The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty (1998)I must admit, this is a film that turned out pretty good for some odd reason.  And please know that when I say ‘good’ it means ‘in comparison to all the other crap I have recently watched’.  You see, on the KevinNeal-O-Meter Movie Rating system it is not easy to get on the ‘good’ rating-scale with anything marginally enjoyable to watch.  I am a tough movie critic!

While I can’t pinpoint the exact reason, or reasons (if there are any other than being entertained) I just found this movie somewhat good.  This is not to say that The Faculty was a must-see.  In fact, far from it but it was amusing for a teen-campy-type flick.

I did really like that the film setup the characters nicely in the opening credits.  Unlike I’ve ever seen before they went through nearly every character and provided a quick name and visual profile.  This set the stage nicely for the rest of the movie to understand the various players in the movie.  I liked this.  Next, and which I did not know at the time, was that this movie released in 1998 was full of what would eventually be several celebrities including Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings), Jon Stewart (Comedy Central), Josh Hartnett (Black Hawk Down), Selma Hayek, Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore) and others.

* Stream of consciousness kicks-in and thinking to myself *:  Now that I consider the fact that I typical despise these sorts of movies, yet I liked this one, could it be attributed to decent acting and not the plot???

The plot was about aliens taking over a high school and everyone is distrusting of each other because the inflicted people don’t have obvious physical symptoms.  Imagine that???  Not that this flicker had anything other than the usual screams, creeps and lame plot for this type of sci-fi/horror film but it was surprising interesting.

My recommendation on this one;  don’t search for it on your favorite video streaming service just yet because it’s not one you want to admit looking for.  But if you are running low on guaranteed good films in your library then The Faculty is a nice transition from a sure-winner to the vast majority of film-garbage available.  Worthy of just-above an average for Steelers Stars to 6 out of 10 possible Steelers Stars.

The Cabin by the Woods (2011)

The Cabin in the Woods PosterThis was surely “one for the ages”.  The wifey and I decided to order a pay-per-view ‘horror’ movie tonight and just relax.  Cool and cool, and horrific is absolutely what we got!

This movie started with no clear plot that I could figure out what-so-ever.  It was just plain gratuitous violence.  Blood and guts, severed heads, screaming and yelling and all the typical things you’d see at the END of one of these types of movies.  So, I must admit, this movie had me intrigued to being with.

Okay, I can deal with the silly, and totally ridiculous violence since that is what we bargained for, but through-out the movie they would include intermittent scenes of some type of Command Center/Control Center.  We were thinking like “what the hell is this for?”, because it seemed so random but it appeared they were building a plot of some sort.  It turns out that the Command Center wanted people for being “young”.  Five young people had to die according to Sigourney Weaver.  Yep, she stooped to a new low for sure with this bomb of a flick!  She made about a five minute on-screen appearance and that was the most true insight to any sort of plot I could find in the movie.

All I could figure out with this movie (or that I cared about) was that the mega-pot smoking dope-head was somehow immune to the effects that this Command Center was infecting people with.  That minor detail went unexplained as I recall also.

Anyhow, there were some good things in this 1 ½ hours of yuck though.  Namely, it made the wifey jump out of her skin several times which was quite hilarious.  It left her cuddlier with yours-truly (or at least I would like to think so).

In the end, I just quizzed her on if she understood the plot anymore or any less than I did.  She said she was as confused as me so I will leave it at that.  It’s unfortunate because at about one hour into the movie it looked like the movie was building to be something interesting.  I assure you – NOT!

This movie is a true stinker and gets only three Steelers Stars.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)I’ve been a casual “Apes” fan for decades but never truly a hard-core fan because of the mindless plots or poor costumes that were obviously fake.  They were always entertaining for me a bit but I quickly got bored with most of the movies of series.

However, I found this movie entertaining and surprisingly well-written.  In particular, the acting with the human lead characters and especially the “Apes” was moving.  The main “Ape” character was named Cesar and he was raised from birth to live with humans.  The human that raised him worked for a company called Gen-Sys.  Gen-Sys was testing some form of new drug on the effects to increase intelligence and energy among animals, including humans and Apes, obviously.  Cesar was a calm and cool character until one of the ‘handlers’ in the Ape-exhibit, that he was sent to after attacking a human, started mis-treating the animals by provoking them and sticking them with electric cattle-type prods.  This human he attacked was sort of a mis-understanding that I won’t detail in this blog post so you can watch, and or read it, for yourself if you are interested.

What I particularly enjoyed about this movie was how Cesar didn’t rush into the ultimate confrontation with the humans, which you knew would be eventually inevitable.  He took his time to slowly, yet surely, recruit his fellow Apes for the revolt.  One of his main allies in the revolt was a large orange orangutan who also knew sign-language just like Cesar did.  It was cool that although Cesar was clearly smarter than all the other Apes, he was careful to take time to get them involved when they were finally ready for action.  For example, he was feeding them chocolate chip cookies to gain their trust at one point.

In summary, both my wife and I found Cesar inspirational.  It was just a fun story.

“Cesar is home” was the last phrase of the movie and then Cesar went and blended into the San Francisco Bay Area forest.

The movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) was worthy of 7 Steelers Stars, in my humble opinion!