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A decent appetizer for those who are Hungry Like a Wolf
Remember that movie The Animal that starred Deuce Bigelow Male Gigolo and that mildly cute girl from the first Survivor? He was a security guard or something and he was horribly injured so a mad scientist transplanted animal organs into his body and he got their powers? Well this is just like that except unlike The Animal it's not even accidentally funny, but the acting is better and it's somehow more believable.
Basically Justine Bateman helps a dude out by replacing his damaged eyes with wolf eyeballs. This obviously leads to him developing wolf powers, like night vision, which is cool at first, until the more undesirable wolf traits start to manifest themselves, like growling, snarling, a thirst for human blood and butt-scooting across the living room carpet. This one's not bad and manages to add a twist to the werewolf mythology.
Murders in the Zoo (1933)
At this zoo, it's not the cost of parking and admission that's gonna kill ya!
When rogue sunspot activity grants the chimps at the zoo hyper-intelligence, they quickly rebel against their human captors, forcing the humans to ride tricycles while wearing ill-fitting bell boy outfits and smoking cheap cigars while mocking the humans' pale, unswollen buttocks. In an attempt to befriend the chimps, the humans refer to them as mere "monkeys" which sends the chimps into a face eating frenzy that transforms the zoo a cotton candy coated abattoir!
Okay, maybe not. This is actually a lean and mean tale of obsession and revenge. I don't want to spoil it for you by giving away any details except to say that this type of story, the pathologically jealous husband who views his wife as property, and the brave wife trying to escape him, has been told many times over.
This version however, is stripped down and raw, and the zoo setting gives it a slightly bizarre twist, just enough to jar you yet not so much it detracts from the emotional impact of the story. The acting is good on all sides with Atwill especially frightening as a man both driven and intelligent enough to exact a horrible fate on anyone he even suspects of crossing him. The opening scene is actually pretty disturbing and but does it's job well in that it lets the viewer know exactly how far Atwill will go to impose his retribution.
Don't Worry, I'm a Ghost (2012)
Not quite what i expected
I should start off by saying that the version of this movie that I saw was sub-titled, and pretty badly. I mean like "Midnight showing of Drunken Master" bad. However, despite this, I think I got the gist of what was happening most of the time. I can't really comment on nuances of dialogue though.
Basically, a young guy is out on his motor scooter one night when he gets slammed into by a car. He wakes up in a hospital and discovers he has lost his memory. His cellphone was destroyed so he can't find any clues to his identity there. However the police, and a beautiful young female ghost get him off to s good start. As the film moves forward the ghost helps him to gradually recover his memory. This eventually results in the revelation of a tragic and terrible secret from the young fella's past. It's a secret I'm not gonna reveal. Don't want to spoil it.
So at first I thought this one would be just another supernatural Rom-Com. Bot meets ghost, boy falls in love with ghost, boy and ghost break up, boy and ghost get back together. At some point though, the film veers off course and it ends up in rather unexpected territory. I'm not quite sure I would have understood why it ended the way it did either, even had the sub-titles been flawless.
However, all in all it was interesting and the lead female actress is quite charming. She almost has an Asian Audrey Tautou thing going on. It's worth a watch for sure.
The World's End (2013)
If you haven't seen the movie yet, stop reading the reviews!
I've missed out on some fun because I knew too much about a movie before seeing it. So I've made it a point to avoid all the reviews and movie news about films until after I see them. I went into this one knowing only that it starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and Wow, at a certain point, this movie blew the top of my head off. If you don't know what to expect there is a twist( and that's putting it very lightly) that you'll never see coming. So from here on in Here Be Spoilers!
For the rest of you, who I assume have seen the film, WHAT A BLAST! Oh man, when Gary got in a fight with that teen and the kid's head shattered in a spray of blue ink! Holy Cuh-Rap! From the first half hour or so I thought I was in for something like Wild Hogs, except, you know good. I figured the boys were making a comparatively relaxed comedy about reaching middle age and not attaining your dreams blah, blah, blah. Not too bad but nothing to write home about either.
Then they dropped the bomb and all bets were off. What a ride! It was a comedy, but it also had some pretty effective thriller moments. And there was some social commentary, which I figured they borrowed from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but the movie doesn't bog down in it, not for a second. The comedy, the suspense, the commentary, it's really well balanced. I really appreciated that the creators never forgot, and never let the audience forget, that this movie is primarily a comedy. It has laughs galore. There are multiple little jokes crammed inside of bigger jokes. This is the comedy version of the famous Russian nesting dolls. Might I also add that I've never seen beer filmed so lovingly before. Each pint that Gary drinks looks like the Platonic Idea of A Pint. Seriously, when I left the theater I wanted only two things. To talk about the movie with my friends, reliving the laughs, and to hit 12 pubs for 12 pints, the beer looked that good. As P.G. Wodehouse might have put it, I required a strengthening tonic.
Actually there was one other urge I felt after leaving the theater, an intense craving for a Marmalade Sandwich.
Smart, exciting, at times gut-wrenchingly hilarious, this is the kind of movie that makes you leave the theater on a pure movie high.
Identity Thief (2013)
It's an occasionally funny "Midnight Run" for the Jerry Springer crowd.
As you know, Jason Bateman goes to Florida to catch an identity thief and bring her back to Denver so he can get his life back after she ruined it by stealing his identity. It's a pretty simple premise and a pretty simple movie.
The leads had a decent chemistry and if the script had been more intelligent it would have been a better film. But it opts for the lowest common denominator type gags at every turn. That gets pretty old in a film almost 2 hours long.
This is the type of movie where the two main characters are supposed to start out hating each other but eventually develop an understanding and even appreciation of each other. You've seen it in movies like Midnight Run, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and 48 hours. When it's done well it works. When it's done like this it falls flat.
I hope the kid appreciates what his parents went through for him.
It's Red Forman vs. Highlander in a classic Cat and Mouse prison escape film. Seems in the future Humanity done effed too much and now every couple is limited to just one child, even if that child dies at birth. Duncan Macleod's child does just that, and then his wife gets preggers again. When They try and escape to another country they're captured and thrown into the dreaded Fortress, a corporate prison managed by Warden Poe, played by Kurtwood Smith aka Red Forman aka Clarence Bodiker. It's directed by the Re-Animator guy and although low budget and cheesy it's entertaining because of the interesting ideas and creative use of the budget dollars.
Django Unchained (2012)
If John Ford and Kinji Fukasaku had a baby.
I really liked Django Unchained, or as I like to call it: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence right through the eyeball and then the bullet continued through about 7 other torsos, shot out from a guy's belly button bringing a plume of intestines with it, ricocheted off someone's jugular vein, then snapped the cord holding up a chandelier causing said chandelier to plummet like a lead balloon, crushing the skulls of various evil varmints and polecats and then plunging into an occupied outhouse where the dynamite was also stored, causing the outhouse to explode in a crimson rain of blood, guts and offal.
But I guess all that wouldn't fit on the poster.
Django has everything you'd want in a movie, action, humor, suspense, drama, and even some romance, all washed down with gallons of blood. Did I mention some beautiful western vistas? it's got those too. And there are plenty of references to some of the great westerns of the past, some of them only visual so pay attention. There is the trade mark Tarantino dialogue as well.
I'm sure other reviewers will talk about racial-political implications and social commentary and such. I'm not that smart. I just thought this was a fast paced and satisfying film for movie fans from beginning to end. Leonardo Di Caprio makes for a great villain, keeping himself just this side of over-the-top. Jamie Fox played Django as quiet waters that ran deep but Christopher Walz steals the show.
Prom Night (1980)
Could really use some spiked punch.
This movie is kind of a wall flower! It starts with a bunch of kids playing in an abandoned warehouse. Little, tag-along sister falls out a second story window and dies. The remaining kids make a pact to never speak of this again. Six years later on the anniversary of the lil' kid's death, on which date the Big Prom Event is also taking place, someone starts to stalk and kill the irresponsible punks who never reported their evil deed. Jamie Lee Curtis is fine as the dead girl's older sister and Leslie Nielsen plays it straight as her father and the local principal but it's Ann-Marie Martin who gets the most points for her portrayal of the catty Wendy, really the only entertaining person in the film. I'll bump it from 2 to 3 stars just for her.There is scarce blood, less suspense, paltry thrills and a complete and tragic lack of nekkid, rutting teens so I'd give this one a pass unless you're an 80's slasher fan or a Jamie Lee Curtis completest.
Mesa of Lost Women (1953)
Acting, directing, writing....don't need'em!
When I first picked this movie I thought the title was MENSA of Lost Women. I thought it was about a group of female scientists and economists who get misdirected on the way to the Nobel Prize ceremony. Boy was I wrong!!!
Ha-ha, OK now that I've gotten that out of my system let me review the movie for you.
No matter what anyone says, especially the narrator of this film, this movie is primarily about titillation, 1950's style. All the talk about man playing God, or thrills and chills is secondary. The film features scantily clad women who look like they do things, bad things (You know what I mean), and plenty of them. Everything else is built around that. So at the same time you have June Allison and Doris Day warbling around about being good girls, you've got Tarantella here doing her infamous wanton Spider Dance. Does that tell us anything about the 50s? I dunno I'm too lazy to think about it.
Anyhow there's this mad scientist (Union Local 757) in the Mexican desert who is injecting human pituitary juice into spiders and turning them into spider/human hybrids. At first you might wonder why it would even occur to anyone to do this, but think about it. The Prof. has an army of indestructible spider-babes who not only obey his every command but who are also probably pretty good at keeping the fly and mosquito population down around the Mesa. It really doesn't make sense NOT to create an army of exotic female spider/human hybrids.
A varied group of travelers accidentally runs across the mad scientist, and for dramatic purposes conflict ensues. The doc wants to kill some of them and use the others for experimentation. Now these travelers are some of the most knuckle-headed and unlikable characters ever to trudge across the screen in a z grade movie, yet they still manage to escape from the clutches of a brilliant scientist and his enclave of deadly spider woman, who were bred with the predatory instincts of killer spiders.
The highlight of this paean to incompetence is the infamous Spider Dance, performed by the Head Spider Woman, Tarantella, in a little saloon referred to by one of the characters as "a dump!" The actress who plays Tarantella, Tandra Quinn, is a sexy woman and does her best to elicit that angry, lustful yet detached attitude that you know a spider-woman hybrid would have. I'm sure she was trying to deliver an expression that the director was sure a female spider would show if you could see her tiny little face, except with fewer eyes and fangs. Instead of a look of wanton ferocity, Tarantella looked more ticked off, like you just stole her parking space at the mall while she was coming down off a latte bender. The Spider Dance was supposed to be dangerously alluring, which I suppose it would be if you managed to avoid throwing up from the motion sickness it causes. Still, she's an attractive woman and one of the best things about this movie.
The real star of the show here though, is the massive ineptitude displayed by everyone involved. You'd almost think this film was produced by a Congressional Committee it's done so poorly. And that's what makes it so watchable. It's just so utterly terrible that you can't take your eyes away. You'll actually marvel at the awkward execution of it all. This movie isn't amateurish. It's the work of professional bunglers.
The bottom line is that this is a classic b movie of the "so bad it's good" stable.
Killing Birds: Raptors (1987)
The title is misleading but it's not a bad movie.
ZOMBIE 5: KILLING BIRDS-Robert Vaughn (yeah, Napoleon Solo himself) must have really needed plastic surgery money to have taken this job. A soldier returns home after Viet Nam, sees his wife in bed with another dude and goes a little bit nuts, killing wife, the other guy, family , friends and everyone he can get his hands on except his infant son, who is given up for adoption. 20 years later the now adult son is making a documentary about an endangered Louisiana bird and so visits a Dr. Fred Brown, ornithologist and Dumb Dumb Dumb..... his real father! (The crazy murderous loon who now studies loons,)He brings an annoying film crew with him and at some point for some reason zombies attack! They were the re-animated bodies of the people Dr. Brown killed all those years ago!
I think one reason people dislike this movie is that the title is fairly misleading. The monsters aren't the usual Hollywood zombie. They aren't the Modern Zombie ala Dawn of the Dead, nor are the they Classic Zombie, as seen in old movies like White Zombie; I walked with a Zombie or even Zombies on Broadway. They are more like vengeful spirits who have taken on fleshy form to exact their horrible revenge against the guy who horribly murdered them all those years ago, In that regard it reminds me of the Barbara Steele treat, "Terror-Creatures from the Grave". The monsters in Terror Creatures were plague victims, intentionally infected, who eventually rise from the grave and avenge themselves against the descendant of the rotten louse that infected and then buried them under his castle.
There is a lot of cheesy acting and dialogue. The gore effects are few but reasonably well done.
If you are looking for standard zombie action as we know it today then you might want to give this one a pass. It won't satisfy that appetite for gore. But if you'd like to try something a little offbeat, a little downbeat and about a wheel and a half of Italian genre cheese, then you might want to look into this film. A more suitable title might have been, The Haunted Swamp or the Vengeful Bayou or something along those lines.