action, movie, movie review, sci-fi, thriller

October 18th, 2017 Movie – A Sound Of Thunder

a sound of thunder

Now this was a movie I was excited to watch because it used one of the more famous cliches when it comes to time travel; what happens if you go back in time and step on a butterfly. I find it funny how many movies and stories make some reference to this concept and try to use some variation of it in their plot. Now, I never heard of this movie coming out in theaters, otherwise I would have gone to see it, but when I first saw it at Blockbuster, I decided to just go ahead and buy a used copy. Now let’s see if it was worth the impulse buy as I watch today’s movie, A Sound Of Thunder.

The plot: In the year 2055, the Time Safari company allows people to travel back in time and hunt dinosaurs. To keep from messing with the timeline, the group travels on a specialized path of hardened air molecules, use weapons that shoot hardened ice bullets, and only kill animals that are known to have died due to natural means. After the latest hunt, Dr. Travis Ryer is doing some research with the computer TAMI when the company’s owner, Charles Hatton, comes to remind him that he must mingle with the clients as part of his contract. Travis reluctantly heads up to the party, telling John Wallenbeck that the video disc of their hunt shows that he was the one to bring down the allosaurus. Suddenly, Dr. Sonia Rand interrupts the event, spraying the attendees with red wine while yelling that they will destroy the future if they keep messing with the past. As she is being escorted away by security, Travis stops them and talks with Sonia, learning that she was one of the people that developed TAMI but due to a clause in her contract and a nondisclosure agreement, didn’t receive any credit for it. Sonia is upset that her work is being used for people to kill dinosaurs and mad at Travis for going along with it but Travis shows her that he is working there for a different reason. Taking her to the zoo, Travis explains that since hunting and a mysterious virus wiped out most animal life on the planet, he has been using the jumps to get DNA recordings from animals before the virus occurred so that he can clone them. Back at Time Safari, Marcus Payne knocks over some liquid nitrogen tanks and after putting them back upright, goes to talk to Jenny Krase, unaware that one of the tanks is leaking onto Travis’ gun. The next day, Travis leads a new hunt with clients Eckels and Middleton, explaining all of the rules they need to follow for the hunt. As they proceed with the jump, Eckels is extremely nervous and jumpy, attempting to shoot a butterfly that startles him. When the allosaurus appears, Travis’ gun malfunctions, preventing anyone from firing their guns. Travis uses a flashlight to lure the allosaurus away from the group, telling the clients to hide while Marcus works on repairing the gun. Marcus eventually gets the gun repaired and Travis is able to kill the allosaurus and they all leave, unaware that one of the clients had stepped off the path while hiding, as evidenced by a muddy footprint left on the path. The next day, the city experiences an increase in temperature and humidity while fish suddenly start beaching themselves and plants are suddenly increasing their growth rate. Travis leads a new group on their hunt but they find that the allosaurus is still lying dead in the swamp from their last jump and the nearby volcano erupts sooner than it was supposed to. After making it back through the portal before the volcano kills them, Travis and the others try to figure out what is going on but Clay Derris, the federal agent that oversees the project, shuts them down so they are unable to access TAMI. As Hatton argues with Clay about shutting them down, Tyler goes to see Sonia and talk to her. After getting inside her apartment, Tyler tells Sonia what happened and after telling her when it occurred, Sonia has him look outside and he sees a time wave approaching the city, knocking him off his feet when it occurs. Sonia starts to explain about the time wave when they hear a scream and are suddenly attacked by a swarm of beetles, forcing them to run from the apartment. As they are heading back to Time Safari, Sonia explains that the time waves will change evolution in stages, starting with the climate and then lower life forms, with humanity being altered in the last wave. Convincing Clay to let them try and fix things, Travis attempts to jump back before the Eckels/Middleton hunt and turn them back but he finds himself in the old west just as another time wave is about to hit. Travis makes it back through the portal but the time wave knocks out power to the entire city and Sonia explains that they can’t make it past the “ripples” of the time wave. After checking the footage reveals no indication as to what happened, Marcus checks the logs and finds that they came back a few grams heavier. Hatton reveals that he had the bio-filters turned off in order to save money, though in reality it was to pay off Clay, and after searching all of their gear from the trip, realize that it must have been one of the clients. Figuring that Eckels was the likely suspect, Marcus modifies the weapons to fire individually and Travis, Sonia, Jenny, Marcus, and Dr. Lucas head out to find Eckels. As they make their way through the city, finding it completely overgrown with plants, they see evidence of some type of creature and hear it calling out in the distance. Marcus gets poisoned by a thorny vine and as they are helping him walk, Lucas is grabbed by a strange creature which is a cross between a baboon and a lizard. Travis chases after Dr. Lucas and manages to kill the baboonlizard and he and Lucas quickly run as more creatures appear. Marcus can’t walk so he chooses to stay behind and fend them off as long as he can, allowing the others to escape. They eventually make it to Eckel’s apartment, finding it barricaded by the inhabitants but after saving two people that had gone to get food, they convince the people to let them in. They make their way up to Eckels’ apartment and while Travis and Sonia talk to him, Jenny and Lucas scan his suit and find it is clean. Realizing it was Middleton, Eckels tells them that he has been staying in his office and where it is. Lucas hotwires a car and they make their way to his office, noticing a strange flying creature passing overhead. Reaching the office, Travis and Sonia head inside, leaving Jenny and Lucas to watch the car. They find that the people have killed themselves after being driven mad by the brambles’ poison and Middleton is infected as well, killing a security guard before killing himself. Travis and Sonia search his gear and find the remains of a butterfly so they quickly head back to the car to find Lucas and Jenny firing into the air. As they drive back to Time Safari, they are attacked by bat like creatures, which manage to peel off the roof of the car and grab Lucas. Another time wave hits, causing the car to crash into the building, and they find that the jump station is flooded and inoperable. Sonia says they can use the particle accelerator at the university to use as a substitute and goes to grab TAMI’s hard drive. Travis goes to get a jump suit and finds Clay hiding in one of the lockers. Clay tells him to be quiet and motions above them and they see the baboonlizards sleeping from the ceiling above them. Sonia grabs the hard drive and they leave and Clay decides at the last minute to try and follow but he is killed by the baboonlizards. Deciding to go through the subway tunnels to reach the university, they end up crawling through a damaged subway train when the tunnel suddenly floods, trapping them in the train. Travis goes to smash a window so they can swim to safety when something breaks through the window and grabs Jenny, dragging her away. As the train floods, Sonia and Travis go to escape but Travis is attacked by a strange, eel like creature but the tunnel collapses some more and kills the creature while Travis almost drowns but is saved by Sonia. They reach the university as the baboonlizards arrive and start to attack the building. Making their way to the particle accelerator, Sonia works on getting everything set up for a slingshot jump while Travis secures the room and then prepares for the jump. As the baboonlizards start to break in, Sonia activates the time jump just as another time wave occurs, with Sonia ending up transformed into a human/catfish hybrid. Travis jumps to 1 year beyond the normal jump time and then he bounce back to the time of the hunt. Seeing the group with the allosaurus, Travis yells at Jenny to record him, telling her what happened, then goes and stops Middleton before he steps on the butterfly, vanishing as the timeline is restored to normal. As the group returns through the portal, Jenny tells Clay she knows about the bio-filters and tells him to turn them back on, causing Clay to nervously talk to Hatton. Jenny then grabs Travis and hands him the recording, telling him she told Hatton that there was a malfunction and a disc doesn’t exist, and tells Travis he needs to watch it. The next day, Travis goes to see Sonia and tells her about the recording and asks her help in exposing the dangers with Time Safari and how to stop them.

A Sound Of Thunder was panned by the critics, holding a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task.” The movie was based off of a short story by Ray Bradbury and originally supposed to be directed by Renny Harlin but he was fired after having a disagreement with Bradbury. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $11.7 million off of an $80 million budget.

This was your classic case of a good idea bogged down with problems. The acting was ok, with Edward Burns (Travis), Catherine McCormack (Sonia), Jemima Rooper (Jenny), and Sir Ben Kingsley (Hatton) was pretty good. The story was very interesting but there was one VERY big flaw in the concept. If they keep going to the same time to hunt that allosaurus, the different hunting parties should overlap but of course, this is Hollywood and logic has no place whatsoever in a sci-fi movie. As for the whole evolution changing with each time wave concept, I thought that was kind of cool and made sense as a way to make the movie longer, though I am curious if that is actually what would happen if such a thing occurred. The special effects were a mixture of good and bad; with the creature designs actually being really good, but some of the background shots used some pretty poor blue screen effects. Problems aside, I enjoyed this movie but accept that it probably isn’t going to be for everyone.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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September 7th, 2017 Movie – Snakes On A Plane

snakes on a plane

In the summer of 2006, was there any movie that had a bigger buzz on the internet than today’s movie? All summer it seemed like there were memes and jokes coming out left and right about this movie. Personally, as soon as I heard about this movie I thought it was going to be some B-movie that would be debuting on Syfy but low and behold, this was going to be a big budget picture in theaters. Well this just screamed out for me to go watch it and of course, I did and enjoyed it immensely. Now it’s time to have some fun and watch today’s movie, Snakes On A Plane.

The plot: In Honolulu, Hawaii, Sean Jones is riding his dirt bike through the mountains but as he stops for a break, he sees a man suddenly fall from a bridge, tied by his ankles to the top. Sean goes to help the man but he tells Sean to run as some men come down from the bridge. Sean hides and watches as Eddie Kim, a gang boss in Los Angeles, proceeds to beat the man, who is a federal prosecutor, to death with a bat. Sean makes a run for it and the next day, sees the news report about the murder. When he turns off the TV, he hears a noise coming from the front door and sees 3 men trying to break in. As he goes to hide on the balcony, he is grabbed by FBI Agent Neville Flynn, who shoots two of the assailants and helps Sean to escape. After introducing himself and driving off, he takes to the local FBI building where he and his partner, Agent John Sanders, try to convince Sean to testify to witnessing the murder and he finally agrees to go through with it. At Honolulu airport, flight attendants Claire Williams and Tiffany are talking about this being Claire’s last flight and she is surprised to see Grace and Ken are crewing the flight as well. In an airport waiting area, Sean and Flynn are watching the police guard a private plane that is set to leave for L.A., but that is a diversion hoping to fool Eddie Kim as Sean will be flying a commercial red-eye flight instead. As bomb dogs are sent through the plane, Claire is told by the pilot, Captain Sam McKeon, that the FBI is taking over first class to protect a witness and that she is responsible for telling the first class passengers that they are now flying coach. However, Kim’s men find out which plane Sean is flying on and plan a trap, spraying some leis with a pheremone which are then given to the passengers as they board the plane. Once the passengers are boarded, the plane takes off but unknown to everyone, Kim’s men have placed a crate full of dangerous snakes in the cargo hold with a time release set to trigger halfway through the flight. When the timer goes off, the crate opens and the snakes begin making their way through the cargo hold and into the cabin. Kyle and Kelly, a couple who snuck into the restroom to join the mile-high club, are the first people to die as some snakes enter the restroom through the smoke detector that Kyle had disable and bite them, as is another man in another restroom. As the plane starts flying through a storm, more snakes begin slithering through the cabin while some other snakes have managed to short out the avionics. Captain Sam heads down to reset the board while his co-pilot, Captain Rick, keeps the plane steady but while he is down in the hold, he is bit in the neck by a snake but Claire and Rick didn’t see the attack and think he had a heart attack. Claire informs Flynn and Sanders about what happened and Sanders suggests turning back but Rick tells him that it will take longer to fly back than to keep going, then heads back to pilot the plane, informing LAX of what has occurred. As the turbulence from the storm continues, some snakes begin crawling out of the console and when Rick sees them, he starts hitting them with his clipboard, causing the oxygen masks to deploy in the cabin and more snakes to fall onto the passengers. The snakes begin attacking the people and when Sanders goes to see what is going on, he freezes up due to a fear of snakes and ends up being bitten. Flynn heads down and starts directing people to the front of the plane, then has them make a barrier out of the luggage that is there. Mercedes, a rich socialite, had been knocked unconscious during the initial panic but she is saved by another passenger, Chen Leong. Meanwhile, Grace hears a baby crying and heads back to rescue the mother and baby but is bitten by a snake and dies from the venom. Flynn helps Sanders back up to first class but Sanders dies from the venom so Flynn calls Agent Hank Harris in L.A. to explain the situation. Claire and Flynn check on Tommy and Curtis, two kids that were flying solo on the plane and when they see that Curtis has been bitten, one of the passengers works to suck out the venom. Harris goes to see Dr. Stephen Price, an expert on snakes that customs uses for animal smuggling cases. Back on the plane, the passengers are getting angry and demand answers, forcing their way up to first class to get them and Sean tells them that the snakes are on the plane in an attempt to kill him before he can testify. Flynn speaks with Price on the phone and tries to describe the snakes to him but Mercedes suggest using her phone to take pictures and email them to him. Meanwhile, Rick is attacked by a viper and falls into the cargo hold and when Claire notices the plane tilting, she goes to check on him but is confronted by the snake. Claire manages to kill it as Flynn enters the cockpit and they work to try and pull the plane out of it’s dive. Unfortunately, the dive causes the drink trolley’s to crash through the barricades, sending the snakes into the front of the plane. Sean tells everyone to head up to first class, as the snakes begin killing more people but as everyone rushes up the stairs, a giant Burmese python crashes through the overhead lights and begins slithering around. The passengers overcrowd the stairs and several of them end up breaking through the rails and falling to the floor, with several of them being impaled on objects below. As the python heads towards them, a British businessman named Paul throws Mercedes’ chihuahua Mary Kate at the snake to distract it and Mercedes attacks him, but stops as the python encircles Paul and begins constricting him. Everyone makes it up to first class and they seal the opening using a life raft as Flynn and Claire finally manage to pull out of the dive. Rick emerges from the hold and Claire ties a tourniquet around his arm to slow the flow of venom and Rick continues flying the plane but they soon realize that the air conditioning is no longer working. Flynn decides to head down to reset the breakers and Claire makes him a makeshift flamethrower to use as a weapon. With Claire guiding him by walkie-talkie, Flynn makes his way to the breakers, killing snakes along the way, and resets them, restoring air flow to the plane. Meanwhile, Price figures out the dealer most likely to have sold the snakes to Kim and Harris takes him out to the desert to confront the man. When the man is bitten by one of his own snakes, Harris withholds the anti-venom until the dealer tells him which snakes were placed on the plane and confirming that Kim was the one to order them. Harris calls Flynn to tell him the good news but they discover that Rick has died and there are more snakes in the cockpit. When Claire asks if anyone can fly the plane, Three G’s, a famous rapper, says his bodyguard Troy can fly it. Flynn comes up with a plan to clear the snakes out of the cabin by shooting out a window and allowing the explosive decompression to clear the cabin, then he and Troy head into the cockpit, while the hole widens and ends up sucking the life raft out the hole and then clearing out all of the snakes in the plane. Troy contacts LAX to tell them he is landing and though his only experience is through flight simulator games, he manages to safely land the plane. The authorities arrive to help everyone off the plane and give anti-venom to those people still alive. Sean and Flynn are talking when Sean is struck in the chest by a snake that managed to survive. Flynn shoots the snake, knocking Sean down the emergency slide and then jumps down to help up Sean, who survived due to his wearing a bullet proof vest. Afterwards, Flynn asks out Claire while Sean ends up getting the phone number and a kiss from Tiffany, who he saved earlier. Some time later, Sean and Flynn are at the beach in Bali and Sean is helping to teach Flynn how to surf.

Snakes On A Plane met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a 69% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Snakes on a Plane lives up to its title, featuring snakes on a plane. It isn’t perfect, but then again, it doesn’t need to be.” Supposedly, Samuel Jackson’s agent wanted the movie title changed saying that Jackson could not work on a movie with that title but when he heard about it, Jackson demanded it be changed back saying, “That’s the only reason I took the job. I read the title.” The movie had finished shooting in 2005 but reshoots were made in March of 2006 to change it from a PG-13 to an R rating, including adding Jackson’s famed line, which was added due to it being used in an anticipatory Internet parody of the movie. With all of the buzz surrounding the movie, the studio thought it would be a big hit but it ended up being only mildly successful, earning $62 million off of a $33 million budget but would become a cult hit when it was released on video and began airing on TV.

This is one of the most honest movies you will ever see because it gives you exactly what it says it will; snakes on a plane. The acting is pretty good, with Samuel L. Jackson (Flynn), Julianna Margulies (Claire), and Nathan Phillips (Sean) all doing good jobs in their roles. I also like Kenan Thompson (Troy) and David Koechner (Rick) as they added a good bit of humor to the movie in the scenes they were in. The story was as simple as it was ridiculous and made for some very entertaining viewing. I will give them props for trying to explain how the snakes suddenly started attacking people instead of just leaving it to people’s imagination. The special effects regarding the snakes were pretty good, though there were plenty of times that the snakes looked a little too fake as they were slithering around or attacking people but that just added to the humor of the movie. Make no mistake about it, this is not a good movie in the classic sense of the word, but this is definitely an entertaining movie and one that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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September 18th, 2017 Movie – Slashed Dreams

slashed dreams

I have to say that this year really seems to have flown by. I mean, can you believe that it is almost October. That has absolutely nothing to do with today’s movie, I am just amazed at how quickly time flies. Now, today’s movie comes from the Chilling Classics box set, so there is no telling how good of a movie I will be watching. So let’s see how the day is going to start out with today’s movie, Slashed Dreams.

The plot: At college, Jenny gets a letter from her friend Michael and is reading it when one of her classmates, Robert, sits down next to her on the bench. Jenny starts to tell Robert about what Michael wrote, how he built a cabin in the woods and has never been happier, when her boyfriend, Marshall, shows up and jealously pulls Jenny off the bench and walks away with her. During a philosophy class, Marshall and Robert get into an argument and later, Jenny tells Marshall that she isn’t happy with what he is saying and is finding herself unhappy with her life. At a party at Marshall’s house, where he is hazing a pledge for his fraternity, Marshall complains to another girl, Tina, about Jenny and Robert being too close and Tina tells him that they have been friends since they were in grade school. As Jenny and Robert talk about Michael and discuss going to see him, Marshall gets jealous and yells at them, telling them to get out of his house. Robert and Jenny decide to go ahead and head out to see Michael but as they are driving along the highway, Marshall, Tina, and another kid drive past them and throw something on their windshield, causing them to pull over. When Marshall turns around and drives right towards them, then swerves at the last minute, Robert gets out of his car to yell at Marshall but the other guy tries to calm him down. Marshall tries pleading with Jenny to come back with him but she tells him it is over between them and tells him to leave. Robert and Jenny continue driving and eventually reach the county store that Michael had mailed the letter from. When they ask the store’s owner about Michael, he tells them that he knows Michael but hasn’t seen him for quite some time. When they ask for directions to where Michael is staying, the owner tries to talk them out of going but eventually tells them the area and offers them a knife, saying that strange things have been going on there, but they refuse it and head out. Robert and Jenny begin hiking along the mountain and make camp for the night but in the morning, they find a bear has entered their campsite and are forced to lie still as it proceeds to eat some of their food before eventually walking away. As they scrounge for food in the woods, Robert and Jenny have some fun and end up getting closer to each other. As Jenny goes to use the bathroom, she finds a cabin in the woods and quickly approaches it, looking inside to see if Michael is there. Robert soon joins her and as they look around for a bit before Jenny decides to get cleaned up in the nearby pond and convinces Robert to join her when he shows up. As they are fooling around in the water, two men, Levon and Danker, are watching them and Danker eventually calls out to them. As the surprised couple face the strangers, Levon apologizes and introduces themselves to the two, then asks what they are doing up there. Robert explains that they are there to see Michael and ask if they know him. Levon says he does and asks if they have a gun, as they are hunting poachers. After the two leave, Robert and Jenny head back to the cabin and settle in for the night, deciding that if Michael doesn’t show up in the morning that they will head back. Jenny says she doesn’t care if Michael shows up as she is glad to be there with Robert and they two start kissing and eventually have sex. That night, Robert wakes up when he notices that the fire has gone out when Levon and Danker suddenly burst into the cabin, knock Robert unconscious and proceed to rape and beat Jenny. When Robert comes too, he tries to comfort Jenny, then heads outside to give her some time to herself. As he is waiting outside, he sees Michael walking up and greets his friend. Michael is happy to see him and when he hears Jenny is here too, he starts to head inside and go see her but Robert stops him and tells him about the rape. After asking Robert if he is ok, Michael heads inside the the cabin and tries to tend to Jenny and help her deal with what happened. Meanwhile, Robert is walking through the woods and comes across Levon and Danker arguing, as Danker wants to head back up to the cabin and attack Jenny again but Levon is trying to stop him. When Levon cut’s Danker’s leg and moves to finish him off, Robert leaps out of the bushes and starts to attack Levon. Michael and Jenny hear the commotion and run out of the cabin, stopping Robert from killing Levon. As Levon and Danker make their escape, Robert apologizes to Jenny as she holds him and Michael soon joins them. As Robert and Jenny both deal with what happened, Jenny reads an excerpt from a book in Michael’s cabin, as the two are seen walking through a field hand in hand.

Well that was an interesting, and slightly disturbing movie. The acting was ok, with Peter Hooten (Robert) and Kathrine Baumann (Jenny) doing good jobs in their roles while Robert Englund (Michael) put in a brief but very well done performance. The story felt pretty disjointed, starting off with Jenny dealing with her jealous and possessive boyfriend, then moves to the trip to the mountain by Robert and Jenny, then ending with the rape and everyone dealing with it afterwards. Honestly, I feel like the writer wasn’t sure what kind of movie he wanted to make so he just put in every idea he had brainstormed. There was a decent amount of drama involved in the movie, particularly centered around Jenny; first with he relationship with Marshall and his jealousy and then later with her being raped and dealing with it afterwards. Most likely, this was prime material for a drive in but I don’t know if that many people will want to watch it.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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September 17th, 2017 Movie – The Skulls

the skulls

Ahh, the turn of the century and a time when you could actually go out on a date to the movies and get some snacks for the cost of one ticket now a days. I know in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I watched a lot of movies in the theaters, honestly more movies than I can remember off hand. I do remember going to see this movie in the theaters down in Savannah on a date with my girlfriend at the time. Even though I bought it on DVD (another Blockbuster purchase), I honestly haven’t watched this movie in years but I do remember liking this movie when I first saw it. Now let’s see if it still holds up as I watch today’s movie, The Skulls.

The plot: Luke McNamara is a local “townie” that is able to attend Yale on scholarships while also working in the cafeteria to help cover the costs. As he tries to figure out how to afford to go to law school, Luke heads to a rowing competition, where he is the captain of the team and has lead them to 3 championships. As they prepare for the race, Luke is unaware that he is being observed by two men, who are considering recruiting him to be in The Skulls. After winning the competition, Luke is celebrating at a bar with his friend/roommate Will, who is also the coxswain of the rowing team, and Chloe, who Luke has feelings towards. Will tries to convince Luke that he should tell Chloe how he feels but Luke says that he can’t, as he feels like he has nothing to offer her since she comes from a wealthy family. As Luke complains about how much all of his tuition is costing and how much he will end up and how the Skulls will supposedly help him pay for all of that if he is selected to join but Will warns him that if it’s secret, it might not always be a good thing as they walk by the Skull’s campus house. As they are eating pizza up in Chloe’s dorm room, Luke receives a phone call asking if he is ready to be reborn and instructing him to another payphone. Luke rushes off, with Will and Chloe trying to figure out where he is going, and after following a series of instructions, Luke drinks a drugged drink and ends up passing out. Luke regains consciousness and finds himself inside a coffin and finds several other people also exiting coffins. Suddenly, two hooded figures welcome the new members to The Skulls and assigns them a test to steal the mascot from a rival secret society. The group head to the society’s building and one kid, Caleb Mandrake, quickly jumps over the moat to reach the door. When he says it is locked, Luke jumps over and manages to pick the lock and the two manage to climb the tower and steal the mascot, a weather vane shaped like a python. When Luke returns to his dorm room the next morning, Will and Chloe start asking him questions about what happened but Luke says he doesn’t want to talk about it. When Will asks him point blank if he is a Skull, Luke tells him he doesn’t know but Will doesn’t believe him. The two start arguing and Chloe tries to get them to calm down but when Caleb calls for Luke, Will gets even more upset that Luke is picking his new friends over his old ones. Chloe leaves as well, looking hurt over Luke’s actions and when Luke talks to Caleb, Caleb tells him to look under his pillow and Luke finds a box containing a Skull medallion. Luke, Caleb, and the other recruits arrive at the Skull’s ritual room and are paired off into “soulmates”, with Luke and Caleb being paired together, and inducted into the Skulls by the Chairman of the order, Judge Litten Mandrake , Caleb’s father. After leaving the room, Luke heads to Chloe’s room to apologize and asks her to dinner but when he finds that he has an additional $20,000 in his bank account, Chloe realizes that he is a Skull but Luke tries to convince her to be happy for him. The next day, Luke, Caleb and the other Skulls are invited to the Skull’s island retreat and Litten introduces Luke to his soulmate, Senator Ames Levritt, who takes a liking to Luke due to their similar backgrounds and hands him a card, saying to call him if he needs anything. Luke then goes to talk with Caleb and comments on the tension between him and his father and Caleb says that Litten is ambitious and wants to be on the Supreme Court and has been trying to pass on that ambition to him but Caleb doesn’t know what he wants yet. After returning from the island, the new Skulls find gifts in the form of new cars waiting for them and they all quickly speed off. The next day, Luke sees Will in between classes and comments on his missing practice and Will tells him he is working on something secret. Elsewhere, Caleb is at boxing practice and when he heads to his car, he finds the window is smashed and someone has stolen his key to the Skull’s building. Caleb goes to find Luke and asks to borrow his key, saying he left his key inside the building, and Luke hands it to him. When Caleb gets to the ritual room, he finds Will in there taking pictures and accuses him of taking his stuff and Will admits to it and goes to hand him his key but says he doesn’t have the rule book on him. Later that night, Luke feels bad about his argument with Will and heads to the newspaper room to apologize only to find Will’s body hanging from one of the beams. The detective in charge of the case, Detective Sparrow, starts to question Luke about Will’s death but is stopped by the University Provost, Martin Lombard, and Luke leaves with Chloe, while Caleb offers his condolences. As movers are packing up Will’s stuff to send back to his home, they uncover a secret drawer in his desk and Luke realizes that Will was doing an article about the Skulls and had Caleb’s book. After the funeral, Chloe tells Luke she knew Will was doing the article but had been asked to keep it a secret and asks Luke if the story got Will killed. Luke tells her he doesn’t know but she can tell that he is not being completely honest and calls him out for lying as she leaves in tears. The next day, Sparrow talks with Luke about the case and tells him that Will had a contusion on the back of his head, indicating something violent happened before he died and that his suicide was possibly staged. At a meeting with the Skulls, the group are brought to a room to reveal their deepest secrets and Luke volunteers himself and Caleb to go first. After they are sealed into the cage and lowered into the well, Luke subtly questions Caleb about what happened to Will but Caleb refuses to answer it. Afterwards, Luke and Caleb are brought to see Litten and Litten forces Caleb to tell him the truth. Caleb explains that he went to the room and found Will taking pictures and after confronting him, they struggled and Will ended up falling and breaking his neck so he called Litten and Litten covered up the accident in order to protect his future as well as the Skulls. Luke isn’t happy about it but Litten offers him a pre-approved acceptance to any law school he wishes in order to keep the secret. Luke gets in touch with Levritt to try and figure out what he should do and Levritt give Luke the idea about checking the security tapes, as everything that happened would be recorded and comments on how the Council is putting everything into getting Litten onto a Federal Bench, as a precursor to the Supreme Court, and it would be a shame to see anything happen that would ruin his chances. Luke goes to see his old high school friends, who he used to commit crimes with, and convinces them to help him in exchange for giving them his car. They find out the tapes are switched out twice a day and try to follow where the man takes them but Luke loses him in the school’s library. When Luke returns to his room, he is attacked by Caleb, who reveals that Luke’s room is bugged, as is Caleb’s and Chloe’s, and begs Luke to stop digging into the matter. Luke goes to see Chloe and apologizes for what he has done and proceeds to tell her everything. Meanwhile, Litten calls the Council and wants to kick Luke out of the Skulls but Levritt votes against the measure until Litten pulls him aside and shows him photos of Levritt with his 19 year old mistress, blackmailing him into voting for the measure. The next day, Chloe yells at Luke in the cafeteria for writing him a letter breaking up with her and tells him to never talk to her again. After she leaves, Caleb, who was sitting behind Luke, tells him it was a good call, as he feels Luke did it to keep Chloe away from him. Luke then heads up to Chloe’s room, revealing it was an act, and after turning up the music and her shower to insure nobody can hear them, he tries to get her to stay clear of any further involvement but she tells him she is involved because she loves him, and the two embrace and kiss. That night, Luke assaults the security guard as he enters a secret room in the library and steals the tape of the ritual room from the night Will was killed. As he leaves, he is chased down by Lombard and another man but his friends, wearing masks to hide their identities, show up and beat them down, then they all escape with Chloe. Heading back to his friends’ place, they watch the tape and see Will fall and Caleb call his dad and tell him what happened. Caleb wants to call the police but Litten apparently tells him to leave the room. As the continue watching the tape, the see that Will was still alive but Lombard and his men enter and after talking with Litten, they kill him and then take the body to stage the suicide. Luke heads to the police to speak with Sparrow only to find that Caleb is there, having told Sparrow that Luke killed Will. Luke hands Sparrow the tape saying that it proves who killed Will but when Sparrow, Luke, and the D.A. watches the tape, they find it is blank and Luke realizes that Sparrow switched the tapes as he is carried off and placed into an ambulance, where he is sedated and transported to a psychiatric institute that is run by a member of the Skulls. Back at the school, Chloe goes to speak with Caleb and ask for his help in getting Luke out of the mental hospital but Caleb refuses to help her and tells her to leave and she does, but tells him that Will was still alive when he left the room. Chloe is assaulted by Lombard and his men but manages to get away from them and runs into Levritt, who takes her to the hospital. They get Luke out of the hospital and Ames tells her to tell Luke there is only one way out of this and to remind Luke that, “they live by the rules and they die by the rules.” As they leave, they are attacked by another car, which forces them off the road, causing them to crash on an unfinished railroad bridge. Lombard goes to shoot Luke but he is killed by Sparrow, who hands Luke his rule book and tells them to leave. At a motel, Luke tries to figure out what Levritt meant and when Chloe tells him about what Levritt told her, he checks the rule book and figures out what Levritt meant. Luke rows over to the island and as Litten is toasting the new Skulls on ending their Period of Revelation, Luke enters the room and challenges Caleb to a duel. Litten wants Luke to be arrested but when he is reminded that the Skulls’ laws supersede the outside laws, he offers to take Caleb’s place, only for Luke to tell him it is forbidden for the Council members to interfere when the matter concerns their kin. As they prepare to face off in the duel, Luke tries to convince Caleb to tell everyone the truth of what happened, refusing to fire on Caleb but Caleb can’t tell them, but also can’t shoot Luke. Litten grabs another pistol and prepares to shoot Luke but he is shot in the shoulder by Caleb. As everyone rushes to tend to Litten, Caleb grabs another pistol and prepares to shoot himself but he is stopped by Luke, he says it is over. Later, Luke is talking with Levritt and tells him that he knows he orchestrated things to play out as they did in order to remove Litten as Chairman. Levritt admits it and tells Luke he looks forward to working with him but Luke says he is leaving the Skulls. When Levritt says they will find him and call on him but Luke ignores him and leaves, prompting Levritt to watch him and say, “Well done son, well done”, as Luke rows back to the mainland and joins up with Chloe, who was waiting for him.

The Skulls was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Skulls is full of nonsense and empty of good script and plot.” The movie is based on conspiracy theories concerning Yale’s Skull & Bones Society and though the school is not mentioned by name, there are several references to Yale throughout the film, primarily them referring to the rowing team as The Bulldogs. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a hit at the box office, earning $50.8 million off of a $15 million budget and would spawn two direct to video sequels.

Yeh, this movie didn’t quite hold up as well as I thought it would. The acting was ok, with Joshua Jackson (Luke) and Leslie Bibb (Chloe) doing a good job in their roles and showing some decent chemistry together. I also liked Craig T. Nelson (Litten) and William Petersen (Levritt) but I thought Paul Walker (Caleb) seemed rather bland. The story was honestly a little weak, with them trying to make a good suspense/thriller but basically threw a bunch of dramatic cliches up against the drawing board and hoping they would stick. The really annoying thing was the hinted familial relationship between Levritt and Luke, as they try and hint that Levritt is Luke’s dad, but waited till the end to drop that dud of a bombshell and did absolutely nothing with it. Honestly, the thing I liked the best about this movie was the soundtrack and while it can sometimes help carry a movie, that is definitely not the case this time. It might be worth watching for some people but this was really a disappointment to me.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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September 15th, 2017 Movie – Sisters Of Death

sisters of death

Another movie from the Chilling Classics collection. Oh Joy. Funny thing is, I had actually watched this movie a couple of years; not on any of the normal streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu, but on YouTube. I was bored one day and looking for some ways to kill time and while browsing along on YouTube, saw that the had a section for movies and saw several movies on there and decided “Why not?” Now I never got around to finish watching this movie so I don’t know how it ended but that could make it all the more exciting to watch now. Guess I will find out as I watch today’s movie, Sisters Of Death.

The plot: Two pledges, Judy and Liz, are undertaking the final test to enter an all girl secret society known as The Sisters, the Test of Courage. The “Initiator” steps behind them and loads a blank into a small pistol, then points it at the first girl and pulls the trigger. When she doesn’t scream or move, she places a locket around her neck, indicating that she passed. When the “Initiator” repeats the process for the second girl, something goes wrong and the girls ends up being shot in the head, causing everyone there to scream. 7 years later, Judy receives an envelope inviting her to a reunion of The Sisters and $500 to pay for travel. Judy calls Sylvia, another Sister, to see if she had sent out the invitations but Sylvia thought that Judy had sent them, as she is the only one of the group with enough money to afford to do something like that, so Judy asks Sylvia to meet with her to discuss this. Elsewhere, Penny is talking to her spiritual guru and questioning whether she should go and revisit her past while Diana is hitchhiking to where the reunion is supposed to take place, while trying to keep the driver’s hands off of her. The final member of the group, Francie, is pulled over for speeding while trying to reach Paso Robles, where the reunion is supposed to take place, but manages to talk the cop out of giving her a ticket. Judy and Sylvia arrive at the the Paso Robles Inn and are soon joined by by the others, unaware that the group were being observed by two men. When all 5 girls are there, the two men get out of their car and introduce themselves to the girls as Joe and Mark and say they are there to drive them to their destination. The girls are confused but agree to go with them, although Penny is reluctant to do so and has to be coaxed into going by the others. After an hour of driving, they arrive at their destination and Joe and Mark help the girls get their bags out of their car and then leave. The girls head inside, with Penny still being reluctant to do so, and they find a table with food and drinks by a pool and go have a drink, unaware of the gate they drove through automatically closing and locking them inside the grounds. Meanwhile, Joe and Mark had pulled over and Joe convinces Mark that they should crash the reunion in order to try and hook up with some of the girls. They see the fence and Mark thinks they should turn back but Joe shows that it is not electrified and they climb over it and head towards the house. Meanwhile, Sylvia decides to rest by the pool while the other girls start exploring the house and figuring out where they will stay. During the course of their explorations, they find the upper levels of the house have been sealed off but there are plenty of rooms on the lower floor for them to sleep in. Judy goes to change into a bikini but she is unaware that she is being watched by someone, who is moving around inside the walls of the house. Back outside, Joe and Mark approach Sylvia, who is upset that they are there, but they manage to convince her to let them have one drink and as they are about to leave, the other girls return and allow them to stay. The mysterious man sees that the men have returned and arms the electrical fence. As night falls, Joe and Mark are too drunk to drive and end up falling asleep on the deck chairs by the pool, with Diane bringing them some blankets and telling them to be quiet or Sylvia will call the cops on them. The next morning, the girls wake up and all find pictures of Liz in their bedrooms, which upsets Sylvia and, as the five girls gather around a table, she accuses them of messing with her and plans on leaving. When she turns around, she finds the man there and he introduces himself as Liz’s father, Edmond Clybourn. Edmond says that one of them murdered Liz and they all try to tell him that it was an accident and was ruled as such but Edmond insist that one of them hated Liz and had her murdered with a live round. Hearing this, Penny freaks out and runs screaming from the house, waking Joe and Mark, who try to stop her but she pushes them aside. When Mark sees that the electric fence is on, he quickly rushes out and throws Penny back, then throws a piece of metal to show that it is electrified, causing Penny to faint. As the girls all start screaming and crying, Mark heads inside to try and call for help but is stopped by Edmond, who tells him the phone is dead. Edmond says he should kill Mark and Joe for not following his instructions, but he won’t because Liz wouldn’t like that. When Mark asks who Liz is, Judy, who had followed him in the house, tells him and explains that Edmond believes one of them murdered her but her death was an accident. When Edmond says that he has a witness, as one of the girls had seen someone switch out the bullets, Judy asks why that person didn’t come forward and then asks who the witness was but Edmond says everyone will know everything tomorrow. When Judy tries to force him to tell her, he shoves her down, then shoots a nearby bust, telling her that is his last warning. Joe and the other girls run inside and Mark explains to Joe what is going on and they decide to try and turn off the power to the fence. Convincing the girls to work together with them, they split up, with Joe taking Diana and Francie while Mark goes with Judy, Sylvia, and Penny. As they all leave to look for a cellar door, hoping a fuse box is down there, Penny ends up staying in the living room and staring at the picture of Liz. As Judy, Mark, and Sylvia search the rooms, Sylvia sees a tarantula in one room and screams, then says she is too shaken up by what happened to be of much use so Sylvia says she should go check on Penny. Judy heads back to the living room only to find Penny gone but hears her chanting and praying outside and looks outside but doesn’t see her as she is on the other side of a wall. Edmond sees Penny from his window upstairs but after closing the window, someone approaches Penny and chokes her with her own necklace. Meanwhile, Joe finds a hidden staircase to the cellar and after finding a fuse panel, starts flicking all the switches and then runs back up the stairs. Joe and the others race outside only to find the fence is still live when Judy screams and they find her kneeling over Penny’s body. As Mark and Joe carry off Penny’s body, Judy cries that she looked for Judy and didn’t find her and Sylvia comforts her and helps her join the others. After Mark and Joe return, Mark tells the others about what Edmond had said and says that there is a possibility that one of them is working with Edmond. Joe speaks with Mark privately and says that they better figure out a way out of there before it gets dark, as he feels that Edmond will have an easier time of picking the girls off one by one. That night, Mark and Joe decide to stand guard in the hallway outside the girls’ rooms while the girls themselves all fret about whether Edmond might try something that night. Diana is scared and goes into Francie’s room and as they talk, Francie decides to take a shower, though Diana thinks that is a bad idea. Sylvia goes to sleep but when she feels something crawling on her, wakes up to find a tarantula on her stomach and starts screaming. Mark and Joe race into her room and Joe is able to swat the tarantula off her and squash it. They head out into the living room, where they are joined by Diana, and Mark decides to get the others but when Diana and Joe go to get Francie, they find she has been stabbed with a pair of scissors. They 5 survivors head outside and try coming up with ideas on how to get out of there. Seeing some water from a drainage pipe running under the fence, Mark thinks they might be able to dig under the fence and escape and goes to find a shovel. Meanwhile, Joe had come up with an idea to make an S.O.S. sign to signal an aircraft that might fly overhead and Diana has an idea on how to make it so they head back to the house. Mark enters the cellar to try and get a shovel but finds a rattlesnake in there and is forced to leave. Returning to Judy and Sylvia, Mark asks them to help him but when Sylvia starts walking, she falls and twists her ankle so Judy has her sit down while she helps Mark dig by hand. Meanwhile, Diana and Joe cut up the welcome banner from the party to make their sign, then head out to the yard to find a spot to lay it out. As Joe sends Diana to find some rocks to weigh the sign down with, he finds the hidden power source for the fence and tells Diana to go get Mark. Mark and Judy discover a concrete base underneath the fence and are forced to stop digging but when they turn around, they find that Sylvia is gone. Judy runs up to the house to look for her and Mark is about to follow her but Diana stops him and tells him that Joe needs him so he tells Diana to go get Judy while he goes to Mark. Meanwhile, Edmond had seen Joe discover the power source and sends his German Shepherd to attack him and as Joe runs from the dog, he ends up running into the fence and electrocuting himself. Diana goes looking for Judy and Sylvia and, seeing the cellar door open, she heads down there but someone locks her in and as she tries to get out, she is bitten by the rattlesnake and killed. Inside the house, Edmond confronts Judy, grabbing her when she faints, and when Mark tries to stop him, he shoots at him before sending his dog to attack him. Edmond takes Judy upstairs and dresses her in her pledge robe before tying her to a chair. He then slaps her awake and Sylvia enters in her Initiator dress, revealing that she had been working with Edmond. Mark manages to lock the dog in a room and then goes to save Judy but he is knocked unconscious by Edmond. When Judy asks why, Sylvia explains that she was racked with guilt over Liz’s death, as she was the one who pulled the trigger, and had contemplated suicide when Edmond found her and convinced her that someone else was responsible. Sylvia then says that she knew that Judy hated Liz because she was prettier and better than Judy so Judy asked Sylvia about the ritual and learned of the bullets. Sylvia explains that she did that because Liz wanted to know and wanted to commit suicide. Sylvia says she is lying and then Edmond reveals a gatling gun and Sylvia explains that Edmond had made bullets, with some being fake and some being real. They begin firing around Judy but Mark comes too and manages to knock out Edmond. Sylvia goes to shoot Judy with Edmond’s pistol but Mark stops her, frees Judy, and then grabs a barrel of explosives as he and Judy run. Sylvia tries to stop them but she is shot by Edmond by accident and Edmond then attempts to shoot Judy and Mark as they head for the fence. Mark hands Judy the pistol and she uses it to shoot Edmond while Mark throws the explosive at the fence, blowing open the gate. Judy and Mark leave and head to the car and Mark says that they made it but Judy tells him that she made it, then points the gun at Mark and shoots him, indicating that she was the one that killed the other girls as well as Liz.

There were times that this felt like a poor imitation of an Agatha Christie movie but on the whole, this wasn’t that bad of a thriller. The acting was ok, with Claudia Jennings (Judy) and Arthur Franz (Edmond) putting on really good performances. The basic plot, centering on Liz’s death and Edmond’s twisted desire for revenge, was pretty good but the way that it would keep jumping around between the characters throughout the movie made things a little more confusing than it needed to be. I also felt like they could have done a better job in setting up the ending and laying out Judy’s motivation, though I did think how they explained Sylvia’s helping Edmond was great. The way the film was set up felt weird at times, with it felling like some scenes were cut out that could have explained what was going on a bit better, but otherwise, this is a decent movie and worth giving a chance.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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September 11th, 2017 Movie – Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

sin city 2

Whenever I think of this movie, the phrase “Strike while the iron is hot” always comes to mind. Now I know the literal meaning of the phrase has to do with smithing and metal working but it also has come to mean take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. In Hollywood, this means that if you have a successful movie, you should try and do a sequel fairly quickly in order to take advantage of people’s liking the first movie enough that they would want to see the sequel. In regards to today’s movie, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, several reasons kept this movie from being filmed immediately after, which probably contributed to it’s failure at the box office.

The plot: [Just Another Saturday Night] Marv crawls out from a car wreck and has no memory of how he got there. After taking his medicine, he examines himself and finds a bullet wound in his arm that he figures is an hour old and the body of a frat boy nearby but he still can’t remember anything. Trying to recall his steps, Marv realizes that since it was Saturday night, he had probably started the night at Kadie’s, watching Nancy dance. After leaving there, he was drinking in an alley when he caught four frat boys setting winos on fire. When he confronts them, one of the boys tells him to mind his own business, calling him “Bernini Boy” but Marv mishears it as Bernie, then shoots him in the shoulder. When Marv continues to move towards them, the boys run to their car and Marv jumps onto the side as they drive off but ends up being slammed into a police car. Marv smashes through the windshield and throws the cops out of the car, then proceeds to keep the frat boys from returning to the university, forcing them up the hill towards the projects, where he finally crashes his car into them. Marv sees another frat boy close to death nearby and stomps on his throat to kill him, then heads after the remaining two boys. As Marv enters The Projects, the two remaining boys are on a rooftop watching him and the one with the gun takes aim at Marv. Before he can shoot, several arrows whip by them and land at Marv’s feet. Marv signals “his old neighbors” to remind them who he is, then has them shoot the two boys. instead. Making his way to the roof, Marv has his old neighbors kill one of the boys, then asks the boy who shot him why he called him Bernie. The boy explains that Bernini is the brand of coat he has on and Marv thanks him, then yells out for a knife, which he uses to slit the boy’s throat. As Marv comments on how nice the coat is, he wonders where he got it, as well as the gloves he is wearing, but he can’t remember.
[The Long Bad Night: Part 1] A young gambler named Johnny arrives at Kadie’s and after flirting with a waitress named Marcie, has her accompany him to the slot machines. After he hits a jackpot, he asks another waitress where the “real action” is and is directed to the back of the bar, where Senator Roark runs a poker game. Hitting the jackpot on another slot machine, he takes Marcie with him as a good luck charm and heads to the back to buy into the poker game. Roark allows him to play and as they are playing, none of them are aware of Nancy watching them from a hole in the wall, her attention focused solely on Roark as she aims the gun from her act at him. Johnny ends up winning everyone’s money and after collecting his winnings, he goes to leave. One of the players, who is a cop, warns him to get out of town but Johnny says that he can’t miss tomorrow’s game then gets in his car with Marcie and heads out on the town. Inside the club, Nancy is starting her act on stage but she has become a drunk after Hartigan’s death. Hartigan’s ghost enters the bar and watches as Nancy points her gun at Roark as he is leaving, then at herself, and comments that one day she will pull the trigger and begs her not to take revenge for him but to live her life. Meanwhile, Johnny and MArcie are enjoying themselves when all of his credit cards are suddenly declined. As Johnny walks Marcie back home, he notices two men following them and he quickly beats them down before they can jump him. Seeing a limo pulling up, he tells Marcie to meet him at his hotel, then gets in the limo, where Roark is waiting for him. Roark says that Johnny embarrassed him and so in retaliation, he has his men use a pair of pliers to break the fingers in Johnny’s playing hand and then throws him from the limo. He then gets out and shoots him in the leg. Roark then tells him that he recognizes Johnny as one of his illegitimate sons but tells him that he only had one son, Roark Junior, and he would never claim Johnny. Roark leaves Johnny lying there and Johnny swears revenge on Roark.
{A Dame To Kill For] (This story takes place before the events of The Big Fat Kill) Dwight McCarthy is trying to put his violent past behind him and make a living as a private detective and taking pictures of a businessman named Joey having sex with a hooker named Sally. After they finish, Dwight goes to leave but when he sees Joey is about to kill Sally, Dwight saves her and takes her back to Old Town, then heads back to his office to develop the pictures. After taking them to his client, he returns home only to get a call from Ava, his former lover, who asks him to meet her. Dwight knows he shouldn’t, but he goes to the saloon to meet with Ava, who begs for his forgiveness. When Manute appears to take Ava home, Dwight starts to stand up to him, prompting Marv to offer his aid if needed, but Ava tells Dwight it is too late for her and she leaves with Manute. Dwight gets worried so he heads to the mansion Ava lives in and sneaks onto the grounds. He sees Ava skinny dipping in her pool and comments on how she doesn’t looked abused when the mansion’s security catch him. Ava apologizes to Dwight and heads inside while Manute proceeds to beat Dwight into unconsciousness. Dwight is thrown out of a car in front of his place and he is surprised to find his car there. When he heads inside, he finds a naked Ava waiting for him and tries to get her to leave but she refuses and ends up seducing him into bed. After they have sex, Dwight asks her to tell him what is going on and she tells him about her husband Damien and how he and Manute torture her and she knows one day they will kill her. When Manute shows up to take her back, Dwight tries punching him but he has no effect and Manute punches him out of his window, then escorts Manute back to the mansion. Dwight heads to Kadie’s and recruits Marv to help him and they head for the mansion. When they get there, they split up, with Marv taking out the guards and then battling Manute, beating him and taking out one of his eyes. Meanwhile, Dwight makes his way inside and confronts Damien, who tells Dwight that he is being lied to by Ava. When Damien pulls out a gun, Dwight punches him and accidentally kills him. Ava then reveals that she tricked Dwight into killing Damien so she could have all of his money, then shoots him several times, eventually knocking him out a window. Marv grabs Dwight’s body and makes their escape, with Dwight telling him to head to Old Town. When they get there, Gail is upset that they had cops following them into Old Town but when Dwight calls out her name, Gail rushes to his side and has Miho get some help. Back at the mansion, Ava is talking to two detectives, Mort and Bob, about what happened and starts seducing Mort, who calls her later that night and she continues to seduce him, convincing him to come to the mansion. Back in Old Town, Dwight regains consciousness and Gail tells him that the cops are looking for him but they will take care of that. When Goldie and Wendy show up and want to kick Dwight out of Old Town, threatening to have Miho kill him, Gail tells them that Dwight stays and tells Miho that she owes her life to Dwight, causing her to sheath her sword. Meanwhile, Mort is falling in love with Ava, though his partner tries to convince him she is up to no good. Dwight undergoes facial reconstruction and while he is still bandaged up, he pays a visit to Manute’s hospital room and warns him to stay out of his way. Meanwhile, Mort is heading to Old Town to get Dwight and when Bob tells him to turn the car around, Mort kills him, then comes to his senses and kills himself as well. Ava has a dinner party and speaks with mob boss Wallenquist to try and make a deal to control Old Town and Wallenquist says he has a specialist from Texas that he can bring in. Manute meets the specialist at the train station but the specialist, who is really Dwight with a new face, says he has his own ride as a disguised Gail pulls up and they follow Manute to Ava’s mansion. When they get there, Manute leads Dwight away from Gail and has him searched, then says he recognized Dwight and takes him to see Ava. Outside, Gail lets Miho out of the trunk of the car and they begin killing all of the guards. Meanwhile, Dwight pulls out a hidden revolver and shoots Manute with it but when he doesn’t kill him, starts fighting with him until Ava grabs one of Manute’s guns and proceeds to shoot him with it. Ava then approaches Dwight and tries to seduce him again but as she kisses him, Dwight shoots her, then holds her as she dies.
[The Long Bad Night: Part 2] Johnny goes to see Kroenig, an unlicensed doctor, and has him do what he can to tend to his injuries. As he heads back to his hotel, he worries about Marcie and Roark possibly going after her. Sneaking in through the window, he finds Roark waiting for him and his men show him the dismembered corpse of Marcie. Roark threatens to shoot Johnny, causing Johnny to jump back out the window, but Roark tells him he likes seeing Johnny in this condition. Trying to figure out his next move, Johnny heads to a diner and a waitress takes pity on him and give him a dollar, which he then uses back at Kadie’s to play the slot machines and win some more money. Taking his winnings, Johnny buys back into the poker game but he ends up folding his first couple of hands, prompting Roark to taunt him. When Johnny goes all in on a hand, Roark calls him and Johnny ends up winning, then tells Roark that he beat him twice, and people will always remember that, prompting Roark to shoot him and then tell his men to get rid of the body so they can keep playing.
[Nancy’s Last Dance] Nancy goes to visit Hartigan’s grave and lay some flowers on it, unaware that she is being followed. The police lieutenant that was following her reports his findings to Roark and tells him about Nancy’s actions but Roark is dismissive of it and says that she can drown in her own sorrows. Meanwhile, Nancy continues her downward spiral since Hartigan died and Hartigan’s ghost continues to watch as she blames him for leaving her alone. Nancy cuts her hair and heads to Kadie’s to do her act, making it more sexual than normal, which causes Marv to worry about her and leave. After her act, Nancy smashes the mirror, then uses a shard to start cutting up her face. The next day, Marv enters the club and when he sees Nancy’s face, asks her who did it and she tells him Roark. The two leave, taking out some bikers in order to her their weapons, and then head for Roark’s mansion. Nancy works on taking out the perimeter guards while Marv heads onto the grounds and deals with the guards inside. When Nancy enters the mansion, she finds a wounded Marv kneeling at the top of the stairs and quickly kills the last guard, then gives Marv a cigarette and tells him to rest. She heads to Roark’s office and shoots at him but only hits a mirror casting his reflection, while the real Roark shoots her. Roark then taunts her by shooting the gun out of her reach and shooting her in the leg before going to finish her off. Suddenly, Roark sees Hartigan in the mirror and turns to look for him and when he turns back around, Nancy had managed to grab her gun and shoots him in the shoulder, then approaches him and finishes him off.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For met with mixed to negative reaction from the critics, holding a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A Dame to Kill For boasts the same stylish violence and striking visual palette as the original Sin City, but lacks its predecessor’s brutal impact.” The movie was a mixture of original “Sin City” stories (“A Dame To Kill For” & “Just Another Saturday Night”) as well as two new stories (“The Long Bad Night” & “Nancy’s Last Dance”), which were written exclusively for the film. Although the character of Shellie played a part in the story “A Dame To Kill For”, Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez decided to retire her in the film version in respects to the late Brittany Murphy, who played her in the original movie, but they could not do the same for Manute’s character, as he played too big a role in the story. The movie was a box office bomb, only pulling in $39.4 million off of a  $65 million budget.

The sequel curse definitely hit this movie but this is still a pretty good movie. The acting was good, with Mickey Rourke (Marv), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Johnny), Josh Brolin (Dwight), and Powers Boothe (Roark) doing a good job in their roles. I also liked Dennis Haysbert, who did a good job in taking up the role of Manute following Michael Clarke Duncan’s death. The two stories that were already written were great and I did like the new story “The Long Bad Night” and while I did think it was interesting to see the effect Hartigan’s death had on Nancy, I thought the “Nancy’s Last Dance” story felt too much like a fan service fluff piece in order to appease fans who wanted to see more of Jessica Alba. The film technique and special effects were just as good as the original movie and the occasional bits of color really added to the visual aspect of the movie. Not as good as the original but definitely a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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September 10th, 2017 Movie – Sin City

sin city

When it comes to movies based on comic books, 95% of the time I am all in for going to see them. Occasionally, there are those few (*cough* Catwoman *cough*) that I have no interest in seeing, but that was definitely not the case with today’s movie. I was a fan of Frank Miller’s work ever since I first read “The Dark Knight Returns” and when I heard that they were making a movie based on his “Sin City” graphic novels, I was definitely all in. So I went to watch it on opening night, and got the added bonus of seeing a fight between two girls as I was leaving the theater but that is another story, and was definitely not let down by it. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Sin City.

[Since the movie does not have a linear plot, I will review each section as it is shown in the movie]
The plot: [The Customer Is Always Right: Part 1] A woman in a red dress is standing outside on a terrace when a man approaches her and offers her a cigarette. The man tells her he is there for her and has been watching her for days, then tells her he can tell she is tired of running and offers to help her. The two share a kiss and as he holds her, the man shoots her and then holds her until she dies. The man says he will never know what she was running from but will cash her check in the morning.
{That Yellow Bastard: Part 1] Police detective Jack Hartigan is an aging cop on his last day on the force, as his doctor is forcing him to take early retirement due to his bad heart. Before he retires, Hartigan hopes to rescue a young girl, Nancy Callahan, from the clutches of Roark Junior, a sadistic child molester/killer who escapes justice due to his being the son of a senator. When he gets to the docks, his partner Bob tries to talk Hartigan out of it but Hartigan refuses to wait and punches Bob out cold. Hartigan makes his way to the warehouse where Junior and Nancy were said to be at, taking out two of Junior’s men on the way, when he collapses in pain due to his heart problems. Taking some pills and pulling out his gun, Hartigan bursts into through the door and takes out the two men inside, but Junior shoots him in the arm and escapes with Nancy. Hartigan follows him to the end of the dock, where Junior taunts him that he can’t touch him because of his father, but Hartigan shoots his ear off. As Hartigan tells Nancy to cover her eyes, Junior shoots Hartigan in the shoulder, prompting Hartigan to shoot off Junior’s hand and his penis. Suddenly, Hartigan is shot in the back by Bob, who was on Senator Junior’s payroll, and when Hartigan refuses to sit down and goes for his hidden piece, Bob shoots him several more times until Hartigan collapses on the dock. As the sirens get closer, Nancy approaches Hartigan and lays down in his lap while Hartigan passes out due to blood loss, thinking it fitting that an old man dies so a young girl may live.
[The Hard Goodbye] A man named Marv has sex with a prostitute named Goldie but when he wakes up, he finds that she has been murdered and he has been set up to take the fall. When the police come to arrest him, Marv fights his way through them and escapes his building, steals a police car, then drives it off a pier before swimming to a nearby sewer pipe and using it to escape the manhunt. Marv heads to the apartment of his parole officer Lucille, who is dating a shrink that gives her some pills for Marv to take after she tried to give him therapy. After telling her about his run in with the police, Marv heads out to find out who killed Goldie and why. Marv heads to Kadie’s bar and orders some drinks while watching Nancy Callahan, now an adult, dance on stage. While he is drinking, a man named Dwight McCarthy is watching him and comments on Marv being born in the wrong century. When two hit-men show up and escort Marv outside, he quickly subdues them and tortures one of them to get information on Goldie’s killer before he kills them. As he leaves, he thinks he smells Goldie’s perfume but dismisses it, not noticing a woman that looks like Goldie is following him. Marv works his way up the food chain to a crooked priest, who tells him that Roark is involved and tells him to head out to a farm to verify the truth and Marv kills him when he insults Goldie. As he leaves the church, Marv is struck by a car driven by the woman that looks like Goldie, who shoots at him before speeding off. Marv thinks the attack was just a hallucination and heads out to the farm, where he finds a human bone before he is quickly knocked unconscious by Goldie’s killer, a young man named Kevin. When Marv comes too, he is in a tiled room with the heads of several women mounted on the wall and a naked Lucille shivering in the corner and as he goes to comfort her, she reveals that Kevin is a cannibal and has eaten her hand. After she calms down, Lucille explains that she had hired Goldie to be with Marv and Marv said he never knew she was a hooker. Marv manages to break the bars off the window and they try to escape but a police helicopter arrives. Lucille knocks Marv out and tries to arrange a peaceful surrender but the officer in charge shoots her, prompting Marv to kill all of the cops. The officer in charge tells Marv that the man behind all of this is Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark, who holds enough political power to get his brother made a senator. Marv heads to Old Town to find out more information about Goldie when he is shot by the woman. When Marv comes too, the woman starts pistol whipping him to find out what he did to Goldie and the others but when one of the other hookers calls the woman Wendy, Marv learns that she is Goldie’s twin sister. After convincing Wendy that he isn’t the killer, Marv has her help him pick up some supplies and then drive him back out to the farm. After laying out a trap for Kevin, Marv throws a firebomb into the house and sets it ablaze, then manages to handcuff himself to Kevin, so that Kevin can’t move around, before knocking him out. Wendy shows up and goes to kill Kevin but Marv knocks her out and places her in the car. He then heads back to Kevin and proceeds to cut off Kevin’s limbs and then leaves him to be eaten by the wolf that was kept at the farm, cutting his head off before he leaves. Marv calls Kadie’s and has Nancy meet her at her place and he leaves Wendy with her, then heads out to find Cardinal Roark. After hearing Roark’s reasoning for the killings, Marv kills Roark and is then shot by the police but isn’t killed. After he recovers from surgery, he is beaten by police and blackmailed into signing a confession when they threaten to kill his mom. After the trial is over and he is sentenced to death, Marv receives a visit from Wendy, who tells him he can call her Goldie as she holds him. The next day, Marv is strapped into the electric chair and they are forced to electrocute him twice, as he managed to survive the first attempt.
[The Big Fat Kill] Shelly, a waitress at Kadie’s, is arguing with her abusive ex boyfriend Jackie Boy, who is trying to get her to let him into her apartment. As Jackie Boy keeps pounding on the door, her current boyfriend Dwight says to let him in but she refuses as she doesn’t want to cause more trouble. When Jackie Boy threatens to break down the door, Shelly opens it while Dwight gets dressed and ducks out of sight. Jackie Boy and his friends enter the apartment and after talking with her for a few minutes, he decks her and tells her to call some friends so they can all party, then heads off to use the restroom. As Jackie Boy finishes, Dwight grabs him and holds a straight-razor to his face and warns him to stay away from Shelly before dunking Jackie Boy’s head into the toilet and holding it there for a few minutes before he leaves. Jackie Boy is shaken up and quickly leaves with his gang while Shelly finds Dwight out on the ledge watching them leave. She tries to explain how she met Jackie Boy before Dwight came back but Dwight says it doesn’t matter and he has to stop Jackie Boy before anyone else gets hurt. As he leaps off the ledge, Shelly screams out at him but Dwight can’t hear what she is saying due to a passing police helicopter. As Dwight is following after Jackie Boy, a cop starts following him and then goes after Jackie Boy when he almost causes an accident. Jackie Boy heads to Old Town and the cop quickly turns around, as the girls of Old Town are the law in that part of town. Jackie Boy attempts to pick up a prostitute named Becky, Dwight goes to follow but is stopped by Gail, the defacto leader of the girls of Old Town, who tells him that they have been keeping tabs on Jackie Boy and his friends and that Miho is waiting for them to get out of line. When Jackie Boy pulls out a gun and threatens Becky, Miho throws a throwing star to cut off his hand, then proceeds to kill all of Jackie Boy’s men. As Jackie Boy tries to kill Miho, Dwight goes to help her and warns Jackie Boy not to shoot as Miho had blocked the barrel but tries to shoot Dwight and the gun backfires, sending the barrel into his head and Dwight asks Miho to put him out of his misery. As the girls start looting the bodies, Dwight searches Jackie Boy and discovers that he is a cop, which means his death will threaten the truce the girls have with the police. Some of the girls are worried that the bad times will start again but Gail says they will go to war and fight them off. Dwight tells Gail to get him a car and he will get rid of the body before the police shut down the roads and Gail refuses at first but after Dwight smacks her to get her to get the gun out of his face, she kisses him and agrees to give him the car. As Dwight helps Miho cut up the bodies so they fit in the trunk, Becky asks Gail if she can leave and Gail says yes but not to call anyone but Becky disobeys her and calls her mom when she is out of Gail’s sight. All of the bodies don’t fit in the trunk so Dwight puts Jackie Boy’s body next to him and as he drives off, he hallucinates that Jackie is talking to him. After talking his way out of being stopped by a police officer, Dwight pushes the car the last 1/4 mile to the tar pits but ends up being shot by someone who is after Jackie’s body. Meanwhile, Gail is organizing a lock down of the streets when she is grabbed by Manute, who tells her that they know what happened and his master will take over Old Town but offers her a chance to save the women’s lives. Back at the tar pits, the four mercenaries head over to the car to check the body but Dwight was saved due to the bullet hitting Jackie’s badge and he kills the four mercenaries but a grenade is tossed towards him and he is blown into the tar pit. When he comes too, he finds two men working on cutting off Jackie’s head as Dwight sinks into the tar. Dwight is rescued by Miho and Dallas, who tell him that Gail is captured and Dwight tells them they have a spy in Old Town. The head after the two mercenaries and crash into their car and eventually get the head back but Dallas is killed during the fight. Back in Old Town, Manute is torturing Gail while Becky tries to talk her into giving up but Gail bites Becky. Suddenly, Miho shoots an arrow into one of Manute’s men with a note from Dwight offering an exchange of Jackie’s head for Gail and as Manute and the others leave with Gail and Becky, Miho kills the man she shot. Outside, Dwight tells them they can have Old Town so long as he gets Gail and Manute releases Gail, who runs and embraces Dwight. As Dwight hands over the head, Becky says something is wrong and questions why there is tape over Jackie’s mouth, just as Dwight hits the detonator and triggers the explosive he placed inside the head. As Manute and his men recover, they find the rooftops filled with the girls of Old Town and Dwight, Gail, and all of the girls begin shooting at Manute and his men, as they want to leave a body count so high that the mob will deem it not worth trying to take Old Town. Becky is wounded but manages to get away while Dwight and Gail kiss each other and stare at the carnage.
[That Yellow Bastard: Part 2] Hartigan wakes up in a hospital bed to find Senator Roark standing over him, explaining that he plans on keeping Hartigan alive so he can torture him for what he did to his son, by framing him for the rapes and murders of all the kids Junior killed. He then receives a visit from Nancy, who is upset that they won’t let her testify and when Hartigan tells her not to visit or contact him, she tells him that she won’t visit but will write him every week and sign them Cordelia so they won’t know it is from her. The police try to get Hartigan to confess but Hartigan refuses so he is placed in Solitary, where he finds a letter from Nancy waiting for him. Nancy writes him for 8 years but when a few weeks go by without a letter, Hartigan gets worried about them having found Nancy. One day, Hartigan wakes up on the floor and finds a yellow skinned man sitting on his bed. The yellow skinned man knocks out Hartigan and when he comes too, he finds an envelope with a finger inside. Hartigan breaks down and decides to give Roark what he wants and confesses to the crimes in order to try and find Nancy. Hartigan is released and finds Bob waiting for him and he drives him to Nancy’s place, unaware that they are being followed by the yellow skinned man. At Nancy’s place, Hartigan finds no sign of her or where she might be except for a matchbook for Kadie’s. He heads there and asks Shelly if she knows Nancy and Shelly directs him to the stage, where he sees Nancy dancing. Hartigan realizes that he had been tricked and had led the yellow bastard straight to Nancy and tries to get outside before she can spot him but Nancy sees Hartigan and quickly jumps off stage and kisses him. Hartigan tells her they have to leave and as they leave the club, the yellow skinned man follows them and starts shooting at them. Hartigan uses Nancy’s gun to shoot back and manages to shoot the yellow skinned man in the throat, causing the car to crash. Hartigan has Nancy stop so he can confirm that the man is dead but when they check the car, they find no sign of the body and figure he crawled out to die. They head out to a motel to rest, unaware that the yellow skinned man was hiding in the back seat of Nancy’s car. Inside the motel, Nancy admits to Hartigan that she is in love with him and has been ever since he saved her, which is why she wrote to him, and Hartigan has a hard time telling her no, eventually giving in and kissing her before forcing himself to back away from her but tells her that he loves her too. Hartigan goes to take a cold shower only to have the yellow skinned man, who reveals himself to be Roark Junior, knocks him silly. Junior strings Hartigan up and leaves him to hang while he leaves with Nancy and Hartigan tells Nancy not to scream before Junior kicks the table out from under him. Hartigan doesn’t die and manages to break the window and use a piece of glass to free himself. As Junior’s men head to the motel to get rid of Hartigan’s body, Hartigan knocks one of them out and threatens the other one to learn where Junior took Nancy and he tells him that Junior went to the farm. Hartigan heads there in the goon’s car but as he approaches the farm, he starts having chest pains and coughs up blood. Hartigan uses a knife to kill some of the guards quietly and as he gets closer to the barn, he hears Junior whipping Nancy but she refuses to scream. As Hartigan rushes to get to the barn, he ends up getting shot in the arm, alerting Junior to his presence. Hartigan kills the shooter then heads to the barn to confront Junior but as he goes to shoot him, he suddenly collapses. Junior heads over to taunt Hartigan only for Hartigan to stab him in the stomach, revealing that he faked the heart attack to get Junior away from Nancy. Hartigan then proceeds to beat Junior to death with his bare hands before collapsing into Nancy’s arms. As Hartigan escorts Nancy to his car, he tells her to leave while he waits for some federal officers to process the scene so they can take down Roark but after she leaves, Hartigan, knowing Roark will do whatever it takes to kill Hartigan and Nancy since Junior is dead, kills himself in order to save Nancy’s life.
[The Customer Is Always Right: Part 2] Becky is at the hospital getting her arm tended too and talks to her mom on her cell phone when she steps into an elevator. Inside the elevator, she is approached by The Salesman, dressed as a doctor, who asks if she would like a smoke and Becky, knowing who he is, tells her mom that she loves her before hanging up the phone.

Sin City met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Visually groundbreaking and terrifically violent, Sin City brings the dark world of Frank Miller’s graphic novel to vivid life.” With the movies being based on Frank Miller’s books by the same name, there were actually several references to the books through out the movie. During the three main stories, the title of the story is mentioned during one of the main character’s narrations, while the cover art for the book “Booze, Broads, and Bullets” is seen various times throughout the movie. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $158.8 million off of a $40 million budget.

I am not going to lie, I absolutely love this movie. I honestly think it is one of the best translations to film of any comic book that has ever occurred. The acting was fantastic all around, with Bruce Willis (Hartigan) and Mickey Rourke (Marv) turning in absolutely amazing performances. The story was amazing and honestly felt like I was watching the comic book having come to life right off of the pages. The film technique used in this movie was fantastic, with the black and white style of filming adding to the dark tones of the movie while the occasional splashes of color made for some incredible contrasts which only added to those scenes. One of my favorite aspects was Alexis Bledel’s character of Becky, whose bright blue eyes made for some amazing contrast. The special effects with the fight scenes and the blood were also really good and really added to the whole feel of this being a comic book brought to life. Whether you are a comic book fan or not, this is absolutely a must see movie.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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