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Pyun wasted the last chance he had to make a decent action film
Albert Pyun is considered a B-movie respected author, and quite often some great names of Hollywood work in his projects. This happened in Crazy Six, when Pyun could count with the presence of Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds as a sheriff and in Postmortem starred by Charlie Sheen.In Ticker, Pyun reunited action star Steven Seagal and the always reliable Tom Sizemore and Dennis Hopper in a story of a mad terrorist plotting to blow up Chicago and an edgy cop who won't stop at nothing to catch the bomber, with the help of the chubby leader of the Bomb Squad (Steven Seagal). Unfortunately, bad script and an uninspired direction by Pyun turned Ticker into a complete mess.In what seems like a bid budget for a B Movie, Pyun didn't know how to take advantage of that, and the result is a slow-moving, sometimes boring, confusing action flick.
Burt Reynolds saves this film from being a complete mess
Director Renny Harlin reunite with movie star Sylvester Stallone for this year's blockbuster, Driven, an action-drama about the highly dangerous and thrilling lives of race drivers and the volatile world of automobilism, in which champs are made with the same ease they are destroyed. Driven (known previously as Champs) could have been a better movie, wasn't for its videoclip style (sometimes it's impossible to know what's happening on the screens, there are so many things going on, so many style and so many clever shots that you actually loose your interest for the story itself and watch Driven just for the exhilarating accidents all well-done and incredible realistic) and some sleazy performances, with the exception of the always excellent Burt Reynolds, by far the best thing in Driven.He actually saved the film from being a complete mess.The story (full os cliches) tells the story of a young rookie driver who is having problems with all the fame and money that comes along the job, and the hard-nosed boss of the team (Burt) calls for the help of Joe Tanto (Stallone), a retired cart driver.It's the typical story of the old-timer who made a lot of mistakes in life and now wants to pass the experience he gained with the bad choices he made to this young troubled man who turns out to be a kid with great potential. Overall, it's ok if you don't expect a lot.
The year's finest film!
This is the tragic real story of Jackson Pollock, a brilliant but troubled painter who had problems with alcohol and never got recognized by the critics and public alike,at least not before his death.Pollock is Ed Harris' debut as a filmmaker and if his next projects equal the quality of this good biopic, he has a great future as director and not just as a (talented) actor.I really enjoyed this movie a lot, starting by the performances of the stellar cast.Harris is terrific as the troubled Jackson Pollock, he really gave his very best to create a sensational character,portraying Pollock with realism and heart.Harris also didn't vacillate in getting a lot of weight in order to show the last painful days of the painter with accuracy and courage.But in terms of outstanding performances, Ed is not alone:Marcia Gay Harden is good as Pollock's resigned wife,Jeffrey Tambor steals some scenes as Pollock's critic and friend,and even Val Kilmer does a good job with the limited screen time he has.But is Jennifer Connelly,as Pollock's beautiful and seductive mistress, who contributes more for the movie as a whole.Talented,charming and with a striking presence that resembles a young Elisabeth Taylor, I can't understand why Ed Harris didn't develop Jennifer's character a little bit more but nevertheless, Jennifer is always Jennifer:great and undeniable talented.The other high points of Pollock are the soundtrack (the melody that starts the film is simply thrilling), the nostalgic photography and of course, Ed's skills behind the cameras.Buy Pollock's DVD, you won't regret!
Cherry Falls (2000)
One of the better horror movies that came out in recent years
The story of a little town, Cherry Falls, whose virgins are being stalked and murdered one by one by a mysterious psychopath who wants revenge for an unpunished crime that took place in the same town years ago.One of the better horror films that came out in late 2000, Cherry Falls is the typical case of a nice movie that doesn't get the recognition it deserves.The film didn't even get a theatrical release and was exhibited on TV by USA Network.Thanks to a really original director who knows how to make pictures, Geoffrey Wright, a cast formed by talented and decent actors and a storyline that really holds the tension and keeps you guessing,this gripping and outstanding thriller can now be appreciated by horror fans on VHS or DVD.Brittany Murphy comes out great as the main character, she is so sweet and beautiful, on her way to become a movie star in the years to come, specially after her incredible performance in Don't Say a Word, so does Michael Biehn and specially Jay Mohr, who is devilishly funny and bitter.Look no further for a great slasher thriller: Cherry Falls is a good choice!
A climatic follow-up to Silence of the Lambs!
After having escaped from the FBI in The Silence of the Lambs, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is now in Florence, Italy, with a new identity, studying art and living a good life.Disgraced cop Clarice Starling is being pursued by a vain and cruel colleague,Agent Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta); and her career is in the middle of a downfall thanks to her gung-ho tactics on a narcotics case.Mason Verger (Gary Oldman)is the deformed multi millionaire who wants revenge over Hannibal (he is the sole survivor of the crazed psycho,but ended up with his hole face destroyed),and to do so, he is willing to use Clarice and Agent Krendler in order to track down the doctor.Verger's greatest wish in life is to see his wild geneticly changed animals eating the crap out of Lecter.This sequence to the highly acclaimed Silence of the Lambs has its moments. The movie is visually stunning: powerful imagery and breathtaking camera movements are all around the film, but it lacks a little bit of action and rhythm in some parts, specially in the beginning and in the scenes involving Starling."Hannibal" gets on track when it shows Mason's guys and a detective hunting down Dr. Lecter in Florence. The director, however, brought the suspense and tension from the book by Thomas Harris to life, creating memorable scenes that won't be easily forgot, specially the ending. The acting is outstanding, specially from Gary Oldman, who should win an Academy Award Nomination as Best Supporting Actor, his portrait of Mason Verger won't get out of your head for days. All in all, Hannibal is a nice thriller and definitively a must-have for DVD owners.
The Way of the Gun (2000)
Stay away from this one!
This if the film that marks the debut of screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie as director. Although he has showed some competence as writer with The Usual Suspects, his job as filmmaker is disastrous. What could be an efficient and original suspense turned out to be a mediocre and disgusting picture filled with gratuitous and brutal scenes that pops up at the screen without any apparent reason. Simply put the performances as the worst ones you'll ever see in your life, with the exception of James Caan. The confused storyline tries to blend drama, comedy, violence and action following the "Quentin Tarantino formula" by the book but fails miserably. Stay away from this stinker.
Reindeer Games (2000)
Masterpiece delivered by a real filmmaker!
Reindeer Games is the first motion picture directed by acclaimed filmmaker John Frankenheimer after his 1998 top-notch thriller Ronin, the movie that marked his regained prestige. The success of Ronin landed Frankenheimer a three-picture-deal with Miramax, and by judging the quality of the first effort, Reindeer Games, Miramax did the right thing when they hired Frankenheimer.He may have made some wrong career moves (like directing The Island of Dr. Moreau), but he shows here that when he puts his mind into something, the man delivers perfection Working with a young and talented cast, Frankenheimer once again creates the kind of thriller that made him famous for: Reindeer Games is a rollercoaster ride of suspense, tension and a lot of style. It reminds a lot those exciting and explosive masterpieces of the 70's like The French Connection.Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) is a tough but good-hearted con who is going to be released soon from prison after doing his time and wants to start a new phase on his life, completely devoted to his family. He is inspired by his best friend Nick (James Frain), a guy who is also going out at the same day of Rudy. Nick exchanges letters with a kind and sweet girl, Ashley (Charlize Theron), and she gives this man the strength he needs to deal with the horrors of prison. When Nick is stabbed to death during a fight inside the Messroom, Rudy decides to pretend that he is Nicky in order to conquer the girl's heart. But he didn't count on the fact that Ashley has a dangerous brother who read all the letters Nick made to her, and now wants him to be part of a risky plan to pull off the perfect casino heist during Christmas. A truly exciting and compelling movie, Reindeer Game came on the right time, bringing originality and quality for a gender that is in the I.C.U. thanks to bombs like Get Carter and Mission Impossible 2. This is a one-off, a masterpiece built by the guy responsible for classy and unforgettable blockbusters. Reindeer Games carries a kinetic, wall-to-wall energy like those good old fashioned tough-as-nails movies of the golden era of Hollywood, using quick cuts, intelligent camera movements and a dry and direct style of telling a story. The sharp and ironic dialogues yield some funny moments, but Frankenheimer shows that he didn't lose his touch when it comes to orchestrate action scenes with mastery.
Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)
This film is Inferno, all right!
Hellraiser:Inferno is a pretty awful film. I never thought that the interesting and powerful series created by the genius Clive Barker would end up in a garbage like that. The first one was a masterpiece, the second was terrific, and mind you, the third one was at least hallway good. Things started to go wrong with the fourth one.I mean, the impression you have during the running time of Inferno is that the guys of production didn't have enough money to make at least a decent B movie. The story is confusing, the acting is horrible with the possible exception of Graig Sheffer (who had chances to become a star and wasted them all, he must wake up every night screaming and asking himself what did he do to deserve such a fate), and director Scott Derrickson tried to turn Hellraiser: Inferno into a cheap copy of Se7en. SPOILERS AHEAD Sheffer plays a corrupt and dirty cop trying to catch a serial killer called Engineer who turns out to be Pinhead. During the investigations he stumbles across the weird creatures of hell and the worst special effects Hollywood has to offer.The cenobites, however, looked cool (the two new female twins cenobites are at the same time frightful and in a strange way seductive, but Pinhead appeared in just two scenes). Hellraiser: Inferno certainly doesn't deserve your time and money.
A roller coaster ride of violence!
This is what I call a really, really brutal and sick flick. If you thought that The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes were violent and repulsive, wait until you watch Shivers. Before viewing it, I knew I should expect disturbing and weird things from David Cronenberg, but Shivers is such a terrifying and brutal picture that I couldn't believe in what I had just seen when the credits started to roll. The Fly, Scanner and Videodrome are examples of David's fascination and obsession with the flesh and the ways in which technology and sex blend themselves in modern society, Shivers is crueler and more offensive then those three ones and it stays more faithful to the director's ideas because it doesn't have limits: this was David Cronenberg's first motion picture, and at the time he was hungrier (and crueler) than ever, he knew that Shivers was a do-or-die project, and that the movie could mean a ticket to more sophisticated and better offers.He was working into a extremely small-budget, the mother of all creative ideas (Wes Craven with The Last House on the Left and John Boorman with Deliverance).The film centers on a closed complex of buildings infested by parasites that are turning the inhabitants of the place into sex-starved maniacs. As the parasites infect the people, a series of rapes and murders start to happen inside the buildings, turning everything into a living hell.Get ready to witness a man opening a guy's head with a hammer, a woman with her little daughter being raped inside an elevator and a doctor being brutalized inside a pool by thousands of maniacs. If you don't have a strong stomach, stay away from Shivers!
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
The importance of friendship!
Girl, Interrupted is one of the top ten best movies of 1999 (better than the highly overrated American Beauty and the tedious The Green Mile), an involving and interesting drama that catches your attention from start to finish without appealing to over-the-top and exaggerated dramatic scenes.It's a fresh, agile and often funny entertainment that leaves you by the end with a smile on the face .In my point of view, the main theme wasn't the question of "what's sane and what's insane", the real goal was to show how friendship is important for our lives and how it's imperative to keep a good-heart and be noble and human even at the most disgusting moments of life. In another director's hands, Girl, Interrupted could ended up being the typical Hollywood tear-jerker, but I have to give kudos for James Mangold (the guy responsible for the efficient and underrated Copland), who inspired terrific performances by a great cast (specially by Brittany Murphy, she is an actress you should keep an eye on - expect to hear a lot about this talented, beautiful and charming young woman on the years to come) and told the story in a realistic manner(what makes Girl, Interrupted seems a little bit hard in some parts), but also leaving a positive and upbeat felling in the audiences as the story develops the relationship between the characters. That's when we understand that a friend always makes a difference in our lives.