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3283 reviews in total 
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Scream (1996)
A horror classic, 19 October 2014

A maniac is killing off teenagers in the small town of Woodsboro. A bunch of teens (among them Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard) try to figure out who's doing it and why. Meanwhile reporter Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox) is trying to get the story from the town deputy (David Arquette).

This came out in winter 1996. By then horror films were all but dead. However this one was a big hit with critics and audiences and started off a new wave of horror films. Why? Because it has a clever script with MANY references to older horror films; established the rules on how to survive a horror film; had smart, intelligent and likable teenagers and basically played with the genre and reinvented it. Also there is a good sense of humor in this but there's also some very graphic gore (especially at the end). This got an NC-17 from the ratings board until director Wes Craven agreed to tone down on the violence. The acting is good all around, it moves at a fast pace and I was constantly entertained by it. Also the opening 15 minutes with Drew Barrymore is terrifying. The only debit is Lillard. He overacts to a downright embarrassing degree and gets very annoying...especially at the end. Still, him aside, this is a great horror film. Highly recommended.

Gone Girl (2014)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Very good and almost great, 12 October 2014

One day Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) comes home from running his bar to find what looks like a break-in in his house and his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing. Quickly the police start up a search for her asking people to help. Then we see flashbacks to how Nick and Amy met and how their marriage was slowly unraveling. Then people start suspecting Nick. Did he or didn't he?

Very good movie. The story is interesting and always keeps you guessing. It's long (2 and 1/2 hours) and slow but I was never bored. The acting is great. Affleck and Pike are both incredible in their roles. There's strong support by Carrie Coon (as Margo, Nick's sister), Kim Dickens (as a police detective) and Tyler Perry (as a lawyer). The only acting debit is from Neil Patrick Harris who's terrible. The only problem is the ending. It's TERRIBLE! It doesn't really end--it just stops leaving plenty of unresolved questions and plot lines. That really hurts the film as a whole. Still I recommend it.

BTW there is no full frontal shot of Affleck. He appears to be totally nude in one scene but nothing is shown. You get a brief side glimpse and that's it.

Girly (1970)
OK black comedy, 3 October 2014

Film about a family of psychopaths. There's Mumsy (the mother), her two children Sonny and Girly (who are in the 20s but act like 13 year olds) and Nanny. They live in a huge old estate in a remote part of England. Every once in a while Sonny and Girly go out and bring home a "friend" they just met. Then they insist their friend plays childish, sadistic games with them. If he doesn't they kill him. However they bring home one guy who's going to fight back.

So-so movie. It's well-directed and all the acting is great but it seems to keep pulling its punches. It doesn't go far enough. The games are vicious but not too vicious and the sexual activity is all off screen. There's no sex, nudity, blood or violence in this one. Also if you really think about it there's huge plot holes in it. So it's not bad but it's too timid in its approach.

This was considered a lost film for many years until a print was discovered in 2004 and it was restored. It does have a cult following but that's mostly because of its director--Freddie Francis.

Thoroughly predictable crime drama, 26 September 2014

One of the worst episodes on the "Thriller" TV series from 1960. It deals with a crime syndicate run by Cesare Romano (Frank Silvera). He's constantly butting heads with aggressive and obnoxious Harry Gans (Jay C. Flippen) who wants to take over. Kindly lawyer Lou Adams (Everett Sloane) tries to keep the piece.

Dull and utterly predictable crime drama with all the stereotypes in place. I knew exactly where this was going from frame one. One the plus side the acting wasn't bad. Sloane and Flippen are good and Silvera is very good (even though he tends to overdo it at times). At the beginning host Boris Karloff promises us, "This is a thriller!" Sorry Boris but you're wrong.

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Bad title but very good dramedy, 24 September 2014

When a man passes away his four grown siblings and widowed wife (Jane Fonda) gather together for a week. The siblings are: Judd (Jason Bateman) who had discovered his wife in bed with his boss. He divorced her and has no job. Then there's Wendy (Tina Fey) who has kids and a husband (Aaron Lazar) who ignores her so she turns to an ex-boyfriend Horry (Timothy Olyphant) for comfort. Then there's Paul (Corey Stoll) who has been trying for two years to have a baby with his wife. Last is Phillip (Adam Driver) the youngest and family "bad boy". The mother also has written some books in the past that exposed all their families secrets. Got all that?

As you can see there's a LOT going on in this movie--actually too much for one movie. Still I was honestly never bored. It moves quickly, has a sharp script and great acting by all (except for Driver). Best of all are Bateman and Fey who play off each other beautifully. There's plenty of laugh out loud moments but also some affecting ones (I admit to tearing up a little once or twice). There are some debits--Driver is terrible in his role and there's a tasteless running gag about a child who walks around with his potty seat on his head--and proceeds to use it. Also I do have to admit I predicted most of the plots and the outcomes but the excellent acting carries it through. However there was a REAL surprising twist at the end. Well worth catching.

Ezxcellent drama, 19 September 2014

This takes place during WW1. Soldier Roy (Kent Douglass) meets and falls in love with Myra (Mae Clarke). She tells him she's a chorus girl but she's actually a prostitute. She falls in love with him too but is racked with guilt over lying to him. It all leads to a predictable (but moving) tragic ending.

Excellent drama based on a play. It was remade in 1940 but that version was toned down to appease the Production Code. This version is uncut and (for its time) pretty raw. It was made with top production values and beautifully directed by James Whale. Douglass is very good as Roy (if a little overly naive) but Clarke is excellent as Myra. Her pain and agony comes through in every scene. More surprising is that some members of Roy's family figures out what she does--and could care less. The ending is somewhat predictable but damned if it didn't have me crying. Also is has a young Bette Davis in a supporting role! Recommended.

Poor Astor reduced to this!, 13 September 2014

Mary Astor plays a faded alcoholic Hollywood star. She does find work as a sort of housekeeper--but she's very secretive about it. Then she'd discovered dead. Her ex-doctor (Lin McCathy) and one of her ex-husbands (Jack Livesey) thinks there's something peculiar about her death...they just don't know what it is (!!!). What follows is a VERY boring tale of murder.

Poor Astor. Was she really THIS desperate to work? She's wonderful in this but the story itself is so stupid, boring and full of plot holes that it's beyond belief. I tried watching this three times and each time fell asleep! Each time I woke up at the end and was able to easily figure out what I had missed. We're supposed to believe that the killers murdered someone and leave the body inside their backyard instantly pointing suspicion on them. And why exactly are the doctor and ex-husband so sure there was anything suspicious going on? They have absolutely nothing to go on. I could go on and on about this but it's hardly worth it. A very poor episode of the Thriller TV series.

3 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
I like it but the novelty is gone, 2 September 2014

When "Sin City" came out in 2005 it was a big hit and astounded people with its dark tone and mixture of b&w and color photography. Why they waited NINE YEARS to do a prequel/sequel (its both) I'll never know but the novelty is gone. This consists of three stories. Two of them are pretty short and bookend the movie. One has Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Johnny who has a score to settle with evil and powerful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). The other has stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba) who ALSO has a score to settle with Roark. The main story has Dwight (Josh Brolin) getting involved with a beautiful and very deadly femme fatale (Eva Green).

The good: the photography is great--there's some truly stunning scenes here; Brolin, Green, Mickey Rourke are Rosario Dawson are great in their roles; there's plenty of action (and violence); it moves QUICKLY and the sex sequence between Green and Brolin is HOT. The bad: Alba is just downright horrendous in her role; Boothe REALLY overplays his evil; there's tons of gratuitous female nudity (all done by Green) and the nonstop viciousness and violence wears one down. Still I'm not sorry I saw the film. It's just too little too late.

D.O.A. (1950)
Quick and great noir thriller, 27 August 2014

A man (beautifully played by Edmond O'Brien) finds out he's been given a slow acting poison and has only a few days to live. He has to find out who did it...and why.

VERY quick (83 minutes) but great noir thriller. It's beautifully directed (nice use of outdoor locations) and has many twists and turns. O'Brien was a great character actor and he's given a rare lead role here. He's just great as a man who knows he's dying but doesn't know why. The rest of the acting is all pretty good. It's not a perfect movie. There's some terrible love scenes between him and his girlfriend and it gets TOO complicated. There are so many characters and incidents going at such a quick pace it sometimes gets confusing. I don't think the ultimate resolution makes much sense either. Still I loved it while watching it and I recommend it.

Road Trip (2000)
Crude, stupid and unfunny, 22 August 2014

High school sweethearts Josh (Breckin Meyer) and Tiffany (Rachel Blanchard) are separated when they attend different colleges. She's in Texas, he's in New York. One night a girl seduces Josh and tapes the whole thing. Through ridiculous circumstances he mistakenly sends that tape to Tiffany. When he realizes what he did he decides to drive from NY to TX to get there before the tape (guess he couldn't afford a plane). He naturally brings along three friends (played by Seann William Scott, Paulo Costanzo and DJ Qualls) and "hilarious" complications ensure.

I have no problem with gross out humor (which this film has plenty of) but I just ask that it be funny. Unfortunately this film fails in that. The humor is gross but not funny at all. Joke after joke falls flat. I don't think I even smiled once let alone laugh. Even worse we have the endlessly annoying Tom Green serving as a narrator. If you're watching this for female nudity dream on. There's some but VERY little and it just seems to be done in an obligatory manner. Worst of all they start throwing in little moral messages at the end! There's nothing worse than a gross-out film that tries to pretend that it's a nice film! And Amy Smart is on hand giving a dreadful performance.

The only thing that made this bearable were two good performances by the very likable Meyer and Scott (playing down his goofiness). But, all in all, I was either bored or disgusted. You can safely skip this one.

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