Archive for February, 2011

Break Thru Films

Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Larry A. Thompson, Don Rickles, Bari Pearlman, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Donald Trump, Jack Paar

This documentary was made as Joan turned 75 years old. It is a delightful documentary which features a lot of background on Joan’s life as well as clips of her performances over the last half century from the time she was in her early twenties. All the good and the bad are equally shown. No punches were held as anyone as talented and funny as Joan has to be driven to the max as well as a little bit crazy. Joan talks about many of the infamous moments in her life, from her early appearances on the Jack Paar Show and the famous breakup with Johnny Carson when she was banned from NBC for years because she took a full time gig as a competitive talk show on FOX against Johnny. Also is the devastation of her husbands suicide and her close ties to her daughter Melissa whom Joan protects like a mother hen.

This goes all the way up through the appearance of Joan and Melissa on Celebrity Apprentice and the hard times and good times of that experience. Joan is a workaholic and from the early days when she was a writer (which she never gave up) to the challenges of her acting career. Joan says that she wanted to be an actress more than anything. This film is quick and well edited and is a good story. Much detail (and Joan’s famous foul mouth) fills up this documentary, and Joan talks about why she did “blue” comedy, and why she hates when people tell her that she “knocked down walls and opened the door” for others. She explains why she takes offense to that. All in all it was a good time watching this film. I recommend it to anyone who isn’t offended by the language and subject, and who would be interested in the background of Joan’s amazing life.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Camera 2 Productions, Century Films

William Bill McGhee, Annie MacAdams, Rosie Holotik, Gene Ross, Camilla Carr, Jessie Lee Fulton, Jessie Kirby, Harryete Warren, Rhea Macadams

Stephens Sanitarium is a remote psychiatric hospital run the the unique Dr. Stephens (Michael Harvey). Nurse Charlotte Beale (Rosie Holotik) shows up by the request of Dr. Stephens to work in the assylum, only to find that Dr. Stephens has just been killed by a hatchet to the head by one of his patients. Dr. Geraldine S. Masters (Annabelle Weenick) is in charge and is not very happy to have outsiders come in, but is finally convinced to let Nurse Beale stay temporarily. But as time passes it becomes increasingly hard to tell which people are crazy and which are nuts. Maybe there’s a good reason why Dr. Masters does not want outsiders in the place.

This serious B movie is very campy. This is very typical of the 70’s drive-in flicks of the age. Originally titled as The Forgotten, this was later re-released as Don’t Look in the Basement, which is the most common title you will see today. This film seems to be in the public domain at this point, so many versions are available at a low cost. You might well find this in the DVD bin of the local 99 cent store. The gore is pretty weak by the newer slasher films, but there is a lot of blood and gore atypical of these kinds of films, so it must have been pretty scary in it’s day. There is no wonderful acting here. It’s all very low cost and simple, but the love of the genre shows. Like some of the other “classics” of this era such as Night of the Living Dead, this one goes right for the scare factor and does it pretty well. When you’re in the mood for a classic low budget 70’s horror flick, this is as good as any to choose. Not great cinema, but a good reminder of a time in the past when were spent summer evenings in our car, eating hot dogs and popcorn and listing to a move on a HUGE billboard sized screen on a cheesy 3 inch speaker hung in the window. $2.00 a carload, fill up the station wagon and come on out to the picture show.

Many copies of this film are sold in a “double feature” package. Why not spend a night when you have nothing to do taking a trip back in nostalgia.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Alcon Entertainment, Burg/Koules Productions, Cube Vision

Bow Wow, Brandon T Jackson, Naturi Naughton, Loretta Devine, Ice Cube, Keith David, Terry Crews, Mike Epps, Charlie Murphy, Bill Bellamy

Kevin Carson (Bow Wow) picks all the right numbers in the mega lottery. Unfortunately, it’s a long July 4th weekend and he has to hold on to the ticket till the office opens on Monday. Attempting to keep it a secret doesn’t work very well, and suddenly everyone wants to be his friend. Besides everyone looking for money for this and that, or just wanting to have a baby dad with 370 Million dollars, Kevin is surrounded by new challenges. A preacher who’s looking for an upgrade, a mobster who wants to be his new best friend, and a thug who just going out of prison and just wants the ticket whatever the cost. Of course Kevin has a few friends too. The wacky sidekick, the smart girl who gives him good advice, and a old boxer Thump (Ice Cube) because he makes a thump when he hits the canvas, who everyone thinks is crazy or a serial killer. If Kevin can survive till Monday, he might get the money, but he’s about as likely to die trying to make it to Monday as it is.

This is a mildly humorous film, but has a few problems. First of all, I’m not sure Mr. Bow Wow is ready to hold the lead in a whole movie like this. He seems pretty green and is not yet a very good actor. Ice Cube is a veteran, but has very little to do in this film, and it’s great when he’s on screen, but it’s not enough to keep it rolling. A few of the other characters are good, but mostly it’s pretty amateurish. There is a lot of stuff that doesn’t really progress the film anywhere and it seems like it’s stalling for quite a while, then wraps up in a big hurry. The big showdown is pretty underwhelming and seems way underdone. I don’t think these guys are going to give up after one beat down. Bad guys don’t operate that way. There is no incentive for not taking Kevin and his money if they want. But suddenly it’s major crisis then instantly happy ending and we all live happily ever after. Somehow I didn’t buy it. If you’re a fan of Tyler Perry or the urban “projects” humor films you’ll probably enjoy this a lot. Otherwise, it’s a nice watch and is as I said in the beginning, mildly humorous. Not great or a classic by any stretch, but entertaining none the less. I’m not blown away with it, but it’s not bad.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Dark Sky Films, ArieScope Pictures

Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Parry Shen, Tom Holland, R.A. Mihailoff, AJ Bowen, Alexis Peters, Ed Ackerman

Hatchet 2 picks up exactly where the first one left off. Marybeth (Danielle Harris) escaped from the bayou and seeks help in going back to discover the bodies of her family and to find and seek revenge on the horrible creature who killed them. Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) is the deformed monster killer, and this movie gives us a lot of the back story on how he became the monster he is. Marybeth seeks the help of Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd ) who is a con artist/tour guide who sent the group into the swamp in the first place, who promises to help her to get revenge on Victor Crowley. The Reverend in turn requires the help of a lot of other characters to go back into the swamp and prove it is safe so he can resume his tour business. But he may have other motives as well! Who can Marybeth trust?

This is an old school slasher flick ala Haloween or Friday the 13th. In that respect, it’s fairly low budget (however much improved over the first one) and has a pretty decent cast. It has lots of gory deaths and blood and guts, but that’s exactly what we’d expect in a move of this genre. You get exactly what you pay for in this respect. It’s a slasher through and through with some very unique weapons and methods of dying. Not a bad film at all, but a low budget B film, it’s a fun little adventure and if you’re into horror films, especially of the slasher variety, you can’t go wrong with this little sequel.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Deon Taylor Enterprises, Tiger Tail Entertainment

Nikki Reed, Keith David, Betsy Russell, Brad Dourif, Ling Bai, Brian Tee, Noah Segan, Clifton Powell, Matt Cohen, Cherilyn Wilson

Teens today are too into technology. Their teacher tries to tell them that with the benefits come the down side of being on-line 24/7. He has a nostalgic speech about how, back in the day, when you left your house you were unreachable until you came back home. But the kids laugh it off. Then , up pops a “Chain Letter” that informs them that they are going to have 24 hours to forward the email to 5 people or they will die. Problem is, this guy means it. When someone deletes it as spam, sure enough they die a horrible death. A serial killer is out to wipe out the world of the evil people who don’t forward spam. Hogwash.

This is, in my opinion, a very bad movie. Not only has it been done to death (“Fear Dot Com” “The Ring” etc), but it’s not even very good. It’s kind of “Saw”ish in that they try to develop clever and innovative ways to kill people, but they are very bad. First of all, they have to use a chain because it’s his theme, and there are only so many ways to kill someone with a chain. So they are not so unique and innovative as you would expect. The deaths are kind of boring. I tried 3 times to watch this film. The first time I fell asleep. The second I got really bored and quit watching it. Then, just for the sake of the readers, I watched it start to finish the third time, and I have to say, I forced myself to get all the way through it. Having done that, I know that the first scene is a flashback and you won’t really know what happened until the very end. But this is no “Pulp Fiction” in that respect. No clever twists and turns where you end up viewing the same scene from another perspective. This time they just cut off the camera in the beginning, then show it again with the final gory dismemberment and death in the end. Although I have to admit that this was probably the only death that was somewhat unique. I’m not sure how the killer would know that both people would be leaving at the same moment, and that someone would drive up and distract them at just the right moment, but that’s poetic license I guess. But all in all I was really bored with this film and don’t recommend it. However, I’m sure there are some fans out there. I must say, I’m a horror buff, but this particular one didn’t do it for me. But I will admit the quality is good in terms of the technical side of things. I just wish they could have been a little bit creative with the script as it was painfully dull. My $0.02.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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