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Are you ready for the Summer?
Ah summertime, a time of freedom, friendship, and fun all rolled into one. This movie captures all that spirit with the ups and downs, even in cut rate places. Summer camp is a place to find yourself and anyone who can lift you up when you're feeling down. Bill Murray is a good fit for a counselor, plus his deft comic invention and timing really gives the movie its lifeblood. There are many great moments and lines that will have you coming back time and time again. The only negatives are it can get pretty corny and it's pretty short like the season summer, but overall this is one that can stick with the viewer.
Golden Axe (1989)
One of the greatest arcade games ever!
There are beat-em-up games and then there are ones like Golden Axe, the ones that stick with you for a long time and keep you coming back over and over again. This game has everything an action fan could ask for: a strong swordsman barbarian, a hot bikini-clad amazon, magic, dragons, orcs, ruffians, skeletons, and a dark lord all rolled into one. The gameplay mechanics have aged like wine, and the hit detection is spot on, I love using the backward sword spin on the Barbarian and Amazon, and I love using the Amazon's kick. It's pretty short (20 minutes to complete), but the challenge and variety of characters to choose from always keeps me coming back. Overall, this game is worth anyone's time.
Akumajo Dracula Mokushiroku (1999)
An Underrated Horror Adventure!
I'm a fan of the Castlevania series, for it's bestiary, gameplay mechanics, ominous soundtrack and memorable set of heroes. Most people claim Symphony of the Night is the best one, and while I liked that one, this is my all-time favorite in the series, yet I feel it's very under appreciated. For one I like the fact that moving in a 3D environment really makes me feel like I can explore a creepy castle with plenty of jump scares, solve some puzzles, and engage in combat with the creepies. This has the true element of horror that the 2D games don't have. I will admit the controls feel just a little too loose and the camera angles are something to be desired. I also detest the infamous challenge where you have to carry an explosive from one area to the next without jumping/falling or getting hit (if you play on an emulator this frustration is lowered just a bit), but I say those are mild quibbles. I like the ability to choose between 2 characters, my favorite is Reinhardt as he's too cool and he gets two main weapons instead of one. There are some great highlights such as the hedgemaze and the final battle, which gets high points for being both challenging and original. Overall, I think this game deserves a 2nd look and Castlevania fans should at least give this a chance.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
A lucky 7 in great adventure
Some movies may be old, but there's a charm that keeps you coming back for more, and this is one of them. Everything all works together here like a symphony in motion. Kerwin Matthews is a great Sinbad with the same charm, flair, and swashbuckling appeal like that of Errol Flynn, and Kathryn Grant is a great princess, whose beauty is matched by her compassion. The performances of the two leads are decent enough, but Thorin Thatcher is a deliciously evil sorcerer Sakoura with plenty of tricks and deception up his sleeves. The musical score by Bernard Herrmann really amplifies each scene, that you feel the excitement as you follow along the adventure. Of course the real stars are the monsters here from the wizard Ray Harryhausen, so fluidly brought to life and with distinctive personality. From the two cyclops, the 2 headed Roc, the skeleton, and finally my favorite the Dragon. You almost feel sorry for the Dragon being chained up, and cheer for it as it does battle with one monster. I love the duel between Sinbad and the Skeleton, expertly choreographed that it holds up well. All in all, this is a great adventure that holds up well as a terrific film the whole family can enjoy!
If you're going to watch one version of A Christmas Carol....make it be this one!
I've seen many versions of the classic Dicken's tale, "A Christmas Carol", but this is the one I keep returning to over and over again for over 20 years. The style really captures the essence of Victorian era Christmas, plus the old time feel, whether in black and white, or in color (I prefer the former since that enhances the feel). The effects hold up nicely, but of course the real star, the only thing that defines the movie is the main actor. The only thing that makes a version of "A Christmas Carol" shine is the man playing Scrooge and Alastair Sim is the ideal version of the old miser. He doesn't just play the part, he lives it, throughout his transformation and look backs with the ghosts. So all in all, this is the ideal version.
The slasher film for those who don't like slashers
I'm going to be perfectly honest, I don't like the slasher genre at all, but this and a few others are my lone exceptions. While one is expecting a lot of violence plus blood and gore, there's more intrigue than the gore, the character Candyman himself is an interesting (not to mention tragic) figure who would rather keep himself in the dark than let anyone debunk him, the stuff of urban legends. Tony Todd himself doesn't just play the part, he lives it, and just hearing his voice is enough to send chills down your spine. Of course what good is a horror movie without jump scares? They happen when you least expect it, it will have you checking around making sure he doesn't pop up. I won't reveal the ending, but it has a charm that will have you coming back to it again and again.
Five tales of Frightful Fun!
Like I said in a previous review, I have a soft spot for Horror anthologies as they offer a nice variety of frights and this one takes the cake big time. With Stephen King and George Romero at the helm, this is a fun filled laugh and scream fest that delivers big time. All five tales here offer something special, even King himself stars in one tale doing a good job playing a charming but dim-witted hick. It's hard to pick a favorite here, but if I were to ask, mine would be "The Crate" for it's elaborate storytelling, dark humor at it's finest and the great creature effects of the yeti monster. I also have a soft spot for the first tale, which has equal doses of dark humor, with the line "Where's my cake!?" being one of my favorite quotes in the movie. Overall, if you're looking for some Halloween fun, you can't go wrong with this one!
Haunting, Beautiful, Cultural
I like Horror anthologies, but no one does ghost stories best than the Japanese. Presented here are 4 ghost stories told with beautiful aesthetic, plus a lot of artistic poetry, well directed and paced. A samurai fed up with his life of poverty abandons his wife for another woman, then longs for the old wife back, only to get a shocking surprise. A woodcutter and his apprentice take shelter during a snowstorm, until the apprentice encounters a strange, beautiful ghostly woman who drains his master of life, but spares his own, provided he doesn't tell anyone; can he keep the promise? A blind musician is beckoned by a ghostly samurai to sing an epic song over the course of nights, but what are the spirits really up to? And finally a samurai finds the reflection of some strange man in a cup of his tea, who is this strange man and what does he want? There you have it 4 terrific tales of the supernatural. The creepy sound effects give you a sense of dread, aided by minimal music which amplifies the fright factor. The jump scares happen when you least expect it, yet while one is watching you also get a sense of cultural learning and artistic flair, in fact the backdrops look like backgrounds from Noh drama. Speaking of which, like the style of drama every bit of movement, lighting, camera angle, plus the delivery of the lines from the performers aid in the story telling. Should you find this masterpiece, you will be rewarded big time.
Horror in a work of poetic art
Monstrosity and mystery are two things director Ridley Scott has mastered over the years and this is his masterpiece. From the opening shot to the finale, you're in for not just a thrill ride, but a well-written prose of poetry and art in one. The dark brooding atmosphere with the well-designed sets amplified with the great performances from the cast, especially Sigourney Weaver's memorable work, all melding together seamless and flawlessly. And who could ever forget the creature, created with costuming and puppetry with grace unparalleled for sheer terror especially the crew members most unfortunate to encounter it. There are many great jump scenes that still hold up along with the dated technology which only amplifies the fear factor, and ironically makes it more realistic and terrifying. For best results make sure you watch on an empty stomach and with the lights off.
Alien³: The Gun (1993)
Shoot those Aliens!
I've always been a fan of the Alien movies and what a better way to further show your support is with a game where you can blow the abominations to bits? This really captures the intensity and atmosphere of the movies along with the rapid fire mechanic of the pulse rifle, though you get grenades and the power-up the universally loved flamethrower. In fact on some occasions I've been able to get some flamethrower ammo to the 3rd boss which can do more damage. Even though the movie this is based on only had one creature, her you get all type of creatures from drone, facehugger, chestbuster, dog, human, plus some robots and rogue humans. At some points there are branching paths which boosts the replayability a bit, but the ending is the same, which I won't reveal here. Other than that quibble this is one I keep coming back to thanks to emulation.
True Blue Disney Magic!
I have always had a soft spot for the oceans of the world along with Polynesian cultures as they have a special place in the world and my heart, having once been to New Zealand before and entranced by Maori culture. What I like about this is the creative team at Disney did their homework and for once a virtually stereotype-free work (though one could argue that for Maui himself), while incorporating their best tricks that worked with The Lion King (another all-time favorite Disney movie of mine), such as give the protagonist a terribly tragedy, give him/her a sense of doubt, plus a lot of obstacles and spectacular scene where the protagonist meets antagonist. Moana herself is the perfect princess sporting a great look (regular build, skirt and crop top with tasteful amount of midriff) without going overly sexual like Ariel or Jasmine, plus the courage, compassion, and commitment that Mulan and Elsa showed, and to top it all off Auli i Cravalho, who voices and sings her is phenomenal. HeiHei, the dimwitted chicken is great comic relief, but don't rule out Maui, who's a great character wonderfully voiced by Dwayne Johnson, even proving he's a good singer too! The graphics are wonderful, really adding a sense of depth to the already well-written story with a sense of maturity making this something even adults who don't have kids can enjoy as well. There are a lot of great moments such as Moana's one-woman battle against the Kakamora, her tender moments with her grandmother that can resonate with anyone. My favorite song is "How far I'll Go" which is so enchanting to listen to with Cravalho's vocals hitting every note perfectly. All in all this one of my two favorite Disney movies.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
You want action and adventure? You got action and adventure!
There's something about Indiana Jones you just can't resist about him, that cool look, his calm demeanor, his girl Marion, whip, resourcefulness, and suave charm. I've been watching this for decades, and it has never lost it's charm or edge, everything is well put together, you'll come back to this again and again. Marion, of all the women Jones met, still holds up, forget that annoying Willie Scott or the greedy Elsa, Marion has it all, feistyness, beauty, and cleverness. There are many great scenes in this too good to give away, though one part did give me nightmares when I was younger, now it doesn't bother me at all. One of the all-time greatest movies.
Crypt Killer (1995)
It's a monster shooting, treasure hunting good time!
I love monster shooters, they all add some variety, creativity, and strategy in the shooting process and this one along with House of the Dead 2 score it big time. I love that you can choose your routes from the start up to in between stages which really boosts the replayability. The bosses are all memorable from the Hindu God Statue, Medusa, Hydra, Fire Gargoyle, Sphinx, and Pharaoh head each with different attack patterns forcing you to use some strategy in the shooting not unlike House of the Dead. The weapons are a great addition, my favorites are the Gatling Gun and Grenade Launcher. Without revealing anything, there are four endings you can get from playing two stages which opens the doors of fate. Even after you find these endings you'll keep coming back. The only negative to this game is a design flaw where every time you reload/shoot the screen flashes so don't play if you have a history of epileptics. Other than that, this game is worth your time.
This panther will tickle you the pinkest!
I wasn't a fan of the original Pink Panther, the jokes felt dated and corny. This one however improves everything and really uses Peter Sellers comic genius to great effect bringing out the funniest moments such as dodging a bullet with a sneeze while the effect happens, and light fixture scene that has to be seen to be believed. Christophe Plummer does a better job than the phantom than David Niven could. And who could forget Cato always bringing the laughs everytime he appears? People often say A Shot in the Dark or Strikes Again is the funniest, they've often overlooked this one. Peter Sellers deserved his award in this one. Highly recommended!
Golden Axe III (1993)
The long overdue yet underrated update to a great franchise
I'm a fan for beat em ups since there a great way to pass the time. Many often consider the original Golden Axe to be legendary, but I think this one surpasses both predecessors by an enormous mile. There are a few negatives, but that does little to distract the enjoyment. Don't believe the magazines claiming this game was bad, it isn't! You get 4 characters, a barbarian, amazon, pantherman, and a giant each with strengths, weaknesses, and special abilites. The barbarian can now shoot fire out of his sword, and the amazon can throw her sword like a boomerang. Even better is there are now branching paths which boost replayability and offer two different endings along with difficulty adjustment as well. The only negatives are the bland graphics and music. This game deserves a second chance should you find it.
Rat Race (2001)
One of the wildest, most inventive, and funniest comedies of all time!
We all feel like we're in a race for the riches, and this movie is just a blast to watch! A great ensemble cast all flexing their comedic muscles in every scene it's hard to pick a favorite and who's going to win. My favorite is Rowan Atkinson, figures since he was Mr. Bean he steals every scene he's in, though Jon Lovitz has the funniest scene which I won't reveal here. And don't forget Whoopi Goldberg and Seth Green as well. The scenes are all original, never dull and quite imaginative in new comedic heights! Of course to each their own every one has a favorite scene. Jerry Zucker should have received a special award for this one! It's one you'll keep coming back again and again
The Jerky Boys (1995)
Bad idea then, bad idea now
There are comedies that make you laugh, and then there are comedies that don't make you laugh and wonder how such an idea got off the ground in the first place and this one fits in the latter category. Two slovenly, not very intelligent, ne'er-do-well guys who do nothing but hassle people over the phone and in person just doesn't exactly feels like a funny idea in the first place. I don't like prank calls in the first place having received some myself in my life. I've even listened to few tracks from the CD's and I didn't laugh once as all I hear are racist caricatures and juvenile insults. There are more worthwhile ways of entertaining oneself than prank calls or movies about prank callers
The Lion Guard: Fuli's New Family (2016)
Another favorite episode of mine!
Fuli is a great character, she's fast, snarky, sassy, yet kind and considerate and at the same time introverted a little. Don't we all can feel like we need a little personal space in our lives? Fuli's song "My own way" is another timeless song from this show wonderfully sung by Diamond White. Will the Lion Guard fully respect Fuli eventually? The end will pull a few heartstrings for sure!
The Lion Guard: The Little Guy (2018)
One of my favorite episodes!
There's always the "little guy" complex inside some of us, that feeling that we want to belong to something, but just can't fit in because of how small we feel in the world. This episode hits all the right notes as the Lion Guard feel for little gecko Hodari (wonderfully played and sung by Justin Hires!). His song "Give a little guy a chance" will get stuck in your head for sure, Hodari even does some Michael Jackson moonwalking too! The big battle at the end is exciting and Kion even fights like a lion more including slashing one bad croc as well. The real question is which side Makuu or Kiburi will ulitmately grant the gecko's wish? That's for you to find out!
All good things must come to an end (at least for now)
The Lion Guard is a great Disney show that although short is fantastically drawn and animated. Every good story has to end sooner or later and this one ends on a good, though emotional note, in fact for some it can hit them hard. The great leader Kion trying to decide whether to maintain his reputation as a defender or choose to go back to his love Rani whom he just got to confess his feelings for in the previous episode. What will he choose? That's for you to find out though either way, it will have you begging for a 4th season. As of now there's no news, but don't give up hope, even the creator Ford Riley wants this story to continue
Greatest Gym Battle episode!
Gym battles are always cool, never a disappointment! Always bringing the thrills of high octane excitement and this one is no exception though what makes this battle a cut above all others is not just how it brings the excitement, but how it varies, always changing strategies. Ash is lucky to have the big orange Charizard back from training in the Valley, but will all that hard training pay off? That's for you to find out. Of course this won't be an easy battle, but it's one you'll never forget!
The City of the Dead (1960)
Decades old but still very effective chiller!
I have a soft spot for old horror films, especially the ones in Black and white which adds some chilling ambience to the whole feel of the picture. The concept of witches is an intriguing one for the 60's and this one pulls it off wonderfully. Released around the same time as Psycho, this film provides all the right tricks to generate the creeps without excessive blood and gore (in fact there's barely any blood), even provides a similar premise without feeling like it's a blatant copy. Strong performances from Christopher Lee and Patricia Jessel bringing a sense of sinisterness that's very quaint that can ambush the protagonists when they least expect it. I won't reveal whether there will be survivors and if the evil is defeated but there's one thing that's certain, you'll certainly return to this one again and again.
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Fun little haunted house excursion
I have a soft spot for haunted house movies, they always provide a sense of paranoia and variety in what delivers the spooks. And with Vincent Price, the horror veteran that he is, how can you go wrong? A bunch of guests invited to spend the night in the haunted house for a cash prize to whoever survives is a terrific premise for the theme. Adding in a sense of paranoia and double crossing between the guests and the hosts, though one guest having already survived the night seems to know all too well what's going on. I will admit the severed head looks terribly fake to be scary even for the year of release, but that's the only minor hiccup to this fun title.
American Graffiti (1973)
The Greatest Teen movie ever made!
I didn't grow up in the 60's (I was born mid 80's was a teen in the late 90's early 2000's), but that doesn't mean I can't feel nostalgic about teendom from watching this. For many, the teen years are a two sided coin, for many it's their best, and for others it's their worst, and this movie captures the ups and downs of that time period in our lives perfectly following a group of guys on one night. From finding love, enjoying themselves, making amends, cruising around, brawling, getting into and out of trouble w ith the law and so on, this has all that covered. I like how George Lucas captures the feel of the 60's with classic rock songs playing in the background, nice touch. It's amazing just how much gets covered in one night. Great casting choices of Richard Dreyfuss, Paul Lamatt, and Wolfman Jack himself. You can watch this once, twice, it gets better with every viewing!
The first and still most famous of the episodes!
I've been a Lion King fan all my life and when I first heard of this show, I was ecstatic, having grown up with Timon and Pumba, but this show blows the other one out of the water in every way. And things couldn't get off to a better start with this episode! Jasiri herself is a great character, breaking the mold of the franchise that hyenas are villainous creatures prone to over-hunting thanks to the first movie (I've actually been to Africa myself and seen these animals). She's sweet, sassy, and has a great deal of spunk, no wonder she's a fan favorite. Of course we can't forget about Kion himself with his ferocity, compassion, and that powerful roar, but at this point he still has some imperfections including some things to learn including in this episode. A final nod goes to the song "Sisi ni Sawa", it's a song that's catchy and never gets old.