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Scott-8

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60 reviews in total 
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This wasn't a Star Wars film, 23 May 1999

If I was a die hard fan who sat six weeks waiting to get in to see this movie, then you might think, well, you were expecting too much. No, I'm an average movie goer who snuck in to the early Friday show.

This was awful! I felt more like someone had licensed the "Star Wars" franchise and made a big budget overblown rip-off. I can't believe this was made by the same man who did the original, I only hope Lucas opts out on directing the next two.

The dialog was stale, the pacing was off, the lines were read, not spoken, the music didn't have any memorable rhythm and intruded more than accentuated, and things like the two headed announcer seemed a little too earth like.

Lucas even rewrote some of what made his original movies so good.

But what I hated most about the movie wasn't the character everyone loves to hate- Jar Jar Binks, it was cute little Anakin Skywalker. I've never understood why film makers want to stick in a kid to make it more "appealing," the effect is more often to ruin the film. And Jake Lloyd just isn't right for the part- THIS is going to be Darth Vader?

Not only that, we are told over and over about how wonderful and intelligent and here to save us Anakin is, and how he's the "chosen one." If Lucas expected us to feel foreboding at the tragedy that will forefall Anakin, he missed the mark. I was more irritated at how Anakin seemed to be there for product placements for games and toys.

George, you blew it this time, big. But you can still save it; let someone else direct, spin Jar Jar off into a Saturday morning show, and ditch the kid. Especially the kid.

299 out of 353 people found the following review useful:
One of the best, 10 April 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's two things that stand out to me always about this movie, and indeed about all of Sergio Leone's movies. One is his understanding of pacing events, and the other is using his actors/actresses to actually act. When you see Claudia Cardinale riding up to the ranch, all you see is her face, but you can tell instantly what she is looking at and everything she's feeling. You know Henry Fonda's the bad guy, but when he smiles faintly at the young boy, you feel there's something more to him, a personality and human qualities, even if he is evil. The final shoot-out itself is a masterpiece. The two protagonists say nothing, but as they face off the music lets you know the moment as come. As they stand ready the scene that's been hinted at throughout the movie plays out like a dream, revealing what the whole story was about. Then, without warning, they draw and fire. Just as in real life, it's over before you notice it. What today's movies lack is how quickly they cater to MTV video inspired nonstop action and endless clichs. The bad and good guy duke it it out, the violence is so extreme that no human could actually survive it, and always just when you think the bad guy is dead he gets back up for one last shot. How much I wish today's film makers would learn Leone's lesson about TIMING, and let suspense build rather than force it in. The music score, which had certain pieces and sections for various moods and to signify the main characters, is one of my favorites. Even if Clint Eastwood wasn't in it, Charles Bronson fills the role of the mysterious stranger and adds his own elements to the character. How I wish they still made movies like this

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Adventures of a Giant Tortoise, 8 April 1999

I'm not a fan per se of the Japanese monster movies, although I do know who Godzilla is, but have never heard of Gamera before. This movie modernizes the Japanese monster movie agenda with newer and better special effects; several sequences work very well and are just as good as mainstream Hollywood, others are pretty lousy. Many scenes were shot outside in, where before it seemed all Japanese movies were filmed entirely on sound sets. At the heart though, is the main event of all these movies, two guys in rubber suits stomping all over a model of downtown Tokyo. It's nice to know in the era of CGI animation that model makers still have a bright future.

Gamera is not quite as heroic as Godzilla; he's a chubby tortoise with upward pointing tusks, but he does get around with a jet "engine" he has built in his shell. He also has a tendency to suddenly fall from huge heights and go ka-boom. As for the plot, well, the main part I remember about the movie was Japan looks really nice in the springtime.

Armageddon (1998)
Absolutely Bad, 5 April 1999

In my deepest hopes I'd like to think that somewhere in Hollywood one of the producers of "Armageddon" wakes up after a fitful night of sleep, splashes cold water in his face, and looks at himself in the mirror, thinking, "My God, what have I done?" But I know the truth is they're thinking "people went to see this movie, let's make more!"

It's easy to see what they were planning on; take the formula of "The Rock," add in some good 'ole boy characters to liven it up, and a healthy dose of patriotism, and you get a movie everyone will love and have a good time with.

At least "Armageddon" showed me what happened to all the Junior High drop outs who never did anything but get into trouble ended up at, they're working on off-shore oil rigs. A key to any movie is liking or identifying with the main characters; but here they're like the loud next door neighbors, you just wish they'd go away. When they get let out to see "what they're trying to save" and they make a beeline to a strip joint, maybe we're better off getting pulverized by the asteroid.

And in a tradition that runs from Fred Flintstone and Archie Bunker, brawn and know-how takes the place of training and skill. I'd love to see it where a highly trained and educated scientist or engineer can do the job, rather than Bruce Willis stepping in the door and telling everyone in two minutes how things ought to be done.

Finally, about all the scenes of run down small town America with little kids running around in denim overalls toting US flags and toy space shuttles- let me put it to you this way, I'm an American midwesterner in a small town, and I couldn't believe the false patriotic hype. May this movie mercifully slide into obscurity.

Predator (1987)
Schwarzennegger in his prime, 31 March 1999

In the mid to late eighties it seemed as if Arnold Schwarzennegger could do no wrong. Practically every movie he made was successful, people loved him, and things were good. "Predator" is typical of the movies he was turning out, just enough schlock and humor to add some fun, serious enough to get your attention, and gobs of special effects and action. Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura complement rather than compete in the drama, and there's enough shoot outs and one-liners for everyone. (Bad Idea, Stick Around.)

What's always stuck in my mind about this movie was where the final battle took place, a forest with huge trees and an almost primeval look to it. I've always felt the director was trying to symbolize going to the basic instincts of survival and conflict; when the identity, race, and origin is stripped away, and all that is left is two beings fighting to the end. Maybe I'm just reading in too much.

Most people would agree that "Terminator Two" was the peak of Arnold's acting talent, but "Predator" is a sample of what he did when making hit movies was his bread and butter.

13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Decent, but not great, 28 March 1999

"Biggles" aspired to be an adventure movie in the sense of the old serials and dime novels; it comes close to succeeding on some levels, but blows it where it matters. The story itself centers on a bland frozen food marketer who keeps finding himself transported back in time to help a pilot.

Some things worked out very well; the close up shots of biplanes dogfighting and streaking down to just graze the ground, the accuracy of the equipment and weapons for the time period. (For those who don't believe machine guns existed back then, the one they use is a Bergmann MP-18, which was correct for 1917-1918.) You also get to see Peter Cushing in one of his last roles.

Other things required some suspension of belief, namely the Germans developing secret weapons in World War ONE.

But what ruined the movie for me was the god awful eighties pop music soundtrack, and a lead actor who has as much charisma as a wooden door. You can tell they were thinking of making a TV series or move franchise from this one, with different music and a better lead, they might have.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Thinking Thriller, 26 March 1999

"Deliverance" is a thriller that forces the viewer to think about the consequences and meaning of our actions, no matter how justified. If you kill someone out of defense, would you take your chances going to the authorities, knowing the dead man's family and friends would be judging you?

It is also a movie from the "old school" of films, modernized for the seventies in content. Rather than relying on endless explosions and special effects, it instead focuses on a few dramatic scenes. Modern viewers might find this boring, but real life isn't non-stop action either. It also had Jon Voight playing the character of the "civilized" man, unwilling and unable to defend himself in the wild; a modern movie with today's cynical views would have no place for such a person.

I was surprised at how a pre-mustache Burt Reynolds showed some serious acting talent; I wonder how his career might have been different if he hadn't become the character he played in "Smokey and the Bandit."

My final comment is that this movie strikes close to home to me on many points. As a child I lived as a transplant from the suburbs to rural appalachia, and this movie shows the degenerate qualities of the South more openly than any other movie I've seen.

Redline (1997)
4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Bang, bang, shoot 'em up, 11 March 1999

This movie had the kernel of something different in its concept and layout, but blows it completely. Back from death movies with an action twist have been done several times, (good ones being "Robocop" and "The Crow") but this one doesn't even approach the philosophical aspects other than people looking at Rutger Hauer and saying, "I thought you were dead."

No, what made this movie start off different was the bizarre mix of old Eastern European backgrounds and settings with near future technology and lifestyle. This different look was reminiscent of (and done better) in Rutger Hauer's other recent movie, "Fatherland."

If the movie had tried it could have been a so-so Bladerunner set in Russia, or if it really made a leap it could have been something uniquely it's own. Instead it ruins any hope it had with endless shoot-outs and sex scenes. These in and of themselves don't make much of a plot or a movie, and I kept thinking of those parodies of Hollywood movies, which this one quickly became.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
This is a sequel?, 26 February 1999

"Rambo" goes off in another tangent completely from the first movie. In "First Blood" Rambo was an embittered Vietnam Vet who brought the war to America when his own country rejected him. Here he goes back to Vietnam to carry out unfinished business. The first movie was almost believable, this one is more like a hyper-action cartoon.

"Rambo" made Stallone a running joke for several years (don't get me wrong, he's great, but we all make mistakes) and almost single handedly spawned the genre of "back to Vietnam" movies that were everywhere in the mid eighties.

If you like lots of action and violence, "Rambo" will suit you well. If you want to take a movie seriously, look elsewhere.

Cobra (1986)
Stallone's lowest point, 26 February 1999

Sylvester Stallone has made good movies and bad, and this is about as bad as it got. Sometimes the image of a tough guy in sunglasses with an attitude works, like Wesley Snipes in "Blade," who exuded image, while in the case of Cobra all he amounts to is sunglasses.

Of all the characters getting killed and destroyed in this movie, the only one I felt empathy for was the hot rod. Yes, the hot rod. It had a more fleshed out personality than any of the bad guys.

Very little of this movie makes sense - In the real world Cobra would park his custom mega buck hot rod on the street outside his downtown apartment building and it would be gone in about ten microseconds. And how is it Cobra dresses like a hood when the rest of the police dress, well, like police?

And finally, I think any cop who announces to the bad guy in a hostage situation "You're the disease and I'm the cure" would be looking at some serious vacation time.

Don't bother watching it, you won't care what happens.


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