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Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005)
Good for the family
I've been watching this with my 5-year-old and find it's watchable by both adults and kids. The writing and dialog aren't wooden or simplistic. Although it's not at the depth of an Aaron Sorkin show, there is intrigue and nuance in the conflicts between Aang and his adversaries as well as among the adversaries themselves.
It's this kind of writing that can absorb and involve a first-grader yet not drive his parents up a wall that makes this more interesting to watch than say a "Fairly Odd Parents" or Disney's "Aaron Stone". These are writers/creators who trust their audience to "get it" and who try to keep things accessible without talking down to the audience. That takes both talent and skill.
Burt Reynolds plays a retired poker player who quit after losing his nerve and all his money. He's been out of the game for 20 years.
Brett Harrison is the up and coming young shark with natural talent, but a lot to learn. Burt offers to stake and coach him for a piece of the action... Sounding familiar yet? I don't need to tell you the rest of the plot because you should be able to figure it out for yourself. There are NO surprises in this movie. None.
Meanwhile, the stars sleepwalk through a script that presents no challenges.
According to IMDb's data, the film cost $5 million to make, grossed less than $100,000 in theatrical release, and got Burt Reynolds a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actor.
Deadly Matrimony (1992)
Pack of Lies
Alan Masters was a good man, victimized by a corrupt police force and corrupt judicial system that framed him for a crime he didn't commit.
They didn't even get him on murder. He went to jail on wire fraud charges... and he spent the rest of his life there.
You can buy Hollywood's biased account if you want, but this is a TV movie of the week with Treat Williams for cryin out loud. Who were they going to get to play him if Treat wasn't available, Eric Roberts? Don't buy into this shameful smear campaign. Alan Masters was a good man who was betrayed by people close to him. Don't buy into this melodramatic hatchet job!
Little Britain (2003)
Fun, but a bit repetitive.
Caught this on BBC America and have been Tivoing it ever since. The characters are great, but some tend to do the same joke over and over again. So, though this may not be a wonderful show for extended viewing, the first few episodes you see will have you in stitches.
Overall, I've seen about 7 episodes and haven't gotten tired of it yet. The show draws its humor from a deep well of absurdity, a natural resource the British seem to have in abundance.
They tell me I'm required to put 10 lines of text in this comment, so for the rest of this message, I will make giraffe noises.
Aliens in the Family (1996)
WORST SITCOM EVER
At 35, this is the worst sitcom I can remember seeing in my entire life. Considering some of the stinkers to hit TV, that's a heck of a distinction.
The mixed puppet/human cast (some sort of bad Alf rip-off) didn't work. The characters were awful and the jokes were pitifully hackneyed. If they showed this on a TV in a prison, the convicts could sue for cruel and unusual punishment. It was that BAD.
Anyone who fondly remembers this was probably 4 years old when they saw it, because anyone over that age (or over that *mental* age) would be hard pressed to stomach one episode of this.
Good to great action, but has issues
The huge car chase scene probably makes this movie, with everything else paling in comparison. The sheer scale of the destruction is amazing. I haven't enjoyed a chase this much since Pierce Brosnan took that tank for a joyride in Goldeneye.
My main complaint is that with the change from Edward Furlong to Nick Stahl, John Connor went from being a whiny snot to a brooding snot, but remained a snot nonetheless. If Nick Stahl's John Connor tried to give me an order, I'd push him down and stand on his head.
If they do a T4, let's see John Connor be a bit more heroic, a bit more confident and in charge of himself. In T2, Connor was a marshmallow. In T3, they added a graham cracker's worth of hardness. But to lead like his character eventually must, you need to be a sword, not a s'more.
And let's forget the comparisons to Michael Biehn I've been seeing in the user comments here. The only thing Stahl's John Connor has in common with his "dad" is stubble and ragged wardrobe.
Big Trouble (2002)
Fun, Funny, Worth Seeing
I really enjoyed this film. Think Elmore Leonard meets Donald Westlake, and you've got an idea of the kind of plot and quirky characters you're in for. The Elmore Leonard feel is mainly in the Miami setting (and possibly the fact that director Barry Sonnenfeld also directed "Get Shorty"). The rest... reminds me of some of Westlake's funnier, quirkier stuff, like "Why Me".
I laughed out loud, which I don't often do at movies, and I *loved* the supporting cast.
I'm disappointed that some reviewers have let September 11th make them hypersensitive about anything involving explosives or an airport. There aren't any actual terrorists in the film, no Arabs or other Middle-Eastern types with evil on their mind, just silly characters.
This was good, comic fun, and when it comes out on DVD, it will be a welcome addition to my collection.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
An excuse for legalizing marijuana?
This is the kind of movie where, about 30 minutes in, you wish you were really stoned, because you get the feeling the writers were really stoned when they wrote it, and being in the same state might actually make it funny as they seem to think it was.
Well, maybe the director was stoned, because about half of the jokes in the film that fail do so merely because of poor timing and inept handling. Maybe it was actually a good script, but the ham-handed directing ruined it.
Only the filmmakers will really know exactly how this film went wrong, the audience just knows where, and that's on screen.
I'm a fan of the genre, enjoy good parodies and satires, and felt completely let down by this film. The only "state" the writers of this film were in was one of catatonia.
So bad... it's bad!
I started watching this late-night on cable. Now I know why Kate Hudson wants nothing to do with her father.
At the beginning, I was thinking it had potential. First, it's a great trivia reference. Dee Snyder's serial killer in his 1998 film "Strangeland" takes his name from Richard Kiel's zombie killer in this film. I didn't know that before.
Then you look at the cast list... names to truly wow a connoisseur of comedy and character actors: John Larroquette, Keenan Wynn, Charlie Callas, Julie Newmar, Clint Walker, Murray Hamilton (the mayor from "Jaws" and "Jaws 2") as the mayor, Fraklin Ajaye, Bud Cort... as I watched the credits roll, my jaw was dropping.
Then the movie started. My mouth closed and only opened to laugh once (the Jaws reference) during the hour of it I watched. Most of the attempts at parody were ham-handed and poorly executed. It was sort of like watching Fozzie Bear going "wokka wokka wokka" over and over again. Problem is... when Fozzie says "wokka wokka wokka" like it's supposed to be a punch line, he's a parody of people like the Hudson Brothers who apparently think it *is* a punch line.
It seems like they were *trying* to be sort of a combo of Mel Brooks and Zucker Abrams Zucker (the team behind "Airplane"), but they try too hard. The jokes are obnoxiously over-the-top, the delivery is poor, the direction is awful, and the acting... uggh.
Maybe there's some good stuff after hour one that I missed by going to sleep, but it would have to be the funniest stuff I'd ever seen to justify sitting through that agonizing first hour.
Some movies are so bad, they're good. This one is just so bad, it's bad. I give it a 1 out of 10.
Think of it as a comedy
If you're looking for a serious monster movie, this isn't for you. But if you're a fan of the Tremors series, remember how fun and funny the first film was, and can keep yourself in that mind-set, then you'll enjoy this one.
It's a bit slow to get started, but when they introduce the latest evolutionary phase of the graboids, the film moves into overdrive, with action and comedy galore.
Sadly, the script has a few plot holes and the acting is merely so-so, so it's only a 6/10 in my book, but on a boring evening when there's nothing decent on, it's a great alternative to re-runs.