Author Archives: ochippie

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Movie Trailer – Spinning Man

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Simon Kaijser

Starring: Guy Pearce, Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver

Release: 2018

Oh no, oh please, you guys, please don’t do this to us.  Minnie, Guy, Pierce; please undo this movie, I don’t want it to ruin my opinions of all of you.  Take it back, boss.


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Movie Review – Saturn 3

Category : Movie Review

Director: Stanley Donen

Starring: Farah Fawcett, Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel

Year: 1980

Stanley Donen is a name you might not recognize, but I bet you’ve heard of the films he directed.  Singin’ in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Face, Damn Yankees, Charade, Bedazzled (the original); these are some of the most famous classic films ever created.  It’s hilarious and bit sad that he would direct Saturn 3 in 1980, and that it would spell the end of his career.  The guy is still alive today, he’s 93 years old, but the complete disaster that was Saturn 3 closed the curtain on his filmmaking days.  You can tell why when you watch it now; it’s an awful attempt at sci-fi, a horribly acting piece of drivel that tries to be so many other good movies and just completely fails.

In the future, Earth will be a wasteland of high pollution and population, a place which mankind will look to leave.  Near Saturn, scientists will work to create new food sources for humans back on the home planet, helping them survive but also paving the way for them to leave and explore the stars.  Alex & Adam work hand in hand in isolation to produce nutrition, and they don’t mind their loneliness; they have their work and they have each other.  But their idyllic existence is about to be broken by a rogue engineer who thinks he can change the world.  Benson is trained (somewhat) in the creation of a new robot named Hector, one that should be able to rapidly increase productivity.  But Hector takes his personality from his programmer, and Benson isn’t exactly a boy scout.

You can forgive a few oddities from retro sci-fi; it’s a strange genre and they had some strange ideas of how to get audiences excited.  Boobs, of course, and fake blood, and maybe a robot or an alien to make things interesting.  Sometimes it worked (2001: A Space Odyssey), sometimes it became a cult classic (Barbarella), but sometimes it crashed and burned, like Saturn 3.  There isn’t a Saturn 1 or Saturn 2, thank God, the title is the name of the rock the scientists work on, and I’m so glad they didn’t decide to make any sequels either.  You’d think, by the stars in it, that it might work, but you’d be wrong.  Douglas was OK, an aging screen legend who had just enough left in the tank to show off his butt and try to convince us that he was a hero.  Fawcett was terrible, a waif of a character who wore diaphanous robes and needed rescued.  And then there was Keitel, who was about as abysmal as you can imagine, in a role that probably wouldn’t have worked no matter who the actor was.  This is a genre flick to forget about, not even bad enough to call fun, not anywhere near good enough to give second thought.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Trailer – Permission

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Brian Crano

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Gina Gershon, Jason Sudeikis

Release: February 9th, 2018

I had high hopes for this one, based on the talented cast, but this premise is so utterly used up that I can’t possibly take it seriously.  Yes, we get it, couples get curious but love survives, or it doesn’t, but explore something else for Pete’s sake.  I love Hall & Stevens, they are incredible in other things, but I don’t think they are capable of being excellent in this movie.


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Movie Trailer – The Titan

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Lennart Ruff

Starring: Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkinson, Taylor Schilling

Release: 2018

You could convince me that this movie is a complete joke, that someone made this trailer to make a point about the ridiculousness of Hollywood.  But I’m afraid that it’s an actual movie; may god have mercy on our souls.


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Movie Review – The Cloverfield Paradox

Category : Movie Review

Director: Julius Onah

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo

Year: 2018

Back when Cloverfield Paradox was called God Particle, I was intensely excited for its eventual release.  There was always some mystery surrounding when exactly that would be, but that was fine with me, and it was part of the buildup behind another piece to an unpredictable franchise.  I was not prepared, however, for it to be released straight to Netflix immediately after the Super Bowl the same night we were given a trailer for the film.  But again, fine by me, a surprise release, an atypical route, it only made me more pumped to watch.  Which was exactly the point, make audiences feel like we absolutely needed to stay up and see what was happening, make us believe that something special was coming.  When in reality, what was actually happening was that we were being fooled into consuming a terrible sci-fi flick, tricked into sitting down to what will most likely remain one of the worst movies of 2018.

As Earth’s resources run low, the entire planet moves closer & closer to global war.  Russia, Germany, England, China, the US; each super-power wants the little that’s left to keep the light on, and each is willing to fight to get it.  But there is a possible scenario to avoid bloodshed, although it’s a long shot at best.  In space, a team of scientists are working on the most powerful particle accelerator ever built, a machine that can release limitless energy from the very particles that make up our universe.  Sounds great, if it worked, but so far it doesn’t.  And as the years tick by, the situation on Earth grows graver, while the scientists become more desperate to solve the problem, or watch civilization completely collapse.  Oh, and there’s one more thing; their meddling with the very fabric of the galaxy could rip open a hole between alternate dimensions, throwing multiple realities into complete chaos.  Good luck guys, don’t screw up.

It all started with Cloverfield, the shockingly good hand-held horror flick, and it continued with 10 Cloverfield Lane, another intense piece of cinema set in the same wacky, monstrous universe but taking audiences down a different part.  There was reason to be excited about this third installment, and it was believed that it would tie the films together, answer some questions, give us a sense where this franchise was headed.  But if this is the path it’s going down, no one is going to follow it.  Paradox is simply an awful space story, a good idea gone so wrong that you can hardly believe your eyes and ears.  First, it does answer some questions, but I’m not sure big fans of the series will be happy with the results.  I don’t care intensely, but I do wish Donal Logue hadn’t told us specifically what was going to happen in the first 10 minutes, leaving the rest of the plot to devolve and splinter into tiny dramas that were each individually horrendous.  Gugu was dreadful, her single-tear-intense-look overused to the point of pain.  I love Bruhl, but his character was dumb.  And the other actors were a bunch of b-listers: Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Debicki.  10 Cloverfield Lane was so much better, Life was so incredibly more entertaining and captivating; how they got this movie this wrong will perhaps always be a mystery, one that I doubt anyone cares to solve.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Trailer – Deadpool 2 #2

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: David Leitch

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin

Release: May 18th, 2018

This is much better than the teaser we got before,  a real trailer with some meat but still a humorous take.  Actually, am I the only one honestly worried that they’re going to go to far with the funny?  I hope the silliness is contained to advertising for the film and not ingrained in the film itself; I still want comic-book action, like the first film, I don’t want them to focus too much on shocking us with jokes and asides.


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Movie Trailer – Venom

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson

Release: October 5th, 2018

We don’t get a lot of villain origin stories, but here’s one that could work.  This is Marvel, and Spiderman is rumored to make an appearance, so we could be seeing another piece of the Universe.  Doesn’t matter to me, I just want to see Tom Hardy be a badass, and it looks like my wish will be granted.


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Sports – 2018 NFL Coaching Carousel

Category : Sports

Now that the Super Bowl is over, it’s not too early to look ahead to the 2018 season, especially for those teams who have already undergone a lot of change.  Nothing says a fresh start like a new head coach, and many NFL teams made the switch after tough losses or tough years in general.  Here is a look at the new faces and their new teams:

Indianapolis Colts – Josh McDaniels

Tennessee Titans – Mike Vrabel

Oakland Raiders – Jon Gruden

New York Giants – Pat Shurmer

Chicago Bears – Matt Nagy

Detroit Lions – Kyle Matt Patricia

Arizona Cardinals – Steve Wilks


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DVD Review – The Flight of Dragons

Category : Movie Review

Director: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.

Starring: John Ritter, Harry Morgan, James Earl Jones

Year: 1982

Many of us have heard of, watched, or grew up with the offbeat animation of the 70s and 80s, which includes The Hobbit, The Return of the King, and The Last Unicorn.  We’ve also seen the beloved Christmas classic canon, much of it stop-motion, that appears on local stations every holiday season, like Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.  All of these dated gems are a creation of Rankin/Bass Productions, a company that thrived on its variety of animation, and went out of business in 1987.  But one extra classic oddity escaped my notice over the years, The Flight of Dragons, a film done by this same group, in the same style, and with the same resulting magic.

The Movie

The magic of the Universe is slowly losing its power, as science grows in dominance and people lose faith in the wonder of the unknown.  In the land of dragons and fantasy, it is of utmost importance to hold on to the waning magic, before it is all lost and no other dimension can access this creative force.  Four wizards rule the land, and they must come together to create a haven for all things magical, one that can be tapped into but will always be protected.  Carolinus of the green magic brings his three brothers together to will this realm into existence, but the fourth, the dark red wizard of war, Ommadon, wants nothing of the plan.  He’ll bring men under his control, let them battle themselves until only he survives, until all the Universe is his to command.

In order to stop this wicked plan, Carolinus must send forth a quest to steal the crown of Ommadon, thus allowing the other three wizards to create the magical oasis.  A powerful dragon will go, so will a noble knight, but one more warrior is needed, and he must be the most unique of all.  He must come from another time, another place, another dimension, a land called Boston and an era called The 80s.  Peter Dickenson, a man of both science and of fantasy, a genius with his head in the clouds, but someone who knows nothing of fighting, must come join the merry band as they embark upon a doomed adventure.  They will encounter evil magic, nasty creatures, crafty elves, beautiful maidens, and ultimately their destinies.

1982 goodness at your fingertips in every cell, The Flight of Dragons is a slice of Americana that we didn’t know we had but now we desperately need to own.  When it came out it went straight to video, and it isn’t as well-known as its contemporaries, but it is easily as good.  If you’ve seen the trippy classics of this era you’ll known exactly what you’re getting into, and honestly this one isn’t even quite as weird.  I was surprised that they took the time in each scene to explain the story, to make sure we weren’t lost in the fantasy.  This resulted in less adventure time and some lack of character development, especially toward the end when we met characters that joined the quest but they basically got zero screen time, but it was worth it to have a plot that made sense.

The voices on display here are a welcome addition to the entertaining animation, and you’ll recognize some iconic ones right away.  John Ritter as the hero is cool, especially since he’s passed, this is now another way to revisit his talent and his humor.  Harry Morgan is the lead wizard, best known for his role on M*A*S*H.  And James Earl Jones lends his bass tones to the villain, which of course fits perfectly.  There are some dragons, some dragon lore, some wood elves, a few beautiful princesses, a giant, castles, evil spells; what more could you ask for from this genre?  My kids absolutely loved The Flight of Dragons, I was impressed as well, and if you missed this gem growing up, make sure to give it a shot now.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (1080p HD 16×9), the Blu-ray version of this old film isn’t half bad, but of course doesn’t hold a candle to modern Blu-ray discs.  The animation stands up on its own though, its quality cannot be denied, regardless of how far we’ve come since the 80s.  The colors are nice, the transfer was handled well, and you won’t be disappointed in the visuals.

Audio – The disc was done in DTS-HD Master Audio English 2.0 Mono, with an option of English SDH subtitles.  That’s it as far as the audio goes, except for an original song by Don McLean which, I mean, come on, you can’t beat that.  The sound has a certain amount of age to it, but that’s to be expected, and I don’t remember a ton of warble or problems, so that’s a positive.

Extras – The only special feature on the Blu-ray is the option to watch the Standard Definition Television Version.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended.  I’m lucky to have found this film and to have watched it with my family.  It’s a movie that’s right down my aisle; fantasy, animated, the 80s.  But somehow I missed it, didn’t even know it existed, and I’m glad that’s remedied now.  If you enjoyed the similar hits from this era, you’ll enjoy this one too; it’s surprising that only a couple thousand people have rated it on IMDb, but the few who have gave it a 7.8/10 composite, which is nothing to sneeze at.  A folk music theme song, some celebrity voice-overs, the “science” of dragon flight; really, it’s a gift.  The video is rather well done, the audio is fine, there’s only the one extra, so the technical aspects are a mixed bag, but one one is coming in expecting much more than that.  Watch with confidence and for a special experience.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 


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Movie Review – Grosse Pointe Blank

Category : Movie Review

Director: George Armitage

Starring: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd

Year: 1997

I did not watch this film when it first came out in 1997, which I think was a good thing, because it gave me time to fall in love with its leads in other pictures, to return to Grosse Pointe with an appreciation and a love that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.  First, Minnie Driver in Good Will Hunting was my 15-year-old crush, there was nothing quite like her special character, that hair, and those eyes.  Second, I grew up loving John Cusack for Natty Gann and Say Anything, but High Fidelity was something else all together, and I was ready to take a bullet for the guy.  Seeing them both in a love story like Grosse Pointe Blank, albeit a strange and bloody romance, was a dream come true, and I’ll never forget how perfect they were together.  It only makes it better that I follow them both on Twitter, that they are advocates for what I believe in, and that I can revisit them on DVD any time I want to.

Martin Blank is an assassin, and a pretty good one at that, though the industry is getting a little saturated and there seem to be too many hitmen hired for competing targets.  It’s a stressful job, and Martin wrestles with it daily; not the actual killing really, but the idea that he’s floating around with no purpose, that he might be meant for something more than this.  A chance to find out arises when a new assignment takes him to the very city in which he grew up, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, just outside of Detroit.  He arrives just in time for his 10-year high school reunion, although he’s more terrified of seeing old friends than he is of being killed by a rival gunman.  But before the murder in the town or even the party at the old gymnasium, Martin will have to face the girl he left waiting on prom night, Debi, the girl who he once loved and has been trying unsuccessfully to forget for the last decade.

It’s almost as if this movie was made to commemorate Cusack’s 80s success, to play the songs and work the magic that still gets us where it hurts the most, still carries a certain nostalgia that we will never forget.  I was born in the middle of the 80s, so I don’t remember it that well, I’m a 90s kid I guess, but that doesn’t stop that special time period, and especially its films, from holding a wonderful, memorable place in my heart.  Grosse Pointe Blank is a throwback, a time capsule opening, a reminder of what made cinema from that era great, and who better to walk you down memory lane than Cusack.  Driver is great addition to the stroll, so talented and so beautiful, the perfect girl-that-got-away.  Dan Aykroyd has probably never been better, as the raging lunatic assassin, and a few other cameos will leap to your attention as well: Alan Arkin, Hank Azaria, Jeremy Piven, Joan Cusack of course.  This film is simply a great time caught on camera, as funny as it is heartfelt, as wacky as it is revealing, something you can watch over & over again.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆