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“Back to the Future”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s almost hard to believe that it’s already been 25 years since the greatest movie ever made was released in theatres. That’s right! Back to the Future is celebrating its twenty-fifth birthday this year, and yes I said greatest movie ever made! For those of you that know me, I would imagine that that statement comes as no surprise to you, but for everyone else this movie was a huge deal to me growing-up. I went to see it in the theatre two times, which doesn’t sound like much these days, but when you’re talking about a 12 year old kid in 1985, and add to that the nearest theatre was a whole thirty-five minutes away, it’s kind of a big deal. To help celebrate the anniversary earlier this month, some theatres around the country and even the world, showed special screenings of Back to the Future once again on the big screen. As you can probably already guess, I was there to gladly get a third theatrical screening under my belt.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with this movie, I will kindly ask you to remain nameless, for I value our friendship, and wish not to judge you. In Back to the Future, a teenager named Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) worries that he’ll never amount to anything. He also, like most teenagers, can’t relate to his parents and can’t even fathom them ever being his age. Well, that is until early one morning on October 26, 1985, when his good friend Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) introduces Marty to his latest invention… A time machine made out of a DeLorean!? Finally, a time machine with some style! After a series of unforeseen events, Marty finds himself unwittingly transported to November 5, 1955, and face to face with none other than his own teenage parents. Pretty heavy, huh? To make matters even worse, he may have also inadvertently stopped his parents from ever meeting, which as you can image doesn’t bode well for Marty’s future.

I think one of the things that makes this one of the greatest movies, is how amazingly well it holds-up. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, you still get tense at the clock tower scene; as if you thought the movie might end differently this time. Also by labeling 1985 as 1985 and not the present, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are able to preserve the movie as a period film no matter when you watch it. The only thing they have to worry about is the future, and they’ve got another 5 years before that’s a problem. Let’s just hope someone can invent the Hoverboad before then, but we’ll get more into that in about 5 years. Let’s get back to the first movie, Back to the Future did a great job of telling an amazingly creative story with a lot of humor and heart. Sadly, a movie like that would never be made today. It’s too big of a chance. Hollywood doesn’t take chances like that anymore. They like to play it safe. Let’s just make sequels and adapt already existing material. Do you realize that filmmakers these days are writing comic books in hopes of maybe being able to get it turned into a movie?! They can’t just write an amazing script anymore. They have to turn their movie ideas into something they’re not, so that someday it might be turned into the movie they wanted to make in the first place. That’s fucked up, people!! Back to the Future would never get made today, and that’s crazy because it has two successful sequels! Exactly what Hollywood wants from a movie these days! We need creative filmmakers now more than ever, and they’re out there. They just can’t catch a break, when the studio executives just want something exactly like that other something that just made money for no reason. Unfortunately, as long as there are sad little “yes men” writers out there, that are more than happy to write whatever they’re told to, the next generation of Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, and Tim Burton’s will never be heard. Wow, that got really depressing there. Back to the Future greatest movie ever made! See it if you haven’t! See it again if you have!

Rating:

(of course)






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“Paranormal Activity 2”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, here we are again. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Paranormal Activity, and yet here I am one year later, and even less of a fan of its sequel for many reasons. First of all, Paranormal Activity 2 is not a sequel, it’s a prequel, and second… It’s lame. Okay, so not so many reasons. Look, I just don’t find loud bangs and noises to be scary. The first one did the same thing, but at least there were a few more freaky moments to fill in the nothingness of the movie. This time you just get a whole lot of the nothing. I really felt like leaving the theatre a few times, but for the sake of the review I stuck it out. It’s not that it’s unwatchable. It just feels like the same movie and it felt like nothing was happening for a really, really long time. I kind of wish they wouldn’t have made this one a tie-in to the last movie. A completely new story would have maybe held my interest a little more. But on the flip-side, I did think the way they tied the two stories together was really creative, and once again the “unknown” actors gave some really fantastic performances. It’s just lost on me. I feel like the concept of these movies work, but I just wish they’d step on the gas every once and a while. And yes, I’m afraid we’ll be seeing a Paranormal Activity 3 around this time next year. And yes, I will most likely see it. Dislike it. And review it. So, you’ve got that to look forward to.

Rating:


“Easy A”
a review by Darby O’Gill

I find myself torn. On one hand Easy A does remind me of the spirit of a beloved John Hughes’ film, but on the other hand it gets a little too smart for its own good at times, much like that of Juno or Saved. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. The writing was one of my favorite parts of this movie. Well, that and the fact that Emma Stone was playing the lead. This really was the perfect marriage of smart and witty writing, mixed with just the right actress to pull it off. There are a few moments where it all feels a little too heavy handed, but over all it’s a nice refreshing teen comedy that manages to be edgy while still being able to hold on to it’s PG-13 rating. Imagine that, a movie for teens, that teens can actually go see. What’s next? A multi-parody pop-culture movie that is actually watch able? I’m just kidding. We all know that will never happen.

In Easy A, Olive (Emma Stone) tells a little white lie to her best friend in order to get out of a weekend outing, and quickly finds herself at the center of her high school’s rumor pool. She’s quickly branded the school whore, and at first doesn’t really mind her new found attention. But as you would imagine, one lie leads to another, and another, and… Well you get it. When Olive uses her new reputation to help an outed gay student fall off the bully-radar, by lying about a night of wild sex, it’s not too long before more troubled teens come to Olive for help. What starts out as a few good deeds quickly escalates into an all out epidemic. It doesn’t help matters that the school is currently reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, or that the school’s biggest bible-thumping prude (Amanda Bynes) has got it out for her. The movie also has a nice set of performances from Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci, as Olive’s modern new age parents. Not to mention one of this year’s best use of title card graphics. The bottom line here is Easy A gets a solid B+. Come on, you knew I wasn’t going to get through this review without at least one cheesy line.

Rating:


“Paranormal Activity”
a review by Darby O’Gill

NOTE: There are NO SPOILERS in this review. I won’t even talk about the movie’s storyline, so please read freely if you have yet to see Paranormal Activity.

“The scariest movie ever made!” Well, maybe not. Look, I know I don’t get very scared at scary movies, but I really don’t understand how Paranormal Activity is getting people to hype it after they’ve seen it. My wife and I went to a test screening for Paranormal Activity, like a year and a half ago. We raced to the theatre after work; she had a slight headache, but still wanted to go. We had no idea what the movie was going to be about before hand, but we both like scary movies so we were hoping it would be good. Thirty – five minutes or so into the movie, the shaky handheld camera work had my wife ready to blow chunks, and even though I was kind of digging the movie, it wasn’t the end of the world to leave. On the walk back to the car, I told her I thought the movie gave a lot of promise, but it also felt like they were never going to pay it off. I kind of liked the simplicity of it, but she said, “It’ll never see the light of day.” After a few months, I figured she was right. Now, fast forward a year later, and we start to hear people talking about this indie movie that is going to come out, and be the scariest movie ever made. Just imagine how shocked we were when we heard the title of the film. I figured, at first, it was just your basic studio hype trying to get the movie a big opening weekend. But, then I found out it was only playing in thirteen college cities, and it wasn’t even playing in Los Angeles yet! I started to think they must have changed the whole movie, because the one we saw was okay, but would never have people talking like this after they’d seen it. After two weeks of nothing but hearing people talk about this movie, I knew I would have to go see it again. My wife said, “Have fun, a half hour of a screening of that snooze-fest was more than enough for me.” So, I went… And amazingly… It was the exact same movie we saw a year and a half ago. However, I did get to see the end this time. Now, I’m not saying the movie is bad. I’m just saying it’s not by any means “the scariest movie ever made.” Much like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity is a unique kind of horror movie. It doesn’t use a ton of blood and gore to scare its audience; instead it plays on your nerves in hopes of tapping in to one of your natural fears. Here’s the part I don’t get. How does this movie get so much word of mouth hype, when nothing really ever happens? Don’t worry I’m not going to give anything away, but the “activity” in this movie is only 15% at best. I enjoyed this movie. I thought the acting was really good for the first half; but it started to get a little shoddy by the end. I also loved the uniqueness of this film. It’s always nice to see a movie that no one believed in making it big. I take that back, Steven Spielberg believed in it. Paranormal Activity may not be the scariest movie ever made, but it is a fun night out.

Rating:
3 Little People


“The Lost Boys”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, with all these Lost Boys reviews, I figure it was only fair to re-watch the original. Now, I haven’t seen The Lost Boys in at least 15 years, if not longer, and I’m sad to say it doesn’t quite hold up. It’s not that it’s a bad movie; it just isn’t the movie you remember. But, for those of you that might not remember, let’s recap shall we.
When the Emerson family moves to Santa Carla, California to live with their grandfather, the last thing they ever thought they’d have to adjust to was vampires. Sam Emerson, played by Corey Haim, stumbles upon a comic shop, and the Frog brothers. Edger and Alan Frog are not only horror comic experts, but also the town’s first defense against the town’s vampire infestation. Watching Corey Feldman play Edger Frog, back in 1987, just makes you realize that Feldman has always been trying too hard to act. Was Feldman really so big in the late 80’s, that no one could have told him that a 15 year old boy does not talk like a Vietnam vet that smokes four packets a day? But, let’s get back to those pesky vampires. Michael Emerson, played by Jason Patric… What’s that? No, Michael Emerson is the character’s name. No, it has nothing to do with the Emmy award winning actor Michael Emerson from LOST. I think it’s just a coincidence. Can I get back to the review now? Okay, thanks. Like I was saying, Michael, whose last name just happens to be Emerson, makes the classic 80’s mistake of making eyes at the lead vampire’s girl. He quickly gets mixed up in the wrong crowd, drinks the head vampire’s blood, eats some maggots, and slowly starts to turn into a vampire. When Sam discovers his brother is becoming a blood sucker, it’s up to him and the Frog brothers to find and kill the head vampire, before Michael makes his first kill.
As with most movies you grew up with, this one doesn’t quite playback as bad assed as you may remember, but one thing is for sure, Kiefer Sutherland’s mullet is scarier than his bite. The pacing in the original movie is much better than that of Lost Boys: The Tribe. I think the whole point of The Lost Boys, is what would you do if you found out that vampires are real, and your brother was becoming one? The movie really isn’t about the vampires. I think when they made the sequel, all they wanted to do is show bad ass vampires, but if they hadn’t sacrificed the story they would have had a shot at a good movie. If you haven’t seen The Lost Boys in a long time and love the way you remember it, I would suggest replaying the memory, and skipping the rental.

Rating:

3 Little People



DVD Special Features:

I didn’t get to watch any of the special features yet, but I will at some point. I’ll post an update hopefully in the near future.

“Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs”
a review by Darby O’Gill

For some reason this is the true sequel to the classic Joel Schumacher film, The Lost Boys. But, why make it a movie when you can just release it as a four issue comic book series instead? I would have to guess that the answer to that question has something to do with the two Coreys.  Seeing how Corey Haim was such a mess during the filming of Lost Boys: The Tribe, they couldn’t use any of his footage in the film at all. So, Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs is the prequel to Lost Boys: The Tribe, but I think it’s the one that should have been filmed.

The story in Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs mostly takes place in 1990, but this is mainly due to being told through flashbacks of what became of the Frog brothers after the first movie. Edgar Frog tells a young protégé his tale at his surfboard shaping shop. Yes, even in this story we have to deal with the bullshit surfer storyline, but it’s easy to block out. Shortly after the events from the The Lost Boys, the Frog brothers become the go to vampire hunters, as more covens popup around the country. They’re even hired by the White House to deal with blood sucking politicians in Washington D.C., but upon their return home are faced with the return of David, the vampire played by Kiefer Sutherland in the first film, who is still looking for Michael and Star. The Frog’s quickly realize that if David is alive they must not have killed the head vampire after all. With this realization the boys team back up with Sam Emerson to kill Santa Carla’s head vampire once and for all. With a nice little twist, that will put the Frog brothers against one another in a future storyline. This story maybe hokey, but is so much better than that of the Lost Boys: The Tribe story, and who knows maybe this is the story we would have gotten had the Haim disaster not happened. We’ll never know.

The artwork in these books, by Joel Gomez, is really quite well done. My only problem with it is that the books where put out by DC Comic’s Wildstorm division, and authorized by Warner Bros., who owns of the original film rights; but Gomez’s drawings didn’t truly resemble the characters from the film. I would have just liked the characters to have been a little bit more familiar. Over all it was a fun read and was definitely a nice palate cleanser to the shitty film I had just sat through. If you did heed my review of Lost Boys: The Tribe, this should help ease the pain.

Rating:

2.5 Little People

“Lost Boys: The Tribe”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Hey, remember that great 80’s movie The Lost Boys? Yeah, well this ain’t it. Actually, it’s the exact opposite. No really, the exact opposite. You know how in the first movie the older brother turns into a vampire? Yeah, well in this one, it’s the younger sister. It doesn’t stop there. Remember how the original film focused on Michael’s slow transformation into a vampire, and Sam’s realization of that fact? Yeah, well in this one, you drink the head vampire’s blood one night, and you’re one of the tribe the next. I just realized, I’m getting a little ahead of myself; let’s just start over.
It’s been 21 years since we last visited Santa Carla, California, but surprisingly their vampire population is still going strong. Only now I guess they’re surfers. I don’t know. I stopped looking for the sense in these kind of movies years ago. There is still one familiar face in Santa Carla, and that would be Corey Feldman’s Edgar Frog, not that he remains untouched by the update. Instead of working at his parents’ comic book shop, Edgar is now a surfboard shaper… Of course, that makes total sense. Having been a comic book nerd that becomes a full-time vampire hunter, why wouldn’t he take up surfing as a hobby? Did anyone even try to write a decent story for this movie? As many of you may already know, Corey Haim was going to be in this movie as well, but on the account of his being a… What’s the word? Disaster? They ultimately ended up cutting his performance out completely. Really, how screwed up do you have to be, to make Corey Feldman look like he’s the one that has his shit together? (We’ll talk more about that in the special features section.) I would go more in depth with the plot, if there was one. Look, I’m all for a good sequel. A good sequel. But the thing that I don’t get, is how so many sequels always seem to get it wrong. I mean half the work is already done for you. The characters and story setups are already in place. All you have to do is come up with an original new place to take them; or in this case, new characters to inhabit an already existing world. It’s really not that hard. But once again, instead of coming up with something new, Hollywood just flips the original story and repackages it, and somehow seems to think we won’t realize what they’ve done. It’s the same movie, you idiots! If I wanted to watch The Lost Boys, I would have rented The Lost Boys! Oh wait, I guess I sort of did. Only this version seems to be a sucky bizarro version of the one I remember. Word of advice; if you do rent The Lost Boys make sure Kiefer Sutherland is in it, and not his half-brother Angus Sutherland. You’ll thank me.

Rating:

1 Little People



DVD Special Features:

  • Lost Boys: The Tribe – Action Junkies

This is just a behind the scenes look at the totally tubular extreme action, dudes! I thought this movie took place in 2008?!

  • Edgar Frog’s Guide to Coming Back Alive

This is an interview with Corey Feldman, in character as Edgar Frog, raspy voice and all. However, he doesn’t really stay in character the whole time, and it also feels like no one ever really asked him to be in character. It seems like they went into Feldman’s trailer to interview him about being in the movie, and this is what they got. I could be wrong, but this is Feldman we’re talking about.

  • Alternate Endings

Yeah, endings plural. They all pretty much have to do with Corey Haim’s inability to perform in the movie, forcing the production to work around him, which is kind of too bad. I sort of liked where they wanted to go with this story arch. But, it’s still no excuse for making a shitty sequel. The alternate endings also deal with Edgar’s brother, Alan Frog, once again being played by Jamison Newlander from the first film. Here’s where you got it wrong, once again Hollywood, this isn’t the end of the sequel! This should be the beginning of the sequel!

Uh, okay.

  • 3 Yeah Whatever Music Videos

That’s not me making fun of them. The groups name is Yeah Whatever, which is perfect, because that’s how I feel about this feature.

I was at least hoping for a commentary that talked about all the drama dealing with the two Coreys during production, but I guess this is the best they could do.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

0.5 Little People