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4/10
Fear The Walking Dead needs to improve or else…
27 August 2015
This "Walking Dead" spin-off takes us to the early days of the zombie outbreak, before Rick, Michonne, the Governor and the fall of society as we know it. It's an interesting premise. Usually, zombie movies start when the world has been already overrun by the undead and not many of them focus on the systematic collapse of civilization. Not only Fear takes us to a different timeline, but it also introduces new characters and a new location. It takes place in the busy suburbs of L.A. and it takes us away from the wilderness settings of the original series. And although this show has an interesting premise, it has to be hard to fill out the shoes of the juggernaut The Walking dead has become. But one might think that having the people behind the TWD involved in this new zombie venture could secure a great TV pilot. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Fear the Walking Dead.

Fear fails in everything TWD succeeded in. TWD excels in its intensity, characters, terrifying atmosphere, special effects and raw action. Fear does not (so far). People argue that it's because the show has a different pacing, or that is just a pilot and eventually it will pick up the pace, and that might be true but when you are making a TV pilot, you need to grab your audience from the very get go or you will lose them. This pilot doesn't grabs you. It tries at the first 5 minutes but decides to let you go and it quickly becomes dull and generic.

It introduces characters that are hard to fall in love with. Their development is uninteresting and it takes too long to go anywhere. The relationships between the characters are not organic, there's no chemistry between the main married couple. The foreshadowing is laughable and full of clichés. There are several sense where they use cheap suspense buildups that lead to nothing. For example, the principal is sitting absolutely still and ominous music begins to plays just to show him listening to a radio. Also we have kids watching a zombie incident through their cellphones acting indifferent to what they are seeing. But my biggest complaint is that the show is way, way too slow. Although it pickups a bit at the last 30 minutes, is not enough to captivate you to wait for the next episode. In all, nothing truly significant happens in this episode.

Fortunately, not everything is lost. There are two characters that I found interesting. One is Nick (Played by Frank Dillane) he is a heroin addict who is the first one to witness a walker and is the only one who is trying to make sense of what he has seen. Although this character has issues with drugs and the horror he saw at the beginning of the show, he plays it very well and it is easy to identify with him. Also, Dillane is perhaps the best actor in the show so far. The other is Tobias (Played by Lincoln Castellanos). He is a high school student that, while everyone else seems to be oblivious of what is happening, he is pretty much aware of the imminent apocalypse due to his online research on the phenomenon. I really hope that we get to see more of these characters and that the upcoming episodes pick up the pace. Otherwise, it's to the back burner with Fear of the Walking Dead.
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Furious 6 (2013)
9/10
This series just keeps getting better…
27 May 2013
This is one of those rare occasions when a franchise goes from being okay to being absolutely awesome. 12 years ago, I would have never expected this series to make it this far and not only that, to evolve into what it is today. Furious 6 does not pretend to be anything else but a high octane summer action movie and it does it better than any other movie this year so far.

In Furious 6 agent Hobbs request the help of Dominic and his crew to find a dangerous mercenary in exchange for full pardon, but also to find Dominic's believed deceased girlfriend, Letty.

This movie almost feels like a testosterone 007 movie. The series takes us to Spain and England. The chase sequences are just amazing, the stuns are great, and the cars, well; it's a Fast and Furious film. The acting it's what it is, but the thematic of family and friendship are believable and heartwarming. The main villain this time around is pretty solid and does feel like a true challenge for the protagonists. This movie was so well made and so fun to watch that after watching the surprise revelation at the ending credits I can't wait to see the next one. Furious 6 has it all, action, comedy, women, and a lot of insane cars. This is what true blockbuster movies are all about. I highly recommended.
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7/10
Fun, Martial Arts, Retro VHS flick with notable actors…
13 May 2013
Oh, those good old days of the VHS, when movies, no matter their low-budget, had meaning. Back in the 80s martial arts films were so popular that any backdoor-garage-studio could produce a low budget film and make tons of money. After JCVM paved the way for tournament fighting style movies with his successful film, "Blood Sport," it was sure that many others clones would follow. Shootfighter followed on the same path but with a lower budget and less flare.

Shootfighter tells the story of two friends, Ruben (William Zabka) and Nick (Michael Bernardo), who are tricked to fight in a no-holds-barred tournament to the death by a blood hungry shootfighter named Mr. Lee (Martin Kove). Their master, Shingo (Bolo Yeung), has to save them from Lee and his cronies.

This movie was memorable because it had Zabka and Kove, both antagonists on Karate Kid (1984) and Yeung the main antagonist in Blood Sport. Now, the acting was average, photography was average, the plot was average, but the martial art choreography was top notch. That's one thing, no matter how cheap movies were back in the 80s and 90s they had some awesome fighting.

If you love old martial arts films, get a pizza, a case of beer, and watch this retro junk on a late Saturday night. You won't regret it.
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The Divide (2011)
7/10
Dismal view of survival…
20 June 2012
This is not your typical post-apocalypse movie; in fact, this is more of an apocalyptic movie without the "post." In some way it is original because the movie takes place during the apocalyptic event and not years after, like some other movies like "The Road Warrior" or "Book of Eli" but instead, it focuses mainly on the actual event and how the survivors have to deal with the situation in the "here and now". It is interesting film; nevertheless it is not a complete movie due to the lack of characters' background development which, in my opining, would've complemented some of the characters motives.

The story opens up when New York, is being nuked by an unknown enemy. People in a building seek refuge in a bunker-like basement where the building super, has stocked the place with food and supplies, like he knew something like this was going to happen. The survivors soon start losing it as fast as they are running out of food and after a while, they turn on one another making them lose their moral and humanity in the process.

I liked the movie but it is not explained who the characters were or what they used do before the apocalypse, making it a little hard to identify with any of them. Many of the characters are unlikeable from the very beginning of the movie and down flat ungrateful. The only character that has some hinted background is the building super, Mickey played by Michael Biehn, which is phenomenal in this movie, but even his character comes out as an A-hole at times. Mickey was a firefighter and from what I can tell, he lost his family during 9/11, this might explain why he prepared this bunker.

The other thing I found a little odd was that in situations like this people tend to seek religious comfort, but in the movie this is never explored, God is never mentioned, not even as an expression.

Overall I did like who some of the characters turned from jerks to absolute psychopaths. This movie is gritty, gloomy, and downright ruthless. There are some scenes that will disturb you and will stay with you for quite some time. If you like post-apocalyptic or apocalyptic movies that explore the moral of men and the darkness in human nature then this one is right for you.
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9/10
Blair will never let you go…
10 April 2012
I remember back in 1999, this film was marketed as a real event and that the events you were seeing were true and these people have actually disappeared. Of course, that wasn't the case but marketing it this way lured people to go see it, including me. Never have I seen such a film so original, that engaged me, and made me believe that what I was seeing was true since "Cannibal Holocaust."

It is set in 1994 when a group of three student filmmakers were filming a documentary on a legendary witch known as Blair in Burkittsville, Maryland. As they go deeper into the woods they get lost and every night they hear strange sounds coming from the woods but they can't make what it is or where it comes from. As the days go by, they succumb in desperation as they can't find a way out of the dense woods. But even more horrifying is that someone or something is hunting them.

After leaving the theater back in 1999, this movie would just not leave my mind for days. The acting was unbelievable, even more coming from unknown threesome of actors. It was shot in a first person point of view with the actors being the ones holding the camera giving it a new sense of realism, now this wasn't absolutely new style of filming. Cannibal Holocaust was filmed the same way but it hasn't been done in a long time. Also you never see what is hunting them; the movie forces the viewers to use their imagination and to fill in the gabs. Nowadays many movies try to copy the filming style of The Blair Witch but fall short. But what was even more amazing is that this little independent film, with a budget of nearly $30,000, earned over 240 million dollars at the box office. That is something you don't see every day.

This film don't have the eye candy and gore other horror films have or elaborate setting or big names, it is simple, creative and extremely effective and I would dare say it is up there with films such as "The Exorcist" and "Rosemary's Baby." This film is without a doubt a masterpiece of cinema and I strongly recommended it.
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8/10
Action Packed Zombie Thrill Ride…
15 March 2012
Never did I imagine these movies to make it this long, but to my surprise they have and it looks like they will continue. I did like Extinction more than Apocalypse, but even I believed it was the end of the franchise. Then Afterlife comes and, although for me it is not as good as Extinction, it is quite entertaining and it blends a lot of elements and themes used in other zombie movies and media.

So Afterlife takes off where Extinction left our survivors on their search for Arcadia, the supposed haven located in Alaska. Alice, in an attempt to once and for all stop the evil Umbrella Corporation, gathers her clone army and attacks the Umbrella HQ in Japan. After losing all her clones in an Akira like nuclear explosion, Alice returns to Alaska in search for her friends and Arcadia, but she only manages to find Claire, which seems to be in a stage of amnesia and no Arcadia. Then she and Claire fly to LA where they find refuge in a large prison complex which is inhabited by other survivors. But outside the prison, there are thousands of zombies tirelessly trying to break in the prison. Alice and the survivor have to figure out a way to escape the prison and make their way to Arcadia before the prison is finally overrun by the living dead.

The Resident Evil movies are a far cry from the games or themselves. I did enjoy Afterlife prison idea and there's quite a good amount of zombie action and gore, but it falls flat in terms of story and screenplay. The characters seem too comic-book like and the story doesn't make much sense at times, but there's no denying that this movie is quite a ride and the zombies are ruthless, specially the one that carries a giant sledgehammer. Although Milla Jovovich character, Alice, is not from the game franchise, I think she carries these movies and they wouldn't be the same without her. To this point you can't compare the games and the movies, they are now two different entities that only share the same title. The F/Xs and visuals are great, the photography is excellent, and it has a killer soundtrack.

I recommend Resident Evil: Afterlife as what it is; a horror/action/pop-corn movie, nothing more, nothing less. So, if you love zombie movies or anything related to zombies, check it out.
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7/10
Memorable in so many ways… really!
6 March 2012
When I first saw HoTLD, I was about 7 years old when my sister's boyfriend rented it on VHS, oh those good old days of the VCR era. So after watching it on a Friday night, I have to admit that it scared the living hell out of me. There was something about it that terrified me, maybe the grainy look or the ominous music or the gory zombie scenes, but whatever it was I couldn't sleep for days. Back in 1997 I found a copy on the now late Suncoast video store and without thinking it twice, I bought it. Has it ever happened to you that when you're a kid and you see a movie and you like it to the bone then you see the same movie as an adult and it's a total disappointment? Well, this is one of those cases, heck I even returned the movie. So I Haven't seen it since then until just a few weeks ago a friend of mine gave me his collection of cheap zombie flicks from the 80s and there it was "Hell of the Living Dead."

The story takes place somewhere in New Guinea where a research facility called "Hope" is developing some type of chemical that accidentally leaks out thanks to an infected rat turning most of the scientist into flesh eating zombies and the others into their happy meals. Meanwhile, somewhere else, a team of trigger happy commandos are sent to stop a group of environmental terrorist that have taken hostage an American Embassy, I think it was the American Embassy, and are demanding that all the Hope facilities be shutdown. The team storms the embassy eliminating the entire terrorists without much effort but not before the leader of the group says his last prophetic words about them being devoured or something like that. Then that same team of commandos is sent to New Guinea where they meet a group of reporters investigating, God knows what. There they find that the world has been overrun by zombies as they make their way to the Hope facility to find the answer of this Virus.

What makes this movie so memorable is not the story or the F/X nor the acting, but the amount of material they ripped-off from the much superior Romero's Dawn of the Dead. Director Bruno Mattei, who credited himself as Vincent Dawn, shamelessly used the same type of uniforms used by the SWAT team in DoTD for the team of commandos in HoTLD, and even the same gas masks. But if that wasn't enough, he used the exact same music composed by Goblin for DoTD without their permission. Also Mattei used a lot of old wildlife and news stock footage that didn't fit the scenes or the story. The script is incoherent at worst and the zombie scenes are totally illogical to idiotic. There's even a guy who dresses up in a tutu and starts dancing while a horde of zombies storms the room, but most idiotic is when the ultra slow zombies approach their victims, they just stand there screaming. Although I have to say, the beginning is gory and entertaining, but after the embassy scene, the movie pretty much goes downhill from there.

Okay, I'm not going to lie. It was a guilty pleasure to watch this retro junk again after so long and even with all its atrocities, it deserves some level of merit and it does delivers some horror value, well at least when it was released back in the 80s. Interesting note is that this movie has many different titles such as Virus, Night of the Zombies, Zombie Creeping Flesh and of course, the ultra generic title Hell of the Living Dead. So, if you haven't seen HoTLD and you don't mind the trashy story, the DoTD rip-off or the lame stock footage then you should check it out, at least for the gore.
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Second in Command (2006 Video)
7/10
Van Damme can still kick…
5 March 2012
I remember when JCVD was the MAN back in the late 80s and early 90. His name was synonymous with great action movies near to the level of Schwarzenegger and Stallone. But in the mid 90s his career went literally downhill and instead, most of his movies went straight to video and not many of them are even worth mentioning. Just recently I went to the DVD rental and decided to give good old Van Damage another chance by renting "Second in Command" and I have to say that I was pleasantly entertained by this film.

JCVD plays Commander Sam Keenan, a Navy Seal sent to defend the U.S. Embassy in Moldavia after a group of insurgents, loyal to the former dictator, plan to kill the new elected president and take over the city. Commander Keenan transports the new president to the Embassy just to be holed up in it and defend it until U.S. forces arrive. Unlike many of JCVD former movie, this film doesn't have much martial art in it, but it has a lot of war action scenes.

I would say that this is one of best straight to DVD movies and one of the most underrated. The acting is little above average, the story is interesting, the characters are good but not memorable, but the action is definitely the highlight of this flick. If you are a JCVD fan and you still haven't seen this one, definitely check it out.
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5/10
First 10 minutes are great but the potential "Vanishes" as the movie goes on…
26 September 2011
For the past 10 to 15 years there have been a number of post-apocalyptic movies related with mankind's extinction. Whether it's from zombies, biological viruses, or aliens, these type of movies must have two important attributes: action with horror or adventure, or a social commentary that allows the audience to fill the gaps or both. Unfortunately, this movie has none.

The story revolves on four unrelated survivors who one day find out that people have vanished from the face of the earth without explanation. As the days go by they find out the only way to survive is to have a source of light and stay out of the shadows. They all find refuge in a small bar ironically called "Sonny's Bar" which has electricity due to an emergency generator. The first 10-15 minutes are pretty good and build the atmosphere but nothing much happens after. The problem with this film is that there's absolutely no explanation of what is happening or if the shadows are demons or aliens. There are some mild religious references but not enough to support the origin of this mysterious entity. The other problem is that, if the movie is not going to explain what is going on, it should have focused on the characters development, which is virtually unexciting. The characters focus more on how to keep the generator on, which it made sense but there's no conflict between them. There's no social commentary or any other type of subtext that would of have made it more memorable. It kind of leaves you with many unanswered questions like, is there are reason for this to take place at 7th Street? Are these spirits and why are they vanishing mankind? Is this movie an analogy to our present social issues? Etc. the only thing that was given in the film was when, Leguizamo character Paul, mentioned that he believed this was like when a computer reboots and earth was erasing its inhabitants to start over, but the question still remained! Why??

I have to admit that I did enjoy it to a certain extent but it is an easily forgettable movie experience. I just read that this film was a total flop at the box office making only 15% out of its production cost. Anyways, I recommend this as a rental.
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The Terror (1963)
1/10
Nothing to fear here…
30 December 2010
I have wanted to see "The Terror" for quite some time. Perhaps I was intrigued with the notion to see Nicholson and Karloff together on screen. But after watching it on TV last week, The Terror didn't have much to offer other than big names and no substance.

The Terror takes place in the 1700s or 1800s when French soldier, Andre Duvalier (Nicholson) is lost and a mysterious woman, Ilsa (Knight) helps him, but she soon vanishes and Andre decides to search for her. Andre comes across an old castle owned by Baron Victor Frederic (Karloff) who is being haunted by the ghost of his dead wife, who died 20 years before. Coincidentally Ilsa looks like the Baron's dead wife and it appears that Ilsa is under the spell of an old witch who wants to torment the Baron.

The Terror is a collection of leftover sets from other movies, mismatch scenes, and an uninspiring script. The biggest problem with this film is that it had too many directors. Several shots were filmed by Roger Corman, Francis Coppola, Monte Hellman, Jack Hill and even Jack Nicholson resulting in a disparity of sequences and incoherent storyline to the point that it almost feel like an experimental student film. This movie doesn't compares to the much more superior Gothic horror productions of Hammer Films back in the day. The other problem was the acting. Nicholson and Karloff didn't have any on screen chemistry. The script was poor as well. According to several online sites, the script was written in four days. This film doesn't deliver any true sense of horror other than the title itself.

Although this film is old and many might know of it because of its big names, this film is far from being a classic. But if you are curious to see Karloff and Nicholson together on screen, well give it a try but don't expect much.
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The Walking Dead (2010– )
10/10
An epic tale of survival…
9 November 2010
I don't remember how long I waited to see a serious piece of horror regarding the zombie sub-genre. Now we finally have it… "The Walking dead" The Walking Dead explores one man's journey, Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) who after waking from a coma, find out that the world has been overrun by the undead. He is set on the quest to find his family. If you have read the comic you know that what makes this story so though provoking is how the characters change and how some are able to do the unthinkable to stay alive.

This show has taken the zombie genre back to its origins and it stays true to Romero's zombies. But the story isn't only about the zombies, it's about the characters. AMC brought Frank Darabont to direct this series. Darabont is known for classics like "The Shawshank Redemption", "The Green Mile" and "The Mist" which are based on Stephen King's novels.

It is truly admiring that Darabont decided to go with traditional makeup FX instead of CGI and kept the traditional slow zombies. So far the story stays true to the comic book as well with some changes that, in my opinion, add more to the story. The acting is quite good. If you have already read the comic book you know that this is not your usual zombie action splatter movie, this is a serious story of human survival, which goes beyond any of the recent zombie flicks out there.

I was very pleased with this pilot show and by the look of it, zombies are here to stay. I highly recommend this show and I can't wait to see the next episodes.
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8/10
Ninja Assassin makes American Ninja look like a pussy…
29 October 2010
Back in the 80s ninjas were big. They were everywhere, in movie, media, video games, comics, etc, but for a while the ninja fever kind of cooled down during the 90s. Fortunately, director James McTeigue, revives the genre and reminds us why we love ninjas. Now, if you though Kill Bill Volume 1 was bloody, wait till you see Ninja Assassin. I saw this film last Saturday and I have to say that this movie is totally awesome.

Ninja Assassin tells the story of Raizo, (played by Rain) a trained ninja assassin from birth that goes rogue after witnessing the execution of his girlfriend by his own clan. Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) is investigating the death of former secret agents and government officials by the hands of a mysterious organization. Her investigation leads her to Raizo and an all out war between him and the clan.

Now the story is nothing new or profound but it is not weak either. The action sequences are just stunning and you can actually see that the actors are the ones doing most of their stuns. The only critic I have is the over-the-top use of CGI to enhance the blood and gore, but at the same time, it gives it a Japanese anime feel to it and perhaps that was the point. This is a fun movie to watch on a Friday night and, in my opinion, pays homage the 80s ninja flicks. If you are going to give this movie a try, just keep in mind that this is just an action film, not a profound drama. I highly recommend it.
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The Road (I) (2009)
8/10
The Boy: Are we there yet?
22 October 2010
The Road is a survival story about a father and his son on a journey to a better place, but first they have to endure the horrors and atrocities of the road. I haven't seen a post apocalyptic movie so grim as this one. This movie defines what can people turn in to if something like were to happen on earth. From the very start you follow the harrowing tale of a father and his son in a world literally turned to hell. And although we see how cruel and savage mankind has become, the story focuses on how the main characters can keep their humanity and compassion throughout the movie. At a point The Man (Viggo Mortensen) has to show a little cruelty to survive, but the boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) reminds him that they are the good guys and they have to carry the fire. Among all the horrors shown in the film, the relationship between the boy and the father is heartwarming and touching as a representation of love and a compassion long forgotten. Excellent movie and I strongly recommend it, but please keep in mind, it is not for everyone.
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Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009)
1/10
This Battlestar Galactica is an impostor!
13 October 2010
So many awards, so many positive review, good ratings, one might think this is the best show on earth until you see that those that praise the new Battlestar Galactica are the same ones who praise Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives and Survivor. Yes, people with no real knowledge or appreciation for science fiction/ fantasy.

As a fan of the original TV series, it is impossible for me to accept the preposterous changes they did in the new BSG. The question is, why take something so beloved by fans and totally change it? The answer is simple; Battlestar Galactica is a recognizable brand. It is obvious by now that the producers totally disregarded the fans of the original and targeted the show to different audience. Then again, if they were going to do so many drastic changes, why not call it something else? Again the answer is simple; Battlestar Galacrica is a recognizable brand to exploit.

Not only they had the balls to change the characters personalities and motives but on top of that they also change their genders, imagine if Han Solo was now an alcoholic hooker. That's what they did to the new BSG; they took one of my favorite characters, Starbuck, and changed him to a she, Boomer the Afro-American male is now an Asian girl, half human half cylon. Adama is now a militaristic prick that would make Hitler proud. Apolo have security issues and Bultar is now a pussy who doesn't know which side he's in. And the cylons are now both cheap CGI and cylons disguised as humans, not to mention that now they are religious, yes you read right, now the cylons believe in God.

Okay, not only genders were changed but now the show is totally feminist. Men now are at the bottom of the food chain. For example, in many occasions Lee/Apolo is treated by Starbuck (the ugly tomboy) as a worthless maggot. Bultar is controlled by a female cylon that it appears to be omnipotent to his case of chronic hysteria and so on. Not to mention that male relationships are only observed through violence.

Also the new BSG is full of cowards, on the original every time the Galactica encountered cylons they would fight back. Now, every time they see a cylon ship they run away and even worst, Adama would leave others behind including innocent civilians.

Bottom line, this show was successful, but the success didn't come from fans of the original. I wouldn't be so hard on the show it had another name with different characters, but not the characters and story I grew up loving. For me this show is as bad as the annoying camera work and tries to be too intellectual but in the end, this show is just obtuse.
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9/10
They just don't make them like they used to…
8 October 2010
Galaxy of terror is the forbidden fruit of B-movies. I don't remember wanting to see a movie as much and not being able to. I remember when I was a kid, my friends at school talking about the infamous maggot raped scene. Yes, it is no secret by now that a female is rape by a giant maggot in this movie. Man, did I search for this movie for years until I finally saw it on cable in the late 80s. Unfortunately the rape scene was cut out… damn censors.

Fortunately, I finally got a DVD copy at Best Buy a few weeks ago and I got to see the infamous giant maggot scene. People for many years accused Galaxy to be a rip-off of Ridley Scott's Alien. In my opinion is it not. Although Galaxy has some elements that might resemble Alien, Galaxy is quite different. For example, in Alien there's only one creature stalking its victims, however, in Galaxy the characters are being killed by creatures created by their subconscious.

This film delivers what it is meant to deliver. Good old fashion sci-fi/gore. The story involves the crew of the starship Quest who are sent on a rescue mission to a mysterious planet known as Morganthus. The spaceship crashes on the planet and after the crew recovers from the crash they start to search for survivors. They soon encounter an alien pyramid surrounded by, what appears to be, a spaceship cemetery. So they enter the pyramid and the fun begins.

The visual effects are excellent and amazing set designs. According to Corman, the budget was under a million, but it looks three times that. The cast feature, Robert Englund (Kruger, Nightmare on Elm Street), Sid Haig (Captain Spaulding, The Devil's Rejects), Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham, Happy Days) and Ray Watson, just to name a few. The movie lacks a strong script, but that is outweighed by gruesome horror and entertainment. Yeah, the movie is low budget, but that's the beauty of it. I mean, using MacD burger boxes for set design, how much cheaper can you get and make it look like an A-movie production.

Bottom-line this film is a fun, extremely entertaining, retro movie. So if you haven't seen it and you love old fashion sci-fi fun, on a late Saturday, buy a pizza, a couple of beers and invite your old friends and enjoy Galaxy of Terror. You won't regret it!
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3/10
I don't think the Romero's Dead series will Survive after this…
24 September 2010
When I hear the name, George A. Romero, the first thing that comes to mind is the godfather of the zombie sub-genre. He basically created the sub-genre singlehandedly with his original cult classics "Night of the Living dead, Dawn and Day of the Dead. But it looks like after his not-so-triumphant return with Land of the Dead, his ability to create shocking films have cease to exist. Survival of the Dead falls short in everything Romero has ever done in a horror movie. The sense of shock, threat and gore has been ridiculously replaced by cheap scares, silly comedy and very, very cheap CGI.

The story takes place three weeks after the zombie outbreak. When a small group of weekend warriors, lead by Sergeant "Nicotine" Crockett, decide to find a safe haven in a remote island of the coast of Delaware where two rival families; the O'Flynn's and the Muldoon's are at war trying to decide how to deal with the dead. Patrick O'Flynn thinks that the only way to deal with the dead is to shoot them in the head, while Seamus Muldoon, thinks he can domesticate the dead, but the real reason for their rivalry comes way before the outbreak started. Crockett and his crew are in the middle of this rivalry.

Now if you read this short plot and haven't seen the movie, you might think it is a good premise for a movie. Think again, the problem is that Romero doesn't exploit any of the leading characters and even less, the zombies. First, Crockett and his team find a safe containing one million dollars at the beginning of the movie; after that the money is hardly ever mentioned in the rest of the film. Second, everyone seems to be unsympathetic to the fact that the dead are coming back to life. And third, all the characters are unlikable and one dimensional, not to mention the dialog, which is absolutely terrible. And what's with the Irish accents? But the use of CGI is even worst. I remember when I first saw the exploding head scene at the beginning of the original Dawn of the Dead. Even if you see it in slow-motion you can see that is a puppet, but it still looks awesome. For some reason Romero decided to go CGI and it looks absolutely terrible.

I don't know why Romero chose to take the series toward some awkward direction and turning it into a comedic soap opera, but this is by far Romero's most disappointing film yet. If you think Diary of the Dead was bad, you haven't seen this.

Bottom line, George Romero was and will still be the zombie godfather, that is why I rated it 3 out of 10.
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Elite Squad (2007)
9/10
BOPE makes SWAT look like a bunch of girl scouts
9 June 2010
After watching the amazing movie, City of God, a few years ago I just wanted to see more. Although Tropa de Elite has the same raw look of City of God, is different in content.

Tropa de Elite is about a group of Rio de Janeiro cops that grow tired of the system and declare war against crime and corruption and literally aren't taking any prisoners to the point that you just can't help but cheer for BOPE no matter their brutal methods of interrogation.

The photography is stunning and the action is extreme and realistic. You have to see this movie more than once because there is so much going in terms of plot and action that you might miss it. The story is well put together and the acting is as good as any, but what I liked the most was the sense of dread BOPE was able to inflict on the minds of criminals and corrupt cops. If you like City of God and City of Men, you will absolutely love Tropa de Elite. Highly recommended!
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Gone (VI) (2006)
1/10
I've should have rented Crocodile Dundee!
8 June 2010
This is one of those movies that I couldn't help myself scream at the TV "You stupid morons just keep going your own way!" It was so obvious what is going on that you just hope the main characters pay for their stupidity and ignorance.

The story begins when a young British traveler, by the name Alex, arrives in Sydney and he is schedule to meet with his girlfriend. But before that, he meets another young American traveler by the name of Taylor. Taylor convinces Alex to have a few drinks that first night and meet some girls before Alex gets to his destiny. The next day, Taylor meets Alex girlfriend, Sophie, and immediately becomes obsess with her. Then Taylor devises ways to separate them and gain Sophie's favor to the point of becoming homicidal.

This movie is predictable from the opening credits. The writers didn't develop a plot where they could engage the audience, instead, they wrote a poor, predictable story. Although you might think that the American backpacker is not to be trusted, you know he is the villain the first minute he is introduced in the movie. There are no surprises and movie just drags on to the inevitable conclusion, which in my mind, is pretty lame. Although at a certain point Alex realizes what is going on, he just doesn't do anything to prevent it, and that is what really bothered me about this movie.

Gone tries miserably to be like Psycho and the Hitcher, but instead is an epic fail.
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Cyborg (1989)
6/10
Van Damme's Cyborg Cheese…
4 May 2010
When this movie came out, I absolutely loved it. I was in 7th grade at the time and JCVD was already a big action star with his movies Blood sport and Kick Boxer. I haven't seen this flick for years now, and I wanted to revisit the post-apocalyptic adventure once again, but I didn't own on DVD. While cruising through the channels last Saturday night, I came across Cyborg on TV. I sat down and watched the movie entirely, and then I realized how bad this movie was. Times change and so does our perspective toward movies, perhaps this has happened to you when you absolutely like a movie and you see it years later, and your feelings change completely.

Story…

Cyborg takes place sometime in the future, when a deadly plague kills most of mankind causing chaos throughout the world. The remnants of humans are left to survive against warring gangs and pirates that have total control over the land. A small group of scientists manage to input information of the cure for the plague in a half woman, half cyborg which needs to take such information to Atlanta. Gibson Rickenbacker (JCVM) is a mercenary hire to escort Pearl (Cyborg) to Atlanta, but they are pursued by a menacing gang of pirates lead by Fender who want to have the secret cure to for himself. Unfortunately, Pearl is kidnapped by Fender. After recovering from the pirates attack, Gibson tracks down the pirates and meets Nady, a chubby girl whose family was killed by the plague. But Gibson motives are more than just the cure, he want revenge against Fender who before killed his entire family years ago.

Cyborg, is pure 80s low-budget cheese and there's no denying that. The story is simplistic, but with potential. Unfortunately, the story was poorly executed and it was clear that the director was focus on the action, not the story. But even with the movie's plot holes and poor set design, it has its moments.

The positives

1. There's no doubt that the highlight is the action. JCVD delivers his trademark kicks and screams that made him so popular in the 80s.

2. The antagonists are quite intimidating. Unlike other movies were the villains are portrayed as punching bags, in Cyborg they present new challenges to the protagonist, especially the main villain, Fender, who looks like he spawned out for a video game.

3. The costumes: the wardrobe reminded me of the Road Warrior movie, which is a good thing

The negatives

1. The limited budget was clearly reflected on the set design. Most of the action takes place out in broad daylight in abandoned buildings that look too pretty neat and clean for an apocalyptic future. It is clear that they didn't take the time to at least make the future look a little bleak

2. Although some of the fights are quite enjoyable, others are just plain ridiculous. The fights where Nady is involved in, are so awkward and out of place that I lost count of how many times I rolled my eyes

3. The acting is below average. I know JCVM is not a great actor, but as an action star, his acting is forgivable. But the rest of the actors are just terrible. No wonder they didn't work in anything else after this.

4. The screenplay is the worst thing in this movie, looks like it was written by a 10 year old.

If I keep going I never finish, but I have to admit that watching this retro-junk brought back some nostalgic memories. This is not a movie I would recommend if you haven't seen it, I would only recommend it to those who saw it back in the day just for the laughs. Of course, I have to admit it was a guilty pleasure watching it again. The only thing I was missing was the beers and the pizza.

Interesting note: Apparently this movie was going to be a sequel of Masters of the Universe and for some reason Cannon Films and Mattle canceled the project. Later Cannon decided to come with the idea for this film. Although this was supposed to be a sequel to He-Man, Cyborg looked more like the anime Fist of the North Star.
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Bitter Sweat (2003)
8/10
Life has never been so bitter…
21 April 2010
For the past 15 years, there has been a dramatic decline of jobs in Puerto Rico. This film mirrors the sad reality that the hard working Puerto Ricans are going through. The reason for this is that many companies are moving to third world countries for cheaper labor and lower benefits cost. This also has affected the movie and television industry that is going through the same thing. Although the movie was made for television, it was well done for its limited budget and it featured some of Puerto Rico's best talents.

The story is set in a Tuna factory, where the workers are mainly women. Rumors of the factory closing down operations are ever increasing creating concern among the women workers that depend greatly on their jobs. Management has made the decision to close, but decided to keep it quiet fearing that productivity might decrease. This creates tension between the workers and management, but things get worse when the boss of the factory, is found dead in his office in mysterious circumstances. Later the police start an investigation and many dark secrets start to come out involving everyone at the factory as potential suspects.

I really liked how they managed to develop the character individually. It shows the trials and tribulations of many of the workers. One of them deals with a drug addicted son, another has another job on the side to make ends mean, a woman struggles to finish college, the janitor dreams of becoming a writer some day. It really gives you a wider view of the characters lives and their personal issues.

The movie isn't perfect and at time it gets too slow, in my opinion, they should have deleted some scenes that don't contribute to the story. But other than that, the movie was quite good. The photography is decent for a movie made for TV. Now, one has to remember, this movie was made with budget limitations. The acting was the highlight of the film and all the actors did a great job. If you like foreign films, I strongly recommend this movie.
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Soylent Green (1973)
10/10
A terrifying look at a possible future…
19 April 2010
I was always aware of this movie back when I was a kid when they used to play it on TV, but for some reason it didn't interest me. Recently, I was surfing through the channels one late Saturday night, and I came across Soylent Green. Although I just got to see the second half of the movie, there was something about it that attracted me to see it. It was so good that later I purchase it on DVD and I was totally blown away by it. Now, today's demanding audience, are used to elaborate CGI, big explosions, and mindless violence. In Soylent Green you won't find that. Instead, you will find an intelligent movie with a deep environmental commentary, especially for its time.

The Story

This movie is scary, but not in the way you might think. It's scary in its near accuracy and depiction of overpopulation. The story takes place in N.Y.C in the year 2022, where pollution, poverty and overpopulation have reached a frightening point. Soylent is a multinational corporation that provides wafer like rations for the hungry masses. Detective Thorn, played by Charlton Heston, is set to investigate the murder of William R. Simonson, a VIP from the Soylent Corporation. The murder was meant to look like a common burglary, but while conducting the investigation, Thorn notices that there was no force entry and the supposed burglar didn't take anything from the victim's apartment, concluding that it was an execution. He informs his superiors about it, but they seem to be part of a cover up. Thorn, request his friend and roommate, Sol, played by Edward G. Robinson, to help him investigate some books he retrieved from the crime scene. Thorn gets deeper in the case and he also becomes a target. Eventually, Sol discovers the disturbing secret of Soylent Green.

The Characters

The highlight of the movie, other than the story which is great, has to be the acting and dialog of the characters. Detective Thorn is cynical, sarcastic and indifferent with others, but through the course of the movie, he becomes self aware of the pain of others and we get to see him change. Sol is the soul of the movie. He is an elderly cop who reminds Thorn of a different world in another time. There's a quote Sol said that really stuck with me, "People were always rotten, but the world was beautiful." Shirl or the furniture is a young and naïve girl that has opted to become an accessory for those who can afford her. She is often treated as an object by Thorn, but eventually, a relationship between them grows.

The Concept

This is a future where mankind has totally messed up. People literally live on top of each other and basically live in every inch of space they can find. Natural food is a luxury, and even synthetic food is hard to acquire. The rich pays $150 for a jar of strawberry jam and vegetables and meat are a rarity. Society has become a police state, where only the privileged have access to curfew passes. The masses are treated as garbage, this is shown in a scene when Thorn is at a riot because Soylent rations finished at an exchange station and people are literally are being dumped into garbage trucks. But most disturbing is how the film shows how hopeless, aimless and godless people are in this world. Overpopulation is pretty real and it is expected to double in the next 40 years.

The Acting

I think the chemistry between Heston a Robinson is phenomenal. I truly enjoyed the dialog between them, and their relationship. There is a scene where Thorn and Sol are having a diner with the goods Thorn was able to collect from Simonson's apartment. You can see the how they enjoy their meal, giving you a sense of appreciation for what you have.

Final Words

This movie was made in 1973 and it does look like a 70s movie. It looks bleak, dark, and grainy. There is no advance technology and no alien monsters, but instead, the movie carries a heavy message of awareness of things to come. The ending revelation of what is Soylent Green is no secret by now, but I am not going to say it just in case you haven't seen it. The beauty of sci-fi is that it challenges you to think and rationalize on present issues that are happening around the world today.
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UFC 3: The American Dream (1994 TV Special)
8/10
Enter Kimo...
14 April 2010
This is the event that basically forced the UFC promoters to rethink about the tournament format. After the success of the two prior events, SEG brought back defending champion, Royce Gracie, and King of Pancrase, Ken Shamrock. Now, these two fighters had fought before in the first UFC, Gracie becoming the victor, and Shamrock had become such a huge star in Japan that the promotion had to bring him back, not to mention that Gracie in UFC-2 had virtually no competition. They decided to put both fighters on opposite side of the bracket thinking that they might make it to the finals and have that so awaited rematch as a main event. Unfortunately for the SEG, in the world of MMA everything is unpredictable.

The first match looks like it came out of a comic book. You had Keith Hackney, a 200 pound, 5'11 fighter, fighting a gigantic Sumo wrestler by the name, Emmanuel Yarborough, who was literally three time bigger than Hackney. Now, you might think the sumo fighter had the edge because of his size, think again, Hackney managed to knock down the giant and forced the ref to stop the fight. But this came to a heavy price for Hackney, because of the blows to the head he gave Yarborough, he broke his hand and could not continue.

Second fight, Shamrock defeated Judoka, Christopher Leninger. The third fight, Harold Howard, defeated Roland Payne by KO. Howard was quite a character. If you ever see UFC-3 on DVD, you will see a video of Howard breaking a sand bag with his bare fists and saying catchy phrases. Back then, the UFC gave promotional videos before every fight to the fighters and their styles.

The fourth fight and perhaps the best fight in UFC history up until that moment, was the fight between Gracie and Kimo. This was an amazing fight and for the first time we see Gracie pushed to the limit. Kimo looked like a villain from a Van Damme movie. Kimo, had the pony tail, the colorful tattoos and an imposing body that would make a lesser man think twice about entering the octagon, not to mention his WWF entrance and his evil looking manager, Joe Son. This fight was so intense that it felt like Gracie fought forever. Gracie managed to defeat Kimo with an arm-bar, but unfortunately, Gracie couldn't continue to the second round because exhaustion, therefore forfeiting his title. In the semi's Shamrock scored another victory against an alternate, but Shamrock also couldn't continue and Howard didn't have an opponent for the second round.

Now here is when it gets really interesting. For the finals, UFC brought Steve Jennum to fight Howard as replacement for Shamrock. Jennum was fresh and did not had to fight in the tournament to get to the finals. Jennum defeated Howard when he mounted him and rained pushes, Howard taped out.

I have spoken to many old school UFC fans, like myself, and I hear people say that Jennum is not the real champion of that event, that Jennum was lucky to fight only one fight to win, and I agree to this, but Jennum saw the opportunity and took it. I believe that Jennum was a great fighter, whether he would have defeated Gracie of Shamrock or whomever, there is no doubt that he did the job and he passed to be the UFC-3 champion.

Although it was obvious that changes had to be made, it took several years for the UFC to evolve. I really think this event is one of the most important events in UFC history and one of the most controversial and entertaining.

If you haven't seen it, I strongly recommend you do.
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Deadgirl (2008)
8/10
Maybe not for now, but this film will someday become a cult classic!
10 February 2010
I have been a fan of the zombie genre since I can recall and I thought I saw everything regarding the undead, up until I came across Deadgirl. This movie didn't have much theatrical release, now, I found about this movie by word of mouth. So, after reading some reviews I gave it a try and I was totally blown away, not because of the horror, but because of its deep and disturbing content.

Deadgirl tells the story of two teenage misfits, Rickie (Fernandez) and J.T. (Segan) who decide to skip classes one day and go to an abandoned mental hospital just to have a few drink and trash the place. After a while and few beers, J.T. proposes Richie to explore the basement or the tunnel. There they make the most unusual and shocking discovery that will ultimately change their lives and the ones closest to them. Now, if you are reading this review I am guessing that you have already seen it or you're planning to do so. In that case, I don't want to spoil the story for you.

Concept

For ten year now there has been an array of zombie films that basically follow the same clichés of the George Romero's dead series. However, Deadgirl breaks away from those clichés taking a new and perhaps more disturbing look at the genre, to the extent that it's hard for me to classify it as a zombie movie or a horror movie for that matter. Although there is a zombie in the movie and one might think that the movie centralizes on the Deadgirl, the zombie is just a catalyst of the real story and not the main character per say. It doesn't have armies of zombies taking over the world or a handful of survivors barricading themselves in a shopping mall. It explores deep taboos of society like rape, torture, sadism and necrophilia, which are seen in society without an undead being part of it, she just serves as a twist to the story. It also explores the side effects of obsession and how it is easily confused with love.

Acting and characters

Although this is a low budget film, the acting was phenomenal. Shiloh Fernandez (Rickie) plays a character with moral values, which is shy and insecure, but fails to act when presented with extreme situations. Noah Segan (J.T.) plays in many ways, the antagonist of the story. J.T. is reckless, free spirited, and is the darkest of the two, but for some reason, Rickie wants to be like J.T. and at the same time, struggles to accept actions.

Visual and FX

The director of photography does an excellent job by building the atmospheric and almost nightmarish scenes at the mental hospital, where most of the story takes place. The camera angles are very stylish and not in your face, the lighting is dark and at times bleak serving the purpose of the story. We all know that many zombie films have explicit gore, and Deadgirl is no exception, but in this movie they only show glimpse of gore that only last seconds, but are enough to stay in your mind for days.

Final thoughts

Deadgirl is new, original, dark and disturbing, but even with that it's not a movie for everyone. I found at times hard to see this movie, and not because of the gore, but because of its content. It's a movie that challenges you to think in what if you where caught in that situation, what would you do? Would you do the right thing? People argue that teenagers are not capable of horrendous things. This film reminded me of a movie called "The Girl Next Door" which is based on the true story of Sylvia Likens, where teenage boys abused, raped, and torture her leading to her death. So yes, teenagers are capable of terrible things. Deadgirl is a great film that breaks from traditional.

WARNING: Deadgirl is not for everyone, so I recommend that you not to invite your parents, children, or girlfriend to see this film… it is not a date movie!
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1/10
This movie makes Street Fighter 1994 Oscar worthy!
22 November 2009
Talk about one of the most unpleasant, most disappointing moments of my life. Street Fighter: the Legend of Chun-Li is perhaps the worst movie ever to be put on celluloid. What I don't seem to comprehend is how 20th Century Fox gave the green light for this movie to be released? Is management at Fox blind, deaf and stupid?

Okay let me begin with the positive

Positive ………………………

Negative

1. Chun-Li, supposed to be an Asian character. In this movie she is not.

2. Bison's evil plot is to take over a residential area so he can build a rich people's resort, now that's evil!

3. Vega is Asian. Yes, the claw, masked ninja menace is played by an Asian actor. We all know that Vega's character is from Spain, hello!!!

4. There's not street fighting, seriously.

5. The acting is below terrible.

Okay, the list goes on and on. This film make Street Fighter (1994) look like a masterpiece. If you really hate someone and you want to play a prank on them, tell them to see Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Believe me, they will never forgive you.
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2/10
Pointless Road…
17 September 2009
I just finished watching Revolutionary Road, actually I watch it twice. The story is set in US suburbia, in the post WW2. It enfolds a married couple, the Wheelers, who are in discomfort with their ordinary lives and they decide to do something different. Their plan is to move to Paris and start a new and different life. Winslet plays a 1950s housewife with unaccomplished dreams. She encourages he husband Frank (DiCaprio) to quit his job and sell their home so they can go on this trip. But Frank is more assertive to others opinion, outside their marriage, than of his own wife. For a moment we see them doing well until Frank is offered a better position on his work place and decides to cancel their plans.

I understand the premise of the story and Winslet character's desperation to get out of her, so called boring life. What I didn't get was her true motivations. I have never read the book and perhaps I never will, but the movie doesn't really develop why she is so into going to France and leaving everything behind. It's obvious, they are not happy and it's clear from the beginning of the movie where their arguments and fighting become cliché throughout the entire movie. The plot is focused on their depressive state, instead of showing how they got to be so unhappy. Perhaps you might have read this already in other reviews, but my other complains is the lack of character development. Character development is practically inexistent; it leaves you with a lot of whys. The main characters become unlikable and predictable, the only character that I found interesting was John Givings played by Michael Shannon. But other than that, I found the acting was just average, and it wasn't the best work of DiCaprio and Winslet. Story wise there is no concrete plot and in my opinion, it's not strong enough for the viewer to support the main character motive. Anyway, be your own judge, but be warned, this movie is depressing from start to finish.
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