Sunday, October 31, 2010

TV reviews?

I've decided I will occasionally review some of my favorite TV shows, as well as new shows, like "The Walking Dead". Such TV shows include:

-How I met your Mother
-The Office
-Caprica (until it gets cancelled)

So if you've been enjoying my movie reviews, I'll also review TV from time to time.


Starring Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Fritz Weaver, Leslie Nielsen, Carrie Nye, E.G. Marshall , Viveca Lindfors , Stephen King , Ed Harris , Ted Danson , Robert Harper , Jon Lormer , Tom Atkins , Chuck Aber , John Amplas , David L. Early , Christine Forrest , Katie Karlovitz , Don Keefer , Bingo O'Malley , Elizabeth Regan , Gaylen Ross , Warner Shook , Tom Savini , Iva Jean Saraceni , Marty Schiff ,Joe King

Directed by George A. Romero

Release Date: November 12, 1982

From the masters of Horror comes Creepshow: an anthology film that tells tales of murderous zombies, mysterious creatures, revenge from beyond the grave, and Stephen King as a hillbilly?! Creepshow is seen by many as a comedic horror movie due to the movie being presented with comic-book paneling and wraparounds. I don't really see it that way, as I find the movie to be a frightening experience with a touch of black humor thrown in. What's the difference you ask? Others see only goofy horror, I see two masters making creepy stories with a warped sense of humor. The stories are: "Father's Day", "The Lonely Death of Jordy Verill", "Something to Tide you over", "The Crate", and "They'll creep up on you". There is also a story used as a bookmark at the beginning and the finale of the movie without a title, I suppose I would call it "Suburban Nightmare".

"they'll creep up on you" and "Father's Day" are my personal favorites. Father's Day was a quick, funny and morbid tale that begins the five story movie and has my favorite ending. They'll creep up on you is infamous for its use of thousands of cockroaches used to scare a germaphobic business tycoon who hates everyone else and has a genuine hatred for insects in his luxurious apartment. If you love B-Movie horror, you're definitely in for a treat.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5

The Shining (1980)

Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Release Date: May 23rd, 1980

Some people prefer the original Stephen King novel while others prefer this 1980 adaptation by Stanley Kubrick. For the sake of this review, I'll offer my opinion of both the novel and the movie. For King fans, some of the backstory is missed and the characterization of the Torrnace family is glossed over which is a major problem. However, Kubrick does an amazing job of building up the suspense and terror of the Overlook Hotel gradually in the film without having to devote screentime to past instances of murders in the hotel's history. While King hated the casting of Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall as Jack and Wendy Torrance, I found the performances from these actors to be chilling and frightening. Nicholson plays Jack as a man constantly in struggling with some type of conflict: He wants to regain trust from his wife and child after a horrible past incident; while at the hotel, Jack struggles with overcoming his writer's block and alcoholism. While King found Duvall to be too meek and frightened to play Wendy, I think this portrayal works: Duvall portrays Wendy as a woman trying to save her husband from his self-demons while trying to figure out the strange circumstances of not only her son, but the Overlook Hotel. My recommendation is to read King's novel first, then check out Kubrick's interpreation. In my mind, both versions of the story are haunting portrayals of substance abuse, supernatural horor, and the destruction of the family dynamic.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

Halloween (2007)

Starring Malcolm McDowell, Sherri Moon Zombie, and Danny Trejo

Directed by Rob Zombie

Release Date: August 31, 2007

For those unfamiiar with Michael Myers, they SHOULD watch the original but would most likely pick this flashy, unnecessary remake. For fans, it's a decent remake that answers all the questions about Michael Myers' mythos (some that probably shouldn't have been explained to keep an air of mystery) and does stray from the original to stand on its' own. Still, if i had to choose between the Original Halloween and this 2008 remake, i'd pick the original.

Rating: * * * of 5

Click here to buy Halloween (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Halloween (Three-Disc Unrated Collector's Edition)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Psycho (1960)

Starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, and John Gavin

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Release Date: June 16, 1960

A window into a man's soul and a frightening glimpse of madness: truly Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is a masterpiece of not only horror, but film-making itself. Nothing more needs to be said, it is a champion of superb film making, acting, and visual storytelling. If I were to elaborate further, it would give away the chilling story of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and her encouter at the myserious Bates Motel run by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins).

.....And yes, Gus Van Sant's shot-for-shot 1998 remake starring Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn as Marion and Norman can suck it. Hard. You don't steal from the original source, you try to make the remake its own story. That is why Gus Van Sant was an idiot and Alfred Hitchcock is still proclaimed a visionary.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

Click here to buy Psycho (Collector's Edition) Psycho (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Return of The Living Dead

Starring Clu Gulager,James Karen,Don Calfa,Beverly Randolph,John Philbin,and Linnea Quigley.

Directed by Dan O'Bannon

Release Date January 1st, 1985

After the success of Night of the Living Dead, the partnership between Dan O'Bannon and George A. Romero dissolved and the two zombie pioneers went their separate ways. While Romero went on to use "Of The Dead" in his titles and become a legend of horror cinema, Dan O' Bannon used "Of the Living Dead" and his name is not as well known as his former partner. In 1985, O' Bannon wrote the screenplay and directed "The Return of the Living Dead" a gore-fillled, punk infused 1980s follow-up to "Night Of the Living Dead"; the film is even referenced by the characters that the film was based on real events that were covered up by the U.S. Army.

Does the film hold up well in comparison with George A. Romero's? To be honest, "The Return of the Living Dead" is very outdated and has the look and feel of a 1980s horror movie (like the synthasizer musical score or one character lugging around a boom-box). The film is very toungue-in-cheek, filled to the brim with great special effects and some awesome looking zombies, including the infamous "Tar Zombie". However, the film is very cartoonish and is a standard "run/chase/flee" zombie movie that has no time or patience to develop a theme or any deeper meaning than human brains taste awesome to zombies. If you're a devoted zombie fan (like myself), it's definitely worth a look. If you've never heard of "Night Of the Living Dead" before, this may not be for you.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy Return of the Living Dead (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flash Gordon (1980)

Starring Sam J. Jones, Max Von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, and Topol

Directed by Mike Hodges

Release Date December 5th, 1980

I'll admit, I have some eclectic tastes when it comes to movies: one of my favorite science fiction films is Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville. But, I'm still not sure what to say about the 1980 action-adventure film, "Flash Gordon". The movie certaintly has a great visual style to it, but the throwback to the 1940s film serials are a tad too distracting at times. Sure, it's neat to see 1930-1940s intrepretations of spaceships and intergalatic warlords, but after awhile it looks too cheesy. Unfortunately, that's not the least of this movie's problems. No, the real problems stem from the cliched, horrible dialogue and awful (repeat: AWFUL) performances from the majority of the cast (the only exceptions are Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed, two actors who look like they were having fun with the material and didn't take it too seriously). If you're curious about seeing the film, I'd say go seek it out. Otherwise, I'd just say listen to the FANTASTIC album Queen put out for this film, particularly "flash's theme".

Rating: * * * of 5

Click here to buy Flash Gordon (Saviour Of The Universe Edition) Flash Gordon [Blu-ray]

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sabrina (1954)

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden

Directed by Billy Wilder

Release Date: September 9, 1954

A young girl returns home after seeing the world and enriching herself. Soon, she is fancied by David Larraby, a charming playboy whom the young girl had a crush on for many years. Seeing that his brother's infatuation will ruin a multi-million dollar deal, Linus Larraby concocts a scheme to woo Sabrina into returning back to Paris without tarnishing the reputation of the rich and powerful Larrabies.
Forget the 1993 remake starring Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear, this is the only version of Sabrina worth mentioning and praising. All the cast is fantastic, from Bogart to Hepburn to Holden. The writing is great and the movie is just solid on all levels.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

Click here to buy Sabrina - The Centennial Collection

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Dark Knight

Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman , Morgan Freeman , Monique Curnen , Ron Dean , Cillian Murphy , Chin Han , Nestor Carbonell , Eric Roberts , Ritchie Coster , Anthony Michael Hall , Colin McFarlane , Joshua Harto , Melinda McGraw , Nathan Gamble , Michael Vieau , Michael Stoyanov , Bill Smille , Michael Jai White , Matthew O'Neill , William Fichtner , Olumiji Olawumi , Greg Beam , Erik Hellman , Beatrice Rosen , Vincenzo Nicoli , Edison Chen , Nydia Rodriguez Terracina , Andy Luther , James Farruggio , Thomas McElroy , Will Zahrn , James Fierro , Sam Derence , Jennifer Knox , Patrick Clear , Sarah Jayne Dunn , Chucky Venn , Winston Ellis , David Dastmalchian , Sophia Hinshelwood , Keith Kupferer , Joseph Luis Caballero , Richard Dillane , Daryl Satcher , Crhis Perschler , Aidan Feore , Philip Bulcock , Paul Birchard , Walter Lewis , Vincent Riotta , Nancy Crane , K. Todd Freeman , Matt Shallenberger , Michael Andrew Gorman , Lanny Lutz , Peter DeFaria , Matt Rippy , Andrew Bicknell , Ariyon Bakare , Doug Ballard , Helene Wilson , Tommy Campbell , Craig Heaney , Lorna Gayle , Joshua Rollins , Dale RIvera , Matthew Leitch , Tommy 'Tiny' Lister , Thomas Gaitsch , William Armstrong , Adam Kalesperis , Tristan Tait , Bronson Webb , Gertrude Kyles , Jonathan Ryland , James Scales , Nigel Carrington , Ian Pirie , Lateef Lovejoy , Grahame Edwards , Roger Monk , Ronan Summers , Wai Wong , Michael Corey Foster , Hannah Gunn , Brandon Lambdin

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Release Date: July 18, 2008

Oh my GOD, was this FREAKING AMAZING. Finally the perfect BATMAN movie that the fans, the audience, the critics, the entire world was waiting for. First off, is Heath Ledger as good as the critics say he is? The Answer is................GOOD GOD YES! Ledger steals this movie and runs all the way home with it, he's so good. His performance is so multi-layered, that it will be studied by drama students and film classes for years to come. The Joker is not only amusing, he is TERRIFYING: all eyes are on him and the hairs on your arms stand up in fear. This is a great performance, and it is a fitting tribute to his final completed performance (God Bless to him, we need more great actors like him in this world).

As much as Ledger will be getting much acclaim, the new comers to the cast will be cast in his shadow: which is a shame because they too give great performances. Aaron eckhart gives a strong performance as Harvey Dent, a man who is constantly struggling with his inner morality against his darker side. Also, Maggie Gyllenhall replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, Bruce's childhood friend and Harvey's girlfriend. Gyllenhall makes her role work as she tugs at the heart strings while she emotionally struggles between living a happy life with Harvey and trying to get Bruce to look for other places to find personal happiness when it's time to retire The batman.

The story is great: The Joker terrorizes Gotham City by creating chaos amongst all its citizens, from the criminals to Batman himself. his scheme is so brilliant in its simplicity; no villain will ever achieve so much with so little effort. And for the first time, the Batman actually solves crimes as a detective, using his brain to hunt down criminals in addition to using his incredible technological arsenal. The fight scenes? are both inventive and entertaining. the camera moves rapidly as if trying to catch up with its actors, keeping the audience even mored thrilled. So, you're asking yourself? what's the down side? unless you're impatient and can't watch a movie that's longer than 90 minutes, nothing. I loved the hell out of this movie. Finally, there were two great quotes: Joker's "Wanna see a magic trick? I can make this pencil disappear?" and Gordon's final speech.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

Click here to buy
The Dark Knight (Widescreen Single-Disc Edition)

The Dark Knight (Two-Disc Special Edition)

The Dark Knight LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY Two-Disc Special Edition with Exclusive Batman Mask Packaging plus Exclusive 40 Minute Featurette

The Dark Knight (+ BD Live) [Blu-ray]

Pan's Labrynth

El laberinto del fauno (original title)

Starring Ivana Baquero,Doug Jones,Sergi López,Maribel Verdú, and Ariadna Gil

Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Release Date: December 29, 2006

An amazingly gothic story tale told by Guillermo del Toro. It tells the tale of a little girl, brought to meet her cruel stepfather while he fights rebels and her mother is in labor with her brother. The creatures in this movie are hauntingly beautiful, especially Pan and The Pale man. You will love this if you're a fan of spectacular art on film and beautiful story-telling.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

Let the right one in

Låt den rätte komma in (original title)

Starring Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg , Ika Nord , Mikael Rahm , Karl-Robert Lindgren , Anders T. Peedu , Pale Olofsson , Cayetano Ruiz , Patrik Rydmark , Johan Somnes , Mikael Erhardsson , Rasmus Luthander , Soren Kallstigen , Malin Cederbladh , Bernt Ostman , Kajsa Linderholm , Adam Stone , Ingemar Raukola , Karl Robert Lindgren

Directed by Tomas Alfredson

Release Date:

Norway October 24,2008

Sweden October 24,2008

USA October 24,2008 (limited)

For all the praise Twilight gets from young girls, Let the Right one in is for all those who opposing them. A somber love story between an emotionally scarred and lonely young boy named Oskar and a strange little girl named Eli. Be warned: this is not a fast-paced, gore fest vampire movie; it is more akin to Dracula or Interview with the Vampire. I particularly enjoyed how the director made both Oskar and Eli connect by setting them against the vast snow-scape and make each character a little socially awkward: Oskar has no friends at school and is withdrawn even at home while Eli only appears at night and has a dark connection to a series of murders' in Oskar's neighborhood. This is a great foreign film that combines suspense, horror, and a sweet childhood romance into one story. The Vampire fan in me loves how Eli's attacks are not tame and controlled but more akin to an animal feeding on its' prey.

(From Original Post: 2008) On a disappointed note, Let the Right one in will be remade in the US and will most likely retool the entire story into a more marketable film for general audiences (i.e. set the story in modern times instead of 1982, relocate Sweden to New York, age the main characters into teenagers, and 90% product placement). Do yourself a favor by watching this film before seeing the remake. In short, this is a great film with the right amount of horror, romance, and drama.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Starring the voices of Kevin Conroy, Tim Sale, Andre Braugher, Summer Glau, Ed Asner

Directed by Lauren Montgomery

Release Date: September 28, 2010

A starship falls out of the sky. Its' inhabitant is a 16 year-old girl. Superman discovers she is Kara-Zor-El, his cousin from Krypton. While the Man Of Steel welcomes Kara with open arms, Batman remains skeptical of the young girl's arrival. Soon, it becomes a challenge to find the girl's place in the world. Will it be in the Fortress of Solitude? With the Amazons on Themescara? Or, will the young girl be abducted by the ruler of the planet Apoklypse, Darkseid?

Adapted from the comic series of the same name, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is the origin of the modern age Supergirl and to explore her place in the DC world. Unlike the predecessor 'Public Enemies', I found Apocalypse to be a much better adaptation of a comic book storyline into a 78-minute animated film. The visual style is also based on the artwork from the story, the artistic styles of the late Michael Turner. Unlike 'Public Enemies' using Ed McGuiness's artistic style and suffered for it, Apocalypse takes advantage of a great art style that works well in animation. However, we have found a problem with the great Andrea Romano's voice directing credits: casting Andre Braugher as Darkseid. As she recast Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman with Kevin Conroy, Tim Sale, and Susan Eisenberg who have played these parts before and are greatly known for them, Romano should have recast Michael Ironside as Darkseid. Instead, we get Andre Braugher giving a very wooden, flat performance when we should be getting a dark, foreboding feeling whenever the voice of Darkseid is head on screen. Still, casting Summer Glau as Kara-Zor-El was a great decision as Glau perfectly captures the young voice of Kara.

A good movie, definitely better than 'Public Enemies'. Also, when you buy this movie, you get the superbly awesome DC showcase short, "Green Arrow".

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (Single-Disc Edition)
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [Blu-ray]

You Again

Starring Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis, Odette Yustman, Kristin Chenoweth and Betty White

Directed by Andy Fickman

Release Date: September 24, 2010

A decent comedy about trying to overcome our personal histories from high school. Kristen Bell is top notch as Marni, a now successful PR genius who learns that her brother is marrying her former high school rival J.J., now known as Joanna (Odette Yustman). Gail, Marni's mom played by Jamie Lee Curtis, tries to tell Marni to let go of the past and let bygones be bygones, until Gail finds out that J.J.'s aunt is Gail's high school frenemy, Ramona (Sigourney Weaver). The cast is good, but Yustman sticks out like a sore thumb in a group of talented comediannes, but she tries her best. However, the talented Betty White is here to steal the show as Marni's Grandma Bunny. A good comedy with a few bumps along the way; however, nothing that will keep you from enjoying the film.

Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5

Click here to buy You Again You Again (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)