Over The Top actor Robert Loggia passes away

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Legendary actor Robert Loggia, best known for his co-starring role in the 1987 Sylvester Stallone film Over The Top passed away on Friday at the age of 85.

In Over The Top, Loggia portrayed Jason Cutler, a wealthy man who does everything in his power to keep his grandson Michael apart from his estranged father Lincoln Hawk (Stallone). However, the bond between an arm wrestling championship winning father and his son proves to be unbreakable.

Loggia was said to have lived his life by the motto “The world meets nobody halfway”, which he picked up from his time on the set of Over The Top.

Loggia also starred in Scarface and Big.

Ensuring a future for Alvin & The Chipmunks

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December 18th, 2015 is a date millions of cinephiles have marked on their calendar. That is the day when the latest chapter of one of motion pictures’ most beloved franchises will be released. It is a chapter that I thought would never see the light of day.

It is not that I thought there wasn’t a lot of stories still left to be told involving Alvin, Simon and Theodore, the lovable rodents who have been delighting audiences for over fifty years. I simply thought that they had run out of quality puns to use as secondary titles for future films. I mean it is hard to top The Squeakquel (2009) and Chipwrecked (2011). That’s like painting the Mona Lisa and Dogs Playing Poker back-to-back.

Then I heard about The Road Chip, the fourth installment of the storied Chipmunk franchise. I immediately felt ridiculous for doubting the Chipmunk creative team’s ability to come up with a clever title, and then construct a movie to suit it.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is clearly going to making a load of money. They’ve got some stiff competition on December 18th. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Sisters arrives that day, as does the new Bruce Willis/Kellan Lutz/Gina Carano flick Extraction. But let’s be honest, if you see anyone camping outside a movie theatre around that date, rest assured, they are there to see what misadventures those scamps Alvin, Simon and Theodore are going to get into on their road trip…. sorry, road chip.

Now I have faith in the Chipmunk team’s ability to come up with winning material, but just in case the well runs dry, I’d like to present my ideas for future releases.

Alvin and The Chipmunks: Poker Chips – Dave is in danger of losing the house, so the Chipmunks decide to take up gambling to raise funds. Kenny Rogers would co-star, reprising his role as Brady Hawkes from The Gambler series. It would work out well, as the same team that does the CGI for the Chipmunk movies also does the CGI for Kenny’s face. Plus then this version of “The Gambler” could get a wider release:

Alvin and The Chipmunks: Munk E-business – This one would take place in the 90s. Alvin hits it big in the dotcom world with a website that allows people to download music.

Alvin and The Chipmunks: Shaolin Munks – Hilarity ensues when Alvin, Simon and Theodore, on the run from a vicious drug dealer, take up residence in a Shaolin Monastery.

Alvin and The Chipmunks: CHiPs-Munks – Starksy and Hutch, The Dukes of Hazzard and The Brady Bunch all got the big screen treatment, so isn’t it about time that the 1977-83 series detailing the adventures of two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers arrived in your local theatre? Alvin, Simon and Theodore would take on the role of the CHiPs. Original series star Erik Estrada, in a stunning twist, would portray the villain!


Alvin and The Chipmunks: Fish N’ Chips – The Chipmunks go overboard during a fishing trip with Dave, and end up living with a school of fish. I’m not sure how long chipmunks can hold their breath under water, so viewers might have to suspend their disbelief.

So there’s enough ideas to keep this franchise going for the next 15 years, which in turn would generate billions of dollars. You’re welcome.

Should Rousey tap out of Road House remake?

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This past Saturday night, the biggest sports upset since the Harlem Globetrotters defeated the Green Bay Packers at Super Bowl XXV occurred when Holly Holm was victorious over Ronda Rousey for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship.

MMA pundits immediately began to question when Rousey would get her rematch, or even if she would continue in the sport.

The bigger question however is, how will this effect plans for Rousey to star in the planned remake of the 1989 classic Roadhouse.

Earlier this year it was announced that Rousey was cast to star in the film, which would be directed by Nick Cassavetes, best known for his work on The Notebook. Word even leaked that Rousey had received the blessing of the wife of the late Patrick Swayze. Whether Ronda asked nicely, or applied a vicious armbar to receive this blessing is unknown, but either way she was able to sway Swayze’s widow.

At the time the casting seemed brilliant. Rousey seemed unstoppable, going 13-0 in mixed martial arts, winning most of her fights in the first round. But after the loss to Holm, many are wondering is she can still be convincing in the role of the “cooler”.

What would have happened if back in 1988, Patrick Swayze ran into Sugar Ray Leonard at some high profile function. Perhaps heated words would have been exchanged, fisticuffs ensued, and it is not inconceivable that Leonard would have managed to gain the upper hand against Swayze. Would audiences been able to buy a defeated Swayze as the tough-as-nails, throw ripping out fighting machine known as Dalton? Highly unlikely.

Luckily Swayze was able to maintain his aura of invincibility, with many tough guy performances on his resume. Who could ever forget his work in Dirty Dancing, where he played a dirty cop who used every dirty trick in his playbook to thwart dirty terrorists who were holding hostages at a high school dance. Actually I’ve never seen the film, that’s what it’s about, right?

Ronda Rousey has done enough in mixed martial arts to earn the right to go back to the top of the ladder, and gain an immediate rematch with Holm. But she is clearly not qualified, at least not at this point, to step into Swayze’s shoes.

Perhaps she can start off by starring in a remake of one of Swayze’s lesser films, Ghost. I can envision a version of the film where both gender and race roles have been switched. Rousey could play the Swayze part, Kevin Hart could play the Demi Moore role, and Channing Tatum could take over for Whoopi Goldberg. I have no doubt that Rousey could easily hoist Hart up for the infamous pottery scene.

Hollywood bigwigs and Ronda Rousey, you’re welcome.

Robotropolis

Robotropolis (2011)

Domo arigato, killer robotos

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Over the past decade, we have witnessed some incredible technological breakthroughs. Smartphones. iPads. HDTV. Yet the vast majority of the population does not have their own robot butler.

Is it just me, or does that seem wrong? Weren’t we all promised robot servants would be a part of our lives sometime after the year 2000? Yet now we’re 13 years into this millennium, and I’m still pouring my own bowl of Count Chocula and bathing my own children in a completely robot-free home.

Thankfully, Hollywood is here to give us a glimpse of what we are missing. In the glorious tradition of RoboCop 3 and Short Circuit 2 comes Robotropolis, an instant science fiction classic that envisions a scenario where more robots would actually be a bad thing.

Robotropolis takes place in New Town, a private community where robots have become commonplace. They work in factories and interact with the locals. A television news crew has come to New Town to file reports on how perfectly everything is going. However – brace yourselves – a stunning turn of events changes everything.

While the GNN crew is in the midst of a live broadcast, a robot wanders into a soccer game. This game certainly could not be called a “friendly,” as the robot inexplicably shoots and kills one of the human participants. There have only been two exciting moments in soccer history: when Brandi Chastain ripped off her jersey during a World Cup victory celebration, and when France’s Zinedine Zidane head-butted someone back in 2006. Well, we now have a third thrilling soccer moment to remember.

Now, the simple solution would be to find the killer robot and destroy it. However, it is not that easy. At the risk of sounding racist, all these robots look alike. That’s not the only issue, though. The bad behaviour is spreading, and before long, the robots are preying on the townsfolk like a family of guinea pigs attacking a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Have you ever seen guinea pigs eating a cake? It is not a pretty site, and neither are these vicious robot assaults. And no, I am not getting any kickback from Dairy Queen for mentioning them in this review.

The story is mostly told through the point of view of the GNN crew, so it is almost like the viewer is watching an actual news broadcast. Except in this case the news is interesting, and there is no awkward banter between the anchorman and weather girl.

Robotropolis is a stylish tale that not only delivers plenty of action and drama, but also gives viewers plenty to think about. How much do you trust that microwave in your kitchen? What about that electric toothbrush in your bathroom? How well do you really know your iPod Nano? I’m not suggesting that these devices are going to rebel and murder you while you sleep. Just to be on the safe side though, you might want to see if you are able to sleep with one eye open.

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

Donkey Kong doc is a barrel of fun

The recent Academy Awards ceremony saw a battle for the coveted Best Documentary statue between films dealing with the following subject matter:

– Interrogation and torture of suspected terrorists

– The lack of an exit strategy for the United States’ invasion of Iraq

– Problems with the public health care system

Animation of Donkey KongAll of these are pretty depressing subjects that don’t really make for an enjoyable viewing experience. You know what does make for an enjoyable viewing experience? An ape throwing barrels at a plumber, who is trying to save a princess. That’s exactly what this week’s film, King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.

I’m sure you have all played the classic game Donkey Kong. If not, you have lived a sad, deprived life. Perhaps you should stop reading newspapers and head to your local arcade ASAP to remedy the situation.

King of Kong tells the tale of two very different men who share one common goal – to be recognized as the world’s greatest Donkey Kong player. But this isn’t just a film about winning at a video game – it is a film about winning at life.

In 1982, a young man named Billy Mitchell scored 874,300 points on Donkey Kong, a record many never thought would be broken. After establishing similar records on games such as Centipede and Donkey Kong Jr., Billy was widely believed to be the greatest gamer of all-time.

Billy doesn’t just succeed in the world of pixels and joysticks – he succeeds in the business world, running a thriving hot sauce company. Billy never misses an opportunity to tell people how great he is, and this really left this viewer waiting to see someone knock him off his high horse.

Enter Steve Wiebe, a family man who turned to Donkey Kong after losing his job. I probably would have just started drinking, but that’s just me. Steve finds out about Billy Mitchell’s record, and makes it his mission to topple it.

King of Kong, though a documentary, is very reminiscent of one of the great fictional stories of all-time – Rocky. Billy Mitchell’s arrogant demeanor is quite similar to that exhibited by Apollo Creed in the first couple of Rocky pictures.

Likewise, Steve Wiebe reminds me of Rocky Balboa. Steve has never realized his potential in life – he was once a star athlete, but injuries put an end to that. His life has been one big setback after another. Even after he beats Billy Mitchell’s legendary score one day on the Donkey Kong machine he has in his garage, politics get in the way of his accomplishment being recognized. Just like Rocky, Wiebe won’t stay down, and eventually gets his moment in the sun.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is the finest documentary that has even been produced. While on the surface the goals of the men portrayed in this film may seem silly, the passion of all those involved really helps you to understand their desire to compete. In the end, we learn that if you dedicate yourself to a goal, and neglect your family enough, dreams do come true.

Leprechaun 2

Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Luck of the Irish strikes again in Leprechaun 2

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, this week’s review will focus on the story of a devious and peculiar little man who uses deception and sorcery to trick a beautiful woman into being his bride.

No, this week’s film is not a television movie detailing the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes relationship. Instead it is the second installment of the most critically acclaimed and financially successful movie series of all-time. I am of course referring to Leprechaun 2.

In Leprechaun 2, everyone’s favourite homicidal Irishman is back, and this time he’s looking for love. Fear not, as this film bears little resemblance to other romantic love stories such as When Harry Met Sally and The Notebook. I mean does The Notebook have a scene where Ryan Gosling rips someone’s finger off of their hand? No really, I’m not asking rhetorically, does it? Well, Leprechaun 2 sure does.

Once he reaches his 1,000 birthday (on St. Patrick’s Day), the leprechaun (portrayed by the legendary Warwick Davis) is able to force any woman to marry him if she sneezes three times, provided no one says “God bless you” afterwards. Not since Gesundheit: The Motion Picture has sneezing played such a prominent role in a movie.

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Image from Leprechaun 2 movie

Unfortunately for the leprechaun, the young lady he sets his target on happens to be the daughter of his slave. Knowing what an evil little man his master is, the slave offers up a “God bless you” after his daughter’s third sneeze to put a kibosh on the wedding. The jilted leprechaun kills his slave, and waits patiently for his 2,000 birthday to come along. Wow, and people think George Clooney has been a bachelor for a long time!

So 1,000 years later, the leprechaun finds another young lady named Bridget, who, as luck would have it, is a descendant of the first woman he tried to marry. Bridget receives flowers from her boyfriend, which causes her to sneeze not once, not twice, but thrice. Her boyfriend Cody is unable to utter, “God bless you” before the leprechaun swoops in and takes her as his bride.

Before the leprechaun and Bridget can consummate their nuptials, the fact that he has lost one of his precious gold coins distracts the leprechaun. He may have 2,000 years of sexual frustration to unleash, but gold always is this fellow’s top priority. The leprechaun figures out that Cody has the coin, and sets out to terrorize him and his drunken Uncle Morty. Interestingly enough, the actor who plays Uncle Morty also played a re-occurring character on “Seinfeld” called Uncle Morty.

The rest of the film is pure gold (pardon the pun), with such wacky situations being played out as a drinking competition between the leprechaun and Uncle Morty, and Morty’s greediness getting the best of him, winding up with a pot of gold in his stomach. I won’t ruin any more surprises for you, as I’m sure you are dialing up your local video store as you read this to try and reserve your copy.

I cannot recommend this film enough. Sure, you could go out drinking this St. Patrick’s Day. You can line up outside some bar at 8 a.m. in the cold, maybe get in at noon, be drunk by 2 p.m., vomit on a bouncer, get tossed out into the gutter, and die of a combination of frostbite and alcohol poisoning. Or you could watch Leprechaun 2, which despite what some have said, will not cause those type of health problems. If you only watch one leprechaun themed movie this Monday (and I personally think that would be five too few), make it Leprechaun 2.