HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: SWAMP SHARK

Starring

Kristy Swanson (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
D. B. Sweeney (Sharp Objects)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Richard Tanne (2001 Maniacs)
Jeff Chase (The Mechanic)
Jason Rogel (This Is Us)
Lo Graham (This is The End)

Charles Harrelson in Swamp Shark (2011)When a series of attacks in their waters lead them to believe a shark is responsible and the authorities doubting the claims, a family of restaurateurs heads into the Louisiana swamps to kill it before it attacks more people.Swamp Shark (2011)Overall this one was a pretty decent creature feature and gets some good points to it. One of the better points here is the film taking full advantage of the situation to make for some really tense moments, as there’s a couple rather fun stalking scenes in the swamps. The Louisiana bayou setting is appropriately handled with the swampy marshlands and waterways bringing about some really high-end sequences from the first encounter in the open waterways or it taking out the penned crocodiles before the drunk fisherman. There’s also a couple other great scenes here taking great advantage of the setting with the attack on the partying students on the row-boat or the hunting party where the family sets out to hunt the creature out in open waters in speedboats making for some really impressive scenes.alg-swamp-shark-jpgThese here set the stage for the film’s two big action scenes on the attack on the partying houseboat and the rescue attempt later on as she tries to save her daughter as both scenes offer up some bloody deaths, tons of fun with the action to keep the creature at bay as well as the suspense of the creature appearing which are highly enjoyable. As well, the finale is a lot of fun as it’s the main attack on the festival where it leads from an exciting chase to start off that there’s some fun there, the attacks are quite bloody and action-packed while the final resolution of killing the creature makes for a good time. Lastly, unlike how most of these usually are, the shark actually looks really good and has some scenes where it’s a full-live shark, prop and not CGI, although the CGI here does look better than expected but can’t compare to how good the shark-prop looks.swamp_shark_600These here are enough to make-up for it’s one weak area is that there’s not a lot of actual shark attacks going on, and while it’s not noticeable to the plot or pacing, it does lower the gore quotient somewhat since there’s not a whole lot of attacks in here. It doesn’t have that many attack scenes to really ramp up that factor regardless of graphic the few ones are, but this isn’t enough to truly deter this one fully.

REVIEW: BIG DADDY


CAST

Adam Sandler (Just Go With It)
Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy)
Jon Stewart (The Faculty)
Kristy Swanson (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Dylan and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody)
Leslie Mann (This Is 40)
Rob Schneider (The Waterboy)
Jonathan Loughran (The King of Queens)
Allen Covert (Mr. Deeds)
Peter Dante (Jack and Jill)
Joseph Bologna (The Woman In Red)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)

Immature 32-year-old bachelor slacker Sonny Koufax lives in New York City and refuses to take on adult responsibility. Despite having a law degree, he refuses to take the bar exam, works one day a week as a toll booth attendant and lives off a sizeable legal settlement from a minor accident. His girlfriend, Vanessa, threatens to break up with him unless he grows up. His roommate, Kevin Gerrity, proposes to his podiatrist girlfriend Corinne Maloney before he leaves for China for his law firm, and she accepts. Sonny constantly teases Corinne, especially about her former occupation at Hooters. The next day, Sonny wakes up to find 5-year-old Julian McGrath abandoned at their apartment. A written explanation says that Julian’s mother now refuses to care for Julian and that Kevin is his biological father. Sonny assures Kevin that he will look after Julian until Kevin returns from China. In order to win Vanessa back, Sonny introduces her to Julian. However, he discovers that she is now dating Sid, a much older man who is more motivated and intelligent and has a “5-year plan.”

Posing as Kevin, Sonny takes Julian to his social worker Arthur Brooks, telling him that Julian should return to his mother. However, Brooks informs Sonny that Julian’s mother died of cancer. Sonny then decides to raise Julian his own way. As such, the boy nicknames himself Frankenstein and also helps Sonny find a new girlfriend in Corinne’s lawyer sister Layla. Brooks finds a foster home for Julian and leaves messages for Sonny, but is suspicious when Sonny does not answer. At a meeting at Julian’s school, the teacher is shocked by the terrible habits Sonny has allowed Julian to develop, causing Sonny to rethink his parenting methods. He turns himself and Julian around, but then Brooks arrives to find out Sonny impersonated Kevin and Julian is taken away.

In court, numerous people including Corinne testify on Sonny’s behalf and tell the judge he is a suitable father. Julian also testifies, providing relevant information regarding his heritage. As a final straw, Sonny calls himself to the stand and asks his Florida lawyer father Lenny, who is present, to interrogate him. Despite Lenny’s fervent belief that Sonny is not father material, Sonny convinces Lenny that he will attempt his best at being a father. Impressed by Sonny’s sincerity, Lenny vouches for him. Nonetheless, the unconvinced judge orders Sonny’s arrest. However, Kevin confesses to being Julian’s biological father and insists they drop the charges. Sonny remains friends with Julian and hands him off to Kevin, watching them bond.

One year later, Sonny has turned his life around: he is now a successful lawyer, is married to Layla, and they have a child of their own. At Sonny’s surprise birthday party at a Hooters restaurant attended by Kevin, Corinne, Julian and others, Sonny sees Vanessa working as a waitress, with Sid working as a cook, revealing his “five-year-plan” has gone awry.

Overall, Big Daddy is a movie that, if it had taken more audacious pathways, might have been a firstrate comedy. As it is, it provides numerous chuckles and a cuddly warm feeling – and that, given the state of much of big screen comedy these days, is about all we dare allow ourselves to expect.

REVIEW: THE PHANTOM (1996)

CAST

Billy Zane (The Scorpion King 3)
Treat Williams (Hair)
Kristy Swanson (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
James Remar (Black Lighning)
Patrick McGoohan (Braveheart)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat)
Bill Smitrovich (Air Force One)
Jon Tenney (Legion)
Casey Siemaszko (Young Guns)

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In the early 16th century, a young boy helplessly witnesses his father’s death at the hands of Kabai Sengh, the ruthless leader of the Sengh brotherhood who attacked their ship. The boy jumps overboard and is washed ashore on an island called Bengalla where he is found by tribesmen who take him to their village. There he is given the Skull Ring and swears to devote his life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice. In adulthood, he adopts the identity of “The Phantom”, a masked avenger. The role of The Phantom is passed on from father to son through centuries, leading people to believe in a single, immortal figure and accordingly nickname him “The Ghost Who Walks” and “The Man Who Never Dies”.the-phantom13

In 1938, Kit Walker (Billy Zane), the 21st Phantom, finds a man named Quill (James Remar) leading a mercenary group in the jungle. The group is searching for one of the Skulls of Touganda, which grants its owner a tremendous destructive power. The Phantom saves the native boy they had kidnapped to be their guide and captures Quill’s men, leaving them to be picked up by the jungle patrol while their leader escapes. Quill—revealed as a member of the Sengh Brotherhood, and the man who killed Kit’s father (Patrick McGoohan)— flees with the Skull and returns to the United States.the_phantom_sala-catehrine-zeta-jones

In New York City, Kit’s ex-girlfriend from college, Diana Palmer (Kristy Swanson), is a frequent traveler whose uncle, Dave Palmer (Bill Smitrovich), is the famous owner of the “World Tribune” newspaper. The paper has been investigating power-hungry business man Xander Drax (Treat Williams), a shady character with a reputation for having dealings with criminals. Mr. Palmer has managed to uncover that Drax is connected to a mysterious spider web symbol, which he traces back to the Bengalla Jungle. He sends Diana to investigate, and en route, her airplane is hijacked by female air pirates employed by Drax and led by the femme fatale Sala (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Diana is kidnapped and taken to their base on the waterfront in Bengalla. Having been informed of Diana’s kidnapping by the Jungle Patrol’s captain Phillip Horton (Robert Coleby), the Phantom rescues Diana and escapes from Quill and his men to his headquarters, the Skull Cave (with the help of his white horse Hero, his pet wolf Devil, and his jungle friends the Rope People). There, Diana meets with Horton, where she is informed by the Phantom and Horton that she is involved with the Sengh Brotherhood. The Phantom tells Horton to use the Jungle Patrol to take care of Diana and return her to New York while he goes after the Brotherhood.thephantom199618_zpsd14f3d36

Back in New York, Kit, now dressed as his civilian self, meets with Mr. Palmer at the Tribune building and once again meets with Diana, who has mixed feelings about him since his sudden disappearance several years before. Diana’s would-be suitor Jimmy Wells (Jon Tenney) mentions he had seen one of the skulls in the Museum of Natural History. Kit and Diana hurry there and are captured by Drax and his men, who steal the second Skull from Kit and unite it with the first, revealing the location of the third Skull on an uncharted island known as the Devil’s Vortex on the Yellow Sea. Kit sees his father’s old skull belt buckled around Quill’s waist and realizes that he is his father’s killer. He manages to escape from him and his henchmen and, as the Phantom, evades the police outside the museum (Drax is allied with New York’s corrupt police commissioner, who Mr. Palmer had informed of Diana’s trip). Meanwhile, Sala flies Drax, Quill and Diana (Drax’s “Phantom insurance” after Sala reveals that Diane is his girlfriend) to the Devil’s Vortex, not knowing that the Phantom has managed to hitch a ride on one of the plane’s landing pontoons.thephantomOn the island, Drax meets with the pirate Kabai Sengh (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), a descendant of the Brotherhood’s original leader, who possesses the third Skull. Sengh warns Drax of the existence of a “Fourth Skull”, which controls the power of the other three. The Phantom appears and battles both men, with Kabai Sengh killed by his own pool of sharks, as Diana and Sala cooperate to defeat the other villains. Drax unites the three Skulls and turns them against the Phantom, inadvertently killing Quill in the process. The Phantom uses the Fourth Skull—his own ring—to overcome the others and destroy both them and Drax in a powerful explosion. As the island is destroyed, the Phantom narrowly escapes with Diana and Sala. In Bengalla once again, Diana reveals to the Phantom she has figured out his secret and his double-identity. Kit removes his mask, telling her that he is only allowed to reveal all of his secrets to one person, the woman he intends to marry, but she leaves again for New York. Kit’s father laments his son’s failure to pursue Diana, but states that she will return to the Phantom’s jungle, and to Kit, one day.thephantom199622_zps86cd1744

This movie captures the true spirit of the original Phantom comics. Everything is done right. The time period, the fighting styles, the characterisations, and the whole look of the film are perfect. If you have ever read a Phantom comic and enjoyed it, then see this movie and you’ll not be disappointed.

REVIEW: DUDE. WHERE’S MY CAR ?

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and A Half Men)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
Jennifer Garner (Alais)
Marla Sokoloff (Sugar & Spice)
Kristy Swanson (Big Daddy)
David Herman (Futurama)
Hal Sparks (Spider-Man 2)
Charlie O’Connell (The New Guy)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (2 Broke Girls)
Justin Nimmo (Power Rangers In Space)
Nichole Hiltz (Bones)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Andy Dick (Zoolander 2)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)

Bob Clendenin (Birds of Prey)

Jesse and Chester awaken with hangovers and no memory of the previous night. The television is on, showing an Animal Planet program about how animals use twigs and rocks as tools to get food. Their refrigerator is filled with containers of chocolate pudding, and the answering machine contains an angry message from their twin girlfriends Wilma and Wanda as to their whereabouts. They emerge from their home to find Jesse’s car missing, and with it their girlfriends’ one-year anniversary presents. This prompts Jesse to ask the film’s titular question: “Dude, where’s my car?”

Because the girls have promised them a “special treat”, which Jesse and Chester take to mean sex, the men are desperate to retrieve their car. The duo begins retracing their steps in an attempt to discover where they left the car. Along the way, they encounter a transgender stripper, a belligerent speaker box operator at a Chinese restaurants drive-through, discover two appropriately-worded tattoos on each other’s backs, run into UFO cultists led by Zoltan, a Cantonese-speaking Chinese tailor, the Zen-minded Nelson and his cannabis-loving dog, the aggressive jock Tommy and his friends, a couple of hard-nosed police detectives, and a reclusive French ostrich farmer. They also meet two groups of aliens, one group being five gorgeous women, the other being two Norwegian men, searching for the “Continuum Transfunctioner”; a mysterious and powerful device, capable of destroying the universe, that the boys accidentally picked up last night.

In an arcade, they discover that the Continuum Transfunctioner was a Rubik’s Cube that Chester has been working hard to solve, and eventually does (thus activating it). They are warned that once the five lights stop flashing, the universe will be destroyed. Jesse and Chester must determine which of two sets of aliens is entitled to the device. One of the groups is there to protect the universe, the other is there to destroy it. Both claim to be the protectors of the universe, stating that they were with Jesse and Chester the previous night (which Jesse and Chester still cannot remember) and ask for the Transfunctioner. The two correctly choose the men, because when the men were asked what they did the night before, they correctly respond that they got a hole in one at the 18th hole at a miniature golf park, and won a life time supply of pudding. At the last second, they deactivate the Transfunctioner, saving the universe.

Balked, the five alien women merge to become a giantess (Jodi Ann Paterson) who swallows Tommy alive. The giantess then crawls out of the amusement centre and chases Jesse and Chester. The cultists tell them to activate the Photon Accelerator Annihilation Beam on the Transfunctioner. However, the button that activates it is too far in to reach. At the last second, Chester remembers the nature show with the tool-using chimps and uses a straw to push the recessed button, thus destroying the alien. The protectors erase everyone’s minds concerning the events and time is reversed to the beginning of the film. The duo recover the car, a Renault Le Car, which turned out to be behind a Mail Truck the whole time, and salvage their relationships and discover the special treat from the girls turns out to be matching knitted caps and scarves. The protectors leave a gift for their girlfriends (and, for the two men): Breast Enhancement Necklaces.

The movie is hilarious all the way through, there aren’t any scenes that won’t cause the watcher to stop laughing. If anyone wants to watch a real comedy movie, which does it’s job of providing comedic entertainment, then “Dude, where’s my car?” is the movie to watch.