Month: November 2008

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Out of all the comic book based movies that have been released over the last several years, I can only think of one that I just knew would have difficulty striking a chord with audiences; and yet, I found myself to be completely surprised when the end result turned out to be a great success. The film I am referring to was the 2004 surprise hit, “Hellboy” starring Ron Perlman as a bright red, demonic monster hunter. Before the original film arrived in theaters, the promotional images looked impressive, especially the make-up effects work being done to create Hellboy’s devilish visage; which was something I never thought would look even remotely realistic. Yet, somehow what I once thought impossible, without going cheesy, B-movie-esque with the whole production, was brought to an entertaining reality. With the release of “Hellboy” and its anxiously awaited sequel “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army”, both films directed by critically acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro (“Blade 2”), a once obscure comic book hero has broken into the mainstream, and a new franchise is taking Hollywood by storm. “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” finds our crimson hero (Ron Perlman) grappling with personal issues centering around his fiery relationship with Liz (Selma Blair) and his desire to become widely known and accepted by the public that still believes him to be a myth. Meanwhile, an ancient truce is...

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Shockheaded (2002)

Another movie with the acting talent undermined by poor script writing. Shockheaded’s director, Eric Thornett, may be a decent film director but his script writing allows for serious storyline flaws. On a “B” budget allowances can be made for less spectacular special effects and limited setting, but poor writing thrown in, is not supportable. The polished performances of Jason Wauer, as Noble, a man living on the proverbial edge of perceptual reality (yet capable of exceeding heroic expectation,) and the supporting roles played by Debbie Rochon and Peter Smak certainly deserve better. Ms. Rochon combines animal attraction, beauty and sinister air with the best of them. Many of the elements that play seemingly pivotal focus in the film simply are not explained by the action as to just what their bearing is on the storyline or how intended they might be in enhancing mood, setting or even surreal extensions. For instance, the point of promoting a particular mask as significant or why wagging a severed head around has value to our hero. Why bill collecting muscle men so easily accept murdering as a sideline to collateral damage and how our hero can decide not to go down from a vast number of mortal wounds. There could be “supposed” reasons… but the script doesn’t reveal them. Wouldn’t cost much, a letter could come out of nowhere (the same as notes...

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STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (2001 DIRECTOR’S CUT)

The inagural “Star Trek” film was filled with problems when it finally arrived in theaters in December of 1979, most of which was the result of a rushed filming schedule that left little time for the post production process. While a fairly good film, it’s painfully slow and overly ponderous to the point of making even the most devout Trekkies want to cry blood. When it was rereleased on dvd in 2001, Paramount invited director Robert Wise to revisit his work and finish what he started 22 years earlier. Now “Star Trek” is not only a finished film, it’s also finally gets to fulfill its potential of being an excellent film. “Star Trek” opens when three Klingon cruisers are literally disintegrated by a mysterious entity, whose next destination is Earth. Captain Kirk and his trademark crew are reassembled with a newly refitted Enterprise, and ordered to intercept this perceived threat to the lives of billions. Soon they encounter the massive presence known as V’ger, intent on traveling Earth to meet it’s creator. But exactly who on Earth has the technology to create something as advanced as V’ger, and what will occur when it does meet its maker? In a time when science fiction was more in the action oriented vein of “Star Wars”, writers Harold Livingston and Alan Dean Foster were courageous to go against the grain and deliver a smartly thoughtful script. Especially clever is the origin and identity of V’ger,...

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HIGHLANDER: THE SOURCE

Usually when a film is left to gather dust in a movie vault before being dumped onto cable, they’re a reason: it’s terrible. “Highlander: The Source” is no exception to the rule, in fact it more than anything else it confirms it. While the 5th Highlander film has an interesting premise, that’s about all it has to offer anyone. Set in Eastern Europe, “The Source” shows us a world fallen into chaos an anarchy. Duncan Macleoud, aka the Highlander, hasn’t fared much better. He’s taken to perching on rooftops, drinking from a flask and mourning the wife who left him. While Duncan’s stunk in his funk, Methos has conveyed a hi-tech teleconference with Immortals around the world to discuss mysterious events in the heavens above. Can all this herald the arrival of the mythical Source, the legendary Holy Grail of the Immortals? Their suspicions are confirmed when Immortal archaeologist Zai breathlessly checks in, desperate to tell the group about a mysterious holy order called the Brotherhood of Pain and the location of the Source. Too soon, he’s killed by the crazed and amazingly powerful Guardian, who safeguards the secrets of the Source. Methos and his fellow Immortals head to the secret monastery, but complications occur when Duncan’s estranged wife appears with visions that can provide valuable direction on their quest. Duncan also soon joins them, although he doesn’t seem to believe in the Source and frequently looks like he wishes he were somewhere else....

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DVD Review: The Italian Job – Special Collector’s Edition

Though not familiar with the original 1969 movie of the same name, as a stand-alone film The Italian Job swiftly moves along without any narrative hogwash and sufficiently provides a smooth combination of light humor and top-notch entertainment. With an all-star cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Mos Def, Seth Green, Jason Statham, and Donald Sutherland to pump fuel into a mildly predictable action adventure, you end of forgiving any minor flaws. After pulling off the heist of a lifetime that tallied up to $35 million dollars in gold bricks, Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) and his crew of trained thieves have a greedy member in the family of criminals. Steve (Edword Norton) made a few plans of his own. Subsequently leaving Croker and the rest of his crew broke and supposedly dead, Steve went to live a life of happiness without any remorse, unaware Croker and his crew survived. One year later, Croker and his crew are back to reclaim the gold and get revenge. This is a well-collected caper flick with an amusing approach on character development, an intelligent script, and large-scale entertainment. The kind of popcorn flick that is reminiscent of a spectacular firework show — explosive, slick-looking, and just a whole lot of fun. The Italian Job uses its good-looking cast superbly, is lock and loaded with high-budget action sequences, and has plenty of energy to...

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