By: Justin Hopkins
Werewolves have always been a strange topic for me. Either love them or strongly dislike them and not much space in between and it often doesn’t really ever come down to the characters, but the actual transformation and how they go about portraying the Werewolf. What parts of the lore they use and there spin on them can easily make or break the movie for me. So much so I have tended to avoid Werewolf movies in general, but that is the point of what I am doing during the lock down. Using my free time to check out movies I have wanted to watch and give my opinion and American Werewolves In London has been on the list longer than it should be. So, without further adieu, let’s dive in to the 1981 classic and discuss shall we.
The movie starts with some looks around the England country side, before meeting two Backpacking travelers, Jack and David. Sitting in the back of a truck with a bunch of sheep. Being dropped off in the middle of nowhere. Being warned to stay on the road and they started to walk. They are on a three month trip and Jack was complaining about not being in Rome and how he wants to hook up with a woman named Debbie. While David is just happy to be here and seeing the sights. When they come across a small Village and the Slaughtered Lamb Pub. Where everyone stops doing what they are doing to look at them when they come in, but they loosen up over a joke about the Alamo. Only to get hostile when Jack asks about the five point star. To the point where they try to leave. Most of them want them to as well, except the bartender, but they leave with the warning to stay on the road and beware the full moon. They immediately stray off the road and get lost. Getting scared by the animal howls and various other sounds. and decide to retreat back to the Slaughtered Lamb. Meanwhile, we go back to the pub and they are arguing about what they have done. Back at Jack and David who are fleeing and David trips. When Jack goes to his aide. He is attacked by a monster. Being ripped and torn apart. David initially flees, but comes back to try and help, but it is to late and gets attacked himself. But as soon as it starts, David is saved by the people from the Pub, who shot the monster and are looking down at him as he blacked out. Taken to a hospital in London. He wakes briefly and says the name, Jack, before blacking out again. The nurses, Miss Price and Gallagher are chatting about him and what happened and the Doctor says he was attacked by a madman and his friend Jack had died. When he finally does come around, it’s three weeks later, and has to be sedated because of the news of his friend’s death. Much to the embassy workers chagrin. Before he falls asleep again. Says it wasn’t a madman, but a wolf that did it. That day, Scotland Yard pays the Doctor and David a visit. Calling him out on his story. That they have an autopsy from the madman and two witnesses saying he was the attacker, but David isn’t budging on his story, although they say the case is closed and leaves. We get a random image of him running through the woods and eat a deer, and we are back at the hospital where Nurse Price, Alex, forces him to eat and they start to bond. When he goes to sleep, he dreams of men in monster masks, killing him and his family. Waking up, seeing another man in a mask killing Alex. He finally does wake and is served breakfast. The door closes and a shredded Jack is standing there. Telling him that he is here to warn him. That they were attacked by a Werewolf. That he is stuck walking the world of limbo, till the bloodline of the wolf is ended, and the only way for that to happen, is for David to kill himself. Needs to do it before the Full Moon, or he will kill more people when David turns into a Werewolf himself and that is where I will leave it for now.
This was a fun little story, especially when it came to the Jack and David story arch. Each time we see Jack he gets more and more deformed. Despite how he was telling him to kill himself, when David finally does come around to the idea. You can tell it was something that Jack wasn’t taking it lightly and wanted it to be as easy and peaceful as it could be. Than they threw in all of his victims following along with Jack, from David’s first shift and that may actually be the best scene in the movie. The prosthetic and make up the ghosts were wearing were great. Making Jack look not only mortifying, but still maintaining levels of sympathy for what he went through at the same time.
Alright, the Werewolf transformation was alright. They went on a more slow approach and for the most part, looked good throughout. Particularly on his face morphing outward and taking on the canine look and did like the look of the Werewolf we got. We only get a few quick shots of him, but what we do see really works. Although, I wasn’t a fan of how it started. With him just starting to scream. Sure it would get to that point, but going from 0 to a hundred didn’t work, but other than that. Was all good.
The character and world was really intriguing. From everyone at the bar at the beginning. The were secretive and not welcoming, but can see that they still cared. To the point they actually saved David when they could have just left him for dead. Would have gladly watched more of them. Alex was a strong character and easily would have liked to see her play more of a role toward the end, but was good throughout. Had a great supporting cast, all making David stand out. Which speaks strongly of the cast.
David Naughton did a great job as David. Being sympathetic and endearing. Wanted to see him pull through it and having a happy ever after. Good chemistry with Griffin Dunne and Jenny Agutter, Jack and Alex. Who each played their worlds perfectly. To the point where I kind of wanted to see more of each. Along with everyone else for that matter.
Alright, to the negatives. This is billed a comedy, but with the exception of one scene, the movie theater with the ghosts of David’s victims telling him ways to kill himself, there wasn’t much in the way of comedy for me. It was mostly dry and while that is my normal preference, it just didn’t really work for me. I think age may have been a factor, because their was the whole, him waking up in the zoo and having to find clothes, which is something I have seen in other movies and cartoons and the bumbling cop is kind of overplayed.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending either. David dying wasn’t the issue, but was expecting Alex to play into it and would have liked to see her interacting with David in the Werewolf form. Even for a moment, cause they might have been able to get more out of the ending had they had her there for the shooting and that it was the only way to stop David.
This was a good movie with some solid characters and a good Werewolf and while I did like it and would suggest checking it out if you haven’t seen it. It’s not one I can see myself watching again. The negatives and lackluster ending kind of pushes it below a few other Werewolf movies that I would go for first. Final Grade – B
I hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I almost didn’t watch this. After the last movie. Had no real reason to believe it would get any better here. Unfortunately, would have bothered me if I didn’t actually watch it and since I begrudgingly did. Might as well do the review and polish off the run. We started off with a interesting taking on a really good, smooth talking, intimidating monster in the form of a Djinn. A creature who killed and maimed using the victims own deepest desires. A monster badly diluted in the third. How did they fair in the finale. Lets dive in and check it out.
We start off with the quote from the first movie, that is still missing a part at the end. Then we are with a young couple riding a bike up to a fixer-upper home. Loving couple who immediately go up to the room and break the bed and then draws her in a provocative position before they leave and we jump ahead three years. Seeing her, Lisa, going to a friend and lawyer, Steven. Who is working on a settlement for them after some incident. He gives her a metal box and drops it when he tries to kiss her. Cause he has been so good throughout this and doesn’t like the way Sam treats her. When she looks down she sees the Red Opal. After brief contact with the stone to give it back to him. Getting a glimpse of the monster inside. Giving it back to him and after agreeing to get it appraised he locks it in the safe and she leaves. We see her going home and the bike is in ruin and Sam is in a wheelchair. Drinking, angry man who is looking up porn online. While back at the lawyers, the Djinn wakes up. Once again, using the waker term because that wasn’t irritating enough in the third movie. Taking the identity of Sam and goes about attempting to complete the prophecy and Lisa starts firing them off, since she only ever sees Sam. Doesn’t know who he is and just starts wishing. That the case could be settled, so her and her boyfriend can work on their relationship. Which only results in another argument over sex. Than wishes he could walk. Thinking it would make him calm down. Which results in another argument because he thinks she is sleeping with Sam during the dinner and storms off to the strip club. She goes to Steven and there, she makes another wish, that he would love her for who she really is. He can’t grant it because of free will and sets out to try and find out how to make her love him, fulfilling that wish. Which going by every conversation in this movie, is by having sex with her. While a hunter has been sent to kill the waker.
Okay, the positives, the gore was actually pretty good throughout. The best being the opposing lawyer who was being made to cut parts off himself and I think that may have been it. There was killer sex, but honestly, that rolls into the negative territory. Luckily, we are done with the positives.
This either written by porn writers who had nothing better to do, or freelancers who only know how to write sex. There is not a meaningful conversation held nearly throughout the entire runtime. Diana and the boyfriend’s issues are because they haven’t had sex. Which her friend tells Steven is the way to make her fall in love. Than the same at the strip club. Meanwhile, Sam is angry because they haven’t had sex in three years, and their one good moment was them having sex and her posing for the picture. They couldn’t be bothered to even try and build any other dynamics. Which should not be hard to do, but they simply fail at.
No own to the wish that created the issue for the Djinn…it doesn’t work. No matter what happens, she is directing the wish to Steven. In his view, that would be the equivalent of someone getting arrested for Identity Fraud and being charged under the name they stole. Plus, it doesn’t matter, we have seen wishes that the Djinn couldn’t grant and they would simply have to wish again. Like Alexandra wishing he was dead and Morgana wishing for no evil in the world. If they wish can’t granted, it becomes negated and all he had to do was get her to wish again.
Now, I know the argument is that this is not the same Djinn and his stone was found in a dime store tin that, despite seeing the lines on the side, had never been opened before, but the problem is they opened with the same quote from the first movie. If you don’t want to draw comparisons don’t start us off with a reminder of a movie that so, so much better than this and it’s a shame that it is tied together by name.
The first two movies are some really good horror movies, with Andrew Divoff giving us a stellar monster in the form of the Djinn and when I think of the series. That will be what I hold dear. Leaving this in the bin with the third. Final Grade = F
As always I hope you enjoy and looking forward to a more positive review next time..
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Alright than. So, we bid farewell to Andrew Divoff with Evil Never Dies and march on to Wishmaster 3 Beyond The Gates Of Hell. I knew I would miss him, but willing to see what the new guy has to offer and with his goal being to release his race. Means that there is more than one Djinn and all we are doing is getting a new Djinn which is an interesting prospect… Yeah, I will use my intro to give you a heads up, while I try to be impartial and give both good and bad…this is going to be a lot more negative than I normally give to a movie. Let’s dive in shall we.
We open up with a woman, Diana, having a nightmare of a car flipping over in a nasty accident. She wakes up, but still having flashes of the accident. We see her as a child and getting into an argument with her Mom and her Dad was distracted and missed a down truck and that’s what caused the accident and while he gets her out. When he is trying to get her Mom out though, it explodes. All the while, Diana is climbing up on the roof. Contemplation on her face and they tease it by her boyfriend going up and not being able to find her right away and she scares him. She saying she thought he knew her better and he says you never really know. Romantic moment. The next day, she is meets up with her friend and they talk about her going to grad school and what will her and her boyfriend do and all of that. After class the Professor reminds her of meeting him at the museum at 5:30 which infuriates her boyfriend. Thinking he is losing out to some geek boy professor for reasons I suppose. Jump to 5:30 and she arrives and he isn’t there and she starts without him after only about five minutes go by. Finding a box that she solves after a lengthy amount of time just staring at it and uses a pen to push a button. Finding a fire opal inside. When she wipes it off with a cloth and gets a vision of the monster inside. Inspecting a disturbance and jump scared by the professor, who is proud of her discovery and wants to celebrate with wine and dinner to get to know her. After politely shooting him down, breaking his heart. She leaves and the Djinn and oh no, we are stopping here because just absolutely not.
I get that they couldn’t duplicate what Andrew Divoff did with Nathaniel and would normally applaud them for trying something new, but how could anyone think that this was the right direction to go. You went from a Djinn how was such a smooth, elegant talking monster. Who used charisma to get people to open up to him to someone who said the line,” where is my waker?” Then tried resorting to blackmail the professor for information. This was taking a good, intimidating, force of nature that we got to know in the first two movies and stripping it of everything that made him special, sticking spikes into it’s brain till foam starting coming out of it’s mouth and turned on the cameras.
That isn’t even the only flaw with the it’s a new Djinn though, because they kept the fire stone and the Persia background. So, when you see the Opal you automatically think about Nathaniel who was trapped in the stone by a sorcerer. I.E he was. This one could have been trapped in anything which would have helped at least translate it a little more. She even found the quote from the first movie in her research.
Now I have to apologies to Evil Never Dies, cause I called that one heavy handed with the god angle. Since the Djinn are not in Catholicism or Christianity and such and would have been better had they worked within the Arabic Roots if they gone that way, but they handled it so much better there than they did here. Diana actually called upon the Arch Angel Micheal to stop the Djinn. Which caused so many conversations that made me reach for the remote and created the most painful endings.
Alexandra from the first, genuinely felt like she outsmarted The Djinn and pulled out the win. Even Morgana, within the story they were telling, kind of had to use her mind. By bringing back the man she killed, cleansed her soul and allowed her to take the stone and trap him again. This one though…despite the Djinn having the power to protect the one who woke them up, from gunfire when they are not even around. Had to run over and grab Diana to stop her from falling. Which somehow managed to grant her the chance to use Michael’s sword and stab him in the chest. That was it. All she had to do. A stupid which that brought an Arch Angel down who did nothing but throw his sword at a random moment. Didn’t even bother trying to come up with something cleaver or smart. Just sword to the chest and done.
I am not going to trash the make-up and prosthetic to much. It didn’t look good and changing the eye color was an awful choice. The orange and red flicked contacts were the best features. I get them trying to change from Nathaniel, but they used a ton of other things from him. Should have used that too.
I’ll give them this. The heart break wish was good. That was it. The line of pros end their.
This movie should be held as a gleaming example of how not to recast. Andrew Divoff was the pillar of these movies and if they were going to replace him. They needed to do far better than this. Nothing worked her. From the acting, story, characters and the wises, the thing we are hear for, fail due to changing from an charming, charismatic Djinn to a neanderthal one who just white knuckled everyone and made it underwhelming. This movie gets a F and dreading the fourth. Final Grade = F
Sorry about the rant. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
And off we go in our trip through the Wishmaster series, with Wishmaster 2 Evil Never Dies. A straight to video release that came out in 1999, with Andrew Divoff returning as the villainous Djinn and the last of the series that I have seen before. While the first movie remains a favorite of mine. How does the second one hold up and fair to a more impartial viewing? Let’s dive in and discuss shall we.
They start off fast, with a robbery going south at a museum. Sirens start to go off and shootout commences between the guards and the thieves. One of the shots, hits the statue and knocks out the Fire Opal. Morgana picks it up and ends up saving her, when a bullet hits it again. Shattering and beginning to glow. Before they find out why, a guard shows up and shots her boyfriend, Eric. Who tells her to go. While she is escaping, the Djinn comes out, in his slimy serpent form. Asking Eric if he wishes the pain to go away. To which, Eric replies that he wishes he was never born. and immediately begins to shift in reverse from adult to teen to child and eventually nothing. As the Djinn was collecting the stone. A cop shows up, ordering him to freeze and the Djinn froze him. By the time the rest of the cops arrives, he is in his human form and willingly surrenders and takes full responsibility of all the crimes Morgana and Eric committed. While Morgana is having a break down over her lose and killing the guard. ” Nathaniel” is being interrogated and driving the cop insane. Cop not believing his story while The Djinn is trying to get him to slip up and ask for something, till he just sends him to lock up at county. Morgana sees it and only adds to her guilt. While he is in county, he grants one of the prisoner’s wish of walking right out the bars, by him getting flung up against the bars and forcefully shoved between them, in a gruesome sight. While Morgana sees it in her dreams. The next day she goes off to a Catholic Church to meet Father Gregory. Wanting to talk to him about what was happening and he was not really willing to listen, but let her talk. Asking if he believed in the Devil and when he asked what her point was. She tells him about Eric being dead and he more or less shrugs it off. Saying he wasn’t right for her and she storms away after an argument. Meanwhile, back at a state penitentiary and fulfilling another wish. Telling them to spread the word to their friends. The next morning, she confesses to Gregory and goes to visit Nathaniel, to find out what is going on, and why he confessed and why is he appearing in her dreams and what is the prophecy. He tells her that she’ll learn in time and he is in her only temporarily, needing to collect souls. After catch a glimpse of his true self and panics. Leaving to go find out more about him and what he is collecting souls for before he is finished and comes for her three wishes and will end it there for now.
They really took what made the first movie great doubled down on it. By giving the Djinn the goal of needing a thousand and one souls before he even cares about collecting the three from Morgana, means that we get more Divoff and more wishes. Some being overtly gory and some funny. Most over the top, but wanted so much more just to see how he would twist the conversation to meet his goal. Bringing back the part scene at a casino this time and still works just as well. A bit more CGI affects, but the practical ones were still as much fun as they were in the first.
They changed up the make-up and prosthetic of the Djinn. Losing the armor and cape, for more human body. Face being more shrunken which allowed the horns sticking out of his head and the spiked shoulders stood out more because of this change. Was the same coloring and more slimy but they did a great job and one thing they did keep was his orange and red flicked eyes and that made up for any change. They are just so menacing and make the look that much better for it.
Cast wise, this was very much a one man show, Andrew Divoff just knew this character so well and brought out every nuance and tick and made every second of screen time a blast. He just came across as so unusual and terrifying and when he was even enjoying himself and taunting Morgana and Gregory, it was unsettling and just so well done. In my first review, claimed he was potentially more scary in his human form then he was as the Djinn. This time around, it is absolutely true. He was fantastic and made this such a fun time.
A mixed one, was Holly Field. She wasn’t bad when she wasn’t bad, and was better when she was opposite Andrew. She took a tumble when she was paired with Paul Johansson. She wasn’t very good, but not awful either.
Now, who was awful was Paul Johansson’s character Gregory. Every word out of him is delivered in a flat, near emotionless pitch and so, so repetitively. He offers nothing of substance. He is not likable throughout and has quite a few… jerk lines and can’t even enjoy his death because he is just that bad of a character and acted.
One final negative and don’t know if its a big one or not was that this had such a shove it down your throat Catholicism story thread that just drags things down. Djinn are more attached to Arab religions. Not against going religious to beat him, but at least go through the ones with them more highlighted in. The first movie really felt like Alexandra pulled the win out of the fire by outsmarting him and this just felt so bland in comparison, because Morgana didn’t really didn’t do anything.
At the end of the day, I am giving it a B. While Morgana and Gregory were more on the bad side. Andrew Divoff pulls this film up several levels on his performance as Nathaniel alone. He was just so, so good. The gore is there and some pretty funny moments throughout. It is not as good as the first, but still fun to be had here. Final Grade = B
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thanks For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Feeling a bit nostalgic and thumbing through my Dvds when I came across an old favorite of mine. Wishmaster being among the first horror movies I watch as a kid and has stuck with me ever since and figured; why not, lets not do just a review of the first Wishmaster, but the series. Covering all four reviews over the next week or so. Some I have seen. Some I haven’t. In the end, going to have a good time regardless. So, lets gets started by diving into the first shall we.
We get things started during the opening credits. Watching the Fire Ruby being forged and opening words. Detailing the birth of the Universe, Angels, Man, and finally the Djinn. That the person who awakens the Djinn, gets three wishes. Upon the third, the legion of Djinn will be freed from the veil between the worlds and to fear them and them alone. Leading us to Persia in 1127 A.D. Where a pharaoh was making a wish and how horrific the wish was being twisted and the people were being devastated in twisted ways. Before he made the third, the Sorcerer interrupted. Sealing him away in the ruby. Jumping to today, we see a Museum Curator receiving a statue from the docks, but the Crane Handler was drinking on the job. Argument leading to his drink spilling and caused the Box to drop on top of the Curator’s Assistant. Killing him and shattering the statue. While the Curator is fuming over the loss of the statue. Doesn’t see the Dock Worker pocket the hidden Ruby. Who took it to a Pawn Shop, and the shop owner brought it to be appraised and the owner was more than happy to pass it along to his best; Alex. Who is currently playing Tennis with her best friend, Josh. Who wants them to be more than friends, but after some loss in her life. Alex doesn’t want to lose anything more in her life. Departing on him asking her to think about his offer for dinner and a movie. Jumping to her at work. Starting to evaluate the ruby. Inadvertently, kick starting the awakening of the Djinn. Realizing that there was something wrong, she takes it to Josh to get testing on the inside of the ruby. Going off to coach the girls basketball team, and she sees the Djinn exploding out of the gem. Injuring Josh in the process. The creatures gets him to wish the pain would end, which kills him and allows him to gather the energy to regain his true form. With him out, powering the Ruby with the souls of everyone who makes a wish, till it is time to go to get the three from Alex. She is scrambling to get any sort of information on the Djinn and how to stop his reign of terror and that is where I will leave it for now.
I really love the story they tell throughout. Was a simple story that was told excellently. The twists on the wishes went from horrific, like the pharmacist getting Cancer and the party scenes at the beginning and end. The party scene heavy on the gore and effects that are criminally underrated. To the more comical ones like the Houdini trap and the million dollar insurance policy. Pacing was spot on ramping up in intensity perfectly.
Then there was the way they handled the all powerful Djinn. The make-up and prosthetic were beautiful and he feels terrifying in his movements and gestures. Playing off the fact that he couldn’t really do anything without a wish to twist. Particularly with the guard telling him to leave and he was actually leaving. Not able to resist in anyway. Showed just how precise Alex was going to have to be to beat him at the end. In a way, the one thing that hurt the monster side was his human, cause the Nathaniel part was just as fantastic. His ticks and mannerisms. Smooth talking and reading his victims. Knowing just way to say, whether it was bringing out their vanity or get under their skin with frustration and getting them to open up. He was better that human than he was under the costume. Which is a huge applause to the actor, Andrew Divoff.
Andrew Divoff performance was simply spectacular as the Djinn. Like I said above, he brought out a level of fear and style in both forms. He ranks really high in my book of best horror villains, as controversial as that may sound, but he is just that good throughout. Aided by a good performance from Tammy Lauren as Alexandra. I have watched the scene between the two of them in Wendy’s Apartment a hundred times. The chemistry between them was just spot on that even the conversations were a blast. Then you had a Murder’s Row of whose who in horror. Start with narration from Angus Grim. Joseph Pilato, Reggie Bannister, Ted Raimi, George ” Buck” Flowers, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, and Robert Englund and probably more that I missed. All except for Angus dying at the hands of the new monster, but were a blast to see appear.
Negative wise, is a short little thing and that was an bit of audio issue with the Djinn. At times he is extremely hard to hear, but was only really and issue when they were in the ruby.
Alright. I am going to give it a give it a higher grade than it probably deserves. The fact is anytime anyone asks for a suggestion, this is normally the high on the list. It holds a special place in my heart. I have a blast every time I watch it. Gore, effects, comedic moments and Andrew Divoff. Had the line-up of Horror Acting Prestige. Everything I love and helped kick start my love of horror. Final grade = A+
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins:
Money In The Bank is a funny thing. Can really make or break someone and create moment that lasts forever. From Brock using the beat box last year, to Rob Van Dam uses his for a match at One Night Stand. Seth Rollins crashing the scene of the Main Event at Wrestlemania or my favorite, The Edge cash in on John Cena at New Years Revolution. Some decent moments, the Orton, Alexa, and Bayley Cash ins. Than the bad, Corbin, Sandow, and Strowman. Whatever will happen this year, where the formula is changed up completely, with Money On The Roof. The contestants are going to be battling their way to the top of WWE Headquarters where a ring will be set up and the briefcases will be hanging above. Men’s and Women’s matches will be going on at the same time and have no idea how they are planning on pulling that off, but I am excited to see how they plan on doing this. So, lets dive in a try to predict those matches and the rests of the card, shall we.
Four Way Tag Team Championships – Forgotten Sons vs Miz And Morrison vs Lucha House Party vs New Day (Champions)
This is actually a pretty tricky one to predict. See Miz and Morrison breaking up soon, so not them. As much fun as it would be seeing the house party actually win something for a change, they are more there to up the numbers and they really haven’t done enough for the Forgotten Sons to get the win here. So, by process of elimination here, got to go with the champs retaining here. Winner – New Day.
Smackdown’s Women Championship – Tamina vs Bayley (Championship)
I would love to be apart of the sweeping Tamina Train. Believe in the underdog story of someone who has been around for so long and chase for new rivalries to go off it. Wouldn’t have to be long..but we seem so close to having the renewed rivalry of Bayley and Sasha.. but do they need the title for that. Not really… I don’t think they will give the strap to Tamina though. So, going with the champ to defend. Winner – Bayley.
WWE Universal Championship – Bray Wyatt vs Braun Strowman (Champion)
This one another tough would to pick, and almost seems that by having Wyatt going instead of The Fiend might suggest that Strowman is going to get the win, and I am kind of for it. I don’t want to see Strowman be a transitional champion. Would like to see him have a decent run with the belt until things get back to normal and Roman returns, and who knows. This can actually turn into something special, if they let him run with it. Winner – Braun Strowman
WWE Championship – Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre (Champion)
Speaking of something special. Drew has really been making the most of the empty arena settings and don’t see any reason to take the strap off him before a crowd can celebrate it formally. Wouldn’t want to see him lose it and win it back in front of a crowd… because I am afraid that they will lose interest in him before that and not get another run. So, for safety reasons, I really want to see a successful defense. Winner – Drew McIntyre
Men’ Money On The Roof – A.J. Styles vs Daniel Bryan vs King Corbin vs Aleister Black vs Rey Mysterio vs Otis
You have no idea how badly how much I want to say Shayna or Asuka wins this briefcase. Each of them are capable of mixing it up with the guys and the matches are going to be transpiring at the same time. What if they are fighting on the roof, beating the guys up and women’s case has been snatched up and bodies are laying. A distraught Shayna can’t believe she lost, but looks up at the men’s case. Cuts away to the guys and they come through the door in time to see Shayna bringing it down. but I don’t think they will do something as gutsy. Going to go with A.J. for his work on the Boneyard match. Winner – A.J Styles
Women’s Money On The Roof – Shayna Baszler vs Asuka vs Lacey Evans vs Nia Jaxs vs Dana Brooke vs Carmella
This really feels like a two woman fight here. Lacey, Carmella, and Nia all kind of have reasons to win. Adding something to the case, but Asuka and Shayna are on fire, and Asuka has probably been the brightest star in the empty arena. Able to bring life to every segment and match she is apart of and really want to see her dancing around with the case. So going with the heart and predict the Empress is walking away with it. Winner – Asuka
Bonus pick – Otis is going off the roof.
There are some rumored matches, which I am just going to ignore cause I can’t even guess if they will actually happen or not. With that said, this should be a fun event to watch, one way of the other. Sort of a danger from the Money on the roof matches being overcrowded and beyond hectic, but glad to see them trying something new here and that is all I can ask.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
** SPOILER WARNING**
I saw this movie pop up on Tubi TV quite a few months back and for some odd reason, kept pushing it back. Each time I was going to watch, would push it back for some other reason, but that is the point of the last few weeks. To catch up on the movies on my list and now was the time to scratch off this one. Let’s dive into this ninth century film has to offer and discuss shall we.
We start off by a man being chased in the woods, by an unseen enemy. As he fall, we jump to a woman, Runa, hunting a deer. Flashing back, to when she was a little girl. Learning how to use a bow from her Dad, before jumping back to her downing the deer. She lives in a small shack with her Sister, Mother, and blind Grandfather. Their Father has been gone for two years on a raid, and his absence still weighs heavily on them. Particularly, Runa, who is compared to him twice. Once by her dreams and another by the way she loves her bow and arrow. Each time effecting her. When she finds out her Mother is selling her Father’s horse. She storms off on a fishing trip. Where she falls asleep. Having a nightmare and when she wakes up. Finds herself in the lake. On her way out, finds a flock of dead birds on the lakeside. Her sister pried at her for more, but shifted the conversation back to Dad. Which Runa snapped a bit. Saying he was not coming back or dead. Which angers her Mother. Sparking into a bigger argument later. With Her Mother believing he pretty much left them to rot. Ending with Runa leaving to go on a hunt. Meeting up with her Grandfather. Confiding in him about her dream and the birds. Believing that they might be an omen. He tells her it was probably nothing and to not looking at them so hard or she would see omens in everything. Back on the hunt, she finds an injured warrior. Bringing them back home and after guilt tripping her Mother. They begin to aide him back to health. When he comes to days later, tells the Grandfather, that he rode with the Dad and that he was alive as a weeks ago. Everyone gathering around, listening to him tell the tale of his men out looting, coming across gold rings attached to buried bodies. That they took, but the next day. The group begins to turn on one another and he would have died if it wasn’t for their Dad. Who said for him to meet him here. As his strength returns, begins to help with chores. Teaching Runa to fight with an axe, and than, the Dad returns to a joyous ovation, and while Runa seems happy. Can sort of see her upset at the same time, but soon becomes clear that they evil they faced and committed. Has followed the Dad home and that is where I will leave it for now.
This is a very slow build of a movie. It really takes it’s time to get to where it is going. Setting up the relationship and characters, over building the incoming threat. Not that there is an issue or anything. Lets you care about the everyone and this small family who are struggling to get by. Only when it finally does get to the action and horror that it is described to be, the movie is over. Only, that is sort of the problem.
When you read the description and what this is about. It reads that this is going to be horror and action and woman is going to rise above it and meet them head on, and that isn’t really how this plays out and if you going in thinking that is going be how things happens. You will not have a good time. While, I don’t want to hold that against them, even the art for it, paints it as such. Such, yeah it hurts it just a little bit.
For starter, they just kind of throw the fact the warriors who show up, are the undead warriors who were killed the day after they found the gold. Instead of the story unveiling it a little more naturally. Just thrown in their as a bit of monologue when they show up, and can’t even tell because she cuts the first one down with an arrow to the chest.
The cinematography is fantastic though. From the setting on the little shack and the shots of her in the woods. The sounds and music at the town fire scene were great. My only real grief were some quick cuts toward the end, but understandable since it was a chase scene, with arrows flying. It was a beautifully shot movie all around.
Moa Enqvist Stefansdotter and Ralf Beck really stole the spotlight as Runa and Ragnvald, the grandfather. Each really bringing out the best their characters really had to offer and loved their scenes together. Really believed that Moa could take down anyone with her bow to protect her family and Ragnvald’s sacrifice was heartbreaking. Viva Ostervall Lyngbrant was alright as the bubbly Bothild. Playing her role well enough to be meaningful for when she meets her shocking end.
It really was a shock when Bothild died, in the way that she did. Actually had to do a bit of a double take, because I thought it was the Mother who was cutdown, and changed the tempo completely, because I was not expecting that to happen. Expect Runa to lose it and go on the attack during the next phase of attack. Using the skills she was taught with the ax and her bow, and when it doesn’t really happen like that. It makes it a bit anti-climactic.
This was a slow burn of a movie, that had some really good characters and great settings, but wasn’t really a movie for myself. So, it wouldn’t be high up on my list of movies to suggest, but if you are into slow burn films that center on those kind of deals. You may have a great time with The Huntress: Runes Of The Dead. So, I am not going to give it a straight up skip, but just know what you are getting yourself into with it.
As always, I hope you enjoy and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
When this game was announced was very much on the fence about whether or not I wanted to bother with it. Was a fan of Friday The 13th and then Dead By Daylight. Enjoying Asymmetrical Games, but wasn’t real enthusiastic about what I was seeing from this. Which changed after I played their demo. Having a great time as both Fireteam and playing as the Predator. So much so that I ended up pre-ordering the game. Looking forward to seeing what the full game had to offer and now with an extra day to play. Does it still hold on to its charm. Let’s devein and check it out shall we.
Being an online multiplayer, it doesn’t have much of a story to it. You either play the role of Fireteam, where you work with 3 other soldiers (As long as nothing goes wrong in loading) attempting top complete missions and take down AI. While at the same time, another player is hunting you as the Predator. You win by either escaping on the chopper, downing the Predator while escaping their explosion, or defending it’s body for extraction; you may or may not have to defuse its bomb.
A simple story that works just find. Puts you in the jungle just like Arnie and his men were in the first movie. They make the most of one short map with various different missions. For starting out, works just fine, with room to grow. Hope we get more like a artic temple like from AVP or something off planet.
Breaking down the sides more, we will start with the Fireteam and you got four different Soldiers to pick from; Assault, Recon, Scout and than Support. Each having their own skills and attributes. Assault being your balanced. Recon and Scouts being a little more speedy, but Scout being faster but has less health and can’t carry as much. Support being more armored but slower. You have various perks to play with that can boast your speed, strength, reload and even how much damage you can inflict on the Predator. Wide range of weapons, Assault rifles to shotguns and if you pre-ordered you get the mini gun that I have yet to use, because I like the others a little more, but none of it will help if you aren’t team oriented. The key to playing as Fireteam is working together. Making sure you all keep an eye out on one another and if all four of you are swarming together. Then you’re going to clean up. Stealth can be a thing, especially if you are down members and need to call for reinforcements, but as long as you are working together. Probably won’t get to that point.
Alright, on to the headliner and the one most people, myself included, were looking forward to play; The Predator, or Yautja of you prefer. They come in three classes; Hunter, Scout, and Berserker. Hunter is balanced, Scout if fast and has very little health ( I have not played this class and probably never will. Ever) and Berserker is your tank. The customization is a lot of fun. Picking between male and female and what masks and predlocks you can put on them. Various weapons and traps and I am clearly avoiding gameplay.
I don’t want to seem like I am trashing it isn’t terrible. They are very challenging to learn how to play, because you have to be patient. Mess with the tight group. Try to force them to split up and pick off stragglers or catch the right time to charge them and I think that is where it loses me a little. The wait times are so long, to get into a game, to attempt to break the group up in some chance you even can and don’t have to settle for a yolo play at the end. Meanwhile, their health is atrociously low. It does not take much to be gunned down. The reason I won’t even touch scout. Not when Berserker can be taken out with ease. Not even just playing as the Predator. Don’t even really feel intimated when I go against them. I don’t want them to be walking tanks who eat bullets, but something has to be done to make them a bit of a threat, and I think that a single player mode can help out.
I think a big help can be a place where you can practice playing as the Predator. Learning how to play him more effectively and how everything works against harder AI then people who have been playing shooters for ten plus years. Can practice movements, trap placements and be a better player before going to face others. Not to mention you give people a chance to just play the game, instead of waiting ten plus minutes to play a five minute round.
I know a complaint I have seen is how thick the forest can be and it can be hard to see incoming AI, but I personally like that. Makes them a bit of a bit of a challenge. Adding to their ability to be a threat and they can be. Especially, if you get swarmed and Predator is pressuring with them. All making for more of a fun experience.
With all of that said, Predator: Hunting Grounds is still a pretty fun game to play. Got a fun little shooter with the Fireteam and despite my personal complaints. There is fun to be had with the Predator. You just got to be patient when playing the role and see a lot of potential going forward.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
And here we are. The end of the Invasion Of The Body Snatcher movies. It has been a fun ride throughout. While the 1978 version has been clinging to its number one spot. There hasn’t been a bad movie in the bunch. Both the 1956 version and Body Snatchers from 1993 were both really good films with plenty of their own ideas and spins on the ball. So, much so I was looking forward to see what the 2007 The Invasion brought to the table. Much like I did in part 2 in this run; I won’t be covering the 1978 version here, since I already did it in Part 1 and would just be a copy and paste deal. So, if you want to check out my review for that, hop back a run and check out my Part 1. As a bonus, at the very end, will have all four listed from the least to most liked. Alright, with that said, let’s dive into The Invasion shall we.
The Invasion 2007
We start off with flashing lights and the main character going through a pharmacy. Telling herself to not go asleep. Looking for pills and drinks to keep herself awake. Seeing a door shaking. People pounding on the other side. Trying to get inside. When we jump back in time to see a space ship crashing down to Earth. Breaking to pieces on re-entry to Earth. News Reports are describing how wide spread the wreckage is. Pieces are being found from Dallas to D.C. Some people were wisely staying away. While other have touched it. CDC Agent Tucker is checking out one of the crash sites. Finding their is an unknown Alien Life Form on them. On his way out, a woman brings a piece that had fallen on her roof, and he cuts himself on it, before leaving and while he is asleep that night. Begins to change. We then jump to Carol. Being awaken her son screaming, from a nightmare. We find out that she is a single Mom who was having custody issues with the Father, and that he would be getting Oliver later that night. The Father turns out to be Tucker, the infected CDC Agent from the night before and there is a lot of animosity between them. We meet her friend Ben, who is worked up by the news, who she confides in over what is going on with Tucker, and he calms her down by pointing out how much Oliver loves her and such and she goes off to work. She is a psychiatrist, whose first patient is a woman who normally is abused by her husband, claiming that he was not her husband. Telling her that he doesn’t even get mad. The dog knew and tried to attack, but he broke the dogs neck and tossed it in the trash. Not showing any signs of emotion through the assault. Carol gives her a new prescription and tells her to call if anything happens. Later that night while her and a friend had their kids trick or treating. A dog attacks one of the kids. Who doesn’t even react. Easily powering the dogs muzzle shut before they get the dog off him. Acting very strangely when the kids or going through their candy. When Oliver yells they find a strange bit of skin on his hand. They assume that it was from someone’s house but she takes it with her. On her way to taking Oliver to his Dad’s. A woman attacks the car inside a tunnel. Yelling about how they are coming, before she gets rundown by a jeep. She gets out to try and help and offers to be a witness, but the cop doesn’t want to hear it and ushers her out. Meanwhile, we see a meeting at Congress. Discussing a new strand of flu and a questionable new vaccine, but pretty much forces the one to question it to take it seriously or lose out. In the back we see infected spitting up into the drinks before serving it to them Going back to Carol. After an awkward exchange, between her and Tucker. She goes off on her “date” with Ben and has an interesting conversation with one of the people there, about how people don’t change who they are unless the people part is removed and she disagrees with him by pointing out how far we had come, and I will leave it with that.
Yet, again, they did try to change the story a bit. Which even I was wondering how they could. Having an even bigger hill to climb being the fourth telling of the tale, but they did alright. Again, they were very intense and aggressive. Wanting to get everyone infected as fast as possible. Loved their tests, like when the two jumped off the bridge and swarmed the people below who had an emotional response. Adding an immunity was really neat as well. Never seeing that before and was an avenue we hadn’t seen before. They did change the way people were converted and while it was creative, going to talk more on that later.
They did an alright job building a bit of tense with the drinks. When they spit up into the drinks, and took a moment to pan over the drinks during the dinner. Created a bit of an atmosphere of not knowing if they were spiked or not, but didn’t go beyond that scene. With us knowing the score it was a fun way to create a bit of paranoia that we wouldn’t get from whose infected and not, because we already know what to look for. This gave us something new, but didn’t last long enough.
I enjoyed the ending they had here. They found the cure and were beating the alien virus, but the good news that was coming through during the invasion. North Korea agreeing to disarmament and countries that never work together finally coming together, reverts back to the horrible mass deaths happening again and a piece of the argument over nothing changes as long as people remain playing over top. Asking the question of would it had been better had the alien virus won. Something they always said, but was kind of proven in one news article. Good way to close without going back to the well of.. or is it?
I don’t have much to say on the casting. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig were excellent. Kind of wish we got more of an infected Craig, but each played the roles perfectly. They did a great job at building the friendship that was starting to blossom into more. So, when things start happening and story starts going. You feel more inclined to get behind them. Jeremy Northam was a chilling Tucker Kaufman. Had a fun little return of Veronica Cartwright who played Nancy in the 1978 version. A good job from everyone involved.
Alright, onto the negatives and there were a few. For starters, I don’t like to point out logic issues, but this one was blatantly dumb, and that was at the start. Tucker, A CDC Agent, gets cut by a piece of the debris, that he was just informed was contaminated with an unknown spore, and does nothing but goes home. I get that he has to leave infected, but this was a dumb way to do it. He wouldn’t just leave and no one would let him leave and just a dumb way to go.
As I said they changed the transformation, from going away from pods to them just needing to spit up into a person’s mouth or drink and when they sleep they cocoon and shed into the alien version of themselves. Which was interesting, but doesn’t really cut it for me. It loses the disturbing visuals and feels more like an infection then something extraterrestrial. And the dream sequence of her attacking the alien version to wake up was weak.
While, one of my issues of Body Snatchers was that they needed more time to build the characters, this one did that, but the pacing was an issue. By panning away to show the meeting with them spitting in tea and scenes that could have kick started things off just kind of ends. An entire subway scene set up to inform her that she has to act calm so they can’t tell she is human then a whole other stop to add the sweating aspect. None of these scenes were inherently bad, but really slow things down. Final Grade: B
Winner: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978
Don’t let the low grade fool you. It was still enjoyable, but wasn’t enough to take down 1978. None of them are bad movie. Each being enjoyable in there own ways and have loved doing this series. As promised, my official list is;
4. The Invasion
3. Body Snatchers
2. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956
1. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978
As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and..
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I suppose I only have myself to blame for this. Plenty of warnings about how mad of a movie this is. Kind of what it is known for in fact, but I am trying to cross movies off the list, and Super Mario Bros. has been on it for quite some time and who knows. I have found enjoyment with movies people despise on more then on occasion. Maybe there was some fun to be had here as well.. there wasn’t but the hope was there. With that said, lets dive in and discuss shall we.
The movie starts us off with a short animated scene of two dinosaurs talking with New York Accents. They are in Brooklyn 65 million years ago and down comes the meteor, taking them out, or did it. Posing the question of what if some survived, and are trying to come back to the world. We then jump to a women racing through the rain. Dropping a metal case outside the door of a church. After pacing a stone in a slot. She pounded on the door and took off. Getting caught by Koopa in the sewers and causes the shaft to cave in. Meanwhile the Nuns bring the case inside and find an egg inside. That hatches into a human. Then we jump to today and to Mario’s plumbing. Mario is taking an emergency call, while Luigi is watching a show on people saying they have been to alternate universes. He is a big believer in stuff like that while Mario is the realist. Even making them late to their call and missing out to a competitor because Luigi takes them on a detour because his instincts tell him to go that way. Meanwhile, at a delayed job sight due to an archaeological find. We meet Daisy, who is wearing the stone from the beginning, and she is getting threatened by Mob Boss Scapelli. Not to shyly reminding her of all the women going missing. She leaves to call the university for more security and runs into Mario and more specifically Luigi. Who took an instant liking to her and when he can’t ask her out, Mario does it for him and the whole run is more awful than you can imagine. At the double date that night. We learn that while she was left at the church. Luigi was left with Mario who raised him as a kid. They separate, Mario takes his dates home, with the numskulls from earlier follow and kidnap her after he leaves. While Luigi goes back to the sight with Daisy to see the dinosaur bones. Where they find guys sabotaging the pipes, with the help of a determined Mario, determined by his hatred of Scapelli, race down to stop the flooding and the numskulls return. This time kidnapping Daisy and take her through the wall, with the brothers hot on their heels and this movie gets so much worse from here and already pretty bad to begin with and really have to get away from it now.
I don’t really want to jump onto the hate bandwagon. The story was creative with the idea of this world run by people who evolved from dinosaurs. Being knocked there by the meteor. There is resemblances of a story there; not a Mario one in the slightest, but if you did a bit of stripping of the fat. Could have a fun little B Movie in there. I get what they are going for here. Wanting to bring the world of Mario and what it would look like in the real world, but by doing so. Lost all the magic and bright color that we love, and made it dark, grungy and disgusting.
A positive for sure is the dinosaur they tried to call Yoshi. It wasn’t, but he did look amazing. The robotics team that made him did a spectacular job on him. Same with the looks of the “Goombas”. Creative ways to improve their jumping and Ba-Bombs. Misguided, but creative.
They kind of had something going with Luigi. Being the awkward and skittish partner of Mario. Set up a big redemption, hero story for him, but dropped the ball entirely by the end. Even setting up as Daisy as the damsel in distress instead of Peach. This could have saved itself a little bit, had Luigi squared off with Koopa at the end. I get why they had Mario be the one, but they didn’t set up for the fight between them. They had gone so far out of their way to set the story around Luigi and Daisy and by not giving him the final fight. He started as a bumbling idiot and finished with no character growth to speak of.
The scary thing is, the cast was pretty good. Made the absolute most of what they were given. Bob Hoskins does have the look of a good Mario and stands up for himself and everyone around him, even Toad when he was getting arrested. Had really good chemistry with the likes of John Leguizamo and Dennis Hooper. Both of which could have knocked it out of the park as Luigi and Koopa. Hooper has that menacing presence and John had the enthusiasm and made a believable partnership for Hoskins. Samantha Mathis was alright as Daisy. Playing up the sweetness of the character good enough. If they has a better script could have made something special with the cast they had.
This is a D and I am almost already feeling that is to generous of a grade. I can make it through which is something I suppose and had some wild ideas Had some hopes that it would be so bad that it is good, but didn’t even hit that. Script is just to dysfunctional and too many missed opportunities. It was a mistake to watch and if you haven’t, save yourself the time for other bad movies that at least contain some levels of entertainment. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.