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The Fourth Kind – Movie Review

The Fourth Kind. Starring Milla Jovovich.

This is the first major film executed by writer and director Olatunde Osunsanmi, who is a protégé of independent film director Joe Carnahan.

In 1972, a scale of measurement was established for alien encounters. When a UFO is sighted, it is called an encounter of the first kind. When evidence is collected, it is known as an encounter of the second kind. When contact is made with extraterrestrials, it is the third kind. The next level, abduction, is the fourth kind. However, in the case of this movie, I would have to say that it was a close encounter of the supernatural kind.

When it comes to a movie with Milla Jovovich starring, I will jump on the bandwagon and watch the film as soon as it is available. However, as great as an actress she is, (and also in my own laminated list of top 5) this movie did not quite do it for me.

For those who have seen the movie already, you will know what I am talking about. For those who have not seen it, be prepared for a let-down.

While the acting of Milla is no less than great, and some of the scenes somewhat intriguing, there was a lot that can be said by the account of the storyline, which seemed to border more on the lines of Supernatural possession more than Alien abduction.

In some scenes, we see the witness being “possessed” and speaking in Sumerian language…. A language that has been extinct for more than 3,000 years. Now while I can appreciate the love for an extinct language and a race, I doubt that many people alive today would be able to understand and speak it fluently as the Historian seemed to do just as easily as eating cornflakes. Nice try, but somehow I don’t think ET’s would be in the habit of possessing a host and speaking in a language that is extinct that only one historian on the planet can seem to understand. Maybe the historian is fluent in 6 million forms of communication.

While I do enjoy a good horror flick and getting a chill factor, this moved me about as much as the flick Antichrist.

Was it good for a movie – It was okay

Was it as good as Paranormal Activity – No. Absolutely not.

While I can appreciate Olatunde’s debut film, I for one need a little more scares in my fear factor 🙂

Full Synopsis:

An interview between Dr. Abigail Emily Tyler and Olatunde Osunsanmi kicks off the movie. (NOTE- all names in the film are fake to protect the identities of those involved. this includes dr.tyler) Tyler begins to discuss a hypnotism session performed on her by a colleague, Dr. Abel Campos, in an attempt to remember back to the night her husband Will was murdered beside her in bed and to recollect the face of the murderer. However, she cannot recall the face and the session only results in leaving her in tears. Campos tries to convince Tyler to take time off so her head can clear, but she insists that she must continue her husbands studies. After a brief scene with her two children, Ashley – who had gone blind soon after her father’s death – and Ronnie – who blames his mother for the murder of Will – Tyler begins her studies on the sleep-deprived in Nome. She notes that her patients have all awoken during the night to see a white owl watching them outside their windows for hours at a time.
Tyler suggests to one patient, Tommy Fisher, that she put him under hypnosis to discover something he couldn’t remember from the prior night. Under the hypnosis Fisher says that he had woken to see the owl at his window yet again. It disappears as his door opens, and he goes into hysterics before Tyler can snap him out of it. Terrified and unwilling to reveal what he had seen opening his door, Fisher leaves. That night, the cops are called to the Fisher household to discover that Fisher is holding his wife and their two children hostage, refusing to discuss the situation with anyone other than Tyler. She arrives, and while she attempts to calm him down, Fisher begins screaming in a language that Tyler cannot understand and demanding that she tell him the meaning of what he is saying. When she can’t supply a translation, Fisher shoots his wife, their children, and himself. Sherriff August interrogates Tyler as to whether or not she believes her hypnosis therapy with Fisher that day was in relation to the shooting. When Tyler doesn’t see a connection, August becomes enraged and tells her to cease her studies of sleep deprivation and the hypnosis on her patients. After returning home, Tyler grabs her tape recorder and makes notes over her patients, falling asleep while the recorder is still on.
The following morning, Tyler arrives at work to discover Campos waiting for her, worried after hearing of the Fisher shootings. She assures him that she is all right, and hands her tape recorder to her secretary, asking her to transcribe it. In her office, Scott Stracinsky, another of Tyler’s patients, and his wife are waiting. Stracinsky decides to be hypnotized despite the recent tragedy. During the session, he beings shaking and gagging, and Tyler has a difficult time snapping him out of the hypnosis. When she finally does, he reveals that nonhuman creatures had invaded his room. The couple leaves moments before Tyler’s secretary enters and tells Tyler that she cannot transcribe the tape. Curious, Tyler and Campos listen to the tape; moments after Tyler finishes her notes and falls asleep, mechanical noises are heard followed by terrifying, heart-stopping screams coming straight from Tyler’s own throat and a distorted voice speaking in an unknown language. She cannot remember anything that had happened that night, but discovers a bruise-like mark on her shoulder and scratches in the floorboards from her fingernails, as if she’d been trying to prevent someone from dragging her out.
In her husband’s research she finds the name and number of author Dr. Awolowa Odusami. Tyler calls the number and asks Odusami if he knew her husband. He claims he didn’t, but says that someone using the alias of “John” had called him from that number before. They set up a meeting between Tyler, Odusami, and Campos; during this, Odusami listens to the tape and concludes that the language is Sumerian, a dead language. He mentions that in ancient Sumerian artifacts pictures of men in space suits and UFOs were depicted, and that the voice on the tape speaking the language – saying words such as “destroy” and “ruin” – did not sound human. During the meeting, Stracinsky’s wife calls Tyler and begs her to come to their house. She, along with her colleagues, arrives at the house to find Scott in bed, a large bruise on his arm similar to the one on Tyler’s shoulder. He wants to be put under hypnosis, because he can’t quite remember what happened. Almost immediately after being put under Stracinsky jerks into an upright position with his head thrown back and his eyes and mouth open wide. He soon begins to levitate off the bed and screams in the Sumerian language. His body is distorted and dropped back onto the bed, seemingly lifeless.
Terrified, Tyler hurries to her house and starts packing, intending to flee to North Carolina. Sherriff August comes in; Stracinsky is now paralyzed from the neck down, and August believes that Tyler did it. As he is arresting her, Campos comes in and firmly states that Tyler had nothing to do with the accident. August agrees to leave Tyler at her house under constant surveillance by an officer of his. In the early hours of the morning, the officer spots an object flying over the household and calls August, who arrives to find a sobbing Tyler in Ashley’s room; Tyler claims that a beam of light appeared and took her daughter. August demands Tyler to stop her nonsense, believing that she was the cause behind Ashley’s disappearance. When she continues to insist that it was the work of extraterrestrials, he takes Ronnie, who also believes that his mother was the cause of his sister’s kidnapping, out of her custody.
Firmly believing that her daughter was abducted, Tyler asks Campos and Odusami to put her under hypnosis to bring her back to the night her tape recorder caught her screaming – which she believes was a recording of her own personal abduction – in an attempt to directly contact the aliens and demand for Ashley back. Campos puts Tyler into a deep sleep, and an inhuman voice speaking through her begins screaming in Sumerian. Tyler begins an almost schizophrenic scene where she and the Sumerian voice speaking through her start arguing. She begs them to bring her daughter back, and yet the voice refuses before it drops Tyler back on the couch. Campos and Odusami try to revitalize her when they themselves start screaming. When the static halts, the camera is now on the floor of an empty room; the three doctors are missing.
Osunsanmi asks Tyler what had happened the night of her hypnosis. She tells him that they were abducted, though they were unsure where they had gone or what had been done to them. The interview fades as the film itself continues; Tyler is now in a hospital bed, August and Campos at her bedside. August asks her who killed her husband, and she says all she was aware of was that he was stabbed while they were asleep. Countering her story, August holds up a picture of Will’s head with a bullet hole through it alongside a picture of a gun, and tells Tyler that her husband had committed suicide. He asks her yet again where Ashley was, and Tyler swears that her daughter was abducted. She begs Campos to speak up, reminding him that they had gone through the same things. He keeps quiet, and August is forced to remove Ronnie from a worn-down Tyler’s custody.
Tyler continues to stay true to the story of Ashley’s abduction by aliens. As she becomes emotional, Osunsanmi finally concludes the interview. It is then that the camera zooms out, and the audience is made aware of the fact that Tyler is in a wheelchair, paralyzed. The end credits reveal that no one involved in the real events had wanted to participate in the creation of the film, and that Tyler is under constant surveilance as her health deteriorates day by day ever since her abduction. Ashley has never been found. The end credits role with 911 calls reporting UFO’S

Check out the trailer by clicking the image below

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Saw 6 – Movie Review

In Saw V, we saw the demise of Special Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) . Now Detective Hoffman has emerged as the unchallenged successor to Jigsaw’s legacy. However, when the FBI draws closer to Hoffman, he is forced to set a game into motion, and Jigsaw’s grand scheme is finally understood.

When it comes to movie sequels, there are few which make the grade. There are some really great horror sequels out there, but in most cases, the sequels should have stopped after the second or third installment.

Saw is not one of those that fail the grade. In fact, this series is definitely up there in there in the Top 5 of Best Horror Movie Series.

In the latest offering in the Saw Franchise, the opening game is pretty gruesome, with two “Takers” having to give of themselves in order to live. However, this game is not easy. Each person is in a cage and between them is the scale, and whoever gives the most apparently wins. In one cage we see an overweight male, and in the other a woman. Both are takers. So the game thus beings…. And a lesson to be learned…. (As Detective Hoffman later asks the woman who survived the game)…

It’s difficult to give a sentence that accurately describes what some movie goers feel after this installment, but it seems as if the year-wait paid off, because Saw VI is easily the best of the ‘second trilogy’ in the Saw series.

What makes Saw VI such a smarter film is it’s ability to play off the strengths of its predecessors. The film knows its destination, so we get a much more solid story this time around. It’s really incredible how everything in the plot came together so perfectly. All of the events that have occurred have demonstrated a Domino Effect — every character in the series is relevant, and one character’s actions can change the entire course of the story and lead to something else. Any questions brought up in the previous installments are cleared up in VI, so we finally get a solid conclusion.

When you look up the plot for Saw VI, it seems so simple: Special Agent Strahm is dead, and Detective Hoffman has emerged as the unchallenged successor to Jigsaw’s legacy. However, when the FBI draws closer to Hoffman, he is forced to set a game into motion, and Jigsaw’s grand scheme is finally understood.

There’s a lot more going on in this film than this. But one thing’s for sure, Jigsaw’s grand scheme is finally understood, and that’s what mattered most. All of the pieces of the puzzle come together, and you remain on the edge of your seat because you have no idea what’s going to happen to these characters. The plot takes dramatic twists and turns that will have your jaw hit the floor.

We begin to follow where SAW V left off, Hoffman emerging victorious, or so it may seem. And soon enough, the introduction of our newest test subject, William. It’s hard to get into the character without spoiling anything, so if I seem vague, you know why. William is an insurance agent, the vice president of his company as a matter of fact. In that, he made a formula on how to determine who should be eligible for health insurance. Needless to say, John Kramer was a former associate of his.

Jill, the ex-wife of the infamous Jigsaw Killer was also presented a box. The box plays a large role this time around and again. Her role in the grand scheme of things is further explained and finally understood. Everything between her past with John, her present with Hoffman, is revealed and we get to see a glimpse of how one person can influence the life of another, and we get to see a side of Jill that we never expected. (Could she be a new successor?)

As for the hard-core traps: Saw VI is without a doubt the most gruesome of them all. They really raised the bar with this one in terms of the amount of violence shown on the screen.

Saw VI was incredibly well done. The story and pacing was perfect. The acting from the main cast (Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, Costas Mandylor, Shawnee Smith, and Peter Outerbridge) was great.

The traps were disturbing as hell. And, most importantly: a hard-core Saw fan left the theater with a smile on his face. Saw VI Director Kevin Greutert really did an astounding job with this one.

To quote Jigsaw: You think it’s the living who have the ultimate judgment over you, because the dead have no claim over your soul. But you may be mistaken.

One thing is for sure, this is a must watch movie, and I for one am looking forward to the next installment of Saw VII next year.

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Paranormal Activity – Movie Review

Once in a while a movie comes along that gives me the chills. Paranormal Activity is one of those movies.

While some have said that it was based on a true account, let me start by saying that it is entirely fictional, shot in the same style as Blair Witch.

This movie may have been overhyped a little bit, but I still found it to be very creepy and effective. There were several scenes that gave me the chills.

Oren Peli did a fantastic jon with his first feature film.  I for one will be looking forward to his next movie, Area 51, which comes out in 2010.

In the leads roles are Katie Featherston, and Micah Sloat, which, oddly enough, play the characters of Katie and Micah. great supporting role too by Mark Fredrichs, who plays the visiting psychic.

While it would be unfair to tell all bout the movie, I will share some of the scenes that got to me.

1. The first really loud “thump” and door slamming shut.

2. The “thump” during the daytime when the demon scratched their picture.

3. The shadow movement on the door.

4. The fast-forwarding when Katie was just standing staring at Micah for two hours the first time and she walks out the door, I wasn’t sure if she was going to come running back in or what was going to happen.

5. The time where Micah woke up when the door was opening and the demon stomped out and slammed the door.

6. The night where the baby powder footsteps appear. When Micah follows them into the attic and finds the burnt picture of Katie, everyone freaked out. As Katie states, there’s no way that photo would be in their house, because it was lost when her house burned down. As this scene pointed out, the entity demonstrated its obsession with her.

7. When the psychic enters the house, he is so frightened that he has to leave immediately. The scene expertly created a sense of dread, tension, and an overall feeling of utter hopelessness for the main characters. After that, you pretty much knew that there was no way to stop it, and that both Micah and Katie were doomed.

8.  And finally the scene where Katie gets dragged down the hall. In my opinion, this was the most frightening scene in the entire film. It made me wonder what it would do to her had Micah not come to the rescue. The thought alone just sends chills up my spine. Brilliant piece of work, and I for one would love to see how they actually filmed that.

Without further delay, the synopsis of this brilliant movie:

A young couple suspects that their house is haunted by a malevolent entity. They set up video surveillance to capture evidence of what happens at night as they sleep. Their surveillance and home videos have been edited into the 99 minute feature film “Paranormal Activity”

***ENDING SPOILER****

The video surveillance camera shows Katie and Micah asleep on October 8th, 2006. At 1:43 AM local time, Katie sits up in bed with a start. She gets out of bed and turns to face Micah, and the blanket slides off of him onto the floor without him or Katie touching it. Katie walks over to Micah’s side of the bed and stands over him, watching him, rocking back and forth, for 90 minutes. It is just before 3:15 AM when she leaves the bedroom and we hear the sound of very heavy footsteps. Suddenly Katie begins to scream at the top off her lungs. Micah jumps up and runs out of the bedroom, yelling for her. He suddenly begins to scream as well, but all screams from both of them halt very abruptly. There are more heavy footsteps before Micah is hurled into the bedroom against the wall, knocking down the video camera. Katie is standing in the bedroom doorway, the front of her shirt covered in blood. She walks over to Micah and kneels over him, putting her face against him. After a few seconds she looks up and crawls over to the video camera, smiling into it. Just as the screen goes black, there is a hint of her face turning hideous and lunging at the camera. A title screen says that police found Micah’s body on October 11th, 2006, and that Katie’s whereabouts are still unknown. The screen then shows the movie’s copyright protections and the movie ends, without any closing credits.

If you want to get a good chill, then check out Paranormal Activity. I give this 5 out of 5!

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Surrogates – Movie Review

Surrogates… Quite the unusual name for a movie, but hey, if it works, what the heck anyway. As for me I would have given it the subtitle “Life on Facebook” 🙂

Although this is a new movie, I can say that this type of movie has been done before. Movies such as Freejack and The Island come to mind as I write this. But, since it stars Bruce Willis it has got to be a good movie, right?

Well without going into too much detail and ruin the fun for everyone, I will say that the movie is:  Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop (Willis) is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates.

As I watched this, I could not help but think that this is closer to our own reality than some would think. After all, with Social Networks such as Facebook, Tagged, Twitter, MySpace and all the rest of the SN Posse, it is common knowledge that there are some who spend every waking second of the day one or all of the popular SN’s.  Not that I have anything against that as I have been known to do my fair share of being zoned out on one or many of the SN’s at large. But there is also the real world that one has to live in, and although these sites are great, I try to maintain a healthy balance.

Hence why it can be understood that watching this film  hits home that living in a virtual world could soon become a disturbing reality 🙂

Brilliant performances by Bruce Willis, Aussie actress Radha MitchellRosamund Pike, and James Cromwell.

A movie I would definitely watch again.

Without further delay, here is the synopsis of the movie: The filmmaking trio behind the hit sci-fi sequel Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines re-team to explore a future in which humans live in isolation while only communicating with their fellow man through robots that serve as social surrogates and are better-looking versions of their human counterparts. Bruce Willis stars as an FBI agent who enlists the aid of his own surrogate to investigate the murder of the genius college student who invented the surrogates. As the case grows more complicated, however, the withdrawn detective discovers that in order to actually catch the killer he will have to venture outside the safety of his own home for the first time in many years, and enlists the aid of another agent (Radha Mitchell) in tracking his target down. Jonathan Mostow directs co-screenwriters Michael Ferris and John Brancato’s adaptation of the graphic novel by author Robert Venditti and illustrator Brett Weldele.

Movie Reviews Coming up next…. Zombieland and Bronson

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