Reviews written by registered user
|26 reviews in total|
Everyone, *ignore* the whiny negative advance reviews and go see this movie! It is such an exhilarating rush it literally left me breathless. Dense political machinations balanced out by stunning visual beauty, a touch of comedy and some of the greatest science-fiction action sequences ever. Already being a SW fan will help you appreciate much of the plot-establishing material (and a lot of the dialogue), but I think ANY movie fan can enjoy it for its astonishing visuals, its exciting battle and race scenes, the calm and clever bravery of Queen Amidala and the touching scenes between young Anakin and the mother he has to leave behind. (I know this will be one of 1000 reviews - can't wait to read the rest!).
I'll be as generous as possible by saying that I can at least tell what this movie is trying to do: show the disorientation and weirdness of a living man's slow descent into undeath. However, in my opinion, it doesn't even come close to working as designed. The artsy visual effects, constant flashbacks, bizarre peripheral characters and other efforts at a "dream logic" feel only result in an exasperating incoherence. Totally unappealing characters, gratuitous gore (why would vampires be so wasteful of blood?) and too many different locations (should have stayed in Philadelphia with only flashbacks to Alaska - California and Louisiana sequences are completely unnecessary) add to a general feeling of wasted energy. (--and that...outfit...on Legion nearly made me lose my pizza.) Badly wants to be "Carnival of Souls" or even "Jacob's Ladder" but accomplishes only "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Glacially paced TVM in which kid discovers the existence of a vampire colony living in the New York subway. So much accompanying plot business that it begins to feel like an "After-School Special" - kid hero Zach comes from broken home, is neglected by workaholic mom, habitually tells lies about his great adventures (so, of course, no one believes him when he's finally telling the truth). Happy ending not only reunites Zach's separated parents but causes him to swear off lying for good *yawn*. Only thing that saves it from being formula teen adventure is the sympathetic and dignified performance of Ron Silver as master vampire Valentine Cutter, who has never lost his humanity. The only moments in which the film lurches up from its rut and achieves real beauty are those in which Valentine shows Zach the treasures of his subterranean world. For these scenes (which even coax some acting ability and charm out of the irritating Leopardi as Zach) - and for the terrific twist ending, which should give any viewer real respect for Valentine's nobility - I'm willing to cut it a little slack. But only a little...
No way I can say enough about this gem! My absolute favorite of all the Universal monster movies; a close runner-up (after "It Came From Outer Space") for the title of Jack Arnold's finest film; a beautiful, poetic, haunting chiller that truly carries forward the folkloric spirit of the 1930s classics. The brilliance of the Creature's conception goes beyond the grace of Ricou Browning's underwater performance to the elements of his predecessors that he combines. Like the Mummy, he has lived long ages beyond his time, is immensely old and alone; like Frankenstein's Monster, he seems to be a savage brute, yet shows gleams of intelligence and the appreciation of beauty; like Dracula, he is an abductor and seducer, who craves human company for inhuman reasons. Yet at the same time he's unique, as alien as any space creature, a mystery from the deep. Giger's elegant Alien and Sil ("Species") are surely his descendants. And he's darn scary too! with his unpredictable temper and long razor claws. All this resonance plus a creepy, lyrical river journey into deep mysterious jungle, gorgeous black and white photography (including Haven's glowing underwater work), Julia Adams' beauty, Richard Carlson's square-jawed scientific integrity, and Antonio Moreno's entertaining character turn as the stout captain of the RITA. Simply a classic! It's no wonder that, though the youngest and last of the line, the Creature has attained iconic status (and use in merchandising!) nearly equal to Dracula or the Monster.
While not Arnold's best film, IMHO (I find it a bit preachy and badly hampered by the rubbery silliness of the Big Alien Brain), this is still a memorable film. Though set in a beachfront area it happens mostly at night, using Arnold's typically haunting black-and-white compositions to set an appropriate tone of strangeness and isolation. The children, alienated from their preoccupied and overworked parents, are almost adopted by the space creature, which takes them under its protection (a drunken and abusive father is disposed of soon after the brain's arrival) even as it enlists them in its pacifist mission. At first fairly typical kids, they quickly develop an air of gravity and wisdom that remains after the alien departs, suggesting a lasting, even evolutionary effect. The film's title is perfect: the kids do become Space Children, more in tune with alien than human thought.
So bad it has to struggle even to be funny. All the "cute" character bits, plus Mamie Van Doren in an assortment of form-fitting outfits, can't save this nonsensical stock-footage-fest. And those "night monsters"! The Triffids should sue for plagiarism, if not defamation of character. Gad. How did this one escape the MST3K treatment?
I agree with Guilala, this is unusually dark and mystical for a Godzilla film, and an Ifukube score would have suited it perfectly. I'm not too impressed with Biollante's later metamorphosis, but its original form - a giant, mutant rose - makes it the most unique adversary in any Godzilla film (IMHO). Its first appearance, towering out of a still lake at night, is a tremendously strange and beautiful image. The mystical tone is served by the idea (if I understand it correctly) that Biollante in some way both draws strength from, and imprisons, the spirit of its creator's dead daughter - and can only be defeated when her soul is set free. Despite the fine Godzilla design for this film (the head is especially nice), Biollante and its/her creator are the core of the story and make it a real standout.
People are being awfully harsh on this unassuming little teenage-revenge-monster flick. I'm pretty fond of it, myself. The stop-motion aliens (by Phil Tippett) are well-done and engaging, the dramatic score is terrific (swiped for other films since, BTW), and c'mon, it's got Kim Milford in it! Don't any *girls* watch these movies? =) Besides, it's got empathy value: if you never during your teen years wished some super-powerful and massively cool-looking weapon that could fry every bully in town would fall into your hands, you had a better adolescence than I did...
I've always liked this movie: it takes a theme that could easily have been preposterous (a vampire Western?) and handles it with restraint, dignity, a nice feel for its two respective folklores, and deep, handsome B&W photography. It's an easy step from natural to supernatural for that classic Western icon, the mysterious, black-clad gunslinger who rides into town by night, and the rest of the movie is just as comfortable a blend. The laconic vampire, Drake Robey ("The dead don't bother me, ma'am, it's the living that give me trouble") is a noble monster who first preys on, then falls for the feisty rancher heroine, and there's a neat iconic scene involving a bullet mounted with Preacher Dan's precious fragment of the True Cross. Really a classy little movie and most unfairly overlooked - I can't believe this is the first comment on it!
OK, it's got one of the goofiest monsters ever constructed, a toothy rubber cone that no one could possibly take seriously. Never mind that. This is a nifty little piece of Body-Snatchers style Cold War paranoia about free will and the fear of ideological slavery, with Lee Van Cleef wound *really* tight as the Brilliant Scientist On The Edge, a never-better performance by Peter Graves as his Heroic and Visionary Colleague, and Beverly Garland at her all-time coolest - 50's sweater and all - as the rifle-toting wife who storms into Zontar's cave to settle the hash of the beastie who stole her man. This is *good* stuff!
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