Originally I was going to do a Retro Review today, but I wanted to put out my review of Friday the 13th on Friday. So I wanted to fill the gap so I decided to go over one of my favorite shows, Stranger Things. Ever since the the trailer for season 2 popped up, everyone has been going crazy! We’ve got only 2 weeks left till Netflix releases it. So I thought I’d give my sypnosis on season 1 to prepare you for season 2. The plot takes place in 1983 in a small town in Indiana where four boys, Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will. Will goes home one night and is attacked by a huge creature. The next day he goes missing, leaving everyone pondering where he went. One night the boys go out looking for him when they come across a mysterious girl who’s named Eleven (they call her “El” for short). Through her they discover a lot more about what possibly happened to Will and eventually get involved with a secret organization and a the creature that they they prefer to as the Demogorgon. On the flip side we have Will’s mother (played by Winona Ryder) struggling to find will and coming across mysterious things in her house, an officer (played by David Harbour) who griefs over the loss of his daughter, and a group of teenagers who are investigating the disappearance of a girl named Barbara. Ever since it came out in the summer of 2016, everyone was nuts over it. People were telling me to watch it! So finally during Spring Break of this year I decided to sit down and watch it and I finished it over night. No joke, I was instantly hooked within the first 10 minuets of the first episode. A lot of times I often dose off at some point while watching a show. Usually if it was a lackluster episode or I got bored with it. However I was interested in every scene in this show. The characters are well developed, the story is intriguing, the music is good, nearly everything about it is great! I’m actually amazed they managed to make great performances out of child actors. The most interesting of the kids being El. Apparently she has telekinesis and a pretty interesting backstory that you’ll have to see the show in order to fully understand it. Plus there’s a whole product tie-in with Eggo Waffles and her which I guess worked seeing most fans associate it with her character. Plus the other kids are all good at their roles. But what about the adult actors? Some of the people I don’t like Winona Ryder’s performance as Will’s mother but I think it was appropriate. I mean wouldn’t you go a little crazy if your son went missing and you saw all this crazy crap happen around your house. And David Harbour is great a Chief Hopper. Sure the whole depressed cop over a family death is cliche, but the clever writing mixed in with Harbour’s fantastic performance makes the character so great. Plus the teenage actors are pretty good also like Will’s older brother, Jonathan, and Barbara because of all those fan theories on YouTube. Another thing that really love is the music. The music is composed in 80s synth which fits in with the the tone and setting of the show. In fact the show is a huge homage to a lot of the classic films from the decade, most notably are ET and Poltergeist with taking place in the suburbs of the early 80s. Plus some of the Stephen King novels like It. I can see why the show was such a monster hit because it tapped into a lot of people’s nostalgia. But no matter how much they show it, it never really felt like tact on like in It (2017). It just fits fits with the homage. They only I thought wasn’t too good was the visual effects for the Demogorgon. I know the budget for a TV show is usually not as big as a movie’s but couldn’t you make it a little bit more convincing than looking like it jumped out of my Xbox One. Judging by the the trailers for Season 2 they’re not getting any better. But besides that this show is awesome. I’m glad I actually watched this because it has to be one of my favorite shows of all time. Like everyone else I am excited for Season 2. My best hope is that it one become overly memed like other popular shows like Rick and Morty. Which I’ll probably go over at some point in time. So that was my review on Season 1 of Stranger Things. Are you excited for Season 2? Leave it in the comments below. Hope you enjoyed this review and make sure to follow me on Snapchat @ bensuey3. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out!
When you turn on the TV in October, what do you usually see? Slasher movies! You know the whole those gorey, dirty, stabby slasher flicks that horror fans love. So, today, we’ll be going over slasher movies, let’s begin. Slasher films are defined by a plot that centers around a killer with a body count going around slashing people. Where did it all start? Well us horror fans know it started in the 70s but no one can really say which movie created the genre. Some say it was with Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974. However despite the title, there’s not many kills or that much gore. In fact, the only chase scene comes at the end. To me, the slasher genre started with Jaws in 1975. Yeah I know you are all tired of me talking about Spielberg on this blog but come on, his work is so legendary that it’s hard to avoid it. And I personally do think this can be considered a slasher movie. Seeing how the shark goes around killing people in the water, so that’s what I think. But the one film that really knocked it into 12 gear was none other than Halloween in 1978. The film instantly became a horror classic. From the acting, cinematography, music, and just all around good scares. So of course being Hollywood, they wanted more films like that one. This resulted in several clones, most notably is Friday the 13th. Which I already did a review in case you want to see my thoughts on it. But for every cheap ripoff, there was one that did something original with the genre. One of these being Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street. The slasher villain in that movie was Freddy Kruger who has the power to literally go into your dreams and kill you. And when are you more vulnerable than when you’re sleeping. Robert England’s performance was so bone chilling that it terrified a generation of 80s kids upon the film’s release in 1984. A lot of slasher villains were mostly supernatural beings. Besides Freddy Kruger there was also Jason Voorhees, Candyman, and probably the most gruesome of them all, Pinhead from the Hellraiser franchise. I just watched the first Hellraiser movie this year and it was so graphic that for a person who has sat through Evil Dead II and Brain Dead, that movie made mean feel a little queasy. Pinhead is a part of a species called “cenobites” that live in a world where pleasure and pain are one in the same. Like his name says he literally has pins and needles in his head. But sometimes a slasher villain doesn’t have to be a living being. It could just be an object. Like Chucky from the Child’s Play. Though I personally think the films are silly, a lot of people like them. I will admit Brad Dourif’s performance as Chucky is good. Also there was the Puppetmaster series which I also think is stupid but people like it fine. But don’t worry, we’re gonna go over some crappy ones. Like Pumpkinhead, which is about a creature that doesn’t even have a pumpkin for a head and looks like a discount xenomorph. Or how about Leprechaun which centers around Warwick Davis playing a killer leprechaun that kills people in the most embarrassing ways. At one point puncturing a guy’s chest with a pogo stick. Or Phantasm who’s protagonist is a frail old guy from another dimension who kills people with flying, silver balls. Plus all the the good ones getting tons a crappy sequels. So it’s time to wrap this up. The last good slasher flick came in 1996 with Scream. Wes Craven decided to end the slasher genre with this film and it totally shows. The plot is about a group of young horror fans who are killed one by one by a figure named Ghostface who does it by calling each of them up and asking them horror questions. So obviously it’s an homage to all the classics and it did end the genre with a bang. So what’s my final opinions on slasher movies? Well there are some bad ones but there are some that are really good. Hell, some of the sequels to Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street are pretty good too. But just like every new horror craze, most of them are cash grabs but once in a while you’ll get one that breaks the mold. Like remember when The Last Broadcast came out and inspired two guys to the overrated The Blair Witch Project and inspired a whole genre of crap except for Cloverfield. Now comes the final question, what’s my favorite? Probably Ridley Scott’s Alien, if you want to know why than check out my review of that also. So those are my opinions on slasher movies. What’s your favorite slasher movie? Leave it in the comments below. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Snapchat at bensuey3. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out!
Boy did I plan this out well. For today is, literally, Friday the 13th. Let’s review none other than the slasher cult classic, Friday the 13th. For those who don’t know, the Friday the 13th franchise is a popular series of horror movies that nearly always of the plot of teenagers are at a barely habited location (most often a camp) when a killer starts killing them one by one. Guess what. That is actually the plot summary of this movie! I know it sounds so cliched and generic. Like the stuff Joss Whedon made fun of in Cabin in the Woods. Butback then it was a relatively new setting for a horror movie. But that and the twist ending, which I’ll go over later, are the only things original this film offers. So like I said you have this group of teen stereotypes, one of them played by then newcomer Kevin Bacon, are out in the woods getting a camp set up for when kids come. Everybody tells them that the camp sight is cursed but they don’t listen. So what do you know, a killer attacks them. You can bet your bottom dollar that you won’t even remember these characters by the time you finish this movie. It’s so easy to figure out who’s gonna die. Oh this one is a redneck hillbilly, looks like he’s going first. Oh look, this one is cheating on her boyfriend, guess she’s gonna die nude. Wait a minute, this girl is clean and a virgin, she’s the one that’s going to live. And guess what, they’re all idiots. Another thing is that if I saw this back in 1980 instead of now where it’s a global franchise, I’m pretty sure I would constantly compared it to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Think about it the our leads being kids, a slasher villain, titled as a date, POV shots from the killer, gorey kills, this film is basically a trashier version of Halloween. I know it sounds like this film sucks but there are some good things. Like the gore effects are really good. Tom Savini, who did the effects on Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, does a great job handling the effects. Plus the one thing that separates it from Halloween, the twist ending. Don’t read any further if you want to see the movie and don’t want spoilers! For the rest of us, here we go! Throughout the film, we’re supposed to suspect that the killer is the boy who drowned in the 50s (who would later be known as Jason Voorhees). But at the end where of course the virgin is the only one alive, it is revealed that it is not Jason, but his mother, Pamela Voorhees. She tells the whole backstory of Jason’s untimely death (or what we’re led to believe) and actually is the only person to get the slightest of character development. Basically her son’s death has drove her insane and now she gets revenge by killing the camp counselors because two counselors ignored Jason when he was drowning. So in a time where horror protagonists were dominated by men, this cheap slasher flick actually tried to do something different. Too bad they ruined it with a cliched cliffhanger that confirmed that Jason is still alive and of course in the army of sequels this film got, he completely took over the villain role and became one of most popular slasher villains of all time. Way to ruin your credibility movie! So that’s my review of Friday the 13th and though it’s not as bad as some of its later follow-ups, it’s still not that good. It’s not bad, but it’s definitely not great either. I know a lot of horror fans love this movie but thought it was mediocre. But I won’t stop you from enjoying this movie. I hope you enjoyed this review and I’ll see you tomorrow for another special post. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out!
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it is now time for our first horror movie review! Now what should I do? There’s so just much to choose from! Wait a minute, it has been 30 years since Evil Dead II came out! All right, let’s review that classic gem. Now I know what some of you are thinking, “Ben, don’t you technically have to go over the first movie in order to review this one?” First of all: plenty of online reviewers have gone over sequels and don’t have to over the first one. Second: you don’t really have to have seen the first one in order to watch the second one. Besides Bruce Campbell’s Ash and the mythology of the deadites, there really is no mentioning of the first one. I hope that explains it let’s get on with the review. The plot is about Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) and his girlfriend, Linda, go to a cabin in the woods for vacation (which is always a mistake in horror movies). While there, Ash discovers recordings a man who was studying supernatural creatures known as deadites who are summoned from the Necronomicon Ex Morris (aka “The Book of the Dead”). But behold the deadites attack them. They posses Linda and soon go after Ash. But Ash fights back and goes through hours of torment in a cabin which he can’t leave. So it’s up to him and other expossble characters who come in later to survive. The film is best one in the Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead Franchise. With its effects, gore, and a good performance from Bruce Campbell. This film is full of memorable scenes. Such as when Ash’s right hand gets possesed and starts bashing china on his head. What does Ash do? He cuts his hand of with a chainsaw. Or in another scene with a pretty cool effect when an evil Ash jumps out of the mirror and talks to the real Ash. And of course, when Ash suits up for battle by replacing his hand a chainsaw, he says the iconic line “Groovy”. The effects are good like makeup for the deadites or at the end where the trees come alive. Like I said Bruce Campbell makes a great Ash Williams. In the first film he was sort of a dumb baffoon where in this one he starts out frightened and confused but eventually finds the courage to fight the deadites. Plus if watch closely you might catch some subtle foreshadowing in the film. But like every other movie in existence, there are flaws with it. One thing that literally almost killed the movie for me and I’m serious was the subplot where a brother and sister are going to see their parents who just so happened to have lived in the cabin where Ash and Linda went to ( which makes no sense because why would they go there and did they know about it in the first place) and the father appearently was the guy who studied the Necronomicon Ex Motis which released the deadites and killed him and his wife. The whole time I just did not care about them. I wanted to just see Ash fight off the deadites but I guess writer Sam Raimi thought that audiences would get bored with just Ash being the only character to live through this entire movie so they got more character. Like I said they’re just so uninteresting and expossible. Not only do we get the brother and sister, but we also get a stereotypical redneck couple who are so obviously there to die that they should have shown them digging their graves in every time they were on screen. But at least the sister (whose name is Annie by the way) helps a little bit later and does read the passages of the Necronomicon that vanish the deadites. It ended up sending Ash into a time warp to the past but she still tried. Despite its flaws Evil Dead II is a fun horror flick. The first film may have found some success but this one had a lot of success upon its release in 1987 and started a franchise that gave it a sequel, Army of Darkness, tons of merchandise, video games, a musical, a 2013 remake, and most recently a spinoff TV show on STARZ called Ash vs. Evil Dead. You know what, it was all worth it. So that’s my review on Evil Dead II and I hope you enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a good horror/comedy than watch this one. I’ll be doing more horror reviews every weekend and for all you Evil Dead fans, happy 30th anniversary! This the Adolescent Critic signing out!
Well October has finally come and the Halloween season is in gear. Since I’m too old for going trick or treat and too young to go the Halloween parties, I’ve been trying to think of what to do this month. Oh I know! I’ll watch some classic horror movies. What better way to start but with the Classic Universal Monsters. For those who don’t know the Universal Monsters are classic horror characters ranging from the 20s to the 50s. This includes Dracula, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and the Frankenstein Monster. Today we’re going to talk about them. Some fans argue when it all started. Some say it was with the 1923 adaptation of Hunchback of Notre Dame. However most fans agree it all started with Phantom of the Opera in 1925. Phantom of the Opera is adapted from a book by Gaston Leroux. The plot is about a young woman named Christine Daae who is an opera singer in 1909 France. But she secretly gets lessons from a mysterious figure who lives under the opera. The film was a hit for the then up and coming Universal Studio and started the whole trend of horror movies about human deformities. Actor Lon Chaney (aka “The Man of a Thousand Faces” makes this movie as the monster, the Phantom. The Phantom is a very sad and tragic one. He acts like a supernatural being when really he is an outcast who’s always depressed and doesn’t know what to do with himself. So after that Universal moved on to the sound era in 1931 with now classics Dracula and Frankenstein. Both were even more successful and made actors Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff the horror kings of the time. Bot are based on novels and are critically acclaimed. Lugosi played Dracula who is obviously the most famous vampire who lives in a castle and wants to make a vampire mate. While Karloff played the Frankenstein Monster who is a monster created by Dr. Frankenstein and sown together from pieces of different people and animals plus accidentally given an abnormal brain. Throughout the film the monster is acts like a child and later you feel sympathetic for him because of his deformity. The look of the monster has become so iconic thanks to the makeup effects by Jack Pierce. So now a new era of horror began but there were so many scary novels to choose from. So for their next film, Universal decided to make something original which resulted in the iconic Mummy. Released in 1932, The Mummy was avery atmospheric movie with good camera work, music, and a fantastic performance by Boris Karloff as the Mummy, Imhotep. Sure the Mummy is mostly known as the decomposed, slow moving, wrapped in bandages creature but in the first movie he actually walks around unwrapped and talks to people. In fact the only scene where he looks like the stereotype is at the very beginning and that’s it. Besides a few similarities to Dracula, the film was pretty god and created the famous character of the Mummy. So going from three horror films based on novels to an original idea, Universal decided to go back to adapting books with our next film in 1933, The Invisible Man. Based on the famous HG Wells novel, The Invisible Man is about a scientist named Jack Griffen who makes a potion that makes him invisible without a cure. The more he is invisible, the more he enjoys it and ends up terrorizing a small town. Unlike most of the previous films, The Invisible Man is little bit more of a black comedy with some of the antics the Invisible Man does. The director of this film is James Whale, who also directed Frankenstein, brings the film a dark yet comedic tone. Also the film has a good effects for the time and another fantastic performance by the lead, Claude Rains who you might know from Casablanca and Lawrence of Arabia. Rains would appear in other Universal horror movies like the 1943 remake of Phantom of the Opera and our very next film, The Wolf Man. In the 1940s Universal was more focused on rebooting their classic monster characters with sequels of remakes. But they at least gave us one new monster with The Wolf Man in 1941. The film is about a man named Larry Talbot who gets bitten by a werewolf one night and at the next full moon, he turns into the Wolf Man. This film has a very gothic tone and atmosphere and once again, a great portayal by our lead Lon Chaney Jr. who, you guessed it, id the son of Lon Chaney. His performance as the Wolf Man was so great that Universal made him their next horror star throughout the 40s. Playing the other Universal Monsters like the Mummy and the Frankenstein Monster. This started a cinematic universe involving over-the-top story lines and tame action. But then the 50s came and the monsters were so over-used that no one really saw them scary anymore. In the fact they were mostly used for comedy with legends Abott and Costello. So Universal decided to give us one more monster movie with Creature from the Black Lagoon in 1953. The film is about a prehistoric creature known as the Gill Man, who is found by scientists in the Amazon and are attacked by the monster except for one woman who the Gill Man has a bit of a love interest in her. The film, like the others, was a hit and got two sequels, Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us. After that the the Universal monster trend ended. However the monsters survived over the years and have been remade countless times and now are (maybe) getting another cinematic universe which probably you guys know I’m not excited for. If you want more proof on that check out my review on Tom Cruise’s The Mummy. But if you are a Universal Monster fan like me then I recommend seeing the film Monster Squad. Which is sort of like a cross between The Goonies and The Lost Boys. Sure it has its flaws but it’s worth it to see all the classic monsters together on the big screen. So there’s my opinions the Classic Universal Monsters. I bet you’re wondering what is my favorite out of the bunch? Well it would have be Bride of Frankenstein. Horror sequels are usually seen as lesser versions of the originals, this film managed to be even better by giving the Frankenstein Monster more personality and introducing more interesting characters including the only famous female Universal Monster, the Bride. So there you go, my opinions on Classic Universal Horror. Hope you enjoyed it and I’ll see you tomorrow!
If you grew up watching Cartoon Network you should be no stranger to Samurai Jack. With it’s good animation, unforgettable characters, and cool action it’s no wonder that this show has defined a generation. The show aired on Cartoon Network back in 2001 and was thought to have been cancelled in 2004. However Adult Swim brought it back for a fifth season this year. Also this year the first 4 episodes of season 1 being shown in theaters for one night only on October 16. And I won’t be able to go. However being aa fan of the show I’ll give my thoughts on Samurai Jack. Plus I’ve been wanting to do a review on a TV show for a while now. Though I heard about the show constantly as a toddler I don’t really remember watching it as much. Maybe because most of my earliest memories take after the show’s original cancellation. But after watching it I immediately knew what I missed out on. I was instantly hooked on the just in the first few seconds of the very first episode. The first shot we see is of a solar eclipse [ironic seeing I started watching the show just weeks before the year’s actual eclipse] when lightning all of a sudden appears and releases the show’s main villain, Aku [voiced by Mako]. Aku is a shape-shifting, master of darkness. I know this because he says it in every single episode. Aku attacks a village in I guess is Japan where an emperor sends away his wife and son who would later be known as Jack. Jack trains all of his life adapting many fighting techniques from many cultures until he is all grown up and finally goes to confront Aku. Only wielding a magic sword which is the only thing known to penetrate Aku. In the fight Jack gets the upper hand and eventually pins him down. Before the final blow was struck, Aku tore open a portal in time and flung him into the future where Aku has completely taken over the world. So for the rest of the series it’s up to Jack to get back to the past and prevent the future that is Aku. The show’s creator Genndy Tartakovsky has also made one f my childhood favorites, Dexter’s Laboratory. Where that show was all silly and fun, Samurai Jack is a little more serious. Some of episodes center around Jack’s hardship and how he lost all of his family and friends. Plus the show isn’t just always action. Sometimes there are quiet moments where the story sometimes doesn’t have to be told with any dialogue. Let’s talk about the characters. Our protagonist, Jack, though doesn’t get his name until episode 2 of season 1, he already had enough motivation to make a good character. Jack though has suffered many disappointments in his life still keeps going and saves many lives. Aku is a very cool villain who has the right balance being threatening and funny. Another one of my favorite characters is the Scotsman [voiced by John Dimaggio] who is absolutely hilarious. A lot of the episodes usually have to do with Jack discovering different people or species and helping them with something. Like a group of intelligent dog archeologists who want to discover their past but are constantly harassed by Aku’s men. Or a tribe of mammoth-like beings who are enslaved by aliens that look like those digeez from the Cox commercials. Does anyone else remember those? I don’t care. Those episodes episodes usually come with pretty fun action which involves Jack slicing up robots. Can’t make them living beings because how else are we supposed to show this to kids? But don’t worry, the show has its fair share stupid episodes. Like that one where Jack gets turned into a chicken by a crazy wizard and gets captured to participate in cock fights. Or how about that time where Jack has to fight off mecha-cannibals who want to eat his magic sword. It’s just so bizarre yet so stupid at the same time. The animation though not too great is still pretty good. Especially when it’s all stylized. The opening theme though catchy is hard to understand. In fact they briefly explain the lyrics in one episode because no kid could figure it out. By the way the episode it’s from is about Jack’s sandals breaking which somehow prevents him from fighting theses evil, Hell’s Angels robots so he has to try on other shoes till he finds the right pair to fight in. Yeah that happened too. But overall the show is pretty kickass. It’s a fun show to watch if you’re either a kid or an adult. It’s funny yet serious. Full of action yet intelligent. And tons of awesome characters. If you’re a Samurai Jack fan I highly encourage you to go see the first 4 episodes in theaters on October 16. However I’ll be busy this month so I won’t be able to see it. On this final note Samurai Jack, one of the best shows of all time!
Update: Whew, that was a long one. For this update I’d like to go over my plans for the website this month. The reason why I won’t be able to see the Samurai Jack Special is because I have big plans for this season. I love Halloween so I’ll be doing reviews on classic horror movies and maybe talking about my favorites as well. So be looking forward to that sometime soon. Happy October everybody!
Now, I want to ask you a question. What is one of the most well-known authors in existence? Right now you might be thinking of Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, or Virginia Wolf. But one author, who everyone remembers is good, old Stephen King. With over 125 books under his belt, King has written several pieces of literature and some have translated well on the big screen like Carrie, Misery, Stand by Me, The Shining, The Green Mile, and The Shawshank Redemption. However some have not like Sleepwalkers, Maximum Overdrive, The Langoliers, The Dark Tower, and Dreamcatchers. Today we have another adaptation of a King classic known as It. When the trailer first popped up everyone went nuts. It looked scary & cool, and I thought the same. So when I finally saw it, it was ehh. I mean it’s not bad, but it’s definitely not good either. We all know this wasn’t the first time It was adapted, first it was on the little screen back in 1990. Though I didn’t find it particularly scary apparently a lot of people did. Though this new version has good acting from our child leads and some genuine good scares, something never felt right. Was anyone else suspicious about the fact that production for the film was stuck in limbo until Stranger Things came out? That fact that they’re both set in the 1980s, have an “almost” similar plot, and even have one of the same child-actors! Which is weird because Stranger Things was a bit of an homage to King’s work and this film kind of leeches off the show’s elements. But besides that the film shifts tones twice in the movie. At first It is typical Stephen King with unique scares and a dark atmosphere. Then half-way through it goes all Evil Dead with almost comedic overtones. Like seriously, one scene two characters were stuck in a room with three doors that say “Scary, Very Scary, Super Scary” on them, and I don’t know if we were supposed to take it seriously or not. I’d probably give it a pass if it didn’t change again, this time it’s all Monster Squad where in the climax these kids have to basically beat Pennywise into submission in order to defeat him. Oh yeah, let’s talk about Pennywise shall we? For those who don’t know the villain of the story is an eternal, shape-shifting monster that most of the time takes the appearance of a clown named Pennywise. Pennywise [or It] loves to feed off of children especially when they’re scared. Though I know most people are afraid of clowns, I’ve hardly been. Plus it’s bizarre how out of all the appearances he makes he always ends up changing into a clown, not even an inviting one either. Tim Curry’s original performance in the mini-series may have not been frightening. At least he could look nice and caring enough to believe that he could lure actual kids in. This time the people behind the design of Pennywise clearly don’t get it and make it look completely terrifying 100% of the time. What kind of child wouldn’t see this and immediately shart their pants and run? It doesn’t help that Its other forms such as a disfigured, painted lady and a headless kid are more teriffying than the clown itself. The worst thing about this movie are the effects. I’ve said before that I always prefer practical over CG, and if you need any proof then look at this movie. The film is constantly bombarded with terrible CG effects that look like they jumped out of a PS3 game. The worst being the effects for Its teeth. In one scene his face peels back revealing a whole mouth full of sharp teeth with these three bright orbs flying out of them, and it looks horrendous. Then in another scene you can compare these effects back to back. When the losers club finds Its secret hideout there are people and objects floating around in the air. One of the members, Beverly, is floating, and she’s only hoisted by a wire but the effect looks better than when you see the other people floating around that look like garbage. Sure there are probably movies with worst CG effects but I’m only judging this movie. It’s that bad! So that’s my synopsis on It . I know a lot of people like this movie but I think it’s alright. There are some good things in this movie, but there are some bad things as well. Sorry for the delay, I’ve been a little lazy. You know I actually bought the book back in May and I’ve never finished it. It’s so long too. Why does Stephen King have to do this. You know let’s go over that real quick. Most of the time the book loses focus. One time a part was interrupted so King could write about the history of a gay bar. No joke. Plus King was coced of his ass while writing the book. So you get these crazy instances like when the losers club has to lose their virginities in order to survive. Boy was that a good read. So I’ve never finished it and it has gotten more use as a foot-stool than a form of entertainment. So that’s that and I’ll see you soon.
As you can probably tell by this point Steven Spielberg is one of my favorite directors. After all just two weeks ago I posted about the 40th anniversary of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, did a retro review of Duel, and went over a bit of the Indiana Jones Series in my childhood trauma stuff. And here’s another one. For today I’ll be going over the cult classic 1941. After Jaws and Close Encounters everyone thought his next motion picture was going to be another one for the books. Though a hit in Europe, upon its release in the US during Christmas weekend of 1979, 1941 was panned by critics and didn’t do so well at the box office. Surprising seeing how it had an all-star cast and a famous director behind it. But alas that did not work. But hope would come 4 years later in 1983 when an extended cut was shown on television that showed more of the characters and extra scenes. Because of this the film gained a strong cult following and is now considered a classic. However is it as “good” as some believe it to be? Well, let’s take a look. The plot takes place in early 1940s LA where everyone is paranoid of war due to Pearl Harbor. Then a Japanese submarine appears off the coast led by Cmdr. Akiro Mitamura [played by Toshiro Mifune] and Capt. Wolfgang von Kleinschmit [played by Christopher Lee]. Throughout the film we meet a whole platoon of characters like Sgt. Frank Tree [played by Dan Aykroyd] who hates seeing Americans fighting Americans, Ward Douglas [played by Ned Beatty] a stern family man, and of course Capt. Wild Bill Kelso [played by John Belushi] a drunk, boastful fighter pilot. And the film leads up to a huge climax with explosions, guns, and corny humor. Like I said this film’s cast is amazing. John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Candy, Christopher Lee, Nancy Allen, Christopher Lee, what the hell! All do a good job at their roles. Belushi plays himself as a pilot but by god does he chew the scenery. Dan Aykroyd is great as the sgt. Beatty is good as the loud father. Plus Lee and Mifune have some funny banter. There’s this whole love triangle between Beatty’s daughter, a douchey soldier, and a boy obsessed with dancing but I didn’t care. The effects are pretty good with the models and action. And the film does create some laughs. But the thing I enjoy most is the John Williams score. The main theme, March of 1941, sounds about as patriotic as a bald eagle wearing an Uncle Sam hat while driving a Chevy pickup truck that shoots fireworks. So check that out at some point. But the main problem is it’s so loud! If you want to see this movie don’t watch it with headphones. If someone is not screaming their lungs out, they’re either blowing something up, firing guns in their air, or throwing stuff at each other. You know we can take a joke without someone yammering it at us. Speaking of which, some of the jokes are a little hokey. Seriously one of the jokes was that the Japanese soldiers want to attack Hollywood so they ask this guy named Hollis Wood. GET IT?!? That’s what most of the humor is like in this movie. Don’t worry some of the jokes do get chuckles, but the majority of the jokes are corny. Does the film still hold up? Yeah, it sure does. I would do an injustice saying I didn’t have fun watching the film. Spielberg has been doing WW2 movies since he got a camera as a kid. Though he has made better WW2 films like Shindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and even Indiana Jones 1 & 3, but this film is okay. If you have some spare time, pop this movie in and have some fun!
Update: If some of you are wondering I will do a review of It  by tomorrow. I was going to see It last week but some family things came up but I’ve finally seen it. I’ll get to that tomorrow. I’ll do these updates frequently in the future so look out for that. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.
In 1977 a little sci-fi, Steven Spielberg movie called Close Encounters of the Third Kind and it was destined for success. And now for it’s 40th anniversary Columbia Pictures has re-released it in new 4k restoration. So being a movie-buff and had never seen it before, I was relatively excited to see it on the big screen. And then it became one of my favorite movies of all time. No joke, the film was so good that I immediately fell in love with the film. This will be one of the rare moments where I’ll say good job Sony. So where do we start? Roy Neary, played by Richard Dreyfuss, is a cableman living with an obnoxious family. One night the power goes out in a small town in Indiana where Roy resides. He goes to fix it when he comes across an amazing sight, a UFO. Apparently Roy’s not the only one seeing UFOs because other people like Jillian Guiler, played by Melinda Dillon, and her son, Barry. Not only that but the government is also trying to figure out why UFOs are popping up on Earth while covering it up from the public. Strange things happen like old lost relics being returned, bright lights & music being seen & heard in the sky, and Roy & Jillian getting constant visions of a mountain. And government officials, one of them played by Bob Balaban, believe this all is a sign of alien contact. The film is an absolute masterpiece. There are so many things to discuss so let’s begin. As I said in my review of Duel Steven Spielberg is one of my favorite directors. This is no exception from his work. The film is very directed and is competently made. The acting especially from Richard Dreyfuss is convincing and oscar-worthy. And the story is down-right intriguing. But the best thing about this movie are it’s ground-breaking effects, visuals, and score by John Williams. The UFO models are well designed and the visuals make them look colorful and pretty eyecandy. Like at the ending where the mother ship appears from over the canyon. Plus the score by John Williams is amazing. When the music blends in with the visuals is obviously the best parts of the whole movie. John Williams music can be found on Spotify and the soundtrack is probably one of his greatest composers. The only problem I have with the alien’s plans. So apparently they abducted all of these people and relecs then waited decades later to give them back. Sure maybe that was there plan to take all of that stuff then give it back later to prove that they exist but if that’s the case then why did they abduct little Barry later in film. I mean sure it adds for a suspenseful scene but if you don’t know the point of it then it ruins the scene. Was it in response to the government cover-ups or what? But besides that the film is pretty solid. It is a really good movie, one of Spielberg’s best in my opinion. So take my advice and go see the movie on the big screen while it lasts. You won’t regret it.
So after watching Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and hungering for more films with great tension, I tried to find more films like it. And I ended up finding an old TV movie called Steven Spielberg’s Duel. This film was a good choice because it was so great that I may consider it one of my favorite films by Spielberg. The plot concerns about a guy named David Mann, played by Dennis Weaver, who is on his way to an appointment out of his town. While on the road he runs into an old tanker truck that is kind of messing around with him. However while driving some more he realizes that the truck driver has some serious road rage and is probably trying to kill him. So it’s up to him to try to survive. This film is a very engaging movie with heart-pounding tension. Mostly because of Spielberg’s camerawork and direction. The script is by Richard Matheson who also wrote the novels I Am Legend and The Shrinking Man which both were turned into movies. Matheson was inspired by a real life event where he was driving by a crazy truck driver on the highway. Originally published in a Playboy Magazine [no joke] the story was picked up by Universal Studios. Spielberg immediately picked up the project and thus the film Duel was born. Like I said earlier this was originally a TV movie that was gonna premier on ABC’s Movie of the Week special. However the film was so well done that I forgot that it even was a TV movie. In fact it was shown in theaters overseas. Dennis Weaver did a great job portraying David Mann. He really felt like he was actually worried for his life and not a person acting as a character. The other character everyone remembers is the truck. Spielberg worked hard to make the truck look like some kind of monster. In a mini documentary on the DVD I got called A Conversation with Steven Spielberg gave more details on how he choose the truck. He thought the tanker had a face like how the windows are the eyes, the front end is a huge snout, and the grill and front bumper is the mouth. Plus they used makeup as well to make it look like a horrid creature like the Wolfman or a Mummy. Spielberg wanted the truck look like a veteran of road murders by making it look scruffy and giving it oil marks. Plus you never see the truck driver’s face. Sure you see his boots or his hands sometimes and in you kind of get a glimpse of the stunt man, Carey Loftin’s face however you never get a clear look at his face. I’ve never felt so nervous in a movie ever. In the climax David is trying to get up a hill and his car is over-heating and starts to slow down with the truck close behind. That one scene is very nerve-racking. Or how about another scene where he stops in a diner and realizes that the truck driver may be in the diner with him. Scenes like that make this film interesting. But like every movie it’s not flawless. For some reason David still feels the need to get to this appointment even though this maniac has been trying to kill him and still is stalking him all the way. At that point I would’ve turned around and gone home instead of constantly putting my life on the line. Also how come David has to stop a couple times to get gas when the big truck still pushes forward. I assume that a truck that’s going over 50 miles an hour and is hauling a heavy tank would burn a lot fuel. Or maybe he has a bunch of gas in his tanker and there’s a secret line pumping it into his truck all the time. But despite those flaws the film still holds up. I enjoy chase movies like the Mad Max films and this was a great one for the books. I highly recommend this movie to everyone reading this review right now.