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The Shining (1980)
Watch the mini-series instead
I'm sorry, but this movie is a waste of time. Kubrick was a brilliant filmmaker, but even he can make a stinker. Well, here it is. There is no sense of pacing, no character development, and the acting is just AWFUL! Shall I explain? Well, for a movie that is as long as it is, is sure goes nowhere fast. Talk about a snail's pace. Jack Torrance was supposed to slowly descend into madness due to the effects of alcohol and the spirits that surrounded him. In this movie, he is normal one second, and out of his mind the next. The acting. First the kid. Whenever he did speak it was like he was reading right off the page. Oh, and talking to his finger? That has to be one of the most unintentionally hilarious things in any movie of the last 20 years. Give me a break. Shelly Duvall just sleepwalked through this movie. Could her voice be just a little more annoying? Nicholson. He was being Jack Nicholson when he was supposed to be Jack Torrance. I don't know which performance was hammier, this or the Joker. It's as if he knew how stiff everyone else in the movie was, and he had to make up for it by going WAY over the top. Laughable and not scary. Now to its credit, the movie does have some scary visuals. The stedicam work created a very creepy feel, and some the exterior shots of the snowbound hotel were very eerie. The whole maze scene was creepy for about 30 seconds and then got dull. The tv remake was not only more faithful to the book, but the acting was better. Yes it was! The actors remained faithful to the characters and the material. In just about every way, the remake was superior. This movie was NOT scary! I was 10 years old when I first saw it. I remember it vividly, because that night I also saw the scariest movie ever made, John Carpenter's Halloween. That movie scared the crap out of me. That is what a great horror film should be. The Shining, however, almost put me to sleep. Sorry Mr. Kubrick. Oh, and Mr. Nicholson? Switch to decaf.
Superman III (1983)
Not as good as 1 and 2, but still lots of fun
Okay, so there is too much comedy in the movie. But at least it's funny. The comedy inserted into the Batman movies was just plain awful. There are enough daring rescues and superhuman feats in this film to more than keep you entertained. Christopher Reeve is great in this. Especially when Superman becomes evil. The fight between Superman and Clark Kent is AWESOME! This is a grossly underrated sequel that, as far as superhero movie sequels go, is an Oscar winner when compared to ANY of the Batman sequels.
The Black Hole (1979)
A true science fiction masterpiece
In a day when garbage like ID4 (Independence Day) and Fifth Element are considered good sci-fi, it's refreshing to see renewed interest in the overlooked classic The Black Hole. I have loved this movie ever since I first saw it in 1979. Is it a Star Wars ripoff? Of course. So what? It is still a classic in every sense of the word. Great performances and a script that is actually thought provoking. It has not only a morality tale, but some first class adventure. How many sci-fi films today have that? Finally, the visual effects are as stunning today as they were 20 years ago. The shot of the giant meteor rolling down the length of the Cygnus toward our heroes remains one of the greatest fx pieces of ALL time! I for one can't wait for the DVD of this movie to come out. With all the Star Wars hype going on these days, it's time for this classic to have its day in the sun too.
Father of the Bride Part II (1995)
Not as good as the first, but good family fun
This movie is as thin as you can get. Its' emotions are easily played. There are no surprises. It is very predictable. And I say...so what? What is wrong with that? This is an American Dream movie. Everything goes perfectly and everyone is as happy as can be. Why should it be a complicated character study? It deals with the birth of babies. There's no complex feelings that need to be dealt with in this situation. A life is being created. A family is being blessed. A baby's birth is a time for love and hope. This movie has both in spades. It's a very positive movie that shows the joy a new baby brings. Every parent-to-be should watch it. A child's birth is an emotional event with no equal. This movie knows it and milks it for all its' worth. My only complaint is it should have been called Parents of the Bride. Way too much time is spent with the relationship between Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. There should have been more attention paid to Kimberly Williams. Not only were the scenes between her and Martin the best scenes in this and the original, but Kimberly Williams is the most beautiful actress to come out of Hollywood in many years. Forget all the blond, silicone filled, bimbos that every teenage boy raves about. Ms. Williams is a natural beauty that is a true role model for all young girls. She, and her character, is beautiful, intelligent, and has a heart of gold. Had her relationship with Martin been more focused, this sequel would have surpassed the original. While it doesn't do that, it is still a perfect film for the entire family to watch. *** out of ****.
The Shining (1997)
Better than Kubrick's version
Yes it's true. This version of The Shining is superior in just about every way to the Stanley Kubrick "classic". Kubrick's version took the bare bones of the book and used it as a backdrop to Jack Nicholson's overacting. This version not only remains loyal to the book, but is better example of character development. I was very skeptical of Steven Weber's ability to do this role. But he makes a meal of it. I know he won't get it, but he deserves an Emmy nomination. He was a better Jack Torrance than Nicholson. Nicholson was..Nicholson. Nothing new there. The only thing Kubrick's version has going for it is the tremendous use of stedicam. It has a very eerie feel to it. But the visuals are not the story. The story is the story. This is a very creepy movie, and well worth your time.
Max Q (1998)
Bruckheimer delivers even on TV
Jerry Bruckheimer is the king of modern day, testosterone filled action entertainment. So what if his movies aren't going to win any awards for their thought provoking storylines. More than any other producer in Hollywood, Bruckheimer understands this...movies are meant for ENTERTAINMENT!! When so many are obsessed with heavy dialogue, shake your soul, change your life movies, Bruckheimer seeks only to entertain and thrill you. This is something he and his late partner Don Simpson have been doing for years. I thought Armageddon was the best movie I saw all year. Why? Because it was FUN!! It made the most of the experience of seeing a movie in the theater. Now since I mention the theater, could Bruckheimer pull of the same magic on TV? You bet. Max Q is an action packed thrill ride. It has good performances, especially by Bill Campbell, a fast paced story, stirring music, and special effects that surpass anything TV has given us in years. Sorry all you Star Trek and Babylon 5 fans. Those fx ALWAYS look computer generated. Not convincing at all. Max Q is far from original. It's Apollo 13 meets Spacecamp. So what? If people wanted only original material on TV, reruns would not exist. But Max Q takes those old cliches, shakes them, and gives them new life. I thought this was a great movie. It was even better than some movies I've seen in theaters recently. (Waterboy is the worst movie in years.) So I say welcome to TV Mr. Bruckheimer! I look foward to not only your future theatrical projects, but your films for TV. You never fail to entertain. It's just too bad more TV movies can't be as exciting as Max Q. **** out of ****
Finally a worthy sequel!!
Halloween was, is, and will likely remain the greatest horror movie of all time. None of its sequels or imitators could even come close. Until now. Halloween H20 is a fantastic film. Unlike other films of this genre, it realizes that you need to care about the characters in order for the film to scare you. Gore does not equal terror. The original Halloween knew that and H20 knows it. It allows you to get to know the characters so you can root for them in the end. Unlike the Scream-type movies of today, teenagers are not the only ones with brains here. Jamie Lee Curtis gives a performance superior to her one in the original. Her character was destroyed from the events of the first film. We get to see her rebuild herself as she finally faces the fear that has haunted her for 20 years. Kudos to director Steve Miner. He creates a perfectly creepy atmosphere, allows Michael Myers to move like a person instead of a robot, and throws everything but the kitchen sink at us in a white knuckle ending. This is the first horror movie I went to in a long time where the audience SCREAMED with regularity. There were more screams in the last half hour of this movie than there were in SCREAM 1 & 2 combined. My only complaint is the over use of false scares. But other than that, this is a first class thriller that FINALLY does justice to the original HALLOWEEN. I give it ***1/2 out of ****.