Beetlejuice – It’s Show Time!

beetlejuiceBy Chad Elijah

We’ve come for your daughter, Chuck. That’s right, Beetlejuice is back! There been some talk of rumor of reviving the ghost with the most in recent events.

Beetlejuice was originally released March of 1988, making it 27 years old. It’s tagged as comedy fantasy, but we all know it’s a classic. There has been talk of releasing a part 2 in 2015.

In past years reviving past bad ass movies or making a sequel or any reboot with some situations have turned out to be a failure. Which leaves me with some concerns in making Beetlegeuse 2, I mean Beetlejuice 2.Where would the journey takes us this round? Would they explain the sandworms? That would kill some of the mystery on why they exist in the netherworld storyline, but I am dying to know!

Would it explain more of the origin of Beetlejuice, or would they go the other way and explain more of the netherworld – pick up thwhere they left off?

Would Michael Keaton do a better job playing him the second time? He was amazing the first time with Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz, and she did indirectly say she working on a
sequel. On top of that would Tim Burton did confirm he is going to direct the new one.

I mean Keaton has always said if he could do anything again, Beetlejuice is the one thing I would like to do again. Question is can they revive the cult classic after 27 years? And will or could it be even better than we remember it?

I personally can’t wait to see what happens in the next classic, and for the next generation of people to enjoy what I have always loved.


Non-Stop Movie Review – by James Peterson

Non-Stop Poster

Movie Review:

Non-Stop

Universal Pictures (106 mins)

PG-13  (Violence, some language, some sexual and drug references)

 

See that you catch this ‘Non-Stop’ flight for mystery and action!

By James Peterson

As aging Federal Air Marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) waits to board a flight from London to New York, he surveys the passengers for potential threats.   He pauses to examine further a tall brooding man, and then another man who appears Muslim, and finally makes note of all the people using smart phones, which is basically everyone.  Everyone is a suspect, or a potential problem.

And that is EXACTLY how director Jaume Collet-Serra wants the audience to see these characters, because Non-Stop is basically a slowly building whodunit that ultimately morphs into an action film.  Mid-way across the Atlantic, Bill receives an ominous text from an unknown person who threatens to kill people on the plane unless $150 million is transferred to an account – in Bill’s name.

The marshal goes from person-to-person, looking for the suspect, suspicious of everyone, and he doesn’t know who (or what) to believe.  Soon, HE becomes the suspect in an international hostage situation, and only he can save the passengers AND himself.

I’ll admit that when I saw the trailer and poster for this film, I immediately thought “Taken” meets “Executive Decision”.  But coming away from the film, I realize that this is not some face-smashing action flick, but more of a mystery with tense moments sprinkled in to keep the audience engaged.

This original screenplay by John Richardson and Chris Roach dials up the momentum into the third act, where the perpetrator is revealed and the real action begins.  Although there were a few moments, particularly monologues that detract from the overall experience, I saw a woman literally on the edge of her seat during a harrowing sequence of the movie.  I was able to cast aside a few insignificant plot holes, and a Julianne Moore performance that seems unnecessary, and still enjoy the film.

I wasn’t alone.  More than once the audience cheered and applauded, so the experience is overall a good one.

Grade:  A-
Non-Stop Two Actors


Ride Along Movie Review – by James Peterson

Ride-Along-Movie-PostersMovie Review:

Ride Along

Universal Pictures (100 mins)

PG-13 (Violence, some language, some sexual innuendo)

Ice Cube takes Kevin Hart under his wing to see if he’s ready for the big time.

By James Peterson

2013 was a big year for the “little man” Kevin Hart. “Grudge Match” and “This Is The End” gave us small doses (pardon the pun) of Kevin to spice up otherwise formulaic films. In contrast, “Ride Along” eases Kevin into the spotlight where he really shines. Perennial underachiever Ben (Kevin Hart) lives in Atlanta with his stellar-hot girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter). Wanting to be more than a high-school security guard, he applies to the police academy and is thrilled to learn that he has been accepted. However, Angela’s big brother, Detective James Payton (Ice Cube), is less than impressed with little Ben. Ben tells James that he’s going to the police academy, but James sets out to prove that Ben isn’t cut out to be a cop, and offers to take him on a “Ride Along”.

Tim Story directs writer Greg Coolidge’s action comedy, and having worked with Ice Cube (“Barbershop”) and Kevin Hart (“Think Like A Man”) before, he really brings out the best in these characters. Ben is annoying but bold, like a Jack Russell terrier bouncing around James’ Rottweiler mentality. And like the movie’s title, Kevin Hart gets the opportunity to learn from someone who’s been there.

Ice Cube’s lengthy music and acting career started with C.I.A., then N.W.A., and now he’s A.P.D. He’s written albums, screenplays, and even produced films; his company, CubeVision, is prominently listed in the opening credits. He has run the gamut in this biz, and shows no signs of slowing down. If Kevin Hart can learn to replicate Ice Cube’s success, which is no small feat, he’ll be the one that comes out standing tall.

Grade: A


Riddick Review – by Kenny T. Wilson, III

urlWhen I first heard that another Riddick was going to be made, I was filled with mixed feelings. After watching the first three installments of this franchise I will admit that the last movie left things in a kind of purgatory story-wise.

We last see Riddick taking control of an immense army of near-undead necrotic worshipers that had supernatural powers and abilities that seemed hell-bent on destroying or converting anyone that crossed their paths.

This is the army you really want a man like Riddick to control?

The primeval anti-hero Riddick has gone through some deep and resounding character changes that has many wondering if a new movie can recapture the essence of the character, as he has gone from ruthless and lone-wolf to dependable, caring and wolf-pack hero….something like Wolverine (who his character is often compared to). Let’s recount what has happened up until now. In Pitch Black you are introduced to a myriad of characters from the good guy-type heroes, the spiritual type, and the worldly, people-of-the-earth types.

Then there is Richard B. Riddick. When I first saw him, I really didn’t know what to expect from Vin Diesel’s latest performance vehicle.  Was he just some charismatic killer? Was he there for fear factor (remember, when this movie came out it was being billed as a sci-fi horror with him having all the elements of the villain in the trailer)? Would he be the man who sacrifices himself in the end to atone for all of the evil he has done?

None of the above.  By the end of that movie we see Riddick staying truthful to himself. The fact that he went back for anyone in that cave was almost obligatory since he fought a guy to near-death and let him get killed by the planet’s wildlife for even suggesting that they let the young girl in the party die because she was slowing them down. After doing that, you kind of had to go back for them. Besides…he didn’t let the death of the up-til-then protagonist heroine stop him from getting on that ship and getting the hell out of Dodge.

url-1The second movie, titled Dark Fury (actually it is Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury) which was depicted in animation format, shows the survivors of that ship being taken hostage by a new group of mercenaries that were collecting bodies for experimentation and strange decoration as the ship’s controller loved to turn convicted felons into art deco pieces for her own enjoyment. Since this animated movie comes after the second live-action film, many references from the first movie as well as a little foreshadowing of the next official sequel are made in this film. The first is that Riddick tries to impersonate Johns, the marshal/mercenary from the first movie that tries to capture Riddick, but is found out to be Riddick when the new merc group uses voice analysis to identify him. The second is that the future antagonist (or one of many for the sequel Chronicles of Riddick or COR) named Toombs is featured in this movie as one of the many mercenaries that are kept in suspended animation until they are needed for jobs. We see why is so set on capturing Riddick in COR and why they have so much knowledge of one another in that movie. Too bad that wasn’t explained BEFORE the live action sequel came out (one of many inconsistencies of COR). Since the plot was ridiculous and nothing of importance happens except the character development of Jack (the girl mentioned earlier in Pitch Black) and how she grew her initial obsession/admiration of Riddick and how she gets use to the idea of wanting to be just like him. Its fun to watch if you want more story for this character.

Then we have Chronicles of Riddick.  I can guarantee you that when this movie was announced, what everyone thought this movie would be….wasn’t. With Riddick being on the run and in hiding at the beginning of the movie, many were wondering why he would be in such an isolated frozen hell in the first place. I mean, the Riddick from Pitch Black was completely different than the one being depicted here. And the animated movie that made an attempt at explaining this doesn’t count since they released that movie AFTER they did this one. It turns out that the mercenary group that found him in his self-imposed isolation was sent by a would-be friend from the first movie; the only other guy who escaped form that planet in addition to the girl. After tracking him down on his home world, we see why the mercs were sent and what happened to the two survivors in the mean time. Turns out Jack is all grown up and has embraced the dark and wild side by becoming a merc herself, only to be betrayed and framed for murder which lands her in a prison that Riddick himself hasn’t been to yet.  They take extremes in character development here by trying to give Riddick an actual origin/back story of his birth and race. Here you see that they pulled a Goku/Dragon ball Z story in that Riddick is not human, but in fact something called a “Furyan” (note the similarity between that and “Saiyan” of DBZ fame) which is a warrior race that was obliterated by the main villains of the movie called Necromongers, who were led by an individual who feared a prophecy about one of these warriors being the one to end his life and future conquests (again, see DBZ Frieza Saga).

url-2This is where character development gets crazy.  Initially you are led to believe that Riddick is just some amped up guy with cool, freaky eyes that can see in the dark. In Pitch Black he did show incredible strength and martial skills as well as a keen sense of tactics. That’s about it. Just a badass that can kick ass.  Even in the animated movie that was set in between the live action movies he is shown as being able to take a beating and give one.  But in this movie, he is able to go toe to toe with soldiers who have supernatural strength and powers, even holding his own against the main baddie who is able to do all sorts of neat tricks. Where the hell did this Riddick come from?!

He is almost so amazing that I half expected him to shoot energy projected fireballs from himself…..and then he does (at least he does in the director’s cut which goes more in-depth of who and what he is as well as his hidden powers and abilities). Turns out Furyans are the stuff of legend, and if you thought Riddick was dangerous before, you should really hear how his race was perceived before they were wiped out.
Another thing about the character development was that this Riddick was less of a loner and more of a big brother and vengeful BFF of the survivors of the first movie.  He makes it a point to kill the big baddie that offed his preacher friend that survived with him in Pitch Black, gaining the attention of the main villain himself.  By the end of this movie, both survivors of the first movie are dead, but Riddick gains the keys to an incredibly powerful army and spares the planet that was to be destroyed by them.

This was NOT the Riddick I loved in Pitch Black or the video games.  Even though the movie was shiny and spectacular to look at for its special effects and graphics, the story just left this feeling like a generic hero movie in the veins of already-established anime and comic storylines that were done much better.  The ending just left you feeling…deflated.

Which is why I was hoping that this new movie would finally give us the Riddick we were missing and hoping to see again.  The final verdict?

Been there, done that, why do it again?

This movie was basically Pitch Black 1.5 and only rehashed the elements from the first movie but with none of the nostalgia or anticipation. We have seen this movie already. Desolate planet? Check. Group of mercenaries trying to get Riddick? Check. Weird monsters that love to kill at night? Check. Obligatory nipple or exposed breast scene? Yup (thank you, Katee Sackhoff!).  Even right down to the lines he delivered in both movies….the preternatural warnings of things to come and the weird killing style Riddick has of turning every small opportunity into a killing one.  Even the need to escape the planet in a ship before the darkness comes is straight from the first movie. Nothing new happens in this movie except for Riddick getting puppy love and sentimental when he rescues…well, a puppy.  By this point I am surprised Riddick hasn’t developed the ability to fly yet. The beginning of this movie cleans up that pesky problem of him being the new LM (Lord Marshal) of the Necromongers with them betraying him and leaving him for dead on this desolate world while he was in search of Furya (his home world). The plot leaves this part of the movie completely cold and shut off, since they never revisit it or explain how Riddick is going to get his revenge as the movie’s description suggests.  It was too long on the in between moments of it just being him versus nature and it was way too short after he teams up with the mercs to get off the planet.  In the end, I just keep the feeling that this would have been better off as a direct-to-dvd movie.  Not to give away any major spoilers….but they pull a Die Hard 3 move and bring back a relative of someone killed in the first movie that wants revenge for that loved-ones untimely demise. Even this isn’t handled properly and you just lose interest.

I would suggest waiting for this movie to go to DVD…which is where it should have gone in the first place.  2 out of 5 for me.