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Love & Teleportation (2013)
Quirky Indie film short on craft, big on story.
The moment I saw the titles, I wasn't expecting too much. There are a lot of things in this film that reek of low budget and inferior craftsmanship. The acting is adequate, although strained at times. The special effects are sufficient, though not mind-blowing by any means. There are times when the story drags a little. All of that said, though, there are some bright spots. Robin DeMarco is really strong as the love interest, and the loan shark's thugs are pretty good, too, if not a little stereotyped. What really shines here is the story. In the end, it turns out to be more than you expected and there is a pretty decent twist a the end that I honestly didn't see coming. This isn't a big-budget sci-fi, but the film makers did a good job of making a compelling story and entertaining film with what they had. It's definitely worth the watch if you know what your going into.
Great thriller with a classic Bad Guy
Step aside Darth Vader. Meet the new best movie villain ever, Moke. Villain Moke is right up there with Vader, the Kurgin, and other great movie villains. For Dar Robinson's performance as Moke, alone, this movie is a must-see. Burt plays Stick, a fresh-out-of-prison con trying to make over his life. He gets unwillingly sucked back into the underworld and has to fight to survive. Dar Robinson, stuntman extraordinaire, puts in a fantastic performance as Moke- an albino hit-man who has it in for Stick. There are some amazing scenes in this movie, and I think it may be one of Burt's best performances- if not the best.
The Apocalypse (2007)
Worst movie, ever.
Oh brother. This is a real stinker. I don't even have words to describe how bad it is. All right, let me break it down: Acting: Bad. Screenplay: Bad. Direction: Bad. Cinematography: Bad. Special Effects: Pathetic. Sound and Foley Work: Horrific. If I could give it less than a 1, I would. I've seen every bad "Christian" end times film there is, and most of them are stellar compared to this one. Even "Left Behind" (which I think I gave a very generous 3 or 4 our of 10 to) is a masterpiece compared to this drivel. Avoid this film at all cost. I know most reviewers here have given it a 1 or a very generous 2- trust them. DO NOT trust the guy who gave it a good review. He probably worked for the production.
Madison: Insert Sport Here
I really like Jim Caveizel and I really wanted to like this movie. But as it went on, even though it is supposedly based on real events, I found the story to be predictable and very unoriginal. All the classic elements of the underdog sports figure story are present: the semi-evil rival, the misunderstanding wife, the idolizing son, the driven hero, the supporting townsfolk, and all the tragedy and obstacles that must be overcome. I don't know anything about boat racing, but as the film went on, one could easily have inserted any sport and still had the same story. I'm sure that the original story was worthy of telling, but I find it hard to believe that the original story was as formulaic as this script was. I'd have to say the producers did the memory of these events a disservice in the writing.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Chase movie with eye candy...nothing more.
I just watched this film again last night - right after I watched the last 20 minutes of "The Blues Brothers." I could have sworn I was watching the same movie- a chase movie. Lots of chasing and crashing and so on. Yes, the original has that component to it, but the heart and soul of the first film is the love story which is totally lacking from this film. There are moments in the first film that are terrifying. Nothing about this second installment impacted me in the same way. The suspense just wasn't there. It's also hard for me to care about any of the characters. Furlong's debut performance is two-dimensional: cocky and arrogant or screaming and whining. Arnold is much better as the cold-hearted villain- a element of the story that Robert Patrick's character, the T1000 falls short of delivering; and a twisted Sarah Connor that has little or no resemblance of the original character from "The Terminator." The dialog throughout the movie is corny. Trying to humanize the Terminator machine is ridiculous. ("Now I know why you cry." ugh.) There is no denying that the movie has amazing special effects- though dated now- and that the chase/action scenes are ground-breaking. But to me, the things that make a movie great are well-developed characters and a story I care about. I own this film, and think it's a fair sequel. But it is hardly the masterpiece that many make it out to be.
Mission: Impossible: Pilot (1966)
The imminent use of atomic weapons at the hands of a South-American despot seems a bit far-fetched, but it sets the tone for the import of the IMF's missions. Straight out of the gate, the format is established with leader Dan Briggs (Stephen Hill) getting his orders from a disintegrating LP and then choosing his agents from the leather-bound IMF agent portfolio. (I remember, as a kid, I always thought those first few minutes of every episode were awesome.) Martin Landou as Rollin Hand, master of disguise, establishes the series soon-to-be-famous motif of impersonations. Barnier Collier, played by Greg Morris, is the original McGyver. His gadgets and tricks, a bit underplayed in this pilot episode, always added to the IMF team's trickery in an interesting way. We're also introduced to series regulars, Barbara Bain and Peter Lupus, one of only two actors (Greg Morris) who were with the series entire run. The great Wally Cox makes his only series appearance in the pilot as a safe-cracker. While not one of the series strongest episodes, it was suspenseful and compelling enough to make you want to see more. The potential for where the stories could go was limitless.
Mission: Impossible: Wheels (1966)
Great appearances by...
In this episode, we find our agents trying to keep a potential despot from rigging an election. They are not charged with altering the outcome, but with keeping the outcome honest by undoing the mechanisms put in place by the corrupt candidate, played by Mark Lenard. We also see Percy Rodriguez as the candidate's puppet police captain. His presence is imposing and he adds a bit of dread for how he might discover our agents whenever he is on screen. The suspense is added to in this episode as Barney, the only agent capable of manipulating the machines to accurately report the vote, is shot and it is uncertain as to whether or not he can complete the mission. Lenard and Rodriguez - both Star Trek alumni as well - are great as the diabolic duo in this installment. For me, the idea that the IMF agents were charged with keeping the election honest - even if it meant the less-favored party might win - was compelling.
Hell's Angels (1930)
Incredible Aerial Fight Scenes
For the most part, I could do without all the melodrama and the hackneyed acting i this film. The leads are barely watchable and the overacting almost embarrassing. But when it comes to the aerial action, this movie is simply unsurpassed. The dogfights and the zeppelin scenes in this movie...Wow. I saw it for the first time last evening and was on the edge of my seat in total disbelief over the dogfights in the last third of this film. The realism- they were real planes- and the pilot's deaths - Amazing. I will own it JUST for those sequences. The special effects are still some of the best I've ever seen. It's hard to imagine this film was made in 1930.
The Last Child (1971)
So how about that movie?
The Mod Squad's Michael Cole heads up this great made-for-TV thriller about a young couple on the run from authorities in a near-future world where couples are limited to one child per family. I saw this film several times on Saturday afternoon TV- gosh I hate infomercials. I miss great Saturday afternoon movies. The story in "The Last Child" takes place in the United States in a near future where population growth has caused the government to control the birth rate. Families are limited to one child. What makes this story compelling, is that the couple in question has had a child that died, and this "second" child is not permitted under the law. They are on the run for nearby Canada (of all places) where the law is not so imposing. Now, this is where I could digress into all kinds of political rhetoric, or force my own opinion on you, but in lieu of that, I'll tell you that the ensuing "pursuit" is what makes up the meat of the story. There are stereotypical "bad guys" determined to stop the couple from having their child and there are "sympathetic" good guys who endanger themselves by helping the young couple flee to safety. There's some low budget special effects, but over all, this is a good film for its time that imposes some compelling questions about how far political agendas should be pushed, etc. Personally, this stands as one of the best made-for-TV sci-fi films ever made. The acting and script make up for any technical shortcomings. If you can catch it- go for it.
The Island (2005)
Bay's Best? Maybe. Revisited Material? Definitely.
I, for one, have never been a big fan of Michael Bay's films. His action sequences are always far too over-the-top. He also tends to use the same mechanisms in all of his films: Shaky zoom camera work in the car chases, things falling off a truck into traffic, every scene shot in late- afternoon sunlight, etc. His style is easily recognized, and I have always thought his films to be too much style over substance. The Island is no different. A good story is given second seat to outrageous action sequences. Unfortunately, with the story not getting the attention it deserves, it falls flat. There are many films that have dealt with similar subject matter that this film borrows heavily from. The Island is made up of bits and pieces from "THX 1138," "Logan's Run," "The Sixth Day," "The Darker Side of Terror," "Coma," and even, "The Matrix." I give it a 7 for technical merit and production values, but it will most likely not make my list of films to own, unlike some of the others I mentioned.