Archive for Movies

Hide and Seek

Posted in Entertainment, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2016 by urbannight

notebookI seem to write all my non-move topics in my car while driving.  I then get to a computer or a notebook and I can’t remember very much about it.  It figures.  I had a lot to say about Hillary and Trump and the strangest election I’ve seen in my 46 years.  But then it made me too depressed so I ended up avoiding that topic.

I was trying to get a bunch of boxes out of my way yesterday so I re-watched a bunch of movies.  One was Hide and Seek with Robert Di Nero and Dakota Fanning.  Their acting is brilliant.  You almost never see a child actor/actress who can perform to the level of the great performers and she did so the first time she was placed in front of a camera.  Or so it seems.  Talk about precocious.  I heard a reporter talk about her as if the Twilight movies are what made her famous and I wanted to slap the reporter silly.  Okay, the reporter was very young.  But that doesn’t excuse her for not knowing that Dakota Fanning was great long before she took part in the Twilight movies.

young-dakota

A Young Dakota Fanning

It is interesting re-watching this movie once you know the twist.  Dakota Fanning’s performance, which was great to begin with, becomes even more nuanced.  The writing on this film isn’t brilliant.  And it is very easy to figure out the so called ‘twist’ early on.  One, Dakota is to tiny to have killed an adult.  Two, all the flash backs are happening to her father and are of an event at which she was not present.  Three, her strange reactions when talking to her father about Charlie.

This story is that a shrink’s wife killed herself and his daughter is blaming him and acting out and she creates an imaginary friend who is responsible for all the bad things that she is doing.  ‘Charlie’ goes from fun to scary very quickly.  We actually never see the ‘fun’ Charlie and just have to the daughter’s words for it.  The attempt to make it look like the neighbor grieving over his daughter’s death might be Charlie was a very clumsy attempt.  and therefore one I was unable to buy into so I figured out who Charlie was fairly quickly.  Although, like I said before, it could have been Dakota’s excellent acting against De Niro may have been what gave it away.

I own this DVD and I’ve watched it 3 times now.  This would not be a film that one could watch this many times if anyone else played these two parts.  De Niro and Fanning really carry this film and make a predictable film turn into an entertaining movie.

From Hell

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by urbannight

from-hell-horror-movies-77473_1024_768I came across the film From Hell in a 3.75$ bin and decided to pick it up.  I picked it up over Sleepy Hollow, which I’ve seen several times and like.  I knew I had watched From Hell but wasn’t sure why I had never seen it again.

Now I remember why.  I want injustice to be resolved.  And this film contains a travesty of justice that is never punished because it came down from the crown itself.  In order to hide an unsuitable marriage in the royal family, a female monarch approves a plan that sees the unsuitable bride kidnapped and put into an asylum with a forced lobotomy and just left there.  A scene shows her in a cell by herself, but that isn’t the most accurate.  Women like her would be guaranteed to be raped by staff and non-violent ‘patients’ would often be in general population and would often get raped by other patients as well.

This fact completely ruins the movie for me.  The fact that Jack the Ripper turns out to be the one who is killing off all the women who actually knew about this marriage creates an interesting nuance to the story.  And then to help cover up his part in it, he is lobotomized so he can’t give away the fact that the crown is behind it all.  It isn’t enough for me.

The fact that nothing is ever done to help this woman who didn’t know that her wealthy protector who married her in secret was part of the royal family and she is left with a horrible brain injury in a place that just hides things for wealthy families and is mostly likely to end up living a life of violence and repeated rape is all it takes to make the movie horrible and intolerable to me.

The names in the cast are not enough to over come that fact.  The quality of acting isn’t enough.  I do not recommend this movie ever.

 

Deadfall Trail (2009)

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2016 by urbannight

I was actually going to do a short post about the view from my new apartment.  Only I got my computer set up instead of taking any photos.  Longest I’ve not had my computer turned on.  Over a month.  It will probably be another month until I can get internet access.

So that means another horror movie.

Not unless you want to hear stories about unpacking; like how it took me 3 weeks to find my cork screw so I could get into a bottle of wine and why I didn’t want to buy another one since I had bought one before moving only to find my missing one while packing and I didn’t want to buy a third one.

First warning is that there is no trail in this film.  They are doing an extreme wilderness survival trip.  They take nothing but a single bottle of water.  Paul is a bit younger and has never done this before.  That causes Julian to completely flip about that.  His over reaction makes no sense.  Eventually, there is the implication that he is suffering PTSD due to his war experience and that these trips help him deal with it.  But having someone how is just learning about this survival stuff was more than he could handle. But hey, everyone needs to learn sometime, right?

The movie isn’t a strong movie, not a lot of action but there is a lot of arguing.  It is a slow burn.  But Paul shows he

julians-meltdown

Julian’s Meltdown

has guts and a willingness to do what it takes and yet that doesn’t really help any as far as Julian is concerned.  He his blinded by the fact that Paul has no experience and can’t get past it.  They finally reach their goal location.

 

John is their mutual friend.  John is the one keeping the peace and bridging the gap.  So of course John suffers a serious injury and they have to work together.  This does not go well.  Things get much worse after John dies or is killed, depending on if you believe Paul or Julian.  I know where I stand.  Julian continues to devolve while Paul proved that he had what it takes for extreme wilderness survival.  But this was his first time and he isn’t as good as Julian.

The surprise twist at the ending really isn’t a surprise.  What is a surprise is that there are supposedly two women in the film.  John’s wife, whom I don’t remember ever seeing on screen, and Mother Earth, whom I also don’t remember ever seeing.  I’m guessing I either missed it when I was stitching on my projected and I looked down or their parts ended up on the cutting room floor.

While not a great show and sometimes a bit boring, it did keep me watching because I wanted to know who would get out of the wilderness.  I wasn’t really happy with the ending but it was what I expected. (Think Lord of the Flies.  That might be too much of a spoiler.)  The acting was better than I expected.  I didn’t think it was going to maintain my interest and it did.  So give it a try.  So long as you watch it for free.  For goodness sake, don’t pay anything for it.

 

 

The Triangle (and Ghost Ship by default) contains spoilers

Posted in Movies, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by urbannight

the_triangle_filmThis movie was good, if not great, so I wondered how I never heard of it.  Turns out it was made for T.V.  I didn’t realize they were still doing that.  Even if this was from 2001.  I was 31.  It might have been right before the time I really started to watch horror movies.  I watched a few growing up, but usually only after they made it to cable.  And we never had cable consistently when I growing up.  It was not something I got my folks to take me too.  Not like R rated sci-fi films.  I could usually get my parents to take me to those.  Even if my mom didn’t seem to understand the fantasy ones.

It reminded me of Ghost Ship and it turns out that Ghost Ship was a big screen remake of this film.  Which explains a lot.  The Triangle is slightly less ‘haunted’ than Ghost Ship and certainly less gory.  Not that Ghost Ship had a lot of gore.  I don’t like gory films and it does have a few scenes that made me flinch.  The Triangle had a few flaws that were certainly overcome in the Ghost Ship.  (FYI, Ghost Ship is one of my favorite movies.  I love ghost stories.  I think I’m going to watch it again this week.)

The Triangle is about three friends who go on their yearly vacation together.  Only this year, the one wants to bring his fiancee.  Luke Perry is Stu and his Fiancee is Julie.  The actress playing Julie is the weakest acting in the movie.  Stu is trying to hide the fact that he is flat broke from everyone.  This is why they are on a broken down fishing boat instead of the one he claims he originally booked.  Their friend, Gus, played by David Hewlett, is their pal with a less than ideal life who can’t really afford this year’s fancier trip and so his friends were helping him along this year.  Well, Tommy for the most part, seeing as Stu is broke.  Tommy is played by Dan Cortese, the only actor I’m not so familiar with.  Tommy and Gus accidentally stumble onto a Voodoo ritual and Gus tries to take a selfie with it behind him.  One of the participants curses them and when Gus looks at the photo there is nothing behind him but an empty room.  Gus is the one who was also obsessed with the Bermuda Triangle and was researching a missing ship just before they left on vacation.

This curse is what sets the stage for what happens next.  It is a very weak link.  They could have done the movie without that scene and it would have been the same.  It really added nothing to the film.  If anything, it took away from it.  Gus’s interest with the Bermuda Triangle and research into it in general would have been enough.  It would have been a tighter premises.  Ghost ship has a salvage crew come across a missing derelict.  They simplified the premises and it worked far better.

We have two more characters of note.  Captain Morgan (Dorian Harewood) and Charlie (Olivia d’Abo).  Captain Morgan (what a poor choice of names, everyone will think rum) has a very run down fishing boat and Charlie is the daughter of his friends who died and so he looked out for her for half her life.  She often ends up acting as his first mate when he would get charters.

The movie establishes that Tommy and Charlie have nightmares that turn out to be about the ship.  While Gus was originally obsessed with the Triangle and the ship, it turns out to be Stu who becomes obsessed about the ship and getting the treasure.  While the connection between Tommy and Charlie seems to flow and they have good chemistry, the chemistry between Stu and Julie was nonexistent.  And then the writers have Stu do some strange things.  He kills Julie because she wants him to stop looting the money on the ship and to leave the ship.  How she expects to do that when the fishing boat is gone at this point also doesn’t make any sense.  He also goes down to the engine room and kills Captain Morgan who is trying to get the ship running again.  How does he thing he can take the money anyplace where he can actually benefit from it without the ship running?  He doesn’t kill Gus.  The ghosts manage that because of his heart condition.  He then tries to kill Charlie.  The implication is that he is actually a former passenger who was mentally unstable and killed his wife before the ship disappeared.  It is also implied that Charlie is the reincarnation of the wife.  This might explain Charlie’s dreams but not Tommy’s dreams.  Tommy’s connection is never explained.

These weaknesses keep it from being a much superior film.  If the writers has been given the opportunity to tidy that up and tighten the script, this would have been a far better film.  As it is, it was entertaining and a sufficient film.  If forced to rate it, I would give it a 7 out of 10.  I started to say 6 of 10 but I think it was better than half way.  A 5 means ‘blah’ but not horrible.  It was good, just not great.  Worth the time it take to watch it.  As long as you didn’t have to pay much to do so.  (I got it on that combo pack of horror movies I got with Storm of the Century for $3.75.)  It is great for watching while working on projects.

 

 

 

The Month for Horror Movies

Posted in Movies, Movies and Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2016 by urbannight
give-me-what-i-want

Storm of the Century

It is that time of year again.  I love Halloween.  I also like horror movies and I am strangely picky in some ways while being relaxed in other areas.  I read some movie blogs and sometimes post my own movie reviews and mine are not as pretty as others nor do I have a systematic format that I use.  Maybe I should think about that some day.  Not today.

The first movie I watched this October was Steven King’s Storm of the Century.  I bought it from one of those cheap movie bins for 3.75$.  It was a great find for 3.75$.  It was quite good.  I kept asking myself how I managed to miss this in 1999 and how come I never saw it since.

Tim Daly did a great job as a constable of a tiny town.  The town being so small that the town manager and equivalent of sheriff/chief of police actually don’t have enough official work to pay them full time that they have to have full time day jobs as well is kind of amusing.  Since the constable also owns the grocery, it is mighty handy that the ‘jail’ is in back of it with a joining door.  What would happen if the constable wasn’t the owner of the store as well?  Or am I the only one who thinks of these things?  And maybe I missed it but the constable was really handy with the Bible quotes and I never figured out why.

Colm Feore was really creepy as the villain.  They managed to do a great deal with minimal makeup.  Occasionally his eyes went solid black.  The animal-like teeth are particularily effective.  It wasn’t the normal vampire type monster teeth. It is what a human mouth might look like if dog teeth were set in a human jaw.  The weird steel-like coloring made it more disturbing.  The make-up to make him look ancient was pretty good.  But he was more scary with his normal looks since he had such a smooth face and even complexion.  The only thing that was odd was that it is suggested that he was ‘Legion’ from the Bible but Legion was a whole collection of demons as the man who was possessed was possessed by more than one.  Yet Feore’s character seemed to be one being that was once human and that he was a representation of something that was passed down from one person to another since the earliest times of mankind.  But he is never clearly explained.  The ‘Legion’ explanation was weak in my opinion.

The town manager really annoys me the most.  He acts like he owns the town rather than being an elected official.  He acts like he owns the town and that his word is law and that he owns the people in charge of the actual law.  The pissed me off and I thought he was the least believable character in the entire film.

The rest of the story is good, although character development is weak.  I understand that by taking so long to finally tell the people what he wants all the while scaring people by telling their secrets and controlling people to cause them to kill themselves or others helps whip the town into a fearful frenzy, I found it still unbelievable that they would agree so easily to just hand over a child.  This was the least believable part of the film.  But the aftermath voice over that tells what happens in the years after is what really makes this film.  After spending three nights with these characters and having the time between episodes to think about things, that follow up at the end of the film is perhaps the most important part.  We see some of the real fallout of the towns actions.  And I did watch it in three spaced out sessions rather than in one sitting.  More by accident that a deliberate plan.

I will watch this again.  It was good and enjoyable.  Very few horror films enter the realm of ‘great’.  So I never expect that level out of any horror movie.

 

 

 

Flu (film)

Posted in Entertainment, foreign films, Korean films, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2015 by urbannight

Flu is a Korean disaster film that is very good.  Like a lot of Korean disaster films, there is a lot of humor in them.  Although the serious parts are very serious indeed.

The more I like a movie the less I have to say about it.  The less I care about spoilers.

The writing is good.

The acting is excellent.

The drama is intense.

You should watch this.  Everyone should watch this.  It is like the American film from a few years ago, Outbreak, only much better.

I group of illegals are transported into South Korea via a shipping container.  One has a cough as they take off.  They arrive in Korea with only one survivor.  He gets away but a lethal and very fast acting flu starts to spread through the city.  The city is quarantined.  Things go from bad to worse after that.

CDC people from the US come in and some politico types and they try to take over and eventually want to solve the problem by bombing the city to make sure the flu doesn’t get out of the city.    The Korean president has some difficulty wresting control back from the American’s who think they have the right to tell every other country what to do.

Well, that does sound about accurate.

Go watch it.  Go watch it now.  It is on Netflix at the moment.

Ring of Fire, HAHAHAHAHA, Sorry.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2015 by urbannight

This little disaster movie must be made for t.v. because it is a two-part movie.  The human drama was pretty good in most places, a bit melodramatic in others.  The writing for most of it wasn’t bad.  The science is pretty awful.

An oil company is secretly using a new laser drilling system to drill over twice as deep as they are legally allowed.  They are after what they think is a pocket of oil.  The geologist who signed off on it, but only at the legal depth, is aware of the target but had identified it is compressed magma.  Which it turns out to be.  The volcanic structure of the area is a caldera type volcano with a number of towns that had been built-in the caldera.

This is part of the ring of fire and they expect it to trigger an extinction level event.  In fact, they keep talking about and counting down to one massive event happening all around the entire tectonic/volcanic area called the Ring of Fire.  This is a massive area going around in a circle on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

At least they are having some of the initial events related to this having occurred around five months before.  But this one break through into the magma chamber has destabilized the entire Ring in a matter of hours and they are expecting the entire ring to start erupting all at one time in under a day.

Now, when I was in college and minoring in Geology, there was a theory that something could set off the Ring of Fire.  But not in the way depicted in this movie.  It would take something very massive and if it triggered any part of the ring it would only  be certain parts.  That might trigger other sections.  By trigger it was only in the sense that it would increase the tectonic and/or volcanic (although both are intrinsically related) activity in the area which might be enough to trigger eruptions or might not be.

Theoretically, something might possibly be able to trigger the ring in stages and it might cause eruptions, eventually, in stages, but nothing that would go off all at one time or that could trigger a mass extinction event.