as they need his pure blood to finalize the serum but warn that it might also kill him as well. The next day, Blade, King, and Abigail go hunting after vampire familiars in an attempt to get a lead on Dracula, who they have started referring to as Drake. When one of the familiars receives a call from Dr. Vance, they head to his office to confront him only to find Drake there, having killed Vance and chosen to impersonate him to see Blade for himself. Grabbing King to use as a shield, Drake taunts Blade before stabbing King in the shoulder, then jumping out a window. Blade chases after him and eventually catches up to him on a roof, where Drake is holding a baby he grabbed earlier. Drake then speaks to Blade, saying that neither vampire nor human deserves to live and when Blade says he will stop him, Drake challenges that notion before throwing the baby in the air, forcing Blade to catch it while he escapes. AS King recuperates at the headquarters, Abigail finds out part of what Danica’s “final solution” is, a series of farms that house comatose patients whose blood is siphoned off for vampire consumption. When they head there, they find that Chief Martin Vreede knows about the place and agrees with what they are doing, and Blade kills him, then forces the scientist overseeing the farm to shut it down, as the people are already brain dead and unable to be revived. Meanwhile, Drake infiltrates the Nightstalker’s base, killing Hedges, Sommerfield, and Dex while taking King and Zoe captive. When Blade and Abigail return, they search the place and find the bodies of Dex, Hedges, and Sommerfield and as Abigail cries out on grief, Blade tells her to use the pain. In Danica’s office, Danica, Asher, and Grimwood are interrogating King and trying to get the information on the Nightstalker’s secret weapon against the vampires, with Danica saying that she will turn King and force him to feed from Zoe if he doesn’t tell them. Back at the hideout, another member of the Nightstalkers arrives and takes them to his hideout, where a video message from Sommerfield is loaded up. Sommerfield says that she has a working version of their Daystar virus but it isn’t tested so she doesn’t know what effect it will have on Blade and, armed with the virus, Blade and Abigail head out to rescue their friends. Back at the office, Danica, Asher, and Grimwood continue to interrogate King but he tells them that his friends are coming, as revealed by the atomized silver that has suddenly started being pumped into the air conditioning system, affecting all of the vampires. Blade appears and when Grimwood challenges him, Blade kicks him through the door, allowing Danica and Asher to escape. Abigail enters the room and frees King, then hands him his weapons while she goes off to rescue Zoe. Blade begins killing several vampires before finally coming face to face with Drake, who challenges him to a sword fight. Meanwhile, King encounters Grimwood’s Pomeranian Pac-Man and two Rotweilers, all of which have been vampirized, and manages to lure them into falling out a window but when he falls back into the room he escaped from, he ends up having to fight and kill Grimwood, only to have Danica attack him. Elsewhere, Abigail manages to rescue Zoe, then goes to help Blade, killing Asher and some other vampires before trying to get a shot on Drake with the Daystar arrow. When Drake bests Blade and moves in for the killing blow, Abigail shoots the arrow but Drake is able to catch it and drops it to the ground. Drake turns his attention back to Blade but Blade grabs the arrow and jams it into Drake’s chest. With Drake infected, the virus becomes airborne and infects and kills every vampire, including Danica. Drake begins to succumb to his wounds and tells Blade that the vmpires kept trying to create a new vampire when one already existed in Blade. He tells Blade he will leave him a parting gift and warns that the future of their race lies with him but sooner or later, the thirst will win. Drake and Blade both collapse and Abigail and King leave as the FBI show up, finding the ashed remains of several vampires and Blade’s body lying dead on the floor and declare the case closed. Some time later, the doctors go to perform an autopsy on Blade only to have it change into Drake’s body as they watch while Blade, having survived the virus, continues the fight against vampires.

Blade: Trinity was panned by the critics, holding a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Louder, campier, and more incoherent than its predecessors, Blade: Trinity seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes.” Though it was the last movie in the series, Blade: Trinity was the first movie in the series to have Marvel Studios logo appear at the beginning of the movie. This would also be the last movie made using Blade, as the live action film rights would revert back to Marvel in 2011. While having the biggest budget of the trilogy, B was the lowest performing movie at the box office, earning $128.9 million off of a $65 million budget, and would also be the shortest movie in the series.

Man, what a let down this movie was. The acting was ok, and I do mean ok as even Wesley Snipes didn’t seem too thrilled to be in this movie. I liked Jessica Biel as Abigail but thought Ryan Reynolds was too annoying as King ( glad he finally got cast as the comic hero he seems to have been born to play) and Dominic Purcell was kind of bland as Drake/Dracula. The story honestly felt weak and sloppy. Having Dracula be revived to defeat Blade should have been a bigger deal but it honestly felt like a side plot, as the main focus seemed to be placed on the Daystar virus, and Drake was simply an essential ingredient. This is tragic because Dracula should always have a bigger impact in any movie he is in, and even though he and Blade only tangled a couple of times in the comics, I feel like the movie should have done a better job with it. The special effects were honestly a little better than the previous movie but I feel like even though the technology advanced, they misused it and didn’t do as good of a job as they did in the first movie. It isn’t the complete train wreck that I thought it would be but it is still not that good of a movie all in all.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, comic book, movie, movie review, sci-fi

June 10th, 2018 Movie – X-Men Origins: Wolverine

xmen origins wolverine

After X-Men: The Last Stand left theaters, Fox decided to make some spin-offs of the series by exploring the back stories of two characters; Wolverine and Magneto. When I first heard about this, I thought that this was a great idea, as both characters have a lot of interesting histories that can make for some pretty good movies. With Wolverine being the first movie, I was curious how they were going to handle it as he has had several origin stories all ret-conned into one giant mess of a life story. So when it hit theaters, I happened to be on reduced hours at work, which made for the perfect opportunity to catch an early showing one day. So let’s see how Fox did with today’s movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

The plot: In the Canadian Northwest Territories in 1845, young James Howlett is lying sick in his bed, with Victor Creed, the son of the Howlett’s groundskeeper Thomas Logan, keeping him company. As his father John Howlett comes in to check on him, they hear a commotion coming from downstairs as Thomas enters the house and starts yelling out for John’s wife Elizabeth. John heads down to confront him, followed by Victor, and as James listens to the escalating argument, he suddenly hears a shot and his mother crying out. James rushes out of his room and discovers his father dying from a gun shot wound and as Thomas tries to explain things to James, he suddenly begins growing bone claws from the back of his hands. Enraged at his father’s death, James rushes forward and impales Thomas with his claws but Thomas explains that he, not John, was James’ father before he dies from his wounds. As Elizabeth stares in horror at her son, James runs out of the house, followed by Victor, who explains that they are brothers and they have to stick together and protect each other, then start running as they see a posse out looking for them. Victor and James, head south to the United States, where they end up fighting in the major wars of the country, from the Civil War, to World War I and World War II. During the Vietnam War, Victor ends up killing a superior officer when he tries to stop Victor from raping a woman and as James goes to defend Victor from some of the other soldiers, they both end up being charged with his murder and ordered to be executed by firing squad but due to their healing factors, they both survive and are then placed in a cell. Inside their cell, they are approached by Major William Stryker, who offers them a place on his team, which is filled with other mutants like themselves, and they both agree. After joining Team X for a couple of years James, now going by Logan, and Victor go on a mission with Stryker and their teammates Agent Zero, Fred Dukes, Wade Wilson, John Wraith, and Chris Bradley to Lagos, Nigeria. When they get there, they attack a crime lord in his complex, and Stryker asks him where he obtained a strange meteorite. The crime lord tells them and they head to a remote village, where Stryker has Wade ask the tribal leader about the meteorite. When the leader says it is sacred to their village, Stryker has Victor kill the man and Logan attempts to stop Zero and Victor from killing more people. Victor asks Logan what he is doing but Logan says he didn’t sign up for this and walks away from the group, with Victor yelling at him to come back. 6 years later, Victor pays a visit to Bradley, who is working at a Carnival in Ohio, and when Bradley says he thought it would be Wade that would come see him, Victor tells him that Wade is gone, then proceeds to kill him. Meanwhile, Logan is working as a lumberjack up in the Canadian Rockies and is in a relationship with a woman named Kayla Silverfox. As Logan is at work one day, he receives a visit from Stryker and Zero, who inform him of Bradley and Wade’s death. When Logan asks if anyone else is dead, Stryker says Victor is safe as far as he knows and he asks Logan to help find whoever is killing their old team but Logan refuses and drives off. Logan picks up Silverfox from her school and tells her about Styrker approaching him but he tells her that he refused to have anything to do with him. The next day, Silverfox is on her way to work when she encounters Victor, who scratches up her car as he approaches her. Meanwhile, Logan finds a dead wolverine at his work site and when he notices the scratches on a nearby tree, he realizes that Victor is there. He races off to find Silverfox, eventually finding her car, but is too late as she is already dead. Logan tracks Victor down to a nearby bar and the two begin fighting but Victor easily beats Logan, crushing him underneath some logs before throwing him into a truck and snapping the claws on his left hand, causing Logan to pass out. When Logan comes too, he finds Stryker waiting for him at the hospital and he argues with him about not telling him that Victor was the killer. Stryker says that after Logan left, Victor started getting too out of control and when Stryker sidelined him, he went rogue. Stryker tells Logan that he can give him the tools necessary to kill Victor, but says that it will cause him unbearable pain, but Logan agrees to do it so long as he is able to get his revenge. Stryker takes Logan to a secret base at Alkali Lake and asks Logan if he remembers the African mission. When Logan acknowledges him, Stryker tells him he found the meteorite, which he was able to use to create a metal compound called adamantium that is virtually indestructable, and he plans on infusing Logan’s skeleton with it. Stryker goes to hand Logan his dog tags back but Logan says he wants new ones with his name listed as Wolverine, after a story that Silverfox told him the night before she died. Stryker has the bonding process started and when it is finished, Logan’s vital signs are flatlined and everyone believes he died when his heart suddenly starts back up. As Logan’s vital signs stabalize, Stryker and everyone cheer their success and Zero asks if Stryker wants Logan taken to The Island but Stryker says no, as they have his DNA they can use for the bonding process and he orders Logan’s memory to be erased. Logan hears the conversation and he breaks out of the tank, then escapes the facility and Stryker orders Zero to hunt him down. Logan ends up at the farm of an elderly couple, Travis and Heather Hudson, and they take him in for the night, giving him some of their son’s old clothes to wear. The next morning, Logan is talking with Travis and Heather in the barn when Zero kills them from his sniper’s position on a far off hill. He then orders a helicopter to destroy the barn in the hopes that it will kill Logan but he rides out on Travis’ motorcycle before it explodes. Zero has the helicopter pick him up and they pursue Logan, joined by two Humvees, but Logan uses his new adamantium claws to destroy the vehicles and crash the helicopter. Stryker tries contacting Zero, who is injured but still alive, but Logan gets on the radio and tells Stryker that he is coming after him when he finishes with Victor, then heads off, using his claws to create a spark and set the fuel on fire to blow up the helicopter and kill Zero. Back at the base, Stryker is given a pistol with adamantium bullets, saying it is the only thing that can stop Logan now. He is then told that the mutant he was looking for has been found and he sends Victor out to get him. Logan heads to Las Vegas, where Wraith is living and running a boxing gym and when he talks about where Stryker might be, Wraith says that Fred might no but warns Logan not to comment about his weight. When Logan sees Fred, he is shocked at his size and attempts to ask him where Victor is but Fred, mistakenly thinking Logan called him “Blob” knocks him out of the ring. Wraith tells Logan to try sparring with Fred to let him work out his anger and get him to talking and Logan does so for a while but gets tired and uses his reinforced skeleton to knock Fred out. When Fred comes too, Logan threatens him with his claws and Fred tells him that Victor and Stryker were working together, hunting and capturing mutants as Stryker was trying to find a way to combine their powers. Logan realizes he was set up to undergo the bonding and asks Fred where the Island is and Fred says he doesn’t know but a prisoner named Remy LeBeau (Gambit) had escaped from there and he would know where it is. Logan heads to New Orleans, accompanied by Wraith, and they find Gambit playing poker at a club. As Logan goes to talk to him, Wraith heads to the back to cover the exit and sees Victor in the alley. When Wraith confronts him, Victor comments about killing Fred and Wraith starts fighting Victor but Victor knows Wraith’s patterns and moves his hand right where he is going to teleport, grabbing a hold of Wraith’s spine and severing it. Meanwhile, Logan asks Gambit about the Island but this causes Gambit to use his powers to attack him, knocking him through the wall of the club. Logan lands in the alley, where he sees Victor standing over Wraith’s body, and as Gambit follows him outside, Logan quickly knocks him down, then faces off against Victor. The two start fighting but this time, Logan gets the upper hand and is prepared to kill him when Gambit breaks them up, allowing Victor to escape. Gambit starts fighting with Logan but Logan beats him and tells him he is going to take him to the Island so that he can kill Victor, Stryker, and everyone else in the place. At the Island, Stryker looks at the frozen body of his son as General Munson examines Stryker’s pet project, Deadpool. Munson says that he is shutting Stryker down, as his issues with his own son have made him to close to this, so Stryker kills him. Gambit flies Logan to The Island, which happens to be Three Mile Island, as Stryker uses the nuclear reactors as cover to keep people from poking around. Logan makes his way into the facility and confronts Stryker, who is finishing his operation on Deadpool, but is shocked to find Silverfox there. Stryker explains that Silverfox was keeping tabs on Logan for him, as he was holding her sister captive on the Island. Logan feels like he was betrayed by Silverfox and just walks out of there and afterwards, Silverfox begs Stryker to release her sister but he says he can’t do that yet, as they still need to examine her mutation. Victor shows up, upset that Stryker allowed Logan to leave and demands he give him the adamantium but Stryker tells him that he wouldn’t survive the process. Silverfox tells Victor that Stryker is just using them but Victor, upset at what is going on, grabs her by the throat and prepares to kill her. Logan hears her screams and runs back into the lab and begins fighting Victor, beating him again but Silverfox stops him from killing him, then asks for his help in freeing her sister. As Logan and Silverfox make their way to the prison area, Stryker tells his assistant to activate Weapon XI. After freeing the captive mutants, Logan and Silverfox start to lead them outside only to encounter Deadpool, who has adamantium blades extend from his hands to counter Logan’s claws. Logan tells Silverfox to get the kids out of there, then confronts Deadpool, whom he recognizes as Wade but with his mouth sewn shut. As the two begin fighting, Silverfox tries to lead the kids out of there but they come under fire from Stryker’s guards. Silverfox’s sister, Emma is able to shield them with her power and Scott Summers uses his powers to take out the guards. Silverfox tells Emma to lead the kids out of there but says she has to stay behind and as Emma reluctantly leaves her, Silverfox is shown to have been hit by one of the bullets. Meanwhile, Logan and Deadpool’s fight has made it’s way to the top of a reactor tower and just as Deadpool is about to kill him, Victor shows up and saves Logan. The two brothers work together and finally manage to kill Deadpool, with Wolverine slicing off his head, and afterwards, Logan tells Victor it doesn’t change anything between them and Victor heads off. Gambit shows back up, rescuing Logan from some of the falling debris from the reactor tower and they start to leave when Logan hears Silverfox and tells Gambit to go help the kids get off the island. As Logan reaches Silverfox and picks her up, Stryker begins shooting Logan with the adamantium bullets, with the last two hitting him in the head. Before he can reload the gun to finish him off, Silverfox grabs his ankle and uses her powers to force Stryker to start walking until his feet bleed. As the kids make their way out of the lab, Scott begins hearing a voice in his head telling him where to go and they emerge from the lab to find Professor Xavier, who had been guiding Scott telepathically, to him. Xavier tells them that they are safe and offers to take them to his school and they board his plane and leave, just as Gambit arrives and watches them go. Logan recovers from being shot just as Gambit returns but he has no memory of who he is or what he was doing there. Gambit convinces Logan that he is a friend and says they have to leave but as they do, Logan sees Silverfox’s body and stops to stare at her, then tells Gambit to leave as he will find his own way and the two men separate as the authorities start to arrive. On a road in the middle of nowhere, Stryker is continuing to walk as Silverfox told him when he is stopped by some military police, who tell him he is wanted for questioning over Munson’s death. At the rubble of the reactor tower, Deadpool’s blades are shown to be retracting back into his hands as they reach for his head, just as his eyes open and he whispers “Shhhh” to the audience.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine met with negative reviews from the critics, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though Hugh Jackman gives his all, he can’t help X-Men Origins: Wolverine overcome a cliche-ridden script and familiar narrative.” Hugh Jackman recommended Liev Schreiber to play the role of Sabertooth, citing his having the necessary competitive streak for the role. During filming, that competitive nature came to play as the two would dare each other to perform more and more of their own stunts. Despite the negative reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $373.1 million off of a $150 million budget and would lead to two more Wolverine spin-off movies; The Wolverine and Logan, while the plans for a Magneto origins movie would be cancelled and worked into the prequel movie X-Men: First Class.

While not as disappointing as The Last Stand, this was still a bit of a disappointment. The acting was ok, with Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber doing good jobs as Wolverine and Sabertooth respectively. Ryan Reynolds was absolutely the best choice for Wade Wilson (I will get into the “Deadpool” travesty in a sec) and I thought that Will I. Am was good as Wraith but I was honestly a little “meh” towards everyone else. The story was pretty interesting, showing a few elements from the “Origins” mini-series while mainly focusing on Wolverines time in Team X, the black ops team he was in as part of the Weapon X program. trying to explain the memory loss in the process. The special effects were pretty good and did add some flash to the movie but there was some time where they felt unnecessary, especially during some of the fight scenes. Of course, the thing that pissed every fan of the X-Men universe off is what happened with Wade Wilson at the end of the movie. As much as everyone loved it when Reynolds showed up as Wade Wilson, when Wilson’s character reappeared as Deadpool, with a hodgepodge of mutant abilities, built in adamantium swords, and his mouth sewn shut, unhappy was a very mild way of putting their reaction. Everyone I knew was cursing and lambasting the producers and directors for practically ruining one of the best characters to come out in recent years. Thank god it got fixed later on when they essentially decided to just completely do away with everything from this movie in context with the rest of the X-Men universe. It has some fun moments to it but this was a bit of a let down of a movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, movie, movie review

April 30th, 2018 Movie – Waiting

waiting

So as I start the letter “W” with today’s blog, we are getting close to the end of the line here folks. For a time line of events, in a little over 2 months, I will be finished up with the letter Z, then I have 3 months of movies to rewatch and review, as I had watched them before I started the blog. After that, I will be reviewing the new movies that have come into my possession since the year began. Now I know what some people might be thinking (which has also been brought up by my friends); “Why don’t you review them as you get them?” The reason I am not doing that right now, as opposed to how I have done it in the past, is because I have a couple of out of town trips this year and I am working on pre-writing those blogs before I leave and when I get a new movie, it throws things off and makes me have to watch even more movies before to pre-write. Now that I have the explanations out of the way, let’s get on to today’s movie, Waiting.

The plot: After hosting a house party at his place last night, Monty shows up for work at Shenaniganz the next morning and starts flirting with the hostess, Natasha, who reminds him that she will no longer be a minor next week. Monty is then met by Dan, the restaurant manager, who asks him to show Mitch, a new hire, the ropes around the place while it is slow. Once Dan leaves, Monty starts talking with Mitch, talking over him when Mitch tries to talk, and starts explaining that there is a game many of the guys in the restaurant play, where they attempt to get people to look at their crotch and then kick them in the ass while chastising them for looking. Meanwhile, Monty’s roommate and co-worker Dean has lunch with his mom, who comments about one of his high school classmates, Chett, finishing college and getting an electrical engineering degree, and Dean gets upset at her passive aggressive tactic of comparing him to Chet to show her disapproval in his life. Dean shows up at work at the same time as his girlfriend Amy and Monty’s ex Serena, who both work as waitresses with them and they enter the restaurant to change and encounter Monty messing with Mitch. Monty then introduces Mitch to some of the other workers; head dishwasher Bishop, stoner busboys T-Dog and Nick, and head cook Raddimus, who Monty leaves Mitch with so he can go over the finer points of the “game” while he attends a meeting with the other servers that Dan is having. After the meeting, Dan pulls Dean aside and offers to make him assistant manager, saying he will get more perks and a pay increase and asking him to think it over. Naomi, a surly waitress, overhears the conversation and tells the others about it and when Monty asks Dean what Dan wanted, Dean doesn’t say anything. The day starts and the servers head out to the various table but Dean is still distracted by Chett’s success and Monty asks him if he is going to take the assistant manager’s job, surprising Dean that he knows about it, and Dean admits he isn’t sure. When one of the women at Amy’s table is overly rude to her, then criticizes Monty and Amy when Monty brings out the food, which she claims was made wrong, Monty takes the plate back and signals Amy to come to the back with her. Presenting the plate to the cooks, he tells them the customer was a “beeyotch” and Amy agrees that she needs to be burnt, so the cooks proceed to mess with the food by spitting in it, rubbing some of it down their pants, and putting pubic hairs in it. After Monty serves it and the woman starts eating, he explains to Mitch that she had broken the cardinal rule; Don’t fuck with people that handle your food. When Dean receives the payment for his table from a redneck couple, and only receives a $1 and change off of an almost $60 check, he insults the customer by handing the tip back, claiming that he needed it more than he did. The customer gets angry and starts yelling for the manager and Dan works to placate the customer with some coupons for free dinner. Afterwards, Dan pulls Dean into his office to yell at him and Dean ignores him, then complains to Calvin, who is also in line for the position, about how his life seems to suck. Dean and Monty then try to give Calvin some advise on women, then call Amy and Serena over to give him the female perspective of what they want, which ends up turning into an argument between Serena and Monty as to what went wrong in their relationship. As the dinner rush starts up, Monty leaves Mitch to watch the training video, which he finds incredibly boring. During the rush, Dean is giving thought to taking up Dan’s offer of the job. As the dinner rush winds down, Dan flirts with Natasha and when she brings up the party after work, he says that the guys always seem to forget to invite him and she tells him she will get the directions for him. Monty and some of the other servers are comparing tips as they get ready to leave and as Calvin questions how Monty was able to earn so much in tips and Monty says he will tell him how, which ends up with him tricking Calvin and Mitch into looking at Raddimus’ crotch. After kicking both Calvin and Mitch, Monty jokes with Amy, Serena, and Naomi about joining in on the game and Naomi takes him up on it and flashes the guys, resulting in the girls kicking all three of them in the butt. As Monty and the others leave, leaving Dean and Amy to close down the front, one final customer walks in just before closing. Dean goes to wait on them and discovers that the customer is Chett, who taunts Dean with his new success. The cooks, upset with having to work past closing, purposefully drop the food on the ground before serving it then head out for the night, followed shortly by Bishop. Dean hands Chett the check and as he receives the payment, finds that Dean payed with $100. When he goes up to Chett and tells him he paid too much, Chett said that the rest was for him, as he obviously needed it more than he did. Natasha heads into Dan’s office and tells him she is leaving, handing him a slip of paper with the address for the party on it, and after she leaves, Dean walks in and Dan asks if he is taking the job. At the house party, Monty is talking to Mitch when Dean walks in and Monty quickly ignores Mitch and goes to speak with him. Dean says it’s ok about what happened with Chett, as it helped him put things in perspective, and he tells Monty that he quit his job at Shenaniganz and later, Dean works on repairing his relationship with Amy. Meanwhile, Monty and Natasha head into Monty’s room and start making out but when Natasha starts to take off her clothes, Monty stops her and says that they should wait until she turns 18 the following week. As the party continues, Mitch is still unable to say anything, as he is constantly interrupted or talked over, and he finally snaps. Turning off the music, he proceeds to yell at everyone there, calling out Naomi, Dean, Calvin and Monty in the process, then tells them he quits. Mitch starts to leave, the stops and points to Floyd, one of the cooks, and says he is the worst out of all of them. As everyone turns to look at Floyd, who wonders what he could have done to Mitch, they all turn back to Mitch and react in shock as he had pulled down his pants to show off his crotch as “the Goat”, which Raddimus had said would make him a god among men. Mitch leaves but Monty quickly runs out after him and apologizes to him and invites him back to the party and Mitch agrees to come back. As the party continues, Natasha tells Monty about inviting Dan but it’s revealed that she had actually given Dan the address to the redneck couple, who asks Dan for his gift certificates. Back at the party, Monty admits that she got him with the trick and comments on one more week before they can officially get together.

Waiting met with poor results from the critics, holding a 31% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Waiting… is a gross-out comedy that is more gross than comic.” The Shenaniganz restaurant was actually a converted Bennigan’s, which many people noted the similarities, but has since been converted to a Verizon Wireless store. The movie was a box office success, earning $18.6 movie off of a $3 million budget and would produce a direct to video sequel a few years later.

This is admittedly a pretty a coarse movie but it does have some funny aspects to it. The acting was good for the most part, but it honestly seemed like Ryan Reynolds (Monty) and Justin Long (Dean) just played the same exact character types that they almost always play, which made their characters pretty boring. A lot of the other characters felt more interesting but due to their being so many characters in the movie, they didn’t get a lot of development. The story was interesting and, while definitely extreme in several instances, it did show an interesting side of the restaurant business. The comedy was very adult at times as well as childish, which is definitely not going to appeal to the majority of people. If you do like the style of humor, it will make you laugh, but it could have been a better movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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action, crime, drama, movie, movie review

October 1st, 2017 Movie – Smokin’ Aces

smokin' aces

Holy cow, can you believe it is already October? This year has absolutely flown by, kind of like today. My apologies for the late post with today’s movie but I had to go in to work for a couple of hours today, then there was football to watch. So, when today’s movie came out in theaters, I remember seeing the trailer and thinking it looked somewhat interesting but I never got around to seeing it as there was a lot going on in my life back then. I would eventually pick it up during a Blockbuster run, which would be the first opportunity I have to watch it so let’s see if it was worth the wait as I watch today’s movie, Smokin’ Aces.

The plot: The FBI has been systematically targeting the Mafia, with Primo Sparazza being the last vestige of power withing the Mafia. The FBI have been working on turning Buddy “Aces” Israel, a Las Vegas magician, into an informant. As Agents Donald Carruthers and Richard Messner are maintaining surveillance on Sparazza when the overhear one of Sparazza’s underbosses, Serna, is on the phone talking about how Sparazza has called in a specialist known as “The Swede” and offers him $1 million to bring back the heart of Israel. Serna decides he will go against Sparazza as part of a power grab and will hire two girls that he has dealt with before to take out Israel before hand but worries about how when word hits the streets about the bounty, more people will be going after him. The next day, Jack Dupree, a bail bondsman, is talking with two former cops, “Pistol” Pete Deeks and Hollis Elmore about Israel at the same time that Deputy Director Stanley Locke is discussing Israel’s connection to Sparazza. Locke then starts telling them of the different hitmen that will now be after Israel in order to collect the bounty; Georgia Sykes and Sharice Watters (the two women that Serna had spoke of), Pasquale “The Plague” Acosta (a legendary expert in torture), the Tremor brothers (a trio of neo-nazi speed freaks), and Lazlo Soot (a master of disguise). Dupree has been hired by the law firm that represented Israel to bring him back for his next court appearance. Elsewhere, Locke informs Carruthers and Messner that Morris Mecklen, Israel’s agent, is working with Locke on an immunity deal and he sends them to Lake Tahoe to grab Israel and make sure nothing happens to him. In Lake Tahoe, Israel is nervously waiting to hear back from Mecklen and has Sir Ivy, his head of security, get rid of the hookers he had the night before and order some new ones while Israel yells at Hugo, another bodyguard/hanger on, about semen stains that got on his coat. Elsewhere, Serna’s associate meets with Sykes and Watters to discuss how they will be getting into the hotel and up to Israel’s room while Dupree, Deeks, and Elmore meet with Ripley “Rip” Reed, the lawyer that hired Dupree to bring Israel back for his court appearance. Carruthers and Messner arrive in Lake Tahoe and wait for Locke’s signal that the deal is on and Messner spends the time reading the file on Freeman Heller, an FBI agent that had gone undercover but was killed by Sparazza. Acosta shows up at the hotel, posing as an FBI agent and asks to speak with the hotel’s head of security while Dupree is talking with Deeks and Elmore and shows them hotel staff uniforms he acquired but they are shot down by the Tremor brothers, who take the uniforms and throw the bodies in the lake. At the hotel, Soot has killed someone and works on making a latex mask to use in his disguise when Hugo shows up and Soot kills him and takes his place. Israel is on the phone with Mecklen, who tells him they need to make the deal now or else the FBI will nullify any protection agreement and Israel agrees and says he will give up Sparazza’s group as well as his own crew, unaware that Sir Ivy was listening in. Locke informs Carruthers and Messner and they head over to the hotel to ensure Israel doesn’t make a run for it and Carruthers calls ahead to try and reach security but Acosta has killed the head of security. At the lake, Elmore is shown to have survived the shooting while Carruthers and Messner receive word of Dupree’s death and learn about the hotel security uniforms that he purchased are missing and it is shown that the Tremor brothers are wearing the uniforms to infiltrate the hotel. Meanwhile, Sykes dresses up as a prostitute and plans on infiltrating the penthouse with the other hookers while Watters is set up in a hotel across the street with a sniper rifle to cover her. Carruthers heads into the hotel while Messner heads to the lake to investigate the shooting. Back in Washington, Locke is given a file concerning the Heller case and after he reads it, he is told to contact the Director and he says not to tell Carruthers or Messner. Inside the hotel, Carruthers tries to find out where the security office is and when Acosta, who is wearing a security uniform, is pointed out to him, Carruthers goes to talk to him and has him take him to the penthouse. Meanwhile, Ivy confronts Israel about the deal he made while outside the bathroom, Soot kills the other bodyguard. In the elevator, Carruthers notices Acosta’s fingers and realizes that the security guard is one of the killers and the two end up attacking and shooting each other. Meanwhile, Ivy tries to shoot Israel but Israel throws a playing card at him, cutting Ivy close to his eye and he ends up firing blindly. When security enters the penthouse, Israel has them arrest Ivy for Beanie’s death. Security shuts down the elevators but the Tremor brothers hot-wire the one they are in and have it continue towards the penthouse. In another part of the hotel, Sykes opens up the elevator and finds Carruthers and Acosta’s bodies but she ends up being trapped when Messner shows up. Sykes has Watters help her try and shoot her way out of there but she is shot by Acosta, who is then shot by Carruthers. As Messner and the other agents drag Carruthers and Acosta’s bodies out of the elevator, Sykes manages to close the doors and have it continue towards the penthouse. Meanwhile, Watters sees a hooker, who was killed in the crossfire, and thinking it is Sykes, begins firing wildly into the building until she runs out of ammo. Outside the penthouse, The Tremor brothers kill all of the security guards but Ivy manages to kill Jeeves and Lester Tremor. As Darwin moves to kill him, the elevator opens and Sykes walks out and threatens to shoot him and he quickly jumps into the elevator to escape. As Locke arrives with some more agents, they head to the penthouse to find Soot had drugged Israel and take him into custody. Messner is running up the stairs as Ivy and Sykes are heading down and they have a brief face-off but Sykes says she didn’t kill the men in the elevator and he chooses to let them go and continues upstairs. Watters sees Sykes being carried out of the building by Ivy just as some FBI agents arrive to arrest her and she ends up being killed. Soot manages to escape custody and shed his disguise, then leaves the hotel while Acosta is shown being carried out on a stretcher but he is still alive. Darwin also manages to escape but as he heads to the car park to get away, he is confronted by Elmore, who shoots him. Messner reaches the penthouse and asks to be told what is going on but Locke tells him to head back to Washington for a debriefing. Messner defies orders and heads to the hospital to confront Locke, holding him at gunpoint. Locke shows him Sparazza and Buddy and explains that they are father and son and that the Swede is actually a famed heart surgeon and through a series of unfortunate events, people misunderstood what Sparazza had intended and thus the resulting blood bath ensued. Locke says that Soot was given the contract to retrieve Israel so they could do a heart transplant for Sparazza. Messner is shocked that Locke will allow this but Locke tells him that Sparazza is actually Heller, the FBI agent Sparazza supposedly killed. Heller’s superiors thought that he had gone rogue and had him killed but Heller survived and so the FBI used reconstructive surgery to save his life. Messner is upset about the fact that Locke kept them in the dark and Locke threatens to fire him before telling him to go back to Washington. As Locke goes to talk with the doctor and some other agents, Messner enters the room that Israel and Sparazza are in and locks the door. He then sits in a chair between the two men and unplugs both of their life support machines, then places his gun and badge on the floor and watches Locke and the others try to get in as Israel and Sparazza die.

Smokin’ Aces met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A violent mess of a movie, Smokin’ Aceshas some Quentin Tarantino’s style but not much of his wit or humor.” The movie was the feature film debut of Alicia Keys and Common, both of whom are Grammy winning artists. Smokin’ Aces was a mild hit at the box office, earning $57.1 million off of a $17 million budget and a direct to video prequel was released in 2010.

This was a decent movie but all of the different sub-plots kind of made it a trainwreck. The acting was good, with Ryan Reynolds (Messner), Jeremy Piven (Israel), Ray Liotta (Carruthers) all did good jobs in their roles. I also liked several of the other characters, such as Chris Pine (Darwin), Ben Affleck (Dupree) Alicia Keys (Sykes) and Common (Ivy). The story was interesting but I think the director tried to have too many characters involved in the story, which was meant to distract the FBI from the main objective against Israel but it made the movie a lot more confusing. The way they tried to involve all of the characters and use them actually seemed to waste a lot of time in the movie and if they had fewer characters, the pacing would have been better. As for the twist ending, it honestly didn’t feel like much of a shock because they seemed to set it up early on, then decided to scrap it, then go back and make it an official twist ending. The special effects were pretty good and this was actually a lot bloodier than I thought it would be, certainly bloodier than the trailers indicated. It is a good movie but it had potential to be a lot better.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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