Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Busy little blogger that I am, I’ve been spending more evenings in
front of the wide-screen TV watching movies.  After a long day of
writing, working on household projects and preparing for my garage
sales, a day that usually starts at 5 am or so, I don’t have enough
energy to write late into the night these days.  So I watch a movie
almost every night, sometimes with members of my family.

When my son Eddie was home for the Memorial Day weekend, he and I
watched Skyfall (aka James Bond #23).  He had already seen it, but
wanted to watch it again.  After watching it, I can understand why.
It’s one of the best Bonds ever.

In Skyfall (2012), a diabolical villain is targeting MI6 and laying
waste to the bureau.  He seeks revenge on M for the “crimes” of her
past.  Bond, believed dead after a mission gone horribly wrong, is
driven to leave his self-imposed exile to fight the good fight once
again.  Further plot details will not be forthcoming from me.  You
should see this movie yourself.

What I will say is that Skyfall makes better use of its supporting
characters than any previous Bond film.  Director Sam Mendes and
screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan went beyond
the usual M and Q to create memorable characters.  The movie wasn’t
all Bond all the time and that’s a change of which I most heartily
approve.  Adding to my pleasure in these characters was the superb
acting of Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris,
Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw as a cocky young Q.

Another plus for me was Javier Bardem as main villain Raoul Silva.
He was the most unnerving Bond opponent in some time.

Skyfall does the James Bond franchise proud.  It’s action-packed,
but it makes better use of human drama than most previous movies in
the series.  I recommend it highly.


Daughter Kelly picked The Watch (2012) for a movie night with Barb
and I.  It’s a science fiction comedy about dysfunctional neighbors
who form a neighborhood watch group after the gruesome murder of a
Costco employee.  The movie is set in a suburban town in my native
Ohio and the menace...TINY SPOILER...is extraterrestrial aliens who
have disguised themselves as humans to pave the way for an invasion
that will devastate our planet.  The movie starts slow, but shifts
into high comedic gear when the watch group discovers the aliens.
Written by Jared Stern, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and directed
by Akiva Schaffer, The Watch stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah
Hill and Richard Ayoade.  The script often goes blue, but that made
for some very funny moments.  The actors were fun to watch.  This
isn’t Hugo award material, but it was amusing and entertaining.  If
you’ve been reading my movie reviews in recent years, you know that
is all I ask from a film.


The next evening, Barb and I watched Here Comes the Boom [2012], of
which the IMDB says: A high school biology teacher looks to become
a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money
to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his
cash-strapped school.

I’m a sucker for this kind of movie.  As one might figure out from
my creation of Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning), I have a lot of
respect for teachers.  Especially teachers with the ability and the
fire to inspire their students.  Kevin James’s character might not
start out the film in that number, but his attaining that treasured
goal pushes another of my happy buttons.

Looking at the cast in general, you’d be hard-pressed to find three
more likeable performers than James, Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler.
For that matter, the cast is filled with interesting and intriguing
actors.  It’s even hard to dislike the few actual villains in this
feel-good movie.

I was surprised to see the movie won a Movie Guide award as “best
film for families.”  While it certainly has an uplifting message,
more than one, actually, some of the mixed-martial arts fights are
downright brutal.  They made me wince.

Here Comes the Boom scored big with me.  It’s probably not for the
younger kids, but, yeah, it’s a good night at the movies.


But, Tony, you cry, where are the cheesy monsters and super-heroes
you love so dearly?  It’s like this...

Eddie, loyal son that he is, will, on rare occasion, watch one of
those movies with me.  Barb and Kelly, not so much, although, if I
happen to be watching one when Barb’s had a particularly tiring shift
at work, she’ll lack the energy to flee from the room and escape my
weird predilections.

When the ladies were not present, I watched Black Scorpion (1995].
Described as a “comedy-action” film by Wikipedia, it starred Joan
Severance as the fetish-costumed title character.  Her costume is
pretty much the hooker outfit she wore while working an undercover
assignment - she’s a police detective - with a mask and a couple of
gimmicks created by a car thief she arrested and semi-reformed.  I
originally saw the movie on Showtime.  This time around, I watched
the uncut version obtained from my local library system.  The main
difference between the two versions...boobies!

The acting, even that of Severance and Garrett Morris as the former
car thief, is pretty laughable...as is just about everything other
element of this movie.  On the other hand, it offers a goofy kind
of fun that left me smiling.  God forbid me, but, as I write this,
an inexpensive copy of Black Scorpion II is sitting in my pile of
movies to watch.  Maybe it’s a cry for help.


I also watched The Thing Below (2004), directed by Jim Wynorski and
starring Billy Warlock.  Wikipedia summarizes the movie:

A top secret drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico raises a
dormant alien creature from the depths. Once loose, the creature
goes on a murderous rampage by telepathically exploiting the fears
and desires of anyone to cross its path.  

This is an okay film with okay acting, special effects and writing,
but little to distinguish it, for better or for worse, from several
other similar movies.  I did like that the blob-like monster was an
intelligent creature and that the last-scene gotcha was something
a viewer who was paying attention could have seen coming.  “Okay”
is good enough for me on the right night.

That’s all the movie reviews for now.  Come back tomorrow for the
rip-roaring return of our Rawhide Kid Wednesdays.       
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.  

© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. My favorite moment in Black Scorpion is when Garrett Morris's character, who's supposed to be a scientist, describes the process by which the car changes shape: "It alters atoms at the molecular level."

    You bet!

    Black Scorpion was also an abysmal TV series on SyFy. Roger Corman, a firm believer in saving money, used the same costume from the movies, even though Michelle Lintel is a completely different body type from Joan Severance, and man, does it show......

  2. I totally agree with you on "Skyfall." It was one great movie and it makes you wonder how the producers wasted all those years with the silly editions when they could have made movies of this quality.

  3. Am I the only one that exited SKYFALL wondering, "Wait... didn't Bond kind of fail at everything he set out to do? and what happened to the list?"

    The cast was great and I loved all the character bits but the plot itself had me saying Wha-huh? a lot.