In Theaters: “Queen of Katwe”

In Theaters: Queen of Katwe

Walt Disney Pictures’ latest movie is a triumphant winner !!!

“Queen of Katwe” 

It ranks as one of the best pictures of 2016 in my book.

~

queen-of-katwee-2016

~

Powerful.  Memorable.  A cinematic champion !

The true story of chess player Phiona Mutesi !!!

Starring Madina Nalwanga and Lupita Nyong’o

In theaters now !!!

~

Walt Disney Pictures
ESPN Films

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

~

Daniel’s Critical Corner: “The Happening”


Poop Happens !

 ~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Today’s Event:  The Happening

Warning:  This review will have more spoilers than a crate FULL of rotten
cabbage, so proceed at your own risk !!!

OK.  The obligatory “spoiler alert” is out of the way.  Lettuce begin…

Our story opens one beautiful morning in Central Park.  All is calm, and two
young women are sitting on a bench reading.  A scream pierces the air, and one
of them is startled.  The other, seems to be dazed.  People on the nearby path  
just sort of “freeze” and stop what they are doing.  Dogs are running loose with 
leashes dragging behind them.  Phones and iPods are dropped, and bicycles lay
on the ground.  A cool summer breeze glides across everyone, as they casually 
start to reach for any and all sharp objects in the vicinity.  One of the women
on the bench removes a large pin from her hair and impales herself with it…

Everybody on the East Coast mysteriously starts following suit…  Something is
causing folks to commit mass suicide.  But what ?  Did Clay Aiken release a new
album ?  At first, it seems to be yet another terrorist attack…  Then we find out 
that BUSH is responsible.   (As well as SHRUB and TREE).

It is vindictive and vile vegetation vetting Vengeance ! Predatory perennials
preying on People !  Beguiling begonias bringing bundles of Bedlam !

Yes folks, “The Happening” is director M. Night Shyamalan’s version of “Little
Shop of Horrors”,  (minus the musical numbers of course).   Alfred Hitchcock 
had people leery of peckers after watching “The Birds”, and M. Night Shyamalan 
wants to terrify us with his “plants”.  Go figure. 

 A killer plant movie.  That’s what’s “Happening”.  Nothing more than a  tale
of botany gone bad.  ScaryNoInterestingmaybeLeafy and delicious… 
Always.  Vegetarians, beware, these plants are looking to settle the score. 
You should have had that hamburger !  Now, ferocious foliage shall feast
upon your FACE !

Alright, I’m exaggerating a little bit.  The plants don’t eat people…  This movie
would have been SO COOL if they did.  They do however, let out deadly plant
farts.  This chemical is so rank that one is driven to suicide.  And speaking of 
suicide, what is M. Night doing to himself with this wilted wannabe of a fright
flick anyway ? Is he calling Uwe Boll for advice ?  We’ve gone from “Sixth
Sense” to “No Sense Whatsoever”. 

Where is the genius that brought us liquid-hating aliens  in “Signs” ?  What
happened to the guy that brought us Samuel Jackson’s bad hair in the now
classic “Unbreakable” ?  (In retrospect, they should have called it
“Uncombable”).

 


Pardon Me…  Is This The New Issue Of “Critical Corner” ?

 

 After leaving a bad taste in our mouths with his “Lady in the Water”,  you’d think
M. Night would have tossed us a breath mint.  Nope.  “Lady in the Water” did a
total belly flop at the box office, and he comes back with “The Crappening”.

 In all fairness, “Lady” had a great premise.  Some dude finds a nympho in his
 pool and has to save her from a demon dog.  How could you screw that up ?  Well,
 he decided to make it into some sort of morality play, and that’s all she wrote. 
Now, he takes killer plants and stuffs yet ANOTHER message down our throats. 
How mundane.  Respect the planet or it will be your undoing.  Yawn…  Talk
about missing your MARK (no, not as in Wahlberg) !  LOL !

Mark Wahlberg is indeed on board, trying to give us a salad performance as an
“Ivy” League college teacher who knows a thing or two about flora.  When the 
flowers and ferns start causing people to “off” themselves, our prudent professor
figures out a way to escape.  He, his wife, and a little girl left in their care make
a run for it, convinced they can escape the blooms of doom.

 Turns out, ALL of the plants, flowers and trees in the world can communicate
with each other ! (Most of them use Verizon Wireless).  Humans are a threat, and 
must be exterminated !  So, as a natural defense, toxins are released that turn
people into self destructing maniacs…  (Their first attempt was the perfume 
“Curious” by Britney Spears, and we all know what went on there).

Mark W. and his small band of survivors hide out in the country, because it
seems the deadly gas doesn’t strike areas of low populace.  However, you can’t
fool mother nature for long, and they soon discover what a pain in the “aspen”
she really can be. 

 


Insane In The Membrane…

 

 


Insane In The Brain !

 

They take refuge at a little old lady’s house (Betty Buckley from “Eight is
Enough”), but she is soon brainwashed by some tomato vines and a really
pissed off petunia.  The final showdown is not supposed to be funny, but I
was cracking up the entire time.

Now, I appreciate the message Shamalamadingdong is trying to send out here.
EAT MEAT.  But everyone is expecting more…  He really doesn’t even give us
a “plot twist” this time around.  Almost immediately, we realize what is behind
the mystery.  And after a while, seeing someone scream at a giant redwood 
(that’s just blowing in the wind) gets old.  

There is some build up, as the first thirty minutes of this film is rather intense. 
People kill themselves in gruesome, rather imaginative ways.  But it climaxes into
Mark Wahlberg yelling at nothing but air in a “take me now” kind of moment. 
Total let down.  Imagine if M. Night had directed “Psycho”.  Instead of the killer
turning out to be Norman Bates in a wig, we discover Phyllis Diller is holding
the knife….

Maybe it’s time for our misguided director to get out of “The Twilight Zone”.
(Or at least stay out of the greenhouse).  He has talent, but he is barking 
up the wrong tree.  He needs to branch out.  Maybe get to the root of the
problem. Then he can see where his failures stem from. 

He should try doing a drama, or perhaps a comedy.  (His last two movies, 
granted, are pretty darn funny).  He just can’t scare us anymore…  But all
hope isn’t lost.  Give the guy a change of venue, and he will be fine ! 

If you want true entertainment featuring vegetation with a taste for human
blood, may I suggest “The Maneater of Hydra” (1967) or “Attack of the Killer
Tomatoes” (1978).  Of course the original black and white version of “Little
Shop of Horrors” is sure to thrill, (with a young Jack Nicholson making his
film debut) !  Hey, he had to start somewhere.  It’s not easy being green

At any rate, “The Happening” is sure to leaf you totally disappointed.

 ~

Would I Recommend This ?  No

Daniel’s Critical Rating:  “6” out of “10”

 

 

 

Daniel’s Critical Corner: “The Strangers”


That’s The LAST Time I Touch Peter Jackson’s Stupid Oscar !

~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Today We Will Be Getting To Know:  The Strangers

Horrifying…  Cutting Edge…  The Last Word In TERROR.

That is how I would describe “The Exorcist”.  Sadly, today I am reviewing “The
Strangers”, and my words of choice will be FAR from flattering. Please, be warned,
there will be tons of BLOOD SOAKED spoilers.  But, it would probably behoove you
to read on.    

To be honest, half the time I thought I was watching “Scary Movie”…  This film
has so many “Don’t Go In There” moments it’s almost comical.  Now, people getting
tortured is never funny, (unless you are watching “The View”).  But this sick little film
manages to garner a giggle under even the most brutal of circumstances.  But enough
about Liv Tyler’s acting…

Everything starts out rather slow.  We first see both Scott Speedman (Underworld) 
 and Liv Tyler (Middle-Earth) having an argument.  They are just another young couple
with their fair share of problems.  To patch things up, they go to a remote mansion
in the woods.  Most people have cabins, but these folks have what appears to be a
castle.  Go figure.  Anyway, there are rose petals thrown all over the place and a few
candles set about for romantic “ambiance”.

Setting the mood further, their pad is equipped with an antique record player.  They
play more old country music than the soundtrack to “Brokeback Mountain”, but before
anyone can say “I wish I knew how to quit you”, there is an ominous knock at the front
door.  Thinking it’s probably just the Girl Scouts, our hapless couple decide to answer,    
only to find a young woman standing in the shadows.  Despite being four o’clock in the 
morning, this chick asks if someone named “Tamara” is home…  How rude.  Aren’t  
strangers supposed to CALL first or something ? 

She is politely told that she has the wrong house.  With her head down, this
mysterious figure vanishes into the bleak darkness…  Only to return a few
minutes later wearing a creepy doll mask !!! 

 

Hello Dolly !

 

This woman is a total nut, and she has brought back a couple of weirdos with her.
 Some guy dressed as “The Scarecrow” from Batman Begins and some chick dressed as 
“Betty Boop”…  Horror is supposed to ensue as these masked marauders terrorize the
household.  At first, I wasn’t too worried about our heroes.  Turns out, they have TWO 
loaded shotguns in the house, plenty of knives and a chainsaw.  Not to mention, they
have a two-way radio, two cell phones, a land line and access to a couple of vehicles.

I was sure they would get the upper hand against the “strangers” who want to harm
them.  I mean, all these crazies have is an ax.  That’s right.  One shiny ax.  Nothing 
more, nothing less.  However, in a shocking plot twist, we learn that the victims are
RETARDED.  They have no clue what a gun is, or for that matter, how to use it.  

Once they “figure” out how to pull the trigger, they shoot at anything that moves
before seeing who or what it is.  First, they put COUNTLESS holes in the walls.  To 
match the COUNTLESS holes in the plot perhaps ?  Then they manage to blow away
their best friend (who ironically just cancelled a hunting trip with Dick Cheney).  And,
to top it all off,  they hit a couple of nuns AND a horse.  OK, maybe I exaggerated   
the last part a little bit…  What it boils down to is the bad guys never actually get
shot (but EVERYTHING and EVERYONE else does).    

Of course, our couple also LOVES to split up. “You wait here.  I’ll be right back” ! 
And it seems to make sense (at least to them) to leave their guns in other rooms
while they investigate strange noises…  It doesn’t matter how many phones they
have, as they only like to call each other, and not 911.  I think one of them calls
a psychic hotline for advice on what to do.  But the police seem to be last on  
their list.

 


If They Walk Through That Door, I’ll Clobber Em’ With My “Shoot Stick”  

 

One scene in particular that stands out in my mind (yes, I did laugh), is when
our beautiful heroine sneaks back into the house after having a run-in with an
ax-wielding maniac !!!  She is trying to be quiet, but she trips and lands on a 
table full of plates.  There is a huge CRASH… Then she backs up into a wall,
knocking down a picture and shattering the glass frame.  She shrieks, (and
only covers her mouth after the fact). As she raises her arm up, she bumps
  her elbow into a shelf of porcelain figurines, tipping a couple of those over.  

Realizing at this point she’s been “made” (Duh) she runs to the kitchen to hide
in the pantry.  After slamming the door she bumps into a shelf full of jellies,  
which rattles very loudly as a couple of jars fall to the ground. Oh Puhleeze !

Perhaps all of this is supposed to add to the “suspense”, but instead it generates
plenty of unintentional humor.   Early on, this movie does have some rather tense
moments…   “The Strangers” at least starts off very atmospheric.  Some creepy,  
dark piano music (mixed with the record player skipping) managed to invoke in me
memories of the horror classic “The Evil Dead”.  But soon it devolves into nothing
more than parlor tricks and cheap scares. (Probably not so cheap if you have
shelled out ten bucks for a ticket) !

    Yes, I went from being on the edge of my seat one moment, to almost laughing
  hysterically the next…  But the smile was wiped off my face when I had to sit
   through the sick, horrible and disturbing end.  I won’t go into many details, but it
     involves (not kidding) two Mormon missionaries and a blood-curdling scream.  
  LAME !!!  

Remember kids, look both ways before you cross the street, and of course
 avoid “Strangers” at ALL COSTS !

~

Would I Recommend This ?  No

Daniel’s Critical Rating:  “5” out of “10”

 

 

 

 

Daniel’s Critical Corner: “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”


Who You Callin’ A “Pretty Boy” ???

 ~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Today’s Impossibly Long Title:  The Chronicles of
Narnia:  Prince Caspian

 WOW !  Check out that moniker !  It takes up the entire top of my page !
What is with that exactly ?  Couldn’t they have just called it Narnia 2 and
been done with it?  I mean, when I went to get my ticket, I didn’t say “Hi
there, one adult for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian please”.  Yes,
 I could have said that, but that would have made me look like a big TWIT. 
 Nope.  “One for Narnia please” was just enough to get the point across.
Hmmm…  I suppose “Narnia Dos” would’ve worked as well… 

 Regardless, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” still manages to
be a little less of a mouthful than “Harry Potter and the Nursing Home
in Phoenix” (or wherever Daniel Radclliffe is retiring too).

Enough about the title, let’s get to the movie !!! 
We begin with a horrible scream…  (No, not from someone in the audience). A   
woman is giving birth in a castle, and we realize this baby is an heir to a throne 
of some sort.  Something is then mentioned in passing about the “Caspian Clan”… 

Moments later, we see a different woman (in bed and apparently in the same castle). She 
is notabley young and beautiful, with what appears to be perfect hair.  Someone sneaks
into her chambers, then a hand claps over her mouth to keep her from yelling.  It turns  
out that the woman is none other than Prince Caspian !  (Yea, I know that’s confusing).
I thought he was a chick at first glance.  Dude looks like a lady.

   Anyway, some old guy dressed as Santa Claus ushers the prince out of the castle,
fearing that his life is in danger…  Low and behold, it is !  The aforementioned baby
can’t become king if our pal Caspian is alive and kicking.  The baby’s daddy is the
main villain in this picture, a guy with a penchant for power who looks like an ugly
(and perhaps retarded) version of Leonidas from “300” !

Our hero runs into the woods, where he finds some midgets and other freaks.
  And that’s when he gets REAL horny !!!  Allow me to elaborate…  (He grabs a 
horn given to him by Santa Claus).  He starts blowing the heck out of it, while
one of the midgets beats him over the head.  Sounds WILD, I know.  And all of
this in a “PG” film !!!

 


He Sees You When You’re Sleeping…
(Through This Movie)
 

 

Suddenly, like magic, the brats from the prior installment are sucked out of England 
 and into the land of Narnia.  (That’s where the horn tootin’ prince lives).  Let’s see, if
memory serves me correctly we have “Lucy”, “Peter”, “Schlepo” and “What’s Her Face”.
Hmmm… Close enough.  The group is glad to be back at first, but they soon realize  
  that more than a thousand years has passed in NST (Narnia Standard Time) since their 
last visit.  The world that they once knew now officially sucks.  Bad guys have
overtaken the land,  and everything is in ruin !

So the gang of young kings and queens who once defeated the “Ice Witch” (or
whatever she was called) must join forces with Prince Crapstain to save the day !
 They decide to once more enlist the aid of strange looking creatures and assorted
oddballs.  They befriend a cute little talking mouse that wears a feather and slits
people’s throats like butter… (Lovely).  They also search for their old pal, Aslan
the Lion !  Not an easy guy to get in touch with.  He’s terrible about returning
messages (and that’s if you are lucky enough to even get his voice mail). 

In one touching scene, the youngest girl sees a lion on a rock and runs up to him,
crying.  As everyone cheers, she wraps her arms around the noble animal. In a flash,
the lion bites off her head.  One of the other kids screams and runs up with a sword,
but he looses his arm as everyone shoots arrows at the enraged BEAST

LOL !  OK, it didn’t go down quite like that (if this were MY movie, that’s what
would probably happen). Maybe it’s a good thing they haven’t called me to do
“Narnia Tres”.  Yes, of course the little girl finds Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson),
and it’s all smiles and butterflies after that. 

But not before there is a good deal of action and bloodshed.  These little kids go to
battle and kill several people.  A couple of them are dressed in full adult armor, and 
they look just plain silly.  It’s also hard to believe that they are strong enough to beat
some of the evil warriors that come their way, (either hand to hand or sword to sword).
Cute animals are found donning knives and such, and join in on the bloodbath.  Kind
of strange actually. 

 Granted, the effects are brilliant, and this movie is faster paced compared to the   
first.  Truth be told, I liked this installment a tad better…   And of course, it is  
(big surprise) DARKER.  That’s the rule these days.  If a studio makes a successful  
kid’s fantasy film, each sequel has to get darker and darker with a higher
body count.

 


A Group Of Undecided Superdelegates Prepare
To Meet With Hillary Clinton…

 

And now, for your “entertainment” (if you can call it that), here is an example
of a “generic” kid’s fantasy movie script (complete with sequels).  

 ~

Generic Kid’s Fantasy Movie

Little Girl:  “What a pretty rainbow”.

Goat-Head Creature:  “Yes, and such a nice day as well” !

Little Girl:  “What a magical land” !

 

Generic Kid’s Fantasy Movie Part 2 

Little Girl:  “It’s raining.”

Goat-Head Creature:  “There is evil afoot.”

Little Girl:  “And the bad sorcerer killed Puppy-Face” !

Goat-Head Creature:  “Awww… He was so cute” !

Little Girl:  “He was actually more than just cute . He 
                    represented the plight of starving animals
around the world” !!!

 

 Generic Kid’s Fantasy Movie Part 3 (The Final Chapter)

Goat-Head Creature:  “What the heck happened to you” ?

Little Girl:  “What do you mean” ?

Goat-Head Creature:  “You are like what, 40 years old now,
                        and still wearing pigtails” ?

Little Girl:  “You have been possessed by the evil one  
                     like all of the others.  Now you must DIE” !!!

Goat-Head Creature:  “Nooooooo” !

(The little girl stabs Goat-Head Creature with the “Dagger of Truth”.
His blood splatters onto the camera.  As it drips off, we see the
 rainbow again from the first film, but this time with a new clarity).

The End.  Ha Ha !  (I’m sure you get my drift…)

~

 Now, the “Narnia” books by C.S. Lewis are truly an achievement in literature. 
I read all of them many years ago, (and was impressed).  I just don’t remember
them being quite as intense in comparison to this film…  Can you believe they 
actually swat an innocent midget in this flick ?  Hey… Get your minds out of the 
gutter !!!  I said “swat” not “SWAP”.  

In all fairness,  “Narnia” isn’t that bad… It’s just another run of the mill fantasy
 film sequel that tries to focus on more “grown up” themes than it’s predecessor. 
And with so much action, there is absolutley NO room for character growth.
(Unless you count the beauty mole on Caspian’s lip). 

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” is perfect fodder for the dollar
movies, and I ain’t Lion !

~

Would I Recommend This ?  No

Daniel’s Critical Rating:  “6.5” out of “10”

 

 

 

Daniel’s Critical Corner: “Iron Man”

 
Stop !!! (In The Name Of Glove)  

 ~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Soaring High Today:  Iron Man

 Move over Spider, Bat and Super, there’s a new MAN in town !!!

Let’s kick this review off with a startling confession…  One that may shock you…
I was not AT ALL looking forward to seeing “Iron Man”.  There.  I said it. 
(I’m not proud),  but at least it’s out in the open.  Don’t act so surprised.  I’ve
confessed to worse !  And, in regards to that, I have not been to that midget
site since November.

It’s all true I’m afraid (about me not wanting to see the “Iron Man” movie). 
Don’t get me wrong,  I never had anything against the guy per se, but first of  
all what did I really know about him?  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Goose Egg.  Secondly, the
previews left me flat.  Charlie Chaplin running around in a robot suit ?   Just some
average dude running around in armor?  Beavis and Butt-Head style music ?  This
 film had “One Trick Pony” written ALL over it.  And if you ask me, our hero 
kind of looks like a cross between a “Transformer” and a “Teletubbie”. 

Also, as it would seem, “Iron Man” is without “sex appeal”.  Spider-Man has his
tights, Batman has his rubber nipples, and Wonder Woman has her “Wonderbra”
(Plus she ties you up when you’ve been naughty)…   So what on Earth does Iron
Man have ?  Allow me to enlighten you…  He has a nice CAN!!!  (Badomp Bomp) !

Well, it’s now safe to say that ALL of my preconceived notions melted away as I 
 was slowly drawn in (and then completely mesmerized) by this exciting adventure !

First off , we get to learn a little about Tony Stark, (played by Robert Downey Jr.).
Stark is a super rich playboy, who lives the high life. Granted,  the “high” life is not
much of a stretch for Robert …  At any rate, Tony is the owner of a very successful
weapons manufacturing company.  On a trip to the Middle East, he is kidnapped by
terrorists who force him to start building a bomb.  It isn’t long however, before he
himself becomes “Da Bomb” as the super-suited Iron Man !

 

iron-man-plastic[1] by you.
Remove Your Hand…  I Am NOT A “Coke” Machine !

 

It’s awesome to watch the spectacle as Tony (dressed in robotic armor)
starts mopping up the dessert with terrorist scum.  Appropriately, the
soundtrack breaks out into heavy metal as (one by one), assorted baddies
are ripped to shreds by this magnificent machine ! 

Seeing the error of his ways, our shiny hero decides to start doing good
with his company, and he wants out of the weapons business.  Unfortunately,
in the process he manages to piss off (of all people) Jeff Bridges.  I don’t know
about you, but I  personally wouldn’t want to mess with Jeff Bridges. 
Of course, hijinks ensue…

Jeff (giving Lex Luthor a run for his money in the bald villain department), decides
the only way to beat a guy in a robot costume is to build a BIGGER robot costume.
What results is one of the most thrilling good guy/bad guy confrontations in recent 
history.  Nuts really start to fly as they bang the HECK out of each other !  

In no time at all, Robert Downey Jr. manages to turn Jeff Bridge’s
Hard Drive into Software !

 


An Accident During Filming: One Of The Cars From “Speed Racer” Crashed
Onto The “Iron Man” Set.

 

Now I’ve got to mention the rather gratuitous “love interest”, played (charmingly) 
 by Gwyneth Paltrow.  WOW !  Haven’t seen her in a while.  Nope…  To be honest,    
I’ve never really managed to see her in much of anything.   I do seem to remember  
her being in the movie “Seven”.  She was the head in Brad Pitt’s box !!!  (Not to be
confused with Justin Timberlake’s popular “Saturday Night Live” skit). 

Glancing at IMDB, it appears Paltrow won an Oscar for “Shakespeare In Love”. 
Hmmmph…  Sounds boring.  Granted, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” looked rather
dull and I LOVED it, but I was kind of forced to see that.  If someone kicks down 
my door and makes me watch “Shakespeare In Love” at gunpoint, then so be it. 
Maybe I will like it.  But until that time I’m going to have to live without.  Pity.

Regardless, Gwyneth is AWESOME in “Iron Man” , (as is everyone else) !!!
And stick around until after the credits, for a pretty sweet cameo from…
? ? ?

Ha Ha !  I’m not going to tell you.  You have got to go see for yourself !
But this movie is worth seeing from start to finish anyway.  Multiple times. 
Robert Downey Jr. has really raised the bar in this genre, doing an incredible job
playing the consummate super hero “alter ego”.  What is really novel about
this film is that it goes against the traditional “isolated and lonely” hero persona.
As a matter of fact, Tony Stark was very lonely UNTIL he became Iron Man !
Talk about IRONY !  Ha Ha !

His robot suit is even complete with a wise-cracking computer system.  It talks
 to him  (and yes, keeps him company) on his missions.  And if that’s not enough,  
Tony even chats with some friends on his cell phone while he is kicking some
butt.  A far cry from “Bat Man” running to the shadows after a battle, sobbing 
his little heart out over his long dead parents.  It’s been what, 40 years now ? 
Get over it.  Get therapy.  Maybe that’s why this poor guy can’t keep a
girlfriend for more than two hours.  No…  Robin doesn’t count.  LOL !!!

“Iron Man” is solid entertainment !  Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto !!!

~

Would I Recommend This ?  Yes

Daniel’s Critical Rating:  “10” out of “10”