The Boardwalk Empire Series Finale

The only word that comes to mind is “brilliant.” I can honestly say this was the most satisfied I have ever been with how a television show has ended. They didn’t pull any punches and they shocked us with a great ending.

I had been a bit bothered by the unceremonious deaths of Nick Van Alden/George Mueller and Chalky White but those were simply a means to an end. They were both great characters and despite how it happened their stories ended with their deaths. I didn’t mind the way Chalky died, he had nothing left. It was Van Aldon/Mueller’s death that really disappointed me. I loved his character and hated to see him go. I had no expectation for him to survive the show I simply would have liked to see him die a bit more dramatically.

All season I have enjoyed the flashback side of the season. The actor used to play a young Nucky Thompson was incredible and my respect goes to the casting department for finding such a suitable actor to play the younger Steve Buscemi. Marc Pickering played the part and did a fantastic job with it.

For the entire final episode I was enthralled in the scenes. I sat on the edge of my seat hanging on every word until it was all said and done. I wasn’t sure what would happen to Nucky but in the final moments my mind was blown. I was annoyed any time Gillian Darmody was getting screen time because I thought it just a weak effort to keep Gretchen Mol involved but I was wrong. When Tommy Darmody announces himself right before avenging his father my jaw dropped and I had trouble sleeping afterwards due to the excitement.

It was fitting for Nucky to survive only to be gunned down in retribution for the sins of his past. I love that it ends when the lights go out for Nucky. The story dies with the man who makes it and it ends as soon as he does. This was a great final episode and it closed everything up. Far and away one of my favorite finales ever and I loved it. Great ending to a great show. It’s sad to see it end but I take solace in knowing that it ended the way it should have.

Halloween II

Year: 1981
Directed By: Rick Rosenthal
Written By: John Carpenter and Debra Hill

RYAN’S REVIEW

What a disappointing evening we had with this film. I had remembered it being pretty good and was looking forward to it. I didn’t take into account I was probably 14 the last time I saw it and it turned out to be like any other typical slasher sequel. There are efforts made to deepen the Michael Myers lore but they are weak at best. This is really just more of the same with less purpose.

I was under the mistaken impression that John Carpenter was behind camera on this film. I think that misconception went a long way in my memory of it being better. You can clearly see that a different director made this film and I think that is the problem with it. Carpenter did serve as producer and writer for the film but that wasn’t enough. It starts with the score of the film. It’s similar to the first film’s but just different enough that it doesn’t have the same effect. Part of what made the first film great was how the music intertwined with the action on screen and that was missing this time around. Michael Myers looks different as well and that is something that happens when a new director takes on the work of another. Myers looks smaller in this movie and the mask looks slightly different. I don’t know if the director is to blame for Michael’s choice of weapons in this film but they couldn’t be any less intimidating. Scalpels can be deadly when used against someone but I hardly think it is a practical weapon for a ghoul who will spend an evening stabbing lots of people. When he gets his eyes shot out and is swinging it randomly trying to hit anything I just felt like it was stupid. A scalpel is not a slashing weapon, and by that point I was so bored and disappointed it just seemed like something else annoying.

The story here is really lame and not at all cool like I remembered it being. In the first film Michael Myers was a stalking killer who seemed to have no purpose to his killing and that made him scarier. In this film they gave him a reason but it was as loose a reason as it could be. They decided that Laurie Strode was his sister and that was his motive to kill her as his first kill was of another sister but I think this is weak. I think it even weaker that Laurie Strode seems to figure it out on her own and tries to talk to her brother before he again attempts to kill her.

Another thing I think takes away from this movie is Michael’s seemingly immortality. In the first film he was a boogyman but in this one he is an unstoppable mindless killing machine. They vaguely try to explain it with a ritualistic word scrawled on the chalkboard at the local school but his immortality takes something away from him. If there is no real hope to kill him then there is no anticipation of how anyone will escape. It makes little sense why he would survive so many gunshots, including one to each eye, but die from catching on fire. He walks out of the explosion before appearing to die but why does that kill him when nothing else would? It seems he could have stopped, dropped, and rolled if for no other reason than to offer the audience a more terrifying looking slasher but I guess they didn’t do fire drills in the mental institution he grew up in.

Regardless what I think this movie is still a pillar of support for a franchise that has continued for more than twenty five years. It would be awesome to see the horror genre diversify but why do so when you can keep making money doing the same thing over and over again? I think if you have seen the first film you have seen them all. One slasher film is really no different than any other once you’ve seen the first. The only differences being the weapons wielded and the one doing the wielding. You have a good chance to see a set of boobs in any of them but not from the heroine that ultimately defeats the unkillable slasher.

Seems to me it’s always a woman who wins out in the end of these films. Gentlemen, if you find yourself in a slasher film scenario then make the most of your final hours of life. If these movies have taught us anything then we know we aren’t beating the bad guy. It’s most likely going to be the girl that you, or any of your buddies, didn’t try to hook up with. She will kill the bad guy and/or be the only survivor. There is no hope for us guys, so go wild if you find yourself in this unpractical and unrealistic situation.  Such a thing is unlikely but in a society where we all like to joke about our readiness for the zombie apocalypse anything is worth being prepared for.

If you are looking for a good movie to watch for Halloween then don’t waste your time with this one. If the first one isn’t available there are still several better options to spend your time with.

 

The Walking Dead-What Did Gabriel Do?

Last night’s episode was exciting and left a big question that will most likely needle at non readers all week.  It’s obvious that Father Gabriel is hiding something and the scenes from next week look like the group will be determined to find out what it is. STOP NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS.

When the apocalypse got underway Father Gabriel had lots of supplies horded into his church and when his parishioners came for the shelter they had prepared for he locked them out and let them die. He sat inside with the food gathered by all and listened to the dead tear his people apart. He isn’t a bad guy just a selfish and cowardly one. He is a weak character who will tag along with the group but never do anything of real significance.

That’s how it went down in the comics anyway. In the comics Gabriel leads Rick, Michonne, Andrea, and Abraham to where the Hunters are camped out and they proceed to dispatch the hunters in such a horrifying fashion that Gabriel is traumatized by what he has done. The scene that the show finished with was specifically a scene from the comics just slightly different. In the comics Dale was bitten and when he went off to die alone he was capture and his leg was amputated by the Hunters. He started laughing at the Hunters when he realized what they had done because they were eating tainted meat. I think the same scenario will play out for Bob, who I think was obviously bitten at the food bank but didn’t tell anyone. It’s why he went outside and why he was crying when looking at the group in the church. He is dead on his feet and knows it.

This season has started with a bang and it will only get better as the group fights the Hunters and begin to make their way to Washington. If you have any questions or are looking for more feel free to leave a comment and ask.

The Hills Have Eyes

Year: 1977
Directed By: Wes Craven
Written By: Wes Craven

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a classic horror film by one of the men who made a career out of making them. Like many classic horror films its name has been tarnished by a subpar remake that people are more apt to see and associate the title with these days. It’s a shame that we are in a film era where producers are more eager to simply rip off something great rather than take a chance on something new. The genre has suffered because of it. It’s time for a new breed of horror filmmakers to step up and follow in the footsteps of men like Wes Craven to bring horror films back to their full potential.

It’s been years since I saw the remake of this film. I saw it when it first came out and never went back to it. It doesn’t compare to this film and it only frustrated and disappointed me as a film fan when I saw it. This movie is absolutely terrifying and didn’t have to resort to cheap Hollywood ideas like nuclear mutated people or whatever they did in the remake. This movie is about a good old fashioned freakish family of mountain maniacs who have flourished in a place America has forgotten about. These people are much scarier because they are bloodthirsty savages motivated by the desire for food more than anything else. It just so happens they are down with eating human meat and have their eye on the delicacy the unfortunate family have on hand in the baby. Such a terrifying and unheard of prospect. Movies are much scarier when they feature the deranged who are desperate and even more willing to do anything.

This large family made the bad decision to go where they didn’t belong and that’s where real horror movie scenarios take place. They cross paths with the wrong kind and they are too far out for anybody to help them. One by one they are all subjected to horrifying deaths unless they fight to defend themselves. This family is played by good actors and I like the group as they are. The movie really holds no bars in killing them off either and you can never be quite sure who will survive this ordeal. I do love that they have a pair of badass German Shepherds and are able to rely on them for defense. I really like the younger dad who clearly doesn’t have the respect of his lawman father-in-law yet rises to the challenge when things get tough. Plus he looks kind of like Howard Wolowitz with a mustache and I like that about him.

                

These are the best pics I could find of the two. I spent the whole movie trying to figure out who this guy looked like and it wasn’t until this final shot of the film that it hit me. He looked like Howard from The Big Bang Theory. I am a big fan of the show and I specifically like Simon Helberg. The similarities between him and the character in this film mainly come from the haircut and the few times Howard has sported a mustache.

As for the maniac family I think they are as scary as they come. I like their tribal lifestyle in the mountainous desert atmosphere. I love how wild and unkempt they look because it is so intimidating. Their names are awesome and something I specifically remember not liking about the remake. It’s cool that these savages are all named after planets and I’m surprised they failed to utilize that in the remake effort. The scar across the face of Pluto is wicked and even though there are a few screw ups with it in the final cut of the film it is still cool when you see it. There are several shots in the film where the scar is obviously absent from his face, but it’s a low budget film from the 70s and such things are excusable. Michael Berryman, who plays Pluto, is as scary looking as a man can be because of his really unfortunate looking face. He has made a career out of that mug and been utilized many times in movies like this one. He brings a lot to the film with his look and is perfect for the role.

This movie isn’t for the faint of heart because it is a gritty and graphic horror film. Such films offer their own forms of excitement and this one offers plenty. It comes out of an era when scary movies had a much harder hitting impact. So much of what comes out today is intended to shock us rather than scare us. The movies that come out now are so aggressive in their efforts.  The greatest horror movies showcase a certain level of patience and build up to the terror that awaits. I appreciate a film like this one so much more because for whatever reason they just can’t do it these days. There aren’t horror movies coming out that have the same capabilities of the classics. There is always hope to be had with the future and maybe one day horror films will make a return to what they used to be.

This is a Wes Craven film and few men are as synonymous with the horror genre as he is. Wes Craven has built a legacy for himself by making scary movies and this film is part of what made him great. I love how savage this one is because that’s what you really want when you watch a movie like this. I also love that there isn’t really an end. The film just stops in the middle of a dramatic moment and leaves the rest to your imagination. There is a sequel to this film made seven years later, also by Wes Craven. I haven’t seen it and if anybody reading this has then please leave a comment and let me know how it was.

Bottom line on this one. If you want something that will make you get up and lock your doors this is the movie for you. If you want something that will scare you and make you think twice before ever detouring on a road trip through the west then see this movie. It’s great for Halloween season and it will hit the mark if you are looking to be scared.

 

 

The Cabin in the Woods

Year: 2012
Directed By: Drew Goddard
Written By: Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard

RYAN’S REVIEW

For the life of me I can’t remember what it was that prompted Amber and I to see this film for the first time. With the unoriginal crap generally hitting theaters these days from the horror genre being what they are we usually don’t waste our time with them. It must have been a really slow season for movies hitting the On Demand channel but whatever the reason we took a chance on something we otherwise never would have seen. We started watching it casually and more or less taking it for more of the same before it really started to surprise us. This movie has a rather interesting twist on the same old same old and I really liked it. I tend to like horror movie satires and this one is specifically cool because I love a scenario in which everyone dies and the whole world hangs in the balance only to fall over the edge.

Like any other typical horror movie this one is about a group of teenagers who go on an outdoorsy trip and scary things start to happen to them. Only in this one those things are happening because men for unknown reasons are manipulating the whole situation in the most interesting ways. These two interesting fellows are at the controls casually doing their jobs, on what is alluded to being a big day for them, using technology to set up the five happy college kids in terrifying situations. You don’t really understand what their job is but you know that they are controlling everything for some reason.  The mystery behind it only makes the movie more interesting and exciting when these guys start to turn up the volume.

The lead role in this very typical group of young people is the obvious jock played by Chris Hemsworth. I find it really funny that at one point he is standing at a gas pump and for absolutely no apparent reason he is holding a football. He is just such a cliché character and it comes so natural to the mighty son of Odin. I love when Thor tries his Evel Knievel move after a vaguely heartfelt speech of abandonment and simply crashes to his death against an invisible wall. His monologue is the kicker because he is promising to bring back help and all of that, but really he is just leaving them behind to escape on his own. I laughed so hard the first time I watched it when he crashes into that wall and dies so unceremoniously. It was at that moment that this movie had me, I specifically remember looking to Amber and saying “I love this.”

My favorite character in this group of obvious characters is the obvious one, being the stoner guy who plays “the fool.” Everybody is acting crazy and he is just looking at them asking, “really?” I also love that he uses his cleverly disguised bong as a weapon when faced with danger. I read that Fran Kranz, who play the fool, needed to do a lot of research in order to play this stoner character including learning how to smoke and roll joints. I find that funny too, it must have been hard putting in that kind of work for his job. In the scene where they are all jumping into the lake he isn’t participating because apparently the guy is too ripped to take his shirt off. Taking that into consideration his prep work makes sense, the ripped guys aren’t usually the pot smokers. As for the rest of the group, or the scholar, the whore, and the virgin. They were all interchangeable and nothing more than pretty faces playing their role.  I don’t think any of them were noteworthy and any actor could have been cast in each of the parts with no notable difference in the film. .

The real golden nuggets in the cast are the men playing the parts of the mysterious operators, and the woman who appears at the end as the boss behind it all. The operators are played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford and they have great chemistry working together. Their opening scene was specifically written to confuse the audience and make them think they were in the wrong theater. Richard Jenkins, playing the older of the two operators, is a flawlessly talented actor who can do a bit of everything. I specifically like him for his humor because he can be so funny. He is generally unknown by name but everyone recognizes him because he is in so many films. Bradley Whitford has been around forever but I remember him most for playing the bad guy in Billy Madison. In this film he is great playing alongside Jenkins. I specifically like how casual he is with the whole process of his job. Whether he is chit chatting on the ride to the office, firing an automatic weapon against monsters, or dying at the hands of the merman he seems so casual I find it funny. These guys are great together and the way they are portrayed keeps the movie so interesting as it progresses. I love when they think that they have accomplished their goal and they start to party. They are popping champagne and celebrating while over their shoulders Kristen Connolly, who plays “the virgin,” is being brutally beaten on the big screen.

The end of the film features Sigourney Weaver in the top dog role as the boss making a final plea to the two survivors to do what is right for the sake of mankind. I love Sigourney Weaver and her part in this movie is the cherry on top that makes everything so cool. Joss Whedon is a fanboy and all fanboys love the woman who taught us women could be badass in the role of Ripley. Also playing a significant part in another fan favorite, Ghostbusters, Signourney Weaver is near and dear to the hearts of us all.  This seems to me like her cashing in an easy paycheck but her presence gives the film credibility. As always, she brings it when she is on-screen, her performance capped off what was already a fun and exciting movie.

This movie was filmed and shelved for a few years before ever hitting theaters 2012. It just happened to hit the big screen the same year as another hit by Joss Whedon and Chris Hemsworth, The Avengers. In the time that elapsed between shooting and release Hemsworth became an actor of more notoriety. He had made his place in the Marvel superhero world in 2011 when Thor came out so when this film was released his name was in top billing. It made his unceremonious death a bit more surprising when we watched it the first time and all the funnier because it was unexpected. This was not the only film in which that happened to Hemsworth. The remake of Red Dawn was also shot and sat on the shelf for a couple of years before release. I remember that happening but can’t remember the reason. I was very much disappointed by the decision to remake that classic movie about a real conflict with whatever asinine thing happened in the new one.  I don’t know how he did in that film or what befalls his character in it because I will not waste my time watching it, those are precious hours and minutes I cannot get back and feel right about losing.

This is a fun movie from a really cool and continually up and coming filmmaker in Joss Whedon. Depending on how the next Avengers film does, which all indications are that it will be even more awesome, this guy will have his ticket punched and there is no telling what he is capable of doing. I read that he and Drew Goddard wrote this movie rather quickly. It was something he did in his downtime for fun. That says a lot about what he is capable of in the future. This movie has been a welcome addition to the collection and I think it is more than worth your time to see.  This is the time of the year for scary movies and it’s great to have a fun one to throw into the mix.

 

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

I went into this movie thinking it was your everyday scary movie about a cabin in the woods. I think it was fun to go into it like that. I was completely caught off guard with this movie, and in a good way. This is so different from the usual horror flick and that’s what makes it worth watching.

cabinI like this poster! It’s a great way to subtly introduce the movie’s plot. The coloration is great and adds an eerie feeling to the plot of the movie. The typography is not horrible, but could have been handled in a better way. Overall, I really think this poster and movie work so well. It is a refreshing take on a Halloween-esque movie.

House of 1,000 Corpses

Ryan:

This film gave me unrealistic hopes for the potential of Rob Zombie’s career as a horror film maker. I haven’t liked many of his other films but I still think this one is rock solid. A scary and exciting horror film that I revisit every year during October.

Originally posted on The Movie Snobs:

Year: 2003
Directed By: Rob Zombie
Written By: Rob Zombie

RYAN’S REVIEW

When this movie came out I remember hearing really bad things about it and never giving it a chance. I can’t remember who I heard those things from or why I listened to them but if I knew I would find them today to tell them they are crazy.  When I saw this movie for the first time years later it instantly became one of my favorite horror movies of all time. It has an awesome cast made up of people I had never heard of, it has one of the coolest intros I have ever seen in anything, and it was made by a man who has a thing for horror movies. The story may be a typical one on the surface, as far as movies in this genre go.  It scares me though; it gives me…

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Halloween

Ryan:

No movie could kick off October better than this one. We reviewed this movie on Halloween last year and really enjoyed it.

Originally posted on The Movie Snobs:

Year: 1978
Directed By: John Carpenter
Written By: John Carpenter and Debra Hill

RYAN’S REVIEW

I didn’t intend to review this film when we started this horror themed month for October but I got caught up in the spirit.  We have watched and reviewed several horror films this month but none quite as iconic as this one. Barring The Exorcist (which I refuse to see again) this is the big enchilada when it comes to the genre.  An iconic film that set the tone for the decades that would follow.  It was not the first slasher film but far and away this is the one that all the others would take the lead from.  Everything from who the victims were and what they were doing to setting the tone with music to who would win in the end was all in the blueprint for this film.  Seeing everything that comes…

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