Mar 272012
 

Director: Nicolas Gessner

Rating: PG

Running Time: 91 Minutes

Release Date:November 26, 1976

GenreMystery Suspense

CastRynn(Jodie Foster), Frank Hallet(Martin Sheen), Mrs. Hallet(Alexis Smith), Miglioriti(Mort Shuman), Mario(Scott Jacoby)

Synopsis: Since the death of her father, thirteen year-old Rynn (Jodie Foster) lives alone in a large house in a small New England town. With the help of another kid, Mario, she must convince the adults of town that her father is still around or they will take her away. Frank (Martin Sheen), the landlord’s creepy adult son, has also taken an unwholesome interest in her.

Analysis: I saw this film once when I was very young and it has been in my mind ever since. It is a darker and more realistic version of Pippi Longstocking, where the girl lives by herself and doesn’t need any help from the outside world, but the outside world keep intruding. Instead of tricking the adults like Pippi, Rynn gets backed into a corner and people end up dying by accident and this leads to more and more lies and the hiding of bodies.

Pro:

  • Funny chain of deaths that start with her father trying to spare her from his death.
  • Martin Sheen makes a very convincing and scary pedophile.
  • Mario has so many brothers that his parents forgot which ones had polio shots and that is why Mario has a limp.

Con:

  • The musical score is very dated from the 1970s with bass, symbols, keyboard and flute.
  • The dialogue is choppy at times, but counteracted by Fosters good acting.
  • Too much tea drinking!

Conclusion: I’m pretty sure that I was about 5 years old when I first saw this film. Around the same time, I had also seen a similar movie called A Girl Named Sooner and combined them in my head causing some strange recollections. The Little Girl That Lives Down the Lane is a pretty obscure and rare film, so I am very fortunate to have caught this on TV. Now that I have seen it again, I realize that it is a pretty good film and not as creepy as I thought.

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters

3

Story

4

Special Effects

2

Would Watch Again?

3

Average

3

 

Mar 262012
 

Director: Matt Reeves

RatingR

Running Time: 116 minutes

Release Date: 10/1/2010

GenreHorror, Vampire

CastOwen ( Kodi Smit-McPhee), Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz), “The Father” (Richard Jenkins), Owen’s mother (Cara Buono), “The Policeman” ( Elias Koteas)

Synopsis: In 1983 New Mexico, Owen ( Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a friendless 12-year-old boy and is picked on at school. He meets a dark and strange girl named Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz) and she helps him learn to fight back. Instead of recoiling in fear when he learns that she is a vampire, he falls for her and tries to help and protect her.

AnalysisThe director of Let Me In based it on a novel and 2008 Swedish film, Let the Right One In. They are very different films and Let Me In bigger budget allows for better special effects. Also, since it takes place in America in 1983 vs Sweden, it felt more personal to me since I was a nerdy 10-year-old in America during 1983.

I won’t spoil it here, but there is a pretty big secret about Abby’s nature and it is only briefly hinted at in Let Me In, but is more openly discussed in Let the Right One In. I’m not sure why they changed it, but I have the feeling that it was to make it more palatable to an American audience.

Pro:

  • Simple mask made of a plastic bag is frightening.
  • General restrained use of CGI.
  • Vampire must be invited in or it causes intense pain.
  • Disorienting scenes from inside vehicles.
  • Excellent work on the frozen body in the lake.

Con:

  • There is a very well-lit train crossing with no visible source of light
  • Slightly fake fire effect with the newly turned vampire woman.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed the film. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was surprised and happy with the direction it took.

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters

4

Story

4

Special Effects

3

Would Watch Again?

4

Average

3.75

 

Mar 232012
 

Publisher:THQ

Developer: Volition, Inc.

SystemPlayed on XBOX 360, but also on PS3 and PC

Length: Open Ended (Estimated at least 40 hrs)

Release Date: 6/3/2009

GenreScience Fiction

Type: Third Person Shooter, Destructible Environment (Most buildings destroyable)

CastAlec Mason(Player), Dan Mason, Sam, Randy Jenkins, Marauders, EDF forces.

SynopsisIn 2120 Alec Mason travels to a recently terraformed Mars and joins his brother Dan. After treacherous EDF (Earth Defense Forces) soldiers kill his brother, Alec uses guerrilla tactics to get revenge and liberate Mars from the EDF. Along the way, he finds help from Sam the inventor, violent paranoid Randy Jenkins, and even the feral Marauders.

Analysis: I love this game. Almost every building is destructible and there is a wide assortment of upgradable ‘mining’ tools that double as weapons including; remote-controlled explosives, rocket launchers , and disintegration guns. Alec’s main weapon is a futuristic sledgehammer and as he upgrades it becomes more powerful. With it, he can smash down buildings with just a few blows. Also, there are more than 20 different vehicles for crashing though buildings and chasing down enemies.

The developer’s great attention to detail is impressive. For instance, when insane Randy Jenkins takes you on a mission, he rants about the EDF and even invents a martian language and keeps going for the 5 minutes of the mission. Another time, I threw a sticky bomb at an EDF soldier and it stuck on his head. In a panic, he runs around, swearing and trying to shake it off his head. It was funny in a sick sort of way.

Pro:

  • Setting up remote charges on a series of smokestacks, climbing a hill to get a good view, push the triggering and watching them fall down.
  • Flying around Mars on a jet-pack.
  • Sad, and creepy hidden ghosts at radio tag locations.
  • Being nearly invincible while driving a tank around.

Con:

  • Walkers are very clumsy
  • Some parts of buildings are indestructible.
  • Not able to fly EDF fliers.

Conclusion: My kids downloaded the demo for this game and kept wanting me to play it. When I finally tried it out, I became obsessed with it. The only problem was that it was only one mission. That night, I went to Gamestop and found a great deal for a used copy for $10. The kids made me promise that I wouldn’t play the game when they were at school. I was able to keep that promise most days, but it was very difficult!

Bonus Tip: Practice with some of the rifles available in the game. They are hard to aim at first, but once you do they are very effective weapons and always available when you run out of ammo for your other weapons.

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters

3

Story

4

Upgrades?

5

Replay Value?

3

Average

3.75