Sunday, February 26, 2017


When it comes to monster movies I am a pretty easy sell. Over the summer last year is when we first started getting trailers for the new film from visionary filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), a movie about monsters attacking the Great Wall and a bunch of Chinese warriors defending it. And out of the smoke rises our hero...Matt Damon?

The casting of a Caucasian Hollywood star is lame, especially when it's purpose is to generate box office dollars. That being said, THE GREAT WALL was a joint production with Hollywood and China. Politically incorrect as it may seem, China is just as guilty casting an white American bankable movie star. Politics really isn't what this blog is about, but I just wanted to give my two cents on the matter. Moving on.

English mercenary William Garin (Damon) and his partner Pero Tovar of Spain are traveling through China in search of gunpowder, sorry I meant to say 'Black Powder". Their paths cross with a band of marauders and are ruthlessly pursued. One night they are attacked, not by bandits, but by something else! The next morning William and Pero are pursed again, but find sanctuary at the Great Wall of China.

Their welcome is short lived when orders are given to execute Willian and Pero. Death will have to wait because monsters begin to attack the Wall. The opportunity of escape appears but William instead joins the fight against the monsters. This wins him good favor with the Chinese army.

A weakness in the monsters is discovered, but the findings might be too late once it has been discovered the Wall has been breached! The fight moves into the city where our warriors have one last shot to kill the monster's Queen.

Man, I really wanted to like THE GREAT WALL but I just found myself being bored too many times. A monster movie from the guy that gave us HERO and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS shouldn't be boring! Almost every single action scene came off as very matter-of-fact like. There were no bad ass moments to be found. When the weapon that works best against the monsters, it's time to go back to the drawing board.

The costumes and set designs were beautiful but that was about it.

The monster's (I don't remember what they were called) were kinda cool, but not cool enough. Plus they were CGI which gets hinders the suspense quite a bit. The horde of monsters reminded be of the zombie hordes in WORLD WAR Z. Coincidence that Max Brooks, the author of World War Z has a story credit for THE GREAT WALL?

With the exception of the costumes and choreography, the climax of the film was the only thing that felt Yimou like to me? And that was the our two heroes were fighting monsters inside a Stained Glass tower!

In conclusion, if you like monster movies then give THE GREAT WALL a Redbox rental, or wait until Netflix. It is a decent popcorn flick, just not one worth seeing at the theater. If there is ever an extended cut released on video, I might see what that's all about?

One thing is for sure, THE GREAT WALL is a whole lot better than JASON BOURNE? Oops!

Saturday, February 25, 2017


In the nine year history of this blog I don't think I've ever wrote a post about television? Well, that's about to change. This year my favorite hour long television series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER turns twenty! To celebrate, the least I could do is say a few words about each Season. I'm sure the professionals will have a better tribute next month? Until then, you're stuck with me.

My fandom doesn't start with Season One, I started watching BUFFY during Season 3. It wasn't until 2002 thanks to DVD that I finally saw all of the first season. That being said, the first episode I ever saw of the show was from Season One titled THE PACK. I'll get back to that in a minute. First, let's do a little history.

For those that know me it would seem natural that I'd love a show like BUFFY? A bad ass girl in high school kicking vampire and monster butt! What's not to like? Well back in 1992 I saw the movie and didn't think much of it. When the show debuted in 1997 I took a pass for three reasons, I didn't like television that much, it was on The WB which was a network for teens, and I thought the movie was lame.

One evening probably late 1997 or early '98, I was watching television flipping channels and I came across an image of a cute blonde bashing a skeleton to dust. Grabbing the channel guide I quickly looked to see what I the heck this show was! Lo and behold, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER! Curiosity started to get the best of me but I still was highly suspect.

A few weeks later I sat and watched a full episode. Buffy and her classmates were taking a field trip to the zoo. Some students go off the beaten path and get possessed by a pack of hyenas. The next day at school 'the pack' start acting like bloodthirsty animals!

The episode was fantastic, and still to this day THE PACK is one of my all time favorites! Unbeknownst to me THE PACK was a rerun because the episode I saw next was from Season Two, TED. Turns out the episodes that followed were all reruns, I tuned in while the show was on a season break. Season Two had just ended.

All this BUFFY nostalgia is keeping me off track, for now let's focus on Season One.

The first season of BUFFY is a mixed bag for me. The show was ahead of it's time. While procedural storytelling was the standard back then, BUFFY was breaking the mold with serialized episodes. A format that hit the ground running in Season Two and the rest of the series. Season One was serialized but with only 12 episodes it was difficult to pull off. To compensate the season relied heavily on monsters of the week. I'll talk more about the 'Monster of the Week' in the next post.

While I'd love to give you a summery of every episode, I just don't have it in me. After awhile I would just be a rambling mess of hyperbole. So instead, I'll just give an overview of the season arc and say a few words about favorite episodes or episodes that stood out.

Episode 1 & 2:Wellcome To The Hellmouth and The Harvest

This two-parter is basically a pilot episode that gets right into the action! Buffy Summers transfers to Sunnydale High to make a fresh start, but can't escape her destiny as a Slayer. On her first day she meets Rupert Giles, the new school Librarian. He also just so happens to be Buffy's new Watcher, a teacher in all things Slayer related. She tells Giles she no longer wants to be the Chosen One, but when her new friends Willow and Jesse get captured by vampires duty calls.

It turns out that Buffy's first day of school coincides with the ascension of The Master, a powerful vampire intent on making a meal out of her friends and re-opening the mouth of hell.

It was nice to finally see how-it-all began. And watching these episodes I really started paying attention to creator Joss Whedon's writing and craft!

Episode 6:The Pack

As I mentioned before this episode was the first one I watched. And it is still one of my favorites! For network T.V. back in the late 90's this was some dark stuff! The possessed students straight up kill people, I couldn't believe it! It was risky making one of the main characters part of the 'Pack', a risk that paid off extremely well. Bold moves like this became a mantra for the rest of the show.

Episode 12 :Prophecy Girl

Here we are at the Season One finale and Buffy's future is looking bleak. Giles discovers an ancient book that foretells her death and the end of the world!

Having already seen Season Three and some of Season Two, I knew Buffy was going to kill The Master and save the world. But this episode still kicked my butt! I had no idea that she died and came back stronger than ever! And to be honest it is a pretty good finale if the show only lasted one season.

In conclusion, the first season of BUFFY is strong on it's own but gets forgotten due how amazing future seasons became.

That's it for now, stay tuned for Season Two!

Monday, February 13, 2017


It's only February and I already have a favorite movie of 2017! Yes, I love JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 that much. Next month there are at least 2 films that could knock it down, but it's doubtful. LOGAN, a movie I've wanted to see since the very first trailer. The final Wolverine movie looks like the solo film I've been wanting since X-MEN! I expect great things, and word is I'm going to get them. The only problem now is that JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 has set the bar extremely high!

The other movie arriving in just a few short weeks is KONG: SKULL ISLAND. Why this isn't a summer release I just don't know? That might be the tale tell sign the film isn't that good? But those trailers are amazing!

Folks, even GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL. 2 and STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI now has a run for their money!

Okay, I think thats enough convincing you on how much I loved JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2.

The sequel picks up pretty close to where the last movie left off.* John is tying up loose ends and getting his car back. And immediately we have one of the greatest actions scenes in the film! There was a brief moment where I was almost convinced this first scene was better than my all time favorite action scene? The House of Blue Leaves scene from KILL BILL! Not to worry, KILL BILL is still king (if just barely)**

Our favorite Boogyman gets his car back and is finally ready to retire, a second time. The moment is short lived when Wick is visited by the man who helped him retire originally. A slimy European by the name of Santino (what a great name) has come to collect his debt. Wick begs him not to, but a blood oath is a hard one to forget.

Santino cannot take no for an answer and takes a rocket launcher to John Wicks home (big mistake). Left with no choice, Wick honors the blood oath. Only to immediately regret it when he is told his mark. The sister of Santino, Gianna. Gianna is next in line to run the crime family, and Santino just can't have that.

You can sense right away that something just isn't right about all of this, so Wick prepares for war. And you guessed it, Wick gets double crossed! And Santino being the pussy that he is puts a hit on John Wick for Seven Million Dollars! But Santino forgot one thing, you can't kill the boogyman.

Preparing myself for JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 I did something I normally don't do, I did not watch any trailers. None. I went in fresh, and it was amazing! Risky for sure but I knew I was in good hands with the same writer and director returning. If Fox leaves them alone then I'm sure their DEADPOOL 2 will be amazing!

So without giving away too much what can I say that I love about this movie? Let's start with how the sequel expands on my favorite thing about the original, the world building. In the first film I absolutely loved the secret society of assassins. So cool that they have their own rules, currency, and exclusive hotel.

CHAPTER 2 delves into this more with glorious detail. I'm sure it was in all the trailers but I loved the montage of Wick getting his guns, blueprints, and tailor made suit. So fun!

Second to the world building is of course the action. There is so much bombastic gunplay in this movie that even I started to feel a bit concerned. It was only for a brief moment because I don't mix stylized movie violence with politics. But yeah, there is way more gun-fu this time around, just like any good action movie sequel should have!

And third, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 has a glorified cameo that had me grinning ear to ear! And no, I'm not talking about Morpheus.

You know, there's not really anything in this movie that I hated? I wasn't too impressed with the ending at first but once I got home and thought about the film all night, I changed my opinion.

One criticism I have is the future of the franchise. I do not want any sequel to be a prequel. The audience doesn't need to see a movie about John Wick's first assignment. Laugh all you want but you know it's true! The moment Keanu decides to call it quits, the studio will pull the lame prequel card. But, I'm optimistic something that dumb will never happen as long as the original filmmakers stay with the franchise.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER TWO is highly recommended!

*If this was still the days of VHS I would make my own super edit of both films back to back. I'd cut out the end credits and have CHAPTER 2 start seamlessly.

** I'm mainly talking about domestic Action movies. THE RAID and THE RAID 2 I think are better action movies than KILL BILL or JOHN WICK 1 & 2.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


The timeline is hazy when I first saw the film TRUE ROMANCE? I turn 40 next month so it's probably only going to get worse. But seriously, I really think I rented the VHS before I even knew who Quentin Tarantino was! TRUE ROMANCE is a 1993 film written by Tarantino and directed by the late Tony Scott. And make no mistake it is a Tony Scott film, but any cinephile knows that TRUE ROMANCE is set in the Tarantino universe.

My fondest memory of TRUE ROMANCE is when I rented the DVD. We had just got our first DVD player and the movie was a free rental. With it being Rated R I was going to watch it on my day off while my parents were at work. Turns out the disc would not play due to an excessive amount of fingerprints.

Later that day my dad assisted me in cleaning the DVD. Silly me had forgotten just how lurid the language was in the opening scene (I actually thought said scene was later on in the film) of the movie. Before I realized what was happening, the movie still dirty, skipped to some "locker room" talk. To make matters worse, my mom was in the room. The look on my dads face was priceless! I dug myself out of a hole that day I can tell you!

Runaway lovers Clarence and Alabama play a dangerous game when they come into possession of a suitcase full of cocaine. They set off to sunny Los Angeles in hopes of selling the contraband and begin a new life. Hot on their trail is both sides of the law who have other ideas

The film is still known to this day for it's great ensemble cast, hip-wit dialogue, and stylized direction. It is probably my favorite Tony Scott film and it contains one of my all time favorite scenes written by Quentin Tarantino. For those that must know, it's the infamous monologue between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken. Check it out on YouTube (NSFW), but you should just really watch the movie.

I love so much how Tarantino considers this a romantic comedy. I like also how he corrects people who ask him if he'd ever consider making a romantic film. And lastly, I love most of all that the main character Clarence (Christian Slater) is a fictional version of Quentin himself!

All of this love for TRUE ROMANCE came later, because like I mentioned earlier, I had no idea who wrote the film when I first saw it. My initial interest in TRUE ROMANCE was because of the films star. I was a fan of both GLEAMING THE CUBE and PUMP UP THE VOLUME, so naturally I was interested in TRUE ROMANCE.

I instantly thought the film was very cool! Here we have a main character who loves movies and works in a comic book store! As a teenager I always wanted to work in a comic book store or video store. So I kinda identified with Clarence a little bit. I just don't think the voice of my conscious would be Elvis (no disrespect).

Let's put the films hip-wit aside for a brief moment and marvel how gorgeous TRUE ROMANCE looks. I love how Tony Scott overuses the 'Magic Hour Shot' in all of his movies! Also, nobody shoots a smokey room like Tony does! Man, I miss him.

If you were to watch TRUE ROMANCE today, there is no denying Tarantino wrote it. No denying! It's his universe. The events of PULP FICTION could take place the same day Clarence and Alabama arrive in L.A. And if you want to get real nerdy, TRUE ROMANCE takes place before RESERVOIR DOGS.

With me being the Quentin Tarantino fan that I am, some of you might be wondering if I wish he had directed TRUE ROMANCE? The answer is no. I love Tony Scott's style and what he brought to the film. I can guess, but we'll never be sure what TRUE ROMANCE would've looked like if Tarantino had directed it?

In conclusion, I recommend TRUE ROMANCE. if you like a good pulp romantic comedy. If anything, folks should get a kick out of the ensemble cast. Look for James Gandolfini and a young Brad Pitt.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


One of my favorite films of 2016 was THE NEON DEMON. For a time it was my favorite film of last year simply because I could not stop thinking about it! Style over substance, or more like substance hidden within the style. The movie inspired me to try and tackle my first ever analysis review.

THE NEON DEMON is full of bizarre and interesting images. What do all the different colors symbolize? What does the leopard in the motel room signify? And, there is a fair share of foreshadowing dialog it seems? There's no way I can cover everything without rambling on and on about this or that, so I promise to keep this nice and neat.

This post was meant for last year but I wanted to watch THE NEON DEMON several times so I could better prepare an analysis. I listened to the director's commentary during certain scenes to see if my theories were correct about what meant what. It turns out that most of what I thought was deep and full of meaning was just stuff the director thought was cool. A common trait from filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn.

So because of this, THE NEON DEMON dropped below my Top 10 Favorites of 2016.

From here on out there's going to be heavy spoilers, so if you haven't seen the film yet come back after you have.

The IMDB synopsis for THE NEON DEMON reads as follows, "When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has".

After reading that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who or what the Neon Demon is. The easiest answer is that it's narcissism. That the world of modeling if not careful can turn you into a "neon demon".

Our main character is Jesse, a young beautiful woman who has moved to L.A. for a shot at stardom in the modeling world. She is a natural. Young, pretty, and innocent. Jesse has everything the other seasoned models want. Very quickly Jesse becomes friends with Ruby who is a makeup artist. They go to a party and meet up with two other models.

Getting dolled up in the restroom, the girls have a lurid discussion on lipstick. Ruby explains that colors of lipstick are named after food and sex. An example would be Pink Passion, you get the idea. During this conversation Jesse gets asked if she is food or sex? Something to think about.

After a few more photo shoots Jesse gets noticed more and more and eventually lands a big fashion runway show. The more she gets noticed the more dangerous things get for her. This is where the director takes omens to a fetish like extreme. The color red and blue are predominant in THE NEON DEMON. For the sake of the plot it's safe to say that the color red signifies danger, and blue seems to mean narcissism (I think).

At one point a leopard appears is Jesse's motel room, a bad omen for sure.

After loosing a spot on the fashion show one of the models attacks Jesse in a vampire like way. Classic Refn!

I won't ruin the ending but the question posed to Jesse at the beginning of the film, is she food or sex, is asked again in a sort of allegorical conclusion.

THE NEON DEMON is probably pretentious artful trash, but I love it! The "neon demon" scene is worth the price of admission.

Watching the movie I learned something about myself and our society. We're too consumed with the objectification of beauty and women. It's a bad habit that will be hard to break.

In conclusion, I highly recommend THE NEON DEMON because I loved it. Now a disclaimer; this film IS NOT for everyone, viewer discretion is advised. For content and because it's an art house horror film (Heh)!


I'm a Lloyd Dobler. Unfortunately, I'm a terrible Lloyd Dobler.

SAY ANYTHING is probably my favorite Comedy Romance movie. There was a time in my life where I identified with it the moment I watched it! The noble underachiever trying to woo the prettiest girl in school. Hanging up the phone multiple times before even dialing one digit. Kickboxing the air after she says yes on the phone. Being a fly on the wall at the party you take her to, just to make sure she's having a good time. While my story is different than Lloyd's, I can relate to all of these things!

The one thing I should have done is blast Peter Gabriel from a boom box while standing in a front yard! Okay, not literally but something bad ass romantic along those lines.

As you can probably guess I am a romantic. And it's probably not a good thing. Why? Because I get my ideas from movies. It's a good thing that I'm too much of a realist to know the crap from the movies don't work. And if it ever did, I should be mindful of the woman I just won over?

Enough about me, let's get back to the wonderful and warm hearted romantic comedy SAY ANYTHING.

Watching the film with older eyes the thing I like most about SAY ANYTHING is how honest the movie is. It feels genuine and not just full of fairy tale fluff. For once (it seems) the guy is after a girl for her smarts and because she's interesting. The fact that Diane is also very pretty is the cherry on top.

Unfortunately Lloyd has a very steep hill to climb because a underachiever and class valedictorian don't mix well. But Diane gives Lloyd a shot because she can see the honesty in him. They become boyfriend and girlfriend and fall in love. When it's time to meet the parents, that's when things get ugly.

Diane's father disapproves of Lloyd, and what parent of a valedictorian wouldn't? Her dad being a overprotected parent doesn't help matters much either. There is some family drama, turns out dad has been a little hypocritical with the father daughter pact of trusting one another. Due to the stress of this, Diane ends things with Lloyd. Cue the bad ass boom box scene!

I won't spoil the ending but of course Lloyd and Diana get back together. The way the events play out is still great to this day, and doesn't feel like rom com fluff.

Why I love this movie:

1. The boom box scene! What everyone remembers the most about SAY ANYTHING, and I couldn't agree more.

2. Writer/Director Cameron Crowe

3. Amazing talented cast.

4. SAY ANYTHING is a romantic comedy/drama that feels real.

5. Lloyd Dobler has excellent taste in women.

In conclusion, I highly recommend SAY ANYTHING. This Valentine's Day snuggle up with your significant other and rent or buy this classic.

I have a few more treats for ya coming soon. Happy Valentine's Day!!