Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Year in Review

Instead of doing my traditional top 10 and bottom 10 of 2011, I have chosen a different route. I feel that I haven't seen enough films this year to do a fair top 10 list, so I have decided instead to write about all the films I have seen this year.

2011 was not a very good year for film. It took me about 3 1/2 months to even see a new film at all. That film being Red Riding Hood, I was pleasantly surprised with this film. When I first saw the trailer I was split, it looked too much like "Twilight" and it was
even directed by the director of "Twilight", but the film was actually pretty good.

Following that came Scream 4 a film I was very much looking forward to and was slightly let down by. The film clearly didn't live up to what eve
ryone thought it would be, but the film was at least half way decent.

After that it was another month before I saw another film, that being The Hangover Part II. This film was great and it was the best film I had seen so far in the year. A lot of people complained that the film was too much like the original and I do agree with that, but at the same time there really wasn't anything different they could do. They kept the basic premise but added new things to it.

After that I'm not sure what I saw next but there were films during the summer like Cowboys & Aliens, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Final Destination 5 that I did go see in the theater. Cowboys & Aliens was another film I was looking forward to and that was a major disappointment. A very boring film that was incredibly predictable and as a friend of mine put it should have been called, "Cowboys with the Occasional Alien". Harry Potter wrapped up the story nicely and Final Destination 5 was a welcome addition after the major disappointment of the last film.

The biggest surprise of the summer was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which I thought was going to be terrible and it ended up really impressing me. The best film I saw in 2011 was surprisingly The Muppets. I was looking forward to the film and it really impressed me. I grew up watching "The Muppets" and this film really made me happy with it's good story and incredible soundtrack.

The film wasn't without it's definite terrible films. With such films as: No Strings Attached, Your Highness, The Green Hornet and Kevin Smith's terrible film Red State. With the exception of Your Highness none of the other films really looked any good anyways.

Other films I saw this year that I was pretty much indifferent on were A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, which I thought would have been better, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which honestly I didn't expect much from and Jack & Jill, that looked funny and disappointed, Al Pacino really saved that film.

Overall, 2011 was a pretty disappointing year. I didn't see films like Captain America or Green Lantern yet, but I do plan on it. Once I see those films I will definitely review them and put them up.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (2011)

"Don't stop believing"

"Glee" is a phenomenal TV series. It's kind of looked down on as being a tween series that is full of politics and gay undertones. However, I feel the series is actually really good. I find it funny and dramatic and the musical performances are outstanding. That being said, here we have "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie".

The concert footage is fun and entertaining. The movie is very simple it's a "mockumentary" / documentary. The Glee stuff is the mockumentary, since these are actors playing the characters who are putting on a concert. The rest of the footage is the documentary part. There are stories of teenagers who say that "Glee" has changed their lives (i.e. a gay teenager, a dwarf cheerleader, etc.). The performances are obviously the main part of the movie and they are also the best part. Most, if not all, the songs performed in the movie are songs they have performed on the series. So it's fun to see these amazing young performers do their thing on stage.

I feel that the movie is kind of odd, because the actors are playing their roles but they are performing a sold out concert. On the series the characters are "losers" and are constantly "slushed" (having a slushee thrown on them in the hallways of school) so it's kind of difficult to accept the characters being able to perform a concert like this. But I guess it's all suspense of disbelief. The movie is here solely to entertain and the movie does it well. One thing I don't like about concert documentaries is when they cut away from the concert to add other stupid crap I don't care about. I don't care about fans talking about the series or characters or how the show has changed their lives. The three stories of the different teenagers talking about their lives and the series, I feel wasn't really needed. I know that it's a special series to their lives and whatnot, but I don't care. I know the message of the TV series is that is that it's okay to be different and don't care what others say about you, but honestly the people who saw this or watch this want to see the performances.

The movie was entertaining and the performances were amazing. I feel this film probably didn't perform as well as the producers felt it would at the theaters because it's a concert film. Not many concert films perform incredibly well, so it's understandable that it didn't perform very well. Plus the movie was only in the theater for 2 weeks. And for some stupid reason they chose to present the film in 3D. There was absolutely no reason to release this film in 3D. There was no part in the movie where 3D was utilized well at all. That being said, the movie is entertaining very much. Also, stay after the credits for an additional performance!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Smurfs (2011)

"You smurfed with the wrong girl!"

In the same vain of "Scooby-Doo", "The Flintstones" and "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle" Sony Pictures has decided to bring another classic animated TV series to the big screen. Did it work or not?

"The Smurfs" was a Hanna-Barbera animated series that aired during the 1980s. It was an incredibly popular series, so it made sense to bring the series to the big screen. The only problem with that is that Sony Pictures decided to bring the characters to the "real world" for no real reason. The Smurfs wind up in New York City after trying to escape Gargamel (brilliantly played by Hank Azaria) during the Festival of the Blue Moon. When they get there, Clumsy winds up falling into a box and taken home by Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris), once there Patrick and his pregnant wife, Grace (Jayma Mays) decide to try and help the Smurfs figure out how to get back to their own world. Meanwhile, Patrick is trying to keep his job by making up an advertisement for his pushy boss.

The movie plays out very cliched and feels like a cross of "Alvin & the Chipmunks" and "Enchanted". The story line is incredibly basic and nothing to special comes from it. At the same time the movie has some really funny moments, mostly from Azaria as Gargamel. The movie has tons of moments where the characters don't understand basic things from the real world and humorous things follow (i.e. Gargamel not knowing what a Port-a-Potty is), but some of these fall on their faces. There are many moments in which the characters do some really stupid things that are meant to be funny but in the long run feel forced or even juvenile. For example, there is a moment when Smurfette (played by Katy Perry) gets a new dress and stands over a vent and has a little Marilyn Monroe moment. As much as I enjoy Perry (and her portrayal in this film) her acting was pretty awful during this scene and then they have to throw in the Scottish Smurf deliberately standing on the vent having the air blow up his kilt. The whole sequence was pretty terrible and just throwing in that last bit felt like an incredibly cheap joke for children.

Even though the movie had plenty of cliched moments, I felt the movie was entertaining and deserves a good look. I did enjoy how they included the original backstory of Smurfette the way it was in the cartoon series. I did like how they included the mentioning of "Peyo" who created the Smurfs comics. I loved how they mentioned the theme song being annoying, since that's been a pretty popular statement since the series originally aired. Overall, I felt the movie was funny, it didn't stoop down to bathroom humor like many other children's movies do nowadays. I think the movie (and many others like this) get a bad rap because it is based on a popular TV series and people have a preconceived notion about it. Honestly, I think everyone should give it a shot.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)

"I have to stay here and smoke this weed, otherwise I won't get high"

Harold & Kumar have come a long way since they made their way to a White Castle way back in 2004. The H&K movies are known for their extreme comedy and their marijuana jokes. This special Christmas installment doesn't lack any of those, but it falls short of the previous 2 installments.

The film has a pretty simple plot, Harold has his in-laws over and his father-in-law wants the perfect Christmas tree. Harold and Kumar haven't seen much of each other since Harold got married and Kumar is living on his own. His girlfriend, Vanessa, shows up to tell him she's pregnant, shortly after that he has a packaged delivered to him that is supposed to go to Harold. Kumar makes a trip to Harold's and they open the box to discover a giant "joint", somehow the joint falls in the "perfect" tree and burns down. And so begins the journey of Harold & Kumar trying to find a replacement tree before his wife & father-in-law return from midnight mass.

The plot is always pretty simple in these movies but for whatever reason this film just didn't feel like a H&K movie. There's a running gag in the movie of a baby getting high on pretty much every drug out there (marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, etc.) which was pretty funny, but honestly had run its course by the end of the film. It felt to me that the drug humor was incredibly toned down and the "adult" humor was toned up. This is a very "adult" Christmas movie. There's even a part in the movie that reflects the scene in "A Christmas Story" where the little boy gets his tongue stuck to a pole, but it wasn't a tongue in this film.

Finally I felt that this movie didn't need to be made in 3D at all. They used the 3D far too much and way to obviously. There were quite a few times in the movie when something was thrown at the screen and it would slow down in bullet time. It was so incredibly unneeded and stupid. I have a feeling that in 10 years time we'll be looking at this movie like we looked at the 80s 3D movies back in the 90s and think the movies were simply made to cash in on 3D. This film could have worked just fine without the 3D.

Overall I enjoyed the film, but I felt that it lacked something that the other 2 films had. Would I include this in my annual Christmas viewing? I don't think so, but a 2nd viewing could change all of that.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

"Stop and look around you, the glory that you see, is born again each day, don't let it slip away, how precious life can be!"

It had been 8 years since a Muppet movie had been released and only 2 years since Jim Henson had sadly passed away. But the movie that Jim Henson had originally wanted to be made was going to be made as a lasting tribute to him. "The Muppet Christmas Carol" was the first Muppet project produced after Jim Henson had died as well as Muppet performer Richard Hunt (performer of Scooter among others) who died in 1992. But what was produced was better than many probably would have expected.

The movie is very simple, a retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, done a million times over but this one actually has Gonzo (performed by Dave Goelz) and Rizzo the Rat (performed by Steve Whitmire) narrating the film from within the film. Scrooge is played by Michael Caine and the film is directed by Brian Henson (Jim Henson's son). The critical role of Kermit (previously performed by Jim Henson) was handed off to Steve Whitmire and the role is done perfectly!

I feel the film works incredibly well because the environment they produce is perfect. Michael Caine was the best choice for Scrooge, the roles of the Muppets are wisely chosen. I think the best Muppet casting is Statler and Waldorf as Marley (& Marley) and they get their chances of heckling Scrooge! The songs are amazing including the "missing" song of "When Love is Gone" (missing for some reason from the widescreen version of the film on the DVD but on the full screen version). The songs are touching and can actually work very well as simply Christmas songs (like "It Feels Like Christmas" and "One More Sleep Till Christmas").

I think this is a very good tribute to Jim Henson (the film is dedicated to Henson and Hunt), out of respect Henson's "signature" character of Rowlf does not speak (nor does Dr. Teeth) and Hunt's characters of Scooter and Janice are silent as well (not to be heard again until "Muppets From Space" for Scooter and "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie" for Janice). The movie is a pretty damn close adaptation of the novel and goes down as my personal favorite version of the story.

The Muppets (2011)

"Are you a Muppet or a man?"

It's been 12 years since The Muppets have graced the silver screen and they have finally returned. The movie was surprisingly amazing and incredibly touching especially for anyone who grew up with The Muppets. I grew up during a time when The Muppets were pretty damn popular. During the 90s The Muppets were popular enough to have 3 films come out as well as a revival of "The Muppet Show" in the incarnation of "Muppets Tonight". I also grew up with "Muppet Babies" as well as the movies that came before I was born. Sadly, after 1999's "Muppets From Space" the franchise died out and The Muppets were relegated to TV movies and direct-to-video movies.

The movie follows Gary (Jason Segal) and his brother Walter (a Muppet played by Peter Linz) on their way to Los Angeles where Walter wants badly to go on a tour of the Muppet Studios. Along for the ride is Mary (Amy Adams) who is Gary's girlfriend, who is going to L.A. to spend her anniversary with Gary. When they get there they realize the Muppet Studio is shambles and the theater is dire need of help when Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) decides to buy the studio & theater to tear them and dig for oil. So Gary & Walter go on a trip to find Kermit (played by Steve Whitmire) and get him to get the team back together and try and get the money to buy the theater back.

The movie has tons of great jokes that really made me laugh out loud. The songs were great, the story was very interesting and it ties the movies to the original TV show. There were a lot of jokes that I honestly don't think kids would get but it had jokes for kids too. I love movies that have jokes for both adults and children. The movie wasn't without it's downfalls. The big thing I didn't like about the movie is that I think the movie didn't really need the side story of Gary & Mary. Every time they cut back to that story I felt like it took you out of what was going on in the movie. I honestly didn't care about them and their relationship, it felt like it was out of place in this movie. I think Eric Jacobson who played Fozzie and Miss Piggy (sadly replacing Frank Oz, who opting out of returning) does not do a very good job as Fozzie. He's fine as Miss Piggy, but his voice is too high for Fozzie, I cringed a few times hearing his voice. And finally, I felt Gronzo was very left out of this movie. After the movie was over and I turned to friend and said this movie needed more Gonzo.

The new added Muppet of Walter I felt worked very well. I had a feeling he would be annoying and/or not fit well but he fit well with the original Muppets. He ends the show with an interesting little bit, but nothing takes away from the "Rainbow Connection" finale that is performed by all the Muppets and really gave me chills and brought a tear to my eye. I'm a self proclaimed Muppet fan and have loved all the movies and TV shows and seeing that song performed by all the Muppets really was touching and moving.

Overall I consider this as the best movie I've seen in 2011. It's got everything I could possibly ask for in a Muppet movie and I am very pleased with what I saw.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jurassic Park (1993)

"If the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' breaks down the pirates don't eat the tourists!"

By 1993, Steven Spielberg had already proven himself as a talented film director. He had directed some of the biggest films of all time and continued to prove himself; 1993 would be no different. Just like he had in 1975 with "Jaws", he chose a popular novel and made it into a blockbuster film. That book was "Jurassic Park" written by the late Michael Crichton. The rest is history.

The film follows John Hammond who has built a theme park with real live dinosaurs created through DNA found from fossilized misquotes. He invites a team of scientists to the park before it is officially opened to get an idea from them how amazing the park is. But there's a traitor in the midsts who wants to steal the DNA samples from Jurassic Park to make a nice little profit. While trying to do this the fences are brought down and the dinosaurs get out!

This film is one of my absolute favorites. It's an amazingly fun adventure film. Is the film violent? Yes and no, there are a lot of killings in the movie but for the most part most of them are either off screen or there is something blocking most of the death. Is the movie scary? Yes it is, and I think that's what makes this movie fun to watch. Even now, 18 years after it was released it still is very entertaining to watch. The CGI does look slightly dated (especially the scene where we see the first dinosaur) but overall I feel it holds up pretty well. The whole idea is very entertaining and it holds your attention for the whole 2 hour ride. There's pretty much no lag time at all. The casting was spot on, especially that of Jeff Goldblum playing Dr. Ian Malcolm. I don't know what it is, but I can't get enough of Jeff Goldblum! He's just a great actor, in my opinion!

This film was incredibly successful and it spawned 2 sequels. Ever since "Jurassic Park III" came out in 2001 there have been rumors of a 4th film and I hope one day we eventually get one.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Red State (2011)

"I fear God, you better believe I fear God"

Kevin Smith hasn't impressed me since "Zack & Miri Make a Porno" way back in 2007. His 2010 outing with Bruce Willis & Tracy Morgan known as "Cop Out" fully let me down and his 2011 outing known as "Red State" followed suit and goes down as Smith's worst film to date.

The film is basically about this cult (for lack of a better word) who kills people for being immoral. There's nothing more to the film than that. 3 teenagers go out to the middle of nowhere where some woman has promised to have sex with all of them at the same time. Soon they are drugged and one of them wakes up in a cage. What follows is the longest and most boring monologue I've ever seen. Michael Parks plays a preacher character who goes on and on about immorality and how everyone should fear God. It takes about 3 1/2 seconds to realize that this is all a religious thing and that this is more of a cult than anything else. Well, they kill some guy for being gay and then one of the 3 teenagers breaks free finding a room full of guns and ammo. Once he shoots his gun a passing by police officer calls for backup and the craziness ensues. This is where John Goodman comes in. Goodman is one of my most favorite actors but sadly his performance isn't that great. Father time hasn't been too good to this man and he looks pretty bad. And as my brother put it and I believed it beforehand, he can't yell anymore; and he sure can't!

The movie is labeled as a horror film, but I don't think it is. I can't really tell you what kind of genre it is, but it's not really a horror film. Almost everyone in the movie dies and the movie is flat out boring. Nothing really happens in the movie, a majority of the film is a shootout between the crazy cult people and the ATF. There's a few semi shocking moments but overall Smith fails to impress me with this movie.

Going back to the boring monologue, it's surprises me how much Smith's own writing has changed in the past 15 years. His early movies were really well done writing wise and "Chasing Amy" still stands as my favorite screenplay ever. Why? Because the dialogue flows so well and the acting is great. In "Red State" the dialogue is boring and doesn't do anything for me. The acting is good, Michael Parks is really good in this movie, but the dialogue is flat and full of shit I just don't care about.

Kevin Smith hasn't had a good movie in 4 years and hasn't had a really great movie in 12 years. The last time he dealt with religion was with "Dogma" in 1999 and it was greatly done and entertaining, this time he decides to deal with religion and the government and it just doesn't work. The film ends [SPOILER!!] with the government admitting that they are deciding to treat most people they don't like as terrorists and taking them out. That's what they were doing with the cult. However, the cult fired on them and killed many of them so they had every right to attack them, plus the cult killed a few people in town for no real reason.

Needless to say the movie didn't do anything for me, and I consider this as Smith's worst film to date. I really hope that he can redeem himself at some point, but I feel that this 15 minutes of fame were over a long time ago.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

"You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness!"

So, when Episode I came out in 1999 I personally was looking more forward to Episode III for one simple reason, I knew it was going to be incredibly dark. Everyone knew that Episode III was going to have the lightsaber battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan and we knew that Anakin would become Darth Vader as well. So we were all looking forward to it. And, for once, with the prequels, I wasn't let down.

Episode III was just as dark as I had hoped and more. It was so dark that it was the only Star Wars film to receive a PG-13 rating. And it had to be dark, Darth Vader is portrayed as a terrible, horrible person who kills whoever gets in his way, so his origin had to be dark. Though you don't see it, Anakin kills almost everyone in the Jedi temple including small children (younglings as they call them). So needless to say the film was pretty damn dark.

The main story is about Anakin and his nightmare about Padme dying in childbirth. Since he had nightmares of his mother dying in Episode II and then it came true, he is very worried about this nightmare coming true. He needs to figure out a way to save Padme. Chancellor Palpatine uses this to his advantage and tells Anakin lies about learning ways of prolonging life if he simply turns to the dark side (without using those words, of course). Well, he finally turns to the dark side helping Palpatine kill Mace Windu. After that the killing begins!

The movie acts as a very good conclusion to the prequel trilogy and the ending of the film ties together the two trilogies pretty well. Though the film is damn good, I have to say there are a few things that makes the film suffer. One of them being the way Padme dies. They literally say in the film that she has "lost the will to live", seriously? Because Anakin turns to the dark side she just decides to stop living? They even claim they have no clue why she is dying. Such a stupid excuse. And why did she have to die? Couldn't she have just left the area and taken the twins with her? Also, speaking of twins, her on screen pregnancy was pretty craptacular. Look at the size of the twins she gives birth to, place them next to each other and there is no way she was carrying both of those twins! That just bothered me.

Oh, and who can forget the infamous "NOOOOO" that Darth Vader yells out after he finds out that Padme is dead. Darth Vader is the baddest motherfucker in the galaxy and he starts out with the big pussy reaction of "NOOOO"?? I honestly don't think George Lucas has ever even seen the original films, even though he made them, I don't think he's actually seen them. Also, I don't think the story of Anakin trying to save Padme as the reason he turned was kind of lame, but I guess Lucas really doesn't know how to do anything other than make fanboys come in their pants.

Overall, I rank this film just under Empire as the 2nd best Star Wars film, simply for the dark undertones and the fantastic acting, mostly from Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)

"Someday I will be the most powerful Jedi ever"

Okay, so the utter disappointment in Episode I didn't hurt its box office whatsoever. We all knew Episode II was coming and we all knew it would be in 2002. The only thing we could all do was wait, and hope it would be better than Episode I. I remember in the fall of 2001 I went to see "Monsters Inc." solely because the Episode II teaser was attached to it. I was completely let down when the teaser was seriously just Darth Vader breathing. And before I can say anything else, why the fuck was it just that?? Darth Vader doesn't even make an appearance until the very end of Episode III, everyone knew Vader was not going to be in Episode II. Fucking stupid teaser.

Anyway the day came, I was 18 and I went to see the midnight showing, I was not allowed to see the midnight showing of Episode I cause my mother wouldn't allow me to be up that late on a school night, well I was still in high school and I said fuck it. I saw the movie... and I almost threw up! Personally, Episode II is the WORST in the entire series. The movie sucks so bad even the title was fucking retarded! First off, the movie is boring, none of the other films are boring but this one is. Second, they cast Hayden Christensen who couldn't act his way out of a paper bag. I seriously had no clue that George Lucas was capable of casting yet another awful actor in such an iconic role, but he sure did it!

This movie was supposed to do two things: show the romance between Anakin and Padme, and show the beginning of the evil side of Anakin. Well, they accomplished the first one and they did so badly they are basically rubbing it in your face. The second one was also accomplished but in a really crappy way. Yeah, Anakin went nuts when his mother dies in his arms and he kills all the Sand People in that little camp. Fine. But, instead of coming off as angry and evil he comes off much more as asshole then anything else. I didn't feel any sympathy for him when his mother died, I seriously couldn't care less, because George Lucas didn't make me care about him at all. And why is that? Because of his shitty half assed dialogue. Oh, and by the way, this movie has to have the worst line of dialogue I've ever seen in my life! And the line is from Anakin and goes like this:

"Master Obi-Wan would be very grumpy if he found me doing this"

I paraphrased that but the line is "very grumpy" for sure. Very grumpy?? Seriously? This man becomes the intergalactic Hitler and he says "very grumpy"?? Awful, awful dialogue and to make matter worse it was badly delivered too! Also, I feel Natalie Portman (whom I feel is actually pretty good in these films) was really bad in this movie. I love Natalie Portman but her performance in this film was just as bad as anybody else's.

The movie ends with 2 gigantic battle sequences. One between all the Jedi's and pretty much everyone else and the other between Obi-Wan, Anakin & Yoda and Count Dooku (played by the legendary Christopher Lee). Well, Anakin gets beaten like the bitch he is and Yoda comes in and saves the day. I remember being in the theater and when Yoda shows up and whips out his light saber, I yelled out "Oh shit! He's gonna get fucked up!" (Star Wars midnight screenings are always the best). So the movie ends and for some reason Anakin has some HUGE robotic arm to replace the arm he lost in his fight with Count Dooku. I'm not kidding, the arm just seems overly too big for his body. It's not that way in Episode III.

If I hadn't known that Episode III was going to be the darkest of the series, I might not have wanted to keep going after this film. This film just sucks, everything in it sucks. There's nothing exciting about this film at all. It's not even "so bad, it's good" nope, nothing. I admit I saw the film twice in the theater because I was going to try and see the Star Wars films as many times as I could (I saw Episode I three times in the theater) but twice was enough. The second time I remember wanting to leave about 10 minutes in. I've tried watching all 6 films in one day, but I can NEVER get all the way through Episode II without turning it off for a long while.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering"

So back in 1999 Star Wars fans alike were all greatly anticipating the first Star Wars film in 16 years. I was also looking forward to it, but I wasn't as familiar with the series. My first experience seeing the films was with the 1997 Special Edition re-releases, nevertheless a new film was coming and everyone was excited. What they eventually saw would go down in history as one of the crappiest films ever made.

The first teaser trailer made everyone believe the film was to be about Anakin Skywalker's beginnings, you know Darth Vader as a little kid! Well, the actually film wasn't too much about him. The film was more about the early days of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his trainer or whatever, Qui-Gon Jinn. They are basically trying to help out the planet of Naboo from an illegal blockade from the Trade Federation. They end up finding Anakin on the planet of Tatooine where he is living as a slave. After an incredibly long and unnecessary podrace scene Anakin is granted his freedom and accompanies Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to Courasant where he is presented to the Jedi Counsel. They agree he might be the "chosen one" but he can't be trained because of the dark feelings Yoda senses in him. Everyone decides to go back Naboo and fight the good fight. There Anakin somehow is able to "accidentally" destroy the Trade Federation mother ship and in turn saves the day.

Obviously I left some stuff out but for the most part that's the plot of the film. There were a lot of problems myself and many others had with this film. The biggest problem was Jar Jar Binks. Some weird looking fish type creature who's more annoying than anything else. There was really no reason for his character whatsoever. From what I've read Lucas created that character to try and draw in more kids or some crap. If I was a younger kid (I was 15 at the time) I'd probably hate him even more than I originally did!

The main problem I had with this movie and the prequels in general was the terrible acting and dialogue. The dialogue wasn't too bad in this one but the acting sucked ass, especially that from Jake Lloyd, the little kid who (horribly) played Anakin. If you want a good example of the terrible acting take a look at the scene where Qui-Gon and Padme first meet Anakin.

And then comes the contradictions made with the original trilogy. The big one being that in "The Empire Strikes Back" Obi-Wan said that Yoda was the Jedi Master who trained him, and then in this film it was Qui-Gon-Jinn who trained Obi-Wan. In "A New Hope" R2-D2 says that he used to belong to Obi-Wan Kenobi but he reacts as saying "I don't ever remember owning a droid", and yet in the prequels R2-D2 is with Obi-Wan all the fucking time!

Overall the movie is decent but goofy at the same time. The amount of time spent on the podrace is completely insane. The characters are annoying and the contradictions kind of ruin the other films for you. I saw the movies the way they were made, Episode IV through VI and then the prequels, I'd really like to meet someone who never saw any of them and saw them Episode I through VI.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

"It's a boy!"

By 1989 the slasher era had, for the most part, died. Gone were the days of crappy “massacre” films. What was left? D-rated sequels to the popular slashers of the early 1980s. By 1989, Jason had been to the screen 8 times, Michael Myers, 5 times and Freddy with 4 times, now was a good time to have Freddy back for his fifth time. In 1989 there was Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and of course A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. Why not? The Dream Master was the highest grossing Nightmare film out of the original 4, so why not make yet another sequel?

Again, they spent little to no time working out any problems in the script. All they knew was to have a group of teenagers killed off by Freddy, who cares about the details of the script? This movie includes those survivors of the last film (which I always like). We find Alice (Wilcox) finally with her dream man Dan (Hassel) as they are about to graduate. But Freddy is still around and this time he needs to be reborn. Alice witnesses Freddy’s odd birth, and finally he is back. He begins to kill people, but this time he is able to kill people without Alice dragging people into her dreams, they are killed while she is still awake, which she can’t figure out why. Well, Dan is killed and she discovers she is pregnant with his child. The child is dreaming and that is causing the dreams to help Freddy kill.

This film is down there with Freddy’s Revenge and Freddy’s Dead. Simply because it seems that the script was written over a weekend. And again, I go back to the first film, since when has Freddy needed help getting into people’s dreams? I never really understood this. I got it in Dream Warriors it simply gave him more victims at the time, but I never got the idea that he couldn’t get into other people’s dreams. Was he only allowed to kill off the children of the people who killed him? And if that is the case what’s up with Freddy’s Dead and Freddy vs. Jason? Anyway, it’s always enjoyable to see characters from a previous film back for another one. Also, Lisa Wilcox is actually a good actress and it’s nice to see her character get developed more.

Something else to bring up is the rebirth. Why is this in here? Freddy has never needed to be reborn, so why all of a sudden now? It feels to me that they used this as a metaphor to the later pregnancy announcement. Also, audiences knew it was called The Dream Child and the teaser trailer showed a very grotesque, gothic looking stroller that had Freddy’s arm pop out of at the end. So maybe people were expecting some kind of crazy Freddy birth or something. Regardless, it seems very out of place and pointless.

Something they had started a while back but I still liked to see is that Freddy kills people either by their biggest fear or by something they enjoy a bit too much. For example, Greta (Anderson) has an eating complex, so she is killed by being force fed until she chokes. Mark (Seely) loves to draw comic books, so he is killed in a comic book world. However, I did not care to see Alice’s unborn child come to her and tell her things about Freddy. First off, she is still in her first trimester yet the child she sees is like 5 or 6 years old in the dream world. Freddy is trying to coax an unreal, representation of Alice’s unborn child into his world. It makes no sense to me, if Freddy had won did that mean that when the child was born it would be Freddy? Or that she would miscarry? I didn’t really understand what would have happened if he had won the fight.

Anyway, with all these quips, the movie failed. It made only $22 million, a very sad take in, seeing how the previous film made double that. So, it seemed to most people that Freddy was most likely gone, just as Jason and Michael died at the box office that same year, it seemed very likely that the slasher era had finally died for good. But, that was not the case, Jason, Michael and Freddy would be back again in the 1990s.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

"Jesus Christmas! Holy Jesus goddamn! Holy Jesus jumping Christmas shit!"

The Friday the 13th series proved to be quite successful for Paramount during the 1980s, but they also knew when it was getting old and so in 1984 they decided to kill off the franchise, or so we thought. Calling the film The Final Chapter as opposed to Friday the 13th Part 4 was a marketing technique, make the audiences think that this is the end and more people will come to see the movie.

Again, the film has very little to do with the original film. In fact in this case the film has nothing to do with the original film, aside from Jason being in the movie. The hockey mask is back and is now a trademark of Jason’s even appearing on the theatrical poster in a puddle of blood with a knife through the eye. Tommy Jarvis (Feldman) is now the main character, a young boy who loves making scary masks. They live out in the woods somewhere, him, his sister Trish (Beck) and their mother (Freeman). A house across the way is rented out by a bunch of horny teenagers and let the killings begin! The movie begins right where the last one left off, Jason’s body is taken from the farmhouse seen in part 3 to a morgue where he quickly offs the mortician and a nurse to escape. Everything else plays out like a common Friday the 13th film until the end, when young Tommy shaves his head to make himself look like Jason then quickly takes care of Jason ending the carnage.

This is one of the more entertaining Friday films, Corey Feldman was huge at the time and really brought something to the series. Parts 4, 5 and 6 proved that a woman need not headline the film for a slasher film to become successful. Part 4 also saw the return of makeup wizard Tom Savini. In interviews he claimed he created the monster, now let him destroy him. And so they did, however not for long since the following year, Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning was released. I think that calling it The Final Chapter brought in quite a bit more audience and the studio saw that as a positive.

Friday the 13th Part 3 3D (1982)

"No! You CAN'T be alive!"

With one great film, another must follow, or so is the case with slasher films. Friday the 13th Part 2 did so well, why not make another one? But, there was something that was coming back into light during the 1980s, it had been a big thing in the 1950s and it was about to have a come back in the 1980s and that thing was 3D films. Why not try it out with what was becoming America’s favorite killer?

Friday the 13th Part 3 3D (as it was originally titled) followed the character of Chris (Kimmell) and her friends as they take a trip to her parent’s farm for the weekend. Chris is a little on edge, but doesn’t let on why. There she finds Rick (Kratka) her old boyfriend, but he can’t figure out what is going on with her either. Finally she cracks and admits that Jason attacked her once after she had had a fight with her parents (though she doesn’t refer to him as Jason). But, little to her knowledge, Jason is at the farm stalking and killing her friends. In the end it is up to Chris, as our final girl, to save the day.

In 2009, Paramount Pictures finally released the movie on DVD (and eventually Blu-Ray) in 3D! Even though it's standard red/blue 3D, it works and I think it works much better on Blu-Ray! That being said, I think this movie could have been better if it weren’t for the 3D. Seeing it in 2D is annoying because they have so many things being thrown at or passed to the camera, and without the 3D it’s extremely annoying and stupid. The film is entertaining, which is what these films should be doing, but there are a lot of problems as well with this film. First off, the stoner characters were not needed. They were second rate rip offs of Cheech and Chong, who were popular at the time. Since Crazy Ralph was killed off in the last film they decided to try and bring another “prophet of doom” into this movie, with some crazy old guy who just happens to be sleeping in the middle of the road with a severed eye ball (which he quickly holds close to the screen, for that creepy 3D effect).

The ending to this movie is probably the dumbest of them yet. After Chris supposedly kills Jason, by hanging him from the barn, she decides to take a boat out into the lake (just like the first film), there she sees Jason losing his mind inside one of the buildings, he quickly breaks through a wooden door and comes after her, but she awakens from a nightmare only to find herself in another nightmare, this time having Mrs. Voorhees jump out of the water (just like Jason did in the first film). Then she awakens for real where we find her strapped to a gurney being placed inside an ambulance. Okay, the problem I have with this is first off, why did they feel like trying to end the movie like the first one? It wasn’t really paying homage to the first one, it was more like they were making fun of it. Second, why would Mrs. Voorhees be in Chris’s dream in the first place? She never knew anything about her, nor had she ever seen her. But, in her nightmare she was wearing the sweater from the first film and even had the same hair do. And why was her head reattached to her body? This ending was terrible.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable film. If you can ever see it in 3D I would suggest it over the 2D version. It’s still a decent film, but much more entertaining in 3D.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

"Great, my secret weapon is PMS. That's just terrific. Thanks for telling me!"

So back when I was a kid I actually enjoyed this movie. I was only 8 years old when this movie came out. 5 years later a TV series based on the movie premiered and I avoided it like the plague! 5 years after THAT, I caved in and watched it and loved it! The TV series was very well done, it was dark with a hint of comedy but it was much more serious than the 1992 film. After having seen the film again recently I realized how absolutely awful the film really is.

The movie plays out very much like the pilot of the TV series played out. It's about a girl, Buffy Summers, the popular cheerleader who is "the chosen one", the slayer. She is contacted by her watcher, who goes by a different name in the film than the TV series, played by Donald Sutherland. He shows her how to prefect the art and become the slayer. Not much more to it than that.

This movie is poorly put together, there's no time between scenes it immediately jumps from the last line of one scene to the first line of the next scene. Buffy is made out to be an empty headed "OMG" teenage girl who is, for lack of a better word, stupid. I believe this was their attempt to capture that "Clueless" like girl (I am aware that "Clueless" came out 3 years after this film, but I couldn't think of a better way to explain it). On the TV series Buffy was a former cheerleader and a carefree girl, but never was she really portrayed as stupid as she is in the film. To prove how stupid they really make her, at one point in the movie someone asks her what's wrong with the environment, her response is to get rid of the ozone layer. Really? I mean even the dumbest people in the world aren't THAT stupid! But the problem is that she is presented as stupid but when she meets up with her watcher she all of a sudden she becomes someone who cares about other people and apparently meeting him has raised her I.Q. as well.

The TV series is so much more well done, it's an intelligent series done the way creator/writer Joss Whedon wanted the movie done. The cast is better and Sarah Michelle Gellar is much more likable than Kristy Swanson. This movie is so lost it can't be found again. After seeing the TV series, this movie could have been so much better if they had just let Whedon do what he wanted to do.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Feelings Toward 3D in General

Back in 2003 I remember going to see "Spy Kids 3D: Game Over", it was the first movie I got to see in the theater (or at all) in 3D! I went into the theater all happy with my crappy cardboard red/blue 3D glasses and waited for the fun to begin. And then I kept waiting.... and waiting.... and waiting... The fun never began because the 3D sucked. It didn't look like 3D at all. Years passed and I finally saw a 2nd film in the theater in 3D. This time around it was boasting the all mighty "Disney Digital 3D" and the film was a re-release of the 1993 film "The Nightmare Before Christmas". The 3D was much better, but about 5 minutes into the film I sat there wondering, "why the hell is this in 3D?"

Little did I know that 3D was going to become the norm. Since that theater experience 3D has continued to grow and now it's becoming almost impossible to NOT see a film in 3D. But why is 3D so big now and when it was first tried in the 1950s it failed? Well, obviously technology is the answer but why do people clamor for it? Why do people go running for the theater when they hear a movie is in 3D? I honestly have no clue. For some instances 3D works and if it's done well it works well, but for the most part there's no reason for it. 3D works alright in action films and horror films, but what's the point? 3D is nothing more than a novelty act. It's a way to have fun for a certain amount of time, but why would you want to watch every film or TV show in 3D?

When 3D TVs and blu-ray players began selling I figured it would die and I still feel that way. I stand there watching people shell out $3000+ for this crap and can't figure out why. In my opinion the 3D technology will die out eventually, because people are not going to wear big ass 3D glasses on their face for an entire movie or TV show. I've had people tell me "can you imagine watching football with this?" and all I can say is "yes, I can, getting headaches and neck aches from wearing glasses on my face for 4 hours!" 3D is stupid, nothing more, and what really drives me nuts is when they post convert movies into 3D. Meaning the film wasn't shot in 3D but was put through a process so it's in 3D later. What is the point of 3D if you're not specifically shooting FOR 3D? All it does is give the movie depth, that is all, is that really worth an extra $2 per movie ticket?

Another thing I noticed is that eventually the 3D effect wears off. Your eyes become desensitized to the effect causing you to have to take your glasses off for a moment then put them back on to get the effect again. I just don't get the excitement over it. 3D is nothing more than a way to get stupid people to go see a movie they probably didn't want to see in the first place.

Final Destination (2000)

"Carter, you dick!"

In 2000 the slasher genre which had truly began in the late 1970s and ended badly in the mid 1980s and reborn in the mid 1990s, had died down again. The horror genre was looking for something new, something fresh. Then came along a little film called "Final Destination". Looking back at the film now it's hard to believe how original it was. We have known seen 4 sequels to the film and it's getting a bit tired, but at the time the film was something new and interesting.

The film follows a group of students who are on their way to their senior trip to Paris, France. But, Alex (Devon Sawa) has a premonition about the plane blowing up and gets himself and a small group of people off the plane before it actually blows up. Something interesting happens then when those who got off the plane begin dying and in the order they died on the plane! From that point each of the characters tries to escape death.

Again with these films people are really just looking for the death scenes and not really the movie itself. In this film, since it was the first, there is much more character and story development than the other films had. The character of Bludworth (brilliantly played by Tony Todd) is a character that gives the audience all the exposition and it's done very well. Each of the death scenes is unique and that's what makes the FD films so popular. It's not a slasher film, it's a unique horror film that has the characters die off in interesting ways. And, unlike a lot of horror films, this one doesn't actually have an antagonist. The antagonist is death itself, but death is never seen.

The film is very entertaining because of the build up they use with each death. This is a tradition that is used in every FD film to follow. It gets better with each film but this one is fun because the film isn't making fun of it yet, there's tons of build up especially with the death of the teacher (badly played by Kristen Cloke), simply because the death scene is so involved. So much happens in that death scene and it's really exciting to see how they play everything out. The film is a popcorn flick and it's fun to watch!

Final Destination 5 (2011)

"Death doesn't like to be cheated"

Part 5's are usually pretty bad. Why? Because it's the same story over and over again. And by part 5 everyone is pretty tired of the story. And I can see how some people may feel that way walking into and out of "Final Destination 5", after all wasn't part 4 called THE Final Destination?

With the Final Destination films the story is ALWAYS the same. The movie starts out with a hero (or heroine) having a premonition about a group of people dying and then stopping those people from dying. Then death follows each member around killing them off one by one. Back in 2000 when the original film came out it was a fresh, new and exciting idea, 11 years later the idea is stale and it needs new spice every once in a while.

With "Final Destination 5" the new spice is a new rule. Before it was, there was no escaping death. In the first film if you skipped the pattern then that person who was skipped would be saved. In part 2 it was new life could save those marked for death and so on. In part 5 the new idea is if you kill someone else, you take their life. Kind of out there, but it works. Part 5 still is very much of the same, really with any FD film everyone is going there to see the deaths not the movie itself. And to me the most exciting part of the movie is the premonition scene. Those deaths are usually pretty damn fast and gory as hell! However, in this film I felt it was a little lackluster. There wasn't really anything special about the deaths. I felt the filmmakers were just trying to use the stupid 3D to the best of their ability and never mind to the effectiveness of the scene.

A note about the 3D: I didn't see the movie in 3D (on purpose), however there were a few moments when stuff was thrown right at the screen or a death scene was played out to work well in 3D. But, overall I felt the filmmakers didn't really take advantage of the audience in any way, after all some of the people (like me) were going to be seeing the movie in standard 2D (as it should be seen anyway).

Overall, I enjoyed the film and I especially LOVED the end of the movie. I saw it coming as soon as I saw the establishing shot. I'm not going to ruin it for anyone, but it was really cool (in my opinion).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Yogi Bear (2010)

Before I even start this movie is so bad I couldn't even come up with a good quote to accompany it!

Yogi Bear was never a favorite of mine. I love Hanna-Barbera animation but Yogi was never one of my favorites. That said the only reason I saw this abortion of a movie was because I wanted to meet Dan Aykroyd who was at a local theater when it opened. That said what followed was the most predictable and stupid piece of trash I've seen in a long time.

Yogi Bear is voiced by Dan Aykroyd, nothing really wrong with this he was just average in the role. Boo Boo was voiced by Justin Timberlake and at first you probably are thinking "Really? Why?" well he blows the voice out of the water! He was amazing, he sounded just like Don Messick doing the voice! Other than Timberlake's voice portrayal, the movie has nothing more to offer.

The plot is very basic some corrupt guy wants to building something (who cares what) and he decides to try and take the land from Jellystone Park. Interestingly, if Jellystone is a NATIONAL PARK then no one can come and take the land from them, no matter what the reasoning, in this case lack of people coming to the park. So there's a giant as plot hole in this stupid movie. So Yogi and Boo Boo decide to take it upon themselves to save the park.

What a big surprise! The movie is bad, just bad. Hanna-Barbera movies made into live action films are usually hit or miss. There have been a few hits (Flintstone, Scooby-Doo, Josie & the Pussycats) and a few misses (Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas) and this one is definitely a HUGE miss. The movie is boring and isn't funny. There was only one funny moment in the movie and it was ruined in one of the trailers.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

"Get your stinking paw off me, you damn dirty ape!"

I will admit that at first this appeared to be a stupid movie. I've never enjoyed ANY of the "Planet of the Apes" films. Not the original, not the 2001 remake, none of them. I don't know what it was about them, they just never held my interest. So, when I heard there was yet another coming out, I thought to myself "Really?". After hearing the concept of the film I was slightly intrigued but still held it to myself that the movie was going to be bad. I was pleasantly surprised!

The movie is very basic, it's a prequel to the original film and it tells the story of how the apes took over the Earth. Not much more needs to be said. The story was interesting with the drug they used on the one ape and how it proved to make that ape incredibly intelligent. And how that same drug was proven to cure Alzheimer's disease, in the case of John Lithgow's character. However, as time goes on and the main Ape, named Caesar, is taken by animal control after he attacks someone, the drug is proven to not only be very good for humans but kills them as well.

The movie ends with an amazing battle between ape and man on the Golden Gate bridge. However at the end of the movie it is implied that the apes just wanted to get away from humans and live in the woods. My guess is, as it is also implied, that the human race is going to die out thanks to this drug and because the drug is helpful in apes the apes will rise (no pun intended). The apes didn't want to kill humans they just wanted to live separate from them.

Anyway, I was glad this movie was good, it's the first "Planet of the Apes" film that I actually enjoyed! The movie is a great action film with some decent CGI, however there was one particular scene where the apes are charging a building where it was very clear it was CGI, it looked pretty bad. Oh, and also, for any "Harry Potter" fan, Tom Felton (a.k.a. Draco Malfoy) was in the movie and he got fucked up one of the apes! So he finally got his comeuppance!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Across the Universe (2007)

"All you need is love"

Who would have ever thought that some day we would have a musical based around the songs of The Beatles? Well, maybe a lot of people, I don't know. This movie kind of slipped under my radar, I didn't even know anything about it until it was about to come to video, but I was very intrigued to see it and I'm glad it was made.

I'm a Beatles fan, I admit and I've seen Paul McCartney in concert TWICE! But that aside the fact that a movie was made using the songs of The Beatles made this very interesting indeed. The movie plot is very basic, it doesn't really exist. Like so many other films about the 1960s this movie is just that, it's ABOUT the 1960s. I've heard from people who were upset that this movie didn't have a plot, well it wasn't a conventional plot. When you make a movie about the 1960s there's really no reason to have a plot simply because of all the stuff going on the 60s that was enough to make a movie about. But the overall "plot" (if you will) is a basic love story. A guy (cleverly named Jude) comes to America from England looking for his biological father. He finds him and then magically that story is over. He runs into Max a loner who goes to Yale (or Harvard I can't remember) but doesn't want that since it's what his parents want. Jude immediately falls for Lucy, Max's sister, who is fresh off her romance with her boyfriend who was killed in Vietnam. After that the story really focuses mainly on them and their on again off again relationship.

Some might be wondering how exactly they used the songs in the movie. Well, I think they intertwined them very well. Before Jude heads off to America he says goodbye to his girlfriend singing "All My Loving". When Max is introducing Jude to his friends he sings "With a Little Help From My Friends". A gospel choir sings "Let It Be" during Lucy's boyfriend's funeral. One song that was cleverly used was "Dear Prudence". The character of Prudence (who was gay) locks herself in a closet and her friends sing "Dear Prudence" to her to coax her out. Oddly though there was a character named Sadie yet the song "Sexy Sadie" was never used.

The one thing I didn't like about the movie was there was a character that looked like Jimi Hendrix and even wore the same clothes as him (against his own wishes) but it wasn't Hendrix. I just didn't get why exactly they decided to have a character that looked like him but not have it be him. I'm not sure if they were alluding to the fact that it COULD be him or not. Also, I'm not sure on this one but I think Sadie was supposed to be Janis Joplin, but I'm not 100% on that one.

Overall the movie is very entertaining and very much a film about the 60s. The movie is very psychedelic. The performances are fantastic and the movie ends incredibly well with a rendition of "All You Need is Love" and not a word spoken (other than the lyrics) a very good love story indeed!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)

"All aboard that's going ashore!"

Who would have thought that a simple commercial would turn into a line of successful films?? Certainly the guys at Geico thought so...

Back in the late 80s and early 90s Jim Varney shot to stardom just from some commercials he made. Ernest P. Worrell was a commercial star who hocked pretty much anything. Before anyone knew it, he was a movie star. "Ernest Goes to Camp" was the first in a long line of Ernest films to be released. Jim Varney, of course, starred in the Touchstone Pictures film. In this film Ernest finds himself at a camp as a handy man, but he wants more, he wants to be a camp counselor. When a group of "Second Chance" kids come to the camp, the counselors decide to allow Ernest to take them under his wing. Hilarity ensues. In the meantime, a construction group is trying to buy the land the camp is on so they can build on it.

In my opinion this is the best Ernest film. It was the first and the best looking (being the only one of them shot in scope [2.35:1]). The jokes in it are very much like those in the other films. Varney had a knack for playing this character and he evidently loved it (he supposedly was filming an Ernest film when he died that was never finished or released). Being the first in the series it's missing a few things that became staples of the following films, mostly Varney playing numerous goofy characters and speaking directly to the camera. The film also has a moment that is not to be seen ever again in any of the other films, that scene being a small musical number from Varney. It's a touching song towards the middle of the song, but it feels very out of place in the movie.

Overall it's kind of hard to explain the impact of the character and the movies to current day audiences. The films were a very big part of my childhood. Five of the films (Goes to Camp, Saves Christmas, Goes to Jail, Scared Stupid and Rides Again) were theatrical films, while four of the films (Goes to School, Slam Dunk, Goes to Africa and In the Army) were direct to video films. Nonetheless the films remained funny though the last 2 lost something along the line. But everything comes back to "Goes to Camp". The Ernest character was so big that he had his own Saturday morning TV show ("Hey Vern, It's Ernest!").

"Goes to Camp" was funny enough to spawn more sequels though the films weren't incredibly successful. For their budgets they were successful but never broke any records. Nevertheless, without these films Jim Varney may have never had the career he did and we would have never had Slinky Dog in "Toy Story".

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

"How sweet, fresh meat!"

As stated earlier, New Line Cinema was so eager to cash in on Freddy Krueger that they seemed to not care about the quality of the script or the film to even care. They knew Freddy was big money and they were ready to make some big bucks off of him. Dream Warriors grossed over $44 million, more than the first and second film alone. It was the highest grossing Nightmare movie, so another sequel was inevitable. But with little preparation, they began work on The Dream Master.

The Dream Master is a direct continuation from part 3. With the three survivors of the film, Kristen (Knight), Kincaid (Sagoes) and Joey (Eastman). They are now back home and finally rid of Freddy....or so they think. Kristen is still paranoid about Freddy, and because of her paranoia she brings Freddy back. He quickly kills off the three, but not before Kristen can pass on her power of pulling people into her dreams onto her best friend Alice (Wilcox). Thus begins a continuing, and surprisingly interesting storyline in the Nightmare world. It’s up to Alice and her group of cliche friends to stop Freddy.

The Dream Master was an interesting yet somewhat stupid movie. I very much enjoyed the whole story idea of passing on this odd power to another person. I did not like how they recast Patricia Arquette with Tuesday Knight, who I personally think is a very bad actress. But, I would assume that Arquette did not want to return and with good reason. How exactly did Freddy go from dragging people up the wall and killing them on the ceiling to turning people into giant roaches? A lot of the deaths in this movie are stupid and just seemed like a way to use special effects in a time when special effects were coming into new light. There was an interesting death scene in which the character of Rick (Jones) has to fight an invisible Freddy. I don’t know if that was the way it was meant to be, or if something happened to prevent Robert Englund from being there that day, it doesn’t matter, it was still a very interesting scene.

By this time Freddy had become a gigantic star, spawning his own TV series Freddy’s Nightmares, which was basically a lower budget Twilight Zone series that Robert Englund hosted, as Freddy of course! But, because he had become a star and because New Line Cinema wanted more and more money, the once good series of films was beginning to suffer. Even though this is not particularly one of my favorite horror films, this movie is actually the highest grossing Nightmare on Elm Street film (not counting Freddy vs. Jason), grossing $49 million domestically. So of course, this was even more of an excuse to get another sequel out as quickly as possible, which turned out to be not such a great idea after all.

Day of the Dead (2008)

After 2004’s decent remake of Dawn of the Dead, I’m sure everyone was expecting a remake of 1985’s Day of the Dead. Well, it took 4 long years, but it finally happened. And, boy, do I wish it hadn’t. This movie started out…terribly, and it stayed that way all the way through. Granted, I did watch the whole movie, but to be honest I completely lost interest in the movie after the first hour and I wasn’t paying attention anymore. So I have no idea how it ended or anything like that, but nothing could save this terrible piece of trash. George A. Romero must be kicking himself for giving up the script for this movie, although I’m sure he was happy with his check.

This movie is extremely loosely based on the 1985 original. And when I say loosely, I mean the only thing that stuck was that it was all about the military. They tried to make it like Night of the Living Dead with no one knowing exactly what is going on, they don’t know anything about the zombies. Which makes absolutely no sense in this realm of remakes. If this is a remake of Day of the Dead then by all logical it should be a sequel to 2004’s Dawn of the Dead, so everyone should know about the zombies and everything, but no. Another thing that makes no sense is Ving Rhames is back in this movie, fine he escaped at the end of the first film, but he’s not playing the same character. In fact he is playing a character who was the main villain in the original film, but Rhames is in the movie for all of 10 collected minutes and is not a villain. So, why would you have the guy from the first film back simply to play a different character that gets killed immediately? Was this their sad attempt at getting a cameo by a previous Dead actor? If so, it was pathetic.

When I first saw the remake of Dawn of the Dead I was not happy either. But, with time it grew on me. What I hated the most about that movie was that the zombies could run now. In all of Romero’s movies the zombies could not run, they were slow moving creatures and I liked that. Well, in this movie not only can the zombies run, but they are basically acrobats now. They jump in the air, fly off walls, crawl on the walls, anything they want to now. The zombies in this film have become invincible, and that is awful. Also, I’m having a hard time accepting Mena Suvari as a tough military woman. And what the fuck is Nick Cannon doing in this movie? He plays the typical black guy who thinks everything is racist. Oh, that’s good for a laugh (notice the sarcasm).

This movie was released in April of 2008, direct to video. So that pretty much says it all. In short there was a reason why this was released direct to video.

2001 Maniacs (2005)

"Frankly, Miss Pussy, I Don't Give a Damn"

During the beginning of 2000 it seemed that Hollywood had run out of ideas. Starting with The Ring in 2002, a new flood of horror remakes were on our hands. Only 4 years prior they had tried remaking a classic horror movie with the remake of Psycho but that fell flat on it’s face and it seemed that Hollywood wouldn’t try remaking classic horror movies or classic films at all ever again. But, we were wrong. They started with Japanese movies, making them American films like The Ring or The Grudge. Well, those films did very well at the box office, regardless of the fact that they were not very good. Well, if remaking Japanese films would successful what could stop them from remaking anything. All they had to do was pick a safe time of horror movies, that may have a fan following but are technically “classic” films, like Psycho was. What better of a decade to pick than the 1970s and 1980s. In 2003 we saw the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a classic horror film, considered by many to be a classic. But, apparently Hollywood didn’t consider it a classic. From 2003 on, they just remade everything (Michael Bay is to blame for this, by the way), they didn’t care what it was. Every year we see at least 4 or 5 remakes of films considered to be horror classics.

In 2005, Tim Sullivan decided to remake the 1964 Herschell Gordon Lewis film Two Thousand Maniacs!, a film that has a cult following, but not really a classic by any means. Usually I have a problem with people remaking movies, especially horror movies, but this one I had no problem with. For one simple reason, Robert Englund. I’ve been a fan of his for quite a long time, and I love to see him play characters outside of Freddy Krueger. So, when I saw him as the star of the movie, I was excited. Also, I’ve seen Two Thousand Maniacs! (you can read my review later on), and there was nothing “classic” about the film that could or would be ruined by a new telling of a story over 40 years old.

2001 Maniacs is a telling of a group of people who get (deliberately) sidetracked into this small town run by a bunch of civil war era residents. The entire town is caught in some time warp where they still believe it’s the civil war time, even spouting out racial slurs when they see a black man and an Asian woman. But, the fun part is they brought these people to their town because they plan to kill them, and later eat them. This follows the original story very well, except in this remake they delve a little bit more into character development with the townspeople, something the Lewis version was lacking.

A good reason to remake a movie like this, is to give it a more modern day twist. There are certain movies that is not a good idea for. Like remaking anything from the 1980s. It’s too soon to be remaking those types of movies. Simply saying they have better technology now to make the films better is not a good enough reason. There is no good reason to remake anything from the past 30 years. In fact, there really isn’t a good reason to remake anything at all. Would you remake Gone with the Wind? No, and they haven’t in almost 70 years. So leave classic films alone. This film is enjoyable for the simple reason of the killings. They have some interesting killings going on in this town, starting off with the best death in the movie, the girl being torn apart by horses. After that you are hooked into this movie. I’ve come to the conclusion that anything that Robert Englund does (acting wise, his directorial films have been pretty bad) is pure gold. This is a movie that you should watch with some friends, just for a good time.