December 2011

The Howling

The 1980's was the banner decade for R-rated movies and nothing showcased that more than the werewolf movie “The Howling.” Sure, there were countless sequels after it, but nothing captured the feeling of horror and suspense than the original.

Top news reporter Karen nearly dies when attacked by a serial killer, and needless to say, is more than a little shaken up by the whole affair. She goes to a retreat at a rehabilitation center known as “The Colony.” I bet you can see where this is going.

It turns out she is among only a small group of humans staying at the colony with the rest being made up of throat ripping werewolves. Karen saves the day and escapes, but not before being infected by the wolves. She goes live on the air, telling the world that werewolves exist and transforms in front of the camera. This has to be one of the best endings in movie history.

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

Rated the most anticipated movie of 2012, The Hunger Games has drawn a substantial following and book lovers are anxiously awaiting the March release. Great debate was triggered by its PG-13 rating as most who have read the book, expected an R rating. I suppose the expected R rating stems from the violent nature and events that line the pages of the book, cover to cover. The challenge lies within the directors ability to capture the nature of the book and its violence, while maintaining the integrity of a PG-13 rating. The director has noted that the book drew a large teenage crowd, and therefore, the goal of the movie is to be able to do the same.

Movie Review: Get Low

A quirky movie starring Robert Duvall

Not long ago my husband and I were at the local video store looking for some DVDs to add to our collection. Our video store generally has a good selection of used and previously rented DVDs available for sale at discount prices. They also run specials such as buy two used, and get one for $1. Every time we go we can usually find two or three movies to add to our collection. I was looking through the rack of newly arrived titles and saw the movie “Get Low”. I had never heard of it before but it looked interesting. We like quirky, lesser known movies anyway, so I picked it up and showed it to my husband. He hadn’t heard of it either, but agreed it sounded like something we would like.

Toy Story 3

This 2009 Disney/Pixar creation is a perfect "sick day" movie

I've been sick for the last few days. Today was the first day I didn't feel like sleeping all day, so I decided to watch television. After flipping through the guide and finding nothing intriguing in daytime television, I tuned to the free movie channels to see if there was anything worth watching.

"Toy Story 3" had just started, so I settled in to watch it. I'd seen it at the theater with my husband when it came out in 2009, but I hadn't seen it since then. I had forgotten how enjoyable it was. And, it's not often that an animated flick makes me weepy. I can't blame it on my medication either, because it made me weepy the first time I saw it too.

In the third installment of the "Toy Story" franchise, Andy is getting ready to go to college and must decide what he wants to do with Woody, Buzz and the rest of his toys. He puts Woody in the box marked 'college', and decides to put the rest of the toys in the attic. He fills up a garbage bag and starts to head for the attic, but drops the bag in order to help his sister Molly. His mother trips over the bag, and thinking it's trash, takes the bag to the curb.

Wuxia

Chinese Sword Fantasies

If you're getting bored with ordinary Hollywood movies and you want to find something completely different, try out “wuxia” movies. Wuxia are Chinese sword fantasies set in a mythical kung fu world where fighters can fly or demonstrate other magical powers. People often confuse wuxia with kung fu movies, but the two are not strictly the same. Kung fu movies as such emphasize hand to hand fighting. They often happen in the modern world, and the characters don't have magic powers.

First 'Prometheus' Trailer Drops: What Do You Think?

Ridley Scott's sci-fi extravaganza expected to be a blockbuster in 2012

The long-awaited Prometheus movie isn't hitting theaters until June of 2012, but guess what? We finally have an actual legitimate trailer for it! Yes, happy holidays to us: The Prometheus teaser-trailer made it's debut online just a few days ago, offering up a first glimpse of the Ridley Scott sci-fi thriller. Hopefully we'll get some more clips and trailers between now and then, but for now, this trailer will have to do.
Some, including Ridley Scott, are saying this movie isn't a prequel to 1979's blockbuster Alien, but I think the trailer offers evidence to the contrary. Either way, Prometheus looks like a great film!
Check out the trailer and you'll see exactly what I mean:

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Excited yet? Slick, cold and super creepy.

Recycle Your Favorite Films – RiffTrax Rules

Even your favorite films can eventually get old.  You watch them and re-watch them and though you love them to death, they can still sometimes end up turning stale.  Luckily, the good folks at RiffTrax have ways to spice your viewing pleasures up a bit.

Many will remember the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 which aired (on various stations) from the late 80s to the late 90s.  They used to take old, cheesy films and make them a little more entertaining by tearing them apart.  But once that show got canceled, those of us who used to watch it were left without our fix.  RiffTrax became the next evolution of the MST3K phenomenon.

Mini documentary series tracks Russia's Messiah

"Well this is beginning to amass quite the turnout."

 

There is a modern movement in southern Siberia, circulating around one man, Vissarion, who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. I know that we’ve heard this story before. Some wacko claims to be the messiah and a group of zombies quickly take up with him and create their own movement off in the woods. Well this is beginning to amass quite the turnout. And it already is breading cult-like qualities.

Where Have All The R Movies Gone

When I go the theater any more, I can't help but notice that almost everything is PG-13 or below. Even movies that are meant to be scary are appropriate for 13-year-olds and that's just wrong. Does anyone remember the 1980's where action movies like Lethal Weapon ruled the screens?

The primary change has been a switch in demographics. While there are still the occasional R-rated movies in the theater, they are few and far between. Before the Internet, Netflix and On Demand, people of all ages would visit theaters for dates and nights out. When cable expanded and there were more fun options at home such as console video games and DVD quality video, the demographics for movies began to shift.

What To Expect in 2012

If you thought that the year 2011 brought in a lot of good movies wait until you see what is in store for 2012. The year 2011 brought us some great movies from some of our favorite actors and actresses but 2012 is promising to bring some even better movies. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

As Good As It Gets

It's hard to believe this movie was released 15 years ago

My husband and I just watched “As Good As It Gets”. Great movie. I love Jack Nicholson in this movie, as well as Greg Kinnear and Helen Hunt. It’s hard to believe this movie was released 15 years ago, in December of 1997. Time flies.

Nicholson plays Melvin Udall, an eccentric author with a serious case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. His neighbor Simon (Kinnear) is a homosexual artist whom Udall unceasingly picks on. Udall is enthralled with a local waitress, Carol (Hunt), who has an ill son.

While obsessive-compulsive behavior is generally not a laughing matter, (believe me, I know, I lived with someone who had OCD for 13 years, and it was not fun), Nicholson’s performance makes it funny. His interactions with Simon, and Simon’s dog, are priceless. His obsession with Carol is kind of endearing, although at times it's kind of creepy.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Better than the first

My husband and I don’t go to the movie theater too often these days for a couple of reasons. One, it’s getting too expensive to go too often; and two, the small town we live in only has a four-screen theater, and most of the time there is nothing playing that we are interested in seeing. We went this past weekend though. Our theater was showing “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and that was one movie we really wanted to see. We loved the first Holmes movie in 2009 and had been anxiously awaiting this one since we first saw the previews earlier this year.

I’m not a big Robert Downey Jr. fan, although I’ve really like him lately. He’s awesome as Ironman, and equally great as Sherlock Holmes. Jude Law plays Holmes’ sidekick, Dr. Watson, and does a respectable job. I don't normally like slow motion or stop action sequences, but they are necessary in these Holmes movies as they help the audience follow Holmes' thought process. I thought Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was better than the first Downey/Law pairing in 2009.

 

Spoiler alert: If you plan to see the movie and don’t want to know how it ends, don’t read any further.

So Many New Movies, So Many Christmas Choices

Major movies opening in coming days - what will you see?

Each year, I see at least one movie in the theater over the holidays. In recent years, I've seen as many as three movies in as many days. I am pretty sure I'm not alone, either. Anyone else have a Christmas tradition of seeing a movie in the theater? Yeah, I thought so. This year, excellent news for us: We have a ton of choices.
2011's holiday movie openings include a David Fincher thriller (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), a Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson motion-capture family movie (The Adventures of Tintin), a Cameron Crowe-directed comedy/drama (We Bought a Zoo), a Tom Hanks/Sandra Bullock drama (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), a horror movie thriller (The Darkest Hour) and yet another Spielberg offering, War Horse. Lots of Oscar-bait in this group. What will you see this holiday? I'm thinking I'll see at least two of these, possibly more.

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Closer

An Appalling Piece of Drivel

This movie, this terrible mistake, this thing called “Closer,” is actually quite popular in some circles. I don't know what to make of that, except to say that if anyone thinks this is how real people actually act in the real world, I'm not sure I want to know about it.

Why Care Bears: The Next Generation is the Ideal Kid Movie

And why we need more like it!

Between Nonstop! Action! Sequences!!! designed to make children’s films competition with teen movies like Transformers, the lack of good leading female characters (and the presence of crappy sexist tropes), and the death element that permeates so many cartoons, many simply are not suitable for kids in the least. My own mother hated letting us watch The Little Mermaid and Bambi when we were kids because of the deaths in them (the villain in the former, the mother in the latter), and I’ve written before about how the best G-rated kids’ movies are Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and Curious George, which deserve their mild ratings.

Review: Eden Log

I was digging through the sci-fi section of the Netflix On-Demand the other night, skipping quickly along as usual (I’ve seen almost everything there) and came across a movie called Eden Log.  The cover art looked interesting so I decided I should tune in and give it a chance.  Well, I gave it a chance and it pretty much blew it.

The Porky's Impact

Anyone who was a teenager in the 80's, or even younger than a teenager if your parents went to bed early, knows about the Porky's trilogy. Three films filled with crazy characters, sex filled romps and really vulgar jokes.

Porky's was the part of “those” movies that capitalized on the feelings of the late 70s and early 80's. It was as time of decadence where sex, drugs and rock and roll were the norm. Porky's wasn't shown in back alley theaters and late at night, but in mainstream theaters, and had many actors that would go one to become stars including Kim Cattrall and both parents from “Webster.”

It revolved around a group of high school kids doing their best to have sex and make the lives of their teachers and parents a nightmare. They all strive to make it to the local brothel “Porky's” owned by a cigar smoking vulgar, and some would say evil, hillbilly. Every time they tried, they were turned away one humiliatingly violent way after another.

I Finally Saw "The Help"

I recommend seeing the movie whether or not you've read the book

I finally saw “The Help”. I’d read the book awhile ago, but didn’t get a chance to see the movie when it came out. A friend of mine bought the DVD and let me borrow it, so I was able to watch it last weekend. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not. I’d heard mixed reviews. Most people I knew who had read the book and then seen the movie didn’t particularly care for the movie; but those who only saw the movie and hadn’t read the book thought the movie was excellent. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Review of "Stepmom" (1998)

This Julia Roberts/Susan Sarandon movie always makes me cry

Last night, my husband and I both got home from work at a decent time so we decided to watch a couple of movies before bed. One of them was “The Polar Express”, which we’d already watched once this season. The other one we watched was “Stepmom” with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. I love this movie, but I also hate it, because it’s only one of two movies that make me cry every time I watch it. The other is “Beaches” with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.

A Prayer For The Dying

"No Man Has The Right To Damn Himself"

Redemption stories fascinate me, maybe because I'm not really sure there is such a thing. Can any amount of good deeds balance out a single deed that is truly awful? What does the one thing even have to do with the other? What's done is done. But maybe there is some way to cleanse your soul, even if you can never undo the harm. This is the premise of “A Prayer For the Dying.”

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