In the 10 Ring: Gunslinger45's Reviews

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The Idiot

The final black and white film of Kurosawa I needed to see, this is an adaptation of a novel called The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I never read the novel so I can’t say if it was a good adaptation or not. In fact I have only read one work by Dostoyevsky, (I am certain it was Notes of the Underground). It was in high school and I remember hating it. But the film is pretty good. The main conflict revolves around a group of gentlemen who return home to Hokkido after the War and certain women whose hearts they are either trying to win (and or buy). The main character is a charming person named Kameda, who has a mental illness due to epilepsy. This has sent him into a nervous breakdown and he is now a bit slow (or an idiot). Hence the title of the film and book. And while this was the follow up film to Rashomon, it is not as good.

Now the film does have some very good points at times, other parts feel rushed, especially in the first act. One of the main problems is trying to get as much story crammed in at once with text scenes trying to spell out the exposition. Not exactly the best way to set up your film. But once that is out of the way and the film is set up, the flow is a lot more natural. Kurosawa shows that he can really get great performances out of his actors. Toshiro Mifune is great as always as one of the suitors. He can go from angry, manic to sullen and depressed very quickly. His masterful acting chops on full display. The most shocking performance however was by Setsuko Hara. Now she is a mainstay of Yasujiro Ozu movies, and I know of her from Tokyo Story and Late Spring. There she plays two very good hearted, strong, and likeable characters. In this film she… well… to pull a gag from The Music Man; is a lady that starts with a capital C, which rhymes with T, and sounds like “punt.” I mean DAMN! Okay now this is a woman who is forged by some terrible circumstances but that does not excuse some of her actions. Either way it is a great performance. Talk about range. This woman can play a really damaged and broken character. Hell most everyone else in the film has issues. Ranging from personality disorders like bipolar disorder to generally terrible human beings. I know enough about this novel that Kameda (the idiot) is supposed to be shown as the only decent human being… for some reason. I am not all that sure. But despite the film’s excellent performances it did not click with me like other Kurosawa films. It is still good… just not a very good or great film.

Dersu Uzala

The final of the three Kurosawa films I am reviewing was this collaborated effort between Kurosawa and the Soviet MosFilm studio. This was an adaptation of the novel of the same name. Set (and shot) in Siberia, the film details a Russian military group sent to map the Siberian wilderness. There they encounter an eccentric Mongolian hunter named Dersu Uzala. He helps them through the wilderness, helps them find shelter, and even saves their lives on more than one occasion. The film shows their travels in the wilderness as well as the bond that grows between Dersu and the Captain of the detachment. The film also runs heavy the theme of nature which is prevalent in many of Kurosawa’s films. And this film takes advantage of its setting by shooting some BEAUTIFUL shots of the Russian wilderness in 70mm. That is easily one of the best parts of the film. Some breathtaking shots that are just a sight to behold. And while the story of man, nature, and the man in turn with nature has been done before, I really liked the relationship between the Russian Captain and Dersu. It was a nice bit of comradeship between two walks of life. Almost a mirror to the collaboration between Kurosawa and the Russians to make this film. The entire film is in Russian, and I doubt Kurosawa spoke a lick of the Russkie language. But the film was deemed worthy enough to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. And it is a fantastic way to end the filmography of one of my all time favorite directors.

This is both a happy moment but also a sad one. I have seen so many of Kurosawa’s films that I kinda started to take for granted that there was still more of his stuff for me to see. And now that it is over I know I will never see anything new by him again. At least when I watched the last film of my Scorsese Binge, I knew he was still alive and making movies. No such luck with Kurosawa. But at the same time, I have seen the complete feature filmography of one of the greatest filmmakers who ever lived. And as many of you would want, here are my ratings for all of Kurosawa's films.

Now I can focus on new filmmakers. And I have a new favorite in particular I want to focus on. Time to watch more films of Jean Pierre Melville.

cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Like I said before, congrats on finishing up on the Kurosawa filmography. I know what you mean when you say you're kind of sad that you have no more left to see for the first time. I'm taking my time with them but am anxious. This is what I've seen so far, and about how I'd rank them-

The Seven Samurai
High and Low
Dersu Uzala
The Bad Sleep Well
Red Beard

San Andreas (IMAX 3D screening)

Hello MoFos! It is time once again for At the Theater with The Gunslinger45. It is well into the summer blockbuster season, and this week we have this year’s installment of the disaster movie. Then again according to the critics (and judging by the ticket stub I found floating in the theater’s urinal) this week’s real disaster movie might be Aloha. But as much as I like Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, I opted for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Now for those of you who were too young to remember, disaster movies were HUGE In the mid and late 90’s. We had Independence Day, Twister, and not one but two movies dealing with giant meteors AND volcanoes (both of which were released in the same respective years). And since Independence Day, Twister, and Apollo 13 (kinda sorta a disaster movie) were also HUGE hits, the studios started cranking them out like hot cakes and pretty much gave Roland Emmerich a career. And I admit many of them are a bit of a guilty pleasure. They are not really the best of movies, but the good ones are at the very least memorable. But the thing about disaster movies is that a lot of them tend to focus less on the characters, and more on the disaster sequences. This problem can lead to overblown films crammed with a lot of CGI, and characters I don’t give a damn about. Does this week’s movie fit that mold? Well grab a hard hat and watch out for falling debris as we rock the foundation of San Andreas.

We open the film with a standard action scene. A young lady gets caught in an avalanche and her car is knocked off the road and is barely hanging onto a cliff. But we have Chief Gaines of the LA Fire Department to the rescue played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He steps in, helps save the young lady, and establishes him as the hero of the flick. We then establish Dr Lawrence, played by Paul Giamatti. Lawerence is a seismal… size mall… seize… he is a scientist who studies the Earth and its shifts in the tectonic plates. He works at Cal Tech with his buddy Dr Kim, and they have found a way that can accurately predict where and when earthquakes will happen. And because of plot convince, as soon as they confirm their findings a BIG earthquake hits. And since they are at the Hoover Dam (and this is a disaster movie), it bursts causing the first of the natural disaster sequences. Well Lawrence warns people that these quakes will continue, and no one listens. And since no one listens, the bigger quakes start to hit from LA to San Francisco. And since Chief Gaines daughter is in San Francisco, he has to do whatever it takes to get to his child in order to save her. That is if California crumbling around him does not stop him first.

Now I opted to see this in IMAX 3D, and I will say that the disaster scenes are pretty good. The IMAX 3D magnifies the scope of the effects, amplifies the sounds, and really does add to the movie going experience. The effects are very well done, the scope is huge, and the attention to detail is impressive. But here is the real question. Is it really worth paying the extra money to see it? To which I say not really. Why? Because if you saw half the disaster movies in the 90’s, then you have seen this movie. We have the nerdy scientist who no one listens to when he predicts doom (Independence Day, Volcano, Dante’s Peak, and The Day After Tomorrow), the couple who is on the rocks romantically and is getting divorced but you know they will end up getting back together in the end (Twister), lots of national landmarks getting destroyed (practically Roland Emmerich’s entire filmography), and lots of set hoping from city to city (2012). Hell all this movie needs is a dog miraculously surviving an explosion, a cast of thousands, and an eccentric goofball and this movie practically would be a Roland Emmerich movie. But this movie also has over used tropes from other Hollywood films too. We have a cute kid side character (though to be fair he was very good and adorable), a new romance borne during a disaster (Armageddon, Speed and Tremors), and the male character and rival of our lead which only serves to provide an unneeded love triangle (Twilight, Inuyasha, and various crappy Rom-Coms ). So really this film is just a bunch of recycled scripts put into a blender on puree, and then poured out into this script and slapped together with CGI.

Now as I have said, natural disaster films are a bit of a guilty pleasure. I enjoyed Volcano and Dante’s Peak for what they were, Twister actually got me over an intense childhood fear of tornados, and Independence Day for all of its flaws is not only one of the best experiences I had at the theater, is a film I freely admit is one of my top 100 favorite movies. And I have no issue with the use of CGI. One of my all time favorite films is The Avengers, and that film used CGI A LOT! And I can have fun with movies like Pacific Rim or Godzilla (2014) which are meant to be big screen CGI fun and escapism. But main issue I have with San Andreas is I have seen this all before. There is nothing really new, I do not really care about the characters, and there is nothing really special about the disaster scenes. When Independence Day first came out everyone was shocked by the trailer when the White House was blown up. That was something new. Now national landmarks getting destroyed is a very common thing to see. Seeing entire cities destroyed was done in Independence Day, but they really got generic in movies like 2012, those crappy Transformers movies, and that POS Man of Steel. And I just did not really care that much for the characters. Even a film full of stock characters like Independence Day was able to get me to care about them, but that was in large part due to great performances by several good actors. Jeff Goldblum was dorky and brilliant, Will Smith was in full force with his charisma, Bill Pullman was very good, and Brent Spiner, Harvey Fierstein, Randy Quadd, Adam Baldwin, Robert Loggia, and Vivica A Fox helped to round out a great supporting cast. Outside of The Rock, Giamatti, and the British Kid played by Art Parkinson this film’s cast was pretty dull.

Now the film is nothing new or special, but it is not really a bad movie. The movie is paint by numbers, but at least it knows what it is supposed to be. But at the same time I think most people can skip this movie, especially since Mad Max: Fury Road and Age of Ultron are still in theaters. Both of which are also big budget action movies, but also have characters one can get invested in and bring something unique to the big screen. If you just have to see it go for the full experience in IMAX 3D, otherwise I say you can skip this all together.

Thriller: They Call Her One Eye

Hello fellow MoFos! It is once again time for At the Theater with The Gunslinger45! Only with this overdue review, I decided to trade the theater for the grindhouse. There are a few avenues of film I am trying to explore more. I am trying to explore more foreign films to expand my exposure to other cultures and cinematic masters and their art. But at the same time as much as I love high art, I also love sleaze. Put the two together and you have a quick way to my heart. Scorsese did it once and it is my favorite movie. And it is because of this love of gritty stories of crime, violence, and boobs; I am also trying to watch more exploitation movies. And this Swedish exploitation film counts as both. It is also regarded as one of the more exploitive grindhouse movies around. And when you consider what is released from the likes of Naziploitation, Sexploitation, and Italian Amazon Cannibal flicks that should say something. How does this film stack up? Well load your double barrel as we take aim at Thriller: They Call Her One Eye.

The film opens on literally one of the worst things to see. A young girl named Frigga (Madeline in the original Swedish) is playing in a park. She is sexually assaulted and this trauma causes her to go mute. She grows up on a farm in the country with her mother and father and remains very sheltered until she is a young woman (played by Christina Lindberg). On her way to town she is offered a ride by a smooth talking man named Tony. Being very naïve, she accepts the lift. Tony eventually slips a drug into her drink, knocks her out, and gets her hooked on heroin. She is then forced into a life of prostitution in order to feed her new addiction. A further unfortunate circumstance befalls Frigga (now nicknamed One Eye) and she sets into motion her plan for revenge. This requires training in firearms, hand to hand combat, and high speed driving.

The premise is a pretty straight forward vigilante film. Our female protagonist is wronged, and she must enact her revenge on those who wronged her outside of the law. The premise is pure grindhouse, but the execution has a bit of style and art to it. The violence is about as realistic as you can get for that age and the majority of the kills and violence are done in super slow motion. Which is really cool. In addition the fact that the film takes time to develop her character. From naïve girl to hardened killer, she goes through one hell of an arc in the film. Made all the more impressive that Lindberg the actress has not a single line of dialogue in the movie. Everything about Frigga is told through her expressions. Her pain, her sorrow, and her rage have to be expressed without dialogue. Not to mention the final scene of revenge was handled with such subtly you think that it might have been filmed by Bergman. Then again director Bo A Vibenus was taught by Bergman in film school. So maybe. But what really sets this apart is the time they put into her development. This is not a quick montage. You see her train with various people from old soldiers, current commandos, karate experts, and professional drivers. Each teacher slowly shows her progression from a beginner to a pro. But this training is also intercut with some of her customers. And Christina Lindberg is very naked throughout these scenes (and she is an absolute bombshell)! This is an exploitation movie after all. But in many ways it is not. Now with a similar exploitation movie like Death Wish, the set up is similar. Paul Kersey is wronged and he decides he is going to become a vigilante. In Death Wish Kersey goes full vigilante fairly early in the movie and spends a good portion of the movie killing street walking scum. Same goes for Coffy (which opens with a dope dealer getting killed) and so does The Exterminator. Thriller plays more like Taxi Driver or Mad Max. It is a slow burn and well into the movie before scum bags get killed. One Eye begins her mission over an hour into the movie. But once she arms herself with a double barrel shotgun and a pistol, the movie does pick up the pace. So compared to the more standard exploitation film, there is a great deal more art in it.

But in addition to the art, there is still plenty of sleaze and exploitation. And this movie has a reputation for it. This flick rates up there with the likes of I Spit on Your Grave, Cannibal Holocaust, and Ilsa She Wolf of the SS with how renowned it is. Interesting thing about this film is it has a whole Blade Runner situation. Meaning the theatrical cut was considered not so great and was edited down significantly from the original form. Namely close to 20 minutes of footage which includes a lot of the sex scenes and slow-mo stylized violence. Said original footage was restored on DVD in multiple cuts. The first is Thriller: They Call Her One Eye. This cut has the majority of the violence restored, but still has three minutes of additional footage missing from it. The other cut is Thriller: A Cruel Picture which has more footage of nudity and a scene of eye gouging that was reportedly filmed using a human cadaver. In addition, the film originally had hardcore sex footage edited into the movie in the same manner Caligula did. None of the actors themselves were filmed mind you, a couple known only as Romeo and Juliet provided the explicit sex footage. Either way it really pushed the limits of what was deemed exploitation and what was obscenity. Hence why the film got edited down from a 107 minute movie to under 90 minutes for the theatrical release. And to be honest I am a tad conflicted on which cut I prefer. On one hand the use of a cadaver to get a shot is the kind of exploitation that can become legendary. Like when Deodato had to testify in court that he didn’t actually kill anyone when making Cannibal Holocaust or Divine eating dog s**t in Pink Flamingos. And that kind of a shot I think should be kept in the film. That being said, the edited in hardcore sex felt excessive. It did not serve a purpose, and I felt it was thrown in there for no real reason. And I know complaining about such things in an exploitation film is like complaining that horny teenagers are killed off in a slasher movie. What the hell was I to expect? So while I still think Thriller: A Cruel Picture is a good movie I tip my hat to the They Call Her One Eye cut. It still has all the slow motion fight scenes and the majority of the exploitation remains intact.

After watching both cuts of the film I really came to love this movie. It has a cool vigilante story line, plenty of sleaze, deals with crime, and it has plenty of gun play and some cool car chases. Now it will never hold up with the likes of say Taxi Driver or some of De Palma’s early work like Dressed to Kill and Body Double in terms of artistic merit and credibility. But then again, who cares? I don't watch these kinds of movies thinking they will be released on The Criterion Collection, I watch them to be entertained and for exploitation. But when I find one that has a bit of an artistic edge as well as exploitation, I take notice. And it is currently my favorite exploitation film. And I do not see it being knocked of that perch anytime soon. What more can I say other then this is a masterpiece of exploitation.

Nice! I have only seen A Cruel Picture, but I know Tarantino prefers the edited down version as well.

cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Good stuff, Gunner! Like Swan, I have only seen A Cruel Picture. I think the eye scene is a must, but I agree the sex scenes are over the top and kind of strange, although I liked them. Great flick, and you're right, that actress was gorgeous.

I think I saw the cut uncut version when I was a kid, but I only remember the uncut version of this, which is what I have. I like it, but I don't feel the last 20 minutes or so play too well, with the exception of the final scenes. The super slo-mo fight with the police feels like it's never going to end.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

Just saw your San Andreas review. I've not seen the movie and probably won't ever, but what you had to say about it pretty much sums up what I figured it would be like.

I think I saw the cut uncut version when I was a kid, but I only remember the uncut version of this, which is what I have. I like it, but I don't feel the last 20 minutes or so play too well, with the exception of the final scenes. The super slo-mo fight with the police feels like it's never going to end.
I personally dug the slow mo police fight. Oh well.

Jurassic World

Hello MoFos! It is time once again for At the Theater with The Gunslinger45! And this week we have one of the BIG summer releases opening, the third sequel to the classic summer blockbuster Jurassic Park. Back in the early 90’s this movie was released and it was HUGE! I mean the movie broke all kinds of box office records, broke new ground in the use of CGI, and until Titanic came along it was the highest grossing film of all time. And it was excellent! The sequels to Jurassic Park however… not so much. Jurassic Park: Lost World was over long, surprisingly underwhelming, and felt really forced. It was a piece of crap. Jurassic Park III while better then Lost World, was still really mediocre. But I would watch the third movie over Lost World any day of the week. At least three had Laura Dern in it. So when it was announced that yet another sequel was being made to Jurassic Park, I was naturally skeptical. I mean the last two were bad, why go for a third bite of the apple? Easy… Hollywood is chasing the big bucks. Jurassic Park was a gold mine for Universal and even the crappy sequels made a lot of cash. And not just at the box office. Summer blockbusters do make butt loads of money. But as Yogurt from Spaceballs once said, the real money from the movie is made in the merchandising. And Jurassic Park merchandise is a gateway to pornographic amounts of profit. T-shirts, mugs, DVDs, video games, breakfast cereals, coloring books, and enough toys to make every school aged kid who loved dinosaurs go insane. All of whom are screaming at mom and dad to buy them stuff. And most parents will do it just to shut their kids up. And in this day and age of reboots and sequels, naturally they figured “why not make another Jurassic Park movie?” Only this time Dr Grant, Dr Sattler, and Ian Malcom are not in this movie. So here I sit, once again thinking that yet another sequel far removed from the original is being made as a quick cash grab. I figured the the movie would be okay maybe, but still make enough profit for more sequels. And you know what? I was half right. I was on target that this movie will make all kinds of money. I was wrong thinking this would just be okay. The movie is actually pretty damn awesome. But how does it stack up in the franchise? Well grab your gun, get in the truck, and watch out for the T-Rex as we explore Jurassic World. And since Ian Malcom is not in this movie… expect him to pop up in this review.

The movie opens on a very familiar scene, raptors hatching from eggs in the research facility of the theme park Jurassic World. Turns out somewhere along the line, Hammond (Richard Attenborough in the first movie) passed on his control of the park to a guy named Masrani. And Masrani has recognized the vision Hammond had and opened a gigantic theme park resort on the island. Complete with rides, a Seaworld-esque mosasaurus exhibit that makes Shamu look like a bitch, a petting zoo with baby triceratops, and a full-fledged safari style tour. Needless to say, this place is Disneyland for dinosaur lovers. But like any other business, you have to stay one step ahead of the game. You always have to come out with something new. And so they come up with a brilliant idea. Create a new dinosaur by splicing together the genes from other dinosaurs. If this sounds like a bad idea… congratulations! You have a working frontal lobe. But the scientists, still headed by Dr Woo from the first movie do it anyway. Why? Because…

I mean the first film pretty much concluded that man should not tamper in God’s domain, so now they did it again. Only now they intend to screw with nature even more by trying to make a bigger, better, and scarier dinosaur. And bigger and scarier they did make it. They took T-Rex DNA, spliced it with a few other dinosaurs, filled in the gaps with other animals like last time and created a new creature. And their plan for this new beast? Turn it into the new star attraction of the island! Because they believe they can control the beast that ate its sibling.

You know for super smart scientists who can clone dinosaurs, they are really freaking stupid. So they create this new dinosaur called Indominus Rex. Which is Latin for “I am going to f**k all kinds of s**t up.” The vice president of the park and head of everyday operations is Claire Dearing. She is concerned about this new dinosaur and she decides to get a second opinion on the enclosure from Owen Grady. Owen Grady is an ex-Navy guy (I am guessing a SEAL) and is played by Chris Pratt. A man so likeable he is the trainer for the velociraptors, and they listen to all his commands. So much so he can step into their pens and not get eaten. I guess they loved Guardians of the Galaxy too. Owen and Claire go up to where the Indominus Rex is to see what is up. Only they find a certain discrepancy with the enclosure. Things go wrong and the dino gets out due to some very unseen circumstances. So now we have a rampaging super dino on the loose in the park. And to make things even more complicated Claire's nephews are at the park and they are stuck in the safari zone. And no one thought this could happen? You know like it did 20 years ago? Reminds me of words of wisdom from Ian Malcom…

So yeah this movie is awesome. But that being said, this movie does have flaws. Now I say again, I have no issue with CGI. One of my all time favorite movies involves Mark Ruffalo turning into a giant green rage monster. CGI is a great tool. But a big part of what made the original Jurassic Park great was its use of CGI AND animatronics. A lot of the dinosaur shots in the original movie had the dinosaurs physically in the shot. An animatronic T-Rex smashed through the roof of the car in the rain. Animatronic raptors stared down and stalked humans. And a massive animatronic triceratops was used. All gave either a sense of terror or a sense of wonder, depending on the dinosaur and situation. In this film, the overwhelming majority of the dinos are CGI. Which is fine, for the most part. I am not asking for some guy to make a robot mosasaurus for crying out loud. Trying to get that to swim though the water and get the shots needed would be a bigger pain in the ass then the production on Jaws! But at the same time there were a lot of moments in the movie that they COULD have used animatronics. Like the raptors hatching from the eggs (I mean they did that so well in the first movie). Or how about when they are standing still and interacting with Chris Pratt? I mean say what you want about the other sequels, they at least used animatronics pretty well in them. They just needed a better script. Now there was one scene that I could pick out where it looked like an animatronic, but that was one scene in a two hour movie. But that is not a huge deal for me and it did not hinder my enjoyment of the film. Certain side plots however did. There is a side plot in the movie about a private security company named InGen (guys from Lost World) and they are led by Vic Hoskins, played by Vincent D’Onofrio. I don’t know how Gomer Pyle survived Full Metal Jacket, but it seems he wants to use the raptors for the purposes of war. Because as we all know we as humans can control dinosaurs.

He tries to get Owen to sign on, but Owen has half a brain and says no. This private security company also has a role in later events of the film I do not wish to spoil, but they will set up the inevitable future sequels. In addition the two nephews in the movie are sent to the park alone to meet up with their aunt because Mommy and Daddy are finalizing their divorce. Now I know Spielberg is the Executive Producer on this movie, I know Spielberg’s parents got divorced when he was young, and I know that plays a big part in a lot of his movies BUT ENOUGH WITH THE DIVORCING PARENTS ALREADY! Especially since this sub plot ultimately never has ANYTHING to do with the movie! What also felt unneeded is the romantic sub plot between Owen and Claire. Turns out they had a date and it did not go so well, and now the two have a relationship right out of a bad sitcom. Kinda like Malcom’s attempts at hitting on Dr Sattler.

If they wanted the two together, they should have been written to be dating from the start. I can buy a rich board type lady wanting to date Chris Pratt. Otherwise, have them just be boss and employee. I’m sure it was supposed to tie into the divorce subplot and how family, relationships, and trust are important or something but the execution was pretty bad.

But again, this movie is the best of the sequels. Then again, that was not hard to do. Lost World and Jurassic Park III were kinda crappy. So this movie being good is sort of…

Or in this case Hollywood finds a way. Jurassic World basically starts over from scratch. They focus on new characters, introduce new dinosaurs, and expand the idea of the dino theme park to new heights. Not to mention they got one of the best choices for a leading man in Chris Pratt. After his turn as Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, he is not only an A list actor now, he is a damn charming one at that. Without Chris Pratt a good chunk of the market for this movie will say “this is an unneeded sequel why should I see it?” But with Pratt in a lead role, now they will say either “Awesome! Star Lord is in the new Jurassic Park!” Or at the very least say “this sequel in unneeded, but it has Chris Pratt so I will give it a shot.” For the record I was in group number 2. And while the set ups for the kids and the Claire / Owen stuff was at first pretty lame, by the end of the movie each part does have their payoffs. Claire and Owen do actually have good chemistry once they start looking for the boys. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard play off each other well and do make for a good on screen couple. And just like Tim and Lex in the original, you do come to care for the two kids in the film. And this film does seem to be taking The Avengers approach when it comes to its humor. This film does try to put in its own quick comedic Joss Whedon-esque beats into the film. Which is not a bad thing when your lead is Chris Pratt. He has great experience with comedic timing from his work on Guardians and Parks and Recreation. And for the most part, the humor does work. Sometimes it felt unneeded, but the good did outweigh the bad. So you have a bigger park, more dinosaurs, you have Chris Pratt, and a healthy dose of humor. All you need now is a killer third act and you have box office gold. Well it is a damn good thing they do, because the last part of the movie is one HELL of a ride! Well worth the price of admission alone! Not only does it involve a massive evacuation of the park and Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle alongside his velociraptors; but it also has a FANTASTIC final fight! Now in the previous films it has always been man versus dinosaur. NOW we get man and dinosaur vs dinosaur! That is really all I want to say about this final part of the film since I do not want to spoil the flick. I want you the reader to react like I did when I saw this movie. But seriously, THIS was why I saw this movie! A fantastic final payoff!

So was this movie needed? No. Was this movie good? Hell yeah! I had a lot of fun at the theater. Which is really all I ask for out of a Jurassic Park movie. Hand me a snack, let me grab a drink, and let me enjoy myself. I was able to do that with this movie, so I do approve. Sure it is no Jurassic Park, but it could have been SO much worse. Remind me to thank John for a lovely weekend!

awesomely well-written & entertaining review, Gun. i read all of it. Theme parks, t-rex DNA splicing, chaos theory, popcorn & a coke, sounds like fun to me !

Great review, GS!

I rated it about the same as you did. It wasn't Mad Max level great, but it sure was one fun experience and well worth paying to see in the theater.

awesomely well-written & entertaining review, Gun. i read all of it. Theme parks, t-rex DNA splicing, chaos theory, popcorn & a coke, sounds like fun to me !
Oh it was buddy. I had a lot of fun writing the review too.

Great review, GS!

I rated it about the same as you did. It wasn't Mad Max level great, but it sure was one fun experience and well worth paying to see in the theater.
Well I was just happy it was better then Lost World or Jurassic Park III. And it is going to be VERY hard to top Mad Max Fury Road.

Save the Texas Prairie Chicken
I am glad to see that this movie seems to live up to some of my hopeful expectations. I haven't seen it yet. I was hoping for it to just be a fun movie (which I think summer movies really should be - they should just be a good time). And from the sound of it, it is. So, thanks for the review. It is making me look forward to seeing it even more now.
I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity - Edgar Allan Poe

The Shining

Hello MoFos! And welcome to another installment of At the Theater with The Gunslinger45! It is Father’s Day today, and what better way to celebrate the dads who brought us all into this world, then with a movie where a father tries to take his son and wife OUT of this world! And best of all I got to see this IN THE THEATER! There are many things I love about living in Texas. I love that pick-up trucks are in abundance, I love the low humidity (when compared to Florida), football is king, servicemen and veterans are held in the highest regard, rich history, steak is plentiful, plenty of Catholic churches, and very friendly gun laws. All of which appeal to the Catholic, vet, gunslinger, sports guy in me. But the cinephile in me LOVES the Alamo Drafthouse! A Texas based chain of theaters (a few are in other cities as well) aimed toward the serious movie buff. Not only do they have a VERY strict no talk, text, and cell policy, a bar with Shiner Bock, and some damn good dine in food, but they also regularly hold special events at their theaters. This included quote-alongs to movies, special Q&A panels, and best of all regular re-releases of classic movies on the big screen. It is because of this chain of theaters that I was able to see the likes of Taxi Driver, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Jaws on the big screen. And today I got to see yet another Kubrick masterpiece on the big screen. I have been a big fan of this movie ever since I saw it. It is a horror classic. But how does it feel on a screen about 100 times larger than my TV? Well grab your axe and have a shot of the hair of the dog that bit ya, as we look at The Shining.

We all should know the plot of this film so I will keep this short and sweet. Based on the Stephen King novel, the film is set in Colorado (as opposed to Maine for once) and is centered on the Torrance family. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is an ex-teacher and writer from Vermont. He has secured a job as the winter caretaker of The Overlook Hotel. He is also a recovering alcoholic. Wendy Torrance (Shelly Duval) is Jack’s wife and they have a son named Danny (Danny Lloyd). Danny is a peculiar boy who has an imaginary friend named Tony. Tony tells Danny things that he could never know on his own; following in the footsteps on many a psychic child in a Stephen King novel. They are shown around the hotel by Dick Hallorann played by Scatman Crothers, whom you may recognize as the voice of Jazz from the 80’s Transformers cartoon, Meadowlark Lemon from whenever the Harlem Globetrotters crossed over with Scooby Doo, and Hong Kong Phooey. Dick is the head chef of the hotel and a man also blessed with the psychic talent known as “shining.” Danny asks Dick about the hotel and walks away with a warning about room 237, and to stay out of it. The Torrance family sets up shop at the Overlook Hotel and it becomes apparent to us the viewer that the establishment is not what it seems. Lots of very bad things happened in this hotel, and the ghosts of past guests and employees still haunt the place; particularly in the bar and in the dreaded room 237. As the winter goes on Jack becomes more and more unstable until the ghostly inhabitants finally push Jack over the deep end. And then we have Jack become one of the scariest film villains ever.

I LOVE The Shining! This is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. Right up there with Jaws and The Exorcist. And Kubrick being a master filmmaker accomplishes this with the best tool a horror movie can have. Atmosphere! This film drips with an eerie, uncomfortable, and downright terrifying feel to it. Every shot, every cut, every slow motion scene of an elevator gushing blood makes this film a masterpiece of horror. Now I first watched The Shining only a few years ago on my laptop and a second time on TV. And each of those times the feel of the movie was intense. This time, on a larger screen and with a beefed up sound system, the movie reaches it true peak for terror. The eerie cinematography of travelling down the halls vie steady cam is amplified. It makes the viewer feel like they are traveling along the hall inside the hotel. The score is far more unsettling and creepy when it is being blasted out of the sound system in the theater. And finally Jack himself is all the more terrifying when he is on a screen the size of a two story apartment. Combine all these together and you have an incredibly intense cinema going experience. When I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen I was treated to one of the best visual and audio experiences I have had at the movies. It was the perfect blend of classical music and beautiful visuals that at times was serene and other times intense. The Shining on the other hand is nothing but intensity and suspense. Pure and simple. From the time we first see the elevator open with a torrent of blood, the first introduction of the twin ghost girls, to when Jack screams out “HERE’S JOHNNY” we are locked into one hell of a scary movie. Slow and methodical in its pace, but every second is filled with tension and foreboding of what will happen when Jack finally snaps.

Now Dr Strangelove will always be my favorite Kubrick film. There is no question about that. But The Shining, is actually my second favorite Kubrick film. Now I love 2001: A Space Odyssey (my 3rd favorite Kubrick film) to death and I concur that it is Kubrick’s masterpiece. But that being said I just like The Shining more. I have always just been drawn more to films that tell me a story. And The Shining tells me one of the best haunted house stories ever. It is easily one of the best films Kubrick has ever made, and certainly one of the more popular ones. At least these days. When it was originally released, the critical response was mixed. And the damn fools at The Razzies made one of the most idiotic decisions ever by nominating Stanley Kubrick for worst director FOR THIS MOVIE! Thus proving that NO ONE should take the Razzies seriously EVER! But most famously, Stephen King the author of the source material hated the movie too. So much so he directed his own adaptation of The Shining into a mini-series that follows the book more closely. A mini-series that from what I have heard and read, is not scary at all. But the critics came to their senses and this film is regarded as the masterpiece it should be. It is a horrifying experience that if given the chance should be watched on the big screen. It would well worth the trip to the theater.