Monday, October 29, 2007

Movie #4 - Predator

Let's face it... this movie can now be used for political campaigns as there are two govenors in this one.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is not at his best here... not as many one liners in this one as in his other classics like Commando or The Running Man. There was only 1 that I caught throughout this movie, and that's one too little if you ask me. He's famous for those... even in his current tenure as the Govenor of California...

Jesse the "Body" Ventura is briefly in this movie, but after watching this movie again... I dig the MTV t-shirt he is sporting underneath the army fatigues. Cool gun he is carrying around too...

One of my favourite bad guys is here in this movie playing a platoon mate of Arnold... its Bill Duke. He's an ominous black actor... famous for his shaved head and piercing eyes. He's usually playing a mercenary or hitman in movies... so his special forces role here is not a stretch. I just liked his cameo here for he is completely weird... after his buddies begin to be poached by the Predator, Duke slowly becomes mad. I like how he prepares for battle too, by shaving his face with a blunt razor. Guess the director gave each of them the opportunity to think of ways to get ready... this was Duke's. His death was probably the most gruesome too... considering this movie was considered very violent for 1987.

As for Arnold... he gets outmatched here by the sheer size of the Predator. The actor cast in this role would probably have to be 6"9 at the very least to look towering over Arnold. Not to mention the gigantic head created by Stan Winston's special effects to complete the look of the creature from outer space.

As the movie progresses, although there are bloody scenes of death, I would've like to see more. The death of Carl Weathers was awesome, but yet, he always gives a good death in his movies. It didn't help that I watched a cut version of this movie on Spike TV, but I would've liked to see the death of Sonny Landham (Billy). Not only does Landham do a fantastic prep for his death... throwing his gun away, cutting his chest open with his 1.5" blade, but he even waits for the Predator on a gladiator-esque log on top of a waterfall. This would be a great scene had it been shown... instead, an eerie scream was put in its place. I believe more could be done here.

The final battle scenes with Schwarzenegger and the Predator are somewhat tacked on in comparison with his culmination battles of his other films. But I am biased towards his roles in the Terminator movies myself. By far, this is still the better Predator film of the bunch... but that doesn't say much!


Movie #3 - The Number 23

Its good to see Jim Carrey making more serious films. Although this movie became quite predictable around the halfway point, it was still a solid role for Carrey to move into the serious actor category.

I keep on telling Christine that Carrey needs to do a war movie now that he has finally played a psycho. He actually kills some people in this movie and he has some sex scenes here, something that I really didn't need to enjoy the overall movie.

Christine and I didn't gamble to view the unrated version... which would probably have some Virginia Madsen nudity... ah well. Sex scenes with Jim Carrey can stay in the vault if you ask me.

Ever since the early 90's, Carrey has been type cast of being the zany comedic actor that talks out of his ass. However, as mentioned in another blog site that I used to run, Carrey did have a serious role once early in his career. If ever this movie comes on television again (TV movie), please seek out "Doing Time on Maple Drive." Carrey plays an alcoholic brother... a side character to the gay brother lead role. Clever appearances by Doogie Howser's dad, James B. Sikking... and you got a movie that shows that Carrey is in actuality a versatile actor.

Now don't get me wrong, he's attempted this in the past with some successes (Truman Show & Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and some failures (The Majestic)... however, its good to see that he is expanding his resume.

Either way, he gets kudos already for dating Jenny McCarthy... that alone deserves 3M's. However, this movie gets 2M's... its mediocre overall, but not because of Carrey...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Movie #2 - 28 Weeks Later

First of all... I would like to comment that on a Friday night, the only thing boring married couples or those in long term relationships do is rent movies. If you go to your local videostore, you will see what I mean... however, what is sad are those that go there by themselves... because they have nothing better to do. Wait a second... that used to be me, so that's not sad at all. Its fantastic!!!

Anyways, I was greatly disappointed by this sequel to one of the better horror movies done in recent years. 28 Days Later was a wonderfully shot movie, which was well cast and did not have a tremendous budget. It showed how horribly wrong a government science experiment can go and the effects it could have on major populations. It was a great commentary on the current state of our society and our unpreparedness for what is a possibility (pandemic, disease, starvation, etc.) but an accelerated pace.
28 Weeks Later is far from it. Although, like the original... the opening scene of this movie is awesome. Its an intense 5-10 mins that ensures that people are in their seats if watched in the theatres. After this... the movie is a tremendous letdown.

There are some cool pan shots of downtown London, England completely empty and there are some eerie shots of the streets and famous landmarks with no people. I found this quite compelling in the first movie, but this was somewhat overdone in the second movie.

The score was once again a great piece of music. Not only did it setup up gruesome set pieces in both films, but it was used as a gloomy undertone to what was to come...

I didn't like some of the violent scenes... there was too much violence in some of the more pivotal scenes and confusing violence in others. There was more commentary on the influence of the military (I believe the producers of this movie are commenting on the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan) with scenes of military martial law and when they execute a Code Red order to exterminate all living people on the Isle of Dogs.

I liked the concept of this movie, focusing on repopulation and the efforts that the U.S. military and NATO would be doing if something like this were to occur. However, even in a horror movie where unbelieveable things are permitted to happen, I didn't find this movie believeable.

Although it gave me a good scare in some points, I was quite disappointed by the final product. There were many things that needed to be worked on in this movie. Without seeing the recent Resident Evil sequel, I would have to think that the producers made a horror movie with more explosions and CGI scenes to compete with this flick than to create another character driven horror story like the original 28 Days Later.

Overall, I still give it 2 M's out of 5. I would've reviewed this more poorly... but zombie-esque movies are a favourite genre of mine in the horror category, so I am somewhat biased.

If you are going to watch this movie... make sure you enjoy the first 10 mins of it, for the rest of it falls flat!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Movie #1 - Backdraft

What better way to start, but with a good movie.
1991 was a good year. Although I was only 11 years old, I remember being able to watch movies every weekend, for my local video store had a great rental deal of 5 old movies for $5.

Greatest deal ever!!!

Well, although I don't recall ever renting Backdraft, I know that I watched this movie with my family in theatres.

Ron Howard portrays a wonderful storyline of two brothers, played by Kurt Russell and William Baldwin, who hate each other... and how to tie the brothers together, but with firefighting.

This movie cost a lot of money to make in 1991, as computer graphics were not up to par with making large pan shots of fire scenes and destruction... all had to be done with live action and miniature models. I remember a show in the early 90's, Hollywood FX Masters hosted by Christopher Reeves, showing the movie magic behind Backdraft.

Not only would this movie cost a great deal of money to make now using special effects, but the cast would be high end in pricing. Although William Baldwin would cost a B-rated movie salary now... Kurt Russell, Robert De Niro, Rebecca De Mornay, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Glenn, J.T. Walsh, and my favourite 100-year old villain, Donald Sutherland. This movie would be made with similar actors nowadays, but would cost 10x to make on actor salaries.

The movie is compelling from start to finish. Although Baldwin never amounted to much in Hollywood, his role in this movie as the lost younger brother works for me. Russell is the driving force in this movie... he's a believable fireman and he's a tough as nails older brother. Sutherland and De Niro provide veteran presence in their side roles, while the late J.T. Walsh provides another prime villainous performance.

Overall... this movie will still remain one of my favourites from 1991. Out of my 5M scale (Meliton Movie Minute scale), I give it 3.5 M's.


I love watching movies... its one of my favourite things to do apart from collecting sports cards.

I am one of those guys who will sit and watch a movie I have seen 10-15 times already, just to watch and learn new details that I didn't know already about the scene or to watch a favourite part which is about 1.5 hours into the movie.

My wife hates the fact that I do this... especially with movies that I already own!

My theory behind it is... its free when its on television and its a nice surprise that you didn't plan for. Plus, I am always in training to defend my title as self-proclaimed Scene-It Movie Champion.

The invention of the PVR (Personal Video Recorder) also has not helped matters much. This has allowed me to record movies playing at obscure times of the evening or during the day when I am at work. Not only that, but more channels such as AMC (American Movie Channel) have become part of our basic digital package.

My wife is lucky that I haven't splurged yet on HBO or TMN or any of the sports packages... yet.

Anyways... enjoy my blog. And to others who have visited my blog sites in the past... I will do my best to keep this one going.