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A Couple of Priests Walk into a house in Amutyville...
The prequel/sequel to the successful (and hotly debated) "The Amityville Horror" gives us a fictionalized account of the Ronald DeFeo murders that occurred at 112 Ocean Avenue in November of 1974.
Hot-headed family man Anthony Montelli (Young) moves his family out to Long Island where a demonic entity begins to tear his already unstable family apart. When his eldest son (Wagner) becomes a vessel for the evil presence it sets off a chain of events that would forever scar the Amityville community and sell a ungodly amount of books and movie tickets.
Producer Dino De Laurentiis brought in fellow Italian and unknown director Damiano Damiani and by keeping with the tried and true Italiano tradition further amped up the rip-off nature of the production by adding an "Exorcist" component complete with a dramatic final exorcism. Carpenter understudy Tommy Lee Wallace provides a decent but unremarkable script that gives you the gist of the DeFeo murders but with an "Exorcist" twist. Composer Lalo Schifrin returns from the original to once again score the festivities with a bit of creepiness.
Opinion Regardless of your stance on the whole "Amityville" brouhaha I enjoyed "Amityville 2" for what it was. There was an interesting camera flourish every so often and even though the final act was ripped straight from "The Exorcist" it still managed to be entertaining. Yeah there's a bit of unintentional humor and a rather creepy incestuous plot line but a good time was had.
Summary Take "The Amityville Horror" add a heaping helping of "The Exorcist" then sprinkle in a little Italian seasoning and you have a decent follow-up in a series with more ups and downs than a steamy car on lovers lane.
The Geek (1971)
What's big and hairy and lonely in the woods...?
The Geek (1971) Genre: Adult / Horror
Synopsis: A group of tree huggung hippies search the Oregon forest for signs of "The Geek"and to film it. Along the way they get busy with each other and learn the hard way that Bigfeet need love too.
My Thoughts... I guess calling this the "Citizen Kane" of Bigfoot adult films may be stretching it. It has everything going against it. From horrid stock music to crap acting "The Geek" certainly has more sin behind the camera going for it than in front. Man did that Bigfoot costume look like it was scrapped up off a country road somewhere. Fans of the craptastic may enjoy a little hardcore Bigfoot action but most will shaking their heads why?
Rating: Liked It
No flying rugs but...
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
Director: Mike Newell Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley
The titular prince (Gyllenhaal) is a wanted man after being accused of murdering his own adoptive father following the siege of a hallowed city. Now on the run, the prince and the princess (Arterton) of the conquered city must protect a special dagger which has the ability to affect time and destroy the world.
Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney looked to fill holes in their blockbuster schedule in between "National Treasure" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" with this video game inspired initial salvo. But its lackluster box office may have put a damper on their plans. This expensive adventure film has some decent moments. It occasionally conjures up the epic scope of say a "Lawrence of Arabia" and the adventure of "Indiana Jones" and quirkiness of the aforementioned "Pirates" series. But that's kind of the problem. The feeling we've seen it before. Director Newell does what he will with the script being a graduate from the Hogwarts' directing chair so you know he has experience in big screen fantasy. The overabundant CGI set-pieces now smack of 3D gimmickry which just ends up worsening those aspects of the film. All in all "Prince" is an OK popcorn muncher but just like it is when you get to the bottom of the bucket the last few kernels are a bit stale and leave you wanting a fresh bucket, oh and you really need to go. Rating: So-So
Srpski film (2010)
The "Citizen Kane" of Exploitation Cinema.
Milos is a celebrated Serbian porn star (honestly I didn't know there was an industry) whose career was seemingly in his rearview mirror. But a seriously lucrative film deal is presented to him that could rescue his meager existence with his wife and son. But as we all know (and Milos soon learns) when you make a pact with the devil you really should read it first and those devilish details send him down one of the darkest paths of the year.
Thankfully I cut myself off early before learning too much about "A Serbian Film". When I started it all I knew was that it was an exploitation film and dark. Understatements of the year I think. Many will say that it's all filth and depravity but I think the film is a bit more than that. There's some interesting character stuff under the surface which will be lost by those reaching for remote and mashing the stop button or running for the exit like they were being chased by the devil. I think this is the film exploitation fans have been salivating after for some time now and to the uninitiated a red badge of courage is almost assured to the unsuspecting film-goer who makes it to the credits without flinching. I may be blaspheming but I think it's the "Citizen Kane" of exploitation films and just watch it all to prove me wrong I dare you.
Date with a Kidnapper (1976)
Random Occurrences Make This a Hoot!
Kidnapped Coed (1976) Synopsis: Sarah is leaving her boarding house when she a petty hood kidnaps her and holds her for ransom. But the inept crook has to defend his meal ticket from other criminals wanting her for the ransom and some of the most random attacks imaginable. Thoughts: Man "Coed" really needs to be seen to be believed. The silly script rely almost solely on random circumstance to the point of hilarity. You feel sorry for the kidnapper in the end because the guy never catches a break. Thugs, murderous farmers and the odd robbery leaves this guy constantly in the wrong place at the wrong time. The woman is about as lucky as the thug only dumber blowing off a million ways to get to safety. And what's with the phone booths all out in the middle of nowhere? Like I said. Something else. (Stars: Jack Canon, Leslie Rivers, Gladys Lavitan, Larry Lambeth, Jim Blankinship) Dir...Frederick R. Friedel) (DVD) Film Rating: 2/5) (Fun Rating: 4/5)
Hitch Hike to Hell (1983)
Pretty Standard Fare...
Hitch Hike to Hell (1977) Synopsis: Howie is a hard working, timid young man who is having troubles at work and home. His blackouts are straining his work relationships and his lack of appetite is worrying his mother. Elsewhere in town a killer is murdering runaways and the police are helpless to end the crime spree. Thoughts: "Hitch Hike" could have been much better. It was too timid for the grindhouse seventies much like the lead character. I was hoping for much more nastiness but sadly all we are given is a simple script and below average acting. However it will play better with enthusiastic, drunk fans of 70's oeuvre. (Stars: Robert Gribbin, Russell Johnson,John Harmon, Randy Echols, Dorothy Bennett) (Dir...Irvin Berwick) (DVD) (Film Rating: 2/5) (Fun Rating: 3/5)
War of the Colossal Beast (1958)
A Collossal Boo Boo...
War of the Colossal Beast (1958) On the heels of the previous years "The Amazing Colossal Man", War" continues the destructive exploits of Col. Glenn Manning who was exposed to radiation and mutated into a 60 foot behemoth. Found terrorizing locals in Mexico the colossal beast is drugged and brought to the US where he runs amok in Los Angeles. This ridiculously hack sequel was clearly just thrown together due to the success of the original. Heck during one scene involving a large, over-sized hypodermic needle if you look at the creatures face you'll notice a shot where the "beast" has none of its skull makeup on with both eyes clearly shown. It's laughable but not in a good way. (Dir...Bert I. Gordon) (VHS) (1/5)
Tongue-in-cheek, Stalk 'N slash...
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006) Leslie Verson is an aspiring serial killer. He's studied the best professionals his line of work has to offer (the "Unholy Trinity" of Myers, Krueger and Vorhees). He even grants access to a documentary crew as he reveals the inner most workings of the trade planning his newest hunt. But when the documentary crew ties to monkey wrench Vernon's perfectly honed plan how will it all play out? "Behind the Mask" is a rather clever homage to all things slasher. Pay close attention as there are a million winks at the viewer through references and cameos. A fun nod to the great slasher movies of yore and a must (at least once) to the discerning stalk N' slash fanatic. (Dir...Scott Glosserman) (HDTV) (3/5)
The Hills Have Thighs (2010)
The Hills Have Thighs (2010)
"The Hills Have Eyes" gets the Skinimax treatment in this softie spoof.
Bountifully blessed babes are preying on the men crazy enough to set foot near their desolate hillside home where 50 years ago nuclear testing left the are desolate. Some friends go after another friend who was kidnapped and forced to pleasure these insatiable wild women mutants and fall under the spell of "The Hills Have Thighs". Random boffing and crap-tacular music happen at regular intervals. Most are guaranteed to make you laugh or wince. If plasticized beauties and horrid acting are your thing than this one may be for you. But if you are allergic to gratuitous spoofing and monster life preservers than avoid like the plague.
Gladiator (1992) Columbia DTV 101m Director: Rowdy Harrington Stars: James Marshall, Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert Loggia, Brian Dennehy
Tommy Riley is a new transfer to the slums of Chicago. Out of his element, Tommy keeps to himself but winds up caught up in the addictive world of underground fighting circuit. But the neighborhood and the elements surround him as the ring threatens to end him for good.
"Gladiator" is highly derivative and definitely unoriginal but this mixture of urban teen drama and "Rocky" has its own charm and I enjoy it. It may not be original but it has a little heart and is well done and acted. (3.5/5)/
The Omen (1976)
The Omen (1976)
The Omen (1976) Fox BluRay 111m Director: Richard Donner Stars: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Harvey Stephens
Robert Thorn is a successful millionaire. A priest approaches him when his wife gives birth to a stillborn baby with an offer to switch the child for one abandoned at birth. Unknown to the mother he agrees. Several years pass and soon after accepting an ambassadorship Thorn soon learns the true, devilish nature of his adopted son.
Much like the influential "The Exorcist", "The Omen" mines Catholicism for a Biblically-heavy horror film with a classy cast but with much less viscera. "The Omen" is old school film-making with touches of Hitchcock here and there. (4.5/5)
Silver Bullet (1985)
Silver Bullet (1985)
Silver Bullet (1985)
Paramount HDTV 95m
Director: Daniel Attias
Stars: Corey Haim, Megan Follows, Gary Busey. Everett McGill, Terry O'Quinn
Literary scare-master Stephen King adapts his own novella "Cycle of the Werewolf". Sleepy little Tarker's Mills is rocked by a series of gruesome murders. But the sadistic killer only operates during a full moon a Marty and his sister rush to identify the killer before the moon is full again. The fine novella gets a solid screen treatment (it can't hurt if the author is involved). The cast is chock full of familiar faces which do a fine job populating the town with the quirky types you always see in a King story. Although better detailed in the novella, the screenplay gets the gist of it and the Rambaldi beast isn't too bad either. (3/5)
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)
S10 Review: Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)
Since you most likely saw the first one you know how this one begins. A clever animated title sequence shows the bottled water making its way to the people through commerce. The sequel starts off with a blast as the survivor gets disintegrated by a school bus. Enter screwball Winston (Andrews returning from the original) to smooth it over and sweep it under the proverbial carpet. We quickly move to the goings-on at the local high school where we meet plenty of "Superbad" angst and sexual hi-jinks. It all comes together at the prom where infected punch really gets the party started.
Wow this bad boy goes for the gross-out fast and hard. The gore and blood flows like wine and if you don't feel like losing your lunch once or twice then you seen way to much (I sympathize becauxe I'm there too). Director West once again taps the 70's – 80's (just like "The House of the Devil") complete with corded phone, crap make-up and a disgustingly familiar prom. It's all good dirty fun. I had a bit more fun than the first one.
The Uninvited (1944)
S10 Review: The Uninvited (1944)
The Uninvited (1944) * * * * * Director: Lewis Allen Stars: Ray Milland / Ruth Hussey / Donald Crisp / Gail Russell
Siblings Milland and Hussey are on holiday when they stumble across a lovely cliff side house that they fall head-over-hills for. They purchase the property for a unbelievable small sum and move in. The house however has a certain air about it and they soon understand what the disturbances were that drive the price into the basement.
"The Uninvited" is a personal favorite. It's a perfect example of the "old dark house" genre that has a lovely atmosphere complimented by some creepy photography. It features a charming cast that ge;s well and has good chemistry. In a dire need of a DVD release "The Uninvited" is a must for classic horror buffs.
A Perfect Getaway (2009)
S10 Review: A Oerfect Getaway (2009)
A Perfect Getaway (2009) Director's Cut 3/5 Director: David Twohy Stars: Steve Zahn / Timothy Olyphant / Milla Jovovich / Kiele Sanchez A mousy screenplay writer (Zahn) and his new blushing bride (Jovovich) are on holiday celebrating their wedding day with a honeymoon to Hawaii. After an odd incident with some menacing hitchhikers, the newlyweds meet up wit another couple hiking the same trail. When it is brought to their attention that killers may be on the island the lovebirds must figure out if they are being stalked by the killers and stay one step ahead.
"A Perfect Getaway" is a decent little thriller. Like many of the thrillers it has a bit of a twist and even though it's a clever one but it is still predictable one. The photography is gorgeous but let's face it, is there an ugly shot available in Hawaii? The cast does a fine job: Zahn plays mousy and slightly annoying well, Olyphant plays shady well and the lovely Miss Jovovich is worth seeing in anything. Fans of twisty thrillers should like "A Perfect Getaway".
Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek (2009) Rating
4 / 5 Genre
Science Fiction, Redux, Classic TV Director
J. J. Abrams Stars
Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Karl Urban. Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder Synopsis
A distress call from the planet of Vulcan sends Starfleet into action as the newly launched USS Enterprise lead by Captain Pike (Greenwood) attempt to head off a Romulan menace (Bana) hell-bent on destroying the United Federation of Planets
planet by planet.
Thoughts Producer / Director J.J. Abrams (producer of Lost, Fringe, Alias and Cloverfield) was given the unenviable task of bringing the Star Trek brand back to the big screen. Nothing could be a harder, more daunting task than trying to please a roomful of Trek fans while attempting to draw a new generation into the fold. But Abrams was a wise choice will the success of the great Lost series (and the up and coming Fringe), Abrams has established a knack for cerebral science fiction like few have in the last decade or more. With the new Star Trek adventure Abrams and his technical crew have managed to pull off a story that is a sequel and a prequel not to mention a relaunch of the long running series that can now even break new territory while being respectful of the classic voyages of yesterday. I think even the late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry would be impressed. The smart storyline evolves in such a way that they managed to pull off and bring in Leonard Nimoy for one last appearance as the pointy-eared, neck-pincher Spock (still my favorite Trek universe character). Now came the hard part. The job to assign new faces to the roles of the original series must have been amazingly tough and for the most part the producers pull it off surprisingly well. The holy trinity of Kirk, Spock and McCoy (the heart of the series) could have easily sent the project down in flames quickly but Chris Pine (Just My Luck, Smokin' Aces) manages to channel the cockiness and spirit of William Shatner's Kirk while taking the role and making it his own. Zachary Quinto certainly pulls off Spock's look and mannerisms even though he is a bit off sounding like him (Nimoy, who has done narration for many projects in the past has an unmistakable voice) but for me Karl Urban (with many genre projects already under his belt such as The Lord of the Rings) did old Bones so convincingly that it gave me flashbacks and a huge smile. With the main trio locked down next came the second tier characters the new Scotty (Pegg of Shaun of the Dead and Spaced) is spot-on and as funny as ever. Zoe Saldana (Guess Who, The Terminal) makes the role of communications officer Uhura her own and is uber-sexy doing it too. John Cho (of Harold and Kumar fame) and Anton Yelchin (Terminator: Salvation, Alpha Dog) round out the cast as Sulu and Chekov, Cho certainly looked the part but again he wasn't able to give his Sulu the unmistakable George Takai voice. Chekov was for me the only sore spot in the casting. Yelchin just didn't do it for me. He didn't look like Walter Koenig at all and his accent was horrible. While the production design was excellent minor things cropped up here and there. The CGI was plentiful and over-powering and ranged from the awe-inspiring to the ho-hum. Was the green cadet chick Kirk was macking a CGI effect. Either way it looked terrible. To round out the Trekker nit-picking, the music soundtrack was lacking. Even though the use of the original show's theme was excellent it lacked the memorable presence of the Jerry Goldsmith years.
In Conclusion Minor quibbles (or is that Tribbles?) aside the new Star Trek has more-than-enough to please many of the most hardened of fans (my Mother even loved it). The end product is admirable and easily accessible by those new to the series and just a fun romp through the universe. They plotted the correct course and warp speed ahead.
Vampire Hookers (1978)
Vampire Hookers (1978)
3 / 5 Genre
Horror, Vampires, Comedy, Filipino Cinema Director
Cirio H. Santiago Stars
John Carradine, Bruce Fairbairn, Trey Wilson, Karen Stride, Lenka Novak, Katie Dolan, Lex Winter, Leo Martinez, Vic Diaz, Erna Martha Bauman Synopsis
Two sailors are on leave in a Filipino port well on their way to looking for love in all the wrong places. After a beer brawl separates them one finds himself in the clutches a bevy of fanged beauties. It seems that a poetry spouting vamp (poor John Carradine) has set up shop uses his Vampire Hookers to nab unsuspecting prey ala Dracula and his brides.
Thoughts Vampire Hookers is far from the worst thing I've ever seen it's silly as all hell but it still entertains none-the-less. The two bumbling sailors were obviously graduates with honors from the Bruce Campbell School of Cinematic Snickers with the screen shenanigans peaking with a stinky, flatulent vampire. You really have to feel for John Carradine who has horrible lines but at least he had most of his scenes with title bloodsuckers ("'cause blood is not all they suck").
In Conclusion It's crude. It's silly. You know you want to see it.
Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes (2006)
Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes (2006)
3 / 5 Genre
Horror, Pumpkinhead Series Director
Jake West Stars
Doug Bradley, Douglas Roberts, Lisa McAllister, Tess Panzer, Emanuel Parvu, Ioana Ginghina, Lance Henriksen, Radu Iacobian, Catalin Paraschiv, Dan Astileanu Synopsis
The Demon of vengeance once again crawls out of the swamp when he is summoned by village folk seeking retribution for a doctor (Bradley) who found a unique work around for keeping his fellow townies safe. By selling the organs of their loved ones on the black market. The ghost of Ed Harley (Henriksen, returning from the 1988 original) tells them not to do it but you know they will do it anyway.
Thoughts Jake West (Evil Aliens, Razor Blade Smile) does a pretty decent job getting the third film of the series back in line with the original after a rather bad sequel. The special effects also beat out the second outing. Doug Bradley (Pinhead from the Hellraiser series) is always fun to watch as a baddie and it was cool that they worked Lance Henriksen back into the mix even though it was more of an afterthought than anything else.
In Conclusion If you thought "Blood Wings" was bad but did enjoy the late Stan Winston's original Pumpkinhead than give this one a shot. For a SciFi Channel original it's not half bad.
Howard the Duck (1986)
Howard the Duck (1986)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, Comic Book, Marvel Comics
Director: Willard Huyck
Stars: Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins, Ed Gale, Chip Zien, Tim Rose, Steve Sleap, Peter Baird, Mary Wells, Lisa Sturz, Jordan Prentice, Paul Guilfoyle, Liz Sagal
Synopsis: The comic book comes to life when a high-powered laser mishap transports one Howard T. Duck, a wise-cracking and cigar chomping non-flying avian from his home Duckworld to our backward world of Cleve-land. He's befriended by Beverly (the hot Lea Thompson) who helps him to figure out what happened and how to get him off of this hairless ape planet.
Thoughts: It is about time that the powers that be put this classic dud on DVD. Producer George Lucas (of Star Wars fame) must have been trying his hardest to keep this fowl blockbusting blight on his filmography as out of sight as possible. Hey man chill out! Don't forget your best bud Spielberg also had a colossal dub too (1941, another Universal coffer draining production). But seriously what's there not to like about Howard? It's got action, comedy, explosions, animatronic suits, duck-on-human love, quack-fu and dark overlords of the universe. Oh did I mention it had a hot Lea Thompson in it? Just watch it already
In Conclusion: It was a bit before its time but thankfully it's developed quite a rabid (or is that duck rabies) fanbase over the years. I guess all those emails to Lucasfilm and Universal finally paid off. Did I mention it had a hot
Chemical Wedding (2008)
Crowley (2008) (AKA Chemical Wedding)
AKA: Chemical Wedding
Rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Occult
Director: Julian Doyle
Stars: Robert Ashby, Jared Ashe, Terence Bayler, Antonia Beamish, Esmé Bianco, Geoff Breton, Simon Callow, Jud Charlton, Lucy Cudden, Lily Dumont, Richard Franklin
Synopsis: At an English academy the most powerful computer in the world is used to perform time sensitive experiments. When an experiment goes awry and the spirit of Aleister Crowley inhabits a professor participating in the experiment.
Thoughts: I could explain the plot but I can't really do it justice. The detailed script written by the director and Bruce Dickinson (from the metal legends Iron Maiden) is pretty good with you enough twisted Crowley debauchery to keep you engaged. The first thirty or so minutes are a bit slow so hang in. As you can guess a horror film that borrows from the depraved life of the "Wickedest Man in the World" gives you such perverted pleasures as orgies and canning. The script does get a bit bogged down in the final act when its more lofty, SciFi conventions kick in but hey it delivers the weird goods.
In Conclusion: Yup we get treated to Iron Maiden and Dickinson tunes throughout the film. Not enough but that's just me. Say didn't the mighty Bruce become a born-again Christian? An odd choice and subject for a horror movie I believe.
The Attic (2007)
The Attic (2008)
Rating: 3 out of5
Genre: Horror , Haunted House, Possession
Director: Mary Lambert
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Jason Lewis, Tom Malloy, John Savage, Catherine Mary Stewart, Thomas Jay Ryan, Alexandra Daddario, Gil Deeble, Nick Gregory, Sara Maraffino
Synopsis: Emma (Elisabeth Moss) moves into a nice rural home with her parents. Soon after settling down she investigates the attic to find strange Wiccan symbols painted about and a large mirror that reflects seemingly an evil, distorted version of herself. Before long she is so terrified about the things she sees that she won't go outside and the only person who believes her is a detective that takes pity on her.
Thoughts: Director Mary Lambert (no stranger to horror with "Pet Sematary" and "American Psycho" to her credit) does a good job of sprucing up this familiarly constructed script with a creepy atmosphere that makes the most of the films lone location. The cast does a fine job crazy-ing up the screen.
In Conclusion: "The Attic" is a solid but unspectacular film that makes due with what it has.
War Wolves (2009)
War Wolves (2009)
Rating: 2 out of 5
Genre: Horror, Werewolves
Director: Michael Worth
Stars: Michael Worth, John Saxon, Tim Thomerson, Natasha Alam, Alex Ballar, Siri Baruc, Kristi Clainos, Adrienne Barbeau, Jon Bradford, Margot Farley
Synopsis: Ford (Saxon) leads a unit on the hunt for an escaped, infected team member who was infected by a werewolf virus. But others have been infected and a group of she-wolves may be more dangerous then they can possible imagine.
Thoughts: Well you know you are in trouble as a filmmaker (not to mention the viewer) when your celluloid effort gets picked up by the SciFi Channel. There's a 90% chance that they'll regret it and we'll regret it even more. Unfortunately "War Wolves" doesn't break the cycle. This bad boy must have a seriously low budget. For nearly the entire length of the film we get growling effects, dime-store fangs, contacts and the occasional eye shadow to signify someone is in wolf mode. Toward the end when we see our war wolves in their ahem full glory well let's just say that Barf's makeup in "Spaceballs" has a better shot at scaring the crap out of you. The script will make you wince in pain with dialogue so hideous you'd like to stuff your remote in your ears.
In Conclusion: This one should rate a zero. The only reason I give it two stars is that genre greats Saxon, Thomerson and Barbeau were in it. They did what they could with what little they were given and Thomerson actually managed a couple good comebacks. So be warned.
The Black Hole (1979)
The Black Hole (1979)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Science Fiction, Walt Disney, Spaceships
Director: Gary Nelson
Stars: Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine, Tom McLoughlin, Roddy McDowall, Slim Pickens
Synopsis: The year is 2130 and the space exploration vessel USS Palomino is out in space investigating a black hole. While searching the area they come across another ship in orbit impossibly close to the massive force of the universe. Upon closer inspection they find out that it's the lost USS Cygnus, a vessel though destroyed some years before. The Palomino crew boards the ship and finds the sole survivor Reinhardt (Schell) and a ship of robots. They must get to the bottom of the situation and survive the perils of the most perilous celestial phenomena known to man.
Thoughts: Sensing a good thing in the wake of 1977's "Star Wars", Walt Disney's outfit decided to mine outer space for some material. Although it did no where near the type of box office success Lucas' film did. Still "The Black Hole" manages to be a fun family popcorn flick with a solid cast and decent special effects for the time.
In Conclusion: "The Black Hole" is a childhood favorite and a good time for the whole family.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Genre: Anime, Science Fiction, Comic Book
Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Stars: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Tesshô Genda, Hiroshi Ôtake, Kôichi Kitamura, Michihiro Ikemizu, Yuriko Fuchizaki, Masaaki Ôkura, Tarô Arakawa
Synopsis: Based on the beloved Manga comic "Akira" takes place thirty-one years after the nuclear exchange of World War III, neo-Tokyo is beseeched by civil unrest and biker gangs. Kaneda, the leader of one such gang tries to help his friend Tetsuo after he gets mixed up in the Akira government project. The project involved the study and development of heightened brain functions.
Thoughts: What can I say that hasn't been said before? 'Akira" is an absolute classic of Japanese anime and a benchmark. It may have not been America's first exposure to the popular genre but it certainly brought it out of the underground. I saw this first in high school and it blew me away.
In Conclusion: This is the perfect place to begin if you are new to anime. Many agree that there is none better in the anime world and I'd be hard pressed to disagree. The new Blu Ray is phenomenal and a must for fans.
Against the Dark (2009)
Against the Dark (2009)
Rating: 3 Out of 5
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Action, Infection, Vampires
Director: Richard Crudo
Stars: Steven Seagal, Tanoai Reed, Jenna Harrison, Danny Midwinter, Emma Catherwood, Stephen Hagan, Daniel Percival, Skye Bennett, Tania Dobre
Synopsis: "Against the Dark" takes place in the not-to-distant apocalyptic future infectious vampires have taken their toll on the refugees of the world tapping them in undefended towns. . A team of vamp slayers (lead by Seagal) are trying to secure an infested town before the military render the final solution.
Thoughts: As of late "katana-master" Seagal has been putting out some serious straight-to-video drivel. Highly criticized for being out-of-shape and under budgeted "Against the Dark" proved that he had at least one more halfway decent film in him. But there's a catch and this may be the reason the film works Seagal isn't in it that much. First-time director (but experienced Cinematographer) does a pretty decent job wringing the clichéd and tired script of every drop he can. That Gothic, post-apocalyptic, most-likely-filmed-in-Europe look suits the film since darkness can easily hide a multitude of sins.
In Conclusion: Seagal's career started taking a nosedive somewhere around "Half Past Dead". There's probably a joke in that last sentence but I'll leave that one to you. Much of his last few years output has been painful to witness but maybe, just maybe there's a little something left in the tank.