Hola readers. This is your friendly Movieman, as well as the film maker
and co-founder of New Blood Film, Allan Russo here, and I have been given
the honor to join the ranks of the movie reviewing cast. This is where I
tell you about the latest movies out there...so let's start the
The first film we look at is "Benchwarmers." Rob Schneider, David Spade
and Jon Heder star in this comedy about three guys (Schneider, Spade and
Heder) who all their lives have been living in the shadow of bullies and
are determined not to take it anymore. Now they must train, with the
help of Mel (Jon Lovitz), to take on the most offensive and meanest
Little League teams. Also starring Craig Kilborn, Tim Meadows, Nick
Swardson and Molly Sims.
This movie was funny from beginning to end--I would recommend it to anyone! The mishaps in this film will keep you laughing, but I don’t want to say too much about it or it will ruin the movie! So, for this flick I give 4 howls of pleasure!
Next up is "Final Destination 3." During a Graduation Day party for her school at the local amusement park, 18 year old Wendy Christensen (Mary-Elizabeth Winstead) has a violent premonition of a fatally horrible roller-coaster crash involving her and all her friends. After being let off the coaster along with half the other students, the coaster starts. Only when the premonition comes true and everyone on the coaster, including her boyfriend Jason (Jesse Moss) dies, does Wendy realize that this is just the beginning. Teaming up with fellow classmate Kevin (Ryan Merriman), whose girlfriend also died, they begin to realize that because they escaped their fate, they now have to stop Death from its plan of killing off the survivors and sealing their fate. They use the picture Wendy took at the Amusement Park to find clues to their friend's deaths and try to stop them. They also need to find out who was sitting in front of them and help them cheat death, before they're next. Will they intervene or will Death have its way?
All I can say about this movie is if you saw the first two films, you've seen this one–I did not enjoy this movie at all and would not recommend it to anyone, because there was nothing new, so why bother wasting your time with it? Although it did have its good points, I give it 3 Hangman’s nooses .
Well, the boss is telling I’m done for now. Thanks for taking the time to read what I thought about these movies that you might want to see! I will be back here next month for another addition of Russo's Movie Mania!
Hello everyone, this is Balcony Betty back for yet another month, force feeding my opinions on an unsuspecting public. This month I viewed a couple movies I missed in the theater, as well as one I hadn’t heard of until I saw it on the shelf at the store and one that had to be seen on the BIG screen. Since this is a larger issue this month, please allow me to dive right in.
“Annapolis” is the story of a young welder at a shipyard, who yearly applies for entrance into the Naval Academy, “Annapolis.” Even though he does not have the brains for the course work, he works hard and continues trying to succeed against the odds because of a promise made to his mother. Although this movie did have a few dry moments--come on, what military based movie doesn’t have a couple?--all in all this was really well done. I give “Annapolis” three howls of pleasure .
“Lady in the Water” is M. Night Shyamalan’s flick and I must say that after a rather disappointing (when compared to his other films) “The Village,” Shyamalan has returned full force. “Lady” is about an apartment super who hears splashing in the complex pool and finds a lost woman. What follows is a epic-like journey seeking knowledge and the missing people needed to help the young woman return home. As in all of his films, Shyamalan has a role in this movie, but in this one he has a larger more central role. Unlike most of his films, this movie didn’t have that “twist” at the end that leaves all of the pieces falling into place. This movie is what it is--a great movie. I have to give “Lady in the Water” four howls of pleasure .
Next I think I will review a movie I had never even heard of until I saw it on the shelf. “The Garden” is about the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge, and the never-ending battle between good and evil. The difference in this movie and most other End of Days movies is that in this one Good and Evil are played by a young boy and an older man. This movie is very thought provoking and as such I give it three howls of pleasure .
Lastly I watched “V for Vendetta.” This movie, another comic book turned film, shows us the possibility of what could happen in the near future if things remain unchecked in the course of world-wide government. This movie delves into what could happen when government is allowed to run amuck without a system of checks and balances. While a lot of people will overlook the politically satire nature of this film and simply see it as another comic book action flick, a select number with be moved by it and may even find themselves pondering the writer's opinion. I give “V for Vendetta” three and a half howls of pleasure .
Well everyone, that’s it from me for this issue. 'Till next time this is Balcony Betty; get out there and see some new flicks and if you must watch from my balcony, at least keep the slurping noises of your making out to a minimum—it’s annoying.
Howdy, all. It's Reaper Rick, here and first off, I would like to wish the crew at "The World of Myth" a Happy Second Anniversary! Congratulations on annoying the readers for 24 consecutive months--may there be many more.
All right, now that we have the 'greasing' out of the way, let's see what there is to see out there. For my first review, I decided to jump into the Way Back machine and go wwaaaaayyy back to when movies on the Silver Screen were still in their infancy. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" was filmed in 1919 and is still considered today, nearly 100 years later, to be a masterpiece of psychological horror.
For those of you who are not familiar with early films, this movie is silent--any dialog is presented on placards, so you can read what is being said. It is also in black and white, although this far back in history the film is mostly in shades of black and grey. Directed by Robert Wiene and starring Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt and Lil Dagover (household names, all), set designer Herman Warm brought in Walter Reiman and Walter Roehrig, members of Berlin's expressionist Der Sturm group, to act as art directors. And they made quite a statement.
In order to give this film a proper perspective, it should really be seen on the big screen, although I rather suspect quite a few movie goers became ill watching it when it first appeared in theatres. The sets are surreal in the extreme, which was the intent--to be extreme. There is not a right angle to be seen in this movie. Buildings, doorways, windows--all have obtuse angles and everything slants in awkward directions. In several scenes, characters are seated on oddly high, narrow stools and are forced to lean over, precariously, to reach the desks at which they work. The entire atmosphere of the movie is twisted and dizzying--all the better to make the viewer uncomfortable; to give them a sense of disorientation. And this is 1919, remember. It wasn't until the 1950s that Hitchcock began to use some of these early set ideas to work a sense of unease into his audiences.
But, I digress. Caligari was what we today would call a Sideshow Carney. In his 'cabinet' was a man whom Caligari claimed had been asleep for 25 years, but if you paid your pennies and entered into his tent, Caligari would magically awaken this somnambulist (yeah, there's a sucker born every minute) who would then prophesize your future--and it was almost always bad. In fact, after the carnival came to town with Caligari's cabinet, several gruesome murders took place; oddly enough, all of the victims were people who had earned Caligari's wrath in some manner. Hmmm.
I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone, but you may have figured out that the killer is Caligari's mysterious sleeper, who is under hypnotic control of the old man. When Caligari sends the sleeper out to kill the hero's fiance, instead of killing her, he becomes enamored of her and carries her off. Well, to make a long story short (I know--Too late!), Caligari is found out and the girl is rescued. But it ain't over yet.
In a day when most movies were just two or three reelers (15-20 minutes long), this nearly 90 minute epic just keeps going. Caligari escapes and the hero follows him to an asylum, where the carnival barker is discovered to be head of the institution. All right, I'm not going to go into any more of the plot. Suffice to say even I was surprised at the ending, which was on a par with many modern horror/suspense movies.
The acting was melodramatic and sometimes overdone, but that is to be expected when there is no dialog and facial expressions were the only way to let the audience know what characters were thinking. The set design was almost frightening at times, and it is still hard for me to believe this movie was made nearly 100 years ago. While not exactly a 'date movie,' this is a must see for any student of film or fan of horror. I was impressed, surprised and even emotionally shocked by this flick and so give "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" Four rousing Howls of Pleasure .
After that experience, I wanted something on a lighter note, so watched for the first time, "Land of the Dead." This is a George A. Romero zombie flick made in 2005, starring Simon Baker, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper. I know, 'another zombie flick,' right? Actually, this movie was a pleasant surprise in that it takes the Dawn of the Dead idea and pushes it ahead a few years, so we finally get a picture of what the world is like after the zombies have settled in and made 'lives' for themselves.
The plot is basically this: The last humans are now living in a giant, walled city (run rather ruthlessly, by Hopper), while the zombies live pretty much everywhere else. Humans occasionally still make runs into zombie controlled territory to pick up needed supplies and on one of these trips it is discovered that the deadheads have learned to start communicating with each other--bad news for us. Anyway, the zombies come together and storm the walled city (I mean they still move really slow and all, but their minds are at last beginning to function again), to the horror of the city dwellers. Much carnage ensues on both sides as the city falls, for the most part, and the movie ends with the zombies moving on to bigger and better things (we assume), while the surviving humans must make do on their own.
There are several sub plots involved in the movie as well, and overall I was pleased to finally see a 'new' perspective presented for the zombie majority. I give "Land of the Dead" Three groaning Howls of Pleasure .
Okay, now for a couple of quick pans. The 2005 remake of "The Fog" was extremely disappointing. Sure, it had better special effects and it also did more back story into what happened to the members of the leper colony (those who come back for revenge in the Fog), but the story itself was a poor second to John Carpenter's original. The first movie had much more suspense and in my opinion was more frightening than the second attempt. Sometimes less is more and Carpenter used the 'idea' of ghosts to a much better effect than actually seeing a maggot-riden skull coming at you. Not to mention the cast of the first flick--Adrienne Bareau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh and Hal Holbrook. Wow. If you never saw the first 'Fog,' see it and you can tell the difference. So, for special effects and back story alone, I give "The Fog" (#2) One mere, sniveling gurgle of Pleasure .
Finally, another big disappointment was "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I mean, Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, right? What could possibly go wrong with that combination? Apparently, everything after the titles were shown. This movie was SO abysmal I could not even watch the entire thing. The only bright spot was the kid who played Charlie Bucket, winner of one of the Golden Tickets, but even that character could not save this weak, poorly written attempt at a remake. Sadly, because I usually enjoy the Depp/Burton collaboration, I must give "Charlie" One Hangman's Noose . Too bad, so sad.
Okay, I'm done! There's lots to view out there, so get out and watch some Good movies. Until next time, this is Reaper Rick saying, "Bye."