Archive for movie reviews

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

The comedy team of Abbott and Costello starred in a series of films in which they meet up with characters from Universal Studios. The first was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948. I reviewed it for AWESOME-tober-fest back in 2009.  That movie was a giant hit for Universal.

At the time, Universal was planning another straight forward sequel in the Invisible Man series (the last being The Invisible Man’s Revenge in 1948).  However, due to the success of the comedy movie, they had their script rewritten to be another But and Lou comedy.  This movie was Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man and it was released in 1951.

abbott_and_costello_meet_the_invisible_man_xlg

Unlike Meets Frankenstein, none of the original Invisible Man actors returned for this movie. Several different actors portrayed the Invisible Man in the Universal movies, but they didn’t get any of them to return. Especially not Claude Rains, the originator of the role as he’d become a huge Hollywood star by this point having starred in Casablanca, Mr Smith Goes to Washington and Notorious.

This time the titular invisible man is a new character that benefits from the serum created in the original 1933 classic.  And yes, there are some dropped lines here and there to connect this directly to that original movie.  The invisibility serum is said to have been invented by Dr John Griffin.  We even see a picture on the wall of Claude Rains, who portrayed Griffin in the original movie.  So they at least tried to keep some continuity.

ABBOTT_AND_COSTELLO_MEET_THE_INVISIBLE_MAN_22x28_style_B

So, what did I think? It’s not bad. I had lowered expectations after my viewings of Meets Frankenstein, so that probably helped.  Surprisingly the invisible effects aren’t bad, but they are much more gimmicky than the 1933 original.  They work, but you can pretty much tell how they work.  Part of this may be because many of the effects are recycled from previous invisible man movies.  Even going as far as re-using footage and reversing it.

It’s a shame, because I’m a fan of Bud and Lou in their skits and TV shows. I still regularly rewatch skits like Who’s on First? on YouTube because they are GREAT. As a matter of fact, I just stopped writing this article to go watch it again. SO. GOOD.  But I’m just not digging the movies I’ve seen of theirs.  It’s sort of the same issue I have with The Three Stooges.  I love the shorts, but I just can’t get into their movies.


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Advertisements

The Movie Board: Worst movies of 2009

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , , , , on January 13, 2010 by Paxton

Movie Board

Okay, on Tuesday, you saw my favorite movies of 2009. These were all the movies I really enjoyed and will probably watch multiple times. Now, it’s time to look at what I think were the worst movies of 2009.

What makes a bad movie for me, for the most part, is disappointment because of expectations. I expect to really enjoy the movie because of a funny trailer or an interesting story and the movie doesn’t live up to those expectations. Those are the movies that go on this list. There are movies like Crank or Fast & Furious that you would expect to be on here, but let’s be honest, those movies are supposed to be bad. They are awful for a reason. Plus they are fun-awful, not awful-awful.

Before we get started, take a look back at previous years’ lists with my worst movies of 2007 and my worst movies of 2008 articles.

So here are the movies I was most disappointed with this year. Honestly, I could only come up with four. I really had a hard time putting together this list. There were a lot of good movies this year.  Here are the movies I really didn’t like.

Men Who Stare At Goats
Men Who Stare At Goats – This was a very disappointing movie for me. The trailer was awesome, however they pretty much showed every single punchline for every single funny scene in the trailer. EVERY SINGLE ONE. The rest of the movie was an awkwardly quirky ride that was neither funny nor interesting.  So by the time I saw the movie, every funny event was spoiled and that made me not care about the rest of the movie.  So many good actors, so much wasted potential.  And, to whomever cut the trailer, thank you for ruining this movie for me, d-bag.

Gamer
Gamer – This movie had so much promise.  Gerard Butler as a prisoner fighting in some type of corporate war games run by Michael C Hall? Oh, and Gerard Butler is being controlled remotely by a video game user played by the kid who’s going to be the lead in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie? Yes, please. However this movie BLEW. It was weird, there wasn’t enough action or humor and the mechanics of the video war games Gerard Butler’s character participates in came and went depending on what was needed in the story. Michael C Hall was good but his character was off the charts weird. This was just a bad movie based on a very solid premise.

Continue reading

Movie Flashback: Tim Burton’s Batman celebrates its 20 year anniversary today

Posted in Batman, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by Paxton

Batman poster

20 Years ago today, June 23, 1989, Tim Burton’s first Batman film with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson was released in theaters.

The release of this movie in 1989 was an event not seen probably since the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983. The merchandising and hype leading up to this movie was at near-Star Wars levels. There were daily news stories, TV specials, t-shirts, hats, posters, toys, product tie-ins etc.  The bat signal was seen everywhere.  People were talking about missing work to see it opening day.

Batman movie newspaper ad

I totally bought into the Batman hype that summer; hook, line and sinker.  I was so excited I bought the movie novelization and read it before I saw the movie.  I still have that novel as well as every other Batman movie novelization after it.

Batman Novelization

A Batman movie had been in development in some form or another since the late ’70s.  Superman co-writer Tom Mankiewicz wrote a first draft of what would become the modern Batman movie in 1980.  After the success of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in 1985, Warner Bros asked Tim Burton to take over the Batman movie development.  Burton threw out Mankiewicz’s draft, wrote his own 30 page treatment and hired Sam Hamm to write the script.  However, due to a writer’s strike in the late ’80s, development dragged on and Sam Hamm had to leave the project.  Warren Skaaren was hired to finish the script.  The final script was green-lit in 1988 after the success of Beetlejuice at the box office.

Batman title card 1Batman card 2

Batman card 3Batman card 2

The Batman movie development went through many iterations before finally landing on the final script and cast; Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Bassinger. Here’s some behind the scene trivia for the movie:

Continue reading

Bait and Switch: Horrible movies that had great trailers

Posted in humor, internet, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , on May 27, 2009 by Paxton

preview_screenIt’s happened to all of us. You are sitting in the theater, watching the coming attractions, waiting for your movie to start, and a trailer comes on that blows you through the back of the theater. You think, “That looks AWESOME!” and mentally make a note to check it out later. When the day comes that you can finally check out the movie you’ve been building up in your mind for months, you are disappointed. Maybe more so, maybe you are pissed. Perhaps even outright hostile towards the movie which did nothing to you except suck the will to live out of you.  It’s called the “bait and switch”.  Offer you one thing to get you in the theater, then give you something completely different.

Cutting together a trailer has almost become an art form in today’s Hollywood.  How many times have you watched a trailer and one funny line kills you, then you go see the movie and that was the only funny thing in the entire flaming pile of “poo doo”?  Too often.  Movie trailers should be considered a social contract.  If you promise to deliver an ass-melting action movie, then you better damn well deliver or I get to go to the director’s (or actors’, or producers’) home  and suplex them through their glass topped living room table.  It’s only fair.

Let’s take a look at a list of movies that had really awesome trailers, only to not deliver on said promise of awesome.

Snakes on a Plane
Snakes on a Plane (2006) – When the trailer for this movie started making the rounds on the internet in 2005-2006, it blew up big. Everyone was talking about it. People thought this movie was going to open HUGE. It didn’t. Turns out the movie kinda blew. The best part of the movie was Samuel Jackson and his one line about muthaf’n snakes which, by the way, was not originally in the film and added during post-production.  The expectations were too high for a Grade B horror movie that works better late at night, on HBO with like 5 drunk friends.  Surprisingly, it’s not as entertaining when you’ve just paid $10 for admission, $20 for concessions and aren’t completely bombed.

Continue reading

Movie Flashback: Star Wars Episode I 10 year anniversary

Posted in movies, pop culture, reviews, Star Wars with tags , , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by Paxton

Star Wars Episode I

Ten years ago today (May 19)  Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace opened in theaters. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years. I still remember taking that week off work and going with my friend, Jason, to see multiple showings the day of release. Those multiple day screenings were seen at the now defunct Carmike Galleria 10 Cinemas.

Carmike Galleria 10

When talking to Jason about this recently, he reminded me that we also saw a midnight screening the night before the day of release at the Summit Carmike Cinemas.  Which we wound up doing again for Episode II.

I was going through some old magazines I have in my collection looking for Episode I stuff and found two issues that have cover stories on Star Wars Episode I.  Both magazines cover rumors about plot lines and actors that have been possibly cast in the movie.  Since the magazines are over 12 years old the information they have is sketchy and mostly rumor, but it’s fun to look at what the magazines thought the new Star Wars movie(s) would be about. Especially at this point in time when we’ve seen the whole prequel trilogy.

So, let’s look at these two magazines from the early ’90s that had cover stories on the movie we now know as Episode I:  The Phantom Menace.  We’ll also see a few tidbits of info these magazines speculated on that, in hindsight, are wildly false rumors.

Continue reading

Quick history of Watchmen and a review of the movie

Posted in comic books, movies, pop culture, reviews, Watchmen with tags , , , on March 12, 2009 by Paxton

Watchmen poster

Okay, I convinced Steph to come with me to see Watchmen last night. Wednesday nights are sometimes our impromptu movie nights because the theaters tend to be devoid of annoying teenagers talking on their cell phones and to each other.  We saw Iron Man this way and it can be a pleasant experience.

I’ve had several people ask me what I thought of this movie so I thought I’d do a semi-movie review.  I’m also going to talk a bit about the graphic novel because I’m guessing the majority of you may not know the history behind it.  It’s interesting how big a release this movie became considering the average movie going patron may not really know who or what Watchmen is or where it came from.  So before I talk about the movie, let’s just do a quick recap about where the story of Watchmen came from and what it’s about.  If you just want the movie review, you impatient sonova-bee sting, then skip down to that section.

Watchmen was a twelve issue comic book limited series released in 1986 and 1987 by DC Comics.  It was written by legendary writer Alan Moore who also wrote other famous limited edition comics League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta and From Hell.  Moore is notorious for being extremely anti-establishment and has preemptively dis-owned the movie versions of all of his comic novels.  Alan Moore’s idea was to take a hard look at superheroes and portray them as normal, flawed human beings.  Moore based the story in our reality, albeit a slightly altered one in which superheroes existed.  In keeping with our reality, even though the characters are called superheroes, only one character displays obvious supernatural powers.  The appearance of these heroes has altered the outcome of certain historical events including the Vietnam War, which we win with help from the heroes and Richard Nixon’s presidency which is extended because of the win in Vietnam.  Moore would use this setting to deconstruct the idea of superheroes as benevolent crime-fighters and show that they, too, are susceptible to the human traits of selfishness, greed and murder.

Watchmen graphic novel

Continue reading

The Movie Board: Worst Movies of 2007

Posted in Academy Awards, humor, Movie Board, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , on January 15, 2008 by Paxton

Movie Board

Allright, last week I gave you my 5 favorite movies of 2007. Now it’s time to unleash upon your delicate sensibilities the 5 worst movies I saw in 2007. Be warned, these movies are bad. Some of them may be bad enough that I’ll recommend watching them, but only for the bold. Do you have the stones to sit through 2 hours of crap? We’ll see.

Here they are in no particular order:

Kickin it Old Skool
Kicking it Old Skool– You’ll find that most movies on this list are here because they had a ton of potential, but completely squandered it. This movie has a funny premise; Jamie Kennedy is an elementary school break dancing king in the early ’80s. During a particularly dangerous move, he falls and is put in a coma for 20 years. When he wakes up he has to adjust to the fact that all his friends have grown up and break dancing is no longer cool. Classic fish-out-of-water premise using the ’80s and break dancing. I love it. Except the movie is terrible. Almost unwatchable. The best part of the movie is about 5-10 min in. Jamie Kennedy’s doctor is played by Alan Ruck (Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Ruck’s character in this movie is named Doctor Frye and he even mentions paying off his father’s Ferrari. Steph and I about died. Great stunt cameo, this movie is gonna rock, right? Wrong. DEAD wrong. STAY AWAY.

Shoot 'em Up
Shoot ’em Up– This looked so good in the trailer. Clive Owen is a mysterious “nanny” that gets caught up helping a woman and a baby escape hired killers. It looked like a cross between Pulp Fiction and Lucky Number Slevin; lots of action and funny dialogue. Well, this movie is weird. Monica Belucci plays a prostitute who lets grown men breast feed from her. Paul Giamatti plays a hitman with an overbearing wife. The dialogue is ridiculous. I had serious issues staying “in the movie” if you get what I’m saying. Just weird, with a few good action scenes. This is here mostly because it should have been much, MUCH better.

Knocked Up
Knocked Up– Oh Seth Rogan, you magnificent bastard. What happened here? The cast for this movie is pretty much part and parcel from the very funny TV show Underclassmen (if you remember the 1 season it ran back in the early ’90s). Seth Rogan is on a roll lately and the premise seemed amusing. However, Seth and his friends in this movie are lame. Seth’s character is even somewhat of an A-hole. Katherine Heigl’s character is a little witchy (with a ‘b’). I could not laugh at this movie because the whole thing is so tragically sad. Paul Rudd saved the 5 minutes of the movie he appeared in. Other than that, I say go see Superbad instead. I really wanted to like this one, too.

Continue reading