Archive for July, 2013


Escape From L.A. (1996)

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In the sequel to 1981’s Escape for New York, we find our antihero Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell)  trying to escape from yet another post-apocalyptic mega city, this time it’s the City of Angles.  LA has become a penal colony after an earthquake turned it into an island, and is now only inhabited by the dregs of society.  Gun-for-hire Snake, winds up getting shipped off there after being captured by the Feds, but they have a deal for him: find a doomsday weapon that the president’s rebel daughter stole and we might give you the antidote to the deadly virus we just injected you with.  With no other choice he travels to the island in search of the weapon, now in the hands or the terrorist Cuervo Jones.

It isn’t going to be as easy as just going up to the guy and asking nicely, he is going to have to perform some off the wall and highly impractical feats to even get near the guy.  Snake will have to surf a 100 foot wave, escape from a group of plastic surgery addicts, shoot some hoops for his life and also hang-glide from Hollywood to Disneyland.  Once the mission is a success, he’s a little peeved at how the government used him (again), and decides to use the super-weapon against them.

Alex’s Thoughts:  What this movie lacks in quality it make up for in sheer awfulness. Wait… no… that’s sounds about right.  While John Carpenter’s previous movie was sort of charming and inventive it in’s own low-budget way, this one copies the exact same premise but without any of the charm, it’s just bad, and seems like it was just a cash grab flick.   While I do like Kurt Russell, he didn’t look to be giving it his best, and seemed like his best physical acting days were behind him.  With awful dialog, poorly choreographed fight scenes and low-rate special effects, it is easy to forget about this movie.  Its one redeeming quality is that it has Bruce Campbell in what could have been a great role as the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills, but it was totally underutilized.  If you need a good escape flick, you might want to check out Lockout instead.  Alex Rates This Movie 3/10.

Tim’s Thoughts: Oh, I want to like this so badly, every few years I will even go back to give it another shot, but it’s soooooo awful. There is nothing good about this, nothing at all. It’s a waste of time, and a sign that Carpenter’s good years were way behind him. I don’t know what else to say other than that the effects are so terrible that I can barely sit through it. MST3K would destroy this, and then like Pod People or Mitchell it could become a favorite. Until that happens, avoid this dumpster fire at all costs. Tim Rates This Movie 1/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

The ABC’s of Death (2012)

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It’s probably hard enough to make an anthology-type movie with just four or five directors, but The ABC’s of Death has TWENTY-SIX, one for each letter of the alphabet.  As the name implies, each three to four minute segment features a person (or people) getting killed, with the cause of death starting with that respective letter.  We certainly can’t review each one, but with entries like ‘D is for Dogfight’ and ‘Q is for Quack’, there is something for most horror fans.  The stories are presented in a wide variety of styles from serious artsy entries to humorous animations, and everything in-between. Each director had $5,000 and free reign to do whatever they wanted as long as the scene featured their letter and opened and closed on a red background.   With directors from around the world, all twenty-six stories are unique and vary a lot based on the director’s country of origin. And yes… F is for Fart!

Alex’s Thoughts: It’s hard to rate this movie, as there are so many different segments.  As a whole I thought it was a good effort, and while not all of the segments were good; if I didn’t like a particular one, I only had to sit through it for a few minutes.  The biggest gripe I have is that the version on Netflix that I watched didn’t have sub-titles, and with only a handful of the stories in English, I feel like I missed out on what was being presented.  A less, but equally annoying, aspect was the constant fade to and from a red background or object at the beginning and end of each segment.  After seeing that eight times I was already fed up with it, but no, I had to see it 18 more times.  I am a fan of different directing styles and short stories, so this was the perfect  format for me, even if I did only like/ understand only about half of the segments.  Alex rates This Movie: 7/10

Tim’s Thoughts: Conceptually this is an amazing idea, but I really felt the execution was lacking. Only one or two of these are watchable, while the rest are either too ambitious, silly or just plain stupid. I respect the effort, but would much rather have only 5 or 6 stories, with less crap, and just a tiny bit more time to develop. An interesting exercise in cinema, and nothing else. Tim Rates This Movie 4/10

ABCsOfDeath

View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

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(Minor Spoilers Ahead) The crew of the USS Enterprise is back again, and ready to head out into space in pursuit of a Federation operative turned terrorist, in the sequel to JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek reboot.  They end up finding him on the Klingon home planet, and he eventually saves them from a squad of those gnarly-headed aliens, so they have no choice but to take him back to the ship; although their orders were to kill him on site.  He tells Kirk that his orders were bogus and that he is the good guy in all of this. He also lets him know that he is a three-hundred year old super powered guy, who used to go by the name of Khan Noonien Singh (sound familiar?).

He ends up tricking the crew into helping him steal a giant Federation warship from a power-hungry admiral who wants to start a war with the Klingons.  Khan then attacks the Enterprise, who also retaliates against Khan’s ship, as both of them plummet towards Earth.  In a last ditch effort to save his crew Kirk takes over Spock’s role in Wrath of Khan, and sacrifices himself to get the engines back online.  Spock’s human side experiences a bit of rage and goes after Khan on what remains of San Francisco after his ship destroys half the city.

Alex’s Thoughts: While never a huge Trek fan, I grew up with the original movies, and I liked them well enough to be excited about the re-boot of this franchise a few years back.  While that movie looked good, I didn’t love it… but I DO love this sequel.  With all of the character introductions and back-stories out of the way, we are able to jump right into the action, and son, there is a ton of it.  From Khan taking out a squad of Klingons to some epic space battles, there is plenty of special effect eye candy for everyone.  There were some nice throwbacks to the original Star Trek II for fans of the series, and you even get a little Tribble action!  While I really enjoyed this movie, it really got me excited to see what JJ Abrams has in store for Star Wars in 2015.  Alex Rates This Movie 8/10.

Tim’s Thoughts: I am a big fan of original series Trek, and unlike a lot of those fans, I really appreciate the update the series is getting. The last few Next Gen films were just as bad as the last few original cast films, so I thought Trek was finished. I was so happy with the reboot, and loved the direction that the movie was taking that I was anticipating this sequel moments after Trek 08 ended. This does not disappoint, now you have to leave your love of old Trek at the door, and be ready to accept new takes on old themes, but if you can manage that, you will get some great Sci-Fi. I am glad to see the genre not only survive, but thrive now with the rise of comic book movies, and nerd culture. Enjoy this as action, Trek, or both, either way, this is a good time. Tim Rates This Movie 9/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.