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08/15/2015 08:17

Film: Altered States

Year: 1980

Director: Ken Russell

Writer: Paddy Chayefsky

Starring: William Hurt, Blair Brown and Bob Balaban

 

Review:

This film begins looking at something called an isolation chamber. It looks like an old boiler and there is a man inside of it, he is played by William Hurt. We get a little voice-over about what is going on and what the chamber is supposed to do. In a nutshell, it is chamber that as the name says, isolates the person from all stimuli. There is water inside of it and they wear a helmet to ensure they can breathe. The voice-over tells us that it was used for a study, but the teacher is now using it on himself.

Hurt asks the person who is recording the data what he saw during his time inside of the chamber, the other guy is played by Bob Balaban. We learn that Hurt started to cry while he was inside as he relived his father’s death. He also had a religious experience.

Balaban throws a party at his apartment and we see a woman that he is speaking with, she is played by Blair Brown. When Hurt shows up, she is interested in him immediately. They hit it off and she ends up taking him home. While they are making love, Hurt gets entranced by a heat lamp and he ends up telling his story to Brown. He was highly religious as a child, which is rare because he is a man of science, as were his parents. He loses that though when his father dies.

Hurt goes back into the isolation chamber and we see one of the first vivid hallucinations. It is shown to us as a montage. There is his father in a hospital bed, religious icons and fire.

Brown shows up at Hurt’s work to tell him that she is going to be teaching at Harvard like he is. She asks him to marry her and with come coercion, he agrees. We jump ahead where they now have two children, one of them a young Drew Barrymore, and are getting a divorce. Brown is going to live in an Africa for a year. Hurt is going to Mexico to investigate a Native American tribe that uses hallucinatory mushrooms.

While in Mexico, the tribe of Native Americans allows him to drink the broth they create from the mushrooms. He goes into a trip that is even more vivid than the ones in the isolation chamber. This time he witnesses the Native Americans doing a tribal dance, sparks, lava, scenes of hell and there is a scene of him and Brown sitting at a white table enjoying food. There is also a snake that attacks Hurt. When he wakes up, there is a dead lizard and they are saying that Hurt did it. He doesn’t think he did, thinking the Native Americans are playing a joke on him.

Hurt takes some of the broth back with him. He wants to use it while in an isolation chamber to see what the effects and what he can see. He meets up with Balaban and another colleague, Charles Haid. Haid doesn’t want them messing with the isolation chamber, but he steps aside as they go about their experiment. Haid’s big issue also is they don’t know what is in the broth and doesn’t think Hurt should be putting it into his body like he is.

Despite the warnings, he uses it inside the chamber. Balaban and Haid keep contact with him while he is inside, but some time goes by until they can’t reach him. That is when they hear animal noises come from it. When they open it up, there is blood around his mouth and he can’t speak. The last things he said before this happened was that he was eating a goat in his hallucination. They run tests and learn that he did revert to being an ape.

Soon after Brown returns from Africa and Hurt meets her at the airport. He takes her and his children home. While they are talking, Brown lets us know that baboons eat meat and Hurt is interested if she has recorded any of their calls. He wants to compare it to the sound he made. He also freaks out, thinking that Brown doesn’t believe him. She does agree to look at the data.

Hurt continues to feel changes, but he wants to see what will happen if he goes back inside. Against what everyone wants, especially Haid, Hurt goes back into the isolation chamber by himself. He uses the broth when he does. Hurt emerges as an early human/ape like creature. He runs amuck, almost killing a security guard and killing a baby sheep.

Will Hurt stop the changes he is experiencing or is it too late? What will happen if he continues along the path he is going? Will he discover the ultimate truth or will he learn that there isn’t one? Can he stop before he loses himself?

I have to say that this film is pretty solid. The film deals with altered states of conscious of the mind. I really like the hallucination scenes. They break the film rule about not having more than two montages and that is what they use for these scenes. I thought they really get a deeper meaning across with the images they use. Some of the scenes are also quite creepy. The acting is great in my opinion and the story is pretty solid as well. I really like that this is a man on a journey for the truth and he is so stuck on that that he does not connect with humans. The effects are good for the time period it was made.

The only thing I didn’t really care for was that the film is really nothing more than a love story. Doesn’t ruin the film per say and I actually really like how this one ends. Another issue is that it is classified as a horror film, but there isn’t a lot of horror in it.

I would recommend giving this one a viewing. It is a horror film, but it isn’t overly scary. It is scarier to see the images he witnesses and what he is going through to get the truth. The story is solid, the acting is great and the montage sequences are well done to get their point across. Truly is a journey and I would say if this sounds good to give it a viewing.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

08/15/2015 08:14

Film: Alone in the Dark

Year: 2005

Director: Uwe Boll

Writer: Elan Mastai, Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer

Starring: Christian Slater, Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff

 

Review:

This film begins with some background information. We learn that there was an advanced tribe of Native Americans that found a gate to another world. There were monsters that lived in this other world, but they closed it off. They hid the artifacts as far apart as they could. It also informs us that there is a secret government agency that investigates paranormal things around the world.

We then shift to an orphanage. A young boy has fled from it. We learn that a nun runs it; she is played by Karin Konoval. She tells the police that all of the children there have turned up missing. The boy hides in a shed by some transformers. In his eye we see some large monsters that are dark and walk on all fours.

We jump 22 years in the future. We meet Christian Slater. He is getting off an airplane and gets into a taxi. We cut to an older man, played by Matthew Walker. He tells someone over the phone that they need to intercept Slater and take the artifact he has. The taxi is tailed and it is forced to crash. Slater then fights against a man who is super strong. In the end, Slater kills him.

It then goes to a museum. Working there is Tara Reid. She is the assistant curator and is in charge while the professor is gone. A crate comes in, but it is not checked into their inventory. Reid convinces the man delivering it that she can take it.

It turns out that Reid works for Walker. She tells him about the crate and he scolds her for opening it without his permission. He tells her to leave it alone.

Shifting back to Slater, he learns that his friend from the orphanage has disappeared. He contacts an old co-worker from the government agency and asks him for some intelligence. The agent is played by Frank C. Turner. He is reluctant, but agrees to do it. They agree to meet for lunch to turn the information over to Slater.

It turns out that Slater used to work for the organization and he does not get along with the man in charge, the man is played by Stephen Dorff.

Walker is on a ship that has uncovered a shipwreck. There was a gold box that was found in it and Walker is having it brought up. He doesn’t want it opened, until he is safely locked inside of his room. Once he is, the box is opened. Whatever was inside the box effects the light on the ship. The creatures inside are gone when he leaves and everyone is dead.

It turns out that Slater and Reid are dating, but Slater went off without telling her and she is upset about it. He asks her to check out the artifact he found and it turns out to be similar to the one that Walker had delivered. While they are at the museum, monsters from Slater’s childhood attack the place. The government agency shows up and chases them off. Dorff and Slater butt-heads before it is over.

When Walker returns he notices the information on the computer about the piece that Slater had. There seems to be something up about him.

Donna Lysell and Slater meet during the autopsy of the man that attacked Slater in the beginning. It turns out that he has something connected to his spine that isn’t human. Once it is severed, he died. It turns out that Slater has one inside of him as well, but his never fused fully. Lysell also gives Slater some intel about the monsters. They are called Xenos and  they are weak to light. He also gives him some weapons to protect himself.

Reid comes and visits Slater back at his place. It doesn’t take too long before they are attacked about more of creatures. The people from the orphanage who were missing are being controlled and part of this attack. Being able to track them, the agency shows up there. Once they are driven back or killed, Dorff realizes he might need Slater’s help.

Can they solve the mystery of these monsters and the artifacts before it is too late? What is Walker’s role in all of this? What connection does Slater’s memory have to what is going on?

This film is not good. The concept has been done before and with greater success than this one does. With that said, I think the concept is pretty solid. I like the fact about the old civilization learning about this and finding a way to stop it in the past. I think monsters are little bit too computer generated, but they are not horrible either. That is about the extent of what I liked.

The acting was really bad in this one and that is the first thing that hurts it. Reid is good in some roles, but she wasn’t in this one. She wasn’t believable in the role of a scientist. I think Slater overacted in this role too much. Dorff is okay as the head of the unit, but I think he tries too hard as well. The story is bland and was predictable. I just couldn’t get into this, which rarely happens for me.

I wouldn’t recommend seeing this film. It is a waste of time. The acting isn’t very good, even from people who I feel are good actors. There are a lot of convenient things that happen and some of them don’t make a lot of sense. There isn’t enough tension built, it wasn’t scary and since it was based off a video game, they tried to incorporate that into a gunfight scene, which resulted in being horrible in my opinion. This movie is definitely not worth the time for a viewing.

 

My Rating: 3 out of 10

08/15/2015 08:12

Film: Alligator II: The Mutation

Year: 1991

Director: Jon Hess

Writer: Curt Allen

Starring: Joseph Bologna, Dee Wallace and Richard Lynch

 

Review:

This film begins with two men dumping something into a sewer. It turns out to be illegal chemicals. One of them is complaining about it and the other tells him to say something to their boss, who is standing there. The boss is played by Steve Railsback.

The film then shifts to two men fishing in a lake at night. One of them catches a fish and then is attacked by a giant alligator. We then see that his boot floats away.

We then meet our hero, played by Joseph Bologna. Today is his birthday and he goes downstairs to watch a video tape his wife and son made him. His wife is played by Dee Wallace. We learn that he is a cop that works too hard and his beat is at night.

He goes down to the station where we see that the people love him. His nickname is ‘Solo Lobo’. This is partly because his beat has a lot of Hispanic speaking people, he speaks Spanish and he is a good cop that helps the people, plus he works alone. There are a young and an older woman who are trying to get help. They are looking for the older woman’s husband and son. They went fishing the night before and didn’t come home. This is the first time it has happened. Bologna goes to get the initial information from a young cop, played by Trevor Eyster. He ignores him when he asks if he can come along to help him.

Bologna goes to investigate and they find the boot with the foot in it. It is checked out and the coroner thinks that an animal did it. We learn that Wallace works for the local college, so specimens are brought to her to check them out. She thinks that they are inconclusive.

This is the film gets a little unbelievable for me. For some reason, Bologna is completely convinced already that it is a giant alligator doing the killings for no reason. He doesn’t have much proof, but despite that, he knows that is what is doing it. He goes so far to try to get his boss, Brock Peters, to allow him to kill the animal. Peters tells him that he needs more to go on before he can.

Bologna decides to ruffle some feathers by going to the country club that Railsback hangs out at. With him is the mayor, played by Bill Daily. He goes along with whatever Railsback says. Bologna goes there to try to get Railsback to shut down the carnival he is going to be throwing at the lake. Railsback refuses and wants Bologna to be suspended immediately. Eyster is told to handcuff him and take him to the station. Bologna outsmarts him and leaves him locked in a bathroom stall.

Bologna leaves the club and the mayor’s daughter shows up, played by Holly Gagnier. She tries to convince her dad to stop what he is doing. When he won’t, she speaks with Railsback. It ends up with her hitting him in the face. Gagnier also helps Eyster escape. She immediately takes a liking to him.

After leaving, Bologna speaks with Peters and he decides to give Bologna some weapons after a wino says he saw a giant alligator. He also allows him to use Eyster who is currently being suspended for his blunder at the country club. Bologna goes to his house after he took Gaginer out for drinks. They have a little tussle, but decide to work together. They begin to hunt the alligator and Wallace joins with them as well.

Railsback decides that he needs to hire an alligator hunter just in case. The one he chooses is Richard Lynch and his crew of men, including Kane Hodder. They get to work that night.

Bologna and Eyster try to kill the giant alligator with shotguns and dynamite, but when it doesn’t work they need to figure something else out. They learn of Lynch and his crew and try to save them. Lynch finds a chemical barrel in the sewer that bears the name of a company Railsback owns. Lynch loses his crew and decides to work with Bologna and his group.

Will they be able to stop the alligator before it is too late? Can it be stopped? Will Railsback admit he is wrong and stop the carnival or will he continue his greed? Who will survive this ordeal?

I have to say that this film is not that good. There isn’t much to really say good about it other than there are some good actors. I feel their performances are hampered by the absurdity of the story and the way they were directed. The story is very similar to the original, but I think they do less in this one than the first. We even get less killing and stalking scenes.

I will start with what was alluded to earlier. Bologna isn’t horrible, but his character is way too corny and his jokes are quite pointless. Lynch tries to come in like he is a big rough and tough guy, but he ends up turning on his boss and joining Bologna almost immediately. Gagnier immediately falls in love with Eyster after a couple minutes. The film is pretty boring and the story is pretty absurd. Railsback kills important people in the community like there will be no repercussions and like he will get away with it. I think more of concise idea, having more killing would have helped, but it decided to try to go more story-based, but that didn’t make sense. The alligator and how he stalks isn’t even realistic. We have characters who outrun it and it is supposed to be aggressive, yet it doesn’t kill everything in front of it. Things I don’t think were thought out.

I wouldn’t recommend seeing this. It wasn’t scary, the story is horrible and the characters are bland. On top of that, the film feels like things move way too fast and isn’t natural. There isn’t enough of the alligator and not enough killing. The first was campy and for low-budget was fun. This doesn’t capture this. I would say only see this if you have a bunch of people who want to see a bad horror film. If not, definitely avoid this one.

 

My Rating: 3 out of 10

08/15/2015 08:09

Film: Alligator

Year: 1980

Director: Lewis Teague

Writer: John Sayles

Starring: Robert Forster, Robin Riker and Michael V. Gazzo

 

Review:

This film begins at a tourist trap in Florida that has alligator wrestling match. The show is coming to an end, when the man gets his foot caught and the alligator knocks him down. It then attacks. The animal doesn’t stop until it is beat by other men that work there. We see that a little girl and her parents watched this happen. She is really interested in the alligators and wants to have her own. She convinces her dad to get her one. Soon after her dad comes out in a fit and flushes it down the toilet. It ends up in the sewer.

We then cut to a pet shop. A man is buying a dog and we learn that his other one was stolen. He is a cop and played by Robert Forster. The man who works at the pet shop is played by Sydney Lassick.

Later Lassick is patrolling as a dog catcher. He finds another dog and it is captured. He takes them to James Ingersoll who works as a lab tech in a pharmaceutical company. He tells him that he needs more puppies.

Forster is called to a water treatment plant, because they found a severed arm. He is then called to look a dog that was found dead. The dog is a rare breed so they call the owner who reported it missing. She said it looks like her dog, but it is too big to the one she had.

Lassick is taking the dogs that have died to get rid of the evidence. He dumps them down in a sewer, but when one of them doesn’t make it into the water; he goes to down to dispose of it. A giant alligator attacks him.

His leg is found in the same place as the arm was. A press conference is called and Forster is forced to talk at it by his boss, Michael V. Gazzo. We learn that Forster was a cop in St. Louis and his partner died. He doesn’t like to be in front of the cameras and a member of the media grills him, this guy is played by Bart Braverman. Forster cuts the press conference short.

He decides that he is going to go into the sewer to find out what is doing it. No one wants to work with him. Finally a street cop agrees to go; he is played by Perry Lang. They investigate the sewer and run into the monster. They try to get away, but Lang is eaten before they can get out.

Forster wakes the next day in the hospital. He asks about Lang to learn that he has died. He also learns that he has been calling out about alligators in the sewer in his sleep. Gazzo doesn’t believe him and Braverman comes in to give him grief about losing another partner. Braverman ends up talking with the nurse and learns what Forster was claiming.

The two cops go to the local expert on reptiles; she is played by Robin Riker. They ask her if it is possible to have a 50 foot alligator living in the sewer and they are told it isn’t possible. Gazzo thinks something else happened and Forster still clings to what he saw.

We also learn that the leader of the corporation that Ingersoll works for is played by Dean Jagger. Ingersoll is doing experiments with hormones to make animals bigger to help with hunger. We learn that they cut out the larynx of the dogs they use, which is what happened to the one dog they found dead. Jagger also has the mayor in his back pocket; the mayor is played by Jack Carter.

Braverman goes down into the sewers and is killed by the alligator. As he is attacked, he snaps pictures of it. His camera is found and everyone finally believes Forster. An operation is set-up to drive the alligator out, with Riker’s help.

They go forward with the plan to drive it out to where a bunch of cops are waiting. It doesn’t come out like they planned though. Instead it breaks open the sidewalk and kills all those that get in its way. Carter doesn’t think the police can handle it and hires a big game hunter to kill it, played by Henry Silva.

Will Silva kill the alligator? Or will Forster and Riker find a way to stop it before it kills too many in the city?

I have to say that this is a pretty good large animal movie. Alligator for the most part is done with a real animal. The scenes of where it attacks people are good as well, even though those are done by a rubber one. I think what this film does best though is to have a lot of the attack scenes happen off screen so it doesn’t look fake. The story is a little farfetched, but not enough to ruin it. The acting is pretty good to go with it, even though that gets a little corny at times.

What I didn’t like about this film are the parts of the story that aren’t realistic. This film is basing itself on the urban legend of people flushing alligators down the toilet and then surviving in the sewers. How it gets big is okay with me. There are a few things that happen in the film too that I don’t think are very realistic and that brings my rating down too. This doesn’t completely ruin the film though in my eyes though.

If you like large monster movies, then I would give this one a viewing. Using a real alligator when they could was definitely something I enjoyed. The acting and the story helps make this more enjoyable as well. Not the best film out there, but one of the better ones from the genre. I would recommend giving this one a viewing if you like films like this.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

08/15/2015 08:06

Film: All Hallows’ Eve

Year: 2013

Director: Damien Leone

Writer: Damien Leone

Starring: Katie Maguire, Mike Giannelli and Catherine A. Callahan

 

Review:

This film begins in the living room of a house. Katie Maguire is babysitting on Halloween for a friend. The two kids are siblings with the older girl played by Sydney Freihofer and the boy by Cole Mathewson. They are watching the original Night of the Living Dead while Mathewson is counting his candy and Freihofer is texting. Maguire turns off the television and tells the kids they are going to carve a pumpkin and then they are going to go bed. Mathewson dumps his candy and discovers a VHS video tape. He wants to watch it, but Maguire doesn’t think that’s a good idea since it could be something inappropriate. They finally convince her to let them.

The video actually holds a couple different horror tales on it. The tape begins with creepy images of a rundown hospital. There is a creepy clown that will recur throughout this film, he is played by Mike Giannelli. There is a tapping that is done by a scythe-like blade and there’s a monster with a huge nose. It shifts to the first tale.

This one begins with a young woman waiting for a train; she is played by Kayla Lian. A couple asks when the train is going to be leaving and she says when she thinks. There is an announcement saying the train is delayed. She looks forward and there is Giannelli. He pulls out a horn and begins honking it. Lian yells at him to stop. He sits next to her and gives her a flower. There is a cockroach in it and she drops it. She tries to flee, but Giannelli sticks her with a needle and she passes out.

She wakes up with a chain around her neck. She screams and other girls in similar positions tell her to stop. Lian tells them they must escape and they tell her they’ve tried, but there’s no way out. Lian also learns that when the chain is pulled, they are taken away screaming. One of the other girls is taken and Lian gets the other to come with her. They follow it to find a giant monster of a man with a butcher knife. The second girl is attacked and Lian tries to free herself. The monster ends up doing that with its knife, but she runs into another man.

She then wakes up, tied down. There is a bunch of hooded figures that are watching over her. There is a pregnant woman who is standing up. What will they do to both of these women? Will either survive?

After watching that Maguire tells the kids they need to go to bed and this isn’t appropriate. They argue, but do as they are told. Mathewson goes to bed without an issue, but Freihofer is scared. She ends up asking Mathewson if she can sleep in bed with him and he reluctantly allows it.

Maguire talks to a friend for a bit, getting spooked by some kids outside and waits for the parents to return. She goes back to watch the next tale on the tape.

This one is about a woman moving out of the city with her boyfriend, she is played by Catherine A. Callahan. She loves the quiet and talks on phone with someone about how she already loves the new house. There then is a bright light outside and a something glowing lands. The power then goes out and nothing seems to work. Her car won’t even start. She begins to panic when her boyfriend calls and tells her to relax. When she tells him that she has been hearing noises, he tells her to call the police. The phone cuts out.

There ends up being aliens that are in her house and she tries to get away from them. Will she be able to or will they get her before she can?

Maguire is spooked even more after that one and she looks over to the stairs. She sees movement and thinks the children are still up. She goes upstairs to check on them and Mathewson tells them they are trying to sleep, but she won’t leave them be. When asked by Maguire, he tells her that she keeps rattling the door knob.

Maguire tells herself that she can’t tell the kids not to be scared, when she is being that way. She decides to watch the final story.

This one is a young woman driving back to New York; she is played by Marie Maser. She sees a sign for last chance for gasoline and she is on empty. She stops off, but can’t find anyone. The attendant shows up, played by Michael Chmiel. He is chasing off Giannelli for defiling the bathroom. Chmiel fills up Maser’s gas and gives her directions. They hear a sound and he goes inside.

Maser follows and finds that Giannelli has killed him. She flees, but no matter what she does, Giannelli keeps showing up. Will she be able to get away or will Giannelli finally get his grasp on the young woman?

That one really scares Maguire and she is even more scared when there is another video where Giannelli seems to see her. He tries to get out of the television. Will he get out or will Maguire stop him? Can she save herself and the children?

I have to say that I am big fan of anthology horror movies, if they are done right. I thought the concept of the overall story was a little clinched, but not horrible. I thought the first story was really weird, but somewhat creepy. The final story was the best though by far. It was the scariest of the bunch. Giannelli was fantastic as the clown that is in every story too. He is scary and his make-up helps. Plus he never has any sounds outside of his horn. His laugh is muted and his body language adds to it as well.

The biggest problem with this film was bad acting. There is bad acting in each of the stories as well as the overall one that ties them together. The second story was weak and the first one doesn’t have much in it outside of some creepy situations. Since this is on a VHS tape, I think the tape would look grainier. You can see that the film was made on a small budget, but they could have made the stories they are watching more realistic looking. I think it would have added to the effect.

With that said, this one isn’t horrible, it is just not good. I would only recommend this one if you are big fan of horror movies. As I have said, there is bad acting overall and some of the stories are somewhat weak. Giannelli is scary, the final story is creepy and the ending to this one is good. Outside of the fact that it looks cheap, but what leads up to it was good.

 

My Rating: 5 out of 10

08/15/2015 08:03

Film: Alien Trespass

Year: 2009

Director: R.W. Goodwin

Writer: Steven P. Fisher

Starring: Eric McCormack, Jenni Baird and Robert Patrick

 

Review:

This film takes place in the 1950s. It actually starts out as newsreels with the most important aspect of it being about an actor played by Eric McCormack. He is starring in a film that is considered to be the best sci-fi movie of all time, but it won’t be released to the public, because McCormack will not sign with the studio that made the movie. The film and everything with it is going to be burned by Brad Dryborough, who plays the head of the studio. It then goes into the film that was made.

We see a spaceship as it flies through space. We see some sparks and there is something wrong with it. The ship then comes crashing toward planet Earth. We then hear that there is a meteor shower that will be seen that night.

We meet McCormack’s character in the film. He works for an observatory and he’s a doctor. His wife is played by Jody Thompson. They are making dinner and are watching the meteor shower. They see something crash. McCormack wants to go check it out, but his wife reminds him they had plans.

Others have seen the crash as well, including an old drunkard who lives out in the middle of nowhere with his dog, the man is played by Tom McBeath. He is going to go out to the crash. McCormack waits until his wife falls asleep before going as well.

A monster slithers out of the crash sight. A space man who is about 7 feet tall comes out as well. McBeath meets him first and in a panic he fires off a round from his shotgun. The spaceman fires a laser from his gun at his feet. McBeath flees. McCormack has different experience as he is taken inside of the spaceship and we hear a scream.

The next morning we are at the local diner. The man who runs it is played by Jerry Wasserman. A woman works for him is played by Jenni Baird. We did see her the night before. She was painting and saw the crash. Wasserman gets on her to get to work.

We meet two of the local police officers. One is played by Robert Patrick and he hits on Baird. She isn’t having any of it. The other is kind of bumbling and he is played by Sage Brocklebank. They are sitting with a couple of brothers, skinner one played by Jonathon Young and the bigger as well as dumber one played by Michael Roberds. There is talk in the diner about the crash the night before and if Patrick will do anything about it.

Out at a popular make-out spot the night before were Andrew Dunbar and Sarah Smyth. He wanted to go farther and she wasn’t having it. They saw the crash from the night before too. This morning they are outside of the diner. They meet up with a friend; he is played by Aaron Brooks. Brooks is a greaser. They go inside and talk more about the crash. They also put a little pressure on Patrick. There is then a call telling Patrick to go check it out. Brooks wants to go as well. He talks the couple into coming with him.

While they are up there, Patrick tells his partner that it is nothing more than a crashed meteorite. They should go back. Dunbar has hid his car in some trees and while they are waiting for Brooks, they see the monster from the night before. It looks like a slug that moves upright on little tentacles and it has a big tentacle with a feeler on the end. It scares them and they flee to the car. They meet up with Brooks and Patrick, who hears them out. They try to tell what they saw. He thinks it’s a prank and takes them to down to the jail.

We also see McCormack go home in his car. He crashes into their fence and we know something is wrong. He goes inside and talks to his wife, who is making breakfast. He is talking funny and he scares her with it. She knows there is something wrong. It is important to note that he tells her that salt can keep her safe. He asks her if she will help him and she decides to go get a doctor. He leaves to find the other alien.

The trio of teenagers meets the chief, who is played by Dan Lauria. He doesn’t want to hear their story and thinks it’s a joke. He lets them go.

Old Mr. McBeath is attacked by the slug-like alien. It attacks him with its tentacle and his dog flees.

McCormack walks down the road and meets Baird. This part is a little odd in that she is hitting on him, when she knows he is married. McCormack reveals his alien name and Baird just thinks he’s weird. She does agree to help him. They stop by McBeath’s place to find only a pool of goo. McCormack tells her that the alien has eaten him. They have a disagreement and he is left there. She doesn’t entirely believe him.

It becomes a race against time. Will anyone believe McCormack before it is too late? Will they be able to stop the alien before it takes over the world? Will there be anyone to stop it before that happens?

This film is a perfect throwback to the 50s sci-fi monster movies. You have the same build ups those had. You have the alien that no one sees. Those that do see the alien, have reasons for people not to believe them. This one though has the scientist who knows, but since the alien has taken over his body, he talks weird and they think he’s crazy. You also have the teenage kids who know what’s happening and no one believes them. This one also does a great homage to the 50s with little things here and there which I thought adds a little something as well.

Now with that said, this film is very cheesy. You need to expect that with a film that pretending to be during the 50s, as it was considered a better time. The alien is clearly cheaply done, but again, that goes back to sci-fi monster movies where they didn’t have much technology or even the amount of money to put toward it. This is also a comedy, which sometimes can work to a film’s advantage. In this case, it is poking fun at the 50s as well as paying tribute. Being part comedy doesn’t hurt this film, but it personally hurt the rating from me.

I would recommend this film if you’re a fan of the 50s style horror sci-fi monster films. This is a modern interpretation that pays homage as well as mocking it. The acting is good at mimicking how it was done back then, the monster looks like it was right from that era and a story that is as well. With a low running time, it keeps you entertained without dragging on. I would recommend giving it a viewing if this is genre is something you find interesting.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

08/15/2015 08:01

Film: Alien: Resurrection

Year: 1997

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Writer: Joss Wheldon

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder and Dominique Pinon

 

Review:

This begins on a spaceship. We see a medical lab where there is a woman in a test-tube. The woman becomes fully grown and it turns out to be Sigourney Weaver, reprising her role as Lt. Ripley. It then goes to her being worked on by a surgery team. It is in the future so they are using robots. They remove an alien from her chest cavity. The doctor leading the surgery is played by Brad Dourif. The leader of this science team is played by J.E. Freeman. Dourif asks if they can keep her alive. Her vitals are good and Freeman allows it. Weaver wakes up and attacks one of the doctors.

The man in charge of this vessel is played by Dan Hedaya. The purpose of this mission is to use the alien that has been an unstoppable killing machine and study them, using what they learn to better humans. Weaver tells them that it will kill them all and brings up that the company has been trying to accomplish this for awhile. Freeman laughs, telling everyone that the company went under awhile ago.

There is another spaceship that is approaching this one. This one is privately owned ship under control by Michael Wincott. They are bringing a delivery. His crew has a science officer who works in the garage; she is played by Winona Ryder. Working with her is a paralyzed Dominique Pinon. They have muscle in Ron Perlman and Gary Dourdan. There is also a pilot played by Kim Flowers. They are all packing weapons, which are against the rules of the ship they board, but they are pirates.

Wincott and Hedaya do business together and the shipment is unloaded. It turns out to be people in cryostats sleep. Wincott has also worked out that his crew can get room and board for a few days before parting ways. Hedaya doesn’t see an issue with this either.

The crew runs into Weaver in the gym. Perlman hits on her, but ends up getting knocked out by her. They all try to take her down, but she is too fast and strong. There has been a by-product of her being cloned, which is what she is. We see that she has inherited their speed, strength and her blood turns to acid when it hits the air.

Dourif has created more of the aliens. The one from Weaver was a queen and he has created regular ones now as well. He trains one not to attack the glass, making the scientists believe they can learn.

Ryder breaks one of the rules that were set-up by Hedaya though. She breaks into Weaver’s cell. She is trying to kill her, but shocked to see that the alien is no longer inside her. When Ryder tries to leave, she is ambushed by soldiers. She is taken to where the rest of the crew is and they are held at gunpoint. A fire-fight ensues, with the pirates winning.

Three of the xenomorphs, the name of the alien species, are kept in a cell together. Two of them turn on the third, killing it. They did this to use its blood to escape. This is done with Dourif watching in shock. Now they are free and they begin to pick off the crew, one-by-one.

The military personnel escape in pods, but those that are left on the ship ban together to try to escape with many of which dying along the way. The main crew that is trying to escape is Weaver, Ryder, Perlman, Pinon, Dourdan, Flowers, Freeman and they also pick up a soldier that was in the gunfight in the gym who is played by Raymond Cruz.

We learn more about the terrible secrets of this military ship, which include the failed experiments of cloning Weaver. We also learn what the shipment that was brought by Wincott’s crew was used for. The group finds a survivor who is from the shipment who bands with them played by Leland Orser.

Can they get off the ship in time or will the aliens get them? When the ship is under duress, the auto-pilot system kicks in and makes the ship return to Earth. Will they be able to stop that or will the aliens run rampant? Ryder is housing a secret that will affect their plan. Also, Weaver received a gift from the xenomorphs, but since she was cloned, did they take one from her as well?

I have to say that this one unfortunately is not all that good. The story is okay and the acting is pretty good, but it can be really corny. There are some pretty solid death scenes. I didn’t mind the Weaver aspect of being super-human. I thought that gave it an added touch and it makes sense since she was cloned from blood they found. It also makes sense that they would have been intermingled because of that. After seeing the failed experiments it explains a lot as well.

Some things that happen in this don’t make a whole lot of sense though and that kind of ruined the story for me a bit. It can be a little predictable, outside of the secret that is revealed about Ryder. You get that there is something off about her from the beginning, but I wasn’t expecting what it ends up being. I was also confused about Weaver and the xenomoprhs. At times they seemed to be trying to kill her while other times they knew she was one of them. That got to be a little bit confusing.

This one is definitely the worst in the series, but if you like the alien movies, I would say to give this one a viewing as it technically is the last in the timeline of what is happening thus far. It isn’t horrible, but it also doesn’t live up to what the first two did. This one is more horror with a lot of sci-fi elements. If you want to see a bloody alien film, give this one a viewing. It also has two tough female leads with Weaver and Ryder, so if that is something interesting, then give it a viewing. I would say to not come in expecting too much though.

 

My Rating: 5 out of 10

08/15/2015 07:58

Film: Alien 3

Year: 1992

Director: David Fincher

Writer: David Giler, Walter Hill and Larry Ferguson

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton and Charles Dance

 

Review:

This film begins on the ship that Sigourney Weaver and the other survivors were on at the end of the last film. They’ve all laid down to go into deep sleep. We get images though that there is an egg on board. It hatches and attacks Newt, the young girl’s pod. When this happens, they are ejected from the ship.

They crash land on a prison planet. It has been destroyed by pollution. The prisoners are all men and so are those in charge. They haven’t seen a woman in years. They refine lead to create storage for nuclear waste.

During their morning patrol, the crash is found in the water. Weaver is brought into the prison, covered in dirt and lice. She is unconscious.

The warden is played by Brian Glover. He doesn’t like rumors so he tells all the inmates about Weaver surviving the crash. We learn that the others were not so lucky. His second in command is played by Ralph Brown. The medical officer is played by Charles Dance.

The prisoners follow a religion and are led by Charles S. Dutton. Two others that are important to note, one is not very intelligent and not many like him, he is played by Paul McGann and the other prisoner is played by Danny Webb.

Dance wakes Weaver up and she is disoriented. She asks about what happened to her, what happened to those that she was with and what happened to her ship. She goes to the wreckage that was recovered and notices that there is a burn mark on one of the pods. She asks if she can see the bodies.

Glover doesn’t like the idea of a woman being at the prison and has already informed the company of her presence. They are sending someone to get her.

Weaver and Dance check on the bodies. Weaver investigates Newt and tells Dance that she wants an autopsy done. It takes some lies and convincing, but he does it. They don’t find anything and Glover shows up with Brown. Dance helps convince him to do what Weaver wants, which is to have the bodies cremated, even though the company said to have the bodies preserved.

Weaver interjects herself into the prison life, much to the dismay of Glover. She also takes a liking to Dance. Dance and Glover butt heads, but he also doesn’t stop him.

We also get a scene of an oxen having just died. It is strung up to be used for meat. One of the men notices there is a dead face-sucker, but doesn’t know what it is. They leave the room and the belly of the oxen explodes. The alien is alive.

Weaver relaxes thinking that there’s no way there could be any of the aliens on board. At the ceremony for her fallen comrades, she gets a nose bleed and she isn’t feeling well. This gets worse and worse as time goes on.

The alien is growing and creating a nest within the air ducts. His first victim is someone given the duty to clean up a tunnel. The alien spits acid in his face and the man falls into a giant fan.

Glover, Brown and Dance check it out. They think it was an accident, but Dance notices the acid burn that Weaver saw on the pod. When he asks her about it, she still doesn’t give him anything. Weaver also has removed the flight recorder from her escape pod and needs to find a computer to listen to it. There isn’t one in the prison so she is told to find her android from the last film that was destroyed. She is also starting to wonder if the death was an accident.

We get a scene of a group of prisoners who have a detail to go into the tunnels. Two of them don’t want to work with McGann, because he is weird. Hearing this hurts his feelings, but Dutton tells them to go to work. Down in the tunnels they are attacked. McGann watches it happen and gets covered in blood. When others see him, they think he did it. Weaver knows he didn’t.

As the guards and the prisoners begin to get picked off one-by-one. They come up with a plan to capture the alien. It doesn’t work out quite as well as they thought, but they trap it in a containment room. This doesn’t hold it though when McGann is entranced by the monster and lets it out.

Will they be able to survive or will be picked off until there’s no one left? Why doesn’t the alien attack Weaver? Will the company show up to save the day or do what they’ve done all along and try to take the alien back with them? Can they put a stop to it before it’s too late?

I have to say that I do like that this film does go back to what the original one does. They are trapped with no weapons and there’s nowhere they can go to get away from the alien. This one is also like the original in that there is only one alien to deal with. Weaver does a great job in her role as Ripley, per usual for this series. The rest of the cast is okay in their supporting role.

Now there is a lot that I don’t like about this film and it makes sense after learning some backstory. The script of this film was in constant flux, which explains a lot of the plot holes. At one point this was supposed to be a planet with monastery. They kept some of that idea with having the prisoners be religious, which wasn’t horrible, but it also didn’t sit entirely well. I also knew the ending of this film, but the film doesn’t explain how Weaver got the embryo in her. Some of the concepts for the screenplay would have made a lot better film. It does sound like the studio was constantly involved which held this one back.

With that said, this isn’t horrible. This film just doesn’t live up to what its predecessors did. The story was hampered by outside influences. The acting though does make up for some of that. The alien doesn’t look super realistic, but a lot of that goes to the technology of the time. The up-close scenes of it are good though. Could do worse and despite how boring this one is, it is a continuation of the alien line of films.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

08/15/2015 07:55

Film: Aliens

Year: 1986

Director: James Cameron

Writer: James Cameron

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn and Carrie Henn

 

Review:

This film begins with the escape ship that Sigourney Weaver used to flee in the first movie. She has been asleep since the events and that’s how she is found. She wakes up to find that she has been out for over 40 years. She learns that her daughter is dead and she tries to readjust to the world around her.

She meets with someone from the company she works for; this person is played by Paul Reiser. Weaver has a hearing where it is decided what she did was wrong and they tell her that the planet has been colonized. They found nothing of what she claims to have happened. She loses her license with the company. She gets a job working on the docks as a loader.

We cut to the planet where a family travels toward a destination. They are subcontractors and check out a ship that’s crashed. It is the same ship from the first movie. The mother freaks out as something has attached itself to her husband’s face and their daughter sees everything, the little girl is played by Carrie Henn.

We cut back to Earth where Weaver has trouble sleeping. Resier comes to visit her, telling her that they’ve lost contact with the colony and the company wants her to go with a unit of marines as a consultant. If she does go, they will restore her to her status. She declines and he leaves his card. Weaver has trouble sleeping with nightmares of aliens. She decides to go.

The unit that she goes with is led by William Hope. Notable people in it are Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton and Al Matthews. They have an android who is played by Lance Henriksen. The marines are really tough and ignore Weaver when she tells them about the alien race they will encounter. They think they can take out everything.

They arrive on the planet to find it abandoned. They search the place for any trace of the colonist. While they do, Weaver discovers Henn. It takes some effort, but she catches her and then befriends her. Henn has been surviving all alone. Paxton ends up finding a signal of where the colonists are. They are inside of another building and it looks like they are all together.

The marines get ready for whatever they might face and head to see what happened to the colonists. They find that the building is covered in a weird silicon substance. The colonists are also in cocoons and they all look dead, but they soon discover they are not. One of them asks the marines to kill her, but before they can her chest burst open.

They are attacked by a bunch of the aliens and most of the unit is killed. Hope doesn’t know what to do as he is inexperienced in actual combat situations and Weaver ends up driving their vehicle to save those that she can. After that they call for their ship to evacuate, but an alien gets on board and crashes it. They now have to hold up and try to survive until help comes or they can find a way to call their other ship down.

Henn tells them that the aliens come at night. Biehn is placed in command while Hope is knocked out and it is decided to set-up defense to try and survive. Paxton brings up that there were a lot of eggs down there. He speculates that they must be like ants, having a queen that is running the show.

These aliens are a lot smarter than everyone believed and their defenses don’t hold for long. They are faced with challenges from these killing machines. They try to stick together and get off the planet. Will they be able to or will everyone become a host for another alien? Is there a queen like Paxton thinks or something else?

Growing up, I preferred this sequel over the original. I have come to realize they are two different types of movies. Where the first one is all about suspense, the fear of being trapped while they are stalked by the alien, where this is one is more of an action film where they have to battle to stay alive. There is a lot of action in this one that is good, the acting to go with it is solid and these aliens are scary in how good of killing machines they are. They are extremely relentless. They are also scary in how they look. The story is also well written and flows well.

The only issue that I have with this movie is that many of the characters are walking clinches. They are marines so it is possible, but that is my only gripe. They act a little too predictable.

I would recommend giving this one a viewing if you were a fan of the first one. I would also say give it a viewing if you’re a fan of horror that is mixed with sci-fi and action films. This is also one of the movies that started the female hero and Weaver does it very well. Definitely worth a viewing, but I will warn you that this is a long film. It is worth your time.

 

My Rating: 9 out of 10

08/15/2015 07:53

Film: Alien

Year: 1979

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Dan O’Bannon

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt

 

Review:

This film begins giving us the background of the story. We are following a spaceship, the Nostromo, that is coming back from a salvage mission. They are moving past a planet where a beacon is going off. The crew are awoken early and told by their company to check it out. They are not sure if it is an S.O.S. or not.

The captain is Tom Skerritt, his second in command is played by Sigourney Weaver. They try to land on the desolate planet, but when they do their hull is punctured by jagged rocks. Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto are commanded to fix it while Skerritt leads a team of John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright to check out the beacon. Weaver will monitor from the ship.

The planet is desolate and hard to see. Hurt moves deeper into the spaceship where he finds a dead alien. Its chest has been ripped open from the inside. They can tell as the ribs are broken outward. From here he finds some eggs. There is movement inside one of them. Something emerges and attacks him.

Skerritt and Cartwright bring him back to the ship and demand to be let in to get Hurt to the infirmary. She reminds them of their protocol about decontamination, but she is under-minded by Ian Holm, a science officer.

Hurt’s spacesuit is removed and they find that he has something attached to his face. They cannot remove it, because if they try it tightens its grip around his neck. The thing has blood that is acid and it feeds nutrients to Hurt, keeping him alive in a coma. They try to figure out something to do to save him, but before they can the thing dies and he wakes, starving.

At the meal, everything seems back to normal and everyone is having fun until we learn what happened to the alien that was flying the spaceship. Hurt meets the same demise as an alien escapes from inside him through his chest.

The crew must find the alien before it is too late. It grows to full size quickly and is an efficient killer.

What is this directive that Skerritt and no one can access. What is up with Holm and what does he know about their mission? Can they eliminate this killing machine before it kills them all off?

This is an excellent sci-fi/horror film. The film brings in a lot of elements and it works very well. You have the monster flick aspect with the terrifying alien that we are just given glimpses of, never seeing it for too long. You have the claustrophobic feel the spaceship with its tight quarters and nowhere to run, which heightens as the alien begins to kill off the crew.

The story is well written, the pacing is great and the acting to go along with it makes this a great film. Weaver is great as the strong heroine, paving the way for other actresses. Skerritt does well as the captain who ignores the nonsense around him. The rest of the cast does well in their supporting roles as well.

I would highly recommend this one if you like horror, sci-fi, any of the actors or actresses since they all have solid performances. This one is definitely worth a view for all of these elements.

 

My Rating: 9 out of 10

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