REVIEW: RISE OF THE ZOMBIES

CAST

Danny Trejo (Machete)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Mariel Hemingway (Star 80)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Heather Hemmens (Hellcats)
French Stewart (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)

14444786133A water-borne virus has led to a widespread outbreak of zombies in San Francisco. A group of survivors, including Dr. Lynn Snyder (Mariel Hemingway) and others, create a refuge on Alcatraz Island. Snyder receives communications from Dr. Arnold (French Stewart), a scientist conducting experiments to create a cure for the virus. Meanwhile, Dr. Dan Halpern (LeVar Burton), another of the refugees, is studying parts culled from the bodies of the zombies, but he is unable to make much headway because he only has access to ‘dead’ zombies. His research is further hindered when Caspian (Danny Trejo) and other refugees burn the zombie corpses being stored on the island.zombies27tvf-1-webA horde of zombies are washed onto the island by the tides, causing panic in the camp. While they are defeated, many of the refugees are killed, and two are infected by the virus, one of them being Halpern’s daughter, Julie (Kerisse Hutchinson). The survivors decide to set out for the mainland, while Halpern stays to study the two infected victims. Later in the film, Halpern is forced to kill himself by detonating a grenade when his daughter bites him, before the virus can claim him as well. The group on the mainland splits in two because of conflicting goals. Snyder wishes to find Dr. Arnold, as she believes he has found a cure, while Caspian’s group instead wants to find supplies and ultimately reach what they believe to be an evacuation point. Caspian and several others are soon infected, and the group’s numbers dwindle. It is eventually revealed that the ‘evacuation point’ has already been overrun by the zombies, rendering escape seemingly impossible. As the group siphones gas from a car, Ashley commits suicide on a trolly by rolling it down the street colliding with a bus.maxresdefaultThe last survivors of the group – Snyder, Kyle (Chad Lindberg) and Marshall (Ethan Suplee) – discover Dr. Arnold’s refuge, the water treatment plant where the outbreak began. Arnold reveals that he has indeed discovered a cure, based on his tests on animal subjects. As the five flee for a chopper on the roof of the plant, both Kyle and Marshall are attacked, but Arnold’s vaccine saves them. The group escapes the city, and Arnold requests a laboratory to manufacture his cure, expressing optimism that anything is possible.img_4355Rise of the Zombies is actually a good enough movie to watch for any zombie fans. It is nothing extraordinary or exceptional, but still worth a watch.

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REVIEW: THE TRUST

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider)
Elijah Wood (The Hobbit)
Sky Ferreira (Baby Driver)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Steven Williams (21 Jump Street)
Jerry Lewis (The Nutty Professor)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)

Sergeant David Waters and his boss/friend Lieutenant Jim Stone both work in the Evidence Management unit of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Disillusioned and bored with their jobs, they also find it hard to make ends meet. While going through case files, Jim comes to know of a drug dealer who has access to large amounts of money, as indicated by his bail receipt, which was paid in $200,000 cash.Using his vacation days, Jim engages in a stint of undercover work at the same hotel as the drug dealer is employed and comes to discover that all of the merchandise the dealer and his gang move is taken to one building, and never moved again. David, after acquiring blueprints from the local planning office, discovers the dealer and his gang have built a large safe in the back of an industrial freezer in the building. Realising it is an easy hit, Jim and David scour items required for the heist, including a diamond tipped drill and unlicensed firearms, paying for them with illegally acquired cash from a corrupt colleague. They break into the apartment above the freezer building and muffle its two occupants, but Jim ends up shooting and killing one after he attempts to escape. After drilling and the use of improvised explosives, they are able to unlock and access the vault. David, who has become attached to the surviving female hostage, allows her to call her 3-year-old son’s father to assure him that she is okay.Jim and David search the safe, which contains vast quantities of diamonds, cash and gold coins. Despite Jim being elated, David becomes concerned that stealing so much valuable property from the gang will get them killed, and subsequently relocks the safe so Jim can’t access it. Enraged, Jim threatens David at gunpoint, forcing him to reluctantly open the safe and unload all of the valuables. As they are packing up the drill, David kills Jim in a brief shootout and returns the contents to the safe. He then drives off with the hostage to drop her up north, assuring her of her freedom. Later, David sees two vans following him and he notices the phone number advertised on the back of one of them as the same number the hostage called earlier. Despite identifying himself as a police officer, David is shot dead by men in the vans, who rescue the woman (implied to have been a member of the same gang responsible for watching over the safe). The movie ends with David’s badge and the drill being catalogued in the Evidence Management building where he and Jim used to work.A thoroughly decent film. I am not an Elijah Wood fan, and can take or leave Nic Cage, but you know, these 2 carried this film off. It had some real funny moments, and some tense scenes. It was a bit different as well, and i just really enjoyed it.

REVIEW: WITHOUT A PADDLE

CAST

Seth Green (Family Guy)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Dax Shepard (Zathura)
Antony Starr (Banshee)
Danielle Cormack (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Burt Reynolds (Driven)
Liddy Holloway (Hercules: TLJ)
Bruce Phillips (Power Rangers RPM)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Abraham Benrubi (Buffy: TVS)
Rachel Blachard (Snakes on a Plane)
Christina Moore (Delta Farce)
Susan Brady (Blood Crime)

Twelve years after graduating from high school, three friends, Jerry, Dan, and Tom, find out that their childhood friend Billy has died in a parasailing accident. After the funeral, they revisit the group’s old tree-house and find a map leading to D. B. Cooper’s lost treasure, which Billy had apparently been working on for his entire life. Dan takes a break from his job as a doctor and joins Jerry and Tom on a camping trip to find the treasure. They take a canoe down the river and eventually stop on the riverside for the night. They discover that they forgot to bring food, so Tom goes out to catch some fish. However, the activity attracts a grizzly bear to their position, and the bear chases the group into a tree. In the morning, the group find all of their gear has been ripped up and completely destroyed by the bear.

The trio takes off into the river but are unable to read the map, causing them to go the wrong way. They fall off of a waterfall, and while they survive, their canoe is destroyed. They venture into the woods with a compass and find themselves at a pot farm where two farmers, Dennis and Elwood, mistake them for thieves and start shooting at them. They escape, burning the pot garden down in the process. This enrages the farmers, who decide to hunt them down and kill them. Later, far into the forest the trio meets two hippie girls, Flower and Butterfly, who treat them in their tree. Using a radio the farmers find them, but the hippie girls drop paper bags full of feces at the farmers to distract them while the trio escapes. They are caught by a mountain man who takes them to his hut and provides them with clothes. The man later reveals himself to be Del Knox, Cooper’s partner before his death.

The next morning, the farmers find them and assault the house. The trio escapes while Del shoots at the two farmers with his revolver. The trio stumbles upon the site of Cooper’s crash-landing where they discover Cooper’s corpse and the suitcase that he used to hold the ransom money, and they realize that Cooper burned the money in an attempt to survive. As Dan crawls through a small tunnel to find a way out, the farmers find Jerry and Tom, and a fistfight ensues. Eventually, Sheriff Briggs, who had earlier helped the trio, intervenes, but he then reveals himself to be the farmers’ employer. Jerry arms a grenade taken from Dennis and throws it towards the pot dealers. It explodes, causing a tree to fall on the farmers and the sheriff, who are soon arrested.

In the closing scenes, Jerry, Dan, and Tom split half of the remaining money with Del. Jerry proposes to his girlfriend, Dan starts a relationship with Flower, and Tom becomes a camp counselor for a children’s summer camp where he ends up telling his troop all about the trip.

The odd laugh will definitely turn up, but there are many better comedies around, so unless you’re simply up for an evening of mostly forgettable fun, you might want to leave Without a Paddle wallowing in the shallows.

REVIEW: ROAD TRIP

CAST

Breckin Meyer (Garfield)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
Paulo Costanzo (Joey)
DJ Qualls (Cherry Falls)
Amy Smart (Just Friends)
Tom Green (Stealing Harvard)
Rachel Blanchard (The Rage: Carrie 2)
Anthony Rapp (Twister)
Fred Ward (Chai nReaction)
Andy Dick (Hoodwinked!)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Jessica Cauffiel (D.E.B.S)
Mia Amber Davis (Holla If I Kill You)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (24)

Josh and Tiffany were long time friends and high school sweethearts. They both had to face a long distance relationship when Josh enrolls to University of Ithaca and Tiffany enrolls to the University of Austin. They made a promise to be true to each other and call each other every day. But when Tiffany doesn’t call Josh or answer any of his calls, Josh begins worrying that Tiffany is seeing another man (actually, her maternal grandfather died). To show that he is still in love with her, he makes a daily recorded video log to her. After a one-night stand with his friend Beth, Josh discovers that his sex with Beth has been taped, and, through a series of misunderstandings, the tape was sent to Tiffany instead of his latest blog entry. This prompts a road trip in which Josh and his friends set out for Austin to intercept the tape before Tiffany gets a chance to view it.What you’ll get to see is an hilarious movie that, it has to be said, isn’t all too original. It follows the typical guidelines for teen comedies, but does it all very well.

REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Elden Henson (Daredevil)
William Lee Scott (October Sky)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Cameron Bright (Twilight: New Moon)
Melora Walters (Ed Wood)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Callum Keith Rennie (Flashforward)
Lorena Gale (Battlestar Galactica)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)

Growing up, Evan Treborn and his friends, Lenny and siblings Kayleigh and Tommy Miller, suffered many severe psychological traumas that frequently caused Evan to black out. These traumas include being coerced to take part in child pornography by Kayleigh and Tommy’s father, George Miller (Eric Stoltz), being nearly strangled to death by his institutionalized father, Jason Treborn (Callum Keith Rennie), who is then killed in front of him by guards; accidentally killing a mother and her infant daughter while playing with dynamite with his friends; and seeing his dog being burned alive by Tommy.Seven years later, while entertaining a girl in his dorm room, Evan discovers that when he reads from his adolescent journals, he can travel back in time and redo parts of his past. His time traveling episodes account for the frequent blackouts he experienced as a child, since those are the moments that his adult self occupied his conscious, such as the moment his father strangled him when he realizes that Evan shares his time-traveling affliction. However, there are consequences to his revised choices that dramatically alter his present life. For example, his personal time-line leads to alternative futures in which he finds himself, variously, as a college student in a fraternity, an inmate imprisoned for murdering Tommy, and a double amputee. Eventually, he realizes that, even though his intentions to fix the past are good, his actions have unforeseen consequences, in which either he or at least one of his friends does not benefit. Moreover, the assimilation of dozens of years’ worth of new memories from the alternative timelines causes him brain damage and severe nosebleeds. He ultimately reaches the conclusion that he and his friends might not have good futures as long as he keeps altering the past, and he realizes that he is hurting them rather than helping.Evan travels back one final time to the day he first met Kayleigh as a child. He intentionally upsets her so that she and Tommy will choose to live with their mother, in a different neighborhood, instead of with their father when they divorce. As a result, they aren’t subjected to a destructive upbringing, don’t grow up with Evan, and go on to have happy, successful lives. Evan awakens in a college dorm room, where Lenny is his roommate. As a test, he asks where Kayleigh is, to which Lenny responds “Who’s Kayleigh?”. Knowing that everything is all right this time, Evan burns his journals and videos to avoid altering the timeline ever again.Eight years later in New York City, an adult Evan exits an office building and passes by Kayleigh on the street. Though a brief look of recognition passes over both of their faces, they both decide to keep walking.

Directors’ cut

The director’s cut features a notably different ending. With his brain terribly damaged and aware that he is about to be committed to a psychiatric facility where he will lose access to his time travel ability, Evan makes a desperate attempt to change the timeline by travelling back to his pre-birth self (by viewing a family film of his father’s), where he strangles himself in the womb with his umbilicus so as to prevent the multi-generational curse from continuing, consistent with an added scene where a fortune teller describes Evan to Evan and his mother as “having no lifeline” and “not belonging to this world”. Kayleigh is then seen as a child in the new timeline having chosen to live with her mother instead of her father, and a montage suggests that the lives of the other childhood characters have become loving and less tragic.

Despite mixed reviews prior to seeing this, I thought this film was an absolute gem. The cast were well introduced at the start and you were led thru the film with mysterious gaps which were filled later on, shocking the audience at times. Subject matter was occasionally difficult but this made it all the more believeable in our hero’s responses. Anything that offers a temporal paradox allows the mind to fulfil the ‘whatif’ question. It gets you thinking but this movie was difficult to 2nd guess which in my view makes for a great and unpredictable film

REVIEW: UNSTOPPABLE

CAST

Denzel Washington (Safe House)
Chris Pine (Wonder Woman)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City II)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Kevin Corrigan (Ordinary World)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
Jessy Schram (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Andy Umberger (The Accountant)
Dylan Bruce (Heroes Reborn)
Aisha Hinds (Cult)

While moving a train pulled by AWVR AC4400CW’s #777 and #767 at the Veteran Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad (AWVR) trainyard in the fictional city of Fuller, Pennsylvania, the two hostlers, Dewey and Gilleece, take ill-advised shortcuts and accidentally allow the engine to leave the train-yard on its own power without the air brakes engaged. Initially believing the train to be a “coaster”, yardmaster Connie Hooper orders Dewey, Gilleece, and chief welder Ned Oldham to drive and catch up the train to stop it. When Oldham finds that the train has already passed where it was supposed to be, they realize that the train is running on full power and now poses a dangerous threat. Dewey and Gilleece manage to catch up to 777 using a high railing truck but fail to board the train in time. Hooper alerts Oscar Galvin, director of operations for AWVR, and also instructs the local and state police and sheriffs to secure all the grade crossings to prevent injury. Visiting Federal Railroad Administration safety inspector Scott Werner warns that 8 cars being pulled by 777 contain highly toxic, and highly flammable molten phenol which would be a major disaster if the train should crash or derail in a populated area. Triple 7 is also pulling around 5000 gallons of diesel fuel which also poses a serious threat. News of the runaway train soon becomes a media event.However, Hooper suggests they purposely derail the train, but Galvin disagrees and believes they can safely stop the train by lashing it behind two slower-moving diesel engines helmed by veteran engineer Judd Stewart, slowing it down long enough for AWVR employee and former U.S. Marine Ryan Scott to descend via helicopter to 777’s cab and stop the train manually. Though the lashing initially works, a sudden hard bump knocked Scott out and derailed the two diesel engines, causing them to explode, which ultimately kills Stewart in the process. They realize that 777, traveling at its current speed, will certainly derail on “Devil’s Curve”, a tight, elevated portion of track in the middle of the city of Stanton and would supposedly crash into a large fuel depot near the curve on the eastern side of the state. Plans are made to purposely derail the train outside the town of Arklow using a portable derailer.Meanwhile, retiring AWVR engineer Frank Barnes and conductor Will Colson, a new hire looking to turn his life around after an incident with his now estranged wife, are pulling several cars with SD40-2 #1206 from Stanton. Though originally aware of 777 coasting away from the Fuller train yard, they are ordered at the last minute to pull into a Repair-In-Place track, making it just in time as 777 races by and clipping the last few cars they are pulling. Barnes observes that 777 has an open knuckle, which if they could catch up to the engine, they could use to couple it to 777 and use their own brakes to slow the train before it reaches Stanton. As Colson unhitches their cars to give them the best chance of catching up, Barnes reports his plan to Hooper and Galvin and warns them that the derailing idea will not work given 777’s momentum, but Galvin threatens to fire Barnes if he continues. Given that AWVR has already given him a forced early retirement notice, Barnes ignores Galvin and sets 1206 on course to catch up with 777. As 777 passes Arklow, police attempt to shoot the fuel shutoff switch on the engine, but fail to hit it. As Barnes predicts, the train barrels go through the derailers without slowing down. Hooper and Werner fully support Barnes’ plan and take over control of the situation from Galvin.Barnes and Colson catch up to 777 and attempt to engage the coupling. Their attempts to connect with 777 cause the grain car seal to break and leak grain at a blinding rate. Colson notices the locking pin on the coupler is not engaged. He attempts to kick it in but the couple again impacts 1206 and Colson gets his right foot crushed in the process. However, he is able to hold on enough to fully engage the locking pin. Barnes works his way across 777 to its cab, manually engaging the brakes on the freight cars along the way, while Colson engages 1206’s dynamic brakes, which initially slow down 777, but would prove to be no match for 777’s speed. They are able to reduce the speed slow enough to clear the Stanton Curve without derailing by using the independent brake, but 777 remains out of control and threatens to crash into the Stanton train yard. Despite attempting to reach the locomotive by jumping on the cars, Barnes finds his path blocked to 777’s cab, but Oldham arrives in his truck with a police convoy and drives on a parallel road to the tracks. Colson jumps to Oldham’s truck, and Oldham drives him up to the front of 777 allowing Colson to get into the cab and engage the brakes. 777 is safely stopped before it reaches the end of the line.Barnes, Colson, and Oldham are heralded as heroes, with Barnes retiring (with full benefits) and Colson reuniting with his wife and child. Hooper is promoted to Galvin’s former position for her leadership, and Dewey goes to work into the fast food industry, indicating he was fired.Perhaps not a classic, but crowd-pleasing enterainment, professionally done and almost guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face.

 

REVIEW: THE RANCH – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Ashton Kucther (Two and A Half Men)
Danny Masterson (That 70s Show)
Debra Winger (Terms of Endearment)
Sam Elliott (Ghost Rider)

RECURRING /NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Elisha Cuthbert (The Girl Next Door)
Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show)
Bret Harrison (V)
Megyn Price (Rules of Engagement)
Barry Corbin (Anger Managment)
Kathy Baker (Saving Mr. Banks)
John Amos (Two Evil Eyes)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Kelli Goss (Victorious)
Aimee Teegarden (Scream 4)
Chasty Ballesteros (FInal Destination 5)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Rex Linn (Django Unchained)
Thomas F. Wilson (The Heat)
Meagen Fay (La La Land)

Netflix recently added the new original series The Ranch to their line-up. The show follows the lives of a family of ranchers in Garrison, Colorado. I really started watching it for the Kutcher-Masterson pairing. The brothers great when playing off each other, but the whole cast is what makes the show a success. Kutcher continues his lovable dumb guy routine from back in the day, but there’s an added maturity behind his character which I didn’t entirely expect, and Masterson keeps up the sarcastic banter that he’s known for.
Sam Elliot is fantastic as the stick-in-the-mud father, and balanced well with Oscar-nominated Debra Winger as the flighty and sometimes very wise mother. It was a nice surprise to see Elisha Cuthbert show up as Kutcher’s high school ex-girlfriend, and the episodes with the both of them were great.
As with many Netflix originals, it starts off slow. If you can push past the stilted, bad jokes of the first episode then you’ll find an endearing comedy with strong performances from everyone. Although the show can be quite predictable at times, overall it’s a really fun, enjoyable production.