Reviews written by registered user

Send an IMDb private message to this author or view their message board profile.

7 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
less scary than an actual circus, 28 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Dead Clowns, Lions Gate Entertainment demonstrates once again that their distribution wing is located several stories below the barrel that other studios only dare to scrape the bottom of. First allow me to set the stage by quoting from the marvelous plot synopsis located on the back of the packet: "As a hurricane approaches the small coastal town of Port Emmett, an innocent group of residents are {sic} visited by an unspeakable horror. Fifty years ago a bridge collapsed in the small town, plunging a circus train into the dark water below. The clown car was never recovered. {emphasis mine} Tonight the zombie clowns emerge from the bay to exact revenge on the descendants of those who left them buried under the silt and mud for half a century." Given that this synopsis contains the immortal phrase "The clown car was never recovered", which causes me to erupt with spontaneous laughter every time I hear it, rest assured that I was not expecting a high quality piece of entertainment. What I was expecting (unfortunately for me) was some piece of entertainment...

Dead Clowns starts with a ponderous lead-in filled with insistent nature shots, which neither reinforce the important fact that a hurricane is supposed to be coming, nor even adhere to any particular continuity concerning the time of day. The ostensible purpose of these scenes is actually to introduce the audience to our cast of low-rent victims, but Brinke Stevens as the adult woman who grew up in Port Emmett, and is now returning to show her husband her home-town, is the only one of particular significance.

She will soon be picked off, like everybody else in Dead Clowns, but her role actually serves a purpose. Unable to afford to show the circus train crash, writer-director-composer Steve Sessions opts instead to have Brinke Stevens' character recount the tale to her husband. One gets the impression that Stevens thought they would be cutting away from her monologue, or at least overlaying her with milky stock footage of a train and a few notes of public domain calliope music, but there was nothing. Just Brinke Stevens in a crummy motel room, looking out at the gentle breeze and smattering of raindrops that was standing in for an oncoming hurricane.

Eventually, the titular clowns arrive, after some underwater footage showing the cheerfully-clad corpses shuffling through the silt. The clowns themselves look like they might have spent five decades under water, all rot and rubber and no lips. But their clown suits are inexplicably brand new, right down to their white, white gloves. Even in the underwater shots. And somehow they manage to eat the citizens of Port Emmett (quite sloppily, in long drawn-out scenes of cannibalism accompanied by celery-biting, pasta-slurping sound effects) without ever getting blood on their outfits. After chewing his way through a screaming teenager who was spewing blood, a zombie clown still wears an unblemished ruffle around his neck. Did Sessions have to return these clown suits to a rental place after filming? This obviously-shot-on-video effort does nothing to legitimize DV as a medium, nor does it add anything to the recently-bloated zombie genre. At least the actors generally seem to be acting, which puts Dead Clowns solidly ahead of many other LGE offerings, but few of them are successful in their thespian attempts. The utter lack of tension can't be blamed wholly on either the script or the cast, but the two of them together conspire to keep all semblance of fear or suspense (or audience involvement) as far away from the viewing experience as possible. You would think that any director could take the premise "zombie clowns" and make at least one interesting thing happen (be honest, you thought of at least one interesting thing just now, didn't you?) and in this respect, Steve Sessions has managed to deliver a shock.

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
regarding the previous user's comment, 2 January 2006

Just wanted to point out that the previous poster (who mentioned Robert Hays and Pam Dawber) was actually referring to the movie "The Girl, The Gold Watch, And Everything". This movie ("...And Dynamite") is the sequel to the Pam Dawber movie (she isn't in this one). While the original TV movie is better, they're both enjoyable pieces of adolescent fluff, particularly for those of us who grew up in the late seventies and early eighties. I was lucky enough to see them both in their first broadcasts, but sadly I could never find the first one again. It seemed like they ran "...And Dynamite" all the time (probably because of Morgan Fairchild). But not the first one.

34 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
Even worse than it looked, 18 July 2005

Not that "a film by Ulli Lommel" filled me with hope, but I must confess that ZODIAC KILLER managed to sink beneath my lowest expectations. There is a recent trend among young filmmakers of utilizing digital video for their early projects, which is all well and good for giving these kids the opportunity to create work without spending all their money on expensive film stock. But many of these young filmmakers have also wised up to the notion of filtering the finished movie so that it appears qualitatively more like celluloid. The effect is never perfect, but it helps. Unfiltered digital video really only works for the "mockumentary" style, because it never looks like anything other than video. Therein lies the primary trouble with ZODIAC KILLER. Watching the movie feels like watching a daytime soap opera about a murderer. It does not feel like watching a movie. And what's even more unforgivable is that the Lommel is NOT a young filmmaker. He ought to know better. He ought to know that it's virtually impossible to generate horror (or even suspense!) on video. For the love of god this guy has been directing since the sixties! He may be the only director who has failed to improve over a forty year career in the business. And lucky us, he wrote the script too! So you can expect convoluted actions that mean nothing, unjustified behavior, and at least one truly pretentious plot element that will leave you utterly unsatisfied. Please, please miss this film. You'll thank me later.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Disco Wiener Haven, 22 January 2004

This movie is so amazing, and I deeply envy any fan of Repo Man who has yet to unearth this incredible gem. But there is very little middle-ground in terms of this film's audience. Either you get it, or you don't. You fall over laughing or you yawn. Just read the other comments for this title and you'll see what I mean. Maybe you have to be a punk (or to HAVE BEEN a punk) for this flick to really work, because that sensibility, and the New Wave, this wonderful amalgam of anarchy and spaghetti-western suffuses the entire film. I see so many comments that say things like "Weird, but interesting", as though anything "weird" ought to be regarded with suspicion. Well, if that's your attitude, STAY AWAY from this movie. This is not about perfectly narrative storytelling. This is not about special effects. This is a gleeful celebration of cinematic language, angry music and cultural icons. Fox Harris and Jennifer Balgobin are in it, for the love of god, and so are the Pogues!

4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Irresponsible and embarrassing, 5 December 2003

I have still yet to grasp what, precisely, makes me hate Queer as Folk so very, very much. There are bits that amuse, bits that intrigue, but most of the time I find myself swelling with anger until the credits roll. Eventually I realized that Queer as Folk is the shameful cousin of Sex and the City; both programs treat their characters as obnoxious mouthpieces without souls. Yet, Queer as Folk makes me angrier than Sex and the City ever has. Why is that? I suppose what bothers me most is that Queer as Folk is the highest-profile show in the history of American television that COULD have the freedom to portray gay people as something other than ludicrous clowns. But instead they come across exactly like the empty sluts in Sex and the City - just as misguided, just as pathetic, just as depressing. Only Sharon Gless is spared. What really burns is that Queer as Folk out to feel a greater sense of RESPONSIBILITY toward its subjects. EVERYBODY already knows that not all powerful women are whores. People watching Sex and the City aren't going to see the women on that show and think, "Oh, so THAT's what girls are like!" But there are far too many who will watch Queer as Folk and feel that all their suspicions have been validated. The producers ought to be ashamed of themselves. And the audience should be ashamed too.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Beach Blanket Bloodshed!, 2 December 2003

Several people don't seem to "get" this movie, and maybe it really does have something to do with the fact that beach party movies come from a more innocent time. Kids today probably haven't watched Beach Blanket Bingo, the Gidget films, or even Clambake. I just figured the beach party genre was something that would have seeped into everybody's collective unconscious, but maybe I was wrong.

So yes, there is a heavy-handed parodic element to this movie, and anyone who is steadfastly unfamiliar with the source material is unlikely to enjoy every level present on the screen. But for those who love a little luau with their life-threatening, Psycho Beach Party delivers in spades.

Heaven (1987)
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
This documentary impressed me so much., 6 December 1999

Heaven's subject is simply that. Diane Keaton interviews a terrific assortment of people on the topic of what they believe heaven is like. Alone or in pairs, she asks her subjects a variety of questions about what they expect to find in the afterlife. The interviews are then edited together to show us how different people responded to the same questions. Keaton sets the mood by introducing her collage technique. Topical clips from black-and-white films, painted title cards, and interviews with her subjects are all interwoven to create a playful and interesting discussion of heaven. The title cards set up themes (Is there Sex in Heaven?), then the next several clips will show people addressing that very question. Keaton herself does not appear in the film. The subjects sit in beautiful, slightly surreal sets, directing their responses off-camera. What really made this film stand out for me, though, is its delightful attitude. By staying off-camera, Keaton removes herself as the questioner and puts me in her place, so I can't help but begin to feel her genuine curiosity in asking questions about heaven. Personal religious beliefs become secondary to a joy I take in hearing what the concept of heaven means to these various people. And I grow to really LIKE these people. The first thing I learn about them is this deeply personal notion of what they think will happen to them after they die. I was totally fascinated, and I bought the movie, and I recommend it to everyone. It's hilarious, sometimes sad, occasionally creepy, and completely interesting. I felt cheated that I had never heard about it until twelve years after it was made. I could have been enjoying it for so much longer.