Reviews

110 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Ultraviolet (2006)
1/10
Ugh...
6 March 2006
Who could have thought the director of "Equilibrium" could produce such drivel? This is the first movie I have seen where the trailer is actually better than the full film (mostly because of the song in the background, "24" by Jem).

The biggest problem with the movie is the dull action. Most of the fight choreography is uninspired, slow, and just plain unexciting. The fights are hackneyed, the acting from basically the entire cast (including the normally decent Fichtner and Bright) feels phoned-in, and the plot is full of holes and eyebrow-raisers.

A real disappointment.
11 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Actually physically painful to watch...
4 June 2005
This is one of those movies that seems longer than it really is, because it's so horrible. Now, obviously you don't watch "Leprechaun in the Hood" expecting anything more than standard horror-comedy fare: some scares, some gore, some jokes, and some T&A. Low-brow is fine if it's entertaining. The problem, though, is that this movie is never really scary or funny (the racial stereotypes are initially sorta-kinda funny, but quickly become embarrassing - as in, "Why am I still watching this?"), and the movie has no nudity to speak of (a major shortcoming in a flick like this, IMHO).

It's almost as if everyone involved conspired to make the most painfully bad movie in history...and they succeeded. Nothing in this movie ever makes sense. Nothing ever means anything. You hate all the characters on screen, even the villain. The "rap" in this movie is awful; while some might argue it's a parody of gangsta' rap, that still doesn't excuse it from having lame rhymes and a listless delivery.

Some movies are so bad they are good. This ain't one of them.
9 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Lots of flash, little substance (minor spoilers)
28 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Most people are enamored with "Requiem for a Dream" - they are taken aback by its gimmicky direction and its undeniably strong cast. This is a good movie - but not a great one. Burstyn, Leto, Connelly, and Wayans do give great performances, however.

Unforunately, there is little story here. The movie, when all is said and done, is jarringly predictable, and simply goes nowhere, much like the addicts and drug dealers it depicts. The implication, of course, is that substance abuse is a downward spiral, but it makes for a messy movie with little or no plot, and more importantly, little incentive to watch again.

Split-screens and time-lapse photography are fun little tricks, but they are ultimately overused by Aronofsky. They eventually take the viewer out of the movie's reality, or, at the very least, become a bit dull through repetition. Some of the plot turns in the film are eyebrow-raising - Connelly's character, for example, goes from a fairly normal person with a drug problem to a total junkie almost overnight.

"Requiem" is a flawed movie, but a good film. I only wish the screenplay was as strong as the actors' performances.

8/10
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A very good, but not classic, remake of the original (spoilers)
26 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Some horror movie remakes are as good or even better than the source material - the '78 version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," John Carpenter's "The Thing," and Cronenberg's "The Fly" spring to mind.

The "Dawn" remake, though a very good movie that all involved should be proud of, doesn't quite pull it off. It's quite entertaining and even has the trademark bleak, ambiguous ending of the series, but it just doesn't have the teeth or the soul of the original.

I don't know what to say about the remake. It certainly wasn't scarier than the original - zombie movies are hardly ever scary anyway. It was more "intense," if intensity can be measured by the volume of the sound effects in the movie and the speed of the zombies. The visual effects, set design, and score were all pretty much spot-on and, dare I say, better than the original.

Why didn't I walk away with the same "Whoa!" feeling I had when I first watched "Dawn" '78 on VHS?

Is the acting and characterization better than '78? Rhames and Polley are very good, and some of the other characters really stand out - C.J., Michael, and Andy. Everyone else seems to be window dressing, unfortunately. The original had four wonderfully drawn, complex characters - this one still has about four strong characters, but it also includes half a dozen people to be zombie chow. Too many people are introduced too fast for my taste - some of them literally only have one or two lines before getting munched by one of the new uber-zombies.

Ah, yes, the fast zombies. These guys can sprint as fast as when they were alive, they can punch through car windows and doors, and they can jump like spiders. They can crawl through dog doors like a snake, and they scale fences and climb buses arguably faster than living humans could. They are definitely more like "Return" or 28DL zombies, but with arguably less intelligence. They work pretty well IMHO, but the zombies aren't the problem.

The problem is the mall. Or, more specifically, the non-use of the mall. The original Dawn had that one half hour section in it (if you're a fan, you know the part) that will live on forever - the section where they live, hunkered down in the mall, for months, enjoying all its spoils, and realize that it's all meaningless, and that material things can't provide happiness. I LOVED this part - more than the gut-muching, more than the headshots, more than the rock-em-sock-em action - because it actually made me sad. I mean, how many horror movies make you sad and feel the bleakness that the characters feel? The original Dawn did this. The new one basically has people all bunched up in a coffee shop.

The social commentary is gone, as expected, and it has been replaced by dozens of gunshots. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I find myself wishing for classic lines like "When there's no more room in Hell..." There are quite a few homages and cameos for fans (I definitely cracked a smile when I saw "Gaylen Ross" as a store name).

All in all, a worthy remake that is better than I thought it would be, but I still wish Romero was involved.

3 out of 4 stars
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Dinner & a Movie (1996– )
Jumped the shark when Annabelle left...
8 March 2004
This "show" (actually a series of interstitials played during commercial breaks on TBS movies) is a cooking show that showcases a single recipe (loosely) inspired from the movie. Hosts and comedians Paul and Annabelle were entertaining and had a pleasant chemistry, with some memorable moments spent spoofing classic movie moments (Paul's turn as Tom Cruise on "Top Gun" was especially hilarious). The recipes, as with all cooking shows, are hit and miss.

Annabelle has since moved on to greener pastures (she did do the show for a long time), and Lucy has replaced her. It isn't quite the same, but "Dinner & A Movie" still works well.
13 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Probably the grittiest depiction of modern war ever made
29 December 2003
While it certainly isn't perfectly accurate (what war movie is?), "Black Hawk Down" does what few war movies ever do - it portrays a battle without endless prattle about how horrible and futile war is.

Confused? Basically, it boils down to this: every acclaimed war movie has implicitly been anti-war. BHD is neither jingoistic or pacifist; the American soldiers and Somali militia being portrayed on screen are neither heroes nor villains. Rather, Ridley Scott lets the viewer interpret the actions of the people involved and make up their own mind.

That being said, I have to confess I especially loved the part of the movie where Shughart and Gordon selflessly drop in to save that second helicopter crew. I'm certain their families and their comrades are proud of the bravery they displayed in the face of overwhelming, hopeless odds.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Better than TTT, but not quite up to FOTR (spoilers)
22 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
There's no pulling punches - ROTK feels rushed. It's certainly the best movie of 2003, and it makes the entire trilogy the best movie series ever, but as a third part and conclusion, it has some flaws.

Most of these relate to the ending(s). Let's face it - the end of ROTK in the books wasn't the strongest part, either, and neither is the end of Jackson's film. It goes way overboard when Frodo leaves for the Grey Havens - the scene seems to take as long as Trinity's death in "The Matrix Revolutions," though it certainly works better.

On the bright side, the battles are spectacular, the acting (especially Sean Astin, who deserves at the very least an Oscar nomination) is spot on, and the finale works well. I definitely liked how they changed the final encounter with Gollum in the Cracks of Doom - it's more dramatic, and it makes more sense than having Gollum simply fall off by himself. In this case, Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens improved on Tolkien IMHO.

9/10
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Brain Powerd (1998– )
A decent anime series...but the real gem is the soundtrack
4 December 2003
Overall, "Brain Powerd" is an okay animated series with some strange turns of plot (it seems a matter of course that mecha appear in the series - though it doesn't make too much sense :P). It certianly isn't a Macross or Gundam ripoff, but it isn't entirely successful in shaking off the "giant robot wars" so common in anime.

The real draw here, IMHO, is the utterly fantastic soundtrack by none other than the famed Yoko Kanno. Kanno really hits another one out of the park with this one, and it's worth watching the series if only for the music.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
The ultimate popcorn flick - breezy, predictable, but fun (very minor spoilers)
15 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
"Independence Day" is the epitome of the summer blockbuster. You have Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum cracking wise in an alien spaceship, major landmarks getting destroyed, and enough explosions and creature effects to please anyone. The story isn't that great (in fact, the whole movie is just a remake of "The War of the Worlds," right down to the plot twists), the characters are sort of stupid, the acting is just passable, but the movie isn't bad. It does miss the apocalyptic feel you get in other films, but obviously Mr. Emmerich isn't looking to bring anyone down on the Fourth of July weekend. The effects look good, there are some laughs, and everyone goes home happy. And maybe, just maybe, that's enough.

7/10
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Fly (1986)
8/10
Good performances lift "The Fly" - essentially required viewing for any Cronenberg fan
15 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
(minor spoilers - that is, nothing you wouldn't get from the trailer)

Canadian bio-horror director David Cronenberg has never played by the "rules" of modern horror. Here is another standout piece; instead of being a gory special effects movie with a love story tacked on, "The Fly" is exactly the opposite: the slow metamorphosis of Bruden with cues the audience readily picks up on makes for a tragic, almost inevitable outcome to the romance between Seth and Ronnie. David Goldblum and Geena Davis do some very good work here (they were a couple at the time).

You probably already know the basic plot, but the movie never insults the viewer's intelligence. It's ultimately a strange mutated movie - romantic-scifi-biohorror tragedy, much like Cronenberg's creatures themselves. While it's certainly only a good movie, it's still worth watching.

8/10
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
So much more than I expected... (spoilers)
8 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I loved "The Matrix." I even liked "Reloaded," though the flaws of the Wachowski brothers' filmmaking were becoming more apparent. I thought "Reloaded" took a lot of courage to make, and I liked the new direction for the series, since it made the conclusion that much harder to predict. Less appealing to me (and everyone else it seems) were the Zion rave and the CGI parts of the Burly Brawl.

I then heard lots and lots of negative reviews for "Revolutions." And I mean EVERYWHERE - in newspapers, on the net, and on IMDB. I was scared - had the Wachowskis finally failed? I went in with just a single hope: please be decent...please be decent...

These thoughts were dispelled fairly early on. In Mobil Ave., Neo has a classic Matrix moment: he runs into a tunnel, and, like Pac-Man, he comes out through the other side of the screen - the tunnel wraps around itself like a mobius strip. It's a nice comic touch, and put me at ease for the rest of the movie.

The coat check fight at Club Hel was a bit of a let-down (very derivative of the lobby shootout, unfortunately), but the Mexican standoff with Mero's goons made up for it. "I'll kill everybody in this room to get Neo back," Trinity says, and Carrie-Anne Moss makes us believe it.

The real-world action with Trinity, Bane/Smith, and Neo was pretty good, though I can't believe it took Neo THAT long to figure out Bane was Smith (maybe he was buying Trin time :P). It's nice to see that the people in the "real world" retain all their kung-fu skills and such.

Even the minor characters (like Mifune, the Kid, and Zee) received plenty of characterization. The "Battle of Zion," which I was concerned felt too fake in the trailers, came off beautifully. The whole desperation of it, the overwhleming feeling of inevitability - it was classic stuff. The streams of sentinels, the blaze of APU fire, the low-tech manner of resupply ("Reload!")...exciting and well done.

The final "Dragonball Z"-style fight was AMAZING. The water-sphere effect (especially the water falling down afterwards) was beautiful and impressive. Neo and Smith fly through the air in a ballet of kung-fu, and Neo actually loses(!). How many big-name sci-fi trilogies end with the main character biting the dust to save the world?

Overall, the movie was a fitting and respectable end to a great trilogy. It's certainly flawed, but nothing too critical has been screwed up, and the parts that are good are great indeed. There is even more religious symbolism and philosophy, and the Wachowskis allow the speculation to continue (Is it MWAM? Is Neo _really_ dead? Where did his powers come from, anyway? Will the peace last?) without copping out and forcing an explanation on us.

For the true believer in all of us...

8/10
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Not as bad as everyone seems to think...
5 November 2003
I can remember the first time I saw Episode 1, years ago when I was still in high school. I recall coming out of the theater, mostly pleased. I had a sweet lightsaber duel with my cousin (my cousin pretended to be Darth Maul). I thought it was a fairly good movie and that was that.

Then the talk came the next day in school. People on the net were really blasting Episode 1 - was my memory really THAT faulty? Yes, the movie was pretty bad compared to Empire Strikes Back, but so is 95% of the stuff that passes for sci-fi these days. Why weren't they comparing Episode 1 to modern sci-fi like Event Horizon or Virus? Surely Episode 1 was better than those movies.

People seem to have some kind of huge attachment to the Star Wars franchise. I mean, when you have movies with entirely different casts (save for Frank Oz as Yoda), you're going to have entirely different levels of quality. Let's face it, Ewan McGregor is no Alec Guiness, Liam Neeson is no Harrison Ford, and Jake Lloyd is certainly no Mark Hamill. Lucas was dealing with inferior actors...of course the acting would be inferior.

Then there's Jar Jar. Well, slap my tail and call me crazy, but I don't think Lucas meant Jar Jar as a racist character. I think he wanted a fanciful alien companion for Anakin, and he went too far. Edit the movie a bit, and Jar Jar becomes a non-factor. C3PO and R2 did some pretty stupid stuff in their day, too.

I think Episode 1 is a decent movie. Nothing particularly good, but nothing to justify a 1/10 score. It has one of the best, if not THE best lightsaber fights in the series, it has a nifty pod-racing sequence, and it has Natalie Portman. And for me, that's enough.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Howling (1981)
7/10
Dante's tribute to the werewolf movie - A worthy companion to American Werewolf in London (spoilers)
2 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Joe Dante, most famous for the creature feature "Gremlins," is obviously a big-time werewolf fan. "The Howling" is littered with references to werewolf movies and werewolf movie actors (Lon Chaney Jr., anyone?), in addition to being a good werewolf movie in its own right.

The makeup effects displayed here are roughly equal to Rick Baker's famous work on "American Werewolf in London" (Baker was a special effects makeup consultant on "The Howling"). We get another real-time transformation from man to beast, and it looks pretty good, even by today's standards.

The story is a bit dodgy, and slightly off-pace with too many lingering shots of the woods outside the Colony. The acting is mostly crisp, with standout performances by Karen White and a young Robert Picardo (yes, THAT Robert Picardo of Star Trek Voyager fame). "Bright Boy" himself, Dennis Dugan, isn't bad either.

When put to a direct comparison, I'd say "American Werewolf" edges out "The Howling" by a tad. But it's comparing apples to oranges, of course.

7/10
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Brood (1979)
7/10
Shocking, chilling, and semi-autobiographical..."The Brood" is signature Cronenberg biohorror
2 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
If you haven't seen "The Brood," you should stop reading this and watch the movie; don't let me or anyone else spoil it for you.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS -----------------------------------

The great strength of "The Brood" is its pacing. For much of the first part of the movie before the first murder, it seems like a wrenching divorce drama with some psychology thrown in. You don't get the trademark biohorror grue of Cronenberg until much later on, and I for one think this restrained approach pays off.

It's certainly not the best Cronenberg has done (hell, I liked eXistenZ a little better), but it's very personal and very well executed. The characters are all a little two-dimensional, but Cronenberg movies are always about an idea more than about characters. Here we have the themes of divorce, child abuse, and alcoholism explored via a horror movie.

The standard "jump" scares of the horror genre are here, and they're at least as good as any "mainstream" flick coming out of theaters today. The elements of suspense are more abundant, as evident in the buildup to both the school teacher's murder and the death of Raglan.

All in all, "The Brood" is a strong early example of the path Cronenberg would perfect in movies like "The Fly."

7/10, 8/10 if you like Cronenberg
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Strong early no-budget exploitation from a true master (spoilers)
2 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Wes Craven has been involved in a variety of horror movies. Along with John Carpenter and Sean Cunningham (who produced "Last House"), Craven ushered in the slasher film in the 80s, and horror has never been the same. Before he started doing slasher movies, however, Craven worked on a number of different movies, including "Swamp Thing," "The Hills Have Eyes," and "Last House on the Left."

Best likened to Peckinpah's classic "Straw Dogs," "Last House" is a no-budget movie literally shot in the backyard of Cunningham's house in Connecticut. It's a fairly typical exploitation/revenge movie, except for the performance of one David Hess.

Hess' Krug Stillo is perhaps the most effective portrayal of a slimy, street-smart, patriarchal serial killer and rapist that I have ever seen (okay, so there aren't many characters like that, but who cares?). With wicked smiles and genuinely menacing dialogue, Hess' performance makes Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter look like a pansy. Simply put, you would never want to meet Krug anywhere, let alone a dark alley. This is all the more amazing given that Hess is such an easygoing guy in real life.

Craven's camera work and sense of pace is very strong even this early in the game - the shots are realistic without ever being MTV-like or jarring like other low budget movies (*cough* Blair Witch Project *cough*). The story is all about the generation gap and how people can become killers when they are faced with killers. In "Last House," the WWII generation parents are sweet at the beginning of the movie, but at the end, they've taken on several psychotic killers...and won. "The greatest generation," indeed.

7/10
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Did I miss something? "Temple" seems fine to me...(minor spoilers)
26 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Most people seem to dislike (in some cases, even hate) the second chapter of the Indiana Jones series. I have to ask them, why is this so?

A lot of people seem to harp on Willie Scott as annoying. She's SUPPOSED to be annoying - Indie and Short Round react plenty of times to Willie's screaming and complaining. Not every female on a movie screen has to be an assertive "grrl-power" fighting machine. In fact, I'd wager that many people, male or female, would react the same way to the crazy stuff that happens in "Temple" (hey, fall from a building, get chased by gangsters, get fed monkey brains, and fall from a suspension bridge, and you'll be screaming, too!).

The movie moves along at a great pace, has plenty of exciting set-pieces (a wild nightclub fight, a freefall from a plane into a river, a crazy mine car chase, the aforementioned huge suspension bridge, etc.), and certainly "feels" like an Indiana Jones movie. Harrison Ford is in great shape here and has jumped into his character with all the experience of "Raiders". The fighting is more natural and less stilted than "Raiders," and that scene where Indy cuts the bridge is really, really cool.

I won't go as far to say that "Temple" is the best of the series (IMHO that honor goes to "Raiders" for its overall originality and plot, as well as for the score), but it's certainly worthy of the Indiana Jones name.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Don't listen to the critics..."Reloaded" is, in some ways, better than the original (spoilers)
20 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
If you saw "The Matrix" one time and understood exactly what was going on (like I did), you'd know why I think "Reloaded" is, in some ways, better than the first film.

To put it bluntly, "The Matrix" was predictable. It was basically a Judeo-Christian messiah story with guns and kung fu. The effects were ground-breaking, sure, but the story was essentially nothing more than Plato's "The Cave" mixed with the Terminator movies. There were few plot twists, and after two viewings, one basically understood everything about the movie.

Naturally, the Wachowski brothers could have simply rehashed this. You'd have Neo exploding/kung-fu fighting hundreds of agents as Trin and Morph lead a desperate last stand against the machines. Eventually Neo would win a hard-fought battle, bring down the Matrix, unplug everyone, and power down all the machines at the same time (all peppered with one-liners). Easy, right?

The sequel turns this all around in a single scene, oft-criticized by the masses. When Neo gets to the Architect, according to the laws of the first movie, the story should end.

But it doesn't.

"Reloaded" turns the entire mythos on its head - the "One" isn't much of a One at all, the machines have always been in control, Zion is about to be destroyed, the Oracle and the Keymaker really aren't Neo's allies, and the prophecy that pervaded the first movie is total junk. For these characters, it's the equivalent to the Second Coming being a sham. How's that for surprise?

Don't like the talking in Zion? It's necessary to give some exposition. The first "Matrix" was essentially exposition for half an hour, as well. The only difference was that Keanu and Larry were doing the talking, not some little known actors. People don't have patience with non-stars any more, I guess.

Yes, the Zion rave is bad. Does it bring down the whole movie? Nah.

Have problems with Neo and Trinity's sex scene? Grow up. That's what people in love do.

Yes, that last part of the Burly Brawl looks fake (of course, no one ever talks about the first five minutes, which are absolutely enthralling). Can you think of any other way to film 100 identical Agent Smiths facing off against Neo? It would have been impractical and even dangerous to the people involved to have 100 people flailing around on a set, no matter how well-planned the choreography. The CGI solution was the ONLY way.

I'm sick of the Matrix-bashing, just as I'm sick of the LOTR-bashing. Can you honestly say you've seen an action movie with the depth of "Reloaded"? Certainly not one made this year. I'm certain we'll all laugh at the criticism after "Revolutions" puts "Reloaded"'s dramatic twists in perspective.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
QT, why oh why couldn't you have made this one movie?
12 October 2003
I'm not entirely sure if the decision to split "Kill Bill" up into two parts was artistic or financial, but whatever the cause, the fact that "volume 1" is only half the story quickly demolishes any hope for an epic QT Asian trash-action film homage. Instead, viewers are left hanging until 2004(!), and that's not conducive to good cinema.

What's here is mostly great. Uma Thurman turns in an inspired performance as an avenging angel of death, and the many fights are pleasing and gory as all hell, though not quite up to the standard of movies like "The Hidden Fortress" or even QT's inspiration, "Kage no Gundan". The soundtrack and visual style ooze cool, but one senses QT has lost some of his creative steam somewhere after the gigantic "Crazy 88" fight - after all, there's only so much that can be done with samurai swords. Give us some guns, Quentin!

The anime sequence explaining O-Ren is beautiful and well done, but some of the other gore effects don't work quite as well. The problem here is that QT decided to put much of the main fight in black and white for the American release (reason is still unknown - perhaps U.S. audiences can't handle gore?). When gallons of blood are lovingly crafted to splatter onscreen, the viewer almost aches to see them in vivid color...

The casting of Lucy Liu was a huge mistake, and the Charlie's Angel still hasn't learned how to act. Vivica Fox is basically tossed aside after the first sequence, though hopefully her snappy character will return in the second movie. The trademark time shifting works well, as do some original camera angle flourishes, but it's not enough to make "Kill Bill" a classic. Overall, the first half of the fourth movie by QT ends up being an 8/10.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Woefully unknown piece of anime
30 September 2003
"SE: Lain" is a great anime series. It's not godly perfect or anything, but it gets up there...way up there. From the killer opening title sequence (with a great opening song, by the way) to the strange "previews" (they only consist of a girl talking and her body parts - I'm not kidding) for the next show, "Lain" certainly has a fairly unique style. But it goes beyond style and gets into substance.

The story is simple at first and seems half-predictable in these post-"Matrix" times. After a classmate seemingly commits suicide, Lain gets e-mail from the dead girl. Apparently, her consciousness is still on the net...or is it? From then on, things get weird, complicated, and interesting.

Splicing in elements of Matrix-style cyberpunk, X-Files conspiracy, and the David Lynch-esque surreal, "Lain" is, like the Wired world it portrays, a synthesis of disparate ideas and personas, all thrown into a blender for the viewer to interpret. The interpretation's the thing, and those looking for action or comedy may come away slightly disappointed. After 13 episodes, there will probably be more questions than answers, but isn't real life like that, anyway?
37 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Cherry 2000 (1987)
8/10
Surprisingly fantastic...a real treat
17 September 2003
Okay, "Cherry 2000" has finally achieved "cult film" status. But unlike many other cult movies, it actually deserves the title.

There are many things to like about this flick. The nuanced, likeable Ben Johnson has a good role that even delivers some tragedy (how often do you get that in a b-movie?). The charismatic Griffith is alternately contemplative and kick-ass. Of course, Tim Thomerson as Lester nearly steals the show, providing a truly strange, ruthless villain.

The effects are cheesy, sure, but they never look fake, unlike a lot of the CGI films coming out today. When you see E. Johnson's Ford being dangled over the Hoover Dam, that is an ACTUAL car, not some stupid digital effect.

The movie does lay its message on thick, but considering the obvious budget constraints they were working with, that's a perfectly excuseable flaw. The satire is at times hilarious (watch for Larry Fishburne's turn as a lawyer with Morpheus-esque reflecting sunglasses, and the final exit of the villain is truly visually ironic). I bought this on DVD (having never seen it on TV) and really liked it...maybe you will, too.
55 out of 65 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Peckinpah's greatest movie is still great after over thirty years
16 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
(spoilers)

"The Wild Bunch," while lacking the bubbly mass appeal of "The Getaway" or the deep character study of "Straw Dogs," is easily Peckinpah's greatest movie. This is the apex of the cinematic gunfight - the inspiration for every John Woo and Wachowski that ever walked the earth.

From beginning to end, the film is packed with signs of a changing West. Everyone is ugly and dirty in this movie, but even the bad guys get a little redemption in their willingness to die for their friend. The final gunfight is simply ravishing, no bones about it - and that's why this belongs on the top ten westerns list - along with OUATIW, High Noon, etc.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Incubus (1966)
No-budget horror film classic
28 August 2003
This movie, directed by Leslie Stevens, is notable for its use of a pre-Trek William Shatner, its fantastic cinematography, and, most importantly, that it is the first and only film to have been made entirely in Esperanto, an obscure, nation-less language created by a single man a century ago.

You learn right from the start that, at the very least, "Incubus" takes itself seriously. The moody score seems cut right from an episode of "The Outer Limits" or "The Twilight Zone," and the effective illustrations adorning the opening titles fit perfectly. The stark black shadows and beautiful use of natural light (the film was shot at Big Sur), as well as the language barrier presented by Esperanto, makes the film feel like a Bergman flick.

The movie does end kind of abruptly, but it's a decent little movie.

7/10, 10/10 if you want to see some Esperanto
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Funny, unfocused, and completely contradictory...
25 August 2003
It's a strange, strange world and Moore's camera captures that perfectly. But are guns the problem? The NRA? The violent media? The corporations? Is everything to blame? Is nothing? Moore's documentary sure raises questions, but it gives almost no answers.

Ultimately, the Columbine killers were only helped by this documentary, with the gruesome footage from the cafeteria giving the shooters the fame they always wanted. Instead of blaming everything else, why not blame the Columbine killers themselves, or their parents, or their peers, who were around them more than anyone else?

Their targeting of "jocks" and "popular" kids shouldn't just be written off...it's symptomatic of the growing schism between the experiences of baby boomers and their children. Lacking the support of communities in increasingly anonymous suburbs, kids feel more isolated than ever. If anything, Moore's documentary is a disservice to all those who died at Columbine. Sure, it's fun railing against Vietnam and Heston and K-Mart and practically EVERYONE you even slightly disagree with (the French love the movie, by the way ;P ), but does K-Mart really have responsibility for the bullets that WERE BEING FIRED BY THE COLUMBINE MURDERERS?!

An uneven documentary that doesn't compare with "Roger and Me" or "TV Nation."
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
They're driving Mercedes, which are also guns...
6 August 2003
My aunt made a really funny comment when we watched this movie. See the title of my comment. There are guns everywhere in "Fulltime Killer."

There are good references to "Leon" and "El Mariachi" among other films, but Fulltime Killer doesn't reach the levels of cinematic excellence displayed in those movies.

There are a few nice touches, and the romance here doesn't feel forced, but overall it's just an above average action flick.

7 out of 10
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A decent feature-length episode of an incredible series
29 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a diehard "Cowboy Bebop" fan, so I have to be honest in saying that the movie version fell a bit short of my expectations. It's not bad, and actually very good at some points, but it's about ten minutes too long and not quite up to the quality of the best episodes in the series ("Ballad of Fallen Angels," "Cowboy Funk," "Pierrot Le Fou," "Real Folk Blues").

(spoilers)

Jet never gets to DO anything (I know he's a homebody, but he never even meets Vincent), and Faye, Ed, and Ein are mostly relegated to sidekick duty. There aren't enough fights (there should be at least seven or eight, given the 114 minute running time - 4 episodes in the series worth), and bits like the air combat seemed tacked on, as if Watanabe was saying, "We HAVE to have air combat - it's Bebop!"

Spike is pretty good at contrasting with Vincent, and Kanno and the Seatbelts' soundtrack is superb (perhaps even better than the phenomenal TV OSTs), but these are ultimately not enough to make the film as good as it could have been.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed