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Jurassic World (2015)
Yes, we've STILL Got a T-Rex!!!
Finally, at long last, we have a worthy sequel to the Jurassic Park series! 22 years have passed since the events of the first film. The island of dinosaurs has continued thriving in a newer, bigger, better park called Jurassic World. The park's geneticists have made breakthroughs including gene-splicing and hybrid engineering. They've recently created a new attraction, a cross-bred carnivore called the Indominus Rex. However, the park's owners have been experiencing problems with the new dinosaur and it's paddock. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, the I-Rex escapes wreaking havoc on the tasty wildlife and people. In the lead is Chris Pratt as former-Navy turned game warden. He's completely awesome and shows that real men still wear mustaches! Beside him for most of the film is Clare (Bryce Dallas Howard) picking up the reigns from where John Hammond left off. Clare's two nephews Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) also happen to be in the park when the rampage begins. The series has always had good solid acting, even if the characters in 2 and 3 were (annoying, paper thin, crunchable, etc.) This time around, the filmmakers wisely avoided having any of those types.So now, everyone's on a race to stop the I-Rex, save the visitors, and rescue Jurassic World from permanent foreclosure! As I already stated, this is a worthy sequel. From the writing to the cinematography to the music and characterizations, everything works beautifully. You'll be at turns thrilled, chilled, saddened, and have your heart warmed again! Welcome back to the park!!!
The Green Inferno (2013)
The Dangers of Activism
Eli Roth is at it again! When the man sets out to make a horror flick, he seems to have one thing in mind: to make the bloodiest, most disturbing films possible. Sometimes, they turn out brilliantly (like HOSTEL) and sometimes they suck (AFTERSHOCK). THE GREEN INFERNO is definitely on the better end of his spectrum. Created as a throwback to the old Italian cannibal movies of the late 70s and early 80s, Roth goes about telling yet another grisly tale. In this one, young student activists decide to take action when they learn that a logging company plans to decimate the rain forest and thereby destroy an ancient Peruvian tribe. Upon arriving at the site, they succeed at getting global coverage. As they are being airlifted out, their plane crashes in the middle of the jungle. The survivors are about to find out that being stranded is the least of their worries. Before you can say "Cannibal Holocaust", they run afoul of some friendly natives with an unhealthy appetite. And don't even get me started with their interests in the women. Overall, it's a decent chiller. There are several moments where you're guaranteed to cringe. The ending seems a little rushed, too conventional, and confusing. But apart from that, I'd recommend this to my fellow goremongers!
Out of the Dark (2014)
Good Story, Bad Execution...
Having recently gone through a slew of paranormal movies (including THE RING, SINISTER, UNFRIENDED, ALWAYS WATCHING, and THE CONJURING) I heard about this film. So I shrugged and gave it a shot. Story-wise, it's pretty good. Not entirely original, but still eerie. The problem with OUT OF THE DARK is... just read on. THE STORY: An American couple, Sarah & Paul, (played by the wonderful Julia Stiles and a bland Scott Speedman) along with Hannah (Pixie Davies) their British-accented daughter(?) travel to Colombia. Once there, Sarah takes a job at her father's paper mill. As strangers in a foreign land, they soon learn of the odd customs that their neighbors have. And along the way, they learn about the shocking history surrounding the disappearance and death of several children. Before you know it, the family starts to see weird shadowy figures in bandages and have all sorts of paranormal events. Things get even worse when their own daughter gets kidnapped by these ghostly apparitions. And it's about then that everything starts to fall apart. Instead of doing the smart thing, like call the cops or even attempting to speak in Spanish, Sarah and Paul frantically barge and stomp around town, blabbering in English (which the locals obviously don't understand), until finally learning the truth behind the ghosts. Like I said already, it's a good story. But, the film needs to be ratcheted up in some way. Either there have to be more scares, or there's gotta be more of a sense of dread and doom. Honestly, if the film were more tightly edited, (maybe if the parents were written to be a little more effective) it would be a better movie. But as it is, you can take it or leave it.
A Thought-Provoking Drama About a Zombie Girl
Okay, how's this for a zombie film idea? Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the father of a teen-aged girl who's slowly turning into a zombie? Sounds exciting, right? Probably will have oodles of blood and gore, right? Dear ole Arnie will be blowin' apart corpses, right? WRONG! If you, gentle bloodthirsty viewers, were looking for a cheap thrill, then look elsewhere.
Now, as for MAGGIE, let's continue the review. You would think with Schwarzenegger in the cast, the film would wind up playing like END OF DAYS (where he fights the Devil using machine guns and bazookas), but no. In a brilliant, and eye-opening turn, he plays a quiet, reserved mid-western farmer who has to deal with his daughter turning into a flesh-crazed killer. For her part, Maggie (played by veteran ZOMBIELAND star Abigail Breslin) tries to cope with her inevitable changes in decay and memory loss as the zombie virus slowly consumes her from within. Both actors give surprisingly nuanced, if not believable, performances. And their interactions together are even touching and heartfelt at times. The few times where violence does occur, it's handled more on the tense but brief side. And, in one instance, Arnold feels regret afterwards. So often in this movie, you'll think the movie's going to go in one direction, but then the characters do something completely unexpected. I admit, it's slow-going at first. And if you're not hooked about thirty minutes in, this may not be your cup of tea. But stick with it, and I promise it's a rewarding and thought-provoking drama about a zombie girl. For originality alone, I'll put this on my BEST ZOMBIE FILMS list.
Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (1996)
When Jurassic Park Meets Die-hard...
CARNOSAUR was a blatant rip-off/mish-mash of JURASSIC PARK, THE THING, THE CRAZIES, and ALIEN. CARNOSAUR 2 was basically JP and ALIENS. In keeping with the formula, CARNOSAUR 3: PRIMAL SPECIES combines JP and Die-hard. Third time around, things are starting to feel run-of-the-mill. But here it goes: On a huge cargo ship, international terrorists seize it and expect to find crates of weapons in the hold. At the same time, a group of hardened soldiers come onboard the ship to take out the terrorists. However... yep, dinosaurs with hearty appetites. Overall, the humans give ho-hum performances. There's quite a bit of humor that falls flat. There's not really much action. And the dino footage is mainly recycled stuff from the earlier two movies. It's entertaining, I'll give it that. But it's best enjoyed if you're planning to mock it, ala MST3K. Either way, be ready to howl with laughter!
Carnosaur 2 (1995)
In Jurassic Park, No-One Can Hear You Scream!!!
With the success of JURASSIC PARK, filmmakers were frantically cashing in on the dinosaur craze. Hence, the CARNOSAUR series. The first film was a rip-off of not only JP, but ALIEN, THE THING and THE CRAZIES. It was mildly entertaining and had decent (low budget) dinosaur FX. In CARNOSAUR 2, a team of badass soldiers investigate a potential meltdown at a top-secret facility. What they discover are dangerous (and hungry) genetically-engineered dinosaurs running rampant through the underground labs. Imagine PREDATOR, JP, and ALIENS combined and you've got the idea. Performances from the human actors are... okay. But who cares about them? Most will wind up as raptor chow anyway! The real stand-outs are the gory special FX and the carnivorous beasties. It's entertaining, so long as you don't think too hard about anything. So put your feet up, load the rocket launcher, and invite your friends over for a rip-roaring blast from the past!
Low Budget Jurassic Park... Sorta!
Okay, okay, what do you get when you combine THE CRAZIES, THE THING, ALIEN, and JURASSIC PARK? Why a low budget rip-off of JURASSIC PARK, of course! The storyline is truly bizarre (again a mish-mash of the various titles I mentioned above), but I'll attempt to get it right: In a desert location, weird genetic experiments are going on at a top-secret facility. Scientists are making dinosaurs. Why, it's never made clear. Through a few mishaps, the dinosaurs escape and wreak havoc on the local, edible, population. As if that weren't bad enough, people are coming down with a strange disease that causes dinosaurs to hatch inside them(?!) Like I said, nonsensical. But FUN, nonetheless. So long as you don't go into this expecting Oscar-worthy performances. The special dinosaur FX are pretty eye-catching for such a low budget flick. For mild entertainment, you could do far, far worse. Followed by at least two sequels.
Jurassic Park III (2001)
We Have A T... Oh @#$%! RAPTORS!!!
In the original JURASSIC PARK, remember that sense of awe you felt upon setting eyes on the first majestic brachiosaurus? Remember witnessing the baby raptor hatching out of the egg? Remember watching the T-Rex thunder across the screen? Or the adult raptors stalking the kids in the kitchen? *SIGH* JURASSIC PARK. What started as a brilliant masterpiece has been turned into a downward-spiraling series. Much like Spielberg's similarly great shark film JAWS! By the time LOST WORLD came out, the dinosaurs became nothing more than standard-issue movie monsters that just stomped around and ate everybody who wasn't famous. By the time JURASSIC PARK III came about, the formula was already getting old and worn. Here's the story: An annoying kid goes paragliding and crash-lands onto the island of dinosaurs. The boy's annoying parents (played by William H. Macy and Tea Leoni) convince Alan Grant (Sam Neill, yay!) to accompany them to the island in a rescue attempt. Apart from some new dinosaurs (including the flying pterodactyls, finally) there's not much else to write home about with this one. Hopefully JURASSIC WORLD will pick up the reins of this tired series and pump new life into it!
We Have A T-Rex 2!!
JURASSIC PARK is a sci-fi/action classic directed by the maestro Steven Spielberg himself. After it became such a hit, sequels were pretty much a given. THE LOST WORLD (AKA: THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK) takes place some time after the events of the first film. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is perplexed to discover from John Hammond (Richard Attenborough, looking old and frail) that they had worked on a second Jurassic Park. What's even more perplexing is that his old girlfriend Sarah Harding (the always delightful Julianne Moore) has gone to the island to study the new breeds of dinosaurs. Going along as part of a research/ rescue team, Ian hates to have his chaos theory proved right... again! Second time around, there's less of the sense of wonder that the first film inspired when we see the dinosaurs. Now, they've been turned more into just movie monsters that stomp around and eat the disposable actors. Ignoring the annoying sub-plot involving the capture of a baby T-Rex and his angry parents, the film is still worthwhile. Followed by the completely forgettable JURASSIC PARK 3!
Jurassic Park (1993)
We Have A T-Rex!
The prolific writer Michael Crichton was famous for writing stories about science gone awry. Naturally, he'd probably get around to genetic experimenting. Hence, JURASSIC PARK came into being. The novel was monumental for capturing the imaginations of readers. Honestly, who wouldn't want to see dinosaurs again? When the book made a splash, it was almost inevitable that a movie would be made at some point. Directed by none other than Steven Spielberg, the film is a masterpiece.
Imagine being a little kid, sitting in the darkened theater, as the credits roll on a black screen underscored by eerie vocals. The screen fades into an as-yet-unknown location. It's pitch black, harsh spotlights illuminating the area. A group of heavily-armed men stand around a fenced-in compound. A cage is slowly lowered in. The men jump back as whatever's inside screeches at them. Despite being hissed at, the group push the cage into place. But that "something inside" goes on a rampage, knocking the cage and the men out of the way. In the process, one of the workers gets grabbed. Screams and growls reverberate off the theater walls as whatever's inside slowly eats the man alive. Despite the other workers' best efforts to stop the creature. Scary? Oh yeah! And we haven't even seen the first dinosaur yet! Following the accident, the story really takes off: In order to quell the safety concerns from the park's investors, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) invites a small team of experts and his grandchildren to take a trial vacation at his island resort. What they discover is a magnificent theme park populated by genetically-engineered dinosaurs. But their amazement quickly melts into fear when the power goes out, and the fences start coming down. Now, on the run from the dangerous prehistoric carnivores, they must find a way to survive and escape Jurassic Park. Still twenty-some years later, the special effects and CGI are astounding. Never before (or since, in most cases) have dinosaurs looked so alive on-screen. All the actors give their roles 110%. For you, the viewer, you'll be thrilled, chilled, and amazed at everything happening in this movie. Come on, it's a Spielberg movie! Followed by two "less-than-classic" sequels. With JURASSIC WORLD out now in theaters, why not go back and re-live it all over again?!