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Movies Watched by VGG Users in 2012
Derek Green
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Columbus
Ohio
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Recommend
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List and describe the movies that you have watched in 2012. Tell us what you think about the movie and whether it is worth watching.

Here is the link to a sister list for movies that you abandoned:

http://www.videogamegeek.com/geeklist/146469/movies-abandone...

Here is our successor list for 2013:

http://www.videogamegeek.com/geeklist/151470/movies-watched-...
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176. Video Game: Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:4203]
Derek Green
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Columbus
Ohio
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"The Evil Dead"

This was my first time watching the original movie which started the famous trilogy. I was expecting it to be cornier than it actually was, given Bruce Campbell's reputation, but I can see how it would have been pretty original back in 1979. I'm surprised that Sam Raimi let his buddy Bruce be the lead actor since his skills back then were extremely limited. As a fan of the ancients, I especially enjoyed the notion that a Mesopotamian chant can cause a forest to fill with evil spirits intent on killing teenagers. Hopefully, I'll get to check out the two sequels and finish out the series. Although I liked it, I have to say that I still think that "Phantasm" has it beat hands-down.

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177. Video Game: Bruce Lee [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:1669]
Derek Green
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Columbus
Ohio
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"Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave"

The movie begins with a hilariously bad scene where a Bruce Lee impersonator springs up from the grave ready for action. This, however, has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie and makes me suspect that the scene was added in at the last minute to appeal to an American audience.

The actual movie was much better than I expected, though it is quite clearly in the B-movie category. Our Lee impersonator is extremely awkward with the ladies, much like Peter Parker. There are a few great lines that one expects to go along with these types of movies, such as "let's go to the cafe where I work as a waitress" and "these Orientals, they think different". Throughout the movie, a few different characters make statements about how America is not really free because you have to have money to be free. This is a deeper message than I expected from a movie like this and the film brings it together in a very dark manner in the last five minutes or so. Given a bigger budget and less awkward script (or maybe it is the translation), this would have been a major hit.

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178. Video Game: Karate Champ [Average Rating:4.81 Overall Rank:5552]
Derek Green
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Columbus
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"Kung Fu: The Invisible Fist"

Here is one martial arts movie that is explicitly Chinese propaganda, but in a loveable kind of way.

It starts out with some off-centered credits and frequently gets grainy at several points throughout the film. I assume that this means that this movie has few surviving original copies and was nearly lost. After the credits, you see a hardened Japanese martial artist drilling his men in karate. He seems like he isn't much fun, but he doesn't seem to be pure evil. A staff car with an Imperial Japanese flag drives up and gives him an assignment to go to China and collect maps of troop dispositions from various traitorous merchants and smugglers in the country. He is tested against a bunch of guys and he shows that he has the ability to absorb and inflict pain like no other. At this point, you suspect that he might be the hero and in good conscience, decide that he doesn't want to go along with his government's evil orders. He mentions a bodyguard and that is it for a while.

Now we meet his Chinese counterpart. He is also drilling troops and is obviously very skilled, but he has a more relaxed and even mildly goofy disposition. Unlike the Japanese master, he has friends and is planning on getting married soon. Taking an assignment to bust up a drug-smuggling operation in Shanghai, he has no idea that he is about to discover an explosive act of espionage. He mentions a younger partner, who we meet later.

Our Chinese heroes get jobs as enforcers for sex traffickers and there clash with the two Japanese guys. The bodyguard and the younger Chinese cop instantly develop a heated rivalry based mainly on the claim that karate is more efficient and lethal than Chinese kickboxing. There are also interesting side characters like Little Joker, the bicycle guy, and the Russian girl. In the end, our heroes triumph, but not without a cost. Of course, we all know historically that the 15-minute long chase and fight between the two masters may have determined that Chinese kickboxing is not inherently inferior but it didn't stop Japan from invading. The symbolic length of the fight and the number of times that our Chinese heroes were in grave peril and had trouble convincing their bosses that there was a problem seems to show that the movie was a kind of tribute to China's eventual triumph.

Much of the editing in the movie to make characters fly up onto roofs is shoddily done, but in a funny way. The final fight shows two very talented practioners at work, but would have benefited from more takes. The Japanese tonfas and Chinese sais (I'm pretty sure that the two men were using the wrong weapons!!!) were obviously some combination of plastic or cardboard.

Overall, this is a great martial arts movie where all that it does right and all that it does wrong work in harmony.





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179. Video Game: Plumbers Don't Wear Ties [Average Rating:10.00 Unranked]
Derek Green
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Columbus
Ohio
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MST3K 322: "Master Ninja I"

This tv "movie" was in fact two episodes of a short-lived television series that were stitched together. What that means is that the sudden change in plot that would make sense as a break between two episodes is rendered completely inexplicable. The first part of the movie involves a young wanderer (Timothy Van Patten) meeting the only American ninja master (Lee Van Cleef) and becoming his pupil as they fight other ninjas to save a threatened local airport. Claude Akins and a very young Demi Moore appear in this segment. The only thing connecting this part with the second part is the ongoing search for McAllister's (Van Cleef) long-lost daughter. In the second half of the movie, the ninja duo go to the aid of an elderly night club owner and his two daughters.

The characters in this film/show are absolutely abysmal. Ninja images in negative and a bad narration in the beginning brought to mind the 3DO game Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, hence the item choice for this movie. As Crow correctly observes in his Van Patten conspiracy segment, Timothy Van Patten is annoying, a terrible actor, and a bad narrator who never adds anything in his narration that is useful or beyond the obvious. Lee Van Cleef is not convincing as a ninja to the point where it is painfully obvious that all of the action scenes are done entirely by a stunt double. You can tell the difference just from the outline of their physiques. Akins' character is basically a redneck stereotype who threatens the police. Demi Moore is a classic damsel-in-distress, but one who was forced to kiss Timothy Van Patten. The Japanese gangsters threatening the club owner were atrocious. I have chosen to focus just on this one aspect, but all of the other aspects of this show/movie are terrible and it is not hard to see why this one was cancelled after just four episodes.

This is a great episode and well worth checking out if you are a MST3K fan. Joel and the bots really light it up in this one, especially Joel who normally doesn't make all that many brilliant zingers in the theater. There are lots of Arby's jokes, as per usual, and lots of mockery over how every character has a theme song when they appear. The ridiculous action scenes are rightfully mocked. There were too many great lines for me to take down, but here are some of the ones that I did get:

"He looks about as much like a ninja as Irene Ryan" -Crow

"Good thing he studied with that ninja for those ten minutes" - Joel

"She looks like Clarence Thomas' wife" -Crow

"This has all the continuity of a fever dream" -Joel

"Timothy Van Patten: master of the non sequitur voiceover" -Servo



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180. Video Game: Alex Kidd in Shinobi World [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:3935]
Derek Green
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Columbus
Ohio
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MST3K 324 "The Master Ninja II"

This sequel "movie" was actually the third and fourth episode of a failed TV series called "The Master". Despite having established some great chemistry ripping the "The Master Ninja I" just two episodes before, Joel and the bots don't explicitly mention that they realize that they are being subjected to the sequel of something that they have already seen, although the fact is alluded to several times. Since they usually complain about being tortured by movies this bad, I found the omission particularly odd.

The two episodes in this one are again vastly disconnected. First, we go to Timothy Van Patten's character's hometown where he and the Lee Van Cleef help a union form at a cannery. They are almost murdered by a shotgun-wielding factory owner, but of course, they manage to survive. The love interest in the episode is a girl who wants to unionize after witnessing a terrifying accident. The only thing that was good about this part of the movie was seeing a positive portrayal of a union and seeing it triumph, even if it required ninja assistance. The second part begins suddenly when some girl's car is speeding out of control and TVP is rescuing her using some sort of glider that he just happened to have in the episode. It really made no sense. After that, they went to her house for a party and got caught up in a battle between some government organization and some paramilitary group that wears children's pajama-style camo. It was hard to follow and the plot in the show/movie is so loose with such lame dialogue that it is hard to figure out exactly what is supposed to be happening. Naturally, the rescue the hostages and everything is cool in the end. At the end, they say that they'll take time off to go to Vegas, but of course the show didn't last that long and the epic movie series ends with our heroes going on vacation never to resume their quest to find the Master's daughter.

As I watched this half of the Master Ninja saga, I realized that this show was conceptually very similar to "Burn Notice". The only differences are that in "Burn Notice" there are interesting characters, attempts to make things seem plausible, humor that works, and a plot that connects the episodes. Though Joel and the bots hit "The Master" for being one of the worst ever, I disagree. Sure, it totally sucks but you can get through it with a few shots of liquor if you have to. TVP doesn't use actual ninja moves, just simple kicks and crosses, so one has to wonder what exactly Van Cleef is teaching him.

This was a very average riffing session for Joel and the bots. It started out poor, got better, but never entered the pantheon of great episodes. Most of the skits were too short to do anything for me, especially the General Timothy Van Patten labor speech modeled on George C. Scott's legendary portrayal of Patton. Oh well, they all can't be great but at least they are almost all enjoyable to some extent. Here were a few sample lines:

"It's a secret meeting of all the people who want this show cancelled."

Girl: "My brother was that close to putting a union in that cannery..."
Crow: "Then he became the President of Poland".

"You kiss better than a union boss". -Joel

"In the epilogue, we always get to see Lee's gut... and there it is!" -Servo

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181. Video Game: Dirty Harry: The War Against Drugs [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Железный комиссар
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Harry Brown

I was in the mood for a more 'serious' action film this evening, and I came across Harry Brown, which I hadn't heard of. The movie tells the tale of a retiree living a quiet life in a housing project falling deeper into the grip of poverty and drugs. A grievous loss sets him on a collision course with the local thugs.

Of course, this premise has been done before, and by actors almost as famous as Michael Caine. The one thing that makes Harry Brown interesting is that it tries, above all, to maintain a kind of plausibility around Brown's descent into violence. Conceptually, it's a revenge movie. But it plays with more sadness and fatalism than the typical revenge flick, and a good bit less remorseless/expert retribution. The character of Harry Brown does have a past as a marine serving in Northern Ireland, so here, as in many other films ("A History of Violence" comes to mind), we're presented with amateur thugs confounded by the genuine article. What's unusual about this movie is that Harry Brown always feels old. He doesn't assemble an arsenal and then plan the ruthless demise of his enemies. He doesn't engage in ridiculous gunplay or display superhuman agility. There's no complex plot or legion of evildoers.

Caine's performance is really the only reason to watch this film - to see the character get caught up and, out of emptiness more than anything else, decide to push through. I have mixed feelings about the rest of the film. The portrayal of poverty, drugs, and just general hopelessness and depravity feels oversimplified. The context here is definitely a poor man's version of Prime Suspect.

I'm a fan of Caine in Get Carter (1971). To see him drive a similar premise nearly 40 years later was interesting in itself, though Carter is a much better film.
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182. Video Game: China Warrior [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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"Rage of the Master"

In this 1975 kung fu fest set in China, the movie begins with a gang of Muay Thai fighters imported from Thailand arrive under a disgraced Chinese master and bust up a dojo, killing the master there. Meanwhile in a plot that takes far too long to be integrated into the first scene, there is a martial arts expert tending to his his sickly mother. His father had died some years before and made him swear to never kill again. This dutiful son obeyed his mother and was basically her slave, yet despite their poverty and his working duties, he was able to find several hours a day to practice kung fu. He is the "master" referred to in the title, though the movie is about 95% over before he demonstrates anything like rage.

The family and friends of the old master at the dojo seek at Tiger Yang and are at first rebuffed by his mother, who refuses to let him go out into the world. Eventually after a long and confusing series of events, she is forced to relent. The old master's daughter and Tiger develop a nascent love connection and even his selfish mother wants to see her son marry this girl. After some skirmishes in which Tiger does fine but retreats before he is forced to seriously hurt anyone, the gang retaliates and murders Tiger's mother and many of the others. Everyone in the movie is a great fighter, so I can't say that I was touched by any of their deaths. The scene is confusing, so aside from his mother who was run through with a knife and took forever to die, I'm not sure who else perished. Anyway, Tiger comes home to the scene of the massacre, snaps, and goes after and slaughters the entire gang of 30 or more men. I'm beginning to suspect that Pyrrhic victories are the height of honor in Chinese films.

There seems to be almost a sub-text of moral decay during the Ching (Manchu) Dynasty setting, as you can contrast the traditional filial piety of the main character, Tiger Yang (which I'm sure is a realistic name) with the gambling and cockfighting that the rest of the town engages in while the new Thai gang watches. Once again, there is a not-so-subtle layer of Chinese propaganda as despite the challenge presented by Thai martial arts, the cultural products of the Greater Dragon ultimately prevail and the unwanted foreigners lose.

All things considered, the plot and dialogue suck but the fight scenes are pretty good, so this movie comes out exactly in the middle of the quality spectrum.

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183. Video Game: Onimusha: Warlords [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:3157]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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"Screaming Tiger"

This 1973 film stars Jimmy Wang Yu, who could easily pass for Harold from "Harold and Kumar" except that he doesn't hit the bong during this movie and demonstrates no sense of humor. After coming home too late, our hero's village in eastern China was completely destroyed by some Japanese pirates or something. Hitting upon the elegant solution of going to Japan to kill all the Japs that he can, our hero tours Japan with evil intention. While there, he runs into and is changed by two other Chinese people. One is a guy who tells him that not all of the Japanese are bad and one is a girl who pretends to be Japanese but isn't fooling anyone because she is the female lead in a Chinese martial arts movie. After being robbed by the girl, then helping her against her master and forming a bond with her, she is killed before he gets to score and he has to avenge her by killing the Japanese master who slaughtered his village. This is a very typical plot, but its message that people deserve to be judged more by their personal character than by their nationality makes it more distinctly a product of the 70's than most of the other anti-Japanese films which were driven by the animus created by World War II.

Jimmy' performance is decent, though unspectacular. His transformation from an angry avenger to a defender of the people is mildly interesting and competently done. The average bad guys in the movie aren't impressive and come across as common thugs who aren't worthy foes. The primary bad guy looks and acts like a skinny, Japanese version of "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. By far the best performance came from the Chinese girl, who despite her fairly average looks, has incredible screen presence that seems out of place in a movie this mediocre.


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184. Video Game: Batman: Rise Of Sin Tzu (GBA) [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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The Dark Knight Rises

Dark Knight Rises picks up '8 years after' the events of its predecessor The Dark Knight... Batman is in hiding, having taken the fall for Harvey Dent's death, and is branded a killer by the people of Gotham... meanwhile Bruce Wayne has become a recluse and is struggling to recover from the injuries he sustained. And now, thanks to the \"Dent Act\" which was brought in, in memory of the peoples hero, the streets of Gotham are a much safer place, and the cities criminal population are mostly housed in Black Gate Prison...

Enter Bane, a super-strong mercenary with connections to the League of Shadows, who intends to bring about Gotham's reckoning. This continues the story arc from Batman Begins in which Ra's Al Ghul was trying to bring about the destruction of Gotham... however this time there's a bit of a flavour of "Occupy Gotham" as the rich and powerful 1% are the first to be targeted, and indeed there's a line in the film about Bruce Wayne's set "Living it so large and leaving so little for the rest".

The character of Bane is also interesting here, as he is not dependant on the performance enhancing drug venom, but is still incredibly strong and physically superior to Batman. He's also pretty intimidating with his Mask and his booming voice. Tom Hardy does an excellent job in the role, but I won't say much more about the character to avoid any spoilers.

The film is long, and has a definite slow burn to begin with, being quite character driven, as we see how the events of the previous movie have affected Batman/Bruce and those around him. But despite the length and early pace of the movie it did not feel like it overstayed its welcome. Later in the movie there is a ton of action and some amazing special effects... especially when the football field collapses (as seen in the trailer).

The plot is well written, and there's a pretty decent twist near the end, which I should have seen coming based on my knowledge of the Dark Knight mythos (mostly from the Arkham series of videogames), but thankfully I didn't twig, so I was as surprised as most people. I also thought the ending was really good.. predictable, but quite emotional and very clever.

I really don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling parts of the movie, so it just remains for me to say I really enjoyed this movie and it's probably my favourite of the trilogy, ahead of Batman Begins and Dark Knight (both very good movies).
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185. Video Game: Super Mario Bros. [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:211]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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MST3K 323 "The Castle of Fu-Manchu"

This movie is so bad that at various times in the episode Joel, Crow, and Servo all cry. If I had to watch this one without comments, then I probably would cry too. There is some evil mad scientist/terrorist/something named Fu-Manchu who is going to use some crystals to freeze all of the world's oceans unless he gets a bunch of money. He has some professor with a bum heart captive and kidnaps a doctor to give him a heart transplant. The action is centered in "Anatolia", which would have meant more to the Romans than to most modern people, who call it Turkey. There are very long scenes of darkness and minimal dialogue, references to Istanbul and the Bosporus, talk of opium, a castle, some fez-wearing Turkish police, a couple of chicks, and some Shatner-looking (now, not 1992) guy from Scotland Yard. I am literally telling you all that I took away from this film. This is classic MST3K as the guys had to provide 100% of the entertainment on this one and the skits were excellent, particularly the last one where Forrester and Frank try riffing. This is one of the best episodes, and yet you definitely have to be a fan for this one and you have to be in the mood.

"This one will make 'The Unearthly' look like 'Citizen Kane'". -Forrester

"Last week on Grizzly Adams..." Joel

"It's like a meeting of the Shriner mafia" Crow

"Pacman's got his own flag!" Servo

"It's the first color movie that needs to be colorized" Servo

"Geez, I thought Shriners helped people" Crow

"Wouldn't it be great if we knew who they were, where they are, and what they're doing?" Crow

"Uh, we're underwhelmed" Joel

"I need him serious and coherent..." Fu onscreen, Servo interjects, "I wish this movie was conscious and coherent!"

"The plot's starting to make sense! Run!" Joel

"He's playing Hangman on that guy's belly" Joel

"I see by the clock on the wall that it's time for more boredom" Crow

"Look at this shot! They should have never let Shatner direct!" Crow (in response to a shot of the doctor wiping his forehead during surgery where the doctor's whole head is hidden behind an overhead lamp)

"Maybe there's some deep meaning to this movie that we're just not getting... maybe not" Servo

"Typical Shriner: smashed his midget Mustang into a pole" Crow

"This con is sneaking into a petting zoo" Servo

"Great... he's the only one who knows the plot and he's dying. Typical." Joel

"Come on, put on a happy fez" Joel

"Accepting the award for editing..." Crow

"Hey, she reached level 3 of Super Mario Brothers" Joel

"This must be a triathlon: you swim, jog, then appear in a boring movie" Crow

"All of a sudden this is like flash dance" Servo

"This is the trickle-down theory of plots" Servo

"I think I figured out what this movie is about guys. Dry ice, Rosco fog, and blood." Servo

"These guys are easy to kill like mosquitoes. Don't worry about them." Joel

"Classic Captain Kirk chop, known as a pork chop." Crow

"You know, if he was going to express an emotion, now would be the perfect time to do it." Joel

"Things are blowing up that aren't even in this picture!" Servo



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186. Video Game: Potion Bar [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Rudy
United States
The City - Arthur's apartment
Pennsylvania
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Girl Walks Into a Bar

The film is about a group of strangers in interweaving stories that takes place in ten different bars in one night.

Apparently it's free on YouTube!?

It wasn't great but I liked it anyway.

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187. Video Game: Red Faction [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1466]
Rudy
United States
The City - Arthur's apartment
Pennsylvania
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The Red Shoes (2005, Korean)

I woman finds red shoes on a subway and then horrible things start happening.

The cinematography is terrific but the story falls flat.

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188. Video Game: X-Men: Children of the Atom [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:2943]
United States
Washington
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X-Men: First Class

I saw this for the first time today on DVD. I never read any of the X-Men comics and I didn't watch the old animated shows, but I liked most of the live-action X-Men movies (even the third one). For some reason the trailers for this prequel didn't look that good and I didn't expect to like this movie, but it turned out to be pretty good. It's nothing amazing, but it's a solid movie with interesting characters and a well-told story. I'm glad I saw it.

Best scene in the movie:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Single-line cameo by Wolverine
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189. Video Game: Supreme Warrior [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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"The Serpent and the Rainbow"

This movie came in a four-pack of "cult classic horror films" that I purchased almost solely to obtain a copy of "Phantasm II". My expectations for this film were very low going in. What I found was that it was not on the level of "Phantasm II", but that it does have several strong points.

A research doctor is sent to Haiti to learn the secrets of zombification so that they can be used to keep patients alive for critical stretches of time during delicate operations. When he gets there, the doctor meets a Haitiian female doctor who helps him out but is herself in need of protection from the local magistrate. At first, the local official seems like your stereotypical corrupt third world tyrant, but over the course of the film his character is slowly revealed. Much of the creepiness here derives from playing on the fears of Americans, especially Christians, of strange religions and distant lands. Since Voodoo doesn't strike me as something to be feared, some of the suspense that other viewers must have felt simply isn't there for me. Nonetheless, that guy makes a superb villain and I love the way that his character's true evil was only slowly revealed rather than thrown in your face all at once. I was getting sleepy around the middle of the movie and really should have watched it earlier or on a different day, so I probably missed out on some stuff. Due to that, I will refrain from rating this one until I have paid attention to the whole. All I can say now is that I recommend it and that it is good.

The game Supreme Warrior in some ways comes off as a spoof of this movie. Watch this clip from the game for the betterment of your being:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IST_g7pq-M
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190. Video Game: Batman Forever [Average Rating:2.80 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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Batman Forever

This is the third movie in the Batman Franchise begun by Tim Burton and Michael Keaton... and I have to say it is a very mixed bag.

Kilmer is barely passable as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and Chris O'Donnell is just ok as the soon-to-be boy wonder, but the less said about Nicole Kidman the better (her character serves as nothing more than to set up the Riddler's final dilemma). However Tommy Lee Jones is excellent as Two Face whilst Jim Carrey steals the show as the Riddler... and the scenes where they are working together are truly inspired filmmaking.

The plot is interesting, however the climax is rather disappointing... and somewhat anti-climactic! There's a lot of great dialogue though, especially the Riddlers lines, which were all very familiar from previous viewings. The look and feel of the film is quite different from the previous movies... with a brighter, more colourful backdrop for Gotham City, and more of a comic-book feel to the whole thing.

Overall I must say I really enjoyed the film this time around... however that does not make it a good movie.. far from it. Although it's better than the next instalment.
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191. Video Game: Sword of Vermilion [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:4244]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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MST3K 411- "The Magic Sword"

I selected another random MST3K episode off of youtube and has been the case with my last several picks, I was not disappointed. The boys really threw down some killer lines, although this Bert I. Gordon film is already hilariously bad even without commentary and skits.

Our main character is an aspiring 20-year-old knight, Sir George (played by Gary Lockwood of "2001" fame), who is looking for love and not much else so far as I can tell. His step-mother is an immortal sorceress (Estelle Winwood) who wants to prevent him from going out into the world to face danger and yet is going to give him all kinds of enchanted weapons when he turns 21. Sir George has fallen in love with a princess who he spies on using his mother's magical reflection pools when she is bathing. Somehow, even the MST3K guys didn't comment on the creepiness of this level of voyeurism. Having seen her from afar, he is completely in love and when she is kidnapped by the evil sorcerer Lodak (Basil Rathbone), he resolves to rescue her.

Back at the palace, the king who looks like Grady from "Sanford and Son" in white face, basically doesn't say or do anything and lets his main knight, Sir Branton, run the palace. If the knights in the movie were to be given names based on their characteristics, then I have to imagine that he would be Sir Branton the Dick. Back at home, Sir George imprisons his mother so that he can claim his birthday presents early and race off to face Lodak. This is despite the warnings that she has given him about how incredible his magic is and how many of her relatives he has slain over the centuries. From the moment when they meet, it is obvious that Sir George's main opponent is Sir Branton and not Lodak, which kind of ruins him as a villain.

While lots of movies of this kind have elaborate fight scenes, almost all of the fighting in this movie is over before it really gets underway and very little actually happens. There are some limited special effects which were directly overseen by the uber-talented Bert I. Gordon. In the long credit sequence at the start of the movie, they claim someone as a dragon trainer because apparently no one watching the movie in 1962 could tell that the dragon was a big puppet. Branton, George, and George's six magically resurrected modern European stereotype knights have to hack and slash their way through seven "curses". While I was expecting the curses to be actual curses, they actually just face challenges. Even stealing a page from the adventures of Heracles and calling them "labors" would have made more sense. This seems like the best place to mention that Bert I. Gordon wrote the script here in addition to his fine work as director. Each knight displays the foibles of his native land, as the Irishman is rowdy and the Frenchmen is obsessed with the ladies, which just shows how Bert I. Gordon trenchantly understands that national identity in the 9th Century is interchangeable with national identity in the 19th Century. Another major problem with the movie is that the pacing is too slow, although the real underlying issue is the script. All in all, it is a bad movie, a very bad movie, but not an unwatchable catastrophe like "Hobgoblins" or "Hercules Against the Moon Men".

This episode has some excellent skits which rely mostly on the ranting ability of Servo and the singing ability of Crow, an interesting mix-match of their normal roles in the show. When Joel, Gypsy, and Crow are enjoying medieval pageantry, Tom strolls up and starts telling them about the historical Middle Ages, where knights laid waste to nearby peasant villages, disease was rampant, and "schizophrenia was a sign of nobility" due to all of the incestous marriages. As a historian, I really loved that skit and I rank it among the best that the MST3K gang has done. Later, Crow declares his love for Estelle Winwood, despite the fact that she had been dead for a decade by the time that the movie was made. He crows over how good she is at playing a witch and then Servo steps in and gives him a comprehesive list of more attractive Hollywood icons, including Pee Wee Herman and Rin Tin Tin.

I've found that MST3K plus a bad fantasy movie makes for an automatic success. That is probably why Rifftrax took on "Jack the Giant Killer" for its first live theater event. If you're a fan, then this is a strong but not spectacular episode and it has my endorsement.

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192. Video Game: RottenCity [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Two con-men (Caine and Martin) lock horns in the French Riviera trying to scam money from an apparently wealthy American tourist for the right to remain in such a lucrative patch. Caine is the well spoken and well to do resident con-man, and Martin is the loud, self-confident younger man who has come to the area for the rich pickings.

Both actors give good performances and their characters are believable in their roguishness, meanwhile Glenne Headly gives the guys a run for their money, figuratively, with an excellent performance as their "Mark". The plot is interesting, with some nice twists along the way, but although there are some quite humorous moments, I did not find the film to be laugh out loud funny, and the fact that they were conning gullible women out of large sums of money was ever so slightly distasteful.

It was however fun to see Ian McDiarmaid (Star Wars' Emperor Palpatine) in a supporting role as Caine's butler... as well as British sitcom star Anton Rogers as the local chief of police.

Not a bad movie overall and probably worth watching if you've never seen it.
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193. Video Game: God Hand [Average Rating:9.05 Overall Rank:1131]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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"Manos: The Hands of Fate", Rifftrax Live Theater Event, 8/16/2012

It cost me $12.50 to see this at a time when I would have been better off saving that money for food, but it was completely worth it. Since MST3K had already done an episode on Manos, I had some doubts as to whether they would be able to find anything else to say about it. Then I remembered that 2/3 of the riffers involved in this event weren't in the old episode. Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett really delivered the goods with the wide variety of jokes that we've come to expect from them.

They began by showing two shorts, both of which they adeptly cut to ribbons. Like everyone else, however, I was eager to get to the main event. Unlike in the original episode, where they filled most of the many very long awkward silences by repeating the movie's title, this time they found plenty to say. I won't spoil too many of the jokes, but to give you one example of what you can expect, in one chase scene when the camera pans down to the Master's dog, Kevin Murphy says after making a dog panting noise, "I miss Michael Vick". Most of the jokes come at the expense of Torgo, as you probably expected.

As for the movie itself, it is far worse than I remember and I remember it being awful. The shots constantly flicker and the camera tends to focus on meaningless things or to not be centered on the actors. Fight scenes are really poorly done and Torgo's fate is never revealed. Like many bad movies, there are lots of driving scenes. Unlike most bad movies, the side plots are connected with each other but not in any way with the main story. What I really want to know is why the dad is taking his family on a vacation to what amounts to literally the middle of nowhere. It was only during this viewing that I realized what a douche Harold P. Warren, the film's director, writer, and star must have been. He apparently maintained absolute creative control, which included making beautiful women half his age attracted to him, and yet only gave himself bossy dialogue and some scenes which really don't make him look heroic at all. And yet, his intention was to look like a brave man. His wife in the film, Diane Mahree, is way too young and WAY too attractive for him. The Master's performance is only a little better, as he looks sinister once in a while. Mainly though, he just looks confused, probably because he doesn't understand the script. Torgo is by far the best character and the best on-screen performer, as he brings to life probably the single creepiest character I've ever seen.

Manos: The Hands of Fate is definitely in the top 5 worst movies of all time. One final thought: online, the assumption is that the Master is the leader of the cult of Manos and that is what the script seems to indicate as well. However, since the Master sleeps on a slab and uses magic or something, it makes more sense to me to think of the Master as Manos incarnate. What do you guys think?
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194. Video Game: Wickie de Viking Zeeslag [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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The Spiderwick Chronicles

A Children's Fantasy Horror in which a family discover a world of Faeries, Goblins and Ogres when they move into their great Aunt's house and find Spiderwick's field guide to the fantastic creatures. Thus ensues a battle to keep the book from falling into the hands of Mulgarath the Ogre who would use the knowledge contained in the book to destroy all the other creatures.

Freddie Highmore takes the lead in this children's adventure as twins Jared and Simon Grace, and is supported by Sarah Bolger and Mary-Louise Parker along with an assortment of voice actors. Freddie does a pretty good job, but can be a bit annoying at times... and there are some moments where he is talking to himself that seem slightly odd.

The plot is interesting, even if it does do quite a bit of setting things up that will be important later. It also borrows a bit from other sources.. There's a bit of a sense of Gremlins about the goblins.. particularly when they are attacking the house... and things like the circle of protection and the lines of salt across the doors/windows was very reminiscent of Supernatural.

Overall it was pretty good fun, though it felt a little bit too scary for a kids movie.
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195. Video Game: Rogue Survivor [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Железный комиссар
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Safe House



Safe House is an Espionage Thriller built around rogue agent Tobin Frost, played by Denzel Washington. The film opens with Frost meeting a high level MI6 agent in Johannesburg. Frost obtains digital files that could compromise intelligence operations in several countries, but the two men are ambushed and Frost's only escape route is to give himself up at the US consolate two blocks away.

At this point we learn that Tobin Frost one of the CIA's most wanted rogue agents, a deadly professional and expert manipulator. Frost is transferred to a local Safe House (operated by Ryan Reynolds). Shortly after he arrives, the Safe House is hit, hard. In the aftermath, Washington and Reynolds are both on the loose, sometimes enemies, sometimes not, and the film develops from there.

For an action-espionage thriller, this was well done. Not quite on the level of say, the original Bourne Identity (let us never speak of the sequels), but well above average and quite enjoyable. Reynold's character is a little bland, and the obligatory intrigue back at Langley is pretty standard, but Denzel nails it, as usual. I like that the movie doesn't overplay how much of a badass he is, yet still manages to drive it home effectively.

Above average action films are in short supply. Am sure to watch this one again at some point.
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196. Video Game: Batman Returns (Sega CD) [Average Rating:5.75 Unranked]
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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Batman Returns

The second outing for Michael Keaton as Batman with Tim Burton at the helm once again. This time Batman faces off against the Penguin (DeVito) and Catwoman (Pfeiffer), with side order of Max Shreck (Walken). The cast are all pretty good, although Pfeiffer's character is a much better catwoman than she is Selina Kyle. DeVito's Penguin is especially well realised, being grotesque and maniacal.

I definitely felt there was not enough Batman in the movie though... There were very few appearances of the caped crusader and a whole lot of the movie was taken up with the Penguin's story, his character development and all the politicking with Max Shreck. When Batman did appear however, we were treated to some pretty good action sequences... I especially enjoyed the early scenes with the Circus gang, and the scene with Penguin controlling the batmobile.

Overall it's not bad... not quite as good as the previous film, and the villains are not as good as the Riddler/Two-Face combo in Forever.
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197. Video Game: SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Game [Average Rating:4.62 Overall Rank:5522]
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United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle
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Huh, hadn't seen this thread before.

offhand I saw:

Bridesmades: terrible
Friends with Kids: Better than average rom-com.
Prometheus: it was a visual spectacle, the story was weak.
Moonrise Kingdom: a sweet story, average for Wes Anderson.

Probably others

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198. Video Game: Dead Man's Hand [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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"Hotel Torgo" (2004)

This is a short 30 minute documentary that you can find on youtube. In 2004, some Canadian guys traveled to El Paso to meet with as many surviving cast members from "Manos: The Hands of Fate" as they could find and disappointingly only found one guy. They talk to the guy who sat in the car making out with the girl in the scenes that weren't connected to the main plot. He was actually brought in by Hal Warren to be an assistant director, but ended up on screen when one of the girls injured her leg and couldn't stand to play one of the Master's wives. To avoid a lawsuit from whatever organization represented her, they worked her into the story as a girl who likes to sit in a car with her boyfriend at all hours of the day chugging whiskey and making out. This guy tells us a lot about how director/financier/fertilizer salesman Hal Warren operated as a vain performer who believed in the genius of his performance, even when everyone else there knew that they were making a real bomb. The fact that this dude is the last survivor is remarkable considering that he is fat and a chain smoker. (I did a google search after typing this to fact-check)

Of course, their claim that Bernie Rosemblum was the last survivor was not quite true, as one of the cops, William Bryan Jennings, didn't die until 2005 at the age of 85. It is surprising that the film didn't talk about Jennings as he was one of the most successful people involved with the movie. He flew a Kingfisher in the Pacific during World War II and then served as Assistant District Attorney in El Paso and as a title attorney in Dallas-Fort Worth. Jackey Neyman Jones, who plays the little girl in the movie (in real life she is the daughter of Tom "The Master" Neyman) gave an interview in 2009 about how she does not regret being in the film and is glad that MST3K recovered and riffed it. In other words, while the guys from Canada had good intentions and wanted to shed light on a true cinematic oddity, they really should have done some very basic homework before going to Texas.

Since this one's claims fell apart after ten minutes on google, I can't recommend it.



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199. Video Game: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater [Average Rating:8.37 Overall Rank:65]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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"Sssssss" (1973)

Herpetologist Dr. Carl Stoner (Strother Martin) is seeking a new lab assistant and visits his hated rival teaching at a nearby university to recruit one. David (Dirk Benedict) is an eager student and is supposed to be sharp, but his interest in Stoner's research and his attractive daughter Kristina (Heather Menzies-Urich) keeps him blinded to what is going on. Driven by a conviction that God wants him to help humans evolve to the "next step", Stoner develops a way to turn a man into a King Cobra snake. While this movie has a cult following, it is definitely one that is not for everyone.

First, to discuss the movie's strong points. The performances by Martin, Benedict, Menzies-Urich, and Richard Shull (playing Dr. Daniels) are all quite good and none of them comes off as one-dimensional. The plot makes sense throughout and its progression is logical. Dr. Stoner has an interesting combination of traits good and bad and his keeping of his early promise to David to answer all his questions is kept, though Stoner mutters many of those answers so low or muddled together that David doesn't hear them. Kristina's discovery of the fate of her father's previous lab assistant and her realization that her dad was a mad scientist leads to the best performance in the movie and a sudden but well-executed transition where she suddenly becomes the protagonist after being a secondary character the whole movie. The make-up used to make the first assistant look like a mixture of a snake and a man was well-done, in contrast to most of the ridiculous effects in the movie. Dr. Daniels eventually comes out to visit to tell Stoner that his grant request got shot down, but realizing that something is wrong, starts snooping around and trying to find and save David. Up to that point, Daniels was merely an ego-driven, status-obsessed, intellectually lazy, middle-aged man obsessed with barely legal girls but he ends up dying in a semi-heroic fashion. The inconsistent characters of Drs. Stoner and Daniels, David's sacrifice at the altar of progress, and Kristina's horror and sorrow show that the filmmakers were as inspired by tragedy as they were by horror.

Now for the parts of the movie which just plain suck. Dr. Daniels is set up as a pervert professor in the opening scene of the film, one who doesn't really know his material too well and is a selfish, lazy, pile of crap. When he gives in to Stoner's request for a new assistant, he chooses David. We are made to think that Daniels' gift is a punishment to David for asking too many questions in class. However, I for one have never heard of a professor disliking or penalizing a student for being intellectually curious. The Daniels character could not be a real professor for that one simple reason.

My second major complaint is that David is too damned stupid to be a protagonist. He beams like the sun, rarely questions the strange shots that Dr. Stoner gives him, and focuses on his crush on Kristina to the exclusion of all else. Neither he nor anyone else thinks that it is odd when he bites the football player bully in the neck a few times like a King Cobra when they clash at a fair. How can something that bizarre go unremarked? Further, even when Kristina notices some changes in his facial features, David doesn't seem to notice. In fact, unless he has a tummy ache, David seems to take no notice of himself. The early conversation where Stoner talks about God's will and how man will have to evolve combined with the constant shots should have raised some red flags. At least David got laid with Stoner's daughter before he was transformed into a King Cobra and killed by a mongoose or whatever that thing was.

Though I am no scientist, I really don't see why the next step in human evolution would be to turn people into snakes. Snakes have no hands, so even if they are given human intelligence, there is nothing that they can do with it. I know that people tend to get engrossed in their sub-fields, but could anyone be enough of a moron to ignore the importance of hands to the making of civilization? And just in case you were wondering, David goes from being an average sized guy into an average sized King Cobra. How did he lose so much mass? And if he lost that much mass in a transformation that really lasted not much more than a minute, how could his human intelligence have survived?

The last scene is one of the most ridiculous that I have ever seen. Stoner leads out the real King Cobra to taunt him with the prospect of having to fight a man in a snake's body. Of course, the King Cobra takes the old professor out for talking smack and never faces King David the Cobra because the mongoose kills David before he ever has a chance to learn to use his new body.

Overall, I recommend this movie not because it is good or because it is bad in an endearing way but because it is interesting. It is listed as a horror movie, but it strikes me as a tragedy under another name. That being said, as sad as it is to say, I personally preferred "The Blood Waters of Dr. Z" to "Sssssss".

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200. Video Game: Batman: Chaos in Gotham [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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"The Dark Knight Rises"

I saw this one in the theater last night. Due to some of the comments that I've read on this list about the movie, my expectations were actually fairly low. However, I was pleasantly surprised and ended up liking this movie more than the other two in the Nolan trilogy.

At first, the plot was slow, Bruce Wayne had turned into Torgo, and Bane seemed too much like a dungeon master and I thought that we were in for a shit fest. All of these fears were dispelled within 15-20 minutes and the slow beginning ends up blending in well when I look back on my overall impression of the movie. I like the fact that Bane is completely unrealistic as a villain as it adds some tacit humor to a grim situation.

While the dialogue in this movie (as in its the two other Nolan films) seems a bit too much like an allegory at times, ultimately it all comes together and the acting sells dialogue that the average actor would have no chance of delivering effectively. It struck me as odd to have the final film in the series focus on Bruce Wayne's identity crisis as that was the driving force of the first movie, but the way that it is done here is quite clever.

Much to my personal satisfaction, the movie refutes the claims that certain right-wingers made about "The Dark Knight" being an endorsement of vigilante justice and George W. Bush in one of the best, unspoken political declarations in a film that I have ever seen. One scene takes place on Wall Street and I find it close to ineffable. Another part of the response is how large chunks of the film can basically be interpreted as mocking the stupidity of anarchy. The Wall Street scene alone won my heart, though the sheer awesomeness of the major street battle might edge that out as my favorite scene. I'll call it a draw. Cat Woman in this movie has an appealing moral ambivalence and occupies the middle ground as no other Batman characters ever do.

Most of you have already seen this one, but if you haven't, you definitely should.

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