The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 1, 2 & 3

Despite being a fan of horror films and watched a whole lot of them over the years, I hadn’t watched anything from the hugely popular franchise of slasher films that started in 1974 called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Although I had heard of it, seen review of some of the movies and seen a couple of clips around the time they did the remake. Among the horror fanatics on Youtube, this series of movies is a huge deal and you can see many Youtubers proudly displaying their collection from this franchise. I kept wondering just what the heck is so good about this movie franchise and finally decided to check them out and lose my TCM virginity, so to speak.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) directed and produced by Tobe Hooper – Well it’s good but I am not that impressed. It’s nothing to scream and shout about. Perhaps I am being spoiled by years of watching scary & gory films and this being a film from 1974 and watching it 40 years later it doesn’t have that same affect on me. Had I watched it back in 1974 (well I wasn’t born yet but you get the idea) for the first time I would have been more impressed. And that goes for most horror flicks of that time. Movies that scared me when I was a child aren’t scary at all now. The plot is about a group of friends – Sally Hardesty, her wheelchair bound brother Franklin and their 3 friends Pam, Jerry & Kirk are traveling in rural Texas to an old family homestead after visiting the grave of their grandfather. On their way the pick up a hitchhiker – the most annoying and irritating person ever to have hitchhiked in the world since the beginning of time – who acts like a total imbecile and slashes Franklin’s arm with a straight razor for not paying for a Polaroid he took of the group without asking first. They push him out but the group is doomed. After they reach the homestead, Kirk & Pam head up to a neighbour’s house to ask for gas and are killed by Leatherface – a large man with a chainsaw. By sunset Jerry goes to look for them and is also killed by Leatherface. Finally as it is dark and they are worried, Sally & Franklin (who has a stupidly acted scene earlier, stinking up the film) go to the house to look for their friend and Frankie boy is killed but Sally manages to escape – mainly because Leatherface is too busy posturing with his chainsaw instead of killing her!

Sally makes it to the gas station a few miles down the road and asks the proprietor for help but he turns out to be the father of Leatherface and he abducts her and brings her to the house where the hitchhiker (Leatherface’s brother) is also waiting. The men torment the bound and gagged Sally while Leatherface, now dressed as a woman, serves dinner. Leatherface and the hitchhiker bring an old man, Grandpa (John Dugan), from upstairs to share the meal. Sally is tortured a bit and screams (bloody murder loudly indeed) and is able to escape as the men decide to try and make grandpa kill her but he is too weak. Leatherface and the hitchhiker give chase, but the latter is run down and killed by a passing semi-trailer truck. Leatherface kills the truck driver but Sally manages to jump into the back of a passing pickup truck, still screaming and covered in blood, while a frustrated Leatherface wave his chainsaw in anger.

The sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 took 12 years to come out, why I dunno. This time the film stars Dennis Hopper as “Lefty”, Caroline Williams as “Stretch”, Bill Johnson as “Leatherface”, Bill Moseley as “Chop Top” and Jim Siedow, who reprises the role of “The Cook”. Two rowdy young men are on the phone with the DJ of a small radio station in Texas, as they are driving in a car, when they are attacked by Leatherface using his chainsaw from a van that’s parallel to their car. Both the kids are killed (truth is they were real obnoxious assholes and deserved to be offed) and their bloody screams are recorded on tape. The DJ, Stretch, ends up contacting Lieutenant Boude “Lefty” Enright, the Hardesty’s uncle, who is still running his own investigation to find Leatherface & his family. he convinces her to play the screams on her show so the law enforcers and the people will have to listen to him. But things go wrong when Chop Top (brother of Leatherface & twin of the Hitchhiker) comes to the station at night and badly beats up Stretch’s co-worker LG while Leatherface goes after Stretch with his chainsaw. Before he can kill her, she manages to charm him and Leatherface, being a sexually repressed man, leaves her alone and smashes a lot of the walls of the station. BTW, Bill Moseley acts like a total asshole in this movie – I mean he is so shit and over the top annoying!

The brothers leave in their pickup with LG, presumed dead at this point, and drive off to their new hideout in an abandoned carnival ground decorated with human bones, multi-colored lights, and carnival remnants. Stretch calls Lefty and follows the brothers and gets trapped inside their home and is found by Leatherface but he tries to disguise her with the ripped off skin off LG’s face. She tries to escape but is caught by the Cook & Chop Top and is brought to their dinner table where they proceed to torture her for a bit. Left, with 3 chainsaws of his own, finds then and frees Stretch. After a battle, Lefty impales Leatherface in the stomach and he, Leatherface, the corpse of “Grandpa” and the Cook are apparently killed when a grenade goes off prematurely. Chop Top & Stretch, who was chasing her, escape and have a face off in carved out rock tower next to the ground. Top Chop cuts Stretch multiple times with a blade but using a chainsaw held by the mummified remains of the family’s grandmother in a ritual shrine, she cuts him and he falls to his death. Stretch is seen waving the chainsaw madly in the air, much like Leatherface, as the movie ends.

Leatherface : The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 came out in 1990 & stars Kate Hodge, Ken Foree, William Butler, and a then-unknown Viggo Mortensen. Somehow Leatherface is still alive and has a new family! No idea how that happens. Michelle & Ryan, a couple who seem to be on the verge of a breakup are driving Michelle’s dad’s car from California to Florida. On a stop at a gas station in some rural area they meet Tex who shows Ryan a different route which should shorten their trip and asks for a ride. Ryan refuses but Tex gets angry at the perverted gas station owner Alfredo who is spying on Michelle as she is using the facilities. Alfredo gets a shotgun as seemingly shoots Tex as the couple race away in the car. As night falls, Ryan and Michelle, having taken the route Tex recommended, become lost and are attacked by a driver in a truck, who throws a dead coyote on their windshield. They stop to change a flat tire when Leatherface attacks and they just about manage to escape as he rips their car. They almost crash into another truck, driven by Benny and he drives off the road to avoid hitting them. Benny offers helps but is attacked by Tinker, who has a hook hand. Benny manages to get his gun but runs into Leatherface and is attacked again. Leatherface is lured away by Sara, a young woman who’s sister was killed by Leatherface but is killed later.

Leatherface then chases Ryan & Michelle and catches Ryan whose foot is caught in a trap. Ryan yells for Michelle to run as Leatherface attacks him and she runs into a house. She is caught by Tex who is in the house with a little girl and his mother – all of them are a family, including Leatherface & the Hookhand man. Michelle is tied up to a chair and nailed on the hand as the men bring in an unconscious Ryan who they later kill. Outside the family home, Benny finds and attempts to interrogate Alfredo as he disposes of human bodies in a bag, but he is unsuccessful, eventually knocking Alfredo into the bog and leaving him to drown. Benny finds the house and sees the family torturing a screaming Michelle and he fires shots into the house. The men fight as Michelle manages to escape; Tex is killed when Benny soaking him in fuel and burning him with a lighter. Benny rushes to Michelle’s aid, stopping Leatherface from murdering her, and knocking the killer into the bog. The pair begin fighting, and Benny appears to die when Leatherface forces his head into the blade of the chainsaw. He then turns his attention to Michelle, who grabbing a nearby rock, beats him over the head with it, leaving him unconscious under the water. As daylight breaks, a recovered Benny finds a truck and catches up to Michelle but is attacked by Alfredo. Michelle shoots Alfredo in the chest with a shotgun before the pair drive away, unaware that Leatherface is revving his chainsaw some distance away.

Whew! That’s a lot of killing. I have no idea from where the new family with a bunch of characters comes from and the little girl – who the heck is she – and I’m sure that there’s bound to be more such strange family members to be revealed as I go throw the rest of the series. My ratings are 5.5, 7.5 & 6 for the first 3 movies.

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The Fourth Wall

You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.

Oooh that is a difficult one. I can’t just pick one! Impossible, I tell ya! Ok, which porn film do I want me to be the main lead where it’s me and a bunch of sexy busty women?

Alright, alright! You know I just asked a similar question in a Star Trek group : if I could make a choice, which Star Trek show would I want to be made a character in? I find that a hard one to answer but in the end I may have to pick Star Trek : The Next Generation. Unless I could be Captain Kirk – always be Captain Kirk if you can!

Movies? Wayne’s World? Galaxy Quest? Weekend At Bernie’s? I dunno I can’t choose a single movie that I’d want to be inside. There’s way too many movies that I could pick. All I know is it should include rock n roll music, some hockey and football (that’s soccer for you in NA) and flying through space in a luxurious spaceship! Lots of booze & food! And plenty of babes in bikinis. Make that alien babes in bikinis too! whoo hoo! A rock n roll & sports fueled bachelor party while traveling through outer space.

Lol yeah, I know!

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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Space Station 76

A movie that flew under the radar, well atleast for me since I hadn’t heard of it & only found about it by clicking on a link in wikipedia, is Space Station 76. Directed by Jack Plotnick, and co-written by Plotnick, Jennifer Elise Cox, Sam Pancake, Kali Rocha, and Michael Stoyanov it is a science fiction black comedy created as both a tribute to and in the form of the 1970s vision of what the future will look like. The movie stars Matt Bomer, Marisa Coughlan, Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Kylie Rogers, Kali Rocha and Jerry O’Connell. Rather than a crew on a mission or fighting danger it’s more a 1970s time period drama and focuses on the issues that were big back then. The clothing, sets, technology and even the wardrobe & hairstyles reflect that era.

Lt. Jessica Marlow is the new officer on board Space Station 76 (although they call it a spaceship most of the time) which is a deep space station somewhere far in the future. Most of humanity has left earth, some humans haven’t even seen earth. Jessica meets the station’s captain, a dour and alcoholic Glenn who just wants to be left alone and avoids much contact. Jessica takes over the job previous held by Daniel who has left the station but no one knows the real reason he decides to take a transfer – Glenn tells some people it was due to a family emergency and to others, like Jessica he said it was a promotion. Among the other residents are Ted, the mechanic and his catty wife Misty and their adorable young daughter Sunshine. Also on board are Steve, the playboy doctor & his snooty socialite wife Donna who has no idea that he is cheating on her with Valium popping Misty.

Jessica finds her welcome a bit strained especially by Misty who resents the fact that her daughter seems to be bonding with the new officer. Jessica and Sunshine spend a lot of their spare time together, especially in the arboretum where Ted is also growing some plants. There is also a deep attraction between Ted & Jessica but they seem to be keeping it control. Sunshine is an adorable & precocious girl who enjoys spending time in zero gravity with her father, as long as Misty doesn’t find out. Misty has secret sex meetings with Steve in between being catty to Jessica and participating in sessions with the stations councellor  – an old toy robot is programmed to recite certain phrases & sentences in a fake cheerful voice based on the last word that the patient says. Misty lies to Sunshine as she finds Jessica’s adoration on the girl growing in order to create a distance between them. Captain Glenn meanwhile tries to contact Daniel and we find out the real reason he left; the two were in a homosexual affair one that Glenn couldn’t be open about and was emotionally inept to live with. This drove away Daniel who took transfer as soon as he got promoted. Ted who is sexually frustrated has visions of a nude woman floating out in space and her face is soon replaced by that of Jessica as the two grow closer. Misty is also upset at the fact that Steve is leaving for a bigger station along with Donna, who seemingly rubs everyone else nose in that fact that they are moving “up”, and their baby.

Things come to a head at the Christmas party where Misty, jealous of Ted & Jessica’s growing closeness, basically lets out that she & Steve are sleeping together and that she never had an orgasm before. She then turns her ire on Jessica who shouts at her and Glenn comes to the former’s defence and calls doubts on Jessica’s gender. Jessica in turn blurts out Glenn’s secret that he is a homosexual which stuns the rest of the crowd. Suddenly the station is hit by a passing asteroid which does little damage to the station but destroys the docked shuttle in which all of Steve’s & Donna’s belongings were. As people get about recovering from the shoutfest, Jessica joins Ted in the arboretum where they both lie down next to each other & Sunshine, upset at the death of a frozen dog that Jessica has got for her but which Misty claimed as her own gift to Sunshine, goes to her quarters and floats in zero gravity. Steve and Donna will have to mend their marriage while Glenn goes for a drink with the shuttle’s pilot, who we assume is also gay. We are left to assume that Ted & Jessica will get together and live with Sunshine.

A goofy, humourous oddball movie which has it’s own charm. It’s funny to see the 70s style look of the space station and it’s technology – toy robots, VHS tapes, small box tv monitors, 60s Trek & 70s Star Wars style buttons and gizmos and the outfits – in a 2014 movie. I would say that whether you are a scifi fan or not, you will enjoy this film. I give it a 7.5 outta 10.

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Edge Of Tomorrow

From director Doug Liman and based of the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, comes the 2014 science fiction action film Edge of Tomorrow. The movie is set in the near future in the midst of a war between humans and a superior alien race who has invaded earth. The film stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt with Bill Paxton & Brendan Gleeson in major supporting roles.

Earth has been invade by a race of technologically highly advanced aliens called the Mimics who have taken over much of continental Europe. The aliens are winning the war although the rest of the world’s military forces unite to battle them. Major William Cage, a former advertising man who enlisted to become the public relations officer of the United Defence Forces is stunned when he arrived in London only to be told by General Brigham that he will be sent to the front lines the next day in France. Cage has no combat experience and objects to the assignment but he is told that his US Army CO had transferred him to be under the General’s command and hence he has no choice. Cage tries to blackmail the General by threatening to use his public affairs skills to use and create a hostile atmosphere for him to which Brigham has him handcuffed and knocked out as Cage tries to escape. When he comes to Cage is in Heathrow airport, labelled a deserted & demoted in ranks and put on combat duty for the invasion under the command of Master Sergeant Farell.

Cage is rebuked and mocked by the Sergeant and the other soldiers and at the invasion things go badly as the human soldiers are getting massacarred in quick succession. Cage manages to kill a large Mimic with a blue glare but is coated with it’s acid like blood and dies…..only to awaken back at the Heathrow airport! It’s a day earlier and the events repeats itself and Cage tries to warn the others but no one believes him and he is killed again at the battle, only to be revived again at the same point in time back at Heathrow! This happens a couple of minutes until he saves the life of Sergeant Rita Vrataski – she knows what is happening to him and she tells him to find her when he waked up again. Cage is killed again and wakes up and finds Rita who takes him to meet Dr. Carter a former government scientist and expert in Mimic biology. Together they explain what is happening to Cage; the alien he killed in an “alpha” Mimic which resets time when it is killed to give the Mimics an advantage in battle. Since he ingested some of it’s blood, Cage has got the same ability, although he is doing it involuntarily. Rita had the same ability when she too killed an “alpha” and was covered in it’s blood but she got hurt and had to have an blood transfusion which stopped it.

Rita trains Cage to battle the Mimics as they plan to hunt & kill the Mimics’ hive mind, the Omega. Dr. Carter had discovered that the aliens behave like a common entity, killing the Omega will kill the aliens under it. However Cage keeps getting killed and has to go through the same situation again and again, which begins to jade the man. He and Vrataski spend several loops learning how to survive the battle on the beach and get inland based on his vision of the Omega hiding within a Bavarian Alps dam. After numerous loops end in Vrataski’s death, Cage decides to hunt the Omega alone, abandoning her and the rest of the invasion to doom on the beach. When he arrives at the dam, he discovers that the Omega is not there. He manages to kill himself before an Alpha can steal his blood and prevent him from resetting the day. Realizing that the visions was a trick, he and Rita approach General Brigham and confront him with what they have learned so far. Brigham has a prototype device that Carter designed which can hunt the Omega (the military didn’t believe him at the time and he was discredited) and the two of them take it from him after several time loops but they crash their getaway car and both are injured. Cage’s life is saved by a blood transfusion, but it removes his ability to reset the day.

Rita frees Cage from his hospital room and they head back to Heathrow where using prior information he has about his squad Cage is able to convince the soldiers to help him & Rita get to Paris where the Omega is hidden under the Luvre. The soldiers sacrifice themselves and Rota distracts a waiting Alpha while Cage advances on the Omega. The Alpha kills them both, but not before Cage primes and drops a grenade belt into the Omega’s core, destroying it and neutralizing the other Mimics. However the Omega’s blood covers Cage and he awakens….in the helicopter he was headed to London in. This time however the humans seem to be winning the war as Brigham says that there is less activity from the Mimics after a power surge went off in Paris the previous night. Cage is not confronted by the General and he goes to see the squad, who are alive and well and salute the major. He then goes to see Rita who does not recognize him and asks what he wants to which he just laughs.

Not bad. Quite well produced and shot. The special effects is great and the aliens are menacing. The explanations of the time loops take a major leap but still it’s a good movie. Lots of humour involved as well. 8 outta 10!

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Martyrs

Heavily recommended by the horror group that I am a member off, I kept putting this off for several months since the first I had heard about it. Martyrs is a 2008 French horror film written and directed by Pascal Laugier. The film debuted in Cannes and focuses on torture.

The film starts with a young girl named Lucie, who has subjected to tremendous physical abuse, escaping from a building in what looks like an abandoned factory area. Bloodied and her hair shorn she is found and taken to an orphanage once her physical wounds have healed somewhat. She doesn’t trust anyone and flinches at the slightest movements and it is only Anna, her roommate who is able to get close to her. Lucie is haunted by a ghoulish figure that is emaciated and covered in scars which attacks her at night unseen by anyoneelse, except that Anna seems to know about these attacks. 15 years later a grown up Lucie enters what seems like a rich family’s home and proceeds to kill the father and the mother of the house with her shotgun. She then asks the teenage boy if he knows what his parents did to her and when he replies no she kills him too. She then hunts for the young girl in the house and kills her as well. Lucie then calls Anna, who has remained best friends with her, and tells her that she found the people who tortured her all those years ago and has killed them.

Anna comes to the house and agrees to help Lucie bury the bodies but is shocked to find that the mother is still alive. In between the creature attacks Lucie a couple of times and she has to hide in a bedroom. That night while Lucie sleeps, Anna tries to help the mother escape but is caught by Lucie who then proceeds to beat the mother to death. Lucie is again attacked by the scarred creature, but all Anna sees is Lucie banging her head against the wall and cutting herself with a hobby knife; the ‘creature’ is nothing more than a psychological manifestation of Lucie’s guilt for leaving behind another girl who was also imprisoned and tortured with her as a child. Lucie then tells the apparition that she has killed the torturers and she can now rest but is “attacked” by the creature again. Convinced that the apparition will never leave her alone, Lucie slits her own throat and dies out in the rain as a horrified Anna weeps for her friend. Anna waits till morning to clean up the house before she leaves and discovers a secret passageway leaving to an underground section of the house where she finds a terribly tortured & scarred woman tied up in chains with metal contraptions on her head and body. Anna brings the woman out to the main part of the house when some strangers arrive and shoots the chained woman dead. Anna is captured by them and is chained to a wall in the underground chamber.

The leader of the group of strangers, identified as only ‘Mademoiselle’ arrives and tells Anna that her secret philosophical society is behind the torture of Lucie and several other young women. The elderly woman says the purpose behind the kidnappings and torture of these young women is that the society believes that their suffering will offer transcendental insight into the world beyond this one – the afterlife, and they believe that the ‘martyrs’ will be able to offer the secrets of it! Mademoiselle leaves and Anna is tied to a chair and left to be tortured by a heavyset man who brutalizes & beats while a blonde woman comes in between to feed her, forcefully with a green slop, and on occasion cleans her up with wet sponge. Her hair is shaved off and she cries during each degrading beating. After an unspecified passage of time Anna is told that she has surpassed the previous length of duration of torture and will be entering the final stage. She is taken to a lab in the same underground chambers and flayed alive. She survived the procedure and enters a stage that seems euphoric to the tormentors who immediately call Mademoiselle and others. The members of the society arrive at the house along with Mademoiselle eager to learn of what Anna has seen in her state of transcendence.

Mademoiselle goes to Anna and asks her what she saw and the poor girl whispers to the older woman. The MC for the day addresses the gathering and tells them that Anna is only the 4th torture victim to attain “martyrdom” but is the 1st who was able to communicate what she has seen. While the others wait the MC then goes to the room where Mademoiselle prepares herself and asks her if what Anna said she saw was clear and precise. From behind closed doors she says that there is no room for interpretation and asks if the MC could guess what comes after death. The MC says no and Mademoiselle says that he should keep guessing and shoots herself dead with a gun. Before the screen fades, we see a close up of Anna’s face with some voices in the background.

What the hell!!! This movie is shocking in it’s brutality and fierce torture. Oh how realistic and painful it looks. With ever slap and hit, I shuddered along with Anna. And that skin flaying scene – oh! I flinched at the brutal scenes quite often; scary stuff I can take, horryfing creatures, scary monsters – bring them on! But this brutal hitting of women, and especially this dainty little woman! Whoa! I was moved by the situation of Anna and Lucie but the scenes depicting Anna’s tortures were hard to watch. I had to watch videos of puppies and kittens frolicking on Youtube just to get myself back into a familiar frame of mind! As a well acted and affective film – 8 outta 10! But I wouldn’t recommend anyone but horror fans to watch this.

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War Of The Worlds (2005)

From director Steven Speilberg comes the 2005 science fiction disaster film War Of The Worlds, a loose adaptation of H. G. Wells’s novel The War of the Worlds. There has also been a 1953 film of the same name as well as a tv series in the 1980s which is sort of a sequel to the events of the book. The film stars Tom Cruise with Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwick and Tim Robbins.

Ray Ferrier, a divorced crane operator working at the docks in New Jersey is estranged from his two kids teenager Robbie and 10 year old Rachel. One weekend his ex-wife Mary Anne drops of their kids at his house in the morning as she & her current husband are on their way to visit her parents in Boston. A little later strange storm clouds form over the city, similar to ones in Ukraine (as shown on the news) with violent lightning seemingly striking the same points in the area. Almost all electrical activity is affected with cars, tv, power, watches all stopping. Ray goes to check one of the spots where the lightning has hit several times, leaving Robbie & Rachel in the house. As the road breaks up from underneath a massive three-legged or tripod machine emerges and with alien weaponry, incinerates most of the witnesses.People are blown into dust and their clothes scatter in the wind. Ray rushes back home doging the laser beams and packs his kids into a car, that works, he finds at a garage and heads to Mary Anne’s home; it is empty so they spend the night there.

The next morning Ray wakes up to find a large plane crashed into the street and a news crew that shows his clips of other cities under attack from similar tripods and they also show him that the aliens entered the machines in capsules via the lightning. Which means that the pods have been there for so long and this was all planned, perhaps 1000s of years ago! Ray decides to take the kids to Boston but Robbie is causing problems as he wants to leave and join the US army vehicles in the fight against the aliens. On the way to the ferry their car is attacked by a mob and Ray is forced to give it up. As they walk to the ferries, another attack by the tripods kills several humans and causes a ferry to sink. During a desperate battle between the U.S. Marines and the aliens, Ray is forced to choose between being separated from Rachel and preventing Robbie from joining the fight; Ray lets him go with the soldiers and disappears. But the soldiers are being overwhelmed as the tripods have a shield around them that proves to be difficult to penetrate. Ray picks up Rachel and runs into Harvey (Tim Robbins) who offers them shelter in his underground bunker. Harvey tells Ray that the aliens must have planted their tripods in the ground eons ago and says that from the bunker they can observe the aliens as it is right in the middle of one of their camps.

They hide out for 2 days even as a long probe and a group of aliens (who look a lot like the aliens in Independence Day) explore the bunker. Harvey however goes nuts when he sees a tripod harvesting human blood and tissue to fertilize a red weed. Fearing his mental breakdown rantings will attract the aliens, Ray is forced to murder him. Later as father & daughter sleep, a second probe finds them and Ray attacks it with an axe as Rachel runs screaming outside and is caught by a tripod. Ray runs outside to see the landscape being changed by alien plants that are growing and picks up a grenade belt from a fallen soldier and lets himself be captured by the tripod and is placed into a basket with Rachel and some other humans. He uses the grenade to blow up the trip from the inside, freeing the humans. Ray & Rachel make their way to Boston with a group of other humans and find a battalion of soldiers. In a devastated Boston Ray sees the red plants dying and the tripods collapsing. Seeing birds landing on the tripods Ray signals a soldier and the army attacks the tripod and it is destroyed. Ray & Rachel finally reach Mary Anne’s parents house where they are reunited with her as well as Robbie, who has made his way there as well. Robbie hugs his dad apologizing for leaving as the movie ends with the narrator stating that the aliens succumbed to the bacteria on earth as they have no immunity to it and hence the sudden defeat as they crumbled.

Brilliant movie with some fantastic special effects. The storm, lightning, the tripods, the aliens and their technology all looked amazing. Hated the nonsense about god’s “wisdom placing the bacteria on earth to defeat the aliens (what a load of crap!). Made on a budget of $132 million the movie made over $591 million at the box office. One for the ages although the aliens defeat was too sudden. 8.5 outta 10!

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The Possession Of Michael King

Recommended highly by horror movie fans in this Facebook group that I am a member of The Possession of Michael King is a 2014 American found footage horror movie which is also the directorial debut of David Jung who also wrote the script. The movie stars Shane Johnson as Michael King along with Ella Anderson, Cara Pifko, Tomas Arana & Julie McNiven.

Michael King is an atheist film maker who decides to make his next project a documentary on the supernatural and to disprove the existence of god & the devil. Already a non believer he is spured on by the accident that cost his wife Samantha’s life, leaving him to raise their young daughter on his own with help from his sister Beth. His first interview is with a psychic who he confronts as giving false readings and hope to her customers. He reveals to the psychic that she had done a reading for his wife and told her that she would get a big break in her acting career. This prompted Samantha to postpone their trip to Europe. The break never happened and while the family was at a picnic at the park, she went to get something from the car and as she dropped her keys she runs into a car that couldn’t stop in time to avoid hitting her. The pychic asks him to leave.

He then speaks to a Priest about exorcisms, ofcourse which are always denied when in front of camera and to a man who claims he prayed to God with no response, and got better results praying to the Devil. Eventually, he ends up in a basement, on LSD, tied up in part of a Satanic ritual by a satanic couple. He visits a cemetery and has himself dosed with a toxic drug that induces a near death stage by a mortuary man who is also a chemist. This is one freaky incident and that’s when things start to wrong for Michael. He is visited by all sorts of demons who want to posses his body and soon the changes start happening. He become possessed and starts doing weird things. He kills the family dog, although he doesn’t know that he did it. He goes to his sister’s room at night as she sleeps and puts his hand in her crotch and the camera (which he is holding while possessed) shows a demonic looking Michael enjoying it). He loses sleep and is unable to concentrate. His work suffers as does his relationship with his family and his sister takes little Ella to her friend’s house for a few days. Michael tries to reach out for help but gets none from the priest or the satanic couple and the mortician has him thrown out for disrupting his work.

Finally Michael faced with the reality of being possessed is sitting disheveled in his house when his sister visits and brings Ellie along. As Ellie goes upstairs a possessed Michael strangles his sister to death and then stalks his young daughter. She hides in the closet but is caught by him but his wife’s spirit reaches out and gets Michael to snap out of the possession for a few moments, just enough for him to take control and jump out the window – killing himself and also ending the demon’s possession. At the end of the movie is when we see how Samantha dies.

Good little film with some awesome acting by Shane Johnson who gives a rather compelling performance. And that is vital as the entire movie hinges on him as he is the main focus; Beth is always shown at a distance and her face is never focused upon. Still the scares are cliches and you can pretty much tell what’s going to happen. I’ll  give it a 7 outta 10 more for the performance of Johnson.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past is a 2014 superhero film based on the fictional X-Men characters that appear in Marvel Comics directed by Bryan Singer. It is a sequel to the 2011 movie X-Men : First Class and set in the future as well as the past (1973). The film stars an ensemble cast, including Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters,Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart and was made on a budget of $200 million!

In the future these Sentinel robots created to seek out and kill mutants and are getting the better of them. Kitty Pryde’s group are chased and almost defeated when she uses her ability to send a person into the past to move them away from the hideout where they were attacked. Pryde’s group convenes with Storm, Wolverine, Professor Xavier, and Magneto at a monastery in China where they hatch a plan to stop the creation of the technology that set in motion the evolution of the current Sentinel robots. In 1973 Mystique assasinate millionaire scientist/inventor Bolivar Trask, the creator of the Sentinels, for his attempts to capture and imprison the mutants. Following the assassination, Mystique was captured, and her DNA was used by Trask’s company to create Sentinels, whose ability to adapt to any mutant power makes them almost invincible. Xavier’s plan is to have Kitty send someone’s consciousness back to 1973 and stop Kitty from killing Trask. Wolverine is chosen as only he has the ability to heal himself; the procedure to send someone so far back in time is very taxing on the body.

Wolverine is told to contact a younger version of Xavier and have him contact Magneto as well. So Wolverin in his younger body (he doesn’t age but in this time period he doesn’t have the metal claws) he goes to the mansion but finds it almost deserted and barges in when Beast tells him that the professor is not at home. Xavier is a hung over version of himself after most of the teachers and students were drafted for the Vietnam War. Xavier, now a broken man, is overusing a serum which allows him to walk and suppresses his telepathy. After finally convincing Xavier & Beast of who he is and where he has come from and explains the plan, the trio recruit a young mutant with super speed named Peter Maximoff, and infiltrate the Pentagon and break Magneto out. The whole sequence in the Pentagon is awesome and pretty funny! Meanwhile Mistique has freed a few mutants working for the US army in Vietnam & investigates Trask’s office and discovers he has been capturing mutants to use in experiments. She goes to Paris where Trask, having failed to get funding from Congress, is headed he Paris Peace Accords to sell his Sentinel technology to Communist nations. Before she can kill him Beast, Wolverine & Magneto arrive to thwart her attempt Magneto tries to kill Mystique to ensure her DNA cannot be used for the Sentinels, but she jumps from a window and is injured when a bullet hits her leg.

As the world has now seen these mutants fighting Trask gets his funding approved by President Nixon (where did they find this actor who looks just like him) and Trask’s scientists recover Mystique’s blood from the street. Meanwhile, Magneto—who has recovered his telepathy-blocking helmet—intercepts the prototype Sentinels in transit and laces their polymer-based frames with steel, allowing him to control them. Xavier stops taking the serum and gains his mental powers back while losing the ability to walk as it is felt that his powers are needed to stop Mistique. At the unveiling ceremony for the Sentinel robots Magneto lifts a large stadium from the ground and lays it as a barricade around the White House and has a sentinel attack Beast & Wolverine. Wolverine is pierced with metal rods and dumped into the river Nixon and Trask, accompanied by the Cabinet, Secret Service officers, and Mystique (disguised as a Secret Service member), are taken to a safe room. Magneto has the safe room pulled out and prepares to kill Nixon but Mistique disguised as Nixon, incapacitates Magneto with a plastic gun. Xavier is able to appeal to Mistique to let Trask live and she finally leaves, followed closely by Magneto. Mystique’s actions are seen as a mutant saving the President, leading to the cancellation of the Sentinel program. Trask is arrested for trying to sell American military secrets. In the future, the Sentinels who had found the X-men’s hideout attack and kill off several of them but just before they can kill Xavier, Kitty, Magneto & Wolverine the scene changes and every one disappears from the monastery.

Wolverine now wakes up in his future self in a new & changed future and finds Iceman, Rogue, Colossus, Pryde, Beast, Storm, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Xavier alive. In 1973, Mystique impersonates Stryker and takes custody of Wolverine. So I guess the time-travel (sorta element) changes their future. And oh, kudos for them showing a scene of TOS era Star Trek in which Captain Kirk is talking about time travel! Bravo! Great action flick with lots of scifi elements and never a dull moment. I think it’s an 8.5 outta 10!

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Maleficent

Maleficent is a 2014 American fantasy film directed by Robert Stromberg from a screenplay by Linda Woolverton and stars Angelina Jolie as the eponymous Disney villainess character, along with Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple & Lesley Manville. The film is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story albeit with some changes and told from the perspective of the antagonist, Maleficent. So this isn’t the story that I remember from my childhood where I read this in my big book of Fairy Tales!

So the story goes like this – Maleficent is a young & powerful faerie living in the the Moors, a magical realm bordering a human kingdom. The two kingdoms are hostile to one another, which explains why the creatures of the Moors are frightened when a human boy sneaks in. Maleficent befriends the boy, Stefan and falls in love with him. After she turns 16 she also is kissed for the first time by him but Stefan, urged on to do more with his life, leaves to the castle and works for the king. Many years pass on and a fully grown Maleficent is now the protector of the Moors and faces off against the king’s invading army. She & her creatures battles the human soldiers and she almost has the kind at her mercy but is thwarted by an iron armour – her one weakness as it burns her! Defeated the king retreats back to his castle and is soon on his deathbed and as he has no male heirs, offers his kingdom and his daughter’s hand to the man who can kill Maleficent. Stefan goes to see his former friend and they spend the night renewed in their former love, as he lies and says that he has come to warn her of the king’s intention. Having drugged her Stefan is about to kill  her but finds himself unable to do so – instead he used iron shackles to rip out both her large and powerful wings and bring them to the king as proof that he has slain her.

Pleased the dying king has Stefan crowned king of his kingdom and Stefan marries the daughter. When she comes to Maleficent is in agony and anguish and her pain now reflects in her appearance, attire and the forest as well. She frees a raven Diaval using her powers to transform him into a human, back into a bird or any other she creature, and he spies for her. Diaval reports back to her about Stefan being crowned king and his wedding as well as, after a time has passed, that a baby is to be born. As the subjects of the kingdom arrive at the castle to bestow gifts on the new princess, Maleficent too makes her entry curses the newborn princess: on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, which will cause her to fall into a death-like sleep. After Stefan is forced by Maleficent to beg for his daughter, she offers a caveat: the curse can be broken by true love’s kiss. Stefan entrusts his baby with the 3 pixies and has them keep her safe in a cottage outside the castle until her 16th birthday. However Maleficent follows them and monitors the baby growing up. Stefan has all the spinning wheels destroyed and dumped in a large locked room in the castle and has his men hunt to kill Maleficent but she surrounds the Moors with an impenetrable wall of thorns. Maleficent has a brief meeting with the young Aurora, as the child is called, when the kid wanders into the woods but usually she watched the princess from afar.

Slowly she starts to care for the girl and at age 15 Aurora meets Maleficent and states that she thinks of her as her faery godmother as she knows that she has been watching over her all her life. Maleficent no longer wants the curse to befall on the girl having started to lover her and adores her interactions with the Moors creatures so she tries to lift the curse at night but is unable to. Aurora meets Prince Phillip a day before she turns 16 as he gets lost in the Moors and she points out the way to the castle, the two smitten with each other. Maleficent, hoping to avoid the curse, allows the girl to move to the Moors, far away from any spindles. The pixies, however, inadvertently tell Aurora of her parentage and of Maleficent’s true identity, and a furious Aurora runs away to her father. Stefan locks her away but as she turns 16, she is drawn to the room with the broken spinning wheels, one which magically resets itself and she touches it, pricking her finger and falls into a deep sleep. Maleficent has Phillip abducted, hoping his kiss would awaken her as do the pixies but even after he hesitantly kisses her, she does not awaken. Sadden about the young girl’s situation, Maleficent kisses Aurora on the forehead which is the true love’s kiss and the girl awakens. And by that I mean motherly love – sheesh, get your minds outta the gutter!

Aurora forgives Maleficent and they attempt to escape the castle but Stefan and his men surround the faery and using iron shields have her trapped in an iron net. She uses her powers to turn Diaval into a fire breathing dragon and although he kills off many of the soldiers there are too many for him to defeat. Aurora finds Maleficent’s wings enclosed in a box and has it set free and they immediately fly back to her and, just before Stefan can stab Maleficent, reattach themselves to her. With her wings back Maleficent overpowers Stefan and carries him onto a tower, but cannot bring herself to kill him, instead declaring their feud over. Stefan attempts once more to kill her, but plummets off the tower to his death. Maleficent has Aurora crowned queen of the human & faery realms, uniting the two kingdoms and bring job back to the Moors as he thorns come down and she has her married to Phillip. The end!

Not bad at all, even though we could have used less CGI creatures than was shown. Everything looks great in this film but geeze – Angelina looks gaunt and so old! Oh well, passage of time and all that. I think everyone could enjoy this film, which made $754 million at the box office on a $180 budget. I give it an 8 outta 10!

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Honeymoon (2014)

Honeymoon is a 2014 horror film directed by Leigh Janiak and her feature film directorial debut. The movie stars Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway with Ben Huber & Hannah Brown.

Newly married couple Bea & Paul are crazy in love and we start of the film with them on their wedding day, shooting a film. Bea & Paul profess their love, share with us as to how they met and Paul insults Indian food! Seriously dude, if you are going to go on a date with a chick to a lowdown restaurant with a crummy bathroom, anyone would be sick too! Anyway, as a “revenge” they have Indian food for their wedding reception (vegetable korma, lamb curry & samosas are on the menu) and Paul declares a “fuck you” to India as “we” won! What the hell dude, you totally deserve what you are going to get in this movie!

All kidding aside, the newly weds decide to head from Brooklyn to a remote cabin in the woods across the border in Canada. Seriously, you guys have to select a really remote place with bad wiring near a large lake do you? The cabin was one that Bea’s family regularly used when she was  younger thought it has been a while since she’s been there. They settle in and spend the days making love, cooking together and fishing in the lake. Except at night as they sleep, a strange light shines on their bed. One afternoon they visit a small restaurant which they find to be empty of people and a rude man who impolitely asks them to leave. As they are about to the man, Will, recognizes Bea as his childhood friend and he apologizes. As the two reminize about the summers they played as kids, Will’s wife Annie comes in all troubled and tells them that they have to leave. Will restrains her but the damage is done and the couple leave soon after.

That night a noise awakes Paul and he goes to investigate. While he is out the light shines on Bea and she walks off in a trance into the woods and is later found sleepwalking naked and dirty by Paul. He brings her back home and she cleans up herself seemingly not too worried that this is her first sleepwalking incident. Soon it is apparent that things are not the same, Bea forgets how to cook French toast and forgets to put coffee in the pot and Paul finds only hot water. Her strange behaviour is apparent all throughout and he is also worried about two bite marks on her thigh which she claims to be caused by mosquitoes. Paul also finds her missing nightgown torn and with a sticky substance on it in the woods. Although he tells her that he will take her to a hospital in town, she refuses. Dude, that’s your cue – take her to the fucking hospital if you see all these worrying signs! She starts forgetting phrases and Paul catches her writing down her own information – like name, hometown etc – in a book. Also Bea had been all about lust and love but now seems to deny it to her husband. Paul heads back to the restaurant, hoping to confront Will (he suspect that perhaps the two were having an affair) but finds the place deserted. He finds Will’s computer and watches videos of Annie walking out into the woods on several nights and a bright light that seems to shine on her as she does. He also sees pages of Annie’s writing similar to Bea’s. A shadowy figure is see outside unknown to Paul.

As he leaves he finds Annie at the dock and she tells him that Will is away and she leaves on a boat. Paul finds Will’s cap in the water, bloodied and dirty and heads back home. He finds Bea repeatedly stabbing herself between the legs and blood all over the bathroom floor. Frightened he ties her to the bed and she pleads for him to take it outta her. So he puts his hands inside her vagina and pulls out a lengthy worm like creature. Ewww! Not for the easily squeamish! A frantic Bea says that she was attracted to the light and walked out in the woods and saw some silhouettes that apparently impregnated her and that they are slowly taking away what’s left of her (which could explain her forgetting things). She also says that she must protect Paul from them and knocks him out. When Paul comes to, he is tied and in the boat on the lake. Saying that she will hide him in the water, Bea ties Paul to the anchor and sinks him in the middle of the lake. Later she is shown to be deteriorating and her skin becomes all flaky with marks on her. At night Annie, who looks the same way, comes to take her to the woods where the silhouetted figures are waiting for them and a light shines on them.

I suppose these beings, whatever they are, needs these women to procreate and doing so changes them. A well acted film, Leslie in particular goes ballistic when she is tied to the bed. Simple and yet compelling. Not bad for a directorial debut and low budget flick. 7 outta 10!

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Warm Bodies

I saw a bit of this movie on one of those rare evenings that I, alone at home and bored, wandered to the living room and switched on the tv. It was just about 6-7 minutes towards the end and I thought I should check out the full movie. Mainly because of the lead actress who I think is a hottie.

So Warm Bodies is a romantic zombie comedy (yes that rare genre) directed and written by Jonathan Levine, the film stars Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton and John Malkovich. It came out in 2013, no doubt inspired partly by the Twilight franchise and by The Walking Dead. The film is based on the 2010 novel of the same name by Issac Marion, which in turn has some elements of Romeo & Juliet.

  • 8 years after a global zombie apocalypse humanity is reduced to living in heavily guarded walled cities. ‘R’ is a male zombie, who shuffles through his day at the airport, where for some reason a lot of zombies hang out throughout the day and look for food i.e humans. At night, although zombies do not sleep, R heads out to his personal space – an airplane where he hoardes stuff including a lot of vinlys and listens to music.
  • Zombies like R crave human flesh and R in particular likes to eat the brains as he can experience the victim’s memories and what they felt as he consumes them. That is the only way that R feels alive. Although the movie is partly narrated by him, he can only speak a few words with a lot of effort and otherwise grunts, like the other zombies do.
  • There is another group of zombies called the Bonies.- skeletal zombies who, having lost all traces of their humanity, have shed their flesh and prey on anything with a heartbeat. The more human looking zombies & Boneys do not mix.
  • Julie Grilio and her friends are on a scavenger mission one day when they run into a group of zombies and among them is R & hs friend M. R sees Julie and is drawn to her and when he is shot by Perry, her boyfriend, he kills him and eats his brains and thus gains some of Perry’s experiences & feelings which makes him attracted to her even more. Almost all of the humans are killed by the zombies, except for Nora, who hides under a desk and Julie. R smears blood on Julie’s face, masking her scent from the zombies and takes her to the safety of his plane.
  • Julie & R bond after they hide out in the airplane listening to R’s records – including Guns n’Roses – and he gets canned food for her from the airport. After a few days, Julie gets restless, and tries to return home, yet attracts swarms of zombies, requiring R to rescue her. After fending off a group of zombies, including M, who is confused by R’s actions, R decides it is time to return her to the human enclave. They stop at a house on the way and R, who is regaining his humanity, confesses that it was he who killed & ate Perry. As they sleep, R dreams for the first time since he became a zombie. Julie leaves the house early and makes her way back to her fortified city home.
  • R returns to the airport a sad zombie but sees that M and the others are all showing signs of changing. Notified that the Boneys are looking for him & Julie, he heads to the walled city and sneaks in through a gap in the wall (using Perry’s memories) and meets Julie. Nora is initially horrified but the two girls apply make up on him and go to see Julie’s father the Colonel to explain that the zombies are regaining their humanity. He doesn’t see it the same way so Julie & R run off with Nora’s help. escape to a baseball stadium where the rest of R’s group is waiting, but soon find themselves under attack by a horde of Boneys.
  • M and the other zombies fight off the Boneys, surprising the human soldiers who join forces and kill of many of the Boneys. Seeing themselves trapped, R jumps with Julie from a high building, using his body as a shield to protect her as they hit the water. When he comes to, the two kiss but he is shot by the Colonel. Julie manages to convince her dad that R is human again as he is bleeding and the Colonel changes his orders. The humans and zombies combine forces and kill most of the Boneys while the rest die off, and the zombies slowly assimilate into human society. The film ends with a now fully alive R and Julie watching a wall surrounding the city being demolished, signifying the end of the apocalypse. M us now using the name Marcus and meets a human woman who he befriends.

Funny in places and not at all corny or cheesy and certainly not Twilightish or like the sudden spate of young adult scifi or supernatural movies that have been release lately. This one is actually enjoyable. 7 outta 10!

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Death Do Us Part

Death Do Us Part is a low budget Canadian indi-horror flick of the slasher genre. Directed by Nicholas Humphries the movie was co-written & co-produced by Ryan Copple, Peter Benson &  Julia Benson. The movie stars married couple Julia & Peter Benson, Emillie Ullerup, Kyle Cassie, Benjamin Ayers, Christine Chatelain, Dave Colette & Aaron Douglas. The movie was shot in a remote location on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada.

Kennedy Jamieson is a wealthy socialite who has waited her whole life to have the perfect wedding. Engaged to the charming Ryan Harris, the young couple is just a week away from the big day but hasn’t had a chance to celebrate their respective bachelor/bachelorette parties. Ryan’s best man Chet books has booked them a remote cabin in the woods to throw them a ‘Jack and Jill’ stag that they’ll never forget. Joining them on the trip other than Chet is Kennedy’s sister Hannah & her best friend Emily as well as Ryan’s shady cousin Derek. On their way to the cabin it is obvious that they may not like each other; Chet used to go out with Hannah but she thinks he is very immature and all the girls find Derek a bit creepy while he & Chet seem to be inches away from a fight. Derek has been dealing drugs and Ryan doesn’t want him to ruin what could be a great weekend.

The caretaker of the cabin turns out to be a super creepy weirdo named Bo, who tells them that they can’t party at the cabin – what the fuck would 6 adults do in a remote place you idiot? – and shows them the place, which has dead birds in the front porch. After Bo cleans up a bit the party of 6 settles in – Ryan and the girls will take the cabin while Derek & Chet will share a trailer next to it. Hannah goes for a run into the woods where she meets up with Ryan and they have sex against a tree! Seems this has been going on for a while. Only problem is Emily, who was creeped out when she caught Derek leering at her from a window while she was changing, was on a walk by her own and saw the whole thing and she is shocked. While this is happening Bo, sneaks into the couple’s bathroom and leers at Kennedy taking a shower. As evening sets the parting & drinking starts as they dance and play games. Bo comes in outta nowhere and demands that they stop partying but the group promises to clean everything up before they leave. Emily gives a necklace to Kennedy who informs her that she & Ryan will be moving to NYC after the wedding, which upsets Emily. A little later Derek, who has been hounded by calls from drug dealers, asks Ryan to get $20,000 to bail him out as Kennedy’s family is loaded but Ryan refuses, saying he can’t and they have a little fight, which is also seen by Emily.

While Hannah & Chet and Kennedy & Ryan pair off to play a scavenger hunt, Derek walks out in the woods and is killed by an unseen assailant with an axe. The others panic and regroup in the house and find the phones all destroyed and the lights out. They try to leave but get separated and one by one they are picked out for death by the unseen assailant. Chet is killed in his trailer and dragged out to the woods, while Emily is also found next to him. The assailant has also messed with their vehicle so no one is escaping in the night. Hannah is offed next by the assailant wearing a mask. Suspicion falls on Ryan, as Emily had confessed to Kennedy that she had seen Ryan having sex with Hannah and that she has seen him punch Derek, and Kennedy runs away from him and she is finally able to get a knife and stab him while he attacks her. A distraught Kennedy walks into the cabin and puts on her wedding dress as she contemplates her life ruined and as she steps out she finds Emily staggering towards her. Emily says she was only dazed and pretending to be dead to hide from the killer and the two friends are about to leave when Emily blurts out and blurts out details of the ways the others died – which she couldn’t have seen as she was supposed to lying unconscious.

Kennedy realizes that it was Emily who was the killer all along and accuses her of killing the other 4. Emily cries and says that she killed them for Kennedy as Derek was dangerous and Hannah & Ryan were cheating on her. She admits that she got carried away and killed Bo & Chet but now the two best friends could be together. An angered Kennedy attacks Emily and stabs her. Leaving her for dead she walks away but Emily comes to and attacks her from behind and smashes her dead with a large rock. She walks away and is picked up by a cop car and taken to the sheriffs office where a deputy listens to her story. Emily tells the events that happens, pretending to  be Kennedy and at the end, clearly out of her mind, picks up a pen and stabs the deputy and leaves the station.

The low budget aspect really stands out; the killing scenes are bad and lack any real gore. The plot though good with it’s twists, is hampered by some corny & cliched dialogues though the acting is ok. I do wonder why mid 30 year old would act like 20 somethings though, especially Chet & Derek. It’s like a group of friends went to party in the woods and shot a film. Production is not bad for such a low effort and it clearly isn’t aiming to be anything more than what it is – an indie flick with a cast of tv actors. 5 outta 10!

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Chef

Everybody loves food trucks! Well, atleast the food trucks that you see in the US, Canada & some other western nations. Chef is a 2014 American comedy film written, produced, directed by, and starring Jon Favreau. The film co-stars Sofía Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman and Oliver Platt. Robert Downey, Jr. & Russell Peters have cameos in it as well.

Carl Casper is a chef in a popular Los Angeles restaurant and is preparing for the visit of prominent food blogger and critic Ramsey Michel and is trying out some new dishes when the restaurant owner Riva intervenes and tells him to serve the usual classics that they are known for. Michel comes in and eats dinner and thrashes chef Casper in his online review. Disappointed Casper, who has his 10 year old son Percy create a Twitter account for him, calls out Michel on his opinion. By the next day Carl has almost 2000 followers and Michel taunts his back. Carl invites Michel back for a special dinner but Riva won’t allow the menu to change and after having a few words, Carl quits. That night he goes back to the restaurant and yells at Michel in public which is shot on several mobile phone cameras and the videos go instantly viral, giving Carl internet notoriety.

However his credibility & job prospects vanish and he needs a job quick. His wife Inez hooks him up with an agent who says she can him work on reality tv but Carl just wants to cook for people. Inez invites him to go to Miami, where she is from and where they met & fell in love, so he can spend time with their son Percy while she works. He also goes to meet Inez’s first ex-husband Marvin who hooks him up with an old food truck. Carl & Percy clean up the truck and go buy the equipment needed to start cooking and serving food. Martin, Carl’s line cook from LA who got promoted to sous chef after Carl quit, joins him in Miami and has the truck cleaned up and painted. Calling the food truck “El Jefe” they prepare and serve Cubanos, a form of Cuban sandwich, which gets them some notice. Pecy starts tweeting the locations where they will be and uploaded them to Twitter and sets up a FB page for them and they hit the road back to Los Angeles, stopping at several placed along the way where they sell a lot of food and gain popularity.

Having reconnected with his son Carl promises him that he can work at the food truck on weekends and when he is done with home work since he has become a good cook as long as Inez is ok with it. Soon “El Jefe” becomes a hit in LA with Inez back with Carl and helping him & Martin sell the food that they are cooking along with Percy. Michel comes to meet Carl and they bury the hatchet as the critic tells him that the food is excellent and that Carl is back to the groove he was 10 years ago when he first moved to LA and started cooking. Michel having made a ton of money selling his website invests in Carl’s business and they start a new restauant, with the same name ‘El Jefe’ and the finall scene is a ix months later, the new restaurant is busy and closed for a private event: Carl and Inez’s wedding.

Sweet and funny movie which focuses on food & social media stuff, family & loyalty with a light hearted theme. Funniest scene is when Russel Peters comes in as a cop and on recognizing Carl from the internet video asks him to pose for some funny pics! Loved that one! It’s a feel good movie and should be taken lightly. I’ll give it an 8 outta 10!

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Divergent

Divergent is another in a now long line of young adult style futuristic science fiction drama movies that have come out in recent years and all that seem to be following a set pattern. Directed by Neil Burger, based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth the film is the first installment in The Divergent Series and was produced by Lucy Fisher, Pouya Shabazian, and Douglas Wick, with a screenplay by Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor. It stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Maggie Q and Kate Winslet.

Set in the not too distant future of a dystopian Chicago, now a walled city society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). An individual is allowed to join the faction of their choice but are given an aptitude test at the age of 16 before they join to see which is the best suited faction for them. Beatrice Prior grew up in the Abnegation faction as the daughter of Andrew who sits on the ruling council, but she has long been fascinated with the Dauntless. Beatrice has her aptitude test, done via a serum injection, conducted by Tori a woman from Dauntless and she tests out to be Divergent – meaning she doesn’t fit into a single faction. Tori tells her to keep it secret telling her that since Divergents can think independently and the government therefore cannot control them, they are considered threats to the existing social order and manually enters the result as Abnegation.

At the choosing ceremony Beatrice’s brother Caleb chooses Erudite while she, after hesitation, chooses Dauntless. She meets two Candor kids Christina & Al as well as Will an Erudite who all chose Dauntless. The new initiates then meet a brutal leader named Eric and Four, a famed trainer of the Dauntless and are immediately put through physical tests. The initiates are then told that at the end of the evaluations, the lower ranked of them will be cut meaning they will join the factionless destitutes. Beatrice, going by Tris now, struggles in the grueling physical challenges but slowly improves. After losing a fight with her enemy Peter, she almost fails but redeems herself by winning the flag for her team in the next game. The next tests are simulations that put the initiates in their personal fear situations but Tris is able to use her divergence to win the challenges in much quicker time than the others. Four, who has now struck up a relationship with her warns her not to do it that way but use the Dauntless techniques to win the scenarios to avoid detection. Tris visits her brother, Caleb, in Erudite, who tells her that Erudite is planning to overthrow Abnegation and become the ruling faction. On her return to Dauntless headquarters, Tris is attacked due to her success in training, with Peter, Al, and Drew attempting to throw her into a chasm. She is eventually rescued by Four. The next day, Al pleads with Tris for her forgiveness but she refuses and calls him a coward. Later, she is shocked to learn Al has killed himself by jumping into the chasm.

Four helps Tris to prepare for the final test by taking her through his own fear scenarios and learns that his real name is Tobias and he is the son of Markus, the Abnegation leader. They share a kiss after the simulation ends and spend the night together. The next day Tris is able to pass without anyone suspecting that she is a Divergent but after the ceremony for the initiates passing, they are all injected with a serum which is said to be administered as a tracking device, but which is revealed to be a mind control serum. Erudite controls the Dauntless using the serum and has them attack the Abnegation but Tris is unaffected as she is a Divergent and learns that so to is Four. They are caught and separated but Tris’s mother Natalie comes and rescues her daughter, but is shot dead in the process. Tris goes to meet her father & Markus and along with Caleb they infiltrate the Erudite center where Andrew sacrifices himself to save the others. Tris goes in alone and finds Four, who is now under a more advanced form of mind-control that works even on Divergents. After a fight she manages to wake him from his stupor, knowing he cannot shoot her while looking at her face, for that is one of his fears.

Before Erudite leader Jeanine can give the order to have the Dauntless soldiers kill off all the Abgnetaion members Tris stabs her hand with a knife and using the mind controlling serum has Jeanine abort the program and has it erased, freeing all the soldiers from their zombie like trance. Tris knocks her out and escapes Dauntless with Caleb, Peter, Four, and Marcus on the train, intending to ride to the end of the tracks.

Stale, tried and tested and yet boring plotline and characters who pale in comparison with the scifi characters we known and love. Why are these kind of young adult books so popular and then made into these movies? I was expecting something else totally but these plastic characters and cliches stories are so dull. And no one looks 16! Asheley Judd & Kate Winslet in small supporting roles!! I love the sets and the special effects but….it’s like eating a bland, boiled potato. Movie made $274 million on a $85 million budget. I give it a 6 outta 10!

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Cast Change : Star Trek The Next Generation

You’ve just been named the casting director of your favorite television show (or movie franchise). The catch: you must replace the entire cast — with your friends and family with other actors. Who gets which role?

For the sake of playing along, I shall choose Star Trek The Next Generation (actually I wouldn’t want to replace anyone in that but this is just for fun). So here goes

  • Sean Bean as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
  • Commander William Riker
  • Lt. Commander Data
  • Omar Epps as Lt. Jordie LaForge
  • Eve LaRue as Lt. Tasha Yar
  • Lisa Edelstein as Dr. Beverly Crusher
  • Lyric Bent as Lt. Worf
  • Christina Hendricks as Counselor Deanna Troi
  • Ensign Wesley Crusher
  • Russell Peters as Q

I can’t think of anyone for Wesley, Data & Riker. Any suggestions? I will update this post later!

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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Neighbors (2014)

Neighbors or Bad Neighbors is a 2014 American comedy film, directed by Nicholas Stoller and written by Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien. The film stars Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, with Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. The film was released in the United States on May 9, 2014 to positive reviews and grossed over $266 million against a budget of $18 million.

The premise is pretty simple; couple in their 30s with a new born baby daughter are upset when a fraternity famous for their wild partying move in to the house next door. Initially everything goes nice as the couple, Mac & Kelly Radner, go over and offer the members some weed and ask them to politely keep the noise level down. Fraternity leaders Teddy & VP Pete promise to do so and ask the couple to always come to them first if the noise is too loud instead of calling the cops. The Radners are invited over for a wild night of partying with booze, grass and magic mushrooms and the couple are happy. But the next night Mac is unable to get Teddy on the phone during another loud party and the baby wakes up crying. Mac calls the cops but the cop goes away after Teddy shows him a video of Mac partying with the fraternity. The next day the fraternity members continuously haze the couple and make life miserable for them. They go to the dean (Lisa Kudrow) to complain and learn that the school has a three strikes policy; burning down their old house was Delta Psi’s first strike.

Mac & Kelly hatch a plan with the help of their divorced friends Jimmy & Paula; they go to the next party pretending to patch things up but while Mac distracts Teddy, Kelly manipulates Pete & Teddy’s girlfriend Brooke into kissing and then have sex, which Mac sees. The two best friends fight which causes a bbq grill to roll onto the street and hit a passing professor. This causes the second strike against the fraternity and they are put on probation, meaning Teddy’s plans of having an end of college term blow out party is shut down. Mac, Kelly & Jimmy also bribe a freshman to secretly record the fraternity’s hazing ritual, which they can show to the Dean and close the fraternity down. But Teddy shows kindness to the freshman when he acts out causing the kid to tell Teddy about the whole recording. Teddy begins playing violent pranks on the couple, stealing their car’s airbags and placing them in hiding around the house. This causes a little rift between the couple but they patch things up.

Mac & Jimmy forge a letter from the dean allowing them to have parties again, and Teddy begins planning their end-of-the-year bash. They also hand out flyers announcing the party to the local neighbour gangs and hobos. Once the party is in full swing the cops are called by Teddy sees a flyer and guesses what is going on. He stops the party just as Watkins shows up. Jimmy throws himself from the balcony to distract Teddy, allowing Mac and Kelly to sneak into Teddy’s bedroom and restart the party using the breaker box. Teddy catches them and fights Mac, while Kelly lights one of the fireworks and shoots it at Watkins’s patrol car to provoke him into action. With the lights back on, all the partiers returns and the cop calls for backup and Teddy is arrested but he talks Pete, a good student, into leaving. Teddy takes the blame for the party and the dean shuts down the fraternity and the members leaves the house with Mac & Kelly adjusting to their old life and the quiet neighbourhood.

Four months later Mac & Teddy meet at a mall where Teddy is working as a shirtless greeter for Abercombie & Fitch. The two greet each other warmly, having put aside their fight and Teddy tells Mac that he is attending night classes to complete his degree. Mac takes off his shirt and jokingly acts as a greeter with Teddy.

Funny and gross humour – baby putting a condom in it’s mouth, Kelly’s sore breasts and milking it as she was drinking the night before etc etc. Lots of yelling, falling about and bad rap & hip hop music. 6.5 outta 10!

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Godzilla (2014)

Having seen the 1998 version – which I wasn’t so happy with – I wasn’t expecting much of this new and most recent tackle at Godzilla. The 2014 film is directed by Gareth Edwards and tars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, and Bryan Cranston. Richard T Jones, Jared Keeso (19.2), Ty Olsson & Gary Chalk have minor roles.

In this reboot the existence of Godzilla and other large creatures have been known since 1954 but have been kept away from the public. In a mine in the Phillippines a colossal skeleton is found in 1999 and two pods are discovered near it; one lying dormant and the other has been hatched. Whatever was in the hatched pod, has crawled it’s way into the ocean and made it’s way to a Nuclear Power Plant in Janjira, Japan and causes a massive radiation breech causing an emergency shutdown. For 15 years the giant winged creature, a MUTO, eats the radioactivity and grows in size until it matures and breaks out. Meanwhile, at a Nevada nuclear waste facility, a second, larger and wingless MUTO, emerges and devastates Las Vegas. The scientists conclude that the second MUTO is female, the two were communicating and will meet to breed. Now, I know what you are thinking but shucks they did not show any giant creature sex – darn it!

Another larger creature, Godzilla an ancient alpha predator, was awakened accidentally in 1954 and initially the US military used nuclear weapons to kill it; it was in vein. As predicted by the scientists who lead Monarch, a project setup to study Godzilla, the large creature will hunt and kill the two MUTO as it in in it’s nature. Much devastation occurs as the MUTO’s destroy parts of Japan, Hawaii and California as San Francisco is where the two MUTO’s meet to form a nest and breed (ofcourse, eventually all extra-ordinary creatures and aliens will converge in the USA) and military forces are deployed with nuclear warheads to stop these creatures. Godzilla battles both creatures and is losing when one of the soldiers destroys the nest, causing the female to rush towards it. This gives Godzilla the edge and it kills the male and rests. The female kills a few soldiers and is about to kill the lead male character when Godzilla grans it and rips it’s head off after spewing radioactive energy inside of it. He then collapses, seemingly dead. The next day, as people rummage through the rubble to find loved ones and get medical aid to the injured, Godzilla suddenly awakens and returns to the ocean, as survivors cheer. He didn’t even stay for a photo op, what a hero!

Now for the human characters: the hero’s mom was killed in the reactor in Japan and his father kept on searching for the truth about the nuclear explosion leading father and son to sneak back into Janjira. They are caught and taken to the test sight where the male creature was kept and as it broke free, the dad died in the melee. The son, a military solider and bomb expert (the coincidences just keep on rolling) joins the military back (he was on leave) and heads back to Hawaii and then San Francisco and is in the team that carried the nuclear devices. He, ofcourse, is the one who burns the nest causing the female MUTO to rush back to it and giving Godzilla the gap he needs to kill the male MUTO. He is also the one at the with the nuclear device on the boat and about to be female MUTO’s dinner when Godzilla attacks again. Son soldier is reunited with his nurse wide and son in the end! Not much to know about the characters other than that!

I found the first half mostly tedious and nothing memorable. We are all hereto watch the giant creatures battle it out. The second half of the film is much better and the special effects are awesome. But that’s all there is to this film. 7 outta 10!

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