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Lots of explosions like the other two movies, but they are weaker here, 25 August 2014

This is the third film in the Expendables series and by far the weakest and its box office showing probably should give Stallone and the filmmakers the definitive proof they need that this series did not ever need to be PG-13. The first movie was R and it is the only one to have grossed 100 plus million at the box office. The second one flirted with a PG-13 rating, but they added computer blood and stuff and probably salvaged that one. This one is PG-13 all the way and it just is not up to the other two films at all. Of course, it is not simply the rating that made this film a step down from the other two films, but also its focus. The whole point of the Expendable films was to showcase older action stars and tough guys. To bring us back to the past! Here, they almost do a passing of the torch bringing in like three or four young people who I've never seen before and add nothing to the film. I say three or four cause the only one that stands out in the new kids on the block is the female. The guys may have well been clones. So in the middle of the film the guys we want to see are hanging around their hotels while Stallone leads the new kids up against Mel Gibson, which is the other problem. Do not get me wrong, Gibson was great as the main villain, but there is no one else that stands out on the villain's side. However, it had its moments and had some good action, just not violent and curse laden as I would have liked and many others.

The story has the Expendables breaking out a former member of the group who had been captured. Then they are on to stop a weapons dealer who ends up also being a former member. He takes injures one of the guys so Stallone now forcefully retires the rest of them because he does not want these old guys who know nothing else to get hurt and takes on younger people with their whole lives ahead of them to try and take out the weapons dealer. Makes sense...not! Well the old team will soon get back together and go on yet another mission together.

The newcomers here are Harrison Ford who takes Willis' place. Wesley Snipes as the former member and Antonio Banderos as an aged military mercenary who talks a lot. Kelsey Grammar also is in the film playing a guy who is apparently Stallone's supplier or man on the street. All these guys do good, just would have been more awesome had they been in the first film when they allowed bad language and violence! Stallone is also in this one too much while the rest of his team not so much. The first film had Stallone get beaten bad by Stone Cold, but now he is the one who defeats the bad guy who is an over matched Mel Gibson. By over matched I mean he has no one awesome to assist him which means none of the other Expendables really get to showcase anything here. If they make another film, all newcomers should be on the bad guys side suffice to say.

So, while it had its moments, it was by far the weakest of the Expendable films. They for some reason forgot the reason people flocked to the first film and just had to cater to that 13 to 16 age group who cannot go to a R film without being accompanied by a guardian. Why movie makers and all other advertising companies and such cater to such a very small size of the population is beyond me, I spend money too and I am more likely to go to a film while most youngsters will just watch it on the internet. So this film is for them and once again the new youth of America drags something that was fun and exciting and turns it to something that has lost its edge and luster. Take note Stallone, you finally decided to not listen to the people who said keep it R and now you have the poorest performing Expendables by far.

Thrill as you watch people speculate in between very brief action sequences!, 23 August 2014

I caught this film on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The film was directed by Ed Wood and it plays out pretty much like all his films I have seen. It just seems he tried to aim high, but did not have the resources to do all that much and you end up with very little going on and padding galore with only a couple of actual scenes that could pass as action or horror scenes. It is not super horrible though as it does feature Bela Lugosi, who I am guessing Ed Wood treated as the star he was and which is the reason he kept appearing in his movies. It also has Tor Johnson who is always good for the occasional unintentional laugh and there is of course the horrible octopus monster!

The story is like countless others. There is a strange mansion in the middle of nowhere, in this film, the middle of nowhere happens to be in a swamp. In the house a man is performing all sorts of strange and horrid experiments. There is stories of a monster attacking and killing people and everyone assumes it is the strange man living with the scientist performing the experiments, but instead it is a strange mutant octopus! An intrepid reporter finds herself as this man's captive and it is up to her cop boyfriend to find her and stop the madman before he attempts to turn her into a monster too!

Like I said, I saw this one on MST3K and it was a fairly good episode. Ed Wood's movies generally make for good MST3K episodes mainly because they are rather easy fodder for riffing. Also, like the other Ed Wood films, this movie is short so you end up with a short proceeding the film.

So overall, not a great cinematic masterpiece, but the gang of Mystery Science Theater 3000 have had to sit through worse. The effects are bad, the acting is pretty bad and the monster laughable. Still, you get a giant octopus killing people! Well, it is not all that exciting but you do get to see Bela and Tor face off! Well, it is just a stunt double for Bela Lugosi, but still you get, um, you get...Hm, well you get a short movie.

Not good even when taking in account its age, 14 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I viewed this film on an episode of MST3K and have to say it is pretty bad. In fact, it is god awful and I am probably being to kind. I think even Manos the Hands of Fate has more redeemable qualities than does this film. It features annoying children, a stupid plot twist that is pointless thanks to the fact it is telegraphed and a monster that is a person in a monkey suit with a diving helmet for its head. There is just nothing all that good to say about it other than they did have the guts to kill off one of the annoying children. Granted, in the end not really, but they did sort of.

The story has two children bothering these two men digging. The little boy is obsessed with playing aliens and such while the girl just wants to play house. Well the children's mother and older sister comes up and they takes the kids back to a picnic and then the boy runs off and has flashes of other movies and then he awakens to a world where the Romon rules the world and the remaining people exist in a life of fear as their number rapidly dwindles. What has happened? Why is this monkey person such a threat? And why is this film so bad that anyone with half a brain already knows it is just the boy having a dream!?!

The episode made for a pretty good episode of MST3K. It was a first season episode, so it was not great as they were still trying to feel their way through things at this point. The movie did provide plenty of riffing material and probably would have made a better later episode when they had gotten their feet a bit more wet.

So overall, a horrible movie, a fairly decent episode of MST3K and a monster than consists of a monkey suit with a helmet. The movie basically lets the audience know right from the get go that it is all a dream and then tacks on a stupid ending suggesting the Robot Monster was real. They do not make them like this anymore and in the case of this particular film, that is an incredibly good thing.

13 Ghosts (1960)
Watched this film and it passed the time, but not in House on Haunted Hill's league, 14 July 2014

This film just is not as good as House on Haunted Hill, but Vincent Price was at his very best in that one. Not that the cast in this one is bad or anything, this film just suffers from being a bit too predictable and while most of the cast was good, the kid playing the son was just annoying. The effects were about what one expects from a film from this era while the tone is a bit more comedic in tone than what I was expecting.

The story has a man who works at a museum who seems to have a hard time paying his bills on time. His stuff is getting repossessed and his son wishes that they could get a house with furniture that no one can take away. As if by magic, the curator finds that he has inherited an old mansion. Of course, the catch is that he and his family has also inherited the ghosts the old man who owned the house 'collected'. A strange woman who insists on living on the premises tells the son of the ghosts as does the lawyer of the man who owned the house. Something seems suspicious, but at the same time the house does seem to be haunted as a box containing special glasses is also given to the curator and with them he sees the spirits at play.

I actually watched the remake of this one well before ever viewing this one. I am surprised by how much of this one's plot did make it into the remake. I was thinking it was going to be a remake in name only and perhaps both featured 13 ghosts, but the glasses in this one made their way to the remake's plot as did the fact the family was getting kicked out of the house. I prefer the remake, only because the ghosts in this one were just not very scary mainly being more funny in nature.

So I am glad I finally watched this film, if for no other reason to get another horror film under my belt. I prefer other haunted films from this era though like House on Haunted Hill, the one with Roddy McDowell and various others. This one was just a bit too cutesy as it played off a lot of the ghost encounters as funny. It started out with a bang, but after awhile it also gets repetitive and if you cannot figure out the one character's motives then you are really young or really naive.

Up to this point, the best RPG game for the PS3 I've played, 24 June 2014

This role playing game is brought to us by the company that usually churns out great RPG games, Level 5. Granted, they have had their fair share of misses too as they are the ones that put out Chronicles of the White Knight and the disappointing Dragon Quest 9 for the Nintendo DS. Still, they usually put out great ones like nearly all the other Dragon Quest games and Rogue Galaxy. Here they team up with Studio Ghibli like the teamed up with the creator of Dragonball on Dragon Quest 8 to bring us one of the most stunning looking RPG games on the PS3. The game is not all looks, either. The story is rather good as well and the characters are delightful. The combat could have used a bit more work; however, it is more traditional than the stupid and almost non interactive combat they gave us in Final Fantasy XIII. The game is a work of art as Studio Ghibli brought their unique style of animation to the table and as of today this game is the best RPG that I have played for the PS3 (have not played Tales of Xillia, yet) edging out Resonance of Fate thanks to its easier to follow story and the fact this game is exclusive for the PS3, while that one also was released on Xbox 360.

The story starts out in a town called, Motorville. A place that resides in a world pretty much like ours. Seems to be taking place some time in the 50's or 60's. Well, in the town lives a boy named Oliver who sneaks out with his buddy Phil to race a car that Phil and Oliver have built. A strange woman looks upon this from a world that is more of something one would expect to find in a fantasy realm and she causes Oliver to have an accident. Oliver's mother ends up rescuing Oliver at the cost of her own life and soon Oliver meets a fairy by the name of Mr. Drippy who takes Oliver to this new realm so that Oliver can stop a man named Shadar from attempting to destroy the world and perhaps find a way to bring his mother back to life. He will team up with a young girl named Eshter and another named Swaine as they go from town to town looking for keys to defeating the seemingly unstoppable Shadar, unaware that an even greater threat to the world is lurking in the background...The White Witch!

The game is a nice throwback as you have an over world map to traverse and you visit towns, dungeons, forests and the like. You visit towns that have people, shops and such too, unlike say Final Fantasy XIII which was all style with no substance. My main complaint is the combat. It was not bad, but I just do not care for the whole go out collecting monsters for your party. I am always hesitant to get rid of the first ones you have and it just takes so much time to get them all leveled up and give them the best items. They do the brunt of the fighting in the combat which is sort of action, rather than turn based and it is sometimes annoying getting others in your party to heal you or themselves and their A.I. is not the greatest at times as at one point I was fighting a villain you shot a laser in one direction and it was easily avoidable and one of the computer controlled characters ran from one side of the battlefield to the other and ran smack into it! Still, this aspect did not stop me from enjoying the game, all it did was prevent the game from getting a perfect 10 score which it could have gotten if not for these flaws in the battle system.

So, this game was great and I enjoyed the team up of Level 5 and Studio Ghibli. You can see Studio Ghibli's influence in the art style, but you can see a lot of Level 5's in the way the game plays. You use an alchemy pot like in Dragon Quest 8, for instance. Both came together well, to make a memorable world and game. One only has to play the game a moment and walk through Motorville to see they put a lot of effort into it. Near the end, I was afraid they were setting up for a sequel instead of there being a resolution and thankfully I was wrong there. I do not care for games that set up for sequels, because some times the sequel never comes. This one wrapped up, and if they want to do a sequel I can see it being done by having Oliver returning the the magical realm when he is older or something; however, it is not needed as this game is great on its own.

Was hot, but then lost some steam..., 21 June 2014

Adult films back in the day, often had plots to them which made the sex in them seem more spontaneous and real. Adult films today are basically one sex scene after another and it's rare when there is a story. Usually there is a theme, but no story. The ones made today, you do not have to sit through horrible acting and there is a plethora of adult films where you can see what you want. While in the 70's sometimes you had to wait too long for sex scenes to occur and sometimes you can even forget it is a porno! So basically, both eras have their pluses and minuses and this film has the pluses, but carries with it the minuses as well.

The story has a couch that talks about her owners and all the sex they have that she sort of causes. Yes, the couch is a female and at times has the best voice of the film. There is not much to it than that as this one starts fast and seems like a decent adult film as there are a few sex scenes. This one starts with a therapist, goes to a swinger couple, then inexplicably briefly to an adult movie maker and then even briefer hippies.

The film is good up to the swingers, after that there really is not much left. The two girls during the adult filmmaker scene were attractive, but the scene was not steamy due to the guy performing the sex. Then the hippie scene is undone by the fact there is an unattractive girl and she is primarily the focus. Then a brief pointless scene and it's over. Just seemed it kind of faltered at the end and instead of a super grand finale, instead it just kind of peters out. The best scene is this one guy who seduces a virgin, though I do not believe a virgin can be as accommodating as she was without a bit more screaming.

So, not a great adult film by any stretch of the imagination, but I liked it better than some. It did focus on the sex for the most part, but as I said it just needed more at the end of it. I always think the last scene should be memorable, but in this one it was clearly the one girl who was a virgin. The lesbian scene after was good too, just cut a bit short. So, a bit hot the girls are really attractive during the swingers section and okay the rest of the way.

Catacombs (1988)
The best stuff happens at the beginning, 20 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I got this film in a pack with three other horror films. The other three are "Dungeon Master", "Cellar Dweller" and the horrendous "Contamination .7". The only other one I have seen was the awful "Contamination .7" so while this one was not particularly good, compared to that it was spectacular! Seriously though, this is another in a long line of horror films that had something good going for it and an interesting premise, but ends up being done the wrong way. It starts out fast enough as something happens in the past and then it is not all that long in the present that something is released making me think this one was going to be one heck of a ride; however, it slows down significantly and ends in basically with an exorcism that is very anticlimactic. This one was watchable though and it held my interest, I just feel it could have done better considering how it started out.

The story has an exorcism being done in the past and it fails to produce results so the accursed is sealed within a tomb under a monastery. It switches to present time and a young lady is visiting the monastery and wishes to see the wondrous catacombs underneath it. Unfortunately, the evil that has been sealed is now about to be released for reasons only the makers of the film know and chaos will ensue! Well, it does ensue, but it does so rather slowly. It is up to Timothy Van Patten to get to the bottom of the evil and destroy it once and for all!

So yeah, the film does have a nice scene at the beginning. It just kind of fades out quickly after that. You have the monk who warns everyone that the evil is coming and he is ignored and thought a fool by the head of the place and even though he is absolutely correct, he is still presented as someone to root against. Though if they had listened to him, lives would have been spared. The girl is attractive and near the end of the film she would be possessed, but all that would play out is your basic exorcism scene, well not too basic. I do believe it is the first time I have seen evil defeated with a flashback.

So another in a long line of horror films that was almost good, but they pretty much blew it. There just was not enough going on after the initial scenes and the end was rather weak. They gave us a monastery full of people and had a very low death toll. Still, it was short and while not great, it held my interest enough that the movie did not feel overlong either. So, with a bit of work and some more death, this one could have been something special. As it is, it is just another horror movie on a package of four.

Death Wish (1974)
An architect turns vigilante after his wife and daughter are attacked, 18 June 2014

I have finally seen this Charles Bronson film from the 70's and I have to say it is pretty good. The problem with this film though is that a lot of the vigilante scenes are the same thing repeated over and over. I can see why the later installments of this franchise got lower scores as they went on as my guess is they all simply rehash the exact same thing for the most part. Here, there are still some interesting elements that are most likely not present in the later movies. Though I cannot see them being too bad, mainly because one still gets to see super tough guy Charles Bronson in action!

The story, muggers break into an apartment and kill Paul Kersey's wife and leave his daughter in a near comatose like state. He handles it the best he can; however, he starts to feel a bit of power when he smashes a would be mugger in the face with two rolls of quarters and then during a trip to Texas he fires off a few rounds and ends up getting a gun as a gift for a man he helped down there. He is soon tracking down muggers and gunning them down, leaving the police scrambling to find the vigilante killer; however, even if they apprehend him they may still find themselves with more copycats on their hands.

The film is interesting as Paul feels a sense of power when he knocks out a mugger with quarters, but after his first kill he is sick and vomits. Soon, though, he is killing and cannot seem to stop. At the end he even winks and points his finger like a gun at some hooligans in a train station. My guess in the sequels, this transformation is pretty much absent or essentially copied.

So, overall a good film, but mainly due to the presence of Charles Bronson. I have seen only a few films of his, but usually he does good in his role even if the movie is not all that great. It was nice to finally see this film as it is one of those vigilante films during this era that was something I wanted to catch. I also want to see that film called, "The Exterminator" as I hear that one is pretty good too. This one has kills and a pretty good story so I enjoyed it, it just needed a bit more variety here and there as the kills all do seem the same and also the finale could have been done a bit better as well.

Phantasy Star (1988) (VG)
Finally played the first Fantasy Star for the Sega Master System, 18 June 2014

I have always wanted to play this game, from the first time I saw it advertised as a kid. It was the game that made me want a Sega Master System; unfortunately, that is one system that I was unable to obtain mainly due to the fact one could not find a place that sold them in the area I lived in. Besides, I had a Nintendo so I was good. Though, looking back at both systems, it is now rather clear that the Master System was the better of the two systems as far as graphics were concerned. I played this one on an emulator, which is not how I wanted to play it, but it is still hard to snag an actual Sega Master System. What I played, did impress me as far as the graphics were concerned and it was okay as far as game play, but it was also very difficult. I cannot imagine playing this one back in the 80's without the internet and walkthroughs as it at times was very hard to follow.

The story has a young lady whose brother is killed thanks to the evil Lassic. She begins a quest to not only get revenge for her brother, but to also rid the star system of this evil! Well, that is what you have to figure out, because unlike later RPG games, the early ones had very few areas where there were scenes where the story played out so one would have to try to figure out what is going on by the various locales. Though even with a walkthrough, I am still not sure where the final boss came from.

The main problems I had was that the game featured 3D dungeons which often give me trouble in games from this era. Like those mazes in Golgo 13 with their various pits that send you back to one point or another. The graphics though are very good for an 8-bit system and overall I thought it was a good first entry to an often overlooked RPG series from the past as it was often overshadowed by Final Fantasy and the other RPG games of Square.

So I did enjoy it overall, but at times this game felt like a chore. The dungeons often felt more like an ordeal than fun. It did have a variety of towns to visit, but rarely was there any useful information given by the townsfolk. There was also three planets to explore which is kind of cool back in the day. Final Fantasy let you go to the moon and later games did feature two worlds or a totally changed world, but none of them featured three worlds to travel upon. So while not great and probably the weakest of the Fantasy Star games, it is worth a play through.

Creepers (1993)
This film wraps around your neck and chokes the very life out of you, 15 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had heard this film was awful, but I did not take heed of this warning. Instead, I thought, it might be a 'it's so bad it's good' movie. I had also heard that this film was also packaged as "Troll 3", which had me perplexed as I knew the film was about killer trees so how could they tie this film to that one...well I found out! The acting is on par with that scene in "Troll 2" where the guy goes, "There eating her, and then they are going to eat me...oh my god!" Except, the horrific acting is all through this film, there are no good effects aside from one okay kill and most insane is that there is no nudity! I mean, these girls are nobodies, how can a movie maker not get a bunch of nobody actresses to get naked? Not that I wanted to see the mousy lead girl, but the girl they tease as the star was attractive and the hooker had nice cleavage. This film was made by MGM, the same company that brought us the superbly entertaining "Return of the Living Dead" which featured actors of note and they got Linnea Quigley to not only go topless, but full nude and she is an incredible actress compared to the idiots in this film! So you get nothing! Most of the kills are off screen, the sex is off screen and what we get on screen are a bunch of people you will want dead by the film's end. I will be honest, I was pulling for the roots to kill the entire town, and especially that annoying kid! All they did was tease though...

The story has a couple of girls coming to a small town. At first, they make it out that this one girl who was rather attractive was going to be the lead one, but that was just a tease. No, our main girl is this mousy looking girl coming home is the lead one. It's a shame, because not only was the other girl more attractive, but she was probably the best actress in the film...of course, that is not saying much at all. Well seems a guy at the local power plant has been detecting radiation outside the plant and there is something shady going on. People start turning up dead as there is one off screen kill after another. Finally, we learn that the plant is illegally dumping waste into the woods which causes the roots, not the trees mind you, to come alive and kill people and if you think there is a scene that is as hot as the DVD cover of this film, then you are going to be sorely disappointed.

This film was just bad on so many levels. I do not see how MST3K missed this one, except perhaps it is because it was made by a major distributor in MGM and was fairly new (1993). Granted, I thought the film was from the 80's as I cannot believe this one was made the same year as Jurassic Park, heck, I cannot believe it was made the same year as Super Mario Brothers! The effects of the roots were ripped straight from Evil Dead and at times it looked somewhat okay, but even when it looks good it gets totally undone by the bad acting going on. I also love the scene where they describe the girl from the beginning who got killed and people say she was blond when she was clearly a brunette.

So bad, bad and bad. I did not enjoy it as it gave me nothing. Had they given me some more gore and nudity it would have been more watchable with a shortening of the run time as well. As is, it seemed to take forever to get to the kills and then you think it is going to wrap up and the whole town comes in and they start preparing for their counter attack on the roots. How MGM, who made good horror films, came out with this crap I will never know. I have seen adult movies with better acting and effects than this, I have seen straight to DVD horror films shot with a video camera that are better than this! Heck, this is a film that Manos is better than! Not a good film, fails miserably on almost every front.

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