8 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Watch the game played live instead
1 May 2012
Jugger is a great spectator sport; it's quick, with strategic elements, something's always going on, and a third is over before any ADD you might have could set in.

The movie, though? Well, to start with, it's the boredom of watching a fixed game that any sports movie offers. (And not much else, there isn't really much in the way of plot.) But you'll also be watching a game the rules of which aren't properly explained, and the cinematography isn't conducive to figuring it out, especially in the key games which happen in half-light. Any of Blade Runner, Split Second, even Wedlock are better vehicles for Hauer.

Reviewed: "Long" (99min/PAL) DVD. May work better on theatre size screen.
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Disappointing characters
2 February 2003
The accountant was all faith; the boy's mother was all incoherence (no matter whether she was drunk, sober, or just lost her son, incoherence seemed to be her only response to it); Benja was all pouty and spiteful (for no apparent reason); and Smilla was all rude. Yes, we are given a "reason" for that, but if at her age, you still don't have a *basic* grip on your childhood issues, you're more likely to make a pitiable hero than a likable one. While I found the plot easy enough to follow, I found it somewhat difficult to care for its "heroes."
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eXistenZ (1999)
Later "reasons" no excuse for first hour of annoyance
9 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Rather mild spoilers...

The film starts off excessively bad -- the lighting is bad, the main characters don't look good (JL's hair is ghastly, so is JJL's makeup, or lack thereof), and JJL's performance seems limited to repeated incantations of, "Hey marketing guy who I won't even address by first name, aren't you my bestest friend ever? You'll let us drill a hole into your spine so we check up on my multi-million dollar game that I was stupid enough not to make backups of, right?" Not to mention that once they enter the game she herself designed, she seems to be surprised by every single thing in it. The game itself is unspeakably crappy and railroads its characters more than early adventure games do -- would you care to play a game that makes the decision who you have sex with for you? Does it get any better? Well, people shoot tooth-bullets out of fishbone-guns (What's the charge, or does everyone have explosive teeth in the future?), so you be the judge. Admittedly, apologies/reasons for some of these shortcomings will be given later on, but that won't change the fact that you'll likely spend one hour thinking, "wow, I didn't know movies could be this bad."

In other words, if you don't expect movie-length entertainment for your money, but are quite content with a two-second pseudo-surprise, by all means go for it. Be warned though that neither is the "surprise" terribly original by today's standards, nor do other movies seem to have comparable trouble keeping the hour(s) leading up to the big "surprise" entertaining.

On a side-note, yes, the gun looked fancy (but if even the director dwells on it like it were the movie's only redeeming feature, that should be warning enough), and the gore was semi-amusing if badly done -- maybe it comes out "better" on the big screen.

Lastly, all the immersion and addiction depicted can be had /today/ if one is any good with words -- just log onto a MUSH of your choice...
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The Hole (2001)
Not the "dark Breakfast Club" it could have been
3 December 2002
Unfortunately, this film seems to attempt to be many things, and ends up being none. It is not a gore movie, and I did not find it scary, either, so I am reluctant to call it "horror" or a "thriller". More importantly, it also had nothing of the disturbing and intelligent "Cracker" series -- no ubersmart profiler, no appalling but somehow disturbingly understandable motives. Nor was it "Breakfast Club's Dark Twin" as I hoped it would be, psychodrama with a limited cast in a confined setting. Like Cube, the Hole fails in making the characters fascinating or deep, making it difficult for this reviewer to care what happens to them (not that we didn't have a pretty good idea of who not to get attached to after the opening sequence). A lot of scenes seem to be going nowhere, and while you could argue that a statement in the real world is not edited for brevity, build-up, comic relief, or introducing characters any more than the "raw material" shown in the Blair Witch Project, a simple lack of dramatic editing does not an "art" movie make. All in all, I found Glengarry Glen Ross(!) both more disturbing, and more artistically pleasing.

The film is not shown in sequence. While this has been popular in, say, Pulp Fiction and artsy in The Wall, it is more of a case of Hitchcocks's "biased flashback" in this movie -- we get to see different takes on the same events. Unfortunately, this does not make relating to the characters any easier.

What else? A lot of weird-sounding accents, and a nice ending, particularly in conjunction with the "one year later" cut scene which, like almost all of the cut scenes featured on the DVD, should have remained in the movie. All in all, it is tempting to say that this film had the look and feel of a production for British TV, but with shows like Cracker (or even UltraViolet), that would hardly seem fair.

On a less serious note, rather than to discuss some plot-holes that cannot be discussed without spoiling, I'll just seize the chance to say that how Invisible Eyebrow Girl found the Oasis Clone that much more attractive than the Morrissey Clone is beyond me -- he had less of a hairdo going into the hole than the others did on their way out. : )
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Strange Days (1995)
Disappointment of the year, even w/o the misogyny
4 October 1999
I'm afraid Strange Days was one of the most uninspired movies I have seen to date -- which did not come to me as a complete surprise, considering the braintape-theme had already been thoroughly explored in "Brainstorm" (1983) --, and unless one is of the "excess sadism makes off for lack of originality" school of thought, it's probably not worth seeing.

I'm as surprised to see such a misogynistic movie was directed by a woman as I was to learn that such a bad script was written by Cameron -- I think the fact that half of the people discussing the movie focus on the rather unnecessary rape scene speaks volumes --, not to mention the fact that the camera crew's seeming attempt to do something "artsy" severely disconnected me from the movie more than once.

I guess if it hadn't been for the fact that the bad camera work and the general boredom had left me largely detached from the plot, I would have been shaken by "That Scene" in some way rather than annoyed, perchance to rate the movie 1/10 instead of the two points I afforded it.

Whole and large, I'm surprised to find people describe the movie as "an intelligent social commentary", but then obviously, I am blissfully unaware of where those people come from -- as one reviewer put it, "You can't go wrong. This movie has violence, sex, rape, and blood."
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Split Second (1992)
Great (girl-compatible) fun unless dubbed
6 September 1999
Split Second is at least as much comedy as it is horror -- unfortunately, this aspect completely gets lost in the German version which hit the video rentals under the original title, and the movie doesn't cut it "as just horror." While usually negligible in action movies, the difference between original and dubbed version really is that between a fun movie worth seeing again and again and two hours of boredom.

In the original version, Stone is a fun character, delivering the funniest dialogue I've heard in an alleged horror movie, and definitely one of Hauer's best roles, perchance to the point of standing alongside his performance in Blade Runner, and while it's the boys who get the Big F*cking Guns (is that where Doom's BFG 9000 comes from?), the killer goes after men and woman alike, and I do not remember there being text nor plot obviously intended to defame women, which is always an extreme asset, especially in an action movie. Even as the killer abducts someone close to Stone, this actually is symmetrical, happening once to a lad, and then later on to a lass. Few action movies have succeeded in being so low-key about their relative PC'ness.

If you have a chance to view it in English, go and rent it today. It's thrilling. It's fun. And last but not least, it's a fabulous excuse to squeak and curl up in the arms of someone who won't watch "A Room with a View" with you yet, as well. ;)
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Brainstorm (1983)
A Piece of My Mind
6 September 1999
I first watched Brainstorm when I was barely a teenager and was fairly impressed, an impression that lasted to date. For the first time, I'd seen a movie where someone was presented with amazing options, and the movie actually covered everything I'd have thought of. Unlike in those flicks where someone would get three wishes and never would wish to get as many wishes as they wanted (or happiness ever after, or instant death, or whatever), "Brainstorm" explores all possible consequences of the introduction of new, ground-breaking options:

A team of scientists comes up with a way to *really* share experience, to let each other in on how they experience the eternal essentials; love, life, sex; even death. And then, it doesn't stop there, taking into consideration the dark side as well -- what happens if you share your pain as well? What happens if The Wrong People(TM) monopolize the Amazing Secret(TM) first?

I love this movie. It ties up eternal questions and hopes with fun F/X and combines them into a touching and thrilling plot that makes other movies (mostly of the "cyberpunk"-era) like "Strange Days" that exploit a similar theme seem anemic in comparison at best.
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Vicious Lips (1986)
ST:TOS with Big-haired Beauties and Better Sound?
19 August 1999
"Vicious Lips" is set in the far future, where a band finally gets the opportunity for That Breakthrough Gig -- if they can make it to an "in" club on another planet in time...

Given that the plot features no major twists, turns or surprises, given that the set is extremely trashy, the number of locations limited and the choice of them not overly inspired, Vicious Lips seems like a longish episode of the original Star Trek sans the familiarity with the characters we all know and love -- so whatever persuaded me to rate it "excellent"?

I'm a sucker for Big Hair, and The Music of the Eighties, both of which the movie has plenty of, since the all-girl band's guitar-and-synth sound is vaguely reminiscent of the early Kim Wilde's, if both "rockier" and catchier (and a lot like that of "Radioactive Dreams", another Albert Pyun-movie of that era with a more coherent plot, but no big hair). Last but not least, the general air of ultra-trash somehow utterly fails to be annoying, lending a certain charm to the movie instead, soon turning the initial impression ("Hey, I could do that!") into a burning desire to phone up all your friends:

"Let's make a movie!"
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