Last Update 4/23/17

 

Rio Bravo (1959)

Having recently read the novelization, I decided to watch the movie. John Wayne is the sheriff, Dean Martin is the town drunk, and Claude Akins is the murderous punk who gets arrested and whose brother decides that they are above the law. Martin redeems himself. Ricky Nelson is a cowpoke who ends up involved despite his disinclination to do so. The inevitable shootout occurs after a number of plot twists. There are lots of details that are very different but the essential story remains. Above average western and a very unusual role for Martin. 4/25/17

31 (2015)

An over the top horror movie from Rob Zombie. Five strange and uninteresting carnival employees are abducted and subjected to a deadly competition. The apparent attempt to make the characters realistic just makes them dull and rather repulsive, as usual. The five prisoners have to survive five hours while being pursued by a band of killers. This one is just too bizarre and unrealistic to be interesting even for those of us with a relatively low standard for horror films. Pass and watch something else. 4/23/17

Hellraiser Revelations (2011)

The studio had to produce a quickie Hellraiser movie or lose their rights to the series, so this one was done in eleven days. It feels more like eleven hours. Doug Bradley refused to play Pinhead and I donít blame him. The acting is not only atrocious but at times I suspect the cast could not remember their lines and improvised. Badly. Underlit, cheaply made, badly conceived, and an insult to both Barkerís original idea and anyone who bothered to watch this crap. 4/20/17

Mechanic: Resurrection (2016) 

I thought the first in this series was so morally compromised that I didnít really like it, despite my fondness for Jason Statham. Statham is a professional assassin who has decided to retire from the profession. Heís in hiding, but a group of lethal people find him and the usual action sequence follows. But as much as I like his work, this is another disappointment. The woman he loves, Jessica Alba, has been taken prisoner, and he has to carry out three assassinations to get her back. Ultimately this one is just boring. 4/19/17

Donít Kill It (2017)  

I had never watched a Dolph Lundgren movie before and I probably never will again. A demon possesses people and turns them into killers. The local sheriff is an incompetent idiot and the FBI agent sent to help him is just incompetent. Lundgren is an old demon hunter who knows whatís really going on and he teams up with the latter to track the demon down. Incredibly bad dialogue and acting, silly plot, laughable special effects, and an indistinct soundtrack. Donít watch it. 4/15/17

The Ghost in the Shell (2017)

I was somewhat disappointed in this, which is essentially a remake of Robocop. Scarlet Johansson - who is usually quite good but comes across as very flat in this one - is a human brain in a robot body. She works for security for a corporation in a future Japan that looks a lot like Bladerunner. But the plot is so predictable that it has bends instead of twists. The corporation is evil. They've lied to her about how her body died. There are lots of unanswered questions - like how did the terrorist escape from the labs and how could they not have known about him after he did? The special effects are nothing special. There is no wit in the dialogue, no humor, no snappiness. It wasn't awful, but it was very very bland. 4/14/17

Tales of Poe (2014)

Three adaptations of Poe stories, including among their casts the sole survivors of Friday the 13th Part One and Part Two, for some reason. The first, sort of "The TellTale heart", in which an insane nurse becomes obsessed with her charge's eye, is so tedious that I had trouble watching to the end, even though it's short. Their version of "A Cask of Amontillado" is clumsy and much of the dialogue is forced. The final story is so surreal I couldn't follow it. Poe deserves better. 4/13/17

Hellraiser: Deader (2004) 

Despite a cameo by Pinhead, this really isnít a Hellraiser movie, but itís at least more interesting than most of the later sequels. Kari Wuhrer is a journalist trying to track down a cult in Romania Ė where everyone speaks perfect English by preference for some reason Ė and discovers more than she bargained for. Thereís a very creepy sequence in a dead womanís apartment early on but after that we get into multiple dream sequences and illusions and I lost interest after I lost track of the plot. 4/12/17

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005) 

Unbelievably bad entry in the series. Hellraiser is now an internet game and five fans of the game come to what is essentially a Hellraiser themed rave at a creepy old house where Lance Henriksen kills them one by one. It contradicts the other movies in the series and the appearance of Pinhead and the puzzle box are more decorations than substance. The dialogue is occasionally unintelligible and frequently nonsensical, not following from what preceded it. Clive Barker would be turning in his grave if he wasnít still alive. 4/11/17

Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002) 

Boy, is this awful! The opening half hour is incomprehensible but seems to have something to do with a man who married Kirsty from the first movie in the series, but killed her due to his really stupid driving habits. Except that he apparently was cheating on her and the police think he killed her. At least thatís what I think was going on. There are so many dream sequences and illusions that itís hard to tell. The ďsurpriseĒ revelation is dull. They should have given up on this series after number two. 4/10/17

Tamara (2005) 

This is another teenage revenge movie. Tamara is not a particularly outstanding student, but a prank results in her death and she wants revenge. A group of obviously way too old actors play high school students in this predictable but not awful horror movie. The premise is nonsense. A school paper would not have published charges of drug use. It would have been reported to the police or just suppressed. The basic idea isnít bad, but the execution is terrible. There is virtually no suspense and there are no surprises. As I said, this is not awful, which is unusual in itself unfortunately. 4/9/17

The Brass Bottle (1963)

Tony Randall, Burl Ives, and Barbara Eden star in this film version of the F. Anstey novel. Randall is an architect who wants to marry Barbara Eden, so he buys an ancient Egyptian urn to impress her father. But the urn is more than it seems. It contains a genuine genie. Initially he thinks the genie is just a nut, but eventually thinks start going his way and he realizes there is magic at work. Tony Randall is, as always, superb. The people making bad direct to video movies currently really need to look at some of the classics like this to discover what they are doing wrong. 4/7/17

Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

The fifth in the series isn't really in the series at all. It ignores everything established in the earlier movies and while there is a puzzle box and Pinhead does make an appearance, it is window dressing. The story is actually about the battle between a police detective and a criminal known as the Engineer, who is actually a demon and whose real identity is painfully obvious. The detective is such a miserable jackass that the Engineer is actually a nicer guy. There are lots of scenes where it is impossible to tell what is going on, and even though I cranked the sound way up, there were times when I couldn't understand the dialogue because they mumbled or whispered unintelligibly. This was simply a not very good movie about demons grafted into the series. 4/2/17

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