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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Friday The 13th Movie Guide

With The Friday The 13th remake coming out in a couple of months, I have noticed an increase in people looking for the previous installments. This guide will let you know what to watch and what to avoid, at least in my humble opinion.

Friday The 13th (
1980): Years after a horrific double murder, Camp Crystal Lake is ready to reopen. But someone out there is determined not to let that happen.

The Good: This is a pretty taut and scary installment with genuine scares and great atmosphere. If the ending hasn't been spoiled for you then you will be shocked.

The Bad: Absolutely nothing.

Notable Cast Members: Kevin Bacon stars as one of the counselors.

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981): Five years after the first installment, the ill-fated camp is ready to open. But that is easier said than done.

The Good: Amy Steel as the main heroine Ginny is awesome. Out of all the final girls on the series, she is one of the best. Her character is stronger and sympathetic of Jason which helps her out in the end.

The Bad: Too many characters. They are hard to tell apart and do not warrant the screen time given to them. In fact one character that seems to have a big plot merely disappears never to be seen again. What was the point then?

Notable Stars: Soap Stars Lauren-Marie Taylor and Russell Todd appear as counselors.

Friday The 13th Part 3 (1982) : A former victim of Jason's decides to return to her summer cabin in order to face her fears. But this time she isn't just facing Jason, she's facing him in 3D.

The Good: This film is notable only for being the first to feature Jason is his now iconic hockey mask

The Bad: Let's start with the 3D. Watching it sans 3D glasses is painful and annoying. The acting is atrocious and there are numerous boring scenes that only existed to show off the 3D effects. And was a vengeful biker gang really necessary.

Notable Stars: It should speak for the talent of this cast that most of them are no longer is show business.

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984): A presumed dead Jason manages to escape the hospital where he was taken in Part 3. He heads right back to his former hunting grounds and the oblivious teens that are there. But has he met his match?

The Good: The acting is a lot higher quality than a majority of the sequels. The kills are more creative. And to top if off this movie actually bears some continuity to the previous films, one of the characters is the brother of a character killed in the first film. Corey Feldman is amazing in the lead role of Tommy Jarvis.

The Bad: Again with the multitude of characters, just because it gives Jason more bodies to hack through doesn't warrant their existence.

Notable Stars: Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Peter Barton, and Camilla Moore star.

Friday The 13th: A New Beginning (1985): Tommy Jarvis, who never recovered from his encounter with Jason moves to a halfway house in the woods. But everywhere he looks he sees Jason. Is Jason back or is it all in Tommy's mind?

The Good: It made Part 3 look better in comparison. Shavar Ross is pretty entertaining and watchable.

The Bad: Mediocre acting, completely unpleasant characters that are unwatchable, and the ending which I am going to spoil for you right now. The killer is not Jason but a copycat killer, a human copycat killer who still somehow has Jason's super strength.

Notable Stars: Shavar Ross, as previously mentioned and Corey Feldman does a cameo.

Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986): After being released from the mental institution, Tommy Jarvis returns to Crystal Lake to ensure that Jason doesn't rise from the grave. All he succeeds in doing is resurrecting him and now Tommy must convince a town that's trying to forget that their worst nightmare has returned.

The Good: The entire movie. This film is a perfect synergy of good acting, comedy, and some of the most creative deaths in Friday The 13th's history. This is defintely one of the Friday films not to miss.

The Bad: Absolutely nothing.

Notable Stars: Jennifer Cooke, Thom Matthews , Renee Jones, and Michael Swan

Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988): A telekinetic teen inadvertently resurrects Jason from his watery grave. Her warnings fall on deaf ears and she realizes that only she has the power to send him back.

The Good: Creative kills, not as creative as the previous installment but still memorable.

The Bad: Lar Par Lincoln is simply awful in the lead role. Her character comes off as just completely helpless and the facial expressions she makes while using her powers are comical. The ending is simply cheesy and tacked on.

Notable Stars: Kevin Spirtas, Terry Kiser, Staci Greason, and Elizabeth Kaitan

Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989): A group of graduates are taking a cruise to New York. However they've just picked up a murderous stowaway who plans to paint Manhattan red.

The Good: It was refreshing to see the films leave the all too familiar woods, even if it was shot in Vancouver and purported to be New York. The Opening song is all kinds of '80s awesomeness. There were also some pretty funny scenes.

The Bad: Way, way, too many characters. If you have a character that will literally spend less than ten minutes on the screen before being killed, they are not worth it. The ending was stupid, confusing and never explained.

Notable Stars: Jensen Daggett, Scott Reeves, and Kelly Hu.

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday
(1993): After years of terror, Jason has finally been caught and destroyed. But true evil never dies and Jason begins possessing people in order to get to his long lost sister and be reborn.

The Good: Good action scenes, some great comedic moments, and some decent acting. It was nice to see the films touch on the family of Jason. Actor Steven Williams plays bad ass bounty hunter that should've been in Freddy Vs. Jason and every other Jason movie as long as the actor lived.

The Bad: The Freddy bit at the end was cheesy and there was a sex scene just randomly thrown in there that frankly didn't belong.

Notable Stars: Steven Williams, John De Lemay, who starred in the unrelated Friday The 13th series, Erin Gray, Rusty Schwimmer, Leslie Jordan, and Michelle Clunie.

Jason X (2001): Jason Voorhees unable to be executed has been put in cryogenic suspension along with the government researcher who kept him from escaping. Now 445 years later they are found and unfrozen by a group of students on a field trip.

The Good: It was refreshing seeing it made more Sci-Fi than horror. The deaths scenes are awesome, they are some hysterical one-liners. And Uber-Jason is extremely bad ass.

The Bad: Nothing at all.

Notable Stars: Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, and horror director David Cronenberg.

Freddy Vs. Jason(2003): Freddy has been forgotten by the children of Elm Street, thus rendered powerless. He releases Jason from Hell to put the scare back into the children. However Jason refuses to play by Freddy's rules and an epic battle begins.

The Good: Katharine Isabelle saves the film briefly, however rent Ginger Snaps in order to truly experience her awesomeness.

The Bad: 10 Years, I have waited for this pairing. I have read rejected scripts, wrote fan fiction, and even began to wonder if this movie would have ever been made. And I was rewarded with this crap. We don't even get a single cameo from a previous actor of either series, save for Robert Englund. Jason and Freddy are watered down versions of their former selves. The cast is just annoying and the ending was lame and vague. Not worth the wait at all.

Notable Stars: Katharine Isabelle, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Jason Ritter and Lochlyn Munro.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gracie's Choice

Gracie's Choice is a 2004 Lifetime movie starring Anne Heche and Kristen Bell. It was inspired by this 2000 Reader's Digest article.

Kristen Bell plays Gracie, a teenager forced to take care of her younger siblings as her mother neglects them in favor of drugs and ill-advised relationships. Gracie realizes that their mother's continual presence will ultimately separate her family, so she lobbies to become the legal guardian of her three younger brothers.

Kristen Bell is amazing as Gracie. She shows the right combination of vulnerability and determination as the plucky hero of this film. And Anne Heche is chilling as her drug-addled mother. She does such a great job that you will find yourself despising her and routing for Gracie to win.

This is definitely a film not to be missed. It's emotional, uplifting, and sometimes heart-breaking. There is never a really fake moment in the film and comes off as more of a documentary than a fictional film.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dead Like Me: Life After Death

For those of you who have never heard of the show, Dead Like Me was an awesome little dramedy that aired for two seasons on Showtime. Despite it's near genius writing and great cast it was then canceled.

The plot of this show revolved around Georgia Lass (Ellen Muth) a college dropout who just started working at a temp agency. She dies when a toilet seat from a space station falls from the sky and hits her. She's not dead though but has been tapped to be a grim reaper. As she learns to adjust to her new "undead" lifestyle and tries to help her family who are falling apart.

The show also starred Laura Harris, Jasmine Guy, Mandy Pantinkan and for the first season Rebecca Gayheart.

And now a movie, it's straight to DVD. Mandy Pantinkan is not returning, he will be replaced by Henry Ian Cusick who Lost fans know as Desmond. Laura Harris is being replaced by Sarah Wynter who I hear is from 24. (Sorry I never watched the show).

Update: After months and months of waiting, a release date for the film has been set. It will be out on DVD February 17th.

Here's a teaser trailer for the film