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

 

Mar 222012
 

Cujo Stephen King 1983Director: Lewis Teague

RatingR

Running Time:1hr 33min 

Release Date: 8/12/83

GenreHorror

CastDonna Trenton (Dee Wallace), Tad Trenton (Danny Pintauro), Vic Trenton (Daniel Hugh-Kelly), Steve Kemp (Christopher Stone)

SynopsisBased on an early Stephen King novel of the same name. Cujo is about a rabid dog named Cujo. As his disease gets worse he attacks several people and eventually terrorizes Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace) and her son, Tad (Danny Pintauro), while they are trapped in a stalled car miles away from help.

Analysis: I can remember seeing previews of this movie when I was younger and they are probably the origin of my dislike and fear of big dogs. Over the years, I am pretty sure that I have seen almost every film based directly on Stephen King novels, but I couldn’t remember seeing Cujo. Once I started watching it, I realized that I had.

The problem is that film doesn’t create a lasting impression, no memorable lines, no great acting, and is jus 2 hours of a dog slobbering and people screaming in a car. According to some sources, they had to strap down Cujo’s tail to his leg because he though he was playing during attack scenes and his tail would wag. I wish that I could have found something about this movie that would have provoked strong emotions like that for me.

Pro:

  • Cujo’s slow decent into rabidness and psychotic insanity.
  • Tad (Danny Pintauro), looked so scared at time that it the audience want tho project him.
  • There is a really good camera shots of sunrise and moving shadows

Con:

  • Takes place during summer, but there are bare trees everywhere and sometimes the actors look cold because filming occurred late in the year.
  • There is a Spinning camera shot in the car that is really annoying.
  • Some of the dialogue from the book does not sound good when spoken.
  • The ending was abrupt.

Conclusion: During a few short years during the mid 1980s, Hollywood attempted to cash in on Stephen King’s rising popularity. Some of them were pretty good movies like The Dead Zone and Stand By Me. Others were rushed out the door and into theaters as quickly as possible, and Cujo is one of these. Stephen King has admitted several times that he was so into his alcohol addiction at the time that he does not remember writing the book. I wonder if anyone involved with this film feels the same way? Don’t bother with this one, if you need to fill you Stephen King fix, see The Shining or Carrie.

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters

2

Story

2

Special Effects

1

Would Watch Again?

1

Average

1.5