Monday, December 31, 2012

Terminator Salvation (2009) Review:

Some viewers have bashed director McG for taking on this project. First, for any director that takes on a big franchise, it is a big job. That kind of thing comes with the territory. Being a director is a big job anyway. And because of that, I give a lot of credit to McG who did what he could to make the fourth Terminator installment the best it could be; even without Mr. Schwarzenegger, physically in the picture that is. Believe me, it could have been worse.

John Connor (Bale) & Marcus Wright (Worthington)
Terminator Salvation (2009) takes place after Skynet wiped out more than half of the human population. Christian Bale stars as the prophesized John Connor, leader of the rebel alliance. But before any of this even happens, the story focuses on a less noted individual. Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) is a wrongly convicted felon and has received the death penalty but is soon reborn for strange reasons several years later during the time of John Connor's leadership.

As Wright looks for answers, he runs into Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), John Connor's father, but he doesn't know the significance of that, until later. But when Skynet captures Reese, Wright tags along with Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) who brings him to rebel headquarters. Meanwhile, John Connor struggles to convince head of command General Ashdown (Michael Ironside) not to attack Skynet too quickly. As things start to move quicker, these two stories will collide to create some solid entertainment.

The clunky yet deadly T-600
McG's ability to display realistic aftermath scenery is downright eerie but convincing. A lot of the sets he used were real, as were the explosions. What I liked best about McG's vision of the future is the difference between all the modified terminators from the past three films and the predecessors used here. The T-600 is terrifyingly massive.  What made up for less intelligence, is a big, hulking exoskeleton and a rapid fire minigun. Then there are the moto-terminators with a slick body style, which are carried on the harvester, another gigantic deadly Skynet robot.

The other two Skynet robots that are new to the screen, are the hydrobots and the enlarged H.K.s. What's interesting is to see Skynet's initial ideas come to fruition and to see what their first killing machines looked like and the evolution from the beginning, to the T-X. One the best looking set pieces was the terminator factory. To see the difference between cleansed, sanitized Skynet compared to the grungy, oil-slicked terminator factory shows that Skynet isn't all chrome either.

Danny Elfman's soundtrack to this terminator film is not only better than Beltrami's from 2003 but it's also more involving. Elfman likes to use a lot of strings and brass in his music and that creates a sense of scope of the story. The opening theme is great. The things I didn't enjoy were minimal. I didn't understand why Christian Bale was stuck in Bruce Wayne mode and talked with a scratchy voice. I think he could have come up with some other interpretation for the character. Also the fact that this movie was PG-13 annoyed me. The same went for RoboCop 3 (1993). It should've been kept rated R. the world of John Connor isn't just for teenagers.

Although not many people were fond of McG's look at the latest terminator film, it is still high quality entertainment. The special effects, set pieces and music by Danny Elfman are as fresh as can be.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) Review:

So many changes, so little progress. As the conclusion to the Transformers trilogy, this second sequel was better than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but not everything was tweaked as tight as it should have been. There were changes and there weren't. As stated before in my last two reviews of this franchise, there are three components that have stayed the same for these three films. These three components are the music, action and special effects.

Sam Witwicky's new girlfriend....
The music, still composed by Steve Jablonsky; good work. The action; still big, loud and bold. The special effects; still cool to watch robots transform and fight. Not much to be said because that kind of stuff has been standardized now. The autobots and decepticons are still voiced by their respective voice-actors. One decepticon I found really cool was Shockwave. A real robot I don’t think anyone would want to mess with. Here are the changes and for the most part they are positive things.

First, Megan Fox has been replaced with Victoria's Secret model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who plays Sam Witwicky's new main squeeze, Carly. It's not that I find her bad at acting but she doesn't cut out being a tomboy like character as Megan Fox made out in the first two. Plus, Carly's clothing ceases to get dirty throughout the whole running time of the film. Oh and let's not forget that she runs around in high-heels.

Mr. Ehren Kruger
The next piece to change was the tone of this sequel. For once, the film crew heard what fans and audiences wanted and they followed up on it. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) actually has less of a comedic feel. People will actually be killed on screen. It won’t be blood and guts but the audience will actually see them die. Also the two loud-mouthed autobots were removed from the story as well. Thank you for listening Ehren Kruger.

However, I am still frustrated over the fact that Kruger did give Simmons (John Turturro) a larger than needed role and still gave Shia LaBeouf's role the lines, "You scream here, here, here and...". I'm done with the runaround. I don't know how others who tolerate it can sit through it and say that's good acting. It's noise. The explosions are more fun to listen to than that.

The second transformers sequel has some improvements over its previous follow up but it still lacks the greatness of the first.

Points Earned --> 7:10

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) Review:

The first transformers film had a lot going for it. It's music, action, special effects and acting were all exceptional. But as for this sequel, it seems like the tone of the film needed to be changed. Transformers (2007) had realistic tone, every now and then it would inject some silly humor but that was to let its audience know that there was room for some laughs. But for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), it was decided that more comedy and slapstick was needed. But for what reason?

John Turturro in his more prevalent annoying role
For the most part, every component was kept relatively the same as the first. Some of the statement is good, while the other part, not so much. What's good are the special effects action and music. The transforming sounds are still there, as are the visuals and the explosive action. Even Steve Jablonsky returned to make a musical soundtrack for the film. What went wrong here was character placement and how that effected the tone.

Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf both reprised their roles as the popular couple, Mikaela and Sam. However, as I mentioned in the first review of this franchise, I would only forgive Mr. Witwicky for being so jittery because it was his first time being around alien robots. What do we have here? Mr. Witwicky is still jittery AND now he's screaming like a woos. Half of the running time in this film Shia LaBeouf is screaming. Even Megan Fox's character screams less than him. Enough with it LaBeouf! Did you ask to have a script with little dialog so you didn't talk much? He should be used to this kind of thing now.

Then there's the character placement of Simmons (John Turturro). Turturro played a supporting character in the first film and now he's been moved to head honcho/plot motivator. Why do that? Some of Turturro's lines are really ridiculous or worse, inappropriate. This was supposed to add to the comical scenes but I didn't find very funny. Plus, writer Ehren Kruger thought it would be fun to pen in some loud-mouthed autobots as well. Yeah they weren't needed either.

I enjoyed more of Mark Ryan's performance as the decrepit decepticon, Jetfire. It reminded me of the senior citizens of our time. For nostalgia purposes. And for the rest of the voice actors, they all return as well. Even Frank Welker is here this time, which was a nice addition. But again, all these good things can't override the abundant silly slapstick that is placed in this film. It needs to be toned down again.

To make the film more attractive, it was thought that by adding more slapstick would increase the films likability. To be honest, it just made it more stupid including LaBeouf’s role. The rest is fine though…which isn’t much.

Points Earned --> 6:10

Transformers (2007) Review:

There are people who like Michael Bay for his work and others who don't. I only like Bay for certain films and Transformers (2007) is one of them. Because this is the first live action adaptation of the transformers toy line, I am amazed at how well all of it was brought together. Everything from the action, the special effects, the music and the acting.

Sam Witwicky and his girl....
Just like the TV show, transformers involves two sides of alien robots; the autobots (good) and decepticons (bad). Both of which fight for control over each other. This conflict soon brings them to planet Earth where the autobots join forces with the human race. The first human contact (dialog) that the autobots have is with an ordinary individual named Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). Witwicky is like any other young guy; he tries to find a good-looking first car so he can impress the girl of his dreams. The girl of his dreams; Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox).

Both LaBeouf and Fox look great together on screen. It is easy to see that they have good chemistry. Along with them are Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson who play two military officers who become one of the first  people to experience coming in contact with the "transformers". And this happens around the beginning of the film. As for the autobots and decepticons, Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime returns and Hugo Weaving voices the menacing Megatron. Along with others, these voice actors give great performances.

Optimus Prime (live-action form)
The action in this film is exhilarating. Right when things seem like the movie isn't going anywhere, something either blows or lights up to get the audiences’ attention. That's where the special effects come in. What amazed me the most about this is that the special effects department made sure that every single component of whatever vehicle the alien robot took form of, was all in the transforming action. Also, the sound itself of the robots transforming was so unique that it is one of those noises that can't be mistaken for something else.

The musical score composed by Steve Jablonsky was well executed too. Each track has its own tone and represents each scene accurately. It also has a memorable tune for when Otpimus Prime is on screen and that makes the action that much more entertaining. My only quarrel with the film is LaBeouf's character. If I were in his situation, yes, I would be quite nervous as well but his jitteriness gets tiresome really quickly. I'll partially accept it for now because it's Mr. Witwicky's first time experiencing this kind of unnatural event.

Michael Bay's live-action take on the Transformers toys is a blast. The action is explosive and the music is resounding.

Points Earned --> 9:10

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) Review:

We all know that after Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that he would not continue the Terminator franchise unless James Cameron was directing. Apparently he did not follow through on his word. Schwarzenegger is back as his metal counterpart to save John Connor once more from being killed off so he can save the human race from Skynet becoming self-aware.

The T-X (Loken) against the T-850 (Schwarzenegger)
And even though James Cameron did not even take part in this film at all, director Jonathan Mostow looks like he put a lot of work into this less appreciated sequel too. John Connor (Nick Stahl) is now in his 20's and feels depressed because he can't do anything with his life. Perhaps the reason was that judgment day didn't happen...yet, but he didn't know that. This time, Schwarzenegger comes back as a modified Terminator, the T-850 to protect Connor from his strongest opponent yet; the T-X.

Nick Stahl as the future leader
The T-X is played by model Kristanna Loken. Loken makes her character quite believable and lethal at the same time. Although she barely shows any emotion, she looks like she had a good time being her character. Killing victims and all. Loken is part of what makes this sequel work. Even Earl Boen (Dr. Silberman) has an appearance for a brief time to treat the fans of the franchise. The action is still very intense and the violence is still very brutal.

The only weak points I see is Marco Beltrami's film score and Nick Stahl. Beltrami does recall Brad Fiedel's theme from the first two films but his rendition gets lost in the softer more sentimental scenes. As for Stahl, perhaps he wasn't the best choice as an older John Connor. His looks don't quite make out as a rough and tough leader. But all around, this sequel still packs a punch.

The third terminator film has good performances from Loken and Schwarzenegger. Even if it's missing James Cameron.

Points Earned --> 9:10

Dark Angel (1990) Review:

For actor Dolph Lundgren, I am disappointed that his career has remained at these kinds of films. It is not that they are bad, they just don’t seem to be what could fit him character wise. It's a shame that producers and directors don't look for him to star in other films. Instead, Lundgren fans will majority of the time see him in Direct-to-Video releases. I think this film could've had a moderate successful run if it had been released theatrically, but that obviously didn't happen.

See the difference in height??
Lundgren stars as Jack Caine, a Texas cop who likes doing things his own way. While trying to capture a crack dealer named Victor Manning, his partner is killed in the process but in that time gap, another individual comes onto the screen. Matthias Hues is Talec, an alien who will use the crack to inject into his victims to create his own alien drug. In the meantime, Caine has his deceased partner replaced with FIB agent Smith played by Brian Benben. This concept is actually not that bad. Of course, that doesn't stop this movie from having its flaws but through and through, it's a decent fun.

The character of Jack Caine is well played by Lundgren. His ability to act quick in tense situations and hand-to-hand combat skills are praiseworthy. And the pairing of Smith and Caine was an acceptable casting choice as well. Benben makes use of his smaller appearance as a character compared to Lundgren. Even though Smith annoys Caine for some time, because Smith follows the book line by line, these characters develop a friendship over time, which is good thing. Their dialog exchanges are humorous as well.

Also because of Caine's rashness at his job, he struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with his girlfriend Diane Pallone (Betsy Brandtley). This subplot didn't particularly make the film any less cliche but it did make the story a slight bit more engaging because to some, it may concern viewers if Caine's girlfriend will run into this drug seeking alien. Adding to the fun is Michael J. Pollard, or as others might remember him as, Owen, from Tango & Cash (1989) a year before. Pollard still has the chops to be goofy.

Talec, the evil alien drug lord
Musical artist, Jan Hammer was the score writer for this action film. Unfortunately there was no specific theme but his catchy beats made it enjoyable all the same. This is rare for me. Most of the time if the score to a film does not have a specific theme, it tends to leave me empty but I enjoyed Hammer's music so that surprised me. The look of the alien race that Hues plays is neat too. Although I still think it is cheesy that their insides are made up of molten marshmallow.

There wasn't much that was bad here, but for what there was it irked me. For one, the beginning of the alien plot never concluded the Victor Manning plot. Victor Manning was never captured. Why would the writers leave that untouched? Couldn't they just have written an ending for the Victor Manning plot once the alien plot started? Also the ending seemed kind of abrupt. For endings to a film, there should be some kind of a closing scene but this film doesn't offer that. The action was good too even though it still had a mid-80's feel to it...I mean it was filmed and released in the very late 80's so I can understand why.

Jack Caine is not the most memorable character in film history but Dark Angel is a fun Dolph Lundgren piece if you're in the mood for a silly cop film with a pinch of outer space.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fear City (1984) Review:

When it comes to movies that are pure crime thriller in that genre, every component has to be the best. Top notch. And somewhat relative to another crime thriller called Nighthawks (1981), also starring Billy Dee Williams, Fear City (1984) just doesn't seem to add anything new. It is almost equal in entertainment; that is mediocre.

Billy Dee Williams as Dt. Wheeler
Fear City (1984) is about a couple of individuals that get caught up in the middle of a killer’s rampage. The individuals consist of Matt Rossi (Berenger), a retired boxer and his partner Nicky Parzeno (Scalia) who are affiliated with the Italian mob and own their own club where topless dancers are the main attraction. But soon things start to go haywire when a killer starts assaulting Rossi's and Parzeno's girls and then they stop showing up to work.

It's hard to imagine Berenger with an Italian New York accent but he pulls it off okay. Rossi also has a girlfriend who works at his club, Loretta, played by Melanie Griffith. Griffith's character does play a significant role in the story (besides dancing topless) but the fact that there was a subplot that involved her regretting having sex with Rossi was irrelevant. Writer Nicholas St. John probably should have reviewed his script first before filming started. I also didn't understand how the background of Rossi connected to the current plot. It's great that it was included but there was never a clear connection to why he went from boxing to management of clubs.

Tom Berenger as the trouble boxer, Matt Rossi
And for the killer, I don't understand why he was uncredited and if that was the case, why he didn't come out and say anything. His performance, although not spectacular, was the main reason why this whole movie was created! His style of killing was different to see than the usual psychopaths, even though half the time nothing was scene. I also don’t understand the logic behind that. The film had some many cuts in it because it was too gory. How gory could it have been? I could sure think of some films that were much more graphic. The Evil Dead (1981) sound familiar?

Also no background was given to the killer and every time he attacked someone, the blade he carried got bigger. First it was a scissors, a few kills later he used a katana sword. Strange. Finally, in the end though, it leads up to a rather entertaining fistfight between Rossi and the killer. Too bad I can't say that for the rest of film.

This crime thriller is directed by Abel Ferrara, who would later go on to direct other more significant thrillers like King of New York (1990) and Body Snatchers (1993). Ferrara's direction of filming in some of the dirtiest looking alleys in the city was a nice touch atmosphere wise. There are also a few comical scenes in this film but that's only because of the time this movie was filmed. Dick Halligan's soundtrack to this film was a little more involving than some others I've heard but it wasn’t memorable. It’s just a dry thriller.

The script was written with good subplots but it seems to forget how to connect them to the story at hand. See it more for nostalgia of a young Tom Berenger.

Points Earned --> 5:10

Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006) Review:

Because Charles Dickens' classic story, A Christmas Carol is so popular, it's of no surprise that Warner Brothers decided to finally make their own Christmas Carol with their very own beloved characters, the Looney Tunes. And to get to the point, this adaptation is funny and great to watch. The difference between this movie and other Dickens film adaptations are that it takes place in the present. Playing the "Scrooge-like" character is none other than Daffy Duck. This is a wise choice because Daffy is usually a self-centered character and loves money to begin with.

I don't think I need to explain much here....
And just to show how wealthy Daffy is, the introduction will then move to an over-exaggerated, multi-complex, multi-floored shopping mall called the "Lucky Duck Mall". Working for Daffy are almost all the Looney Tunes characters and they all have their own problems. Elmer Fudd is sleep deprived, Coyote's starving, Marvin longs to go back to Mars and just like Bob Cratchit, the troubled parent who's honest enough to confront Daffy is Porky Pig. These scenes are hilarious to watch because each individual has their own screen time (though it isn’t much).

And don't worry Bugs Bunny is in here too. Even though he is not as involved with the story as you would think, he's still there and his presence is much appreciated. From what I viewed, screenwriter Ray De Laurentis looked like he had his heart in the right place. There are actually some truly touching moments in this movie no matter how ridiculous Daffy behaves by himself or around his employees in other scenes. A few examples of this would be when Daffy visits the past and sees himself as a child or when Marvin wishes to go back to Mars. The right emotions are there for these scenes and it shows.

Marvin looking at Mars from afar
The animation is clear and solid, and the colors were bright and vibrant. Even the musical score by Gordon Goodwin was great. Goodwin's score definitely displays to his audience that he knows what a Looney Tunes film requires. Plus within this, you’ll hear a lot of Christmas themed songs with jazzy tones. My only issue with the movie is that it's under one hour. Because of that, it feels rushed due to less time. I don't understand why the producers limited themselves to 45 minutes and that annoys me. With the time shortened, there's less time to expand and explore different components of each character.

Instead we get the bare bones minimum of each character. However, I won't let this flaw ruin my rating. The Looney Tunes bunch is fun to watch for any reason and because nothing was changed with the characters, I have nothing to be mad over. For the most part, all the voice-actors from Looney Tunes Back in Action (2003), plus some extras (that are well known too) like Jim Cummings lend their voices to make this Christmas special enjoyable for all audiences.

It may irk fans that the film is less than one hour, but this Looney Tunes Christmas special is amusing enough to overcome that weak point. Gordon Goodwin's musical score is one to remember as well; very festive.

Points Earned --> 9:10

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too (1991) Review:

Winnie the Pooh is a Disney character that can not get a story wrong. His ability to make the audience giggle with joy over some of the silliest things is a powerful trait that some other characters don't seem to have enough of. The story of this short is quite simple. Pooh and his friends make a wishlist with Christopher Robin to send to Santa. After making up the list, Pooh realizes he didn't put in anything for himself.

Pooh setting up his tree.....kinda
Then on top of that, he notices that it's Christmas Eve once he starts adding his wish in. In a rush, he sends the letter on its way, only to have the winds change on him and the letter never sent. When he discovers this, he decides to take it into his own hands to personally deliver his friends their wanted gifts. He does this by dressing up as Santa and doing all kinds of goofy things.

Pooh as the bumbling Santa
Some of the gifts Pooh brings to his friends are also very funny. All of which the audience gets great reactions from Rabbit, Eeyore and Tigger. Not to mention that Piglet is his feeble solo reindeer. The musical score by Steve Nelson was cute and a good listening experience as well. Still can't give the special a full score because it is not an original feature. Plus it was only 25 minutes to boot.

It’s an adorable little holiday special for any Winnie the Pooh lover. Just don't expect a real in-depth story.

Points Earned --> 9:10

The Snowman and the Snowdog (2012) Review:

After Raymond Briggs' silent Christmas classic, The Snowman (1982) came to channel 4 in London, fans of the short film never expected to see a sequel to it. As were I just as surprised. I knew it was the 30th anniversary this year but I was not expecting a sequel. Not to mention that I only heard a few days before that it was supposed to air on television! What a surprise that was!

This sequel likes to recall it's predecessor
The title of this sequel is fairly self-explanatory of what characters will be involved with the plot. However, the back-story may be a little different than what it was expected to be. The character of the snowdog was added because this particular boy once had a dog and it passed away. So along with the time capsule that he found in his house with a picture of the boy (James) from 1982 and the snowman he built, this new boy decides to build that same snowman along with a snowdog that resembled his friend from years past. Cute right? Well it gets cuter.

The snowdog (middle)
However, I can't give away much else because I'll ruin the surprise. I also can not give this film a full ten stars just because it's a sequel and any fan of any franchise should know that it takes a lot for a sequel to surpass or even match its predecessor. I do give credit to the animators. They kept the animation and art all the same as the 1982 version and for 99% of the time it was silent (just like the first). Plus the animation looked more crisp and vivid.

But like any film, if the score changes, then the feeling changes. Howard Blake (although he is now old) did not return to score this film which disappoints me. Ilan Eshkeri scored the film this time and although it had emotions flowing through it, it just didn't hit the high mark like Blake's score. Plus, just like the flying sequence, the vocals in this song weren't as resounding either. The film will still pluck at your heartstrings but unfortunately it won't match the original classic of 1982.

The sequel to Raymond Briggs' 1982 classic gives a sweet twist and a nod to the original. It may not have the same musical score but it's still a great holiday film.

Points Earned --> 9:10

It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas (2002) Review:

Jim Henson's Muppet crew is known for making memorable, heartwarming, emotional performances. However, for this holiday film particularly, I saw, nor experienced none of this for 3/4 of the film. It was not until about 10 minutes to the end, did this Muppet vehicle actually produce some smiles. As for the rest, audiences will be frowning at the screen.

Ms. Bitterman (Cusack) bashing Kermint
This Muppet Christmas story is mainly about Kermit. Yes, the story does have his friends in it but for the most part, they are mostly shunned from the screen. As the days get closer and closer to Christmas Eve, the Muppets come to realize that they owe payment to the rotten, nasty real-estate mogul, Rachel Bitterman (Joan Cusack). The problem, if Ms. Bitterman doesn't get her payment on time, she will boot the Muppets from their theater and replace it with a racy dance club.

I really don't think writers Tom Martin and Jim Lewis knew what Christmas movies entail tone wise. This film hardly had any joy in it all. Cusack's character is so bad, that her character practically has equal amount of screen time as Kermit. And the fact that one of Ms. Bitterman's assistants thinks everything she says is a sexual innuendo is not funny at all. It's a Muppet Christmas film, how is that appropriate!? And the worst part is, is that it's not even Cusack's character that was cruel to the Muppets. The whole script had all from celebrities to other movie parodies stomping all over the Muppets.

Let's also not forget how the story was told. This movie is one of those films where it places you in the middle of everything and then rewinds to show you everything you missed. Is that absolutely necessary? There's no need for cutting in and out between scenes just to have Whoopie Goldberg (playing God) contemplating the obvious saying, "This doesn't look good", to a fellow angel, the awkward Daniel, who brings up the whole issue to her, played by David Arquette.

Daniel (right) trying to calm Kermit down.....
The whole job of Daniel is to show Kermit that his life isn't over no matter how hard it seems. Daniel does this by showing him another virtual world where Kermit had never been born. Making things worse, the initial meeting between these two characters is not funny or happy. To have Kermit screaming "I WISH I'D NEVER BEEN BORN" a dozen times and Arquette's character sweating for not knowing what to do, is not making the film anymore enjoyable. Plus, the other world Daniel shows Kermit is fairly dark for a children’s movie. This whole subplot is just filler and it should have been omitted.

The special effects are standard for 2002 and the music Mark Watters had its emotional tunes but this time it dragged the film down. It's rare that an audience runs across a film score that actually works at evoking the right tones but all for the wrong reasons. Watters produces an assisting score but the tone of the story is so negative, that the score never accelerates the movie any. This is a real disappointment from the Muppet crew. There was even a small voice cameo by Mel Brooks playing what looked like Jack Frost's (1998) grandpa, and that character was left out too.

This Muppet production is a sad attempt at making a jolly Christmas film. The tone is heavily depressing and the gags are intentionally mean spirited.

Points Earned --> 4:10

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Re-Animator (1985) Review:

Every character in a zombie film hates zombies. But there is only one individual in film history that is actually not afraid of them. This individual is Herbert West. I wouldn't say he loves zombies but he's definitely not scared of dealing with them. West is a scientist who has broken the barrier on how to keep people from dying. He has developed a serum that once injected into the brain, effectively empowers the cadaver to start living again. The problem? The turn out to being very livid, uncontrollable zombies.

Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West with his really cool looking serum
The story is loosely based off of H.P. Lovecraft's work, "Herbert West, Re-Animator". The whole film is quite weird actually. It's definitely a story not many people would tell but it just so happens director Stuart Gordon was able to pull this film off with just enough weird and clever things to make it enjoyable. Playing Herbert West is Jeffrey Combs; the callous non-emotional scientist, that is, unless he's dealing with his work. Combs is so good at his character, that although he makes it look like he has no idea what he's doing, he seems like he does.

Co-starring Combs is Bruce Abbott as Dan Cain and his girlfriend Megan Hasley played by Barbara Clampton. Unfortunately, due to West's flamboyant ambition, these two main characters will be sucked into his web of problems as time progresses through the film. And this all happens when Herbert West is transferred to Dan Cain's college. There, West convinces Cain to help him in his studies. Not much else needs to be said, it's a domino effect from here.

Bruce Abbott as the unfortunate colleague of Mr. West
To many fans, this movie is a dark comedy. Even though I enjoyed it, I found it more bizarre than funny. There were a few moments where I did laugh, either because of Jeffrey Combs' ability to give his cracked character a dry sense of humor (now and then), or, just how clumsy the zombies were.  Speaking of which, these zombies are not your standard zombie. No, this is not the tear your flesh off your skin down to the bone zombie. The zombies depicted here are just plain angry. Almost like they didn't want to be re-animated and they were mad at West for doing so.

Special effects are actually fairly decent here for 1985. There's not a lot of blood but enough to satisfy. If you're a fan that likes crazy nude scenes, you'll especially like this one. Like I said before, this film is just strange. As for music goes, Richard Band created the score. I have to say, Brand really doesn't create any scary tones. He does create some tension but his music is rather choppy and unconventional which makes it hard to feel anything from it. Again, a strange film but enjoyable in some areas.

The classic that brought Jeffrey Combs to the screen is peculiar and creepy. This is a different kind of zombie flick and if you enjoy all kinds, then it's right up your alley.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970) Review:

Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass are known for their classic Christmas special musicals so it didn't surprise me when I discovered that they made a film on the origins of Santa as well. Neither did I find it any less entertaining. Even if the story is fiction, the possibilities to why Santa Claus climbs down chimneys and puts toys in stockings is rather interesting to know about.

Rooney voices the young Santa
The teleplay, written by Romeo Muller, includes a lot of nice trivia that the usual Christmas celebrator won't know of about, for example why we say Santa does all these different actions on Christmas Eve. Narrating this story is actor Fred Astaire who tells us how Santa came to be. Voicing Santa Claus is Mickey Rooney who if you didn't know who he was, you’d almost never guess he was the funny looking security guard from Night at the Museum (2006).

The evil Burgermeister Meisterburger
Maybe one of the goofiest characters in this film is the villain named Burgermeister Meisterburger. A grumpy town mayor with the ego the size of the Mt. Everest. And let's not forget The Winter Warlock, the evil wizard who lives high up in the hills. All these characters, no matter what role they play are fun to watch and listen too. The animation recalls that of Rankin and Bass' other Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). The songs are still catchy even though Johnny Marks did not write them. Altogether, it's a good eye-opener to the background of Santa Claus.

Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town has catchy music and good cast of voice actors. Plus, its informative background on Santa Claus is a cool history lesson.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) Review:

Just exactly how many people have seen this fifty-minute long Christmas special? I have no clue, but it apparently has made a big impact on a lot of people that's for sure. Producers Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr. had a real knack for making entertaining children films and this one is no different from the others. This is the origin story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Yukon, Hermey & Rudolph
And along with Rudolph, the audience will be introduced to some other characters that are enjoyable. Hermey, an elf (who looks nothing like the others) is shunned for his interests in dental work. Who, just like Rudolph, after being mocked, decides to leave his home and find a new place where he will be accepted. Soon these two meet up and they create a bond. From there, they run into an eccentric pioneer named Yukon Cornelius. Cornelius is possibly one of the best characters of the whole film, just because of his wise cracking remarks.

Sam the Snowman (Burl Ives)
As these three go on their journey together, they end up finding an island of misfit toys; toys of which don't want to be played with anymore. Some of them are rather unconventional but all the same, they are still quite lovable as characters. For 1964, the animation is fairly neat and clear. The voice acting is good; much appreciated especially for Burl Ives as Sam the snowman. The music by Johnny Marks is also catchy and joyful. The songs will stick and all that has to be done is to hear them once.

As one of the Christmas specials that still packs a punch, Rankin and Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will continue to delight kids and adults for ages to come.

Points Earned --> 10:10

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Review:

After certain people, that keep a business going, pass away, can be difficult to keep it moving because the person who left was main source of power and motivation. This usually leads to financial failure and an absence from the media. It could've been that way for The Muppets after Jim Henson passed away in 1990, but by that time, The Muppets were immortal as it was. Thankfully Henson's son, Brian Henson decided to take hold of the reigns and lead the way.

Rizzo & Gonzo......aka Charles Dickens
And as of Mr. Henson's first theatrically released Muppet film, I must say, it is superb add-on to the franchise. The story of The Muppet Christmas Carol is exactly parallel to that of Charles Dickens' novel. The are no changes in the story, order wise, but there are a few little tidbits that will have the audience understand that this is a Muppet production and not just them retelling the story. For example, The Great Gonzo plays Charles Dickens in this film, the omniscient narrator of our story. And no he doesn’t talk from out of the sky; he actively takes part in the story. And along side him is his pal Rizzo, who also provides us with some comedy relief.

Kermit & Michael Caine......aka Scrooge
And that's just these two characters. You still have the rest of the Muppet crew. Because Jim Henson was no longer around, Steve Whitmire took over the role of Kermit the Frog, but unless you really have good ears, it's not easy to hear the difference, which is great. This is why these Muppet characters are immortal. As long as they have a voice actor who has a voice that closely matches their predecessor, no one will ever know. Playing Scrooge is English actor himself, Michael Caine. Caine gives an excellent performance as the grumpy old humbug moneylender. Caine is effective when he's tough and angry and when he's soft and emotional on screen.

As for the rest of Muppets go, the usual voice actors perform their parts for their respective Muppets and they do a great job at it. Every Muppet you think that'll have a part will be in this film, no doubt. And it's great because you get to see every single one have a little screen time of their own. The special effects are good for their time; nothing looks overly edited or out of place. The score by Miles Goodman is a fun listening experience as well. In all aspects, it evokes the right tones and emotions all at the right moments. Some real good work here.

This first theatrically released film starring The Muppets without Brian Henson's father on board is still just as great. Jim Henson may have left, but his spirit is still there.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Corpse Bride (2005) Review:

Director Tim Burton really knows how to make dark tones not seem all the dark. Look at one of his first examples in filmmaking; Beetlejuice (1988). Sure the character of Beetlejuice played by Michael Keaton was a little not your usual dead guy but there were actually a lot of laughs to be had. Same goes for this movie.

Victor & Victoria
The story is about shy man Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp) who is having an arranged marriage with also a shy, sweet young lady named Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson). Unfortunately, Victor is rather opposed to whole idea because he just doesn't feel like he could be ready for such a commitment. So in a panic, he flees from the practice session to get some fresh air. While in the forest, he recites his marriage vows and accidentally awakens the corpse bride played by Helena Bonham Carter.

Now that Victor has disturbed the dead he must make a choice to whom he will marry. All the voice actors give an excellent performance as their characters. Depp is great at making himself sound inferior and feeble as the meek Victor. Watson and Carter both play sweet female leads as well. Even composer Danny Elfman has voice role in this film. Quite rare if you ask me on Elfman's part. But his score is just as abundant like the rest of his collaborations with Tim Burton. This score well appreciated because of its sense of emotion and tone.

Helena Bonham Carter as the Corpse Bride
The animation is great here too. It actually reminisces to Burton's film of The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1964) featuring stop motion animation. Obviously since the it was 2005 the filming techniques have become much smoother so it looks even better than before. The art department I could tell had a good time with this too. The difference between life and death are quite the opposite. Normal life is gray and dull while the afterlife is colorful and vibrant. Which could almost suggest that death is more fun but most of us don't have that kind of mentality.

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride is enchanting and fun altogether. The animation is spectacular and the voice acting is wonderful.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Total Recall (1990) Review:

Imagine the life you're living is a dream and you are actually someone else? Well this is exactly what happens to the character of Douglas Quaid played by famous macho actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The whole story starts with him having a dream about some other life he has with another woman than the one he's married too, Lori, played by Sharon Stone. Quaid soon realizes that what he was dreaming might have actually been real when he learns he really isn't who he thinks he is.

Stone & Schwarzenegger as a married couple
Eventually Quaid starts being chased by Richter (Michael Ironside), a man sent by the evil Vilos Cohaagen (Ronny Cox) who will do anything to stop Quaid from accomplishing his mission, whatever that may be, because Quaid won't know until much later. And all of these secrets will start to be revealed once Quaid heads to a fake mind vacation corporation called "Rekall". Thankfully, Quaid is not alone, he will soon run into help that will lead him to his destination...but it's a long way there.

Hailed science fiction director, Paul Verhoeven, directs the film. And like any Verhoeven film, there is bound to be plenty of carnage, profanity and sexuality. The film is based off of the novel "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale" by Phillip K. Dick, the writer who also brought audiences Blade Runner (1982) and Screamers (1995). Total Recall is another great novel adaptation.

As plot goes, the story can be really confusing at times but it also clears itself up pretty quickly as well (MOST of the time). Not to mention the fact that by having the main character confused also creates a lot of tension for the audience. Although Arnold Schwarzenegger is known for quoting himself from other films, he actually doesn't do it at all here. He creates a lot of his own memorable quotes which makes this film more original.

What Mars looks like in the film
The special effects, action sequences and background settings are good looking too. The visualization of mars is quite jaw dropping and the makeup department out did themselves when it came to creating the mutant lifeforms. The score composed by Jerry Goldsmith is a fair one too. It can be repetitive at times but it does create the tension it needs to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats.

Schwarzenegger is much more entertaining in this sci-fi thriller. The plot can be extremely confusing but if paid attention to, it shouldn't be that hard to follow.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Friday, December 21, 2012

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (2000) Review:

After the success of Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 2 (1999), Disney and Pixar studios thought it would be profitable for them to make a spin-off of one of the main characters, specifically Buzz Lightyear. Yes, having a Woody spin-off would have been interesting but honestly, I'm not quite sure any child would be interested a "western setting" TV show. Science fiction and futuristic worlds is what the majority people love now because it's a boundless area for exploration.

Lightyear & his team
The story of this movie is about Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Tim Allen (from  the Toy Story franchise), which enters the screen like any other space ranger would; confronting evil. There's really no need to go into plot for this review because it is very simplistic and understandable. And although this video is made mainly for the kids, young to old adults should be able to enjoy this film as well without having to shake their heads all that much.

Along with Tim Allen is Nicole Sullivan (Mira Nova), Larry Miller (XR), Stephen Furst (Booster) and Wayne Knight as the Evil Emperor Zurg. All of these actors give commendable performances as their characters. My two favorite characters were XR and Emperor Zurg. Larry Miller gives XR a great sense of humor and a lot of sarcasm to the table. As for Zurg, Wayne Knight just knows how to make Zurg sound evil but only on the surface and not too dark. Even Zurg has some comedic moments that are fun to watch. "Nanna Zurg"? Cute Zurg, real cute.

Emperor Zurg about to get some information from the LGMs
The animation, although I would not say totally looks professional, it at least looks good on the TV screen. From what I saw, there were only a few real visible continuity issues but overall the film was fairly persistent on sticking to what it output. There were even a couple of Easter eggs, for example, a small time on screen the viewer may see a magic lamp...cough cough Aladdin (1992) or...a giant three pronged claw that latches onto a mystical orb that belongs to the little green men...cough cough Toy Story (1995). It's all in there, it just needs to be looked at with a keen eye.

Action sequences are well animated too. The colors mesh well with the surroundings that they belong to and what they represent. Adam Berry is the composer to this film and I must say that he did a great job creating a main theme for our beloved Pixar character. The tune is catchy and also entertaining. I am still disappointed that the studio didn't make a Woody spin-off. I still think that would've been cool. Oh well. This film led up to a great TV series so that's a plus.

Having a spin-off of one of Pixar's most memorable characters was an excellent decision on Disney's part. The whole video is a blast.

Points Earned --> 9:10

Wanted (2008) Review:

Today’s comic book movies are supposed to be gritty and dark. But there's a difference between that and this particular film. The film "Wanted" is about a young man, Wesley (James McAvoy), who is going through a mid-life crisis and can't figure out what his purpose is in life. That is until he runs into a woman named Fox (Angelina Jolie), who brings him into a secret society of assassins called "The Fraternity". Just to point out by the way, that “The Fraternity” is the LAMEST name of a group I have ever heard!! Why not just call it "The Group" to be even less specific?

James McAvoy.........doesn't he look stupid?
What I could not believe right off the bat was how low the vocabulary level was for this film. What were the scriptwriters doing...pretending they were teenagers again? Practically every sentence drops the F-bomb, how does this enhance the film any? Yes, sometimes the F-bomb is dropped but not every sentence. That’s just being crass. Every character in this film has no dignity whatsoever...not even the main character's boss!

Then we have the issue of characterization. James McAvoy’s acting is offensive and insulting to all actors in Hollywood. What appealed to him in the script? The fact that he got the chance to curse his mouth off? Yeah real professional. Oh and he also says "I'm sorry" way too often and makes a lot of distorted faces which makes me hate him that much more. Not to mention for the first half of the film, he's a crying sack of crap just like Shia LaBeouf from Transformers (2007). Either grow up or go home McAvoy.

Even Angelina Jolie's character was weird. Sure Jolie's always sexy but supposedly she based her character off of Clint Eastwood. So tell me where any of the scenes she played in resembled that. I didn't see one. Plus the laws of physics really don't seem to apply in this film. I can see maybe someone curving a bullet path, but jumping off a building onto another building 500 yards away AND MAKE IT WITH NO INJURIES? These are assassins, not superheroes. Mark Millar and J.G. Jones I think have too many screws loose in their deranged heads.

Not as cool as you'd think......
Oh, let's not forget the special effects! There's plenty slow motion if you're into that kind of stuff. That is unless you don't like seeing it every 5 minutes in every scene. Seriously folks, slow motion is good when it's time for the audience to focus on something and this kind of event rarely occurs. It doesn't occur that often here either, but for some reason the filming crew felt it was necessary for EVERY cotton-picking scene!

As for action goes, there's plenty of bloody gunshots. Not that that really made the viewing experience anymore exciting. It felt more numbing than it did entertaining. There was actually one point where two people were having a gunfight but it wasn't going anywhere because they were trained so well that their shots kept clashing. How dull. Why don't you shoot TWICE? Idiots. Even Danny Elfman's score provided little propulsion in this film. It wasn't engaging and it was thrilling. Thumbs down Elfman. And then to top it off with the greatest insult to all, at the end of the film, James McAvoy has the guts to ask the audience, "What the f*** have you done lately?". I tell you what Mr. McAvoy, I've wasted two hours of my time watching you play the most annoying character I have ever seen on screen!

I had WANTED this film to be cool but in the end, I WANTED to beat the hell out of my TV screen. Timur Bekmambetov's film is the perfect example of what film trash really is. It needs to be buried in the Earth's core.

Points Earned --> 1:10

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Frosty the Snowman (1969) Review:

As one of Jimmy Durante's last films, it’s good to see some cheeriness. How often does one see a famous musical or even regular actor appearing in cartoons nowadays? Most of the time would be in parodies to make fun of them or someone else. But not in this fashion. So for this reason it's fun to watch because a show like this would not air on live television anymore.

Durante's cartoon self
This 22-minute clip tells us the brief story of how Frosty came to life and the friends he made along the way. Of course, since this is a Christmas special, Santa Claus will appear, no doubt about that. It's even funnier when you see various other individuals who cannot believe a snowman is walking down the street. Some of their reactions are too hilarious,...especially the traffic cop.

The dialog is good and so is the animation for its time. It could have been worse. However, some scenes are a little too cheesy. I understand that it's a cartoon but for this particular one, you'd think some of the characters would be a little smarter. Oh well, can't have everything.
Frosty & his followers

This film is one of the TV specials that have withstood the test of time and are still going. If there's by any chance you can get your hands on it, take advantage of that chance.

Points Earned --> 9:10

Commando (1985) Review:

Arnold Schwarzenegger is known to make fun and exciting action films. The best example would be based off "The Terminator" movies, but what ever appealed to him here in this film I'll never know. Schwarzenegger is John Matrix, an ex-military man who is just trying to get away from his previous career and live with his daughter, Jenny (Alyssa Milano). However, Matrix's past creeps up on him and his daughter is kidnapped and from there he vows to find any possible way of getting her back.

Schwarzenegger finally getting heavy duty......
(this is by the end of the film though)
Boy is Schwarzenegger one crazy hell of a father and this is where the movie goes downhill. To start off, it doesn't even make sense that John Matrix wants to live a normal life because if he did, he wouldn't be holding onto a shed full of machine guns. Yeah, he really let go of his career. Everything that Schwarzenegger does when it comes to action in this film is more berserk than constructed sequences. And just like some poorly made video game, Matrix is running around killing thousands of enemy soldiers all simultaneously shooting at him and he’s never badly hit once.

Along his mad dash to find his kidnapped daughter, Matrix runs into an innocent bystander named Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong) whom he convinces about the situation that he was forced into. Unfortunately Chong really doesn't give a believable performance. Not to mention but her character did not even excel the picture. She was there more for laughs,...for example, she's always worried and asking a lot of questions. I'm sure if her character was left out of the script, John Matrix still could have rescued his daughter no problem.

Vernon Wells as Bennett....not really that sinister looking
The villain behind Jenny's kidnapping is Arius played by Dan Hedaya who also doesn't give a real compelling show. His tone of voice doesn't change once during the whole movie. Boring. Vernon Wells plays Bennett, an egotistical ex-militant who once fought along side Matrix but then had a change in heart. It's one thing to see the protagonist, who is usually smaller, fight the antagonist, who is usually bigger. An example like this would be Sylvester Stallone's Cobra (1986). But here you have Schwarzenegger (HUGE) and Vernon Wells (forget small, he's not even muscular) go head-to-head. Is there even a question to who will win?....No!

Let's not forget now about continuity, dialog and film music. The continuity in this film is horrendous. There are several scenes where it is blatantly obvious that in between different cuts, there are two of the same different objects. Could it be anymore obvious? And how about that dialog? Much of it was just unnecessary. All Schwarzenegger does is make statements that are already known or obviously true. He drops a man,...his description, "I let him go",....really? Like the audience doesn’t know that?

Lastly, the most shocking part is the score composed by James Horner. Yes, the composer to Glory (1989), The Rocketeer (1991), The Mask of Zorro (1998), Bicentennial Man (1999), etc., which are all moving scores creates this synth type of music with steel drums that never end. It is more painful than screeching violins because it creates no tone for the scenes and there are times where there is no music at all where the points of conflict a rise the most. Truly disappointing experience from Horner.

Nothing works in this Schwarzenegger vehicle. The actors do not fit their characters, the music is poor and the action is brain-dead.

Points Earned --> 3:10

DC Showcase: Jonah Hex (2010) Review:

Jonah Hex is one of the few DC characters that doesn't have special powers or lived during the same time as all the others. In a way he is premature version of Marvel's The Punisher because he lost his family. Coincidentally enough, Thomas Jane, who played Frank Castle in The Punisher (2004), voices Jonah Hex in this animated short.

Trachtenberg's character & Jonah Hex (Jane)
Jane gives Hex a nice scratchy voice that comes with his look, which is rather uncomfortable when stared at long enough. This makes Hex that much more intimidating, which is good. The setting wasn't bad looking either, the saloon and desert background were appropriate as were the bartender and bar girls that walked around in skimpy clothing while flirting with other men.

Linda Hamilton lends her voice to Madame Lorraine, the villain of this short. Even if Hamilton isn't looking swell for her age anymore, her voice is still very seductive. That also includes Michelle Trachtenberg who's all grown up now from Disney's Inspector Gadget (1999). And the music by The Track Team was good too. It had an acceptable western tone to it.

Linda Hamilton as the seductive Madame Lorraine
However, I won't give this short ten stars due to the lack of time. It either needs to be a full-length animated feature or live-action. Since the character of Jonah Hex has many stories to tell, this one could've been extended. It has to be an original work, something never put on screen before for me to consider it receiving ten stars. Besides this though, it was fun to watch.

As Thomas Jane switches from Marvel to DC, his characterization of Jonah Hex is well performed. Along with Trachtenberg and Hamilton, this short western will make you wish to see more.

Points Earned --> 8:10

The Snowman (1982) Review:

Out of all the Christmas specials that are placed onto the screen every year, I am amazed that this short film hasn't made into every family's home. As the first of several book adaptations, children's author, Raymond Briggs has created a touching story about a bond that a small boy creates with a very unlikely individual. That individual is "The Snowman". Even though there are only a few components to this film that make it worth the viewer’s time, they are all the equally effective. These components are the silent dialog, the music and the tone.

The Snowman & his creator
The fact that The Snowman does not have any dialog makes it that much more involving with its audience. Because there is no talking, the audience must only watch and hear the music to what's happening. Otherwise, no one will have any clue to what's happening. This is why that silence is so compelling. Although I did not mention it earlier, the animation is commendable to the up-most degree. The fact that the animation was kept EXACTLY the same as the wordless storybook shows that no change was wanted in the film adaptation. Thank you animation department!
Howard Blake
As for the music, the music creates the tone and both of these go hand in hand here. Howard Blake, the composer of the score, is a genius. His ability to set all the right tones and cues for each scene was magnificently constructed. This is particularly why this film was so impressive. Blake's score was innocent and moving. If you're a score collector, this is one piece you don't want to miss.

Raymond Brigg's children's storybook adaptation to the screen can melt the coldest of hearts. The whole 26 minutes worth will not be a waste.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tango & Cash (1989) Review:

Kurt Russell is known for making a lot of cult movies. Sylvester Stallone is known for making big macho muscle films. So when you hear the name Tango & Cash (1989), one should always think of it as a macho cult classic. And it is just that. I once read in a blurb about this movie from another critic,  "I'd pay cash to see this tango", and I feel that it summed this movie up very nicely (even if it was a cheap pun). Both Russell and Stallone are credited for their own special movies, but has anyone ever seen them on the same screen together besides this one? No. So take it for what it's worth.

The one and only film starring Kurt Russell
& Sylvester Stallone sharing
the same screen
Ray Tango (Stallone) and Gabe Cash (Russell) play as two of L.A.'s best cops who patrol both the east and west sides of the city. It's when they receive a lead to the same place (which is actually a set-up) that they confront themselves and are forced to work together. This pairing is a more pumped up version of the odd couple. Tango likes to do things simple and dresses up like he's a bank manager. Cash does whatever he can to get a job done and he really doesn't care what he wears. But either way, both cops are the best of their department.

Along with these two actors is Teri Hatcher who plays Katherine or Kiki Tango, Ray's sister. Kiki Tango is a dancer and plays a love interest for Cash, which ends up making some great scenes between him and Ray Tango later (when he finds out). Playing the main villain is Jack Palance as Yves Perret. Even Palance has a few comical scenes that make this film a joy ride. Perret's right hand man is Requin (Brion James). James stands out from the rest because of his well-performed accent that he gave his character. He's still vicious though and that's good.

A very young Teri Hatcher as an exotic dancer
The action in here is expected to be loud and over the top for a couple reasons. The first would be that it was made in the 80s. That's a given but it's still fun to watch. The second is that this movie doesn't take itself seriously which is also a good thing. The comedy is also well acted too. Never have I ever seen such good, quick, banter between two different actors before. Stallone and Russell share a lot of great lines together. And even when they're alone, the energy is never dropped and I liked that a lot.

And finally the music behind all this was constructed by composer Harold Faltermeyer. Faltermeyer is a good key player too because his soundtrack does create suspense, meshes in with the action sequences nicely and sounds rather goofy too when it needs to be. I don't really understand how a Stallone or Russell fan couldn't like this movie. As buddy cop films go, this is a rare gem in the whole bundle. And guess what? Thanks to Stallone and Russell, this movie has become a "macho cult classic"!

To think that Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell wouldn't make an excellent tag team is a gigantic understatement. The dialog is crazy and the action is big dumb entertaining fun.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) Review:

After watching the first terminator film, it was no surprise that director James Cameron came back for another shot. But what did surprise me was how well this sequel was made. And it didn't take a few sequels in between to make it this good either. It was directly after the first.

Linda Hamilton's much
more macho character
Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as the Terminator (T-800) but this time he's on the good side. The whole idea of having the terminator switch roles was an interesting take. Because the terminator is on the good side now, there is so much room for character development and writer James Cameron and William Wisher Jr. made sure this occurred throughout the movie. To actually see a machine learn to be more human is always life changing and Schwarzenegger does it perfectly.

Robert Patrick as the unforgiving
Linda Hamilton's character, Sarah Connor has changed a lot too. We saw a glimpse of what her character had become. Here we see her doing much more: cursing up a storm, stabbing people and firing shotguns. Nothing like the Sarah from The Terminator (1984). Edward Furlong plays John Connor, Sarah's son who are on the run from a new terminator, the T-1000. Robert Patrick plays this terminator and he's got a knack for it too. Patrick's eyes and face make a very menacing looking callous killing machine.

The action sequences are also well staged, from scale models to live-action. All of it is believable and commendable. The special effects are the most amazing though, especially for 1991. This is beginning of CGI. The music by Brad Fiedel is also great too. It still sounds like the first and that's very much appreciated. Cameron has done it again.

T2 is more involving and retains every element from the first film. It's a sequel that is just as good as its predecessor.

Points Earned --> 10:10