Category Archives: Movies

Freddy VS Jason Review

Ask anyone to name the most iconic 1980s horror icons and Freddy Kreuger and Jason Voorhees will be name-dropped a lot. For decades people wanted these two to be in a movie and in 2003 horror fans got their wish with Freddy VS Jason.

Freddy is getting weaker and needs more souls but can’t do it on his own. So he decides to resurrect and control Jason to kill in his stead.

Think about that plot for a minute. Freddy needs Jason to collect souls. Hey, guess they needed some reason to get these two together.

The movie itself is OK. It’s mostly Jason killing people while Freddy is pulling the strings. On top of that, people think it’s Freddy doing the killings so they try to figure out how to kill Freddy.

When the two finally meet near the end of the movie, it’s an amazing fight. At first it seems like Freddy is destroying Jason but then that whole “we need to kill Freddy” plot comes to fruition and the tables are turned. The fight shows off everything both monsters have shown before. Freddy using his mind control powers and illusions to trick Jason and Jason just brute-forcing everything.

The best thing about the fight is the color scheme. When we’re in the nightmare world it’s red and there are flames everywhere. When it’s in the real world, it’s blue. It’s obvious all the energy went into the fight and little went into the plot. Once you think about it, that’s the point. A movie about two slasher horror icons fighting is what people wanted, paid for and had to wait to see it. It that respect, the movie did a great job of it.

As far as who wins, they left it ambiguous. This was a great idea because if you pick a winner you will piss off fans of one franchise. Some may be upset about that ending, but once you think about why they did it tuns into a great ending.

Freddy VS Jason isn’t high art or a good movie in any sense of the word, but if you to see a great fight between two horror icons then this is the best you’ll get. You just have to slog threw a mediocre movie just to get to it.

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Friday the 13th Series Review

Unlike Nightmare on Elm Street, I didn’t grow up with Friday the 13th. The first one I saw was Part 7 when I was 15 and didn’t see the first one until the next year when I was in Italy. I didn’t see all of them until last year so now I have some real opinions on them.

For those who don’t know, the Friday the 13th movies center around a bunch of teens who are new camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. The problem is, there’s a legend that in the 1950s a boy named Jason Voorhees drowned in the lake while two on-duty counselors were busy having sex. Now, Jason has returned to wreak havoc on all who step foot on Camp Crystal Lake.

The first movie is the best our of the bunch. It sets up the series and the lore nicely and the kills are nicely done. Of course, we don’t Jason at all throughout the movie and we’re kept guessing who the killer is. SPOILERS: It’s Jason’s mom.

The second movie, while not as entertaining as the first, still has a lot to like. This is also the first time we actually see Jason, but he’s not wearing his iconic 1970s hockey goalie mask (I checked to see which goalie. It’s just a generic mask that you were able to find in any store. If it was based on Terry Sawchuck’s mask, then THAT’D be creepy.) He’s just wearing a sack over his head.

The third movie is where he gets his mask. It’s still basically the same as the first movie, but it’s still enjoyable.

To not sound like a broken record, all the movies are enjoyable up until number 6. Is where the franchise starts getting stale. Hell, Tommy Jarvis, introduced in part 4 which was supposed to be the final movie (it was even called The Final Chapter) is an interesting character but after part six not much is done with him. The deaths also get boring and unoriginal after part 4.

Part 8 is when the series becomes absolute crap. Part 8 is called Jason Takes Manhatten even though the movie doesn’t take in Manhatten until the last thirty minutes of the movie (figure that out. That all gets thrown out with part nine called Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Here is where the movie makers throw all the lore out the window and create a terrible movie with no redeeming qualities. Hell, Jason even goes out in one of the worst ways possible.

Then came Jason X. It’s Jason in space. While Jason’s design is awesome, the movie is all kinds of bad. What’s worse is that, while it’s rated R, the deaths are watered down. Not to mention the plot makes so sense and the movie just flounders from scene to scene.

Friday the 13th may be a great series it loses steam once part six happens. Jason is a great villain, but I still prefer Freddy Kreuger. Freddy and Jason do meet, but that’s a review for another day.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street Series Review

I have a confession: I’m a 36-year-old male who is still afraid of Freddy Kreuger. I’ll wait until you’re finished laughing.

Right, this fear came about when I saw (I think) Nightmare on Elm Street 4 when I was six. My sisters or my mom (don’t remember) were watching this and I decided to watch too. I had a nightmare (or twenty) after that. That doesn’t mean I never went back and watched the movies. Hell, as an adult I decided to finally watch every Nightmare on Elm Street movie.

The first movie is a great introduction to the series. It introduces the basic setup of every Nightmare movie to follow: teenagers are having nightmares about a demon who wears a striped shirt, dirty hat and had a glove with razor-sharp blades on them. If you die in the dream, you die in real life. While not as many deaths as the later films, the deaths are nicely done and are creepy. Hell, that blood geyser is still one of the best-looking things in cinema. Also, Freddy in this movie is a lot creepier than in the sequels. It’s obvious why this movie did so well.

The second movie is the worst out of all of them. It’s about a teenager who is being controlled by Freddy and it looks like he’s killing people and not him. It’s not worth talking about since the plot makes little sense, the scares and deaths are terrible.

Nightmare 3 is the best out of all of them. Here, we have teenagers who are all in a mental institute for suicidal teens and they’re all being chased by Freddy. The deaths in this movie are all creative, we learn a little more about Freddy, the acting is great. It’s just an overall great film.

Nightmare 4 was the one that scared me at six. After watching it as an adult, it’s OK. The deaths aren’t as creative and this is where Freddy starts to become a lot more comedic and less scary. It’s still worth watching, though.

Nightmare 5 is bad. This is where the series starts to really go downhill. The kills aren’t that great, the lore starts to become too convoluted and it’s obvious the studio was running out of ideas.

Nightmare 6, AKA Freddy’s Dead, The Final Nightmare is just balls to the walls silly. How silly? There’s one scene where a teenager’s house is falling from the sky and Freddy comes in on a flying broomstick and witches hat and says, “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little soul too.” That’s way too funny and silly to say that this is a horror movie.

Finally, there’s Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. This movie takes place in the real world where Heather Langenkamp, the actress from the first movie who defeated Freddy the first time, has to deal with Freddy in the real world. The movie keeps you guessing on whether Freddy is real or if Heather is just imagining things.

As an adult, I’m not that scared of Freddy but still have nightmares about him (nightmares that I can make into my own movies if the series didn’t have copyright.) In fact, I can bravely say that Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite horror movie franchise and Freddy is my favorite monster. Yes, the series goes downhill but they’re still fun and they knew when to stop (unlike another slasher series…)

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Big Tits Zombie Review

Let me get this out of the way: This movie is NOT a porno. It’s an over-the-top Japanese zombie movie.

Not that that’s out of the way, Big Tits Zombie is a 2010 zombie movie based on a manga called Kyonyuu Dragon which translates to “Big Tits Dragon.” What the hell’s with all the tits? Well, the movie’s about a bunch of strippers (or “exotic dancers” if you will) in a small, backwater town who find a secret passage in their dressing room that leads to some ancient temple. There, one of them finds a book that she reads and causes everyone in town to become zombies. Now, these strippers/dancers have to survive a zombie apocalypse.

Here’s the thing about this movie. It starts off super slow. We don’t get to see any zombies until the thirty-minute mark. That half-hour is just the strippers complaining about being bored. After that, we get some major zombie action mixed in with some super messed up scenes. One of my favorites is when one of the strippers turns and fire comes out of her…um…you know.

Now, this is not a good movie at all. It has corny writing, bad acting, bad CGI bad everything. Even the ending makes zero sense. However, I have said for years that I would defend this movie, why? Simple it’s one of those so bad it’s good movies. All you need is a couple of friends who are in the right mood, put this on, laugh and have a good time. It’s like a mystery Science Theater 3000 movie where it gets better with when more people watch it with you and laugh at it.

Clear whatever notions you have about this movie because, while it does everything wrong as far as how to make a good movie, it’s still stupid fun to watch. Again I will continue to defend this movie as a stupid fun movie when you get together with friends and make fun of it. It’s not high cinema or something snobs would watch, but I will tell people to watch it and have fun.

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Kamen Rider Kiva Review

What, I like tokusatsu too? Yup. For those wondering “what the hell’s tokusatsu?” Basically, think the original Japanese version of Power Rangers but apply that idea to any hero who transforms in order to defeat an enemy. Kamen Rider is one of them (unlike Super Sentai/Power Rangers, it’s just one hero who meets other heroes who don’t really like each other and even evil riders.

That’s enough of that, on with the review.

Kamen Rider Kiva takes place between two different years: 1986 and 2008. In 1986 Otoya Kurenai is a hopeless romantic who falls for Yuri Aso, a Fangire (that’s what the monsters in this show are called. Basically, super fancy vampires) hunter. In 2008, Kurenai’s son, Wataru, is Kamen Rider Kiva who not only continues the fight against Fangires, but is also trying to find out how to duplicate his dad’s violin which he inherited.

So, how does this show deal with the multiple years’ story? By constantly going back and forth between the two in what seems like every two minutes. This gets old fast. Also, they spend way too much time in 1986 which makes the 1986 side is a LOT more entertaining and better written. It’s fun to watch Otoya blunder his way into getting into Aso’s pants and failing. There’s also a love triangle between them and Jiro, a Wolfen (werewolf.) It may be caliche thing, but somehow everything from Otoya’s hopeless romantic ways, Aso being a badass and Jiro trying to get Otoya away from Aso just works, with some fighting in between of course.

The 2008 side is pretty boring. Wataru just comes off as a vampire version of Kamen Rider Den-O but not as endearing. The other characters I can’t be bothered to remember because they have almost no impact on me due to them not being well written.

Of course, for those wondering how’s the action and SFX in this show. I enjoyed them for the most part. The Kiva suit looks awesome and the Fangire designs are nice and colorful. Kiva’s version of the Rider Kick when the scene changes to nighttime with full moon scene looks amazing, especially with the jingle that plays when he does it. The fight scenes are entertaining but it just seems like the 1986 crowd weakens the Fangire and then Kiva kills them in 2008. I get why they did it like that, but it would’ve been better for Kiva to not fight his dad’s sloppy seconds.

While Kamen Rider Kiva has an entertaining 1986 story and some visually stunning imagery, the overemphasis on the 1986 side makes the 2008 side weak and the main rider coming off as just Den-O deciding to become a vampire one day.

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Let’s Talk About It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Welcome to October, where all things scary come out including stores selling Christmas decorations way too early. One Halloween themed thing that’s not scary is the classic It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. yet it’s been airing every year in October since 1966. Why is that?

For the few who haven’t heard of this movie, the Peanuts gang are planning a Halloween party. Meanwhile, Linus is preparing to greet the Great Pumpkin who supposedly appears on Halloween night from a pumpkin patch and gives toys to all the good boys and girls. Yes, that’s a Halloween version of Santa.

Again, there’s nothing scary about this movie at all except it’s about Halloween so why do we love it so much. Well, let’s look at what it’s about. It’s a bunch of kids being kids on Halloween. That right there connects perfectly to every single kid. They’re going through that in October and us adults have done that too. Hell, us adults plan Halloween parties that feature costumes, booze and Cards Against Humanity. Yes, it’s a simple story but for something like this, there’s nothing that has to be complicated.

There’s also the Great Pumpkin. Where did this character come from? Simple: little kids come up with characters all the time. All the Great Pumpkin is is Linus combining Christmas with Halloween and coming up with a new mascot so to speak. That right there is brilliant because it adds a new layer to Linus’s character and it shows that he’s a kid. Ask a kid to come up with a new Halloween mascot and you’ll be surprised as to how creative they can be.

While it does take place in the 1960s, this kind of situation can happen in any decade because while kids’ tastes change, Haloween and what to do on Halloween is that one constant that hasn’t changed except for the costumes and candy.

So, while Halloween is about everything scary, there’s one Halloween thing that echos closer t reality and how kids really are during this time. That’s why it’s lasted so long and why even adults love it. It’s basically what Halloween is all about and that, my friends, is why It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is such an endearing classic.

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Vampyr (1932) Review

When you hear early vampire movies the first ones people will mention are either Nosferatu or Dracula with Bela Lugosi. There were others, but those are either unknown, most of the film is damaged or gone completely. One of the least known ones is the 1932 German movie Vampyr by Carl Theodor Dreyer. On the surface, it looks like a generic vampire movie, but upon further inspection, it’s actually one of the better vampire movies to come out during this time.

One thing that needs to said before I proceed, there is no English language print of this movie since all were destroyed. You can only watch it in German with English subtitles.

With that, Allan Grey stumbles upon an inn where a man who breaks into his room one night leaves a package with the words “to opened upon my death.” That man dies, the package is a book about vampires and, curiously, his daughter is becoming a vampire.

While not a groundbreaking plot by today’s standards, it’s still pretty entertaining to see how the plot plays out. We see early on that the village doctor is in cahoots with the vampire know what? Let’s talk about him. He looks absolutely creepy with that hair, mustache and glasses just make him look like the typical 1920s villain. Every time he’s on screen, you can’t help but feel disturbed by his presence.

In fact, what makes this movie worth watching is how well shot and creepy it is. For a movie that came out in 1932, some of these techniques are amazing. One of the best ones is when Allan is in a coffin and we have a bird’s eye view of what he sees. While something like this is easy to pull off today, back then this was a huge pain in the ass.

There are some things that do drag down the movie a bit. One of the most glaring examples is that entire scene when Allan is in a coffin. While the camerawork is excellent, why he’s in there and the circumstances are a bit confusing.

Vampyr is a great movie that’s creepy and has a ton of great filming techniques. If you can find, give it a try and enjoy this forgotten gem.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review

Do you remember many years ago reading the first Harry Potter book? Do you also remember one of Harry’s textbooks was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Do you also remember buying the actual book along with Griditch Through the Ages? Well, there’s a movie called just that. Now, the problem is, how do you make a movie out of a book that’s nothing but 70 pages of magical creature information? Simple: make it a prequel about the author, Newt Scamander, researching the book.

Newt Scamander has found his way to New York City with a magical case filled with magical beasts. While there, something is causing destruction to New York and the American version of the Ministry of Magic (Magical Congress of the United States of America or MACUSA) is investigating it.

All of this I had to look up because the movie is pretty forgettable. Most of the movie is just Newt and other forgettable characters screwing around New York looking for his escaped creatures. Oh, and then there’s this one magical evil that’s basically a kid creating evil magic from sheer will or something going on. It really goes nowhere until the third act where we get a huge battle scene taking place in the subway.

The best part is I also read the script for this movie which you can buy in all bookstores. Even after reading that I still can’t remember much from this movie.

At least the acting and creature designs were great. Eddie Redmayne is great as Newt. He pulls off the awkward person with some kind of weird hobby character nicely. Although props have to go to Don Fogler as Kowalski. He does everything he can to put on a great performance even with all the stuff hey have him do. The creatures do look nice and the CGI is spot on. The only downfall if that one creature that looks like a rhinoceros. It was boring beyond anything and the scene dragged on too long.

So, yeah, only watch this if you’re a Harry Potter fan who wants everything Harry Potter. Just don’t expect anything too memorable to come out of this movie.

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Why Do People Love A Charlie Brown Christmas?

‘Tis the season for non-stop Christmas specials, and there’s no way of escaping them. One of the more popular ones is A Charlie Brown Christmas. This special has been aired on TV since 1965 and practically everyone is obsessed with it. I’m obsessed with it. Hell, I even bought the tree Charlie Brown bought. Here’s the real question: Why DO people like it so much.

First, let’s look at the plot. Charlie Brown is sad because he can’t the true meaning of Christmas, so Lucy tells him to be the director of the school play which will boost his confidence. It goes about as well as you’d expect.

There really isn’t that much of a plot here. The conflict is easily settled, and most of the cartoon is just the Peanuts gang dancing or playing in the snow.

On top of that, the animation isn’t all that great, even for 1960s standards. The later Peanuts specials and even the series was drawn much better. Hell, sometimes the characters look like they’re staring into the abyss and a lot of the animation is reused (look at the dancing scenes.)

Also, the voice acting, though not bad considering these were kids, sometimes sounds awkward.

Even with all those flaws, it’s still worth watching. The main reason is because this special has a lot of heart and soul to it. It makes you fell things. Happy things. You want to see Charlie Brown happy. You love the tree he buys and you get angry when the kids laugh at him. It’s a story that many people can relate to because there are people who are sad during the holidays.

The best part of the special is the music. The second you hear any of the songs you instantly start smiling, singing or even humming these songs they are that memorable. The music sets the tone for each scene perfectly that it just sucks you in.

While the plot the basic, there are a ton of memorable scenes. The ice skating scene at the beginning, the dance scene and even the tree buying scene many people can recite by heart. And that ending, man, if you don’t cry or start singing along in that ending you’re dead inside.

While the later Peanuts specials are better on a technical level to A Charlie Brown Christmas, this is a classic that gets air time every year for a reason. It has heart, it gives you happy feelings and gets you into the Christmas mood better than anything will. So go out and buy that little tree and put it right next to the big tree just to show that this special does matter.

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Brooklyn (Movie) Review

One of the things I’ve made blatantly obvious on this blog is that I live Brooklyn. So of course whenever something takes place in Brooklyn I have to read/watch it. I remember coming across a book called Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín in the Barnes and Noble in Park Slope (one of only two B&Ns left in Brooklyn. The other one is on Court Street.) I barely remember reading like fifty pages of this book and then returning it to the library. Then the movie came out and I was unsure if I should see it. Then I finally watched it on demand and, yeah, not what I was expecting.

Eilis Lacey is just an Irish country girl whose life in going nowhere. She gets a sponsorship to go live in America but quickly gets homesick. Her life does take a turn for the better when she meets Italian-American Tony.

The first half of the movie was interesting. I actually liked Ellis and what happened to her. At the 45 minute mark, something started to feel wrong. At the 90 minute mark, it dawned on me: this is boring. Yeah, I said it, Brooklyn is boring. Ellis does absolutely nothing to move the plot forward. The plot moves her forward. Hell, I’ll actually say Ellis is barely a character.

One of the worst things about Ellis is that SHE DOES NOT SPEAK UP! Seriously, was it too hard to tell her Irish relatives that she got married in America? Of course not, because the whole third act would not exist if she did. I hate to say it, but she’s basically an Irish version of Bella Swan. Everyone else decides what she does and thinks and she just goes along with it. Add in no characterization and here’s Ellis.

The only positive thing that can be said about this movie is the acting is at least decent. It’s nothing memorable or outstanding but the actors do try their best with what’s given to them.

Brooklyn sounded like an interesting story, but the overall experience is boring with a shoestring plot. This is one of the many reasons I’m an advocate for libraries; the worst thing is to buy a book only to hate absolutely hate it.

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