Saturday, July 28, 2018

GODZILLA VS SPACEGODZILLA

Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla Movie Review

Formed in outer space by the cells of Godzilla, SpaceGodzilla arrives on Earth to unleash havoc, and after trapping Little Godzilla in crystals, Godzilla comes to battle to alien intruder. This 1994 entry in the Godzilla series leaves a lot to be desired, beginning with the aforementioned Little Godzilla. Just when we thought the series had eliminated these irritating mini versions of our anti-hero, this one comes along to turn up the awful-meter.

At least it's not Minilla

The existence of this character automatically brings the enjoyment level of this film down, but let us try to get past this. SpaceGodzilla looks a little wonky, but his powers with the crystals are actually kind of cool. The story itself is fairly boring and the movie plods along quite a bit, making it hard to stay focused between the action scenes. The special effects are a combination of the awesomeness we come to expect with these films and dreadfully bad CGI, so taking the good with the bad certainly applies here. The battle scenes are interesting--you wonder what in the world Godzilla is thinking at times, but otherwise, they are what you expect.

Be gone, Little One

Godzilla battling an alien version of himself was an interesting idea--it's the execution that fails here. Still, it IS a Godzilla movie, so if you are a fan, you will want to give it a shot--it's not a horrible film, but certainly not one of the better Godzilla outings. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla Movie Trailer (This one is fan made, but actually pretty good)

Friday, July 27, 2018

POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE (aka POLTERGEIST 2)

Poltergeist II: The Other Side Movie Review

One year after the events of the original film, the Freeling family believe they are in the clear, but discover otherwise when a mysterious Native American named Taylor (Will Sampson, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) warns the danger is still very real. Let's address the elephant in the room right off the bat--Dominique Dunne, who played Dana, the eldest daughter in the original film, was murdered by her boyfriend shortly after the release of Poltergeist, and her character is not mentioned at all in this film. I personally would have liked to have at least seen her absence explained (her being in college was in the original script but was scrapped), but, for whatever reason, she's just forgotten. Other than her, the rest of the original Freelings are here, and we also get the return of Zelda Rubenstein as psychic oddball Tangina.

She knew I was going to use this picture

Speaking of oddballs, this movie is loaded with them, which only adds to the fun of it--Craig T. Nelson is awesome in his hilarious, spastic performance, Sampson steals the show as Taylor, and Julian Back is creepy as Reverend Henry Kane.

And honest man?

This movie manages to maintain a fun balance of horror, splashes of comedy, and a whole lot of bizarre, from the strange characters to the use of actual skeletons in the shots to everything that happens on the "Other Side".

It looks like this

Poltergeist II: The Other Side is not nearly as scary as the original film, and probably is not as good, but it certainly is a ton of fun to watch--it is loaded with that off the wall element you expect from 80s supernatural movies (and I haven't even mentioned what happens after Steven eats the worm), and that can never be a bad thing. As with Stigmata, I watched this one while visiting my Mom in Ohio, and we had a blast watching it together for the first time in decades. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Poltergeist II: The Other Side Movie Trailer

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

STIGMATA

Stigmata Movie Review

When hair stylist Frankie (Patricia Arquette, Ed Wood) begins showing wounds similar to those of Jesus Christ when he was crucified, the Catholic Church sends scientist priest (Gabriel Byrne, Ghost Ship) to research the phenomenon, but the answers they get aren't exactly what they want to hear. I recently took a trip back home to Ohio--my Mom had this one on DVR, and this one being an old favorite of both of ours, we decided to give it a go--watching horror movies with my Mom is one of my favorite things in life, and I may just write about that one day, but for now, let's back to Stigmata.

"Are you done yet?"

There's a lot to like about this movie, but one major drawback is that the lead character isn't one of those things. There is no attempt at making Frankie likable at all, making it hard to sympathize with her. Byrnes is really good at times, but other times seems to just be phoning it in, which is okay because he does so with his very odd, awesome accent. The theme of the movie is an unsettling one, and the film is shot very well--the scenes of Frankie suffering the wounds are frightening, though the inserted shots of her in Christ-like poses are distracting and less impressive. 

Strike a pose

There is a bit of religious weirdness that may make you wonder about things and/or make you feel creeped out--or maybe that's just me, but ultimately what makes Stigmata a good horror movie is the general uneasy feel you get watching it. It may not keep you up at night wondering if there's a monster under your bed, but it may keep your mind racing enough to keep the lights on. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Stigmata Movie Trailer

Saturday, July 14, 2018

MEDUSA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (aka Perseus Against The Monsters)

Medusa Against The Son Of Hercules Movie Review

Perseo (Richard Harrison) does battle with Medusa, some soldiers, and a dragon, while trying to win over Andromeda (Anna Ranalli). This Italian film from 1963 is one of many similar movies from that era known as "sword-and-sandal" films, and most of them are fairly awful, with this being no exception. We start with a theme song that mentions the sons of Hercules--we don't get any plural form in the movie. This was actually part of a series of movies, all very similar, that kind of, sort of tied together. The acting is awful, the dubbing dreadful. The battle scenes are a bore and seem to last an eternity, with little of note actually happening. The story, and movie, plod along at a snails pace, and by the time you are finished watching it, you will swear you just lost six hours of your life (it's actually only 95 minutes). There are exactly two savings graces in this movie: the aforementioned Medusa and dragon.

Not this Madusa

Or this Dragon

We know Medusa as the Greek monster with the face of a woman and living snakes for hair, but what we get here isn't quite...that.

It's this

Yes, the dreaded Medusa looks more like a walking tree with wild, flailing branches than the monster we expect. Is this bad? Not really...actually, yes, completely, but in a most awesome way. Our dragon is just as lovable.

Don't you just want to give him a hug?

I will always love the old, practical way of making movie monsters, and sometimes the worst looking ones are my favorites--these guys fit into that category of enjoyment--CGI will never touch this level of magic. I recommend watching this movie only if you can fast forward through every scene that does not include Medusa or the dragon...unless you're having difficulty sleeping--in that case, it's a must-see.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3



I couldn't find the trailer, but enjoy the Svengoolie opening for Medusa Against The Son of Hercules

Friday, July 6, 2018

GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. Movie Review

Having been damaged in his last battle with Godzilla, Mechagodzilla is being repaired to do battle again; however, Mothra's Twin Fairies (non-twins Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Ohtsuka) show up to warn that if Mechagodzilla is not destroyed, Mothra will unleash havoc on Tokyo. In exchange for cooperation, Mothra has agreed to help defeat Godzilla.

Mothra hamming it up

This one is a direct sequel to 2002's Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, which had an after credits scene teasing this film. The human element story primarily revolves around Dr. Shin'ichi Chujo--he is who the Twin Fairies go to with their warning--this is significant (and cool) because it is the same character they go to in the original Mothra film, and the actor from that film (Hiroshi Koizumi) reprises his role here! Seeing Mothra battle Godzilla is almost a carbon-copy of the battle they had in Mothra vs Godzilla, even including the hatched egg, so that is kind of a buzzkill, but still entertaining. When Mechagodzilla joins the fight, we get pretty much what you expect.

Don't just stand there!

Once again, Mechagodzilla develops a mind of his own and goes rogue, but pretty much stays loyal to his creators this time around, right up to the hokey ending. Unlike in many of the other "newer" Godzilla films, we have to wait quite a while to see the beast, so your patience will be tested here. Much of this movie is very sloppy, making it a step down from its predecessor, but the big battle is a lot of fun, and features plenty of Godzilla atomic breath, which is always a nice touch. Just as in the previous film, stick around until after the credits. If you are a Godzilla fan, as I am (I should give him his own label at this point), check this one out--you've certainly sat through worse.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. Movie Trailer

Thursday, July 5, 2018

SIGNS

Signs Movie Review

Six months after the death of his wife, Reverend Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) is losing his faith in God, and also facing another crisis--his crops are being flattened into unusual circular shapes. As we all know, there is only one explanation for this activity...

Good call Giorgio

This 2002 M. Night Shyamalan film was, in my opinion, the high water mark of the director's career. Coming off the successes of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, Signs was a must-see film that delivered in every way one expected. After this movie, Shyamalan's films became less impressive--for a rant detailing this portion of the director's career, check out my review of The Visit. Gibson delivers an impressive performance as Hess--less impressive is the rest of his family. Joaquin Phoenix, who would return to work with Shyamalan's next film, The Village, has certainly been better; Rory Culkin (Scream 4, Intruders) is a bit annoying, and Abigail Breslin (Maggie) is just sort of there. As is the case when Shyamalan is on his game, the real strength of the film is the story telling, and this film tells quite a story, using flashback scenes to tie it all together, with an unexpected amount of comedy relief tossed in.

The Tin Man they're not

It goes without saying that what we want out of a scary movie is to be scared, and Signs delivers here as well. Aliens are a creepy premise for a movie, but many times we see them overexposed, making them less frightening--Shymalan shows us just enough of them throughout the film to let that uneasy feeling settle in, then offers up the aliens in the perfect dose to leave us terrified. 

Just keep walking please

The twist of sorts--how to defeat the aliens--is a little dry (or wet, if looking at it in a literal way), but everything leading up to that is fantastic. Signs is a very solid film that has held up well over the years, and should be on everyone's watch list.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8


Signs Movie Trailer

Sunday, July 1, 2018

THE LEECH WOMAN

The Leech Woman Movie Review

Dr. Paul Talbott (Phillip Terry) drags his wife June (Coleen Gray) to a remote area of Africa in search of a potion that cures the aging process. They find the solution (a combination of pollen from a flower, secretions from the pineal gland, and lots of smoke...at least while we're in Africa). June becomes the jerk-of-a-human's guinea pig, and soon becomes obsessed with staying young, killing to get the precious gland.

June before

June after

This movie bounces from the States, to Africa, where most of what we see is stock footage of wild animals and tribal dancing, then back to the States, where we expect things to take off, and they do to some degree, but turning June into a killer takes far too long, leaving the third act feeling very rushed. Gray's performance stands out, but considering the level of the acting around her, that's not a great compliment. The real strength of this film is in tackling the question of how far will one go to stay young and maintain their beauty, and the speech Malla, the old woman who brought the secret to Talbott, delivers regarding the matter is actually quite good. Watching June go from alcoholic depressive to psychotic, homicidal maneater is interesting, and the ending, abrupt as it is, may be one you don't see coming. While not a good movie by any stretch, The Leech Woman is certainly not as bad as most make it out to be.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


The Leech Woman Movie Trailer