Eric Shirey's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Doctor Mordrid
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Doctor Mordrid, Full Moon, Doctor Strange, Marvel, Charles Band

Marvel might be riding high now as a member of the Disney family, but twenty years ago it was literally taking any deal it could get from Tinseltown to make some money off the different properties they owned. Low-budget versions of "Captain America," "Fantastic Four," and "The Punisher" are perfect examples of where the comic book publishing giant was heading at the time. Even George Lucas's bigger attempt at bringing "Howard the Duck" to life was a miserable failure.

For those who might not know, Marvel gave rights to Full Moon Features in the early 1990s to adapt the mystical magician's adventures into a live-action movie. When time ran out and the property went back to Marvel, Charles Band decided to move forward with his rendering altered enough to keep from crossing any lines of copyright infringement.

Doctor Mordrid (Jeffrey Combs) is a powerful sorcerer who has sworn to keep Earth safe from the powers of darkness throughout the universe. His arch-enemy Kabal (Brian Thompson) arrives with plans to destroy the world. The two clash in an epic battle of good and evil that includes destructive mystical abilities and re-animated prehistoric creatures.

You can tell as soon as the opening credits roll on "Doctor Mordrid: Master of the Unknown" Directors / Producers Charles Band and his father Albert were quite passionate about bringing one of their favorite superheroes to life, even if he was under a new name with a re-tooled storyline and origin. Obviously, the movie was made on a budget that limited some of what could be done. It still looks great and the entire cast is fully invested in their individual roles.

"Doctor Mordrid: Master of the Unknown" is unrated but should hold an R for all intents and purposes. There's only one scene of nudity, which was really unnecessary and could've been cut or edited to open the picture up to even younger viewers. There was some violence and language as well, but nothing that would've caused it to be rated anything more than PG-13.

1992's "Doctor Mordrid: Master of the Unknown" still stands up well today even though elements of it might seem aged. It's a reminder of where comic book properties stood in the grand scheme of Hollywood at that time.

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Zootopia
Zootopia (2016)
6 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Disney's "Zootopia" is an amusing and action-packed addition to their long history of animated classics. However, at times, the message of the movie does start feeling heavy-handed. We got it the first three or five times: you can do or be anything you want as long as you believe in yourself and go for it. There's also nothing quite like a wholesome half-dressed pop star telling our children to "Try EVERYTHING", right? Aside from those two gripes, a great vocal cast and well-placed humor bring everything together quite nicely.

"Zootopia" is rated PG for some thematic elements, rude humor and action. Judy Hopps is bullied by her classmates, which might disturb younger viewers or ones who are victims of that sort of abuse. Christians will be offended by the use of God's name in vain in a couple of scenes as well. Judy and Nick visit a nudist colony where animals don't wear clothing. The sequence might stir up some questions about what exactly a nudist colony is.

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Kiss Rocks Vegas
6 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

When four Liverpool lads stood onstage playing music and wagging their hair around in the early 1960s, it was easy to please a crowd. Rock 'n Roll was young and new. Fast forward a decade to the 1970s, and you had to do a bit more to thrill an audience. One band stood out above all others and continues to: KISS.

Whether you loved them or hated them when they hit the scene in 1973, KISS made an undeniable impression on anyone and everyone they came across. They were charisma. They were spectacle. They were energy. They were explosive. They were loud. They were bombastic. KISS WAS Rock 'n Roll!

Almost every word I used above to describe the "Hottest Band in the Land" could and is used when people think about Las Vegas shows today. When you think of what many consider the most entertaining and bright spot of entertainment in the United States, words like charisma, spectacle, energy, explosive, loud, and bombastic all come to mind I'm sure. What better home for KISS than this place?

Many die-hard fans of KISS will immediately throw up a wall of defense after reading my previous statement. "MY KISS is a rock 'n roll powerhouse too good to become just another staple of Las Vegas," they'll exclaim. Just like KISS deserved to be put in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame for so many decades of hard work, they deserve a second home to hang their hats and call their own. A place where people come to them on their own turf to have their faces melted off instead of vice versa.

November of 2014 saw KISS take up residence at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. For nine eruptive nights, the group unleashed their powers and legendary songs on the masses who attended these special performances. Bringing with them all the show-stopping vivacity they've become known for, KISS left the venue in a shambles of explosions, smoke, confetti, and blood.

"KISS Rocks Vegas" is the quintessential KISS. It shows the band at the top of their game in every way. Both Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons unleash their vocals and tight musical fury to perfection on every tune. Guitarist Tommy Thayer shreds his instrument's strings for squealing leads that on multiple times conclude in a flash of sparkles and loud cracks in the sky. Drummer Eric Singer doesn't miss a beat as he pounds away on his multi-colored drums lit and strobing throughout the concert.

Every single wonderful trope of a KISS performance is included in "KISS Rocks Vegas", and they should be. Here is a band delivering the goods to many times folks from all walks of life. They've never seen them before in a live setting. Just as they always do, KISS puts their best foot forward and strives to win over newcomers and make new fans. That's how a rock group becomes immortal.

Starchild Paul flies out into the crowd and performs while strutting down a catwalk suspended above audience members. Demon Gene spits blood and fire before ascending to his pedestal high above and proclaim himself the "God of Thunder". Spaceman Tommy fires rockets and lights up the darkness of the arena. Catman Eric blasts away at his drum kit as it rises off the stage to reveal giant banners featuring ferocious felines looking like they're going to jump into the crowd and devour it.

"KISS Rocks Vegas" was a great balance of songs featuring both Paul and Gene on lead vocals. I was actually surprised at how many of Simmons' signature songs appeared on the set list. "God of Thunder", "War Machine", and "I Love It Loud" were all there. The only one absent that I would've liked to hear was "Unholy." Stanley brought the glitz and glamour to numbers like "Love Gun", "Do You Love Me?", and "Creatures of the Night". Singer even had the opportunity to shine through a soulful performance of "Black Diamond". I did miss getting to see Thayer belt out one of his excellent tracks off of KISS's latest albums "Monster" and "Sonic Boom".

The cinematography for "KISS Rocks Vegas" put the viewer in several different locations during the extent of the show. At times, you would be standing in the middle of the crowd where you could see the whole stage. Other times you'd be standing at the feet of the group front row. We also got to fly high above the crowd and the band thanks to some fabulous crane-shots. There wasn't a bad seat in the Hard Rock Hotel.

I took my nine-year-old son with me and was hoping that "KISS Rocks Vegas" would be appropriate for him. In other DVD releases of the band's concerts, we see girls pulling up their shirts and Gene and Paul's famous rock 'n roll "poses." While there are a couple of those here for the sake of keeping it real, all the girls keep their clothes on and the show is family-friendly.

"KISS Rocks Vegas" is a glimpse of things to come. I can see KISS taking up residency for a much longer time than nine days. I can see them becoming a permanent staple of the Town That Never Sleeps. I can see them building the ultimate tribute band and their presence being forever an essential part of the Las Vegas Experience long after the actual members are gone... but not forgotten.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
6 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" holds a special place in my heart as a horror fan. As a teen, I would go to my father's during the summer. I used this time visit him and the rest of my family in the area. During my downtime, I would catch up on movies I wasn't allowed to watch living with my mother. Many of the these were, of course, in the horror genre.

One of my favorite memories was watching a double feature one night with my father in the summer of 1987. We went to the local video store and rented "Psycho 2" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2." A funny side-note is that I had never seen either one of the original films. "Chainsaw 2" had a profound impact on me, as it was the first truly graphic and gory movie I had seen. It also had a far sicker sense of humor than what I had witnessed in other horror / comedies like "Fright Night" and the likes.

Revisiting "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" in its new 2K digital transfer was an interesting experience. The movie still holds up over all these years. There's nothing quite like seeing Dennis Hopper battle Leatherface in an epic chainsaw duel. Imagine Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader brandishing chainsaws instead of lightsabers and you get the idea.

Caroline Williams' screams rival those of Fay Wray's in "King Kong." I can't think of any way she could have improved her performance, from her Texan accent to the epic Chainsaw dance at the end of the movie. She is quite the trooper and deserves all the credit she gets as a scream queen being covered in bloody goo and dirt for much of the film.

Dennis Hopper comes alive as a police officer looking to avenge the deaths of his family and end the chainsaw massacre once and for all. He quotes the Bible and sings church hymns while destroying the lair of Leatherface and company, adding to the dark zaniness of the movie. He plays the role relatively straight where many other actors would have hammed it up.

I was very surprised upon re-watching "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" that there's no nudity. There's suggestive material throughout the movie. However, there's no actual sexual situations or topless women to be seen. That's a big surprise to anyone who grew up watching horror movies in the 1980s. I think there might be a pinup picture in the background of a couple shots. Granny Sawyer's decomposing dead body is shown sans clothing, but there's no detail in the body parts.

"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" still ranks as my favorite sequel to the original. Its combination of tension and wild violence with over-the-top black humor still stands as the blueprint for most of the gore fests we get today from folks like Rob Zombie and countless others. Thanks to great practical effects, on-location shooting, and Tom Savini's masterful makeup and prosthetics, the film stands the test of time and is a great example of a well-executed sequel.

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The Witch
The Witch (2016)
6 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"The Witch" is one of the most bizarre and disturbing coming-of-age movies I've ever seen. It's definitely not "Sixteen Candles" or "Pretty in Pink." The characters in those films may have their share of problems, but they're nothing in comparison to the ones the family members in "The Witch" are dealing with!

In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer (Ralph Ineson), his wife (Kate Dickie) and four of their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly vanishes. The family blames Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), the oldest daughter who was watching the boy at the time of his disappearance. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, twin siblings Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, testing the clan's faith, loyalty and love to one another in "The Witch."

There are so many different viewpoints you can watch the movie from. Christians might see it as either blasphemous or cautionary. Satanists consider it be an encouragement for people to look outside the box of conventional religious beliefs. Others will see it as just a modern folk tale warning of unhealthy family dynamics and the dangers of isolationism and paranoia.

Is it a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of playing with the occult and Satanism? Does the movie encourage audiences to explore life outside the "confines" of Christian religions? Is it warning us to always question our beliefs and not just follow the herd? Honestly, it could be any of these.

As a Christian, I find the ambiguity in the message of "The Witch" to be slightly dangerous for those not grounded in their own faith. You're led to believe one thing through three-quarters of the film, even if the family members are extremely fanatic. Suddenly, the direction we're traveling in seems to switch gears.

"The Witch" is rated R for disturbing violent content and graphic nudity. Much of the nudity is shadowed, blurred, or an old lady. I'm not defending it, just further explaining. Some of it is of oldest daughter Anya Taylor-Joy. She is underage in the film, even though in real life she's now 20. None of it is meant to be sexual in any way.

"The Witch" is a great psychological thriller that sets itself apart from the mainstream jump-scare horror films we're getting right now. It's a thinking man's fright fest that leaves viewers pondering what it's all about. Great acting, authentic-looking sets and wardrobe, and real shooting locations make everything feel even more authentic.

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