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Monday, December 23, 2013

House of Wax (1953)


Someone is killing people and stalking a woman.  In the meantime, it is giving the House of Wax plenty of subjects for their displays.  But who is killing these people?


This is another Vincent Price classic.  I absolutely love that man.  And he delivers another great performance in this movie as the proprietor of the House of Wax.  Having once been a sculptor who lost the use of his hands and legs in a fire years before, he now oversees the artwork of his employees for the house's displays.

The story-line is a good one, if a little bit expectant.  You see the twists and turns coming and it's not hard to figure out, but enough stuff is happening to be able to keep your attention and over look the fact that you see stuff coming.

The bad part about this is that it is very similar to Chamber of Horrors (1966).  At first, when I watched CoH I thought it might be a sequel to this movie, but it's not.  They are two different movies with similar sets.  Very similar sets.  It wouldn't surprise me to find out that the set producer was the same for both movies.

But other than that I found myself really enjoying this movie.  it is definitely a must see for any Vincent Price fans.

Kid safe:  Yes.  While this is a movie about murder there is no gore or anything like that here.

IMDB link:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hannibal (The Series)

I am both anticipating and dreading the new series "Hannibal" that is set to start on April 4th.  While I am a huge Hannibal Lecter fan and have read all the books and watched all the movies (including "Manhunter where Dr. Lecter was portrayed by Brian Cox instead of Anthony Hopkins) I am also a fanatic ABOUT the series.

Because of this I already have issues with this show.

First, Jack Crawford is being played by fucking Morophious?!?  Who thought it was a good idea to turn a tall skinny white character into Lawrence Fishburn?  Don't get me wrong, I don't care that Fishburn is black for any other reason than the character of Jack Crawford never was.  It doesn't help that I just plain ole' don''t like Lawrence Fishburn as an actor.  Really, the only thing I ever liked him in was Boyz in the Hood.  That is it.  Nothing else.  So I have reservations about him taking on such an established character.  If he was a better actor I might be able to look past it because of his ability, but I  really doubt that will happen here.  I can only hope that he wont have much screen time, but we all know if they are going to pay a big-name to be in their show they are going to us him.  Well...shit.

Second, (Similar to the first reason) they changed Freddie Lounds from a man to a woman.  WTF?  Ok, well, this one I will have to see how it goes since I've never heard of the actress playing this character. Hopefully she will make me wish Freddie had been a girl all along.  I really hope so after hearing about Lawrence Fishburn.  I just really hate when producers/directors/casting changes the characters or  world that has already been created by the writer.

This is also why I hate movie adaptations of books.

On the other hand, though, I am looking forward to some new stories in one of my favorite series's.  I am looking forward to exploring the Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham relationship from when they were working together.  Not to mention getting some insight on the "Cannibal" crimes as well as Will Graham and his immersion into the minds of serial killers.

Either way, I will give it a shot next week when it premiers and make my judgement then.  (I'm still not sold on the new "Bates Motel", but I will write something later.  Possibly after a few more episodes.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Amazing Spider-Man


Kid gets bit by a spider and develops "Spidey-sense."  Need more?  Okay, he also tries to attract the girl he has the hots for all while fighting crime night after night and foiling the plans of whatever supervillian.


After the Toby McGuire trilogy I was very apprehensive about watching this one.  I actively hated the first three movies.  Since this was the movie choice for family night, and I was WAY WAY WAY to ill to resist or even get up and leave the room, so I ended up laying there and watching this version.  I gotta say, I like what they did with it.  It was a sort of reinvention, like Batman, only with keeping the comic feel.

I was THRILLED that the love interest was Gwen and not Mary-Jane.  (It doesn't hurt that I like Emma Stone and don't care for Kirsten Dunst.)  I also like the guy they got to play Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield).  Although I am a fan of Toby McGuire, I though he did a poor job at Spider-Man and I like this guy better.  He seemed to have a good grasp of how to do comedy and serious without over-doing either.

The effects were about on par with the first series, but the story was better written in this version.  It was able to keep that comic book feel without going into the realm of ridiculous and cheesy.  I like that they didn't go with one of the well known supervillians and instead went the way of The Lizard.  I don't know if that was actually one of the villains from the comic books since I was always more of an X-Men fan then Spider-Man, or if it was the writers take on the Green Goblin (which it seemed to be), but I liked it.  I also like how instead of just defeating the villain  Spider-Man tried to help him since he had a personal relationship with Dr. Connors before he turned bad.  It sort of reinforces the good, helpfulness of Spider-Man instead of just making him the hero that battles the bad-guy.

I liked this one enough that I am hoping this is not the end of the line and that there are more movies to come.

Kid safe:  Yep.  In fact, I would recommend this movie for kids.  I think they do throw a few "crap"s or "hell"s in there, but nothing overly colorful.

IMDB link:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore


Alice's husband dies and she finds herself a single mother without an income.  Having given up a singing career when she got married she hopes to return to that, but to do so she has to travel back to the city she last worked in.  Along the way she takes a number of jobs and soon finds that sometimes when you go after your dreams you realize that your happy where you are.


I really liked this movie...until the end.  Basically it's a "day-in-the-life-of" movie.  Normally I don't care for those sort of movies, but I liked this one.  I was a bit disappointed with the ending because it just sort of ends and leaves you with questions, but I guess that's where the series "Alice" picks up at.  I don't know if the series was known about when this was made (I highly doubt it), but I remember watching the series.  I may have even seen every episode, but I don't remember because it was a long time ago.  Although the series was more of a sit-com and this was more of a drama with comedy thrown in there, it doesn't surprise me that I liked it.

Ellen Burstyn plays Alice in this.  The only other thing I know her in is The Exorcist (my favorite movie).  I think the job she did in this was great.  The way she and Alfred Lutter III, who plays her son, play off of each other is really great.  They have a great chemistry together.  And Diane Ladd as the tough talking, sometimes vulgar Flo is awsome.  Oh yeah, and Kris Kristofferson and Harvey Keitel were in this also.

All in all it was a well written, well directed (Martin Scorsese) well funded, well acted movie.

Kid safe:  Hmm...there is some colorful language and some scenes where people are fighting and throwing things in anger, but no nudity or gore.  I wouldn't let my 12 year old watch it, but she could still probably talk me into it if she really wanted to see it.

IMDB link:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Knights of the Round Table


It's King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. Y'all!


Ok, so I'm probably biased on this one.  As a matter of fact, I know I am, so bare with me while I rip this apart.

Let me start by saying that this movie as a whole wasn't that bad.  It's worth a view if you like old fantasy films.  The acting was well done.  I can't dispute that.  Robert Taylor as Lancelot and Ava Gardner as Guinevere are great in their respective roles.  And for their time, the sets, costumes and musical score are well done also.


I am a bit of an Avalon buff.  While there are a number of different takes as far as the folklore is concerned, there are certain consistencies in every version that were not followed here.  Arthur Pendragon was never depicted as a blond.  That was Guinevere.  Morgan Le Fey was his sister (half-sister) not a member of the court, but you always knew there was a biological connection because of the black hair.  A trait that was passed on to his illegitimate son, Modred, who is not his son in this movie.  Which is a shame because in all accounts that is a big part of the death of Arthur because it is his own son who betrays and murders him.  Modred still murders him in this, but not as his son.  On top of it there are like 30 Knights of the Round Table instead of the 12 there are supposed to be.

There were more inconsistencies and I could go on, but it would just bother me more than it already does.  Needless to say, if you are a fan of the folklore and fictions about Arthur and the Knights, this is very distracting and makes you want to throw things at the screen because there is an inconsistency about every 10 minuets.  But for those points that seem to change depending on who is telling the story, they did a good job making them their own.  I'm talking about things like Lancelot's marriage to the Lady Elaine, the sword in the stone or Merlin's role in all of this.

Over all, as I said, it's not a badly done movie..  They just needed to hire writers who did better research.  I would suggest watching this, but only once.  And only to enjoy the costumes and acting.

Kid safe:  Yes.

IMDB link:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Streetcar Named Desire


Um...I'm still not sure what this movie is about.  Apparently it's about a crazy delusional woman who goes to live with her sister and the sisters abusive husband.  I think.  You may want to look it up.


I don't get this movie.  I am so glad I never wasted the money to sit through a theatrical production of it.  But I just don't get the hype.  Why is this so popular?

What I can say about this is that I loved Vivien Leigh as the delusional woman.  I mean LOVED her.  It actually took me quite a while to realize that that was her.  I knew going in that she was in the movie, but the only real experience I had with her was from Gone With the Wind and this is a pretty good departure from that.  Marlon Brando does well at playing the bad-guy, abusive husband who keeps no secrets about not wanting the sister around.

The problem I have with this comes from the story-line.  It doesn't seem to go anywhere.  It's more of a day-in-the-life type movie and that might be where my confusion is coming in.  I never really understand those types of movies.  But I find myself still wondering what caused the sisters mind to warp   She came into the story already messed up and we discover she is there due to losing the family home, but throughout the movie certain things come up that you think are delusions just to find out they're not and think things are true just to discover they're false.  It makes it hard to really figure out what it was that fractured this girls mind and it seems that that is a very important part of the story.

The other problem I have with this is the violence and how the neighbors are so accepting of it.  Don't get me wrong, I understand that years ago it was normal for a man to beat his wife and for everyone to just brush it off because it was accepted, but they handle it in a very confusing way.  Fist the husband goes nuts and everyone tries to stop him form hitting his wife.  Then they all just give up and go home.  Then the wife goes back to the husband and complains about how he hits her, then makes excuses for him.  Then everyone tries to stop him again.  I know that stuff like that happens in real-life abusive relationships, it's just the way it is played out in this movie.  Almost like when the writers couldn't think of what to put in there they just threw in a beating and then back-peddled in the next scene because it didn't fit.

Without giving away too much, I will say that at the end of the movie there is an insinuated rape.  That makes this the first movie to get my "Rape" tag.  Just to warn you.  They don't actually show anything, you just hear her screaming, but the next scene confirms that that is what has taken place.

Kid safe:  I would have to say no.  Although there is no nudity or foul language, the subject matter is at times disturbing and the way the women are treated is not the kind of thing I would want my daughter to think is acceptable or my son to think is an okay treatment of women.  Plus, insinuated or graphic, I will never suggest a movie with any type of rape for children of any age to watch.  I'm an adult and it bothers me.

IMDB link:

Edward Scissorhands


An inventor creates a man, a la Frankenstein, and before he can give him real hands and replace the scissors he originally used, the inventor dies.  Years later a woman selling beauty products knocks on the door and finds the creation and takes him back home with her and introduces him into society where he falls in love with her daughter.


When I first saw this movie I didn't like it.  I thought it was supposed to be a scary movie and it didn't live up to that.  Of course, at that time I also didn't understand Tim Burton and the difference between scary and dark.  Since then I have come to appreciate Mr. Burton and love most of his work.  After re-watching this, I have a new appreciation for this film.

I don't know if it was what Mr. Burton was going for, or if I'm just reading too much into things, but this is a great story about the downfalls of suburban gossip and the ability to fit in when you are different from those around you.

Edward is welcomed into this society of housewives after they discover what he can do for them and just as quickly ostracized after rejecting one of them.  Instead of accepting him for who he is, one slight turns his world upside down from the whispered gossip that spreads like wildfire until he is eventually hunted down and chased back to his house to once again live all alone.  Anyone who has been in high-school will recognize this.  The popular people have the power to make you and then break you.  Only your true friends will stand by your side and help you through your troubles because they accept you for who you truly are and not what you can provide for them.  This is what happens with Edward when the woman who found him and her daughter, who Edward falls in love with and she in return, stage Edwards death to get the neighbor hood man-hunt to back down.

On a brighter note, this movie is full of funny moments.  Watching Edward try to fit in is full of its quirks and make for some good laughs.  Watching him try to eat peas is downright hilarious.

Johnny Depp plays Edward Scissorhands and does a kick-ass job at it.  I love Johnny Depp.  He is one of those actors that has a versatility rarely seen in actors.  Who else can go from playing Willy Wonka to George Jung (Blow)?  The way Depp plays Edward is great.  He puts just enough shyness and vulnerability into the character to make him believable.  His ability to deliver well-timed surprise and react to the things Edward is experiencing is just awsome.  Winona Ryder?  Well, I never did like her.  She is one of those bad actresses that gets good roles.  However, she doesn't do such a bad job in this either.  Possibly because she and Depp were dating at the time so their relationship is a bit more believable.  It could also be because she hadn't been in a whole lot up to that point so we didn't realize she always plays the same character no matter what she's in, but she did seem to have some deviation in this one.  Whatever the reason, I don't have much trouble overlooking the fact that she's in this and can concentrate on her character.  And Anthony Micheal Hall.  I like him.  I really do.  He makes my list of "Actors I Like."  (It's a short list.)  But he falls a little in this one for me.  He does a good job playing the popular football-star boyfriend to Winona Ryder.  He's always played a good kiss-ass, goody two-shoes, but when it comes to portraying the bullying bad-boy to Edward I just don't buy it.  Even after beefing up after his Breakfast Club days, he doesn't pull off the asshole role.

Like with other Burton films, the sets and costumes in this are top-notch and quirky as ever.  Classic Tim Burton with the odd angles and bright colors that we have come to know, identify and love so well.

The story is also a good one.  I won't go into it more here, but also remember that this is also a love story.  It's about loving someone in spite of their differences.  It's about loving them for who they are.  It's about losing your love and dealing with loss.  But it's not a romantic comedy and the love story doesn't get in the way or get too mushy.

Kid safe:  I would say yes, but for older kids.  I let my 12 year old watch it, but there is some language and sexual suggestiveness that may not be appropriate for younger kids.

IMDB link:

How to make a Monster


Make-up artists make up two teenage boys in werewolf and Frankenstein make-up.  After the studio is bought out and people start losing their jobs, others lost their lives after being attacked by "monsters."  But is it the boys or someone else behind it all?


Let me save you the time.  The make-up artist did it.  There.  Now you have been spared from having to watch this awful movie.  The acting is bad, the film quality is bad, the story is bad.  It's just bad.  The monster make-up is just about the only good thing about this movie.  I'm so glad that, with commercials, it was only 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Much more and I would have had to scream.

Kid safe:  Yes, but why would you subject them to this garbage?

IMDB link:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chamber of Horrors


A man kills a woman and marries her corpse.  After being caught for the murder, by the proprietors of a House of Wax, he cuts off his own hand in order to escape before murdering the men responsible for his original capture.


I liked this movie.  I thought the sets were very well done.  The story was well written also.  The acting was good.  There were only two problems I had with this film.

First, the idea that the police would involve someone like a wax museum owner on a police case is bull to me.  For the police to actively ask the owners to help, well, I can't believe it.  Second, to keep people from fainting or having heart attacks, the film makers inserted a flashing red screen at the "scary" parts.  While I understand why this was done, it was very distracting and caused a disconnect with the movie.  Years, ago this may have been necessary for movie going, but today it just reminds you that you are watching a movie and just as things are happening and you're getting into it, a red screen with a loud noise pulls you out of that.

Other than those things though, I really liked it.  I easily got into the movie even though it begins by letting you know who the killer is.  There isn't really any "mystery" to this movie, it's mostly suspense.  And the story does provide that.  It's 1966's suspense, so really not THAT suspenseful  but if you like older movies you can appreciate it.

Kid safe:  Yes.  The "scary" parts of this movie are really not that scary, and there is no nudity, foul language and the violence is not actually shown, but more insinuated.

IMDB link:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thir13en Ghosts


A family inherits a house from a dead relative only to find that there are 12 ghosts being held captive in the basement.  The only way to see these ghosts are by special glasses.  Things happen and the family gets trapped in the house as the ghosts are set loose one-by-one.  Somehow they have to survive.


First let me state that this is a remake.  While I normally hate with a passion don't care for remakes, the first time I saw this one I was unaware of that fact.  Since then I have seen the original.  The two are slightly different while keeping some things the same.

This version...well, i guess the best way to put it is that while the story is a bit weak the movie itself is done well.  Visually it's kind of nice.  The effects and costumes are well done and creepifying.  The props (the house and glasses) are interesting.  The cast was well chosen also.

It's kind of nice to see Tony Shalhoub in something other than a anxiety ridden detective.  I think many people forget he had jobs before Monk.  He was the cabbie on Wings (for those of you who remember that show), was Jeebs in Men In Black and also showed up in Spy Kids.  Then you have Shannon Elizabeth.  Who doesn't like Ms. Hottie from American Pie or Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back?  And you also have Matthew Lillard from Scream and Scooby-Doo.  All of which give good performances.

Basically this is a good movie, but I just can't get over the weakness of the story-line   However, being that it is a remake, I understand that there are only so many liberties that can be taken.  I still enjoy myself when watching this movie and have very few sarcastic comments while I'm watching it.  That's a good thing, by the way.  I'm very critical as far as movies are concerned.  (In case you haven't noticed by the fact that I started a blog to *ahem* criticize things.)

Kid safe:  No!  There is one female ghost who constantly walks around naked and plenty of swearing.  Not to mention the ghosts (something that normally scares kids) are attacking and killing people.  If you watch this on the SyFy channel (as I have) they do blur out the nudity and silence the language so it's not so bad and more watchable for older kids, but the violence is still uncut.

IMDB link:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Carnival of Sinners

Not to be confused with Carnival of Souls, this is a foreign film and requires reading of subtitles.


A down on his luck artist buys a talisman for a penny.  Really he bought it with his soul.  Realizing he bought more than he bargained for, after the Devil shows up and offers to let him buy his soul back, he tries to fix things.


Being hard of hearing, reading subtitles are nothing new for me.  Even when watching English speaking movies and shows I normally have the Closed-captioning on.  For that reason it is easy for me to watch foreign films without being distracted from what is going on and focusing on the story.  That's good too because this was an interesting one.  It starts out with the man who bought the talisman showing up at an out of the way inn with a mysterious package.  All the other people staying there think he is a strange man and stay away from him. Well, he IS acting strange and after the power goes out and his package disappears, he lightens up and tells his story of how he came to own the talisman, all the way to when he arrives at the inn.

I really liked this movie.  The acting was pretty good.  I really like the actor they got for the part of the artist.  And the story is a good one.  Not to complicated, but not boring either.  Just a few twists, but enough to make it interesting.  And the sets are pretty cool.  The artists house is amazing and makes me wonder if they made it or if they used an actual house.

The only thing that I really see as a bad thing is it's in French.  I may be biased though.  Actually, I know I am.  I absolutely HATE French.  It just sounds bad in my ears and I never understood how it was the language of romance.  I would rather listen to Italians, who always sound angry with each other, before French, but even that didn't distract from this being a good movie.

Kid safe:  Yes, this is an old black and white and there is no gore or even any violence until a fight scene at the end that really isn't anything at all.

IMDB link:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mystery Diners & Health Inspectors

One thing you'll learn quick about me is that I love my reality TV.  Apparently Mystery Diners has already had a season, while it looks like Health Inspectors is brand new.  I'm not sure so don't hold that against me if I'm wrong.  Either way, these are new to me since I just discovered them.  While watching an episode of Cupcake Wars on The Food Network (you know, the channel that makes you think you're a master chef no matter what) I saw commercials for both of these and decided to give them a shot.


Mystery Diners is a hidden camera show.  The owner of a restaurant calls in a group of professional mystery diners to help them figure out what is going wrong.

Health Inspectors is about restaurants who are going to soon face a health inspection and need a little help to pass.


Mystery Diners:  During the scenes with the owner, it seems a bit scripted.  However the surveillance is enough to make you want to reach through your television and smack someone.  In the episode I watched, the manager of the restaurant came to work unshaven after 30 minutes of sleep, stinking of booze.  As if that weren't enough, he also took food meant for a client (not just customer, client, because they do catering also) and gave it to his buddies, lied to the catering client about...just about everything, closed the restaurant early to set up a poker game with his buddies and stole money out of the safe to finance said game.  Then had the audacity to get mad when the owner fired him because he, "Was a faithful employee for two years."  I would have fired his ass too!  Every time I thought this couldn't get worse, it did and I couldn't help but thank the Goddess that, to my knowledge, I have never worked with anyone like that.  I also can't wait to see what happens next week.

Health Inspectors:  So a restaurant is gonna face a health inspection soon and they aren't sure they are going to pass.  What the crap?  Okay, if you're not sure that you're going to pass you really shouldn't be running the restaurant.  But these people do and in comes the restaurant consultant who goes over the place like a health inspector would, pointing out all the things wrong with the place.  This show makes me never want to eat out again.  From the caked on, uncleaned grease everywhere, to rodents and insects in places they shouldn't be, followed up by the rancid food...puke city!  For someone like me who suffers from mysophobia (fear of germs) it takes a bit to get me out to eat to begin with.  Having worked in the food industry for a number of years, I can tell you (sorry) that these practices DO go on.  I'm actually glad to see that there is a show out there bringing this to light so hopefully more places will  do business a little more sanitary.  Doubtful, but I got hope.  If nothing else, this will help compose a list of where never to eat.

Kid safe:  Yes, on both counts.

Web links:  Mystery Diners, Health Inspectors