Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

Real Genius, created by Neal Israel and Pat Proft: a film Review

Synopsis:

The CIA is determined to create a new “peace time” weapon, codename Crossbow, that uses a high-powered laser to eliminate potential threats before they become terrorists.  To do so they recruit the help of a well-know college professor to create the laser needed to pull off this accomplishment.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Mitch is accepted to the college for mid-winter term due to his insane intellect.  Rooming with genius and role model, Chris Knight, proves to be vastly different from the idea that Mitch builds up in his head.  Knight is a bit of a prankster and overall chill guy compared to tightly wound genius Mitch.

As the pair find their differences and turn them into strengths to help each other through the difficult final semester for Knight, they work to create an incredibly powerful laser that will be Knight’s ticket to graduation.

But when they are forced to see what possible uses someone would have for a laser that big and powerful they must come to terms with the fact that sometimes, as scientists, you need to think about the practical applications of your creations…and come to terms with the fact that they may not be used for the good and hopeful reasons you would want them to be…

General Information:

-Genre: Science Fiction Teen Comedy

-Creator: Neal Israel and Pat Proft

-Length: 106 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild sex, nudity and sexual innuendo, mild profanity, mild partying)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), STARZ (with subscription), HBO Go (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Val Kilmer, Gabe Jarret, Michelle Meyrink, William Atherton, Robert Prescott, Jon Gries

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Such a great comedy and one of my top watched movies of all time.  It is a staple in my vocabulary to quote lines from this film.  And there are plenty of them that are quotable.

I love the story, the quirky characters and the fact that, though the science is incredibly above my head as I know nothing about optics, everything discussed is relatable.  It isn’t about the science.  You don’t have to know anything to love this film.

Witty and sarcastic this whole movie is an absolute gem of late ‘80s comedy.   From the child genius on a college campus (and in a dorm!) to the fact that the bad guy is someone in the faculty…its just an overall ridiculous film that is just as funny after the first watch as the 100th.  Plus, it has a great soundtrack.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me, Week of Love

The Tempest, by Shakespeare: a Play review

Synopsis:

A ship is caught in a terrible storm and is soon shipwrecked upon an island.  The mysterious storm was caused by the sorcery Prospero and the spirit Ariel in retaliation for the usurpation of Prospero’s title not a dozen years before.

When the survivors become stranded it is apparent that the usurpers Antonio and Alonso are amongst those on board.  prospero decides to reverse what has been done to him by those who have survived the shipwreck…by encouraging a relationship between his beloved daughter, miranda, and Ferdinand (one of the survivors).

Will Prospero be successful in his quest? Will Miranda and Ferdinand fall in love?  Or will everything be upset by the comedic trio of a Jester, a drunken butler and the enslaved monster Caliban?

General Information:

-Genre: Comedy, Romantic Comedy

-Author: Shakespeare

-Number of Words: 16,633 words (about 65-75 pages in modern print)

-Characters: Prospero, Miranda, Ariel, Caliban, Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, Gonzalo, Adrian, Francisco, Trinculo, Stephano, Juno, Ceres, Iris, Master, Mariners, Boatswain, Nymphs, Reapers

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 350

Review (contains spoilers):

So apparently Halliday was kind of a jokester when it comes to his little game in RP1…since there are two Shakespeare plays mentioned in the book.  This is one of my least favorites in regard to his comedies.

I’ve seen it performed several times and was even in the show as the spirit Ariel for a few shows at a local theatre, but I just don’t find it as funny as many, many of the other comedies that Shakespeare wrote.  It is pretty straight forward overall.

The most fun in my opinion is the Masque in Act 4 where everyone gets to dress incredibly and very outside of their classes and just have a jovial time.  It is one of the few moments within Shakespeare where a show has not only the single large spectacle but has two exceptionally large ones!  The beginning shipwreck and then my favorite…the Masque which is full of dancing and gives the creatives working on the show the chance to actually show what they can do with their skills.

Overall, it’s a fun show that I recommend more as a visual play than sitting and reading it.  There is so much going on that it is sometimes hard to follow on the page. Especially when you are dealing with the comic relief trio…

Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

Revenge of the Nerds, created by Steven Zacherias and Jeff Buhai: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Best friends and nerds, Lewis and Gilbert, are headed off for their freshman year of college.  Excited to start out on a new journey the pair unexpectedly run into the Alpha Betas, the frat that houses most of the athletes that attend the college.  When they carelessly burn down their frat house, they take over the freshman dorms kicking out all of the freshman.

As the freshman adapt to living in the gym a small group of them, including Lewis and Gilbert, venture out and end up finding an abandoned house to fix up.  They are told they must join a frat in order to continue to live on Greek Row where the house is located.

Hilarity ensues as The Alpha Betas do everything they can to get the nerds to leave the Row and to get the house they fixed up for their own brothers.

General Information:

-Genre: Teen Sex Comedy

-Creator: Steven Zacherias, Jeff Buhai

-Length: 90 minutes

-Rating: R (moderate sex and nudity, mild violence, moderate profanity, moderate alcohol and drug use)

-Where to Watch: Hulu (with subscription, with add-on), Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Timothy Busfield, Andrew Cassese, Curtis Armstrong, Larry B. Scott, Brian Tochi, Julie Montgomery, Michelle Meyrink, Ted McGinley, Matt Salinger, Donald Gibb, James Cromwell, Lisa Weich, David Whol, John Goodman, Bernie Casey, Alice Hirson

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I went into this one with so many preconceptions.  I though that the movie was a “guy” movie like Dumb and Dumber.  I thought it wasn’t going to be funny.  I thought it would be similar to Animal House.

Boy was I wrong.

This was an absolutely adorable film.  It was so cute.  The film was all about a group of nerds using every clean trick in the book to beat out the cheating frat boys.

They are smart, talented, silly and a total group of nerds that get together to show up the horrible athletes at their college.  This was everything I didn’t know I needed in a feel-good comedy, but I defiantly did.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

Weird Science, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Nerds Gary and Wyatt are embarrassed by the popular senior jocks while they swooned over the seniors’ girlfriends.  Rejected the pair decide that they need to boost their popularity in order to win their crushes from the jocks.

While watching Frankenstein a brilliant idea occurs.  They should try and create their own girlfriend.  Using their computer and hooking a doll up to the system somehow their dream comes true.

Now what to do with a hot British girl who can make things appear on command?  Will they win their crushes, or will they just end up grounded for life?

General Information:

-Genre: Teen Science-Fiction Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 94 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sex and nudity, mild violence, moderate profanity, mild alcohol use and smoking)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock, Bill Paxton, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Rusler, Suzanne Snyder, Judie Aronson

-Page of Reference in RP1/RP2: 36/186

Review (contains spoilers):

A solid John Hughes flick.  You have your pretty stereotypical scenarios for an 80s teen comedy.  The nerds vs the jocks.  The desire of belonging.  Outcasts. Parties.  Pretty girls… you know the drill.

If you’ve seen one John Hughes flick you’ve seen them all.

But that isn’t to say they are bad in any way.

This one was completely entertaining.  Between the insanity of a Frankenstein woman, two teens that are fighting for love and somehow everything they want can be summoned at the drop of a hat.  And a young Robert Downing Jr. being a complete idiot and bully… which is a quite interesting role for him to play. Definitely a hour and a half well spent.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Home Alone 3, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The mob is out to seal a chip that will make any missile unable to be detected by radar and therefore indestructible.  After they retrieve the chip it is hidden in a toy car to hide it from security at the airport as a group of them work to get it back to their boss.  At the airport their bag is picked up by an elderly woman. As they chase after her they find she lives in a rich suburb of Chicago in a house that hasn’t been shoveled.

Just down the street is the local boy who shovels her walk.  She gives him the toy car that she accidently took at the airport as payment for his work.  That week he ends up at home with the chicken pox.  While stuck he discovers that thieves are trying to break into the house down the street… and then another house and another house… when he calls the police and is deemed a boy-who-cried-wolf he takes matters into his own hands.  What will happen when he discovers that these thieves want his toy car?  What could be so important that they would break into every house on the street to find?

General Information:

-Genre: Christmas Family Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 102 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild nudity, mild violence-particularly near the end of the film, mild profanity, mild intense scenes-particularly near the end of the film)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Alex D. Linz, Haviland Morris, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, Lenny Von Dohlen, David Thornton, Marian Seldes, Kevin Kilner, Scarlett Johansson

-Page of Reference in RP2: 182

Review (contains spoilers):

Finally! A more believable reason for the bad guys to be after the kid!  And a more believable reason the kid is at home ALONE!!!

While the general silliness and most of what really makes a John Hughes movie seems to be lacking here it’s an interesting choice for a third film.  Kind of “Wait until Dark” meets “Home Alone”.  It has a polish that was very indicative of later 90s films that is not seen in the first two movies.

The fact that the kid is an inventor and is super observant makes the whole set up and all the little traps he sets so much more believable.  Not that Kevin in the first two movies isn’t smart but some of the stuff he comes up with (while simple and effective) seems to be something an adult would think of rather than a typical kid (like the paint cans and the kerosene on the rope in Home Alone 2).  This kiddo is an inventor.  He comes up with some off the wall stuff…but most of it comes from a solid science side of things…and a love of Rube Goldberg machines.

A solid film that is fun to watch with the family.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Home Alone, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

It is Christmas time in one of the wealthiest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.  The McCallister family is getting ready to depart to visit family in Paris, France for the upcoming holiday.  As they all get ready the cousins and siblings clash causing the one of the youngest, Kevin, to be sent to the attic bedroom as punishment.  As he climbs the stairs Kevin makes the ultimate Christmas wish: that his family disappears for Christmas.

During the night a large storm causes a power outage. When they don’t wake up on time the family rushes to get to the airport, not realizing that the count of the cousins and, in turn, getting onto the plane means they left Kevin behind at the house.  As Kevin’s mother tries to get back home to get her child things at the house are in peril.

A pair of thieves are trying to make good on a holiday crime spree while everyone in the neighborhood is on vacation.  Will they be a match for Kevin?  Will Kevin be able to take care of himself? And will his mom get home in time for Christmas?

General Information:

-Genre: Christmas Family Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 103 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild violence-particularly in the end of the film, mild language, mild alcohol use, mild intense scenes-particularly in the end of the film)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Maccaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Roberts Blossom, Catherine O’Hara

-Page of Reference in RP2: 182

Review (contains spoilers):

This is one of my favorite movies to watch during the holidays.  In fact it is family tradition in my family to watch this and the second film as we get Thanksgiving dinner ready.  The holidays can’t really start until we watch these movies.

That being said…they are kind of ridiculous in that fun and slightly cartoonish way.

They are over the top. And slightly unbelievable. And really fun to watch.

They do still hold some of the constants of John Hughes films.  Kevin is clearly the outcast in his family.  He wants to fit in sometimes and other times he wants to be on his own.  During the course of the film he learns a lesson…which is pretty typical for his films.

The end is absolutely crazy.  The two thieves would be dead at least three times over from Kevin’s traps.  It becomes almost comical, like a live action Wile E. Coyote cartoon. 

Overall, it’s a really family friendly and fun movie for the holiday…I highly recommend it if you have older kids.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Planes, Trains and Automobiles, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Neal Page, a marketing account executive, is in New York on a business trip.  As the final meeting runs long it looks like he might miss his flight to be back home in Chicago with his family by 9pm that night to begin Thanksgiving festivities.  Unfortunately it looks like fate has other plans for Neal as his plane is first delayed, his first class ticket turns to a seat in coach, and he ends up seated next to the man that stole his cab on the way to the airport.  Things go from bad to worse when the plane is forced to reroute and land in Wichita, Kansas.

How will Neal get home?  Will any number of Planes, Trains or Automobiles get him back to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving in time for dinner?  And what will he learn along the way?

General Information:

-Genre: Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 92 minutes

-Rating: R (for extreme profanity,

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Steve Martin, John Candy

-Page of Reference in RP2: 184

Review (contains spoilers):

So I’ve never seen this film and because it takes place on Thanksgiving weekend in the United States I thought it would be fitting to watch on Thanksgiving day.

This was a really fun John Hughes flick.  It had some of what I am familiar with from his teen comedies (the outcast, the “popular” kid, the happy ending with the lovers coming together….) but it was tied up in a “Road movie” style.  Really wonderful.

It was funny, witty and heartfelt even if some of the situations in it seem farfetched (I’ve never heard of a cigarette butt flying out one window and back into the backseat of a car to set it on fire, or people falling for shower curtain rings being earrings).  But it is a really fun movie.  And one of the few that is really a movie about Thanksgiving.

And the ending has a lovely message.  That sometimes those of us who are lonely are the most vocal.  And sometimes letting someone into your home is the best thing you can do for them…even if they were a total stranger a few days before.

So Happy Thanksgiving from here in the States. Even though this year is hard…its always good to look to something to be thankful for. Sometimes that’s just a hot meal and a good movie.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Army of Darkness, created by Sam Rami: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Ash has been transported back to the Middle Ages by the powers of the Book of the Dead.  When he arrives, he is taken prisoner by Lord Arthur, suspected of being part of Henry the Red’s army.  After all his weapons are confiscated, he is thrown into the Pit, the wiseman rightfully returns his chainsaw as he is attacked by more of the dead he had just escaped from.

As he climbs from the pit victorious yet again, Ash is told the only way for him to get home is to go and retrieve the Book of the Dead for Lord Arthur.  They set out on a quest of the Book.  Arthur and his men leave Ash with the simple words to get the book and save them all from ultimate destruction.

Will Ash remember the spell?  Will he be able to retrieve the book?  Or will an Army of Darkness fall upon the land?

General Information:

-Genre: Comedy Horror

-Creator: Sam Rami

-Length: 81 minutes

-Rating: R (mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild alcohol use, moderate scary and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), STARZ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Glibert, Ian Abercrombie, Richard Grove

-Page of Reference in RPO: 177

Review (contains spoilers):

I’m really not sure what to say about this.  Its basically 80 minutes of one-liners.  With a general plot (I guess?) holding it together.  There isn’t a lot of continuous dialogue, the majority of the film is absolutely ridiculous, and the whole thing is just plain silly.

I enjoyed it overall but am quite glad it at least had enough money in the budget for some killer effects (for the time) and lots of explosions otherwise I’m not sure I could have made it through the film.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Evil Dead II, created by Sam Raimi: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Two Michigan State University students decide to take a long weekend at a remote cabin in the woods.  When they arrive, the cabin is more rustic than they had anticipated and as they explore the property, they find a variety of different items that leave them less than comfortable.  As they settle in for the night things begin to go haywire after listening to the recording of the cabin’s former owner reading from the Book of the Dead.

During the night the dead arise…and our valiant students must fight the oncoming spirits or die trying.

General Information:

-Genre: Horror Comedy

-Creator: Sam Raimi

-Length: 84 minutes

-Rating: R (for mild sex and nudity, severe violence and gore, moderate profanity, and some frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Verry, Dan Hicks, Denise Bixler, Richard Domeier, John Peaks, Lou Hancock, William Preston Roberston, Ted Raimi, Snowy Winters

-Page of Reference in RPO: 177

Review (contains spoilers):

Basically, the comedy version of Evil Dead.  Less characters, comical take on horror…generally great.  Not sure where the next movie is going to go.

Overall, solid.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, based on Ghostbusters: created by Ivan Rietman: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Former partners Abby and Erin have parted ways after writing a book on paranormal phenomena.  As Abby continues to study the paranormal, Erin has moved on and is up for tenure at Columbia University.

When Erin is approached by the owner of a historical building in New York, she discovers that Abby is selling their publication online.  As she goes to confront Abby about it she ends up dragged back into the game when the pair and Abby’s new partner, Holtzman, agree to go and check out the mansion.

The trio are confronted by a malevolent spirit, and in the aftermath Erin loses her position at Columbia.  When Abby and Holtzman go to get further funding to advanced their studies they also get fired.  So the three get together to continue to study the paranormal.  They create a [new] Ghostbusters.

When New York City is once again taken over by ghosts the ladies find themselves on the receiving end of the upsurge.  Which seems great to start…but when things begin to unravel they must find the source of the activity and try and save New York (and possibly the world) in the process.

General Information:

-Genre: Paranormal Comedy

-Creator: based on Ghostbusters created by Ivan Rietman

-Length: 116 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild sex and nudity, mild supernatural violence and gore, moderate profanity, some supernatural themes, mild smoking)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (rent or buy), iTunes (rent or buy), YouTube (rent or buy), DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Charles Dance, Michael Kenneth Williams, Chris Hemsworth

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I absolutely loved this rendition of the Ghostbusters.  The story and the humor are reminiscent of the original movies.  The scare level is more up to speed for modern audiences.  And all the little nods to the first two films (from the theme song to the ECTO-1, to the cameo of the original firehouse and Bill Murrey as the doctor who debunks paranormal activity) are just absolutely wonderful.

The team has a great chemistry.  The writing is fantastic and the timing is just spot on.  We are given more of the backstory of the characters in this one. They aren’t just a group of people studing the same thing who eventually became friends.  We get to hear why Erin and Abby believe.  And it adds a whole new level to the characters.

Modernization was the key here.  As the world changed, as film changed, as audiences changed…movies have had to change.  And this one hit all the nostalgic points as well as the more modern necessities from advanced CGI techniques, more scary items than campy items, better character bonds and a more intense villain.

An extremely enjoyable film. Especially if you want to watch something fun, lighthearted and just a little bit scary.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.