Frailty

     Frailty –Are we gonna go get us a demon, Dad?”  A creepy, slow horror film from 2002, but it always stuck with me as an excellent movie.  In this modern day of religious fanaticism, this film can touch you regardless of your beliefs.  Get a view from their side and what they believe.  Bill Paxton stars & directs this thought provoking and twisted tale.  It’s the pacing of the film and the tension of the characters that keeps you engaged and unable to look away.  Rated 74% at Rotten Tomatoes and 4 stars at Amazon.com, this film is a tense evening in the making.  Some horror buffs, rate it as high as the 11th best horror film.  I don’t give it that level of praise, but you will stay on the edge of your seat.

Plot – A man (Matthew McConaughey) goes to the FBI office and wishes to speak to Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) regarding the God’s Hand Killer case.  He introduces himself as Fenton and says that his brother Adam is the killer.  Skeptical, Doyle demands proof and Fenton says he can show him where the bodies are and that he’s coming forward because his brother committed suicide.  Doyle wants to see where the bodies are as proof.  On the way, Fenton tells the story through flashback of how his father had a vision that an angel told him he had to kill “demons” that are among us.  The final war between “Good” & “Evil” is happening now and that this is “God’s work”.  The angel tells him that will reveal who the demons are.  Fenton doesn’t believe, but Adam does.  Through divine knowledge, he is given the tools to slay the demons…an axe named “Otis” and work gloves.  His father gets the first victim and forces the boys to watch.  When he lays his hands on them, he can see their sins.  Fenton still doesn’t believe and his father works him severely building a celler to get him to believe, but he resists.  After killing a couple more demons, Fenton runs to the sherriff who brings him home and reveals his unbelief.  The sherriff inspects the shed and his father kills the sherriff to protect their mission.  He imprisons Fenton in the celler until he has seen God and now believes.  Now, he’s ready.  Getting another demon, Fenton is given the chance, but he kills another demon instead.  Back to the present, Fenton & Doyle arrive at the cementary where the victims lay, but there’s one more “demon” on the list…

Commentary – This is an excellent film that makes you think and that is why is resonates with me as a great film.  It’s not a shock film and the gore is kept to a minimum.  The “vision” scene could have been done better, but the remainder is very well done.  The angles and lights of the filming add to its creepiness and mood.  Matthew McConaughey keeps it low key and the chemistry with Powers Boothe maintains the tension throughout the film.  And, the story is well told and reveals important parts over time.  The scare is in the demons that you’re dealing with and you don’t know who is or who is not.  The twist at the end will leave you wondering…..maybe you’ll even look at your wife or husband a little differently.

Trivia – Bill Paxton uses the same beer can throughout the film because it was the only one they could find that looked like it came from the 70’s.  Director’s James Cameron, Sam Raimi, and Stephen King all praised the film.  Finally, with the film set in Texas, it was only natural that 3 Texans, Paxton, McConaughey, and Boothe, would be the primary stars.

*** Just click the images to check out “Frailty” at Amazon.com ***

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Bridesmaids

     Bridesmaids – “It’s the first time I’ve seen you look ugly, and that makes me happy!”  This movie was different as the girls get down and dirty.  I had heard the raves about it and how they ‘show the boys how to do it’.  Well, this movie isn’t for children.  The comedy is harsh and the language is brutal, but there is some real funny stuff here.  In no way should it be considered intellectual.  It’s basically a 2 hour cat fight.  There were times I was laughing hard at the jokes.  At other times, I could tell there was “girl humor” that I wasn’t quite getting.  “Guy humor” and “girl humor” is just different and I think women would get the jokes and probably enjoy them.  As a guy, it just didn’t register; however, there’s plenty of jokes the guys will get.  There were some slow parts and it gradually trails into the standard “chick flick” ending.  But, this is still a movie worth watching.  This movie was rated 90% at Rotten Tomatoes and 3.5 stars at Amazon with most complaints being their own “expectations” after hearing the hype.

Plot – Annie (Kristen Wiig) is asked to be maid of honor by Lillian (Mya Rudolph).  Lillian & Annie were childhood friends, but now she’s marrying into wealth and has new friends.  Annie, whose life is in the dumps, just can’t relate to these people.  At the engagement party, she meets the other bridesmaids…Rita, Becca, Megan, and Helen.  Helen (Rose Byrne) & Annie immediately form a rivalry that takes this film to some of its high points.  On the way home, Annie is pulled over by a cop, Officer Rhodes, for busted tail lights and they flirt.  Later, the girls meet for a luncheon and choosing the dresses, which is hilarious, and Annie suggests a bachelorette party at a childhood home, but Helen turns it into a Vegas romp.  On the plane, Annie fears flying and Helen gives her a pill to calm her.  But, it turns her insane and Annie’s out of control.  The plane lands to kick them off and it’s a bus ride home.  Lillian tells Annie she’s having Helen take over.  On the way home, she runs into officer Rhodes and they start an affair.  But, Annie bails when Rhodes comes on too strong.  So, she goes to the bridal shower and Helen has stolen Annie’s original ideas and she flips.  To make matters worse, on the way home, she has a wreck and Rhodes is the officer.  They fight and Annie’s life keeps getting worse.  Annie is visited by Megan (Melissa McCarthy) and given some “tough love”.  So, she starts trying to repair her life and takes some unusual steps.  On the wedding day, Helen shows up and tells Annie that Lillian is missing and they search for her reluctently dragging Rhodes in…Finally, Lillian’s found and many wounds are healed with hilarious and touching results.

Commentary – Watching the cat fight between Helen and Annie was excellent.  Some of the language is over done for shock factor, but there is plenty of good comedy through out the film.  The slow parts in the beginning are the set up to the pending war to come and women should enjoy a film with comedy from their point of view instead of the standard “guy humor” in films.  I do not say this is the funniest of all time, but it is a great movie to watch.  Do not expect “class” from these “ladies”.

Trivia – Melissa McCarthy (Megan) and Ben Falcone (Air Marshall Jon) are real life husband & wife.  Stars Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Nancy Carell, and Melanie Hutsell have all appeared on Saturday Night Live.  And finally, this is the highest grossing R-rated female comedy of all-time edging out Sex in the City.

** Just click the images to check out “Bridesmaids” at Amazon.com **


Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

May 2012 bring you much wealth, health, and happiness.  2012 is going to be a great year.

More great movies will be added soon…..


Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade

     Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade – “You lost today, kid.  But that doesn’t mean you have to like it.”  The 3rd film of the Indiana Jones series returns Indiana to the action/comedy of the original.  The 2nd movie, “Temple of Doom” was too dark and incorporated an intolerable female character and the disgusting insertion of a tag along child that doesn’t fit with the character.  Unfortunately, inserting kids into movie sequels is too common.  However, some people liked it, but I have never missed not seeing that one again.  In the 3rd installment, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) teams up with his father, Professor Jones played by Sean Connery, who is an archaeologist as well searching for the Holy Grail.  As most adults will admit, trying to take on a monumental task with their parent will only lead to frustration and missunderstandings.  Thus, a great movie is born.  Rated 89% at Rotten Tomatoes and 4.5 stars by Amazon.com, this movie is a treat for the entire family.

Plot – The movie starts with a back drop to young Indiana Jones and his love for adventure.  While in the boy scouts, he stumbles on some robbers in a cave that find an ornamental cross belonging to Coronado (Spanish conquistador).  Young Jones steals the cross and is chased through a circus train before making it home.  The robbers and a crooked Sherriff arrive at his house and he’s forced to return it.  The robber gives Jones his fedora and encouraging words.  As an adult, Jones recovers the cross.  While donating it to the museum, he discovers his father is missing while searching for the Holy Grail.  Soon after, he receives a package containing his father’s diary.  Knowing he is in trouble, Jones sets off to Venice where he was last seen.  Jones discovers the castle where his father is being held and breaks in.  He finds his father and realizes that he was captured by the Nazi’s (Indiana’s long time foes from the first film).  They want the Holy Grail as well.  They break out and the adventure begins.  Through countless chases and action scenes, they finally arrive to the location of the Grail.  After surviving the 3 challenges to get to the Grail, he encounters the knight that found the Grail.  The Nazis now enter seeing numerous “grails”.  The knight warns them to “choose wisely”.

Commentary –  The movie brings Indiana back to the guy we enjoyed in the original film.  The comedic back and forths with his father will likely remind you of your frustrations with your own parents.  I did.  One of the funniest scenes is when Jones is retrieving his father’s book from Berlin and stumbles right into the path of the leader of his most hated rivals…Hitler himself.  I won’t tell you how it works out, but the encounter is hilarious.  So, if you enjoyed the original Indiana Jones, then you’ll enjoy this movie as well.  There’s plenty of action, comedy, and suspense to keep you enthralled throughout.

Trivia – Steven Speilberg (director) always wanted Sean Connery to play Indiana’s dad as an inside joke that James Bond was Indiana’s father.  In the movie, we learn “Indiana” is really “Henry Jones Jr.” and that he got his name from the family dog.  Finally, while watching Indiana wrestle with the other Nazi guard through the periscope on the tank, the Nazi tells his teammates in German that “The Americans.  They fight like girls.”

**  Just click to images to check out “Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade” at Amazon.com **


The King’s Speech

     The King’s Speech – “I don’t care how many royal assholes have sat in this chair.”  The King’s Speech was a brilliant surprise.  Expecting a rather stuffy movie, the interaction of the characters was amazing and brilliantly played with numerous comedic moments tied to the drama of the King’s pain.  Colin Firth is incredible as Bertie (aka King George VI) and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue left you wanting more.  Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth ties everyone together for the story.  The storyline is obvious, but the movie is about relationships.  The relationships of Bertie (King George VI) & Lionel Logue, Bertie & Queen Elizabeth (wife), Bertie & King Edward VIII (brother), and Bertie & Bertie (his inner issues) are all entangled and critical to the movie.  The close ups and facial expressions display the emotions as the lines are stated and you feel the characters more than following the plot.  However, there are numerous subplots throughout the film that will keep you enticed as well.  Rated 95% at Rotten Tomatoes, 4.5 stars at Amazon.com, & winner of 4 Oscars certifies this as a great film

Plot – The plot is that Prince Albert, Duke of York (Firth) is trying to give a speech and is stammering.  His wife Elizabeth (Carter) visits Lionel Logue (Rush) to ask his assistance.  Logue doesn’t recognize her as royalty and is somehwhat rude until he discovers who is the new “student”.  Albert reluctantly goes, but does so for his wife.  Logue challenges him and even breaks royal etiquette calling him by Bertie (his birth name).  He doesn’t believe in Logue until a tactic used shows Albert promise of improvement.  He continues the eccentric treatments.  King George V dies and Albert’s older brother is now King Edward VIII, but he is a playboy and only follows his desires to the dismay of Bertie.  Bertie is more “kingly” and concerned with the Royal responsibilities.  When King Edward VIII falls in love with a divorced American, he must abdicate the thrown.  Bertie is now King George VI.  Bertie is now terrified as he has the mind of a king, but has lost his resolve due to his speech impediment.  However, he continues improving.  But, politics are at work.  As Bertie believes in Logue, his priest determines Logue doesn’t have “credentials”, but King George VI sticks with him after Logue challenges his authority again.  Unfortunately, the world is spiraling toward WWII and King George VI must make probably the most critical speech of his life.  Logue helps him trough and unleashes the King within.

Commentary – From the title, you can guess the story or you will understand it very quickly, but it is the relationships and subplots that keep this movie interesting.  Guy Pearce is excellent as hedonistic King Edward VIII and antagonist to his brother.  The story within the story is told through expressions as much as through the spoken word.  Rush was outstanding and can deliver so much through such a short statement.  In addition, the movie provides a different view of the royal family and even made me question their relevance.  This could be due to my being an American and anti-King anyway, but the humanistic qualities, fears, and even uncaring nature by most of the royal family will likely make you think the same.  Regardless, it’s a brilliant film.  It’s probably more suited for an adult audience as younger viewers might not appreciate the mature story and there is some profanity, but this is one film that should not be missed.

Trivia – Throughout the film, Logue doesn’t let Bertie smoke saying, “sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you”.  Due to increased smoking from the stress of WWII, King George VI died of lung cancer in 1952.  Humerously, the film has an Australian actor (Pearce) playing a Brit, a British actor (Best) playing an American, and an American actor (Ehle) playing an Australian.  Finally, despite Lionel’s insistance that Bertie call him by his first name, Bertie never actually does in the film.

** Just click the images to check out “The King’s Speech” at Amazon.com **


Top Secret

     Top Secret – “(Hillary) It’s a German name.  It means ‘she whose bossoms defy gravity’.”  Top Secret is an absolutely great movie over-shadowed by the greatness of its predecessor.  This comedy was a follow up movie by the makers of Airplane.  Unfortunately, Airplane was so great that it made many viewers not appreciate this film.  However, don’t let that keep you from enjoying it.  It is in the same comedy stylings and they bombard you constantly with jokes.  Even when it is in a lull of the action, there is usually a joke going on in the background.  It’s a silly, immature, and mindless movie, but it is hilarious and a fun 90 minutes.  I believe you’ll want to enjoy this film many times.  In fact, you’ll have to watch it several times to get all the jokes.  Rated 76% at Rotten Tomatoes and 4.5 stars at Amazon.com, this is a little gem worth looking into.

Plot – As with Airplane, the plot is somewhat irrelevent and an avenue for the jokes.  But, here goes.  Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) is an American rock singer invited to East Germany to appear at a cultural festival.  Along the way, he rubs the German authorities the wrong way who strangely act like Nazi Germans.  Meanwhile, we see Hillary Flammond (Lucy Gutteridge) meeting a French Underground spy, but as the authorities catch up, she runs into a restaurant that Nick is present in.  Seeing her nervous, he claims she’s with him and they get involved.  She is part of the French Underground trying to save her father who is a brilliant scientist kidnapped by the Germans to build a powerful mine.  They join the French Underground and finally locate him in a prison.  They raid the prison, help him to escape, and flee Germany.

Commentary –  This is a completely underrated film.  Seriously, who doesn’t think a cow in rubber boots is funny?   The spoof of the Germans is hilarious and Val Kilmer’s Elvis/Beach Boys/Little Richard musical parodies will keep you entertained.  Considering this was his first feature film, his comedic timing was excellent, as well as his singing.  As stated, it’s silly at times and it’s subtle at times, but it’s funny from beginning to end.

Trivia –  The musical numbers in the film were actually recorded by Val Kilmer and released on the soundtrack under his character’s name.  When Val Kilmer is in prison, you can see a picture of Cher hanging on the wall.  Kilmer was dating Cher during that time.  The “German” spoken throughout the film is essentially gibberish.  However, some scenes contain Yiddish statements that are rather insulting.


Dracula (1931)

     Dracula (1931) – “Listen to them.  Children of the night.  What music they make.”  The iconic Dracula and the greatest American monster.  There have been many vampire films and remakes throughout the last 80 years, but there is only 1 true Dracula.  You ask anyone, even today, who Dracula is and they’ll describe Legosi’s version.  Bela Legosi’s portrayal of Bram Stoker’s literary creation has defined this character forever.  The aristocratic dress, the mannerisms, the speech style, and his movements are nothing short of legendary.   Surprisingly and considering this film was made in 1931, the special effects are very good.  Granted, compared to the CGI movies of today, the effects will not hold up, but you will not miss them in this film.  Rated 93% at Rotten Tomatoes and 4.5 stars at Amazon.com, the greatness of this film is not lost throughout time.

Plot – Renfeild (Dwight Frey), a British solicitor, is traveling to Dracula’s castle by stagecoach.  At one of the stops, the villagers inform him of the vampires, but he dimisses it.  He travels on meeting another coach and the ride has some strange occurances.  Arriving at the castle, he enters and Dracula (Bela Legosi) decends to greet him.  He has purchased Carfax Abbey in London and Renfield brings the papers.  Dracula provides a knock out drink and then bites Renfield making him Dracula’s helper.  They get on a boat to London, which arrives with only Renfield as the survivor and who is now a raving lunatic slave to Dracula.  He is taken to Sewards Sanitarium.  Dracula meets Dr. Seward, daughter Mina, Mina’s fiance John Harker, and family friend Lucy at the theatre.  Later, Dracula enters Lucy’s room and bites her and she later becomes a vampire.  At the sanitarium, Renfield is noticed eating spiders and flies.  Dr. Van Helsing tests his blood and describes vampires to the other doctors, who don’t believe him.  Dracula now enters Mina’s room and attacks her.  She awakes and tells of nightmares of the experience.  Dracula enters and Van Helsing sees that Dracula doesn’t reflect in the mirror.  Showing this in a cigarette case, Dracula acts violently, gathers his composure, and says that Van Helsing will explain as he exits.  Meanwhile, Mina leaves her room and meets Dracula for another bite.  Harker, her fiance, wants to take Mina away, but Van Helsing says no and decorates with wolfsbane to protect her.  Dracula enters and challenges Van Helsing, but his cross saves him.  He tells Van Helsing that he has already fused his blood with Mina and she is his.  Dracula hypnotizes the nurse to let him in and takes Mina.  Renfield is now escaped and Harker & Van Helsing follow him to Dracula’s lair.  Dracula and Mina decend the stairscase heading to the coffins as morning approaches.  Renfield sees Dracula and offers his service, but Harker shouts to Mina.  Dracula thinks Renfield led them there and strangles Renfield.  He rushes below trying to seal themselves in.  Van Helsing and Harker are able to break in and find them.  Van Helsing sends Harker to find Mina.  As he searches, Van Helsing handles Dracula.  Harker finds Mina and as Dracula is killed, she returns to normal.

Commentary – Dracula is one of the best known monsters of all time and the character is personified by Bela Legosi.  The movie is well written and structured.  The character of Renfield is essential to the story and Frey’s insanity acting is excellent.  You can’t go wrong with Dracula.  It is a classic for anyone who is a fan of horror films.  It’s not very frightening due to the desensitization of later films, but it is the film that truly started it all.  Don’t miss this iconic film.

Trivia – The film was originally to star Lon Cheney Sr., but he passed away in 1930 allowing the role to go to Bela Legosi.  Being an immigrant, it was rumored that Legosi could not speak English and learned his lines phonetically, but reality is that Legosi was able to speak English as well as he ever would for the film.  As iconic as his character is, he only reprised his role once in the comedy film Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein; even though he played in numerous other horror films.  Throughout the film, you never see Dracula blink.  In addition, Dracula never displays fangs and the only indication are the “two little holes” that the doctors keep referring.

** Just click the images to check out the original “Dracula” at Amazon.com **