Reviews written by registered user
|1436 reviews in total|
I liked it before it was cool.
Back in February 2002 a local cinema was showing the original Japanese version of Nausicaä and I decided to give it a go since I was such a big fan of Castle of Cagliostro. The English subtitles were horrendous and laughably in need of spell-checking, but the packed audience really got into it, and there was something infectious about the movie.
It wasn't until 2005 that Miyazaki allowed the movie to be properly released in Western countries after the disastrous 1984 cut titled "Warriors of the Wind" lost 21 of story and destroyed his vision. Miyazaki lost faith in selling his movies in foreign territories. The new English version has some dialogue problems that one last script revision could have solved, but it's still a far superior animated masterpiece than most of the Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks offerings of the past ten years.
A thousand years after mankind destroyed that planet and made it uninhabitable, humans have retreated to a few, isolated communities across deserts while a toxic forest spreads across the land. Nature is simply fighting back against the last of mankind, and the gargantuan insects in the forest might be initially terrifying, but are generally looking for peace and status quo.
In the Valley of Wind Princess Nausicaä leads her people with love and inspires them with peace. An invading army from the country of Tolmekia kills her father, the King, and provokes a confrontation with the insects of the forest.
Without Nausicaä there would be no Ferngully or Avatar. Miyazaki was well ahead of the game regarding the story and themes. There is imagination and scope here rarely seen in animation since. There are a few problems though - the subplot with the ancient warrior God falls flat and goes nowhere, the bad guys do not get the retribution that they deserve, and the ending is a little abrupt.
Joe Hisaishi's score is catchy and wonderful, and I highly recommend that you hunt down the many different versions available on CD. The Manga, also written Miyazaki, is much longer and expansive too if you're into that sort of thing.
Not my personal favorite Miyazaki film, but a masterpiece no doubt.
The Wii motion controller inspired many developers to take advantage of
the console with rail-shooter spin-offs of games that were successful
on the PlayStation and Xbox. Dead Space, the chilling 2008 survival
horror got its very own rail-shooter in the form of Dead Space:
Extraction. It's not a great game, and you'll forget about it soon
after playing, but it fills the time if you have some to spare.
The story takes place before the events of the first game aboard the Ishimura spaceship and switches the POV from about 5 different characters. There's not much atmosphere, and the lack of free movement can be quite frustrating. All you have to do is point and shoot at monsters, while frequently waiting through very long, unskippable dialogue scenes. It can get quite tedious and deters from playing levels again and again.
It's just not fast enough, or at least it's not fast in the right places. While the main series has a loyal fan following I can't see this disposable spin-off winning over any non-fans. I did find the character of Lexine to be impossible cute though.
Graphics B- Sound B Gameplay C Lasting Appeal C
Up until the early 90s New York City was a very different place when
compared to the vibrant cosmopolitan/metropolitan of culture and coffee
shops with free Wi-Fi of today. It was a very dirty city filled with
porno theatres, pawn shops, and crack houses where you couldn't walk
ten feet without getting mugged.
In the absence of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, morally sound/suspicious cop Matt Cordell makes it his duty to lay waste to the criminal scum infesting the city, but soon he goes too far and his maniacal ways catch up with him.
Grizzled Detective McCrae and rookie beat cop Forrest (that would be Tom Atkins and Bruce Campbell himself) team up to track down Cordell, who has been dubbed the 'Maniac Cop' by the New York media, who have stirred the city into a frenzy by implying ALL cops are to be considered suspicious.
There's more plot than is necessary for what is, in essence, a disposable 80s slasher flick, but it's nice to have those satirical layers, which are even more relevant now in an America with a rising police state in which even small, local forces are being heavily militarized with so-called 'rights' going out the window. In 2005 the Supreme Court ruled that police do not have duty to protect and serve anymore, only to enforce laws. Contemporary America is a breeding ground for many Maniac Cops, which lends the movie and ironic and prophetic edge, and makes it ripe for a remake.
Writer Larry Cohen (who also gave us The Stuff, Phone Booth, and Cellular) and director William Lustig have no illusion that they are delivering a trashy exploitation flick and everything in the movie is a testament to that from the harsh, sleazy cinematography to the mostly unattractive locations. Lustig even casts a woman with a disgusting cold sore in a bit part with many facial close-ups. Gross! But for a film set in New York it is so very, very obviously film in Los Angeles with anonymous flyovers of New York pasted onto it. Not really a big problem, but extremely noticeable. The only real gripe I have with Maniac Cop is that it sets up a lot potential that is never properly realized. The sequels were bigger and glossier, and aesthetically very different, making this first entry a bit of a weaker false start, but it is entertaining and Matt Cordell, despite being the antagonist, is a sort of tragic anti-hero in the mold of Jason Voorhees which is a mark of a superior slasher flick.
This movie opens with a shot of Manhattan Island and then never
features New York for the rest of the running time. Much like this
Nuke 'em High is a Tromaville hellhole populated by a diverse range of characters, some annoying, some funny. The Cretins (a punk gang in the vein of Griff Tannen's gang from BTTF Part II) have a deal with the neighboring nuclear power plant to deal toxic weed grown on the grounds. The sludge from the plant has already infected the school's water supply and is having a terrifying effect on the students. But the toxic weed causes horny feelings, speedy demon pregnancy, and sporadic superhuman powers (other students being completely unaffected by it is one of an infinity of logic errors).
Wholesome couple Chrissy and Warren, affected by the contamination and toxic weed, battle with the Cretins in a stupendously disjointed and senseless plot, but that's missing the point. Anyone watching a Troma film for serious art will no doubt be disappointed and confused. These movies barely hang together and were made by amateurs that make Ed Wood look like Orson Welles. The cinematography is wobbly and uncertain, the acting just about passable, the sound is barely audible, and for some reason generic 80s rock music plays in the distance during every single scene.
But it entertains. Class of Nuke 'em High may be trash of the lowest order, but it has a lot of energy, a lot of ideas (no matter how underdeveloped or misunderstood), crazy and interesting characters, is frequently intentionally funny, has mediocre-to-decent gore effects, has a gorgeous female lead in Janelle Brady (a sort of 80s Katherine Heigl, who has sadly massively deteriorated since then - missing and presumed dead in Las Vegas), and is never once boring.
If that is all the movie sets out to do then does that make it a huge success? It led to a sequel and a spin-off - so yes?
Winter Stars is a modern take on Olympiad events games like Winter
Challenge from the Mega Drive days. If you liked that game, as I did,
then Winter Stars will definitely keep you amused for a good while.
With a great assortment of sports such as ski-flying, bob-sleighing,
figure skating, snowboarding, downhill skiing, snowmobile races etc,
etc you are sure to have lots of fun. My only gripe is that curling,
the dullest sport in the world, takes forever and drags down the
overall rating and fun factor.
I expected the game to have a hub menu where you could simply access whatever sport you wanted to compete in and start winning those trophies but rather surprised by the story-driven progress through various cups and competitions. I suppose it's for the better and gives the game greater longevity, but in the third chapter it becomes very hard and I had to give up despite fully intending on aiming for the Platinum.
Despite these gripes I can still recommend it as a good game with nice graphics and some very fun events. A perfect game for this time of year.
Graphics A- Sound A- Gameplay B Lasting Appeal C+
Having never seen Scanners, despite many movie magazines hyping it
during my youth, and several home video incarnations coming and going
over years, I naively assumed that it would be as good as hype led me
to believe. It's not. It's a ramshackle, barely coherent bore populated
by the most unattractive cast of characters, gruesome early 80s
fashions, a dull, depressing production design, sound effects that are
about 1 second out of sync, laughable technology, a musical score that
sounds like a cat fitting on a broken synthesizer and some of the worst
acting I have ever seen.
The confusing story has a drifter played by Stephen Lack (who's surname surely refers to his acting ability) taken in by Doctor Ruth (no, not that one - an old man played by Longshanks himself) of the ConSec company and informed that he is in fact a scanner - a person capable of ESP and telepathic abilities (or "Tellow-pathic" as one of the company elders proclaims). Apparently there is another scanner out there (played by low-rent Jack Nicholson Michael Ironside) who is recruiting like-minded people (pun intended) to his evil scheme. Anyone who resists gets their head blown up with his powers.
The potential in Scanners is immense. This is a universe that could go literally anywhere and do anything with it. But I am led to believe that the sequels are very poor (even worse than this?) and the two spin-offs beyond that are apparently even worse. I never thought I say this, but a remake of this movie would be welcome. A 2-hour remake or even a Scanners TV show would make magic of the premise, but it's squandered on a low-budget piece of crap movie like this. I do understand that Cronenberg was under pressure to get the film in the can very quickly, and some of signature style is barely detectable within, however no mitigating circumstances can make me see past the multiple problems.
If you ever wanted to see a movie where a female doctor gets her brains
sucked out through her left eye socket then look no further.
Adapted from a 7-page story by HP Lovecraft, and liberally embellished to make a feature-length running time, this mid-80s shocker has all the components to be as memorable as Hellraiser or The Fly, but doesn't go all the way with the gore or tension. Hellraiser had themes of sexual perversion, while the Fly had perversion of science subtext. From Beyond has both, but ultimately just doesn't gel and doesn't fully realize its fantastic ideas.
Jeffrey Combs is Dr. Crawford Tillinghast, a physicist laboring in the attic of a spooky house on an experimental resonator that can open the door to a universe beyond our perception by stimulating the pineal gland in the brain. The experiment is a success, but Tillinghast's sado-masochistic mentor Dr. Pretorius (a name borrowed from Bride of Frankenstein) is seduced by the possibilities of the unknown and is mutated. Tillinghast is driven temporarily insane and flees the house.
A psychologist, played by the very sexy Barbara Crampton, has Tillinghast released from the loony bin on the condition that he fixes the resonator and repeats the experiment. Chaperoned by cheery cop Bubba Brownlee (the always enjoyable Ken Foree) the full horror of Pretorius' fate is teased at, but never fully revealed, as all three of the group suffer from sensory overload, with the female protagonist becoming increasingly sexual (a scene with her wearing S&M gear, even by 1986 fashion, is very hot).
I can't fault the film for its copious make-up effects and gore. There's simply not enough of it to turn it into a classic barf bag movie like John Carpenter's The Thing, but in an age where virtually ALL gore effects are done with shoddy CGI (even the most minute blood trickles) it's a breath of fresh air to see them done practically and in-camera.
Jeffrey Combs has made a career out of playing oddballs and mad doctors, including Stuart Gordon's own Re-Animator, which came out the year before (and which also inspired the Splatterhouse series of video games - and I wouldn't be surprised if From Beyond was an influence too). Barbara Crampton also returns, but while Re-animator was a campy, occasionally humorous, bloodbath From Beyond plays it straight and falls short of its goal. Probably the reason it has not endured as much Gordon's other series.
It's strange that From Beyond never got a sequel. The movie seems like a pilot episode for a series that could go literally anywhere. The full potential simply isn't realized in this manic 86-minute shocker. It could have been so much better, but is still a fun time.
Having never seen nor played any of the Lego movies or video games this
was my first venture into their blocky incarnation of various
franchises. I was fully expecting nothing but a feature-length
cut-scene but was surprised at how cinematic it actually is.
Opening with Danny Elfman's brilliant Batman theme (no offense to Zimmer but Warner knows that fans prefer this version), we learn that Lex Luthor and Joker have teamed up and have gained the upper hand over Bats and Supes. If only Bats had the humility to ask the rest of the Justice League for help. Skipping back a couple of days, the story of their dire situation unfolds. It's not an original framing device, but it was better than I was expecting.
Director Jon Burton (no relation to Tim) uses many atmospheric locations that look wonderfully photo-realistic, while building as much of the world as possible with actual Lego bricks. Builders will get lots of ideas when watching this movie. Rob Westwood's score, while very entertaining, does get a little overbearing at time though. He should have let a couple of scenes speak for themselves, but it's still good enough to warrant a release on CD.
There is a fun sense of humor permeating each scene, meaning that if the vivid sets and cute action don't entertain you will still be smiling. It does suffer a little bit from the "smashing skyscrapers" cliché that is common in many comic book movies but it's not too much of a distraction.
Far better than I expected. I will certainly invest time in a sequel.
While the world was still recovering from the over-hyped Todd Phillips
movie a smaller, quieter, but funnier movie slipped into cinemas and
made a little splash. Both feature groups of troubled men looking for a
good time, but Hot Tub Time Machine is just madder and more inventive.
Three losers and a tagging-along nephew book into a ski lodge hoping to relive their youthful experiences. But when the lodge turns out to be a dilapidated wreck they resort to just getting wasted in the hot tub. Said device sends them back in time when the circuits are fried by one of those awful energy drinks.
Arriving in 1986 (a year that presents us with several plot holes an anachronisms) they seize the opportunity to fix things for a better future (despite being warned not to) while Chevy Chase pops in and out as the hotel handyman who may or may not know the secret to time travel.
It's very silly, very irreverent stuff, but it works. There's almost a sort of magical, otherworldly feel to the hotel and Chevy Chase's character, I wish it was taken a little bit further (maybe in the sequel), and lampooning of 80s culture is spot-on, even if it's hardly the first movie to do so.
You won't stop smiling for the entire duration. Brainless or not, isn't that exactly what you want from a comedy?
From the first couple of minutes it's easy to tell that Don Mancini is
treating Curse more as a horror film than the previous couple of
entries in the series. The movie is shot and edited to build suspense
and is a world apart from the sitcom trappings of Seed.
A girl in a wheelchair (Brad Dourif's hot daughter Fiona) living in a rural home with her troubled mother receives a mysterious package one afternoon. It's Chucky, and he's somehow managed to get himself in the mail again. He's arrived to settle a score, and soon enough he has brainwashed a child into keeping his secret and is sneaking about in the shadows offing unsuspecting victims.
Many people are saying that this movie is a return to form, and that it retcons Bride and Seed out of existence. Er...no, the film very much DOES acknowledge the events of Bride and Seed. Even if you paid the bare minimum of attention it would be hard to not to realize this. But I guess that expecting the movie to go in a different direction only led to further surprises when it eventually did tie in to the previous movies as well as giving us more back-story to Charles Lee Ray.
I was worried that Chucky would be all CGI as Kevin Yagher has not been involved with the series since Bride, and while there IS some CGI, he's anamatronic for the most part. Instead of hogging the camera though he keeps quiet watches the humans interact for about half the movie before unleashing toy terror. Horror composer Joseph LoDuca delivers a pastiche of the Renzetti, Revell, and Donaggio's efforts without giving Curse a signature sound of its own. Not really a complaint, but more of a missed chance.
It's certainly a worthy sequel and a can be viewed as a genuine horror film without any of the guilty pleasure of Seed. Keep watching to the end of the credits for a further surprise that ties the series together even more (though it does contradict the closing scene before the credits actually roll).
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