Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Lucas, Lucas, Lucas, what have ye done? Taken your beloved franchise and downgraded it you have. This child-like installment had a positive force surrounding it’s premier showing, bringing back humanity’s favorite universe. Phantom Menace takes us to the beginning, to when there was balance in the force, to where we meet a young pod-racing slave, Anakin Skywalker, who contains too much “midichlorian” for his own good. Qui-Gon Jinn, a jedi master, informs young Annie the power he holds, that he is to be taught in the ways of the Jedi and is, in fact, the chosen one. This starts an epic journey across the galaxy of hardship and a dark personage with a sinister agenda.

We don’t just follow Skywalker’s first steps to becoming a Jedi, but we witness the start of a secretly planned, and I must say it is cleverly planned, that shadows this first trilogy. The Trade Federation becomes greedy, taxing resources higher, fueling a war with Naboo. The Republic’s army is weak and rumors of a Sith Lord has spread throughout the galaxy. This starts an unforeseen chain reaction throughout Episodes I, II, and III that only the unsaid mastermind himself could stop if only it didn’t benefit him in the future. The over arching story is subtle in its manifestation where it’s aftermath, the second trilogy, is more straight forward, which all can be described into one word: EPIC.

Another pro for this installment is some of the characters that were created. Like Qui-Gon Jinn who is Obi-Won Kenobi’s master during his young apprenticeship. Qui-Gon, played by Liam Neeson, as one of the best Jedi Knights and masters in Star Wars history. Most notable mention is Darth Maul, possibly the scariest, most badass, and most underused character in the whole universe! This, needlessly to say, ticked me off. Darth Maul has the awesome double sided lightsaber and horns erupting from his black, fire-like face. Oh, and really bad teeth. He had an onscreen presence that would soak up more light than Darth Vader. Although I wouldn’t go as far to say he was more powerful than Vader but definitely had the moves. Now an additional character I thought was rather sloppy and gave a childish aura was Jar-Jar Binks. As a child, myself, I thought he was funny, but now i don’t find him quite amusing as I did before. After recently watching this, I would have preferred his friend, who’s name escapes me, but you can spot him helping Jar-Jar in the Naboo scenes rocking a Fu Man Chu mustache. I would’ve liked to see him have more screen time and Jar-Jar, not erased, but less time so his comedic effort isn’t so overwhelming. And finally the wonderfully played Anakin *cough*. Again, on my first viewing i was about his age and everything was fine. But dear me, his acting would’ve been better in a Disney Channel original. However, let’s not piss this guy off, alright? He’s got enough emotions to deal with…

When Phantom Menace was released in 1999, it was during an era where almost every movie was trying out this wondrous thing that got rid of prosthetics and do this impressive thing called CGI. The CGI usage is strong with this one, and lemme tell you it’s not that impressive. This first edition to the beloved saga could have used a bit more authentic special effects. Although the pod racing scene is definitely one to check out.

I remember my dad purchasing this movie on a double VHS special edition. It had an intro before the film by George Lucas and had a Making of featurette. Good memories. Watching this movie years later and understanding the backstory and noticing the subtleties has given a whole new outlook and understanding on the second renowned trilogy. Although flawed and cringe worthy dialogue moments, this and it’s two sequels are worth watching for it’s in depth story and amazing fight scenes that range from duels to epic battles among the stars.

A Fish Called Wanda (1988) – IMDb

via A Fish Called Wanda (1988) – IMDb.

A dark comedy with sex, diamonds, foreign accents, and fish. A Fish Called Wanda kicks off with a group of four burglars who steal diamonds from a bank but unknowingly each of them wants to keep the loot for themselves. John Cleese writes this hysterical farce dishing out one-liners, vulgarities, and a clever-wit accompanied by a great story. This is his personally favorite film of his and he also stars as the lawyer who defends one of the suspects. If he’s lucky enough he may get a share of the loot and even the sexiest, most exciting woman he’s ever seen.

A Fish Called Wanda is a perfectly cast film. Even more so for Kevin Kline who won an Oscar for his performance, which surprised me because you don’t see that happen too often in this genre. It’s a stand out performance you will need to witness for yourself as the loony, don’t-call-me-stupid role, Otto. I can’t help but think if Super Mario was a villain in real life it would be Kevin Kline. I mean, look at how he jumps at the beginning of the movie in the garage when he and Wanda find out the loot has been relocated, reminds me of the older days of 2-D Mario.  Another stand out role is Jamie Lee Curtis who is sexy as ever as the conniving Wanda. She is determined to get her diamonds at any cost even if it means she has to kiss every major role player here (why couldn’t I have been a part of this?). Wanda pretends to be a law student and must get ‘friendly’ with a lawyer, Archie Leach (John Cleese), hoping he could tell her where the diamonds are since he is defending George, the one who relocated the loot. And then there’s the other Monty Python alumni, Michael Palin, as the stuttering K-K-Ken who is an animal lover and possibly has the saddest sub-plot who must kill the only witness: an elderly lady with three dogs. Palin’s father had a stutter so he knew how to transfer his experiences to the film.

Everyone did an excellent job in this funny, funny fare. Cleese wrote a story that is a bit messy but gets flattened out by the end (ba-da-bum-bum). A Fish Called Wanda is a smart, cleverly written movie that has hysterical moments and inside jokes that will leave you laughing so hard your heart beat will race 250-500 beats a minute like the guy in Denmark who died laughing in the theater. Yes, really. A forgotten gem that should be watched to remember how funny a good comedy can be with a smart story line and witty, fun characters. If you decide to watch this with a side of Fish n’ Chips don’t eat the green fish, it’s not ripe yet.

Hell to Eternity (1960) – IMDb

via Hell to Eternity (1960) – IMDb.

Over at my grandfather’s  I’m scanning his book collection which consists of WWII stories and other knowledgeable information on the war. Now he is someone who watches a lot of History Channel or Military Channel and anything in between on WWII to the point my grandma comes in the room and asks him “did Hitler win the war yet?” Among his historical book collection, he pulls out a book titled Saipan by Guy Gabaldon. My grandfather showed me the book was signed by Guy and they even had a few pictures together. I became interested and so I edged my grandpop to tell me more. Certainly, this was an offer he couldn’t refuse, he began to tell me it was about a young man who fought in the pacific and persuaded hundreds of Japanese civilians and soldiers to surrender single handedly. Now that is a great wartime story. After I found out Saipan was made into a full feature length film, knowing me, I located it on Amazon and purchased a copy for my grandfather and I to watch.

To rewind a little, Guy Gabaldon was born in Los Angeles, CA. At an early age he was orphaned and then was raised by a Japanese family who took him in in the 1930s and he even began learning their language and customs. Once 18, he was sent to fight for the U.S. on Saipan in 1944, an island off of Japan. Hell To Eternity starts with build up then the rest is shipped to the islands for the war where marines were getting killed left and right, fortunately Guy knew Japanese and used it to his advantage by communicating with the enemy. This was most helpful when he surprised the Japanese leader and told him to call off the attack or else he, the leader, would be shot. He told Guy that the order was already given, so regardless if he was killed or not the orders would be carried out. Guy takes the general out to call his men off and turn themselves in. Now, if you know Japanese custom, this is dishonorable and you would take your life for your country. The general conveys the message to his troops who are battered and starving and explains to Guy it wasn’t a pretty sight seeing his troops surrender. After hearing their leader’s command they submit and the general takes his life overlooking his several hundred men. Guy Gabaldon courageously turned in 800 hundred Japanese. An amazing, unheard of story I found inspirational and eye opening.

The movie is shot in black and white but the movie moves at a decent pace. Actually, some real WWII footage was used for the landing on the beach. Hell to Eternity is not all that violent but there is blood and many gunshot wounds. Wonderfully shot, the explosions and fight scenes are a great depiction of what happened on Saipan, so no need to worry about boredom. The story, though, is truly the main feat. Everything from seeing Guy’s new found family being sent to an American-Asian camp (who my grandfather even remembers at a young age nice Japanese neighbors being forced to move away) to delivering the unarmed, Japanese soldiers. I found myself relating to this movie, but in a sense of trading and receiving culture. I’ve grown up all over the place and my grandfather is Mexican and I’m Caucasian, and yet we’re very alike. Also, see below picture, right is Guy Gabaldon and left is the actor who portrayed Guy, Jeffrey Hunter. This is like SO Hollywood, getting a white man in Hispanic shoes, no bash though, Jeffrey did a fine job. Culture is everywhere and if we can set everyone’s differences to the side the world would be a more happy place. Family knows no color. I enjoyed this movie and I am happy it’s in my collection already. Do yourself a favor, dig up this classic and give it a watch.

Caddyshack (1980) – IMDb

via Caddyshack (1980) – IMDb.

A movie that ages like fine wine. Released in 1980, Caddyshack wasn’t warmly accepted by critics and audience alike saying it was too crass and had no class, I say nay, this movie was ahead of it’s time and people couldn’t see the big laughs presented. The laughs come fast at knock out speed with full attitude. Caddyshack is nothing but zany, silly humor that is both witty and dumb and will none the less end in laughter.
At first, you may think “oh, this is too much and old fashioned, I’m not going to like it” but don’t quit so early, the movie has just begun! I didn’t even catch all the laughs the first time round, or the second; some laughs I found more rewarding once I knew some of the history of the movie. I’ll give credit to the whole crew for all the booz and drugs done off camera. A lot of talent is to be had here, you have three SNL guys and a veteran actor. Ted Knight plays a veteran judge and is very old fashioned. He has with him his wife and the sexy granddaughter who likes to have fun and can palm read. As for the SNL crew they deliver if not all the laughs. Chevy Chase as a cool womanizer who is heading through life kind of aimlessly. His acting is hilarious under his calm demeanor. Rodney Dangerfield delivers the most energy and is the most obnoxious golfer to be around, but only if you don’t know how to party; his delivery on one-liners are stellar and will have you rolling on the floor. And finally, you have Bill Murray, the man who pretty much rewrote his whole script and played such a goofy character trying to kill a golfer, sorry gofer, who has been tunneling all over the golfing premises. I loved every minute Bill was on screen. From the story he tells when he met the Daila Lama to the Cinderella story are just priceless.  What made that even cooler was having Bill and Chevy on the same screen together. It’s a small bit but it’s funny despite the two having quarrel at the time. They were two legends from SNL taking drags from homemade grass and swigs of alcohol, just a beauty on screen.
There are just too many lines to remember, so many scenes to replay in your mind and laugh, thanks to the editing. This is due to the movie length being cut down from like a three hour film to just 98 minutes. Makes me curious as to what was cut out. With all the drinking to the side, there must have been a lot of ad-libbing. And with a comfortable atmosphere anything can happen, thanks to the director, Harold Ramis (Groundhog) who was very level headed and always had a smile on his face. Sad to hear his recent passing but always made movies that had laughter.
Hold the phone, Caddyshack delivers such great comedic performances I forgot to mention there is a storyline, Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) is an upcoming caddy trying to earn a scholarship by winning the caddy tournament. This simple storyline is just teased through a good portion of the movie, being overshadowed by the comedic performances, the conclusion swings everything nicely together in one hole.
I have re-watched Caddyshack many times and I find more reasons to watch it one more. This movie will grow with you the more you watch it, you get it’s humor and laugh at something you didn’t notice before. It’s great to watch with friends or just to relax for a laugh after a long day. You don’t want to miss out on this comedy classic.

Judge Smails: You know, you should play with Dr. Beeper and myself. I mean, he’s been club champion for three years running and I’m no slouch myself.

Ty Webb: Don’t sell yourself short Judge, you’re a tremendous slouch.

The Babadook (2014) – IMDb

via The Babadook (2014) – IMDb.

What do you do when your kid asks you if you want to die? Especially if it’s coming from your son who no one wants to be around with. Even you start wishing your boy was normal. The Babadook is a very well written boogeyman tale that delves into your psyche and hits the dark corners of your mind and emotions you wouldn’t expect it to do at first sight. Firstly, you have a single mother, Amelia, played wonderfully by Essie Davis (where’s the nomination?) who works at a retirement home and takes good care of her seven year old son. She is in need of help, mostly due to the absence of the affectionate touch from a man in her life and sleep depravity. Someone give this woman some chocolate and a day off. Amelia lost her husband on the day of the birth of her child, Samuel. Samuel is a troubled kid who fancies magic and plays with his imagination. But when is it ever imagination? He takes up arms in defense from this dark force and, like his father, speaks his mind, talking about the monster where ever he goes, even scaring kids his age. The crazy talk is heightened to a new level when Amelia says Samuel can choose a story to read before bedtime, of all stories he chooses The Babadook. The words and the pop-up pictures are no less than unsettling and peculiar. Where did this book come from? Like the film itself, the book is draped in black and grey, paling colors making it feel ghostly and depressing. She says to choose another book but Samuel wants to keep reading the story he has chosen. From here, the weird begins to escalate. Amelia even rips up the book and tosses it. But after three heavy knocks at the door, the book returns at her door step. She turns for help from her sister, Claire, but she wants nothing to do with her, especially Amelia’s son who talks about a monster and unintentionally hurts Claire’s daughter. Good going. More sleepless nights occur, more encounters with the boogeyman. Amelia looks to the police to report someone stalking her and her son, but she knows they would write her off as crazy. The stress level starts to wear down on Amelia and you see it, you even start to experience it. My head felt toyed. Is this real or is she just experiencing a nightmare? She begins to mistreat the boy (oops, I said it) like her psyche takes a sinister turn. It’s something you wouldn’t hear her say or see her do, it’s just not her, not what a mother would do.

The story is similar to the likes of Insidious and many other scary movies involving a troubled kid and a dark spirit who wants to house your body. What makes this different though is it’s approach. Even though there are some good creepified moments, this movie isn’t all that terrifying. It was more psychological than expected and focused on family values. There’s a lot of build up, too, which made it more of a drama. The ending leaves you a bit unsatisfied seeing that the first 3/4 of the movie promised a strong conclusion. You will be scratching your head. Have you figured it out?
I plan on adding this film to my collection. The Babadook will hook you in to it’s dark atmospheric tale. The build up helps you understand Amelia and Samuel’s situation which is why you care and makes moments more stressful. The mother even becomes scary at a point, but I recommend you watch this just to see how The Babadook stands out from other horror gems. By the way, if you hear three knocks, don’t let it in.

It Follows (2014) – IMDb

via It Follows (2014) – IMDb.

Having heard about this movie last year gave me interest. I didn’t know anything about the movie and I kept it that way; I just knew I had to see it. Come 2015 and it’s granted a wide theatrical release. My moment has come, so I grab a few dollars and head over to my nearest theater where it was about half full (at the time everyone was watching Furious 7). The movie will make a larger effect once it hits home, but probably not so well in theaters. Director David Robert Mitchell has quite a movie on his hands, one that will disturb and terrorize the viewer.
It Follows begins with an anonymous teenager who is in the middle of being ‘followed’. She rushes to her car and makes it to the beach. She sits, waiting in the headlights on the shore expecting her follower to appear at any moment. Next scene she’s all mangled up which shocks the viewer and lets you know what you’re in for. That scene is quite disturbing, but doesn’t end there. The movie has more to offer. The story is about a young girl, Jay, who goes out with this guy, who her friends approve of. We eventually figure out the mysterious stud’s motive: he wants sex. But sex holds a darker secret, he wants to pass on an evil entity so It will stop following him. Douche. He does explain to our misfortunate protagonist that all she has to do is have sex with someone else and pass it onto the next guy. Jay is cute though so it should be easy right? It comes with a catch, you can still see the entity but once it gets a hold of it’s victim and kills them, it will start going back down the line of the previous victims to whoever started the whole thing.
Now, anytime It is present, those are the moments you feel the terror and despair. It’s in it’s presence, the slow but dedicated walk to it’s target like it’s confident it will get you, and it will torment and kill you. The entity takes many forms, strangers or close acquaintances, and not always is it the center of the frame. Sometimes you can catch it walking in the background, still making it’s steady pace, but when the entity is in focus, terror reigns. That is one thing I love about this film is that Mitchell directs every scene as it is. Like when the entity breaks through the kitchen window and walks toward Jay…just disturbing. I felt her fear. There is something artful about It Follows and I like it.  The scares are slowly built up and the jumps come fast.
The film would be much less if it wasn’t for the music. The music is like John Carpenter and 80s synthesizers which gives the movie a creepy vibe. Like the sizzling scare factor, the acting is restraint, only when you are involved in the terror sequences is when the acting begins to jump up. Many sequences also seem random, so there’s a feeling of chilling vulnerability.
I read a review saying the girl with the glasses, Yara, was unneeded, come to think of it, she really didn’t do much. Especially at the end when the action picks up and her leg gets shot. Great now you’re fighting something you can’t see with a limp. I did have some other problems with a couple parts. ( no real spoilers) When Paul uses a chair to hit the entity he does hit it and It throws him out of the way, or when he shoots It in the head and blood fills the pool – is this ‘entity’ supposed to have some kind of invisible body? Also, some scenes felt like they didn’t need to be there or dragged for a bit. There’s a sum of audience out there that don’t like slow movies and this has a couple of slow pace moments. I’m not bothered by slowness, cause I kinda am, but this is just a fore warning.
To be honest, I don’t like the buzz around the movie saying “It Follows is the scariest movie in a decade”. First of all, calm down, this movie had some really good bits and also subtle, but I wouldn’t hail it as the best. I think it’s better then many teen screams that have come out but this feels a little more adult oriented. I say give it some time, let the film sink into the American horror backdrop fabric, step back and see it for what it is. In time, I do think It Follows could be a cult classic. It does, however, deliver the terror and shock. It’s up there with Teeth and Contracted and in a way, is better than it’s sexual horror cousins.
All in all, this is a good movie. The entertainment is there and sure to satisfy your thirst for a scare. I’m wondering if there will be a sequel, just curious where it would go. Not saying it’s a necessity though, It Follows can hold it’s own. I recommend this for horror fans and paranoid people. *evil laugh*

The Imitation Game (2014) – IMDb

via The Imitation Game (2014) – IMDb.

This new preview clip of The Imitation Game, the upcoming biography ...

Upon watching The Imitation Game I found myself liking the movie very much. A man named Alan Turing is a bit of an awkward person who was not popular in school. He is a genius and not at all normal. Alan didn’t succeed at making friends, however, where he was unsuccessful his mind and bold honesty will take him far. Actually only until he was 41, sadly, besides that he left his footprint in history. And that ladies and gents was Christopher. Mr.Turing was hired by the secret British service for his brain to solve the enigma and help win the war, with a hand full of other crossword enthusiasts and mathematicians. He left us with a sort of digital brain that will later lead to more important research. This contraption he made was named Christopher, a machine that could decode. This machine’s purpose was to crack Hitler’s enigma which was, at the time, said to be unbreakable. The codes were hidden Nazi plans and if the codes are cracked, Britain not only would save lives but would have a better chance of winning the war.

Whenever I watch a movie that has one small line: Based on True Events or along that matter, I can’t help but look at it like a dog listening to a high pitch sound. Is Hollywood serious about this or are they trying to make another dollar by attracting the masses by entertainment? Unfortunately, that is part of the case. After watching the entertaining Imitation Game, I looked up some reviews, a lot were like me who enjoyed the movie but others were heavy on how frustratingly inaccurate it let itself become. Apparently, the  Polish created the first enigma in the 1930s and then the Germans took it and made their own improvements. Alan Turing didn’t work on his machine alone but had help by others, plus people who were part of the decoding team weren’t even acknowledged in the movie. Among other hiccups, the other reviewers detailed it better but it doesn’t hurt to do a little research (if only Hollywood did). Does Hollywood believe there are no other historians out there who would crack their movie and find their lies? There are facts in history that be found by a click of a button or whipping out your phone. Hollywood likes to remember history a certain way which sacrifices historical accuracy for entertainment (Pearl Harbor). I think it’s funny how some historical fiction gets more history right than a movie based on an actual event.

Regardless of the history, although important, this is a good flick. I must mention the writing first, which is smart and very fun. There was a lot of word jugglery that made sense for each person and will leave you chuckling at perfect moments throughout the story. “Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” The movie touches upon many subjects: Machines, Man, Secrets, Lies, Truths, and what makes us think differently. Some subject matter went deeper than expected, like accepting the people who are not ‘normal.’ The performances weren’t hail worthy, except maybe Benedict Cumberbatch, but they all succeeded what they set out to do. Matthew Goode’s (Watchman)  character, a womanizer, stood out to me as a calm, cool person who you had earn his respect before he accepted you. But as cast in all, they all had good chemistry. 

The Imitation Game is worth a watch for it’s entertainment value, and a couple historical nods. With a brisk pace and a high prduction, you can find yourself in enjoyment. And most importantly, stay different my friends.

Taxi Driver (1976) – IMDb

via Taxi Driver (1976) – IMDb.

taxi_driver

I had the intent of watching Taxi Driver as a psycho drama with a man killing people but what I got was probably one of the most sanest people who observed his surrounding and was misunderstood. When you’re alone, in silence, you create ideas and moments that possibly could enrage you. Or maybe you just think of how messed up your country is and want to flush it down the toilet. I’m not saying I think of throwing on a cape and becoming a hero but loneliness is a tough thing to tackle. Taxi Driver is a film that took me by surprise; I don’t usually watch a popular-household-movie-title because I’ve read so many reviews and heard so many great things about the movie that I decide to watch a lesser known movie. But this one, not at all as I expected. I knew I would be watching a character study but not one that expressed itself like the way it did. Perhaps I didn’t read enough reviews; this movie, however, fits well with my collection.

Small on story, top class acted and heavy on a character driven film, this has become a favorite of mine. This is a story of a man, Travis Bickle (Robert Deniro) who is lonely, he can read people, he knows himself and feels the energy of emotions. In his world, he knows what’s right and wrong, or to what he believes. There is no one else, except this beautiful blonde he has kept an eye on for quite while, long enough to know she is lonely and unhappy even though she is surrounded by a crowd of people, and a goofball coworker. After Travis stops being a creep and gets up to ask her out, a magnetic bond occurs. He then introduces her to the world he wish he knew and the world he lives in. She, just like the cold others, scoffs and walks away without a word to discuss the meaning between their relationship just because she didn’t understand and didn’t like what she saw. Afterwards, is a sequence of events that shape him more and more.

You watch Travis live as a loner. He works nights as a cab driver and takes supplements to stay awake. Sometimes coffee, yea, and he talks to fellow nightshift cab drivers but not so much. They’re just there, really. Wizard tries to give insight but both him and Travis exchange what they really mean unclearly to each other. Whenever Travis reaches out, its like he forces himself back into loneliness. A lot of it is the job he carries on his shoulders. An ex-marine working for any hours plus holidays all week long, just trying to keep busy. There are many great scenes in this movie, some are more subtle than others. Like when Travis sits outside a building in his cab and a policeman comes and tells him to move away because it’s a no parking zone as the window is being rolled up; it’s like his glass window separates his reality from their’s. I recommend you watch the special features as well, it gives a very good insight on the film.

I highly recommend you watch this tour de force, noir film. I believe everyone could relate to this film and learn something from it. Some distant than others but even they can grasp the concept of being alone. I would like to thank my dad for offering this movie to me awhile back for my pleasure of viewing but I’m glad I waited and procrastinated watching other movies, after the years I found great appreciation for this film. Sometimes you have to wait and let time decide. Two of my other favorite flicks are About A Boy and Big Lebowski, not at all dark or noir-ish as Taxi Driver but they are centered on lonely people who stood up for something. With that to the side, this is a really well written film. This is an important film in cinema history. It’s a character study that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It should be understood and observed, much like Travis, maybe people will understand one another better. The flow in the film is perfect, the shots are colorful and engaging. I loved the jazz soundtrack throughout the film and I love anti-hero stories and this fit the bill. Movies that feed my mind and soul are devoured by me. Taxi Driver is an experience I won’t forget and I will be watching this again soon. Enjoy.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) – IMDb

via The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) – IMDb.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown 2014

Just after the war in the 1940s, in a small town in Arkansas called Texarkana (which lies on the border of Texas and Arkansas) is plagued by a mysterious murderer. No one knows who is killing or the motive. This actually happened and lasted for a short time, like a few months, he attacked several teenagers who hid off road trying to get some hoochie before heading home. Most were brutally murdered, some got away but not clean. Then, poof, the hooded phantom vanished. Possibly he got bored and lived with the residents for the remainder of his life? The film The Town That Dreaded Sundown that was made in 1976 covered this; and I’d say fairly well. It had mystery and unexpected comic relief that may have been too silly at times but it was a perfect off-set to the dread mood and murder scenes that I would say were ahead of its time because, for one, they still hold up to this day.

It’s now 2014 and Hollywood is hungry for some money and realize they haven’t made a sequel/remake to The Town that Dreaded Sundown. Now, this movie is no where near the likes of the original. Part remake, part sequel, basically uses the same name but in the present utilizing the awareness of its predecessor. The townsfolk are still warry of the unsolved past, as of now they have an anniversary showing of the movie and play it at a drive-in. The movie shows short clips of the past film as if it is its own pride and glory. This is cool at first but I felt it was kind of a filler. Maybe it was to promote the original? Anyways, I’m here to complain about this dreadful attempt at re-imagining of a forgotten horror gem and how cute Addison Timlin is. Not all will see what kind of movie the original was, it basically started all the slasher flicks. It’s the corner stone, the spine. This ‘sequel’ was just plain unimaginable. It’s as if the writers took the formula from Scream and threw on another title. The police in here, oh man the police! The law enforcement, the big hancho people who need to track the killer down and bring him to justice, were laughable and I could not simply take seriously. For one, I can’t take Anthony Anderson seriously, any drama he’s in I just expect a joke. And I got nada, actually, I don’t remember any comic relief in this. It was all pretty dreary and not in a good way. The movie pace was too fast, I couldn’t feel for any of the characters, zero tension throughout the whole film. I never zeroed in on a character and was like: Don’t Die. Given the original had some pretty creative deaths, although full of tension and dread, it was realistic. Yes, you could tell when something bad was going to happen but the tension IS there. In this present film, the deaths were uncreative, what they did was recreate a couple and had little to no shock value. But then again, horror successfully scares me once in a blue moon, perhaps every couple blue moons if movies like this are going to continue.

Alright, the movie isn’t all bad, I feel I’ve been hitting the Town that Dreaded Sundown a little harsh. Well, the direction by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is a nice save. He had a couple good shots peppered throughout. I can see his name popping up on few more movies. Some of the acting was decent, I especially liked the eye catching Addison Timlin. She is not well known, and apparently is just starting her career. And she will go far. Recently I watched Odd Thomas and she played the girlfriend of Odd; interesting movie with a better twist(check it out on a rainy day). I will most definitely be watching for her in upcoming films. A couple other people you’ll see like the hey-it’s-that-one-guy from Twin Peaks and recently The Judge. The movie did good on messing with your head on the ‘who dunnit’ bit. It swings your perception from one person to the next, is it him? Or him? It also brought in the religious aspect, which I love in horror movies, cause that s*** is scary. There isn’t much dwelling on it, though, but it did have to do with the past, which is pretty much the basis of most, if not all horror.

So, if you have not seen the Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014) you may like it depending on what you look for in a movie. Some other reviewers did, I’m just one who was dissatisfied. I’ll stick to the original, which was cool because I like the documentary feel and the moody murder sequences; really felt like I was solving a mystery. I felt this movie was more for a paycheck than to add on a legacy.

Old Boy

On my way home the other night, I ran into an old friend and got into a conversation about movies. We came to terms on getting munchies and watching one of the movies I hyped my friend into watching. The movie was called Old Boy. Fortunately, this is not the American remake with ‘The Goonies’ Josh Brolin. I’m talking about the dark, twisted original Korean flick the Americans wish they have made. Basic premise is a man named Dae su is imprisoned in a room for 15 years and does not know why. He is released and meets a cute young girl who aids him. From here, Dae su is on a search to find the man who held him captive and more importantly Why? My friend was hooked from the start, asking that big question: Why? Ha, let me tell you, it is a ride. And I wouldn’t suggest it to the faint of heart; the movie is disturbing and will stay with you for a long time. That being said, I enjoyed it. If you are looking for something different, dark, and powerful look no further.