Reviews written by registered user
|24 reviews in total|
Initially unsure of what to expect, I admit to being surprised by the
quality of Demon Knight. Is it Camp? Is it Schlock? Absolutely, but it's
well thought out schlock. The plot concept was actually very intriguing,
and the cast was exceptional.
The essential story is that the human race is living on borrowed time, and the fate of the world rests in the hands of the Demon Knight, a guy who has been losing a lot of sleep for a lot of years...Now, he must fight for his life and the lives of the others trapped in the hotel with him as he defends against the Collector, who is trying to steal back an "artifact" that will overthrow the balance of power in the universe. Pretty heavy for schlock, hmm?
Rarely has a villain been played with more relish than Zane gives to The Collector...He's having too much of a good time, in a Hannibal Lecteresque way. He's suave, persuasive, handsome, soothing, and just plain, well...as the politically correct would say, he has embraced his essential Evilness and is comfortable with his Demonic lifestyle.
William Sadler lends his particular brand of manic intensity to Brayker, demonstrating his customary keen grasp of the part of the reluctant messenger or unlikely hero (as witnessed in The Shawshank Redemption left and the tv series "Roswell").
And, best of all, it's easy to give a damn about these people. The supporting cast includes some of the best character actors around, namely Jada Pinkett--Jeryline, the essentially good diva with a serious attitude, CCH Pounder(Millenium) who portrays Irene the seasoned, determined innkeeper, Thomas Haden Church (Ned & Stacey) whose character Roach makes you want to write yourself into the story just so you can slap him around, Brenda Bakke, our prostitute Cordelia who just wants to be loved, Dick Miller (What can be said about Dick Miller? The man has been everywhere!) and Charles Fleischer (most famous as Roger Rabbit, but who has appeared in nearly 30 features to date)whose character Wally is some sort of sympathetic psychopath. You have to feel for the poor guy...it's the old story, boy meets girl, girl seems to finally come around, and it all ends in disembowelment. Don't you just hate when that happens?
The moral? Even good actors like a little schlock now and then.
Although highly entertaining, Hey Boy! Hey Girl! is not exactly Oscar
material...but it doesn't need to be. The music of "The Wildest" Louis
is loosely tied together with just enough story to bring Keely into the
picture. Now, this isn't the true story of Louis and Keely, but a kindly
tale of a bandleader (who just happens to be named Louis Prima) who falls
for a sweet homespun Catholic girl named Dorothy Spencer (Keely's full name
is Dorothy Keely Smith) who is raising her young brother alone, is a
wonderful cook and housekeeper, loves all children and coincidentally has a
voice to soothe both crying babies and nightclub audiences. What
self-respecting musical frontman could resist? Listen also for Keely's
native Tidewater Virginia accent...unmistakable.
The film features some of the signature Prima music and Sam Butera and Witnesses are whooping it up as always. There's some pretty interesting lip-synching going on here, but actually it's surprisingly well done considering Louis never did a song the same way twice. This is a fair Prima primer, but the plot, well...put it this way---at least you always know who to cheer for.
Audiophiles will find that there are now some excellent CD's out there...try "Capitol Collectors Series: Louis Prima". A great opportunity to hear the ultimate version of "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody"...
After only two episodes, this Xena-meets-Barbarella post-apocalyptic pajama
party hasn't had a chance to deliver much...it seems to lack focus, and the
pacing is extreme--likely due to the 30 minute formatting. It's a little
(okay, okay, a lot) cliche, but seems well-intentioned. The premise has
promise, and I have high hopes based on the cast.
Gina Torres (Hercules' dynamic pirate queen Nebula), Victoria Pratt (Xena's Amazon queen Cyane) and Jennifer Sky (Xena's aspiring but capable young Amazon Amarice) have been Raimi/Tapert favorites for several seasons of Xena/Hercules, but so far they have been too busy screaming, grimacing and performing quadruple somersaults to act human yet.
XWP/HLJ regular Joel (Strife/Deimos) Tobeck also joins the cast as the maniacal Creegan...and yes, you can recognize him even through the Mardi Gras make-up and prosthetic chin. It's actually refreshing to see him as the Supreme Menace as opposed to his XWP/HLJ characters, who are supremely annoying (in a psychotic, endearing sort of way.)
And so, All Hail the Futuristic/ Ancient Madcap Epic formulas so beloved by the Raimis...in effect a sort of Pythonesque Terry Jones/Michael Palin tribute. And hey, there's a reason Sam Raimi sometimes credits himself as Alan Smithee, Jr., folks.
---By the Way, that theme music...what were they thinking?
Disney continues to garner praise for family films, this time
"Genius", a well-conceived, well-paced, delightful comedy with a talented
cast. Essentially, this is a story about growing up and feeling the need to
belong-- with a twist of slapstick, mistaken identity, college hockey and a
particle beam accelerator. Quite an accomplishment.
In the tradition of Merlin Jones--probably Disney's most famous teen genius (see The Monkey's Uncle and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones)--we meet Charlie Boyle, our hero, obsessed with hockey, physics, and fitting in. Trevor Morgan is wonderful in this dual role as Charlie/Chaz...he has a lot of presence for a kid his age, and a lot of promise. Emmy Rossum is very charming and natural as Claire Addison--sweet and tomboyish, she lends a little romance to story. The always incomparable Charles Fleischer is featured as Dr. Krickstein, giving a great performance as Charlie's hero, mentor and friend, and showing of his rollerblading skills in the process...
I'd love to see Disney team up Charlie, Claire and Dr. Krickstein again...there's endless adventure potential here! Take advantage of it!
"Crumb" provides us with and excellent biography of cult favorite Pop/Comic
artist Robert Crumb, and a fine synopsis of
his work and the circumstances surrounding it. The two elements are
inseparable. And, just as Crumb's art may not be for everyone, neither is
Crumb the movie.
The documentary style presentation keeps the film grounded in reality (it could otherwise easily be construed as fiction, so strange is the story). Much to his credit, Terry Zwigoff conveys well that brand of train-wreck fascination we feel when seeing something profoundly disturbing. As distressing as parts of Crumb may be, it's nearly impossible to look away.
Robert Crumb himself is as unique as they come--he exudes a bizarre sort of aw-shucks perversity that inspires a strange mixture of pity and awe. His psyche is laid bare on page after page, panel after panel of his work. One has to wonder what might have become of Robert if he had not directed his energy towards art. What immediately comes to mind are the unsettling images of his brothers Charles, completely unbalanced, and Maxon, coping in self-imposed solitude, and the distant, grating voice of his neurotic mother.
Keep drawing Robert, please.
(A small note of caution to those viewing Crumb on a large screen, some of the moving shots are done with a hand held camera and can cause a little vertigo.)
Along with Carl Sagan, we can credit Stephen Hawking with
de-mystifying the Universe. We've been fortunate to have
such men in our time with the gift of translating Physics into a format we
don't need a degree to comprehend.
You will find yourself in awe of Hawking's mind, and justifiably so. It would be truly remarkable if we could find a way to venture into his brain and feel the pleasure he takes in what so many of us find abstract.
The biography of this remarkable man is just as interesting as his research. Told in documentary fashion through interviews with family and friends, we see his development from a precocious child to a mischievous youth to remarkable adult. Also, we have the chance to meet Mr. Hawking himself, who is very personable with quite a sense of humor.
I strongly recommend reading the book A Brief History of Time to accompany the film...it picks up where the film leaves off regarding the sciences, and is less biographical, except for his brief summaries of such luminaries as Newton and Galileo.
Some Martial Arts sticklers and dedicated Jackie fans complain that First Strike may not have Chan's best fight scenes (with the exception of the now famous ladder scene), but this is one amazing film for stunts, and a good introduction to Jackie for those who have never seen him. The plot is not the strongest in the "Police Story" series, but this film rates high for the "He can't be doing that!" factor.
It's unusual in the saturated action/adventure movie market
find a film that is as outstanding as Supercop. Jackie Chan is back! Well,
he never really left... This is really Jackie at his best, with all of the
finely choreographed fight scenes we expect from Jackie and some of his most
innovative, breathtaking stunts ever.
Supercop has it all...great direction, solid story, good pacing, and best of all, it has Michelle Yeoh! No other woman has ever been able to keep up with Jackie--most don't even try--and Michelle makes it look easy. It's also easy to see why in her homeland, her nickname translates to "Beautiful vase made of iron and steel" and why Jackie Chan has said "Women should not fight, except for Michelle".
If you're interested in wall to wall action and a little slapstick comedy, as well, this is definitely for you. Long live Golden Harvest...
Dedicated Chan fans should also check out Drunken Master and Drunken Master II.
Trying to relax during Operation Condor would be like trying
take a nap on airport runway. This movie never quits, and Chan never stops
challenging himself. Not for the faint of heart, especially the motorcycle
chase or the wind tunnel scenes. Thanks, Jackie.
The best commentary on the film, however, actually came from the guy sitting behind me in the theater who had never seen Jackie Chan before... unfortunately, most of his comments are unprintable. Let's just say he was extremely enthusiastic and uninhibited in his vocabulary. Hey, we were all thinking the same thing.
I admit to being vaguely disappointed with Episode 1.
The concepts are excellent, the effects are without equal and it has a beautiful score of remarkable intensity. So why was I disappointed?
Admittedly, this is a massive undertaking, and a challenge to even a fine and experienced director like Lucas. The result, unfortunately, is that watching Episode 1 is like trying to tour the Smithsonian in 3 hours-- there's just too much to cover to do it thoroughly and really appreciate everything.
Due to this sometimes breakneck pace, our heroes are denied the opportunity to develop any real bond. Somehow, this lessens the overall impact of the film. True, extraordinary things are happening (in all their CG glory), but how do we feel about the outcome? We are forced to establish our connection with the central figures based on what we know from the original trilogy. For those interested in learning more about the souls and histories of the characters, I would recommend the book (although even the book falls a little short in some areas).
I did find the film entertaining overall, but it somehow lacked the heart of the originals. I will, however, still go to the theater when Episode 2 arrives, hoping for a little more.
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