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Pearl Harbor (2001)
Simply the most moving film experience in memory
I guess that's a pretty bold statement, but "Pearl Harbor" took me out of my seat and into the film--into the characters and situations--in a way that I've never felt before. And I've loved movies since before I can remember! I saw, back when "Titanic" or "Braveheart" came out, the reaction people had to them, and now, I've found my "Titanic." I know why they saw "Braveheart" a half dozen times. Watching Michael Bay's film, I was reduced to a child, bright-eyed and completely believing, and also forced to recognize my adulthood in the knowledge that people like my grandfather made great sacrifices in the second World War that I will never understand or appreciate. And I got to, for a short period of time, be someone I never was, who fought not just for his country, but for the love of an elegant, beautiful girl. I don't think I'll elaborate much more on any of this, as it could only cheapen the sentiment. I do suppose there will be many who didn't like the film, and mock those that did (there always are), and some of their complaints may even be valid, but there's no way anyone can tell me I didn't FEEL the joy, despair, love, and hope that I felt in that theater on May 25th, 2001.
Lost Souls (2000)
An unbelievably bad horror movie
A truly remarkable achievement: "Lost Souls" manages to turn a terrifying premise (Ben Chaplain is the Antichrist--but doesn't know it yet--and Winona Ryder is part of the group that has to stop him before he brings about the end of the world)into a dull, scareless stinker of a horror movie. Finished in 1998, it sat on the shelf for a looooooong time (and should have kept sitting there). I am usually pretty lenient on horror movies, but this was among the worst I've seen in the theater. Winona Ryder had a dazed, almost drugged look the whole time. I know I'd have to be medicated to appear in a film as awful as this one. First-time director (but long-time cinematographer) Janusz Kaminski shows us his talents lie in framing a shot and adding an interesting look to a film, but also that he should stay far away from the narrative part of filmmaking. John Hurt appears as a priest, but his role is really only created so we can be afraid of the forces the good guys are up against. The worst element of this film was how much they built up to the climax that never came. At the end, I felt I had been in one of those terrible carnival rides that you waste half the night in line for, then come out wishing you had gotten on the Tilt-O-Whirl again instead.
A thrilling victory
I expected a lesser film, just a violent man-pleasing actionfest with plenty of digital backgrounds, but was very pleasantly surprised. Well paced, well acted, and very well told, `Gladiator' is a fine, fine film, filled with fantastic set pieces, thrilling battles, and a varied array of interesting and noble characters. Russell Crowe delivers a powerful, intense performance that's sure to win him acclaim and fans (he's easy to cheer for). This was a film on a scale so grand, I can think of only a handful of films like it in the last twenty years. It was exciting, moving, and best of all, deeply satisfying. Ridley Scott should be commended.
Saturday Night Live (1975)
A tradition of laughs
It's hard to hear people call this show terrible. "SNL" is THE television influence on my life. I love it wholeheartedly. True, there have been some dry years (and unfunny spells), but if the show ended today, I'd remember it as the funniest, most-quotable, most-consistently entertaining program ever. Since childhood, it was the show we'd talk about at the beginning of each new week, and I hope that never changes. So many great cast members, so many great sketches, so many great memories.
Bloodlust: Subspecies III (1994)
Better than the first, but not the second
Though not quite as great as "Subspecies 2," and with an unsatisfying ending, it was still better than the original.
It picks up where the last one left off, with babe Michelle in the vampiric clutches of Radu and his shrivelled, cackling mother, and the forces of good attempting to save her. There were some great and legitimate moments of tension, mostly due to characterization, and that's always welcome. Anders Hove does a fantastic job as the pitiful, all-too-human vampire, Radu, in love with Michelle who can only hate him. It was well-written, although a lot slower-moving than "Subspecies 2," but definitely worth a look.
Mutant Man (1996)
So bad you may enjoy yourself
People never rent this kind of movie to sit and analyze it as if there were anything artist going on. It ain't Hitchcock, it's an independent no-budget mindless grade-Z Horror film. People watch this kind of thing to have fun, and I certainly did. Yes, it is crap. Yes, it is poorly made. No, there is no story. Yes, the acting is abominable. No, there's nothing redeemable about it. But if you got a bunch of friends together, late at night, maybe downed a couple six-packs, you'd laugh yourselves sick. It is among the worst, the least frightening, the most embarrassing, the least logical, the most juvenile, the least-literate, and stupidest movies I've ever seen, but I had more fun and laughed harder during this than the last half-dozen flicks by the Zucker Brothers. Yes, it's bad. . .but almost in a good way.
Bad dialogue, acting, and story--but lots of nudity!
This was a simple and stupid film. An evil warlock tries to collect enough damned souls (using naked women in various ways to achieve this means) to bring the devil to earth. He uses this super-hot blonde lass (one of many throughout) to get a young warlock to do his bidding, and... Do I have to describe this to you? Many times the dialogue was laughably bad, and the special effects were cry-ably bad. The plot was so thin many times I forgot what was supposed to be happening. But there was a lot of naked, gyrating flesh, and be honest, that's why someone would check this out. Isn't it? It was all so rushed and amateurish and cheap, but, unlike the first "Witchcraft" (which had all those qualities), I kinda liked this one. And why not? It wasn't unspeakably bad. The women were attractive. I didn't go into looking for "Halloween," or even "Halloween 5," so I enjoyed the heaving bosoms and barely-memorized lines. If you're one of those people who like this kind of stuff, you will too.
The Forgotten One (1989)
A surprisingly good ghost story.
I had never heard of this film, and didn't think this would be too great. But this movie was pretty damn good. Who knew? I am a little biased, because I really like Terry O'Quinn (from those good old "Stepfather" movies). But I'm also biased in the other direction, since I really dislike Kristy McNichol. In this film, a recently-widowed writer moves into a house in Denver, only to find it haunted by a blood-curdlingly scary (at first) ghost. When he collects enough courage to investigate, he finds that the ghost is actually a blood-warmingly hot woman, who died in the house. His neighbour (McNichol), first believes him crazy, then tries to save him as he falls in love with the occasionally bare-naked and occasionally homicidal ghost. The first half was very scary, and by the end, it actually got pretty sweet. In the end, I was very glad I watched it, and a pleasant surprise is the best surprise of all.
Blood Sisters (1987)
Not worth seeing.
"Blood Sisters" was just a terrible movie. The story went: a bunch (too many, actually) of sorority pledges spend the night in a haunted ex-bordello. Inside, there are a lot of ghosts (including lesbian ghosts, kids), but nobody pays them any mind, they only care about the psycho that slaughters them easily and unnoticed during the night. There was a foreign feel to the film, though I think it was American, and it felt like it was made around 1981, although the tape claimed it was 87. There's a ton of nudity and disturbingly pornographic closeups of kissing, and some pretty brutal killings. Listen for great dialogue like, "You don't have a father...do you know what that makes you? A pervert!" Usually, these movies are fun, and I love to watch them, but not "Blood Sisters." It was dark, dull, illogical, and not really worth watching.
The Stay Awake (1988)
A poor horror film that's easy to sleep through.
This movie had definite potential: a large group of nubile young girls are stalked in a locked-up Catholic School by an evil, unstoppable force. I'll bet there's even a good movie in that premise. But "The Stay Awake" was not it. Overly European, some of the poorly-dubbed dialogue didn't even sound the right gender. It moved slowly at first, then ground to a screeching halt that continued almost until the end. Who really needs ten minutes of Camera-As-Killer roaming the halls, looking for victims, yet finding nothing? Time after time, the unseen killer would lurk, follow, and approach one of the girls, only to be gone when genuine tension was right around the corner. And when he finally started to kill, it made less sense than "Basic Instinct" on the Superstation. When at last we saw the killer's face, it was some poorly-made body suit with a plastic rat's head with bulbous red eyes. Why? That's not scary. There was never any explanation as to the killer's motives, or why he came back, or why he would be attacking people in Europe (though the supposedly-American prologue took place in no America I've ever seen--obviously the same un-named and nondescript European locale the rest of the film took place in). The only highpoint was how genuinely attractive some of these girls were, sparking hope that we'd get some cool interaction, real character development, or at least a good shower scene. Well, when they hit the showers, the scene immediately cut to what was going on elsewhere, as if this were a made-for-television movie somewhere and nobody told us. Lack of nudity aside, none of these girls (except the one dubbed by a man) ever seemed to be an individual (just "Girl 1," "Girl 3," "Supposedly Fat Girl But Isn't", etc.) and I cared about none of them. All for the best, since the film ended abruptly and unexpectedly, with (SPOILER?) the 'all-powerful' killer easily defeated. I feel I've wasted a lot of words and time describing this dull, not-entertaining failure of a movie. Don't waste yours.