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Summer’s End

Wow. I just did a count of all the movies I’ve seen this summer. We’ve hit a new record low, folks. I’ve only seen 3 films. But you know what? I’m totally cool with that.

In the days of yore before I had, you know, bills and a car payment, rent, etc., I would see almost every film released during the summer season. I used to collect the ticket stubs and marvel at their number.

Mind you, this was also when matinée showings were around $3 and evening films were $5-ish. Today’s matinée showing of The World’s End (I’ll get to that in a bit) was $8 freaking dollars!!! WTF!

My overdue point here is that I can no longer afford to go to every release as that really adds up. Instead of marveling at my stub stack, I’d be marveling as how quickly my bank balance plummeted. Ha!

Anyways, things being what they are, I’ve become a little particular when it comes to what I see over the summer months. I check out the releases and make a list of (a) what I’d like to see and then out of that (b) what I must, by all means, see. The rest go straight to the Netflix queue. Needless to say, my queue is a bit crowded right now.

So..what trifecta of films made the grade?

  1. Star Trek Into Darkness
  2. Pacific Rim
  3. The World’s End.

Just looking at that list made me realize that my genre of choice must be science fiction. Again, totally cool with that. Most of my favorite movies fall into that bucket, and really, why else do we go to the movies but to escape? There’s no further escape than sci-fi.

I’ve raved about Pacific Rim already, so you don’t need my thoughts on that. Star Trek? All I need to tell you is this: Cumberbatch. Nuff said. But The World’s End? Ahh…I’ve decided it’s the perfect film to watch for this summer’s end.

The World’s End is the final film of the “Three Flavors of Cornetto” trilogy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and directed by Edgar Wright. The other two films are Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.  TWE follows a group of friends as they attempt to recreate a pub crawl from their youth. During the crawl they discover their hometown has been taken over by aliens. The premise is a little zany but it totally works.

I’m a HUGE Simon Pegg fan so it’s hard for me to find anything wrong with the film other than that it had a bit of a slow start. Aside from that, it was awesome. There were several cameos from folks who were in the other two films as well as a couple from the Pegg/Frost/Wright TV show, Spaced  (if you haven’t seen this, shame on you).

Oh, also this movie was damn funny. I laughed and laughed. People in the theater laughed too. It wasn’t just me!! Anyways, that’s about it. I just wanted to note the few films I saw and say that I’m glad I saw them.

Did you see any stand-out films over the summer? Are you having to be choosy too? Let me know.

Yes sir, I liked it: InSight

I really don’t like ghosts or ghost stories. Ghostbusters left me traumatized for weeks.  I was convinced that Slimer was going to ooze out of the faucet in the bathroom. I kid you not. Lady in White? Freaked me out. Poltergeist? Viewed the one and only time.

I think my thing about ghosts is that they can’t be killed. You can kill a vampire. You can kill a werewolf. Zombies? Them too. Ghosts? Nope. All you can do is move and hope they don’t follow. For this reason, there are many movies in the ghost/horror genre that I have avoided over the years. I rarely even read ghost stories.

But….

Oddly enough, I recently watched a ghostie-type movie that I enjoyed enough to pause so I could take notes and also to suggest to a couple of people.  This rare gem is titled InSight and stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Natalie Zea.

Zea plays an ER nurse named Kaitlyn. One night a stabbing victim is brought into the hospital. As she flatlines on the stretcher, the victim suddenly opens her eyes and speaks to Kaitlyn, saying “he loved me”—just as the defibrillator is applied. The electrical current zaps Kaitlyn too. Both die, but Kaitlyn is revived after a minute. Also, no one else remembers the girl regaining consciousness.

Pretty much from that point on, Kaitlyn starts seeing visions of the dead girl’s final moments. It’s almost like she’s experiencing memories that aren’t her own. Honestly, the way the spirit of the girl (or her memories at least) keep haunting, Kaitlyn, I was reminded of  Prince Hamlet being led on by the ghost of his father. That sort of all-encompassing thing. You know… That said, Kaitlyn takes it upon herself to solve the murder even if that means getting in the way of Flanery’s police detective who is also investigating. The two eventually team up, and away we go. [Special Note: I love finding ways to work Hamlet into a conversation. This one practically fell into my lap. You’re welcome.]

I’ve had a sweet spot in my heart for Sean Patrick Flanery ever since he appeared on the scene as Young Indiana Jones. I had several episodes of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles recorded on VHS once upon a time. About a year ago, I decided to rewatch some of these episodes from my adolescent years thinking they’d be just as awesome. Um…no. They are all fairly cheesy. But whatever. I had a great time watching them back in the day, and that’s all that matters. The point is that I’m always happy to see Mr. Flanery working.

I guess the best way to describe the movie is to call it a psychological ghost story. There were a few scary moments, but like Kaitlyn, I was all about finding out who the killer was. From early on, I was sucked into the story and held on for the ride. The movie had a cool noirish feel to it in places. For the most part this seemed to work.

InSight surprised me. I was expecting to watch a procedural murder mystery, and it turned out to be so much more. Just when I thought I had things figured out, another twist would come along, and I’d be back to square one. For that and other reasons, the movie was most enjoyable. I’d suggest it for a nice evening in. Also, Christopher Lloyd has a small role. That’s a bonus on its own.

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Fun Fact:  According to IMDB.com, the movie was shot in 15 days. That’s pretty groovy.

In-Flight Entertainment

I have returned from my vacation! Miss me? While  I’ve been traversing the globe, I’ve had a few good ideas for posts. One such idea came to me while I was trapped on a plane for a 10-hour transatlantic flight. But first, let me back up a bit.

The last time I flew from the US to Europe was two years ago. I flew Delta, and it was one of the older model planes. This meant that there were a series of monitors placed throughout the Economy cabin and we the passengers would watch whatever it was that was presented to us.  We all had to watch the same thing.  While an in-flight movie or TV show is most excellent, there was no choice in the matter. So in 2010, for my flight over the pond, these were the entertainments provided (per my journal notes):

  1. The King’s Speech (Oscar-winning and very good but alas edited for language which ruined one of the funniest sequences in the whole movie.)
  2. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (meh)
  3. The Karate Kid (The new version with Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s kid. Luckily, I think I slept through most of this)
  4. One episode of The Office
  5. One episode of Glee (by this point, I wondered if we had all died and this was perhaps Hell.)

On the flight back home, which is a longer flight btw, we were horribly punished by way of in-flight entertainment:

  1. Little Fockers (Noooooo!!!!)
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (eh…it was okay, but honestly I can’t remember much about it)
  3. Secretariat (This one was pretty good. High point of the flight home)
  4. One episode of The Big Bang Theory (a show I happen to enjoy)

Did you notice how there was less entertainment for the longer flight?  I sure did.  Anyways travel ahead to two years later (present day) and I’m on the plane again headed over the water. To my joy and surprise, Delta had upgraded their planes and now every passenger was given a personal screen with an array of film, television, and game choices!! Huzzah!

Choice! A fine thing unless you are watching the Matrix films in which the notion of choice becomes a HUGE philosophical cluster. But we aren’t at present, so let’s continue.

On my flight over this time, I mainly planned to sleep. That was a stupid plan because I’ve never been able to relax and sleep on planes. Also, while the airline offers seats with more leg-room, really they should be focusing on the fact that their seat cushions (while supposedly useful as floatation devices) are about as comfortable as a wooden church pew. A severe case of flatt-butt makes it difficult to snuggle into the plane seat. I digress….

Here are the shows/movies I watched on the way over when I wasn’t attempting some mode of sleep:

  1. An episode of Top Gear in which they went over the history of the Bond car. Richard Hammond hosted and it was really fun.
  2. The Girl (The HBO movie about Tippi Hedron and Alfred Hitchcock while they made The Birds and Marnie. I love Hitchcock’s movies, and found this behind the scenes story to be pretty good. Toby Jones was really creepy as Hitch. This was also really fun to watch since the airplane cabin was dark)
  3. Most of Wreck It Ralph (I was fortunate to have a very pleasant passenger in the window seat next to me, so we actually conversed with each other during our meals and between movie choices. For that reason, by the time I started this film, there wasn’t enough time left in the flight to finish it. So far so good though…)

On the flight home, I had an idea. I decided to watch two very different type of movies to see which would be the best kind to watch on a flight. After all, this was a tiny screen (smaller than the iPad). Would an action film not play out as well? Or, seeing as the flight back was longer and seemed so, would a drama increase the tedium? As a result, the following were watched:

  1. The Avengers I had seen this in the theater, so this was the first time watching since. (Sadly, my view screen was selective in any settings actions. I had to watch half the movie with only one ear bud in since I couldn’t get the volume down from 11 to a kinder, gentler, NORMAL volume. At some point though, the volume went to normal or else my eardrum just gave up) Overall, I’d say that while I enjoyed the movie greatly, I would have preferred to see it on a much larger screen as most of the action is just lost due to the size of the viewing area.
  2. Anna Karenina (the Keira Knightley version). I’ve never been a big fan of this story, but this adaptation totally sucked me in. For two hours I forgot I was on the plane. So maybe a smaller movie plays better with the limited space.
  3. Brave (This is the Pixar one that came out last year.) I had never seen it before. Animated films play out well on the view screen too. However, I wasn’t overly crazy about this one. Maybe it’s me. It was funny, sweet, exciting, and yet felt a little predictable. I felt it could have been a wee bit more than what it was.
  4. Hitchcock (the Anthony Hopkins version). I thought I’d bookend my flights with yet another movie about Hitch and his moviemaking. This one follows the great director as he worked to get Psycho made. I have the film on my Netflix queue right now because about halfway though the movie, everyone’s view screens froze up, and the flight attendants had to reset the system. If I wanted to finish the movie, I would have had to fast-forward through it, but the system didn’t fast-forward very quickly. A huge flaw, if you ask me.

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Thoughts

Hooray for choice even though it comes in the form of a tiny screen! While action films might not work out as well, many other film and TV type options did. Boo for flawed touch screen technology, however. While I mainly had volume problems, the lady across the aisle from me couldn’t get her screen to even work. She had to sit and stare out the window for most of the flight. Lesson learned? Always pack a backup entertainment device be it iPad, book, or crossword.

 

Les Trois Couleurs Trilogy

Regular readers of mine know that I have a fascination with B movies. They are also aware that I have a love of all types of films and genres. This weekend, I thought I’d take a break from the mediocre (don’t despair, there’s more to come) and watch some truly wonderful cinema. This weekend, I’ve been watching films from Krzystzof Kieslowski’s Trois Couleurs trilogy.

If you aren’t familiar with these, I highly recommend them. A series of three films, each film is loosely based on the colors of the French flag and the ideals of the French Republic: liberty, equality and fraternity. If you haven’t already guessed, the films are in French (and Polish).  I know some people who can’t stand a subtitled movie. I don’t get it. A film is a film. Just because a film isn’t in English doesn’t make it any less of a film. Have you seen Empire of the Wolves? It’s a really good action/mystery. Loved it. 

Anyways, the order of the films is Blue, White, Red.  Or au français, Bleu, Blanc, Rouge. Blue stars Juliette Binoche (one of my favorite actresses) as the widow of a famous composer. Both her husband and her daughter have died in a car accident of which she is the lone survivor. The movie follows how she copes (or doesn’t cope) with the losses and how she finds herself and is able to carry on life from that point onwards. I don’t describe it well. It’s a very somber and moving film. Binoche’s performance is just superb. I have to be in the right kind of mood to watch this one, but when I do, I’m always moved.

White stars Julie Delphy and  Zbigniew Zamachowski as a recently divorced couple.  The grounds for said divorce are humiliating as Zamachowski’s Karol Karol was unable to perform his husbandly duty so to speak. Following the divorce, he falls to rock bottom. The film follows as he rebuilds his life and devises a plan to not only seek revenge against but also win back his ex. This films plays out with a slightly comedic tone.  I find it to be the weakest of the three, but it’s still enjoyable.

Red is my favorite of the bunch. This film follows the story of student/model Valentine (Irene Jacob) who accidentally hits the dog of a retired judge. She and the judge form a friendship, and she learns that he has been listening in on the phone calls of all his neighbors. Running parallel is the story of Valentine’s neighbor, Auguste who is studying to become a judge himself.  As the movie progresses, the seemingly separate paths of all the characters start intertwining. I don’t know what genre I’d put this movie in. Maybe mystery. It’s also such a wonderful example of good writing and character study.

What’s really cool about the trilogy is that each movie can easily stand on its own. At the same time, they are all loosely connected. Juliette Binoche’s character briefly appears (for about 5 seconds) in White. The main characters of Blue and White  appear briefly in Red.  I hardly ever watch them in order. Now that I think about it, I probably watch them in order of how I rank them. So that would be Red, Blue, White. But whatever. They are all good to watch.

So that’s my artsy-fartsy suggestion for now. I leave you with the Criterion Collection’s “3 reasons” for two of the films (I feel the one for White gives a spoiler or two) and the hopes that one day I will be able to fluently speak French. I keep trying, but alas, I only seem to remember the same sentences which translate as:

  • The monkey is on the branch. He plays banjo and smokes a pipe. (Thank you Eddie Izzard)
  • I work my pencil sharpener in the street.
  • Here is the key.
  • I do not understand.
  • You speak to0 fast for me.
  • Where is the library?
  • Where is the toilet?

 

 

I am the Oscar Master!!!

Greetings faithful minions. Tis I, the Oscar Master. I had a 75% accuracy rating this go-round. Also, I am soooo tired. The Oscar telecast didn’t end until midnight. I wasn’t able to get to sleep until 1am, and then I had to get up at 6. But you don’t care about my lack of sleep or the amount of concealer I had to use this morning, do you? No, because I know you are still in awe of my bright and shiny “Oscar Master” status. Needless to say, I won this year’s wager with my friend, Crint. There were seven categories where we differed, and I swept the lot of them.

Sometime late in the evening, after I had sealed the deal on my win, Crint sent me a text asking if I was going to refer to him as Crint the Loser in my blog post. Of course not! He is a very worthy opponent. First of all, he had seen all the movies; I had not. Second, he’s up on his awards show know-how. Okay, fine. I’ll use it just the one time a little later in the post.

Enough happy dancing and gloating. Okay, fine. I’ll do a last one of these and then I’m done.

As for the ceremony, I thought Seth MacFarlane did a fine job. It’s a tough gig. I thought the stint at the beginning where he and William Shatner (as Captain Kirk) tried to alter time to avoid a bad review was pretty funny albeit a little long. The  Flying Nun bit was a hoot.

It seemed that the theme of the evening might have been a salute to the movie musical. There were song and dance numbers all through the telecast. If we had chopped them down, we might have saved 45 minutes or so. If MacFarlane wasn’t singing about boobs (and it was funny!), then it was a long section starting with a performance of the entire “All that Jazz” from Chicago (meh) followed by Jennifer Hudson singing all of “And I am Telling You…” from Dreamgirls. Then the cast of Les Miserables came onstage to sing One Day More. It was all good, but again, long. Then later in the show, after the memorial section, Barbara Streisand crooned “The Way We Were.” Good grief!

There was one musical performance, however, that was totally worth it. As a salute to 50 years of James Bond, Shirley Bassey belted out “Goldfinger” and just wowed everyone.

I had one award grievance. I felt the Best Song nominees who weren’t named Adele were given the crap end of the stick last night.  During the Les Mis portion of a musical number, Hugh Jackman started in on the opening bars of “Suddenly.”  A little while later in the show Adele had an entire showcase for “Skyfall” complete with on-stage orchestra and backup chorus. Then later on, Norah Jones stood solo on the stage, and was able to sing a little bit of “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted. What about the songs from Life of Pi and Chasing Ice? They played snippets of those via film clips right before the award was handed out. I don’t know. Maybe it’s cause I’m not an Adele fan, but it didn’t feel like equal screen time.  Whatever, I’m the Oscar Master! I got 18 of 24 right! If only my fortune-telling skills worked for useful things like the lottery or investment options. Oh well.

My favorite things from last night:

  • Jennifer Lawrence’s classy recovery from falling over as she made her way to the stage to receive her Oscar.
  • Daniel Day-Lewis’ funny speech about swapping roles with Meryl Streep (he to play Margaret Thatcher and she to play Lincoln).
  • The Von Trapp Family Singers bit (probably tasteless, but I laughed)
  • Beards. Almost every man in the Dolby Theatre was sporting a beard. Not everyone rocked the facial fuzz. George Clooney, while a very dashing man 99% of the time, looked to me like he was about 20 lbs away from playing the role of George Lucas in some biopic. Hugh Jackman and Chris Pine, on the other hand…Hello Nurse!
  • Ben Affleck’s heartfelt speech when Argo won for Best Picture. Way to go, Ben!

Questions from Last Night

  • Why were there so many beards?
  • What happened to Kristen Stewart? At one point in the ceremony, she and Daniel Radcliffe were onstage together. Not only did she limp her way out to the mic, but then she seemed to impatiently (or maybe nervously) tap her foot the whole time. Also, she looked as if she had been rolling around on the floor prior to heading onstage. Maybe there was a celebrity wrestling ring back there or something.
  • Did George Clooney actually (a) open and if so (b) drink the mini-bottle of Jack Daniels that MacFarlane tossed his way?
  • Why was the awards show orchestra playing in a studio down the street instead of at the Dolby?
  • Bonus: Did everyone notice Hugh Jackman start towards the stage to assist Jennifer Lawrence when she fell? He’s just so wonderful.

So that’s that, kids. Oscar Master for now, and then I get to defend my title in 2014. As winner of this year’s wager, I not only get the groovy title, but I also get treated to the movie of my choice by Crint the Loser (It is a catchy nickname, isn’t it?). I’m debating between Jack the Giant Slayer and Oz the Great and Powerful. Thoughts?

BTW, I have recapped the winners below in case you are interested.

Best Picture:  Argo 

Best Director: Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Best Actor in Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Supporting Actor:  Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables

Cinematography: Life of Pi

Animated Feature Film:  Brave

Foreign Language Film: Amour

Film Editing: Argo

Adapted Screenplay: Argo

Original Screenplay: Django Unchained

Original Score: Life of Pi

Documentary (Feature): Searching for Sugar Man

Documentary (Short):  Inocente

Visual Effects: Life of Pi

Short Film (Animated): Paperman

Short Film (Live Action): Curfew

Production Design:  Lincoln

Costume Design: Anna Karenina

Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty

Sound Mixing: Les Miserables

Make-up:  Les Miserables

Original Song: “Skyfall” (Skyfall)

And the Winner Could Be…

Here we go. Oscar time! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a wager going with a buddy of mine as to who can best predict the winners. Once again, here are the rules:

We each pick a potential winner for each of the categories. We compare our ballots. Any categories of which we pick the same movie get highlighted in yellow. Otherwise, all his picks are in blue and mine in pink. Each predicted win awards 1 point. At the end of the program, the person with the most points gets bragging rights for a year and also gets treated to the movie of his/her choice as paid for by the loser

We used to do a tie-breaker question. Last year it was how long to the minute the ceremony would last. The closest answer won. This year, we decided that since we’ve both one once already, that we would ignore a tiebreaker and just admit that we are both experts in our fields and see a movie together to celebrate. It’s a warm fuzzy all around.

So that said, we take this thing semi-seriously. My opponent, Crint, makes every effort to see each of the nominated films. While I usually see most of them, I don’t go out of my way to see them all. However, I do my research. I watch trailers and read reviews. I pay attention to buzz and the political climate of awards season. I compare and contrast the nominees. I check them against whether they’ve ever been nominated or won before. In a lot of cases, I can rule out a nominee by realizing that the nomination was the award all along.  I also pay attention to which categories some films are in. Sometimes you can zero in on a potential winner or rule out a nominee that way.

I try to stay away from other Oscar predictions, but it’s really difficult to do. When I do run across them, I do the honest cheater’s thing and check to see if my picks are in agreement. However, I usually stick to my gut. This has worked both for and against me. Really, it’s just a guessing game. It’s like being skilled at playing “which hand.” It’s silly really, but I enjoy the competition.

Picking this year’s potential winners has been really difficult. Unlike last year with The Artist and The King’s Speech the year before, this year has no front-runner. If you asked me back in December, I would have told you it was Lincoln but things have since changed. I think this year we get a mixed bag of winners.  In some ways, that’s a good thing. While there’s no projected sweep of the categories, it’s nice that many different films have a good chance to be in the limelight on Sunday. I kind of like it.

Okay, enough stalling. Here are my picks:

Best Picture:  Argo  I think this is the movie to beat. It’s crazy suspenseful, it had drama, it has comedy, it’s based on true events, and Hollywood plays a major part.  I think Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook are potential winners, but in my opinion, they are in a distant second and third.

Best Director: Stephen Spielberg for Lincoln

Best Actor in Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables

Cinematography: Life of Pi

Animated Feature Film: Wreck-It Ralph

Foreign Language Film: Amour

Film Editing: Argo

Adapted Screenplay: Argo

Original Screenplay: Django Unchained

Original Score: Life of Pi

Documentary (Feature): Searching for Sugar Man

Documentary (Short): Open Heart

Visual Effects: Life of Pi

Short Film (Animated): Paperman

Short Film (Live Action): Curfew

Production Design: Anna Karenina

Costume Design: Anna Karenina

Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty

Sound Mixing: Les Miserables

Make-up: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Original Song: “Skyfall” (Skyfall)

Crint and I only differ on seven categories which is nice. Last year, I think we agreed on all categories but two. So this year should definitely be fun. He’s clearly wrong on some of his choices, but what can you do? Ha ha.

So those are my predictions for Sunday night. I’ll report back Monday to see how well or horrible I did at playing Miss Cleo. I’ll also let you know who won the wager. I can tell you are on the edge of your seat about that one.

Everyone have a good weekend!

 

 

 

 

Here Be Dragons

Kids, back in the day I watched a movie so strange and dumb and interesting and stupid that it inspired this very blog. It arrived one warmish day in May, and I put it in the dvd player. With a title like Dragon Wars I knew there would at least be a) dragons and b) possibly dragons at war with themselves, others, everyone, etc. It couldn’t be all bad, could it?

And now at long last, I have revisited this movie. So here we are again, and I feel the time is right to review this one for you.  Enjoy.

You know a movie is gonna be one of “those” when the opening scene involves police hauling a man away while he shouts “the beast has risen!” You just know. While that happens, our hero emerges into the shot. Ethan Kendrick is a popular local news guy newly arrived on the scene of some horrible disaster. The problem is that it’s hard to tell what happened exactly. All I see is sand and some tarp. It looks more like a construction scene on a beach or something.

Anyways, now seems as good a time as any for Ethan to go into flashback mode. It all has something to do with the strange amulet he wears around his neck. Travel back in time with me, won’t you?

When Ethan was a little boy, he went with his dad to Jack’s Antiques. Young Ethan stumbles across a trunk that suddenly opens and starts to glow. Ah ha! Jack fakes a heart condition and convinces Ethan’s dad to go to the nearest pharmacy to pick up some meds for him. So…..that would leave the kid alone with the strange man. Whatever.

It was all a ruse. Once the dad is out the door, Jack turns to Ethan and says “finally, I’ve found you.” Now, any kid nowadays would high-tail it out of there. But this kid just says “the light from the box, sir?” Jack explains that Ethan saw was the scale of the Imoogi and the light was from Heaven.

Right, let’s nutshell. Imoogi are from Koran legend. They are sort of like dragons. Every 500 years an Imoogi was rewarded for good deed doing and gained the chance to level up and become a Celestial dragon. It would need, however, the gift of the Yuh Yi Joo.

The YYJ allows the Imoogi to turn into a dragon. But again, the YYJ only shows up every 500 years. Enter Buraki the evil serpent who wanted the YYJ. In 1507 Korea, Heaven sent a young boy named Haram and his master Bochun to protect the YYJ at all costs.  Ethan asks Jack what on earth he’s talking about, and I’m thinking the same thing too. This is already a convoluted tale to tell a kid and an audience and expect us to still follow. Too many names. And this is a giant nutshell.

Basically, a baby girl is born bearing the mark of a red dragon on her shoulder. Congrats!. She’s the YYJ. When she’s 20, she’ll be sacrificed so the Imoogi level up. Sounds like a bum deal for the YYJ, but what can you do? Bochun takes the baby girl from her parents so he can raise her and protect her for that one big event in life. Her name is Narin.  Haram and Narin grow up together and fall in love. Of course they do.

Are you confused yet? It’s annoying, but I have to tell you all this info because 1) it’s important, and 2) why should I be the only one to deal with it?

Anyhoo, all is wonderful in the land of young love and Good Imoogis. However, Narin turns 20 and the evil Buraki starts terrorizing villages looking for Narin so his Evil Imoogi can use the YYJ power for unlimited evilness.

Bochun gives Haram an amulet that will protect him from danger. He also instructs Haram to deliver Narin to the Good Imoogi. That’s all he has to do. Does he do it? No. He and his woman attempt to flee and end up falling to their deaths from a cliff whilst being pursued by the Evil Imoogi.

The Jack says, “I know it’s hard to believe all that, but you know what’s harder to believe?” And I’m thinking it doesn’t matter cause this kid obviously believes everything you tell him.

Jack tells Ethan that he is Bochun and that Ethan was in his first life, Haram. This is his second chance to protect the YYJ. It’s his destiny. He must find a girl named Sarah. She’ll have a mark on her shoulder and she must be taken to the Grand Cave by the day she’s 20. And that’s all the clues Ethan is given. Good thing he grows up to be an intrepid reporter.

Thus endeth the twenty-minute (!!!) flashback. That’s a lot to throw onto your audience, methinks.  So now that we are all caught up on Ethan’s memories, he starts his search for the mysterious Sarah so they can save the world.

Ethan all but abandon’s his job and with his loyal cameraman Bruce (played by Craig Robinson of Hot Tub Time Machine fame), he searches for Sarah. Meanwhile, Sarah (a pretty blonde played by Amanda Brooks) is kicking in as the YYJ. She has crazy dragon dreams. She goes into trance like states and writes in Korean calligraphy. She also has what I think might be a panic attack only it just looks like she’s got bad cramps. She calls 911. For cramps? Maybe it was a panic attack after all.

And somewhere while Sarah is in the hospital and Ethan is looking for her in the hospital, the movie comes back online for me. It got kind of dull with the “what’s wrong with me?” and “how do we find her” stuff. You know she’ll figure it out and he’ll find her. So let’s get this thing moving along!

If you look at the movie from a certain angle, Dragon Wars is a lot like Terminator. Sarah is Sarah Connor. Ethan would be a hipster Kyle Reese. The Evil Imoogi would totally be Arnold. Where does the Imoogi go to first looking for Sarah? Her house. Who gets killed? The roommate and her boyfriend. Just like in The Terminator.

Ethan finds Sarah and does a whole “come with me if you want to live” spiel, and off they go. What we have next is a rather lengthy sequence of Evil Imoogi destroying everything in its path to find Sarah. And I mean everything. They try to outrun it. They try to outdrive it. Not happening. And if they manage to get away from the Imoogi, there’s the Imoogi’s henchman come back from the afterlife.

While they run for their lives in whatever transportation is available, Ethan and Sarah manager to fall in love. Just like in The Terminator.

Meanwhile, the Feds are also searching for Sarah. They found the Korean legend and for some reason know she’s the key to the whole thing. So let’s see now. Giant dragon serpent thing is chasing them. Evil henchman is chasing them. Feds are chasing them. Not good.

I have got to tell you. Most of the rest of the movie is one action sequence after another with armies clashing, Imoogi destroying, Hulk smashing… (just checking to see you are paying attention). Also, to make things more fun, evil henchman’s evil army of Middle Earth creatures suddenly invade the city. So if you are having a hard time picturing this, use Power Rangers, Middle Earth battle creatures, a huge dragony serpent, and then visualize the usual Michael Bay / Roland Emerich movie magic destructiveness. You get the picture. Crazy, but it looks really good and kept me interested in the movie.

There is one image in particular that’s stayed with me. At one point in the melee, Ethan, Sarah and Bruce are all trying to make it to the helicopter at the top of the news building. The Imoogi has slithered up the building like a snake. Its long body is wrapped all around the tall building, and it’s quietly making its way up. It was a really groovy visual.

And just when you think they’ll find a way to fully escape or maybe defeat the Imoogi…..the film switches gears and we find ourselves at the Grand Cave for the grand finale.

I’ll stop there. I’ve skipped over a lot, but the cool points and crazy have all been brought to light.  Dragon Wars, I think, would work really well as a video game. I’m being serious. Some of the music and dialog felt very Final Fantasy to me, and I could so see this as either an RPG or better yet maybe an action/adventure 3rd-person shooter type game. Think about it. You could play as both Ethan and Haram in two parallel adventures. You could do all your initial tutorial levels in the “500 years ago” section. Then, once the game goes into present day, it’s dragon’s ahoy! But that’s the game.

As a movie Dragon Wars is silly, but with enough action to keep me paying attention. The dragons/Imoogis look really good and I was kind of creeped out by them. I’ll probably revisit it waaay down the road. After all, it’s crazy “quick! Learn these volumes of back story in the next 10 minutes” plot made me sit up and take notice. No one else I knew had seen or even heard of this movie. But now you have.

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Next week, I’ll return with my Oscar picks. This year it has been really difficult making predictions. I’ve changed my ballot around countless times. My deadline for final picks is Friday, so I’ll try to have my picks up by that night or early Saturday. 

A Disturbance in The Force

***We postpone the long-awaited movie review to bring you this late-breaking opinion.***

So a little while back, when Uncle George announced he was selling Lucasfilm and all the wonderful Star Wars-ness that goes with it, I had a toddler-sized meltdown. I was conflicted in my anger, sadness and my feelings of relief that Uncle George wasn’t going to hurt my beloved franchise anymore. Because, as sad and selfish as it is to admit, it’s the truth. The fans have so embraced the SW universe, that it’s no longer Lucas’s. In our hearts, it’s ours. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

So once I got over my conflictedness (Is it a word? It is now), I joined the throng of folks eagerly awaiting what would come next. After all, we had been promised a new installment by 2015. Entertainment media jumped in with crazy speculation. Who would direct? Steven Spielberg was the obvious choice since he and Lucas had worked together before (and for any dozen other reasons you can come up with). But no. Spielberg passed. Brad Bird’s name was next. Nay, not Brad. David Yates, Christopher Nolan, Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Vaughn… All of them were a no. Even J.J. Abrams said no. But not so fast! Now it’s a yes.

J.J. Abrams will take on the mantle that is Star Wars. And once again, I’m soooo conflicted. There has been a disturbance in the Force, and I just don’t know. I have a bad feeling about this.

Pros:

  • He’s a total geek fanboy, and that’s a good thing.
  • He’s brought us some of the coolest television shows ever (Alias, Lost, Fringe).
  • He loves Star Wars.
  • He is a more than capable film director. And he is not any of the following: Michael Bay, Joel Schumacher (who ruined the Batman franchise), or Roland Emmerich.

Cons:

  • He already has hold of the Star Trek film franchise.  Is this too much to have on his plate?
  • While his TV shows easily hit the mark for good entertainment, his movies have been inconsistent. Mission Impossible III was, in my opinion, Jerry Maguire with guns. I almost walked out of the theater on that one. Cloverfield felt pointless, and what’s with the creature in that movie looking almost exactly like the one in Super 8? Yes, I know Cloverfield came out first, but someone should have drawn a new creature. Also, Abrams was a producer for Morning Glory. Have you seen it? Don’t.
  • And he’s a big Star Wars fan. I know I mentioned it as a pro, but it’s also a con. His love of the movies might cause the same type of tunnel vision Uncle George sometimes suffered from.

Questions:

  1. In a lot of Abrams’ work (well, on TV at least) the idea of a parallel universe or alternate timeline or mythological device sometimes comes into play. Will he use his trick of the trade in the new movie? Will there be a smoke monster on Hoth? Cause that would be cool.
  2. Will Greg Grunberg have a role? Yes, duh. But what role will it be?
  3. Will the Cloverfield / Super 8 creature show up? Maybe we’ll learn its origins. Now, that would be an interesting tie-in.
  4. Unrelated to Abrams, but will any of our original cast members be in the new movie? Pretty please?
  5. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Can we trust Abrams with our Star Wars  universe? I mean, we have no choice about it, but can we?  What are your thoughts on this?

I know I’m doing the worry-wart thing on this. In a couple weeks, I’ll  be so over it all and totally on board with my 2015 installment. But for now, I just don’t know.To quote Adam Sandler’s character, Louie, in the wonderful Mixed Nuts, “oh so many things for me to wonder. I love grape jelly!” Ain’t that the truth.

And the Winner Is….

At the time of my posting this, I will have seen three of the films recently nominated for Best Picture for this year’s Academy Awards:  Lincoln, Argo, and Les Miserables.

I still plan to see Beasts of the Southern Wild and Silver Linings Playbook. If I can catch the others before the ceremony, then so be it. But I don’t think I’ll be able to get to them in time. Movie-going is a financial investment these days!

Tonight the Golden Globes will air, and thus the first televised round of award-giving commences. I’ve heard time and time again, that the Golden Globes are the best predictor for Oscar. I’ve never been a big follower of that theory.  After all, the playing field of the GG’s is vast and a little bit crowded.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association splits the categories up between Drama and Comedy/Musical. Some people really like this, and I agree to a point.  After all, how can you decide which is the better film when the style and genres are so different?

But on the other hand, why should they be segregated? Most people would probably consider the one in the Drama category as the superior film but does the film being serious make it any better? Sometimes movies that make you laugh are just as wonderful if not better.  The best picture should be the best picture regardless of genre.

Anyways, I’ll most likely watch the GG’s tonight because though they not a super reliable Oscar-predictor (as I’ve already mentioned) they do assist with front-runner buzz.  If someone is nominated for Oscar and they win the GG, then that puts them in front-runner place. Of course, you have to add in the Screen Actors Guild, Director’s Guild, and BAFTA nominations if you really want a good prediction guide, but after the GG’s it’s all about buzz. And the buzz is what you need to pay attention to in the weeks and days running up to Oscar-time. Sometimes that makes a difference. Or maybe it makes no difference at all. It’s tough to tell.

As you’ve probably guessed, it’s Oscar that I really pay attention to. For one thing, it’s fun to predict—especially if you get them right. For another, I have a wager to win. For the past couple years, I have competed against a friend to see who can pick the most winners. The prize? Besides bragging rights for an entire year, the winner also gets treated to the movie of his/her choice. The loser has to pay. So far, we have each won once. I lost last year. I can’t remember how I lost, but I did. I think it’s those documentaries. They get you every time.

I plan to reclaim the title this year. It will be a challenge, though. My opponent has seen more of the nominated films than I have. I am, however, working to even out the playing field a bit. Plus, if memory serves, I remain undefeated in my predicting of the Best Original Score and Best Song categories. So I have that, I think…maybe…

So let the awards season begin! I’m ready. As we get closer in, and when I finally make up my mind, I’ll post my Oscar predictions for you. We’ll see if I still have the gift.

How about you? Do any of your follow along with the film awards? Or do you have actual lives?

 

 

 

 

 

Flash Frozen to Lock in the Flavor

Remember when Twister came out? I saw it in a THX theater, and with the a/c blasting away, it felt like we were in the middle of the action. Or at least, that’s how my brain remembers it. This week’s movie kind of sort of reminds me of Twister only without the storm chasing. Instead there’s storm fleeing. AND, just because this is the first review of the year, I’m giving you a recap. It’s my new year’s gift to you.

Ice Twisters. The name just says “disaster.” The film opens with the shot of an empty road more or less situated in or near the Rockies (due to all the mountain shots in the background) Movies that open this way tell me that somewhere, a science team in a sleepy mountain town is about to either start and/or save end of the world. I haven’t been disappointed yet.

A science team of sorts (I can tell because they are all in tents and everyone has a computer) has unleashed something called “the hive” which are some kind of flying robots. They look sort of like robot wasps or something. Don’t hold me to that. The entire movie we never get a nice lingering shot on one of them. Maybe the writer didn’t know what it looked like either. Hmm. Anyways, these flying robot thingies have just formed a cloud.

Cut to outside a bookstore. Charlie Price (played by Mark Moses from Desperate Housewives) has a new book out “Jonas Fear.”  His book is about end o’ the world something or other. He notices that only men are in line for the signing. (ha ha) Charlie asks his assistant to remind him to write his next book on relationships or something so more women show up to signings. His assistant (Nora) is very familiar and I’ve just figured out who she is. Aha! She’s Chelan Simmons who was Gretchen Speck-Horowitz on Wonderfalls. Now that’s a show that should have been on the air much longer. Go find it and watch. Excellent show.

Okay, a faithful reader shows up and says that he’s read all Price’s books, and that he (Price, not the fan) is a hypocrite since he writes about all these save the world scenarios and none of them are in practice or something. He kind of rants a bit and it makes no sense. Price reminds his fan (antifan?) that he’s just a writer and whether or not the “save the world solutions” in his books work, don’t matter.

Meanwhile, the science team checks on their robot formed cloud and see that it’s raining from said cloud. So…they’ve made a rain cloud and not just a Pooh Bear cloud. And it’s a HUGE, perfect storm kind of cloud. HUGE, I tell you.  By the way, the book store for the signing is in a sleepy little town. Go figure.

Gary the cute computer guy who looks like a younger London brother says that there’s a situation 14 miles away in the sleepy town of Harrisford (book town). I guess that’s where the science cloud is. Charlie Price steps out of the bookstore and says “that’s not good.” I like him already. Now the winds have picked up crazy like and a car flies through the air and causes chaos and craziness.

Cut to a man and a woman on some country road. She’s peeing in someone’s yard, or behind some shrubs whatever. The guy sees the freakish cloud and says that it’s not normal. He gets his camera out. It turns out they are college reporters on their way to cover the book signing. I think they might be a couple as well.

Cut to Federal Project Oversight Agency in West Virginia. A man is handed a file and is alerted to a blip on the radar showing that ginormous cloud (now storm) near Project Raindance (the science cloud). Okay, so that’s a cloud that formed on its own apart from the science cloud? I’m confused. Le’ts just assume that’s the case.

Science team lady (Joanne) and a guy I referred to in my notes as Beard Man (Damon) show up in town and check out the destruction. Charlie has Nora (who is a little injured after the storm rolled through town) loaded into an ambulance.  Charlie then sees that the naysayer antifan died in the storm attack. You can tell he’s vowing to avenge this death. He’s on the job!

Charlie approaches Joanne. They know each other since Joanne was Charlie’s research assistance back in the day. Damon’s kind of an ass about Charlie. I wonder if he and Joanne have something going on or if he just wishes. Why not be polite?

Frank, the fed guy at the desk job is on the phone with Damon and tells him that when they figure out what caused the pop-up storm, make sure it wasn’t caused by their “experiments.”  And he doesn’t say it in a “better not be you” kind of way. He says it in a “cook the books” kind of way. So Frank is evil and Damon is his toady. Awesome.

Charlie asks Joanne to have dinner so they can catch up but she rain checks him. Charlie heard Damon said Frank’s name when he was on the phone so he asks who Frank is. So Charlie at this point, went from polite conversation to man on the job, ace reporter. Joanne tells Damon that in order to control the situation, they should keep Charlie close.

Cut to images of the cloud wasp thingies flying all over the place. Gary wants to know where they are drawing their energy. He also sees that they’ve formed another storm cell. I think it’s safe to say that these wasp thingies have gone “Skynet” on us. Does everyone agree? Robots are evil, people.

So we get another shot of crazy storm sky. A farmer is on his tractor when it hits his field. The field stars icing over and the man is flash frozen…just like those peas he was growing.

The names of the ace reporters are Eric and Ashley. They find out the book signing ended early due to the freak storm. They bicker some more and we learn that they are in college though they look way older and better dressed than college kids. They decide to try to catch up with Charlie a little later.

Meanwhile, in the storm chaser SUV… It stops at the field of the frozen farmer. Per Gary, this was where the storm formed. While Damon pouts and Joanne chats with Gary, Charlie finds Farmer Dead.  Okay. not Farmer Dead. He finds part of a flying robot and notices that the puddle around it has nearly freezing water. I hope someone finds the farmer. I want to use the phrase Farmer Dead!!!!!  Okay, so the technology makes a cloud and then seeds it. Damon can’t stand that Charlie a) found the robot piece, and b) learned what it was.

Yes!!!! Farmer Dead! Joanne finds him. Also, he’s sort of purple blue which Charlie says is because he’s pumped full of silver iodide. This is never, ever explained completely. Joanne says they need to abort the test since you know…people are dying. Damon is all “WHAT?” Cause he’s a tool. Joanne says abort regardless.

Cut to evil Frank hiding in a mens room stall. Damon is on the other side of that call. He says that the storms are totally the science team’s fault. He also says that Joanne suggested a full abort. Frank says no way Jose and says that Damon works for him, not Joanne. Cause apparently human casualties are just an annoyance in the face of scientific progress.

Cut to Ashley and Eric driving in the car. Ashley has to pee again. What on earth has she been drinking? Apple juice? Cranberry juice? Her kidneys are definitely working. All of a sudden, a funnel cloud appears. It’s totally white and ice-like. Eric and Ashley decide to film it while driving away from it as fast as they can–cause that’s safe. Meanwhile, Nora has been discharged from the hospital and is on her way back to Los Angeles. She is driving from the opposite direction on the very same road. She’s just watching the cloud and drives into the oncoming lane, narrowly missing Ashley and Eric. In avoiding their car, Nora cuts straight into the funnel cloud. We hear a lot of noise, none of which is positive sounding.

Eric and Ashley wind up in a ditch. It’s cold outside. Ashley wonders what happened to the other car. Eric notices that there’s no cell service. They decide the only thing to do is walk to the TV station. (I love how they are committed to their project. I know I wasn’t that dedicated when I was doing journalism in college.) Eric grabs the camera and they head off on foot.

Gary says there’s no pattern to the storms and per Charlie, therein lies the pattern. Huh? Charlie then says that they aren’t looking in the right place. He says something along the lines of vertical weather. This is crazy-talk apparently. Per Charlie, the storms are starting higher in the atmosphere and forcing their way down.  Damon is all no way and btw, the project is still on. Franks says no abort.  Charlie just looks smug. Jo calls Frank who puts her to voicemail. Ouch.  I love how the fiction writer bests the scientists. This is like a sciencey version of Castle.

Damon tells Jo that since Frank finances their project, he owns it so he’s in charge. Whatever.  Jo says to take the robots down regardless, but it can’t be done from where their base camp is.  Jo says they need to reverse the ionization process if that works.

All of a sudden, the radar shows a drastic drop in temperature. Can radar show that? Charlie announces they’ve got a twister. It’s like right there on top of them and headed their way. Everyone can see it, Charlie. There’s no need to announce. The funnel cloud is freezing everything in its path. The group abandon base camp. There are at least three twisters now. Everyone runs for their cars. Bill (another tech)and his SUV get pulled in by a twister. Charlie and Jo run for cover and hide in a drainage pipe thingy that’s in the ground. Gary and Damon floor it in their SUV and zoom off.

Frank sees new radar images of crazy storm cells. There are like 10 now–all red and huge in the area. But that’s okay. He’s safe and sound in his government office.

The storm passes. Eric and Ashley managed to film the whole thing from their road of safety. They have lots of discussions of government testing and conspiracy theories. Despite nearly dying a few times, Ashley is still concerned they are going to fail their class since they didn’t get to interview Charlie. Eric is all “reporters cover the news while it’s happening” and suggests they abandon their assignment to cover the storms. Smart boy.

Charlie and Jo survived (how??) and are now walking down the road chatting about their past or lack thereof. Damon and Gary pick them up. Gary is sad about Bill not making it.

Gary says they need a good broadband connection in order to contact the robots and shut them down. They stop at a motel with free Wifi and a continental breakfast. Yay breakfast!  Since the National Weather Service had issued mandatory town evacs, the motel is empty.

Our rag-tag team searches the motel to get the power back on so they can get a connection. Charlie and Jo head for the basement of the motel to find a generator because Charlie says there just has to be one. There’s the generator. It’s out of fuel (of course it is!!!) so they plan to siphon some out of the SUV.

Meanwhile, Ashley and Eric arrive at the TV station which is locked and looks abandoned. Eric decides to look for a way in. Ashley’s journalistic ethics say breaking and entering is wrong. Eric’s–not so much. They sneak into the station which from the outside, just looks like garages or storage units. Budget filmmaking, folks.

Gas in the generator. Generator on..Free wifi activated!!!  Per the doppler data, the storms are getting stronger and headed towards Portland.  That’s what storms, aliens, meteors, earthquakes, etc do. They head for the nearest major city. It’s a movie rule.

Frank orders a plane to check out the damage or the storms or something. The plan is trying to make it through the storm cell, and it’s not good. Also, Gary and company are locked out of the data. Frank is trying to override them. They can’t link in with their robots to shut them down. And then the power goes out. Meanwhile, Frank is informed that they’ve lost contact with the plane. He shouts “Where’s our eye in the sky!!!!” and hangs up the phone. It’s soooo dramatic, I giggled a little. Poor Frank. Being the bad guy isn’t easy.

The gas tank on the generator is cracked, so yeah, that’s bad. Gary says he has to have a solid signal in order to hack the robots to land them. Damon continues being a naysayer.  Charlie’s phone chirps a reminder that Nora set up for him. He’s got an appointment at the TV station for that interview with Eric and Ashley. The gang decide to visit the station.

As they travel to the station, Gary notices something and they stop to see. The camera moves reeeally slooow and doesn’t pan all the way so we can see what they’ve seen. I understand building suspense, but this is way too slow. It’s a train wreck–literally. They assume the train must have been in the storm’s path. They search for survivors. It looks like the train was pulling some industrial stuff, so any personnel would be few. But, we do find Nora’s body.

Special Note: When Nora drove into the funnel cloud, I heard a train sound, but when people tell stories of tornadoes hitting their homes, they always say, it sounded like a freight train or something so I thought it was sound effects to that nature. But no, it was an actual train.

Joanne is sad because their experiment caused all this.  She also blames Damon since he let Frank take over the project.  After screaming at Damon a little more, she gets in the car with a grieving Charlie. He’s sad, but not crying upset or anything. I guess he and Nora weren’t that close then.

Our gang sees another storm cell forming overhead. Gary and Damon rush towards the car as a funnel cloud travels downwards toward them. They jump into the car and floor it. I don’t know about Charlie, but I would have the heat blasting just in case.

Frank is on the phone with someone superior and is denying that the weather is not being caused by his project. Frank then tells his assistant that they have all the data they need. Time to unplug the robots and shut them down. Assistant says they won’t respond. Frank says to shoot them out of the sky. Wow. He’s so CYA on this whole thing.

Meanwhile, Charlie and company pull in to the TV station which from the angle they just showed is so very much a storage building. It’s just a row of garages. I love this!!!

Eric and Ashley see the vehicle pull in and hide cause they aren’t supposed to be there. (But the funny thing was that they were! They had an appointment with Charlie to follow-up after the initial footage they were supposed to do at the bookstore. Come on!) Anyways they think again and answer the door. After introductions, the gang sets up shop. Damon also tries to steal Eric’s storm footage. Meanwhile Gary attempts to hack the system to shut down the robots.

Charlie and Jo get Frank on audio chat. Frank covers his rear by saying that he’s sorry but he has no choice but to terminate the project. Fighter jets take down a bunch of flying robots. Frank gets a call that it’s a success. Then he shreds personnel files for the project along with some data. Doesn’t he know that’s all backed up on computers now?

Gary sees on the screen that the robots are down. They keep calling them “seraphs” so I will too. I shall refer to them as robots no more. From now on, they are “seraphs” except now that they are down, I can’t refer to them anymore. Oh well…

Charlie says that Frank hijacked their research to see how strong the storms could get. But get this….the storms aren’t breaking up. Instead they are getting worse and zeroing in on Portland.  Charlie thinks that this storm will grow and grow and become like the Eye of Jupiter. And that’s a big storm. Cool theory though. Best part of the movie.

Frank is upset the storm isn’t stopping. He calls the team and offers help. Eric chimes in that in Charlie’s previous book, holes were shot into the ionosphere to heat up the atmosphere to help dissipate the storms or some kind of weather science.  This also involves using some kind of laser and satellite access. Gary says he can do it sooner if Frank gives him satellite access codes.

Frank says he can help but he wants assurances. Charlie says Frank has to give the project back to Jo to start with, and there are no other assurances. They are going to the university to use their something ray or whatever. Gary says they’ll be heading into the heart of the storm area.  Joanne tells the reporters to get on the air to warn people to take precautions and cover. Get on the air to what? All the surrounding towns have been evacuated, and I hardly think that the good people of Portland will be watching the Storage Unit TV Channel. But that might just be my opinion.

Gary works his computer geek thing and waits for Frank to send the sat codes. Ashley goes on the air to report on the weather.

Cheap!!!  I’m calling it! The filmmakers just used a shot from earlier when there were 3 funnel clouds! Same shot, same formation!!!  Charlie tells Joanne that she’s a beautiful woman and now’s as good a time as any for confessions. Odd time, but okay. I think it’s supposed to take our attention away from the budget filmmaking.

Frank finally delivers the sat codes. Gary loads them up. Charlie uses some kind of physics theory to sling shot the SUV through all the funnel clouds. He and Jo plow right through. Wow. Meanwhile, the storm is trudging onward to Portland.

Charlie, Jo, and  Damon arrive at the university. That’s what it’s called. The “university.” It really looks like a series of warehouses. Might be another storage facility. I digress…Damon has trouble getting out of the car and when he finally egresses, a hailstorm starts up. He’s pelted with ice rocks. Ouch. Bye Damon. Sorry you were such a jerk the whole time.

There are scientists in white coats in the laser building or whatever it is. Charlie gives them the short version of their story and scientist chick agrees to help. That was easy!

Meanwhile Gary can’t get the codes to work. Eric suggests that he check to see if the codes are case-sensitive. Gary is all “I’m a computer expert, you think I haven’t thought of that?” and sends Eric away. Turns out it was the cases. He looks a little sheepish before announcing “well, I’m in!” ha ha ha

Gary gets the satellite in order, and the university scientists get the laser ready to fire. Meanwhile, storms are at critical mass. But uh oh! More trouble. The power goes out at the university, and the backup generators kick in. Also, the doors have opened and the storm is hitting the laser building.

The laser gets powered up but isn’t warming up fast enough to fight off the storm. It’s gonna be down to the wire.  At the crucial moment, the scientist lady fires the lasers and a huge blast is seen from space. The beam is breaching the ozone layer. Gary sets up the satellite to fire back through the breach.

Meanwhile the university building is starting to flash freeze on the inside. I can’t believe the computers are still working!!! And it works!!!!!!!! The sky turns blue and the clouds dissipate. The temperature starts to climb to normal. The giant red storm splotches vanish on the radar. Yay!! Everyone is happy except for Frank who is probably worrying about his job. The university science lady looks like she needs a vacation. Jo looks relieved and Frank does too. They comfort each other. Maybe dinner is back on now. Portland is safe from harm.

We exit the movie with those same peaceful shots of nature. Wait, sorry. False alarm. This is like the end of Return of the King.  Eric and Ashley meet up with Charlie and Joanne in a pretty field. They are going to do the interview there where it’s pretty.  Joanne says that after this, she’ll have to go back to being Charlie’s research assistant. Oh ha ha…

Frank’s assistant delivers a disc called A Day in the Life of Charlie Price. Copies were sent to the Senate Investigation Committee.  The note on Frank’s personal copy says “Good luck in Prison.” As soon as the audience has had a chance to read the note, Frank gets a call from his secretary that federal agents are waiting to see him. Buh bye, Frank!

And that’s it. The credits roll right after that scene. For once, the title works with the movie. Ice Twisters really has freezing temperature, icy twisters! Thank you, movie title people! I’m still upset over Ice Quake and Snowmageddon–both of which didn’t exactly go with their titles. Oh well.

The movie was really silly, but I have to say despite the cheap excuses for exterior sets and repeated use of special effects shots, and confusing tech writing, the acting was pretty good. Mark Moses was a great leading man, and I almost want to see more adventures of Charlie Price. I can’t believe I just typed that! But it’s true, so I’ll keep that sentence in there. Also, the movie was kind of fun. I wouldn’t suggest it to everyone, but if it’s a rainy day, and it’s on the tube, go ahead and give it a shot.

And that’s the first review for the year, folks. My next review should have dragons in it. It’s been a while. I miss them.