Month: October 2022

Movie Review – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Category : Movie Review

Director: Ken Hughes

Starring: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Gert Frobe

Year: 1968

You know what Chitty Chitty Bang Bang correctly learned from Mary Poppins?  That Dick Van Dyke can’t do a British accent.  Now, it makes no sense why an American man is raising two Engish children in England with his English father, but hey, suspension of disbelief, and *maybe* they tell you in the book.  Regardless, this musical is as charming as Mary Poppins and the like, with a whimsy that will sweep up all ages and magic that will never grow stale.

Potts is an inventor, although nothing he invents really works.  His children, Jeremy & Jemima, don’t care though, they love their father no matter what, even if he is a little all over the place.  One day, they all meet Truly Scrumptious, the daughter of a candy magnate, and their world gets turned upside down.  More so even when their grandfather is kidnapped by bizarre Teutons who are dead set on seizing the wonderful car that Potts has just built from an ol’ hunk’a’junk.  The car, Chitty, is very unusual, and takes the family on a daring adventure to rescue Grandpa, to lands far away and beauties untold.

This book was written by Ian Fleming, of James Bond fame, and the screenplay was done by Roald Dahl, of Charlie Bucket fame, so that’s a cool combination, especially when you add in the Sherman Bros, who are musical legends.  All that, plus Dick Van Dyke, plus a ridiculously entertaining story, culminate in a very, very special film, a classic that never ages.  It’s about imagination, about never giving up, about dreams, about family, and about how wonder waits around every corner; what more could you ask for?  Add in some of the most memorable songs you’ve ever heard, Benny Hill as a German-esque toymaker, and some ridiculously spoiled aristocrats, and you’ve got success that will live forever.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

 


Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 8

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 8 Picks

(10-4 last week, 62-46 for the season)

Bye teams: Chiefs, Chargers

 

Bal @ TB

Den @ Jax

Car @ Atl

Chi @ Dal

Mia @ Det

Ari @ Min

LV @ NO

NE @ NYJ

Pit @ Phi

Ten @ Hou

Was @ Ind

SF @ LAR

NYG @ Sea

GB @ Buf

Cin @ Cle


Movie Review – Black Pumpkin

Category : Movie Review

Director: Ryan McGonagle

Starring: Ellie Patrikios, Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick, Dogan Eyeler

Year: 2018

For a low-budget horror film that looked like it was filmed by the kids from Stranger Things, Black Pumpkin isn’t half bad.  It’s got some scares, some bizarre occurrences, it’s a little fun, and then it ends and you’re like OK, I watched that, the world moves on.  But, for anything else, for a real film or real horror genre or real frights, it’s a pretty ridiculous montage of silliness that ends and you’re like OK, glad that’s over.

Elliott and Pork Chop are two best friends who love making movies, and are enamored by the spooky stories told about their town.  Elliott’s sister is just trying to get laid and live a normal teenage life, made more difficult by her vapid friends and a pair of hooligan brothers who make her brother’s life a living hell.  Speaking of, a tortured spirit arises from beneath to torture them all, especially as Halloween approaches, and its powers come to full realization.

This is an amateur, low-budget, forgettable genre flick, with only a few admirable qualities among what is mostly a less than stellar time.  The actors are bad, the story is bad, the quality is bad; really, I don’t know why I’m trying to defend it, it’s an all-around very-bad movie.  It gets you a few times though; it’s a little fun, a little spooky, a little funny, a little button-pushing , a little entertaining.  But all those littles only add up to so much; mostly it’s a movie that you could have made and probably shouldn’t have.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Movie Review – To All a Goodnight

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Hess

Starring: Jennifer Runyon, Forest Swonsen, Linda Gentile

Year: 1980

For a movie about a bunch of teenagers getting murdered, you might be able to say that To All a Goodnight did the genre justice; it’s got blood, boobs, and it’s batshit crazy, so, well done?  But beyond that, if you open your eyes for more than a sleepy second, you’ll realize that this is one of the worst horror flicks you’ve ever seen, despite it’s faith to the style; you can be faithful and still suck.

A group of girlfriends at a all-female boarding school are staying for Christmas break instead of heading home, and they’re not about to let a chance for unsupervised fun slip away.  Some boys fly in on their daddy’s plane for the weekend, to drink & do it, which sounds fun, until a crazed killer in a Santa suit starts murdering everyone, and that sure puts a damper on the festivities.

So there’s a little skin, a little freaky killing, there’s some genre cred established, it was 1980; I guess you can’t judge this movie too harshly for being what it is.  But, and it’s a big one, no one involved in this film behind or in front of the camera had an ounce of talent, and that’s why the movie sucks so hard.  It’s amateurs running around doing nothing, and that gets tedious real quick; anyone involved in this wacky project should feel very embarrassed.

My rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Movie Review – Land of the Lost

Category : Movie Review

Director: Brad Siberling

Starring: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride

Year: 2009

Sometimes a fun idea just fails to find an audience, and that describes Land of the Lost if we’re being nice to it; if we’re being mean, it’s a certified shitshow.  I watched the series when I was younger; it was cool, interesting, fantasy-driven, kinda scary in an enjoyable way, and did seem like it would make a good movie.  Well, give them credit for trying, but give them hell for getting every single idea & choice wrong.  Simply put, this film is horrific, and deserves all the blasting it’s ever gotten.

Dr. Rick Marshall believes that there are universes where past, present, and future collide, and that it’s possible to reach these universes, using a device that he is going to build.  No one believes him, he’s laughed out of the scientific community, and years later he’s depressed, alone, and has given up.  But fellow potential-explorer Holly Cantrell believes in him, and with her help he finally creates his machine, allowing the pair (and a random trashy guy named Will) to travel to this magical nexus point.  But getting home again will be much harder, especially with dinosaurs & aliens to contend with.

Will Ferrell is a comedic legend, but his comedy doesn’t always work, especially when he’s left completely on his own.  That’s the case here, as Land of the Lost relies solely on his being funny, without a hand from anyone else involved.  The direction & writing are awful, the story is all over the place, and rarely makes any sense.  Then there’s Friel, who is completely forgettable, and McBride, who just might qualify as the least amusing person on the planet.  I hate him, he sucks, and he ruins Ferrell whenever he manages to be slightly humorous.  This is a ride you do not want to be on, an unfunny, unfocused nightmare of the movie that embarrasses its source material and its entire crew.

My rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 7

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 7 Picks

(5-9 last week, 52-42 for the season)

Bye teams: Bills, Rams, Vikings, Eagles

 

NO @ Ari

Cle @ Bal

TB @ Car

Atl @ Cin

Det @ Dal

NYG @ Jax

Ind @ Ten

GB @ Was

NYJ @ Den

Hou @ LV

Sea @ LAC

KC @ SF

Pit @ Mia

Chi @ NE


Sports – NFL Picks 2002, Week 6

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 6 Picks

(11-5 last week, 47-33 for the season)

Bye teams: Lions, Texans, Raiders, Titans

 

Was @ Chi

SF @ Atl

NE @ Cle

NYJ @ GB

Jax @ Ind

Min @ Mia

Cin @ NO

Bal @ NYG

TB @ Pit

Car @ LAR

Ari @ Sea

Buf @ KC

Dal @ Phi

Den @ LAC


Movie Review – Galaxy of Terror

Category : Movie Review

Director: Bruce D. Clark

Starring: Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston, Robert Englund

Year: 1981

These 80s low budget sci-fi/fantasy films with hand drawn cover art always get me, and sometimes they’re freakin awesome.  Deathstalker, Forbidden World, and Krull are a few that come to mind, and Galaxy of Terror came before all three, so that’s to its credit, though it came after Alien, which it borrows heavily from.  But it deserves a little nod for originality, and that’s where the positives end; otherwise it’s one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

A group of questionable men & women head to a far planet in search of a downed ship, all sent there by the Planet Master, who may have a scheme of his own that is unknown to them.  Their mission is dangerous, just getting there is trouble, and once on the faraway world, they find that death waits around every corner.  An entity of some sort is using their own fears against them, and they are being picked off one by one; will any of them survive to get back home and tell the tale?

It’s an abysmal failure from every angle, and Galaxy of Terror should lie forgotten at the bottom of a heap of old VHS tapes that may hide one or two gems, but this ain’t it.  Think of all your favorite 80s space flicks, and then take out everything that made them good or fun.  This film is pointless, aimless, boring, gross, and ultimately almost unwatchable, as characters do who knows what for who knows what reason for long enough that your brain feels fried.  I do not recommend this product, would not buy again, minimum stars, official complaint.

My rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Movie Review – Young Guns II

Category : Movie Review

Director: Geoff Murphy

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips

Year: 1990

Young Guns II is a big step up from the first, with a focus on what matters (Billy the Kid) and a flippant attitude for what doesn’t.  Plus, it’s got original music from Jon Bon frickin Jovi, which, I mean, how cool is that?!  All jokes aside, Part 2 is an improvement, because the filmmakers finally understood what audiences wanted to see and what we didn’t, and they orchestrated the events for our entertainment, which is exactly what most movie geniuses should do.  Art?  Sometimes, sure.  But what we really want is fun & interest, which is somehow, surprising, what this film is.

An old man meets a reporter with a wild claim; that he is William Bonnie, Billy the Kid, the outlaw legend, and someone who was supposedly killed many, many years before.  But he has a story that he claims shows that he’s the real Billy, and so our tale begins.  On the run for their lives from every outfit in New Mexico, Billy, Doc, Chavez & Co. stick together by the skin of their teeth, all while smiling in the face of the law.  When treachery comes their way, most won’t make it out alive, but before they go they will set the territory ablaze, and turn themselves into famous men.

This cast is a little step up from the first, with some nice additions that help out: Estevez, Sutherland, Phillips, William Petersen, Christian Slater, Alan Ruck, James Coburn, Leon Rippy, Viggo Mortensen, Bradley Whitford.  Plus there’s a touch of skin, a little blood, some fear, a lot of deaths, all narrated by Billy as an old man, which lends the whole thing an air of believabilty somehow.  It’s an improvement on the wildness of the first, while still sticking to what worked; rock Western ridiculousness.  1990 was a good year, this is a good movie, and they deserve each other.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 


Movie Review – Young Guns

Category : Movie Review

Director: Christopher Cain

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips

Year: 1988

Nothing was quite as cool in the 80s as Young Guns, a film with a thousand celebrities and a million ideas, thrown together to see what would stick, and I’ll tell ya, not much did.  It’s more an impressive get-together than an actually awesome movie, as the plot’s all over the place and the history is suspect and you’re just holding on for the ride.  Whoever once thought that Emilio Estevez was a great actor and could helm a hundred movies was some sort of genius, because they’re laughing out the other side of their face now, and we’re left with a ton of crappy footage.

In the late 1800s in New Mexico, lawlessness wasn’t just relegated to bandits, it came in the form of evil men who tried to take everything for their own, and would kill you as soon as look at you.  John Tunstall was not that kind of man, he was educated, ran a store, had a ranch, and took in young men who he saw as something better than their harsh lives had made them.  When he was killed, his boys vowed to avenge his death, even if that meant going up against the powerful Mr. Murphy and his large gang.  But fight them they did, and legends did they become, especially one young gun named William Bonney, soon to be known as Billy the Kid.

As far as a cool origin story goes, Young Guns isn’t so bad, especially after you watch the second (which is much better) and learn to appreciate Billy for what he is; a legend, a goof, a brave soul, a callous heart.  But that’s not until you see #2, meanwhile this movie is pretty terrible, all except for the building up of a mythical man.  The acting is (obviously mostly) bad, given the talent on display (excepting the veterans): Estevez, Sutherland, Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, Terance Stamp, Jack Palance, Terry O’Quinn, Brian Keith.  The music is silly, the feel is rocky, the story meanders, it’s a big overblown Western overload, with language that sounds bizarre and deaths by the hundreds.  All in all, a weird little genre piece that mostly seems out of place and very commercial, with little talent and less skill.  Stay for Part II though, because that’s when the frolic turns to fun and the story improves enough to really enjoy.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

 


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