Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Directed by Sam Raimi
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Dileep Rao, Lorna Raver
IMDB: Drag Me to Hell

Why I wanted to watch it: I like Sam Raimi's work from Army of Darkness to Darkman to the Spider-Man movies. Drag Me to Hell is Raimi's most recent film so of course I wanted to see it, especially since it got good reviews. Plus it helps that I like supernatural horror movies that have some comedy.

Plot Synopsis: A young woman named Christine Brown is a loan officer at a bank and evicts an old lady from her home. The old woman, Mrs. Ganush, places a curse on Christine and she has three days to get rid of it, or else be sent to hell.

The movie starts out with a scene that is a flashback and therefore features many characters that are not in the rest of the movie. I've seen a couple other movies do this (Jumanji) and I don't like that because it puts the events before the characters. However, it worked in Drag Me to Hell  because in the opening scene the medium fails and loses a boy to the evil spirit, the Lamia. This scene not only introduces us to medium and the Lamia, but also raises the stakes from the get go. Will the medium be able to exorcise her figurative and literal(!) demons and save our protagonist, Christine? Christine Brown is played by Alison Lohman, and she looks a lot like Jennifer Jason Leigh in this movie. I felt that the character was well set up with Christine having to compete for the assistant manager's position as well as being criticized by her boyfriend's mother. She is under pressure in her personal and work life to get promoted to assistant manager, so we can sympathize with Christine when she doesn't do all she possibly can to help Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), especially when under different circumstances she would have helped the old lady get a loan isn't of having her evicted like the bank wants. This is critical because if Christine just blew off Mrs. Ganush or didn't care at all that she would lose the house, the whole movie would fall apart as we wouldn't care what would happen to Christine. In Christine we have a likeable but realistic protagonist, which is always a good thing.

Dileep Rao has appeared in only three movies so far: Drag Me to Hell, Avatar and Inception. In this movie he puts in a good performance as the wise fortune teller. He seems poised to become a prolific character actor. Justin Long is usually known for doing comedic roles (I loved his role in Galaxy Quest) so I was a little worried at first, but he's fine here as Christine's concerned boyfriend, Clay. The characters were surprisingly well developed for the horror genre, which often features one dimensional people simply trying to survive and nothing else. I'm still not sure why the old gypsy targeted Christine instead of the head of the bank, but I guess that it is the point of the story. We feel bad that Mrs. Ganush lost her house, but she was a spiteful woman who wanted revenge, whether or not it was completely justified. That is why is she the villain, a vindictive she-bitch! The directing was good and kept the film suspenseful as we know bad things will happen, but don't know how or exactly what will be sent to terrify Christine. A great example of this was the dinner scene in which Christine meets Clay's parents.  Raimi does a great job of "show don't tell." For example, one scene shows Christine reading a book on animal sacrifice given to her by the fortune teller. After a close-up on the book we then cut to a shot of a kitten pawning at her leg! When it comes to the structure of the plot there is a nice "ticking time bomb" of having three days to get rid of the curse, even though I have no idea why or where that number came from. There were some nice twists to keep the viewer guessing and the story never got stale as a result. The movie contains plenty of dark humor such as in the aforementioned dinner scene when Christine stabs a piece of pie that has an eyeball in it and has to play it off in front of her boyfriend's family. My favorite funny part was the possessed goat during the seance. Drag Me to Hell isn't Saw or Hostel but instead is a good old fashioned horror movie with chills and thrills. The movie is PG-13, but I never felt like the film was holding itself back as there was still a lot of blood and some gore. There was more CGI than I would like, but it is not too distracting. I won't give spoilers, but I'll just say the ending was right out of Tales from the Crypt.

I know this is nitpicking, but I'm disappointed Bruce Campbell didn't have a cameo as he often does in Raimi films. The reason for this appears to be that he was busy filming his role as Sam Axe on the popular television series Burn Notice. Its too bad because he could have easily fit in the film as the psychic at the seance or as Clay's father. But don't worry, Sam Raimi's brother Ted has an off-screen cameo during which he can be heard as a doctor. I didn't like Spiderman 3, but thankfully Sam Raimi is back in top form as he returns to the horror genre. Raimi's next movie is a Oz: The Great and Powerful, about how the wizard came to be the ruler of Oz. He was attached to a World of Warcraft movie, but luckily that project appears to have been canceled.
Director Sam Raimi is pictured below:

Trivia: It was great to see the Evil Dead car, a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, make an appearance! The car is in almost every Sam Raimi movie.
Ellen Paige (Juno, Inception) was originally cast in the lead role of Christine but had to drop out because of issues relating to the 2008-2009 Screen Actor's Guild strike.
This isn't exactly trivia but Mrs. Ganush looks like the "she-bitch" from Army of Darkness. Who knows if it was intentional or not, but I'll include the best picture I could find of her from AoD and let you be the judge.

Score: 7/10
Closing Thoughts: I certainly enjoyed this movie as it is a solid horror flick that doesn't take itself too seriously. I am 99.9% sure there won't be an Evil Dead 4, and unless Sam Raimi directs an original horror movie starring Bruce Campbell, this is probably as close as we will ever get. Looking back, 2009 was a really good year for movies. Other than Transformers 2 of course...

The next film I will be watching launched a franchise thanks to its iconic character. The review should be up Thursday or Friday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Movie Round-Up Part 3 of 3

This will be the final post covering the movies I have seen so far this summer. Like the previous posts, this one includes 8 brief reviews.

I love Bill Murray, and he is at the top of his game in Stripes. Murray stole the show in Caddyshack (1980) but this time his is the leading man. Murray's character, John, loses his job and his girlfriend so he convinces his best friend Russell (Harold Ramis) to join the army with him. Ivan Reitman directed three films in a row with Bill Murray: Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981), and Ghost Busters (1984), which also starred Harold Ramis. Although Stripes is a Bill Murray vehicle, we are also treated to early roles  from John Candy, John Larroquette, Judge Reinhold, and Sean Young who all add to the hilarity. The first two thirds of the movie takes place at boot camp where hi jinx ensue. However, it is the last act where the movie really shines. Murray and Ramis steal a secret government vehicle in order to meet up with their girlfriends only to have things get out of hand... and "That's the fact, Jack!"
Stripes joins a 7/10!

One of my new favorite directors is David Cronenberg. I absolutely love Videodrome (1983) and Dead Ringers (1988) and have been seeking out more of his films. They Came from Within (1975), also known as Shivers, was Cronenberg's first full-length film. Not surprisingly it is pretty raw, although since the movie is about parasites that infect the residents of a high-rise and turn them into sex-crazed zombies, it works in the film's favor. The special effects and gore are pretty good considering the low budget. Probably the best example is the horrifying bath tub scene which is depicted on the poster. It is interesting to see Cronenberg's body horror at an early stage and how the themes of flesh and technology would be further developed upon in his later films. Like most of Cronenberg's movies, this was filmed in Canada, specifically in the city of Montreal. Almost the entire movie takes place in an apartment complex. Even though it is a huge building, it leads to a claustrophobic setting since all the rooms and hallways are small to accommodate so many people, which helps add to the suspense. So far this is the weakest film I have seen by him, but I still enjoyed it. Cronenberg's next film, A Dangerous Method, will be released later this year and is about Freud and Jung.
They Come From Within infects a 6/10!

The last two round-ups have featured many movies from the last year or two, so now I get to change things up a bit with (so far) the oldest movie I have reviewed on this blog. The Mummy (1932) stars Boris Karloff as Imhotep and also features African-American actor Noble Johnson as "The Nubian." The film starts out with a fantastic scene in which the mummy is discovered in 1922. The screams are haunting and this creepy opening still holds up today. After this great beginning, the story jumps ahead ten years and unfortunately the story slows down. Imhotep pretends to be a modern Egyptian, and finds a woman who was his lover has been reincarnated. While the final scene is just as good as the first, most of the movie is dialogue heavy with not much happening. I am not asking for non-stop action, but it felt a repetitive at times. I did enjoy the flashback scene, although it was heavily cut for its theatrical release and that footage is sadly lost. Critics have never put The Mummy on the same level as Frankenstein (1931) or Dracula (1931) and although I haven't seen those films yet, I think I can see why. Simply put, not enough happens, although I think the explanation is that unlike those two films, this one was not based on a novel. I have a feeling that audiences in 1932 would have had a greater appreciation for the characters simply talking than we do today. But all things considered The Mummy is still a classic early horror film with great cinematography and atmosphere. Karloff manages to make his character an intimidating force to be reckoned with, yet one the audience feels bad for as he literally waited thousands of years to get back the woman he loves. Although Karloff had already hit the big time as Frankenstein's monster a year earlier, it was films like The Mummy that helped cement his status as a star. "Karloff the Uncanny," indeed.
The Mummy wraps up a 7/10!

I got to admit I was pleasantly surprised by Devil (2010). Although directed by John Erick Dowdle, M. Night Shyamalan is credited as a writer and producer. While I haven't seen Shyamalan's more recent films, I have not heard good things about them. However, Devil is a solid contained thriller about group of people trapped in an elevator who apparently have Satan himself in their midst. Like many of Shyamalan's films, this one takes place in the Philadelphia area, specifically center city. While I would have made the devil stuff more ambiguous, I did like it. The characters stuck in the elevator were well written and it was interesting to them interact with each other as the situation got increasingly worse. The detective investigating the situation is not played by the best actor, but I did like how his storyline coincided with one of the people in the elevator. Even if Shyamalan did direct this, I still wouldn't call it a comeback, but it is a step in the right direction.
Devil doesn't go to hell with a 6/10!

Time to take a break from horror movies and thrillers. I always thought that St. Elmo's Fire (1985) was a John Hughes film, I guess because it features so many members of the "Brat Pack" who were in movies like The Breakfast Club (1985). In fact we have almost half the cast from that movie here! St. Elmo's Fire is actually a Joel Schumacher film. Having recently watched The Lost Boys I was curious to see another of his pre-Batman Forever and Batman and Robin movies. St. Elmo's Fire is about the trials and tribulations of recent college graduates. As a recent college grad myself I felt it was the right time to see this one! Overall this wasn't really my cup of tea, although the characters were interesting and the directing was fine. What I want to know is how these seven guys and girls all became friends in the first place since they were all pretty different and it therefore felt like an unrealistic group. Also I don't understand how Rob Lowe's character got into Georgetown, but whatever. Anyway I'm glad I saw this since I had heard the quote "You cannot have the Pretenders' first album!" and now know its from this movie. Also featuring Andie McDowell and Jenny Wright (Near Dark).
St. Elmo's Fire burns up a 5/10!

Finally I get to write about a truly awful movie, Robot Holocaust (1986)! I first heard about this one through Mystery Science Theater 3000, so when I saw it was in available for free in HD via Comcast On Demand, I had to see it. Once or twice I had seen a MST3K movie in its original form, but never has one looked so good when it comes to picture quality. The plot (or lack thereof) is about a rebel named Neo who teams up with a robot that makes Jar Jar Binks seem like John Wayne in comparison. Together they meet up with a woman warrior, a Beastmaster wanna-be, and a rebel girl in order to defeat an evil computer ("The Dark One" although it is a glowing orange ball and not dark at all!) that has taken over the world. This movie rips off everything from The Terminator to Star Wars to Mad Max to Alien. When a movie borrows music from Laserblast, you know its going to be bad. If you took a drink every time a character uttered "the Dark One" you would be in a coma in 10 minutes. As bad as this movie was, I got through it without too much permanent brain damage so it was still watchable. I was laughing at it and cracking jokes, but I've seen some movies so boring and bad that I couldn't even do that. Robot Holocaust is still in so bad its good territory, although barely.
After watching the movie I decided to see the MST3K episode. This is a first season episode and I noticed that Joel and the bots use more sight gags in the theater than in the later seasons. Also it was interesting to see Josh "J. Elvis" Weinstein who played Dr. Forrester's original sidekick Dr. Laurence Erhardt as well as Tom Servo. Dr. Erhardt would be replaced with TV's Frank (played by Frank Conniff) and Kevin Murphy took over as Servo. I thought he was fine (he was a little annoying as Dr. Erdhart though that was the point) but that the other two were simply better fits for the show. For an early episode I was surprised about how good it was. I loved the recurring jokes about Valaria's "accent" and the Ted Nugent references. One of my favorite riffs was "In the future, all robots will act like Don Knotts!"
Robot Holocaust craps out a 2/10. Stick with the MST3K episode.

I have now seen two movies directed by Wes Craven, but still haven't gotten around to seeing A Nightmare on Elm Street. Funny how that works out. I liked Craven's The Serpent and the Rainbow (a cool zombie flick) as well as his work on the 80s Twilight Zone (the show is nowhere near as good as the original but still a decent sci-fi/fantasy/horror anthology show and better than the 2002 version). However, Shocker (1989) was a bit of a mess. Shocker is about a serial killer who comes back from the dead after being killed on the electric chair. The main problem with Shocker is that it doesn't know what it wants to be. At first the main character, Jonathan Parker, can interact with the killer in reality through his dreams. This part is kinda like The Dead Zone meets Nightmare on Elm Street. Then after the serial killer, Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi) comes back from the dead, he can inhabit the bodies of other people and the dream aspect is mostly dropped. The first two acts are played pretty seriously but the movie turns into a horror-comedy for the last act when the serial killer uses a satellite dish to go inside television programs! While this was a huge tone shift that felt out of place, I must admit, it was funny. Horace sucks Jonathan into the TV in an attempt to kill him and they run through everything from war films to Leave it to Beaver! One of the things I did like was the revelation which established a strong connection between Jonathan to Horace. Mitch Pileggi was great as a serial killer and Ted Raimi had a fun but small role. I enjoyed the 80s metal soundtrack. Although the directing was fine, the writing could have been a lot better. When Horace's supernatural powers like taking over bodies and traveling through television signals are revealed to others, they buy into it way too quickly, even newscasters! I wouldn't mind this if the story was taking place in the world of Harry Potter or something, but this is clearly grounded in the real world and these are unrealistic reactions. Also the actor who played Jonathan, Peter Berg, wasn't very good and often whispered his lines for no reason. I think I'll stay away from Craven until I get to see Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream.
Shocker shocks its way a 4/10!

I loved the first Fright Night (1985) so I had been meaning to see Fright Night Part 2 (1988) for a long time. Although this is a fantasy-horror movie, unlike Shocker it clearly takes place in the our world as the movie starts out with Charley (William Ragsdale) seeing a psychologist who tries to convince him that vampires aren't real. The first one came out in 1985 so the sequel takes place in real time, three years later. This sequel has the two main characters (Charley and Peter Vincent, host of the fictional late night horror movie show, Fright Night) return and this time they have to deal with a vengeful vampire who wants revenge for her brother in the first film. Unlike many sequels, this movie is not a rehash but instead a good continuation with some nice twists to keep the viewer guessing. Roddy McDowell was fantastic as Peter Vincent in the first Fright Night and he is just as entertaining (as always!) this time around. I only wish that his character got a bit more closure. Like the original, this one does a good job of balancing humor with creepy horror. Overall Fright Night Part 2 is not as good as the first, but still a solid sequel that will please fans of the first movie, though its not as memorable as the original. Now I just hope that the Fright Night remake is good!
Fright Night Part 2 sinks its fangs into a 5/10!

I am now caught up with the movies I have seen this summer! I therefore probably won't have a post tomorrow, but should have one up for Wednesday 6/29. See you then!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Movie Round-Up Part 2 of 3

This will be the second of three posts covering the movies I have seen so far this summer. Each post will include 8 brief reviews. On Monday I'll finish up with Part Three.

Sherlock Holmes (2009) is first of four recent movies in this round-up. It has been awhile since I have read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but it feels that, like the recent James Bond and Star Trek "reboots," this is Sherlock Holmes for people who don't like Sherlock Holmes. I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing as I am all for a different spin on an old, or in this case, public domain, character. As long as you don't go in expecting Doyle's version of Holmes, you should have a lot of fun. The stylish cuts and flashbacks with sepia toned newspapers do a good job of giving the film its own flavor. Robert Downey Jr. is entertaining as usual and he does a great job of playing off straight man Watson (Jude Law) and love interest Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). I didn't really care for the villain, Lord Blackwood, who from my understanding was made up for the film. However, I did like how everything turned out, including how Moriarty was set-up for the sequel. The main characters were fleshed out well, although overall I felt the story could have been better. A pretty good start for this series, but hopefully the sequel will be an improvement. The follow-up, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is set for a December 2011 release date with Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes!
Sherlock Holmes deduces a 6/10!

Long before the video game Angry Birds there was Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963)! I haven't seen too many Hitchcock films yet but I really like what I have seen so far. The directing and cinematography was top notch and the acting was fantastic. Tippi Hedren puts in a fascinating performance as Melanie Daniels, a young heiress. Rod Taylor was great as Mitch, Melanie's love interest. I recognized Taylor from The Time Machine (1960) and an episode of the Twilight Zone. Maybe its just me but I always thought he looks like Robin Williams! Veronica Cartwright was excellent as Mitch's younger sister. This scream queen was also in Alien (1979) as the other female character! The special effects are outstanding, especially for its time. The Birds isn't exactly likeable, but that is the point since it is a horror/thriller film about birds attacking people and how it affects the human characters. I'll have to watch more Hitchcock movies, but so far Rear Window is still my favorite.
The Birds flies into a 8/10!

Somehow I hadn't gotten around to watching Independence Day (1996) until now. ID4, as it is also known, was the top grossing movie of 1996 and made over $300 million. Independence Day is an entertaining summer movie that helped revive interest in science fiction films at a time when they had gotten a bit stale. Independence Day also helped bring back disaster movies since many films such as Volcano (1997) and Armageddon (1998) came in its wake. This is the movie that transformed the "Fresh Prince" into movie star Will Smith, although it was the Men in Black series which would make him a superstar. As for the actual movie itself? The special effects still hold up pretty well and it is a crowd pleaser. However, there are a lot of characters to follow and therefore a lot of back and forth between different plot lines. Some of these are interesting (the President of the USA, played by Bill Pullman) and some not so interesting (a pilot who claimed he was once abducted by aliens, played by Randy Quaid). I loved Brent Spiner's (Data from Star Trek) cameo as an Area 51 scientist. Jeff Goldblum was great in the role of the computer geek, although the scene in which he hacks into the alien computer with a Macintosh laptop is even more ridiculous in 2011 than it was in 1996. And don't even get me started about how Will Smith's dog made a jump right out of Space Jam. Independence Day is a fun but flawed action movie that is also a bit of a throw back to 50s alien invasion movies like The War of the Worlds (1953). However, when it comes to 90s sci-fi epics directed by Roland Emmerich, I prefer the movie he made before this, Stargate (1994).
Independence Day attacks a 6/10!

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
(2010) is based on the comic book series by Bryan Lee O'Malley. When I first heard about Scott Pilgrim I loved the concept of the main character having to defeat seven exes in order to go out with the girl of his dreams. That said, I went into this movie without having read the comic book so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Although I can't say whether or not Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a good adaptation, I did think it was a good movie with interesting characters. Of the seven exes my favorite was Chris Evans as the movie star! I enjoyed the stylish visuals, sound effects, and video game references. I also liked how the world is generally realistic, but goes straight in to fantasy at times. While in some cases this could be disastrous, it worked with the quirky feel of the movie and it was nice to see something different.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World scores a 7/10!

Prior to the Roger Corman blogathon I watched a couple of Corman directed movies, including The Haunted Palace (1963). Vincent Price, a Corman favorite, hams it up as warlock Joseph Curwen as well as his descendant, Charles Dexter Ward. Ward moves into the same town over 100 years later because he has inherited his great-grandfather's mansion. When it comes to Corman films I still prefer X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, but this one is a lot of fun. Even though Price dominates the movie (which isn't a bad thing!) Debra Paget and Lon Chaney Jr. both put in solid performances. It was also interesting to see Corman do a Lovecraft story instead of adapting Edgar Allan Poe which he was more known for. However, the movie does get its title from a Poe poem. The screenplay was written by Charles Beaumont who wrote over 20 episodes of the original Twilight Zone series.
The Haunted Palace scares up a 6/10!

Into the Night
(1985) was directed by John Landis (Animal House) and stars Jeff Goldblum. I first heard about this movie as a fan of Jeff Goldblum (two Goldblum movies in this post!). The basic plot is that Ed Okin (Goldblum) is an insomniac who gets involved with a beautiful young jewel thief (Michelle Pfeiffer). There are over 20 cameos by directors and screenwriters! Everyone from Jim Henson to David Cronenberg to Lawrence Kasdan can be seen in this movie. While it was fun looking out for these faces, it was also distracting from the main story. The best cameo was David Bowie as a British hitman since not only is Bowie a surprisingly good actor, but also because this subplot fit in perfectly with the story and didn't feel like an inside joke as many of the other cameos did. Landis himself appears as one of the Iranian henchmen after the jewels. While the film is enjoyable and competently made, it certainly could have been better. John Landis made Into the Night two years after he directed the first segment of the Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983). During filming of that movie, actor Vic Morrow (father of actress Jennifer Jason Leigh) and two child actors were killed in a helicopter accident. Landis went to trial and eventually settled out of court with the families of the victims. I'm not going to demonize or exonerate Landis, but clearly he had other things on mind while making this movie.
Into the Night gets into a 5/10!

Like the other recent movies in today's post, Repo Men (2010) was one that I thought about seeing in theaters before I heard it got mixed reviews. I don't always see films in theaters, but when I do I drink Jose Cuervo... I mean, I make sure its going to be pretty good beforehand! The idea of having artificial organs being sold by companies and then repossessed if the buyers could not make payments sounded like a fascinating concept. Even though Repo Men was based on a 2009 novel by Eric Garcia called The Repossession Mambo, I have heard that the plot is similar to that of Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008). While I liked Repo Men, it could have been a lot better. One of the main problems was the pacing. We know from that trailer that Jude Law's character is a repo man who will in turn get an artificial organ that will need to be repossessed. Unfortunately it took way longer than necessary to get to that point and I felt like I was just waiting for the movie to progress. The ending is interesting to say the least. Without giving too much away, I bet that a lot of people felt cheated as they walked out of the theaters. I kinda saw it coming but didn't think the movie would go in that direction since the idea had nothing to do with the themes of this film and simply felt out of place.
Also I just realized there are two Jude Law movies in this post. I didn't plan the double shots of Goldblum and Law so consider yourselves lucky!
Repo Men repossess a 5/10!

If a movie is not filmed in 3-D, don't see it in 3-D! I watched Clash of the Titans (2010) in glorious 2-D and had a lot of fun. However, I heard that the 3-D version, which was done as an afterthought to cash in on the recent 3-D trend, was horrendous. Sam Worthington of Avatar fame stars as Perseus in this remake of the 1981 Clash of the Titans, which is in turn based on Greek mythology. Although I haven't seen the 1981 version, which has special effects by Ray Harryhausen, I did enjoy this as a fun popcorn movie. The acting was fine given the material. Mads Mikkelsen and Gemma Arterton put in nice performances as Draco and Io respectively. Liam Neeson hammed it up as Zeus with his famous line "Release the Kraken!" Speaking of which, why was the sea monster even called the Kraken? The Kraken is from Norse mythology... are we setting this up for a crossover with Thor?! Despite its flaws I found this to be an enjoyable movie. Hopefully the sequel, due out in spring of 2012, will be even better.
Clash of the Titans releases a 6/10!

On Monday I will post Part Three, in which I review a film from 1932, a Bill Murray movie, and the first film made one of my favorite directors!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


The first Saturday film topic post is on the subject of remakes!

Remakes are a bit controversial, as some people are completely against them regardless of the circumstances and view them as unnecessary. Others love remakes and tell the haters to simply ignore the new versions and just watch the originals. While the majority of people are generally against remakes, one needs to keep in mind that some great movies such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Thing (1982), and The Fly (1986) are all remakes. Of course these are exceptions to the rule that remakes are inferior to the original. I think the problem most people have with remakes is that while they have almost always existed in the world of cinema, the past ten years or so have seen more remakes than ever before.

There are a couple of possible explanations for the spike in remakes (as well as reboots, prequels, and sequels). One explanation is that there is a creative dry spell in Hollywood. I find the lack of new ideas hard to believe but I guess it is possible. On a related note I have noticed that more and more people throwing out the term "rip-off" when something has been influenced by a previous work. Rip-offs and influences are NOT the same thing. Don't tell that to Harlan Ellison however, as the science fiction author famously sued James Cameron because he claimed Cameron stole the story of The Terminator from some 60s Outer Limits episode he wrote. I have actually seen both episodes and although there are some similarities in each episode (Soldier and Demon with a Glass Hand), they were at best just influences. In fact the episode that is most like the Terminator is The Man Who Was Never Born which was not even written by Ellison! Unfortunately, Ellison won the lawsuit and his name is now in the end credits of that film. I think this is a shame because it set a bad precedent. I am worried that writers and directors are afraid of their work being branded as a rip-off and getting sued, so instead of making an original film partially influenced by, say, Total Recall, it just gets remade instead. This leads into probably the most likely explanation for the increase of remakes: Hollywood is playing it safe with name franchises that will put people in the seats and make money. I guess the line of thinking is that if you liked it the first time, you will pay to see it "again."

          Norman Bates heard the Psycho remake sucked!

Probably my biggest issue with remakes is that in the last 15 years or so Hollywood has decided to remake some classic films. I don't really see the point of this. Probably the biggest offender would be the remake of Psycho which came out in 1998. The reason is not just because they decided to remake such an iconic film, but because it was advertised as a shot-by-shot remake. What is the point of doing that? If it is just like the original, why don't I just, oh I don't know... WATCH THE ORIGINAL! I haven't seen the 1998 Psycho so I can't really comment on it, but don't tell me that the remake will make younger people want to see the original if you say it is supposed to be just like the original, especially when the 1998 version got bad reviews and a poor reception!

However, most remakes try to bring something new to the table and/or update themselves for a modern audience. I can applaud the effort to try to put a new spin on an old tale, but again feel that once you arrive at this point, you might as well make your own movie influenced by an earlier film. I love the original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) which is considered to be not only a sci-fi classic, but a great film. Of course how can I forget that it was re-made in 2008 with Keanu Reeves as Klaatu!

To be completely honest, The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) was not a bad film. The remake tried to update the plot for modern audiences by not only setting the story in the present, but also by replacing the Cold War ideas with an environmentalist message. And if you need an actor to play an emotionless character, Keanu Reeves is your man! That said, it was not a good film either and nowhere near the same league as the original. Even though this remake tried to do something different, I still didn't see the point of the remake. In today's world children and teenagers are the primary film going audience. Do that many kids and teenagers know about the original and wanted to go see this? I don't know, but if remakes like this one introduced anybody to the originals then at least they are not total wastes of celluloid.

Sometimes remakes are created for a foreign audience. This is not a new concept and goes back to the days when talkies were new in the early 1930s and dubbing technology not quite there yet. Films would often be made at the same time, using the same set and even some of the same actors in order to make multiple versions in different languages. I can sort of understand this reason. Some people don't like subtitles (if you take your eyes of the screen for few seconds you will miss dialogue) and a bad dub job is painfully obvious. A recent example is the Swedish film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) based on the popular Swedish book. An English language version is coming out later this year, directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig. The same thing happened to another Swedish film based on a book, Let the Right One In (2008) which had an English remake in 2010. Yet another example is Christopher Nolan's Insomnia (2002) which was a remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name. Then of course there is the trend of "Americanizing" British TV shows and films such as The Office and Death at a Funeral (2007). Although I can see why this type of remake happens, I have no problem watching a foreign film with subtitles and will just stick with watching the original.

The most recent trend in remakes has been to take movies from the last 15-30 years that were pretty good and had sizable but not huge followings and remake them with a young director who has only made 1 to 3 previous films. One example is The Hitcher (2007) with some upcoming examples being Fright Night (2011) and Total Recall (2012). Now I understand that there will always be new film versions of classic stories such as Hercules, Robin Hood, or books like Alice in Wonderland. But The Hitcher?! Fright Night?! Those movies weren't even that popular when they first came out! Both movies have small cult followings but are nowhere near on the same scale as The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) or The Evil Dead (1981). I guess this isn't as bad as remaking classic films but I still don't see the point. Why can't Hollywood just remake bad movies that had some potential and make them into good films? Sure the creators of Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979) sued the producers of The Island (2005), claiming it was a remake done without their permission, but why go through all that. Oh and the Parts creators won the lawsuit!
Total Recall (1990) was directed by Paul Verhoeven and starred one of my favorite action heroes, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Total Recall is loosely based on the short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (1966) by my favorite science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick. While the movie goes in a somewhat different direction, it is necessary in order to fill out a feature length running time. Verhoeven's style of humor, satire, and violence work here and make Total Recall a lot of fun. At first when I heard about the remake I was cautiously optimistic that it might go back to the original source material and follow the themes of the story more closely. For example, in the short story the hero is an everyman while in the movie our protagonist is the huge, muscled Arnold. Unlike the movie, the short story never actually shows us Mars which makes the reader question what is really going on even more than in the film. When the remake was first announced it was said to be more like the original short story. However, now that more news has come out, it seems that the remake will share aspects of the short story and 1990 movie but will be mostly original with a new plot about a factory worker who doesn't know if he is a spy for "Euromerica" or "New Shanghai." It sounds like this new version will have no mention of Mars. Characters who were in the 1990 film but not in the short story have already been cast, such as the role of Melina, so it will be hard for Hollywood to sell this as closer to the source material. Colin Farrell has been cast as the lead and he is neither an everyman or a huge guy like Arnold so I don't know what to think.

Hopefully the recent trends of remaking classics and pretty good 80s movies will die out, as they just seem to be blatant cash grabs and are usually unnecessary. Luckily some announced remakes have been canceled, such as the Revenge of the Nerds remake, but with plenty of remakes and reboots coming soon I don't think we are out of the woods yet. Of course as long as they are good movies I don't care if it is a remake, a reboot, a prequel/sequel, or based on a book/comic/video game/board game/breakfast cereal!

Next Saturday I'll discuss some movies that I actually WOULD like to see re-made!
Tomorrow (Sunday) I'll post Part Two of my summer round-up.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Movie Round-Up Part 1 of 3

This will be the first of three posts covering the movies I have seen so far this summer. Each post will include 8 brief reviews. At the end of this post I'll go over my scoring system. Tomorrow (Saturday) will be my first film topic post, which will be a weekly feature. On Sunday I'll continue with Part Two.

Joel Schumacher's 1987 vampire flick, The Lost Boys, is a lot of fun. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the soundtrack. It was hard to believe that this movie was directed by the same guy who made Batman & Robin. The acting wasn't anything special, but just what was called for as this is a horror film geared toward teenagers that features plenty of humor. My favorite character was Grandpa (Emmy Award winner Barnard Hughes) who was hilarious and should have had his own movie. I saw this with a group of friends, some of whom had seen the movie before, and we had a blast. However, when it comes to 80s vampire movies I still prefer Fright Night (the remake starring Colin Farrell is coming soon!) and Near Dark (which is also reviewed in this post).
The Lost Boys bites into a 6/10!

The Untouchables, also released in 1987, is the second Brian De Palma movie I have seen. The first you ask? Well it is hard to believe, but this is the same guy who directed the mediocre at best Mission to Mars! Luckily this is much better as well as a much more enjoyable film. The Untouchables is based on the true story of government agent Eliot Ness as he tries to bring down the gangster Al Capone. Although there are some historical inaccuracies, it doesn't matter since the film is engrossing and makes you want to know more about the real story. Sean Connery is fantastic as Jim Malone, an older cop who helps Ness in his quest to defeat Capone. This role won Connery an Oscar (his only) for best supporting actor.  
The Untouchables shoots its way into 8/10!

At the moment Thor is the most recent movie I have seen in theaters, and I was lucky to see it with a group of friends which made for a fun experience. Thor is based on the Marvel comic book character which is in turn based on the Norse god of thunder and Norse mythology in general. While I was not too familiar with either before watching Thor, I enjoyed it. Sure there is a bit too much CGI and the romance between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane (Natalie Portman) felt forced, but overall Thor has a solid blend of action and humor. Director Kenneth Branagh put his Shakespearean background to good use by giving the movie shades of King Lear, while the villain is not a one-sided bad guy but a complex, tragic figure. Thor is more on par with Iron Man 2 (which I still liked even though it was a bit of a mess) than the first Iron Man, but so far Marvel Studios has only made good movies. Hopefully this trend will continue with the July 2011 release of Captain America as well as the highly anticipated The Avengers in 2012.
Thor hammers a 6/10!

When Spike TV first started it would air two Jean-Claude Van Damme movies over and over again. One was Bloodsport (1988) and the other was KickBoxer. The movies share the same star, were filmed around the same time, and are both martial arts movies so you can understand why they always blended together in my mind. Luckily I got to re-watch this with a group of friends which is the best way to watch this flick. The fighting scenes are done well and Van Damme's facial expressions alone make this one worth watching. Don't expect much of a plot, even though it is supposedly based on true events. Donald Gibb is hilarious in a supporting role as Van Damme's friend who competes with him in a deadly martial arts competition. Bloodsport may not be a good movie, but it certainly is entertaining which is not something all movies can claim.
Bloodsport kicks and punches its way to a 5/10!

I first heard about Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) from my Dad, who told me it was a movie he had seen as a kid. We watched it together and even though he had seen it before, it was so long ago that we both did not know what to expect. I was guessing it would be cheesy and campy but it was not. Instead the film is an interesting sci-fi adaptation of the Robinson Crusoe story with a quiet atmosphere as the main character (Paul Mantee) simply tries to survive while spending most of the film by himself. It is an older film but still looks stunning on the Criterion Collection Blu-ray released. Adam West appears in a minor role as one of only four characters in the film, one of whom is a monkey! The film was directed by Byron Haskin who is most famous for directing Treasure Island (1950) and The War of the Worlds (1953). This makes sense as Robinson Crusoe on Mars is sort of a combination of the two since it is a version of a classic adventure story as well as science fiction. The science used in the story is dated, but Mars is portrayed close to the science of the time and not simply as pure fantasy.
Robinson Crusoe on Mars blasts off into a 7/10!

I am a big fan of Predator and I liked Predator 2 so I had been cautiously optimistic about another Predator movie. And no, I don't count the Alien vs. Predator series as real Alien or Predator movies! Although we didn't get the Arnie cameo that all Predator fans wanted, this was an enjoyable sequel with some nice twists and turns. There are still no bad movies in the Predator canon. Adrien Brody is cast against type as a bad-ass soldier, but somehow it works. Topher Grace on the other hand is totally out of place, even when the true nature of his character is revealed. I loved the concept of having an alien planet as a game preserve and it was fun watching these dangerous characters having to work together. However, the jungle setting, as well as a few other aspects, tend to rehash the original a bit too much. The relationship between Royce (Brody) and Isabelle (the female lead, played by Alice Braga) worked, but felt too similar to that of Hicks and Ripley in Aliens. There were even some direct references to that movie such as the line, "If the time comes, I'll do us both" and the fact that at the end of both movies the characters finally share their names with each other. I still enjoyed it, but I just wish Predators spent more time being Predators instead of trying too hard to be Predator and Aliens. Predator 2 often gets ragged on, but at least it tried to do something different with its "urban jungle" setting. Considering how some sequels turn out, Predators is not bad at all though still the weakest of the series for me. I'm not counting the Aliens vs. Predator movies which I haven't seen.
Predators hunts down a 6/10!

Before the Roger Corman Blogathon kicked off, Nate told me to watch X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963). Starring Ray Milland as a doctor who gave himself x-ray vision, this was actually only the second Corman movie I had ever seen. While I obviously still need to see a lot more Corman movies, this is so far the one I consider to be his best. The acting is perfect for the tone and there is some great directing. My favorite scene had to be the dance party in which Dr. Xavier sees everyone naked thanks to his x-ray vision! It was fun to see some familiar faces (Harold J. Stone, John Hoyt, and Don Rickles) who appeared on my all-time favorite TV show, The Twilight Zone. "If thine eye offends thee... pluck it out!"
X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes has the vision to get a 7/10!

Before Kathryn Bigelow won an Oscar for directing The Hurt Locker, which also won best picture, she made a fun little movie set in the American West about... bloodsuckers. You know, people who bite others and stay up all night. I'll stop, but the point is that Near Dark (1987) is a movie about vampires that never uses the dreaded v-word! Unfortunately this movie got overshadowed by The Lost Boys which came out the same year and was also about teenage vampires. However don't let success at the box office fool you, this is a better and more interesting movie. Jenny Wright puts in a haunting performance as Mae, a young female vampire who "turns" Caleb (Adrian Pasdar), a farmhand who works for his father. The other vampires are played by the cast of Aliens. I'm not kidding, we have Bill Paxton, Lance Hendrickson, and Jenette Goldstein as the older vampires. I guess it makes sense since Bigelow was married to James Cameron at one point. In addition to those actors, Joshua John Miller plays Homer. He appears to be about twelve years old and therefore the youngest in this group of vampires. However, since vampires can live forever, it actually turns out that he is the oldest with the other characters referring to him as an "old man." The synthesizer score by Tangerine Dream felt out of place, but I don't think it significantly detracts from the movie. This gritty vampire flick is criminally underrated and the perfect antidote for those Twilight movies!
Near Dark doesn't suck, as it gets a 7/10!

Here is how I do my rating system: It is not rocket science but merely a combination of how much I enjoyed the movie plus how well I felt it was made (acting, directing, writing, cinematography, etc.). A 10/10 would be a movie I absolutely loved and felt was incredibly made, a 5/10 would be about average in both respects, while a 1/10 would be totally boring and utter crap. Actually for this blog I'll make that a 0/10 although IMDB only goes as low as 1/10. I might also do .5 ratings (ex: 7.5/10) on this blog since I can't do that on IMDB. I don't give out 1's and 2's easily and 9's and 10's are even more rare. My ratings can change a bit over time, especially when I haven't seen a film in a while. I feel that the content of the review is more helpful and important than any number or grade, but I'll still include my rating for each movie.

On Sunday I will post Part Two, in which I review a Hitchcock film, another Corman flick, and three movies released in 2010!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Roger Corman Blogathon: Frankenstein Unbound (1990)

I originally wrote this article (now with pictures!) for Nathanael Hood's Roger Corman blogathon June 17-19 2011. Now that I have my own blog I wanted to post it here. Nate will be hosting another blogathon in late July/early August about 50s monster movies. For that blogathon I will be reviewing one of my favorite films, Forbidden Planet! Thanks again Nate for originally hosting this article and for all your advice and encouragement. Without it this blog would never have been possible! Also thanks to all who came here from Nate's blog, I appreciate the support!
Tomorrow I will be posting brief reviews of the first half of movies I have seen so far this summer. On Saturday I will post my first weekly film topic which will be my thoughts on remakes. This Sunday short reviews on the other half of films I have watched this summer will be posted. Then next week I'll jump into one film at a time as I see them. Next Sunday will be my first weekly round-up of the movies I have seen and reviewed in the past week. Without further ado, here is my article on Frankenstein Unbound!


Although Frankenstein Unbound was the final film directed by Roger Corman, it just so happened to be the first Corman movie I had ever seen. The first time I had seen it was two summers ago and I had no expectations. I saw that a time travel movie involving Frankenstein and starring John Hurt and Raul Julia was coming on cable soon and with that information alone I knew that I had to watch it! I had heard of Roger Corman before, but at the time I did not really know how influential he was to the film industry, just that he made some B-movies. 

Unlike other many other Corman movies, this one did not launch any careers. John Hurt had already been nominated for two Oscars and Raul Julia was known for his performances in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and Romero (1989). That said, this is an early film of Bridget Fonda, although she will most likely always be best known not such much for her acting career, but simply for being the daughter of Henry Fonda and niece of Jane Fonda. 

The aforementioned John Hurt plays Dr. Joe Buchanan. Dr. Buchanan is a scientist of the near future whose experiments have pushed past the limits of nature with unintended but dangerous consequences. While performing experiments to create a powerful weapon with the intention to end war while also not harming the environment, Buchanan and his team of researchers discover that the weapon also has the side effect of creating random rifts in the space time continuum. At first Buchanan is confident that he can find a way around this. One day while driving home from work he encounters some children burying a bike that has “died” because its owner has bought a newer more advanced bicycle. As Dr. Buchanan is musing (“Progresss!”) over this bizarre scene, an unusual storm is brewing. Buchanan is able to get the children to safety even though a warrior on a horse emerges from the storm and almost hits him with a spear! Unfortunately, Buchanan is sucked into the storm and sent across time and space. Eventually he figures out that he is in 1816 Switzerland. Buchanan meets up with some historical figures: the poet Percy and his wife, author Mary Shelley (Bridget Fonda) while he tries to find a way to reverse the time slip and return home. However, Buchanan discovers that a certain Victor Frankenstein (Raul Julia) is living in the nearby Swiss village. Like us, Buchanan always thought that Frankenstein was a work of fiction, but it turns out Mary Shelley’s novel was actually based on true events! As a fellow scientist who has had to deal with his own experiments going horribly wrong despite having the best of intentions, Buchanan tries to help Frankenstein. However, he fails to get Frankenstein to admit that his monster (which is legitimately creepy with a good make-up job) killed a child which leads to the nanny being accused of the murder and later being executed. Buchanan tries to stop Frankenstein and his monster from ending up like the novel, while also attempting to get home and stop the time slips. Despite the title Frankenstein Unbound, the story is always about Buchanan and his struggle to deal with his metaphorical monster (the time slips) which make Frankenstein’s monster powerless in comparison, but an intriguing parallel.

                               The monster:

Buchanan’s interactions with the Swiss in 1816 as a man from 2031 are not only amusing but also interesting as he can do whatever he wants. Unlike the main characters in most other time travel movies, Buchanan does not really need to worry about keeping the timeline intact since the randomness of the time slips has already done significant damage. Therefore the story can follow the character more freely as he explores 1816 while stranded in the past.

If the time slips depicted in this movie were real perhaps Roger Corman would have cast Vincent Price as Dr. Buchanan since, intentionally or not, Hurt seems to be channeling Price in his role. Hurt hams it up, but the end result is pure fun. The best examples of this are the priceless scenes between Dr. Buchanan and his talking car. The car has a sexy female voice and although there is no human avatar for the car, its personality is fully developed with witty dialogue, showing that technology may one day come back to haunt us with snide remarks! When Buchanan is still trying to figure out where and when the time slip has taken him, he exclaims “Jesus H. Christ, where am I?!” to which the car responds “No record of a middle initial for a Jesus Christ, Dr. Buchanan” which Hurt’s character does not find very amusing. The car’s lines such as “Something tells me we are not in New Los Angeles anymore” and “Scientifically speaking, we are out in the sticks” could have been classic Spock phrases on Star Trek. Buchanan humorously treats the car like a real person. When he must leave it to go back to the Swiss village he has been staying at, Buchanan hides the car and tells her to “be a good girl” to which the car responds, “My options are limited!” While one might simply write off the car as comic relief in the vein of C-3PO and R2-D2, or in this case more appropriately KITT from Knight Rider, I argue that its role may be a bit deeper. The car itself is like Frankenstein’s monster as it blurs the line between human and inhuman. The car appears to be sentient but is it alive? Likewise, is the monster simply animate or truly alive?


While Roger Corman co-wrote the screenplay for Frankenstein Unbound, it is important to keep in mind that this movie is actually based on a book by British science fiction author Brian Aldiss. Aldiss is a prolific writer, but for better or worse will be best known for writing the short story “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long” which was the basis for the 2001 film A.I. Artificial Intelligence. A.I. was originally developed by Stanley Kubrick and finally directed after his death by Steven Spielberg. Corman was no stranger to adapting the works of others (most famously Edgar Allan Poe but also others such as H.P. Lovecraft). While I have not actually read Aldiss’ novel, from what I have read about the novel it appears that Corman has stuck to the original story much closer than his previous adaptations of other works.

There are two fun cameos in this movie that you will want to keep an eye out for. The now deceased Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS (“New Sensation,” “What you Need”) puts in a fine cameo as the famous Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley! Also look out for Catherine Corman, Roger Corman’s daughter, who played Justine Moritz, a woman tried and condemned as a witch.

                        Michael Hutchence:
                        Catherine Corman:

Although Frankenstein Unbound has generally been considered to be mediocre at best, I contend that this is a fine B-movie with better acting and cinematography (filming on location in Italy certainly helped) than most of its ilk. The plot is pretty unique, and the only movie I can think of which comes close is the wonderful Nicolas Meyer directed film Time After Time (1979). In this film, Jack the Ripper (David Warner) uses H.G. Wells’ time machine to escape to the future. H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) must stop him from murdering women in 1979 San Francisco! Time After Time is the better of the two movies, but if you liked one I imagine you would also enjoy the other. 


While I will always have a special place in my heart for Frankenstein Unbound, it is by no means a perfect movie. For example, Buchanan can magically understand everyone in the Swiss village, not just the English-speaking Percy and Mary Shelley. This is not uncommon in science fiction but at least Star Trek mentions the use of universal translators. I feel that some sort of explanation should have been given, or maybe the car could have been somehow used to translate for Buchanan! Perhaps the bigger issue is Buchanan’s persistence in following Dr. Frankenstein. His frequent meetings often feel forced and one wonders why he isn’t spending more time getting it on with the beautiful Mary Shelley instead of getting involved with Victor Frankenstein who he has no real stake in. I know that Buchanan sees some parallels between Frankenstein and himself but I’m not sure if that is enough motivation as to why his character is risking his life to stop Victor. Yes, a few people are being killed by the monster but the damage from the time slip makes these deaths seem miniscule in comparison. Plus since Buchanan discovers that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is actually non-fiction, he knows the murders will end soon with or without his involvement. The movie runs a sleek 82 minutes so perhaps this was answered in the book, an earlier version of the screenplay, or deleted scenes and was cut later. 

Very few, if any, movies are perfect, but it is easy to overlook these flaws since the story is immersive and allows for easy suspension of disbelief. Frankenstein Unbound keeps us entertained as we want to know what Buchanan will do next as well as if Victor Frankenstein and his monster will meet different fates than in the original Frankenstein. It is fitting that Frankenstein Unbound was Corman’s last at the director’s chair. Frankenstein, Buchanan, and Corman all created new things. While Frankenstein’s monster and Buchanan’s time rifts ended poorly, Corman’s monsters continue to entertain and have a lasting positive effect on the film industry.

I gave Frankenstein Unbound a 6/10 on IMDB. I'll explain my scoring system in detail with tomorrow's post. See you then!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The First Post

Greetings Citizens!

This is the first post of my first blog, Recently Viewed Movies! The main purpose of this blog is for me to write out thoughts on a movie I have recently seen, although you could probably guess that from the title. I am doing this for several reasons. The main reason simply being that I enjoy films! Another reason is because people will bring up a movie I had seen awhile ago and I might not remember much about it so this blog will help to jog my memory. This blog will give me some experience writing (on a topic I enjoy!) on a regular basis. Finally, a friend of mine started doing some blog-athons so instead of having him post my entries on his blog, I can now post those articles on my very own blog!

For the most part I will write about films that I have seen for the first time. Occasionally I will write about movies I have seen before but usually under certain circumstances such as if it is for a blog-athon or if I had not seen it in years. From time to time I might sneak in a post on an episode of a television show. My favorite TV shows are mainly stuff like the Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, and Tales from the Crypt. These are anthology shows so each episode is basically a short film anyway. Even shows like Star Trek, Quantum Leap, and Firefly are usually self-contained. If I happen to write about a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode I'll discuss the Satellite of Love parts (host segments, riffs, etc.) as well as the movie itself.

Getting back to movies, I will be updated this blog frequently (at least over the summer) and will put out a several posts a week. Every Saturday I will write a post about announced/upcoming films or a topic such as underrated 80s flicks or 90s sci-fi films or a group of films by an actor or director. For example, this week I will give my thoughts on remakes. Every Sunday I will give a weekly round-up of the movies I saw and reviewed during the past week, and after this brief re-cap I will also announce (or give hints!) as to what movies will be coming up next.

For the actual reviews, I will start out my posts with why I wanted to watch the film. I'll then give a short overview before jumping into what I felt about the film. I love movie trivia so I will certainly include some of that with each post. I will end the post with my closing thoughts and what IMDB score I gave it. IMDB stands for the International Movie DataBase, a website that is valuable film resource as well as a place where anyone can vote on movies, unlike places like MetaCritic which are there for the reviews of established critics. Over the years I have come to that conclusion that trying to review anything with a number score, whether its a book, a movie, or even a toaster, is impossible to quantify and therefore pointless. That said, we are surrounded by some sort of numerical scoring system in our lives whether it is school grades or websites like Rotten Tomatoes. I give movies an IMDB score mainly so that I know I saw the movie and roughly what I felt about it. My vote is a combination of how well made the film was (in which I try to be as objective as possible) and how much I enjoyed the film (in which I am totally subjective!). These blog entries are only my opinions and if you disagree with me repeat to yourself "its just a blog, I should really just relax!" So sit back and enjoy my ride through the world of cinema!