REVIEW: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY – SEASON 1 – PART I

MAIN CAST

Sonequa Martin-Green (The Good Wife)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
Shazad Latif (Penny Dreadful)
Anthony Rapp (A Beautiful Mind)
Mary Wiseman (Longmire)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Mary Chieffo (Miss Dial)
James Frain (Gotham)
Chris Obi (Ghost In The Shell)
Emily Coutts (Crimson Peak)
Bonnie Morgan (Rings)
Chris Violette (Power Rangers SPD)
Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5)
Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica)
Jayne Brook (Gattaca)
Wilson Cruz (13 Reasons Why)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Clare McConnell (Dim The Fluorescents)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Katherine Barrell (Wynonna Earp)
Peter MacNeill (Crash)
Conrad Coates (Tron: Legacy)

Where do I start? This is the trek that we have waited for, for 12 years now. Ever since Enterprise was unceremoniously cancelled I’ve waited for the next weekly trek fix to come along. Let me preface by saying that this isn’t your Fathers Star Trek, and really isn’t your grandfathers Star Trek. This is Star Trek re-envisioned for the modern audience. Although it’s a prequel to the original TOS series (set 10 years before Kirk and Spock took charge of the 1701) this series is free of any design ties, and sometimes technological ties too. If you’re new to the show, go into it with an open mind and be prepared to perhaps compromise on any hard-core, Religious fundamentalist style adherence to Canon and Plastic scenery/monsters. This show has SO much good going for it. Essentially the first 3 episodes serve as Pilots 1 and 2 (Very “The Cage” and “WNMHGB”). By the time the mysterious and incredibly intriguing Captain Gabriel Lorca turns up on the Discovery you should be well adjusted and hooked to the show. The effects are amazing. The opening shot of Discovery is nothing short of breathtaking. The plots are detailed and dovetail together nicely. The arc driven story line works and drip feeds at a substantive rate. This is Fun. It feels new and Fresh yet familiar and comfortable. The Easter eggs for fans are a genuine treat with some real thought behind them.The first 8 Episodes are amazing, and leaves you waiting for the second half of the season (In January). With a Season 2 also ordered this show should be around for some time to come.

 

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REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Megan Fox (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
John Turturro (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Ramón Rodríguez (Iron Fist)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Julie White (Lincoln)
Isabel Lucas (The Loft)
John Benjamin Hickey (The Ex)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Matthew Marsden (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Rainn Wilson (Star Trek Discovery)
Marc Evan Jackson (The Good Place)
Katie Lowes (Scandal)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
André Sogliuzzo (Family Guy)
Jess Harnell (Little Nicky)
Grey DeLisle (Ultimate Avengers)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Josh Kelly (Jarhead 2)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
Michael York (Logans Run)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Andrew Howard (Bates Motel)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)

In 17,000 B.C., the Seven Primes travel the galaxy to create Energon with star-absorbing machines named Sun Harvesters. The Primes followed a rule: never destroy planets with life; however, one of them, Megatronus Prime, later known as The Fallen, defies this and establishes a Sun Harvester on Earth. He is confronted by the other Primes, who imprison him before he can harvest the planet’s Sun with the Matrix of Leadership. The Primes then sacrifice themselves to hide the Matrix in an unknown location.In the present day, two years after Megatron’s defeat, the Autobots have formed the Non-Biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty (NEST), a classified international military task force dedicated to eliminate the surviving Decepticons. In Shanghai, the Autobots intercept two Decepticons, Demolisher and Sideways. They send in new recruits: Sideswipe, Skids, Mudflap, Arcee, Chromia, and Elita One to hunt them down. Sideswipe successfully kills Sideways, while Optimus Prime kills Demolisher, but not before he warns them of the Fallen’s return. At NEST’s headquarters in Diego Garcia, National Security Adviser Theodore Galloway scolds the task force sarcastically for their tactics, reminding them that Megatron’s corpse is still at the bottom of the Laurentian Abyss and the last known AllSpark shard is locked up in the base. Soundwave hacks into a military satellite, overhears the information, and sends Ravage to retrieve the shard.Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is preparing to attend college, leaving his girlfriend Mikaela Banes and guardian Bumblebee behind. He finds a smaller AllSpark shard and picks it up, causing him to start seeing Cybertronian symbols and accidentally brings multiple kitchen appliances to life. After Bumblebee destroys the rampaging appliances (along with part of the Witwicky’s house), Sam gives the shard to Mikaela, who later captures the Decepticon Wheelie when he attempts to steal it. The Constructicons resurrect Megatron by ripping apart the smallest Constructicon Scrapmetal to provide parts for him, as well as using the stolen shard.Megatron then travels to one of Saturn’s moons, where he reunites with his master, the Fallen, who orders him to capture Sam alive and kill Optimus, the only Transformer who can defeat the Fallen. Sam, Mikaela and his college roommate, Leo are attacked by Alice, a Decepticon Pretender posing as a college student. After killing her, they are captured by the Decepticon Grindor and taken to an abandoned factory. Megatron reveals that the symbols in Sam’s mind will lead the Decepticons to a new Energon source before the Autobots arrive to rescue the trio. Optimus rescues Sam and engages Megatron, who is accompanied by Starscream, and Grindor. Initially overpowered, Optimus manages to injure Starscream by cutting off his arm before killing Grindor. Megatron then ambushes Optimus and blasts his spark, destroying it and leaving him fatally wounded; Optimus dies shortly after telling Sam to run without him. The other Autobots arrive and repel the Decepticons, forcing Megatron and Starscream to retreat. The Decepticons launch devastating simultaneous attacks around the world, destroying ships in the Second Fleet and damaging Paris. The Fallen hijacks Earth’s telecommunications systems, demanding that Sam be handed to him.Sam, Mikaela, and Leo enlist the help of former Sector 7 agent, Seymour Simmons, who reveals that the Transformers visited Earth eons ago and the most ancient, known as Seekers, live in secret. With help from Wheelie, they track down a Decepticon Seeker named Jetfire at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. They use their shard to revive Jetfire, who teleports the group to Egypt and explains the story of the Fallen. Jetfire and Wheelie turn against the Decepticons, and order them to locate the Matrix, which could revive Optimus. Sam’s group finds the Matrix in Petra, but it disintegrates into dust in Sam’s hands. Undeterred, Sam stuffs the Matrix’s remains into his sock. Meanwhile, NEST forces and the Autobots land near the Giza pyramid complex but are attacked by a large force of Decepticons. During the battle, many Constructicons combine to form Devastator, who destroys one of the pyramids, revealing the Sun Harvester inside, before he is killed by a battleship’s railgun called in by Simmons. Under Megatron’s orders, the Decepticons Rampage and Ravage spring a trap with Sam’s parents (who were captured during the Paris attack) as bait in order to force Sam to give them the Matrix, but Bumblebee interferes and kills both Decepticons. Lennox and Epps call in an airstrike, which kills a large portion of the Decepticon ground forces. However, Megatron manages to shoot Sam, seemingly killing him, before retreating upon getting attacked. Nearing his death, the Primes contact Sam through a vision, telling him the Matrix is earned, not found, and that he earned the right to bear it. They restore Sam’s life and the Matrix, which he uses to revive Optimus.The Fallen teleports to their location and steals the Matrix from Optimus, then returns to the pyramid with Megatron and activates the Sun Harvester. Jetfire, who was wounded by Scroponok but did manage to kill him, sacrifices himself in order for Optimus to gain his parts, which give him immense strength and the ability to fly. Optimus knocks the Fallen and Megatron off the pyramid, destroying the Sun Harvester in the process. In the battle, Optimus disables Megatron and kills the Fallen; vowing vengeance, Megatron retreats with Starscream. The victorious Autobots and their allies then return to the United States, having saved the world.This builds things up to a much greater scale than the first film, and it brings in a lot more of the robots, both good and bad ones. The plot does involve you to have to work at it, a little more than you might expect from a piece of escapist entertainment. And yet, whilst it’s not as focused as the first film, it does come up with a big action battle climax.  As humans and alien robots alike battle evil forces and strive to do the right thing and are quite prepared to put their lives on the line, it’s not hard to find yourself rooting for them all the way.

REVIEW: SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE

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CAST

Demi Lovato (Camp Rock)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Jack McBrayer (Wreck-It-Ralph)
Danny Purdi (Powerless)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Julia Roberts (Closer)
Ariel Winter (Modern Family)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Josh Keaton (Green Lantern: TAS)
Yuri Lowenthal (Legion of Super Heroes)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty)

In Smurf Village, the Smurfs live peacefully among themselves. Their leader is the wise, eldery, and a bit overprotective, Papa Smurf. Some of the Smurfs include the klutsy and slow-witted Clumsy Smurf, the intelligent and eccentric Brainy Smurf, the strong and gutsy Hefty Smurf and the beautiful Smurfette, who feels out of place in Smurf Village as the only girl. Smurfette was created by the villainous wizard Gargamel from a lump of clay, but was redeemed by Papa Smurf and became part of the village. Gargamel makes it his mission to capture the Smurfs, steal all of their essence, and become the most powerful wizard in the world.After Smurfette accidentally breaks an invention by Brainy, made up by a fun day snowboarding with Clumsy, Brainy and Hefty, Smurfette sees a blue creature hidden by a leaf and follows it straight into the forbidden forest, which Papa Smurf forbids the Smurfs from entering, believing the creature to be a Smurf. She loses sight of the creature but she discovers a hat that was dropped by the possible Smurf. Smurfette ends up being captured by Gargamel and at his castle, she ends up inadvertently revealing the hat, enabling Gargamel to mix up a brew that causes him to locate the village on a map. Soon enough Clumsy, Brainy, and Hefty, who followed Smurfette, help her escape and return to Smurf Village, where they are reprimanded by Papa Smurf for disobeying his orders and confines them to their houses while dismissing their claims of a lost village filled with Smurfs.However, Smurfette, still wanting to find her place, sneaks out into the night, with Brainy, Clumsy, and Hefty volunteering to come with her. Gargamel soon discovers them trying to find the lost village and heads out with his cat Azrael and giant bird Monty to stop them. The four best friends follow the map and end up in various predicaments and misadventures, like being attacked by monster flowers and getting caught in a stampede of luminescent rabbits, one of whom they befriended and named Bucky, who helps them on their quest. After setting sail on their handmade raft along the river, they encounter Gargamel, Azrael, and Monty. Following a brief chase, Gargamel was thrown out of his own raft. Hefty and Smurfette convince the others to help save him. They do so but instead of thanking them, he pushed them out of their raft, leaving them to plunge down a waterfall.Meanwhile, back at Smurf Village, Papa Smurf tries to reconcile with Smurfette over his actions on the previous night, but soon discovers that she, Brainy, Hefty, and Clumsy are gone, so he sets out to find them and set things right. Back with the Smurf group, after surviving the waterfall and washed ashore, they are soon captured by the leaf-covered creature from earlier along with a few others and they soon reveal themselves to be female Smurfs. They are taken to their village, which is called Smurfy Grove, in the trees and get to know all the girl Smurfs, including the leader Smurf Willow, the tomboyish Smurf Storm, the hyperactive Smurf Blossom, the gentle Smurf Lily and the music-loving Smurf Melody. They all welcome the Smurfs, especially Smurfette, to their humble home. After a while of showing them what they do, Smurf Storm and Clumsy come back with her telling that Smurfette was created by Gargamel. Before they can attack her for being considered a traitor, Papa Smurf appears, and the female smurfs accept him into their home. Then, Gargamel comes and destroys Smurfy Grove, capturing all the Smurfs, all except Smurfette, who is now alone, feeling guilty for her actions. However, Brainy’s pet Snappy bug shows her a picture of her and the others, and she soon realizes that she is not a real Smurf, and heads back to Gargamel’s lair with Snappy and Bucky to save the Smurfs.At Gargamel’s lair, where all the Smurfs are, Brainy makes a plan to escape. Papa Smurf hears their plan and he and Smurf Willow decide to help them. Hefty, Brainy, Clumsy, and some of the female Smurfs succeed at the plan until Gargamel and Azrael spot them and put some of the female Smurfs and Clumsy into his Smurfilator, extracting their essence. Smurfette appears, tricking Gargamel that she wants to be an evil smurf again. When Gargamel tries to turn Smurfette into an evil smurf, he realizes that Smurfette is absorbing his magic powers instead, a skill she found earlier after destroying Brainy’s invention. The lair explodes, sending Gargamel, Azrael, and Monty into a lake full of piranhas. Unfortunately, Smurfette has reverted to her original lifeless clay form. Back at Smurf Village, all the Smurfs mourn the loss of Smurfette. Using their energy, Smurfette comes back to life and becomes a Smurf again and everybody celebrates. After which, Smurf Village and Smurfy Grove become united with each other and Smurfette finds her purpose, being anything she wants to be and most of all, a true-blue Smurf.Smurfs: The Lost Village is a story that fits nicely between the classic Peyo comics and the Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon. The animation is beautifully done. There is no way you can take every little detail in with just one viewing. The plot is fairly straightforward with adventure at the forefront. This film avoids the misplaced pop culture references and overused Smurf puns that many disliked about the previous movies. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” aims for a younger audience, but adults shouldn’t have a problem remembering why they liked these characters themselves.

REVIEW: MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND

CAST

Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Luke Wilson (Old School)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Rain Wilson (Super)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Stelio Savante (Ugly Betty)
Wanda Sykes (Clerks II)
Juliana Harkavy (Arrow)

After foiling a purse snatcher who tries to steal Jenny Johnson’s (Uma Thurman) purse on the subway, Matthew Saunders (Luke Wilson) becomes Jenny’s “hero” and starts dating this shy stranger. After several dates, Jenny displays increasingly neurotic and aggressive behavior, becoming more demanding and ultimately injuring Matt and destroying his bed the first time they have sex. Soon after, Jenny reveals to him that she is in fact the voluptuous blonde superheroine, G-Girl, who accidentally received powers such as flight, superhuman strength, speed, and senses, invulnerability, super breath, and heat vision after she was exposed to radiation from a crashed meteorite as a teenager. Jenny starts to become more controlling after she reveals her powers and Matt starts to lose his mind.annah Lewis (Anna Faris), Matt’s co-worker, has a crush on him despite the fact that she is going out with a handsome but shallow underwear model. As Matt and Hannah’s friendship develops further, and after becoming aggravated with Jenny’s escalating jealousy, Matt ends the relationship. An enraged Jenny vows to make Matt regret the decision, using her superpowers to publicly embarrass him, throwing his car into space and eventually causing him to lose his job as an architect when she strips him naked during an important meeting. Professor Bedlam (Eddie Izzard), Jenny’s former friend, and now G-Girl’s nemesis, contacts Matt in order to enlist his aid in defeating her. Matt refuses and makes plans to leave the city. As he does so he is contacted by Hannah who has broken up with her cheating boyfriend, and after confessing their feelings to one another, they end up in bedJenny (as G-Girl) discovers them in bed the next day. Enraged and jealous, she attacks the pair with a great white shark. Angered, Matt contacts Professor Bedlam and agrees to help him defeat her, as long as Bedlam retires from being a supervillain. He instructs Matt to lure Jenny to a meeting where she can be exposed to another meteorite that will draw away her powers, leaving her a mere mortal. Matt agrees and meets Jenny for a candlelit dinner at his apartment, under the pretense of wanting to resume their relationship. Hannah arrives to see Jenny sitting on Matt’s lap. The two women fight, and in the struggle Jenny’s superhero identity is revealed to Hannah. Bedlam’s trap is sprung, and the energy that gave Jenny her powers is drained back into the meteorite, incapacitating JennyProfessor Bedlam appears, but reveals that he has no intention of keeping his promise to retire from villainy and in fact plans to take the powers for himself. While he and Matt fight, Jenny crawls to the charged meteorite attempting to regain her powers. Hannah intervenes just as Jenny grabs the meteorite, which explodes in a burst of power. Both Hannah and Jenny are catapulted off the roof, apparently to their deaths; Jenny appears within seconds, powers restored, threatening even more mayhem. Only the unexpected reappearance of Hannah, who was also exposed to the meteorite’s energies, and now possesses the same powers as G-Girl, saves Matt. The second fight between Hannah and Jenny is a full-on super-brawl, destroying part of the neighboring properties. Finally, Matt reasons with them both and they cease fighting. He tells Jenny that Professor Bedlam is her true love. Jenny agrees and she embraces her former nemesis.
The next morning, Matt and Hannah meet up with Professor Bedlam (now just “Barry”) and Jenny. As cries for help are heard from afar, Jenny and Hannah, who have become partners in crime-fighting, take off to tackle the emergency. Matt and Barry are left holding their girlfriends’ purses and clothes, and leave to have a beer together.It’s a delightful premise, hell hath no fury like a super-heroine scorned, and those involved don’t altogether carry it off, but it has its moments.

 

 

REVIEW: GALAXY QUEST

CAST

Tim Allen (The Santa Clause)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Tony Shalhoub (The Siege)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Daryl Mitchell (House Party)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Robin Sachs (Buffy)
Jed Rees (News Movie)
Justin Long (New Girl)
Missi Pyle (Two and a Half Men)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Dian Bachar (Orgazmo)
Gregg Binkley (My Name Is Earl)
Kevin McDonald (That 70s Show)

The former cast of the once-popular television space-adventure series Galaxy Quest spend most of their days attending fan conventions and promotional stunts. Though Jason Nesmith (Allen), who played the commander of the NSEA Protector, thrives with the attention, the other cast members—Alexander Dane (Rickman) as the ship’s alien science officer, Fred Kwan (Shalhoub) as the chief engineer, Gwen DeMarco (Weaver) as the computer officer, and Tommy Webber (Mitchell) as a precocious child pilot—all resent these events.

During one event, Nesmith is approached by Mathesar (Colantoni) and others calling themselves “Thermians” and request his assistance, which he agrees to, thinking this is a planned and paying fan event. Later at that same convention, Nesmith becomes despondent after overhearing attendees speaking of him as a laughing stock by fans and his fellow actors, and he loses his temper with an avid fan, Brandon (Long). After Nesmith spends the night drinking heavily, the Thermians arrive to pick up a hungover Nesmith in the limo he had requested. Unaware that they are truly octopoidal aliens, using technology to appear human, the barely conscious Nesmith is oblivious to his limo being beamed aboard the Thermian’s spaceship. Aboard their ship in deep space, Nesmith goes through the motions of commanding the ship and asks to be returned home. When they send him back to Earth via a transporter, Nesmith realizes that it is all real. He races to meet his cast, accidentally bumping into Brandon and misplacing a Thermian communicator Mathasar gave him with Brandon’s fan-made replica. Nesmith eagerly relates his experience to the crew, who think he is drunk again. When another Thermian appears and request the entire crew’s help, Nesmith manages to convince them, along with their handler Guy Fleegman (Rockwell), an actor who played a unnamed security officer on one episode before being killed off, to come along. They are all transported to a perfect reproduction of the NSEA Protector in deep space, and are shocked by the reality of the situation.

Mathesar begs the crew to command the Protector, as Nesmith’s previous actions (namely, blowing up the opposing ship) have enraged Sarris (Sachs), a reptilian humanoid that seeks to wipe out the Thermians. While they were able to recreate the ship from the broadcast episodes, the Thermians have no idea how to pilot it. The crew hesitantly take the controls, and despite their ineptitude, the Thermians cheer them on. After the second encounter with Sarris’ ship, they barely evade his attack by flying through a minefield, severely damaging the ship. The humans take a shuttle to a nearby planet to find a replacement beryllium sphere as a new power source. They manage to secure the sphere after a run-in with the hostile alien species on the planet. Once back aboard the Protector, they find that Sarris and his soldiers have captured the ship.

Sarris interrogates the humans, discovering they are only actors, and recognizes that the Thermians have no concept of fiction, believing the show to have been real. Sarris sets the Protector to self-destruct and departs, leaving a few sacrificial soldiers to guard the humans. Nesmith and Dane use a gambit from the show to engineer their escape, and then Nesmith orders his fellow cast members to help rescue the other Thermians, finish repairs to the Protector, and prepare to engage Sarris in combat. Nesmith and DeMarco then set off into the bowels of the ship to stop the self-destruct sequence, using help from Brandon and his group of friends via the swapped communication device. Along the way, they encounter Omega 13, a plot device introduced in the final episode but never used; Brandon notes it could either destroy all matter in the universe or rewind time by 13 seconds, “enough time to undo one mistake”.

Having finally accepted their roles on the ship and gained confidence in themselves, Nesmith and his crew use the minefield as a weapon against Sarris’ ship, destroying it. They prepare to head to Earth when Sarris, who has transported over at the last moment, starts killing the crew. A desperate Nesmith activates the Omega 13, which reverses time far enough for him to knock out Sarris. They near a wormhole to return the humans home via the command module, and Nesmith assures Mathesar he has the ability to command the Protector along with the other Thermians. The humans, along with Laliari (Pyle), a Thermian that has fallen in love with Kwan, return home. The command module crashes into Earth near a fan convention and comes to a stop after crashing through one wall, which the audience takes as part of the show. As the crew exits the module, Sarris wakes up and tries to fire on them, but Nesmith reacts faster, and disintegrates Sarris with a phaser-like weapon. The crowd erupts into cheers. Some time later, Galaxy Quest is revived as a new series, starring the same cast along with Fleegman and Laliari.Great film, so very well written. A homage/parody to Star Trek, it’s also very well acted by those within it. And very, very funny.

REVIEW: ALMOST FAMOUS

CAST

Patrick Fugit (Saved)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Frances McDormand (Burn After Reading)
Kate Hudson (Gossip)
Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Anna Paquin (X-Men)
Fairuza Balk (Return To Oz)
Bijou Phillips (Hostel: Part II)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Jay Baruchel (Million Dollar Baby)
Jimmy Fallon (Taxi)
Rainn Wilson (House of 1,000 Corpses)
Eric Stonestreet (Bad Teahcer)
Pauley Perrette (NCIS)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)

In 1973, William Miller is a 15-year-old boy aspiring to be a rock journalist. His mother, Elaine, wants him to become a lawyer. Shunned by his classmates, he writes for underground papers in San Diego, sharing the love of rock music instilled in him through a gift of albums left behind on the day his sister Anita left home.
William listens to an interview with rock journalist Lester Bangs. William has sent Bangs copies of his work, and Bangs gives William a $35 assignment to write up a review of a Black Sabbath concert. At first reluctant to assist a journalist, the band Stillwater brings William backstage after he praises their work. The guitarist, Russell Hammond, takes a liking to William, partly because of William’s friendship with a groupie he has romantic feelings for, Penny.
William goes with Penny to the Riot House – the Hyatt Hotel on Sunset Boulevard – to meet Stillwater. Penny, feigning retirement from her rock glory days, acts as William’s chauffeur, but only to get close to Russell, for whom she has genuine feelings and a past relationship. William is called by Ben Fong-Torres, editor of Rolling Stone, who wants him to do a story, believing William is several years older than he really is. When William convinces Ben to let him do a story on Stillwater, he is instructed to go on the road with them.
On the first leg of the trip, William makes his first in an increasingly frustrating number of attempts to interview Russell. Penny watches the interaction and sympathizes with William. William experiences tensions with the band due to his role as a journalist. new manager, Dennis, comes on board to help steer the band, and it is revealed that Penny must leave the tour before New York, where Leslie, Russell’s ex-wife/girlfriend, will join them. During a poker game he allows Dick to put up the groupies as a stake. The band loses the groupies to the band Humble Pie for $50 and a case of Heineken. When William tells Penny, she acts nonchalant but is devastated. Penny and Doris, the band’s tour bus, are left behind; Dennis has piled the band into a plane for more gigs.
Penny goes to New York on her own, and as the band gathers in a restaurant with Russell’s girlfriend, Penny shows up. As they celebrate making the cover of Rolling Stone, Penny makes Leslie uncomfortable and Dick asks her to leave. William chases Penny back to her hotel and finds her overdosed on Quaaludes. Believing they will die during a plane ride, the group confesses their secrets. When Penny is insulted by Jeff, the band’s lead singer, William defends her and discloses his love. The plane lands safely, leaving everyone to ponder the changed atmosphere. William continues to San Francisco to finish the story, parting ways with the band in the airport. Upset about Penny, he rewrites the article, telling the truth. The Rolling Stone editors cannot wait to publish it, but have to ask the band to verify it. Fearful of how the article will affect their image, the band makes William look like a liar. William is crushed and the story is dead. Sitting dejected in the airport, he sees his sister, who has become a stewardess and lives on her own terms. She tells him they should go on a trip together and, exhausted, William chooses to go home to San Diego.
Backstage at the Miami Orange Bowl on the Stillwater tour, Sapphire talks to Russell about Penny’s near-suicide and how despite the warnings she received about letting people fall in love with her, one of them saved her life. Russell is curious about the person in question, but Sapphire chastises him, saying that everyone knows what the band did to William and how awful they think it is. Russell calls Penny and asks for her address, telling her he wants to meet. Unbeknownst to Russell, she gives him William’s address in an attempt to resolve their conflict. Russell goes to the house, thinking it is Penny’s, but finds Elaine instead. Learning who he is, she lets him in to see William as Russell realizes where he is. They reconcile and Russell reveals that he called Rolling Stone and told them William’s story is true. Russell gives William a proper interview, Penny purchases a ticket to Morocco, and William’s story is published, with Stillwater on the cover of Rolling Stone.
The movie is a wonderful coming of age story with a fantastic soundtrack

REVIEW: HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES

CAST

Sid Haig (Jackie Brown)
Karen Black (Soulkeeper)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Bill Moseley (Arm of Darkness)
Erin Daniels (One Hour Photo)
Dennis Frimple (King Kong 1976)
Wolton Goggins (The Hateful Eight)
Irwin Keyes (The Flinstones)
Sheri Moon Zombie (Halloween)
Michael J. Pollard (Superboy)
Rob Zombie (Slither)

Rocker Rob Zombie burst onto the horror film scene with his 2003 movie House of 1000 Corpses.  It took years to get released (and necessitated a change of studios) and the movie was generally slammed by the critics but horror fans understood what Zombie was trying to do; create an homage to the classic 70’s horror films he grew up with.  With a good dose of humor and just as much gore, Zombie succeeded brilliantly.  Now this film has made its way to Blu-ray with a very good transfer, high definition sound and even a bonus JAVA game not found on the SD release. Just before Halloween, four budding authors are researching a book on road side attractions when they stumble upon Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen which also doubles as a gas station and sells “tasty” fried chicken too.  They meet Captain Spaulding himself, a foul mouthed grungy man in clown makeup (wonderfully played by Sid Haig) and he tells them about the local serial killer, Dr. Satan, the two couples head off in the rain to see the tree where he was hanged.
Nearing their destination they spot a hitchhiker, Baby Firefly (played by they hypnotic and ultra-sexy Sheri Moon) and offer her a lift.  When the car blows a tire, Baby takes everyone to her house, a bizarre and unusual affair with decapitated dolls nailed to the walls.  There they meet the Firefly family including the disfigured giant Tiny (Matthew McGrory), crazy Grandpa Hugo (Dennis Fimple), and Mother (Karen Black) who tries to seduce one of the young men.  The leader of this group is Otis (Bill Moseley), an insane psychopath who spends most of his time torturing five cheerleaders that he kidnapped.  After an odd dinner an even more bizarre floorshow starts.  After Grandpa tells some off color jokes, Baby comes out dressed in a slinky outfit and sings a sex song to the men.  When their girlfriends object, a fight breaks out and the four youths are asked to leave in their newly fixed car.  Spooked, they jump into the car and try to leave, but they don’t get very far before the car is stopped and everyone is beaten and captured.  What maniacal plans do Otis and the Firefly’s have for their new victims?
2677_10_screenshotThough there were problems with this film, it is still a very good horror flick.  Rob Zombie takes an everything including the kitchen sink approach to the movie and throws in all the horror conventions: serial killers, demonic clowns, sex-starved older women, disfigured freaks, mad doctors, and a crazy family, just to name a few.  Because of this the movie starts off at a fast pace (with a pair of would-be criminals deciding to rob Captain Spaulding….big mistake!) and never really slows down. This was Zombie’s first directorial effort and he proves that he has a lot of talent.  He used old film clips, split screens, and mirror images to very good effect.  These never came across as artsy or film-school pretentious but worked to advance the story in a visually interesting way.  There were some scenes that really stand out too.  One of my favorites was when Otis confronted a sheriff’s deputy (played by Walton Goggins.)  The deputy is kneeling with his hands up and Otis has the barrel of a pistol touching his forehead.  The camera pulls back and stops, and still Otis doesn’t do anything.  Will he let the man live and tie him up?  Will he kill him?  As the scene goes on with neither character moving the tension builds and builds.
lindsay-lohan-charlie-sheen-scary-movie-5That’s not to say that this is a perfect film.  The four victims aren’t developed at all and it’s hard to feel sorry for them.  The two girls especially, they spend most of the beginning of the movie whining and complaining.  There’s really not much of a plot either, and at the end of the movie there are more questions than answers.  The driving force of the film is really to see what atrocities will occur next, not whether any of the kids will survive.  The reason the film works so well even with the flawed script is because of the strong cast.  Though the four victims are very bland and fade into the background, the other actors create unique and memorable characters are a huge asset to the film.  Sid Haig is the run away star as Capt. Spaulding.  His vile clown is both funny and displeasing at the same time and every scene he’s in is a joy to watch.  He’s at the top of his form when he confronts the robber who’s holding a gun on him.  It’s a classic scene.