HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DOWN

 

DOWN

CAST

Naomi Watts (Birdman)
James Marshall (A Few Good Men)
Eric Thal (Close to Eden)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Edward Herrmann (The Aviator)
Dan Hedaya (Commando)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Kathryn Meisle (One Life To Live)
Martin McDougall (Batman Begins)

The film takes place at the Millennium building in New York City, which has 102 floors and 73 elevators. One evening, lightning strikes the building, which causes the elevators to begin acting strangely, resulting in a guard’s flashlight being crushed. The next day, a group of pregnant women are held up between floors 20 and 21. The elevator overheats rapidly, causing two women to give birth and hospitalizing the rest. Reporter Jennifer Evans (Naomi Watts) is called to write a report on the incident. After an investigation by METEOR elevator company technicians Jeff (Eric Thal) and Mark Newman (James Marshall), they determine that nothing is wrong with the elevators, a large part being Jeff’s inability to actually admit there is something wrong (he states throughout his scenes that the computer controlling the elevators has absolutely no defects). A short time later, a blind man and his guide dog disappear in the building. The two guards from the beginning of the film discover the dog’s corpse hanging from its collar on a shaft support. The discovering guard’s head is caught between the elevator doors. He is decapitated a short while later, his partner too horrified to help him. Once again, the METEOR executives find nothing wrong with the elevators. Evans interviews Newman, who sarcastically states “Nine people out of ten make it out of an elevator alive.” Evans places this in her report, causing a large controversy over his statement by his boss, Mitchell (Ron Perlman) and the police. During the same day, a roller skater is sucked into an elevator in the parking garage and shot from the 86th floor of the building to his death. The roller skater’s death is explained to media as suicide.

Evans visits Newman and shows him a tape of the roller skater’s death. She points out the time it normally takes for the elevator to go up 87 floors would take about 40 seconds to a minute. However, the elevator ascended the floors in less than two seconds, thus noting that there is definitely something wrong. When they try to show the tape to Jeff, he refuses to watch it and leaves abruptly. Instead, they go to Evans’ office and look up a man named Gunther Steinberg (Michael Ironside), who had been experimenting with organic reproducing computer chips using dolphin brains. However, the project had gone disastrously wrong and Steinberg was fired. Later the next morning Milligan (Edward Herrmann), who remains suspicious of the elevators throughout the film, discovers Jeff’s corpse in an elevator shaft. When Jennifer and Mark arrive, they are shocked to hear that the police have concocted a story that has Jeff being a terrorist and being behind the incidents and assure the public that the threat is over. Later during the day, an elevator cab flies to top floor at such a speed that the floor flies off and all the people in it are killed. This event reaches the President and is seen as an act of terrorism.

A terrorism unit is assembled at the building to get any further terrorists out of the building. Meanwhile, Jennifer and Mark discover a recent suicide could be linked to the incidents, as his extremely superstitious widow believes his soul has returned to punish others. Jennifer and Mark enter the building to discover and stop the threat once and for all. During the entry, Jennifer is taken into custody posing as a METEOR executive. During her first attempt to prove this fraud, she receives a phone call from a friend to explains that while Steinberg’s time working on the “fucking chips” as they are called in the movie, has been revoked, Steinberg continued to work on the project except not with dolphin brains. Eventually, Mitchell abandons Steinberg for fear of his own reputation being ruined. Mark manages to get into the Millennium Building and discovers a large bio-chip in the form of a brain in an elevator shaft. It is assumed that this brain is alive and controlling the elevators. He attempts to destroy using a screwdriver, but this attempt fails when it sends a flaming elevator down to kill him. Mark barely escapes while the elevator kills a SWAT officer who was barely out of the elevator shaft before he was sliced in half from his waist down with the upper half of his body sliding across the floor. Marshall gets a hold of a stinger missile launcher and is about to destroy the organ when Steinberg intervenes, threatening him. Jennifer appears, having escaped custody and frees Marshall. As Mark tries to destroy the organ a third time, the police enter, giving Steinberg the opportunity to hold Jennifer hostage. Jennifer manages to escape thanks to Steinberg being unable to recognize one of his superiors. Steinberg is grabbed by the elevator shaft cables and pulled in, along with Mark. At the last second, Jennifer kicks the stinger launcher to Mark, who proceeds to destroy the organ. Steinberg’s mutilated corpse falls seconds later.

Some time later, Mark and Jennifer leave a hospital where they find themselves trapped in an elevator. However, it proves to be a ruse for Mark to make a romantic overture toward Jennifer. The film then cuts out to Aerosmith’s song “Love in an Elevator”.

My take on this film is that it is a good B movie, or a very good C movie. The acting wasn’t bad, Ron Perlman and Michael Ironside were in it, and of course there’s the Naomi Watts eye candy element. And who doesn’t enjoy seeing people get sliced in half by elevators. Its Not going to win any Oscars.  It’s a classic B movie, and mostly because of the fact that it made so many creepy 9/11 predictions. Suspend disbelief, kick back, enjoy.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE ADDAMS FAMILY (1991)

CAST

Anjelica Huston (50/50)
Raul Julia (Street Fighter)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Christina Ricci (Lizzie Borden Took An Axe)
Jimmy Workman (As Good AS It Gets)
Dan Hedaya (Commando)
Elizabeth Wilson (The Graduate)
Judith Malina (When In Rome)
Carel Struycken (The Witches of Eastwick)
Dana Ivey (Two Weeks Notice)
Christopher Hart (Idle Hands)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Mercedes McNab (Angel)

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After so many attempts at making feature films out of old TV series have failed, the handful that actually are successful and creative stand out. In recent times, “The Addams Family” is certainly one of the best. Director Barry Sonnenfeld is at his best here, and he’s lucky to be surrounded with the perfect cast.


We’re introduced to the family; Morticia(perfectly played by Angelica Huston), Gomez (a wonderful performance with great energy by Raul Julia) and the two children, Wednesday(a perfect Christina Ricci) and Pugsley. Instead of the usual fights between children, the two go after one another with deadly weapons. And in the film’s best non-speaking role we have Thing, a hand that races around the house and acts as sort of a family pet. There’s also the film’s other “star”, the Addams mansion, which has been built down to the last detail.The plot revolves around the “appearance” of Gomez’s long-lost brother, Uncle Fester. This Fester (Christopher Lloyd) though, is an impostor, planning to raid the Addams vault and the plan is brought together by the family lawyer (Dan Hedaya).

The movie occasionally has a few slow points, but it’s a lot of fun and the performers seem to have enjoyed their roles as well. The cinematography is a lot of fun as the camera rockets through the various halls of the house. It’s the performances though, that capture the characters perfectly. A very good first directing effort from Sonnenfeld.

REVIEW: SHAFT (2000)

CAST

Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Jeffrey Wright (Source Code)
Busta Rhymes (Halloween 8)
Dan Hedaya (Commando)
Toni Collette (Japanese Story)
Richard Roundtree (Heroes)
Sonja Sohn (The Originals)
Mekhi Phifer (Divergent)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Lee Tergesen (The Purge TV)
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (THe Devil’s Advocate)
Pat Hingle (Batman)
Daniel von Bargen (Robocop 3)
Peter McRobbie (Daredevil)
Will Chase (Impulse)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
Doug Hutchison (The Green Mile)
Deirdre Lovejoy (Bones)
Gloria Reuben (Cloak & Dagger)

17xp-anderson1-articleLargeNYPD Detective John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson) is called in to investigate the racially motivated murder of Trey Howard (Mekhi Phifer), committed by Walter Wade, Jr. (Christian Bale), the son of a wealthy real estate tycoon. Shaft briefly meets a potential eyewitness to the murder, Diane Palmieri (Toni Collette), but she disappears soon after and cannot be found for the trial. Wade is released on bail and flees to Switzerland.

Two years later, Wade returns and Shaft rearrests him for leaving the country. During his temporary incarceration at police headquarters, Wade meets Peoples Hernandez (Jeffrey Wright), a Dominican drug lord. Wade relinquishes his passport and is released on bail again; in frustration Shaft resigns from the police force, promising to bring Wade to justice on his own terms. Worried that Shaft might find the missing eyewitness, Wade hires Peoples to find and kill her first.

Shaft continues his search for Diane, enlisting the help of his friends Detective Carmen Vasquez (Vanessa L. Williams) and taxi driver Rasaan (Busta Rhymes). While visiting Diane’s uncooperative mother, Shaft and Carmen realise they are being followed by officers Jack Roselli (Dan Hedaya) and Jimmy Groves (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), who have been paid by Peoples to follow Shaft and get to Diane. Shaft finally finds her, but before they can talk, they are attacked by Peoples’s men. In the shootout, Shaft kills Peoples’s younger brother. Shaft, Diane, Rasaan, and Diane’s brother manage to escape to Rasaan’s apartment, but they are followed by Roselli and Groves. While at the apartment, Diane confesses that she saw the entire murder, and kept silent in return for a payoff from Wade’s father.17xp-anderson1-articleLargeWhen Peoples arrives at the location, another shootout takes place. Roselli and Groves, outed as corrupt, are killed by Carmen. In a face-off between Shaft and Peoples, Peoples insinuates that he’s been working for Wade, and Shaft kills him. Wade’s trial finally arrives. Before it can begin, however, he is gunned down by Trey’s mother, Carla Howard (Lynne Thigpen). In the police station, Shaft reiterates to Carmen that he prefers to be a private detective. A woman arrives, asking for Shaft to help her, claiming to have an abusive boyfriend. Shaft is initially reluctant, but when he sees her injury, he decides to help her anyway. Shaft, along with his uncle, John Shaft I (Richard Roundtree), go together to confront the abusive boyfriend.

This Shaft is a great movie for anyone who’s a fan of the original, Sam Jackson, or great action movies in general.

 

REVIEW: COMMANDO

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Rae Dawn Chong (The Colour Purple)
Dan Hedaya (The Ussual Suspects)
Vernon Wells (Power Rangers Time Force)
James Olson (Amityville II)
David Patrick Kelly (The Crow)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Bill Duke (Hoodlum)
Drew Snyder (Cruel Intentions)
Michael Delano (Ocean’s Eleven)
Chelsea Field (Masters of The Universe)
Branscombe Richmond (The Scorpion King)
Bill Paxton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Retired Delta Force operator Colonel John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is informed by his former superior Major General Franklin Kirby (James Olson) that all the other members of his unit have been killed by unknown mercenaries. The mercenaries, among them Bennett (Vernon Wells), an Australian ex-member of Matrix’s team fired for overt brutality in service, attack Matrix’s secluded mountain home and kidnap Matrix’s young daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano). While trying to intercept them, Matrix is also overpowered by the mercenaries.

It is revealed that Matrix is needed to carry out a political assassination for a South American former dictator named Arius (Dan Hedaya), who wishes to lead a military coup in his home country of Val Verde. Arius, who was deposed by Matrix in the course of one of his missions, has chosen the colonel because the current president trusts him implicitly. With Jenny’s life on the line, Matrix reluctantly accepts the demand. After boarding a plane to Val Verde, Matrix manages to kill his guard, Henriques, and jumps from the plane just as it is taking off. With approximately 11 hours’ time (the period of the flight), he sets out after another of Arius’ men, Sully (David Patrick Kelly). He then enlists the aid of an off-duty flight attendant named Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong), and instructs her to follow Sully to a shopping mall. Cindy first assumes that Matrix is a maniac, but after seeing him desperately trying to get his hands on Sully, she has a change of heart and henceforth assists him in his endeavor. After a lengthy car chase, Matrix catches up with Sully whom he drops off a cliff to his death. Taking a motel key from Sully’s jacket, Matrix tracks down and confronts Cooke (Bill Duke), a former Green Beret in Arius’ employ. He kills Cooke in combat and learns where Jenny is being held after searching Cooke’s car.

Matrix breaks into a surplus store to equip himself with military weapons, but the police arrive and Matrix is arrested. Cindy helps him escape with an RPG and, after commandeering a seaplane from a nearby marina controlled by Arius, Matrix and Cindy land the plane off the coast of Arius’ island hideout. Matrix instructs Cindy to contact General Kirby and then proceeds to Arius’ villa, where he embarks on a killing spree. Matrix stabs a number of soldiers, dispatches tens of Arius’ men with his machine gun, fights further opposition from within a shed utilizing gardening tools before then taking possession of the dead soldiers’ weapons and proceeding to the main building, shooting every single man he encounters on the way. Matrix then faces Arius man-to-man in a furious gunfight, and even though Arius has the high ground, Matrix outsmarts and shoots him dead.

Matrix locates Jenny in the basement of the villa, where she has fled, and encounters Bennett. After a fierce struggle during which each is injured, Matrix finally impales Bennett with a steam pipe, finishing him once and for all. However, Kirby arrives with a military detachment and asks Matrix to rejoin the Special Forces Unit, but Matrix declines with “No chance.” and departs the island aboard the seaplane with Jenny and Cindy.

The great thing about this film is that Arnold goes though at least 60 extras who are all shooting at him, they miss him and he kills them all. But it’s just fun to watch, as unrealistic as it is.  Commando is a great action film that anyone could at least get a good kick out of.

REVIEW: DICK

CAST
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Michelle Williams (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Dan Hedaya (The Addams Family)
Will Ferrell (Anchorman)
Bruce McCulloch (Stealing Harvard)
Teri Garr (Batman Beyond)
Ana Gasteyer (Mean Girls)
Harry Shearer (The Simpsons)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Devon Gummersall (Roswell)
Ted McGinley (Highlander 2)
Ryan Reynolds (The Voices)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
French Stewart (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Betsy Jobs (Kirsten Dunst) and Arlene Lorenzo (Michelle Williams) are two sweet-natured but somewhat ditzy teenage girls living in Washington D.C. in the early 1970s. Betsy comes from a wealthy family in the Georgetown area, while Arlene lives with her widowed mother in an apartment in the Watergate building. One night, on a quest to mail a letter to enter a contest to win a date with teen idol singer Bobby Sherman, the two girls sneak out of Arlene’s home, at the same time as the Watergate break-in. They manage to enter and leave through the parking garage by taping the latch of a door, accidentally causing the break-in to be discovered. They are seen by G. Gordon Liddy (Harry Shearer), who they believe to be committing a jewel robbery; they panic and run away. The security guard, startled by the taped door, calls the police, who immediately arrest the burglars.
The next day, while at the White House on a school tour, they accidentally happen across Liddy again. They don’t recognize him, but he recognizes them and instantly becomes suspicious. He points them out to H. R. Haldeman (Dave Foley), who proceeds to interrogate them; their conversation (in which it is revealed that the girls don’t actually think about the President that much) is interrupted firstly by a phone call from Haldeman’s wife, and secondly by President Nixon himself (Dan Hedaya), who takes Haldeman aside to complain about the bugging operation being so fouled up.
The girls are naturally awestruck at being in the same room as Nixon — but more awestruck at being able to play with his dog, which gives Nixon an idea. In order to keep their silence, he appoints them his official dog-walkers… which means they must be admitted repeatedly to the White House. On these visits they accidentally influence major events such as the Vietnam peace process and the Nixon-Brezhnev accord, by bringing along cookies that they have inadvertently baked marijuana into. (Near the end of the film, when Betsy’s brother, Larry (Devon Gummersall), reveals the cookies’ “secret ingredient” and realizes the President ate them, he concludes that this was likely a leading cause of Nixon’s paranoia.) They also become familiar with the key figures of Nixon’s administration, including the long-suffering, frequently ignored Henry Kissinger, and inadvertently learn the major secrets of the Watergate scandal without realizing what they know.
Arlene, previously infatuated with Bobby Sherman, now falls equally hard for the president. Just after reading an 18½-minute message of love into his tape recorder, she plays back another part of the tape and, after hearing his coarse, brutal rantings, quickly realizes his true nature. When they confront Nixon, he fires and threatens them. The girls now reevaluate what they have learned and decide to reveal everything to the “radical muckraking bastards” (Nixon’s words) at the Washington Post, Bob Woodward (Will Ferrell) and Carl Bernstein (Bruce McCulloch). So they become informants; two 15-year-old girls are the true identity of the famous Deep Throat (Betsy’s brother had just been caught watching the film of the same name). Woodward and Bernstein — portrayed as petty, childish, and incompetent — are naturally skeptical of the two girls. To make matters worse, their only piece of physical evidence, a list of names of those involved from the Committee to Re-Elect the President, is eaten by Betsy’s dog.
Nixon’s men realize that the girls are a real threat and attempt tactics such as bugging and undercover agents to find out what they know, eventually going so far as to break into Betsy’s house and plant an undercover agent as Arlene’s mother’s boyfriend. Eventually pushed to the limit after being chased by the Watergate “plumbers”, the girls decide to take action: sneaking into Haldeman’s house, they manage to find and steal a crucial tape recording. They give a transcription of it to Woodward and Bernstein (keeping the tape as a “souvenir”) thus ending Nixon’s political career. Nixon, finds Arlene’s message on his tape and erases it, reasoning that he’d be “crucified” if it was perceived that he had an affair with a 15-year-old girl. After the resignation, as Nixon’s helicopter flies over Betsy’s house, the two girl hold up a sign depicting the phrase “You suck, Dick”, further angering the now ex-president.
A very enjoyable film . Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams are well cast in this amusing romp . This a film that stands repeat viewings , and ranks along side Kirstens other great films such as , Bring it On , and Get over It .