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Rating History

Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots (2011)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Puss In Boots (2D) - PURRty Good Actually

Back again, lads and lasses. Again - full disclosure: I'm a cat person so this movie was either gonna be hated or loved. Second, I've only gotten as far as the 2nd Shrek and I actually had plenty of Puss in that one flick. So I (reluctantly) went to the film - as a favor to a friend who didn't want to see it alone.

Thus nearly getting dragged to see this flick (and plopping down my own cash to watch the movie) I was actually quite entertained. I'm sure there are those who can say explain it better but this is a prequel to his Shrek appearances - an 'origin' film, if you will.

For those not familiar with the Shrek Universe, its inhabited by all those fairy tale characters who have real-world personas. Animals mix it up with humans so there's no real logic as to which animals talk and why (nor should there be - they ARE fairy tales after all). The primary characters are Puss (Antonio Banderas), Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), and Humpty Dumpty (Zack Galifianakis). Kitty is basically Catwoman in this tale (complete with 50's style Batman mask) and Humpty is Puss' VERY wayward 'yolk brother'. Humpty has a rather complex plan for all three to get rich - if only he can convince Puss that he's still a good egg (sorry).

Anyway, the usual quest story structure is used efficiently. There's the twists in both plot and colorful action to keep even adults entertained and children glued to the screen. There are also the bagful of cat jokes (which was inevitable in this movie); but not so much that they became a nuisance.

There is a rather long flashback sequence that slows the plot down somewhat (even Kitty goes "Here we go....") but it ends mercifully before you begin to think about looking at your watch.

The voice acting was quite good. Zack does an admirable job bringing some depth to Humpty Dumpty - though the script helps - and Humpty actually has the deepest characterization. Antonio and Salma seem to unpack their 'Desperado' personas and it works out great. Just listening to the voices you could probably mistake this for 'Desperado III'. The fact that Banderas and Hayek recorded together definitely allowed them to bring a level of spontaneity and naturalness that you can hear in the film.

I didn't watch this in 3-D but its obvious that there are 3-D effects often however even in standard 2D this movie was fun to watch.

FUN RATING: 9 - definitely a watchable movie. Despite some slow spots (like the flashback which seems to run only to pad the film); it tends to keep your interest and make you wonder exactly what's going to happen. While the ending has a slight 'downer' quality to it, overall it makes you feel rather satisfied in the end.

INTEREST RATING: 8 - definitely for Shrek lovers and animation lovers. Oh yeah and for cat lovers too. A family-friendly movie though some parts may be a bit much for some of the younger ones and leave them scratching their heads. Good for a look first-run and probably even a DVD purchase - which I most likely will do.

TOTAL RATING: 8 - a nice movie to spend a day with some friends with. Even if you're not really interested in going. :)

Philosophy of a Knife
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"Philosophy Of a Knife" - One Long, Dull Blade

Well its been a long while since I've written a review and, jeez what a way to come back....

Full disclosure: I didn't finish this film. Only once have I not finished a film (oddly, "Batman and Robin"). Mostly cause its 4 hours long and boring as hell.

First of all this movie is about Unit 731, where the Japanese Empire conducted atrocious experiments on over 10,000 people. Everything from microbiological experiments to outright vivisection. There is no denying that these crimes against humanity (and reason) are worthy of thoughtful examination and debate.

This movie doesn't even get into the parking lot of the ballpark.

Anyhoo, this movie is what I call a WDP ("Written/Directed/Produced). That makes it the Holy Trinity of Vanity Projects and - it certainly achieves that goal. Andrey Iskanov manages to produce 4 hours of utter garbage.

The movie has an excessive lengths of shots of snow falling on a building (allegedly the Unit 731 in question). LOTS of them. There are also scenes of an interview with someone who worked there (allegedly, again). And off-camera narration of a Japanese nurse. I have no idea if these are genuine or not - I didn't make it to the credits to find out.

In Iskanov's version however, the Unit is apparently made up of 6 or 7 medical staff, a couple of soldiers, and 6 prisoners. It makes no attempt to establish the scope of the atrocities. Nor is there any attempt to establish any characterization on either the staff or - worse, yet - the prisoners. There is no dialogue in the movie other than the interview, the Japanese nurse narration, and the chief narrator.

As for the 'gore' there was plenty but to say it was over the top would be an understatement. Even during the so-called "teeth removing scene" there is enough 'blood' to have had the victim pass out. The other scenes go for maximum gore and guts which is almost 'high school' level at times.

The one scene that stands out is a masked person apparently chopping up fake bodies while a Japanese woman plays a mouth harp in full medical regalia - that should give you an idea of the level of silliness I had to endure.

And before I forget, the prisoners are all young Russian women and men. Which is all well and good except that 95% of all the prisoners actually used were Chinese and Korean - D'OH! And as for the soundtrack? Trent Reznor called, he'd like his sound back.

Ok lets clean this mess up:

FUN RATING: ZERO. LOL - you're sh*tting me, right?? This was a waste of time and raw materials. I wouldn't recommend this as a coaster since someone is bound to attempt to play it.

INTEREST RATING: ONE (10). Yeah, believe it or not I can't even give this a ZERO in that department. SOLELY because the atrocities of 731 are all too real and while this movie doesn't even come close to describing the scope - it at least introduces a topic not many people are aware (or want to be aware of).


Damn, I need a drink after this waste of time.

The Alpha Incident (Gift from a Red Planet)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Well, having not learned my lesson from "Cathy's Curse"; I decide to push forward with another film.

"The Alpha Incident", produced and directed by Bill Rebane.

Bill Rebane ... that rings a bell. But how. Let's check the ol' IMDB for directors.

"Monster A Go-Go (1965)"


Aw, hell.:(

Well, there's a mysterious microbe that came in on a space probe from Mars. Some guys are obviously concerned about it being infectious and dangerous. So they decided to ship it to a safe place:

...near Denver, Colorado ... train.

Gee, what could [i]possibly[/i] go wrong?:rolleyes:
Then again, this is from the guy that made "Monster a Go-go".

On the train, we get a guy who apparently is 'guarding' the booty. However, he falls asleep and then this guy (hobo? railworker?) steals the guys keys 'cuz he just HAS to know what he's guarding. He goes to the lockbox and opens the case containing the virus. The car jolts, the vial breaks and [i]viola[/i] - we have a movie.

Inevitably, the guard dude finds out the vial was broken when the train stops at Moosepoint (a podunk railway station). He calls his superiors and the area is quarantined. So, hobo, guard (now biochemist), and 3 other people who happened to be at the station are now stuck together. Unfortunately, Hank (da hobo) escapes into the woods. Not a good start.

Meanwhile, the scientists who are testing the virus have their own mystery. How the virus works and kills. Unfortunately, they have to come up with a cure for it. Trouble since they don't really know how it works yet (eg: a mouse's head blew up after being otherwise normal).

The movie ALMOST gets interesting at this point, but then the biochemist then says that they can't fall asleep because they'll die. Huh? Where did this come from? I had to rewind to make sure I didn't miss something.

Other than that, the movie becomes a long Twilight Zone episode. ("Submitted for your approval...") These people who don't particularly like each other to begin with are stuck together. Can they stay awake? Can they make it through?

There's only one gory scene in the whole film (towards the end) so this isn't for gorehounds (sorry). The final 10 minutes or so of the movie actually moves rapidly - even though the ending is lifted from a classic; its still actually good.

The movie has some really bad patches (the acting and sets are particularly bad in the beginning). The sound is atrocious at times as well. The acting is acceptable if not great; though John F Goff as the wisetalking Jack has some of the best lines in the film and makes the most of his role in this lean movie.
Carol Irene Newell, who plays Jenny has some decent moments (not to mention that fact she's actually well-endowed - as well learn for a few brief seconds).

Despite being a born cynic, I have to give them credit for actually coming up with a unique story (at least to me). Under a different director and perhaps budget; this actually would be quite effective.

[b][i][u]Fun rating:[/u][/i][/b] 6 - watchable and reminds me of my "Project Terror" days. Would have been a drive-in staple back in the day. What saves this film is Goff's performance and the original storyline. Its a movie that is watchable despite obvious flaws.

[b][i][u]Interest rating:[/u][/i][/b] 6 - If you're looking to re-create "Drive-In" night - this belongs on the tail end of your triple feature. B-movie fans will enjoy this. Gorehounds need to watch. Worth a view if you see it on the tube or in a multi-pack. Strangely enough, I concede this might have some repeat viewing potential.
[b][i][u]TOTAL RATING:[/u][/i][/b] 6

Demons of Ludlow
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Your Unca Chaoz is back from his "secret identity" and back in his little chamber of videos and DVDs. Let's see what's come up this time...

[url=""]"The Demons of Ludlow"[/url] - well the film begins like a European film (simple credits and harpsicord music) but set in the small American town of Ludlow (duh). We get the pleasure of seeing a woman in her lingerie trying to figure out what to wear. After a minute or so, we move to a bluegrass band.

...huh? Looks like [i]this [/i]is gonna be 'fun'.:(

Well, the "ho-down" is to celebrate Ludlow's bicentennial (I'd drink to that but I have no beer). During which somebody makes a speech about the town that apparently is putting the other cast members to sleep (their boredom is carved into their faces). The point of the speech is to introduce a piano that came from the English estate of the town's founder.

Now one would expect perhaps a Baby Grand, but this is something that looks like it was in saloon in the Old West. Well, you work with what you've got, right? Of course, there's always one person in the crowd who says "I don't want you to get too close to that." (Obviously, read the script!)

The story then jumps to the POV of a female reporter who - for apparently no reason - talks about the strange things that went on inside a house before jumping to a pastor giving a sermon. By the pastor's wife is the lingerie lady.

-- Skipped "Transition" class; did we? --

Well, after the sermon a lady begins to the piano (which sounds suspiciously like a Moog synthesizer) while a horny couple leaves the services. Horny couple leaves for the hay loft only to have their amorous play interrupted by the girl getting attacked(?) by a flashing hand and the guy being shot in the back by an old-timey pistol.

Confused? You should be on this side...

Well, it turns out the old town church burned down and that there's more to the town that meets the eye (*sigh* as usual). We get the usual lineup of creepy townspeople and more mystery behind the synthesizer. There's a rather good bit with a disturbed young woman and her dolls (which could have been the basis of separate film); but that's it - just that one bit.

Well, the mystery takes a while to unravel but by the time the townspeople piece together what's happening, I'm rooting for everyone to die. Sad really.

Oh - and did I mention that when I think of demons attacking; fireworks don't come to mind.

There comes a time in every movie when you wonder how long it takes before it'll end. Every movie has that moment - even good ones. The good ones make you realize that the end is almost near but you don't want it to. The bad ones make you wonder if your watch has stopped. This is definitely the latter.

The film has no real structure - it bounces from character to character. It's a bunch of scenes that are simply pasted together. The scenes by themselves are not horribly made; but the film is one of the most disjointed pieces I have ever seen. It tries - really tries to be a good film; but the true terror is how it fails.

We have a new feature to my reviews: The [url=""]Joe Bob Briggs[/url] (JBB) scorecard (Hope JBB doesn't mind) - for those who like this sorta thing. We have fleeting boobage, 1 quart of blood, and 8 on the WTF scale. This is a 4 beer movie (that is, you need 3 beers to make this watchable).

[b][u][i]Fun rating:[/i][/u][/b] 3 - extra point for effort; otherwise a thoroughly mundane and disjointed affair. This is an example of the whole being smaller than the sum of the pieces. [url=""]MST3K[/url] fodder. Not bad as it is poorly made.

[b][i][u]Interest rating:[/u][/i][/b] 2 - Not something I'd recommend to many people. I guess if you're looking for something to put you to sleep; this will probably do it. Let's put it this way - I spent the last 15 minutes wondering what to watch next.

[b][i][u]TOTAL RATING:[/u][/i][/b] [b]3[/b]

Sisters of Death
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

After a day's rest (hey, it's not like I'm getting paid here or anything) we're back to tackle more movies.

Let's see - "Sisters of Death"

Hmm - well it seems that there's some sort of sisterhood (ie: sorority) that is having their initiation and 2 pledges are completing their final test - which apparently deals with a pistol.

Gee, I wonder what could possibly go wrong?

Well, obviously there's a shot, blood, and suddenly a dead pledge.

Skip ahead seven years. One of the sisters (Judy - played by the late, sometimes-great Claudia Jennings) receives a mysterious invitation for a reunion. Eventually, all the sisters receive the invite and soon the sisters begin their travels to the reunion location only to find their are being escort to the actual site - a nice estate out in the middle of freaking nowhere.

Of course, there's always the cautious one, Penny, who feels all this is a bad idea (dum-dum-DUM!) while the others kind of act like a bunch of hens.

After being dumped off at "The Hacienda Del Sol", they read a note that simply says to "Enjoy Themselves." Other than Penny though, none of them is the least bit concerned about who set all this up.

Eventually, the girls are joined by the escorts/party crashers and then the fun ensues.

Oh, and did I mention, this was set up by the dead pledge's father? And apparently the 'accident' was actually a 'murder'?

The video quality is poor (think 56k connection-poor) - sad since the most compelling thing going for it -- the obviously attractive women -- is now lost. 70's style T&A abounds but not actual nudity. Some of the acting is over the top but nothing at least TV-quality. The movie probably was seen on "Movie of the Week" at some point on TV - it's that tame for the most part.

The movie pacing is glacial - frankly, this could have been a hour long with all the unneccessary scenes cut. My guess, they thought of the plot and then realized they didn't have enough material for a movie - too bad they didn't at least go with gratuitious nudity (probably couldn't pay the ladies enough).

Fun rating: 3 (Eye candy abounds but little else) The mystery is functional but the slow pacing drains all the suspense. Even as the deaths begin, it all seems mechanical. I was going to reheat some leftovers while leaving the DVD playing but remembered I reviewing this thing.

Interest rating: 2 (Only for hardcore Claudia Jennings completists) The poor video quality really makes this difficult on the eyes to watch. Plus there's absolutely no interest in watching this again.

Total rating: 3

[i]Trivia Time: Claudia Jennings was Playmate of the Month for November 1969 as well as Playmate of the Year 1970.[/i]