Monday, June 30, 2014

Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie  Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962).

Ever wondered, what Solaris would become, if you let blockbuster test audiences to decide, how to change the story. If you have, then you should check this movie. Solaris the book was published year before this. It is hard to say was it inspiration or was this story just something that was on the air at the moment. Both stories are so similar I would almost say Hollywood version of Solaris would look like this. Almost, because Solaris(2002) doesn't look like this.

This time spaceship goes to Uranus. Uranus the planet, you funny guys. Before ship lands to Uranus, alien intelligent takes control of the crew. When ship lands, everything around the ship looks like on Earth. Not just any place on Earth. Everything looks lake places crew members used to live on Earth. It is mix of different crew members memories. When crew members thinks about something, it soon appears next to crew. Soon crew realizes also people from their memories can appear. Some crew members take advantage of situation and start to think about their lovers.

Crew discovers earth like area is surrounded by force field. Air beyond force field is freezing cold. Crew go through force field and find what they expected to find. In this movie Uranus has solid icy ground. They find alien intelligent. This time alien doesn't use their pleasant memories. Crew barely survives the nightmarish creature. Their time is running out, if they want to get back to Earth. They make a plan to kill alien intelligence. Lovers sabotage the plan, but crew manages to kill alien. On their way back to ship they take one of lovers with them. Not everyone is happy about it, but it is captain's lover. When they get further from planet, lover disappears in front of their eyes.

When I talk about Solaris, I mainly mean Solaris (2002). I have seen Solaris(1972) few times, but don't remember much about it. I know about book, that it exists, but nothing more. Solaris doesn't explain where family members came from. There were no alien to fight against. Solaris left things much more open. This didn't leave things open. In Solaris they weren't sure what happened, if they took one of the family members back to Earth. They never do that. In this movie they take one back and it disappears after they got outside alien's range. In Solaris crew was unable to do anything. In this movie they could use violence to solve their problem.

Movie is low-budget movie. You see it in few special effects, but that doesn't matter. It is still worth watching. Science is not best possible and crew doesn't always act like crew you would sent to another planet. There are changes to nitpick, but the story is interesting. If you know Solaris, you might enjoy this more.


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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Forbidden Planet (1956)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Forbidden Planet (1956).

Leslie Nielsen is better known for his parody movies. This is his best movie. This is about thirty years before he became parody specialist. You may not notice, it is the same man, if you didn't know. Forbidden Planet is different kind of scifi movie in many way. It was quite different, when it was made. Soundtrack wasn't considered as music and composers weren't nominated for Oscars. Music was electronic noises at the time, when only handful of people made any kind of electronic music. It was mix between music and sound effects. It gave movie other worldly tone. At the time scifi movies were generally located at Earth. This happened at alien planet, which really looked like alien planet. And this had big budget.

Story is one of the best in scifi. I don't remember seeing anything similar in movies or television. Movie tells about rescue mission of expedition sent to Altair IV. Rescuers find only scientist and his daughter there. Everyone else has died and ship was destroyer. Scientist and daughter haven't had any problems for years. Scientist didn't want rescuers to land. He didn't want them to suffer faith of expedition. Things start to go wrong for rescuers. Someone or sabotages their ship. After that crew member gets brutally killed. When rescuers investigate Scientist's house, he reveals planet is actually home of ancient alien race Krell. Krell were highly advanced civilization, that disappeared overnight. They left behind self-sustaining great machines. Scientist have studied machines whole 20 years he has been on planet.

I won't spoil the whole story. I just say, that twist and ending are unexpected, but make perfect sense. Story is told like in best original Star Trek episode. Star Trek came years after this movie and was heavily influenced by this movie.  Movie showed, what serious science fiction movie looked like. Star Trek did that to tv series. Many ideas of Star Trek can be found in this movie.

Movie has three characters, that make it memorable. Scientist, scientist's daughter and Robby the Robot. Movie is quite boring before rescuers land on planet. There are reasons, why we remember Leslie Nielsen from his comedies. You can't be sure, if scientist is good or evil. Robby the Robot is his robot. He shows, it can do no harm to people, but you can't be sure, because you don't know, if you can trust the scientist or if he is in control of the robot.

Forbidden Planet is big budget scifi movie. It shows, what you could do at the time, if you put money in to it. I watched HD version of the movie. It looked good for almost 60 years old movie. It is one of the best scifi movies of 50's along with The Day the Earth Stood Still(1951) and War of The Worlds(1953). It is only one of the trio, which didn't have remake. There were plans for remake, but movie never came.


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Monday, June 23, 2014

Stan Helsing (2009)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Stan Helsing (2009).

I am pretty sure writers haven't seen Van Helsing (2004). Neither this movie has nothing to do with Dracula's nemesis Van Helsing. This is closer to the movie, which quite heavily reimagined Van Helsing and it has almost nothing to do with it. Hero's name is changed from Van Helsing to Stan Helsing. Mythical monsters are replaced with modern horror villains and hero is loser, who doesn't want to get involved.

Villain gallery includes Pinhead, Chucky, Jason, Freddy Kruger, Leatherface and Michael Myers. Jokes are on level of Freddy having problems on toilet. Writers really didn't know anything about these characters. Writers have just seen pictures of each villain and made jokes around that. Sorry, Freddy had short dream sequence. Someone must have told them about that. Surely they haven't seen anything they parody in this movie.

This is getting hard. Fourth parody in short time without anything interesting. Scary Movie 5 had celebrity cameos to give it some entertainment value. This doesn't have those. This is just like badly written serious movie with some parody elements and some dirty humor. It is reached to call it humor, but that is what it tries to be. I have never seen priest wearing lingerie in comedy. This must be extra funny, because in this he was almost priest. In other parodies best jokes came during credits. In this even cut scenes during credits are not funny. This makes those other movies look like masterpieces. I knew this was bad, but not this bad.

What you can say about movie, where funnies moments are heroes singing Ring of Fire in town destroyed by fire few years earlier and Team Villains singing YMCA with alternative lyrics. There must be a book telling comedies to go dirty, if they don't have good jokes. Disaster Movie and this went dirty and neither had any good jokes. Leslie Nielsen had one of his worst performances as old female waitress in this movie. It felt like he didn't even try. He was there saying his lines. He has come long way from Forbidden Planet (1956). His performance in this movie made me remember his only serious role I have seen. Forbidden Planet was good movie and it seems to be quite cheap on iTunes.

I think I will have break from parodies. I will get back to them and I have planned few better ones, if they don't disappear from streaming services. I started from ones I expected to be bad one. These four I have done are pretty much just waste of time. I could do something good next time. If only there was good scifi movie from 1956 on HD.


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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Scary Movie 5 (2013)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Scary Movie 5 (2013).

First Scary Movie was entertaining. Sequels have been from boring to painfully bad. Movies took one movie as basis of the style and story and added something from popular culture and other current movies. This time it is found footage movies.I assume, they did use Paranormal Activity. Assume, because I haven seen those movies, only parts of them. Everybody seems to be making parody movies and this is the fifth movie in this series. No wonder, jokes start to run out.

Only entertaining moments happen when Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan or Snoop Dogg is on screen. Those times movie can make fun of actor public appearance. Points for all the three for doing such a good self parody of themselves. Charlie and Lindsey start the movie by having one night stand. You have to know, what they have done to get everything out of this.  After that Snoop Dogg has few scenes. He is not himself in this movie like Charlie and Lindsey are, but you could have fooled me. Then there is boring horror parody until we get ending which completes one of Snoop Dogg's jokes. After end credits we get ending with Charley and Lindsey. You didn't watch the end credits?

I am nice guy this time and not make you watch the movie again. Turns out this was just Charlie's dream. He wakes up in his bedroom telling "DiCaprio", how weird dream he just had. "DiCaprio" tells him there was something real in the dream, since Lindsey is coming this night. Right after that Lindsey drives a car through the bedroom wall and hits Charlie. There was joke in beginning, how Charlie didn't want Lindsey to drive, because he is pedestrian and doesn't want to get hit by her car. I have to give credit to this movie for making celebrity cameos work. There was also Usher, who showed how to dance. Mike Tyson cameo was bad, but quickly over.

I have to say, I am not sure, if I have seen any of the movies this movie parodies. Based on promotional material I have seen, there was Paranormal Activity, Black Swan, new Planet of the Apes sequel (I have seen all originals and like the whole series, thanks for asking) and movie, where there is a cabin in the wood, but not The Cabin in the Woods. Joke about how many horror movies have a cabin in the woods was funny. But that was when Snoop Dogg was on screen. So what I said earlier still applies.

Main part felt almost like badly written serious horror movie. There were things you expect from parody movie, but nothing funny. I might have seen too many of these lately or good jokes are really running out for these kind of movies. You get all the best parts by watching beginning, where Charlie, Lindsey and Snoop Dogg have their scenes and then go to end, when Snoop Dogg returns and watch all cut scenes during credits and Charlie's and Lindsey's scene at the end.


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Monday, June 16, 2014

Pacific Rim (2013)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Pacific Rim (2013).

I wanted to hate this with passion. I wanted to go to see this at theater just to write bad review, when this was still hot. I didn't want to support this anyway. That is why I didn't go to theater. Now I had change to watch this without paying anything extra. And I don't hate it with passion. I don't like it either. It looks good and I understand, why some people liked it so much. But story is full of clichés and some  parts of movie make no sense. Besides looking good, it didn't have anything for me.

I didn't like the concept of Jägers. After seeing trailer first time, I wanted to know, why they had two people controlling Jäger. They explained it by telling one human could not handle stress of mental link to Jäger. So mental link to Jäger and another human is much easier. I don't understand, why they needed such deep connection to Jäger. After all Jäger followed their body movement. Connection hurt pilots, when something went broken, disabling the pilots. Whole connection thing made it harder to find pilots, because they had to be compatible. Pilots had to be ready from get go, because they used fully armed Jägers to test, if pilots were compatible. It was good thing, they could take weapons offline, when something went wrong. But weapons were online on first test. Made a lot of sense.

Build of Jäger made no sense too. Why would you build huge human shaped robots to fight monsters with fists? Only after program was cancelled, they gave them swords and knifes. For years until that point Jägers used only fists. First time Jäger used sword was after it had lost fist fight and had no other choice. Jäger pilots weren't so good with tactics or strategy. Kaiju came through one portal on interval they could calculate. No-one thought to build fortress around portal and kill Kaiju, when they came from portal. That was not an option. It was better to wait until they came closer to cities and fight, where fighting caused more destruction.

I would have build fortress and fought Kaiju from air with missiles jets and helicopters. No point putting you war machines on harm's way, if you don't have to. Some Jägers used missiles too. Those could have been loaded to jets and helicopters. Nothing in movie told, why that wouldn't have worked. Humans tried to build walls around coasts to stop Kaiju. Why not build fortress around portal? No, that would have made sense. Jägers program was cancelled to build walls, that slows Kaiju for an hour. Jäger could stop Kaiju, but politicians wanted to build walls that couldn't. It is probably cheaper to have army of robots than build walls around all continents and give oceans to Kaiju. Made a lot of sense.

Story was predictable and characters uninteresting. This movie was made for visuals. Many things didn't make any sense, but it looked good. I don't hate it with passion. I just don't like it. It just another entry of blockbuster movies with bad scripts and lot of cgi action. It is too much to ask for interesting story, when putting all effort on special effects is enough for most of the audience. For that I hate it, but I hate most of the other blockbusters for same reason.


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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Disaster movie (2008)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Disaster movie (2008).

When movie is named Disaster movie, you expect it to be parody of disaster movies. It is parody, but not about disaster movies. It is parody about every movie made just before this movie. There is disaster, but if you take that away, you would only lose couple minutes and few jokes. There was little from Day After Tomorrow, little from Twister and some falling meteorites. You would have missed anything, if you changed this apocalypse to thunder-storm. Tells you something about how much of a disaster movie this is.

I have only seen few of the parodied movies. I might have missed some jokes because of that. Movie shouldn't require you to watch other movies to be entertaining. However parodies of movies, I have seen, didn't work either. Hancock is movie about alcoholic superhero. This movie parodies it by showing him drunken. Everything of this movies Hancock could have been in Hancock. Maybe some of it was. Point is, this movie didn't bring anything interesting to Hancock. There were no real jokes. Just drunken superhero being drunk. In Wanted assassins could curve bullets around objects.  In this movie one guy tries that in party. He shoots two guys, because he can't do that. Then woman stands on front of him and ask him to try curving now. This time he manages to curve the bullet so good, that it goes around woman's head and hit her in forehead. In Wanted hero hit the target in similar situation.

Batman parody was Batman talking with Christian Bale's Batman voice and leaving the apocalypse. Day After Tomorrow parody was having cold wave from the movie. No joke, just similar instant freezing. I think those were parodies of movies I knew. Knowing the movie didn't help make those better. I assume it is same for every other joke too. Calling them jokes might be too much. There were no good jokes in this movie. it was just people acting weird and going for low hanging fruits. Most "jokes" were too long. I guess Miley Cyrus joke of album "Underaged" sound little bit different today than it sounded when movie was made. I am just guessing. I don't know Miley Cyrus of 2008.

Best thing in this movie is, that it is so short. Most of these movies are short. They don't have to make as many jokes in shorter movie as in longer. There are no real stories, just jokes. It is strange, that this movie has lower score in IMDB than Epic Movie. This is bad movie, but not painfully bad like Epic Movie. No, I won't do Epic Movie. I don't want to see it again. One time was more than enough.


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Monday, June 9, 2014

Superhero Movie (2008)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Superhero Movie (2008).

I honestly forgot, I have seen this before. This follows so close Sam Raimi's first Spider-man movie, it took me almost half an hour to realize, I have seen this before. In lab scene I remembered, one of these movie had horny animals joke, but even when it came, I didn't realize, I have seen this movie before. Tells you how forgettable the movie is. Best thing about it is, that it is so short. Movie takes only 70 minutes plus cut scenes during credits. Cut scenes had the best jokes. For those, who haven't seen the cut scenes, Dragonfly's sidekick is named Black C.... Rooster. Black Rooster.

Movie followed too closely Sam Raimi's Spider-man. Story and many of the scenes are from that movie. If you don't count short jokes, only X-Men plots and Stephen Hawkins were not from Spider-man. It is strange to me, that they used real names of X-Men in movie. Sorry, also Johnny Storm, Human Torch from Fantastic Four used name and likeness of comic character. However, that guy looked more like Mr Fantastic than Human Torch. Other characters didn't use names from superhero comics. Why not make new superheroes with ridiculous powers? X-Men and Fantastic Four jokes were quite generic. Over the top superheroes would have made them better.

Cast included Leslie Nielsen, parody specialist from golden age of parody movies. It was nice to see him. He has been in bad parody movies too, but this is not one of those. it is not good parody movie either. Movie was sold with Leslie Nielsen and Fantastic Four and X-Men characters. Pamela Anderson as Invisible Girl is shows for few seconds only. Human Torch few seconds longer. Wolverine and Storm don't have much more screen time. Professor Xavier has few minutes, when he brings Dragonfly to his school, but nothing more after that. Feels like these characters are in movie to have them on poster.

This is quite average parody movie. It follows source material closely and adds jokes to scenes. It doesn't get annoying like some parodies do. Maybe in one scene, where Aunt sleeps on couch. But only in that one scene. It doesn't try too much. X-Men and Fantastic Four scenes feel unnecessary , but without them movie would have been just over hour. There weren't any really good moments, if you don't count couple jokes from cut scenes. Movie is produced by David Zucker from parody power trio Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. With him and Leslie Nielsen, this got something from golden age of parody movie, but it doesn't got the magic of trio's best works.


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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Monsters Vs. Aliens(2009).

I kind of wanted to see this, but was afraid, that movie wouldn't be as good as the premise. What is worst for DreamWorks, movie makes me think, how much better movie Pixar would have made out of this story. DreamWorks doesn't take as much changes as Pixar does. That makes DreamWorks' movies much lamer than Pixar's movies. In The Incredibles we got hilarious lecture, why superheroes should not use capes. Here we got blob named Bob and news reporter's comment, how ufos always land on America. In this movie alien had good reason to land to America and I don't think they land only on America that often in other movies. It is reasonable assume, that American movies happen in America.

Pixar knows the their source material and respects it. For example The Incredibles is one of the best superhero movies ever made. Pixar made fun of superhero clichés, but they respected superheroes enough that superhero fans found it hilarious too. DreamWorks used interesting references, but didn't respect sources enough to be true to them. For example, this movie has a scene, where President plays Yamaha DX7. It has name and looks of DX7. But unlike DX7, it has build in rhythm tracks or drum machine, which make it feel like cheap all around keyboard for home use. Yamaha DX7 was considered affordable synth.  That is still about ten times more than what it was made to look like in this movie. There was no reason to make keyboard DX7 and drum machine part didn't bring much to movie. I may be biased, but I think it made movie worse. I don't own DX7, but know the synth, because it is considered as classic vintage synth and it had important role in popular music.

The premise is interesting. Old scifi monsters fighting against invading alien. Main character Ginormica is 50 Ft. Woman. Bob is heavily modified version of Blob. It can talk and doesn't get any larger than it already is. Origin story made sure, we understand this is Blob. It had so similar images to original Blob movie, that you can't miss them, if you remember the original movie. Dr Cockroach is mad scientist, who became human cockroach in similar experiment, that Fly movies had. Insectosaurus is pretty much like Godzilla's friend Mothra. Missing Link is Creature from the Black Lagoon. Origin stories are not like in source material and characters are made to fit kid's movie, but similarities to sources are obvious.

Invading alien is Gallaxhar, who want to collect quontinium from Ginormica. Gallaxhar sends robot harvester to collect quontinium. When Monsters beat robot, he comes himself to earth in peace, but in order to kill tmost and enslaving the survivors. Monsters vs robot battle missed great opportunity to show us kaiju style fight. Insectosaurus and robot stared at each others for some time, but they never fought. It was huge disappointment. One of many. DreamWorks didn't dare to take any changes. They just picked low hanging fruits, which made movie predictable and lame. Half of the best moments can be found in trailer I posted. Movie has lot of references to other movies, but most of them are only names.

Movie got two tv speacial sequels and one short film. First tv special Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space (2009) has whole cast of the movie. To me it worked better than movie. It was shorted and more horror oriented, when the movie was more alien invasion scifi oriented. It also looked better than movie. Second tv special  Monsters vs. Aliens: Night of the Living Carrots (2011) was direct sequel to first tv special. This had only Bob, Dr Cockroach and Missing Link. It was weird, because it happened in Ginormica's home town and featured her parents. It looked as good as first special, but story wasn't as interesting. It was also only half as long as first special. Sort film B.O.B.'s Big Break (2009) also had only  Bob, Dr Cockroach and Missing Link. It happens before Ginormica and Insectosaurus joined to group. It has Invisible Man, who was only mentioned in the movie.


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Monday, June 2, 2014

John Dies at the End (2012)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie John Dies at the End (2012).

I am starting to think, this movie wasn't supposed to make any sense. It is like those weird movies, which explain everything at the end with exception, that it doesn't explain anything at the end. It is just weird for weirdness' sake. I have theory of what happens in this movie, but it makes lot of assumptions and it doesn't explain almost anything. This post probably won't make much sense, if you haven't seen the movie. I am not sure, it does even, if you have.

Story has two heroes. Main character is Dave, who reminds me little of Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker. He has friend named John, who reminds me of Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker. I am pretty sure, this wasn't their intention, but to me they feel like old and new Spider-Man. Movie starts with the paradox of  Theseus' ship. This time it is told with axe and zombie. Dave kills man with axe. He chops man's head off. He breaks the handle, which he replaces. Later he kills weird worm with same axe. This time he breaks the head, which he replaces. Later dead man comes as zombie, with different head and asks Dave, is he holding the same axe that killed him. Is it the same axe? Answer to that should explain everything or something like that. Movie never returns to this scene and movie is not about the paradox. So it was just cool opening with nothing to do with the rest of the movie.

You can watch this movie two ways. Either everything, that happens, happens for real or this shows Dave using drugs and most of the movie is his hallucinations. First way movie makes no sense. It doesn't establish any rules and doesn't follow any logic. With second way, movie start to make some sense and it doesn't have as many big problems. Movie tells about two friends, Dave and John, who travel between different universes and fight against strange monsters. I will explain the second way here. Watching the movie will help understanding this. Drug they use is called soy sauce.

Events start at John's bands concert. There Dave meet Jamaican drug dealer. Drug dealer can tell Dave's dreams. This is one of the problematic parts when watching movie second way. Drug dealer is using soy sauce, which gives that sort of ability. However Dave is in something at this point. So this could be some sort of hallucination too. Later that night, John has lost it and calls Dave.  Dave goes to John's places, where John sees hallucinations.  Dave finds syringe of soy sauce, which he puts into his pocket. He takes John to hospital. On their way to hospital Dave start to see hallucination. Later he realizes syringe in his pocket has injected soy sauce into him. So hallucinations came from drugs.

Detective Appleton takes Dave and John to police station. Police station scene is another problem for second way. To be exact, the door of the room, where Appleton interrogate Dave is problem. When Appleton comes to room, another police came also and another police closes the door. Later we learn, another police is not real and the door won't close by itself. So who closed that door? To be fair this is minor problem considered to problems, if this all was real. Dave is having hallucinations at this point, so that door thing could be hallucination.

During interrogation, Appleton tells, John is only survivor of Jamaican drug dealer's party after the concert. All others have died horrible. This could be because of bad drugs they used. Soon after that Appleton is told, John has died too. Which would mean, the title is a lie, since this is first third of the movie. Title is a lie also, if this all was real. Dave escapes the police station after John dies.  John helps his escape giving him instructions on phone. This is one of the hallucinations. When he stop hallucinating, John's phone call ends.

Dave's rare sober moment ends, when he finds Jamaican drug dealer's  trailer. There he finds soy sauce pills. He takes them and he is soon reunited with John and they fight monsters in this and other universes. So, why I think second way is correct way to watch this movie. After John dies at police station, Dave doesn't see him, if he is not on drugs. He get calls from him, but every time he sees him, he sees other hallucinations too. Weird adventures make more sense, if they happened only on Dave's head. This way only has two small problems instead of huge problems, if all this was real. Sober and drugged moments makes sense, if you think some drugged moment have some connections to reality and other drugged moments Dave just lies on floor watching the ceiling.

Alternative is to explaining bigger problems. How Arnie's car got to parking lot, if Arnie was Dave's imagination? How real Arnie's body was on trunk? Why man in alternative universe told, no-one could travel to our universe, when we saw creatures from alternative universe all the time? What soy sauce actually was? It was alive, when Dave was drugged and it was hinted it chose Dave. Not to mention all the other continuity errors, which made movie feel like they came up with new weird stuff as they went on.

I like weird movies, which make you think. But this was just weirdness for weirdness' sake. Anything could happen and nothing earlier mattered. Movie has few good ideas. It is worth watching, if you are in to weird movies. Just don't think it would make any sense. It took me few days and two watching to write this post and I still think it doesn't make any sense.


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