Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Fourth Kind

Before you go on and read the rest of this review on The Fourth Kind, just a warning that there are going to be spoilers within.

Okay, with that out of the way, I’ll get into The Fourth Kind and let you know how I felt about it.

Going into this film, I had no knowledge of what was it about besides what I had seen in TV spots and trailers. It looked pretty good and I’ve always enjoyed Milla Jovovich in every part I’ve seen her play. But what really hooked me was the part in the trailer where she’s looking right into the camera and says that she’s playing the part of the main character, talking about how real footage will be added to the film and that some of it may be upsetting. I also had gotten the idea that it was about alien abduction, as they go through what each “kind” means. First is sighting, second is evidence, third is contact and the fourth is abduction. Without a doubt, I had to see this movie.

So, as usual, I didn’t go onto the Internet to find out any facts about the validity of the film and just went in with the facts presented to me by Milla herself. I went straight to the movie theater and this movie scared the crap out of me. Now, I usually have a high tolerance for horror films and rarely get scared this much. The reason for my fright was that the video footage they showed throughout the film was upsetting.

With all that said, let me get into the film.

After the preamble by Milla Jovovich, the film starts off with a video of a Dr. Abigail Tyler as she’s being interviewed and analyzed by a colleague of hers. As it goes on, the screen splits with Jovovich and Elias Koteas acting the interview out word for word. At one point, the screen is fully on the actors and they go on with the scene. Very often throughout this film, the direction resorts to this structure as they incorporate the video footage alongside the acted out scenes side by side on a split screen. At first this had gotten on my nerves, but then I relished the scenes and really wanted to see the video footage. As the scene goes on, we see that Tyler is under hypnosis and we see a flashback of her husband as he’s murdered in their bed; but we never see who’s stabbing him.

The movie goes on and we see that Milla Jovovich, playing the part of Dr Abigail Tyler, is a psychologist with a number of patients she sees in the small Alaskan town of Nome. The surrounding nature of the town makes it impossible to drive into from afar and aircraft is needed to enter the little city, which gives you an idea of the isolation one must feel while living there.

We get a small montage of Dr. Tyler interviewing her patients and they seem to have trouble sleeping, always seeing an owl at their window. The filmmakers show the representation of this owl at times and I must admit—it is freaky-looking.

As the sessions go on with her patients, Dr. Tyler asks one of them if they’d like to be hypnotized to see what they can remember. One of them—Tommy—agrees and they go forward with the hypnosis.

Again, the film shows both the acted out film alongside the video footage and it gets to you. Tommy starts remembering something about the owl and how it got into his house. Both the man in the film and the man in the video scream out and appear frightened as they back up onto the couch, falling off and breaking a side table in the process. Tommy wakes up and seems calm and serene, telling Dr. Tyler he’d like to talk about it at their next session. She agrees and he leaves. But later, there’s a police dispatch that informs the authorities that there’s a domestic violence call at Tommy’s house. When they get there, Tommy tells the cops over the phone that he wants to speak to Dr. Tyler. Again, we have video footage from the police cruiser that captured the scene on video, showing Tommy in his house and holding his wife and kids hostage. When Tyler gets there, Tommy yells out to her about some gibberish language and what he remembered (which is still confusing), then shoots his wife and children before shooting himself dead.
Seeing all this is exciting but leaves you wanting to know just what the hell is going on and what memory would make this guy want to commit murder-suicide. Of course, the sheriff, played by Will Patton, interrogates Tyler, wanting to know what drove this guy to do what he did after his last contact was her.

As the film goes on, we have a few other hypnosis sessions, one with another patient of Tyler’s that results in him being paralyzed and the other with Tyler herself after she discovers an audio recording of her abduction.

Another element of this film included the director of the film interviewing the real Abigail Tyler, looking sickly and haunted.

The film as a whole was very interesting and intriguing, with a few shocks and frights thrown in to get your blood pumping. It was even sad when, at the end, the final interview with Tyler showed how sad and defeated she was.

All through this movie I kept telling myself, I’ve got to look this up online to see if those video footages were real. Well, what I found was more (or less) than what I had bargained for. Turns out, everything was fake. The video footage was fake, the audio footage was fake, the recorded sessions and police recordings were staged…there’s not even a real Dr. Abigail Tyler.

So after seeing Milla Jovovich tell me at the beginning of this film that it’s based on a true story with the actual video footage, I found out she lied to me. All the people that I saw in this film, whom I began caring about and was sad for, were fictional.

But you know what? My anger turned to gratification for the fact that I thought it was real, because that’s what made this film frightening and interesting. In fact, when I ponder the thought that if I saw this movie knowing it was a fraud, I ask myself, Would it be as good?  I think I might’ve found it boring. So this is a tough one to critique.

As for the acting, pretty good and intense, with Will Patton playing his part a little over-the-top, but good. I’ve always liked Elias Koteas in all the roles that he’s played. As a whole, the cast was spot on and made it believable and I don’t think they needed to add the video footage to make this a truly frightening alien abduction flick.

So what is my final “bit” on The Fourth Kind? Well, as I’d said, the acting is great, the story interesting—but confusing at times, the cast was astral and perfect, so I can’t complain there. Where I can complain is the fact I was duped by the director and star, feeding me that line in the beginning and telling me the footage was real. But at the same time, I was scared when I heard the alien voices and saw what they caused the people’s bodies to do under hypnosis. I guess I might watch the film on DVD when it’s released and see if I’ll like it then. Otherwise, view at your own risk.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Saw VI and Paranormal Activity

Yet again, I’m happy to announce a pair of films I’ve had the pleasure to view within a few days of each other. Rather than choosing one or the other, I decided that I’ll just write a piece about both.

The two films I had seen this week were Saw VI and Paranormal Activity. Instead of going out to see the movies right when they came out, I waited a few days to do so. The main reason was because I went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios over the weekend and I was pretty exhausted after getting back from the trip. I needed a day, Sunday, to recuperate and then went to the movie theater on Monday to see Saw VI. As I walked in, however, I noticed that they had a marquee for Paranormal Activity. I was surprised because I knew the film was in limited release throughout the country and only bigger cities had the movie available. Being that I live in Cowtown USA, I didn’t think it would’ve been released here. But there was the title, standing out in glorious lettering on the display above the entryway, so I silently debated what I should see that day. After a few seconds, I went with Saw VI and promised myself I’d come back for Paranormal Activity later that week.

So, in the order I’d watched the films, I’ll review them. Without further ado, here they are.

As I sat and waited for Saw VI to begin, I couldn’t help but think of the last film and began to think that this film may turn out the same way. Hopefully whoever’s reading this is all caught up with the prior films and know what I’m talking about as I go through this. See, the film deals with characters of the last few films, flashing back and sometimes just bringing back people from the prior movie or the one before last.

I know...sounds confusing, right?

Anyway, this sequel takes place right after the last, where Agent Strahm was duped by Detective Hoffman and killed. See, we find out in the last two movies that Hoffman is basically taking Jigsaw’s place and creating some of the “games” that are causing people to be killed. Strahm was right on his tail and nearly had him, but like I’d said, he died.

Anyway, this film brings in an insurance company that turned down a claim for John Kramer (Jigsaw) to help him with his cancer as we see in flashbacks. The lead man of the company, William, is the one chosen to play the new game and goes through quite a bit with choosing some people, individuals associated to him through the insurance company, to live or die. Meanwhile, Hoffman is making sure the FBI is not closing in on him while he’s overseeing the game.

Jill, John’s wife, is brought into the story again and we get to find out what was in the box that was left to her in the previous film. I’d go further into that, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

I’ve got to say that this entry was a little better and less confusing than the last film, but not as good as the first three. I don’t know where the filmmakers are going with this story as a whole, but it seems as if they’re going to great lengths to some climactic conclusion. Really, I don’t care because, overall, the franchise is very entertaining and thrilling, although constantly criticized for this or that. But the traps are what really sell the films because they’re so sadistic yet ingenious in every entry.

As long as they keep their promise by releasing a sequel every year near Halloween, I’ll be there in the seat with my bag of popcorn and Milk Duds.

So, two days later, I swing back to the movie house for the second of my double feature review, Paranormal Activity.

Paranormal Activity was a little weird when it began. See, the normalcy of movie-going is sitting down after gathering your movie paraphernalia, such as popcorn and drinks, and watching the previews before the movie starts. The previews went on as always and suddenly there is this text on the screen about the two characters in the film, Katie and Micah, with some thanks to the San Diego Police Department or something to that effect. There was no “Paramount Pictures Presents,” nor were there the title words, "Paranormal Activity," on the screen to announce that this was the main attraction beginning, just the text that I’d mentioned and that was it.

As many know, the film was shot documentary style, à la Blair Witch Project, as if it were a real life video that this couple decided to film. To some (like myself), this may seem like a tired trend already, but for others, I guess it worked. However tired or old it may have seemed to me, it didn’t take anything away from the film.

With only about four characters in the movie, it was easy to follow and get some good character study pretty quickly. Right away, we find out that Katie and Micah are concerned about some disturbances that have been going on in their house. Between the two, we get the sense that Katie is a little scared about all this and takes the situation very seriously, not wanting Micah to film at times and feeling they need assistance from outside experts. Micah, on the other hand, kind of smirks a bit and laughs things off as he constantly films everything he can, sometimes trying to antagonize whatever demon or spirit is in the house.

As classic horror movies go, Paranormal Activity uses the tried and true formula of giving the audience only little scares at first, slowly building up more and more until the film comes to a big climax. Because what Micah documents at first may be something that could be easily explained as house creaking or kids from next door pulling pranks. But as the sounds and hijinks become greater, the scarier and spookier the situation becomes. A nice touch the filmmakers decided on was showing some of the goings-on in sped up footage and when you see these images, it really adds in helping the audience to get creeped out and making the circumstances more intense.

While Paranormal Activity goes on to show us a lot more than what Blair Witch gave us, it’s still the things we don’t see on screen that scare us the most.

So, what’s my final “bit” on Saw VI and Paranormal Activity?

Saw VI definitely cleared up some questions you may have had from the previous film, but you’d probably do well to watch all prior five films before going in to see this one. It really didn’t feature too many scares, but let’s face it, it’s the devious and brutal traps that we watch these films for, right? I think it might’ve been a mistake to kill Jigsaw off earlier (in part 3, was it?), because how can they continue to keep him devising traps from beyond the grave? As a big fan of the Saw franchise, I may be a little biased, but I really love every entry they’ve released to date.

Paranormal Activity, on the other hand, was a scary film, especially if you put yourself in the characters’ places. Almost everybody has been in that spot where they hear bumps in the night or unexplained movement of items, either by witnessing it or seeing the aftermath of it later. Keeping the cast down to a minimum was brilliant and the story, although not much to it, was good. The acting was believable and the two main players were very likable. Comparing it to Blair Witch Project is fair and I’d say that Paranormal Activity was a bit better and scarier.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trick 'r Treat

The problem with horror movies these days is that it lacks the mystery and unanswered questions that the movies of yesteryear had. Like, nobody knew why Jason Voorhees kept on coming back no matter how many times you’d stab him or whack him and there was never an answer as to why Michael Myers could never be killed. Nowadays, the moviemakers insist in having a reasoning or an explanation as to why things are happening and when that is placed in the movie, it loses something. It actually loses the fear it provokes when the happenings are simply explained away in some back story. Alfred Hitchcock said it best when he filmed the classic movie, The Birds, citing that leaving the movie open-ended like he did made it more frightening, but if he included an explanation to the birds’ attacks on people, it would fall into the realm of science fiction.

So, with that said, Trick ‘r Treat—directed by Michael Dougherty and produced by Bryan Singer—is definitely a gem of a film that features the supernatural and doesn’t explain it away with some rationale.

Another great thing about this film is that it’s an anthology, meaning that it’s not just one big story, but several stories rolled into one movie. Like Creepshow or Tales From the Crypt, there’s around four or five different tales woven into the film. And unlike those previously mentioned films, the stories in Trick ‘r Treat are interlaced nicely and kind of take a Quentin Tarantino approach to it as the stories are not exactly in chronological order.

This type of horror film has been sadly lacking in Hollywood and unfortunately
Trick ‘r Treat really didn’t get its fair share in theaters. In fact, the movie was made and finished in early 2008, only getting limited release during a special horror movie fest and a short run within the Los Angeles area. Even though many reviewers praised the film, Warner Bros. saw fit not to release it nationwide, but instead chose to shelf it for nearly a year. I was one of the many who didn’t get to see this film in the theaters and saw it on DVD last night.

The one thing that kept flashing through my mind as I watched Trick ‘r Treat was how much better it was than Creepshow III. Then again...a lot of movies were better than Creepshow III. Not only did I think that, but I just couldn’t believe that this film wasn’t distributed to theaters to make WB a lot of money, because this film is what Halloween really is all about. So many horror films of late just revolve around what teenagers are boringly doing and includes way too much emphasis on their ways of life. Most of the time, if I can sit through one of these teeny-bopper movies, these films seem like a teenage reality series like The Hills or some boring crap like that.

Anyway, back to Trick ‘r Treat and how the film went.

It starts off really nice, with the feel of autumn, capturing a small town atmosphere during Halloween. A couple returns from the community’s Halloween festivities and we get the first warning about Halloween: Don’t put out the jack o’lantern’s light until Halloween is over. Of course, the woman does—ignoring her husband’s half-hearted warning—and bad things happen. This, my friends, is the introduction of what’s in store for you throughout this film.

We have Principal Wilkins (played by Spider-Man 2’s
Dylan Baker) in the first story, showing his terrible secret that he can’t deny; a group of teenage girls head out to a party deep in the woods, with one of them deciding to walk from town all the way to party in the dark; a group of four children go through great lengths to perform a cruel prank on the girl down the street who’s a little different; and finally, the cranky old man (played by Brian Cox), who doesn’t enjoy Halloween and refuses to give out candy to the trick ‘r treaters, is taught a frightening lesson.

Man! This film is so reminiscent of the horror films of the 80s and it feels almost nostalgic to watch it. Bryan Singer and Michael Dougherty really did something right with this film and it’s sad that the film was shelved as payment for all their hard work.

Trick ‘r Treat is really a satisfying experience and is worth more than just renting for one night of viewing…it’s worth owning to watch again and again. Because, as soon as I finished watching this movie, I went online and purchased the Blu-Ray.

My final “bit” on Trick ‘r Treat? Although the film is not jump-out-of-your-seat scary, it’s still a fun and amusing ride. It’s not drenched in gore and violence, but instead, thrills you and leaves you with the right feel of Halloween. In a weird way, it brings you back to your childhood to remember how it was to go out and collect candy from your neighbors, all the while wondering what was out there in the dark. Halloween is only one day in the year, but I always start celebrating it at the beginning of October. Trick ’r Treat gives me yet another tool in making the scary season last. Watch this one! You won’t regret it!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Los Cronocrímenes

Not too long ago, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Horror Etc, and one of the hosts, Kingstown Ted, went over a movie he had just seen called Los cronocrímenes—or, the English name for it, Timecrimes. I was intrigued by how much he liked the movie and even further fascinated by the story. Right away, I went online to my Netflix account, looked up the movie and placed it in my movie queue.

Reading about the movie and plot on imdb.com, I had taken note that none of the names of the cast were ones I had ever heard of. Even the name of the director wasn’t familiar to me. What clicked was that the movie was categorized as a foreign film and after reading more into it, I discovered it was a Spanish movie.

In the past, I’ve turned my back on foreign films and always hated having to read subtitles. But not too long ago a film class I took in college really taught me to embrace some of these foreign films and that’s what I’m trying to do more and more. Because if anything foreign films have taught me is that these movies are quickly surpassing the movies that are being made in Hollywood. Let’s face it, all American films, as of late, are nothing but rehashed remakes with no new ideas whatsoever.

Los cronocrímenes is a perfect example of original story telling.

I went into it, thinking it was a horror movie, because when you look at the DVD artwork, it seems that it will be. The picture on the cover shows a masked character carrying a pair of scissors and he looks very creepy. So I was encouraged to watch this just by looking at that.

It opens with Héctor coming home to his wife, Clara, at their vacation house that they’re working on remodeling. Clara is working on her garden so Héctor goes upstairs for a nap. He doesn’t get to sleep because he receives a mysterious phone call with a little breathing on the phone, then hanging up. He calls it back with *69 or whatever they use in Spain to do that, but only reaches an answering machine.

A little while later, Héctor notices something in the distant field and goes to retrieve a pair of binoculars. He uses them to look out there and sees something red in a bush or something. Héctor becomes interested and goes downstairs to his yard and positions a lawn chair to sit and study the area further. He then notices a young woman looking mysterious with her face hidden by her hair. She slowly takes her shirt off, revealing her breasts and just stands there. Héctor’s wife interrupts him and he lowers his binoculars as she mentions she’s going into town for a while. He gives the keys to the car and she leaves. When he returns his sights to the area the girl was, she’s nowhere to be found.

Héctor decides to walk over to the area to have a look around, walking a hundred yards or so away from his house and into the field to where he saw the girl. He makes it to the clearing that she was at and finds her clothes. Stepping further in, he sees her body lying against a rock, seemingly dead or unconscious—he doesn’t know which. Apprehensively, he approaches her and sees that she is, in fact, breathing. Suddenly, we see an arm raise that is holding a pair of scissors, and it lashes down, stabbing Héctor in the arm. Startled and confused, he runs away and the chase begins.

From then on, we go on a great mind-fuck of a ride with Héctor and the confusing dilemmas he faces. It seems to start off as a horror movie, and then suddenly we’re thrown into a science fiction type of story. Explanations are unraveled that are evident at first, then confusing, then straight right back to the obvious...but keeps you watching all the way through.

I have to say that this story was very intelligently written and is one of the best foreign films I’ve seen in the sci-fi/horror genre. It used to be that America had the best movies, but that time has come to an end. If Hollywood keeps on shitting out these remakes like they’ve been doing for the last few years, American film is going to end up digging their own celluloid grave by the end of the decade. It’s a little novel to see what these remakes will look like, but all-in-all, the American audience wants to see something original in these popular genres.

So what is my final “bit” on Los cronocrímenes?

Captivating from start to finish with pretty good acting, yet it was a simple story that didn’t need much in the special effects department. A few nice set pieces were all it took to make the science fiction portions believable and the great story just nailed it as an enthralling movie. I can’t say enough about this film…it was a nice treat for me to see something original that didn’t have teeny-boppers gum up the dialogue with the latest lingo and popular styles. It was a straight to the point movie.

You need to see it!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Prowler

I watched this little gem a few days ago after remembering that it made that “100 Scariest Moments” show on TV not too long ago. Another reason I wanted to view this flick was because the special effects were done by the master himself, Tom Savini.

Mr. Savini has worked on a lot of classics, both behind the camera and in front of the camera—sometimes both.

On George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Tom Savini created and supervised the creation of all the gore effects and makeup of the zombies. He’s also included in the film as a character—one of the bikers that come into the mall. As most of you know, Mr. Savini did the makeup and gore effects for Friday the 13TH and Friday the 13TH: The Final Chapter. He’s also directed the remake of Night of the Living Dead in 1990 ad has had bit parts in Tarantino films and the remake of Dawn of the Dead.

Anyway, I’d always heard of The Prowler and wanted to see it just for Mr. Savini’s showcased effects.

So, about a year ago I looked up the film on the Netflix web site and to my surprise, the film showed up on the non-released column of the queue. It stayed there for almost a year—I don’t know why. But like I said, a few days ago it showed up in the mail and I waited until dark to get the full effect of the film. Basically, I tried to get into the great 1980s horror film mood.

I was impressed with it.

A few scenes were kind of cheesy, especially the dance hall scenes complete with an early ‘80s rock band playing some songs that I’ve never heard of before.

The killer’s garb was pretty original and memorable, the heroine was your typical 1980s horror movie female protagonist as she followed the rules to survive a horror movie ordeal (being a virgin and no sex or drugs), the girls were your average slutty girls that took their clothes off easily, you had the strange guy that worked at the local store, the quiet old man that lives across from the college dorm (for girls)…and just the feel of the community is your typical scenic ‘80s town.

Anyhoot, the story starts with scenes of our boys in the military coming back from overseas during World War II, complete with a radio announcer explaining everything. We then see a letter that was written to someone in the military from a girl that’s basically breaking up with the guy.

The film then cuts to the graduation dance of 1945 and we see a lot of GI’s with their girls, attending the festivities. One such couple breaks off and goes to a nearby makeout point only to be killed by a military clothed individual, using a long knife. We can’t see this guy’s face because he wears some chemical warfare mask that hides his face…which makes this horror movie killer one of the coolest looking ones during that time. Remember, this film was made before Friday the 13TH Part 2 so Jason Voorhees wasn’t even running around with his potato sack yet.

Well, the movie then fades to present day (circa 1980) and we see that the college dance hall is getting decorated for that year’s graduation dance. Seems that the locals think it’s a bad idea seeing that it’s the first time they’ve had a graduation dance since the murders in 1945.

As luck turns out, there was a robbery the next town over that ended up with someone getting butchered and the local sheriff and young deputy are making sure they keep a lookout for this maniac on the loose. As an added bonus, this is the day that the sheriff goes on his weekend fishing trip and he has to leave the deputy in charge of the small town.

Lo and behold, the killer does show up and commits a few murders in stunning fashion, thanks to the wizardry of the aforementioned Tom Savini. The effects still hold up and look pretty real and gruesome to this day.

Like I said, it’s an entertaining 1980s horror film and it’s a pretty good story with above average acting for its ilk. The film was actually directed by Joseph Zito who had directed Friday the 13TH: The Final Chapter just a mere 4 years later. And the music score is pretty similar to Harry Manfredini’s score of Friday the 13TH, but it’s composed by a different music writer.

So back to the film…

Most people can guess who the killer is before he’s revealed and it’s because of all the movies that followed this film way back when, so we became accustomed to the formula that these films follow. Still, the flick is a good time.

My final “bit” on The Prowler? If you want to relive a little 1980s nostalgia and be reminded of how entertaining the horror films of that time were, I’d pick this baby up at the local Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Red Box or Netflix and pop it in. If not…you’re loss.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jurassic Park Trilogy

Who is Steven Spielberg? And why is he such a great filmmaker? Those are the two questions I always ask myself every time I watch one of his movies because each one of his films is entertaining through and through. Whether it’s his first feature, Duel, or latest collaboration with George Lucas, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, or even the critically scrutinized Hook, there’s not really one of his movies you didn’t walk away from saying that it sucked ass.

Likewise, it was a tough decision going into my DVD collection to pick out one of his movies to watch, but I finally settled on his dinosaur classic, Jurassic Park, as well as the two sequels that followed.

Jurassic Park

I remember venturing out to the movie theater back in 1993 to see this flick, not really knowing what I was getting myself into. See, my knowledge of dinosaur movies before Jurassic Park consisted of crappy stop motion effects or bad puppetry to make the dinosaurs come to life. Not only that, but usually the dinosaurs would get very little screen time which basically ripped off the moviegoer even further.

Needless to say, that was my frame of mind all those years ago when I paid my money to go see this flick.

Well, the movie starts in the jungle where some big crate or cage is being loaded to an adjacent and bigger cage. Now it’s not the type of cage that we can see inside of, but we hear these screeches or loud shrieks that sound reptilian in nature.

Well, of course, something goes wrong while the men all around are trying to cart something in from the small cage to the bigger one and one poor sap falls near the opening when the two pens come apart. Something grabs the unfortunate guy and it’s obviously something big and strong because it lifts this guy like he’s some rag doll.

We don’t see what the thing is and that’s what pulls us into the movie and hooks us for more. Cleverly, Spielberg goes by the unspoken rule that less is definitely more, leaving us to imagine, rather than see, what the creature was. I mean, it’s understandable that the thing was some sort of carnivorous dinosaur—obvious due to word-of-mouth that this film was about dinosaurs—but we don’t exactly see it. And that’s filmmaking at its greatest.

Next, we get character development, introducing us to the players of this film. We’ve got Dr. Alan Grant played by Sam Neill and Dr. Ellie Sattler played by Laura Dern introduced as archeologists digging at a site and shown as experts in the species of dinosaurs. Some rich man, John Hammond played by Richard Attenborough asks them to help out at an amusement park island and pays off their grant to help convince them to do so.

Along for the ride to the island is Dr. Ian Malcolm played by Jeff Goldblum. He provides a lot of funny moments throughout the movie and he was a delight to watch.

It seems that the investors of the Jurassic Park attraction—who are represented by their lawyer—want it checked out and endorsed before they can put more money into it; that’s why Hammond wants these experts to see it and give their opinion on it, obviously confident that they’ll love the place.

Just as everyone is getting ready for the park tour, Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards are introduced as John Hammond’s grandchildren, Tim and Lexi, and they go along for the tour.

As can be expected, all the security measures go haywire thanks to some greedy hi-jinks that Dennis Nedry (played by Wayne Knight from “Seinfeld” fame) pulls in order to try and get some cryogenic dinosaur embryos off the island. To get off the island with the embryos, he disengages all the security measures like the locks and cameras, as well as the electrified fences that are keeping the deadly dinosaurs in their sections, so of course the ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex gets loose as well and wreaks havoc on the people left vulnerable in the shut down vehicles.

It was, and still is, a very exciting movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat during all the dino-attacks. Hard to believe, but the movie is over 15 years old and the CGI is top-notch. A lot of films you see during this time have CGI that has aged terribly, but Steven Spielberg knew what he was doing when he made this film.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The 1997 sequel to Jurassic Park was a no-brainer. Why, when the first film made so much money, wouldn’t you make a sequel? Only problem that remains is what kind of story do you tell? What’s the plot?

Well, the answer to both questions: a very thin one.

The film begins with a yacht parked out in front of an island that is around 80 miles away from the island of the first film. We see a very rich couple with servants running around at their beck and call. They’re just enjoying the peacefulness of the island and allowing their little girl the freedom to roam around.

The girl does, as anybody would, and discovers the teeny tiny little dinosaurs that are the size of chickens and don’t seem very menacing, until we hear the off camera scream that sends her parents running.

We don’t see what actually happened to the little girl as the scene cuts very humorously to Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) who’s back as the star of The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

Malcolm is visiting John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) at his home as he notices creditors and other people obviously taking assets and whatever else, giving the impression that Hammond’s gone broke after the events of the first film. But it seems he has one last trick up his sleeve as he tells Malcolm that there was a second island where they raised the dinosaurs before bringing them to Jurassic Park and he needs a group to visit the island and bring proof that the animals are able to survive on their own.

Of course Malcolm, after undergoing the near-death experience and knowing how dangerous it is, he firmly says that there’s no way that he’d ever go through that again. Until he finds out that his girlfriend, Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore), is already there and he then finds himself going to get her out of there.

We see much of the same things as we did in the first film, so we know what to expect. But some of the plot was interesting, albeit kind of a rip-off of the King Kong story. And speaking of that part of the story, I felt that if that’s where they were going with this, they might’ve maybe spent a little less time on the island and a little more time in San Diego with the T-Rex running amuck.

But aside from any criticisms I may have, the film as a whole is very entertaining and had a stellar cast.

However, I DO have one criticism.

The introduction of Ian Malcolm’s daughter, Kelly (Vanessa Lee Chester), was a little off-putting. Now, it’s not to say she’s a bad actress or that there shouldn’t be any African-American characters in the film, it’s just that it was such a big contrast between Malcolm and her. I believe it was explained that she’s not supposed to be his biological daughter, but it was a little disconcerting nonetheless.

It’s no surprise, and I don’t think it really gives anything away, but the pterodactyl that is shown flying and landing on the tree right before the credits rolled, why weren’t they flying around during the movie? How come they only appear at the very end? Were they on another island? Were they hiding out somewhere? Maybe sticking to the other side of the island and away from the other dinosaurs?

All kidding aside, this film is very entertaining and shouldn’t be missed if you’re a fan of the first film.

Jurassic Park III

Pretty interesting how Sam Neill didn’t return for part 2, but here he is for the third installment of Steven Spielberg’s classic, Jurassic Park.

This time around we have Joe Johnston taking the director’s reigns left behind by Spielberg and joining the cast with Sam Neill is William H. Macy and Tea Leoni.

At the beginning of the film, much like the beginning of the second film, something bad happens to civilians getting close to the dinosaur island. A man and a boy are parasailing near a tropical island and it looks like a lot of fun as they said high above the ocean and near the lush tropical island, video camera in hand and filming everything they see from up in the clouds. It’s pretty evident that the island they’re near is one of the dinosaur islands we’ve seen in the previous films. The man is uncle to the boy and is telling him he paid the guys on the boat to get as close as they can to the island so they can get some good shots with their video camera.

Well, things go bad as they usually do in these flicks and something happens as the uncle and his nephew feel the boat is going too fast. They’re being whipped up and down a little but can’t see what’s going on with the boat as they went through a fog bank. When the fog clears, to their horror, they see the boat is thrashed and no one on board. Adding to that, they also see up ahead that the boat is about to crash into a huge rock. Well, they undo the rope that’s attached to them from the boat and they parachute down towards the island below.

Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) is giving lectures at colleges and trying to stick to the archeology aspects of dinosaurs, but of course everybody wants to ask him about the live dinosaurs he ran into at Jurassic Park. Also, for some reason, he never hooked up with Ellie because she’s now married to someone else with a two or three year old son, but he’s still good friends with her.

Anyway, Dr. Grant and his assistant, Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola), are approached by a couple, Paul and Amanda Kirby, that want him to act as a tour guide for them as they fly over the island where the Jurassic Park site is abandoned. Dr. Grant, at first, declines as he remembers the disaster back when he first visited that island. But the couple promises that all they need him to do is to point out certain areas and dinosaurs as they fly from up above. Mr. Kirby brings out his checkbook and begins filling out a check, telling Dr. Grant that he’ll pay whatever the cost.

Of course, Dr. Grant agrees and they all set out to fly over the island.

But the Kirbys aren’t what they seem and it turns out that they land on the island much to Dr. Grant’s dismay. The Kirbys are actually the parents of the boy, Erik, who was parasailing with his uncle when he went missing and they want Dr. Grant to help them locate him.

Of course, things go wrong—if it didn’t, this wouldn’t be a very good Jurassic Park movie—and they need to find a way to get off the island.

The film brings forth a new dinosaur, one even deadlier than the Tyrannusaurus Rex—the Spinosaurus. One cool scene from this film is the first battle we see between the two and the Spinosaurus wins dramatically by snapping the neck of the T-Rex.

Also in the mix is the addition of the Pteranodons, or Pterodactyls as I’ve learned from the Flintstones. It was pretty cool to have these guys in the movie after we saw one of them landing at the end of the first sequel.

Pretty much, this film is a rehash from the first two films, just the same plot of people being stuck on an island with man-eating dinosaurs on the loose and they need to find a way to save themselves. But don’t get me wrong, the film is very entertaining and keeps you on the edge of your seat and the cast is very likable as was in the two films previous. I actually wish they’d keep making sequels, maybe taking the dinosaurs to America once again, but this time on a much grander scale.

Anyway, the Jurassic Park trilogy makes for a great six hours of a movie watching experience. It’s magical, entertaining, fun for the whole family and I recommend it to anybody who likes to watch an action film with a little bit of science fiction to boot. It’s definitely the best group of dinosaur movies ever made…no doubt about that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

À L'intérieur

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve talked about my favorite genre and I think it’s high time that I did. Horror, for me, is the best thing in my life and it’s not because it’s something that I want happening to other people or myself for that matter. I just enjoy the creativity of it and how the special effects work to make the scenes look authentic and genuine.

Now, a while back I wrote out a list of twenty horror movies that I feel are the best I’ve seen. But, of course, there’s a lot more horror movies out there that I enjoy just as much as the list I made. If I really put my mind to it, I probably could’ve made a top 100 list, but that would’ve been a long read.

Anyway, one of the podcasts I listen to and enjoy is Horror Etc. and not too long ago they discussed at length how much they enjoyed the movie, À L'intérieur, which translated in French means, Inside.

À L'intérieur is a foreign film directed by Alexandre Bustillo, complete with subtitles, but please do not let that scare you off if you’re the type who doesn’t like to read while watching a film. I, myself, usually don’t like subtitled movies, but this one really held my attention throughout.

The film opens with the aftermath of a car accident and we see two people inside, a man and a woman. The woman, played by Alysson Paradis, is coming out of the haze and we gather that she’s going to be all right. But the man doesn’t move—apparently dead.

We then see the young woman at a hospital some time after the accident as she’s pregnant and probably just having a routine appointment. She appears to be at full term and very sad, visibly upset about the loss of her husband. But before you can really feel completely compassionate for her, the young lady basically tells a nurse to buzz off in a very offending way when all the nurse was trying to do was to have a conversation with her.

The main story starts when the young lady stays the night in her house by herself and what starts as some simple stalking turns into something very bad until it concludes with the most horrible scene I’ve ever witnessed in a horror movie.

Yes, this film has a lot of gore and guts and mutilation and blood and stabbing and shooting and everything you can think of to kill someone disgustingly and horribly. At times, I was very uncomfortable with the way people were getting killed and I haven’t felt that way in a long time when watching a horror movie. It just goes to show you that while these foreign horror movies have been going to the next level with their shock value, American movies have just been running in place, making remakes and clichéd stories with clean and tired visuals.

Even though the main character sort of acted like a spoiled brat at the beginning and seemed like she didn’t care whether she had this baby or not, by the time the movie gets moving you really feel bad for her and pull for her against her terrorizer.

About this villain…when we first see the antagonist’s shadowed form at the windows or doors, it makes us want to get up and make sure all the doors and windows are locked and fastened (at least that’s what it made me want to do). When this character is finally revealed, it’s someone who looks mysterious and foreboding…someone you really want to steer clear of if you saw them walking at night towards you.

Anyway, after viewing this work, I immediately thought of people who shouldn’t see this movie.

In two words: pregnant women.

For someone who’s pregnant, you do NOT want to see this film. Actually, anybody who’s pregnant, has a pregnant wife, or has a new born baby should stay away from this.

Most of the film has practical effects, meaning the effects were mainly done without computer graphic imagery. All the effects were done with make-up or prosthetics and it worked excellently in this flick. The only CGI used in À L'intérieur was when they showed what the baby was doing inside the woman as she was becoming stressed or frightened, and in some instances as she was being attacked. It was clever and added a lot to the film.

I recommend À L'intérieur to anybody who wants to watch a suspenseful and violent story unfold. As I’ve said, this film is not for the faint of heart or someone with kids or expecting.

And, of course, I wouldn’t watch this while eating a meal.

My final “bit” on À L'intérieur? A flowing story that hooks you in for a very terrifying ride that’ll leave you shocked and alarmed. Being the biggest opposer of subtitled movies, I found myself not minding the words at the bottom. At certain lengths of the film, there’s no dialogue so it really isn’t an issue. The French really know what they’re doing with the horror genre and it makes me want to go out and buy a French to English dictionary.

Yeah, I know…bad joke.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Spider-Man Trilogy


It took over a decade to get this character onto the big screen back in 2002. But probably the only people that were privy to the knowledge that the Marvel Comics company was trying to get their most beloved character up on the silver screen were the fan boy comic book geeks like myself who read the ongoing news not on the Internet (for it was the early 90s and the Internet was barely into fruition) but on the back of each Spidey comic book.

The news on the bulletin portion of each comic book went as far as to inform us that James Cameron was going to be the director of the film. It was true…Cameron was interested in helming the director’s chair and making a pretty interesting movie. I say that because it was reported that Cameron wrote a 60 page treatment for the film and it became available on the Internet for all to read a couple of years before the movie was released.

I’ll comment on that script later.

See, Stan Lee kept his Spider-Man fans apprised of the upcoming film because he really thought that it would be on its feet in no time. But the fact was the movie at that time didn’t have a leg to stand on. Marvel signed away rights to the character many years before and I believe Viacom maintained those rights from the 70s to the 90s where it went into court to see what major movie studio would win them.

It was a lengthy squabble to see what studio would get the rights and a long one it was. Everyone knew the character of Spider-Man would be a huge cash cow if it were made into a movie, so it was no wonder that the litigation continued up until the end of the millennium.

I kept up with the story as much as I could back then, but it all just seemed to fade away. It just seemed that Spider-Man wasn’t meant to be on the big screen.

But in the late 90s, articles started popping up about the film and how Sony Pictures won the rights. Everything started falling into place after that, like the job of director going to Sam Raimi (of The Evil Dead trilogy fame) up to the lead actor, Tobey Maguire, being cast to portray Peter Parker…I thought all the choices were great. Danny Elfman, however, as the composer troubled me a little, but I figured with Batman’s memorable theme under his belt, he seemed like a fine choice.

It was just a waiting game after that. But all of us Spidey fans were treated now and then to images from the film like the first promotional pictures of Tobey Maguire in the Spider-Man costume or set photos in New York and Los Angeles.

Finally, a teaser trailer was released and I was fit to be tied! My first glimpse of Spider-Man in action! I couldn’t believe it! I forget where I saw it or what movie it preceded, but it was a pretty interesting and elaborate bank robbery with the crooks getting away in a helicopter. Suddenly, the chopper stops in midair and the criminals don’t understand what’s going on. The shot widens out showing the helicopter stuck in a huge spider web. Widening out even more, we see that the web is formed between the two towers of the World Trade Center. Brilliant! The trailer went on to show Spider-Man shooting his web and swinging through the air.

It’s been said that the bank robbery scene was supposed to be in the movie, but because of the tragic circumstances on September 11th of 2001, the studio decided to take it out.

I counted down the days until the event and it finally came in May of 2002. I took the day off of work, put on my best Spider-Man tee-shirt and headed to the movie theater a couple of hours before show time. My friend and I mingled with the other fans in line, taking note of their Spidey ensembles here and there, and just waited in anticipation for the event of my lifetime (at the time anyway).

At the time I was living in San Jose in California and I made sure to pick my favorite movie theater in the area which was the Century Theatres on Winchester Boulevard. In all my movie going days, I’d found that those theaters had the best sound hands down and I wanted to make sure my first glimpse at my favorite superhero had to be the best.

With all that said, let me get into the movie.

Spider-Man starts with the beginning of how Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is a nerdy high schooler that’s picked on by bullies and is ignored by the girl of his dreams, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst).

Instead of the original tale of how Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider, the film goes a tad more modern and the spider is actually a genetically mutated spider that bites Peter, changing his DNA overnight.

The movie sticks with the comic book throughout, making sure to go through the arc of Peter wanting to make money from his new power to the death of his Uncle Ben (played by Cliff Robertson) due, in part, to his failure to act on thwarting a crime. With that burden weighing heavy in Peter’s heart, he feels the need to fight crime because as his uncle told him, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

A great pick for Aunt May is Rosemary Harris as she’s very caring and nurturing toward Peter, just like the ongoing comic book series.

Also, hilariously accurate in his depiction of J. Jonah Jameson is J.K. Simmons of HBO’s “Oz” series. He embodies Jameson’s temperament and personality to a tee, causing me to laugh hysterically during many of his scenes.

Now, the villain in this film, the Green Goblin (played by Willem Dafoe), was pretty cool, although a lot of fan boys were very disappointed in the costume design, saying that it should’ve been more like the comic book. But I think the costume designers, writers and producers did the right thing by designing it the way they did and not making Dafoe look like some dork in a Halloween mask.

James Franco did all right as the disregarded son of Norman Osborn (AKA, the Green Goblin) since he really didn’t have much to do in this part (he becomes more important in parts 2 and 3), but he was a good choice as to play Peter’s best friend.

To some it up, yes, I had my doubts that Sam Raimi would be able to pull this film off, seeing that he was known for his horror movie history and never really had a blockbuster in his résumé. So he really surprised me with 2002’s Spider-Man, proving he’s a big action movie director up with the best of them. In my lifetime, I’ve watched every incarnation of the character from the famous cartoon of the 60s to the live action camp of the 70s. Seeing Spider-Man finally come to life in the glory he deserved for years was a great treat and I was glad it happened during my existence.

About James Cameron’s 60 page treatment? Well, it turns out that a few of his ideas were taken from it, one being the idea of having Spider-Man shoot his webs organically from his wrists than having him invent web shooters like he has in the comic books. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. I mean, why would Peter Parker obtain all the traits of a spider except for shooting webs physically from his body? But a few things from the draft I didn’t care for, like the villain, which was some forgettable person. Also, he had Flash’s last name wrong; it’s Thompson, not McCreery. Of course, it was only a treatment and not a full fledged screenplay, so I’ll forgive Cameron for his attempt.

My final “bit” on Spider-Man? A great all-around comic book film that’s faithful to its source and the whole film’s worth the watch just to see Spidey swinging through New York at the end.

Spider-Man 2

Pretty much greenlighted during the first film’s run, Spider-Man 2 is (so far) the best of the series. Thanks probably goes in part of the advance in CGI and the amount of money part one made worldwide. I’m partial to this outing because the villain was the one I wanted first: Doctor Octopus.

I was so excited when, again, production was generous in giving out the information on who the next villain would be. It was a no-brainer in my opinion because I think a lot of fans shared my thought that Doc Ock should’ve been the baddie in the first flick. A lot of speculation went down as to who would be wearing the arms, but they hadn’t cast the character yet at that time. One rumor went around that Robin Williams would be Otto Octavius, which I thought would be interesting. However, it wasn’t long before the announcement finally came out that it would be Alfred Molina.

Back again were Maguire, Dunst and Franco as Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborn respectively. The love story arc between Peter and Mary Jane continues, as does the hatred of Spider-Man by Harry Osborn. But the love story turns into a love triangle because Mary Jane is dating a new man, J. Jonah Jameson’s son, the astronaut, John Jameson (who we Spidey fans know turns into the Man-Wolf in the Spider-Man comics).

In this outing, Peter’s struggling in college while juggling his photography career as well as a pizza deliveryman and of course, his job as Spider-Man. We’re treated right away to Spidey saving a couple of kids about to get run over by a truck as he’s trying to deliver a pizza. It follows the ongoing theme in the comics that Spidey’s just a regular Joe with everyday problems with school, work and women.

Harry follows in his father’s footsteps in funding the advancement of scientific research and it turns out that he’s funding a scientist, Dr. Otto Octavius, famous for his work in fusion. Peter’s writing a paper on him and gets to know the man, meeting his wife and talking to him about the upcoming demonstration. On the day of the presentation, things start out smoothly but soon go horribly wrong. We’re introduced to the artificial intelligent arms that Octavius uses for the experiment and it’s explained that because of a computer inhibitor chip that’s implanted on the mechanism, the doctor controls the arm and not the other way around. After the presentation goes wrong, resulting in the arms being melded to Otto’s body permanently and the inhibitor chip being destroyed, Spider-Man saves the day before the fusion experiment killed everybody in the room. Of course this enrages Harry Osborn even more and we later see that he’s hell-bent in killing Spider-Man; so much so that he’s obsessed with the task.

As expected, Otto Octavius becomes the dreaded Doctor Octopus and he wants to create a bigger and better fusion reaction, thinking that the experiment was working before Spider-Man ruined everything. All this is a disillusion by the arms now that there’s no inhibitor chip to stop them from swaying Octavius to do what they want him to.

One thing to note is the inclusion of Dr. Curt Connors in this film as well as pert three. In the Spider-Man universe, Dr. Connors becomes The Lizard. You may be able to catch how the actor is portrayed missing an arm, seeing that the sleeve of his right arm is empty and folded up. In the comics, his work is dedicated to the study of reptiles and how they’re able to regenerate limbs. He concocts a serum that he thinks may help him grow his arm back, and it does. However, the side effect is that he transforms into a human lizard and goes on killing sprees. I wished they continued this character’s storyline of the third film instead of what they did. But I’ll dive into that next.

I can go on and on about Spider-Man 2, mainly about the battles between Doc Ock and Spidey (especially the subway battle), and I’m sure that almost everybody has seen Sam Raimi’s masterpiece, but this by far is the quintessential superhero film.

To some it up, and to give my final “bit” on it, Spider-Man 2 is a multi-leveled film that goes from the love story arc, to Peter’s relationship with his aunt, to Harry’s vendetta against Spidey, to the matchup between the hero and villain, and so much more. All in all, the story was well written and I don’t think they can ever top this comic book hero movie. 2008’s The Dark Knight is close, but in my opinion, Spider-Man 2 is a notch above. Just the matchups between Spidey and Doc Ock (which we get three battles between them!) makes this comic book superhero movie much better than The Dark Knight.

Spider-Man 3

Well, we waited two years before we had gotten to see Spider-Man 2 and it was well worth the time it spent in production for we were delivered a top notch superhero versus villain movie we hadn’t seen since Superman went up against General Zod and his minion in Superman II back in 1981. So it came to reason that since we waited three years for Spider-Man 3, it should’ve been a way better movie than part 2, right?

Well, yes and no.

I’ll go into it as I did when I walked into the theater back a few years ago.

I sat down and watched the previews, waiting for the movie to start. As it did, I took note that the music was a tad different and had a bit more than usual, which I liked. A new theme was mixed into the one we all know and at the time I guessed it had something to do with the black goo we saw during the opening credits and which us comic book geeks knew belonged to the alien symbiote that came from outer space.

But enough of that until later.

I watched the movie and I had some reservations about certain parts, but loved a lot of the others.

Back again are the key players of the first two films. We’ve got Tobey Maguire sporting the red and blues again as Spider-Man, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, James Franco as Harry Osborn, Rosemary Harris as Aunt May, J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, Dylan Baker as Dr. Connors, and flashback scenes with Cliff Robertson as Uncle Ben.

We have some new characters and villains here in this one, including Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom, Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy, James Cromwell as Captain Stacy, and Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman.

Out of the three films, and all of them I like by the way, this one didn’t have the flow as the others did. It seemed to drag in some parts and flowed in others, making it a tough film to watch.

One of a few examples of parts that just slowed down the film was Mary Jane in the beginning as she sung on stage. When the film opened with this I viewed it like an omen of bad things to come. It was terrible, like Kirsten Dunst’s singing, and grinded the film to a halt. And seeing that this was the first few minutes of the film—not good. I know that it set up Harry in the balcony sneering at Peter and showing his contempt for him, but they could’ve conveyed that without the singing. They could’ve had Peter sitting there while he waited for the show to start and have the same scene play out without the performance.

And about the black goo? A meteorite hits the ground (alá The Blob) ad that’s it? Waaaaay different than how Spidey had gotten the black suit in the comics, but I guess there’s just no way they could do that storyline in one movie or with only one Marvel character within one movie.

Another illustration of having a movie lag is whenever Peter visited with his Aunt May. These scenes seemed tacked on just to give screen time to Rosemary Harris. She’s a wonderful actress and I love her as Aunt May in these films, but unfortunately the writers didn’t give her much to work with in this Spider-Man outing.

Yet another scene, when Mary Jane visits Harry to be with a friend, seemed okay but the dancing part of it could’ve been trimmed out. Although the whole part of it was needed to give that love triangle story some credence as a whole, as well as giving Harry the anger he needed in order to have total recall from his amnesia. But come on! Doing “The Twist” in the kitchen? Corny.

Then the mother of all stupid parts is what I like to call the “Spider-Day Night Fever” scene where Peter is walking down the sidewalk dancing and acting like a fool. My God, I loathe this scene! As funny as it is, it just doesn’t belong in this film! It’s stupid and terrible and just adds a lot of campiness to a film that should’ve been straight all the way. There are so many other ways to illustrate Peter’s aggressiveness because of the black costume—I don’t know why they decided to add this ridiculousness to the story. To top it off, they add more to his sudden rhythmic ability in the jazz club scene. Embarrassing.

But tied for the worst idea of the movie was the alteration of Spider-Man’s history by making Flint Marko become Uncle Ben’s murderer instead of the character in the first film that was always understood as the killer throughout the chronicling in the Spider-Man comics.

Now for what I actually liked about Spider-Man 3.

The whole arc that continues with Peter and Harry is great. At least they continued with Harry taking over as the new Goblin with an innovative look as well as updated weapons and a new cool-looking glider. The first fight scene between the two (although Peter’s Spider-Sense should’ve warned him, but I’m willing to overlook this) is great and so cool, it kept me on the edge of my seat the first time I watched the film. The second battle in the Osborn mansion was amazing and actually made you feel sorry for Harry as Peter was swayed by the suit as he kicked Harry’s ass. These scenes were probably the coolest parts of the film.

Of course, the whole introduction to Flint Marko and how he become the Sandman is amazing. When he retrieves his trademark green and black striped shirt, I got goose bumps. And the chase into the particle accelerator bunker (whatever that test was all about) was so cool and gave a new modern twist to the comic book origin. Sam Raimi obviously gave special care to the scenes involving the Sandman because the special effects were so mind-blowing and miraculous, it really added so much to the film.

Although Sam Raimi didn’t want the black suit to be in the movie, he sure made it fit, albeit a bad way to introduce it. But the way it changed Peter and made him close to the brink of immorality, it displayed how powerful it was and how stronger it made Spider-Man. Unfortunately, the introduction of this storyline just made it seem like there were two movies going on at the same time, but it definitely was a cool idea.

I think the acrimony between Eddie Brock and Peter Parker was done well, going to a higher level when Peter’s influenced by the black costume and really emphasizing the hatred Eddie has when he finally gets the black suit bonded to him.

A lot of scenes were cool and held this movie together enough in order to make a lot of money worldwide. But there was quite a few parts that made me think that it could’ve been a lot better. Obviously Sony Pictures were okay with it and what it drew in the box office because they gave the go ahead for Spider-Man 4 to be released in May of 2011.

Anyway, hopefully Sam Raimi can have better control of the next film because I heard he was trumped by the producers to put Venom in Spider-Man 3 when he was totally against it. I agree with Raimi on how he wants to put the bronze age of comic book villains and not the newer ones of the 90s. If you think about it, it makes sense because we all grew up watching the famous cartoon of the 60s and we’re familiar with the villains of that era.

My final “bit” on Spider-Man 3? It’s definitely the weaker of the three films, but good enough for a stand alone film. It has adequate parts of exciting action and story, but does have parts where it slows down. As a completist, I watch all three movies one right after the other; but the best out of the three is Spider-Man 2. As a whole, this is probably the best superhero trilogy ever; the X-Men series is a close second.

Hopefully Spider-Man 4 will make up for this red-headed stepchild of the trilogy. If I had my way, I’d finally make Dylan Baker’s Dr. Connors be a focus in the movie as The Lizard because I think that would bring a Hulk aspect to the movie and maybe bring out some of Peter’s geniusness into the mix. And for a second villain, I’d go to the old days of Spider-Man’s rogue gallery and maybe choose Hydroman or Chameleon…one of his first foes from the comic book series.

But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.