Shroom Review http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview <![CDATA[ Predictable Yet Entertaining MISCHIEF NIGHT Worth A Look]]>  
However, I’ve a suggestion for you: get out to the video store (assuming you still have one) and give MISCHIEF NIGHT a spin in the DVD player.  To my surprise, it’s a surprisingly entertaining old-school slasher flick that makes solid use of set, character, and script.
 
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters.  If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment.  If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
 
Em Walton (played by a wholesome Noell Coet) is still reeling from the aftermath of an automobile accident that, nine years previous, took the life of her mother.  In fact, Em is continuing to struggle with a form of psychosomatic blindness that even her psychiatrist (an interesting cameo by the always reliable Ally Walker).  Her father, David (Daniel Hugh Kelly), is also hoping to get on with his life; he’s finally dating again, but, like all doting fathers, he hates leaving his daughter at home alone … especially on Mischief Night … as that’s when the boys who will be boys playfully terrorize residents with all kinds of benign trickery.  But this Mischief Night is different, as it brings out an ax-wielding maniac who has his sights set on hurting Em!
 
Truth be told, there’s probably very little in MISCHIEF NIGHT that you haven’t seen before.  It bears a lot of similarity to 1971’s SEE NO EVIL, starring a young Mia Farrow as a blind woman pursued by a homicidal maniac.  And there’s a trend in the home-based horror stories that started a few years back, of which you may’ve seen THE PURGE (2013) or even THE STRANGERS (2008).  MISCHIEF NIGHT is much the same, but it’s given a breath of fresh air with Coet’s believable performance as the blind (but spunky) damsel in distress.
 
To his credit, writer/director Richard Schenkman brought a nice ‘workman’ quality to both the script and the filming process.  Admittedly, these might be cookie cutter characters, but he gives Em just enough substance to make her seem like someone you could know (or would like to know), and he doesn’t short dear old dad David either.  They may not be fully three-dimensional, but each has an arc to the past that relates to their present (how they’re dealing with it, as well as how they confront the killers).  Also, I’d have to give kudos to the fact that despite being entirely shot within a single large house, Schenkman goes to honorable lengths to make use of every room, every nook, and every corridor; it’s rare to see a director wring that much effect out of simple real estate!
 
Sometimes being in the middle of the road is a respectable place to be.  Rather than trying to the limelight, MISCHIEF NIGHT is exactly the kind of direct-to-DVD release (it may’ve had a token release, but I couldn’t find any info online to substantiate it) that made the 1980’s such a great decade for home entertainment.  It establishes a relatively slim premise very quickly, and it delivers on it; when it comes to slasher flicks, who could ask for anything more?
 
MISCHIEF NIGHT (2013) is produced by Mischief Night and Ruthless Pictures.  DVD distribution is being handled by Image Entertainment.  As for the technical specifications, the film looks and sounds very solid consistently (there was only a single sequence that I backed up as I wanted to clearly hear some rather muddled dialogue).  As for the special features, there’s a nice (although brief) behind-the-scenes short (it’s all a bit obligatory), if that sort of thing interests you.  Otherwise, that’s all there is, none too surprising.
 
RECOMMENDED.  Look, if slasher films are your thing, then you could do an awful lot worse than the technically proficient MISCHIEF NIGHT.  Sure, I have some quibbles with characterization (I tend to like mine a bit more fully fleshed out), and I could pick at the bones of the routineness of it all (it’s relatively predictable) … but I’d also have to be honest in admitting that it kept my interest from the start to the finish.  That could be because I thought Noell Coet’s performance was quite good as the kinda/sorta blind girl who finds herself using what smarts she can muster against some masked evildoers.  And I’ve always rooted for Daniel Hugh Kelly, who deserves to get more work; he does a nice turn here as the father who’s only looking out for his little girl.
 
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Image Entertainment provided me with a DVD copy of MISCHIEF NIGHT by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Mischief_Night-873-1019439-243086-Predictable_Yet_Entertaining_MISCHIEF_NIGHT_Worth.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Mischief_Night-873-1019439-243086-Predictable_Yet_Entertaining_MISCHIEF_NIGHT_Worth.html Mon, 30 Dec 2013 21:07:20 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Dark Territory of It's a Wonderful Life]]>
There was a brief window of my life when I made a tradition, like everyone else, of watching It's a Wonderful Life during the holiday season. I was just a few years into it, though, when I noticed that there was something about it which really wasn't sitting right with me. I had hit a low point in my life at the time and was contemplating suicide harder than I ever had - it's fairly safe to say only my religious beliefs at the time kept me from going through with it. That, of course, puts me in a situation similar to that of George Bailey, James Stewart's main character. The movies takes us through George's life story, bringing us to the moment the movie begins, when God - yes, THAT God - is commanding an angel named Clarence to talk George out of his suicidal depression. Clarence visits George, shows him what everything would be like of he never existed, and George is magically happy again.

If only real depression were that simple. In real life, there's no Clarence, and George offs himself. The problem with the movie's premise is that George is set up and defined as a man of very significant impact. It's true that George has thwarted dreams that are similar to my own in a couple of ways, but it's difficult to get me to believe George really had it that bad. His dream of traveling the world, after all, is something he surrenders willingly, even if he does do it quite often. George first takes over a business that was threatening to stop writing loans out for the poor because the board heads would only continue doing that if George was running it. I don't have any problems with this; but George gives his college cash stash to his brother Harry, and that's where the problem begins. Harry takes George's cue and then seemingly coasts through his life on a series of implausible breaks. Harry marries into a rich family and becomes a war hero.

George, meanwhile, runs his company and keeps roadblocking his own path. His gestures are admittedly noble: At one point, he gives his honeymoon money to depositors to satisfy their immediate needs. At another, he turns down the job of his dreams when it's offered because his nemesis, Potter, is planning to take over his city.

Throughout all this, by the way, George is able to find the time and means to marry his longtime love and sire four kids. He buys a home, too. During the never-born sequence, George's wife, Mary, ends up being a shy, perpetually single librarian, as if she could never have found a man who wasn't George Bailey and a fulfilling career. (Well, okay, this movie is from 1946, so the career isn't very likely.)

A supremely ironic point that occurs to me right now is that so far, the movie and I are in agreement over the main theme: George is leading a life most people would consider very significant and fulfilling. But that's where our similarities end. George is very well known and beloved throughout his community because of the willing selflessness he shows, constantly sacrificing pursuit of his dreams in order to better the lives of those around him. Everything he did, except getting rejected by the military, was something he gave up by personal choice. He has good friends and a devoted wife and a good home in a nice community.

This is basically magical Hollywood depression. It's sanitized nicely for people who believe a few inspiring words are more than enough to snap anyone out of a funk and return them to their jolly old selves. Just like real depression and real suicidal contemplation, I swear, knowing from experience. It's basically the same, except take away George's communal niceties, flowing opportunities, family, and largely decent job. Strip him of all the status, prestige, and trust he earned from the people around him, and put him in a much more menial situation in which the livlihoods of a lot fewer people depend on his fortunes and you'll start to get the idea.

The one inspirational thing that I did take away from It's a Wonderful Life is actually the life story of Frank Capra himself. He got himself stuck in a life rut very similar to my own, and our ages during this rough patch weren't that far apart. Capra was going through his during much worse circumstances. Yet, he still found a way to overcome his obstacles and eventually become one of the most important directors in the history of American film.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-It_s_a_Wonderful_Life_1947_movie_-873-1004178-242765-The_Dark_Territory_of_It_s_a_Wonderful_Life.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-It_s_a_Wonderful_Life_1947_movie_-873-1004178-242765-The_Dark_Territory_of_It_s_a_Wonderful_Life.html Fri, 27 Dec 2013 20:58:54 +0000
<![CDATA[ Murray phones it in]]>
Bill Murray stars in this movie which is, at times, funny, pathetic, and shocking but mostly just boring. His character is an unappealing, solitary man who shows no interest or emotion; Murray pretty much phones in his performance, so underplaying his role that I wondered why he bothered at all. It's an intriguing premise that goes absolutely nowhere and the ending feels like the writer just ran out of ideas and stopped writing.

This is lazy filmmaking that tries to be arty but is just self-indulgent. Recommended only for those who aren't tired of Bill Murray's poker-face act.
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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Broken_Flowers-873-1024414-242269-Murray_phones_it_in.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Broken_Flowers-873-1024414-242269-Murray_phones_it_in.html Wed, 4 Dec 2013 17:39:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Fun Fantasy-Action Flick]]>
In terms of fantasy-action movies, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME really isn't all that bad. The exposition of the dagger is a bit difficult to follow at times, but beyond that the story is a pretty straight-forward fantasy-action movie. There's lots of action, some lovable characters, and the typical romance. Alfred Molina has a small bit part in the film, but is one of the more memorable characters. Ben Kingsley is always fun to watch and I think he's even better playing villains and anti-heroes than he is at everymen and heroes. Gemma Arterton is beautiful and does a decent job of bringing a little bit of spark to a role that is basically written as nothing more than eye candy. As Dastan, Gyllenhall does a good job and is fairly entertaining to watch. I've never been a Gyllenhall fan, but I actually didn't mind that he was the hero in this movie.

Although it didn't do very well at the domestic box office, the movie did fairly well worldwide and is currently (as of 11/28/13) the highest grossing movie ever based upon a video game. Overall, although there isn't a lot that is really memorable about the movie, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME is a fun flick to watch. You might not watch it again and again, but you probably won't regret having watched it the first time.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Prince_of_Persia_The_Sands_of_Time_2010_-873-1436480-242125-A_Fun_Fantasy_Action_Flick.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Prince_of_Persia_The_Sands_of_Time_2010_-873-1436480-242125-A_Fun_Fantasy_Action_Flick.html Fri, 29 Nov 2013 02:40:05 +0000
<![CDATA[ T2: A Personal Judgement]]>
T2: Judgement Day was the last unequivocally great movie the robot who will never stop starred in, and arguably his defining moment. Yes, the original Terminator movie is one of the all-time greats in action sci-fi, and a monumental piece in the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It also created the titular role of The Terminator as a very terrifying bad guy. While the entire spectacle was cloaked in a thick veil of action, writer/director James Cameron was still able to use the movie to explore the ideas of love and fate. James Cameron, the big time action director, basically wrote a love story about a woman and the man who brought her child into the world while dying to save her from a very nasty stalker. In the process, he threw the theme of fate into the mix by making the stalker a nigh-invulnerable robot, the woman a person who gave birth to the savior of humanity, and the man a time-traveling soldier sent back to protect her (by the kid they conceived). T2 is still one of the most thrilling action movies ever made, but it's even heavier than the first Terminator.

Central to T2 is a coming-of-age story running amidst themes about the possibility of changing the future and what it really means to be human. The future robots are at it again - they're sending back another almost-invincible killer robot back to the past to knock off a person who later became a little bit of a problem for them in their own time. They didn't get any smarter about doing it, though; in fact, if anything, they did something a lot dumber: Instead of, say, sending a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah Conner the schoolgirl, they aimed their new terminator right at John Conner, her boy. This gets to be a little bit of a problem for the new terminator prototype, the T-1000, because John has an attitude problem. He's been in trouble with the law many times and has the street smarts to make the T-1000 really work for it. As if that's not enough, Sarah herself made the mistake of blabbing about her experience with the original Terminator. Maybe that wouldn't have been so bad in itself, but she also went about training herself and John for survival for the impending robot war, which effectively got her locked in the looney bin. John is with foster parents who don't know what to do with him, so he has survival training and a chip on his shoulder.

Oh yeah, the T-1000 has an even bigger problem: The T-800 model Terminator that was busy chasing Sarah in the first movie has been reprogrammed and sent back in time to be John's protector. His new mission is to ensure the survival of John, and just like the original movie, he's not going to stop, ever, no matter what's thrown at him. And that's saying something because the T-1000 packs a real punch. He's made of liquid metal that can form simple weapons, morph its shape, and even transform into and imitate things it comes into contact with. At one point, it even morphs into a floor.

What's really horrifying about this whole scenario is that there's not much John and The Terminator can do in a survival situation here except run. It could have been easier than it turns out to be for them, but John misses Sarah and insists on springing her from the nuthouse, not much of a problem since Sarah has attempted to escape many times, often violently. While the chase goes on, a large techie conglomerate is performing research that will allow the machines to become self-aware and wipe humanity out. When Sarah tries to take it upon herself to stop him, the odd trio is forced to make its last stand against the T-1000.

One of the ironies of The Terminator as a series is that, despite The Terminator being the icon and titular character, the series is never about him. The Terminator always serves as more of a peripheral character, and usually there's varying characters who take center stage. Even the first movie was about Kyle Reese and Sarah Conner. This movie squarely places the focus on John. John Conner in the universe of The Terminator is the pivotal character of the whole saga, and T2 is the all-time establishment of that fact. T2 is about John Conner and his forced growing up and taking responsibility for the person his mother is raising him to become. The oddity of John's life is that the two people who tried to give him a stable home are just side characters who get knocked off in short order, and the two people who get charged with bringing John to his ultimate mission are a woman who was considered insane and a reprogrammed killer robot from the future. It's noted in Sarah's voice-over narration that The Terminator is a better father to John than any human might ever have been, and John spends a lot of time teaching The Terminator what it's like to be human. John does develop a truly human attachment to The Terminator, which culminates is a very touching emotional climax in the movie's final scene.

In many ways, T2: Judgement Day marked the official arrival of the 90's movie. It contains many of the common archtypes of 90's movies: John is clearly a skilled computer hacker. He also carries a defiant attitude, but he's also still an outcast kid. The archtype animal that outcast little kids from 90's movies were always befriending is taken in this movie by the robot. There are also a handful of ridiculous EXTREME!!! stunts. Wait, my bad: I meant to write XTREME!!! since everyone forgot how to spell in the 90's. It's ironic that T2 managed to create such an outstanding movie out of all the most stereotyped - and in many cases, worst - aspects of movies from the 90's.

The one big problem with T2 is the same problem that plagues all of James Cameron's movies: As a director, Cameron is an outstanding director. As a writer, Cameron is an outstanding director. Yeah, the dialogue is monumentally terrible again, and watching the scenes - especially in the case of John - makes you think, my god, who the hell could ever be stupid enough to think people talk like that? John is meant to sport a 'tude, but the way it's written makes him come off more like a sheltered nerd trying to speak the way he thinks cool kids speak. It's another one of the ironies of T2 that the movie managed to spawn a number of catchphrases because James Cameron wrote a bunch of really bad phrases into the script that he seemed to think people would really use. His writing improved after T2, but not by very much.

If The Terminator as a series would have ended here, it would have gone out on a strong note. The end leaves Sarah Conner optimistic about humanity's future. Unfortunately, though, a few of the involved parties needed money, and the series ended up selling out later, betraying one of the overall messages of T2 completely. So it's good to go back and watch T2: Judgement Day every so often, just to remember what The Terminator once was. The third movie was fun, and the fourth movie made a plausible effort to return to the franchise's roots, and the TV show was good, but T2 is where the whole thing reached its greatest potential.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Terminator_2_Judgment_Day-873-1004205-242124-T2_A_Personal_Judgement.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Terminator_2_Judgment_Day-873-1004205-242124-T2_A_Personal_Judgement.html Thu, 28 Nov 2013 17:09:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ BEHOLD THE CAT'S EYE]]>



CAT'S EYE

I am and have always been a big fan of Stephen King, from the books to the screen and everything in between. So it is no secret that I am a fan of this film. In fact I believe it is one of the most underrated of all the King related films that have been made. This movie featured three different tales all interlocking through a cat, two of which were based on King's short stories from the book "Night Shift" while the final was made for the film. The script was written by King himself and directed by Lewis Teague who also helmed the King film "Cujo".

Three different stories are connected by a cat that is getting visions of a little girl who needs help. On his way to finding this girl in the final story he comes across two different situations that put him in danger. The first story involves a man who really wants to quit smoking and will go to any length to stop, or is that forced? Then he moves on to meet a few people stuck in a love triangle and the situation they end up in. Finally the cat arrives at his final destination looking for the little girl that has somehow been calling out to him. What he finds may be his biggest test yet.

I have always been a fan of the anthology films and this is one of my favorites. How could it not be with King penning it with two based on short stories that I already loved. The first story "Quitters Inc." stars James Woods and is an excellent start to the film. In this story he is trying to quit smoking and goes to a business that specializes in helping with those kinda problems. The thing is if he is caught smoking his wife and daughter will be tormented and punished for it. The punishments would continue to get worse like being put in a shock cage or being raped. He is told that if he continues even after all that then he will be killed. I will not say if he smokes or not but I will mention that I loved the "Watching You" scene with the song from The Police.

The second story is just as good with a man wanting to run off with another man's wife and the consequences of that. This story is called "The ledge" and I am sure you can guess why, the title refers to the punishment the man must go through. The catch is that if he completes it then he will be forgiven and aloud to live and get the girl. What happens is fun to watch and is a great addition to the film. This brings us to the final story, "General". It is called that because that is what the little girl [Drew Barrymore] names the cat when he finally arrives at her home.

Now I am sure most people remember this segment the most since it was the poster and such. This one involves a troll that is after the little girl at night. The problem is that her mother does not want the cat in the house at night. This of course means he cannot protect her. This is probably my favorite of the stories because the cat is the star here.

Also I should point out that since the director did "Cujo" it is Cujo that is chasing our feline hero at the beginning of the film. You should also watch for a certain car named Christine to appear in the film as well as other nods to other King works. Also the setting of the final story is the same town that "Maximum Overdrive" took place in. those are a little of the things you might notice or hear about on the commentary track that the director does. This is a fun flick that I do recommend to any King or horror fans out there. Every time I watch this it takes me back, I love it.

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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Cat_s_Eye-873-1397537-241729-BEHOLD_THE_CAT_S_EYE.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Cat_s_Eye-873-1397537-241729-BEHOLD_THE_CAT_S_EYE.html Tue, 12 Nov 2013 07:31:29 +0000
<![CDATA[ All you need is love...]]>
What a wonderful movie this is! The story is heartwarming and the strong cast is excellent in well-developed roles. Fin's evolution from morose loner to affable pal is realistic and touching and I enjoyed every bit of his journey (except for the unnecessary profanity, for which I deleted one star).

Highly recommended for those who enjoy character-driven, quirky indie films, for train fans, and for anyone who has ever felt completely alone and hopeless.
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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Station_Agent-873-1527775-241697-All_you_need_is_love_.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Station_Agent-873-1527775-241697-All_you_need_is_love_.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 05:21:26 +0000
<![CDATA[ What rhymes with "duck" that I can use for this review title?]]>
Even odder was George Lucas as one of the creators of the movie chose this for a movie.  Howard the Duck was a weird 70's comic about a duck who had weird adventures with his friend Beverly.  Howard wasn't the cute kind of ducky either.  He smoked, drank, read smut, Beverly was a nude model and in short, he wasn't exactly a role model but more or a dark horse (err duck if you will this movie loves it's lame duck jokes).  Cut to the 80's and when this movie came, it was with a PG rating, but all of Howard's bad habits stuck around meaning it would be sure to alienate the kids and parents it was targeting yet be too silly for an older audience.

Our not so fine little movie starts with a parallel world where ducks are sentient lifeforms.  Howard comes home to crack open his duck beer and read some duck dirty magazines, when all of a sudden a rumbling comes and pulls him to Earth and lands in Cleveland to save a woman named Beverly, a hottie indie rocker who becomes his friend.  Along the way Howard will meet a dipshit scientist, a man posessed with a monster, angry truck drivers and even work at a sleazy spa.  Sound like wacky fun?  Sure, but one thing.  The script is terrible.

This movie is pretty notorious for a couple of reasons.  While I personally don't mind the voice for Howard, Howard in the comics is supposed to be a shady tough type but he ends up sounding lame sometimes-the voice is more fitting for more comical actions and again, a lot of Howards jokes fall flat.  The movie also rushes into it's conclusion half way through and most of the film stretches out a plan to get Howard back home and stop monsters from invading.

The biggest disconnect is the material.  This is a PG movie, light entertainment and kids stuff but if you haven't noticed, Howard isn't too kid friendly (he even has a duck condom in his wallet) the monsters are scary and gross and all the jokes are of the worst puns or of lame (duck) delivery.  If you thought Arnold in Batman and Robin with all of his puns were bad, you get the same here, but duck jokes.

Howard The Duck is dippy and doofy and has a real disconnect.  A dirty duck stuffed into a kid friendly movie with bad jokes and scary monsters.  If you want some Howard action, pick up the old comics instead.  While I've never read them, they can't be as bad.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Howard_the_Duck-873-1026286-241356-What_rhymes_with_duck_that_I_can_use_for_this.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Howard_the_Duck-873-1026286-241356-What_rhymes_with_duck_that_I_can_use_for_this.html Mon, 28 Oct 2013 03:25:09 +0000
<![CDATA[ Unforgettable story of movie star's madness]]> This biopic of Frances Farmer traces her life from outspoken teen to Hollywood starlet, followed by long periods of mental illness and barbaric treatment in institutions.

Jessica Lange is magnificent as Frances; her performance is riveting and heartbreaking. Sam Shepard co-stars as her lover and Kim Stanley is excellent as her mother.

It is never clearly established whether Frances was really mentally ill or just a very high-strung and hard-to-handle alcoholic. The conditions she faced in the asylum were brutal and these scenes are very unpleasant.

The whole film is a treat on one hand, as the acting is flawless. The story, however, is unceasingly grim, depressing, and exhausting and I won't watch it again.


 

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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Frances-873-1525042-240775-Unforgettable_story_of_movie_star_s_madness.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Frances-873-1525042-240775-Unforgettable_story_of_movie_star_s_madness.html Sun, 22 Sep 2013 19:29:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Wicked City Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Wicked_City-81-1432909-240023.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Wicked_City-81-1432909-240023.html Thu, 29 Aug 2013 07:00:01 +0000 <![CDATA[ THIS IS A WICKED CITY]]>



WICKED CITY

Many things have been said about this film based on a book and directed by "Ninja Scroll" director Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Things like "disgusting", "classic", "dark", "horrible", "great" and so on, many different opinions. Well I am somewhere in between all of that although I think anyone would agree with the dark thing, because it is. This is one of those films that will shock you if you don't know what type of flick you are getting into. You could throw it in there with the hentai type of Anime but that is only half of what the film is.

The people of Erath have been sharing their world with that of the "Black World" which the realm of demons. To help keep things peaceful between the two there is a group called the "Black Guard" and a new treaty needs to be signed. So a member from each realm [Taki {male human} & Mackie{female demon}] must come together to protect a negotiator until he can make the treaty happen. But radicals from the "Dark World" will stop at nothing to make sure that does not happen.

This film is full of atmosphere and style and of course all of it is dark. The horror element here is probably the strongest thing the film has going for it. The occult like story helps maintain your interest in the film even when things seem out of place. Now I am sure that when I say that most people will assume I am speaking of the sex related moments in the film. That is not true and while I think the film would have been fine without them the tone and nature of the film lend to the scenes. I am speaking of the comedic moments, which at times are funny but do not fit. This of course comes mostly from Giuseppi Mayart who is the guy the "Black Guard" must protect. I must say that he would be right at home on "Dragon Ball Z" alongside Master Roshi. Trust me if you have seen both then you will know what I am talking about.

Then of course we get the action which is good as is the animation, I kinda miss these older drawn ones. There is a nice twist towards the end that leads to a good battle but you will see for yourself. Still regardless this film just seems average to me which is good, it is not horrible. The demons are cool and the look of the film is just as good. There is one female demon here that would have been a big fan of the film "Teeth". Of course there are moments when you will be saying to yourself "why does this not make sense" and all I have to say is wait for the end, it becomes clear. Also on a side note Taki and Mackie were voiced in the dud by a mother and son acting team.

This isn't a bad film and for some people might be a great film. For me it is just a cool Anime, a good if average flick. If you don't mind rape and violent scenes in your Anime then this is for you indeed. But if you like the kid friendlier stuff then stay away. This has some cool stuff in it that make me want to recommend it to anyone who has yet to see it. But like I said it may not be for everyone, decide for yourself.

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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Wicked_City-873-1432909-240022-THIS_IS_A_WICKED_CITY.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Wicked_City-873-1432909-240022-THIS_IS_A_WICKED_CITY.html Thu, 29 Aug 2013 06:59:40 +0000
<![CDATA[ Most Excellent!]]>
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is wall to wall, floor to ceiling shimmering tackiness. The two main characters are a pair of California surfing' dudes named Bill Preston and Ted Logan. They're two perfectly decent teenagers from San Dimas who dream of starting their own big time rock band called Wyld Stallyns. Unfortunately, they're kinda lousy musicians, but for the purposes of this movie, that doesn't count. They're lousier students, and that DOES count because Ted's pop is a Military drill Sergeant-type who's looking for the first excuse which crops up to ship his boy to a Military Academy in Alaska. He's found his excuse, too: There's a big history report coming at the end of the week which Bill and Ted MUST ace if they want to have any hope of passing. If they fail, Ted goes bye-bye. In the future, a man simply known as Rufus puts on his pair of bitchin' shades and walks into a phone booth. This isn't just any old phone booth - it's a time machine, and Rufus is going back to the past to help the boys with their history report. Why, you ask, does this history report matter so much to Rufus? It's because the boys actually DID manage to start their band, and their band became greater than The Beatles. Unlike The Beatles, Wyld Stallyns truly did change the world. So if Ted gets shipped off to Alaska, it would have disastrous ramifications on futuretown.

So the gist of the movie is that Rufus is returning to San Dimas in the 1980's to play the tutor. He has a hell of a way of tutoring: He leaves Bill and Ted with his time machine and lets them take it back to various eras in the past to see everything for themselves, just as it happened. Indeed begins an adventure which is most excellent!

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is actually more about the act of time travel and bringing people out of their natural habitats than anything else. We see a very limited number of Bill and Ted's adventures in the past. Yes, shenanigans ensue when they retrieve Billy the Kid and Socrates, and they try to make a play at a pair of princesses in medieval times who are bound to marry some royal ugly dudes. They also visit the future and the prehistoric years. Really, there's this thing in 80's movies called a montage - it's a series of shots which show a character or a bunch of characters getting something done, no fuss, no muss. Most of the time travel in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is done in this way.

The movie levels back out when the boys return to San Dimas so they can actually get the report done. Their collection of great historical figures - which includes luminaries such as Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, and Abraham Lincoln - helps them do chores, then goes rampaging in the local shopping mall, learning wonderful things about 20th century life.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is in no way serious about its time travel. There aren't any long-term consequences mulled over, discussed, or even mentioned in any capacity unless you count Rufus telling Bill and Ted what would happen if Ted went to Alaska and their band never formed. Time travel is only in this movie to be funny, especially once our favorite historical figures hit the mall, and Napoleon hits the water park. After the mall sequence, the history dudes have to be sprung from the local jail by Bill and Ted, who use a series of previously-placed devices their past selves laid out for their convenience. The explanation for that is actually pretty simple.

This movie came out in 1989, so the hubris of the 80's is very obvious in this movie. The movie even opens with one of those ubiquitous future domes, complete with a giant crystal and synthesized rock music. Bill and Ted both talk with surfer boy accents (and very thick ones at that), and wear loud clothes. Honestly, though, that's one of its appeals. It's a very funny movie which actually seems funnier in hindsight because you can't help but laugh at the dated culture. It's also a weird preview into the early 90's, because eternal buddies Bill and Ted come off as an early version of popular 90's duo Wayne and Garth, complete with the random explosions of air guitar and the surfer lingo. Especially the periodic shouts of "excellent" and words like "bogus," a lot of which have turned into quotable memes of sorts. Hell, even Rufus - who comes off like the wise sage - speaks almost exclusively in Bill and Ted's declarative quips.

The declarative quipping really makes the writing a hoot! This is one of those movies that seems written mostly so you'll remember the script right down to every if, and, or but. Even the little brother packs an attitude; when he is angrily scolded about why he left Napoleon to his own devices, the kid simply says "He was a dick!" When Rufus makes his entrance to Bill and Ted in a convenience store parking lot while the two of them are trying to do their research, their initial reaction is to asked Rufus when the Mongols ruled China. Rufus responds, "Well, perhaps we can ask them!" Abraham Lincoln making a declaration to PARTY ON! at the end of his speech at the history report always makes me crack a smile.

The characters who don't speak English get chances to shine with more physical gags. Joan of Arc takes over an aerobics class while Beethoven plays on electronic keyboards. Watching Genghis Khan beat up a store dummy never gets old.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is one of the last truly great mindless comedies. You flip on the movie, and flip off your brain.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Bill_Ted_s_Excellent_Adventure-873-1022508-239247-Most_Excellent_.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Bill_Ted_s_Excellent_Adventure-873-1022508-239247-Most_Excellent_.html Wed, 7 Aug 2013 16:09:07 +0000
<![CDATA[ Retro Gangster Movie, Scorsese Style]]>
Gangs of New York is most definitely a gangster movie, one which can safely be mentioned in the same breath as Mean Streets, Goodfellas, or Casino, Martin Scorsese's other classic gangster flicks. So you shouldn't be fooled by the fact that it takes place 100 years before any of those other movies. There are a lot of the standards: Bribing the Police, fights between different factions of gangs, corrupt politicians (the infamous Boss Tweed is a major character), small-time gangsters looking to get by, a big boss bad guy who holds an iron grip on the neighborhood, and an occasional hit on a rival. Yet, there's no mistake that this really is a different world. There are two different kinds of Police forces, the Municipals and the Metropolitans. Firefighters are all in separate departments which bicker and fight over territories constantly - sometimes right in the middle of a fire both had rushed into. If it looks like the fire is about to win, they simply loot the place next door. The immigrants coming into the country are yanked away from the ships right away and forced to serve in the Civil War.

Beneath the gorgeous old-timey veneer, though, lies a story that's deceptively simple: Boy watches his father get killed in a gang war. Boy grows up vowing revenge on his pop's killer, works his way into the killer's inner circle and rises up Grant Theft Auto-style, and eventually extracts his revenge! Seriously, for all the grandiosity of the setting, that's the whole plot in a nutshell. If you ever get lost when you're trying to watch the movie, you can always find your place again by asking yourself a simple question: Has the main character, Amsterdam Vallon, killed Bill the Butcher yet? If not, you're still watching the movie.

That's pretty much all the plot is. There are people who switch sides in Gangs of New York, but virtually all that happens offscreen, in events that took place between the years 1846 and 1862. Why, you ask, are those two precise years so important to the movie? Because they're the two years the movie takes place in. Actually, there are probably a few people who would be willing to axe the events in 1846 because they're nothing more than the introduction to what's going on in 1862. Here's the scoop: In 1846, there was a big, violent gangland war between the immigrants from Ireland and the people who hated immigrants, also known as the Nativists. The immigrants are led by a man known only as Priest Vallon, while the Nativists are headed by William Cutting, better known as Bill the Butcher. Bill kills Priest, ending the entire squabble and orphaning Priest's son, Amsterdam. Naturally, Amsterdam isn't quite able to let go of that moment very fast, and upon his release from his boarding school, he throws his supplied Bible into the creek while walking over the bridge away from the building. His line of thinking from this point is along the vein of, damn right revenge is one of the Seven Deadly Sins! Deadly for Bill the Butcher! (An evil laugh presumably follows.)

Returning to Five Points, his old neighborhood slum in New York City, he's vowing to even the score with The Butcher. Amsterdam is a guy fueled by his pure rage and hatred. He hates Bill the Butcher, naturally, and is just plain pissed when he learns that the Nativists actually celebrate his dad's death date every year. Priest's old loyalists have apparently popped up all over The Butcher's payroll, which upsets Amsterdam even more. He actually gets into Bill's gang, though, and is slowly apprenticed as he learns the really cool knife techniques - taught to him by Bill himself - which he plans to use to whack Bill. Oh, and every year on the anniversary of Priest's death, Bill also drinks a shot of fire for Priest in a public ceremony. This year, Amsterdam wants that shot of fire to be the last thing Bill ever drinks.

There's also something about a thief named Jenny. She's a third wheel.

There's the plot. Amsterdam wants to kill Bill. there are things going on amidst the backdrop, and a wrench is thrown into Amsterdam's original murder plans by the fact that Bill lives to scar Amsterdam, but that only serves to steel Amsterdam's original resolve. It's a great credit to Martin Scorsese that he's able to make us all forget that, underneath all the backdrops and fancy sets, the plot really is that simple. Bill the Butcher, in fact, is cartoonishly over the top in the same way that Casino villain Nicky Santoro was. The fact that Bill clearly has a great respect for Priest is supposed to be thrown in there for a little bit of character nuance, but there's no two sides anywhere inside Daniel Day-Lewis's compelling performance as Bill. You want to know how cartoonish Bill is? He has a handlebar mustache and a top hat reminiscent of all those classic cartoons where the bad guy in the black top hat and the handlebar mustache ties the damsel to the train tracks.

I truly loved the historical backdrop of Gangs of New York. Movies set in this era tend to be either westerns or about the One Percent, and so the poor people of Five Points and similar slums in other cities aren't portrayed very often. Gangs of New York gets that extra line of color for taking place during the New York City Draft Riots, one of the most important events in New York City's long history. As some of the interviewees on the DVD features say, Gangs of New York was basically the wild west set in an eastern city. The rich sets create a character for the movie, drag viewers in, and show us the people from some of the muddiest corners of American history that our school textbooks keep excluding.

The great appeal of Gangs of New York lies in that. The plot gets caught up in a lot of minutia, so Five Points - which was a real neighborhood that existed not very far from today's Freedom Tower - pops to life with the look and feel of a real neighborhood. The place is rife with locals, both immigrants and townies, all living their own lives as Amsterdam plots away. It's also just incredible to look at the unsanitary conditions and see how the people in Five Points entertained themselves.

None of that, however, is enough to make me forget just how much of the movie could easily have been hacked off. In Goodfellas, Scorsese needed a running time of two and a half hours - very long at the time - to flesh out the entire story, and every scene in that movie was necessary. In Casino, he went a little nuts with tone setting, and the result was a thicker running time, but the bloat was at least seamlessly edited into the movie. In Gangs of New York, it feels almost like Scorsese kept trying to expand the script just because it wasn't long enough. Gangs of New York is almost three hours long, but the character of Jenny is just there for decoration and, after Amsterdam's initial attempt at Bill falls through, he makes a few more tries before finally wiping Bill off the face of the Earth. One tries to use politics, with the help of history's favorite crooked politician, Boss Tweed. When that blows over, Amsterdam decides to resort to violence again, this time using the method the resulted in Priest getting killed in the first place.

Strip away all the unnecessary length extensions and we're looking at a gangster movie that's there and done in under two hours. It wouldn't have even been very hard to cut out the fat and still keep in the interesting historical elements. Scorsese has never been one to take the easy road, but a lot of Gangs of New York feels like he's trying to build his own road through the Himalayas. It's easy to get lost in Gangs of New York if you can ignore the padded length, but once the movie ends, it's also easy to remember how bloated it gets to be.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Gangs_of_New_York-873-1024769-237198-Retro_Gangster_Movie_Scorsese_Style.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Gangs_of_New_York-873-1024769-237198-Retro_Gangster_Movie_Scorsese_Style.html Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:11:05 +0000
<![CDATA[The Girl Who Played with Fire (2010 movie) Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Girl_Who_Played_with_Fire_2010_movie_-13-1661540-236910.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Girl_Who_Played_with_Fire_2010_movie_-13-1661540-236910.html Thu, 6 Jun 2013 17:58:35 +0000 <![CDATA[ My favorite film of all time.]]> http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shaun_of_the_Dead-873-1004360-236850-My_favorite_film_of_all_time_.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shaun_of_the_Dead-873-1004360-236850-My_favorite_film_of_all_time_.html Mon, 3 Jun 2013 22:55:49 +0000 <![CDATA[Princess Mononoke (1997 Japanese Anime Film) Quick Tip by LexiGrayson]]> http://www.lunch.com/TheGorseinonCircle/reviews/movie/UserReview-Princess_Mononoke_1997_Japanese_Anime_Film_-1256-1021390-236849.html http://www.lunch.com/TheGorseinonCircle/reviews/movie/UserReview-Princess_Mononoke_1997_Japanese_Anime_Film_-1256-1021390-236849.html Mon, 3 Jun 2013 22:50:44 +0000 <![CDATA[Kick-Ass (movie) Quick Tip by Legalisel0ve]]> http://www.lunch.com/TheGorseinonCircle/reviews/movie/UserReview-Kick_Ass_movie_-1256-1444009-236843.html http://www.lunch.com/TheGorseinonCircle/reviews/movie/UserReview-Kick_Ass_movie_-1256-1444009-236843.html Mon, 3 Jun 2013 20:08:32 +0000 <![CDATA[Equilibrium (2002) Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> Even though I already posted a review for this extremely overrated shitfest of a movie, I feel like talking about it more.

Equilibrium is one of the worst sci-fi/action movies ever made.  It's an extremely uninspired amalgamation of The Matrix, 1984, and THX 1138. 

Plagued with horrendously ridiculous action scenes with ZERO tension in them, painfully corny dialogue and acting, plotholes galore, Lifetime movie-level sentimentality, and cheesy symbolism beaten over your head like a billy club, it infuriates me that this abomination to celluloid now has a pretty big following.  It's even more infuriating that there's gobs of aspiring movie writers and directors out there that can't get their feet in the door in Hollywood, yet Equilibrium writer/director Kurt Wimmer still finds work somehow.

Equilibrium tries way too hard to be entertaining, emotional, and thought-provoking, and miserably fails at all three.

Fuck this shitty movie and go for Robocop, Total Recall (1990 version), THX 1138, and Solaris (1972 version) for sci-fi and action movies that are entertaining and/or thought-provoking.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Equilibrium_2002_-13-1021021-236802.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Equilibrium_2002_-13-1021021-236802.html Fri, 31 May 2013 21:21:41 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Original Gangster Movie]]>
As far as the defining gangster movie of all time goes, Little Caesar is the motherload. On my Facebook profile, under the favorite movies section, I'm subscribed to the entire genre of gangster movies. The image standing in there to define the genre isn't Marlon Brando (The Godfather himself) or any of the many gangster characters played by Al Pacino or Robert De Niro. Instead, it's Edward G. Robinson standing there in his iconic dapper suit with the fedora and cigar in hand. Little Caesar birthed a large number of tropes that have been in the gangster movie canon forever; they've become so synonymous with the genre that we don't even realize we know what they are until we see them being parodied in some other work. Maybe you've seen those old Bugs Bunny cartoons with those two gangsters? Nearly everything about those characters is the influence of Little Caesar at work. We owe parodies like that a minor debt for keeping the works that spawned them aglow in attention.

What about Little Caesar itself? Well, the defining gangster movie of all time - yes, even ahead of The Godfather - definitely shows its age. It tells that timeless gangster movie dream tale, which is usually a very twisted form of the American Dream: The American Dream is the perception that anyone can get rich with a little hard work and perseverance. Gangster movies are about people who "make it" after getting impatient with the hard work and saving method and take over the criminal underworld. In the more recent gangster movies, they're not even done in by the law, but by a competing Mafia outfit. Little Caesar follows this same story.

When the movie begins, we immediately get acquainted with Caesar Enrico Bandello and his good friend Joe Massara. These guys are a pair of small-time crooks who rob whatever little stores happen to be out in the sticks. One night, during a post-robbery meal at a small-town cafe, they get inspired by a newspaper article and decide to head east to Chicago, where the money is. Joe, who has clearly been rethinking a few of his life choices lately, has cold feet about continuing an under-the-law career and makes a successful transition into the career he had always dreamed of: Dancing. Rico has no such reservations and joins the gang of mobster Sam Vettori as a personal hitman. The problem is that Rico has a habit of shooting before thinking, which causes him to become a real pain in Sam's side - especially after one robbery in which Sam's "no bloodshed" order comes through Rico's head as "blow the crime commissioner to kingdom come."

Eventually, Rico muscles in on every rival he has in Chicago. He wrestles control of his organization, wrestles control of other gang territories, and gets control of so much of the city that he tries to muscle Joe back into the gang. Everyone is forced to go along with him, because if they don't, he'll dismiss them (with bullets!) as "yella." Unfortunately for Rico, going back for Joe becomes his ultimate mistake.

Every stereotypical habit of the prohibition-era gangster can be traced back to Little Caesar. Rico is played by Edward G. Robinson, who came to embody everything about gangsters for decades: The "nyah, shee, nyah!" accent, the big cigars, fedoras and dapper suits, and an unmistakably villainous attitude. That's one of the big differences between the gangster movies of then and now: These days, gangsters tend to be portrayed as anti-heroes who happen to be close to the dark side. Back then, that gangsters were the bad guys, game, set, and match. We know these guys are bad news the minute they show up, and the gangster movies I see from that era always seem to be coming off as some kind of public service announcement. In Little Caesar, Rico didn't even drink! He might be brutal, but with his vices, he ain't Al Capone ordering up a batch of The Good Stuff.

That's something about Little Caesar that I found hard to accept, actually. Since Little Caesar was released in 1931, it's so sanitized that apparently no one wanted him to have a real personal life. He seems outright scornful of the fact that Joe gets a girlfriend while he isn't seen with any women at all. He doesn't drink. We don't hear him swear, either, but we can grant a free pass for that since no one in the 30's swore in movies. Little Caesar's scorn for drinking and women is actually written into his character.

Little Caesar looks and sounds primitive to the massive three-hour epics that gangster movies have become. And while Little Caesar is still a very compelling movie, it's also a template, which means you've seen pretty much everything in it before in some variation or another. These days, some of the interest in it comes from the fact that it's so influential. Besides, even if you don't like it, it's only 79 minutes long, so you won't have to endure interminable minutes waiting for it to end.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Little_Caesar-873-1022303-236521-The_Original_Gangster_Movie.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Little_Caesar-873-1022303-236521-The_Original_Gangster_Movie.html Wed, 22 May 2013 15:11:18 +0000
<![CDATA[WWE Elimination Chamber 2010 Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/movie/UserReview-WWE_Elimination_Chamber_2010-232-1438668-236170.html http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/movie/UserReview-WWE_Elimination_Chamber_2010-232-1438668-236170.html Tue, 7 May 2013 18:31:41 +0000 <![CDATA[ GOOD CHAMBER EVENT]]>

WWE
ELIMINATION CHAMBER 2010

1.[ELIMINATION CHAMBER WWE TITLE]SHEAMUS VS JOHN CENA VS TRIPLE H VS KOFI KINGSTON VS RANDY ORTON VS TED DIBIASE-excellent opener right here that was also the first time all six participants made it into the match without an elimination. There is of course many great moments in the match but the big story here was the relationship and eventual lack of one between Legacy members. Everyone looks great here but it is Cena that eventually wins, also Kofi gets it the worst. But the celebration would not last long as Mr. McMahon came out and made a match on the spot, Cena versus Batista. Cena got a punch in but The Animal would maul him and take the title after a Batista bomb.

2.[I-C TITLE]DREW MCINTYRE VS KANE-to me this match felt like it was something that we could have gotten on Raw or Smackdown. It wasn't a bad match but it felt like a TV match and not a PPV one. Drew did well here working over Kane's limbs and Kane used his size to his advantage. But Drew would keep the belt in a decent match between the two.

3.GAIL KIM & MARYSE VS LAYCOOL-this was supposed to be a match between Gail and Maryse as it was the finals of a tournament for the Divas title. But because of some comments made about the Divas on Smackdown it became a tag match against Smackdown's Laycool. But it would really be Gail Kim against Laycool as Maryse refused to tag in. once again another decent match but it could have been better.

4.[US TITLE]THE MIZ VS MVP-this was a good match in which both participants had their tag partners here, and getting involved of course. Still great match between these two with back and forth action with a slight edge to Miz. In the end it would be Miz standing tall after Show helps him out, good match.

5.[ELIMINATION CHAMBER WORLD TITLE]UNDERTAKER VS JOHN MORRISON VS R-TRUTH VS REY MYSTERIO VS CM PUNK VS CHRIS JERICHO-another good chamber match but this one seemed more like past ones with eliminations happening at random times. I remember watching this and being surprised when Punk was eliminated early. Still like the previous one every one gets a moment to shine and prove why they were in the match. The match comes down to Taker and Jericho and they battle it out for a while until HBK comes out. Of course you all know he cost Taker the match after some sweet chin music. Naturally I loved the ending here since Shawn is my boy.

Special featuers include an interview with Jericho after his win, Edge making his Mania pick, and a video about HBK and Taker.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-WWE_Elimination_Chamber_2010-873-1438668-236169-GOOD_CHAMBER_EVENT.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-WWE_Elimination_Chamber_2010-873-1438668-236169-GOOD_CHAMBER_EVENT.html Tue, 7 May 2013 18:30:14 +0000
<![CDATA[WWE Over The Limit 2010 Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/movie/UserReview-WWE_Over_The_Limit_2010-232-1464948-236168.html http://www.lunch.com/whatcanisay/reviews/movie/UserReview-WWE_Over_The_Limit_2010-232-1464948-236168.html Tue, 7 May 2013 18:22:03 +0000 <![CDATA[ GOOD EVENT]]>

WWE
OVER THE LIMIT 2010

This was a good event that had some good matches on it. Not everything was great and some matches were cut short but overall it was a good event. There were at least two really good to great matches here. Plus we get a bonus match in which Bret Hart wins the US title.

1.[I-C TITLE]DREW MCINTYRE VS KOFI KINGSTON-this match came about because Drew was fired and stripped of the belt so a tournament was held with the title as the prize, Kofi won. But Vinnie Mac would reinstate Drew and he would get the title handed back to him. So this match was set up and it was a good opener for sure. Kofi kept things moving but Drew really put it on Kingston. Good back and forth action leads to Kofi getting back what was taken from him. After the match Drew would grab the mic and try to get Teddy Long to give him the belt back. But Matt Hardy would come out a lay Drew flat.

2.R-TRUTH VS TED DIBIASE-Truth is no Virgil and he made that clear to young DiBiase and that is how this match came about. So Ted comes to the ring with the actual Virgil that once managed his father. This is actually a real good match and enjoyable with Truth looking the stronger of the two. Still DiBiase does a good job here but still loses out in the end. I like the stunner thing that Truth uses during this match.

3.[PLEDGE VS HAIR MATCH]REY MYSTERIO VS CM PUNK-these two deliver yet again and give us a great match. First Rey won a match in which had he lost he had to join Punk's S.E.S. and then Punk won a hair match. So to end it all they put both stipulations on the line in this match. So these two do battle in a great match in which both men look good. There is one point were the match is stopped as Punk throws Rey into the barber set up. At that point officials check out his cut but the action is soon back on. It is not to long after they restart the match that Rey gets the win. He then handcuffs Punk to the ropes and goes to work on his hair.

4.[TAG TITLE]HART DYNASTY VS CHRIS JERICHO & THE MIZ-next up we have a really good tag match and one of my favorite matches on the card. This match also reminds me of how much I miss the Hart Dynasty. Both teams have their moments in this match but the biggest is Jericho hitting Kid with a code breaker in the air. Still after a heart attack on The Miz the Harts keep the belts. Great match and makes me think of better days when the WWE cared about tag matches.

5.RANDY ORTON VS EDGE-not the best match these two have ever had but that is ok. Orton injured himself so they had to switch the match up. It is good but moves a slower pace. They end up getting counted out and shorten the match up.

6.[WORLD TITLE]JACK SWAGGER VS BIG SHOW-quick match right here which kinda surprised me. Show really looked good here as he was upstaging Swagger with wrestling. It was back and forth for a little bit until Swagger got himself DQ'd. That actually backfired on him as Show choke slammed him on a chair and knocked him out.

7.[DIVAS TITLE]EVE VS MARYSE-not much happening here as it is just your average Divas match. Maryse starts strong but eventually falls victim to Eve who o walks away the victor.

8.[I QUIT WWE TITLE MATCH]JOHN CENA VS BATISTA-one of the best matches on the card and that makes sense given what type of match it is. These two battle all over the arena and use multiple weapons. One of my favorite moments is when Batista puts Cena threw the table. There were plenty of high spots here but the main one is after Batista quits in order to not be thrown off of the car he still goes for a ride. Cena takes the win here and sends Batista home, check out Raw the next night for more on that.

BONUS MATCH

9.[US TITLE]THE MIZ VS BRET HART-now we all know that Bret is not allowed to take bumps now because of his medical history. So I was wondering the night this happened how it would play out. But when the stipulations were named I had an idea. So like I thought it would be the Hart Dynasty that would help out Bret here. Jericho would be there to help out Miz but it would not be enough as The Hitman would win the US title for the fifth time. Sharpshooter time baby, I love it.

You also get some behind the scenes stuff and the commercials that WWE made, they are all funny.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-WWE_Over_The_Limit_2010-873-1464948-236167-GOOD_EVENT.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-WWE_Over_The_Limit_2010-873-1464948-236167-GOOD_EVENT.html Tue, 7 May 2013 18:21:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ I Loved This Film!]]>
There are a lot of fun moments in this film including the immortal line "There's no crying in Baseball!" Comes down to the two friends, Geena Davis and Lori Petty and how the game gets in the way of their friendship.  Nice to see the real life gals in the film as themselves.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-A_League_of_Their_Own-873-1023599-236000-I_Loved_This_Film_.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-A_League_of_Their_Own-873-1023599-236000-I_Loved_This_Film_.html Thu, 2 May 2013 15:10:53 +0000
<![CDATA[ Another childhood favorite that still holds up really well. 84%]]> For all of my childhood, Who Framed Roger Rabbit has been one of my favorite movies. Thankfully, it's another one of those movies that still holds up really well as an adult.

1988 was quite a year for animation. Out in Japan, Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, and Akira were released in theaters and were all superbly animated films that in scales from good to masterful, delivered storylines and themes unheard of at the time. Over in America, we were treated to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which gave audiences a hybrid of live-action film and animation that to this day, is unmatched in how sublime it is, which is also helped by its other strong qualities (more on that later).

STORY

It's 1947 in Los Angeles, and cartoons (known as “Toons” in this movie) aren't mere pictures on celluloid, but rather like real actors. Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is an alcoholic private detective in LA, and after being paid by cartoonist R.K. Maroon (Alan Tilvern) to take pictures of Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye) playing patty cake with Jessica Rabbit (voiced by Kathleen Turner), causing Jessica's husband, Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) to lose his mind. Eddie soon gets tangled in a murder mystery after Marvin Acme was murdered, and must uncover the truth as to who really killed Acme.

CHARACTERS

For the most part, the characters in this movie are done really well. As an adult, I really appreciate the fact that Eddie is a troubled man struggling with booze because given the tragedy he had in the past (I won't spoil it for you), gives him a layer of realism. Also, Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) is one of the creepiest villains from movies in my childhood, as he maintains a consistently menacing persona and does really cold-blooded things that can put Doom in the same league as the best horror icons. Roger and Jessica Rabbit are great at providing solid humor, along with Doom's gang of cartoon weasels. However, I wish characters like the bartender Dolores (Joanna Cassidy) had more time to develop.

HUMOR

The humor in this movie is really solid. The humor is a perfect homage to the masterful slapstick and exaggerated bodily distortion of the classic Tex Avery and Looney Tunes cartoons. One of the funniest things in this movie was when Eddie goes to the nightclub the night Acme gets killed, and the opening act is Daffy and Donald Duck in a piano battle. Seeing these two iconic cartoon ducks engage in slapstick antics against each other was hilarious (especially when Donald fired a cannon at Daffy). Another was when Eddie faces his fears about driving into Toontown, he dumps his glass flask of whiskey and using a cartoon gun that Yosemite Sam gave him some years back, fires a cartoon bullet that's a caricature of an American Indian, and the bullet uses a giant tomahawk to smash the flask. Another is when Dolores catches Eddie in his office with Jessica with his pants down (literally), and she says to him “Are you dabbling in water colors, Eddie?” There's plenty of other funny parts in this movie, but I think you get the picture.

APPEARANCE

The cinematography for this movie is marvelous. The set designs perfectly capture that 1940's noir feeling, and the designs of the cartoons perfectly fit the setting it takes place in. The animation of the characters is totally fluid, and is even more impressive considering that the “interactions” with the cartoons and real people was seamless. With this being made before the age of CGI, it's even more impressive to see all this and see the cartoon characters believably carry around real props like guns. I think along with John Carpenter's The Thing, Who Framed Roger Rabbit has some of the most remarkable special effects and visuals ever done in cinema.

On a sidenote, the interior of the Acme gag factory looks a bit like something out of Tim Burton's imagination.

SOUNDTRACK

Alan Silvestri's score for this movie is near perfect. Like the visuals, the music fits the setting of this movie like a glove, and one of my favorite pieces of music is near the end, when Eddie has a showdown with Judge Doom and his weasel minions, since it's so heart-pumping and memorable. The original song “Why Don't You Do Right” is pretty catchy and is a great fit for the style of the movie.

MATURE CONTENT

Even though this is a PG movie, there's some scenes that kids might not get or could scare them. Some of the adult innuendo provided by Jessica Rabbit and even the weasels at times will probably fly over some kids' heads. However, there's a really creepy scene near the beginning where Judge Doom demonstrates his brand of justice by grabbing a squeaking cartoon shoe and slowly kills it in a barrel full of a chemical cocktail made specifically to “kill” cartoons called “the dip.” This scene scared me a lot when I was a little kid and even as an adult, still get creeped out by this scene. Similarly, there's some parts near the end during Eddie's showdown with Doom that were creepy, but I won't mention these because I don't want to spoil anything big in relation to the movie's story.

On another sidenote, it's funny to think that there's plenty of bad anime titles like Elfen Lied and Gantz that abuse bloody gore and dismemberment scenes ad nauseam to seem “creepy” yet the dark scenes in WFRR actually feel intimidating without using bloodshed.

FINAL WORD

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is certainly a classic, and a really good homage to 1940's noir and of the Golden Age of Cartoons. If you love the aforementioned things, you owe it to yourself to reserve a movie night for this live-action/cartoon hybrid gem.

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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Who_Framed_Roger_Rabbit-873-1019562-235137-Another_childhood_favorite_that_still_holds_up.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Who_Framed_Roger_Rabbit-873-1019562-235137-Another_childhood_favorite_that_still_holds_up.html Wed, 3 Apr 2013 19:26:35 +0000
<![CDATA[Taken (2008) Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> Taken is good as a popcorn flick, but my main beef with this movie lies in the fact that for this type of movie, a PG-13 rating held back a lot of potential carnage that would be right at home with it.  Even with that taken into account, it was fun to see Liam Neeson kick a ton of ass and kill tons of heinous people.

As stated earlier, this is good popcorn entertainment, but if you want superior pieces of fiction dealing with the Eastern European human trafficking black market, watch Eastern Promises and read Punisher MAX Vol. 5:  The Slavers.

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http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Taken_2008_-13-1610173-235090.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Taken_2008_-13-1610173-235090.html Wed, 3 Apr 2013 04:10:26 +0000
<![CDATA[ Colorful, Rhythmic And Great Fun For All Ages]]> Unlike industry moguls Pixar and DreamWorks, Blue Sky Studios hasn’t been quite as versatile in their subject-matter when it comes to pumping out computer generated animated feature films.  Most people are aware of their ever-growing Ice Age franchise but do keep in mind that these are the guys behind Robots, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, the forthcoming Epic and Charles M Shultz’s long overdue Peanuts CG film.  In short these guys have certainly been keeping busy!

Amidst all of these projects, Blue Sky released Rio back in 2011; a vibrant piece that forever silenced naysayers who claimed the studio didn’t have access to the incredible color pallets of the competition.  Costing an estimated $90-mil, Rio comes in at a runtime of 96-minutes and wears an appropriate G-rating.

The story follows Blu, a wild-born domesticated blue macaw thought to be the last of his breed, taken from Rio de Janeiro and then deposited in Minnesota only to head back to Brazil when an ornithologist believes that a potential mate has been secured in the wild.

On an existential level there’s some ironic tragedy in the concept of removing a wild animal from nature, domesticating it so that it is completely dependent upon human care, then returning it to the wild where it’s unable to perform such basic survival tactics as fly but not to worry, Rio is a lot more about having fun then it is environmentalism agendas (thankfully).

Add to this some well casted voice talent: Jesse Eisenberg as Blu; Anne Hathaway as his love interest Jewel; Jamie Foxx and will.i.am as a streetwise and musical canary and cardinal duo; George Lopez as a local toucan; Tracy Morgan as a slobbering bulldog; and Jemaine Clement of “Flight of the Conchords” fame stepping in as the villainous cockatoo Nigel.  The casting is flawless in their respective roles and add a great deal of energy to the visuals, which in case I haven’t mentioned, are crisp, bright, and bouncy.

The opening musical number, featuring a rainbow stream of various birds of paradise in choreographed flight sets the tone of things to come.  While the film flirts with the concept of being a dedicated musical, I am pleased to report that the music here does nothing but add to the party-like vibe of the affair.  Everything from some original salsa-flavored tunes to Lionel Richie’s “Say you, Say Me” to one of Jemaine Clement’s hilarious rap numbers (straight out of his book as the character Hip-hop-opotamus).

Separating this from a strictly talking-animals affair however is the brilliantly intertwined B-story involving Blu’s adopted mom Linda and said ornithologist (the nerdy but goodhearted Tulio) falling for one another as well.  Had I been charged with the job of naming this film, I believe something like “Of Nerds and Birds” would have been in order.

In all I found Rio to be a magnificent entry into the competitive CG market from Blue Sky, perhaps their strongest, most fleshed out to date in fact.  I’m apparently not alone in this assessment either as a sequel (Rio 2) is on Blue Sky’s release schedule for 2014 (smack dab between Epic and Peanuts).   An interesting side note- it’s oft rumored that Rio was actually responsible for Pixar having cancelled a film they were putting together called “newt” due to plot similarities.  You know you’re doing something right when you can get the undisputed leader of the industry to stop in their tracks!

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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Rio_The_Movie-873-1710893-235050-Colorful_Rhythmic_And_Great_Fun_For_All_Ages.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Rio_The_Movie-873-1710893-235050-Colorful_Rhythmic_And_Great_Fun_For_All_Ages.html Tue, 2 Apr 2013 07:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Who Framed Roger Rabbit Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Who_Framed_Roger_Rabbit-13-1019562-234958.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Who_Framed_Roger_Rabbit-13-1019562-234958.html Sun, 31 Mar 2013 06:17:47 +0000 <![CDATA[Schindler's List Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]>
While the overall story was presented in a really good fashion, what I thought hindered this movie a little was the black-and-white cinematography and the use of English-speaking actors speaking in German accents.  The former in that the visuals don't show the true colors of the horrors of the Holocaust, merely making it look like a movie trying to look like a movie from the past (considering Schindler's List came out in 1993).  The latter in that the actors merely speaking in German accents also helped strip away a feeling of realness to it.  Spielberg would have done better had he either had the actors speak naturally or if he went the extra mile and hired German and other foreign actors to play the appropriate roles.

Schindler's List is a good movie, but don't expect it to be the untouchable masterpiece so many say it is.  Personally, I think Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies does a much better job at portraying the horrors of the human condition in war.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Schindler_s_List-13-1553915-234956.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Schindler_s_List-13-1553915-234956.html Sun, 31 Mar 2013 05:59:59 +0000
<![CDATA[ Regret Waiting As Long As I Had in Getting to This One]]>  
Believe it or not, I was on the fence about viewing Happy Feet ever since its release back in 2006 for two key complaints that seem to follow the piece: A political agenda and enough singing to be considered borderline “musical”.   Call me picky if you must but a political musical doesn’t exactly rank as the type of material to get excited about when sitting down to absorb a good CG romp.  However, I am pleased to report that such concerns were greatly exaggerated.  But before we get into the nitty gritty of the material itself, let’s take a moment to review the hard fact shall we?
 
Happy Feet was conceived as an Australian/ American collaboration directed and co-written by George Miller. It was produced at Sydney-based visual effects and animation studio Animal Logic for Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures and Kingdom Feature Productions and was released in North American theaters on November 17, 2006.  Warner Home Video brought the piece to the home market in March of 2007 and here we are.
 
The 108-minute, PG rated tale centers on a young emperor penguin named Mumble born with a singing voice only his mother could love.  This would be hardly cause for concern in our society but it turns out that penguins of this sect just so happen to base their entire dating, life-mate selection on “heart song”.  In other words, not being able to sing to this little guy is like trying to be a playboy in social media without Facebook.
 
The situation isn’t hopeless though as the lad’s got rhythm.  Though dancing isn’t really common or even socially acceptable among penguin-folk, there’s change in the air.  In the grand story arc, change is overdue anyway with the interaction between mankind and the wild and if tap dancing penguins is the spark that makes us collectively pay attention to the value of life on this planet, then so be it.
 
Of course it’s this aspect of the story most responsible for initial squawks of liberal propaganda and themes of environmentalism but in the grand scheme things there are certainly worse messages coming out of Hollywood of late.   Besides, never is such ideology force-fed to you (if in doubt, pick up Animals United from Arc Entertainment to witness just how bad it can get).

This film represents the first attempt at animation from Mad Max director George Miller but boy you’d never know it by the pacing, visuals (which still look tight 7 years later) or impeccable casting
 
Somehow Miller manages to turn a fairly straight forward and borderline silly premise and manages to convert it into a grand and whimsical work of cinematic art.   The film literally opens with photo-realistic textures of Antarctica and quickly establishes an ensemble cast that makes tagging along for the ride absolutely effortless.
 
At the time of its release, some critics went as far as to say this $100-mil masterpiece birthed some of the best visuals in a CG production outside of Pixar and truly how these guys managed to thread the needle between lovable characters and realistic animal models is anyone’s guess.  Plus there’s an underlying tension involved in the plot reminiscent of early Disney animated films- where you almost expect tragedy in the struggle to survive in the natural world.   Fortunately making you cry isn’t the prime motivation here and the ending, though a bit contrived, is certainly more about feeling good than anything else.
 
As for my other main concern- penguins breaking into song so frequently as to be considered a borderline musical: again, needless worry.  With a soundtrack that includes everything from hip hop to disco, the musical antics are enjoyable and certainly more fun than expected.
 
In all, a shame I waited as long as I did to give Happy Feet a go; truly this is a piece that will resonate with viewers of all ages.  Children will be mesmerized with the visuals and adults will find the plot engaging enough to tolerate, maybe even enjoy, multiple rewatchings.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Happy_Feet-873-1594482-234804-Regret_Waiting_As_Long_As_I_Had_in_Getting_to_This.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Happy_Feet-873-1594482-234804-Regret_Waiting_As_Long_As_I_Had_in_Getting_to_This.html Wed, 27 Mar 2013 07:33:53 +0000
<![CDATA[In the Army Now Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-In_the_Army_Now-13-1427989-234798.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-In_the_Army_Now-13-1427989-234798.html Wed, 27 Mar 2013 03:09:11 +0000 <![CDATA[ DUMB COMEDY BUT ENTERTAINING]]>



IN THE ARMY NOW

I will admit it right here and now, I am a Pauly Shore fan. I think a lot of people who read this will ask me why or something but half of them are probably closet fans. Plus I am sure most would admit to liking at least one of his movies. These are those types of guilty pleasures for people but I have to say I enjoy them. Now this is not my favorite of his films but I do like it and the characters in it.

The story follows two friends that are your everyday slackers looking for an easy payday. They here how easy the reserves are and go ahead and sign up. It becomes a little harder then they thought but they make a few new friends in basic training. They all sign up for the water detail since they think it is the easiest there is. Little did they know it would be the first to be called to duty. Once in the desert they deal with their situation day by day being picked on by the veterans and higher ranking officers. That is until they get lost in the desert after an attack on their convoy. Now they are lost with little water and the enemy lurking some where in the hot sun.

This is not the greatest movie ever made or even the greatest comedy ever but it is fun. Pauly Shore's brand of humor and style is not for every body but for those who like it this is one of his better films. Also Andy Dick was a great choice here for his buddy and sidekick. These two together make a great on screen team and next to Shore Dick is not his usual crazy self like in other films. Also the great David Alan Grier shines as usual here and was a wonderful addition to the cast. Then of course the female of the group [every good group has to have one] Lori Petty rounds out the click very nicely.

This is a funny movie although not a laugh out loud constantly flick but it is funny. The group here and the people they cast make for a charismatic cast. In the Pauly Shore flicks this may be my third favorite or something like that. "In the Army Now" is one of those flicks that are good for a day you have with nothing to do, stupid funny sometimes hits the mark.

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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-In_the_Army_Now-873-1427989-234797-DUMB_COMEDY_BUT_ENTERTAINING.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-In_the_Army_Now-873-1427989-234797-DUMB_COMEDY_BUT_ENTERTAINING.html Wed, 27 Mar 2013 03:08:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ Solid Ageless Entertainment]]>
Coming in at a runtime of 95-minutes and paced flawlessly, Meet the Robinsons can probably best be described as Disney’s colorful and charming take on Back to the Future.

The story centers on Lewis, an aspiring young inventor at an orphanage whose wacky inventions have been scaring off potential adopters. He comes to the realization that his birth mother is the only one who ever truly loved him and sets off to build a machine to scan the farthest reaches of his memory banks in effort to locate her.

The simplicity of Lewis’ life takes a massive twist when a guy his age shows up at the very science fair he intends to debut his memory scanner claiming to be a cop from the future.  Before long Lewis finds himself time traveling to one of the wackiest futures imaginable while being pursued by a mysterious villain in a bowling hat.

My summary sounds simplistic but the fact of the matter is that, unlike so many films geared to the younger set, there is some genuine thought-provoking depth to this one.  In fact, and not to give anything away, I’m still pondering the relationships of all of the individuals Lewis encounters when whisked away to the year 2037.

Speaking of, as a society, we’ve collectively been treated to a wide variety of interpretations of the future throughout the years in film, but it’s a pretty safe bet that none can come close to emulating the sheer hilarious craziness of Meet the Robinsons (which technically owes a lot of its credit from the children’s book on which the film is based: A Day With Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce).

People traveling in bubbles, topiary gardens, giant squid butlers, a man married to a hand puppet, a pizza delivery man/ superhero wannabe; the encounters young Lewis experiences in his first few minutes in the future are bizarre, wacky, in some cases over-the-top silly but undeniably entertaining.

Like most Disney feature films, the attention to detail is impeccable.  In fact, save for a few paradoxes inherent in all time travel scenarios, the science isn’t even overly laughable either.  Unless of course your goal is to laugh, in which case, like Back to the Future before it, viewers of all ages are free to simply sit back and enjoy the ride without any dreaded brain-pretzeling.  Kids will laugh at the visuals, the antics and the obvious gags; adults will enjoy the layered depth and the intricacies of the plot (and the accuracy of the time line that can only be verified by repeated viewings).

In all, though considered a commercial and critical success, I was actually surprised that Meet the Robinsons hasn’t achieved the type of universal charm present in nearly anything Pixar touches.  Perhaps some of this is due to the simple fact that after the original agreement with Pixar expired, Disney decided they could do the whole compuer-generated feature film thing on their own and formed the Walt Disney Animation Studios, of which this is the first film.

Of course, in the middle a new agreement with Pixar would be reached and hence Lasseter and company would integrate during production.  It’s rumored that after having screened the film to Lasseter, some 60% of the material was altered to his suggestions into what is now the final version of the piece (a particular addition coming in the form of a T-rex having been transplanted from the Cretaceous running amok in the year 2037).

Factor in a whimsical score by legendary composer Danny Elfman and the package all comes together.  Fans of CG animation and those of good story telling in general will certainly find much to appreciate here.  ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Meet_the_Robinsons-873-1007634-234461-Solid_Ageless_Entertainment.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Meet_the_Robinsons-873-1007634-234461-Solid_Ageless_Entertainment.html Sun, 17 Mar 2013 08:50:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ Still The Best Movie Based on the "Street Fighter" Video Game Franchise! But....]]>
            

I was told  that the uncut version has more blood and it included a naked Chun Li in the shower. But let’s talk about that later, since I expect my copy to arrive next week and this copy will fall into the hands of my friend's brother. I guess I need to focus on what made this animated movie so much more entertaining, successful than any of the “Street Fighter” animated series is the fact that it stayed very close to the groundwork/storyline established in the beloved video game. I will credit the English voice cast since this is what was available in this DVD that I am reviewing.

       

         

         

The film begins with Ryu (Hank Smith) and Sagat (David Conrad) duking it out under the cover of night with lightning the only source of illumination. The two fighters trade blows while someone is obviously gathering data from their fight. The fight ends when Ryu plants a huge blow that scars Sagat (oh, there is a lot of blood) on the chest and dispatches him with a blast of chi energy called Haddoken. Years later, Ryu drops off the grid as he wanders Asia looking for fights and to try to help out. Now a criminal organization called Shadowloo led by Bison (Phil Matthews) has surfaced and they have caused unrest after British agent Cammy (S.J. Charvin) kills an important political figure. They are also actively looking for Ryu so that they could enlist them in their evil cause. Hot on the tail of Bison are Guile (Donald Lee) and Chun-Li (Mary Briscoe), who wish to bring him to justice and have vengeance for Bison’s past sins. But Bison is no easy prey as he now has Sagat, Vega (Steve Davis), and a brainwashed Ken Masters (Ted Richards), also Ryu’s closest friend and co-student under his command.

If you are a fan of the video game, then this film would be close to heaven. It was wise for the screenplay by Kenichi Imai to focus on Ryu, Ken, Guile and Chun-Li to develop the core of its premise. It does several things right, it manages to flesh out the roots of Ken and Ryu’s relationship, it was nice to see their rivalry developed in the script. Chun-Li is out to avenge her father while Guile stays true to his original motivation against Bison. Bison is also no slouch in this flick, he is ruthless, powerful and very dangerous. He is indeed the ‘top’ bad guy in this flick. The script keeps its momentum with the development of its named central characters going forward to the final encounter.

                 

                    

                   


What really made me feel that the script wasn’t as smooth or focused was the fact that it tried to do so many things. I know, this is an animated flick about “Street Fighter” and so it was to be expected that characters from the game would make appearances. Some appearances made sense, Fei Long (Philip Williams), Honda (Patrick Gilbert) and Dhalsim (Don Carey) actually build up to its script. Zangief, Blanka, Deejay and T. Hawk also made appearances but they felt more like ‘fodder’ to feed the “Street Fighter” fan. Their appearances felt a little too cheap and really irrelevant. The film could’ve done just as well without them. I also wasn’t too happy with the way Sagat seemed to have been forgotten in the script later on.

Now I am also a sucker for hard-hitting fights and “Street Fighter II” has a lot to spare. The animation work may feel a little dated to today’s standards, it had some perspective issues and seemed choppy when it wasn't moving that fast. But the fight choreograph had enough behind them to make them shine. Ryu vs. Sagat in the beginning of the film defined exactly what this was all about. The Bruce Lee clone, Fei Long also had a one-on-one with the hero Ryu; while the fight was short, it was fun to watch. Chun-Li even had a good battle with Vega. Now I wasn’t too happy with the battle between Balrog and Honda, or Honda’s run-in with Dhalsim, but they all added to the build up. The Ryu vs. Ken, and then the Ryu and Ken vs. Bison is the film’s bread and butter. The fight was exciting with all the use of their powers and skills. The film made Bison exactly how I imagined him to be; tough, dangerous and relentless that it took both Ryu and Ken to fight him. Also, as an added treat for fans, the characters get to use their 'signature moves' from the video games. The music was also engaging as it reflected the mood and tempo of the sequences.

       

         

Yes, this film was flawed and the script while competent had a lot of rough areas. To its credit, it did a lot of things right to cover up its weaknesses in plotting. The spirit of KARATE was competently portrayed, Chun-Li had her moment to show her stuff, and while Guile was underwritten, he made up for it with his brief clash with Bison. What I really liked about the film was the animated fight choreography and it was good to see Ryu and Ken in all their glory. Bison was a great bad guy too and it helped define the Ken-Ryu dynamic. Yes, this film is strictly for fans of the franchise, as they have the will to truly appreciate what was done here. Come to see the action, don’t expect anything intricate or cerebral and you’ll enjoy this show. It is the best movie made based on the franchise, but unfortunately that is not saying much.

Recommended For Fans [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]                  

             

              Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie

              

               

         

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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Street_Fighter_II_The_Animated_Movie-873-1433223-233880-Still_The_Best_Movie_Based_on_the_Street_Fighter_.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Street_Fighter_II_The_Animated_Movie-873-1433223-233880-Still_The_Best_Movie_Based_on_the_Street_Fighter_.html Mon, 25 Feb 2013 06:52:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ Just say it, already!]]>
The whole point of the movie is summed up in one sentence, but it takes 113 minutes to do it.

If you like Tennessee Williams' long-winded speeches, you'll love this movie. I didn't.

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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Suddenly_Last_Summer-873-1524056-233522-Just_say_it_already_.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Suddenly_Last_Summer-873-1524056-233522-Just_say_it_already_.html Wed, 13 Feb 2013 00:54:32 +0000
<![CDATA[Flash Point (Dao huo xian) Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
See Full Review here.

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http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Flash_Point_Dao_huo_xian_-81-1025450-233439.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/movie/UserReview-Flash_Point_Dao_huo_xian_-81-1025450-233439.html Sat, 9 Feb 2013 20:42:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ That Obscure Object of One Man's Vision]]>

Oh, you devilish French people!  What with all of your obsession with, well, obsession!  Men and women constantly throwing themselves at one another!  Sex, sultry sex, and more sensational sensual sex!  How refreshing it is to come across a slightly older classic that shows not all of you – young or old – are constantly happily copulating with one another twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!  How delightful it is to discover that those rare few of you are doing little more than emotionally torturing the one you presumably love, once and for all proving that the rest of us may very well have a chance to stand toe-to-toe with you in matters of carnal conquest and rejection!
 
(Not that there’s anything wrong with it …)
 
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters.  If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment.  If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
 
THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE is the story of an older man named Mathieu (played by Fernando Rey) who becomes smitten with his new maid-servant, Conchita (played in alternating appearances by two actresses: Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina).  Initially, she spurns his advances – even runs from his affections – only causing the man to be increasingly captivated by her.  As their relationship grows (or does it?), the two continue a bizarre mating game, one that borders the lands of faithlessness and self-destruction, until there’s nothing left for a possible happy union.
 
After watching the film, I had to do some research as, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out just what Spanish director Luis Bunuel (who also co-wrote this adaptation with Jean-Claude Carriere) was trying to say artistically in casting two separate women to play the same role.  Over the course of the story, Bouquet and Molina appear interchangeably as Conchita for no particular rhyme or reason I could fathom.  The best I’ve been able to ascertain is that Bunuel was a surrealist (an art form characterized by “subconscious or nonrational significance of imagery arrived at by … the exploitation of … unexpected juxtapositions”), the goal of which would appear to invoke a ‘dream state’ under which one’s conscious mind has no influence.
 
Well …
 
The best this unschooled mind has been able to put together is that, by casting two different women, Bunuel hoped to keep the audience (and his characters) in a persistent state of flux where illogical emotion could wreck havoc on these people.  Conchita – regardless of who’s playing her – frequently uses her feminine charms to arouse Mathieu; but she – regardless of who’s playing her – never gives in to him sexually.  In fact, the close she comes – so far as the film implies – is that he allows him to lie partially naked with her in bed.  When he proposes alternative ways of gratification, she spurns him further, shutting him out of his bedroom or even locking him out of the house.
 
Also, the two actresses are of different heritage – Bouquet is as French as a woman can possibly be, while Molina is the more sultry Spanish beauty.  This could imply that Mathieu’s attraction either might or might not be related to cultural normalcy (i.e. dating or marrying within one’s nationality).  Certainly, the women are both attractive but possess markedly differing physical traits, also suggesting that perhaps there is no universal body type provoking man’s desire.
 
The thrust of DESIRE would be to suggest that satisfaction isn’t possibly attainable – at least not for any measureable duration – because there are no constants that can be added up in any magic formula to display sexual fulfillment.  There are only variables – variables which change from place to place, from person to person, even from time to time – and, as such, lasting happiness will always be close enough to touch but never quite within man’s reach.
 
Lastly, there’s an odd juxtaposition of scenes in the film’s climax that bear further exploration, as I believe they underscore whatever idea Bunuel was reaching to say with his final film.  Mathieu and Conchita appear to have reconciled, and they’re shown in an alley perusing windows of some small French shops.  Together, they’re drawn to one display where a delicate woman patiently mends a tear in an elaborate woven dress.  Bunuel focuses on this scene for quite some time, and then we’re shown our two leads – up in the corner of the frame – speaking with one another, but the audience no longer hears what they’re saying (they’re on the outside of the glass window pane).  Are they speaking about the dress?  Are they reflecting on their relationship?  Are they debating stitching choices?  Conchita frowns and walks away, then Mathieu frowns and follows, but – in the last image – we’re shown an explosion (a radio report playing in the background discussed mounting terrorist attacks in the city only moments before) … and that’s the end.
 
What I suspect – I could be wrong – Bunuel was saying is that even when the process of mending is under way, there will always be elements that pull us apart, that force us in other directions.  This would imply that we’re never truly under control of ourselves or our existence – that we’re always subject to the randomness of life – and perhaps this would imply that the pursuit of fleeting happiness is nothing more than the pursuit of fools.
 
The film isn’t as depressing as it sounds, though it certainly teeters close.  Psychologically, it’s an interesting study of a very complex idea, though I would have to say it certainly isn’t an idea for everyone.  Scholars might find plenty to get excited over here, but Mathieu sure didn’t.  (Pun intended.)
 
THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE is produced by Greenwich Film Productions, Les Films Galaxie, and In-Cine Compañía Industrial Cinematográfica.  DVD distribution is being handled by Lionsgate.  As for the technical specifications, this Blu-ray release looks and sounds very good, though I experienced one sequence late in the film the seemed a bit out-of-sync (for a few brief seconds); I have to wonder if that wasn’t a production issue back to the original film.  This is a French spoken language release (with English subtitles), but there is an English-dubbed track available.  Lastly, the disk includes a nice assortment of special features: “Arbitrary Desire” (an interview with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrier); an interview with Carlos Saura; “Double Dames” (interviews with actresses Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina); and “A Portrait of Luis Bunuel” which is an in-depth discussion of the director and his films.  It’s certainly an impressive collection for a film of such distinction.
 
RECOMMENDED.  As I indicated above, this one isn’t for everyone.  While there’s a clear narrative at work here, so much of THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE is the study of an idea.  It’s a surreal investigation into the art of seduction and repulsion – of how love leads to hate and vice versa.  All of the players do a solid job, but I suspect the ending will leave more folks conflicted than they are happy, which is probably just what the director wanted.
 
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Lionsgate provided me with a DVD screener of THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE for the expressed purposes of completing this review.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-That_Obscure_Object_of_Desire-873-1018260-233386-That_Obscure_Object_of_One_Man_s_Vision.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-That_Obscure_Object_of_Desire-873-1018260-233386-That_Obscure_Object_of_One_Man_s_Vision.html Thu, 7 Feb 2013 21:56:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]>
Being made by the same geniuses that created Batman:  The Animated Series, all the strokes of genius in that show have carried over into this film.  Just about everything in this movie is perfect, whether it be the story, characters, art direction, and animaton.  Without spoiling anything, I'll say that the ending to this gave me a genuine feeling of sadness that wasn't at all forced.

Don't let the PG rating put an odd taste in your mouth, adult Batman fans can watch this without feeling like they're watching something made more with kids in mind (much like BTAS).

If you're a fan of Batman:  The Animated Series or of gripping animation in general, then this is a must-watch movie.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Batman_Mask_of_the_Phantasm-13-1389484-233354.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Batman_Mask_of_the_Phantasm-13-1389484-233354.html Wed, 6 Feb 2013 18:55:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ Glitzy but forgettable]]>
Typical of the star-studded movies of its time, this one is all style and no substance. The writing is straight out of a soap opera and Liz Taylor really wallows in the suds. Her star-power can't hide bad acting and her breathy, whiny voice and faux-British accent make the movie seem interminable. Richard Burton is a better actor, but he's still stuck with a predictable and ridiculously melodramatic storyline. The other vignettes serve no purpose except to fill the time, even though Margaret Rutherford won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as the pill-popping aristocrat.

This is a dated, cliche-ridden film filled with flowery speeches and silly characters, although it is nice to return to the days when people dressed in their finest clothes to fly.

Tedious.




The cast features Orson Welles and Margaret Rutherford as well as Maggie Smith, Louis Jourdan, and Rod Taylor.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_VIPs-873-1522653-233055-Glitzy_but_forgettable.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_VIPs-873-1522653-233055-Glitzy_but_forgettable.html Fri, 1 Feb 2013 02:41:33 +0000
<![CDATA[Out for Justice Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> Even though I do have a soft spot for action movies from the late 80's and early 90's, Out for Justice is a boring, laughable movie.  Hardly any tension and predictable to the hilt, and a prime example as to why Steven Seagal's career went down the toilet after his stardom faded out by the mid-late 90's.

Here's the best part of the movie, because of how unintentionally funny and one-sided the final fight is.  There might as well have been Looney Tunes sound effects in this. 

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Out_for_Justice-13-1427452-231982.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Out_for_Justice-13-1427452-231982.html Sun, 20 Jan 2013 06:54:47 +0000
<![CDATA[ Underrated but good]]>
The plot follows one day in the lives of two men – Gavin Baneck, a young and successful New York attorney (played by Ben Affleck), and Doyle Gipson (superbly portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson), an insurance salesman and recovering alcoholic trying to salvage his relationship with his children and divorced wife. The two seemingly very different men are connected through a car accident which, though technically minor, has far-reaching consequences. What follows is an unraveling of identities as each man - driven by hurt, anger, and a need for control - attempts to one-up the other in an exchange of malicious pranks in which Baneck and Gipson both lose their hold of reason and ethical consideration. Each man confronts the other – but more significantly, each confronts and re-evaluates himself.

The direction of the movie is powerful. The artistic decision to frequently alternate between scenes depicting the two protagonists’ lives is especially clever. The differences between the two and the groups they represent are thus implied; viewers are invited to recognize that these men come from very different worlds. Each of these worlds, however, breeds its own debilitating pressures, its own crimes. Both men seek, and manage, to hurt in their own capacities. The movie thus simultaneously highlights sameness and difference between various groups – black and white, rich and poor  –, providing a realistic portrayal of life that denies easy, stereotypical categorization.

The casting and acting - from primary to minor characters – greatly complement the realism of the movie. On the downside, I did find the music and script to be at times off or overdone. I also thought the movie lacked depth and nuance in its depiction of women and their experiences (though, arguably, given what the movie attempts to do, this was simply beyond its manageable scope). On the whole, the direction of the movie and performances given throughout were strong enough to outweigh the negatives I noted.

Aside from these, what I think Changing Lanes does so well is tell a story true to life. In its exploration of human nature, social order, relationships, and justice, it goes to some very dark places. I’ll admit, this movie frightened me at times in its profound bluntness. That said, there is a hopeful thread throughout: Baneck and Gipson are good men, although both seriously flawed: they are looking for love, stability, happiness, and meaning in a world, and in themselves, where these things are hard to find. Both men grow. True to life, Changing Lanes is a movie of both despair and hope.  

To wrap up, I’m glad I watched this movie. It has caused me to think and that is something all good movies do. And so, here’s my recommendation: watch this movie. It’s underrated, but it’s good. ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Changing_Lanes-873-1014758-231375-Underrated_but_good.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Changing_Lanes-873-1014758-231375-Underrated_but_good.html Mon, 31 Dec 2012 19:38:02 +0000
<![CDATA[ A childhood favorite that holds up pretty well. 66%]]>
STORY

The McCallister family is getting ready to fly from their Chicago home to Paris before Christmas. The night before the family leaves, Kevin gets into a fight over pizza with his older brother, Buzz (Devin Ratray). Kevin gets punished for instigating the fight and causing a big mess, and in a fit of anger, wishes that his family would disappear. After the power gets knocked out that night, the family is running late for their flight and forget about Kevin in the rush. All the while, a pair of burglars, Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci), known as the Wet Bandits, have their eyes set on robbing Kevin's house.

CHARACTERS

While not perfect, I thought the characters were well done in this movie. While I'm not really a fan of Macaulay Culkin, I thought he was good as Kevin in this movie. Kevin is a believable kid, since he generally hits the “right spot” in between overly likeable and being an annoying little brat. He's generally a good but misunderstood kid, but can show signs of selfishness.

John Heard and Catherine O'Hara are good as Kevin's parents, Peter and Kate. They're shown as parents who seem to be a little cold towards Kevin, but deep down, they really do love and care about him.

The supporting cast was decent as Kevin's other family, and it's funny to think that Michael C. Maronna played one of Kevin's family members (Maronna would later become Big Pete in the classic Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete). Roberts Blossom is great as Marley Murphy, a man misunderstood as a bad guy, but turns out to be a good person.

Pesci and Stern are quite good as Harry and Marv. Unlike a lot of family comedies revolving around a kid outsmarting the bad guys, Marv and Harry are actually pretty convincing as burglars. They show to be menacing and believable in how they act before their “showdown” with Kevin. Despite being victims to Kevin's creative traps, they're shown to be a little smart and ruthless at times, and these don't feel forced.

HUMOR

The humor in this movie is quite solid. Of course, the funniest parts of this movie are when Marv and Harry try to break into Kevin's house, unsuspecting of Kevin's traps. Some of the funniest moments in this phase of the movie are when Marv accidentally steps on a bunch of Christmas ornaments with his bare feet, when he accidentally steps on a nail with bare feet, and when Kevin puts a tarantula on Marv's face, causing him to scream like a little girl.

Even before the phase of the movie where Kevin faces off against Marv and Harry, there's still some good humor to be found. Some examples are of the scenes where Kevin puts aftershave on his face, causing him to scream and when he goes to see a local Santa Clause, and you see this Santa smoking and ranting about getting a parking ticket.

LOGICAL FLAWS

I would have given this movie at least a percentage in the 70's, but after analyzing some of the logical fallacies in this movie, I had to bring the rating down a notch in order to give all of you a more fair and balanced review.

Some of the biggest logical flaws in this movie are when Kevin pranks the pizza guy into thinking someone is shooting at him and the other is when he sets up the traps in his house. The former in that it's pretty odd that the pizza guy didn't call the cops after the incident, though he might have been really scared to report it to anyone. The other in that Kevin sets up some pretty messy traps in the house, such as the tar-lined staircase in the basement. Did Kevin even think of how he could clean that up?

CINEMATOGRAPHY

The cinematography in this movie is splendid. Julio Macat captures lots of great imagery of winter suburban Chicago and even of Paris in some scenes. For a family-oriented Christmas film, these clean, pristine images are perfect.

SOUNDTRACK

John Williams's music for Home Alone is very good. Many of the instrumental compositions in this movie are almost Christmas time staples nowadays, and they stir up all the right emotions.

The choice of more “traditional” Christmas tunes wasn't bad, either. They sound good and fit the movie like a glove. I'm glad the Chipmunk Song wasn't used in this movie, as I HATE that song (though that's a different kettle of fish).

FINAL WORD

This is easily the best Home Alone movie in the whole series. While not mandatory viewing, Home Alone is a pleasant Christmas family film, and essentially John Hughes's last good contribution to cinema.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Home_Alone_movie_-873-1357273-231096-A_childhood_favorite_that_holds_up_pretty_well_.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Home_Alone_movie_-873-1357273-231096-A_childhood_favorite_that_holds_up_pretty_well_.html Tue, 25 Dec 2012 04:38:33 +0000
<![CDATA[Home Alone (movie) Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]>
I initially loved this movie when I first saw it back in the very early 90's, and even after some more critical, analytical thought, it still holds up well.  Despite some feelings of contrivance here and there (especially some logic issues, thus why I now rated it a 3 instead of an initial 4), the characters feel more believable and sincere compared to the second movie (and especially the third and fourth ones).

This movie is simultaneously touching and funny.  I still get a great laugh when Kevin puts the tarantula on Marv's face and he screams like a girl.  John Williams's soundtrack for this movie is also well done.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Home_Alone_movie_-13-1357273-231051.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Home_Alone_movie_-13-1357273-231051.html Mon, 24 Dec 2012 06:32:41 +0000
<![CDATA[ A pretty remarkable movie, and warm welcome in sci-fi. 84%]]>
STORY

In 1982, a giant alien ship grinds to a halt above Johannesburg, South Africa. The aliens are referred to negatively as “Prawns” for their scavenger-like personalities, and are treated like garbage by both the public and government. The Prawns are forced in a giant slum called District 9, and Multi-National United (MNU) is really interested in getting their hands on the Prawn weapons and engineering them for human use (Prawn weapons won't work on human hands since they're only made to work with Prawns). Wikus van de Merwe, an MNU manager, is putting up eviction notices for the Prawns into District 10, and comes into contact with Prawn fluid that'll turn him into a Prawn himself. He's being hunted down by the MNU and has to make a reluctant alliance with a Prawn named Christopher Johnson if he wants any chance to come back to normal.

CHARACTERS

For the most part, I thought the characters were done really well. Of course, the best character is Wikus (Sharlto Copley). In the beginning, you see him as a mild-mannered jerk (if that makes any sense), and doesn't really care about the Prawns (though he doesn't want Prawns getting killed by MNU troops). The neat part of Wikus is that his character becomes “more human” when his metamorphosis makes him less human, physically-speaking.

The only character that I would say is closer in line to being the more traditional “good guy” would be Christopher Johnson (Jason Cope). Out of the other human and Prawn characters, he's really the only one who doesn't want to fight, but is forced into combat against the MNU near the end of the movie.

The antagonists, such as Colonel Koobus Venter (David James) and Obesandjo (Eugene Khumbanyiwa), are good in their roles. Some may complain that Koobus and Obesandjo lack depth, since they're straight-up maniacs, but I think this works out in their favor since for the former, it would dilute the menacing feeling if he was written to have sympathetic moments. Koobus's menacing vibe is enhanced with his superb tactical skills when in combat, and while he's not going to rival the Terminator in terms of supervillains, he's quite effective as the cold, murderous maniac.

However, I wish that some characters, like Wikus's wife, Tania (Vanessa Haywood), would have been developed a little more.

THEMES/COMMENTARY

District 9 is noted for having quite a few things to say about humanity. As stated earlier, with Wikus, his physical transformation into a Prawn makes him more “human.” Also, this movie takes an interesting stand by showing the aliens in a more sympathetic light than the humans, thought I think the allegories relating to the Apartheid in South Africa are way too obvious. However, I think Neill Blomkamp did a better job at handling the way the humans and Prawns were handled than James Cameron did the humans and Navi in Avatar, since there was some nuance in the characters in D9 to make them more believable. I also applaud Blomkamp for pulling off his message without the use of making the Prawns look like eye candy (more on visuals later).

I also commend Blomkamp for not just portraying the big businesses (MNU) as evil to reflect the “evils of humanity,” but also shows it through the Nigerian warlords (headed by Obesandjo) taking advantage of and brutalizing the Prawns for their advanced weapons.

STORYTELLING

I thought the way D9 was told was pretty interesting, as it's not everyday that you see a sci-fi film with pretty strong action scenes told as a documentary in the beginning and end like one. I thought Blomkamp handled the fusion of documentary-styled film and traditional film well, since I thought the transitions were smooth.

SOUNDTRACK

Clinton Shorter's music for this movie wasn't bad, though I wouldn't put in the same league of the soundtracks in movies like Blade Runner, The Terminator, or Total Recall. However, I'll say that Shorter captured the mood of the gritty settings really well with tribal chanting and other musical elements very fitting to the geographical setting.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Trent Opaloch's cinematography for District 9 is quite good. The cinematography perfectly captures the gritty and violent atmosphere of the Prawns' lives, and I think the idea of it taking place in South Africa is a neat decision, since it's not everyday that you get a sci-fi movie taking place in this part of the world.

APPEARANCE

What really struck me in a positive way is the look of the Prawn technology, especially their weapons. I love how they don't look like totally outlandish guns more akin to a fantasy story in space, but look more like our weapons with a strong “alien” visual aesthetic to them. This also makes them look pretty nasty compared to other alien weapons in sci-fi (such as the Covenant weapons in the Halo games).

The MNU's personnel and equipment were made perfectly in this movie, since they're a potent military force that also reflects the fact that they're a private military entity. This is reflected in the fact that the personnel have a more “casual” look to them than official military personnel and that they don't have access to really powerful weapons like tanks and gunships.

The looks of the Nigerian warlords were done really well for the movie as well. They're shown as more “rag-tag” through their dilapidated vehicles and dwellings.

SPECIAL EFFECTS

The special effects done by Weta Workshop are marvelous. The movie combines “traditional” special effects with CGI, and you hardly even notice that the effects are, well, effects. The mutations on Wikus's body are very convincing (these were make-up effects), and the same can be said with how the Prawns look (the Prawns were made by CGI). I think it's funny that despite the very convincing effects in the movie, the pricetag for them was drastically lower than what was needed to make everything in Avatar.

ACTION SCENES

Despite the fact that District 9 is often labeled as an “action” movie along with its sci-fi tag, there really isn't that much action that goes on. However, the action that does take place is done very well. The movie decides to build up to the action near the end, which I thought was a good thing since it gave them more power.

I thought the scene where Wikus and Christopher storm the MNU building was awesome, as it showed the two armed with Prawn weapons and dishing out some unique deaths to the MNU mercenaries in the building (such as the arc gun making its targets blow up in a shower of blood).

The final action scene near the end was pretty amazing. The MNU and the Nigerian warlords are after Wikus, and donning a Prawn combat exosuit, dishes out some awesome damage against the enemies. The exosuit even uses a magnetic force to collect all the incoming bullets and uses them as lethal projectiles against those trying to harm Wikus, and even fires a mini bomb into someone's head. In one scene, he uses the suit's graviton device to pick up a pig and uses it as a projectile against an MNU mercenary. That scene was one of the most unintentionally funny things I've ever seen. I wish this Prawn exosuit was real, because I'd like to have this thing for home security.

MATURE CONTENT

This is not a movie for the kids since there's a good deal of gore and bad language throughout. There's scenes with both humans and Prawns getting dismembered, blown up, and shot at with plenty of bloodshed. One of the hardest to watch was actually against a Prawn, since MNU scientists start conducting experiments on Wikus's abilities to interact with Prawn weapons, and Wikus is forced into killing a Prawn with one of the guns (which is highlighted by Wikus begging to shoot at the pig carcasses instead).

FINAL WORD

While I wouldn't say that this is quite in the same league of movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, or Total Recall, this was a really solid sci-fi movie. In terms of sci-fi movies that came out in 2009, this runs rings around Avatar since it had much better character development and storytelling, not to mention better action scenes. I strongly suggest you at least rent this.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-District_9-873-1382779-231028-A_pretty_remarkable_movie_and_warm_welcome_in.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-District_9-873-1382779-231028-A_pretty_remarkable_movie_and_warm_welcome_in.html Mon, 24 Dec 2012 03:36:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ Come with me if you want to live!! 95%]]>
It's also interesting to note that if you ask around a lot of Terminator fans, most will tell you that Terminator 2: Judgment Day is their favorite movie. If you would have asked me this question about 10-15 years ago, I would have concurred with the consensus on this. However, after some deeper thought about the two movies, I now consider the first Terminator my favorite because compared to the sequel, the first Terminator movie has a much stronger sense of tension and urgency.

STORY

In the relatively distant future (2029), a nuclear war has wiped out most of humanity. However, armies of anthropomorphic machines and cyborgs are dead-set on eliminating the survivors. The genocidal machines send a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to Los Angeles circa 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the mother of human resistance leader, John Connor. The human resistance sends a resistance fighter named Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to infiltrate the Terminator and save Sarah.

CHARACTERS

What makes this movie such a great one is the characters. Sarah steals the show since she's very easy to relate to, since she feels like a real person. When she's faced with impending death by the Terminator, she understandably acts scared as hell and when she meets Kyle Reese, she initially thinks he's a maniac, even when he saves her from the Terminator at the Tech Noir club. Kyle is great as the "hero" of the movie because much like what John McClane would help establish in the mighty Die Hard several years after this movie, he's not unstoppable and is faced with grave danger that forces him to act creatively. He knows that the Terminator is much stronger than him, and in the beginning, is even doubtful that he can destroy it since he's restricted from the high-tech weapons he had in the future, and is forced to fight with sawed off shotguns and homemade pipe bombs.

Arnie did a great job as the Terminator. The Terminator lives up to his name, and is one terrifying entity that could easily make him among the best antagonists in film in the last thirty years. He has no emotion, can't feel pain, and is virtually unstoppable. It's also really menacing to see him murder people, especially unarmed women.

STORYTELLING

One of the things that really helps out this movie is how James Cameron has the story told. Through some scenes of exposition, such as when Kyle has to explain to Sarah what cyborgs are and what his life in the future was like, they didn't feel like the "designated spots" where exposition is done. Especially with Kyle explaining to Sarah what cyborgs are, he does so in a really cautious and quiet manner, since he knows that the Terminator is looking for him.

The logic behind time travel is not only established well, but like any good movie, the story and characters actually follow through that logic. An example would be with time travel. Only organic masses can travel through time, thus why the Terminator and Kyle arrive naked when they come into LA circa 1984, and when Kyle explains to a police psychiatrist why he couldn't bring back any advanced weaponry back to the past.

ACTION SCENES

With this movie being a sci-fi action/thriller entry, the action movies are top-notch.

Since the characters are developed well, these make the action scenes that much more tense. Among the best scenes in this has to be when the Terminator enters the Tech Noir club and finds Sarah Connor. You see Kyle emerge and fire many shotgun shells into the cyborg and it doesn't stop him. Also, this scene helps establish how much of a cold, ugly entity the Terminator is when he ends up gunning down a few people at the club during the firefight.

Let's not forget the iconic scene where the Terminator assaults the police station Kyle and Sarah are kept in. This scene marks how terrifying the Terminator is since not even over two dozen armed police officers could stop him, and shows how creative Kyle is when he's faced with danger and isn't in a position to fight.

The action scenes also show Sarah and Kyle as vulnerable characters, which make you root for them even harder as the movie runs. Kyle gets shot a few times and towards the end, gets worn down from all the combat to where Sarah has to push him into "snapping back into it."

The chase scene near the end also enhances the Terminator's characteristic of being unstoppable and of Kyle's creativity, since the Terminator survives a head-on collision with an 18-wheel tanker truck and Kyle has to see if one pipe bomb can stop a cyborg driving a tanker truck.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Adam Greenberg's cinematography for this was perfect. The shots of at the time current day Los Angeles look gritty and claustrophobic, helping to enhance the feeling of dread and tension in this movie. I thought it was perfect to have the final fight take place in a factory loaded with robotic assembly machines, helping to further the feeling of industrialized, metallic terror.

SPECIAL EFFECTS

While some special effects have shown their age (such as the walking Terminator skeleton near the end and of the Terminator's face when one of his eyes are damaged), other effects still look good today. I though one of the best-looking effects in that movie is when the Terminator does some self-surgery on his arm after getting in gun battles with Kyle, and you see the inner workings of his cyborg arm. This was simultaneously gross and impressive to look at. Even with the effects that could have aged better, the special effects overall help the movie greatly than harm it.

SOUNDTRACK

Brad Fiedel's soundtrack for this movie is one of the best I've ever heard in cinema, whether it be live-action or animated. Some may complain that the music is "dated," but I think it matches the tone and style of the movie perfectly. Most of the music on here is made from keyboard synthesizers, and all of it is instrumental. The soundtrack perfectly shows that a genius with minimal resources can make something brilliant. The mechanized, metallic beats and dread-laden synth-layers are superb, especially in the scenes where Kyle has a flashback to when he fought giant war machines and automated gunships and during the end fight in the factory.

MATURE CONTENT

This is not a movie for the kids, since there's quite a few scenes in the beginning with male nudity, some scenes of nasty gore, and a tastefully-done sex scene between Kyle and Sarah.

FINAL WORD

The Terminator is easily among James Cameron's brightest jewels in his filmography. If you don't have this movie in your collection yet, get it now.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Terminator-873-1020834-230888-Come_with_me_if_you_want_to_live_95_.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Terminator-873-1020834-230888-Come_with_me_if_you_want_to_live_95_.html Thu, 20 Dec 2012 05:44:49 +0000
<![CDATA[Shaolin (film) Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/d/UserReview-Shaolin_film_-81-1703038-230604.html http://www.lunch.com/ASIANatomy/reviews/d/UserReview-Shaolin_film_-81-1703038-230604.html Thu, 13 Dec 2012 06:57:00 +0000 <![CDATA[ TAKE A LITTLE TRIP TO SHAOLIN]]>

SHAOLIN

It is no secret that I am a huge Martial arts fan, from being an actual practitioner all the way to movies and such. Now any martial arts fan out there knows of Shaolin I am sure, from the actual history to the films in which this place and its people are portrayed. This is another in a list of films dedicated to the destruction of one of the temples. There have been many before this and I am sure there are more to come. Most people know of the old school ones back in the day and even one that came a little later that gave us a young Jet Li. The Li film is what this one is loosely based on from what I can tell. Also it should be noted that the actual Shaolin Monastery supported this film.

Set during the Warlord Era of China in the 1900's the film tells the story of General Hou [Andy Lau] a warlord who wants more [don't they all]. We start with Hou entering the Shaolin Temple chasing down a rival warlord and despite the Monks pleas to leave the man be and show mercy he murders the man inside the Temple walls. In an effort to seize control of more power an assassination attempt on a warlord named Song Hu goes wrong when Hou's second in command Cao Man [Nicholas Tse] betrays him. While trying to escape Hou's daughter becomes fatally injured. In a desperate attempt to save her he takes her to the very Monks he disrespected at the Shaolin Monastery. While they do try to save her it is for nothing as she is too far gone his wife blames him for this and leaves him, he has lost everything. While he is full of anger and has lead a life contradictory to that of the Monks he is given sanctuary there. But his past may still catch up with him as Cao Man will not rest until he is dead.

For those who don't know this film was directed by Benny Chan and I have to say that this may very well be his best film. Chan has been know as more of a style or action driven type director, but here he really comes through with the dramatic elements as well. But much like Woopak said it helps when you have actors who can help carry the film. Andy Lau is our lead and he does an excellent job here. He is believable as the power hungry warlord and as the changing man looking for peace after losing everything.

Fan Bingbing is great as well as Hou's wife and it shows especially in scenes in which she blames her husband for their daughter's death. I really enjoyed Nicholas Tse here though as the lead villain after turning on Hou. He plays a very ruthless character that goes for what he wants at all costs. Then of course there is Jackie Chan who I am sure a lot of people will see this for him. Chan is great here as well in a supporting role playing a cook at the temple. His character has a lot to do with Hou coming to terms with what has happened, a good light dramatic role for Chan.

Then of course there are the action and fight scenes here and I have to say that the film excels in that department. When the action hits in this film it really hits and is very exciting, from straight action as in things going boom and guns being discharged all the way to the fights. Any martial arts fan will enjoy the fight scenes in this flick although sometimes the wire work is a little too obvious. Still there is nothing like good martial arts being displayed and it is here. The last part of the film in particular will please any action fan in my opinion.

Now not everything is great here but even the things I am about to mention don't take too much away from the film. Chan is really proving himself with this film but sometimes the direction seems a bit off. Some things are not fully explored to the fullest [I do understand this though since the film is already 2 + hours] like the Monks who pull "Iron Monkey" duties in stealing rice and such and giving them out to the poor town's people. It shows why they do it and why they stop since they are punished for stealing since it goes against their ways. But I felt like a little more from them would have been fun. Also the wire work is always fun and great to look at but in a film that is mostly based in reality sometimes the wire work seems out of place.

In the end I would say that this film is an epic but falls just a little short of classic status in my opinion. But who knows time may be a good thing for this film as it is already good. I may change my mind years from now and in fact you may disagree and label it classic now. It all depends on the person I guess. What I will say now is I really do like this film and think it is very good, and may be Benny Chan's best.

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http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/d/UserReview-Shaolin_film_-873-1703038-230603-TAKE_A_LITTLE_TRIP_TO_SHAOLIN.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/d/UserReview-Shaolin_film_-873-1703038-230603-TAKE_A_LITTLE_TRIP_TO_SHAOLIN.html Thu, 13 Dec 2012 06:56:43 +0000
<![CDATA[Belly of the Beast (movie) Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Belly_of_the_Beast_movie_-13-1427458-230346.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Belly_of_the_Beast_movie_-13-1427458-230346.html Wed, 5 Dec 2012 14:17:43 +0000 <![CDATA[ GOOD FILM WITH SEAGAL]]>



BELLY OF THE BEAST

I found this dvd in the pawn shop the one day for 2 dollars and decided to get it since I enjoy pointless action films. As another one of the straight to dvd movies from Segal I figured this would be like most straight to video action films, not that great. But I was pleasantly surprised with this film, it had the action of course, with fight scenes and things going BOOM. But it was the story line and some of the performances that made this movie good.

The story is as follows, Jake Hopper is a former C.I.A. agent who just happens to have a daughter that is friends with a senator's daughter. The two girls head off on vacation to Thailand with their boyfriends and get kidnapped by a terrorist group. Well as you can guess Segal [even in old age] heads into battle with the group, the local police force, and even his own old friends.

Director Ching Siu Tung did a pretty good job with this film, and along with Cinematographer Danny Novak made this film look good. Along with six producers, one of which being Avi Lerner, and writer James Townsend they all put together a really enjoyable movie. Is it a great film on the classic level, no, but it is good enough to just chill one day and watch. I recommend owning it, it is a pretty good flick.

Belly of the BeastBelly of the Beast]]>
http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Belly_of_the_Beast_movie_-873-1427458-230345-GOOD_FILM_WITH_SEAGAL.html http://www.lunch.com/shroomreview/reviews/movie/UserReview-Belly_of_the_Beast_movie_-873-1427458-230345-GOOD_FILM_WITH_SEAGAL.html Wed, 5 Dec 2012 14:17:23 +0000
<![CDATA[Cool as Ice Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]>
This movie exists only for Vanilla Ice to flaunt his ego and torment the audience with his "rapping skills" (or more realistically, lack thereof).  Combine that with bad acting, a piss-poor storyline, and redundant appearances from Naomi Campbell (yuck), and you got yourself a bonafied slab of cinematic shit.

As horrible as this is, I think we can all take in a certain comfort knowing that Vanilla Ice will never make another movie again.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Cool_as_Ice-13-1025206-229505.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Cool_as_Ice-13-1025206-229505.html Wed, 31 Oct 2012 00:27:48 +0000