Reviews written by registered user

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55 reviews in total 
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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Cheap Thrills, Titilation, Occasionally Candid, 16 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this on Showtime, just before the 147th showing of Spidergirl.

This gives you an idea of what we're talking about here. T&A between interviews of Ho's Pimps and Gigolos from the legal trade.

OK in the beginning they all talk like it's their choice and what they want. By the end they're whining about wanting to get out and have a normal family with kids and all that. Right down to the interview with the faceless Russian mobster talking about force, violence and keeping the passports to keep the girls working for them. All pure stereotype and nothing we haven't seen better before by real documentaries. Oh except they have flashy sexy sets from inside tacky euro-trash whorehouses complete with the red satin and mirrors.

Denise Richards and Darryl Hannah provide the titillation to keep the viewer interested with one of those horribly lame plots like you get in soft core porn like the Red Shoe Diaries.

A long time ago Umberto Eco wrote an essay on how to tell if you're watching a porno film. If the drive to the house takes way too long as a setup ... ie. if the fluff is just to fill time then that's what you got.

Not the worst ... by far ... of porn producers trying to justify themselves.

Personally Spiderbabe was much better.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
BEST direct to video B movie in years, 13 September 2005

I admit it, I like B movies. I loved Russ Meyer movies (even with Roger Ebert's lame scripts) I constantly look for them at the Video Store and 90% are lame worthless waste of time like the late-night soft-porn on Cable.

But this one Rocks. It's got Style. It's got real babes that can act and do Martial Arts. I haven't seen one this cool since Faster Pussycat Kill Kill.

Every scene looks like a setup to a porn scene, only just as you get ready to see hot babes rip the clothes of the guy, BAM! POW! BIFF!

(That's right I said BIFF!)

The hot babes kick the livin daylights out of the bad gang bangers!

Besides the title character by Starlet Babe Yancy, you get Eva Longoria as a Latina gangsta moll, Latin Soap star Edith Gonzales as a head detective (zipping her top up when Lawyer-Yancy walks in to end the "interrogation") Graycie Wey is the hottest evil Chinese Kung Fu Killer since Lucy Lui and only one of those incredibly boring cable soft core candle-light soft-jazz "tender lovemaking" scenes.

Every other time you think somebody's gonna get lucky they get a kick in the face instead.

Checkit out - Awesome!

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Bildingsroman - The development of Character, 9 September 2005

I was sitting drinking with a friend one night talking about movies, art and literature after a Werner Herzog Q&A following the premiere of his "Little Dieter wants to Fly" at the Roxie when the topic of Stanley Kubrik came up. We both instantly agreed he belongs in the pantheon of the movie gods.

"What's your favorite Kubrik movie" he asked.

"I know all the Kubrik fans and the critics hated it, but for me it's Barry Lyndon hands down." I replied.

Long story slightly shortened, he agreed wholeheartedly and pulled out a copy from his shelf saying, "It's the only one I own." Most people are Kubrik fans for the spectacle of the extreme from films like Clockwork Orange and 2001 - brilliant in their own right - but never get beyond that to the essence of Kubrik - Character Development. Yeah I know, it's the bla bla bla the critics whine about being missing all the time, but that's what makes a movie, not the exploding cars.

Barry Lyndon is all about the development of the character of a country Casanova becoming a lord and how his times shaped his character, much in the same way Clockwork Orange is about how language shapes our character.

The Bildungsroman - or Character Development Novel - is most often cited as a German development attributed to Goethe and supposedly culminating with Thomas Mann, but the focus on the development of regular people was the major theme of 19th Century European Literature from Stendahl

to Dostoyevsky all the way back as far as I can trace it to Shakespeare, Homer or the stories of Cuchullain - and most certainly Thackery and his contemporaries from Charles Dickens to Jane Austin.

From Path's to Glory, Spartacus, on to the his last Kubrik is all about character -- even 2001 is strictly focused on the development of human character from the screeching ape to the dying aristocrat in his bed. (When even the development of a computer's character is a theme we are really expected to get the picture of what this is all about.) But he took it to the limit with this one, focusing over three hours on character and boring the action junkies, who were still on the Clockwork Orange horrorshow high, to death.

But for myself and for many others this one is his greatest masterpieces because of that focus on character development. I would really like to see a previous poster explain what contemporary have film plots less "thin" than this.

Stroszek (1977)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
For Herzog fans and fans of black humor, 25 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Kurt Vonnegut once said the problem with the hippie generation is that they expect love and happiness but "I would settle for a little common human decency."

This movie is Herzog being "decent." He promised Bruno (his challenged actor) another movie, but when Bruno couldn't learn the part of Woyzeck he realized his old friend Klaus Kinski had to take the role -- and did so brilliantly. But he had made a promise so he kept his word and wrote this movie on the spot, and even got the great Eva Mathes (who won the Golden Lion in Venice for her role as Marie, Woyzeck's tragic love) to pitch in and play an abused hooker. All the rest of the cast were amateur "characters."

It has the basic Herzog themes of struggle against all odds and regardless of outcome even in the most hopeless cases. And just that spirit of struggle is worth applauding. This one just doesn't go into the usual richly layered labyrinths of dreamscapes that Herzog, being the romanticist he is, tends to use as story within the story as allegories for the whole story -- the romantics' arabesque. Strozeck is more blunt, straight forward and hits the viewers over the head with a lot of grotesque black humor.

This movie has great hilarious black humor scenes and a great punchline when the hero compares the bank repossession agent's pen with the beatings by the Nazi's in the Concentration Camp -- unfavorably.

It's great fun to watch and wallow in if you're in a dark or twisted mood, but I wouldn't base drastic decisions about the rest of my life, especially its remaining duration on what is arguably Herzog's most crude slapstick and that includes the one with the rebellious Spanish dwarfs.

But it really isn't fair to compare this or any other Herzog film to his big dramatic successes like Aguirre, Kasper Hauser, Fitzcaraldo, Nosferatu or Woyzeck. While they share some common themes (see above) every one of his movies and documentaries are their own work and can range from remakes of 19th century realist play, 1920s silent movie, 18th century romanticism or the joys of mountain climbing or ski jumping.

As its own work, Stroszek is fun to watch and a good laugh watching one of the 20th century's legendary independent filmmakers present a very different mood.

Fausto 5.0 (2001)
14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Techno Horror Faust, 5 January 2005

It's Faust. If you know the story Marlowe and Goethe made famous, well this ain't it. But it's about the same thing -- the whole What Price My Soul thing. Does meaning well absolve us?

This movie is all about the nature of redemption and what price we would put on our soul. In the Goethe's version it's to save the babe he knocked up from being beheaded for killing the baby at birth. This guy's an MD -- that should be your clue.

It's got plenty of lurid stuff, human failings, falling into the pit of depravity and despair that's required of a tragedy. Is there redemption? That's what makes a story worth my time any day.

This film is not the greatest but it beats the hell (pun intended) out of that lame Pacino/ Keanu Devil's Advocate. I mean we can all see a LAWYER as the devil's pawn but the selfless head of a clinic for the terminally ill? And while we don't get Sex Goddess Charlize Theron as sole redeeming quality, we do get sex with the devil's own daughter, and that's got to be hot.

It's the prurient lurid stuff that makes me downgrade it from "Damned Good" to "Interresting". I like to keep those two separate. I like lurid and prurient movies like House of 1000 Corpses and examination of the soul stuff like Mystic River. But trying to mix it like these boys do in Fausto 5.0 is distracting to me. It's like if Rob Zombie got religion and decided to take on Goethe and Marlow and delve the deeper meaning of God the Devil and the Soul while listening to lots of industrial goth techno dance music.

All in all, I thought it was worth while watching and might rent it again some time, but it will probably not become part of my permanent collection.

The Relic (1997)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Horror By Committee OR Let me save you 2 hrs, 4 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


I just saw it on Cable. OK I lied, I saw bits and pieces. I kept flipping back to see if it would improve, but found the NOVA special on Gamma rays more exciting (For the record I am a horror freak and even loved the latest Beyond Reanimator and think Bubba Hotep and House of 1000 Corpses were among the best films of the last year.)

Here's the problem... It's a novel written by 2 authors turned into a screenplay by 4 screenwriters.... horror by committee ... the too many soups spoil the chef or something like that. Lets face it this piece of trash is your generic horror rip off of every successful money making horror hack piece since Alien, Predator etc with no original redeeming elements.

Speaking of soup ... well it starts with one ... in an Amazonian witchcraft ceremony ( I was tempted to sing Double Bubble Toil and Trouble in Soprano.... loved the Vienna Boys Chior version in the latest Harry Potter)

In the interest of saving you 2 hrs of your life, here's what I saw in your basic "Every Horror Cliché Including the Cauldron"

Voodo, Couldron, White Man Drinks,Witch Doctor in Grass Wing and Monster Tusks Pounds Floor, White Man screams hysterically "It's You!"

Ship Is Leaving with Crates containing Monster, White Man tries to stop Crates, Captain is Late, Bows him off, White Man sneaks on Board..Ship Arrives ... everyone's dead

Did you know that after 30 years they finally discovered the source of seemingly random gamma ray bursts in the universe were created by giant stars collapsing into black holes with such force that the spinning debris creates pure energy conversion on the order of the complete mass of the sun instantly converting into pure energy?

Shots ring out Somebody Screamed Down the alley the Ice Wagon Flew You Should have Heard Just What I seen (props to Bo Diddley)

Lots of Blair Witch Face Screaming in Flashlight Closeups...Down in the Sewer System Monster Eats Screaming Panicking Victims

All but Doc Babe and Cool Cop Die, Cool Cop Gives Doc Babe A Bullet Babe Doc Sticks Bullet Between Her Breasts And Pulls on Rubber Gloves (Hot)

Monster Version of Aforementioned Witch Doctor Chases Screaming Babe Into Her Chemical Lab (Dooya Tink She Gonna Makey Chemical Firebombstuffexplosion?)

Flaming Monster Skeleton Chases Doc Babe ..Doc Babe Says "Go To Hell" and not being Ahnuld Tehminatoh, monster dies.

Firemen break into Lab, Old Geek Cops Nod and Mumble

Doc Babe Smiles, Cool Cop Smiles ..Doc Babe pulls Bullet from Between Breasts...Cool Cop Says "Keep it" And They Step Over Incinerated Tusk

The End

Save your time, watch a documentary on PBS, there are plenty of good Horror Movies past present and probably future, this is not one unless you are really inebriated or just plain dumb.

22 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful Entertainment for All Ages, 22 December 2004

Both the stories of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Owain a the Lady of the Fountain are classic remnants of an oral tradition more ancient than the French Norman Romances and 14th Century Welsh Mabinogion story collections, yet both thought these two stories worthy of retelling and recording in written form much like Tristan and Parzifal. And there's a good reason for it, obviously good enough reason to get the likes of Sean Connery, Trevor Howard, Lila Kedrova, and John Rhys-Davies to take part in this admittedly cheesy production. (The fact that this was a Golan Globus production should have been a clue to any movie fan.)

The ancient Celtic bards had to memorize some 100 major stories and 200 minor ones to entertain the folks during those long cold winter nights. While Tristan and Parcival belong to the former, Gawain and Owain belong to the latter. These are ribald entertainments for light late night story telling entertainment much like a James Bond, or a cheesy B-Movie. In fact I have heard one professor of Medieval Studies refer to Owain as the James Bond of the Arthurian cycles. And the middle part of this film that deals with Lyonese captures the whole Bond formula (or I should say formula which Fleming followed) of impossible predicament (ala Dr. Evil's "No. Intend to set up an elaborate death and walk away assuming it happened."), narrow escape, beautiful damsel, daring do, hand to hand combat against impossible odds complete with tongue in cheek reparté.

I loved the movie for what it was from the moment I saw Trevor Howard's aging Arthur acting line the mean spirited cranky old fart the Welsh triads depict (not the "boyish" one of the Gawain poem) , through Lina Kedrova's scary horny old widow queen, Rhys-Davis's Fontenbras playing with toy soldiers, and of course Connery's transcendental Green Knight. Sure I missed some of the original story elements of both stories - the fountain and the ogre with the giant club - and I hated that cheesy last scene with Linet that they added on the end of the perfect ending scene with the Green Knight.

But this one captured the spirit of the older tales of the Mabinogion (from which we get the oldest Owain and the Lady of the Fountain) much better than the Saxon-Norman poetic retelling of the Gawain story. Ribald, cheesy, fun with a few moral lessons thrown in for "redeeming social value." In this film's retelling one gets a much better feel for the kind of story the bards might have told the assembled drunken retainers in the King's Hall on a late mid-winter night.

I give it a 7 for capturing the spirit of the tradition (that Monty Python Holy Grail feel that one detractors here noted as though it were a bad thing) , great acting by the legendary actors in smaller parts noted above and the James Bond pulp fiction feel. I'm detracting points for the music, skipping the fountain/storm and the ogre/giant, and that dumb ending scene.

(PS contrary to one reviewer's accusation that it looked like a back lot in Pasadena, these were real Welsch castles including Cardiff and the former Palace of the Pope in Avignion.)

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
There are two kinds of movies audiences, 20 December 2004

One wants to escape into a pretend world.

The other wants to see stories that make them think about theirs.

This movie is for the latter, the former will be sorely disappointed.

What looks from the onset like an unfortunate sequence of personal tragedies intended to tug on the sympathetic heartstrings of the former begins to wear thin and tedious about half way through as the all too obvious tragic outcome begins to roll downhill like a snowball gathering momentum.

But like a well constructed drama the denouement (thats the comedown after the climax where the meaning of the whole thing gets explained) hits first like a splash of cold water and then delivers the blow to the gut that left me reeling with recognition.

Not too many movies out of Hollywood lately have hit with that much moral force AFTER the ostensible climax. Usually you get some lamers making some clichés pretending to explain what needed no explanation because it was all too trite from the beginning. This one actually set off the old light bulb with the "Oh THAT'S what the storyteller was trying to get at with this story!"

This story tries to make similar moral judgments about ancient ingrained traditions of morality and justice in a microcosm of 3 families that Scorcese tried to portray in Gangs of New York on the grand scale.

50 out of 67 people found the following review useful:
A Poet re-discovers life, love and beauty, 10 December 2004

It's amazing that any non-German speakers can even appreciate this movie. True the basic story is universal and beautiful, but it's Peter Handke's poetry that makes it breathtaking. Wenders had done other Handke works in film - Alice in the Cities, The Lefthanded Woman, The Goalie's fear of the Penalty- but this one is very different.

This movie is about giving up the ethereal life of the observer and actually living it. Handke had lived as a hermit after his wife's suicide and raised their child alone for 10 years - claiming all he needs of a woman is a good prostitute every so often. This movie script marks his turn to the pure love of life that this dreary Goth never really displayed, even in his youthful writings. It's the wonder of the child within discovering life in all it's beauty -- in even the most mundane and everyday things.

************ PLOT SPOILER ALERT ***********

The job the angels that nobody seems to have noted here is this: They can exist in all times flowing through one spot (Berlin) and must record instances of Humans

expressing "Spirit".

A damned rare thing, it's true, but they must record it whenever they can.

Hollywood chose to leave that notion completely out of that horrible Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan "Vehicle" remake.

(Worth it for the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Mick Harvey's Crime and the City Solution alone)

27 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
The two most powerful people in the world, 4 December 2004

I was just watching this again on PBS, maybe the 4th or 5th time I've seen this one. I've also seen the play performed and the TV remake. That last is also a worthwhile interpretation -- I even think Patrick Stewart did a better Henry. He showed more of the pure self possessed confidence and power. But Close and the other actors were not nearly as memorable as this cast, with the possible exception of unknown Soma Marko's completely vile moron John (he really shows us why he became the villain of the Robin Hood legends.) This 1968 cast included a brilliant young Anthony Hopkins as the deeply troubled Richard and a delightfully slimy Timothy Dalton as King Phillip of France.

But these are mere bit players opposite two of the greatest characters of their time. The second Welsh Plantagenet took one of the most beautiful, powerful and intellectual women of all from the King of France, (and some say his own father) It was one of the greatest love stories of all time between the two most dynamic individuals of their era. And this is what it's all about and what makes this play and this movie work. Each was really the only one the other could ever really love. Nobody else in their time even came close. And only a Hepburn could pull off Elenore of Aquitaine.

I still like Stewart's Henry better because he gave me more of the Henry we know from History as a completely fearless dynamic powerful King who could do and have

anything he wanted. Even though her youthful beauty had faded, Elenore as always the great love and the only woman who could ever have been his equal. So despite all the scheming, infidelity and dysfunctional family betrayal, those two will always be one of the great matches of history right next to Caesar and Cleopatra. That's what this play is all about and why this cast's rendition will aways remain a classic.

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