Purr-fectly "Horror"-fying: Review for "Masters of Horror: The Black Cat"

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The Black Cat is one of the episodes in the Showtime series Masters of Horror. It appears in season 2. The film is beautifully crafted by Stuart Gordon, director of the classic Re-Animator. The film does not feature any gratuatisque scenes, like most of the other episodes in the series. It does feature blood, but with good reason to the storyline: Virginia Poe is suffering from TB. The film is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s tale of self destruction. It is about a man who is mentally tormented by this black cat, and in result, does unspeakable acts. The film plays out fantastically, pretending that Poe, very poor and depressed because of his wife’s disease, is slowly descending into madness. The accounts in the film are either something that happened in Poe’s life or taken directly from the short story. The thing I liked about it is that the film didn’t feature unneeded amount of blood or nudity, that all the elements were important to the story and not just thrown it for fun. Gordon did a great job with Re-Animator, so it was interesting to see a splatter director take on a piece of classic Gothic literature, much like he did in the first season of Masters with H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreams of the Witch House, which (no pun intended) was almost as well done as this one. The picture is almost black and white for the time setting except for scenes in which you see blood or anything truly colorful. This is the best one of the series. Poe is the Master of Gothic Horror, while Gordon remains the Master of Cinematic Horror. Grade: A- Stars: 4.5/5 Stars 8.5/10

"Live" and Let "Die Hard": Review for "Live Free or Die Hard"

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Having not seen the previous Die Hard films will make this review different. I will not be comparing the John Mclanes now and then. This film was very well made. It is about Thomas Gabriel sinking the government system via his computer. One of the compelling features of this film is that it tackles terrorism. But not just any terrorism, virtual terrorism. It is compelling because people these days are so hooked to technology, like their televisions, cell phones, and computer; and to have that used against you for fear is one of those things that could really happen. In one scene, the terrorist airs a video to every television in the country. It has pictures of the nation’s capital and a voice singing “America the Beautiful”. The voice is the quavery voice which is reminiscent to Michael Crawford’s voice in The Phantom of the Opera. And the end of the song, the capital blows up, which leads to the nations fear of Apocalypse via terrorism. the film revolves John McClane (played brilliantly by Bruce Willis) trying to capture a computer hacker (Justin Long) in for questioning. The government computer have been hacked and they want to know who and why. The film then goes into the father-must0rescue-daughter hostage cliche. But the film is quite good. Grade: B+ Stars: 3.5/5 Stars: 6/10

Phone "Ring": Review for "The Ring" and "The Ring Two"

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Sure, they may not be the greatest in horror, but they are the road less traveled these days. It’s more Gothic horror than slasher. The film started a trend of Japanese remakes. The Ring was based on Ringu, The Grudge later released was based on Ju-On:The Grudge, and Dark Water based on the Japanese film of the same name. The Ring is about a killer video tape. The tape is filled with horrible images and after the tape is finished, your phone rings and a mysterious voice says “You will die in seven days.”. The girl in the video tape is Samara, the child done wrong by her adoptive parents. She was dumped into a well. The film gets around to a teenage girl who, after seven days, is killed in a gruesome way by Samara. New mom Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts in both films) is a reporter in Seattle. She decides to investigate the film’s mysterious path. When finally solving part of the mysterious tape’s existence, she copies the tape. Which leads us to The Ring Two. Rachel’s son, Aiden (David Dorfman) is possessed by Samara, which makes Rachel track down Samara’s past, before being adopted. The Ring Two was directed by Hideo Makato, who directed the original Ringu and Ringu 2. Both films have their flaws, but I personally favored The Ring. It was smarter and better written. Well played out, too. Overall: Grade: B Stars: 3.5/5 The Ring Grade: B Stars: 4/5 The Ring Two Grade: B- Stars: 3/5 The Cursed Video Grade: A Stars: 4.5/5

Bond Is Back In Action!: Review for the Ultimate James Bond Collection

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Sure, they’re trying to get your money, but for Bond fans of all sorts, the new box sets are completely worth it. In four volumes, the set contains 20 of the 21 Bond films. Volumes 1 & 2 were released November 7 as a tie in with Casino Royale. For Christmas, Volumes 3 & 4 were released in mid December. Each volume contains some of the best (and worst) of the Bond series. The menus, though somewhat repetitive and a little risque, are amazing. Each of the films are restored by the people who restored the Star Wars Trilogy. The picture is as clear as a beach in Dr. No, crisp and “sharp” in Goldfinger, as well as the others. The special features are amazing, featuring brand new, never before seen features and recycled features from the 2002-2003 release. One of the only reasons I got this collection is because of the artillery of new special features and the recycled old features. Each is enhanced with the best possible sound and picture quality ever before on DVD (documentary on process can be found in Volume 4, Dr. NoDisc 2). Each with 5.1 DTS Surround Sound. This is the greatest assembly of the Bond films ever released on DVD. The set also contains documentaries , screen tests, and photo galleries. Each film even features audio commentaries. The Roger Moore films have all new commentaries from none other than Roger Moore himself.  Overall: Grade: A Stars: 9.5 Films: Grade: B+ Stars: 7.5 Special Features: Grade: A+ Stars: 10 Picture and Sound Quality: Grade: A+++ Stars:15

Cross an "Ocean": Reveiw for "Ocean’s Thirteen"

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I remember seeing Ocean’s Twelve on DVD. It was really bad. I remember all the commercials praising the film. It was not funny. It was not well written. It was arrogant. The sequel to the hit remake of the Rat Pack film, Ocean’s Eleven, was a disappointment. Then I saw the trailers for Ocean’s Thirteen and looked forward to the film. The scenes of George Clooney crying at the Oprah Winfrey Show and of Al Pacino threatening Clooney are hilarious. It seems that the trailers live up to the actual film. Reuben Tiskoff (Elliot Gould) makes a deal with Willy Bank (Al Pacino) on their brand new casino. Turns out, Reuben is no longer a partner. He’s thrown into shock and suffers a heart attack. Danny (George Clooney) and the gang want to bring the Bank down. With great acting, a hilarious story line, and top notch gags, the film lives up to Ocean’s Eleven. With only one problem: a scene where Danny and Rusty (Brad Pitt) pollute room 1706, where the casino critic is staying. The scene has each of them doing different tasks with the tools needed. Only that each scene is put on top of each other so it is hard to concentrate on what each is doing. Other than that the film is part of the greatest heist films ever made. Grade: B+

"Royale" Flush: Review for "Casino Royale" DVD

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His name is Bond…James Bond. For over 40 years, he has used his License to Thrill. He returns with a new man as the timeless character. Daniel Craig brings new feeling to Bond. For 45 years it’s been an annoying formula. Shaken, not stirred: Bond gets mission, Bond meets girl, Bond sleeps with girl, Bond meets villain, Bond fights villain, Bond wins fight, Bond sleeps with girl again. This formula has been used in the last 18 films before Casino Royale. Craig makes you believe he is a human and not a super hero. He leaves us shaken AND stirred. And he falls in love with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). This is great change for the series. Sadly, the DVD does not live up to its predecessors (Ultimate Bond Collection (2006), Bond Special Edition (2002-2003), Die Another Day Special Edition). The DVD contains three documentaries: One on the “evolution” of the Bond Girl in an updated edition of AMC’s Bond Girls Are Forever, one on the making of the film centered on Daniel Craig called The New Bond, and one on the stunts on the film (which were spectacular) called Bond For Real. There is also a music video for the main theme song for the film: Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name. The extras are almost as bare as the Golden Girl (see: 1964’s Goldfinger with Sean Connery), but the film makes it somewhat worth your $19.95. The film is great. The extras sad. Movie: Grade: A- Stars: 8/10 DVD Overall: Grade B- Stars: 2 Extras: Grade: D+ Stars: 1.5

"End" of the Line: Review for "Pirates: At World’s End"

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John Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley are back in this latest installment of the Pirates series. In a nutshell, the film is better than Dead Man’s Chest, but still not a cinematic achievement. The film has too many subplots, for instance: Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) wants to avenge her father’s death, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) wants to get in touch with his soft side, Pirate lords are teaming up against the British, Will Turner (Bloom) wants to rescue his father from the Flying Dutchman, and countless others. The film jumps from one scene to another without explaining how it got there. Johnny Depp is, as usual, hilarious and hysterical as Captain Jack. The story is a bit too long for me to put into a synopsis (2 hrs. 47 min.). The special effects are a bit over done and there are quite a few scenes that were not needed in any way. Grade: C+ Stars: 2.5