REVIEW: BRAIN DEAD (1990)

CAST

Bill Pullman (Independence Day)
Bill Paxton (Titanic)
Bud Cort (The Number 23)
Nicholas Pryor (Omen II)
Patricia Charbonneau (Crime Story)
George Kennedy (Airport’77)
Lee Arenberg (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Willie Garson (The Perfect Catch)
Cynthia Ettinger (Deadwood)
Kyle Gasss (Elf)

Dr. Rex Martin is a top neurosurgeon, who is active in studying brain malfunctions that cause mental illnesses. High school friend Jim Reston, a successful businessman at Eunice, requires Martin’s aid in reaching the mind of John Halsey, a former genius mathematician who once worked for the company and is now a paranoid psychotic at a nearby asylum. Dr. Martin’s surgery is intended to successfully alter the patient’s mental attitude, either unlocking the corporate secrets within Halsey’s brain or else leaving Halsey unable to accidentally share them with anyone else. As Martin begins the surgical procedure, he starts to experience the same paranoid dreams as Halsey. The episodes grow in intensity until it becomes unclear whether Martin is a doctor imagining he’s the patient, or a mental patient who succumbed to the delusion that he was a brain surgeon. Martin floats further and further from reality, caught between his loyalty to his business colleagues and his own humanity.Brain Dead is a very hard movie to describe because of its constant twists and turns. This movie truly turns you in circles and can be very confusing upon first viewing. Still, this is a really good film with good acting from Pill Pullman and Bill Paxton. The whole concept of the film is based on whether this is a dream or reality and the rest is left to the viewer. The ending is rather sudden but very appropriate and dramatic. This is definitely the type of film you sit through the credits at the end in bewilderment.

 

Advertisements

REVIEW: WHEN THE PARTY’S OVER

CAST

Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Rae Dawn Chong (Commando)
Kris Kamm (Coach)
Elizabeth Berridge (The Funhouse)
Brian McNamara (Army Wives)
Paul Johansson (Van Helsing)
Michael Landes (Final Destination 2)
Raymond Cruz (Breaking Bad)
Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)

hqdefaultFrankie (Elizabeth Berridge), Amanda (Sandra Bullock), MJ (Rae Dawn Chong, and Banks (Kris Kamm) are housemates, who are fresh out of college. Frankie is a social worker, who is dating Taylor, a lawyer (Brian McNamara). Amanda, an artist, meets and falls in love with Alexander Midnight, a performance artist (Fisher Stevens). She is also trying to guide her younger brother, Willie (Michael Landes), with wisdom, patience, and compassion, after the death of their mother.jPeC9NbFKDLtZBMlzEc7RLwnQoTThe third roommate, MJ, is a stockbroker, who is actually very promiscuous and has a pension for drinking. She even sleeps with Taylor, thus betraying Frankie.The final housemate, Banks, is an actor who is gay, and who is also best friends with Amanda. This movie touches on a group of twentysomethings in California, circa the early 1990s, highlighting the social issues of that time period, like teenage drinking, homosexuality, rape, infidelity, and problems with trust, amongst many other themes.Sandra-Bullock_The-Vanishing_1993The story builds slowly, and doesn’t go where you expect it to or hope it will, but rewards those who are patient and observant.

REVIEW: GROUNDHOG DAY

CAST

Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Andie MacDowell (Hudson Hawk)
Chris Elliott (Scary Movie 2)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Heroes)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Wayne’s World)
Angela Paton (Dirty Harry)
Rick Ducommun (Die Hard)
Rick Overton (Willow)
Robin Duke (Ruby Gloom)
Marita Geraghty (No Mercy)
Harold Ramis (Stripes)
Willie Garson (Kingpin)
Hynden Walch (Jerry Maguire)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)

During his nightly TV weather forecast on February 1, weatherman Phil Connors confidently reassures Pittsburgh viewers that an approaching winter storm will miss western Pennsylvania completely. He then sets off with news producer Rita Hanson and cameraman Larry for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the next morning’s Groundhog Day festivities. Phil makes no secret of his contempt for the assignment, the small town, and the “hicks” who live there.On February 2, Phil awakens at his Punxsutawney bed and breakfast to Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” on the clock radio and the declaration, “It’s Groundhog Day!” He tapes a half-hearted report on Punxsutawney Phil and the town’s festivities. Rita wants to stay and cover some of the other events, but Phil wants to return to Pittsburgh immediately. The blizzard—the one that Phil predicted would miss the area—resolves the issue by blanketing the region in snow, stranding them in Punxsutawney. Phil shuns the celebrations and retires to bed early.Phil wakes to “I Got You Babe” and the same announcement from the radio, and soon discovers the day’s events repeating exactly as before. Thinking it is a bad dream, Phil relives the day and returns to bed, only to discover when he wakes, it is still Groundhog Day. He finds he is trapped in a time loop that no one else is seemingly aware of. Phil realizes there are no consequences for his actions, and spends the first several loops in rambunctious behavior, such as binge drinking, one-night stands, and reckless driving. However, Phil soon becomes depressed being stuck in the loop, leading to him to find ways to commit suicide to end the loop, including electrocuting himself with a toaster in a bathtub, and stealing Punxsutawney Phil and driving off a cliff. Even with his apparent deaths, he still wakes up to “I Got You Babe” on February 2.Phil tries to explain his situation to Rita, for whom he has feelings. To demonstrate his plight to Rita, he points out all the trivial actions of the various townsfolk he has memorized due to being stuck in the loop. Rita takes sympathy and they spend the entirety of one loop together, ending up falling asleep on Phil’s bed that night. However, Phil still wakes up alone at the start of February 2. He decides to use his knowledge of the day’s events to try to better himself and the lives of the townsfolks. Over many loops, he learns how to play the piano, sculpt ice, and speak French. After finding himself unable to prevent the death of a homeless man over several loops, he starts to arrange his actions throughout the day to avert similar accidents and disastrous situations that otherwise would have occurred to the other Punxsutawney residents.Ultimately, on one loop, Phil eagerly attends the Groundhog Day festivities, and gives a very eloquent report that causes all of the other news-stations to turn their cameras to him, amazing Rita. Phil and Rita spend the rest of the day together, with Phil impressing her with his apparent overnight transformation through his contributions to the festivities and helpful nature to the townsfolk. That evening at the town’s Groundhog Day dinner-dance, she “wins” Phil with the high bid at the charity bachelor auction. Phil makes a beautiful snow sculpture of Rita’s face, and tells her that no matter what happens, even if he is doomed to continue awakening alone each morning forever, he wants her to know that he is finally happy, because he loves her. They retire together to Phil’s lodgings.Phil wakes to “I Got You Babe” again, but finds Rita is still in bed with him, and Punxsutawney covered in a fresh blanket of snow; it is February 3 and he has been able to escape the time loop. As they walk out together and marvel at the peaceful, beautiful town, Phil comments to Rita that they should live there—but will rent to start.This is one of the pillars of the cinematic history. It’s perfect in every way, and, obviously can be watched over and over again. Great fun and good feelings for both grown ups and young.

REVIEW: FORTRESS 2: RE-ENTRY

CAST

Christopher Lambert (Highlander)
Aidan Ostrogovich (Last Rites)
David Roberson (White Men Can’t Jump)
Liz May Brice  (Resident Evil)
Beth Toussaint (Red Eye)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)

688029_001

Ten years after the events of the first film, John Brennick is somewhere in North America, still on the run from Men-Tel and living in the rural mountains. His son Danny tells him to come home immediately. When they arrive, there are three people waiting for them. They ask John to help them destroy Men-Tel’s new power station, saying that the company is on the verge of collapse and “without their power, they have no power”. John refuses, wanting to protect his family, so the trio leave on a boat. As John waves goodbye, two Men-Tel helicopters appear and John scrambles his family’s escape plan. He sends Danny and Karen through an underground passage, while he leads the soldiers on a wild goose chase. The battle ends, though, with one helicopter destroyed, but Brennick’s Jeep is overturned.113106_28John is then knocked out and captured. He wakes up in a room with a disembodied voice telling him that he is in prison again and has been sentenced to death. He has been implanted with a behavior modification device which causes headaches of various intensity when prisoners enter prohibited areas. He also finds one of the men who visited him, a former Men-Tel vice president, who is now brain-damaged because of an improperly planted device. Another of John’s visitors, a former soldier, is also in the jail and friends with one of the guards. Brennick starts making enemies almost immediately. A video of Director Teller “welcomes” the new prisoners. He shows them a female prisoner receiving her death sentence, being blown out into space through an airlock. The video then shows the prisoners that their new prison is actually a space station orbiting the Earth which is used to generate power via a solar array.fortress-2-01

Brennick tries to escape in a water-delivery shuttle but is caught and sent to “The Hole” – an exposed area of the ship where John is bombarded with solar radiation while the station faces the sun and extreme cold when its orbit takes it behind the Earth. When Men-Tel’s president arrives he tries to kill John by jettisoning him without a spacesuit. John manages to hold his breath and propel himself towards another airlock and back into the prison. Due to the sudden decompression, the computerized warden, Zed, begins to malfunction and cannot perform its duties. John uses a prison gun to destroy the computer and Teller is subsequently electrocuted. John and all his friends board the Shuttle and head back to Earth, where John reunites with his family.cinemax-fortress-2-re-entry1

Yes it is practically the exact plot from the original with a different setting and cast but its actually not that cheesy its quite a fun movie even though its predictable, this is a movie solely for fans of the original and Lambert, worth checking out for an easy on the brain night in.

REVIEW: TAKEN (2002)

CAST

Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Eric Close (American Snuper)
Catherine Dent (Terminator: TSCC)
Joel Gretsch (V)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Tine Holmes (Half Nelson)
Steve Burton (Cyber Tracker)
Julie Benz (Angel)
Stacy Grant (Shanghai Noon)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
Michael Moriarty (Courage Under Fire)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Julie Ann Emery (Fargo)
Adam Kaufman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
James McDaniel (Sleepy Hollow)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Ryan Hurst (Bates Motel)
James Kirk (X-Men 2)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins)
Brenda James (Slither)
Chad Morgan (The Purge: Anarchy)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)
Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Emily Holmes (The Wicker Man)
Erin Karpluk (Being Erica)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Desmond Harrington (Ghost Ship)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Emily Bergl (Carrie 2)
Britt Irvin (V)
Camille Sullivan (The Birdwatcher)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
Elle Fanning (Super 8)
Gabrielle Rose (Dark Angel)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Linda Ko (Antitrust)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Justin Chatwin (Taking Lives)
Gwynyth Walsh (Van Helsing)
Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project)

From none other than visionary Steven Spielberg comes TAKEN (2002), which I first saw during it’s initial run on the BBC. I admire the scope, ambition, and emotion attached to this entertaining mini series.It starts off in 1944, with Russell Keys, along with his bomber crew, being ‘taken’ by an alien spacecraft during their WWII mission. The crew is experimented on, but Keys is essentially the lone survivor. Keys returns home with PTSD, not due to war, but due to the alien experience. This compels him to leave his wife and child to solve the mystery. Eventually, the aliens take Russell’s teen son Jesse Keys. The aliens obviously see an internal resolve in the Keys’ men that distinguishes them from the rest of the human race.
A second parallel story starts around 1947, and involves the lone survivor of a downed alien spacecraft that manages to take human form as “John” , who seeks refuge on a Texas farm owned by Sally Clarke, a hard-working waitress and single mother of two. John and Sally bond and she is impregnated, leading to a human-alien hybrid Jacob Clarke (superbly played by then-newcomer Anton Yelchin, now known for being the new Chekhov in the re-booted Star Trek franchise).The final parallel story also starts in 1947 in the infamous Roswell, New Mexico, where the local Air Force has found John’s downed ship and his 4 alien compadres who did not survive. Backed by the government, the military takes over the super-secret project, which starts off being briefly led by Colonel Campbell and is soon taken over by his ambitious son-in-law Captain Owen Crawford (brilliantly played by Joel Gretsch), military intelligence officer. Gretsch perfectly essays the role of megalomaniacal Crawford, who runs the project with unapologetic brio. I really felt that Gretsch’s character carried the first few episodes (spanning 1947 to 1962) with strong support from the other actors.
Taken’s first half  storytelling is strong, a perfect balance of science fiction, politics, speculation, and drama. One really buys into the premise that these goings-on could have actually happened. It’s definitely not fiction that many an American have reported UFO sightings and alien experiences over the years, and this miniseries is one of the better attempts at relaying this message to the viewer.
With the second half of the mini series the puzzle pieces finally start to come together to an interesting conclusion. Emily Burgl (as Lisa Clarke) and Andy Kaufman (as Charlie Keys) were commendable as the adult versions of the last respective offspring of the Clarke-Keys clans, the main highlight of the second half was  was the performance of newcomer Dakota Fanning (who plays Allie) whose wonderful narration is a key to the series overall success. She stole the show from all of her adult counterparts. I would definitely recommend the miniseries based on ambition and overall scope and the tightly woven storytellingthe show demonstrates. It’s an epic Sci-Fi story that is intriguing and at times touching. It wasthe series that made Dakota Fanning a star.

REVIEW: BEING JOHN MALKOVICH

CAST

John Malkovich (Red)
John Cusack (2012)
Cameron Diaz (The Green Hornet)
Catherine Keener (The 40 Year Old Virgin)
Orson Bean (Miracle on 34th Street)
Mary Kay Place (The Big Chill)
Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots)
W. Earl brown (Bates Motel)
Carlos Jacott (Angel)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Sean Penn (Gangster Squad)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Brad Pitt (FIght Club)

Craig Schwartz (Cusack) is an unemployed puppeteer in a forlorn marriage with his pet-obsessed wife Lotte (Diaz). Gaining a file clerk job through Dr. Lester (Bean) at LesterCorp, in the strange Floor 7½ low-ceiling offices of the Mertin-Flemmer Building in New York City, he develops an attraction to his coworker Maxine Lund (Keener), who does not return his affections. Craig enters a small door hidden behind a filing cabinet and finds himself in the mind of actor John Malkovich. Craig is able to observe and sense whatever Malkovich does for fifteen minutes before he is ejected and dropped into a ditch near the New Jersey Turnpike. He reveals the portal to Maxine and they let others use it for $200 a turn.Craig tells Lotte, who becomes obsessed with the experience, allowing her to live out her transgender desires. Lotte becomes attracted to Maxine and they begin a sexual relationship via Lotte being inside Malkovich’s head while Maxine has sex with Malkovich. Craig, forsaken by both women, binds and gags Lotte and locks her in a cage, then enters Malkovich’s mind and has sex with Maxine. Craig discovers that he is able to control Malkovich’s actions while in his head, causing the actor to become paranoid. After consulting with his friend Charlie Sheen, Malkovich trails Maxine to the Mertin-Flemmer building, where he tries the portal and is placed in a world where everyone looks like him and can only say “Malkovich”. He is ejected and meets Craig by the turnpike. Malkovich demands that the portal be closed, but Craig refuses.Lotte escapes with the help of the animals in the cage and phones Maxine, revealing that Craig was having sex with her. Maxine is annoyed but accepts it as she enjoyed the experience. Seeking help, Lotte finds Lester, who reveals himself to be Captain Mertin, the creator of LesterCorp. He is aware of the portal and has a room dedicated to Malkovich. Lester explains that the person connected to it becomes “ripe” for occupation on the eve of their 44th birthday. However, after the old host turns 44, the portal moves to its next host, an unborn child. The former allows one to increase their life before moving on to another host while the latter means being trapped within the unborn child. Lester, who has been using the portal to prolong his life, reveals his plan to use Malkovich for himself and several of his friends. Offered the chance to join Lester’s group, Lotte warns him that Craig has control.Craig finds he is able to remain in Malkovich indefinitely. He spends the next eight months in Malkovich’s body, and through his control turns Malkovich into a world-famous puppeteer. Malkovich marries Maxine and learns that she is pregnant as their relationship grows distant. As Malkovich’s 44th birthday approaches, Lester and his friends cut a deal with Maxine and fake her kidnapping. They call up Craig threatening to kill her if Craig does not leave Malkovich. Craig ends the call, causing Lester to think that he called their bluff. Lotte loses hope and attempts to kill Maxine, but they end up at the turnpike after falling through the portal and Malkovich’s shame-ridden subconscious. Maxine reveals that she conceived when Lotte was inside Malkovich’s body and kept the child because it is theirs. The revelation cements their love for each other. Craig calls back Lester thinking Maxine is still in danger. Realizing his opportunity, Lester continues his bluff, convincing Craig to leave Malkovich’s body. Lester and his friends enter the portal, taking control of Malkovich. Craig, discovering that Lotte and Maxine are together again, decides to enter the portal to become Malkovich and regain Maxine. Years later, an aging Malkovich, under the collective mind of Lester and his friends, reveals to Sheen a plan to prolong their lives through Maxine’s daughter Emily, within whom Craig is now permanently trapped after entering the portal, powerless as he watches Maxine and Lotte living happily through Emily’s eyes.

One of the most unique, imaginative movies ever made.

REVIEW: KINGPIN

CAST

Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Randy quaid (Independence Day)
Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Vanessa angel (Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys)
Chris Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Lin shaye (Insidious)
Willie Garson (Groundhog Day)

Flashy young bowler Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) wins the 1979 Iowa state bowling championship and leaves home to turn professional. In his professional bowling tour debut, he defeats established pro Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray), who takes the loss poorly and seeks revenge. McCracken convinces Roy to join him in a plot to hustle a group of local amateur bowlers. When the amateurs become furious after realizing they are being conned, McCracken flees while Roy is brutally beaten and loses his hand when it is forced into the ball return, ending his career.17 years later, Roy uses a prosthetic hand and is living in Scranton, Pennsylvania where he sells novelty items (like fluorescent condoms) with little success and drinks heavily. On a sales visit to a nearby bowling alley, Roy catches sight of a man named Ishmael Boorg (Randy Quaid) rolling a near-perfect game. Roy tries to convince Ishmael to turn pro, with Roy acting as manager. Ishmael declines the offer, explaining that he is from the local Amish community and that his bowling hobby is a secret. Roy then sees a poster in a bowling magazine advertising a $1 million winner-take-all tournament in Reno, Nevada. Learning that Ishmael’s family is about to lose their farm to the bank for the exact amount of his cut of the prize money, Roy eventually convinces Ishmael’s family to let him join Roy on a trip to Reno.Roy discovers that the childlike Ishmael is not aware of some of bowling’s basic rules and skills, but after some coaching Ishmael’s game steadily improves. The duo earn money while traveling to Reno through Ishmael’s success in various local tournaments and by hustling bowlers in cash games. One night they agree to a high stakes private game against a wealthy bowling enthusiast named Stanley Osmanski (Rob Moran), which Ishmael wins, but Stanley attacks the duo after discovering that the roll of cash Roy put up was mostly Monopoly money. As the group flee Osmanski’s mansion, they are joined by his girlfriend Claudia (Vanessa Angel) who had also been a victim of Osmanski’s violence. Claudia proceeds to travel with them, annoying Roy who suspects Claudia has ulterior motives and is distracting Ishmael. Arriving in Reno the group runs into McCracken, who is now a national bowling superstar. It is revealed that McCracken had previously been romantically involved with Claudia. McCracken insults and makes fun of Roy, and infuriates Ishmael to the point where he attempts to punch McCracken but instead hits a wall and breaks his hand, leaving him unable to bowl. Later on, Claudia disappears with the duo’s funds after being discovered by Stanley, leaving Roy and Ishmael broke. Feeling distraught, Ishmael convinces Roy that they still have a chance to win the $1,000,000 – if Roy will bowl. Though initially hesitant, Roy finally agrees and enters the tournament, rolling the ball with his prosthetic rubber hand. He rediscovers his previous talent and wins his first several rounds, ending up in the televised finals against McCracken. During the final match Ishmael’s brother, who had been sent by the Boorg family to find Ishmael, shows up and takes him back to Pennsylvania. When Roy realizes he is alone, he begins to struggle and McCracken ultimately wins the tournament by one pin.Afterwards, Roy is again living in Pennsylvania when he is visited by Claudia, who explains she had disappeared with Stanley in Reno in an attempt to keep him from hurting Roy and Ishmael. She confesses her love for Roy and offers him money earned from gambling on McCracken in the final match. Roy responds that he has already earned $500,000 in an endorsement deal for Trojan condoms that plays on his “rubber man” nickname, based on his prosthetic hand and given to him during the Reno tournament. Claudia told Roy that she took the money and told Stanley she is running off with McCracken. But she never did, the only way Stanley stop looking for her and give McCracken his payback what he did to Roy and Ishamel.Later, Ishmael is back living on his farm when he suddenly discovers Roy and Claudia in his family’s home. Ishmael’s parents explain that Roy and Claudia told them about Ishmael’s forbidden bowling career, but also about the moral strength and decency he showed during his travels. Roy tells them how Ishamel straightened Roy and Claudia’s life out. Roy and Claudia drive away together after paying off the Boorg family’s debts with Roy’s endorsement check.Bill Murray appears off and on in this twisted picture–and all of his screen time is absolutely precious . Kingpin is a piece of comedic gold, that many have overlooked.