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Accurate portrayal of the 50's South
Some people would like to forget the South in the 50s. but Porky's won't let us forget (At least the "lighter" side of it). Whites hated just about anyone that wasn't like them--even if they were white! They didn't like Jews, adolescents, Negros (preferred word deleted), and women were just objects of sexual desire. But--there were virtually no sexual outlets--even Playboy was considered pornography in many areas. This lead to a lot of sexual practical jokes by both peers and adults on adolescent males. People were not any hornier then now they just had no place for it to go.
"Porky's", although way over the top in the prankster area, really, more than any other movie, really capture the flavor of the fifties and was definitely an American comic classic. It's too bad they didn't show the fire hoses and the police dog's it could have been the next "Gone with the Wind!"
Earth Survives, Ho Hum
It wasn't ever really threatened. In fact, Los Angeles (it was supposedly called something else in the movie) was barely threatened.
When you go to see a "keija" film, especially after seeing the destruction caused by atom bombs, earthquakes, tsunamis, "Godzilla" movies, etc., you expect a "threat" to damage some major real estate. However, the Transformers barely did some low-grade demolition work.
Most of the film (I assume to save money on not so special effects) is spent on a not so enticing "back story" where the characters do one of the worst "misunderstood teens" movies since "The Blob". There is the usual "The military, secret government knew about it all the time" conspiracy and few "explicit" references to teen sex that are typical of modern teen comedies, but, the characters (especially the hero) is completely unengaging and he has no sexual chemistry with the pre-requisite girl friend. All I kept saying was "When do the Xformers start slugging it out over Earth, Democracy, the USA, Los Angeles, their home planet, or whatever the hell was at stake".
Unless you really are from another planet and haven't heard or, nor seen a "Transformer" movie, cartoon, or toy you would be better off skipping this movie.
See it before the Thunderbirds are gone!
In spite of an apparent advertising glitch where the title was either Thunderbirds Are Go! or Thunderbirds to the Rescue! (Last minute changes are almost a sure sign of trouble), I went to see it anyway -- mostly out of nostalgia for the old show.
My mouth was agape at the superior production values (especially the 60's style cinematography) and the detail in the machines and sets. The acting level was far superior to, say, "SpiderMan" (Ben Kingsley could have slept walked through his role, but he tried to put a little effort into it).
My only disappointment was that I thought this was aimed at nine year olds, but it seemed much more suitable for about 16 and older.
Maybe 40 years of "Spiderman" comics, cartoons, TV series, and now movies may have given me unrealistic expectations for a $100 million plus dollar movie, but Thunderbirds (what ever the title) did a much more spectacular job for its $57 million or so.
This is not Oscar(R) material, but it will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling for your admittance.
Mean Girls (2004)
More superficial teen banality
Although the 22+ year old "teens" do a good job of delivering the script and making the implausible seem real, when you open the box you realized all they delivered was packaging popcorn.
The script talks about teenage sex, venereal disease, pregnancy, homosexuality, social acceptance, child molestation, etc. However, you never really see how any of this affects the main or any other characters in other than a stereotypical way.
I know this was intended to be a fluff comedy, but even fluff has to have the slightest bit of substance or it is just air: This movie was cotton candy with no spun cotton and just a big hollow paper handle with no nutritive value.
Tina Fey is a genius at obfuscation and slight of hand. She makes you think you are watching a fairly poignant, but funny look at teen life and by the time you realize her trickery, the credits are rolling.
Watch "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" if you really want to see how this is done right.
Swimming Pool (2003)
Seen it before, but I did not mind seeing it one more time
We've seen this plot a zillion times before. An author supposedly is "blocked" for a new idea for a book so becomes a semi-recluse to find inspiration. Of course, inspiration comes not from solitude, but from interacting with interesting people and the author gets any thing but peace.
The beauty of "Swimming Pool" is that you don't realize it's a mystery until the very end! At first you are treated to a women who is probably passed her sexual prime coming in contact with a young girl who is at her sexual peak (I think the nudity added to the plot). The author's need for solitude seems like an obvious cover up for jealousy of lost youth. Then the author realizes that the girl is inspiring and not inhibiting. When the author realizes that the girl can be useful they become fast friends. Then the mayhem starts--or does it?
The ending will have you thinking--what the hell went on?
If you like a mystery without anything mysterious that gives you a killer (!) twist ending (Something Miss Rampling's character was famous for), you will love this film. If you are expecting the usual "Mrs. Marples", you will be slightly disappointed, but will love the character interactions of the two female leads.
Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
Its a "chick flick", so what?
About once every four years, I like to go see a film where the women have the brains and the guys just seem to be 2D cardboard cut out supporting cast (instead of the opposite in "guy movies").
This movie almost satisfied my (largely suppressed) feminine side with its particularly scathing insight into the time (1950-ish) and the supposed banality of this period (I think we had the "H" bomb, but this movie seems totally oblivious to this fact).
The film only fell flat for me when the girls started to question Julia Robert's philosophy before even being converted (although in some ways the girls seemed to be secretly ahead of her and it was J. Roberts that had to do the catching up).
There probably won't be a great film that does not have bombs, rockets, bullets and naked babes in it, but this film was a genuine praiseworthy attempt.
P.S. this movie should get a nomination for costume design.
Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Why the Cylons hated humanity.
In spite of what Vellmont said about Cylons. Cylons did not hate humans "just because". It was clearly established in the original series that Cylons hated humans because they tried to interfere with their affairs with other star systems. It was also established that Cylons hated humans because of their duplicitous ways. Overall Cylons were more than fleshed out as just not soulless machines, but on the contrary they were the "next stage" in humanoid evolution.
The reinvented Cylons in this mini-series were more than in keeping with the older concepts.
Anarchy TV (1998)
The message is the medium
This is one of those gems of a film that seems to rise above the sum of its not so stellar parts.
Although the production values don't seem to be up the quality we would expect from the cast, everyone seems to be having fun and the commentary of the director appears to confirm this.
Why are they, and the viewer, having fun? Simply because by not taking itself too seriously, this movie manages to skewer everything in its path: The religious right, the over-righteous (and cantankerous) left, and the seemingly unconcerned middle, and even conspiracy theorists that see everyone as the enemy. (Didn't anyone catch the naked aerobics instructor bit as a Jane Fonda reference?).
Rather than re-summarize the plot, let me summarize the idea: Nobody has a lock on the "truth", only on their concept of it.
This is one of those films that if you want to check your brain at the door and sit back and be entertained, you will miss the whole point of the movie.
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
The new widescreen DVD
Having just seen a "restored" theatrical print a couple of months ago and now having seen the new DVD, I can say that it is virtually flawless. The subtlety of color makes many sequences appear almost three dimensional (especially on the Galactica). They appear to have removed most of the annoying matte lines from some scenes, although a few garbage mattes are visible. Some scenes that were almost unviewable blurs on the VHS have been restored to almost crystal clarity. Also visible are occasional film scratches, but it is far superior to anything I have seen since the 70's theatrical release in "Sensurround" or however they spelled it.
If you are a Galactica nut or even a fan, you will cherish this in your collection.
P.S. I don't work for Universal!
Cabin Fever (2002)
"Cabin Fever" will give you the chills.
As you have probably guessed, this movie is very uneven. The first problem is that it is trying to be too many horror genres at once without achieving any semblance of hybridization.
First it wants to make you think it is a typical 70's-80's slasher flick by having a bunch of youth go to a secluded location and get offed one by one (4 of ten points). The director doesn't seem to care if you care about the main characters or not. They have no chemistry and just say the "F" word about a cagillion times. Then it tries to do "Deliverance" with some generic David Lynch by introducing the weirdo, inbred towns folks (8 points). The only problem here seems to be inability to find anyone that can do their roles believably. Then there is the obligatory sex scenes (6 points). Cerina Vincent is hot, but the director sadly underutilizes her (although she does most of the sex) and her boyfriend doesn't seem to notice (although the director does), except during the sex scenes. Finally the real star, the flesh eating virus hits our heroes and it tries to be a psychological thriller by keeping you wandering where the virus will strike next (8 points): I was pretty caught up in this part until the people started to speak. Again, better actors like those in "Rosemary's Baby" my have sent me jumping from my seat. Of course today, what would be horror without gore (5 points). Anyone that has seen more than 5 gore-fests have probably seen these tired old "skin eating" effects before and won't be to impressed. For good measure they threw in some "I Know What You Did Last Summer", but did not pursue it enough to make it more than filler. And last and certainly least is the "Government conspiracy, cover up" angle (4 points). There seemed to be no clear motivation as to why officials handled it the way they did.
In summary, this movie had a lot of great potential, but probably dropped the ball because of lack of money, talent, and time. It definitely needs to be re-made if we can get that MPAA monkey off the box-office back (can you say "Hayes Commission"?)