Archive for Movie Manathon

Movie Man-a-thon: Dracula, secret agents and a time traveling Ethan Hawke

Posted in Dracula, Genres, horror, monsters, time travel with tags , , , , , , on March 19, 2015 by Paxton

Steph took the kids to her parents for the week so I was left to my own bachelor devices. So, as usual, I programmed a viewing schedule of movies and TV shows that Steph would not ever want to watch. I’ve done this before, time to do it again.

Dracula Untold (2014) – The Universal monster rally movies can now begin!  I didn’t hear a lot about this movie beforehand but I look forward to any movie utilizing the classic monsters, especially Universal who says they want to plan a “monsterverse” set of movies.  This actually wasn’t that bad and a pretty good re-interpretation of the legend of Vlad the Impaler.  It makes him a more sympathetic character and places the inhuman bloodthirsty killer on another character from which Vlad will get his vampiric status.  The cast is great and the effects are pretty awesome.  Recommend.  However, to be honest, I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get a glimpse or hint of another monster in a post credit sequence.  But that’s a relatively small gripe.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) – Until very recently I had no idea this was based on a Mark Millar comic.  Honestly, I think Millar had the screenplay written, no one bought it, and so he made it into a comic.  Then when the comic did pretty well, he was able to sell it to Matthew Vaughn.  And this is a pretty spectacular movie.  I love Colin Firth and he’s brilliant in this.  On one hand he plays directly into your expectations of him while simultaneously doing something completely different that you would never expect him to be doing.  Michael Caine is also great.  The new kid is pretty good.  My only gripe would be Sam Jackson as the villain.  We’re to the point now where Sam Jackson will immediately take me out of a movie.  He’s no longer Sam Jackson the actor, he’s Sam Jackson the character.  He transcends whatever he’s trying to do.  And I appreciate he’s trying to do something a little different with the lisp, but I never saw anything other than SAM JACKSON playing the villain.  That being said, he’s remarkably entertaining to watch in this movie.  I highly recommend it.  I hope there are more Kingsman movies to come.

Predestination (2015) – On the surface, it looks to take the same basic idea of agents policing the time stream as Time Cop. But quickly you find out it’s a completely different movie.  It’s a more intimate story involving one time agent on one mission that seems to have some huge importance to history, but also some very personal importance as well.  It’s not really what I wanted out of the movie but I’m not going to lie, the way the story wraps up has a few surprising reveals that I didn’t see coming.  I saw one of them coming pretty early, but not the other.  It’s mostly well acted and interesting, but definitely quirky and a bit weird.  The story focuses more on Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook’s characters and their interactions with each other more than the actual time travel or the agency that is policing the time stream and how it works.  But it’s still a good movie.  I’d give it a soft recommend.

Game of Thrones: Season 2 – My wife and I started watching Season 2 a few weeks ago but she bowed out after two episodes.  By contrast, I was hooked after the same two episodes.  I went ahead and finished the season while Steph was away.  THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD.  Great characters, great drama.  Everything in this world is so f**king filthy.  Dirt and mud is EVERYWHERE.  And I feel sorry for the actor who plays Joffrey.  He plays the most despicable person in a TV show EVER.  I want to punch him in the face.  With a crowbar.  SO GOOD.  But far and above everyone else is Peter Dinklage kicking so much f**king ass as Tyrion Lannister.  He gets better every episode.  I’m two seasons behind right now so I’m trying to stay as spoiler free as possible, but I’m already aware that there is this thing called a “Red Wedding” and it happens at the end of season 3.  But that’s all I know.  SO SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY.


Movie Man-a-thon 2015: Magicians, gunfighters and devils galore

Posted in movies, TV shows with tags , on February 19, 2015 by Paxton

As happens every blue moon, the wife went away for the weekend a few weeks ago and left me watching the kids.  So, when the kids were put to bed, I had a chance to engage in one of my patented movie man-a-thons.  I picked a bunch of movies Steph would never want to watch and I gave them a spin.

Let’s see how I made out.  This list is in the order that I watched the movies.

Houdini (2014) – The Lionsgate/History Channel 2-night mini-series all about the life and career of Harry Houdini, one of the greatest magicians of all time.  I love magician movies and I love the lore that’s built up around Harry Houdini.  This is a pretty solid mini-series retelling the life of Houdini.  Brody does a great job inhabiting the character and it covers Houdini’s life, while not exhaustedly, but, entertainingly.  Worth a watch.  We even get a quick scene with Rasputin when Houdini performs for the Russian royal family.  I didn’t know he had met Houdini.    Rasputin is another historical figure besides Houdini, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt, that I have a sort of mini-obsession with.

The Watcher (2000) – This was a re-watch for me. I originally watched it when it was first released on DVD back in 2000-2001.  I’ve always loved James Spader and I’ve been loving Keanu Reeves lately in stuff like John Wick and Man of Tai Chi.  So, I thought I’d revisit this serial killer movie that features Spader as a burn out police detective being sent clues of murders by a serial killer played by Reeves.  Honestly, it doesn’t live up to what I think this movie could have been in my head.  If this were re-made now with Spader and Reeves as they are today, I think it could be incredible.  I don’t necessarily remember it being better when I saw it originally back in the early 2000s, but I was still disappointed.

Pale Rider (1985) – I love Clint Eastwood and especially his westerns.  Surprisingly, I’d never seen Pale Rider before.  So, I caught it on AMCHD with my DVR and decided to give it a shot for my man-a-thon.  And it’s AWESOME.  This is a much better version of High Plains Drifter (and don’t get me wrong, I like HPD).  Eastwood is excellent as usual and so are the plethora of bad guys in this one.  Just a really good gritty western with a hint of possible supernatural goings on.  And the daughter, Megan, as played by Sydney Penny, was embarrassingly attractive.  I say embarrassingly because she was 14 at the time the movie filmed.  But she’s STILL smoking hot today.

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Movie Manathon: Kaiju, Wing Chun and Tai Chi

Posted in Genres, martial arts, movies with tags , , on August 9, 2013 by Paxton

The wife took the kids to visit her parents this past week, so I took the opportunity to watch a few things that she had no desire to watch.  AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.

Let’s take a look at what I watched.

Pacific Rim (2013) – I was able to get out to see one movie in the theater this week.  I chose Pacific Rim.  And I was not disappointed.  This robots vs monsters actioneer was amazing in its scale.  Huge, epic battles with huge, epic monsters.  And the SFX for the giant robots are AMAZING.  These things look so awesome.  The actual story is a little thin, but that matters little because HOLY SH*T GIANT ROBOTS ARE BATTLING GIANT MONSTERS!!!!

The Legend Is Born: Ip Man (2010) – This is the third movie in the Ip Man series with Donnie Yen.  Back in 2011 I watched the first two Ip Man movies.  The first one remains one of my favorite martial arts movies of all time.  The second is good, but not as good as the original.  Even with the addition of Sammo Hung.  This third movie is Donnie Yen-free, unfortunately, as it’s a prequel to the first two movies.  It features Ip Man as he’s growing up and first learning Wing Chun Kung Fu. This movie, as martial arts movies love to do, contains several actors in the previous movies but not in their original roles.  Sammo Hung, for instance, returns in essentially a cameo, but playing a completely different character.  As does Siu-Wong Fan, who originally played Jin in the first two movies.  The movie certainly feels like a part of the franchise started by Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip.  It helped that the fight director and choreographers were mostly the same across the board.  I really enjoyed it. Yu-Hang To, who plays a younger Ip Man, really does feel like a younger Donnie Yen. Lots of good stuff in this movie.  If you liked the first two, give it a shot.  Just go in knowing it’s not as good as that first, classic Ip Man movie.

Tai Chi Zero (2012) – I had several people recommend this movie to  me.  I really knew nothing about it going in so I’m not sure what my expectations were.  This was definitely different than I was thinking (whatever that was).  It’s quirky and weird, but in a fun way.  The action scenes are off the charts cool, but that doesn’t surprise me as Sammo Hung was involved (he also did the Ip Man movies above).  The story is a bit wacky, but endearingly so.  I enjoyed it.  I look forward to seeing the sequel, Tai Chi Hero, someday.

Hell On Wheels – The Complete First Season – I’m a pretty big fan of westerns. I read Wild West fiction and watch western movies and I love Deadwood (I’m in the middle of Season 1).  So I’ve been curious to check this AMC show out for quite some time.  I finally watched the Pilot and was mostly disappointed.  The main character, Cullen, as played by Anson Mount is an uninteresting imitation of Clint Eastwood’s Josey Wales.  You also have the obligatory creepy looking preacher and rotted teeth prostitute and a-hole railroad tycoon.  And actually, the saving grace of the show is the a-hole railroad tycoon as played by Colm Meany.  He chews up scenery like a Quick and the Dead-era Gene Hackman.  He’s truly awesome in this.  Everyone else is bland and boring.  I’m not even sure where the story is going.  There seems to be no coherent overarching story.  At least in the first episode.  And Mount’s Cullen character is, I think, supposed to be a bad ass but he does nothing to show that to us.  I just can’t help to compare this to the first episode of Deadwood (which can’t help matters).  What Deadwood did in 1 hour hooked me in to watching more and more.  I literally was ready to turn off this show about 40 minutes in.  I just didn’t care.  Except when Colm Meany was tearing up the goddam scenery.  Maybe I should watch a few more episodes, but I know that I’m not.

Continuum: Season One – I’ve been interested in this Syfy series for a bit, but Christian from the Atomic Geeks has talked favorably about it on a few of their shows so I decided to give it a chance.  And it’s pretty good.  I’m surprised.  Cool premise and I like Rachel Nichols and Erik Knudsen.  Cool sci-fi cop show involving time travel.  It’s not perfect, there are a few characters I don’t like, but the stories are interesting and I want to see where it leads.  So I plan on continuing to watch.

I also watched one more movie, but I’m not putting it here because I’ll be talking about that on episode 10 of the Cult Film Club Podcast.

Movie Manathon: Freddy Krueger, Crystal Meth and high tech space prisons

Posted in movies, reviews with tags , , , , on August 20, 2012 by Paxton

Steph went to visit her parents last week, so I took the time to watch several movies and TV shows she wants nothing to do with.  I’ve done this several times before, check out some previous movie manathons here.

The wife’s away, so Pax will play. Let’s start with the movies I watched.

Lockout (2012) – Starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter Stormare.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed this.  Good action, quick dialogue.  Pearce is wonderfully sarcastic.  Loved it.  My only issue is that Maggie Grace is terrible.  I just do not like her and she continues proving to me that she can’t act with every movie she’s in.

Chronicle (2012) – I think of this as “that super hero Facebook movie” because it was advertised so heavily on “the book”.  I was well aware of it but I hadn’t really heard a lot about it specificially.  But the premise sounded great and I knew my wife would never watch it so I got the Blu-Ray from Netflix and popped it in the PS3.  And it’s AWESOME.  Wow, I didn’t expect it to be this good.  This is how I imagine it would actually happen if teens received super powers.  And the movie gets pretty dark at the end.  I also like that it’s essentially a “found footage” movie which adds a bit of realism.  If you like super hero movies, this is definitely a different take on them.  Give it a shot, I think you’ll like it.

Nightmare on Elm St
Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) – Starring Jackie Earl Haley as Freddy.  For some reason I keep thinking of this movie receiving a lot of hate from fans.  I’m not sure why.  Is the movie perfect? No.  But neither is 9/10 of the entire Nightmare franchise.  This movie is good and I like Haley’s performance.  I like how they fleshed out Freddy a little more and made him less jokey with only 1 one-liner.  The effects were spectacular as well.  The movie looked gorgeous.

Paranormal Activity 2
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) – Saw the first one and loved it, so I decided to check out the second one since Steph doesn’t like horror movies.  And it’s good.  These “found footage” movies I really love.  I do.  They are actually pretty scary.  I think they are scarier than something like Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th because they feel more “real”.  Screw that torture porn crap like Saw and Hostel, these movies like Paranormal Activity, Blair Witch and Fourth Kind really creep me out (Blair Witch not so much any more).  I started watching it one evening and actually had to turn it off to watch it the next afternoon.  It’s pretty creepy.  The “found footage” genre gets a lot of crap for some reason probably because it’s more of a creepy factor than out and out gore and kills.  It’s a slow, suspenseful burn.  I’ve even heard The Atomic Geeks say the genre is played out which is retarded because there are way more superhero, time travel or fantasy movies than there are “found footage” movies and none of those other genres are considered played out.  I thought this movie was well done.

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Movie Man-a-thon: Piranha, sharks and martial arts masters

Posted in monsters, movies, reviews with tags , , , on May 2, 2011 by Paxton

Steph was away last week. So I did what I always do when left to my own devices…take the opportunity to catch up on awesomely bad movies that Steph would never watch.  Check out a previous man-a-thon article here.

So, here’s what I watched this past week.  I made good use of Netflix Streaming as well as some freebie Redbox codes.

Piranha 3D
Piranha (2010) – I talked about this movie in my very first On the Shelves over on Strange Kid’s Club.  I finally got to watch it.  And it’s good.  Surprisingly so.  I’m not a huge fan of the McQueen kid in the lead, but Elizabeth Shue (she’s still hot) is great as is Jerry O’Connell who is chewing up scenery like crazy.  I love they got Dreyfuss in a cameo reprising his role from Jaws.  Just a fun little horror flick.  Lots and lots of mayhem and gore.  I look forward to the sequel.  I’m a little pissed they gave away the final scare in the trailer, though.

Ip Man
Ip Man (2008) – I’ve been wanting to see this for years.  It hit Netflix streaming last year and I finally got a chance to watch it this week.  And it is AWESOME.  This movie contains a f**king avalanche of awesome ass kickings.  Donnie Yen is a BAD.  ASS.  I’m now going to have to revisit some of Yen’s previous movies like Iron Monkey, Once Upon a Time in China 2, Blade II (which he was only in for like 10 seconds), etc.  Yen has Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen coming up and there was a trailer for it on the DVD.  It looks AWESOME.

Ip Man 2
Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster (2010) – So after bathing in the awesomeness that is Ip Man, I rushed right out to Redbox and got Ip Man 2. However, it was a tad hard to find. I stopped by like 3 different Redboxes before I could find one that had it.  But it was worth it.  While not as good as the first one, this one is still pretty bad ass.  Yen is back and this time he brings Sammo muthaf**king Hung with him.  They both have a great fight scene at one point.  This movie has less of a story than the first, it’s mostly fight setup-fight-fight setup-fight.  Plus, there are only like 2 American characters in this movie and, of course, they are both insufferable douchebags.  But it’s a lot of fun and a worthy followup to the original.

Jaws 4
Jaws The Revenge (1987) – I had never seen this movie all the way through.  I was listening to Now Playing’s Jaws retrospective podcast and it got me wanting to watch this movie from beginning to end.  So I did.  And it’s terrible.  The acting, the story, the special effects.  Pretty much across the board this movie is awful.  Mario Van Peebles is in it and he speaks with a Jamaican accent.  It’s that bad.  And yes, it’s true, the shark has a vendetta against the Brody family so it follows them from Amity Island all the way down to the Bahamas.  But it’s not made clear what the vendetta is. Is he pissed about the other sharks the Brodys killed?  How’d he find out?  What about everyone else that has ever killed a shark…EVER?  They just get a pass?  It’s just really, really dumb.

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