While not the first to do it, The Blair Witch Project was the first movie to really bring the “found footage” style of movie to the masses. Telling the tale of three student filmmakers (stole that line from Wikipedia), who went out to make a documentary about the Blair Witch, a legendary figure, and never came back.
The film starts out with a message stating tat the movie was put together from the footage found in the cameras after the three film students had disappeared. The three, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams had headed out to make a documentary about an evil witch, or spirit that is rumoured to haunt the woods outside of Burkittsville, Maryland (formerly known as “Blair”). They talk to locals who tell them the tales they heard as children growing up in Burkittsville, and how the witch tale was used to keep kids in line. They also hear the tail of a tragedy that happened in the 1940s with the disappearance of several local children, as well as several men from the community. Well, the three decide to head off into the woods in search of the Witch, or at lease evidence of such. Soon they find themselves hopelessly lost and it seems the focus of some weird nocturnal activities. They hear weird sounds at night and fins strange constructs of twigs and wood as well as neatly stacked rocks around their tent in the morning. As time passes and they become more and more loss, the individuals start really showing their stress in the way they interact with each other. The weird sounds and such continue and increase, adding to the stress of the group. When one member of the group disappears in the night, and fails to return, it just gets worse. You know things are just not likely to work out for our little group of film makers.
The Blair Witch Project did a great job of capturing the initial enthusiasm of the three, as well as there slide to desperation , and breakdown of the three main characters. They manage to remain believable (for the most part), and while you may grow frustrated with them at times, it’s at times where youy as a watcher are supposed to get frustrated with them. Is this a good movie? Damn straight.
Check out the trailer below, and if you haven’t seen it yet, go out and get yourself a copy.
So, this week is dedicated to Alien Based Horror movies. I expect a few possible turkeys, but I believe it’s going to be fun anyway. I am a fan of Science Fiction (Sci-Fi) and horror, and the two mix reasonable well at the hands of competent film makers… and some horribly awesome films when created by bad film makers. I hope we get to see both sides of the coin this week.
We haven’t filled the roster of films yet, so if you have a suggestion or two, feel free to send them on over by using this link:
So, here we are, with the seventh and last movie of our Vampire movie week. With this movie, 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, we have in a away returned to the beginning. Our first movie of our Vampire week, 1979’s Dracula starring Frank Langella, and tonight’s movie, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), are both retellings of the classic Dracula story.
Starring the great Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, and taking place primarily in 1897 (with some important scenes happening in 1462). Count Dracula has decided to purchase several properties in London, England and his case has been handed to a new solicitor (like a lawyer), Jonathan Harker (played by Keanu Reeves, with the absolutely worse English accent I have heard in I don’t know how long). Harker has taken on Dracula’s portfolio from a Mr Renfield (played extremely well by Tom Waits), who has since gone completely insane. Harker must travel to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula to discuss his plan to purchase Carfax Abbey. Once in the hands of Dracula, he soon finds that he is a prisoner. While there are some perks (there are some pretty sexy vampire chicks), he escapes, a changed man, and heads back to London. Dracula, himself changed from a decrepit, creepy old man, to a now dashing young gentleman, has put a spell on Harker’s fiancé, Mina (played by Winona Rider who also struggles with her accent… though nothing like Keanu’s). Oh… He also seduces, rapes and drains Lucy, Mina’s friend. Yeah, this is Dracula – he does stuff like that. Enter Van Helsing, (portrayed by Anthony Hopkins) everybody’s favourite Vampire hunter.
Okay – this is the classic Dracula story, retold in 1992 with a good cast and a big budget. Director Francis Ford Coppola did a good job bringing the story back to the screen in this very watchable retelling. Is it better than the 1979 version? I wouldn’t say so, but it is good enough to watch and enjoy. Also, it’s good enough to forgive that awful accent of Reeve’s. Check out the trailer below:
Jackie Brown is such a throwback to the Blaxploitation films of the 1970’s that I almost think that Tarantino travelled back in time to gather up some magic, earth toned 70’s mojo to pack into this film… or not.
Starring Pam Grier (yeah, the tough chick from… those 70’s Blaxploitation films… see? I told you!), as Jackie Brown, a tough attractive flight attendant, who supplements her meagre wage by smuggling cash into the US from Mexico for a gun runner named Ordell Roberts, played by the seriously awesome Samuel L. Jackson. When one of Ordell’s mules gets caught and incarcerated, Ordell aranges for their bail, and kills them so they won’t turn informant. Soon after, Jackie herself gets caught by the feds bringing in cash and drugs (which were placed on her, without her knowledge). Refusing to testify against Ordell, she is locked up. Despite her refusal to talk, Ordell is still worried that she may talk to the feds, so he arranges her release, and plans on killing her too. Turning the tables on Ordell (a pistol will do things like that), she negotiates with Ordell to pretend to be working with the feds while smuggling a crap load of cash for Ordell.
This movie, like almost all Tarantino films, is freakin’ jam packed full of great stars. Honestly, here is a list of the stars in this crazy, throwback of a movie:
- Pam Grier as Jackie Brown
- Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie
- Robert Forster as Max Cherry
- Bridget Fonda as Melanie Ralston
- Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolet
- Robert De Niro as Louis Gara
- Chris Tucker as Beaumont Livingston
- Michael Bowen as Mark Dargus
- Lisa Gay Hamilton as Sheronda
- Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. as Winston
- Hattie Winston as Simone
- Sid Haig as Judge
- Aimee Graham as Amy
- Diana Uribe as Anita Lopez
- T’Keyah Crystal Keymah as Raynelle
- Denise Crosby (uncredited) as Public defender
- Quentin Tarantino (uncredited) as Answering machine voice
- Helmut Berger (uncredited, archive footage) as Nanni Vitali
- Marissa Mell (uncredited, archive footage) as Giuliana Caroli
- Council Cargle (uncredited, archive footage) as Drew Sheppard
- Tony Curtis (uncredited, archive footage) as himself
-This list was copied directly from the Wikipedia article on this movie which can be found here .
Oozing cool, Jackie Brown delivers 1970’s awesomeness, updated (just enough), for a (mostly), modern audience. If you haven’t seen this film, and like the style of Tarantino films, then this is for you. If you like your films, antiseptically clean, then walk away…and why are you reading this blog anyway?
Check out the trailer below, and why not watch this masterpiece tonight?
1994’s epic movie, Pulp Fiction, is a crazy, head spinning movie that just doesn’t give you a chance to take a breath. Like almost all Tarantino movies, it has a cast that is virtually a who’ who of Hollywood (as of 1994).
Pulp Fiction is a homage to the crazy B-Movies of the 60’s and 70’s, right down to the out of order timeline of events in the film. You’ve got a couple of thugs, or muscle for a Mobster by the name of Marcel, Vincent Vega (John Travolta), and Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson), who among other jobs, are sent to collect a briefcase with…something in it, from some young guys, who apparently believe Marcel is a bitch (watch the movie…). Things go wrong and things get messy.
We also have a sub story about a boxer, Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), who’s been paid heavily by none other than non-bitch Marcel, to take a dive in his upcoming fight.. yeah, things go wrong, and Butch and his weird and annoying French girlfriend are on the run. Later, Butch and Marcel end up captives to some hillbilly homosexual sadist rapists. Things get crazy again. Release the Gimp. and in another segment, Butch surprises Vincent… with deadly results.
We also have Vincent, charged with keeping Marcel’s wife, Mia (Uma Thurman), entertained while Marcel is away. The two end up at a cool, over the top, 50’s style diner. There’s some talk of a $5 milk shake and a great dance off… and then later, back at Marcel’s and Mia’s things get crazy, Mia ends up almost dead, rushed to Vincent’s heroin dealer’s house with a syringe of adrenalin sticking out of her chest.
Somewhere in the middle, a crazy criminal couple (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) decide they want to rob the restaurant where Vincent and Jules are chilling out in. Things get intese this time, with Jules and holding a gun to Roth’s neck and explaining the deal to him…
Damn this movie is cool – awesome and out of sight. Some people (my wonderful wife included), do not like the fact that the story line is not linear, but I think that’s part of what makes the movie as great as it is. Should you watch this film? Yes, many times.
Check out the trailer below:
True Romance is a crazy, wild ride of a movie. Written by Quentin Tarantino, and starring Christian Slater as Clarence Worley and Patricia Arquette as Alabama Whitman, a young couple who meet at a Sonny Chiba triple play at a theatre in Detroit. They hit off real good, have dinner and then both end up at Clarence’s apartment, having sex. Alabama then admits she’s a hooker hired by his boss, to help him blow off some steam. She also admits that she’s managed to fall in love with him over the course of the evening. This is fortunate, as apparently Clarence has fallen in love with her also. Having known each other for a whole night, they do the logical thing and get married. Now Clarence has to deal with Alabama’s Pimp, Drexl (Gary Oldman). What confronting the pimp, and after a ruckus, and a visit from Clarence’s muse/alter ego/imaginary friend in his head, Drexl ends up dead, and Clarence accidentally ends up with a suitcase full of cocaine. The newly webs hatch a plan to sell the cocaine and restart their lives somewhere warm… Well, the coke was the Mobs, and soon the two are being tracked down by some unsavoury characters, one being the always awesome Christopher Walken as gangster Vincenzo Coccotti. Before the duo leave Detroit for California, they stop by Clarence’s estranged fathers, a police officer by the name of Clifford, played by Dennis Hopper a Detroit police officer, to find out what the police believe the motive for Drexl’s murder. After they leave, Coccotti and his crew end up at Cliffords to drill him on the location of Clarence and Alabama… A great exchange between two great actors happens…only one survives.
Off to Cali, the dynamic duo meet up with an old friends of Clarence, who begrudgingly agrees to help him sell the cocaine to a director he kind of knows, using a go between, played by Bronson Pinchot. Things go wrong, cops get involved, a meeting happend and everything goes to crap…
This movie is crazy and cool – crazy cool? Yeah. Unlike the Kill Bill movies (and the others I will be reviewing), this is written by Tarantino, but directed by Tony Scott, and therefore has a different feeling than Tanatino directed films – but don’t think that is a bad thing, it’s just different. This is a great film and deserves to be watched.
Check out the trailer:
When we finished Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 movie, Kill Bill Volume 1, Bill (played by David Caradine) was still alive… This pretty much guaranteed us a Volume 2.
Volume 2, released in early 2004, opens with a flash beck to Bill shooting Uma Thurman’s character, The Bride, and leaving her, presumably, for dead on the floor of a small church. Then we see The Bride herself, driving, recounting what happened in Volume 1, and then calmly letting us know that she is going to kill Bill. Soon we see Bill, speaking to his brother,Budd (played by Michael Madsen), himself a former Deadly Viper, warning him that The Bride is most likely on her way to kill him. Budd, who now spends his time working as a bouncer in a titty bar, explains that they all deserve any kind of vengeance that the Bride may bestow upon them, for what they did to her. Later, The Bride, expecting to ambush Budd, end up on the wrong side of a 12 gauge shotgun packed full of rock salt. Incapacitated, Budd buries her alive, in a cemetery, and calls fellow Viper, Elle Driver (played by Daryl Hannah), bragging of his deed, and offering up The Bride’s Hanzo sword to her for a cool million dollars – an offer she snaps at. Meanwhile, we flashback to The Bride…who flashes back to her martial arts training at the hands of a merciless master by the name of Pai Mei (Gordon Liu). We see a young Bride as she develops her techniques through repetition and the seeming heartlessness of her master. Eventually it is obvious that she has won his respect. Now we flashback to the present, with the Bride using one of the many techniques taught to her by Pai Mei to escape. Meanwhile, back at Budd’s trailer, Elle has shown up to get the sword. Providing Budd a suitcase full of cash (a million dollars, I presume), she inspects the weapon while Budd starts grabbing handfuls of cash out of the suitcase… Only to find a surprise – a deadly surprise, waits for him in all that cash. Now with Budd out of the way, The Bride has made her way back to Budd’s place to find Elle – which is good, because she too was on the Bride’s list of those that have to die… A great sword fight breaks out, and along the way we discover that Elle, who also was sent to learn under Pai Mei, had killed the old master by poisoning his meal. We also lean that the Master had plucked one of Ell’s eyes out during her training for being insubordinate to the old man. Enrages, The Bride takes instant justice by relieving Elle of her remaining eye…
Now on to Bill… The Bride, now referred to as Beatrix, has tracked Bill to Mexico. Meeting an elderly, dirt bag of a gentleman by the name of Esteban Vihaio, who tells her Bill’s location, because he believes Bill would want him to. Making it to Bill’s, she receives a shocks when she discovers some interesting personal info…and a dart of truth serum to the neck. More flashbacks and some serious talking, and then battle… awesome battle.
You know the name of the movies, so you figure out what the outcome is (watch the movies if you haven’t already). These two movies were meant to be released as a single movie, but the run time would be over 4 hours so they were broken into two. Watch both back to back for the original intended experience, The Kill Bill movies are fantastic and you should watch them.
Check out the trailer below:
S I was walking though the Blu-Ray section at my local Wal-Mart when I found the Die Hard 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray Collection. It includes Die Hard (1988), Die Hard 2 – Die Harder (1990) , Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995) and Live Free Or Die Hard (2007). All these awesome action movies in one cooly designed set with an added disc of extras…. all for $20! These are good action (and Christmas), movies and this is a good addition to one’s BLU-RAY collection.
After a suggestion from my friend that normally watches these movies with suggested we do a Tarantino week…
Well, we are doing just that.
So, I remember when this movie first came out back in the day and thinking “that looks like crap” and never bothering to watch it. Well this week my movie watching buddy suggested we watch it, and while not totally enthused, I agreed. I’m glad I did.
Tank Girl is a 1995 post apocalypse Sci-Fi movie based on a comic of the same name. Taking place in the year 2033, 11 years after a comet hit the Earth devastating the environment. One large, evil company, Water and Power (WP) controls the World’s water supply. They are run by the equally evil Kesslee (played very well by Malcolm McDowell. Rebecca, (Tank Girl, played by Lori Petty) is a crazy ass resistance member that survive off of water they extract themselves – something very much against WP’s company policy. In a raid, most of Tank Girl’s compatriots are killed, while her young friend, Sam (Stacy Linn Ramsower), is captured. After managing on killing a good number of WP’s men, Tank Girl is also taken into captivity. Impressed by her ability to kill so many of his top men, Kesslee offer’s her a job. Refusing, Kesslee put her through a series of tortures in order to break her will… Good luck with that.
When not being tortured, she is forced to work gruelling shifts for WP. There she meets Jet Girl (played by Naomi Watts), a girl with talent, butt very timid. They get to know each other when Tank Girl saves Jet Girl from the advances of a guard. Eventually Tank Girl escapes (with a tank – go figure), and goes off to look for her friend Sam (now forced into servitude at a brothel). Along the way she meets he Rippers – mutant humanoids (and something else – watch the movie to figure that out) that fight WP at every step. Eventually Tank Girl gains the trust of the Rippers (who are actually quite civilized in their own way), and she and the Rippers take on WP. Pretty vague description… but that is on purpose.
Tank Girl successfully combines action, Science Fiction and comedy all together into a goulash of awesomeness that I completely did not expect. This movie had my attention from the beginning, and while completely weird, is also completely awesome. I heartily suggest you watch this crazy movie.
Check out the trailer below:
1993’s Freaked stars William Sadler as Dick Brian, a former child star that, along with a group of compatriots, are turned into mutant freaks by mad scientist/Showman Elijah C. Scruggs (played very well by Randy Quaid), and held captive, along with his other victims turned performers for his own Freak Show. Of course i’s up to them to plot an escape, which leads to a whole new bunch of excitement. Retelling the tale of the incident that left him horribly disfigured and ended his acting career on a daytime talk show hosted by the vacuous Skye Daily (played by Brooke Shields), while in shadow (presumable to hide his horrible disfigurement), the movie is shot as a flashback, and occasionally returning to the present either for a dumb, but funny comment from Skye, or a silly commercial. Quaid’s Scruggs is an awesomely over the top character, and his stable of freaks is truly impressive. I especially enjoyed Mr. T as the Bearded Lady! Special effect makeups are fantastic and completely over the top. The film combines horror with humour very successfully, something that isn’t easy to do.
A silly film that deserves your attention, I heartily suggest this as a watch.
Check out the trailer below:
I watched this movie in the theatre back in ‘96 when it first came out and I remember just hating this movie. Hell, for years I would tell people just how bad I thought this movie was. Yep, I couldn’t stand it. I re-watched it last night and realize I was wrong to hate it – This is a great movie.
Essentially a Vampire movie, with a lot of little twists and turns, From Dusk Till Dawn has a great cast. Starring George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as two brothers, Seth and Richard Gecko, on the lam and heading for Mexico after Richard broke Seth out of jail, and left a trail of bodies in their wake. Harvey Keitel stars as Jacob Fuller, a Pastor that has lost his faith after the death of his beloved wife. Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu play his children, Kate and Scott Fuller. The Fuller’s are on a vacation, driving in their motorhome, when they are commandeered by the Gecko Brothers and forced to smuggle them into Mexico, where the Gecko’s are preparing to start a new life away from the authorities, after meeting up with a contact at a pre-arranged meeting place: a raucous bar named the Titty Twister.
Once at the bar, Seth starts things off on a negative note by beating the crap out of the doorman/shouter (played by Cheech Marin). Once inside, things continue on a negative, when the bartender (played by Danny Trejo) refuses to serve the group, saying that this bar is for Bikers and Truckers only. Jacob sets things “right” by using a little logic. Things seem to be going swimmingly when the doorman confronts Seth and Richard. A fight breaks out, Seth and Richard shoot a few guys… Richard’s hand, shot in the first scene of the movie starts dripping blood, which starts a chain reaction… You see, this bar is a major Vampire hang out and he just started a feeding frenzy. The always beautiful Selma Hayek, playing the super sexy Santanico Pandemonium is the first to attack. Before I go on, let me stress just how hot Selma Hayek looks in this move. I know she always looks hot, but MAN does she look good in this movie. Okay, I digressed… All of a sudden it looks like a Vampire apocalypse. A shit load of folks get killed, but the humans star turning the tide. Seth confronts Jacob, making him decide on which side of belief he’s gonna’ sit, and they hatch a plan. Time to fight Vamps or die.
This movie is an action packed, rollercoaster ride adventure. Combining Tarantino’s writing and Robert Rodriguez was sheer brilliance. The characters are interesting (Tarantino’s Richard is absolutely crazy – a loathsome animal of a man), and there isn’t a dull moment. Oh, and Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong fame) plays not one but three separate characters.
Watch this movie.
Here is the trailer:
In Retaliation, the President of the United States has been replaced by face changing bad guy, Zartan (played by Arnold Vosloo), who is in the process of transforming the United States from Peacekeeper to war happy nation. Under the guise of securing a rogue nuclear device and keeping it out of the hands of terrorists, the (fake) President orders the G.I. Joe team into action. Once they complete the initial part of the mission, the G.I . Joe team is attacked in an impressive show of explosions and firepower. The team is pretty much decimated aside from a few key Joes. Vowing vengeance for their fallen brethren, the three remaining Joe’s start off looking for the one who betrayed them. Meanwhile, back in the States, fake president Zartan has made the Joe’s look like traitors and terrorists, and announced that Anerica’s new super militay team is now Cobra. Also, he’s convened a gathering of the leaders of the nations o the world with Nuclear devices in order to talk disarmament… Yeah right – he’s Evil!. A few more twists and some more explosions and some tense situations later… and the good guys end up winning (come on, it’s a G.I. Joe movie – you don’t really think there’s any chance of the bad guys winning do you?).
So, I am old, and when I was interested in G.I. Joe, he wasn’t a little 4 inch character but big enough to date Barbie and kick Ken’s ass. Pretty sure this is based on the 80’s to present version of G.I. Joe – not an important point, but I had to put this out there.
Staring Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis and (for a short while) Channing Tatum, Retaliation is not suffering from big stars. At times I found myself a little confused as to who was good and who was bad, and for a movie based on a series of Toys, man there is a lot of killing. Sure, I know this is a War toy, and I was not offended in any way, shape or form, but was surprised nonetheless. But overall this was an entertaining action film.
Check out the trailer below.
So I found my self with a little extra time on my hands and decided to watch the 1995 version of the Rodger Corman classic, Piranha. Now, you might be thinking that you read one, no two reviews of Piranha on this blog already. You’re right, and now here’s a third.
This 1995 release has a new story (mostly) and new actors but reuses the actual piranha attack clips from the original 1978 release – Hey, it’s good to recycle, right?.
Like all Piranha movies, the fish are accidentally released into a river or lake (river that dumps into a mam made lake this time), and a few good people have to convince some bad people to cancel an even that takes place at a beach. And like all other Piranha movies, the bad people refuse to believe them until it’s too late.
There really isn’t anything in this version that screams must watch, though it is fun. One little tidbit: the young daughter of the main character, Paul Grogan (played by William Katt of The Greatest American Hero), is played by a very young Mila Kunis. I did not know this while watching the movie, and despite not having a lot of lines, I was thinking that this child actor is the only one in the whole movie that seems believable. Looking up the cast after I was done watching is when I found out it was Mila – good job!
So, to summarize: This version of Piranha doesn’t bring anything new to the table an early performance by Mila Kunis), but it is fun nonetheless,and if you like these B-Movies then this one is as good as most and might bring a smile on a boring afternoon.
Check out the trailer below, and below that a link to the entire movie, for as long as that works (please let me know if the link is dead!):
Here’s the whole movie on Youtube: