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Revenge of the Creature (1955)
The Gillman Returns
The lovable monster is back and only this time it is like the other half of the underwater KING KONG story. The monster gets captured from his comfort zone, gets sent to Florida and escapes and wrecks havoc. Speaking of KING KONG, Chris Mueller Jr., who designed the Gillman costume (read my review on CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON), was assigned to make the costume for Universal's unmade epic, THE LEGEND OF KING KONG, but it never got made. REVENGE OF THE CREATURE was released in 3D, this was interesting to see that creature back in action. The music is great and the cinematography is awesome. Once again, SVENGOOLIE was the one that sent me here. I said it before and I said it again, this movie has no right to be remade. I highly recommend it, but like the first film, it is best for children over the age of seven and accompanied by an adult since it has no rating. Strange, the first film was rated G when it was released in 1972. Oh what the hey, this movie is rated G by my standards.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
80 years and still awesome!
I heard about and read about. I finally saw it on SVENGOOLIE and I knew that it was one of those sequels that were better than the first film! Scenes from this movie were based on other elements from the Mary Shelly story, which also got spoofed in the Mel Brooks film, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974). My favorite character was Dr. Petoreus he is interesting and downright evil. He showed him his previous experiments which were shrunken people. That scene was contrasting because it was too comical. (In 1933, Universal was going to make an adaptation of GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, but it didn't get made, so this scene answers the question on what if the story got adapted.) This movie also has background music that was perhaps, an attempt to cash-in on the success of the original KING KONG. Before KONG got made, there were a lot of horror films that did not rely on background music and just silence. As the expression goes "Silence is Golden", but sometimes it can be unsettling and disturbing to build terror. It worked with two Universal horror films like Dracula and FRANKENSTEIN, and Paramount's ISLAND OF LOST SOULS. The Bride is as iconic as her male counter-part, her Hammer iteration from FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN, lacked the charm and it looked too attractive and less scary. So kudos to this movie, although it is a success, causing UNIVERSAL to make DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, this movie got a bad case of sequelitis causing them to make more sequels like SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN and FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN (which caused them to crossover with Dracula). I highly recommend it so give it a watch. Not rated, but it is best off for children ages 7 and up to watch it with their parents.
One Million Years B.C. (1966)
Epic and Wonderful
Back by popular demand, it is time for "Matthew Praises." I remember seeing a brief clip of on READING RAINBOW in the episode "Digging Up Dinosaurs." That clip made me believe that dinosaurs looked and sounded like that. (I was four so this was before JURASSIC PARK which came out when I was nine.) Although Raquel Welch's beauty was there to make the picture sell, I think it was Ray Harryhausen's animated beasts that really made it enjoyable to me. The music is great, but by today's standards it looks good, but the iguana and tarantula (eating crickets) made it look cheesy. After all, they wanted to pay homage to the original 1940 classic. I mean, the 1940 film ONE MILLION B.C. was clunky. It had dinosaur effects ranging from lizards with horns and spikes glued on their bodies to men in suits. Kind of like those FLASH GORDON serials from the 1930's by Universal. This movie had better monster effects. If anyone asks me what is your favorite movie where the remake is better than the original, I would say ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. made by Hammer. Hammer was planning to make a big monster movie after the success of making their Gothic horror films like THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, HORROR OF Dracula, and the 1959 remake of THE MUMMY. They wanted to remake KING KONG, with Ray's special effects skills, but they couldn't afford the rights form RKO so they ended up remaking ONE MILLION B.C. I saw this movie on Turner Classic Movies and I highly recommend it. The film was such a success, that there were cartoons that cashed in on it like Pink Panther's EXTINCT PINK (1969) and PREHISTORIC PINK (1968) and a porno parody called ONE MILLION AC/DC (1969) (Read my review, it's a "Matthew Rants" one). Followed by WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH (1970) (read my review on that one). Not rated, but it contains violence, nudity, peril, some gore and one scary scene (specifically that tarantula). Best viewable for children over the age of 7.
More like Paddington Turkey
This is not a "Matthew Rants," but more of a "Matthew Rambles." When I first heard about it, I was excited and when I saw it, I was not happy about it. I haven't felt this upset since I re-watched the 1998 GODZILLA in 2004. My mother was a fan of it, but was not happy about the film. I was planning to see it on the big screen, but couldn't because of the Blizzard of 2015! It is a good thing we saw it On-Demand. This movie is a mess! It is a Frankenstein's Monster made up a kids-drive adults bananas movie, a live-action cartoon, a (Disney Channel) sitcom, Wes Anderson style film-making, 101 DALMATIONS, A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL and DIE HARD just to name a few. Nicole Kidman as the villain is a clone of Cruella DeVille she like animals for her morbid purposes! I bet kids were scared by the sharp objects she used. Hugh Bonneville, who played Robert Crawley om TV's DOWNTON ABBEY, is Mr. Brown and this is the kind of movie he would get off of his resume! DR. WHO's Peter Capaldi is Mr. Curry. Look what they done to him! Before in the books and cartoon adaptations, he was a haughty and grumpy sort of fellow and boomed "Bear!" when Paddington messed around with his stuff. He has gone from Squidward or Mr. Wilson to a wacky neighbor of those sitcoms! The gags are clever and the audience happen to be catered for those who watch stuff on Nickelodeon or Disney Channel. PADDINGTON has dropped into the neighborhood with the live-action versions of The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat. When he is taking out the garbage, just warn him about the Milpitas Monster (read my comment). So in a nutshell: It is a complete waste of time, a complete waste of money, a complete waste of talent artistic skill an a complete waste of celluloid. Rated PG for mischief, peril, crude humor and some scary scenes.
The Milpitas Monster (1976)
Before AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH there was THE MILPITAS MONSTER.
I got this movie on Blockbuster Video on DVD under the title, THE MUTANT BEAST. Let me tell you this movie is a complete waste of the following, a complete waste of talent, a complete of money, a complete of time and a complete waste of celluloid. Back by popular demand, it's "Matthew Rants!" Most monsters come from the supernatural (DRACULA, THE WOLF MAN and THE MUMMY), unexplored lands (KING KONG), and outer-space (THE THING, INVADERS FROM MARS and THE BLOB). Others are created by science gone mad, (FRANKENSTEIN, THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU and THE FLY) and atomic radiation (GODZILLA). In the 1970's pollution was a very big problem and filmmakers had ideas for movies about monsters being spawned by pollution. OK, introduction aside, to start off, the only good thing about this picture is Paul Frees' narration. I have no idea what's it trying to be, a comedy? Or a monster movie? The acting is dull and stupid! The teenagers who break into the skull out-stupid the Three Stooges, they don't know how to control their voices, they sound like game show announcers! Whether I saw this as a teenager or not, I would still be offended by that! There is also this Charlie Chaplin wannabe who is this drunk guy and with so much human drama, the viewer wishes to get to the part with the monster! Apart from the acting there are the special effects range from cheap stop-motion animation (which can make MYSTERIOUS PLANET (read my review of that picture) look like EQUINOX) to a man in a suit (that can make early GODZILLA movies look sophisticated). It also does a good job at putting you to sleep and obnoxiously waking you up (OK that is a bit of an overreaction there). The film started as a short subject from 1970 as a short little statement film called THE MONSTER WE ALL CREATED. Then there was plans for a feature, which took three years to make and this was the result. 20 years later, in the nineties, there was plans to make a sequel called THE MILPITAS MONSTER 2. As the tackling goes, "The city of Milpitas is all grown up, but it's not alone. THE MILPITAS MONSTER 2 - it's back, and this time we're not kidding." Bottom line: Although it gained some sort of cult status, this film goes into Cinema Snob territory. If there is a choice between this film and GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER, go with the latter. THE MILPITAS MONSTER is rated PG for scary scenes, mild language, thematic elements, and peril.
Deep psychological drama.
When I first saw this movie, I thought that it was going to be a superhero movie. But it wasn't! This movie is a satire on Michael Keaton's life and showbiz whereas SINGING IN THE RAIN is a satire on the arrival of talking pictures in 1929. Birdman is a parody of the BATMAN films he worked on even the character's voice is a spoof on the recent Batman films by Christopher Nolan. It is amusing that it almost looked like that it is done in one take, but it somehow there were editing shots spliced in here and there. The music is good and it is worth the watch. Naomi Watts was in this movie as Lesley and she was in Peter Jackson's KING KONG remake. Michael Keaton is going to be in a prequel to KING KONG called KONG: SKULL ISLAND along with J.K. Simmons (of WHIPLASH fame) and Tom Hiddleston (who was Loki in THOR and THE AVENGERS) which is coming out in 2017. I say bring it on! Bottom line: Great psychological drama. Rated R for strong language, violence, nudity, sexuality and drug use and reference.
The Interview (2014)
The Art of Going Too Far
All those news reports pressured me to see this movie. First off, there have been a lot of cartoons and comedies where dictators get tormented by cartoon characters. Daffy Duck, Popeye and Donald Duck tormented Hitler. The Three Stooges and Red Skeleton poked fun out of Hitler. Popeye fought the Japanese in "You're a Sap Mr. Jap." The Animaniacs tortured Sadam Hussein. Cartman from "South Park" tortured Osama Bin-Laden. Remember "Team America: World Police?" Here it is just taking it too far. They made fun of not only the dictator, but the people and the place. James Franco and Seth Rogen play out as a modern-day Laurel and Hardy with Franco as Laurel and Seth as Hardy. As for the writing, who wrote it? Did the Angry Video Game Nerd and Seth MacFarlane write it? Apart from raunchy profanity and scatological humor, there are a lot gory scenes done in the name of obnoxious frat-boy comedy! This movie is causing quite a stir and caused other ideas to spawn other movies to exploit it Kim Jong-Un. For instance, I heard of this monster movie coming out called "Kim Jong-Kong" where Kim Jong-Un's nuclear missile attack failed and the caused him to grow into a giant bound on destroying the world! There is an Indie-Gogo page asking for money. Bottom-line: Animation and film is an art and art is about self-expression or representation of something. In this case this is the art of going too far. Rated R for violence, language, nudity, gore and crude humor!
The Boxtrolls (2014)
A Magnificent Work of Art.
Once again, Laika does it again. First "Coraline" in 2009 and "Paranorman" in 2012. Now "The Boxtrolls" in 2014. This is based on the Alan Snow book, "Here There Be Monsters." To start off, it is very well executed in terms of animation and craftsmanship. Just look at how detailed those miniatures and models are created. They are very well detailed. Another thing that is great about it, is not only the music, but the voices too. Ben Kingsly and Simon Pegg are great, but the big round of applause should go to Dee Bradley Baker. Ever since I heard his voice-work in the "Powerpuff Girls" episode, "Super Zeroes", I thought he did weird voices, but when I heard his performance of the monster in that episode, I my liking grew ridiculously strong and I began liking his performance in "American Dad" and "Codename: Kids Next Door". I would like to point out that it is very well written and I found some humorous scenes that range from rude and crude to Pythonesque (i.e. similar to Monty Python). Speaking of which there are many scenes with a lot of crude humor, but there are also scary scenes. For the sake of warning, I am going to give you some examples. OK just one, Archibald Snatcher, the villain, I mean just look how creepy and grisly he looks. Especially when he lures up to the camera or the camera lures up to him. I bet children and adults were reacting with laughter and screaming in terror when they saw those scenes in 3D. Especially when they were grossed out. Hence the PG rating. Would this be the future of family films? Some scenes are not suitable for sensitive viewers, especially if they are children under the age of seven. I mean fifteen to twenty years from now people would talk about the time they saw this when they were kids and say how some scenes scary. I love it, so I highly recommend it. Especially as a film to watch on Halloween. Rated PG for peril and some scary scenes. If you didn't know, this has been another "Matthew Praises."
It's a Monster Mash!
After the success of KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962), it was time for Toho to make two sequels that both came out that year. GODZILLA VS. THE THING (a.k.a. GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA) and GHIDRAH: THE THREE-HEAD MONSTER (both 1964). It has come to my attention that the two other monsters that team up with the big G had their own movies before they were involved. Rodan and Mothra. Akira Ifukube's score is awesome and the special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya are wonderful. This movie has a sense of wonder. They are many reasons why people rooted for Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra when they fight the three-headed golden dragon-like Goliath. To me, even though he is modeled after the hydra from Greek mythology, it is because, before hand, there was this multi-headed dragon from the DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS cartoon that scared me (read my review on that cartoon) and seeing Godzilla take him down with his fellow team-mates reminds me of the 70's Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the big G (also read my comment on that cartoon). This was the movie that turned Godzilla from villain to hero and he will do that over the next 11 years. King Ghidorah would be a recurring character in the franchise. So there you have it. I highly recommend it. Bottom line: Give it a watch because it's great fun. Not rated, but a G would be nice.
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)
The Muppets go all out!
This is a wild sequel to the 2011 hit! The film has a tendency to make fun of itself and what people think of the previous film. It's cute and funny and there is something I would like to point out: the villain Constantine the Frog looks like he can win a trophy for the Gru-Impersonating Contest. In fact, this film is trying to rival the success of the "Despicable Me" films. Some scenes feel like something straight out of Universal's CG movies with those yellow freaks while others are just referencing and paying tribute to themselves (i.e. The Muppets). One song I liked was "Make your Dreams Come True." Which looked like as if it was made 33 years ago (circa. 1981). I am not going give it a way, but there is a nice term that goes like this "Quit while you are ahead." Here is why. First off, if they go on to make a third Muppet movie, it is bound to be (a lot) less successful than the previous films. (e.g. "Shrek the Third", "Jurassic Park 3", "High School Musical 3", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3".) Second, why not reboot the TV variety show "The Muppet Show" and have more guest stars like Arnold Schwartzenegger, Jim Carrey, Eminem, Luke Evans or Anthony Hopkins". Better yet why not an animated series based on the comic book, "The Muppet Show". Have the team behind "Phineas and Ferb" do it. So there you have it. While the first film is about Gary and Mary, the second is about those cute and lovable cloth creatures. Bottom line: Fun for the whole family. Rated PG for action and peril. Go figure. Good luck and be careful Muppets.