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

January 27th, 2019 Movie – Trailer Park Shark

trailer park shark

Whenever I see the list of new movies that would be debuting during Syfy’s Sharknado Week, I would always try to figure out how entertaining each one would be. in 2017, today’s movie was one of the ones that debuted and I honestly didn’t think it would be that good of a movie. Boy was I ever surprised to find out my initial call was wrong because this movie turned out to be one of the most entertaining movies in the batch that year. The reason for this being so entertaining was the simple fact that the movie took just about every negative stereotype generally associated with rednecks and trailer parks, then used it to poke fun at itself. This made for a lot of laughs as I watched Trailer Park Shark and had me hoping that this would be one of the movies to make it onto DVD.

The plot: In a Southern U.S. bayou, Rob and his Uncle Jeff are splicing a cable into a nearby windmill in order to take Soggy Meadows, the trailer park where they live, off the grid. As Uncle Jeff dives down to connect the cables and it starts raining, Rob hears an explosion nearby and rides off on his sea-doo to investigate. When he gets to where the explosion had occurred, he sees that the levy has been blown up and Swayze is running away from the scene, which Rob films with his Go-Pro. Realizing that his uncle will be in trouble due to the water surge, Rob heads back to where he left Jeff but when he gets there, he is attacked by a great white shark, which knocks him from his sea-doo. Earlier in the day, Swayze had been hired by Deconnard, the man that owns the trailer park, to blow up the levy and flood the trailer park, making it look like the oncoming storm had broke the levy, as Deconnard wanted to get rid of the tenants that were squatting there so he could redevelop the land. Swayze and his friend drive off to blow up the levy but when they realize that they left the license plate on the van with the bomb in it. Swayze’s partner goes back to remove the plate but ends up getting incinerated in the blast. Back in the present, Rob recovers from being thrown from his sea-doo as the shark manages to swallow his G0-Pro that was mounted on it. Rob finds Jeff and tells him what happened but Jeff is attacked and killed by the shark. As the shark heads towards him, Rob grabs the cable Jeff had splice to try and fend off the shark and as it bites down on it, The electricity flows through the shark, causing it to catch fire and sink beneath the water while Rob makes his way to Jeff’s raft. Back at the now flooded trailer park. Rob’s girlfriend Jolene is stuck inside her trailer and is helped out onto her roof by her neighbor Rufus. Jolene sees the shark swimming towards them and points it out to Rufus, who attempts to ride out on his horse and shoot it, but the shark kills Rufus’ horse and he makes is way back to his trailer, just as another resident, Cleon,  yells out for help before getting on the roof of his trailer. Out in the bayou, Rob encounters Cappy out on her boat and he tells her about the levy being destroyed and she offers him a lift back to the trailer park just as the shark appears and starts circling them. Rob is surprised to see it is alive, telling Cappy he thought he had electrocuted it, but she tells him it might have soaked up the charge like an electric eel. Just then, the shark sends out an shockwave that causes Cappy’s engine to catch fire and she jumps onto Rob’s raft for safety but the shark snatches her out of the raft and kills her. Elsewhere, 3 more residents, Daisy, Barbara Wire, and Wyatt, have been carried away from the trailer park by the flood and are trying to figure out what they should do, with Wyatt worried about his dog Bucky. In town, Swayze is telling Deconnard about being spotted blowing the levy and Deconnard tells him to kill Rob and any other witnesses or survivors that are at the trailer park. Back in the bayou, Daisy, Barbara, and Wyatt spot Bucky floating on his dog house and Wyatt goes to get him when the shark appears. As Wyatt is puling the dog house back to the trailers, the sharks sends out shockwaves, causing Wyatt to flounder in the water while Barbara, who is barefoot on her trailer, also gets shocked, causing her to spasm and dance uncontrollably. The shark kills Wyatt and as Daisy and Barbara react in shock, Daisy then tells Barbara how silly she looked when she was being shocked and the two start laughing, just before the shark leaps up and kills Barbara. Meanwhile, Rob is still trying to make his way to the trailer park when a branch punctures his raft. Using “redneck ingenuity”, Rob uses some duct tape to plug the leak, then makes a makeshift paddle glove for his hand in order to help him paddle the raft. Rob eventually encounters Billie Jean, who is fishing up debris from the roof of her trailer and he manages to coax an oar and a gun from her before continuing on his way. Elsewhere, Swayze and two flunkies head out on sea-doo’s towards the trailer park, with Swayze telling them to make sure to kill anyone they see, except for Jolene, who is his ex. Rob manages to make it to the trailer park and as Jolene kisses him, he tells them about the levy being blown up while elsewhere, the shark attacks Billie Jean’s trailer and kills her. Meanwhile, Swayze and his men encounter Daisy and after asking her if she has seen any of the others, they knock her off of her trailer, then Swayze leaves his men there to ensure she is killed while he heads to the trailer park. At the trailer park, Rob tells the others about how he had video evidence of Swayze blowing up the levy but the shark swallowed his Go-Pro. Rufus tells him that sharks have a slow digestive system so that if they can catch and kill the shark, they would be able to retrieve the camera and then use the evidence against Swayze and Deconnard. Swayze has reached he trailer park and contacts Deconnard, telling him what he had heard, and Deconnard gets on his fanboat and heads to the trailer park. Meanwhile, Swayze’s men are taunting Daisy and trying to lure the shark there to finish her off but the shark ends up killing them instead. Back at the trailer park, Rufus comes up with a plan to capture the shark and he, Rob, and Cleon work on getting the materials but Cleon is killed while getting some ribs to use as bait while Rufus is snagged by the shark and dragged down the waterway before being killed. Rob manages to hook the shark onto a chain when it returns to the trailer park and as it chases after him, he tricks it into leaping out of the water, causing it to get the chain tangled up in a tree and suspending it in the water but gets knocked into the water as the shark struggles in air. Jolene goes to save Rob when Deconnard shows up and moves to kill her but Rob shows up and rescues Jolene, while Deconnard is killed by the shark. As the branch holding the shark starts to break, Rob comes up with a plan and has Jolene lasso the shark’s tail so they can drag it onto dry land and kill it. The begin dragging the shark behind them, making their way towards the windmill, when the shark starts straining against them. The hitch that the rope was tied to comes off and is flung into the air, becoming entangled in the windmill propeller. The windmill then begins pulling the shark out of the water and it is sliced into pieces by the blades. Rob’s Go-Pro falls to the water and he goes to retrieve it when Swayze, who had grabbed Daisy off her trailer, drives by and grabs it. As Rob and Jolene chase after him, Daisy begins struggling with Swayze for control of the sea-doo and the end up crashing into some logs, killing Swayze while Daisy manages to survive. Rob and Jolene pull up to help Daisy, then Rob grabs his Go-Pro, and they head off to rebuild their lives, stopping to grab Bucky off of his doghouse as they do.

I can’t help it. This movie cracks me up every time I watch it because it really is funny in that stupid kind of way. The acting was pretty good throughout the movie, with Thomas Ian Nicholas (Rob), Lulu Jovovich (Jolene), Clint James (Rufus), and David Kallaway (Swayze) doing good jobs in their roles. Dennis Haskins (Deconnard) made for a surprisingly good bad guy, as I am so used to thinking of him as Mr. Belding that it made the meanness of his character that much more effective. Tara Reid also had a good cameo as Billi Jean and I loved how the worked in a few Sharknado references during her scenes. The story was pretty good, with the basic premise of a greedy developer flooding his property to remove the people living there so he could redevelop it making for a great plot in any sort of drama. The added wrinkle in the plan of a shark killing people, and it somehow generating electricity made for an amusing twist, while the “redneck ingenuity” used to try and get out of situations just brings out one bit of laughter after another. I especially liked the various instances that duct tape was metioned/used, as if there is one thing rednecks are known for is using duct tape to fix damn near everything. I also admit that my 5-year old humor was tickled in the play on words regarding Rufus lamenting his horse’s death, as he would constantly say something along the lines of “My big, brown Dukey.” The special effects were a little weak at times in regards to the shark attacks but let’s be honest, that can make these types of movies more endearing. So yes, it can be considered a little off-color but this is a very entertaining movie and one worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, comedy, horror, sci-fi, The Asylum

January 13th, 2019 Movie – The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time

sharknado 6

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and that includes the phenomenon known as Sharknado. Yes, when it was announced that the latest Sharknado movie would be the end of the series, I will admit that I was pretty sad to hear about it. I mean, ever since the first movie took the world by storm (pun somewhat intended), Every summer I would get a week of brand new shark themed movies to go along with the latest installment in the series. It is going to be very hard to let go of something that awesome. Anyways, after the last movie, and learning that the next installment would be the end, I was curious to see exactly how The Asylum was going to close out this franchise. Let’s see how they did with today’s movie, The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time.

The plot: During the Cretaceous period, a velociraptor is curious about a large, shark fin shaped rock but it quickly runs off when the rock explodes as a jeep drives through it. Inside the jeep, Fin Shepard turns to talk to his adult son Gil but notices that Gil has vanished. Suddenly, a hologram recording of Gil appears and tells Fin that due to the energy involved in time travel, a person can only go back in time once or else they vanish. Telling Fin that the time travel device is built into the pilot wings that Gil threw to Fin, Gil explains that Fin has to go through time and stop all of the past sharknado’s from happening if he wants to prevent the world’s destruction. When the recording ends, Fin goes looking for the bag that contains the cyborg head of his wife April only to see a dinosaur grab it in it’s mouth and run off. Fin drives the jeep after it and finds himself in a stampede, slamming on the brakes before he joins the dinosaurs in going over the cliff into the sea below. As Fin looks down the cliff, a megalodon breaches out of the water, causing Fin to step back from the cliff’s edge. A tyrannosaurus appears and Fin manages to avoid it and when it turns to attack him, the megalodon leaps out of the water and grabs the tyrannosaurus, dragging it into the sea. Fin then turns and faces the dinosaur that grabbed the bad and attempts to get it back when a masked figure suddenly leaps down from a nearby cliff, attacking the dinosaur with knives and forcing it to drop the bag and run off. As Fin grabs the bag, he is shocked to see that the masked figure is Nova, and she if joined by Bryan and a non-cyborg April, who rides in on a pteranodon. Fin is shocked as everybody had supposedly died and they explain that Gil had saved them all before they died and brought them there to help Fin stop the first sharknado. A meteor storm occurs just as the first sharknado appears and the group decide to use the meteors to destroy the sharknado but they aren’t powerful enough. Fin jumps onto the back of a megalodon caught in the vortex and as he forces it to swallow some of the meteors, he spots Gil riding on another shark and calls out to him but Gil disappears through time. Fin jumps back onto the pteranodon and Bryan hits a meteor into the megalodon, causing an explosion that destroys the sharknado. When a time vortex appears, they fly through it, thinking that they are returning to the present day but find themselves in the medieval kingdom of Camelot, and that Bryan has suddenly become a woman. The sorceress Morgana shoots down the pteranodon and attempts to take them prisoner but she is called off by Winter, who escorts them all to the castle, saying their arrival has been foretold. Winter introduces them to Merlin, who tells them that Gil had been studying with them for 10 years and Winter goes to fetch him only to see him sail off into an approaching sharknado. When she reports what happened, Fin and April want to try and save him but Nova tells them if they stop Gil from traveling through time to search for his parents, he won’t grow up and pull the others out of time to help Fin stop the sharknados from occurring. When an alert sounds from the bag containing the cyborg April’s head, everyone is curious about what is in the bag and Nova tries to grab it from Fin, only for the bag to open and the head rolls along the floor and lands at April’s feet. Fin explains to April that it was the only thing left of her when the world is destroyed and April tells Fin she forgives him but decides to hold onto the head. Fin and the others go to stop the sharknado but are stopped by Morgana, who tells them she has a potion that will destroy the sharknado but will use it only if Merlin agrees to remove the spell around Excalibur. Merlin agrees and Morgana uses an arrow to send the potion into the sharknado but instead of destroying it, it causes the sharks to start breathing fire. Fin and the others rush to defend the castle and Fin decides to try and use Excalibur, pulling it from the stone and revealing it to be a chainsaw sword. Fin uses Excalibur’s magic to stop the sharknado, with Morgana being killed in the process, and they then seal themselves into a large cauldron and are fired from a catapult so they can go fast enough to travel through time. They arrive in colonial America, with Bryan returning to being a man again, and they begin to wonder if their attempts to stop the sharknados might do more harm than good but when they see a sharknado approaching the colonial fleet, they decide to stop it before America ceases to exist, only to be captured by colonial soldiers. They are taken to General Washington’s camp and after explaining to Benjamin Franklin that they are there to help save the colonies from the sharknado, they are allowed inside to speak to Washington. Fin and Bryan explain their plan and after Washington allows them to proceed, Fin has the army fire their cannons into the sharknado, timing their attack to coincide with the lightning strikes to cause the cannonballs to become electrified. After destroying the sharknado and sending the British fleet retreating, Fin and the others try to figure out a way to get home but Nova, having encountered her ancestor, rushes off to talk to him. Nova hands her ancestor a note to be passed down to her grandfather but Fin takes it from her ancestor, causing an argument between him and Nova on her desire to change her past and save her grandfather. Fin and Nova rejoin April and Bryan so they can leave but Bryan, due to his being a history teacher, decides to stay behind and ensure America is put on the right path. With Franklin’s help, the three head off to the time vortex, where they end up landing in the Old West, where they come between a stand off between Billy the Kid and the town sheriff. Surprised at the arrival of the carriage, Billy is disarmed by the sheriff and runs off and the sheriff arrests Fin for his role in helping Billy escape. As Fin is taken to jail, April and Nova hide in the carriage and are shocked to see Skye appear. In jail, Fin speaks to another prisoner, who was supposed to be rescued by Billy the Kid, and as the prisoner is taken from his cell to be hung, Fin realizes that the prisoner is a grown up Gil. Nova and Skye break Fin out of jail and Fin explains that they screwed up and Gil is about to be killed and Skye goes to rescue him, just as a sharknado approaches. Fin and Skye rescue Gil, who races off into the vortex, while April and Nova use cyborg April’s head to destroy the sharknado. After a standoff with Billy the Kid, who wants to go to the future, Fin, April, Nova, and Skye get onto a train and use it to travel through the time vortex. They end up on the Santa Monica beach in the 1950’s and as a sharknado approaches the beach, they rush to save the people on the beach only to be shocked when they see Fin’s parents, Gilly Shepard and Raye Martin, working to stop the sharknado. After the adult Gil makes it through the vortex and the sharknado is destroyed, Nova sees the prototype capacitor that Gil had left behind and shows it to Fin. They see the date on it is the date of the first sharknado that hit Santa Monica and realize that that is their next destination and borrow Gil’s Cadillac to make the trup but Nova reprograms the capacitor to take them to 1997 San Francisco so she can try to save her grandfather. Fin tries to talk her out of changing her past but Nova refuses to listen to him and heads off. Nova reaches the charter boat that her grandfather owns and heads on board, with Fin and the others getting on board as well. The group head out into the ocean and as Nova watches her grandfather interact with her younger self, Fin again talks to Nova about what she is planning on doing. Nova argues her reasons for saving him, and after noticing the ripped up note she gave her ancestor framed and mounted on a wall, she rushes to warn the captain, inadvertently causing the boat to crash on some rocks. Realizing that she is the reason her grandfather died, Nova starts to freak out but Fin helps Nova’s grandfather and younger self escape on a raft. Nova attacks some sharks to give them time to escape and ends up falling overboard, with the cyborg April’s head falling with her. As a shark attacks Nova, April tries to save her and ends up getting dragged overboard, where both her and Nova are killed. Realizing that the only way to save them is to keep stopping the sharknados, Skye grabs the capacitor while Fin hooks a shark and the are dragged behind it, allowing them to warp to the future but instead of the year 2013, a malfunction causes them to end up in the year 20013. They find themselves attacked by a robotic flying shark and once Fin kills it, they are captured by an army of April clones. The clones take them to their base, where they are confronted by the repaired cyborg April, who reveals that she had perfected time travel and rescued April to use her DNA for cloning her army. As Fin rushes to April, Skye confronts the cyborg April and ends up encased in carbonite, then tells Fin that she brought him there to be her queen. Fin tries to attack the cyborg April, who tries to stop him by showing him robotic versions of his children Matt and Claudia, as well as a robotic Nova, but Fin continues his attack, killing the replicas. Cyborg April attacks Fin but her attack also disables the stasis chamber that April is in, who leaves the chamber and begins attacking her cyborg doppelganger. The cyborg April easily overpowers the original but as she attempts to kill her, her power strikes the capacitor just as Fin grabs it, sending him back to 2013. Fin lands on the boat owned by Captain Santiago, whose crew has just brought cyborg April’s head back to the surface. When Santiago orders his men to throw it overboard, Fin convinces them not to and the cyborg April is happy to see that Fin came back for her. Santiago goes to kill Fin but as the sharks on the edge of the sharknado begin killing his crew, as well as his traitorous business partner, Fin convinces him to work together to destroy the sharknado. Santiago and Fin use Santiago’s weapons to attack the sharks but Santiago is swept up by the storm and killed. Cyborg April’s head says that her lasers are recharged and they have to destroy the sharknado or else time will unravel but before Fin can aim her at the sharknado, Gil appears. Fin is happy to see his son and embraces him and Gil tells him that he can fix everything but he needs the capacitor. Fin moves to hand it to him but when Gil messes up the Shepard family motto, Fin realizes he is an imposter. Gil is revealed to be the future cyborg April, who tries to get the capacitor from Fin so that he can’t destroy the sharknado. Fin and cyborg April’s head are sucked up into the storm, with cyborg April’s head being swallowed by a shark. Fin and future cyborg April struggle for control of the capacitor and when Fin is knocked away by some debris, future cyborg April laughs as time begins unraveling. Suddenly, the shark with cyborg April’s head appears and destroys future cyborg April, then tells Fin they have one shot; activating her self destruct button in her head which will either destroy the sharknado and restore time or wipe out the universe. Fin kisses the cyborg head, activating the self destruct and April’s head explodes, restoring time. In a sharknado free 2013, an explosion is heard off the coast of Santa Monica and the patron’s of Fin’s bar wonder what it could be. As Nova, Matt, and Fin’s brother-in-law Martin Brody stare out the window, a shark suddenly slams against the glass and Nova feels sorry for it, as she loves sharks now. Fin and April, who is pregnant with Gil, are planning to retire to Kansas and are turning over the bar to Martin, who tries to convince Nova to stay but she is going to college thanks to a loan from Fin. Bryan tells everyone to check out the TV, where the see a political add for Skye, who is running for President. As Gemini enters the bar, and Wilford and May Wexler talk with April about the baby, Claudia hands Fin a letter from The Colonel, which contains his flight wings, in case he doesn’t make it back from space in time for Gil’s birth. Fin offers a last round on him to everyone at the bar and giving a heartfelt speech about how much they all mean to him. Just as he finishes, April’s water breaks and the Shepards, as well as Wilford, May, Nova, and George (a regular bar patron of Fin’s), head out the door to go to the hospital, while a TV weather report has Al Roker telling the audience that there is not a cloud in the sky anywhere in the world so people should go out and enjoy it as there won’t be another like it ever again.

So I had a lot of expectations going into this movie and while it did hit several things that I wanted it to, I was honestly a little disappointed and felt like they could have done more. The movie was the same ridiculous fun that all of the others have been, and all the returning characters did great in their roles. Ian Ziering was great finishing off his role as Fin Shepard, while Tara Reid and Cassandra Scerbo were just as good reprising their roles of April and Nova respectively. I actually think April was written a little better in this movie, as she did more than just scream all the time. I liked that they brought Judah Friedlander (Bryan) and Vivica A. Fox (Skye) back and the interaction with the other characters was pretty good. Some of the cameos were pretty funny, such as Neil deGrasse Tyson playing Merlin and Dee Snider playing a sheriff, but most of the cameos felt a little flat, as if they were running out of ideas on how to make the most of them. I will say that I was kind of glad that they used some archive footage from the first movie to have John Heard’s character George show up at the end. The story was ok but the way they brought up time travel into things actually made the story feel rather disjointed. I did think it was funny how they tried to reference Back To The Future a couple of times during the movie, such as the capacitor looking like the flux capacitor as well as Gil telling Fin he has to be going 88 mph to start the time travel. The special effects were ok for the most part, though there were times where they honestly were a little worse than I was expecting, but that makes these movies that much more fun to watch. So it was a good way to end the series but I still think that they could have done a better job with it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, crime, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 22nd, 2014 Movie – The Big Lebowski

the big lebowski

Some times, an actor will take a role and for the rest of his life, he will always be referred to as that character, no matter at what point in the actor’s career he played that character. Jaleel White is always going to be Urkel, Daniel Radcliffe is always going to be Harry Potter, and for Jeff Bridges, he will always be The Dude. Now I admit that I did not go see this movie in theater when it came out and when I finally decided to rent it, I was kicking myself for not having watched it sooner. I have probably made up for it some by the amount of times I have watched it since. Of course, this movie kind of plays a role into a night among friends that has since been dubbed “Bad Idea Saturday”. I had gone bowling with my friends Emily and Charles and we decided to name ourselves characters from the movie in our game. I wound up being The Dude and in honor of that, decided I should be drinking White Russians, which wound up being some of the nastiest White Russians I had ever had as the bartender was using little packets of creamer to mix in the drink. Anyways, drinking those drinks was one of many bad ideas that occurred that night, but I am definitely getting away from the point here. Right now I should be focusing on enjoying The Big Lebowski for the untold time.

The plot: In 1991, Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski has just returned to his apartment after buying some half & half when he finds two thugs waiting for him inside. One of the thugs grabs The Dude and forces his head in the toilet, demanding the money he owes their boss while the other thug pees on The Dude’s carpet. When the thugs tell The Dude that his wife Bunny owes their boss, porn magnate Jackie Treehorn, but when The Dude tells them he isn’t married, the two thugs realize that they have the wrong guy and leave. Later, The Dude is bowling with his friends Walter and Donny and tells them about what happened. Walter says that The Dude should track down the other Lebowski, the millionaire that the thugs were looking for, and have him compensate The Dude for the rug and The Dude agrees with him. The Dude goes to see Jeffrey Lebowski, who tells him that what happened is not his fault and whatever trouble that Bunny got into is between her and Treehorn, and doesn’t involve him. After leaving Lebowski’s office, The Dude tells Lebowski’s assistant Brandt that Lebowski said he could have any rug in the place as compensation and Brandt has some men take the rug The Dude picks out and place it in his car. That night, while bowling, Walter pulls out a gun on their opponent when he barely steps over the line during their league play, causing them to be disqualified for that match. The next day, Brandt calls The Dude and tells him that Lebowski wants to meet with him. When The Dude arrives at Lebowski’s place, Lebowski tells him that Bunny has been kidnapped and shows him a ransom note he received. Brandt then tells The Dude that Lebowski wants him to deal with the ransom exchange, offering him $20,000 and letting him keep the rug as payment. Later, The Dude tells Walter and Donny what’s happening as the watch Jesus Quintana, a rival bowler, and The Dude says thinks that Bunny just kidnapped herself as a way to get the money from her husband so she can pay back Treehorn. Later that night, The Dude is laying down on his new rug when he notices a woman and two men standing over him. One of the men punches him, and when he recovers, he hears the pager that Brandt gave him going off. The Dude meets with Brandt, who gives him a cell phone and a suitcase with money and The Dude goes to make the exchange. He picks up Walter, who asked to come along, and Walter has a satchel filled with dirty underwear and a wrapped package with him. Walter explains the satchel is a ringer, as he says they should keep the $1 million themselves. When The Dude asks what they should do if Bunny really is kidnapped, Walter says that he can simply grab one of the guys during the hand off and beat him for information. The Dude receives a call on the phone telling him where to go and as they approach a bridge, he is told to throw the money off the bridge. Despite The Dude’s protests, Walter grabs the satchel and throws it, then jumps out of the car in order to grab one of the people that goes to get the money but Walter’s package, which was a wrapped sub-machine gun, begins firing erratically when it hits the ground, shooting out one of The Dude’s tires and causing him to crash. The Dude gets out of the car with the suitcase of money as three motorcycles ride up from beneath the bridge and he tries to flag them down but they ride off in the other direction. Walter convinces The Dude to go bowling and forget about it, as they have the money now, but The Dude is worried about what he is going to tell Lebowski. When Donny tells Walter that their next league match is on Saturday, Walter gets upset, saying he doesn’t roll on Saturday as he observes Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. As Walter rants at Donny, The Dude gets fed up and leaves only to find that his car has been stolen, with the briefcase of money still inside. The Dude heads home and contacts the police about his stolen car, being vague about what is in the briefcase. As he is talking to the police, he receives a call form someone named Maude who says she is the one that took the rug and wants to meet with him. The Dude shows up at Maude’s place and she reveals that she is Lebowski’s daughter and that Lebowski had embezzled money from their family’s foundation and asks The Dude to recover the money, as she also feels Bunny kidnapped herself, and offers to pay him $100,000 if he succeeds. Maude has The Dude taken back to his apartment but as soon as he gets there, he is grabbed and forced into another car, where Brandt and Lebowski are waiting for him. Lebowski asks The Dude where the money is and The Dude says he dropped off the money like he was supposed to but asks if they considered that the kidnapping was faked and that the “kidnappers” were saying that they didn’t get the money in order to get more money from him. Brandt hands The Dude an envelope containing a severed toe, with the toenail painted the same color as Bunny’s when The Dude met her at Lebowski’s place, and Lebowski tells The Dude that he told the kidnappers to get the money from him. As The Dude is relaxing in his bath, the police call and inform him they found his car, just as three Germans enter his apartment, saying that they are the kidnappers and demand the money from him or else they will cut off his johnson. The Dude goes to get his car from the impound lot but there is no sign of the briefcase and the police have no intention of looking for it. At the bowling alley, The Dude tells Walter and Donny about the Germans and gets upset at Walter’s attitude about the situation. As The Dude sits at the bar, a stranger sits next to him and they start talking when The Dude receives a call from Maude, wanting to meet. The Dude meets with Maude, who tells him that the Germans, who were actually a band, were friends of Bunny’s and not likely to be the kidnappers, then asks The Dude to go see the doctor she recommended. After going to the doctor, The Dude is driving around and notices a blue Volkswagen Bug following him. As he tries to avoid it, he ends up wrecking his car when he accidentally drops the joint he was smoking into his lap. As he is recovering, he finds some homework from a kid named Larry in the seat of his car. Walter tracks down where Larry lives and they go to see him, with Walter trying to intimidate Larry into telling him where the money is. When Larry doesn’t answer, Walter goes outside and begins smashing the new sports car parked outside the house, thinking Larry used the stolen money to buy it but it turns out it was the neighbor’s car, who begins smashing The Dude’s car in retaliation. The Dude returns home only to have Treehorn’s thugs grab him and take him to see Treehorn. Treehorn asks The Dude where Bunny and the money is and The Dude tells him he doesn’t know where Bunny is but that Larry has the money before passing out from the drugs Treehorn slipped into his drink. After suffering from a hallucination from the drugs, The Dude is picked up by the police as he is running down the road and taken to the station, where the sheriff tells him not to bother Treehorn again. The Dude is placed in a cab and sent home but when he tells the driver that he hates The Eagles, the cabbie kicks him out of the cab and as The Dude yells at him, he doesn’t notice Bunny driving by in a sports car, having taken an unannounced trip to Palm Springs and not missing any of her toes. Meanwhile, the three Germans are seen at a diner eating with a woman, who is missing one of her toes. When The Dude gets home, he finds Maude there waiting for him and she tells him to sleep with her. Afterwards, they are talking and Maude tells The Dude that her father doesn’t have any money, as her mother was the rich one and left all the money to the family’s foundation. When Maude pulls her knees up to her chest, The Dude asks what she is doing and she tells him she is trying to ensure she gets pregnant, as she wants a child but tells The Dude that she does not want anything to do with the father, easing The Dude’s concerns about fathering a child. The Dude realizes he was played and calls Walter and has him pick him up. When he goes outside to wait for him, he sees the Volkswagen parked up the street and confronts the driver, who is a P.I. that had been hired by Bunny’s family to find her and bring her back home to their farm in Minnesota, as she had run away from their. When Walter gets there, The Dude tells him about Lebowski not having any money so he stole the money from the foundation and kept it, giving The Dude an empty briefcase so he can blame the money’s theft on the kidnappers. Arriving at Lebowski’s house, they see Bunny has returned and confront Lebowski about his using Bunny being missing to steal the money and pin it’s disappearance on the kidnappers or him. Lebowski says that it is The Dude’s word against his and Walter insults Lebowski, not believing that he is really paralyzed, and picks him up out of his chair and drops him on the floor, then they quickly leave when they realize he is paralyzed. The Dude and Walter head to the bowling alley to practice and when they leave with Donny, they find the Germans have set The Dude’s car on fire and demand the money. The Dude tells them they know that they didn’t kidnap Bunny so there is no ransom so the Germans decide to just rob them. Walter fights the German’s biting the ear off of one of them and knocking all three out but Donny ends up suffering a fatal heart attack due to the excitement. The Dude and Walter take Donny’s ashes to the Pacific Ocean to scatter them and accidentally ends up throwing them in The Dude’s face when the wind shifts. Walter apologizes and tries to wipe the ashes off of The Dude, who gets upset at Walter for ruining everything, and Walter hugs The Dude and tells him they should go bowling. At the bowling alley, The Dude encounters the stranger again and the talk briefly before The Dude heads over to go bowling, telling the stranger that “The Dude abides.” The stranger, breaking the 4th wall, addresses the audience and says he takes comfort in that. He then says he hopes they liked the story as he did, and comments that even though he was sad that Donny died, he knows that a little Lebowski is on the way and figures that is just the circle of life.

The Big Lebowski received mixed reviews on it’s release but in recent years, the critics have changed their opinion of the film, as shown by the certified fresh rating of 82% it holds on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.” Before filming a scene, Jeff Bridges would ask the Coen Brothers if The Dude “burned one on the way over” and if they said he did, then he would rub his knuckles in his eyes before doing a take to make them appear bloodshot. Though the movie was a success at the box office, earning $46.2 million off of a $15 million budget, the studio considered it a disappointment. However, it would become end up becoming a cult classic over time and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2014.

I think this really was a movie that was a bit ahead of it’s time because it is fantastic. Jeff Bridges and John Goodman were fantastic as The Dude and Walter respectively and their interaction was hysterical throughout the movie; with The Dude constantly being incredulous at Walter’s suggestions and actions. I also liked Steve Buscemi (Donny) and you kind of feel bad for his character, as he constantly came in halfway through The Dude’s and Walter’s conversation and when he tried to figure out what they were talking about, Walter always yelled at him. The story was great, as it was a nice little red herring of a crime drama with the stoned Dude getting dragged into a mess and trying to figure a way out, and somehow stumbling into what is really going on. The comedy wasn’t really in your face, mostly involved with the banter between people and some of the resulting actions from it. Definitely one of the Coen Brothers best movies and well worth watching.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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action, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review, sci-fi

April 25th, 2018 Movie – Vipers

vipers

Another snake movie starting with the letter V? It seems to be some sort of trend going on here. Man, I am a little sad about today’s movie as it means I am almost done with the Maneater series of films. These were always fun to watch when they would show up on Syfy and I am glad I picked them up on DVD, especially the triple feature packs. I had actually bought today’s movie as a single movie but bought the triple pack that had it so I could get the other two movies. So is this movie that good that it was worth buying twice? Let’s find out as I watch today’s movie, Vipers.

The plot: At a Universal Bio Tech research facility, John Staffen enters the specimen lab and is shown the genetically modified horned vipers that they have been using for their experiments. The vipers were slated to be destroyed after an incident where they attacked and killed their handlers and some guards but Staffen and his security detail shoot the doctor and the security guards. As the security detail move to switch the lethal gas with knockout gas so they can transport the vipers to a new facility, one of the security guards, who was just wounded, shoots the glass cage the snakes are in. The escaping vipers begin attacking everyone and Staffen manages to escape and close the door, watching the snakes feed on the victims before he leaves. At Universal Bio Tech’s main facility, Dr. Collins is giving a lecture on how horned viper venom has been used to treat breast cancer. After her lecture, she is approached by Universal Bio Tech’s owner, Mr. Burton, who tells her that there was an incident in their lab and the genetically modified vipers escaped. Collins is upset about Burton’s messing with the snakes, calling it unethical and how everything assigned to the project reflects on her but Burton says that he needs her help to before the snakes reach a populated area. Meanwhile, the vipers are shown to have eaten all of the bodies in the lab and escape out the ventilation system, heading out into the water. On the nearby island of Eden Cove, a honeymooning couple is fooling around in their tent by the lake when they are attacked by the vipers. The next day, former Marine medic Cal  Taylor arrives in town and is met at the dock by Hank Brownie, who gives him a ride into town. As they are driving, they spot the wrecked campsite and investigate it but find no sign of the owner so Hank uses his CB to contact Sheriff Hendricks. Hendricks heads to the rental agency, catching Georgie, the owner, fooling around with Jack Martin and as Georgie goes to get the couple’s information, Jack tells him that he and his wife Ellie are separated so there is no need to go blabbing about what he is doing to her. When Cal and Hank arrive, Hank hands Hendricks the ring they found and Jack, who owns the local inn, takes Cal there to check in. They get there just as Jack’s daughter Maggie goes storming off, yelling at her parents for their separation and Ellie tells Jack they need to talk. Cal goes to see Dr. Silverton, revealing that he was there at Silverton’s request due to his being friends with his sone Joey, who died in the service. Cal hands Silverton Joey’s personal effects just as they are called away to Nicky Swift’s flower shop, where Maggie had broken in and smoked some of the marijuana Nicky grows. Cal joins Silverton and they find Jack and Ellie there with Maggie and Nicky and as they wonder who Cal is and why he is there, Silverton explains that he is planning on turning over his practice to Cal. Nicky realizes that Cal knew Joey and when Ellie comments that Nicky is the reason Joey enlisted and was kileld, Nicky punches her. Suddenly, they hear screaming coming from outside and Cal rushes out to find a young boy was bitten by a snake. Cal grabs the boy and Nicky drives him over to Silverton’s office, where they give him some anti-venom to stabilize him. Silverton decides to fly into the city with the boy, asking Cal to take care of things for him till he gets back. Meanwhile, Burton tells Collins that they got a report of the snake bite and asks what contingencies she has to offer and Collins tells him she has a gas that can stun the snakes but isn’t sure if she has enough to handle a large quantity of snakes and any other poisons that would be useful on the snakes would also be lethal to humans. On the island, Hendricks has Nicky arrested for assault then goes to the sheriff’s office, where Cal is tending to Ellie’s jaw, and tries to get her to drop the charges. When Ellie says he always defends Nicky ever since they were kids, Hendricks tells her that he wants to be with her, not Nicky. Silverton calls and tells Cal that the boy took a turn for the worse and he is staying overnight to ensure he is ok. After he gets off the phone, he is approached by Collins and Staffen. Back on the island, Georgie meets up with Jack and says she can step back if need be but Jack insists that he wants to be with her. The two head to the inn and have sex and afterwards, Jack goes to take a shower when the vipers enter the room and kill Georgie. As Hendricks takes Cal to tend to Nicky’s hand, they are met by Hank, who wants Hendricks to check out something on the dock. Cal checks Nicky’s hand and as he examines it, they talk about Joey and Cal explains that he and Joey talked about her a lot. Cal says it isn’t broken, then leaves to get some ice and Nicky uses his scalpel to pick the lock of the cell, only to find Cal waiting outside for her and he chooses to accompany her as she runs some errands, mainly delivering pot to some residents that are suffering from cancer. Suddenly the hear Jack screaming out and find him coming out of the room with blood on his hands. As Jack checks on him, Nicky looks inside and sees the vipers swarming over Georgie and Cal kills one that approaches her, then quickly shuts the door. At the docks, Maggie runs off after another argument with Ellie just as Hendricks and Hank show up when all of a sudden, vipers start attacking people on the docks. Hendricks tells everyone to head up to the hotel and has Hank get Ellie into his truck and leave, and Ellie cries out as Maggie is unable to reach the truck and runs off with some snakes chasing her. Everyone makes it to the hotel and they start barricading it to keep the snakes out but Ellie and Jack rush out to try and find Maggie. Ellie finds Maggie as she tries to cross a bridge to reach the hotel but when the vipers cut her off, Hendricks grabs her and takes her to the sheriff’s office, locking her in the cell but the vipers kill him. Ellie and Jack enter the station but are unable to reach Maggie and Jack drags Ellie out of there, where they are met by Cal and Nicky, using a fire extinguisher to ward off the snakes, and they take shelter in a nearby food truck. Nicky hotwires the truck and they pull up close to the door, then Cal heads into the station to get Maggie and takes her to the truck. When the truck won’t start, they decide to make a run for the diner but Ellie is killed before she can escape the truck. As night falls, Silverton, Collins, Staffen, and two security agents arrive on the island, using gas grenades to stun the snakes. One of the agents is killed by the snakes but the others manage to reach the hotel, as well as Cal and the others. Once inside, Collins tries to keep everyone calm but Jack and several of the residents want to use the cover of the gas to escape to the boats. Jack is shot by the security agent but several of the islanders leave and Collins wants to use the last of the gas to give them a chance but Staffen refuses to let the agent use it, dooming the islanders to being killed. Inside, Cal and Silverton try to save Jack’s life but are unable to and as Silverton consoles Maggie, Cal gets upset at being unable to save Jack’s life. When he sees Collins crying, he accuses her of what happened and Collins said she had nothing to do with what happened, as Burton was the one to create the snakes. When the security agent reveals that a rescue isn’t happening and the island will be bombarded with C-12 gas, Cal comes up with a plan to lure the snakes away from the docks so that Silverton and the other islanders can get to safety, as Silverton is the only person able to call off the air strike. Rigging up some heaters to Jack’s truck and making some homemade flamethrowers, Cal, Nicky, Collins, Hank, Staffen, and the security agent head out and start luring the vipers away from the hotel and boat, and Silverton leads the surviving islanders out of the hotel but as they reach the boat, Maggie runs off to help Cal. Cal and the others reach the greenhouse and are joined by Maggie but the security agent is killed by the vipers. Inside, Nicky starts up her generator to start producing heat while Cal and the other’s work on gathering the ingredients necessary to make an IED. When the snakes start breaking in, Staffen is killed by the snakes and they discover that he had a satellite phone and another way off the island. When Burton tries contacting Staffen, Cal grabs the phone and pushes a few buttons before handing it to Collins, where she responds and argues with Burton over his actions. As more snakes appear, Hank shoots at one but ends up hitting the greenhouse roof, weakening it to the point that it breaks and he is killed by the falling shards of glass. As snakes start pouring in from the ceiling, Cal has everyone head out as he lights a flare and runs, blowing up the greenhouse and killing all of the vipers. As they recover from the explosion, they see the planes for the air strike approaching but then they veer off and they realize that Silverton got through to the authorities. Some time later, Burton is speaking at a shareholders’ meeting when his recorded conversation he had with Collins is played over the loud speakers, just as Collins arrives with the police to arrest him. On Eden Cove, Silverton and Maggie listen to the news of the arrest on the radio then head off, leaving Cal and Nicky to get better acquainted, as they had grown close during the night. Back on the mainland, Burton gets in his limo after leaving the police station but as he is on the phone, he discovers a viper in the back with him which attacks and kills him.

This is an ok movie but I was a little disappointed in it. The acting was ok, with Tara Reid doing a surprisingly decent job as Nicky, while Jonathan Scarfe (Cal) Corbin Bernsen (Burton) and Don S. Davis (Silverton) doing good jobs as well. The story was interesting, although did feel a bit similar to Venomous in some regards, mainly the whole destroying the town to cover up the secret experiment aspect. The special effects with the snakes were honestly a little disappointing, looking a lot more fake than some other movies that came out in the series. It’s a good way to kill some time but I wish it could have been better.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, mystery

April 12th, 2018 Movie – Urban Legend

urban legend

Urban Legends. Everyone has heard of at least one in their life time and probably told just as many to other people. The good thing about urban legends is that they can be the setup, and sometimes the basis, for a horror movie. Well, someone decided that why use just one urban legend when you can do a whole movie about a lot of them. Now I first heard about this movie and I will admit that my curiosity was piqued about it but I never went to see it in theaters, choosing to rent it when it came out on video. During the dying Blockbuster days, I picked up a copy on the cheap so let’s see if this was worth it as I watch today’s movie, Urban Legend.

The plot: A young woman named Michelle is driving on the highway when it starts raining. Finding herself low on gas, she stops at a run down gas station and is startled when the attendant suddenly appears at her window. Michelle hands him her credit card and after starting to pump her gas, the man looks inside her car then heads into the store. A few minutes later, the man returns and stutteringly tells her that her credit card company is on the phone and needs to speak with her. Nervous, Michelle grabs a can of mace from her purse and heads inside but when she picks up the phone, she hears the busy signal just as the attendant locks the door. The attendant tries to grab her but she fights him off, and tries to leave, macing him when he manages to grab her. Using the phone to break the window, Michelle climbs out and rushes to her car and drives off, leaving the attendant standing there screaming that someone was in her back seat. Michelle drives away, still freaked by the encounter when she sees someone rise up from her back seat and kill her with an axe. At Pendleton University, Parker Riley is telling the story of a supposed massacre that happened at Stanley Hall to Natalie Simons and Brenda Bates but their friend Paul Gardner, who works for the school newspaper, discredits the story as a hoax. Later, Brenda and Natalie walk by a hole in the wall of a dorm that supposedly is able to summon the dead and they try it only to be scared by another friend, Damon Brooks, before Natalie heads back to her dorm room. The next day, Brenda, Natalie, Parker, and Damon are attending Professor Wexler’s class on urban legends when he has Brenda and Damon come up to do a demonstration disproving the legend about pop rocks and soda. As they leave class, Brenda and Natalie see Dean Adams and security guard Reese Wilson removing all of the school newspapers in the bins due to Paul’s story about Michelle’s death. As everyone talks about Michelle’s death, Natalie appears to be especially freaked out by it but doesn’t say why. That night, Damon invites Natalie out to talk about Michelle’s death and he takes her out to the woods but apparently used it only as an excuse to try and hook up with her. Natalie punches him and tells him to take her back and he relents, stepping out of the car to use the restroom. As he is finishing up, someone sneaks up behind him and starts strangling him with a rope. As Natalie yells out for him to hurry up, she is confronted by someone wearing a hooded parka and quickly gets back in the car. As she tries to start the car, she hears something scraping on the roof, not realizing it is Damon, whose is hanging from a tree limb above her and his feet are barely touching the roof of the car. Natalie manages to start the car and drives off, unknowingly hanging Damon as the rope was tied to the car’s trailer hitch. Natalie tries to run the stranger over she finds the car can’t go forward any more due to the rope so she puts the car in reverse and ends up crashing into the tree, and Damon’s body falls onto the hood of the car. Natalie runs back to the college and tells Reese what happened but when they go back to the scene, they find the car and body missing and Reese thinks Natalie is on something. Natalie tries telling her friends but Parker says that it is probably Damon playing a practical joke like he always does. As they keep talking, Natalie realizes that Damon’s death and Michelle’s are similar to urban legends and she heads to the library to get a book on urban legends, running into Sasha, Parker’s girlfriend and campus radio DJ, as she does. Meanwhile, Natalie’s roommate Tosh is attempting to arrange a hookup only to be attacked in their room. Natalie walks in but, having turned on the lights to find Tosh having sex before, she mistakes Tosh’s muffled cries as her having sex and simply keeps the lights off before heading to bed. When she wakes up, Natalie notices a pool of blood near Tosh’s body and finds that she has been murdered and the killer had written “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights” in her blood above Natalie’s bed, mimicking another urban legend. As the paramedics are brought in to take away the body, Dean Adams and Reese talk with Natalie and Adams tries to convince her not to say anything to the police. Paul follows her out of there and asks her what is going on and shows her a picture of Michelle’s yearbook and asks why she didn’t say she knew Michelle. Natalie tells him her theory and Paul doesn’t really believe her but decides to help her check out the truth behind the Stanley Hall Massacre. They go to look at the school records only to find the records for 1973 are missing and when they ask the janitor if he knows anything, he says to talk with Wexler. They head to Wexler’s office and getting no answer, Paul breaks in. When they start looking around, Natalie finds a secret room with a hooded parka and an axe inside but they are caught by Wexler. Natalie and Paul are taken to Adams’ office and they asks him about the massacre but he doesn’t answer, telling NAtalie she is lucky to have gotten accepted as she has a reckless endangerment charge on her record and tells Paul that he has been kicked off of the school paper. Later, Natalie goes to see Brenda at the pool when she sees a parka clad person approaching her and she tries to warn her, breaking a window before the person is revealed to be another swimmer. As Brenda tries talking with Natalie, Natalie reveals to her that she knew Michelle and that when they were in high school, they played a joke based on an urban legend and ended up accidentally killing someone. Meanwhile, Adams is preparing to leave when he is spooked by Reese, who says they should get some more security for the weekend but Adams refuses, wanting to keep everything quiet and under wraps. As Reese leaves, Adams is attacked when someone underneath his car slashes his achilles tendon, then runs him over with his own car as he tries to crawl away, impaling him on the parking deck’s security spikes. At the newspaper, Paul is cleaning out his desk when he finds an old newspaper showing that the massacre did happen and Wexler is the only survivor. Brenda convinces Natalie to come to the Stanley Hall Massacre party when she runs into Paul, who tells her she was right. Paul explains his theory about Wexler and how he might be the killer and as Natalie gets frightened, he says he won’t let anything happen to her. Paul kisses Natalie but they are caught by Brenda, who has a crush on Paul, and she calls Natalie a slut and runs outside, where she sits on the steps and cries. Paul tries to convince Parker to stop the party but when Parker mocks him, he tells Natalie he is going to go get some help. Meanwhile, Parker gets a phone call from someone saying he is going to die but when Parker checks the caller ID, he notices it is coming from Damon’s room. Thinking it is Damon playing a joke, he asks if this is the legend about the babysitter and the call is coming from upstairs but the caller says it is the legend about the old woman that dries off her dog in the microwave. Parker checks the microwave to find his dog has exploded inside and when he goes to the bathroom to throw up, the killer attacks him and force feeds him some pop rocks and drain killer to kill him. Sasha leaves the party to work her shift on the radio and as she takes a call, the killer kills her producer and attacks her while she is on air. Natalie hears Sasha screaming and heads over to the station only to see the killer kill Sasha. She heads over to Paul’s dorm to get him and tells him what happened and he says they should leave, but Natalie is starting to get suspicious of him. The two run into Brenda and they tell her Sasha is dead and they all leave in Paul’s SUV. As they drive, Natalie complains about a smell and they stop at a gas station to see if the phones work there. Paul heads inside to try the phones while Natalie and Brenda wait in the car but the two hear Wexler’s alarm and find his dead body in the back. The two girls run through the woods back towards campus but get separated and Natalie ends up getting picked up by the janitor. As they are driving, Natalie sees his parka and thinks he might be the killer and tries to get out of the car but he tells her the doors won’t open from the outside. As they keep driving, they see a car approaching with it’s lights off and the janitor flashes his high beams to alert the other car but Natalie realizes it is the killer in Paul’s car, as the car turns around and follows them, constantly flashing it’s high beams at them and eventually forcing them off the road. The janitor dies in the crash and Natalie and manages to reach the campus, where she hears Brenda screaming. Going to find her friend, Natalie heads inside the abandoned Stanley Hall, only to be attacked by Brenda. When she comes to, Natalie finds herself tied to a bed and Brenda explains that the man that Natalie and Michelle killed was her boyfriend and she was getting her revenge. Brenda starts to cut into Natalie to mimic the kidney thief legend when Reese shows up to rescue her. As Natalie frees herself, Reese starts to frisk Brenda, who pulls out a switchblade and slashes her. Reese drops her gun and Brenda and Reese struggle for it before Brenda manages to shoot Reese, then points the gun at Natalie. Paul shows up and tries to talk Brenda out of shooting Natalie but Brenda points the gun at both of them. Reese shoots Brenda in the arm, causing her to drop the gun and Natalie picks it up and shoots her, knocking her out the window. Natalie and Paul check on Reese, who is bleeding but still alive, and they leave to get help but as they are driving down the road, Brenda appears in the back seat and tries attacking them with an axe but Paul slams into the side of a bridge and goes flying out the windshield and plunges into the river below. Some time later, at another college, some students are talking about the murders when Brenda, still alive and under a new identity, says that they are telling it wrong and says she will tell them how it really went.

Urban Legend met with poor results from the critics, holding a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Elements of Scream reappear in a vastly inferior vehicle.” In keeping with the movie’s title and theme, 11 urban legends were reenacted and another 5 were referenced during the film. When Paul and Natalie walk into the hidden room in Professor William Wexler’s office, a puppet of Freddy Krueger can be seen just before they see the axe, which is a nod to Robert Englund, who plays Wexler in the movie but is most famous for playing Freddy in the Nightmare On Elm Street movies. The movie was a box office hit, earning $72.5 million off of a $14 million budget and would spawn 2 sequels.

I had high hopes for this movie but it honestly was kind of a let down. The acting was ok, with all of the main characters doing ok jobs, and I mean just that. They were ok but nobody really wowed me and in some cases, they could be embarrassingly bad. I personally liked Robert Englund as Wexler, who made for a great red herring in the movie. I also liked Loretta Devine, as her character of Security Officer Reese Wilson made for some unintentional comedic relief at times. The story was interesting and I did like how they tried using the urban legends to make unique kills instead of making it a stereotypical slasher movie. The special effects were ok, but I feel like they could have done more with some of the kills. Good idea but poor execution (no pun intended) make this just another average horror movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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

January 17th, 2018 Movie – Sharknado 5: Global Swarming

sharknado 5

For me, one of the highlights of the summer is always Sharknado week on Syfy. This past year had several really fun movies, some of which have yet to be released on DVD, aside form today’s movie. Every year they seem to be going bigger and bigger with these movies and I enjoy every one of them but I know that the train will end up going off the rails soon. So let’s enjoy this while it lasts and have some fun with today’s movie, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming.

The plot: In a cave close by Stonehenge, Nova discovers a mural depicting a history of sharknados and contacts her team waiting above and tells them to contact Fin Shepard. Fin, along with April ad their son Gil, are in London for a meeting with NATO about the sharknado threat when Fin gets Nova’s call and goes to meet her. April and Gil are shown the secret lab where British scientist are working on anti-sharknado weapons and Gil is given a helmet that will allow him to survive inside a sharknado. Back at Stonehenge, Fin descends into the cavern and Nova shows him the mural and tells him that sharknados have appeared in the past but humanity fought back and won. An artifact called the Harness of Dakuwaqa is in the cavern and she had Fin brought there to help her get it. Making their way through the booby traps, the find the artifact and grab it but set off a chain reaction leading to the formation of a sharknado. Fin and Nova head back to London, with April saving them when their helicopter is attacked by sharks. Nova commandeers a bus and heads towards Buckingham Palace and when they get there, April flies off to try and stop Big Ben from being destroyed. Fin has Nova look after Gil while he leads the palace guards in a charge to rescue the Queen, who is trapped inside the palace, but despite Nova’s best efforts, Gil ends up being sucked up into the sharknado and disappears. When they regroup, Nova apologizes for what happened and both Fin and April are upset that she lost their son. Nova is upset with herself but receives a signal from Gil’s helmet showing he is alive and currently in Holland. Nova convinces Fin to head to the NATO meeting, as the best minds on the planet are there to discuss the sharknado problem. When another sharknado forms and attacks the meeting, Fin, April, and Nova are directed towards a specialized blimp piloted by Dr. Angel and they had out after the sharknado with Gil in it but Dr. Angel is killed and the Blimp catches fire and crashes over Switzerland. Fin, April, and Nova manage to get out before the crash and seeing some ski equipment, he hands April a ski and tells her to spin and form a vortex that will attract the sharknado that Gil is in towards them. The idea works but it also causes an avalanche and Fin, April, and Nova are forced to ski/snowboard to safety. With the sharknado moving away from them, Fin, April, and Nova get on a dog sled and use it to get close to the vortex before cutting the dogs free, allowing the sled to get sucked into the vortex. Inside, Fin and the others see Gil and try to grab him but are unable to and as Gil disappears again, Fin, April, and Nova find themselves somehow transported to Australia and surrounded by sharks. A helicopter shows up and throws a ladder down for them to climb to safety but as April tries to protect Fin, she is bitten in half by a shark. When they reach shore, Nova leads Fin towards the Sydney Opera House, which serves as the headquarters for her sharknado Sisterhood, telling him that they will be able to repair April. Nova then goes to contact her Sister in the China area overseeing the removal of the Nuclear waste from the last sharknado attack in America, as China had overtaken the project, and Fin is shocked to discover that it is his cousin Gemini, causing him and Nova to get into an argument. In the China Sea, a sharknado attacks the ship, absorbing the nuclear waste material into it. Back in Australia, the rebuilt April reunites with Fin and is told her flight systems no longer work and that if she receives to much of a charge, her circuits could overload. When they get a signal that the sharknado Gil is in is heading towards them, Nova has the Opera House transform into a battle station to defend Australia from it. Fin and April head to the bridge to try and bungee jump into the vortex to save Gil, with April secretly stealing the artifact from Nova before they leave. Fin and April manage to jump inside but are unable to grab Gil, who disappears into the vortex, and Fin and April end up transported to Brazil. They are picked up by a man named Rodolfo, who works for Nova, and he takes them to a woman named Vega so she can explain about the artifact, unaware that they are being followed by a mysterious man named Zico. At Vega’s place, she explains that the artifact could be used to summon a sharknado but that it should be returned to Stonehenge. While they are talking, Vega’s assistant grabs the artifact and hands it to Zico and when they discover it is missing, Fin and April chase after him. As the sharknado hits the city, Fin and April follow after Zico and they end up driving through the vortex and arrive in Rome. Fin and Zico start to fight but Zico ends up being killed by some sharks and the artifact is swallowed. Fin kills the shark and takes the artifact back but the sharknado disappears, leaving them with no idea what to do. April throws some coins into the Trevi Fountain and they are approached by an emissary of the Pope, who gives Fin a special chainsaw to help him save the world. Fin and April decide to try and summon the Sharknado to them so they can save Gil and they manage to grab him but a shark slams into them and they lose their grip on Gil and end up landing in Japan. As they check the montier to make sure Gil is alive, they see that the sharknado that had absorbed the nuclear material had mutated into a giant blob of sharks which the media dubs Sharkzilla. Nova and her Sisters fly over Sharkzilla and jump into it in an effort to rescue Gil, while the military fire missiles at Shakzilla to try and destroy it. The explosions disperse the blob but Gil is sucked into the vortex again while Nova falls to the street, where she ends up dying in Fin’s arms, apologizing for failing to save Gil. As more sharknados attack the world, Fin calls his son Matt, who tells him that Claudia, The Colonel, and Grandma are all dead just before he is killed as well. Fin and April end up in another sharknado and are transported to Egypt, where they discover hieroglyphics showing how the ancient Egyptians fought against sharknados. Realizing that the artifact is a key to a hidden chamber, they find the machine the Egyptians used and activate it, stopping the sharknados across the world but the machine doesn’t shut down and begins making even stronger sharknados. April notices a staff which serves as a key for the machine and tells Fin to grab it, then decides to try and absorb the excess energy from the machine in order to shut it down, sacrificing herself in order to do so. Carrying April’s head around in the hopes of being able to restore her, Fin searches for any survivors among the wreckage of the city and is approached by a man in a Humvee, who turns out to be an adult Gil. Gil explains that the sharknados had sent him back in time and he had been working on a way to get back to him, able to figure out how to use them as a time machine. Gil then says that they have to go back to the beginning in order to save April and the rest of their family so Fin gets in the Humvee and they head off.

This was another fun installment in the series but watching it now, I can admit that it felt a little weak. The acting was decent for the most part, though Tara Reid still seems bad (especially when she is screaming). I loved the cameos, with several of them being very funny (like Geraldo Rivera opening a tiny safe and finding it empty). The story honestly felt a little weak, as it felt like they were struggling to come up with a way to make the sharknados bigger and badder. I did like the nod to Indiana Jones that they had in the beginning of the movie and the obvious Back To The Future nod at the end but I felt like they could have done more with the movie then use it as a time travel gimmick. The special effects were good, and I did like the “Sharkzilla” aspect, which really made me laugh. A fun movie to watch but it does make me a little worried for how they will handle the next one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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

August 18th, 2017 Movie – Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

sharknado 4

I have to admit, I am having a hard time focusing on writing today’s blog. Marvel’s The Defenders just debuted on Netflix today and I really want to start watching that. But that will be my reward so let’s finish the task at hand. It has been a whole year since the cliffhanger ending of Sharknado 3, and I don’t know about everyone else but I have been dying to find out if April lived or died. So when the time came, I did what I normally do in these situations and

The plot: Since Fin Shepard stopped the last sharknado that threatened the East Coast, a company called Astro-X has risen to prominence, using their space ship to rescue Colonel Gil Shepard from the moon while also preventing sharknadoes from forming by using their weather control pods to disperse tornadoes before they form. Fin Shepard now lives on a farm in Kansas called April’s Acres with his son Gil and his mom Raye. Fin’s cousin Gemini picks Fin up to go to Vegas, where they are meeting Fin’s son Matt, who is on leave from the military. At the same time, Astro-X founder Aston Reynolds is in Vegas for the grand opening of his new shark-themed hotel. As they wait for Matt in their hotel, Matt calls them from a plane overhead, where he is in the process of marrying his fiance Gabrielle before they parachute onto the hotel roof. As the plane flies over Las Vegas, a sand storm forms and the Astro-X pods are unable to stop it. Matt and Gabrielle jump out of the plane but are caught by the twister and separated. As the sand storm hits Aston’s hotel and sucks the sharks into it, forming a “sandnado”, Fin rescues Gabrielle while Gemini rescues some of the other guests. They make their way to the street and go looking for Matt but when they encounter a flood, they quickly hop onto a hotel’s pirate ship and use it to navigate the flood towards Matt. Matt is eventually able to make it onto the ship, where he hugs Fin and then kisses Gabrielle, while the sandnado leaves the city. As the news comments about the incident and Astro-X’s failure to stop it, Aston contacts his headquarters in San Francisco to have them tell Colonel Shepard that he needs to finish work on his mech suit. In San Francisco, Gil, or Colonel as he prefers to be called, is testing a flight suit for Wilford, a scientist working for Astro-X who also happens to be April’s father, when he is approached by Claudia, who also works there, and is told Aston’s message. Back in Vegas, Fin refuses to give an interview, wanting to hurry back to Kansas to be with Gil but the only way Gemini could find out of the city was by train so they all board the train and head out. Unknown to anyone else, April is still alive, having been remade into a cyborg by her father, who comments on the results on her latest tests as she is recharging. The sandnado makes it’s way through the desert and destroys Hoover Dam, picking up the boulders and debris into it and becoming a “bouldernado”. Gemini sees the bouldernado approaching the train and they work to save as many people as they can while Fin makes his way to the engine and stops the train. Meanwhile, Aston blows up part of the Grand Canyon in order to stop the flood from the Hoover Dam destroying the nearby cities. Aston has Fin and the others brought to see him and asks Fin for his help in reassuring the American public but Fin refuses to be Aston’s mouthpiece. They get a car and make their way to Texas but the bouldernado follows them, where it hits an oil field and becomes an “oilnado”, which quickly becomes a “firenado” when the oil ignites. Fin uses a trencher loaded with fire extinguishers to get close to the firenado, then blows it up in the hopes of putting out the fire. The plan works  and the sharknado changes course but it hits a power plant and becomes a “lightningnado”. Meanwhile, another Sharnado appears in San Francisco while a “lavanado” forms in Yellowstone. As Aston works out a way to take out these new sharknados, April sees a news report and learns that Fin is still alive. She confronts Wilford as to why he lied to her about her family, and Wilford tries to keep her in the lab but she breaks down the door and leaves. The sharknado in San Francisco is heading towards Astro-X, having transformed into a “hailnado”, and as the Colonel and Claudia try to escape, their car is picked up by the storm but they are rescued by April, and they are all surprised to see each other alive. The three head to Wilford’s lab to confront him about what he did, and he claims to have done it to protect them all, then shows the Colonel a completed Mech Suit to use against the sharknado. Meanwhile, Fin’s car gets a flat as they enter Kansas and he calls his friend Colton, who loans him a car named Christine. As they head towards the farm, the lightningnado follows after them and they quickly abandon Christine before it is run over by a shark infested ball of twine. With only a mile to go to the farm, the make a run for it, while Gil and Raye head into the storm shelter. The lightningnado picks up a herd of cows, becoming a “cownado”. Fin and the others reach the farm, where they head to the barn to get some weapons. Matt and Gabrielle head to the shelter but Gabrielle is killed before she can make it in while Gil runs out of the shelter to find his dad. With the storm fast approaching, Fin and Gil head back into the house, while Gemini holds onto the outside as the house is picked up by the storm. Fin is able to rescue Gil and Gemini makes it inside before the house crash lands in Chicago, landing on the mayor who had blamed Fin for the disasters. April, Claudia, and the Colonel learn about Fin’s location and they head there, where April rescues Fin and Gil from the debris, and Fin is shocked to see his wife is still alive. Meanwhile, Astro-X uses their new isotopes to destroy the hailnado and lavanado, but the lightningnado proves resistant and hits a nuclear power plant, becoming a nuclearnado. In  their plane, Fin and April are talking about what happened and April tells him that what her father did was temporary, and they have no idea how long she will live. Fin says he doesn’t care and hugs her, then goes to introduce her to Gil, but Gil says April isn’t his mom. Aston talks with Fin and Gil about the nuclearnado and, along with Wilford’s help, they come up with a plan to stop it. They head towards Niagara Falls, where Aston uses a squirrel suit to fly down to a camp that is set up there and set off a quantum box that will turn the nuclearnado back to a normal sharknado, so the pods can disperse it. Aston turns on the box but it isn’t powerful enough to work and he ends up falling off the cliff when the weakened ground collapses into the falls. When Fin tells the others what happened, the Colonel says that they have another battery in the mech suit they can use so they head to Niagara Falls with it. As the Colonel gets ready to use the mech suit to reach the quantum box, he is swallowed by a shark and the suit ends up falling down the cliff. Fin goes to retrieve it, and he and April head to the quantum box, telling the others to get to safety but Matt and Claudia get swallowed by sharks while Gil, who was placed in a barrel for safe keeping, ends up getting sucked up by the storm and falling into the falls. Fin is able to reach the quantum box and use the mech suit to power it enough to change the nuclearnado back into a regular sharknado but before they are able to disperse it, Fin is knocked off the cliff and swallowed by a shark, which is then swallowed by three more sharks before being swallowed by a blue whale. April manages to rescue Gil, who pulls his little chainsaw out of a rock and proceeds to climb into the whale and cut open the shark inside, rescuing Claudia, then repeating the process with the other sharks, freeing Matt and the Colonel but Fin is unresponsive, April cuts an opening into the whale so she can free the others and then attaches some cables from her power supply to a pair of small shark to serve as a makeshift defibrillator in order to revive Fin. Aston had managed to survive his fall and is alive at the bottom of the falls while the Shepards celebrate surviving another storm when they suddenly see the Eiffel Tower fly through the air before landing nearby, with Nova, who had been vacationing in Paris, standing atop it.

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens met was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens loses the ridiculous charm of its predecessors, leaving only clumsy social commentary and monotonous schtick that’s lost its bite.” While the previous movies had a lot of references to Jaws in them, this movie had numerous references to the Star Wars franchise, with the title itself being a spoof of the recent Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. While The Asylum and Syfy never made public the results of the twitter poll, the trailer for the movie kind of spoiled it by showing April in her training montage while the post credits scene set up a fifth movie, which was announced shortly after the 4th one premiered.

Every time I watch this movie, I find myself going back and forth on how much I like it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie as much as the others, but it’s hard to tell if it was just that I liked certain parts as compared to the movie as a whole. The acting was good, with Ian Zeiring (Fin) and Tara Reid (April) doing good jobs in their roles. David Hasslehoff (Colonel) and Ryan Newman (Claudia) did a good job reprising their roles, while I loved the addition of Gary Busey as April’s dad and Masiela Lusha as Fin’s cousin Gemini. The story was interesting and I loved the fact that they set it 5 years after the last movie, to help explain whether April lived or died, but I honestly felt like there were other aspects of the plot that felt like they used various cultural references to joke about the fact that the main plot was pretty weak. The special effects were pretty good and they did have some very funny scenes in it, with the scene where Fin gets swallowed by a shark and the whole shark swallowing shark aspect until one gets swallowed by a whale still makes me laugh. All told, this is fun to watch but the sum of the various parts don’t quite add up to a great movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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