Category Archives: Movies

Top 10 American Horror Movie Rules: The Millennial Generation

The Most Recent Horror Movie Premiered October 11, 2013

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

With Wes Craven being the last classic horror movie maker to go for the X-Generation, the next generation of horror movie makers, the Milleniums, have arrived.  However, these film makers rely on cheap scares, cheap sex and cheap nudity to bring in the viewers, and bad acting and mediocre script to force them away.

Here are 10 tips on surviving the next generation of horror movies:

  • Bring your camera. With this generation, whether a digital camera or camera phone, they love to film their exploits.
  • Dumb blondes aren’t so dumb anymore.  With this generation, unlike the previous one, blondes are a force to be reckoned with.  Be careful around them.  They can’t be trusted when the hammer falls.
  • Leave your  cell and/or smart phone at home.  I don’t know why.  Nowadays, cell phones are left at home or locked away.  With crazy people  chasing after you, this isn’t so smart.
  • Survive the reboots. Chucky, Freddy Kreuger and Jason all have been revived, but the well seems to have run dry. For now.
  • Survive the derivatives. Every villain is now a derivative of the previous villain, without much creativity, aside from a couple of exceptions that came out of the United Kingdom.
  • Enjoy the T & A. Without acting, most of the current generation horror movies is leaning on T & A.  Although exciting for its brief moments, it’s not all that scary. Really.
  • Survive the villain’s bad costumes. Insidious topped it off with their ridiculous demon villain costume.  Paranormal Activity was no better.
  • Survive the mediocre to bad CGI. Mama topped it off with its ghost from the 1980s. Compared to the ghost in MamaGhostbusters‘ librarian ghost  was much better. Chucky’s revival in Curse of Chucky was only slightly better than the animatronic Chucky doll.
  • Have either Tony Todd or Danny Trejo by your side.  These two have become the stars of horror movies.
  • Say it with feeling. More and more “horror” movies are independent.  Even more so, they are attempting to convey messages, often moral, sometimes not.

The horror movies of the Millennial Generation have ultimately become very derivative and not at all scary.  Compared to horror movies of days gone by, survival will be far easier.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome (2012) Movie Review

With both the Battlestar Galactica and Caprica television series in their graves, a 10-episode online series called Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was created — and essentially became a movie.  Does it compare with some of the other Battlestar Galactica movies such as Razor or The Plan?

Cast

Young ensign William Adama is played by Luke Pasqualino.  Coker Fasjovik, the unlucky Raptor co-pilot, is played by Ben Cotton.  Dr. Becca Kelly is played by Lili Bordan. Tech Sargeant Xander Toth is played by John Pyper-Ferguson, otherwise known as Stanton Parish in Alphas television series and Wyatt Scott in the Deception television series.

Review

This movie was filmed much the same as the Battlestar Galactica television series.  The chemistry between William Adama and Dr. Becca Kelly was a bit overplayed, but it was acceptable in this film in terms of the plot. Coker Fasjovik and John Pyper-Ferguson both played their parts exceptionally well.  The development of the first Cylon-human hybrid was particularly interesting.  This film did bridge the gap between the Caprica television series and the Battlestar Galactica television series. However, this film felt stiff in a lot of instances.

Verdict (Out of 10)

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome deserves an 8.2 out of 10.  It is a solid film although quite predictable.  In light of the other Battlestar Galactica films, this is certainly the best of all three.  This film is not self-ingratiating like the others and has significantly more action.  However, SyFy won’t develop a new television series off this film much to the disappointment of science fans, including myself.  But we can dream a science fiction dream…

The Man With the Iron Fists (2012) Movie Review

What happens when Quentin Tarantino presents something with RZA and David Bautista in it?  A lot of style but lacking in substance.  This had potential to be a live-action Afro Samurai but fell flat on its brass face.

Cast

RZA stars as the Blacksmith, the main role in this movie (unfortunately).  Russell Crowe stars as Jack Knife, the British officer sent to the small town under the Emperor’s hospices.  David Bautista, formerly of the WWE, stars as Brass Body, one of the interesting characters of this film but too underplayed.  Madame Blossom is played by Lucy Liu of Kill Bill fame.  Rick Yune stars as Zen Yi, the X-Blade.  Daniel Wu stars as Poison Dagger.  Lastly, two other notables are Cung Ye who plays Bronze Lion and Zhu Zhu who plays Chi Chi.

Plot

Per IMDb, on the hunt for a fabled treasure of gold, a band of warriors, assassins, and a rogue British soldier descend upon a village in feudal China, where a humble blacksmith looks to defend himself and his fellow villagers.

Review

What could have been a spectacular film rivaling Sukiyaki Western Django or transforming itself into a live-action Afro Samurai didn’t happen.  The movie tried too hard to be cool and deep as music was constantly jarring the movie itself and exposition continuously broke the flow of the movie.  Some of the earlier action sequences involving the Gemini Twins were cool as well the later action sequences involving David Bautista as the Brass Body.  But having two great action sequences does not make a great movie make.  Once RZA stepped up and became the main character during the last minutes of the film, that’s the straw that broke this movie’s back.  

Verdict (Out of 10)

Overall, this film deserves a 3 out of 10.  Too much exposition, too much music and too much RZA killed this film.  You’re far better watching the original Enter the DragonKill Bill or Sukiyaki Western Django. The Man With the Iron Fists would have been better as an anime film instead.

 

Skyfall (2012) Movie Review

James Bond returns one more time in a Sam Mendes production, Skyfall, as he faces one of his most intriguing enemies yet, but does it stand up to the hype?

Cast

Daniel Craig returns to play James Bond, an older and more sarcastic James Bond that is. Judi Dench reprises her role as M and is one of the primary focuses in Skyfall. Gareth Mallory, the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, is played by Ralph Fiennes. Naomi Harris plays Eve, James Bond primary love interest in this film but not the only one.  Kincade is played by Albert Finney.  Lastly, the new Q is played by Ben Whishaw.

Now to Bond’s enemies in this film…Javier Bardem of No Country for Old Men fame plays Silva, former MI6 agent and hacker extraordinaire.  His love interest, Patrice, is played by the beautiful Ola Rapace.

Plot

With the destruction of MI6 and agents compromised worldwide by a fatal error on M’s part, M is forced to relocate the agency as she is pursued by Silva for past mistakes.  In the meantime, James Bond, with Eve’s help, seeks to find Silva before he can find M.  Thus a lengthy cat and mouse game is set afoot.

Review

Skyfall was one of the better Daniel Craig Bond films and definitely better than Quantum of Solace and slightly better than Casino Royale.  Interspersed throughout this film were several tributes to the United Kingdom, almost akin to something Steven Moffat would do.  The acting, however, was a bit erratic.  Judie Dench was once again spectacular as her presence carries weight.  Daniel Craig reprised his role seemingly well too.  However, the new Q, played by Ben Whishaw, stole the film, even more than Javier Bardem as the evil villain.  His unassuming nature and wit had an irresistible charm to it.

The cinematography was at times spectacular.  The viewing of the caskets covered by the Union Jack flag to the sniper scene in Shanghai were simply amazing.  The action in of itself was relatively fast-paced unlike Quantum of Solace which had that lackluster feeling.

Lastly, this film essentially rebooted the James Bond series back to its very beginning.  Going forward, Dr. No, et al. could be rebooted and remade, minus Sean Connery. Whether that will happen remains to be seen.

Verdict (Out of 10)

Fringe Fiction gives Skyfall an 8.7 out of 10.  It is definitely worth a watch or two and perhaps the best of Daniel Craig’s James Bond films yet.  

Dredd (2012) Movie Review

Cast

Karl Urban stars as Judge Dredd, and he may be familiar as to some as Bones in Star Trek.  Cassandra Anderson, a psychic and recruit, is played by Olivia Thirlby. Lena Headey stars as Madeline Madrigal or “Ma-Ma,” the drug lord of Peach Trees.  She may be most recently recognized as Cersei Lannister of the Game of Thrones television series. Caleb,  one of her henchmen, is played by Warrick Grier. Kay, another one of Ma-Ma’s henchmen, is played by Wood Harris

Some of the other minor roles include: Judge Lex played by Langley Kirkwood; Judge Alvarez played by Edwin Perry; Judge Chan is played by Karl Thaning; and Judge Kaplan is played by Michele Levin.  Lastly, Rakie Ayola stars as the Chief Judge who makes an appearance at the end of the film.

Plot

In the future on an irridiated Earth — and United States, there exists few safe zones.  With the destruction of the former cities, there came mega-cities, slum towers, drugs, high-crime, overpopulation and Judges.  These Judges serve as judge, jury and executioner without forgiveness.  Judge Dredd is one of many judges in Mega-City One and he and his new recruit, Cassandra Anderson, must overtake Peach Trees, a drug-filled, crime-filled slum tower, as they attempt to escort Kay, one of Ma-Ma’s henchmen.  Ma-Ma is the druglord of Peach Trees who leads the manufacture and distribution of Slo-Mo, an illicit drug, throughout Mega-City One.  However, with the arrival of the Judges in her tower, she takes control of the security room and seals the building thus preventing Judge Dredd and Anderson from leaving with Kay.  Ma-Ma escalates the violence and bloodshed as one failure follows after another — eventually pulling a couple of aces out of her pocket to no avail.

Overall (Out of 10)

Overall, this is an enjoyable action movie, but it was filled with cliches.  The Slo-Mo effect was a bit distracting although the use of it was understandable.  Comparably though, The Matrix trilogy still did the effect much better than Judge Dredd.  The acting in of itself was decent as Karl Urban could only do so much in his helmet.  Olivia Thirlby was too soft in her role and not entirely believable as a Judge or recruit potential for one.  Wood Harris as Kay and Lena Headey as Ma-Ma played their roles to perfection — almost.  As an action movie, it was solid, but action cliches filled the entire movie whereas others have done better.  I will give credit to this movie was quite faithful to the source, the comic books. In my honest opinion, The Raid: Redemption and the original Die Hard both were better action tower-climbing movies and added far more testosterone. This movie deserves a 7.5 out of 10 — worth a watch but not much more.

Looper (2012) Movie Review

Time travel is invented in the future in 2074.  But only the mob has it.  They use it to transport those who they want killed, and loopers instantly kill them in the past, thus removing any traces of the person in the future.  However, these loopers are not without their issues with the system — as sometimes they are targeted.  Sometimes, loopers are forced to “close the loop,” their own; and when they don’t, other loopers pursue them until the days end…

Cast

The main character, Joe, is played by two roles, one older and one younger.  The older Joe from 30 years in the future is played by Bruce Willis of Die Hard fame.  The younger Joe is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, perhaps better known as John Blake in Christoper Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.  Paul Dano stars as Seth, younger Joe’s friend and fellow looper.  Older Seth is played by Frank Brennan. Abe is the capo of the mob sent back into the past, and he is played by Jeff Daniels. However, Kid Blue eventually becomes the main villain, and he is played by Noah Segan.  Emily Blunt stars as Sara, the owner of the farm and foster mother of Cid, her telekenetic son.  Cid is played by Pierce Gagnon.

Suzie, younger Joe’s girlfriend, a showgirl, is played by Piper Perabo.  Qing Xu stars as older Joe’s wife, Summer Qing.  These two are minor roles in the movie overall, but they each play a significant part in Joe’s life.   

Plot

The plot is fairly simple in terms of science fiction.  Loopers are essentially assassins in the past (relatively) whose sole purpose is to kill the people that the mafia from the future send back.  The problem arises for Joe is when his older self is sent back but escapes being shot.  The older Joe is after a villain from the future, the Rainmaker, who kills the mafia and their older loopers and comrades indiscriminately in the future.  Older Joe soon discovers that the Rainmaker is a strong telekenetic — who also happens to be a child.  In the older Joe’s mind, by eliminating the threat now, the Rainmaker will no longer pose a threat in the future.  With that, the younger Joe has differences and culminates in a showdown.

Review (Out of 10)

This movie overall was a fairly solid movie, and it was well-acted for the most part.  Kid Blue, Abe and both Joes played their roles convincingly.  However, it was not them that stole the show.  Cid, played by Pierce Gagnon, acted well-beyond his age.  For a 10 or some year-old, he acted more mature than some adults would.  However, the melding of three or four different sub-plots did not serve the film well in my honest opinion.  However, the last plot, the one concerning the mother’s love for her son perhaps struck best and hardest when it needed to.

This movie had elements of 12 Monkeys, Minority Report and Push, and for the most part, mixed fairly well.  In my opinion, this movie was perhaps doing too much.  Unlike 12 Monkeys, the basic plot was simple, but the entire movie was focused on that simple element, retrieval of the cure. However,  Looper, to me, lacked focus, particularly in the beginning, which impacted the rest of the movie.   Overall, Looper is a solid movie worth watching — an 8.0 out of 10.

 

YellowBrickRoad Movie Review

YellowBrickRoad was essentially The Blair Witch Project revisited minus the shaky-cam.  While it had some good ideas going forward, the execution of it was dismal at worst and mediocre at best.

Cast

Cassidy Freeman, the most recognizable star, stars as Erin Luger.  Teddy Barnes, the leader of the expedition group, is played by Michael Laurino.  Melissa Barnes is played by Anessa Ramsey.  Clark Freeman stars as Daryl Luger.  Liv McCann is played by Laura Heisler.  Walter Myrick, the group psychologist, is played Alex Draper.  Tara Giordano stars as Jill.  Cy Banbridge is played by Sam Elmore.  The Clerk/Usher of the movie theater is played by Lee Wilkof.

Plot

In 1940, in Friar, New Hampshire, the entire population of 572 people walked together up a winding hillside path and disappear except one.  With the recording of the one person available, it gives incentive for an excursion group to explore the “YellowBrickRoad.”  However, upon taking the winding path through the hillside, events don’t go as planned.

Review

This movie was severely lacking in the cast, the plot and the entire film in general.  Overall, for those seeking anything resembling horror, look elsewhere as nothing is particularly salvageable in this film.  With Cassidy Freeman killed early in the film, the rest of the cast lacked the talent or the charisma to carry the movie.  The rest of the film essentially became fodder — and boring fodder at that.

Verdict (Out of 10)

YellowBrickRoad deserves a 1 out of 10.  Cassidy Freeman salvaged this film, but without her, the film spiraled downward quickly.

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Final Destination 5 Movie Review

Horror. Comedy.  These two words pretty much sum up Final Destination 5 in a nutshell.  The deaths are gruesome for certain, but the Rube Goldberg method in which the people die in this film is admittedly comedic.  As a side note, Final Destination 5 is the prequel to the original Final Destination.

Cast

Nicholas D’Agosto plays Sam Lawton, the lead character in this film.  Sam sees the original vision of the death of the entire group.  His girlfriend, Molly Harper, is played by Emma Bell. Peter Friedkin, Sam’s best friend, is played by Miles Fisher.  Nathan, Sam’s other friend, is played by Arlen Escarpeta.  Ellen Wroe stars as Candice Hooper, and Olivia Castle is played by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood.  Isaac Palmer, the tech support, is played by P.J. Byrne.  The boss, Dennis, is played by David Koechner.

As for the other two characters, Agent Jim Black is played by Courtney B. Vance, and Tony Todd reprises his role as William Bludworth.

Plot

As Sam Lawton approaches the suspension-bridge in a van for a business group retreat, he has a vision of the death of the entire group with each member successively impaled, burned or other means.  He warns them of the danger, and all of them escape.  However, as they find out, they cannot cheat Death.

Review

This movie was definitely horror-comedy.  The Rube Goldberg manners in which the members of the business group died was entertaining and comedic.   Additionally, I wish to preface this review by saying that I have never seen any of the previous Final Destination movies.  This movie does have some solid entertainment value, but it won’t any awards.  It’s worth a rental but not much more than that.

Verdict (Out of 10)

This movie gets a 6 out of 10.  It does have some salvageable entertainment value, but the cast and the plot won’t get any awards.  That much is for certain.

Genesis (1998) Movie Review

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, this eerie and romantic Italian short movie directed by Nacho Cerda is certainly worth watching.  With virtually no speech, Spanish or otherwise, Genesis (1998) can be watched by anyone.

Cast

The entire cast consisted of two people: Pep Tosar who played the sculptor, and his wife is played by Trae Houlihan.

Plot

After the death of his wife in a car accident, the artist decides to build a sculpture of her likeness.  However, the sculpture starts taking a life of its own.

Review

Genesis resembled a Tales from the Crypt episode in that it only lasted thirty minutes, but in those thirty minutes, even with very little speech, the story and the cinematography carried the film.  This is an eerie film as the sculpture contends with the memory of her dead wife and the sculpture’s life.   As the sculpture took on a life of its own, his memories flooded back, and his love for her remained stronger than ever.  This movie was a romance trapped in an eerie horror film.

(On a side note, Genesis won deservedly the Best Short Film of 1998 in the Fant-Asia Film Festival and in 1999 in the Malaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema.)

Verdict (Out of 10)

This short Spanish movie deserves a 8.2 out of 10 for its artistry and cinematography.  Although the story is a tad derivative, the cinematography carried the film as it was a work of art within itself.  This movie is certainly worth watching on Valentine’s Day for its romantic bent.

Restraint Movie Review

After a botched robbery and two killings, a couple retreats to a manor to find the owner still living there.  However, the wealthy owner is what he seems as he twists and battles to find a way out of being held hostage by the two.  Restraint was a pleasant surprise of a thriller from Australia.

Cast

Stephen Moyer stars as Andrew, the agoraphobic and wealthy owner of the estate. Ron, Dale’s boyfriend and killer of her boss, is played by Travis Fimmel.  Dale is played by the beautiful Teresa Palmer. Sargent Paul Widdens is played by Philip Holder, and Constable Blainey is played by Joanne Hunt. These are the main characters of this film.

Plot

Upon the killing of a gas station attendant and his girlfriend’s boss, the couple Dale and Ron retreat to Andrew’s estate to escape from the cops.  The couple soon discovers that Andrew is both agoraphobic and wealthy, and his fiancee Gabrielle who left him six months ago, leaving money and jewelry at the local bank.  Dale pretends to be Gabrielle to obtain the money and jewelry, but through subtle manipulation of Dale by both Andrew and Ron, the plan begins to unravel and fall apart fast.

Review

I was pleasantly surprised when I watched this movie.  Superficially, this movie resembled Trespass, but it exceeded that movie in terms of tension.  All the actors seemingly enjoyed playing their respective roles.  Although the plot was derivative, the great acting and the twist of the film brought this movie to a higher standard than Trespass. Setting the issue of eye-candy Teresa Palmer aside, this movie should be on everybody’s thriller list, at least in the top 15.

Verdict (Out of 10)

This movie definitely deserves an 8.8 out of 10.  This film is an enjoyable thriller not to only watch once but twice or more as well.

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