Reviews written by registered user

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53 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Should Have Been Called "Cannibal Ripoff", 12 August 2003

Why is it that in the '50s and '60s, Italians made so of the best movies, and then during the '70s and '80s, made nothing but zombie and cannibal movies? Probably because art films didn't make any money. , The Cannibal Movie, unlike the Zombie Movie, which was created by Americans and `exploited' by Italians, is a purely Italian creation, designed as a mondo exploitation showcase, and to make as much money as possible (no artistic integrity getting in the way here). Eaten Alive came during the Cannibal Movie heyday. The director, Umberto Lenzi, hadn't even hit his stride yet; his genre classic, Cannibal Ferox, was still a year away.

In plotting similar to (read: ripped off from) Ruggero Deodato's seminal cannibal classic, Cannibal Holocaust, a woman (Janet Agren) receives word from the police that they've received a 8mm film from her sister. She's gone missing in Africa, and it's suspected that the tribal ritual depicted on the film may have something to do with it. Mel Ferrer, as a Professor of Somethingoranother, tells her that a man named Jonas (Ivan Rassimov) has started a Jonestown-like cult in New Guinea, and that's where the sister is. The woman hires a guide (Robert Kerman) to take her through the jungle to find the cult and her sister. And, wouldn't you know it, the jungle is full of cannibals.

One sentence should sum it up: if you've seen on Cannibal Movie, you've seen them all, mostly because these films steal shamelessly from each other (Lenzi copied Cannibal Holocaust to make this film, and retooled this to make Cannibal Ferox; Deodato copied parts of this for Hit and Run). And because they all share the same material, they all feature the same traits: awful photography, boring scenery, terrible dubbing, overacting, and exploitation, exploitation, exploitation. Genre fans will have a ball since everyone in it is a genre veteran. Rassimov and Kerman have a scenery eating contest. Agren exists solely to be naked, raped, or in peril. Plenty o' gore for all the sickos out there. The cannibals, who do actually appear to be native cannibals, eat lunch met disguised as human flesh. And, in the grand tradition of Cannibal Movies, any live animal shown onscreen is usually killed shortly thereafter. Overall, really not a good experience, but I'm sure there are psychopaths out there who find this excrement entertaining. I know I did.

Hitch-Hike (1977)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Hesstastic!, 12 August 2003

Ah, the exploitation movie. A staple of the ‘70s, it has all but disappeared these days. Americans tried their best, but the best exploitation was made by the Italians (this title is now held by the Japanese). The most common form of exploitation film is the No-Plot Movie, where the plot is really irrelevant in comparison to the horrors on the screen: it's merely a way to showcase all the fun exploitation bits without resorting to some sort of freak show. This film follows this structure to a T.

Genre staple Franco Nero and Corinne Clery play Walter and Eve, a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. They appear to be on some kind of trip, although I don't believe it's ever stated why exactly they're pulling a camper. During their Travels, they pick up Adam (David Hess), which is a bad move, because everyone knows David Hess ALWAYS plays the bad guy. Turns out, Adam is a bank robber who needs a getaway car after his broke down. So begins the cat-and-mouse game of Walter and Eve trying to escape, and Adam trying to get into Eve's pants.

There's only about 15 minutes of watchable material in this movie, which is a shame, since it's 100 minutes long. The acting is below par (Hess' acting is waaaay outside normal human parameters), the dubbing is awful (Clery obviously speaks no English), and the exploitation, well, really isn't that good (although Clery has no problem going full frontal). The makers of the film do come up with an interesting resolution that ties up a lot of loose ends, but I had stopped paying attention 40 minutes earlier. Not recommend, unless you're a Nero or Hess fan.

26 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Weirdest Japanese Movie of 1967, 12 April 2003

Wow, I thought the Japanese turned out some weird stuff nowadays. That lame crap has nothing on this wacky thing, which requires about 57 viewings to make any kind of narrative sense.

Jo Shishido (who has cheek implants (!!) that make him look like a chipmunk) is the third best killer in Japan. Apparently, all assassins in Japan do, other than kill people, is try to better themselves in the rankings. It's much like Pokemon, in a way. Jo strives to be number one, but, not only does he have to get past a bunch of backstabbers, he has to find the #1 Phantom, the high man on the totem. And when he does, it's rip roarin' nonsense time!

It's hard to tell if this is a work of genius or of pure insanity. There's no real narrative; more like a bunch of scenes held together by the fact they're all in the same movie. Some of the stuff is so nutty, it's hard not to call it brilliant, like when Jo finally does meet Phantom and they have a sit-down, Phantom pisses his pants rather than get up and take his eyes off Jo. Or the hit that gets foiled by a butterfly. Or Jo's girlfriend's obsession with dead bugs, which lay in piles on the floor. Or the shocking amount of sex and violence in a movie made in 1967. It's really no surprise that the director had his contract summarily terminated when the studio watched this: it is the weirdest movie to come out of Japan in 1967. Or maybe ever. Be prepared to watch more than once.

The Eye (2002)
The Sixth Sense meets The Hands of Orlac, 7 February 2003

In this rather slickly made thriller, a blind girl receives a corneal transplant. Once she is able to see, she becomes aware that she can see ghosts. And not just any ghosts: she sees the soon-to-be-but-not-yet-dead. Turns out her eyes were from a suicide victim with Cassandra-like visions of death and destruction. Talk about a botched operation.

This is fairly standard HK fare. It's well made and has a very Hollywood look to it (especially the apocalyptic ending). It's enjoyable, if not derivative of several films, up to the point where the girl visits the mother of the cornea donor. The movie comes off the tracks for a while, but gets back on for the ending. All and all, an enjoyable watch.

Ringu 0 (2000)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Bad movie saved by strong ending, 6 February 2003

By the time this movie came out, the Ring franchise had become a cottage industry, resulting in a number of books and movies. And this movie was to be the end-all-tell-all of the series. Unfortunately, it ends without telling us anything.

The movie starts 40 years before the first Ring. Sadako is a young adult working at a theatre company on a production called The Mask. When the lead actress mysteriously dies (no mystery to us; this is a Ring movie afterall), Sadako, the understudy, assumes the role. As more cast members die, Sadako falls squarely in the spotlight as the prime suspect. There's also a subplot about a reporter whose boyfriend was the man Sadako killed at her mother's ESP demonstration in Ring 1. Needless to say, she's not a big Sadako fan. And neither will you be, after watching this.

First let me state the ridiculous theory this movie came up with: there are two Sadakos: a shy and timid adult Sadako, who is good, and a silent, lurking prepubescent Sadako, who is evil. Somewhere along the line, Dr. Ikuma, who became Sadako's caretaker after her mother's suicide, managed to split one Sadako into two. The good side grew up, while the evil stayed the same, locked in Dr. Ikuma's attic. This kinda explains how Sadako can kill people and not be aware of it. It doesn't explain, however, why the Sadako of 40 years later is the evil one. But that's the least of the unsolved problems. Who is Sadako's real father? Where did the videotape come from? And why is Sadako so bitter (being stuck in well notwithstanding)? The only thing this movie has going for it is the great ending, where the two Sadakos merge and go on a murder spree (her confrontation with the reporter is particularly creepy). The final scene, where she dreams she's no longer in the well, may bring a tear to your eye. Other than that, there's no reason to watch this; you'll be just as confused about Sadako as you were before.

Record (2000)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
I Know What You Did Last Summer In South Korea, 18 November 2002

Movies that make tons of money usually go on to spawn a million copies of said movie. It happens once a week in the US (remember all the space-related films that came out after Star Wars?). So, it's only fair that, in the name of free trade, Koreans should be able to co-opt our popular movies; in this case, the one that help revive our stagnant horror film genre.

Movie in a nutshell: A dorky asthmatic kid that everyone hates becomes the butt of a cruel practical joke. Ya see, these kids that hate him have tricked him into starring in their latest home movie. Unfortunately, he is killed in the process. They bury (or try to bury) the body, only to be haunted by a mysterious stranger a year later. Hmmm, where have I seen this movie before...

Yes, this IS a Korean retread of I Know What You Did Last Summer, with dashes of Scream thrown in (they even go so far as to have the creepy sister from I Know..., played by a girl who looks exactly like, of course, Sadako). Those movies were not the greatest, and neither is this. If you've seen those, you've seen this. Even hardcore splatter fans will be put off by the fact that the Cat.III rating yields nearly no blood (what is this, the MPAA?). Probably shouldn't be watched, even though I did somewhat enjoy it.

Signs (2002)
Worst...Screenplay...Ever, 12 November 2002

I enjoy M. Night Shyamalan's previous movies: The Sixth Sense was very good, and I was cool with Unbreakable until the last five minutes, when he ruined it. Unfortunately, I hate this movie. Why? Because SOMEone's belief in their talent (I'm looking at YOU, M.) has gotten bigger than their actual filmmaking abilities.

The plot concerns a minister, fallen from grace, who wakes up to find a crop circle in his corn field. But this is no isolated incident; these thing are turning up all over the world. Hoax, or the real deal? Who cares.

First things first: worst...screenplay...ever; beats Plan 9 hands down. The only time the screenplay works is when the actors aren't talking to or interacting with each other in any way. Conversations are awkward and forced. There's a scene when aliens are breaking into the house, and Mel decides to stop and have a heart-to-heart with his kids. Awful. Speaking of acting, outside the marquee players, the acting is truly terrible; we're talking dinner-theatre-in-Sioux-Falls bad. M. even has the audacity to cast himself in a crucial role, but, because he has no acting ability, it ruins all of those important scenes. There are some genuinely scary moments (one in particular made me jump), but they are quickly ruined by someone opening their mouth and speaking. And lastly, The Trademark Shyamalan Ending. Yes, this, as in all his other films, has The Flashbacks at the end. But they don't give us any insight into what's happened (as in his previous films); they simply make a statement about the difference between coincidence and fate. BORING. And The Trademark Trick End Scene. It's as though the studio demanded he put a Trick End on this, and this is what he came up with before the screenplay had to go to the printers. It's very tacked on, and has little relation to the rest of the story (ie it's not the logical ending for this movie; what is? Who knows). Overall, a bad experience. If you haven't already added to the huge B.O. for this thing, don't. In fact, forget you saw it if you have.

Tomie (1999)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Confusing Mess, 10 November 2002

I wonder about the Japanese sometimes. What motivates them to make a movie? In the case of this one, it appears they just wanted to have Tomie look like Sadako, the nice ghost from Ring. I really can't see any other reason for this movie to exist. It's just that good.

It starts with Tsukiko undergoing hypnotherapy to help recover her memories prior to a traumatic accident. What she has conveniently forgotten is that this accident was actually her witnessing the murder of a classmate named Tomie at the hands of her then-boyfriend. Turns out this isn't the first time this has happened to Tomie. In fact, she (or parts of her) has just moved in to the apartment below Tsukiko, gearing up for a little bit of payback.

Sound interesting? It isn't. It's a good idea: a perpetual murder victim who always comes back to settle the score. But this movie is so poorly directed and written that the story gets overcome by boredom. The filmmakers have even gone so far as to almost make the movie confusing beyond comprehension by inserting an ending that raises more questions than it answers (that and poor subtitling confused the hell out of me). Really not worth the time to watch, plus however long it takes you to figure out what's going on. Avoidable.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Interesting Ghost Story, 9 November 2002

It is true that filmmakers get mellower as they get older. It's the only reason to explain how Herman Yau could go from The Untold Story and The Ebola Syndrome to this rather tame thriller. Fortunately, he's become a better director, cuz this is better than his earlier Cat. III fare.

Andy Hui plays a cop that goes into a coma after a shootout with some thieves. When he awakens two years later, he is suddenly able to see ghosts. Turns out, this comes in handy, because a nurse rapist/murderer has been on the loose while he was asleep, and ghosts of the victims like to report themselves missing (?!?). Only in Hong Kong...

For a movie that's got some really wacky crap going on, this isn't that bad. There are some nice touches here: the ghosts that help with the investigation, and the clever way that Hui communicates with them (so as not to seem like he's talking to himself); the cheap scares of having gross ghosts just pop out of nowhere; the hospital ghost taunting the oblivious killer. But there's also some silliness: the out-of-left-field identity of the killer (although there is a clever red herring scene before they catch him); the badly translated transition title cards that make it seem as though the movie is going backwards; the ridiculous, yet somehow, appropriate ending. And, to show that the influence of Ring has reached the Chinese mainland, there is a ghost that, of course, looks just like Sadako. All and all, a surprisingly enjoyable movie; better than some of the supposedly "better" Japanese horror movies that everyone (me included) loves so much.

Ringu 2 (1999)
14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
More plot, more scares, more idiocy, 22 October 2002

Even though Sadako had been around for a long time (there were Suzuki Koji's source books and two previous TV movies), it was the theatrical version of Ring that made her huge. So, of course, there has to be a sequel (which, oddly enough, wasn't based on the next book in Koji's series; different filmmakers had already adapted that as Spiral). It's a daunting task to make an effective sequel to one of the all-time creepiest movies, but the filmmakers pull it off. Unfortunately, a lot of stupidity gets in the way of the scares.

A lot of plot in this one. The movie opens a week after the first one ends. Reiko's dad has just died, and she and her son have gone into hiding. Mai, who found Ryuji's body at the end of Ring, is investigating her boss'/boyfriend's death. She thinks Reiko and her son hold the key to this mystery. So she teams with one of Reiko's co-workers (who's still working on the story of the cursed videotape) to try and track Reiko down. At this point, there's already enough plot for a movie, and I haven't even mentioned the return trip to Sadako's old home, the doctor who thinks he can get rid of Sadako, the burial of Sadako's physical body, the girl the co-worker betrays (and literally comes back to haunt him), and the weird, scary "exorcism of Sadako" finale. Plot, plot, plot.

Before I tear this movie a new one, let me say one thing: minute for minute, this one has more scares than the first one. In fact, the filmmakers have realized that Sadako has become so commonplace (a Sadako doppleganger appears in almost every Japanese horror movie made after the first Ring) that they need only show her trademark hair to invoke fear. And it works. But the massive, ridiculous plot nearly kills this movie. While it tries to explain the occurances of the first movie, it raises more questions than it answers (why does everyone suddenly have psychic ability?; why are people who haven't even seen the tape haunted by Sadako?; how does that girl see the tape if all the copies have been destroyed?) Still, with all of these potholes, the movie still works. It's also nice to see almost the entire cast of the first film reprise their roles (even the dead ones). An effective thriller, even though it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Fans of the first one won't be disappointed.

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