Tuesday, June 27, 2017

THE SNAKE WOMAN

The Snake Woman Movie Review

After years of being treated for her madness with snake venom, a woman dies while she is giving birth and villagers are killing her scientist/snake handler husband. Fast forward twenty years, and the village is experiencing several deaths via snake bites, and a mysterious woman (Susan Travers), who appears to be about twenty years old, is seen wandering about.

Our title character

This movie starts off slow, and only gets slower. The dialogue is dull, and the pace is so sluggish you will have difficulty staying awake. The only thing that is moderately interesting in the plot is when somebody plays a snake charming instrument--horribly--and our snake woman loves it. The acting is at times wooden, at times Una O'Connor-esque. This film tries to be some sort of combination of a Universal Monster movie and Hammer film, but fails at being even close to either. To make matters worse, it's set around the turn of the century in England. All of this leads to a boring and predictable ending--certainly not following in the Hammer footsteps there! If you are wanting to do yourself a life favor today, decide to never spend your time watching this movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


The Snake Woman Movie Trailer

Thursday, June 22, 2017

GAMMERA THE INVINCIBLE (aka Gamera: The Giant Monster)

Gammera The Invincible Movie Review

An aircraft is shot down by a fighter jet, landing in a frozen tundra and unleashing a prehistoric monster--Gammera The Invincible! It's not long before Gammera makes it to Tokyo and starts destroying everything in sight. This 1965 film was the first in the Gamera series, and for reasons I can't explain, there's an extra M in his name here. This movie is also notable for being the only Gamera movie filmed in black and white, and our lovable turtle monster isn't quite so lovable quite yet--in fact, he's the fire-breathing, people-crushing antagonist here!

Gammera? 

So scientists and experts try to figure out a way to stop the monster, while turtle-loving child Toshio, who Gammera saves at one point, tries to convince them the monster is actually nice and misunderstood--I saw the American version, and though I could find no evidence to prove it, the voice actor for Toshio sounds an awful lot like the woman who did the voice of another misunderstood, lovable beast from the 1960s.

This guy!

The scenes not involving Gammera are typically somewhere between mind-numbing and sleep-inducing, but those featuring our monster are absolutely fantastic--it steals borrows heavily from Godzilla, yes, but when it is pulled off this well, I have no problem with that. The movie also features on of the all time great scenes in movie history--as Gammera is destroying the city, there is a dance hall party going on with a band singing about how great Gammera is--and the song is catchy as hell by the way. The police bust in, demand they all leave, and after a brief pause, the band ignores the police and continues to sing about how great Gammera is until the beast destroys the entire building! The movie also features a fantastic ending. While not my favorite monster movie ever, Gammera The Invincible is a lot of fun, and a must-see for anybody into these type movies.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Gammera The Invincible Movie Trailer

Monday, June 19, 2017

47 METERS DOWN (From The Theatre)

47 Meters Down Movie Review

Side note before we get started: The movie theatre I saw this in had a fantastic cardboard cutout advertising this movie, but alas, I forgot to take a picture. If I make it back there in time, I will get that picture and put it here.

Sisters Lisa (singer Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt, The Messengers 2) vacation in Mexico and decide to go scuba diving in a cage surrounded by sharks. Things go very wrong for the sisters, however, when the cable connecting the cage to the boat snaps and the girls, still inside the cage, plummet--yes--47 meters (or almost 155 feet) down to the bottom of the ocean.

Well, you did do THIS voluntarily!

The movie starts off like every other horror film about Americans vacationing in a foreign country--there is a minor bit of relationship drama, the Americans party and get drunk, they meet some questionable people who want to take them on the time of their life, one of them (Lisa in this movie) thinks it's all a very bad idea but gets talked into it anyway--you get the picture. Thankfully, this film doesn't spend too much time with all that--the movie-makers here know we've come for the sharks and for the terror of being trapped at the bottom of the ocean, and they waste little time in getting us there. They also avoid the cliche of every foreign person is out to kill American tourists, which is nice. Visually, the movie is very impressive, and the scares are usually genuine, if not somewhat predictable. The gore is kept to a minimum, but if really isn't needed here. The acting isn't top of the line, but nobody is offensively bad. The ending will leave a bit to be desired--it was set up to be perfect, but the final couple minutes kill what could have been a very memorable end to this film. 47 Meters Down is far from a great movie, but it delivers what you expect, and does so fairly well. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


47 Meters Down Movie Trailer

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

THE MUMMY (2017) (From The Theatre)

Warning: While I generally try not to include any spoilers in my reviews, in order to fully tell the tale of this film, and to encompass everything surrounding it, there will be some minor spoilers within this review. Proceed with caution.

The Mummy Movie Review

Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), upon learning she will not become the most powerful person in the world when her father dies, murders her entire family--she then makes a pact with Set, the Egyptian God of all things chaotic, and when she attempts to kill her lover to give Set a human form, she is captured and mummified alive. Flash forward to present time, where treasure hunter Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) discovers the underground tomb Ahmanet was buried in, and, of course, unleashes her. Meanwhile, mysterious Doctor Henry (Russell Crowe) is interested in capturing Ahmanet, the knife and stone she used when she attempted to kill her lover, and Nick. There's also a love story involving Nick and Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), a woman who may not be quite who she seems. Oh yeah, and Nick's buddy Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) gets cursed and becomes a ghost/zombie thing.

"Am I forgetting anything?"

So yes, there's a lot going on in this movie, which serves as the kick off of the new Dark Universe series from Universal. You may ask yourself "Is this a remake of the original The Mummy, or is it a reboot of the series starring Brendan Fraser? Is it horror like the original, or more action/adventure like the Fraser series?" Honestly, it's a bit of both. The special effects are large and frequent, and the horror is dropped in here and there. While it makes it a great movie to see on the big screen, the CGI is a bit much for my taste--that said, it is done very well. I am personally a Tom Cruise fan so I enjoyed him in this one, even if he does ham it up a bit too much. The story, while convoluted, is an interesting one, but the dialogue leaves a LOT to be desired. Crowe, who I am typically not a huge fan of, is actually good as Henry, who we discover later is Doctor Henry Jekyll--I didn't see that one coming! I admit to also getting a slight bit giddy when I saw Gill-Man's arm and Dracula's skull in a passing scene. While the film was a lot of fun, my main complaint comes from the horror, or lack thereof.  The Princess, while looking a bit scary, is seldom presented as a mummy--no, I didn't expect her to be wrapped in sheets the entire movie, but to see her in the mummy form more would have been nice.

She looks like this for most of the film

Her troops were some sort of sand zombies that were so ineffective they came off more like the Argonauts Jason fights off in the 1963 film--only not as cool. You never got the sense there would be a time Nick wouldn't be able to fight them off. All that said, I still enjoyed watching this movie--it's a rocky start to the Dark Universe series, but it's worth watching, especially on the big screen.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

The Mummy Movie Trailer (2017)

Monday, June 12, 2017

THE UGLY

The Ugly Movie Review

In order to determine if he is rehabilitated, Dr. Karen Shumaker (Rebecca Hobbs) visits serial killer Simon Cartwright (Paolo Rotondo) in a dilapidated insane asylum.Through a series of intense questions and flashback sequences, we learn of Simon's past, one filled with mean classmates, an abusive mother, and the one person who ever cared for him. Simon explains he hears voices from "visitors" and "The Ugly", an alter-ego of sorts, and all lead him to his killings.

"Don't mind us. We're just visiting"

This 1997 film from New Zealand is very low budget, but it did manage to win a handful of awards upon its release. The acting is hit and miss--Rotondo is acceptable as the killer, and Shumaker, who looks like some strange crossing of Gillian Anderson and Kate Winslet, does a good job, but the rest of the cast is rather forgettable. The premise of the movie is interesting, but the script never quite lives up to the potential. While the film may make the viewer feel uneasy at times, it never quite reaches the level of "scary"--this is very much a slow burn type film, with the action and intensity picking up at the end, but unfortunately, the ending is quite disappointing. I bought this movie many years ago, and it sat on my shelf, unused, for probably the past fifteen years--upon coming back to it, I found The Ugly to be a movie that is much better in memory than reality.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


The Ugly Movie Trailer

Monday, June 5, 2017

RINGS

Rings Movie Review

Professor Gabriel Brown (Johnny Galecki, I Know What You Did Last Summer) discovers the VHS tape from The Ring and, just as in that film, if you watch the tape you receive a phone call telling you that in seven days you will die, with the only out being making a copy of the tape and having somebody else watch it. Brown tries to create a network that will keep the cycle going forever, with the video naturally entering the internet age, but the rules begin to change. This third film in the series gives us a more in-depth look at the history of Samara, the girl in the well.

She still doesn't look well

Instead of taking this in a whole new direction, we practically get a remake of the original film, sprinkled with just enough to distance it, and instead of delivering an interesting backstory on Samara, we get a lazy story involving a priest (Vincent D'Onofrio), with predictable results. The story is lazy, the film isn't particularly well shot, and the acting leaves a ton to be desired--even D'Onofrio, who is almost always gold, seems disinterested. The movie tries to recreate the legendary television scene from the first film, and though it is still fairly scary, it pales in comparison. After a climax that will make you yawn more than shriek, we get a final scene that, if you're a fan of the original films, you will see coming a mile away, but is also a scene that is visually pleasing. Unfortunately, there's not much to like about this movie--we can only hope they will let the franchise die now. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Rings Movie Trailer