Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Kiss Your Overblown Hollywood Expectations Goodbye!
The newest video game sensation is "Arcade", a virtual reality game that one must win....or lose your mind and forever be part of the game. Alex (Megan Ward) and her friends try the game, but Alex's boyfriend loses and disappears. One of Alex's friends tries a home version of the game and disappears before her eyes. Determined to get their friends back, Alex and her friend Nick (Peter Billingsley) take on the mind-reading Arcade!
While the plot may be familiar to anyone who's seen TRON, this is a decent low-budget sci-fi film. Many of the actors are now familiar faces: Seth Green, A.J. Langer and John DeLancie among them. Although director Albert Pyun usually directs low-budget boredom (DOLLMAN, CYBORG, etc.), this movie actually has a good story and some pretty good actors. The pace is somewhat slow, and the CGI F/X won't impress today's kids accustomed to video game-like movies with endless amounts of special effects, explosions and loud music, but fans of movies that actually have a plot and characterization will find it entertaining. I'd place this with Pyun's better movies such as RADIOACTIVE DREAMS and THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER.
Charles Band, the film's producer and CEO of Full Moon Pictures, held this movie's release back for a year in order to redo the CGI F/X. For those curious to what they originally looked like, watch the 10 minute "Videozone" featurette included on the DVD. I think it was a wise move, and the movie benefits greatly because of it. The only complaint I really have is that the DVD didn't include the full "Videozone" segment, which included this film's trailer. (This DVD was part of a import boxed set of region-free DVDs.)
The Root Of All Silliness
A geologist returns to his home town of Comet Valley to search for a meteorite that landed several years ago. He stays at a bed and breakfast run by his former girlfriend (who looks ten years younger than he does). It turns out that giant alien seeds have landed and transformed the locals into emotionless, mind reading zombies. Our hero teams up with the local scientist / drunk to stop these "Seedpeople" from taking over.
If the plot sounds familiar, you may have seen one of several versions INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. The plot is hardly original, the acting is very poor (everyone has a moment where they shame their acting coaches) and the special effects are not so special. Yet, I love this movie! Why? Because Hollywood horror movies these days are all filled with CGI, obnoxious characters, loud music and explosions in place of an actual story. Hollywood is obsessed with remaking classic movies that insult the intelligence of fans of the original films or making endless amounts of torture porn sequels instead of coming up with an original idea. SEEDPEOPLE has very little in the way of digital effects, choosing to use physical effects instead, doesn't try to hide its low budget and offers likable characters and low key music. Yeah, it's an unofficial remake, but it doesn't insult me like current remakes.
I'm not sure why no composer is listed in the opening credits, but can someone explain why Holly Fields is said to be 21-years-old in the "Videozone" (making of) segment, when her birthday is listed as 1976? That would make her 16 in 1992. Also, the narrator of "Videozone" says Peter Manoogian directed DANGEROUS TOYS (actually DEMONIC TOYS). This didn't take away from my enjoyment of "Videozone". But why isn't there a trailer on the region free DVD?
Bad Channels (1992)
Bad Channels, Good Time!
There's a new DJ in the town of Pahoota, shock jock Dangerous Dan O'Dare (Paul Hipp). He's about to bring some rock'n'roll to the former polka channel KDUL Superstation 66.6. A pretty reporter (former MTV VJ Martha Quinn) is covering the story for a TV network when she sees a UFO. Of course, no one believes her. Dan finds out she's telling the truth when an alien that has a head that looks like a blue-black cauliflower with a window set in front, and his robot minion, take over the radio station. The alien has come to Earth to shrink women and place them in bottles using Dan's voice to pick the best-looking female listeners. Each woman the alien wants experiences a rock fantasy, much like a music video, that others can't see. Yes, really.
This admittedly silly Full Moon film is a sci-fi rock'n'roll comedy, and it delivers the goods with pretty girls, great music and some laughs too. No one will call this movie a classic, but it's fun in a "check your brain at the door" sort of way. The music is pretty awesome. There's a heavy metal song (with Ron Keel), a grunge rock song and, my favorite, "Manic Depresso" by Sykotik Sinfoney, a silly song with guys in clown, cow and nun outfits. Yes, really.
The acting is fairly good, although some actors are a bit over the top. Ted Nicolaou's direction is competent, if uninspired. The music score is by the rock band Blue Oyster Cult. Those who normally skip the end credits may want to know that the final joke takes place after the credits. (Of course, you might need to be a Full Moon fan to really appreciate it.) When Cinemax broadcast this movie back in the 1990s, they unfortunately cut out the final scene. A movie titled DOLLMAN VS. THE DEMONIC TOYS is a sequel to DOLLMAN, DEMONIC TOYS and BAD CHANNELS simultaneously. (Actually, this "sequel" changes the ending to BAD CHANNELS, and it's not good at all.) The DVD includes an 11 minute featurette (a condensed version of "Videozone".)
Although this movie is hard to recommend to the average movie lover, I found it to be highly entertaining.
Yet Another Guilty Pleasure
Poor Vicki (Wendy Lyon) lives with a puritanical mother who won't buy her a new prom dress, so she decides to make her own. Problem is, Vicki chooses to use material formerly belonging to a prom queen who was burned alive in 1957. Big mistake. Using anything by a slutty dead girl will only get you possessed by Mary Lou Maloney, the said dead girl. Even worse, Mary Lou causes Vicki to act slutty too, not to mention killing a few people. That's not good for Vicki's reputation. But Mary Lou has a score to settle with her ex-boyfriend / accidental murderer, who's now the high school principal (Michael Ironside). Poor Vicki also has the unfortunate luck to be dating the son of Mary Lou's ex. There's gonna be hell to pay!
I'll be very frank with everyone reading this: This is not a good movie. It's poorly written, with atrocious dialogue, and the acting is worse. Some good special effects and a lesbian shower scene (complete with full frontal nudity by Lyon) battles it out with an indifferent script by Ron Oliver. The only scary thing about this movie is the 1980s hairstyles worn by many of the female cast members. That said, this is the only film in the dismal PROM NIGHT series that's worth watching.
Originally this film was called THE HAUNTING OF HAMILTON HIGH. It was retitled to cash in on the popularity of the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis slasher movie. I can't imagine why anyone would be proud of PROM NIGHT, let alone put the movie on their resume. Writer Ron Oliver went on to write and co-direct the next entry, PROM NIGHT III: THE LAST KISS. One of my favorite '80s pop songs, "Soul City" is playing in the background in three scenes, however, it's not listed in the end credits. I've only recently been informed (thanks to someone who posted a reply to my question on this website's message board) of the group who sings it, The Partland Brothers. I am happy now since I was trying to figure out who sings this for 22 years! The DVD is in widescreen, but contains no special features, not even a trailer. I'd buy this again if a special edition was released. That's a hint MGM and Fox!
Mahô shôjo lyrical Nanoha (2004)
A Magical Time For All
Nanoha Takamachi is a third grade student who finds an injured ferret and takes him to the vet with her friends. Little does she suspect that the ferret is actually an alien boy who failed in his mission to seal Jewel Seeds that contain evil forces. Yuuno, the ferret, telepathically summons Nanoha when a monster escapes from one of the Jewel Seeds. Nanoha is shocked to learn that the ferret can communicate with her, and even more surprised that she can summon magical powers to battle the forces of evil using a jewel attached to Yuuno's collar. With her newfound powers, Nanoha defeats the monster. This is just the beginning of her adventures as Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. But defeating monsters will come across as being easy when she comes face to face with Fate, a young girl her age that wants the Jewel Seeds for a sinister purpose.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha starts off as a combination of Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon - my two favorite manga and anime series - but takes a darker tone with some of the later episodes. Nanoha not only has battles in her neighborhood, but eventually travels to inner space to battle a sorceress hell bent on bringing her dead daughter back to life. Certain story elements clearly make this series for older children, and not a family audience. However, don't let this stop you from checking out what can sometimes be a surprising story.
The animation is very well done, and it has fantastic colors. The characters are well defined and back story is provided for most of them. The only characters we don't get to know very well are Nanoha's family and some of the crew members on the spaceship in dimensional space. The music is enjoyable, with cute pop songs at the start and close of each episode.
Whatever you do, don't let any negative opinions from other so-called "critics" stop you from checking out a highlight in the Japanese magical girl genre. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha really satisfies one's appetite for a good fantasy show.
Goosebumps: You Can't Scare Me! (1996)
The Best Episode Ever!
Eddie and Hat are two boys who are sick of "Little Miss Perfect" Courtney, the teacher's pet. When she says nothing scares her, the two boys take this as a challenge. Unfortunately, Courtney isn't afraid of snakes or tarantulas. Their pranks on her backfire badly. Not giving up, the boys dare Courtney to go to the muddy creek where a mud monster apparently roams. There, all three kids find out the truth behind the legend.
Excellent in all respects, this is the quintessential episode of Goosebumps. The performances of all the kids are outstanding, with an especially funny performance by Charlotte Sullivan as Courtney. Sullivan's dialogue at the end of the episode is hilarious. It does change the book by R.L. Stine, but that's not a bad thing. Fans of this series will definitely want to re-watch this over and over.
This episode is included on the new DVD, "Return Of The Mummy".
The Clique (2008)
A Clique Worth Joining
Spoiled rich girl Massie (an excellent Elizabeth McLaughlin) gets a literal wake up call when her dad announces that their guest house will be occupied by his college buddy and his family. This family includes a daughter named Claire (Ellen Marlow), who is the same age as Massie. Massie, the head of a seventh grade clique called The Pretty Committee, does not like this newcomer at all. A rivalry between the two girls begins. Will they ever be friends?
Although many viewers of this teen movie will surely predict the outcome, it provides enough laughs and drama to please most of the young girls the film is aimed at. I personally felt for Claire, even when she stooped to sending false e-mails to Massie's friends. (Haven't we all done something awful like this that we later regretted?) My favorite member of The Pretty Committee is Alicia (Samantha Boscarino), a shopaholic who is as idiotic as she is beautiful.
The film was based on a series of novels by Lisi Harrison, which I never heard of prior to watching this movie. As with many book to film adaptations, there will always be (probably rightly) those who prefer the book to the movie. Still, to pass on this movie just because it's not like the book would be a crime. There are many movies I saw before reading the book, and after I did read it I became a fan of both versions.
The Clique is definitely worth the 87 minutes it lasts.