Day 365: Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)

startrekii_spotlightIn any other normal year, this would essentially be the last film of the challenge, but thanks to the leap year, we have one more film after this. After watching Star Trek Into Darkness and being introduced to the character of Khan, I wanted to make sure that I watch the original film that featured Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. Things have changed around the Starship Enterprise and it starts with Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) who is having a midlife crisis because of the job change. While on a routine inspection, Kirk is forced to retake his place in the captain’s chair when an old familiar foe by the name of Khan (Ricardo Montalban) resurfaces and threatens to steal a project called Genesis that could turn into the ultimate weapon. The film also stars Leonard Nimoy (Mission: Impossible) as Spock, DeForest Kelley (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) as McCoy, James Doohan (Loaded Weapon 1) as Scotty, Walter Koenig (Star Trek) as Chekov, George Takei (Kubo And The Two Strings) as Sulu, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek: The Animated Series) as Uhura, Bibi Besch (Tremors) as Carol, Merritt Butrick (Fright Night Part 2) as David, Paul Winfield (Mars Attacks) as Terrell, Kirstie Alley (Cheers) as Saavik, Ike Eisenmann (Escape To Witch Mountain) as Preston, and the film was directed by Nicholas Meyer (Time After Time). 

the_wrath_of_khanThere is this one scene in the film that is just very uncomfortable to watch because you are imagining the agony they are going through. The scene I am talking about of course is the creature that crawls into Chekov and Terrell’s ear in the beginning courtesy of Khan. Ricardo Montalban was great as Khan, but I feel that it’s in the scale of the 1980’s. What I mean by that is that it wouldn’t work today because much like William Shatner it’s a little over the top. He is trying to squeeze the performance of a lifetime into his role as a sci-fi villain. I say what I say about Shatner, but to be honest I couldn’t see anyone other than Chris Pine play Captain Kirk as well. I liked the story of the film a lot because not only was Kirk faced with the major problem known as Khan, but we also discover something else from his past that showcases that playboy lifestyle that he has. I thought it was a good touch to the film and showed us why he was so interested in finding Carol. The ending of the film definitely set you up for another film, but there isn’t enough days in the year to explore anymore. The cinematography was pretty decent especially for 1982. It was a definite step up from the first film which was too cheesy and is why I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 364: Basic Instinct (1992)

basic-instinctWith only three days left in the challenge, I have to choose my films wisely and watch films that I have always wanted to see. I remember when today’s film came out that I wasn’t allowed to watch it. For some strange reason, I just never bothered to watch Basic Instinct, but I did for today. Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is a cop with a little bit of a troubled history. When a big time former Rock star gets murdered with an ice pick while having sex gets Nick signed on to the case to investigate. The only problem is that when he begins to investigate the only suspect in author Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) things begin to get dark as he uncovers the truth behind the murder. The film also stars George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter) as Gus, Jeanne Tripplehorn (The Firm) as Dr. Beth Garner, Denis Arndt (Metro) as Lieutenant Walker, Leilani Sarelle (Days Of Thunder) as Roxy, Bruce A. Young (Jurassic Park III) as Andrews, Chelcie Ross (Trouble With The Curve) as Captain Talcott, Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park) as John Corelli, Dorothy Malone (The Big Sleep) as Hazel Dobkins, Daniel Von Bargen (Super Troopers) as Lieutenant Nilsen, Stephen Tobolowsky (Mississippi Burning) as Dr. Lamott, Jack McGee (Crash) as Sheriff, and the film was directed by Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop).

basicThis was one intense film that I can definitely see why my mother didn’t want me to see it. There are so many sex scenes in this film or at least scenes involving nudity whether it be Sharon Stone or Jeanne Tripplehorn. It’s crazy, but that fact definitely does not overshadow the fact that the story is very interesting to begin with. The whole entire film, I was thinking I knew who the person that did it was, but then it tricks me into thinking that it was a different person to only leave me with a cliffhanger of sorts at the end of the film. The film’s story definitely leaves you wanting more when it is all said and done. I want to commend Michael Douglas, Tripplehorn, and Stone for putting on some great performances in the film If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know if this film would have been the same and Sharon was perfect for the role. She was mysterious, seductrive, and smart which was made her very sexy and desirable in my opinion. The cinematography was pretty good, but the car chase scenes were a little weak in my opinion. Other than that, it was a solid film and I really enjoyed it. I highly reccommend the film to anyone that loves sexy mystery thrillers and its definitely NSFW (Not Safe For Work). I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 363: A Date With Miss Fortune (2015)

a-date-with-miss-fortuneUsually on Wednesdays, we watch an action/martial arts film for Ass Whoopin Wednesdays, but with only four days left we are postponing it. Ever since the release of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I wanted there to be a Portuguese version of that film and I think we finally got it with A Date With Miss Fortune which is today’s film. Jack Ratner (Ryan Scott) has been down on his luck after getting fired from one job and decides that he wants to travel the world, but that all changes with a chance meeting. After meeting the very superstitious Portuguese beauty Maria (Jeannette Sousa), he decides to stay and the two get into a relationship, but that will prove to be a challenge for Jack as he deals with her beliefs and her crazy Portuguese family. The film also stars Joaquim de Almeida (Diablo) as Jose, Vik Sahay (My Awkward Sexual Adventure) as Wilson, Claudia Ferri (40 Is The New 20) as Anna Maria, Nelly Furtado (Score: A Hockey Musical) as Nelia, George Stroumboulopoulos (Hobo With A Shotgun) as Paul, Aris Athanasopoulos (The Strain) as Marco, Maria Vacratsis (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) as Señora Maria, Shawn Desman (Kangaroo Jack) as Emanuel, and the film was directed by John L’Ecuyer (Ready Or Not). 

a-date-with-miss-fortuneI have to admit that at times I had a lot of fun with the film because the craziness of the family definitely reminded me of mine which made it fun to watch. There of course was a lot of the stereotypes written into the film like our obsession with football and Cristiano Ronaldo as well as the superstitions and how proud we are of our culture was very real. The film further addressed my theory of why I do not date Portuguese women because they are a pain in the you know what. There were a couple of things that bothered me about the film and that is one the timeline isn’t really addressed very well because we find out that she is pregnant, but when they make up she is about to deliver the baby. Now, the time that they spend apart doesn’t seem like nine months, but I assume that we have to think that. The other thing is that she doesn’t look like she is struggling or having a baby at all when that is happening and the baby looks way to clean for a home birth. Those are just minor details that I can definitely look past because the story was well written, it had it’s conflicts and turning points. It was a typical romantic comedy that delivered throughout the film and I love the style. In between the current timeline, they would always go back to the first time they met as sort of cutaway point for them to move on in the script and I liked that. I am hoping that somewhere down the line, they do what My Big Fat Greek Wedding did and come back with a sequel some years later. We’ll just have to wait and see. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

R.I.P. Carrie Fisher

carrie2016 has truly been one of the worst years for celebrity deaths as so many legends of music, sports, and the silver screen have passed away. Well, 2016 has claimed another legend of the silver screen. Some of you may remember her as Princess Leia in Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope all the way through Episode VII- The Force Awakens which was released last year. Of course, I am talking about Carrie Fisher who passed away today at the age of 60 from the effects of a heart attack she suffered when trying to travel last week from London to Los Angeles. They grounded the plane and took her to a nearby hospital for treatment, but she has passed away. The terrible news was confirmed by her daughter Billie Lourd as a statement was read saying, “It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning.” The statement Lourd wrote also said, “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

fisher-lourd-600x800Carrie Fisher was born on October 21, 1956 in Beverly Hills, CA to entertainers Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. After escaping Hollywood in 19973, she would enroll at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London where she spent her time studying to be an actress. Carrie would return to Hollywood in 1975 where she made her debut in the Warren Beatty film Shampoo before making her jump to play the iconic Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. Besides the Sci-Fi classic franchise, she would star in films like The Burbs, Hannah And Her Sisters, The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met SallyThe Man with One Red Shoe, Wonderland, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, Scream 3, Loverboy, and so many more. In 1983, she would marry musician Paul Simon to which the marriage is often described as explosive (according to People.com), but the couple would ultimately divorce in 1984. She was also very open about her drug addiction in the past which was talked about in a book by her called Postcards From The Edge which was later turned into a film that starred Meryl Streep. No matter what, she will be surely missed by all who loved her work whether it be the films or the one person Broadway stage show Wishful Drinking. She is survived by her daughter Billie Lourd from a relationship she had with talent agent Bryan Lourd. R.I.P. Carrie Fisher (1956-2016).

Day 362: Amadeus (1984)

amadeusThere are movies for this challenge that I promised myself that I was going to watch before it was over and today’s film is one of those said films. One of the greatest composers of the 18TH century was the virtuoso Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and for today’s film I decided to watch the 1984 film Amadeus. Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) likes to believe that he is a great composer and writer of classical music, but he had to work hard for it. Unlike his counterpart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) who was born with a natural talent and ability that it drives Salieri mad with jealousy. The film is Salieri’s take on what drove him to the point that he would actually murder the young prodigy. The film also stars Elizabeth Berridge (The Funhouse) as Constanze Mozart, Roy Dotrice (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) as Leopold Mozart, Christine Ebersole (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Katerina Cavalieri, Jeffrey Jones (The Crucible) as Emperor Joseph II, Kenneth McMillan (Dune) as Michael Schlumberg, Charles Kay (Henry V) as Count Orsini-Rosenberg, Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City) as Lorl, Kenny Baker (Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope) as Parody Commendatore, Simon Callow (James And The Giant Peach) as Emanuel Schikaneder, and the film was directed by Milos Forman (The People Vs Larry Flynt).

elizabeth-berridgeI just want to warn all of you with short attention spans that this film is a little over three hours long so if you can handle it then proceed. Amadeus is definitely one of those films that they went all out for because it has an amazing score, amazing set designs, amazing costumes, and most importantly great acting that makes it complete. The soundtrack features so much as far as amazing 18TH century classical music and amazing opera music that should satisfy any fan of that genre. The set designs and costumes were so amazing that it actually makes you feel like you are walking and living in 18TH Century Austria which is what a time period piece is supposed to do in the first place. One thing I do know is that this is actually a fictionalized look at the life of Mozart or at least the idea of Salieri killing Mozart. Mozart died of an illness that is often debated as to what it was exactly. When he was working on his Requiem, it said that he dictated in bed to one of his proteges and not Salieri (although this is not proven either). F. Murray Abraham was absolutely brilliant in his portrayal of a man driven with jealousy and hatred toward God and Mozart. Tom Hulce is brilliant as the virtuoso who if he was a lead singer he would have had LSD (Lead Singers Disease). He knew he was amazing and he wasn’t afraid to show it. I was a little skeptical of Jeffrey Jones playing an Austrian Emperor, but he does a pretty good job at it. You really have to love classical music and Mozart to want to watch this film, but I am a fan of music so I loved it. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Day 361: The Birdcage (1996)

1402191132_4After today, there is only five days left in the year which means there will only be five movies left to watch so making the right choices is very important. I wanted to watch a film that featured the late, great Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting) and so I chose to watch The Birdcage. Armand Goldman (Williams) is a gay owner of a cabaret club called The Birdcage who gets a visit from his only son Val (Dan Futterman). Val tells him that he is getting married, but there is one problem. He is getting married to a girl whose father is a very conservative senator and so he wants them to pretend for a night that they are not gay, but a normal family. Armand agrees to do it, but there is only one problem and it’s his drag queen boyfriend Albert (Nathan Lane). The film also stars Gene Hackman (Enemy Of The State) as Sen. Kevin Keeley, Dianne Wiest (The Lost Boys) as Louise Keeley, Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal) as Barbara Keeley, Hank Azaria (Grosse Pointe Blank) as Agador, Christine Baranski (Trolls) as Katherine Archer, Tom McGowan (Heavy Weights) as Harry Radman, Grant Heslov (True Lies) as National Enquirer Photographer, James Lally (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead) as Cyril, and the film was directed by Mike Nichols (The Graduate). 

296williamsl-20010630-10812-jpgFirst off, I want to start the article by saying how inconsiderate the character of Val is throughout the whole film. He is so inconsiderate to his father and Albert and just about anyone at The Birdcage that he forces them to change who they are. I understand why Robin Williams character Armand did it, but it’s frustrating to watch because you’re like I would’ve told this kid where to go if I was in his situation. That right there is a sign of great writing where you get emotionally involved in the story. So, I am definitely giving kudos to that department as well as the acting which was superb. Williams, Lane, and Azaria absolutely steal the show in the film with their comedic wit and over the top performances. When they are on camera, they make the film that much more enjoyable. What’s up with Calista Flockhart in this film? There is this one scene where she puts on a lot of makeup and she looks like a corpse being drained of all its blood. It’s just that scary looking, but her slim figure is her trademark. The film is just fantastic from beginning to end as you wait to see if they’ll pull it off, but there is a redeeming moment at the end of the film for Val. After that, you will definitely forgive him. I loved everything about the film, this is a classic and one that a fellow co-worker recommended to me and I am glad I watched. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Day 360: Miracle On 34TH Street (1947)

miracle-on-34th-street-titlesI just wanted to start by wishing all of you movie lovers out there a very safe and Merry Christmas. To get into the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to to watch a film that had to do with the very holiday itself so I chose to watch Miracle On 34 Street (the 1947 version). Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) is the special events coordinator for Macy’s who has discovered a problem thanks to an old man (Edmund Gwenn). Her Santa Claus for the Thanksgiving Day Parade is drunk and unable to continue. So, she hires the old man to be Santa and after he does a great job, he is then hired to be the Macy’s store Santa. The only problem is that the old man claims to be Kris Kringle himself, but there are people that do not believe him. The film also stars Natalie Wood (Rebel Without A Cause) as Susan Walker, John Payne (The Razor’s Edge) as Fred Gailey, Gene Lockhart (His Girl Friday) as Judge Henry X. Harper, Porter Hall (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) as Granville Sawyer, William Frawley (I Love Lucy) as Charlie Halloran, Jerome Cowan (The Maltese Falcon) as Dist. Atty. Thomas Mara, Philip Tonge (Witness For The Prosecution) as Julian, and the film was directed by George Seaton (Airport).

vlcsnap-2012-11-21-14h47m36s14This is the very last Sunday at the Classics as far as this challenge is concerned, but I just may keep it going after the challenge is over. I have seen some great films for Sunday at the Classics, but this is by far one of my favorite ones. The film features some amazing performances from the likes of John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and even little Natalie Wood who would go on to be even more famous for her role in Rebel Without A Cause. The story of the film is just as amazing because it was a well written tale and a different kind of take on Christmas. It was a tale of believing in something not because people tell you to, but because it feels right to you. The trial scenes were amazing and you have to love the judge who constantly looks to his campaign advisor for advice on how to judge the case. The cinematography was pretty good as well and I had the chance to see the colorized version, but I chose to go old school for my first go around. This was an all around great film that featured great writing, actors, costumes, the sets, and even the cinematography. You have to do yourself a favor and check this film out for yourself before you watch the remake (which I also haven’t seen). I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.

Day 359: Passengers (2016)

fd_pass_620x350_mlp_v1_lgThe finish line is so close at this point and I can see it which is super exciting as the challenge comes to a close soon. When I saw the trailer for today’s film Passengers, I thought that this film could either be a 2001: A Space Odyssey rip off or it could carve it’s own way into the annals of Sci-Fi greatness. Nevertheless, I chose to watch it for today’s film cause it features a couple of superstars in my opinion. There are always issues that are raised with the planet Earth like pollution or over population that we are always imagining if we could inhabit other worlds. That is why the Starship Avalon is on a 120 year journey through space to inhabit a new world known as Homestead II and all of it’s passengers are in a deep hibernation sleep. That is until Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2) who plays passenger Jim Preston is woken up 90 years too early. With 90 years ahead of you what are you to do, well you try to enjoy it and that is what he attempts to do with fellow awoken passenger Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) until problems with the shop become evident which could derail the journey all together. The film also stars Michael Sheen (Nocturnal Animals) as Arthur, Laurence Fishburne (Mystic River) as Gus Mancuso, and the film was directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).

passengersSpoiler Alert: There is going to be some information leaked in this paragraph that could give away some details or all the details in the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. You are probably why I didn’t list a lot of actors above and that is because while the film does list Andy Garcia, Julee Cerda, and some others, they are merely just cameo appearances compared to the work that Pratt, Sheen, Lawrence, and Fishburne put in. As I said above, I thought this was going to be the modern day 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it really wasn’t because it was it’s own film. If you are alone on a ship and you have 90 years to go before you land on a new planet (which you obviously won’t be alive to see), what are you going to do with the time? That is the exact question that Chris Pratt’s character is faced with and he makes a very difficult and selfish decision, but it creates one of the big turning point conflicts in the script besides the ship’s problems. The ending of the film is very cliche in how it ends which is my only complaint. It’s one of those endings that you are hoping for something different, but they give you the one you expected all along. Otherwise, the acting was great in where two actors were really able to hold your attention for the whole film which can be just as difficult as only one. Check this one in theaters now, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade. 

Day 358: Why Him? (2016)

why-himIt is so crazy to think that after today there are only eight days left in the whole year so choosing the right movies to close out the year is the key. That is why I chose today’s film in Why Him? because I was suspecting that it could be comedy of the year. All Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston) cares about in life is his family and his company, but one of those things is threatened when he discovers that his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch)is dating internet billionaire and wild boy Laird Mayhew (James Franco). He would normally think it was a phase, but when his family is invited out to his house, he discovers that Laird wants to propose to her. So, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince her why he is not the one for her. The film also stars Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man) as Lou Dunne, Megan Mullally (Hotel Transylvania 2) as Barb Fleming, Griffin Gluck (Batman Vs Robin) as Scotty Fleming,  Zack Pearlman (Hot Bot) as Kevin Dingle, Keegan-Michael Key (Vacation) as Gustav, Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) as Justine, Casey Wilson (Gone Girl) as Missy Pederman, Andrew Rannells (The Intern) as Blaine Pederman, Adam Devine (Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates) as Tyson Modell, and the film was directed by John Hamburg (I Love You, Man). 

why-him-trailerNow I said int he above paragraph that I thought that this could potentially be comedy of the year and I definitely meant that after watching the film. From beginning to end, this film offers you so many funny moments that are just laugh out loud funny. Franco, Cranston, and Keegan-Michael Key offer up a lot of hilarious moments through out the film. One of my favorite moments in the film definitely have to be Cranston on the toilet as Key tries to walk him through the paperless process. Key was absolutely brilliant in the film and definitely deserves MVP recognition for his performance. He will now be in two different films in the year end awards for comedy of the year (Keanu being the other). Zoey Deutch looked beautiful in the film and played an important role in the film setting up those moments, but she also provided us with the drama moments which are important in a comedy. She is after all the center of attention between two men fighting for her as it Cranston vs Franco. A lot of critics are probably going to dog this kind of a film because it’s not up to their standards as far as films are concerned, but use your own opinion. I am a huge fan of James Franco, Zoey Deutch, and Keegan-Michael Key which is why I made the decision to see the film. I opened my mind and I laughed a ton at what they threw at me. This is definitely one of my favorite comedies of the year that also featured a cool cameo from a kick ass rock band, but I’ll let you watch it to figure out who. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Day 357: He Got Game (1998)

hggOne of the greatest actors to come out of the 1990’s is Denzel Washington (Malcolm X) who is money when it comes to his films. He has a movie called Fences coming out on Christmas which is gaining a lot of critical acclaim, but to celebrate his career, I decided to check out He Got Game. Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel)has been in jail for six years after the death of his wife which has forced his son Jesus Shuttlesworth (NBA Legend Ray Allen) to be the man of the house. You see Jesus is also an unbelievable basketball player for his high school who hasn’t made a decision as to where he wants to go or do after high school. Jake is given a chance to exit jail to try and convince his son to go to a certain school so that his sentence can be cut short. The film also stars Milla Jovovich (Zoolander 2) as Dakota Burns, Rosario Dawson (Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis) as Lala, Hill Harper (CSI: NY) as Booger, Zelda Harris (The Baby-Sitters Club) as Mary Shuttlesworth, Ned Beatty (Deliverance) as Warden Wyatt, Jim Brown (Mars Attacks) as Spivey, Joseph Lyle Taylor (The Dark Knight Rises) as Crudup, Bill Nunn (Spider-Man 3) as Uncle Bubba, John Turturro (The Color Of Money) as Coach Sunday, Roger Guenveur Smith (American Gangster) as Big Time Willie, and the film was written and directed by Spike Lee (Malcolm X).

he-got-gameThis was one of those films that you are kind of glad they only made one just because one of the main actors was kind of awful. The film’s story is actually a very good story that kind of takes a look into what happens when someone from a poor area has some talent and has to deal with vultures trying to get theirs. But as I said before, Ray Allen is kind of an awful actor who has his moments in the film, but is also one of those guys who shouldn’t have transitioned into films.Now Denzel on the other hand puts on one heck of a performance as he always does as a man who is desperate to get his son to sign, but he is also enjoying his time out of prison. He also touches other peoples lives to wake them up to realize their potentials or what they are missing out on. His interaction with Milla Jovovich are awesome as she plays a prostitute that he feels bad for in a way. The film features some gritty moments and plenty of T&A as one college tries to persuade him to come to their school. I can imagine that those things happened in real life and I am kind of mad I never took sport serious enough in high school. The ending of the film to me is a little rushed and it sort of doesn’t make sense to me in a way while in a way it does. It just seems a little too quick that he spends years hating his father, but forgives him what seems quick. It was a decent film that any basketball fan may enjoy. I am going to give a B+ only because Allen and some other performances bothered me a little. Enjoy the cameos in the film from NBA coaches and players like Dean Smith, Lute Olson, John Chaney, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaq, etc.