REVIEW: WAYNE’S WORLD

CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Dana Carvey (This Is Spinal Tap)
Tia Carrere (True Lies)
Rob Lowe (Austin Powers)
Lara Flynn Boyle (Men In Black II)
Michael DeLuise (Encino Man)
Lee Tergesen (Shaft)
Ione Skye (But I’m A Cheerleader)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Caddyshack)
Colleen Camp (Apocalypse Now)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters II)
Chris Farley (Beverly Hills Ninja)
Meat Loaf (The 51st State)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)

In Aurora, Illinois, rock and roll fans Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar host a public-access television show, Wayne’s World, from Wayne’s parents’ basement. Learning that the show is popular in the Aurora area, television producer Benjamin Oliver offers to buy the rights for $10,000. Garth has doubts about the deal but is too shy to say anything to Wayne so the pair accept the offer. Wayne and Garth attend a local night club, where they avoid Wayne’s troubled ex-girlfriend Stacy. Wayne falls for Cassandra Wong, vocalist and bassist of the band Crucial Taunt, playing at the club that night. He impresses her with his Cantonese and purchases an expensive guitar he has long yearned.Benjamin attempts to steal Cassandra from Wayne by exploiting his wealth and good looks. He distracts Wayne and Garth with tickets to an Alice Cooper concert while offering Cassandra a role in a music video. At the concert, Wayne and Garth make the acquaintance of bodyguard Frankie Sharp, who is also producer of Sharp Records. While filming Wayne’s World under Benjamin’s oversight, Wayne and Garth find it difficult to adjust to the new professional studio environment. Their contract obliges them to give a promotional interview to their sponsor Noah Vanderhoff, who owns a franchise of amusement arcades. Wayne ridicules Vanderhoff with insulting notes written on the back of his question cards and is fired from the show as result, causing a rift in his friendship with Garth. Jealous of Benjamin, Wayne attempts to prevent Cassandra from participating in the music video shoot. Cassandra consequently breaks up with him, furious at his lack of trust. Wayne and Garth reunite and form a plan to win Cassandra back by having Frankie Sharp hear Crucial Taunt play. While Garth and their friends infiltrate a satellite station with the aid of Benjamin’s assistant Russell, Wayne goes to Cassandra’s video shoot. In an failed attempt to uncover Benjamin’s ulterior motives Wayne embarrasses himself. As he leaves, Cassandra changes her mind about Benjamin resulting in Wayne’s apology, and they return to Aurora. They delay Benjamin’s pursuit by having Garth’s police officer friend perform a rectal body cavity search on him.Broadcasting from Wayne’s basement, Wayne’s World successfully hacks into Sharp’s satellite television to broadcast Cassandra’s performance. As her performance ends, Sharp and Benjamin converge on Wayne’s basement. Sharp decides not to offer Crucial Taunt a record contract. Cassandra breaks up with Wayne and departs with Benjamin to a tropical resort. Stacy confesses that she is carrying Wayne’s child, and a fire destroys Wayne’s house. The unsatisfied Wayne and Garth reenact the scene in an alternative ending, unmasking Benjamin as “Old Man Withers” in a “Scooby-Doo ending”. They reenact it again in a “mega happy ending” in which Cassandra signs a record contract, reunites with Wayne, and Russell learns that “platonic love can exist between two grown men”. Garth begins a relationship with a waitress at the local diner, and Benjamin learns that money and looks do not bring happiness. The film frequently breaks the fourth wall, with Wayne, Garth, and others on occasion speaking directly to the audience and even the cameraman. Parts of the story are carried by Wayne’s narration to the camera, in which he offers his comment on what’s happening in the film. Wayne, Garth, Cassandra, Glen, and Ben all at times address the viewer, with some assumed dramatic irony as no one is aware that they are in a film.

The cultural references of Wayne’s World may date it a bit, but the nature and personality of its humor set it apart. There is a kind of naive benevolence and boundless joy which makes this movie so lovable.

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REVIEW: TRAPPED (2001)

CAST

William McNamara (Ringmaster)
Parker Stevenson (Stroker Ace)
Callum Keith Rennie (Flashforward)
Suki Kaiser (The Virgin Suicides)
Stefanie von Pfetten (Cracked)
Natassia Malthe (Elektra)
Katie Stuart (The 100)
Gabrielle Rose (Dark Angel)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Martin Cummins (Poltergeist: The Legacy)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Trapped Television Series

This movie provided a bit of entertainment, but was fairly predictable. I found it fascinating that every time a scene was shown from the ground level, you’d hear sirens and air horns from the rigs en-route. Seems to me that at a certain point, all the necessary equipment would be there, and you’d not have any more en-route. Also, the effects and explosions were ok – some appeared to have no rhyme or reason as to why an explosion occurred. For example, glass is broken in a window you can see thru. There is no fire behind the window, however suddenly the window shatters, and the room explodes. No ignition source was shown, and although spontaneous combustion is a possibility, I’ve only seen a similar situation with an already pre-existing flame. The smoke effects were nice, but if you really wanted to go for realism, the smoke shouldn’t be gray or white, it should be black and thick. Outside shots of the hotel showed black smoke, inside shots showed gray and white smoke. Outside shots of the hotel also showed smoke rising straight up, when in fact, the story claimed 50mph winds.

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I also found it interesting that although you had a major incident at a high-rise hotel in Las Vegas, I didn’t see many, if any, police officers. Crowd control was non-existent, which allowed the reporters to trample thru the fireground, and somehow, ordinary citizens were allowed into the incident commander’s area, to hear everything that was going on. This was obviously done for dramatic effect, and would never happen in real life.A few notes about the firefighters as well. The main shots of the firefighters in action were showing them running around on stairs with a charged line. I do find it hard to believe that they took a single charged line up 30 floors… hoses just aren’t that long. If in fact they were using the standpipes to connect to, they would have a length of hose to connect up to the standpipe, and be bringing with them an uncharged line. Most of the firefighting it seemed was being done with CO2 extinguishers. Also, it seemed like most of the time, they were running past a free burning fire, stopping once in a while to spray a little water. For as much water that was supposively coming off the building onto the press reporter, I didn’t see any firefighting happening. Overall, the movie was ok… the effects were pretty, if not well placed, and the factual items of the firefighting were a little scarce on the details. I’d say watch it if nothing else is on.

 

REVIEW: THE 51st STATE

CAST
Samuel L. Jackson (Black Snake Moan)
Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Meat Loaf (Fight Club)
Sean Pertwee (Gotham)
Ricky Tomlinson (Mike Bassett: England Manager)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
In 1971, a policeman catches Elmo McElroy, a recent college graduate with a degree in pharmacology, smoking marijuana. Because of his arrest and conviction, he is unable to find work as a pharmacologist. In the present day, a drug lord called “the Lizard” calls a meeting of his organisation, hoping to sell a brand new substance invented by Elmo. The meeting goes badly when Elmo, in a bid to escape from the Lizard’s control, blows up the building, killing everyone but the Lizard. Vengeful, the Lizard contacts Dakota, a contract killer, who previously killed the only witness in a case against the Lizard. Dakota initially refuses the hit, but accepts when the Lizard offers to clear her gambling debts and give her a $250,000 bonus. Elmo leaves for Liverpool, England, where he meets Felix DeSouza, a local “fixer” who has been sent by Leopold Durant, head of a local criminal organisation, in exchange for two football tickets to a sold-out game. At the meeting, Elmo pitches POS 51, a synthetic drug that can be produced with minimal facilities and is 51 times as potent as other drugs. A second opinion from Pudsey, Durant’s chemist, confirms Elmo’s claims, and Durant gives him over a million dollars in bonds. Since it is $18 million short of the agreed payment, Elmo threatens to leave.
In a room across the street, Dakota is about to take a shot at Elmo’s head when the Lizard calls cancelling the hit; not wanting to kill Elmo until he has the formula. Instead of killing Elmo, she is to kill anyone who meets with him. She switches rifles to an automatic weapon and kills everyone but Elmo and Felix, who is shot in the buttocks. As Elmo and Felix leave the hotel, a gang of skinheads who seek the drug attack them. Elmo protects them with a golf club. Detective Virgil Kane arrives on the scene and gives a chase. He is soon lured into a game of chicken by Elmo, who escapes. Kane returns to the crime scene and demands 50% of Durant’s deal with McElroy. A miscommunication leads to Durant’s death.
 Felix contacts a gun dealing club owner and drug distributor named Iki, promising him the formula for £20 million. As Elmo and Felix acquire the ingredients necessary for the drug’s manufacture, all of which are over-the-counter products, the now-armed skinheads capture them. Elmo is unflustered, as the skinheads claim they have a lab, though it turns out to be a broken-into animal testing facility. Elmo makes two batches of the drug; one blue and one red. He claims that the red pill is the stronger version, and after he takes one, the skinheads try it. While they are partying, waiting for the effect of the drug, in the next room Elmo spits out his red pill. He tells Felix it is a powerful laxative; Elmo and Felix leave after throwing rolls of toilet paper to the incapacitated skinheads.
At Iki’s rave club, Elmo initiates his deal and delivers the drug to the waiting crowd. Kane and the police interrupt the deal and arrest Felix. When Dakota appears, she reveals that her real name is Dawn and that she and Felix were romantically involved. She captures Elmo and leaves with him via the roof. Elmo gets the upper hand, suspending her over the edge of the roof. Having no choice, she strikes a deal with him and they escape from Kane. Meanwhile, Kane blackmails Felix during a police interrogation and forces himself into the deal with Iki, which Felix sets up for him.
 Felix, Elmo and Dawn meet Iki in a private viewing box at the football game at Anfield. This time, the deal is interrupted by the Lizard, who shoots Iki and demands the formula to POS 51. The Lizard celebrates with a drink, as Elmo reveals that the drug is a placebo and POS stands for Power of Suggestion. Kane interrupts them as Elmo’s cocktail, an explosive ingested by the Lizard, takes effect. Kane is knocked unconscious and arrested, and the others escape. Dawn and Felix give their relationship another chance, and Elmo purchases a castle once owned by the man who owned his ancestors.
 I’m not surprised this film did a whole lot better this side of the Atlantic than it did back in the USA. With the majority of the action based in England, Jackson and Meat Load being the only Americans and a whole plethora of wonderful British character actors that are a complete joy it’s small wonder it was lapped up by British audiences

REVIEW: BLOODRAYNE 1,2 AND 3

 

CAST

Kristanna Loken (Painkiller jane)
Michael Madsen (Powers)
Matthew Davis (The Vampire Diaries)
Michelle Rodriguez (S.W.A.T.)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Will Sanderson (Alone in The Dark)
Geraldine Chaplin (Chaplin)
Udo Kier (Blade)
Meat Loaf (Fight Club)
Michael Pare (The Virgin Suicides)
Billy Zane (The Scorpion King 3)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)

The story centers around a vampire-human half-breed, referred to in the film as a dhampir, named Rayne (Kristanna Lokken of Terminator 3) who, when we first meet her, is being used as a circus freak. We soon learn that the head of the evil vampires, Kagan (Sir Ben Kingsley of Ghandi) killed her mother and that her life has kind of sucked ever since. When, in a fit of blood lust, Rayne escapes from the circus she runs off into the night to finally take solace at a monastery where, after talking shop with a monk (Udo Kier of Blood For Dracula) she absorbs a sacred eyeball that is one of three mystic talismans desired by Kagan and his henchmen, Domastir (William Sanderson of Blade Runner) and Elrich (Billy Zane).

Eventually Rayne meets up with a band of fighters lead by Vladmir (Michael Madson of Reservoir Dogs) and his two friends, Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez of Resident Evil) and Sebastian (Matthew Davis who starred alongside Steven Seagal in Into The Sun). We know these guys hate vampires because we’ve just seen them attack Leonid (Meat Loaf of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a decadent bloodsucker with a taste for real, live Romanian hookers. After she proves that she means them know harm and shares their cause, they take her in and train her to fight evil. She proves to be a natural, which causes Katarin to become a little jealous of her and which causes Sebastian to hump her (gratuitous topless nudity alert)! After the soap operatics play out, it’s time to bring the fight to Kagan and so our intrepid warriors head off to face him on his home turf, but there’s more going on under the surface than meets the eye and there is a traitor in their midst.

As an adaptation of the video game, BloodRayne fails pretty miserably because it changes too many character traits in the lead and completely disregards important plot points in the source material. As a horror movie, BloodRayne also fails pretty miserably because it just isn’t scary or even particularly suspenseful. When all things are seriously considered, BloodRayne is in fact a pretty bad film full of predictable characters, obvious plot twists.

Ben Kingsley simply sleepwalk through the film and to see Michael Madsen trying his damnedest to look like he knows what is happening around him. All of this while Lokken chops peoples heads off, screams a lot, and generally overacts. BloodRayne is a train wreck, but it sure is a fun one.

CAST

Natassia Malthe (Elektra)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Michael Pare (The Virgin Suicides)
Chris Coppola (Beowulf)
Chris Spencer (Being Mary Jane)
Brendan Fletcher (News Movie)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Smallville)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3)
Tyron Leitso (Wonderfalls)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)

The story (or lack thereof) involves Rayne attempting to rid a western town of a vampire gang led by Billy The Kid. In order to save the townspeople and eliminate the evil, Rayne has to round up a gang of vampire killers to finish the job.

The main problem as I see it is that Rayne is one of the most easily defeated heroes to ever grace the screen. She gets pistol whipped and knocked out by an old guy, she has to assemble a team of vampire killers because she can’t do the job herself, and she gets thrashed in the climactic battle with Billy The Kid. The only reason she never croaked was because people kept saving her life.

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Naturally, Bloodrayne 2 also contains all the ulcer inducing Uwe Boll-isms we’ve come to know and loathe and even some new ones! There’s slow-motion death scenes, the dumb as nails dialogue, scenes dragging on needlessly due to a lack of editing, and vampires dying and sounding like squealing pigs.

CAST

Natassia Malthe (Elektra)
Brendan Fletcher (News Movie)
Michael Pare (The Virgin Suicides)
Willam Belli (American Pie 3)
Annett Culp (Verbotene Liebe)
Clint Howard (Austin Powers 2)

Clocking in at a 76 minutes, BloodRayne: The Third Reich finally manages to deliver a film somewhat similar to the premise of the game series that inspired the feature-length medieval big screen clunker that director Uwe Boll followed up with an even worse wild west outing. Boll returns to the helm, taking Rayne, the series’ heroine, still played by Natassia Malthe to Nazi Germany to kill Nazis and stop Ekart Brand (Michael Paré), an insane Nazi who has acquired Rayne’s unique vampiric mutation, which any viewer whose seen “Blade” will recognize: the ability to function in daylight.

At this point, anyone coming into the BloodRayne film series isn’t expecting high art, let alone a barely competent film, but for anyone who has followed Boll’s career with interest, morbid fascination, will understand the esteemed Dr. Boll always has a trick up his sleeve. Boll phones this one in, leaving viewers with a watchable time waster.

Even with such a short running time, The Third Reich, manages to drag along, half-heartedly attempting to provide a narrative for a bland heroine played by an actress who looks the part but once she opens her mouth, makes one long for the days of Lokken.