REVIEW: DARK PRINCE: THE LEGEND OF DRACULA

 

 

CAST

Rudolf Martin (Bedazzled)
Peter Weller (Robocop)
Roger Daltrey (Highlander: The Series)
Jane March (Clash of The Titans)
Christopher Brand  (The Holding)

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Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula tells the story of Vlad Dracula, the historical figure who gave Bram Stoker’s Dracula his name. Vlad is a dispossessed noble, and a patriot who fights the occupation forces of the Turks hoping to avenge the murder of his father by Romanian nobles and the capture of his brother by the Ottoman sultan. The King of Hungary (Roger Daltrey) becomes Vlad’s ally and, with his support, Vlad and his men attack the occupying Turks and turncoat Romanian boyars, and seizes the throne of Wallachia, in the movie called simply (and anachronistically) “Romania”.4430586_l2His bride Lidia (Jane March) discovers what Vlad does to the bodies of his enemies and is horrified. She begins to lose her grip on sanity, claiming to hear the voices of the dead. He reluctantly banishes her to a convent, which he later regrets and amends. Lidia, however, remains the same and ultimately commits suicide, leaving Vlad dispirited and alone with their adolescent son. Vlad’s brother Radu arrives at the head of a large Turkish invasion force.a59be7132ed3c561bc2bf892ec7

The narrative of the film is presented as evidence given at a hearing following Vlad’s alignment with the Roman Catholic King of Hungary. At the end of the film, Vlad is excommunicated by the Orthodox Church shortly before being assassinated by Radu and having a vision of Lidia calling his name. As a result of his condemnation by the priests, Vlad is found to have risen from the grave and gained eternal life, free to roam the earth (as he has been denied entrance to both Heaven and Hell), implying that he has now become the very vampire for which his name is famous.hqdefault

The producers have handled the subject extremely well, considering how much gore they could have spilled, and it turns out to be an intense, dramatic movie. It investigates the characters and suggests how they were warped by the times and politics, and also touches on the metaphysical implications of such viciousness.

 

REVIEW: STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE – SEASON 1-4

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MAIN CAST

Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Jolene Blalock (Starship Troopers 3)
Connor Trinneer (Stargate: Atlantis)
Dominic Keating (Heroes)
Linda Park (Jurassic Park 3)
Anthony Montgomery (Leprechaun In The Hood)
John Billingsley (Cold Case)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tommy Lister (The Dark Knight)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Jim Beaver (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Gary Graham (Alien Nation)
Thomas Kopache (Catch me If You Can)
Melinda Clarke (Spawn)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Henri Lubatti (Angel)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Jane Carr (Treasure Planet)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Keith Szarabjka (Angel)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal)
Dennis Christopher (Angel)
John Rubinstein (Legends of Tomorrow)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes Man)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Rudolf Martin (buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Keone Young (Alias)
Brad Greenquist (Heroes)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
J.G. Hertzler (Roswell)
Larissa Laskin (Earth: Final Conflict)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Brigid Brannagh (Angel)
Keith Carradine (The Big Bang Theory)
Robert O’Reilly (The Mask)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Stephen Culp (Scream Queens)
Tucker Smallwood (Traffic)
Maury Sterling (The A-Team)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Emily Bergl (Carrie 2)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead)
Erin Cummings (Spartacus)
Casey Biggs (Broken Arrow)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Bruce Thomas (Army of Darkness)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Robert Foxworth (Beneath Loch Ness)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Lee Arenberg (Once Upon A Time)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Hill)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Mark Moses (Mad Men)
Wade Williams (Gangster Squad)
Lamont Thompson (Mike & Molly)
Barbara Tarbuck (Walking Tall)
Stephanie Niznik (Everwood)
Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap)
Ann Cusack (Tank Girl)
Larry Cedar (Deadwood)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Gregg Henry (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Christopher Shea (The Specials)
Robert Rusler (Babylon 5)
Roger Cross (The X-Files)
Suzie Plakson (How I Met Your Mother)
Cullen Douglas (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Andreas Katsulas (Babylon 5)
David Andrews (Terminator 3)
Christopher Neame (Colditz)
Jack Donner (Stigmata)
Kris Iyer (Two and a Half Men)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Michael Reilly Burke (THe Collector)
Michael Nouri (The Proposal)
Bruce Gray (Cube 2)
Kara Zediker (Contagion)
Bill Cobbs (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Leslie Silva (Odyssey 5)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood)
Patrick Fischler (The Finder)
Joel Swetow (The Orville)

Out of all the Star Trek series and films, Enterprise is easily the most overlooked, and was the only one since the original to be canceled. This isn’t because it wasn’t as good as the rest, but simply the way it was marketed. The show is in fact a prequel to Kirk’s Enterprise, and does take place before the Federation, but what the show lacks in technology, is more than made up for with realism and some of the best character development in the Star Trek franchise.

100 years after Zefren Cochrane’s warp flight, the human race has had enough of Vulcans holding them back, and have created the first warp five star ship in human history. Over the Vulcan’s objections, Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), the son of the engines designer, has been selected to Captain the ship and explore a galaxy that humans know very little about.
This show is extremely important to the franchise and all Trekkies, as it not only shows humanities first trip out of our solar system and first contact with all the races we’ve come to know over the years, but the show fills in a lot of the gaps from all the other series and films! Enterprise explores the origins of Data’s creator, the Eugenic Wars (which created Khan), the development of many protocols and much of the tech we see on future ships, but most important of all the series shows how the foundation for the Federation and the creation of star fleet all came together.
Enterprise was also unique for it’s character development and realism, in that it takes place in the not to distant future. We get to know the crew intimately, from their fears to their families, and we see them doing and discussing things never before seen in Star Trek. The Enterprise crew has a classic movie night, watches sports on TV, has pets, and they even talk about sex. The cast is lead by Scott Bakula, which was another great move by producers. Casting a veteran science fiction actor, whose been in long running series, automatically gives him that air of experience and authority that Picard had. He’s also a younger man, so with no federation policies in place yet, Archer can be just as much of a risk taker as Kirk was, even more so.
Star Trek Enterprise was extremely enjoyable, and a series people could relate to more than any other in the Star Trek franchise. The show isn’t simply about the future and the Federation, it’s about what it means to be human and how that compares to other species. It shows what we need to do in order to get along with and understand other cultures, but most of all it fills in so many holes from previous films and episodes, that it truly was the missing link.

Unfortunately for Star Trek fans, the show barely made a hundred episodes, because it was on a dying network, that folded shortly after the show was canceled, screwing us Trekkie’s out of three more seasons. As with all the previous series, the story has been continued in books, but in this case, the books were written by the main writers of the series, and do encompass everything that would have happened in seasons five, six, and seven.

REVIEW: SWORDFISH

CAST

John Travolta (The Punisher)
Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine)
Halle Berry (X-Men)
Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2 & 3)
Sam Shepard (Black Hawk Down)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Drea de Matteo (The Good Life)
Rudolf Martin (Buffy)
Carmen Argenziano (Stargate SG.1)
William Mapother (Powers)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Kirk B.R. Woller (Hulk)
Timothy Omundson (Starship Troopers)
Tate Donovan (Argo)

MV5BMTM4ODEyMjUxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjg5NTUyNw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1533,1000_AL_Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) is a hacker. Having served time for infecting the FBI’s Carnivore program with a computer virus, he is now on parole but forbidden from touching computers. His alcoholic ex-wife Melissa (Drea de Matteo), who married a rich porn producer and is currently a part-time porn actress has sole custody over their daughter Holly, and a restraining order preventing him from visiting the latter. One day, he is solicited by Ginger Knowles (Halle Berry), speaking for her boss Gabriel Shear (John Travolta), for his hacking skills. He goes to meet Gabriel in Los Angeles, where he is put on the spot to crack a secure government server within a minute while simultaneously held at gunpoint and receiving fellatio. Successful, Gabriel offers Stanley $10 million to program multi-headed worm, a “hydra”, to siphon $9.5 billion from several government slush funds.
MV5BMTM1MjY5Njk4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODg5NTUyNw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Stanley begins work, learning that Gabriel leads Black Cell, a secret group created by J. Edgar Hoover to launch retaliatory attacks against terrorists that threaten the United States. He also privately discovers Ginger is a DEA agent working undercover, and further is surprised to discover a corpse that looks like Gabriel. He goes to see Holly home from school but finds he is being followed by FBI agent J.T. Roberts (Don Cheadle), who had previously caught Stanley. Roberts, though monitoring Stanley closely, is more interested in Gabriel as he does not appear on any government database, and after learning that another hacker, Axl Torvalds (Rudolf Martin), had been killed by Gabriel’s men, warns Stanley to be cautious. Stanley opts to secretly code a back door in his hydra that reverses the money transfer after a short period. Meanwhile, Senator Reisman (Sam Shepard), who oversees Black Cell, learns the FBI has started tracking Gabriel and orders him to stand down. Gabriel refuses, and narrowly avoids an assassination attempt ordered by Reisman. Gabriel personally kills Reisman in revenge and continues his plan.
MV5BMTQzMDA5MjEzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDEyNDE3._V1_Stanley delivers the hydra to Gabriel and leaves to see Holly, only to find that Gabriel has killed Melissa and her husband and kidnapped Holly, framing Stanley. Stanley has no choice but to participate with the bank heist to get Holly back. Gabriel and his men storm a Worldbanc branch, and secure its employees and customers as hostages and fitting each with ball-bearing-based explosives similar to Claymore mines. When police and FBI surround the branch, Gabriel takes Stanley to the coffee shop across the street to meet with Roberts, but Gabriel spends the time to discuss the film Dog Day Afternoon and the nature of misdirection. Once back in the bank, Gabriel has one of his men escort a hostage to demonstrate the situation. A sniper kills the man, and other agents pull the hostage away from the bank, causing the bomb to detonate, ravaging the buildings and vehicles on the street and killing several people, a scene shown in medias res at the start of the film.
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Gabriel instructs Stanley to launch the hydra, and turns Holly over to him once completed. However, Stanley’s back door triggers before they can leave the bank, and Stanley is recaptured while Holly is rescued. Gabriel threatens to kill Ginger, who he knows is a DEA agent, unless Stanley re-siphons the money back to a Monte Carlo bank. Despite doing so, Gabriel shoots Ginger. Gabriel and his men load the hostages on a bus and demand a plane wait for them at the local airport, but while en route, the bus is lifted off by a S-64 Aircrane and deposited on a roof of a local skyscraper. Gabriel deactivates the bombs and departs with his surviving men on a waiting helicopter, which Stanley shoots down using a rocket-propelled grenade from the bus.
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Roberts takes Stanley to verify the corpse they found, believing Gabriel was a Mossad agent while there was no record of a DEA agent named Ginger. Stanley recognizes the corpse as the one he discovered earlier and personally realizes that the whole scenario was misdirection. Gabriel had escaped a different route, and Ginger had been wearing a bulletproof vest and was working with Gabriel. Roberts arranges for Stanley to have full custody of Holly, and the two tour the US together. In Monte Carlo Gabriel and Ginger withdraw the money, and later watch as a yacht at sea explodes. Over the film’s credits, a news report describes the destruction of the yacht, carrying a known terrorist, as the third such incident in as many weeks.MV5BYzYyMDZhNTctY2EzZC00ZjA3LThmN2EtY2VmMDI5ZWYzYzVlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzc5NjM0NA@@._V1_Full of Slick Dialogue, cool Direction and the simply gorgeous Halle Berry, this turns out to be a very enjoyable Thriller, with some clever twists (some of which don’t quite work) but are forgivable anyway. Not a classic, but a good film none the less.

 

REVIEW: BEDAZZLED (2000)

CAST

Brendan Fraser (The Mummy)
Elizabeth Hurley (Austin Powers)
Frances O’Connor (The Conuring 2)
Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Paul Adelstein (Scandal)
Toby Huss (Jerry Maguire)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day)
Rudolf Martin (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Jeff Doucette (Splash)

The opening sequence takes the form of a computer simulation run by the Devil to analyze souls and determine individual weaknesses to exploit and corrupt. The program finally settles on Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser), a geeky, over-zealous man working a dead-end technical support job in a San Francisco computer company. He has no friends and his co-workers are always avoiding him. He has a crush on his colleague, Alison Gardner (Frances O’Connor), but lacks the courage to ask her out. After Elliot is again ditched by his co-workers at a bar while trying to talk to Alison, he says to himself that he would give anything for Alison to be with him. The Devil, in the form of a beautiful woman (Elizabeth Hurley), overhears him and offers to give Elliot seven wishes in return for his soul.
As a test, he wishes for a Big Mac and Coke. The Devil takes him to McDonald’s and places the order. Elliot has to pay for it, because, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” After taking Elliot to her office, based at a nightclub in Oakland, the Devil convinces Elliot to sign her contract, and delivers further wishes. Each wish has Elliot living them out with Alison and his co-workers in surrogate roles. However, he doesn’t know that the Devil will always spoil his wishes by adding something he doesn’t want. Elliot wishes to be rich and powerful, with Alison as his wife. The Devil makes him a Colombian drug lord whose wife despises him and cheats on him with Raoul, his co-worker, who is secretly planning to get rid of Elliot and take his position and property. Soon after there is a firefight between his and Raoul’s people where Elliot “dies”. When he returns to the real world, the Devil points out that he never wished for Alison to love him.
Secondly, Elliot wishes to be emotionally sensitive so he will understand the needs and desires of women. The Devil makes him so sensitive that he spends most of his time crying over how beautiful the world is, and constantly asks Alison, his girlfriend of “three magical weeks,” whether he has hurt her or if she needs anything. Alison says she has had enough of it and wants to be with a man who is strong and shallow. She then leaves Elliot for a man who is strong, rude and completely different from the romantic and emotionally sensitive Elliot. Elliot then wishes to be a superstar athlete who would be a woman magnet. The Devil makes him a cliché-spewing NBA star, but also gives him a small penis and a low IQ, which causes Alison, a sports reporter, to lose interest in him shortly after they meet.
He then wishes to be intelligent, witty and well-endowed. The Devil grants this by making him a famous writer whom Alison falls in love with at a cocktail party. When they arrive at Elliot’s home to make love it is revealed that Elliot is gay and living with a flamboyant male partner. Lastly, Elliot wishes to be President of the United States to try to improve the world and get Alison to take him seriously. The Devil makes him Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre on the night of his assassination which he nearly avoids. After each wish is renounced, Elliot meets with the Devil and she blames him for not being specific enough. Eventually he returns to work, thinking about what he should do with the last two wishes. The Devil then appears on the computer screen, pointing out that he only has one wish left. This is because on their first meeting he asked for a Big Mac and Coke, although she had stated that it was a test wish and granted it before Elliot signed the contract. Elliot loses his patience and storms out of his office.
Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Fraser in Bedazzled (2000)
Elliot visits a church looking for God’s help, where he briefly confesses to a priest who seems sympathetic. However, after being asked whether he thinks asking the Devil for a Big Mac and Coke counts as a wish, the priest, believing he is drunk, has Elliot arrested. The sergeant books him, and the Devil, dressed as a police officer, throws him in a cell, telling him that she does like him, and it would not hurt to have her as a friend. Elliot’s cellmate (Gabriel Casseus) tells him that he cannot possibly sell his soul as it belongs to God, and although the Devil may try to confuse him, in the end he will realise who he truly is, and what his purpose is. Elliot questions the man as to his identity, but the response is simply “a really good friend”, hinting that he may in fact be God, or at least, an angel.
Elliot asks the Devil to cancel their contract. When the Devil refuses, Elliot states he will not use his final wish. The Devil teleports them to Hell, where she transforms first into a black horned monster, then into a giant. When the Devil pushes him to make a final wish, Elliot wishes that Alison could have a happy life – with or without him. The Devil sighs and Elliot falls into the depths of Hell. Elliot wakes up on a marble staircase, wondering if it is Heaven. The Devil tells him that because a provision in the contract’s fine print, unread by Elliot, states that a selfless wish voids the contract, Elliot keeps his soul. Elliot admits that despite her manipulation of him he has come to like the Devil and regards her as a friend, something she does not object to. She also advises that Heaven and Hell can be found on Earth; it is up to humans to choose. Elliot finally asks Alison out, only to learn that she is already dating another man. He continues with his life, but with a better understanding of who he is.
Satan & Elliott in a schoolroom
Later Elliot is confronted by Bob, one of his co-workers, who starts ridiculing Elliot at the encouragement of his co-workers. Elliot loses his temper and grabs a terrified Bob by the shirt, but lets go, simply saying, “Nice talking to you.” A threatening look sends his other co-workers scurrying away in fear. At home, he meets a new neighbor, Nicole Delarusso (also played by Frances O’Connor), whose looks resemble Alison’s, but whose personality, interests and fashion sense are much closer to his. He offers to help her unpack and they begin a relationship. While the two walk along a boulevard, the Devil and Elliot’s cellmate, both dressed in white, are seen playing chess, looking at Elliot and his new girlfriend, with the Devil taking the opportunity to fix the game but get caught by the guy, who only laughs about that. The scene ends with the Devil’s computer program listing foibles of Nicole’s and Elliot’s, which they both tolerate.
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I was pleasantly surprised. Harold Ramis wrote a new script based on the concept of the original movie, and he did a good job. Elizabeth Hurley plays a gleeful devil and amply fills out every outfit she wears; but Brendan Fraser steals the show. His acting and characterizations were outstanding. Lots of fun.