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Starship Troopers (1997)
For the love of God, read the book...
Because in comparison this is a bad cartoon, while the novel has been in continuous print for as long as I have been alive.
I have yet to see (and I went through 75 or more) even one IMDb user's comment on this "movie" catch that it bears less resemblance to the book than did Kubrick's "The Shining". To paraphrase Robert A. Heinlein -- author of the book -- this is a classic case of a screenwriter and a director "peeing in it until they like the flavor better."
For a truly lucid and cuttingly accurate assessment of this alleged film, read Spider Robinson's essay "Recutting the Crown Jewels", first published in the Toronto Globe and Mail 11/97, and reprinted recently in his collection "The Crazy Years" (BenBella Books).
Key quote from Spider's piece: "During the first week (of release) nearly 3 million people bought a ticket; doubtless its makers were pleased. But they COULD have sold at least another TEN million tickets."
Want to learn more? See above; repeat as necessary.
Kiss Symphony (2003)
So much derision... isn't this what we've been waiting for since the invention of the VCR?
Well, we can always count on Kiss fans to disagree, can't we?
(DISCLOSURE: I was at the recording of Alive II at the Forum in Inglewood CA., when I was 13. Have also seen the Colorado stops of the "Reunion Tour" and the "Farewell Tour".)
Seems to me that some of the other reviewers here were watching some other performance. One disses Peter Criss -- and Ringo Starr, in the same breath -- by calling them "mediocre gimp(s)"? Please. We who have a clue are *extremely* tired of seeing every drummer in the world who is not Neil Peart, John Bonham or Keith Moon being punished for not being one of them.
Never mind that I have never seen or heard an actual drummer administer this abuse... forgive me, but I believe that in order to validly criticize any musical performance, you should have a closer connection to it than does the average NASCAR fan yelling at his TV while his '73 Vega rusts in the yard. Do you really think you know how it can be done better? Go ahead, give it a try -- and try not to cry while soaking your aching wrists in ice water after the gig, assuming you get through it at all. So unless your name is Stuart Copeland, shaddup already.
Another one who obviously has not done his/her research calls Tommy Thayer a "club guitarist". Right -- Tommy's credentials are shown well in another comment. As for Ace, here's a news flash: he's a drunk. Has been, probably still is, and that's at least a large part of why they didn't want him back. (Here in Denver on the "Farewell Tour", Ace was buzzing frets and stumbling around the stage fit to attract a cop -- seen and heard with my own eyes and ears.)
Tommy Thayer, in this performance, resurrected one of my favorite tunes: "Let Me Go Rock and Roll". Kiss hadn't performed that song for twenty years or so. Why did Tommy make that happen? Because Paul and Gene could trust him to do it right. Ace barely made it through "Rock and Roll All Night" his last time through Denver, and it was obvious he wanted to get off the stage and the tour.
Tommy re-taught Ace his own chops for the Reunion Tour in '96. Then a couple of tours later Tommy went out and out-performed Ace at his own game. We should punish Tommy for this? To hell with that, I'm with the sign in the Melbourne audience: "Tommy Rocks!"
More historically accurate than most seem to realize
Highly entertaining, very authentic and (for the most part) historically accurate. One example of David Milch's use of creative license: historians say that Seth Bullock didn't arrive in Deadwood until the day before Wild Bill Hickok was murdered (holding aces and eights) in 1876, where in the series Bullock and Hickok had days or weeks to develop a friendship.
You read right, folks: Wild Bill and Calamity Jane Canary aren't the only actual people being portrayed here. Al Swearengen (and The Gem) were quite real, as were "Colorado" Charlie Utter, Sol Star, W.E. Adams and others including, of course, Seth Bullock.
(Anyone interested in the history of Deadwood might want to start by looking at http://adamsmuseumandhouse.org, but I offer that link -- not this post, just the link -- with a low grade "spoiler warning", because the actual history of Deadwood is probably going to be a large part of where the series goes in the future.)
Steal Big Steal Little (1995)
Location, location, location
(This is an edited/revised post):
This film deeply affected me in two ways, which I will present in reverse chronological order:
2) The movie was shot largely on location, in and around my hometown of Santa Barbara. When I saw it in 1996, I was nine years removed from home and doing radio in Missouri. It was good to see home again.
1) However, I had the opportunity to go home in early 1995 when this was being shot. To his security team's utter horror, I attempted to park near the SB County Courthouse, somewhere dangerously close to (read: half a block away from) Andy Garcia's trailer. After several contentious profanities were hurled at me I moved the car, during which time I uttered a wish out loud that the film would turn out to be an utterly unwatchable piece of crap, and would completely tank at the box office.
Moral of the story? Don't go on location and then let your people treat a local like something stuck to your shoe -- he just might have unknown powers in putting curses.
To the film's credit, they did have the good taste to shoot at Papagallo's on De La Guerra Plaza (try the ceviche), and it also showed the annual Summer Solstice Parade in a pretty good light.
EDIT: Since I wrote most of the above, I've had occasion to revisit this movie (there was nothing better on HBO that night), and I've reluctantly come to the conclusion it really is funny. Mostly due to the performances of Alan Arkin and Joe ("Joey Pants") Pantoliano.
Okay, so I ran afoul of Andy Garcia's people during the shoot and they honked me off. And then my first viewing of the film left me cold. I've since warmed up to it (and removed my negative comments in this edit). Take that for what it's worth -- and I hope it's worth something, because I'm not a big fan of eating crow in public.
That Thing You Do! (1996)
"Casablanca", it ain't. That doesn't keep it from being good.
Previous reviews explain the movie and characters pretty well; I want to add one writer's point of view.
This story was obviously a labor of love for Tom Hanks. Had he not had the Hollywood pull that he enjoys at this point in his career, the project would never have seen the light of day. Most films emerging from this process are, quite frankly, crap. But this is Tom Hanks we're talking about; the man is incapable of doing anything at less than outstanding levels of quality, and he often achieves greatness.
"That Thing You Do" is merely outstanding, but it allows Hanks to be outstanding while wearing five different hats. The more cynical point out that it covers little new ground. I would disagree -- I found it refreshingly daring that in an era where the public insists that some barrier be broken before a piece is considered to be worthwhile, Hanks had the fortitude (and power) to see this through and get it made.
Furthermore it set the stage, five years before 9/11, for less-in-your-face fare to be embraced by those seeking more in the way of feel-good entertainment.
The world is a teaspoonful of better because this film is available to us. The world of movies could probably claim a gallon. But you're in no danger of getting a cavity from seeing it. For that, I recommend "The Lizzie McGuire Movie".
Escape from Sobibor (1987)
Every human being should see this film
I had the extraordinary privilege of watching this film, when it first aired on CBS, with two of the survivors portrayed therein -- Thomas "Toivi" Blatt and Stanislaw "Shlomo" Szmajzner. To say that it was moving would be a huge understatement. Seeing the portrayal of their victory and revenge against the Nazis, accompanied by still another revenge in the persons of Tom's daughter and Stanislaw's son, was an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Any human with a heart will find this historically accurate film at first horrifying, then spellbinding, and in the end incredibly uplifting. You will, in all likelihood, stand and cheer in your living room. A "must see" -- which is praise I do not give easily. See this film! You will not be sorry.