Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

Movies in Bed: Beastmaster

Post by Mark T. Locker

A quiet evening at home with friends. Nothing much to do. Full of food and looking for something—ANYthing—to watch. Oh, the anticipation as someone, in a fit of inspiration, rummages through his bag and pulls out a mystery DVD. Within moments you know exactly what kind of movie this is going to be: part Conan the Barbarian part Krull. Enter the Beastmaster, 1982. Via vague mystical means the baby Dar is taken from his mother’s womb and given birth to by a cow. Naturally, he develops a unique ability to communicate with animals. Even the—what are those?—giant bat people things have a deep respect for him. On his journey to…do whatever he is doing, he meets a lot of people with single-syllable names: Maax, Seth. Tal, Zed, and acquires a menagerie of helpful animal friends.

If you like lots of stone structures, lots of dust and fire, then this is the movie for you. If you like saying, “What the heck is going on???”, if you like movies that keep going long after you think it should have ended: Beastmaster. If you like loincloths, fighting with big sticks and sad tigers dyed black, I have your Friday night entertainment right here.

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Movies in Bed: Orange is the New Black

Post by Mark T. Locker

Orange is the New Black

As many of you know, Netflix has been pushing a lot of original programming, from the new season of Arrested Development to House of Cards. They’ve been doing quite a good job of drumming up lots of excitement and interest in these endeavors.  Most recently, lots of folks have been chatting about Orange is the New Black. The series is based on an autobiographical account about a young woman named Piper who unexpectedly finds herself sentenced to 15 months in prison for transporting a suitcase of drug money years ago.

Piper’s whole life has changed since she made that decision. She has a startup homemade soap company, does things like go on juice cleanses, and has become engaged. Needless to say, the transition to prison is startling to her. I’ve never been incarcerated but I get the feeling that the way prison life is depicted in this series is more accurate than most depictions. It’s a funny and dramatic show. It is decidedly not for kids but if you enjoy edgy real-life drama/comedy, definitely give it a try.

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Movies in Bed: Transformers

Post by Mark T. Locker

I loved Transformers when I was a kid. When I heard the first Transformers movie was being released, I was momentarily excited. After twenty minutes of watching it, I was no longer excited. My own kid is now the age that kids like Transformers. There’s certainly enough merchandising to keep him busy and an uncle or two who are more than happy to indulge him.

To round it out, we just watched the original animated series together. The first couple seasons were just as I remember it: pretty much every character had a toy you could buy of it. Autobots vs. Decepticons, Optimus Prime vs. Megatron. But I had no idea how weird and intense and complex the show got in the third season, which was released after the animated movie and set WAY in the future in 2005. There’s these five-faced plump-lipped floating teardrop-shaped things, lots of other planets, a pink Autobot whose only role seems to be that she’s a girl. It’s really bizarre. And when Optimus comes back to life (I didn’t know he died!) all wrong and loses an arm and finally explodes, it’s kind of horrifying.

My son still totally digs the Transformers; I think he was pretty confused the third season. I recommend the first two, but leave it there. The rest is just really surreal and at times kind of disturbing.

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Movies in Bed: How to Train Your Dragon

Post by Mark T. Locker.

My kid has been carrying on about this movie for the last year. I have seen the two little shorts that came out after the feature film about a million times. They just released a new line of toys, gearing up for the release of the sequel, which is still a year out. But until the other day, I had never actually seen the movie.

To be honest, I rather enjoy the little shorts, one of which is about all the different kinds of dragons there are, the other about the legendary Boneknapper dragon. So I was kind of looking forward to watching the movie, even though technically it was supposed to be for my son. In the end, I had to keep telling him to be quiet so he wouldn’t give away the ending.

It’s really a great movie for kids/families. There is conflict and action without it being stressful or violent. The characters are interesting, the dialogue is good and the dragon Toothless is just adorable. Based on the kids’ book by Cressida Cowell, it tells the story of a group of Vikings whose way of dealing with dragons has always been through killing. But when young Viking Hiccup discovers how to get through to them and befriends a Night Fury he names toothless (supposedly the scariest dragons of all) he changes the way they view dragons forever. It’s surprisingly well-done and equally engaging for children and adults alike. Go watch it.

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Movies TV in Bed: Face Off

Post by Mark T. Locker

Okay, first thing I need to make abundantly clear: this is not the 1997 Nicolas Cage/John Travolta movie Face/Off. That little slash makes all the difference here.

No, what I’d like to discuss today is the Syfy Channel’s reality competition series, whose fifth season just launched. No, I am not normally one to go for the reality show format, with confessional cameras and everyone living in a big house together. But I love this show. The premise is this: a bunch of amateur special-effects geeks come to California to show off their makeup and prosthetics and latex caking prowess. Each week they are given a theme, such as alien werewolf or demon king of a particular geographic region. They have three days to go from concept to execution. The final day includes models who will wear these crazy rubber getups. They are then judged, fairly but sometimes harshly, by a panel of judges who take themselves WAY too seriously, especially given they are analyzing alien werewolves (I’m looking at you, Glenn Hetrick!). As you can guess, contestants are eliminated one at a time until a big theatrical finale.

Now here’s what I like about the show: these people are, by and large, really nice. There is no manipulation, no back-stabbing. They’ll even rush over and help each other out when they are struggling! It’s just so sweet. The first four seasons are available here and there online; we actually bought season 4 because it was a bargain. I recommend you watch it tonight and dream of mutant giants.

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