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Age of Ice (2014)
THE Ugly Americans
This is a movie for the ages. Many movies require a suspension of disbelief, that you set aside skepticism for the sake of a good story. This movie requires not suspension of disbelief, but divorce from reality. I highly doubt the tag line "Made by psychotics, for psychotics" tested well however.
Just as artists like Clint Eastwood keep raising the bar in movie making, Asylum seems just as determined to lower the bar to new lows. Low budget does NOT have to mean bad, but here that seems to be the intent.
Asylum specializes in making movies that are "Rip offs" to fill the kiosk of Red Box and other vendors. Rather than learning how to do cheap movies well, Asylum seems to strive to get worse.
One has to look far and wide to find a movie that has worse writing, characters that annoy rather than endear, and dialog that only an eighth grade drama class could recite without bursting into laughter. An epiphany of sorts occurs when you realize that you are more interested in the family actually getting killed off then arriving safely at the promised "Safety zone."
Truly, if Middle Easterners see Americans this obnoxious one understands why they have come to largely hate us. The father and titular "Lead" is incredibly annoying, largely clueless and seems to have never heard of something called "Real acting." The mother, a not unattractive woman, is also incredibly annoying and seems to mostly go through the movie with her mouth distorted in a grimace as though she is having a really bad bout of constipation. The rest of the cast, with the exception of the daughter, is given little to work with, and mostly make the least of a bad script.
Trite, clichéd and suitably for teaching how NOT to make a movie this is a modern day "Plan 9 from outer space."
Species II (1998)
Pretty darn bad at that
The species franchise started out on a fair note, and was dealt a mortal blow by this movie. Let's be honest, its always good to see Natasha H, but that is really about all that's good about the movie. There are more plot holes than swiss cheese, more non sense science to shake your head about. Most of us can suspend disbelief for a decent plot effort but this requires ratcheting that up to a new level. For instance when this movie was made the danger of blood borne pathogens was well understood, yet people blithely handle blood soaked "alien" blood soaked material as though they didn't care about becoming infected. In addition the characterizations were so wooden even a termite might have become interested in the "People." Do yourself a favor and spend your time doing something better with your life than waste it on this movie- walk the dog, take the trash out, scrub your tile or anything else.
Hostile Waters (1997)
Rutger Hauer shines in this cold war suspense movie
Playing the captain of the Soviet sub which has an inadvertent collision with an American sub Rutger Hauer does a wonderfully understated job of acting the role. In fact I was pleasantly surprised by all the acting, especially being a TV film. The Soviet sub has a leak of missile fuel which catches fire with toxic fumes. Hauer contains the fire with desperate work by the crew, some of whom die in the effort. The fire threatens the reactor, which start to run out of control and must have manual control rods lowered in the reactor room. By this point they are low on oxygen and have a very small amount for use by the men selected for the job. "Hunt for Red October" while also sub movie is a different kind of movie, more in the tradition of a blockbuster. This movie shows the tension that the men feel, and breath, and is more subtle and realistic in showing how folks under pressure have to contain themselves and their situation to survive. Really a good movie, and yes, let's give Rutger Hauer some more good meaty roles like this one, he has shown the acting chops for it!
That Hagen Girl (1947)
Would not be made today
I had a friend who was like Mary Hagan. He was raised by his Grandmother after his parents died. His father killed his mother in a restaurant where she was a waitress and then killed himself. I was told this when we met in sixth grade and sworn to secrecy so as not to hurt my friend. On the day we graduated high school his brother told him the truth, that his parents really did not die in a car wreck. From this point on his life was changed, and not for the better. He degenerated in mind and spirit, and sometimes he told me that he wondered if he was destined to do the same thing that his father had done. He made suicide attempts and stumbled through life and lost his way, becoming angry, and bitter. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if his brother had not told him, if he had just left it alone. Would it have turned out differently for him? Would he have seen himself in a better light and his life taken a better path? Watch this movie and think about how you may have bought into a falsehood about someone, perhaps even whispered it yourself to others and then found out in the end it was not true. Think about the damage you can do to another soul with idle gossip that has no basis in fact. It is said that if you repeat a lie often enough it soon gets accepted as truth. While times have changed, human nature has not. Think before you speak, be open to your fellow human beings and open to the thought that your preconceived notions could be radically wrong.
Damon Wayans is always hilarious
There are few comedians today who are heartwarming AND funny at the same time- and Damon Wayans is one of them. His childlike quality a perfect foil for the incredibly crazy collection of junk he cobbles together to assist people in need. His first super hero rescue is a pregnant woman in the elevator, whose door he pries open with a prying tool he calls "The Speculum of life." As a spoof on the genre of superhero movies this movie hits the bulls eye and make kids and adults chuckle and laugh. I am amazed that Damon has not made more movies, as he has talent to spare. If you and your kids like this I highly recommend "Major Payne"- in my opinion his funniest so far.
A Man Called Adam (1966)
A Contrast in Choices
The watching of "A Man called Adam" reminds me that we all have choices, even when we make bad ones. Sammy Davis plumbs the depth of despair as a man haunted by the memory of his wife and child's death in an auto accident. The accident occurred while he was drunk and Adam is ruthless in his destruction of himself and those who love him. This is his story and of those who tried to save him. The amazing talent of Mr Davis really allows us a glimpse into this troubled mans world- at once a titan of talent and ability and a captive, of his own choosing in the angst of self hatred. This is not really a story of the price of fame, but of the power of choice. We can choose to look backward, forever condemning ourselves for our mistakes and errors. Or we can go forward and forgive ourselves and allow ourselves a new beginning. God, mercifully, allows U turns. The movie shows us the raw side of life at the top and killing oneself as a result. We have seen this play out so many times in the musical world. Or you could dispense with all the preachy crap and just enjoy the movie for it being a mini time capsule of a fragment of the rat pack-Sammy Davis of course, Peter Lawford and while Sinatra Sr. is not present, his son FAS jr is. He is a decent actor as well. Father of Jazz Louis Armstrong also is here and gives a strong showing. A decent movie, deserving of more than being an obscure mid 60s piece.
Dick is going down
A really fun movie, that takes a serious national mess and makes it a comedy. It is so much more fun to get behind official stories and get the real stories that move events. This is, of course, all make believe and fantasy, but the historical events- the break in, the tapings, the resignation, etc. really did occur. It is in fact a great way to introduce younger people to what happened, while getting a real laugh, actually a lot of laughs, especially at the end. A really fun movie- for those of us who lived through those times it provides a great flashback to the times, the scenes, the music and even the people that were making news back then. Not a grand educational type movie, but the good girls prevail in the end. Don't blame me if you spit your popcorn out a few times with laughter, and if you are old enough to get the jokes you just might. For the type of movie it is- a comedy, it is hard to see how it could get much better.
A modern version of the old B movie
A decent effort, decidedly better than ANY I have seen from Asylum, which seems hellbent on product of the lowest common denominator. A down on his luck soldier, who was recently discharged from the service due to striking a superior officer is moving with his 9 year old daughter to his old hometown, an old house now surrounding by development in the Ohio mortheast. He meets up with his old best friend who is now the Sheriff. Good times ensue,until a series of animal mutilations occur. Soon they morph into human deaths and mutilations. This is the biggest departure from typical Bigfoot movies, where the alleged creature shuns humans and is portrayed as mostly non threatening. It is suggested that development has caused Bigfoot to lose his hunting grounds and that he turns mean to survive. The script is a bit weak, the acting decidedly on the B level, but it is a fun romp as the goodguy seeks out the creature to destroy it.The creature itself is quite well done, with an effective costume and moves that show him to be powerful and threatening. Hokey at times, also in the tradition of the old B films. I have spent time on less enjoyable flicks, but a good effort. I hope to see more from Bob Gray, the writer and director and also co star. Unbelievable what he did with a reportedly 40k budget. Deserving of at least a 5.0.
The Snow Creature (1954)
Did Asylum make movies in the 1950's?
Inexpensive does not have to mean bad, but it does mean being resourceful and clever. You want those qualities? Look elsewhere. W Lee Wilder makes the first modern Yeti movie and, there are a few good scenes. One of the expedition hears a strange noise at night and goes outside to investigate with a flashlight, and just misses seeing the creature. Fear and intensity make an appearance, and are then squandered by endlessly dull stock type shots of the expedition trudging through the snow. The lead guides "woman" is captured and he hijacks the expedition to find her. They find the Yeti, he tries to kill them, instead he accidentally kills his own mate and child, knocking himself out in the process. Forgetting the woman they came to rescue, they ship the creature to America in a Frigidaire. A customs official holds them up to investigate, and the thing escapes. They should have waited 40 years and had him come across the border as an undocumented worker! Of course the Police have to track him down, as he is killing folks in LA. To me the creature looks like a man wearing clothes who stuck some substance resembling fur on them. He is the worst 'Monster' I can recall, resembling not so much a poodle, but a mangy dog wearing levi's. Of course they kill him. So much opportunity to make a good movie gone to waste. Music was good, dialog weak and script pretty cornball. Has its moments, but they are few.
I cannot believe this was a made for TV mini series!
This is the finest ever made for TV mini series I have seen. I remember watching it when originally broadcast and recently bought the DVD and re watched. Not only does it hold up, it seems better to me now than when I first saw it 29 years ago. Leonard Cimino is brilliant as the aged holocaust survivor who lost his wife in a concentration camp. He makes the most of his part and teaches us all not only how to fight, but how to love. The beautiful Faye Grant is awesome as the leader of the resistance. While there are obvious allusions to the Nazis, it is amazing how much of the story mimics today- There are allegations of "Owning the press and the news media." Civil rights and homes are lost. The visitors, with their own version of Obama's "Hope and Change" really had their own agenda, which they dare not reveal. I really enjoyed this, there was surprisingly little gore, and scenes of torture were implied, but not shown. Well done and very enjoyable.