By: Justin Hopkins
I know what you are thinking. That there are no such thing as a good video game movies. That they are all bad and should have never have happened, and others may say that there is perhaps one, maybe two, but no way could I actually have found seven. True, it was a bit of a challenge towards the bottom of the list. Wishing I could just go the normal route of Top 5, but with that said, I do enjoy all seven of these films. They may not be classics, but not asking for them to be. Just want to kick back and let the story take me along for a ride, with the tools that make the game they come from so enjoyable. Before we start, there was one rule, and it’s the same as always. I can’t judge a movie without having seen it. So, movies like Rampage and Detective Pikachu, along with a few others were out of the running. Alright, with that said, lets begin.
7. Dead Rising: Watchtower
The only movie on the list to not spend time in the theaters, which for me is kind of a surprise. It also took a second viewing for me to really enjoy it as well, but they do a lot of enjoyable things throughout. Going with a new lead character in the form of Chase was a bit of a questionable choice, but Jesse Metcalfe performed really well at the rule to make us care enough about him. They way they incorporated them making their own unique weapons and having a psychopath as the main villain was wonderful. Dennis Haysbert did great as the General. Fans on the game know there is always a conspiracy going on, and his soothing voice and tone really adds to the menace when you get to the end. Would be higher on the list had they treated Frank West better than they did, but still an enjoyable film.
Wait, please don’t go. Hear me out. I know, they did the game wrong in quite a few places. I am not disagreeing with you there. Had they dropped all the scientific and super soldier like shot. All they had to do is keep them demons from Hell. This could have been really something. The action was great. Liked the characters and set pieces. The actors did as well as they could with what they had to work with, and that First Person Point of View shot they did is still beautiful. Respect they had for the BFG. They had a fun assortment of demons, loved Pinky, and they could have easily swapped the science bits for demons and ran everything and would easily be jockeying for the top spot, and maybe have The Rock go full on Demon at the end, for Urban to square off with. Also, watching Doom Annihilation, this one is light years better.
5. Tomb Raider (2018)
This movie had a lot of things going for me, loved the story and the dark tones and atmosphere, but what really made this movie so good for me, was Alicia Vikander’s performance as Lara Croft. That she wasn’t this over the top can do anything characters. Playing her with gritty realism of a character who was in over her head. Having to scrape and claw and fight for her survival, because she isn’t the over the top, legendary Lara Croft yet. By playing it the way she did, left her so much room to grow in the future, and thankfully, we will be getting a sequel, which will hopefully be even better.
4. Resident Evil
Yes, this series went screaming down the draining faster than even I expected it to, and the seventh one, was one of the worst finales of anything I have ever seen in general, but the first one though. That is still a good watch. The atmosphere of the lab and the music were fantastic. The zombies were perfect and the Licker looked gorgeous. Even the fact that it transformed was reminiscent of the game. Feel the danger around every corner. Milla Jovovich gave us a character, at least for this movie, felt like a character that could have appeared in a Resident Evil Game. If Paul carried this much love forward, who knows how good this run could have been after the second one, but the first, Definitely still a good time.
3. Sonic The Hedgehog
This one and entry number 2 had to of changed spots at least a dozen times and they are razor close to one another. You can check out my review for this for more details, but they hit a homerun with this film. Sonic came across in a great way. Having a hyper friendly attitude you would expect for him to have. Fun use of the rings, and callbacks to the games. While, Jim Carrey was spectacular as Robotnik. Check it out if you haven’t. You’ll have a best.
2. Mortal Kombat
The song alone earns it’s spot as one of the best of all times. Almost impossible to say the name without trying to imitate the famous scream of, MORTAL KOMBAT! In all seriousness though, this is fun from start to finish. The fights were well choreographed and done so well. The characters all felt ripped straight from the game. The lines, as hokey as they were. All felt like something they would say. Again, if you want to hear more, can check out our review on it. Paul W.S. Anderson hit gold with this, and to many, it never got better. Well.. except for one, in my opinion.
1. Silent Hill
It couldn’t be anything else. When they take the entire opening scene of Harry chasing who he thinks is Cheryl until he is attacked by they Grey Children, and replicate it shot for shot with Rose and who she thinks is Sharon. The psychological elements are deep and great. From sins of the mother and the town being tortured by Alessa in their own version of Silent Hill and wanting to finally crush them for good. The gore was awesome and Jodelle Ferland is still one of the creepiest kids in a movie. Way she danced around in the blood raining down and then moving straight to the camera. Excellent from start to finish and wears the crown as best video game movie.
Do you disagree? Feel free to let me know in the comments. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed, and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Hello and welcome back to this weeks B Movie Sunday. Took a bit of a break from this series and when I saw this movie. Thought it was going to be a fun little ghost killer movie, and well, that couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. Proving to be a wild and one of the more darker movies I have seen in quite some time. Lets jump and discuss shall we, and see if it was worth while and if I would suggest it shall we.
We open with a bit of a flashback to when the hotel was open, and we see a Mom in a lawn. Not paying attention to her Daughter, who chases a rabbit out into the road, and gets hit by a car. Then we get a fast track of the hotel becoming dilapidated and we jump to a group of college kids in an RV. Arguing over a shortcut that Kyle took. Off the bat, we find out that three of them are keeping some sort of secret, and coming out at the store. See one buying a pregnancy test, a pill popper, and one is cutting herself. After they leave, they run into a road closed sign, and in a fit to make up. Kyle ends up flipping the RV and after the quickest walk in the world. Corey and Spencer finds the abandoned hotel and they decide to hold up here till the morning and the store opens again. Right away, Megan takes the pregnancy test and discovers she is pregnant, and runs off crying. This was not a planned pregnancy and doesn’t understand how this happened. Telling all of this to her friend Rachael, who saw her buying the test, who opens up with a secret of her own. That she ran someone over when she was drunk and left the scene. Suppose to make it clear she wouldn’t tell anyone, but these two don’t really don’t even out, but more on that later. After she leaves, Rachael stays back for a moment. Broken up by her own memory, and the ghost girl appears. Leading her out into the road. Stunned by her injured and bloody face. Freezing Rachael up long enough to get hit by a car. Her friends find her dead and the driver is drunk and unconscious. Bringing him inside and Kori goes off to find something to fix him up with and that is where I will stop, not to refrain from spoiling anything, but because at this point, things start to run and nothing is ever as it seems.
The people who worked on this really didn’t want you to have any idea on what was happening next. Any time you thought you knew where this movie was going. It would immediately turn into and run into a vastly different direction. From the events after Angela’s death and what happened to her Parents. To your main cast of characters. Everyone having a horrible secret and the direction they went with them, and things just kept getting darker and darker. I can see some people looking at it as too much, but it worked well for me. It kept me curious and wondering exactly where this was going and how it was going to end. At some point, just had to give up and go along with it.
Casting wise, there wasn’t many who really stood out. They were alright. I did like Angel McCord’s Corey. Would have liked to see more of her. The fact that it seemed like she might play heavily into the ending later, but didn’t was a little frustrating. The one who did stand out for me, was Rileigh Chalmers. Creepy kids always freak me out, and she did a wonderful job as Angela. Especially, when she was just staring down Kyle while he was shooting up. Great job throughout.
I am kind of torn on the ending. Much like the rest of this movie, it is dark, and while I understand why. It kind of goes for how easily secrets can tear people apart and the grave consequences that their secrets have on one another, they may have gone a bit to far at the end. Not with Spencer, but with how Megan’s story ends. I already think she was the weaker of the three female characters, and could have used a slightly better ending.
Alright, got to talk about the little sharing moment between Rachel and Megan. Megan’s problem, while is a big one, is a far stretch away from hit and run. She is admitting to murder as a bonding moment. Megan’s secret is going to be outed in a few months, while the horrific thought of her friend killing someone is forever. Should have had this moment with Corey, so you can at least tell us what is going on in her life, and why she is hurting herself. Plus, her and Megan have that in common. Both are kind of suffering in silence and could have built them both up, and since you weren’t going anywhere with Corey’s Character anyways. Could have her run over and Rachel’s secret can come out with Spencer later.
With all of that said, would I suggest No Tell Motel. After thinking it over, I would, but with a bit of a warning. This movie, although short. Has more than its fair share of twists, and goes down a dark road, with an not so happy ending, and these movies are not for everyone. If you are, you may find some enjoyment in No Way Motel. I for one, did.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
It was almost a shoe in that I was going to go see this movie. No matter how far away from my normal it is. Growing up, you had your Mario games, which were always good, and the insanity that was Crash Bandicoot, where I spent most of my time. Then, you had Sonic The Hedgehog. A bright, colorful world, with some interesting music, that was all about going fast. Levels that were so much fun, and tested you each time. Doing your best to try and beat your top score. Trying to rescue the animals and defeat Eggman. While the years have not been as kind to him, as his Nintendo counterpart, the character of Sonic has maintained his allure, and when his movie was announced. Brought all of those feelings I had when playing the earlier games rushing back to the surface, and couldn’t wait to see it. Was it worth the wait though. Through all the years, and marketing fiasco. Did they do the blue hedgehog justice, or was it just another nail in the coffin. Lets jump through some rings and discuss shall we.
The movie starts out with Sonic running through a city, with Dr.Robotnik chasing after him. Firing rockets at him. A bit of narration later, and we jump all the way back to when he was a child. On his own planet, that looks a lot like the games, and he is running wild. Despite being told he had to keep his speed a secret, from his mother figure. An owl named Longclaw. Who scolds him for exposing himself like that, and they are attacked. She tries to escape with him, but ends up getting shot down. Using a ring, opens a portal to Earth. Giving him the sack of rings. Telling him to never expose himself again, and to never stop running. Before making him go through, and the portal closes, with her holding off their attackers. We jump to ten years later, and he has made himself home in the small town of Green Hills. While he has stayed true to Longclaw telling him to stay hidden. He has made himself a part of everyone’s lives. By watching from the shadows. From messing with Crazy Carl, the lone person who knows he is there and especially the Police Chief Tom Wachowski and wife Maddie Wachowski, and while he puts on a good face about it. The loneliness is eating away, until it literally bursts out of him. Causing a massive blackout. Which is picked up immediately by the Government. Who sends in the eccentric genius, Dr. Robotnik to figure it out. Sonic seeing that he is about to be caught. Collects his things and runs to Tom’s shed to make the jump to a new planet, but before he can go through with it. Is busted by Tom, and he drops the rings into a portal. Sending them to San Francisco. Enlisting Tom’s help, Sonic sets off to retrieve them, with Robotnix right on their heels the entire way. Dead set on either bringing him in, either alive or dead.
I really enjoyed how they handled bringing the characters to the big screen. Had a lot of simple things that were just woven into one story. From Sonic struggling to keep himself a secret, but being torn apart in his loneliness. His desire to have friends and do all this stuff he can only observe from afar. When you mix in how hyper active and good natured he is, really shows many layers Sonic actually has. Then you have Tom, who is longing to have more in his life. To be a hero, and have the excitement and rush that he feels should come with a badge. Along with a foil of a bad guy, who is not only the smartest guy in the world, but knows it, and brow beats and terrorizes everyone in his wake. Mix in fast paced action, comedic moments, and a lot of emotion and you get yourself a really charming story.
Speaking of, the action scenes were perfect. It took him back to his roots and made it all about his speed. Showing it in the bar that he can’t throw fists, but when he just uses his speed to his advantage, is next to unstoppable. Especially in the finale, during the final chase from Robotnik. Didn’t know how he was going to turn things around, but excited to see how it was going to happen.
Now, suppose I should talk about the animated look of Sonic The Hedgehog. Now, I may be the rare exception that didn’t mind his first look. They definitely made the right choice though. With all the close ups they had on him. Would have wore thin on those who didn’t like it, and he looks better now, but the part I loved, was the end credits. They had a full animated look of the Sonic from the game. Running through a level, that was set up with moments from the movie. Was such a fun way to bring us into the Mid Credit scene and hope more people take a lesson from this, because it was great.
Of course, there was plenty of call outs to the games. Living in Green Hills, which is a play off the Green Hill Zone. Love how they showed how he got his red shoes, in a rather touching scene of him getting his first ever gift and how much they meant to him. This might be me reading to much into it, but found it amusing that when he was hit off the roof and the rings went everywhere, like they would in the game, but when he was knocked down for what appeared to be for the count, was also when he didn’t have the rings on him, which again, what happens in the game. Also, Robotnik’s robots, and one downed robot would spawn another and another. Really showing how much of a genius he really is. Plus, one that really wasn’t part of the game, but loved the line, I hate mushrooms. Taking a friendly jab at his rival Mario which got me to laugh a little harder than necessary. Always have to appreciate when they pull from the resources at hand, and they do that in spades here.
Castwise was simply perfect. Ben Schwartz did wonderful as the voice of Sonic. Bringing out the fun loving side of Sonic, but also how hard he was taking having to leave. Was finally getting to enjoy Earth one moment and how much that it hurt that he had to leave. James Marsden was great as Tom. A fun loving cop, who lives to do the right thing by everyone, with a ton of sarcastic wit. Which blended so well off not only Sonic, but even more off Jim Carrey’s Robotnik. There is a moment where Robotnik and Tom meet and just feels like a really conversation off the cuff and not scripted. Carrey doesn’t seem to have missed a beat. Bringing out so much of Robotnik. Eccentricities, Egomaniacal, and stole a lot of the scenes he was a part of. Made the comically villain seem like a genuine threat and not just a joke. Just wanted to see more of him especially if it was with Sonic or Tom especially.
Negative wise.. Would kind of like to know why Sonic called him Eggman. He had a reason behind everyone’s nickname. Called Tom Donut Lord due to him talking to his donuts, and Maggie the Pretzel Lady because she does Yoga. Kind of hyped for the DVD to see if there was something I missed or deleted scenes. Suppose that since I am hyped this isn’t a negative, but it’s all I got, and starting to realize that I am pretty much praising every movie I have seen this years and it’s all I got.
This was all around, just a fun, heart warming movie. It wasn’t side splitting movie, just one that made you smile, and even more so if you are a fan of the Sonic The Hedgehog Games, but not necessary to kick back and simply enjoy it. Final Grade is an A+ and would gladly suggest checking it out in theaters.
I hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Had some excitement going into Birds Of Prey. Suicide Squad was a let down, but Margot Robbie was a standout, and was looking forward to seeing her play the character again. This was about the time where I stopped watching multiple trailers for movies, but the one I did watch looked good. Liked the fact they were bringing in newer characters into the fold and wondered what they had in store for this movie. So, lets jump in and see if they were able to live up to the hype.
Movie starts out, with a cartoon style opening, narrated by Harley. Taking us back to her troubled childhood. Showing us everything that lead up to her and Joker breaking up. We follow along with her trying to get over him. See her get an apartment, her hyena, and joining the Roller Derby. Along with a lot of drinking and just causing general chaos. Getting away with the fact that she hasn’t told a lot of people about the break up. Riding the security of being The Joker’s Girlfriend brings her. Until, she heard her derby team talking down about it. Since she was still wearing the necklace and that she can’t stand on her own feet. That she would go right back to him the moment he said to. So, she runs out. Going to the Ace Chemical and steals a truck. Throwing away her necklace, and crashes the truck into the building. Causing it to blow up. As a sign that the relationship was over. We then jump back a few minutes, to Renee Montoya investigating a murder, by the Crossbow Killer (Huntress) She is kind of overlooked for her age and crazy lone killer theory. When they were interrupted by the explosion, and she puts it together by the necklace. Pointing out how bad of a move this was on Harley’s part, and we see it go into effect the next morning, but first, we get our first look at Roman and Victor, and just how brutal and lethal these two are. Than we get to the morning, Harley’s breakfast is interrupted by Renee. During the chase, she is confronted by all of these people she has wronged, and are now gunning for her. About to get away, with assistance from Huntress, but is caught by Roman’s men. We follow Renee back to the precinct. She is trying to open a case against Roman, but her Captain and D.A both hold grudges against her, and take the case off her. She tries to fight it, but a call comes in. Warning that she has to get Cassandra Cain to safety and Harley attacks. Looking for Cassandra as well, and everything gets crazy from here, and a good place to stop talking about it.
There is almost too many pros to cover and don’t know where to start. At heart, this was Harley’s Movie. Story revolved around her. She even narrated during the movie, but they gave each character a fair amount of time for us to get to know them. We got to feel Renee’s struggle in the Precinct, with the Co-Worker stealing her work, and the D.A who was her Ex that was still angry over what happened in their relationship. We got to see Dinah struggling between wanting to avoid getting involved and her upbringing and Mother’s Heritage, and Helena being a powerhouse, but awkward at the same time. Practicing how to introduce herself as Huntress in the mirror, which was a nice touch. Then you get the extreme charismatic, psychotic nature of Roman and the even more creepy, evil Zsasz. This may have been Harley’s Movie, but everyone got a chance to shine.
I loved the colors that they used throughout. From the multiple explosions from the Chemical Plant. Later when her and Cassandra were walking and they had this purple hue on the road behind them, I get that is weird to point out, but it stood out for me. You get the colorful outfits of Harley, but the suits worn by Roman were just tremendous. They were so over the top, but fit his personality so well.
The fight scenes were intense and brutal and so many leg breaks that made me cringe every time (Broken Bones always gets me) Harley’s unorthodox style was entertaining, due to never really knowing what she was about to do, and I nearly jumped out of my seat when she fired off a confetti packed grenade during the raid on the Police Department. Don’t know if she used that in the comics, but she did in Injustice 2 and love that ability, and love the fact she used it in the movie. During the end siege, we get everyone fighting waves of enemies. Keeping Cassandra between them, and everyone felt special and unique.
On smaller notes, appreciated the little nods to the comic. Sure there was more, but having the Hyena and Bernie the Beaver were nice touches. Can’t wait to watch again to pick up on what else I missed. Then you get Grievances, anytime someone attacked Harley, they would stop, show their name and what she did to them. It was a fun way to explain their appearance and added a little laugh.
Margot Robbie has really made this role her own. She shined in Suicide Squad, and blew it away here. She just know how to bring Harley to life. She would respond to something she said in Narration. Bringing out so many layers. Her pain of the breaks up. Unsure of where to go from here, and that she was facing an impasse. Balancing out the crazy, violent, humorous Harley and the intelligent, good nature of Dr. Harleen. Mary Elizabeth Winstead really sold it for me, when Harley pointed out why Roman was coming for her, and she grinned over the memory, and was awesome in the final fight scene and the end. Rosie Perez was good as Renee. Felt like a cop, in a room full of characters. She didn’t have hitman training, or Super Hero lineage, or the insanity of Harley. Just a cop trying to do the right thing, and nothing more, and helped her stand out. As much as a challenge Margot had, bringing the character back. Thought Jurnee Smollett-Bell had a much harder one. Having to follow several talented Black Canaries in the Arrowverse, and to her credit, she did a good job. Could have let her use her Cry sooner, but she handled herself very well with the emotional conflict over where she stands in all of this.
On the villain side, Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina were excellent as the Black Mask and Victor Zsasz. Ewan really brought out the viscous nature along with the spoiled child that lay within the Black Mask. He grew up with money, but had to work for his own wealth, and carried that anger inside. Looking at people as his things, and can do what he wants, and Ewan did that justice. Then you had the disturbing performance from Chris. Generally coming off as creepy and how much he loved killing people. Often egging Roman on to continue humiliating other, or worse. Both knocked it out of the park.
This is normally reserved for negatives, and yes, this would be considered a negative, but not an out right one, and that is Cassandra Cain. It is difficult to explain.. I thought Ella Jay Basco played her really well, and the character works well with what they were going for, but why did it have to be Cassandra. I get that they not want to use the human weapon, able to beat anyone, Cassandra. Due to Huntress being raised an assassin and would have felt to similar, but could have been just given her random a name, and if I am getting Cassandra’s mixed up. I am sorry, but when I heard Cassandra and we don’t get Batgirl or Orphan. It sets itself up for a little bit of disappointment.
And that has been my review of Birds of Prey. It was a crazy, fun, wild movie that I enjoyed from start to finish. Everyone really did a fantastic job. The comedy was good, the action was solid, and I would strongly suggest going out and checking it out for yourself. Know I will probably check it out again. Final Grade: S
I hope you enjoyed and as always..
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
It’s that time of year. Love is in the air. Couples are doing… what couples do and those who are not in a relationship are trying to not stand out in a movie theater and avoid the sentence, “I have a friend that will be perfect for you.” I am kidding of course.. I always stand out in a theater. But it’s that magical time known as Valentines Day, and what better way to celebrate it, than a slasher movie surrounding the day of love, but which one to go for; the original or the remake. So, let’s break them down and see which one prevails, shall we, and like always we start things off with the original.
My Bloody Valentine 1981
The movie starts out, with the miner killing a woman, who was trying to seduce him in the mine, before we make a jump to the showers, where a group of miners are getting ready to leave for the day. Ascending on to the town to help set up a Valentine’s Day Party. We learn a few small things about the character. Notably, that Axel is now with T.J’s Ex-Girlfriend, Sarah. A relationship that started after T.J. up and left town to try and make it on his own. and that this is the first Valentine’s Day Party to happen in twenty years. Meanwhile, the Mayor receives a heart shape box of chocolate hearts, with a heart inside. Along with a warning about what happened long ago. Later, at the bar, we learn about the curse on the town. Twenty years ago, during a Valentine’s Day Party. Where everyone, but seven were there. Five in the mine, and two supervisors who got impatient who left before the five came up. Not checking the methane levels and an explosion rang out. It took six weeks and only one came out, Harry Warden. After a year in an institution, he came back. Killing the supervisors and cut out their hearts and placed them in heart shaped boxes. Leaving them at the Party. Warning them to never hold another party again, and as the story went. He would come back every year to make sure they are not having one. Meanwhile, the Mayor and Sheriff are trying to reach the institution and the corner tells them it’s a human heart. The mayor wants to cancel the party, and when the Sheriff goes to talk to Mabel about it. Discovers that she has been killed the night before. Sheriff agrees that the party has to be cancelled after another note is found, but keeps everything quiet. Trying to avoid a panic, but the teens simply move the party to the mines, and that is where I will leave it.
The story was a pretty simple, let effective one. Just a small little town, trying to enjoy the holiday and move away from the rocky past that still reverberates in the minds of the older people who lived it. It didn’t need to be more than that. Using the atmosphere, and mostly importantly, The Miner to build the tension.
I loved the Miner in this film. Definitely in the running for most underrated of the slashers. Black oxygen mask and jumpsuit coming across as extremely intimidating. Giving him a bulky look and the creepy nature of the mask. Throw in the use of a pickaxe and you got a great killer. They had a nice little twist with him as well. Everyone so sure it was Harry, to find it was actually Axel. The son of one of the Supervisors, who saw Harry kill him, when he was a child.
The carnage candy was pretty solid. Never really getting to see the death blow, but they shined with the aftermath. From Mabel falling head first out of the dryer and the girl who got her head shoved through one of the shower spigots and when she was found. We see water flowing out of her mouth. It was good fun all around.
Last pro, would be the shots. They did a good job at framing the shots of the mines, and creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. From the characters not being able to stand all the way up and winding tunnels.
I normally have a paragraph about the cast and would feel bad about not talking about them. They all did a good job. Lori Hallier was good as Sarah and Neil Affleck was good at balancing Axel as both a potential victim and later, deranged killer. No one really stood out to much, but everyone had good chemistry together.
Alright, negative time, and there is only one, and that is the little love triangle. I am not going to count it too much against it , but it never really works. If we had more time than maybe it could have worked a bit more. The problem lays mostly with T.J. and Axel. They each go back and forth between likeable and non, like flicking a switch. At any moment, you can go from liking one, to disliking them, and by the end the only reason T.J is likable is because he’s not the killer.
This movie was pretty solid all the way through. It was a fun little slasher, with creative kills and a menacing killer in the form of the Miner. Final Grade: A
My Bloody Valentine 2009
This one, starts off with a series of news stories and interview segments over an explosion at the Hannigan Mine, in Tunnel 5. Triggered by Tom Hanniger, son of the Mine, forgot to bleed the methane line. Burying six in the mines. One survived, Harry Warden, who killed the other five to preserve oxygen for himself, but falls into a coma. A year later, we see him dreaming of the accident, and he wakes up. Killing everyone in the hospital, on his way out. Returning to the mine, in full Miner Suit. Killing people having a party, except Sarah, Tom, Axel, and Irene. When they are attacked. Axel uses him assaulting Tom, to get the girls into the jeep and leaves him alone with Harry, who nearly kills him, till the Sheriff and his men shots Harry. Forcing Harry to retreat further into the mine, and it caves in behind him. We then jump forward ten years. Axel is not only a cop, but is married to Sarah and they have a son, and having an affair with one of the people she is working with. There is no Party. Just a town who is trying to move on, but the media continues to bring it up. Tom comes back to town, after his Dad’s death. To sell the mine. Ends up having to stay, due to a delay, and that is when the first kill happens, and it is Irene. Instead of people throwing a party. The Miner is going after people either associated with the miner, or those there the day he woke up and came back to the mine.
The story veers away from the original and for the most part. It did work in it’s advantage. Using the holiday to psychologically torment instead of fuel him on. They came out and told you during the movie that Harry was dead. They had hunted him down and killed him after the fact. Although, his grave was empty. Leaving a little bit of wonder if he had survived, but mostly, who was behind the Miner’s mask this time. It all worked so well.. until the reveal, but we will talk about that later on.
Now, if you disagree, I truly understand why. The 3D does hurt the kills, but I really did love the kills in this one. They all felt unique and brutal. From him sticking the little person to the ceiling and pulling the pickaxe out and body falling. Sheriff getting the pickaxe to the chin and having his jaw ripped out, and the shovel cutting through the woman’s mouth and head sliding off. I wish it wasn’t in 3D. It did hurt some, the eyeball one at the start, but they were fun.
There is a reason why there is only one Miner in the picture above, and that is because they did such a good job at bringing the miner back to life, in all of his intimidating glory. Only little differences, like a side piece on this one, and it still works just as effectively in this as it did in ’81, and I think that has a lot to do with it. We haven’t seen him in nearly 30 years, and it kept it special.
Casting wise, Jensen Ackles really shined. Fantastic job at bringing Tom to life. Feeling bad for the guy throughout. From the start where he is scared to return to the mine and you feel for him when he is left behind. Get behind Tom for most of the movie, we will talk about the end in a bit, and Jensen does great throughout. Kerr Smith and Jaime King both did well as Axel and Sarah, but the end hurt them way more.
Alright, negative, what in the world was that ending?! I get where they were going. Tom was so scared by what happened that he would mentally slip in between Tom and killer Harry, but everything that occurs because of this was just unsatisfying. Axel, after being the most unlikable character in this movie, that you want to see get him comeuppance, survives and Sarah comes across as dumb for staying by him, despite all the jealousy and cheating. Then there is Tom himself. You understand why he went crazy. Town hates him, because of his accident in the mine. The three leaves him behind to face Harry, and you feel bad for him throughout and get behind him. Just for him to the killer. This end was so bad and hurts the film so much, that there is only one way I can go with this contest. Final Grade: B
Winner: The Original
Had they done anything different with the ending. Had Harry been alive all this time, Sarah be sole survivor, or Tom kill them all and be the last one standing. This could have gone the other way, but as it is. The original takes it. Had some fun kills and fun watch all the way through. Do you agree? Disagree? Feel I am overlooking the twist? Let me know. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed and as always..
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
This was a challenging. Made multiple changes and started at least four other movies only to change my mind and seek out another B Movie. None of which seemed right. Wanting to find one that was more fun, after the last two more serious toned movies, Jacob’s Ladder and 88. Than, I found it, Boa Vs. Python. I loved Boa and Python, and surely having the two together, would be just the type of movie I was looking for. Was it worth all of that, or should I have kept looking? Let’s dive in and see shall we.
The movie starts out with these two, clear villains of the movie, Broddick and girlfriend Eve, at some underground fighting ring. Excited, because the package he was expecting, was in it’s final leg of delivery. Of course, it doesn’t make it. Turns out to be the giant python, that escapes into axis tunnels of a water treatment plant. While a local reporter believes that the accident has to do with terrorists. FBI Agent Sharpe, puts together what happened and seeks out two experts. One, Monica Bonds, an underwater biologist, maybe.. who works with dolphins and the use of camera and gps on animals, and Emmet, Herpetologist who has grown a massive Boa Constrictor. Who was working with her, to create a universal snake venom toxin. Shape’s plan, use his Boa to track and take out the Python. Meanwhile, we learn that Broddick was planning on using the Python to hunt for himself and several rich investors and he has the hunt moved to where the snake escaped, and I will leave it there.
The story suffers massively on two fronts. One, a major pacing issue. It takes a long time for anything to really happen. We meet the go through meeting the characters, which is fine, but we spend so much time with them, with only a little bit of Python action sprinkled in, because they keep the other have of the fight, in surgery getting her equipment attached to her head. Than, when things are starting to look good. They stop for a setting change, and this is where the next problem rears its ugly face into play, and the characters show to be the dumbest of all time, and every bit of it, is centered around the Broddick character. They arrest him, in the services tunnels, but have him, in the main tent, without even being handcuffed, and he actually slips away while everyone is standing there, gets into a tank, and drives away, like it was nothing. Not one highly trained soldier, sees who is nothing more than a rich, big game hunter, get out of the tent, and into a tank. I don’t like to point out when characters make bad choices. A list movies do it all the time, and this is a B Movie, but no. This is one level to much. Everyone came across as dumb and just so bad. Can see they wanted Broddick to play into the climax, but could have just had him escape the tunnels and everyone saves face for it. I enjoyed some of what they had here, and could have done so much better if they would have tightened things up and sped things up, and brainstormed the Broddick side of things up.
I really liked the CGI for the snakes. Particularly when they were alone. The python looked really good, but the Boa looked beautiful. Nice shade of red, and with the camera and equipment on her head, made it look like a visor, and I know it sounds weird that I am fixing in on that, but having seen all these snake movies. It gave this Boa something special and added to her look. A big example for this was when she was staring down Eve when she was holding one of her eggs.
Cast wise was fine. No one really stood out, but don’t want to blame them for that. David Hewlett and Jaime Bergman had a lot of chemistry together. Him being more of a loner to her outgoing fun character playing well off one another. Angel Boris Reed owned every scene Eve was in, and Adamo Palladino did fine as Broddick, but the character was just so boring. Atanas Srebrev created a mysterious character in Foley. Thinking something fun was going to happen with him, but nothing ever did. It all just seemed like a missed opportunity.
So, it comes down to one question, would I suggest Boa Vs. Python; unfortunately, I can’t say I would. Boa and Python were much better movies, and many others are more enjoyable. While this one is alright and there are some fun moments to be had here. Just does not do nearly enough to make this something I could ever suggest to anyone, no matter how much they are into the genre.
And that is all I got. Hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Hello and welcome to this weeks Roundabout. As you know, we take various stories that have happened and give our two cents, and this week we have quite a few, so let’s jump right in and get started, and no better place than what seems to be the never ending story of the Spawn Reboot.
It seems like has been cropping up a few months for years at this point. Some movement on a new Spawn movie, or will it be a reboot of the show. Or is it both. Or is it two movies. Will it be PG-13, no It’ll be hard R rated. These are just a few rumors that I remember seeing at some point. Now, we have the creator, Todd McFarlane, saying that Big News is incoming about the reboot, and I have no faith that this is going to go anywhere. At this point, as much as I would love to see a return from Spawn. I have very little reason to buy anymore of the speculation about it. Until something concrete happens. Just going to take whatever he has to say with a grain of salt. Sad, but just to much disappointment to get my hopes tied up in rumors.
Going from there to JJ Abrams Bad Robot company developing The Justice League Dark Universe in the form of TV and Movies. This is rather exciting news. I love the Arrowverse and the D.C Movies are improving with every new film, but something like a Dark Universe can really open up the world to some great characters. Zatanna and and her Father Zatara. Etrigan The Demon, Deadman and so, so many more. Can bring back Enchantress and give her another shot, and of course, John Constantine. Would love to see them use Matt Ryan. A rarity for them, but he has been breaking the barriers, by not only playing the character in his show, than the Arrowverse, and even voiced him multiple times for their animated stuff. Sure he would love to make the jump to a live action and would bring his fanbase along with him. Hoping for good things coming from this.
Staying in the land of D.C. Karen Gillan has recently come out saying that she would love to star and direct a Batgirl movie. That’s a rather tall task, but would be fun to see what she can bring to the table. We have seen the character in the animated movies and shows, but if memory serves correct, haven’t seen the character live, since Batman and Robin. She does a great job as Nebula and has the look to pull of Barbara Gordon. I am not going to get my hopes to high. D.C has always been strange in their casting choices, but Karen Gillan should be high up on their list.
Jumping from there, to Video Game rumors. Read that Konami has been working on not only one, but two Silent Hill Games. One being a soft reboot. The other more decision making such as Until Dawn. I have a love hate relationship with the Silent Hill games. I love the first two, but the puzzles have made me want to lay down and die. That said, would be thrilled to have either. More so, the reboot. Not quite sure how an Until Dawn style Silent Hill would play out. The source of the rumor, AestheticGamer, has a bit of a track record for being on par as far as rumors go. After the Silent Hills P.T. debacle though. Going to keep my fingers crossed that he got this one right too.
We had a few trailers drop, that I refuse to watch. Remember, stop after the first. Do not encourage their spoiler filled behavior. #NoMoreSpoilersInTrailers
Today marked the end of the end of the 16 year career of New York Giant Quarterback Eli Manning. For gave it his all, and always held himself to a higher level. Walking away as a Two Time Super Bowl MVP. Besting a team that seemed destined for perfection along the way. To me, there is no question he should be a first ballot hall of famer, and wish him the best of luck in whatever he does next.
In much more upsetting news, we once again have some deaths to talk about. Three unfortunately. Singer/Songwriter David Olney, Dragon Ball narrator and voice of Captain Ginyu Brice Armstrong, and Comedy Legend and one of the minds behind Monty Python Terry Jones. Brice Armstrong hit me a little harder. A Dragon Ball Fan since I was a kid. How exciting it was hearing him kick off the show. Than you have the way David Olney went, dying on stage, with a guitar in his hands. Never want to see someone go, but have to feel, in some way. He went out doing what he loved, and had to meant something to him. Our thoughts and positive energy goes out to the families of these three legends.
Ending on a more positive note. Untitled Goose Game, is in the running to have a potential Lego set made, and I am pulling hard for them to pull it out. Not a huge lego guy, but would throw my money at them for this set. The Goose exploded onto the scene last year, and thrilled to see them get this far. Cheering them on.
And I’ll leave it at that. I hope you enjoyed, and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
A Co-worker lent me the original and while I enjoyed it. Thought it would make a great remake. A great story, with psychologically disturbing element to it. Just knew if they came at it from a different approach, they could do something special. When I heard about that one was indeed being made, was excited, but as quickly as I heard, it kind of vanished. Read it was coming to theaters, but it turned out to select theaters and kind of slipped by me for a bit. Now, here we are. A little late to the party, but that is okay. The only question, is was it worth the wait? So, lets travel the ladder, and breakdown Jacob’s Ladder.
The movie starts out with a soldier, being triggered into a flashback, by the sound of a can crushing under his foot. Can became a bomb, and helicopters and flashing lights. All stopping when he took a drug. Only, to have what appeared to be choked out from behind in one moment, and overdosing the next. Two people dragging his body away after he died. We jump to a military base, where Jacob is talking. Feeling is slightly uneasy. He goes to make a call home, and find out he is going to be a Father, when he has to leave, cause a wounded soldier is brought in. Turning out to be his brother, and as the sound of a flatline comes in. We see Jacob in a surgery room, in a hospital. Lost a person and the sound triggered the previous flashback. We see he has a happy life, with his Wife Samantha and son Gabriel. Except, he is having nightmares of a firefight. After he arrives at the hospital, another Soldier has an Overdose, and like the first. He too, is taking the drug. On his way to the therapist, he runs into a homeless Vet, who claims that his Brother Isaac is not only alive, but in the city and is in danger. He doesn’t believe it, nor does his therapist. On the subway he experiences his first hallucination, and when he gets home. Is attacked by two men. One of which is horribly mutilated. He tried to take the second to the police station, but he is not in the trunk. Except the same vet is there, and this time, Jacob takes him seriously. Is going to take him to Isaac, and starts to explain what H.D.A is. A drug that targets traumatic memories in those with P.T.S.D. Except, it makes them crazy, and people are hunting them down. Before he can get finish. Is pushed in front of a train. When no one believes him. Jacob takes it on himself to investigate and after a few jumpscares. He finds Isaac, except the paranoia and as the line between truth and fantasy gets even wider. We find that nothing we have seen is how it is supposed to be and I will leave it there.
(I am putting this here as a secondary warning. If you are planning on watching this movie and checking this out first to see what others think. Would suggest not going further cause I am going to talk about the twist and can ruin the experience of watching it unfold.)
This movie.. tries to pull off a wild swerve, and I didn’t see it coming till the big reveal. Which is that Jacob was the lost brother, on The Ladder all this time, and Isaac was the V.A.Doctor the whole time and The Ladder not only was wiping out the traumatic memory, but making him believe that he was his brother the whole time. Now, I think it was creative, but the process of achievement was very sloppy. There wasn’t a gradual change in the characters, but a rough and rugged one, Samantha especially, cause she was coming off more unlikeable the more we saw her. They really could have used a bit more time to show a natural shift of Samantha and Jacob being the coupe to Samantha and Isaac, but that was not the only problem. An even bigger one, was what Jacob did immediately after, by going to the red head we saw earlier.
She turned out to be a dealer of sorts, working with Hoffman. This scene felt so tact on, because they wanted to bring in more from the original Jacob’s Ladder with her demonic angel wings. The problem is that they were telling a completely different story and it no longer fit the narrative. Would have been better to skip the scene all together and go to Hoffman, or the very least, show her with the wings earlier, and not have them here.
Now, this movie wasn’t all negative. There were some good things as well, and thing I loved was the message that this was telling. They really got the Flashback scene at the beginning of the movie right. The smallest surprise of a loud sound is all it takes to trigger a flashback. Showing how many soldiers suffer from PTSD. The lengths some will go to make the memories stop and how susceptible they are to people like Hoffman. Who is using them like lab rats. A pretty powerful message to have.
Acting wise, you have Michael Ealy playing Jacob and Jesse Williams playing Isaac. I did enjoy their chemistry when they were together. About to building up the brotherly bond between the two. Each had difficult roles, because they had to pretty much switch on the fly. While they pulled it off, Nicole Beharie didn’t. Don’t want to point the finger at her. Maybe if she had more time, would work better, or might be better if I watched it again, but first opinion; she wasn’t that good. Lastly, I did enjoy Guy Burnet’s Hoffman. He seemed like a throw away character till the end, but I did enjoy his speech at the end. As twisted as it was, legitimately believed that he was the only one doing anything for the vets.
Would I suggest this movie to someone? A question that has been floating back and forth since the movie ended, and even all the way through this blog. I enjoyed some of the acting and I liked the message with the P.T.S.D. In a way, it did keep the spirit of Jacob’s Ladder, but only as far as the drug is concerned. The demons were more tacked on to appease the fans of the original and used as nothing more than a jump scare than anything. And the swerve, while creative, wasn’t executed well and I am sure there are better movies that tackle the P.T.S.D. side of things. With that said, I would suggest checking it out. It’s not a movie for everyone, you can have a bit of fun with it, and I did enjoy watching it. And that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
So, I was struggling a bit. Choosing which movie I wanted to review for this Classic 13. Would pick one, I was so sure about, only to change my mind at the last moment. Even started watching one and turned it off after a minute. Just nothing seemed to feel right, until I spotted Event Horizon. A movie a Co-Worker of mine stressed how great this was and called it, “Hellraiser in space.” Have to say, after watching it. He wasn’t that far off, except this may be in fact, better than Hellraiser. So, lets go amongst the stars, and go through the psychological horrors held within Event Horizon.
The movie opens with a bit of information on where Mankind is on space exploration. 2015 colonized the moon. By 2032 began mining on Mars and in 2040, The research Vessel went to explore the far reaches of the solar system, only to disappear beyond Neptune and we open in 2047. A rescue crew and Dr. Weirs are heading to Neptune tol address an immediate situation. Once they get closer to Neptune, Dr. Weirs makes them aware of the situation and what the Event Horizon actually was, and that was finding a way to travel ” Faster than light.” By using a gravity drive, the ship would fold time and space, so that it’s location and destination would be one in the same. Allowing it to punch through and appear where it was going in seconds. We find out later on, that it achieves this affect, by using a man made Black Hole. It all appeared to go exactly according to plan, but never returned till now and they are going to find out what happened. When they arrived, they couldn’t detect any signs off life, and a Miller, Stark, Mr. Justin, and Cooper go in to investigate, and while checking out the room the Gravity Drive. He gets sucked inside. Sending out a massive shockwave that damages the Lewis and Clark ship. Forcing everyone to evacuate onto the Event Horizon. With twenty hours of oxygen, they not only have to try and get the ship fixed, but figure out what happened on the ship, as more and more start to hallucinate and paranoia begins to sweep over, and that is where I am going to leave it.
I almost don’t even know where to begin throwing positives. Philip Eisner, seems like a good place. The Writer, who brought this psychological masterpiece together. It is one thing to scare someone, but this movie gets into your head. The way it tortures everyone with their greatest regrets, failures, and desires even. Way it haunts peters and teases her with her son and his condition. Miller is a caring leader, but strict, and the ships hurls the reason why he is so strict at him, and poor baby bear (Justin) And everything in this movie has some sort of meaning, and that is so much more powerful than just building emotion. It makes repeat watching even more fun. I am watching it while I type this and picked up to things that I overlooked the first time, because I knew more. That is just beautiful. Standing ovation for Philip Eisner.
Giant kudos goes out to Paul Anderson and everyone who worked behind the scenes as well. The shots and lighting were great. The scene where they are first inside. Flashing of lightning illuminating the gory walls waiting to be discovered. The atmosphere is intense. When you are looking at the Event Horizon, in the dark and dim lights. You see all these regular instruments, that take on an evil, and scary form. You had these floating balls of coolant that were such a fun addition to have floating around the glorious room that housed the Gravity Drive. The sets were great and shots made them that much better. The CG involved, is not bad for a nineties movie. Don’t know much about space, but they don’t do anything to outrages to the point of dumb, and the carnage candy is awesome. Especially the death of D.J and again where Justin getting sent out into space.
I don’t even think I can give a nod to one actor over another here. They were all so good. You had Laurence Fishburne, as Captain Miller, who you don’t really like, but he has a reason for being so strict and his sole reason for being is his crews safety. Than you have Sam Neill as Dr. Weir. This is the first movie I have watched of his that is not Jurassic Park, and definitely want to watch more. While he may not have started out as the bad guy, by the time he gets there. Is such a good bad guy. Could talk about the chemistry these two have been great, but that’s the truth between everyone. Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, and the “lifesaver” Richard T. Jones. Absolute All-Stars, each and everyone.
Negative wise… Guess you can say some of the space CGI is a bit dated, but I have seen so much worse in recent years than what we get here. So, minor nitpick I can see someone might have. Doesn’t really bother me to much, but one big one, is something we don’t have, and that is the full 130 minute cut of the film. It was cut down due to how gruesome some of it was and whatnot, but when they went back and wanted to use it. It was not well achieved, and most of which is simply lost. Obviously, this isn’t going toward my final thought on the film, and I don’t have anything negative to say about the film itself. Just something depressing I found out about the movie.
In closing, if you haven’t had a chance to check out this classic film. I couldn’t suggest it enough. Mastercraft in Psychological Horror, and shows that you don’t need jumpscares to scare your audience. Just a showcase of talented people, crafting a story, with some talented actors bringing it all to life. Final Grade – S
Hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I found myself more excited for this movie than I originally thought I would be. I enjoyed the trailers. The little bit of what we have seen of the monsters, I liked. Really made me think about what they were. To a point, was was excited to see Kristen Stewart. Outside of one of the Twilight Movies, have never seen one of her movies, and she is a big name and excited to finally see one of her movies that I wanted to see. So, I went in with a fair amount of hype… and they cleared all expectation by leaps and bounds. Lets go in and explain what I love so much about Underwater.
They start things off with some rapid fire news clips about an incident that shows an explosion had taken place and that drilling would continue. It was kind of hard to read, but you get enough to know that something bad had happened. Then you go to Norah, who has a bit of monolog as she is in the showers, brushing her teeth. She goes to investigate a sound and you get an idea of how big the place is, before everything goes crazy as an explosion rings out, and she races down the hall. Trying to make everyone aware that they have to go now. Her and Rodrigo manage to make it, but before anyone else can make it. They have to close the doors, before the pressure takes down the entire rig. After checking on the terminal. Seeing the damage was extensive and they have to get to the pods immediately. They start through the falling apart rig and ever enclosing claustrophobia. Managing to save crew member Paul along the way, and find the pods have all been taken and only Captain Lucien and a handful of survivors and the only way they are going to make it out alive, is to go further down, and walk across the sea floor, and get to the pods on the drilling facility itself. Stressing the amount of danger that is alone, but an even more dangerous entity awaits and that is where I stop, because you should go and watch this movie as soon as possible, and don’t let the incoming spoilers ruin it for you. So, if you haven’t come back when you have before reading on.
This movie did several things that I loved, and one was way they build tension, and used everything they could to achieve that. That the monsters were not the only danger that the survivors had to content with, but the crushing pressure, lack of oxygen, low lights. All of which played into the monster attacks as well, because when they did come for them. There was so little that any of them could do and the monsters seemed to even use those elements to their advantage. A way a predator in its natural environment would.
Love the way this film was shot. Making you feel just so claustrophobic at times. All the sounds of the rig falling apart and later the monsters scratching and slapping off the metal. The muffled sounds from underwater sounded great. Underwater scenes looked great. Only showing little bits at a time, and the monsters seemingly coming from nowhere because of how dark the ocean is. Goes into what I said earlier and how well they used everything they had to their advantage.
Than we get to the monsters, and wow they really knocked it out of the park. Looked like a bizarre mixture of squids and humans and then you get a massive creature that comes out of the drilled hole in the ground. They show them, but never fully, nor do they tell you much. They make the excellent choice of leaving them unexplained and let your imagination come up with what these things were, but all of them, looked great.
Than there was the humanity that is in play here. Normally, when you get a group, in a dire situation. You get one who is either hiding information to save themselves, or sabotaging someone else. Not here, you don’t quite the opposite. Most of their demises, came because of them making the ultimate sacrifice, so, the others could live. From Rodrigo not telling anyone his helmet was defective, The Captain cutting the cord. All leading up to the finale. It was the ultimate display of humanity, making sure they could get as many out as they can.
Before I move on, have to talk about the cast. Like, I said, don’t know much about Kristen Stewart. Hear a lot of negative things about her, but I think she was stellar as Norah. Norah was a character already rocked by death, from losing her fiance, and haunted by her decision to close the door on the rig that was blowing up, and you see her carrying the weight of every loss, and when it was her time to make the sacrifice. You really cared and was awesome to see her take out the creature at the same time, and Kristen Stewart brought her to life in the best possible way and really shined. Right behind her was Jessica Henwick as Emily. Really rooting for her, and had me on the edge of my seat when it looked like she was going to die. Evolving from someone so scared to even step into the water, to saving both Norah and Liam. At first, I thought I was going to put T.J. Miller in the negatives. Every other word out of his mouth, was some sort of a joke. Some hitting and some missing by a wide margin, but I got to thinking more about his character, and what happened to him, and most importantly, when he died, and it all clicked in one big positive for me. His jokes, despite being a little to many. Makes you really care about his character and he dies before the tension from the monsters kicks into high gear and doesn’t slow down the pace when it really starts going.
Negative wise…. I got nothing. I explained the issue I had with T.J’s jokes, and there are times where you struggle to see what is going on, but that is not a negative as far as I am concerned. It represents what is going on to the characters at that moment and you do get to see the creatures and everything you want to see anyways. The actors were all spot on and loved the story.
The highest grade we give on these, is S, and this is an easy S grade movie. I had so much fun and strongly suggest watching this in the theaters, and that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed. As always…
Thank you for reading.