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The Exorcist (1973)
Indelible and frightening
The tubular bells. The spinning head. The pea-soup projectile. The Georgetown steps. "The Power of Christ Compels You!" Lee J. Cobb's face peeking through the door. The fog-soaked DC night. Linda Blair's face has become one of the most fearsome images in the language of cinema.
This film sicks with you.
Yet new audiences who watch may not be impressed. This is in no way due to The Exorcist being dated or not scary enough. It is because the state of horror films no longer melds psychological horror with special effects. It is now all loud sound effects, flashy violence and tired death scenes.
To make an angelic little girl into pure evil and her sweet innocence into unspeakable hideousness was a testament to director William Friedkin and writer William Peter Blatty's absolute intent to scare the bejesus out of us. It worked.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Sure, it starts out terribly... but it ends with INCREDIBLE action
Yes... "The Matrix Revolutions" is a disappointment. Luckily, "Reloaded" lowered my expectations supremely with its lack of magic and cohesive narrative. After trudging through the embarrassingly stupid first quarter, I was absolutely FLOORED by Revolutions' last 90 minutes. It's the most incredible sci-fi action I've seen since James Cameron's "Aliens" - an adrenaline-pumping, heart- pounding set of tense situations that knocked me on my arse.
No, the film isn't thought-provoking or philosophical. Gone is the original sense of awe and wonder that made the first film so fresh and cerebral. Yet the Wachowski Brothers end their series with non-stop CGI fun that was entertaining enough for this viewer to recommend "Revolutions" highly.
(7 out of 10)
P.S. Don't make another one... just leave it be now.
Repo Man (1984)
Comedic Anarchy... A great film indeed
The sheer zany atmosphere and attitude on display in REPO MAN is
exhilarating. The film has no real plot yet it's hilarious, unpredictable and very hard to classify. One of my all time favorites because it's got style, big laughs, an intelligent social commentary and great music. Captures the mid-80's punk scene well. Director Alex Cox never had a directorial effort this strong since. Certainly not for all tastes, yet see it and judge for yourself.
"Let's go get a DRINK!"
**** out of ****
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Solid thriller with incredible performances
"Silence of the Lambs" is a great, solid thriller with superb performances by its two leads, Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Yet I was not as thrilled (or as terrified) with it when it came out back in 1991. I felt that its showering of Oscars and praise was slightly unwarranted. I just don't think it's anywhere near being the greatest thriller of our day as some gushed. With Hannibal Lector's story still breathing (in the new release "Red Dragon"), I think that the first attempt at filming a Thomas Harris novel, Michael Mann's "Manhunter", was more suspenseful and interesting than "Silence". In all, this is a tight, well-crafted thriller. Yet I just cannot tell you that it was worthy of being named Best Picture by the Academy...
Donnie Darko (2001)
A Strange, uneven, mesmerizing film
Although "Donnie Darko" is not without flaws, it represents a fresh voice in contemporary filmmaking. The picture is unique, unlike anything I've ever seen before. It is a triumph of atmosphere, acting and casting... especially for Patrick Swayze. Its' slick, elliptical story is the most exhilirating since "Memento" and will have audiences talking for months. I recommend this flick to anyone that is sick of the same old traditional fare that Hollywood relentlessly spills upon us. Grade: A-
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
A puzzler indeed
This film puzzles me to this day. The first half is quite simply the best film of the year. Yet the closing half is a frustrating jumble of ideas and emotions. As a whole, it is so watchable that it really doesn't matter. Overall the film is moderately disappointing and I do imagine the ending leaving many people angered and impatient. See it, by all means and judge for yourself.
The Thing (1982)
Nightmarish special effects highlight this decent film.
John Carpenter's "The Thing" is the type of movie where the special effects (by a young Rob Bottin) make the film. If the film did not contain the gory, slimy and disgusting images that are seen it would be a dull, albeit semi-suspenseful flick. The film stars five or six of the best character actors in Hollywood (Richard Masur, Donald Moffat and Keith David) on top of a slightly generic Kurt Russell performance. All in all, no viewer could ever forget the kind of fun this alien creature has with its human hosts. It literally tries to become the organism it "absorbs". And some characters get it BAD. These scenes of terror are truly disturbing, especially for a younger viewer - which I was when I first saw it. I really won't go into details here, but let me just say that Mr. Bottin's creative genius makes this film exceptional. He must've had a great time designing these 'things' we see on the screen. Grade : B
Oooooo... Bad movie... Pointless and too similar to "The Sixth Sense"
What can you say. Another colossal disappointment from the director of the wildly overrated "The Sixth Sense". The teaser/trailor sold me that this one could be a thrilling and mysterious flick, but it fails... miserably.
M. Knight Shyamalan holds his shots too still which makes the film's first hour and a quarter boring as hell. Just like his last film, it isn't until about the last third when the ball gets rolling. Yet this ball rolls into the gutter. The twists here are almost identical to the last film and the payoff is just not strong enough to compensate for the hour or so that we've been waiting... patiently... for SOMETHING... ANYTHING to happen.
Without giving anything away, I must say that I like comic books as much as any 12 year old kid, but the inclusion of that form of print is completely silly here. Plus, comics are not meant to be taken as seriously as they are here.
Maybe I missed something. I don't know. But what I saw was a decent looking piece of crud. Shyamalan, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson might not be blamed for this horrible film. Instead, the blame might be placed on the eager film execs who greenlit this project to ride on the coat-tails of "The Sixth Sense".
I heard "Unbreakable" is part of a trilogy. God help us all. GRADE: D-
The Cell (2000)
Strange, visually striking- yet empty and supremely disappointing
After reading Ebert's four-star foaming-at-the-mouth review of Tarsem's new film, "The Cell", I was waiting to be completely mystified and enraptured by a truly great and unique film. What I got was a visually stunning motion picture with a plot that never truly builds or climaxes. It's also chock-full of hollow characters (aside from Vince Vaughn's generically obsessive g-man) who we don't give a damn about.
I keep hearing the phrases "completely original" or "an experience you've never had at the movies" being tossed around to describe this flick. In its defense- sure, it looks and sounds great with wardrobes, sets, and dream-worlds that are indeed unique and nightmarish. Yet the plot, about a serial killer and his persuers is rehashed from several different films: the gritty style and atmosphere ("Seven"), the heinous murderer ("Silence of the Lambs"), the getting-inside-of-your-mind idea (the forgotten, yet fabulous "Dreamscape" from the early-80's and "Being John Malkovich", too).
Ebert must have known he was going to get a lot of flack for his gushing review (which might as well have hailed it as 2000's "Citizen Kane"). Even though most other reviews have hit the nail on the head (USA Today gave it a 'D', and The Washington Post gave it a big fat 'F') with their comments, don't let influential critic Roger Ebert brainwash you into seeing this nice-looking turkey.
Fight Club (1999)
The Next Wave of New Cinema
Director David Fincher is the STAR of this Pitt/Norton vehicle. His truly revolutionary and super-imaginative film techniques make this film memorable. Yet the plot (or lack thereof) couldn't have won over audiences had it not been for how the film looked. Those who take the film as an endorsement for anarchy are missing the point. "Fight Club" is almost straightforward comedy- period. The fighting scenes are decent, but certain scenes/special f.x. will blow the viewer away, including a stunning opening credit sequence and a thrilling climax overlooking a city's skyscrapers. I won't say much more than that, because this film is unique in almost every aspect possible. Absolutely brilliant directorial, cinematographic, and special effect/makeup work here that merits the film as being one of the most ambitious and exhilarating movies of the 90's. Check out the DVD to learn just about EVERYTHING you could possibly want to know about "Fight Club".
FILM (by itself):***1/2