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51 reviews in total 
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The Fog (2005)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
It Really Isn't That Bad!, 6 August 2006

The 2005 version of "The Fog" is no classic, but it is not the total dump that everyone is claiming. I perceive it as no more flawed than any of the modern "horror" genre. In fact, I found it to be overall, eerie, poignant, haunting and visually effective.

The cast all performed very well; no weak links. The production values were excellent. It was updated to current culture, and aimed at a youth market. I enjoyed the original "The Fog", and I thought this version traveled well with time.

The director made a concerted attempt to create a haunting atmosphere in the film, and I believe he succeeded overall. There were good moments of fright, even if the development of the story was somewhat uneven. I thought that the focus of the tale on the tormented Elizabeth Williams was clever. It anchored the otherwise naturally- rambling story line. The actress carried the part exceedingly well. I was much impressed. There were other excellent and eerie visual efforts that worked too. I would have liked more immediately visible "ghosts", but cannot argue with the overall effect.

As to what some were commenting on about the actors being too beautiful and "consistent"; the leading women in Hollywood have always been beautiful. The difference is that in recent times, women have found their métier in physical fitness. Female stars of yore had uniformly lovely faces, but their figures often did not match so well. I think the faces are still beautiful, but fitness endows one and all with a similarity of form. I thought each of the principle actresses in the film had unique looks, and excellent acting abilities. I had no trouble at all telling them apart.

One element of many modern films is the similarity of wardrobe. Ours is now a casual culture, and in films everyone seems to dress alike. I think this mistake, more than any other, is the principle cause of a seeming similarity of actors. In the past, actors were given distinct "looks" with wardrobe. Today that important point is often neglected.

When viewing any remake, I think it is important to not sit back and compare it scene for scene with the original, having a predetermined negative bias. Let the film stand on its own. Sure, there have been some pretty awful remakes in the past few years. But I have seen much worse films than "The Fog" in the genre praised highly on IMDb. This one is not bad at all. It is certainly worth a look if you are a fan.

King Cobra (1999) (V)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Rattler in the Hood?, 11 March 2006

Snake movies are the worst. And this one is the equal of any. A King Cobra/Rattlesnake hybrid has escaped from a lab wrecked by two of the most insane scientists in film history. The scene was brief, but possibly the most entertaining in the film. The monstrous mutation has claimed a small, rural town as its territory. Of course they are about to have a festival a beer fest no less! And will the Mayor cancel the festival because a couple of people are killed? What do you think?

The acting in King Cobra is remedial at best. Even Pat Morita cannot make is role entertaining. The stoic Casey Fallo was a pretty good reason to keep viewing. She was nice to watch in what little she was given to do. Everyone else was just not in attendance.

Perhaps the major problem for me in the film is that a snake was able to outsmart one-and-all homo sapiens throughout most of the film. And the two ton beast seemingly appeared and disappeared with all the velocity of a mako shark. He wafted through the delicate branches of trees with the grace of a ninety pound ballerina. A trained deputy is cornered against a tree by the rampaging reptile, and she panics, seemingly forgets she has a pistol in her hand, and screams for the hero; who drop-kicks the lightnening-fast saurian without even getting bitten.

One must always suspend belief to some extent in order to enjoy a monster film. However, the director created such a "super snake", and such inept humans, that King Cobra far surpassed my ability to stretch reality.This mess eventually became boring and predictable. That is the only real sin a monster film can commit. And it is terminal in King Cobra.

But it just might be that the worst faux pas of this film was the beer recipe recited by the supposed artisan brewer. If you are able to muster the gumption to watch this snake calamity, listen carefully for it. This "master brewer" is concocting a classic American mass-produced, tasteless near beer; not a sapid, artisan brew. After all, snakes are a dime a dozen, but a really good beer is sacred.

I cannot recommend this film, unless one is in traction and cannot reach the remote. However, perhaps enough good beer could make it tolerable?

Caved In (2006) (TV)
7 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Hey, This one is pretty good!, 15 January 2006

Those Sci Fi channel monster pictures are usually just not very good. They follow some iterative formula that seems to never really excel. Remember, they did all those awful snake movies. But this bug adventure is a winner. It has some dimension, but still focuses on the monsters that try to reinvent the food chain with people invading their underground territory. This is finally "man versus nature" that the Sci Fi folks should have been doing all along; although for me, the biggest attraction was those beautiful women, all of whom can really act too. I fell in love three times during the film; all at once.

This film has some pretty good monster bugs; an extensive, dangerous cavern; a hidden trove of gemstones worth risking life and limb to obtain; a truly insane and determined villain; a redoubtable hero; and an utterly hilarious, air-head, blonde daughter, who is just to love! Can you ask for more? Yes you can; Monica Barladeanu. And she's right there in the cave with you.

Of course the plot wanders into the arena of the ridiculous; of course the bugs are basically without personality. Those are Sci Fi channel trademarks. But the adventure of it all; the dimension gained in splitting the family into different perils and paths; the deadly struggle in the caverns; seeking the gems at all cost; and trying to escape the hordes of monster beetles; all works for me. I think it is pretty good, classic, low budget science fiction that we all know and love! It is certainly a people-chomping, bug-crunching, beauty-ogling good time for one and all.

28 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
What A Great Idea!, 15 January 2006

Mix Guy Madison, at the peak of his popularity, a genuine western with a great villain, a fair-to-middling fight, a cattle stampede, a comely heroine torn between love and obligation, an unintentionally obnoxious little Mexican boy, a mysterious, deadly creature lurking in a vast- well maybe- swamp, and you have a terrific science fiction oater that for some reason seems irresistible for me. I remember this film from childhood, and it has been so rare over the years. I cannot even find it on DVD. It is appearing on cable now and I do not miss an opportunity to watch.

As low budget as the film was, I think the monster moves quite well; especially when it is running. And I love that tongue! Once the beast appears, the film ramps up the action and never stops until the end.

This is somehow a spellbinding film. Go figure! You can laugh at its low budget antics, you can enjoy the romance, you can hiss at the villain, or just enjoy the monster. This film is really entertaining; a tribute to the attracting power that Guy Madison always had on film. Get yourself a good beer, some gummy dinosaurs, lean back and have fun!

31 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Pretty Good Science Fiction, 14 January 2006

I thoroughly enjoyed "Alien Hunter". I didn't ponder whether it was drawing upon other films, or harshly criticize the actors. I simply enjoyed the plot and people and the entertainment it provided. I thought the cast all did a fine job. It's pretty good science fiction! I do wish the producers had found a more meaningful name for it.

The premise of the film had an element of originality that made it gripping and entertaining. The finale was a complete surprise to me. I had envisioned quite another resolution.

The director sets an overall somber, brooding tone with the consistently drab surroundings of the Antarctic lab. The plot develops well, and holds interest. There were very few slow spots, and those could have been my own perception. I liked the characters, and flowed right along with them. I would recommend this film to any science fiction fan. The beautiful girl in the white bikini, wading into a cornfield in an Antarctic lab, was irresistible. Just the right touch.

The film is thoughtful and poignant, with elements of intellectual science fiction that made viewing it fascinating for me. Its the kind of film that one can just lean back with, and imagine being right there with the cast, living it all with them.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Blade with Some Real Dimension!, 13 December 2005

This version of the Blade series is my favorite. In my personal opinion, it has a dimension of humor and character development that I felt was lacking in the others; which I did enjoy by the way. Parker Posey and Ryan Renolds are absolutely hilarious, and imparted a lightness to the otherwise brutal and predictable action. Renold's character, for all his adventurous intentions, is basically comic relief; and most entertaining. While Blade and Abigail are out fighting dozens of vampires, he ends up confronting the vampire Pomeranian and its friends. That is inspired humor, and worth the entire film for me. Renolds is a pleasant and unexpected character in this third Blade outing. And Parker Posy is flawless. It is not often of late that I am entertained so much in a film.

Jessica Biel brought a level of earthy sensuality to the story that, in my opinion, no one else can. They did not give her much to say; but she can do a lot with a few words. Her intense beauty is another dimension that I love. And for me, she has an ability in physical acting that is second to none. Her fight scenes are thrilling. Her facial expressions and acting skills overall, are for me compelling. She is an actress who will get me to a film just because she is in it.

I thought Dominic Purcell did an excellent job. He also had little to say, but he gave a powerful performance. I also enjoyed the brief performance by Erica Cerra, Blake's victim in the vampire store. I hope to see more of her.

It is true that Wesley Snipes did not have quite enough to do in the film, in relation to the other two. But it is possible that without the added dimensions, this film probably would not have been made. He carried his role with his usual skills, and anchored the film as only he could. I am a long-time fan of his films. I have seen Blade Trinity several times, and I do not tire of its characters, action and dialog. If you like action and "monster" films, I recommend it.

As always however, I must protest the incredible amount of foul language in the film. It is the one great flaws in it for me. When will directors learn that real words can carry much more meaning and impact than constantly repeated obscenities? There is certainly room in a film for some ribald expression without soaking the script in a constant flow of four letter words. Blade Trinity could have well stood on its own without them!

14 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
One of the Worst!, 13 December 2005

This remake is one of the worst constructed and tasteless films I have ever seen. In my mind it is a big budget, but flat, and truly "D" movie made by a director with no understanding of the poetic construction of a film. One of the attractions of John Carpenter's films is the focus on the principle characters, while the antagonists are "phantoms"; undeveloped and mysterious entities, there for the execution of the plot and action. That concept is at the heart of the action and resolution of all his films.

This director chose to bring the phantoms out into the light, and make them police officers, no less. He broke the spell of a tight-knit, diverse group, at odds with each other, cooperating to survive against virtual monsters. He also made the violence wrought upon these human characters of the film, so graphic and gratuitous that it pained me to watch it. Just because police officers have become corrupt, does not make them into the mindless, and thus expendable creatures of Carpenter's excellent films. The idea that so many police officers would be so corrupt so as to deliberately murder fellow officers, is patently ridiculous.

There were so many unrelated psychoses in the plot, that the characters lost their distinct personalities in this predictable muddle. I found the resolution to the film so diffuse, and the sudden scene change so abrupt and confusing, that I was still wondering how they got there when it all ended; predictably.

One must wonder how someone who has surely studied film in all its facets, can create such an ugly mistake. It took me two tries to make it through this mess. This film is certainly not going to become a classic. Watching it made me appreciate that low budget but sterling Carpenter Classic that I recommend any day over this inept drivel. Do yourself a favor. Avoid this one at all cost.

A Rare Monster Adventure Film, 31 July 2005

I found this film to have more than a modicum of imagination, wit and intelligence. Such is rare in the "monster" genre; and these elements make the film compelling and entertaining for me. I really like it. Anacondas is a fun, disastrous adventure from start to finish.

The characters are well defined and engaging. They mesh skillfully within the plot as it develops. The actors one and all, did an excellent job. The theme is really an adventure, beset with conflicts between the characters as to whether to keep pursuing their original goal,after a disastrous boat trip up river, or run for their lives from the marauding giant snakes. The premise of the monomaniacal "bad guy/dedicated but greedy scientist", is crafted carefully as the film progresses and has a sense of reality to it.

The camera work is excellent, and the action scenes far surpass the standard "shaky camera" efforts of so many major films today. They use quick cut techniques, and make things such as the battle with the crocodile, look realistic. Even the snakes are better behaved than in the spate of snake films that have been made in the past. They are not super snakes overall; just big ones. They look, and act, much more realistic than in any snake film I have seen.

Now "Anacondas" is still a monster picture. So one must suspend a certain amount of reality, and accept the idea that anacondas live in Indonesia; such immense reptiles can weigh perhaps two tons and still slither among the tree branches; and a few other standard items indigenous to monster flicks. It works for me.

In my opinion, the film has adventure to make it exciting, an excellent cast, a terrific monkey, great scenery, and photography that takes advantage of it; suspense, action, all interlaced with occasional tongue-in-cheek humor. Now that's entertainment! I love to just sit back and ride along with it all the way. And I must disagree with those people who complain about the blonde. KaDee is terrific! She and the monkey are my favorites from an outstanding cast.

Mansquito (2005) (TV)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Anopheles Abomination!, 12 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a mess! And a boring mess at that. I am watching Mansquito now. I have no fear of including spoilers because I am probably not going to keep watching. The production values are okay, the acting overall is sturdy enough, but there is just too much wrong; and it is indeed boring. It is one of those films that feels longer than it is. The plot breaks out of the current, dull-witted, science fiction film formula slightly; but it does not generate real excitement, or any sense of identity with the characters. They are merely cardboard cutouts bouncing bullets off a beefy bug.

First, the Mansquito is a male; armor-plated, and he only has four legs. There is a woman "becoming" a "Womansquito"?, "Babesquito"? but the male steals the show here. Even stretching a point, most people, except the director, know quite well that the male of the mosquito does not feed on blood. I just cannot get past that. It should have been a "Womansquito" for sure. Then I would have been properly terrified.

The film also relies too heavily upon the Mansquito's killing spree, and the carnage he leaves in his wake; too many bodies sacrificed with too great an ease. There is just too much violence upon human 'skeeter fodder, and too little atmosphere, for my sensibilities. I have ended up not caring what happens in this muddled moulting of a movie. I believe that buried somewhere in the director's vision for the film is the aborted concept of a Greek tragedy. But it never quite breaks the surface tension to create the bathos that such drama should. So if you choose to watch this agony, break out the Deet and some good beer.

Skeeter (1993)
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
In The Mold Of The Classics, 7 September 2004

"Skeeter" is a passing fair critter-condundrum movie. I like it. It is merely another basic entry in the long-lived monster genre originating in the 1950's; and I'm a fan. You cannot go into one of these films with expectations of high drama, magnificent special effects, and flawless plot lines. You go to see the monsters run amok and the films' characters, in more ways than one, attempt to stem the tide of nature on a rampage. As to the special effects, if you are a fan, after the initial shock and laughter, your brain accommodates; and the mosquitoes, or squids, or bats, or whatever, take on a surrealistic and entertaining quality.

One improvement we do get with these newer entries is generally better acting than in the past. The directing hasn't changed much over the years; it is still marginal at best. But more good actors are available now. They are eager for work and generally do an excellent job with marginal scripts, formula plots, and overwhelmed directors. The cast of "Skeeter" is quite compelling and the characters are believable for the most part. The plot drags a little as the director attempts to create some reason to watch the film other than to see giant mosquitoes run rampant. These new directors have forgotten that there is no other reason. But I think "Skeeter" is fun and, worth some good escapism time. Be sure, in the early part of the film, to try and figure out what the "dead cow" really is. I personally think it's an army surplus blanket. My recommendation is to see "Skeeter" with a friend, have a crossword handy, and then you'll have three interesting things to do. One of them should work out. It just might be "Skeeter"!

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