Posts Tagged ‘movie review’

Movie Review – The Shining (1980)

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading The Shining, Stephen King‘s classic tale involving the supernatural and an isolated hotel in the Rocky Mountains.

The book was great, and I’ve been having a desire to see the 1980 movie based on the book.  I’ve only see parts of the movie here and there, and that was many years ago.  I’ve never seen the whole movie from start to finish.  After finishing (and thoroughly enjoying the book), it was a matter of taking the time to watch the movie.

The Shining (1980) - movie poster

The Shining (1980) – movie poster

Directed by film legend Stanley Kubrick, The Shining stars Jack Nicholson in the lead role of Jack Torrance, a writer and recovering alcoholic who accepts the job of a winter caretaker at a prestigious mountain resort.  Supporting him are Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance, Jack’s wife, and Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance, Jack and Wendy’s young son who happens to have a special skill with his mind.

The film also features Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann, Philip Stone as Delbert Grady, and Joe Turkel as Lloyd, a friendly bartender who gladly serves Jack his drinks.

The Shining (1980) - (c) Warner Bros.

The Shining (1980) – (c) Warner Bros.

The Shining begins with Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) arriving at the Overlook Hotel in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and interviewing for the position of the winter caretaker.  Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) likes Jack and hires him for the position even though Jack does not have any experience.  Jack informs him that he’s looking for change, and working at the hotel will allow him to continue working as a writer.

During the interview, Ullman tells Jack that Charles Grady, the previous winter caretaker, fell victim to cabin fever, and he murdered his wife and their two daughters.  This doesn’t seem to be a concern for Jack. Read more…

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - March 11, 2015 at 9:34 pm

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Movie Review – Ben-Hur (1959)

Today we’re taking a look at 1959’s Ben-Hur, an epic historical drama and one of the biggest films in the history of Hollywood.

Ben-Hur tells a classic tale of Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jewish merchant who is falsely imprisoned and made into a slave, his heroic actions that set him free, and his return home to seek revenge against those who wronged him.  The film also features highlights from the life of Jesus Christ, from His birth to His life as a carpenter to His teachings and finally the crucifixion and death.  Judah Ben-Hur witnesses many of those events, and he becomes one of Jesus’ followers in the end.

Ben-Hur (1959) - movie poster

Ben-Hur (1959) – movie poster

Directed by William Wyler, Ben-Hur stars Charlton Heston in the lead role of Judah Ben-Hur.  Supporting him are Stephen Boyd as Messala, Haya Harareet as Esther, Hugh Griffith as Shiek Ilderim, and Jack Hawkins as Roman Consul Quintus Arrius.  The film’s score was conducted by Miklos RozsaBen-Hur has a running time of a whopping 212 minutes.

Ben-Hur begins with a brief overview of the land of Judea and how the Jewish people were being ruled by the Roman Empire.  The Jewish people are enduring it and looking forward to the long-awaited arrival of a redeemer, a person to finally bring them salvation and freedom.

Ben-Hur (1959) - (c) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Ben-Hur (1959) – (c) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

One night the people throughout Judea see a star moving across the sky.  This is taken as a sign that their redeemer has finally arrived.  They follow the celestial object and discover that, sure enough, a child, Jesus of Nazareth, was just born.

Ben-Hur then advances to 26 A.D. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - March 8, 2015 at 10:47 am

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Movie Review – Gallipoli (1981)

In today’s movie review we’re taking a look at Gallipoli, a 1981 Australian film that focuses on two friends who enlist in the Australian Army and are sent to the Gallipoli Campaign against the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey).

As we know from our history books, the Gallipoli Campaign was designed to have Allied forces invade and capture Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire so that the Russian Navy would have a clear path from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.  That part of the Ottoman Empire was a critical chokepoint against the Russians.  The Gallipoli Campaign lasted from April 25, 1915 until January 9, 1916.  The campaign was a serious failure for the Allies and cost the lives of over 56,000 soldiers.

Gallipoli (1981) - movie poster

Gallipoli (1981) – movie poster

Directed by Peter Weir, Gallipoli stars Mel Gibson as Frank Dunne, and Mark Lee as Archy Hamilton.

Gallipoli begins in Western Australia in May of 1915.

Gallipoli (1981) - (c) Paramount Pictures

Gallipoli (1981) – (c) Paramount Pictures

Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee) is an 18-year-old sprinter continually being trained by his uncle, Jack (Bill Kerr).  When he’s not training to be a champion sprinter, Archy works on a cattle ranch.  One day Archy is challenged to a race by fellow cowboy Les McCann (Harold Hopkins).  Archy is forced to run barefoot across a desert while Les rides his horse bareback.  Although Archy wins the race, he badly damages his feet and faces disapproval from Uncle Jack. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm

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Movie Review – The Blue Max (1966)

Today we’re going to review The Blue Max, a 1966 film about a World War 1 German fighter pilot eager to shoot down 20 enemy aircraft and earn the prestigious Blue Max medal, the highest military honor in the Kingdom of Prussia.

The Blue Max (1966) - movie poster

The Blue Max (1966) – movie poster

Directed by John Guillermin, The Blue Max stars George Peppard as Bruno Stachel, a young fighter pilot who will risk it all to shoot down enemy aircraft.  His aggressive actions earn him a negative reputation amongst his fellow pilots, but his success makes him a hero in the eyes of the commanding generals.  Co-starring in the film are Jeremy Kemp as Willi von Klugermann, the squadron’s commanding officer, James Mason as General Count von Klugermann, Willi’s uncle, and Ursula Andress as Kaeti, the general’s wife and a woman who has affairs with some of the pilots.

The Blue Max (1966) - (c) 20th Century Fox

The Blue Max (1966) – (c) 20th Century Fox

The Blue Max begins in 1916 as German Corporal Bruno Stachel (George Peppard) is one of thousands of infantry soldiers fighting in the trenches on the Western Front.  He knows that fighting in the trenches is a losing battle.  One day he looks into the sky and sees two fighter aircraft fighting each other.  Suddenly Bruno is inspired to join the air service and become a combat pilot. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 19, 2014 at 3:22 pm

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Movie Review – Paths of Glory (1957)

One of the negative stereotypes of World War One was that of high-ranking “armchair” officers who would seek further advances by slaughtering their own soldiers in suicidal missions.

Although that has been an issue throughout the history of warfare, it was more of a factor from the stalemates on both the Eastern and Western fronts.  When no army could push forward and gain an advantage, some officers were more prone to taking daring risks and sending their soldiers on perceived suicide missions.  The theory was that the greater the risk, then the bigger the reward.

The 1957 film Paths of Glory deals with a general who orders a suicide attack, all in the name of glory for himself.  When some of the soldiers fail to carry out the attack, they’re put on trial for cowardice, an offense punishable with the death penalty.

Paths of Glory (1957) - movie poster

Paths of Glory (1957) – movie poster

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, Paths of Glory stars Kirk Douglas in the role of Colonel Dax, commanding officer of the 701st Infantry Regiment.  Supporting him in the film are George Macready as Brigadier General Paul Mireau, Ralph Meeker as Corporal Philippe Paris, and Wayne Morris as Lieutenant Roget.

Paths of Glory (1957) - (c) United Artists

Paths of Glory (1957) – (c) United Artists

Set in France in 1916, Paths of Glory begins with a voiceover describing how Germany and France went to war, and the stalemate that lead to trench warfare.  In a chateau, Major General Georges Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) informs his subordinate, Brigadier General Paul Mireau (George Macready), that the French Army is poised to launch a major offensive in the near future.  To spearhead the attack, General Mireau is assigned to attack and capture a heavily defended German position nicknamed the “Anthill.”  Mireau is hesitant as his forces have already suffered heavy losses in recent fighting, and they’ll surely lose many more attacking the heavily fortified “Anthill.”

General Mireau’s attitude against the attack suddenly changes when General Broulard informs him that a successful attack against the “Anthill” would essentially mean a promotion to a desired position within the army.  Mireau rethinks the attack and now believes that his soldiers can succeed in attacking the “Anthill” and holding it. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm

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Movie Review – Sergeant York (1941)

Today we’re taking a look at Sergeant York, a 1941 biographical film about Alvin York, a simple man from Tennessee who achieved combat glory in World War 1 and became a hero, earning himself the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Sergeant York is a patriotic film that was a smash hit with the audiences.  The film continued to receive attention after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and a fresh wave of American patriotism.

Sergeant York (1941) - movie poster

Sergeant York (1941) – movie poster

Directed by Howard Hawks, Sergeant York stars Gary Cooper in the lead role of Alvin York.  Supporting him in the movie are Walter Brennan as Pastor Rosier Pile, Joan Leslie as Gracie Williams, and George Tobias as “Pusher” Ross, a soldier from New York City.

Sergeant York (1941) - (c) Warner Bros.

Sergeant York (1941) – (c) Warner Bros.

Sergeant York begins in 1916 in the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee at a place called the Valley of the Three Forks of the Wolf.  This is a small mountain town somewhat isolated from the rest of the United States.  When news breaks in the country, it’s several days before the residents in town learn about it. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 9, 2014 at 6:05 pm

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Movie Review – The Dawn Patrol (1938)

When looking back at the battles during World War 1, many people are aware of the countless slaughters as men were forced to go over the top of the trench and straight towards the enemy’s trenches.

This was a continual problem as the generals and commanders fought to find a way to break the stalemate.  The generals would form a battle plan, and those orders were passed down the chain of command to the battalion commanders, the platoon leaders, and ultimately the soldiers themselves.  No matter how pointless or suicidal the plan sounded, the men were expected to attack when ordered to.

Of course, it wasn’t only the soldiers in the trenches who had to deal with the orders from generals who were safely positioned far from the action.  This was also a problem for the bomber and combat pilots as well.

The 1938 film The Dawn Patrol addresses the problem of generals issuing orders and continually sending inexperienced pilots into dangerous situations.  The squadron commanders were forced to carry out those orders, knowing that many of the replacement pilots would be killed.  The 1938 version of the film is a remake of the original version released in 1930.  From what I understand, most of the dialogue is the same between the two versions, and most, if not all, of the flight scenes were taken straight from the original film.

The Dawn Patrol (1938) - movie poster

The Dawn Patrol (1938) – movie poster

Directed by Edmund Goulding, The Dawn Patrol stars Errol Flynn as Captain Courtney, the leader of A Flight.  Co-starring in the film are Basil Rathbone as Major Brand, the commanding officer of the squadron, and David Niven as Lieutenant Scott, one of the pilots in A Flight.

The Dawn Patrol takes place in 1915 at a Royal Flying Corps‘ airfield in France.

The movie begins with an action scene showing British combat pilots in a dogfight against the Germans.  We later learn that two of the British pilots, new replacement pilots in the squadron, were shot down and killed.

The Dawn Patrol (1938) - (c) Warner Bros.

The Dawn Patrol (1938) – (c) Warner Bros.

Back at the airfield, Major Brand (Basil Rathbone) is the commanding officer of the 59th Squadron.  He’s been under increasing pressure by headquarters to have his pilots produce better results on their missions, or he’s going to be transferred to a less important position.  Major Brand is nearing his breaking point as he has already lost 16 pilots in the last two weeks, nearly all of them replacement pilots with little to no flight or combat experience.

A Flight returns from its dawn patrol and lands at the airfield.  Flight leader Captain Courtney (Errol Flynn) and his good friend Lieutenant Scott (David Niven) have survived the mission, along with Lieutenant Hollister (Peter Willes), another experienced pilot, but they lost two of their replacement pilots.  Hollister is shaken up as one of the pilots that was shot down and killed was his best friend.  When Courtney tries to talk to Hollister and boost his spirits, it only makes him more depressed. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 8, 2014 at 6:28 pm

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Movie Review – Wings (1927)

Today we’re taking a look at Wings, a 1927 silent movie that tells a story of two rivals who fight over a woman, join the Army Air Service and become pilots, and later fight in World War 1.

Wings (1927) - movie poster

Wings (1927) – movie poster

Directed by William A. Wellman, Wings stars Clara Bow as Mary Preston, Charles “Buddy” Rogers as Jack Powell, Richard Arlen as David Armstrong, and Jobyna Ralston as Sylvia Lewis.  Gary Cooper has a brief role as Cadet White, and El Brendel plays the role of Dutch-American Herman Schwimpf.  Music for the film was composed by J.S. Zamecnik.

Wings begins in a small American town in 1917.

Wings (1927) - (c) Paramount Pictures

Wings (1927) – (c) Paramount Pictures

Jack Powell (Charles “Buddy” Rogers) is an average guy who knows how to work on cars and he dreams of one day flying airplanes.  His neighbor Mary Preston (Clara Bow) is in love with him, but he rejects her advances.  When he repairs his car and renames it “Shooting Star,” he drives away and asks Sylvia Lewis (Jobyna Ralston) to go with him for a ride.  This move annoys David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) as he was trying to romance Sylvia. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 6, 2014 at 10:54 pm

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Movie Review – Hell’s Angels (1930)

One of the fascinating aspects of World War 1 was the rapid advancement in technology and tactics used in what would ultimately become modern, mechanized warfare.  Between 1914 and 1918, military aviation saw tremendous leaps and bounds as armies recognized the true strengths and advantages of air power.

Released in 1930, Hell’s Angels takes a look at World War 1 combat pilots, from their life outside of the combat zones to the harrowing missions themselves.  This film follows along as two brothers and their friend all join the air service, two of them for England and one for Germany.  We see them go through training, fight against a Zeppelin during a night time bombing raid, go on a dangerous bombing mission in a captured German bomber, and then become captured and face death after being branded as spies.  Before the war and between the combat missions, the two brothers fight each other for the love of a woman.

Hell's Angels (1930) - movie poster

Hell’s Angels (1930) – movie poster

Directed and produced by Howard Hughes, Hell’s Angels stars Ben Lyon and James Hall as the British brothers Monte and Roy Rutledge.  Supporting them in the film is Jean Harlow as the young woman Helen.

Hell's Angels (1930) - (c) United Artists

Hell’s Angels (1930) – (c) United Artists

Hell’s Angels begins in Germany some time before the outbreak of war.  British brothers Roy (James Hall) and Monte Rutledge (Ben Lyon) are enjoying the company of their German friend, Karl (John Darrow), while they spend time in a tavern.  The guys tease Roy and try to get him hooked up with a young lady. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm

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Movie Review – All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Today we’re kicking off a bunch of movie reviews dedicated to one of my favorite time periods — World War 1.

As you can guess by the title of this article, the first movie that we’re going to review is the 1930 classic, All Quiet on the Western Front.

Based on the classic novel by Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front follows a group of young men as they graduate from school, enlist as soldiers in the German army, and then experience the various forms of horrors in warfare, from attacking an enemy’s position to starvation to the horrors of life in the hospital.  It’s a gripping story as the young men are faced with the challenges of staying alive and fighting “for the Fatherland.”

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) - movie poster

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) – movie poster

Directed by Lewis Milestone, All Quiet on the Western Front was produced by Hollywood legend Carl Laemmle, Jr.

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) - (c) Universal Pictures

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) – (c) Universal Pictures

All Quiet on the Western Front begins in Germany as a group of boys finishes their final semester at secondary school.  As soldiers proudly march in formation through the town’s streets, Professor Kantorek (Arnold Lucy) gives the boys an impressive and patriotic speech about the duties of enlisting in the Army and fighting for their home, the Fatherland.  The students are impressed by the speech, and they believe in the glory and honor of serving in the German military.  The group of them promptly enlist and find themselves at a training camp. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm

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Movie Review – Waterworld (1995)

Continuing with the theme of a flooded Earth (like in the book Flood and the movie The Day After Tomorrow), today we’re taking a look at the 1995 post-apocalyptic science-fiction film Waterworld.

Set several hundred years in the future, Waterworld takes place on a version of planet Earth that is almost entirely covered by water.  It’s mentioned that the polar ice caps have melted and flooded the planet, creating one massive ocean.  The people simply call the world Waterworld, and everybody uses boats and lives on large crescent-shaped barges called atolls.  The plot of the movie focuses on a mysterious sailer called “The Mariner,” and a strange map on the back of a young child.  It’s believed that the map leads to a place called Dryland, and people will kill for that information.

Waterworld (1995) - movie poster

Waterworld (1995) – movie poster

Directed by Kevin Reynolds, Waterworld stars Kevin Costner as The Mariner.  Dennis Hopper plays the role of The Deacon, the leader of the villains.  Supporting them are Jeanne Tripplehorn as Helen, and Tina Majorino as Enola, the young girl with a precious map on her back.

Waterworld (1995) - (c) Universal Pictures

Waterworld (1995) – (c) Universal Pictures

Waterworld begins with a brief animation of planet Earth and how the polar ice caps melted and flooded most of the surface of the planet.  We then meet a drifter called the Mariner (Kevin Costner) as he’s alone while sailing his boat, a trimaran.  After meeting another sailor in the open water, the two of them are ambushed by “Smokers,” a.k.a. pirates.  The Mariner uses the sails on his trimaran and makes a clean getaway while the other sailor is caught by the Smokers and brutally killed. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 2, 2014 at 3:08 pm

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Movie Review – The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

What if the world was to suddenly have a radical climate shift, one that would wreck havoc on life as we know it?

On top of that, what if this climate change was something that we could have prevented?

That’s basically the premise for The Day After Tomorrow, a 2004 science-fiction doomsday film.  In The Day After Tomorrow we see what planet Earth could be like should there be a sudden and radical shift in the climate, a shift caused by man-made global warming.  Coastal areas are flooded by a sudden rise in sea level, ocean currents are disrupted, and ferocious weather systems blast frigid weather across North America, creating a new Ice Age.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004) - movie poster

The Day After Tomorrow (2004) – movie poster

Directed by Roland Emmerich, The Day After Tomorrow stars Dennis Quaid as paleoclimatologist Jack Hall.  Co-starring in the film is Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of Sam Hall, Jack’s son.  Other actors in the movie include Ian Holm as Professor Terry Rapson, Kenneth Welsh as Vice President Raymond Becker, and Emmy Rossum as Laura Chapman.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004) - (c) 20th Century Fox

The Day After Tomorrow (2004) – (c) 20th Century Fox

The Day After Tomorrow begins in Antarctica as paleoclimatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) and his team are drilling for ice-core samples on the Larsen Ice Shelf.  Suddenly there’s a fracture in the ice that crates a deep crevice.  Hall’s team barely escapes falling to their doom.

Later, at a United Nations conference in New Delhi, India, Jack presents his findings on global warming and how it’s significantly worse than anybody had expected.  Unfortunately, his research fails to convince the diplomats or Vice President Raymond Becker (Kenneth Welsh).  They’re set on maintaining their current ways when it comes to using fossil fuels and the Earth’s natural resources as they see fit, rather than considering its effects on the environment. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 1, 2014 at 10:52 pm

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Movie Review – When Worlds Collide (1951)

Try to imagine, just for a moment, that a star is racing across the galaxy and heading straight for Earth.

You only have eight months until the star arrives and destroys the planet.  If any part of humanity is to survive, then it’s going to require building rockets and trying to find a new home somewhere in space.

That’s basically the premise for When Worlds Collide, a classic 1950s science-fiction film depicting the end of the Earth and the struggle to try to save a small group of humans, plants and animals.  As the engineers build a rocket, they have to compete against not only the imminent destruction of Earth, but the catastrophic disasters caused by the arrival of the star as well as the anarchy and breakdown of civilization.

When Worlds Collide (1951) - movie poster

When Worlds Collide (1951) – movie poster

Directed by Rudolph Mate and produced by George Pal, When Worlds Collide stars Richard Derr as David Randall, a pilot caught in the middle of the chaos.  Co-starring in the film are Larry Keating as Dr. Cole Hendron, Barbara Rush as Joyce Hendron, the professor’s daughter, John Hoyt as Sydney Stanton, and Peter Hansen as Dr. Tony Drake, a physician in love with Joyce.

When Worlds Collide (1951) - (c) Paramount Pictures

When Worlds Collide (1951) – (c) Paramount Pictures

When Worlds Collide begins in South Africa as pilot David Randall (Richard Derr) arrives at an observatory.  Astronomer Dr. Emery Bronson (Hayden Rorke) has made a horrifying discovery, something that he simply doesn’t want to believe.  Dr. Bronson assigns Randall the task of carrying the information to Dr. Cole Hendron, his colleague and fellow astronomer living in the United States.  Randall doesn’t care about the task or the secret information, just how much he’s going to be paid to be a courier.  When talking about Randall’s pay for the task, Dr. Bronson hints that money really isn’t a concern any longer.

A briefcase containing the information is secured to Randall’s wrist, and he’s off on a series of connecting flights from South Africa to the United States.  A reporter has gotten word of Randall carrying secret information, and he tries several times to bribe Randall so that he can learn the information.  Randall refuses and he faithfully keeps the information locked in the briefcase. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - November 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm

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Movie Review – NetForce (1999)

Back in 1999, the movie NetForce was released as a direct-to-video movie.

The movie was based on Tom Clancy‘s NetForce series of books.  It’s believed that if the made-for-TV was successful, then it would have spawned a television miniseries based on further stories in the books.

NetForce is about a division of the FBI that specializes in high-profile computer crimes.  In the movie, the director of NetForce is assassinated, and it’s up to the Deputy Director and his fellow agents to not only find the assassin, but to also stop a brilliant software engineer from launching further attacks on the Internet and the world.

NetForce (1999) - movie poster

NetForce (1999) – movie poster

Directed by Robert Lieberman, NetForce stars Scott Bakula as Alex Michaels, the Deputy Director / new Director of the FBI’s NetForce.  Supporting him are Joanna Going as Toni Fiorelli, Kris Kristofferson as Steve Day, Judge Reinhold as Will Stiles, Brian Dennehy as Lowell Davidson, Paul Hewitt as Jay Gridley, and Frank Vincent as Mafia boss Johnny Stompato.

NetForce (1999) - (c) ABC

NetForce (1999) – (c) ABC

Set in 2005, NetForce begins with a raid by the FBI’s NetForce against a compound of a known computer hacker.  NetForce Deputy Director Alex Michaels (Scott Bakula) and Colonel John Howard (Sterling Macer) lead the agents into a shootout, but the raid itself is unsuccessful.  The enemies destroy the computers before NetForce Agent Jay Gridley (Paul Hewitt) can extract the files.  Later, the FBI takes serious heat from the White House for the unsuccessful raid. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - November 19, 2014 at 10:15 pm

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Movie Review – Big Hero 6 (2014)

This past weekend saw the release of Big Hero 6, the 54th feature film released by Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Set in an alternate version of San Francisco (called San Fransokyo in the film), Big Hero 6 tells a story of a gifted young robot engineer named Hiro who is persuaded by his older brother to apply for an advanced engineering school.  When Hiro’s brother is suddenly killed in a terrible accident (or so it seems), Hiro befriends Baymax, an inflatable nurse robot that was his brother’s last invention.  Hiro soon learns that it was no accident that killed his brother.  With the help of Baymax and his late brother’s friends at the engineering school, the group of them form a super hero team and they track down the killer.

Big Hero 6 (2014) - movie poster

Big Hero 6 (2014) – movie poster

Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, Big Hero 6 stars Ryan Potter as the voice of Hiro Hamada and Scott Adsit as the voice of Baymax.  This movie also features the voices of James Cromwell and Alan Tudyk, and a cameo by Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee.  Otherwise, nearly all of the voice actors/actresses are from obscure talents in Hollywood.

Big Hero 6 is set in the near future in San Fransokyo, a blending of San Francisco and Tokyo.  The movie begins with 14-year-old robot engineer Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) participating in a back alley robot fight.  He hustles his way to an easy victory and collects a large amount of money for winning the fight.  This doesn’t go too well with the other contestant, and Hiro has to make a quick getaway.  He’s rescued by his older brother, Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney), but they’re both caught by the police along with everybody else at the robot fight.  The robot fighting technically wasn’t illegal, but betting on it was.

The two brothers are soon bailed out of jail by Aunt Cass (voiced by Maya Rudolph), the boys’ aunt and legal guardian.  It’s briefly mentioned that the brothers’ parents died about ten years ago.  Aunt Cass owns a popular bakery and coffee shop, and she and the boys live in an apartment above the cafe.  Tadashi tries to sit down and talk some sense into Hiro, but Hiro is more interested in hustling for money at robot fights instead of going to college and getting an education. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - November 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm

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Movie Review – Interstellar (2014)

Imagine a world in the not-too-distant future where mankind itself was faced with its own extinction.

We’re not talking about a killer asteroid, a global nuclear holocaust, or a massive attack by extraterrestrial aliens, but from a different threat instead.  In this case it’s a world where a giant dust storm is threatening to destroy the last of the farmland, eliminating a major source of food for the human race.  On top of that, other plants are also dying, and the oxygen in the atmosphere is going to be depleted.

In order for humans to survive, they’re going to have to find a new home in outer space.  Of course, none of the planets in our solar system are capable of handling human civilization.  In order to survive, mankind is going to have to reach new worlds in distant galaxies.

That’s the premise for Interstellar, a science-fiction adventure film created by Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan.  In Interstellar, a small team of astronaut explorers uses a wormhole to reach another galaxy and determine if any of the planets are suitable for human life.  It’s a race against time as the astronauts make the incredible journey and try to find a new home for humanity.  While they’re away on their mission, scientists back on Earth try to research a way to transport the masses off the dying planet and into outer space.

Interstellar (2014) - movie poster

Interstellar (2014) – movie poster

Directed by Christopher Nolan, written by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan, and with music by Hans Zimmer, Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, a former NASA pilot and a widowed father of two children.  Supporting him are Anne Hathaway as astronaut / scientist Amelia Brand, Michael Caine as Professor Brand, Amelia’s father, Casey Affleck as Tom, Cooper’s grown son, John Lithgow as Donald, Cooper’s father-in-law, and Matt Damon as astronaut / scientist Dr. Mann.

Interstellar (2014) - (c) Paramount Pictures

Interstellar (2014) – (c) Paramount Pictures

Interstellar begins on Earth in the near future.  The planet is dying.  Crops have slowly been failing, reducing the diversity of crops available for human consumption, and dust storms continue to plague the farmland.  It’s implied that the Earth’s population has been greatly reduced as part of the aftermath involving a world war, but those details aren’t discussed.  What we do know is that the future is looking extremely bleak for humanity as a whole.

One such farmer is Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA test pilot and engineer.  At night he’s haunted by nightmares of a failed test flight.  Living with him on the farm are his two children, teenager Tom (Timothee Chalamet) and 10-year-old daughter, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy), better known as “Murph“.  Although Cooper’s wife has died, his father-in-law, Donald (John Lithgow), lives with the family and helps keep an eye on the kids.  Donald also watches over Cooper’s farm vehicles, most of which have been enhanced through Cooper’s engineering skills. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - November 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm

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Movie Review – Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)

In December of 1944, the audiences wondered if The Mummy’s Curse was going to be the final Mummy film made by Universal Studios.

By that point the Mummy film franchise had dwindled into a collection of mediocre films, and the whole “horror” element was mostly missing.  The Mummy himself had transformed into a humanoid monster more resembling a deranged killer rather than a mysterious and cunning creature dating back thousands of years.

In 1955, the Mummy would finally return to the cinemas in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.  This time around, instead of being a horror film, this Mummy movie is a comedy that spoofs the entire Mummy franchise.

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) - movie poster

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) – movie poster

Directed by Charles Lamont, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy stars the comedy duo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello as Pete Patterson and Freddie Franklin, a pair of Americans stranded in Cairo, Egypt.  Supporting them in the film are Marie Windsor as Madame Rontru, Michael Ansara as Charlie, and Peggy King as a singer in a nightclub.

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) - (c) Universal Pictures

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) – (c) Universal Pictures

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy begins with two American explorers, Pete Patterson (Bud Abbott) and Freddie Franklin (Lou Costello), out of money and stuck in Cairo, Egypt.  While at the Cafe Bagdad, they, and several other people, happen to overhear Dr. Gustav Zoomer (Kurt Katch) mention that he has discovered the mummy Klaris, the guardian of the tomb of Princess Ara.  Patterson focuses on the fact that Zoomer needs a couple of men to help escort the mummy back to America.  That could be he and Franklin’s ticket out of Egypt and back home. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - October 9, 2014 at 11:11 pm

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Movie Review – The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

Just when you thought that it was finished . . . along comes another sequel to the Mummy series of movies.

As we remember in The Mummy’s Ghost, Yousef Bey was sent to Mapleton, Massachusetts to recover the mummified body of ancient Egyptian Princess Ananka as well as the mummy Kharis.  Yousef was tasked with recovering those two mummies and returning them to Egypt so that they could rest in piece.  Of course, things didn’t go as planned, and choas ensued.  The movie ended with Kharis taking the reincarnated version of Princess Ananka into a swamp so that they would both drown and finally be together for eternity.

Released in late 1944, The Mummy’s Curse advances the storyline another twenty-five or so years (presumably in the year 1995), and it changes locations from Mapleton, Massachusetts, to the swamps of Louisiana.  An. irrigation project accidentally unearths the mummies Kharis and Ananka.  Two representatives from a museum arrive to try to excavate the site and recover the mummies.  The story takes a turn when the mummified body of Ananka walks again and turns into a human being, a beautiful young lady with no memory of her past.  As Kharis tries to catch Ananka, there’s also treachery involving the museum representatives, and death lurking around every corner.

The Mummy's Curse (1944) - movie poster

The Mummy’s Curse (1944) – movie poster

Directed by Leslie Goodwins, The Mummy’s Curse stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as the mummy Kharis.  Chaney was the only actor to return from the previous film.  Other actors and actresses in this Mummy film include Virginia Christine as Princess Ananka, Kay Harding as Betty Walsh, Dennis Moore as Dr. James Halsey, Peter Coe as Dr. Ilzor Zandaab, and Martin Kosleck as Ragheb.

The Mummy's Curse (1944) - (c) Universal Studios

The Mummy’s Curse (1944) – (c) Universal Studios

The Mummy’s Curse begins in Louisiana twenty-five years after the events in The Mummy’s Ghost.  The locals remember hearing stories about the mummy and how he carried a woman into the swamps, but those stories are turning out more like legends and local folklore.  Perhaps there’s more to the stories as many of the construction workers are convinced that the local swamps are actually cursed with an evil presence.  One of the workers disappeared the previous night, and the rest of the workers are concerned for their own safety. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - October 8, 2014 at 9:34 pm

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Movie Review – The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)

In The Mummy’s Tomb we learned that the mummy Kharis was still alive and (mostly) well despite being burned with fire at the end of The Mummy’s Hand.

Thirty years after the events in The Mummy’s Hand, Kharis was set to America along with Mehemet Bey to get revenge against the members of the Banning Expedition along with their descendants.  Although Stephen Banning and Babe Hanson were killed by Kharis, Banning’s son, Dr. John Banning, managed to kill Mehemet and defeat Kharis with the help of a mob of people.  The Mummy’s Tomb ended with Kharis being killed in a fire and John Banning marrying his fiancée, Isobel Evans.

Of course, that’s not the end of the story involving Kharis.  This is where the next film, The Mummy’s Ghost, comes into play.

After the failure of Mehemet Bey, the ageing High Priest of Arkam sends another follower to America to simply retrieve Kharis (allegedly still alive and well despite being set on fire *again*) and the mummified body of Princess Ananka, and to return them to Egypt so that they can rest in piece.  Of course, things don’t go as planned and the town of Mapleton, Massachusetts has to face the killer mummy one more time.

The Mummy's Ghost (1944) - movie poster

The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) – movie poster

Directed by Reginald Le Borg, The Mummy’s Ghost features the return of Lon Chaney, Jr. as Kharis, Frank Reicher as Professor Norman, and George Zucco as the ageing Andoheb.  Newcomers this time around include John Carradine as Yousef Bey, Robert Lowery as Tom Hervey, and Ramsay Ames as Amina Mansori / Ananka.

The Mummy's Ghost (1944) - (c) Universal Pictures

The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) – (c) Universal Pictures

The Mummy’s Ghost begins in Egypt as Yousef Bey (John Carradine) is summoned to a secret meeting with the High Priest of Arkam, Andoheb (George Zucco).  It looked like Andoheb died in the previous film after handing over the duties to Mehemet Bey, but apparently there must be a glitch somewhere in the space-time continuum.  Anyway, Andoheb proceeds to tell Yousef Bey about the history of Kharis and Princess Ananka, and the purpose of the tana leaves.  He also informs Yousef that although the world believes that Kharis was destroyed, the mummy is still, in fact, alive.  Kharis’s sole purpose is to guard the tomb of Princess Ananka.

Yousef Bey’s mission is to return Kharis to Egypt along with the mummified body of Princess Ananka.  Andoheb then hands over the official duties of being a high priest as Yousef swears to carry out his mission. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - October 6, 2014 at 11:20 pm

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Movie Review – The Mummy’s Tomb (1942)

In 1940, the horror film The Mummy’s Hand introduced the audience to a new storyline involving a killer mummy from ancient Egypt.

While not as successful or critically acclaimed as the original movie, 1932’s The Mummy, The Mummy’s Hand did offer a somewhat new plot along with a new cast of characters.  And unlike the original film, The Mummy’s Hand made it easier for the writers to continue the story in a sequel.

The Mummy’s Tomb continues the story that was established in The Mummy’s Hand.  As we suspected, the fire really didn’t kill Kharis.  It also turns out that Babe Jenson’s bullet didn’t kill Andoheb either.  Set thirty years later and in New England, Andoheb sends his follow with Kharis on a mission to kill everybody associated with the Banning Expedition along with their descendants.

The Mummy's Tomb (1942) - movie poster

The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) – movie poster

Directed by Harold Young, The Mummy’s Tomb returns Dick Foran as Stephen Banning, Wallace Ford as Babe Hanson (renamed from Jenson in the previous film) and George Zucco as Andoheb.  In this film we’re introduced to John Hubbard as Dr. John Banning, Elyse Knox as Isobel Evans, Turhan Bey as the villain Mehemet Bey, and Lon Chaney, Jr. as the mummy Kharis.

The Mummy’s Tomb takes place thirty years after the events in the first film, putting this movie around the year 1970.

The Mummy's Tomb (1942) - (c) Universal Studios

The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) – (c) Universal Studios

The film begins with an aged Stephen Banning (Dick Foran) recanting the tale of his expedition and that of Kharis the mummy to his family and friends.  Banning is back in his hometown of Mapleton, Massachusetts.  The guests at his home include his son, Dr. John Banning (John Hubbard), and his fiancée, Isobel Evans (Elyse Knox).  It takes about eight or nine minutes for Banning to tell his tale.  During that time we see flashback clips from the previous movie.  As far as Banning knows, both the mummy and Andoheb were killed. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - October 3, 2014 at 10:58 pm

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