Reviews written by registered user
|830 reviews in total|
1st watched 1/17/2015 3 out of 10(Edited by Mike Stanley): Strangely edited together movie splicing pieces of "The Night of the Living Dead" from George Romero and "Carnival of Souls" by Herk Harvey. It's really not even fun for fans of the original films because the stories really don't go together very well. It starts with the warning of radiation bringing corpses back from the dead and then we switch to the heroine from "Carnival" coming out of the water. The movie jumps back and forth between scenes of the two movies not keeping anything in the same chronological order. For example we are not told until the very end that shooting a ghoul(those risen from the dead) in the head kills them for good, but right before this the hero from "Night" is seen killing a couple of the recently dead by doing this very thing. There are more of these badly ordered scenarios which make me wonder what the editor, Mike Stanley, was trying to do here. There appear to be a couple of different zombies in the "Night" sequences which may have been the folk from Showcase films trying to get into a movie, but I don't know this for sure and if they did it -- it's well done and doesn't deter from the scenes. So, all in all, we primarily have a badly put together mixing of the two films with nothing making really any sense, and to add insult they change the ending. It is very difficult to write a review of this type of endeavor when you are a person who enjoyed each of the original films. This makes me biased towards re-working either of them therefore my review is tinted with this. This movie is a novelty at best, and I suppose may be interesting to figure out what the actual intent was in this new splicing, but unfortunately the results are not satisfactory, in my opinion.
1st watched 1/4/2015 -- 6 out of 10(Dir-John Landis): Effective horror-comedy with an abrupt ending that leaves the viewer wondering why the Director, John Landis, closed out the story the way he did. The movie is about a couple of American friends vacationing in England who are attacked by an animal, killing one and wounding the other. The locals know something strange is going on in their area, but don't do what's necessary to keep them out of trouble. They do however get there soon enough to save David, played by David Naughton. If this was a werewolf that attacked them -- the legend is that if you survive you will turn into one at the next full moon, and this is David's fear. The doctor and nurse that initially take care of him get involved in a couple of different ways. The nurse, played by Jenny Agutter, takes him in and starts a romance. The doctor eventually tries to find out what actually happened as the authorities say they were attacked by a human lunatic not an animal. The movie is scary and funny(with most of the humor coming from Griffin Dunne, who plays David's dead friend who keeps showing up in a degrading state trying to get him to kill himself before he kills others and to send him to his final resting place). Rick Baker's makeup takes center stage especially during the initial transformation scene where David turns into a werewolf. The gruesomeness is a little overused and is a slight negative to the movie, in my opinion, but the movie keeps your interest until the final 15 minutes where it finishes way too quickly. The movie is unique in it's ability to fuse many genre's into one movie somewhat successfully. Landis appeared to either run out of money, or just didn't have a more dramatic ending prepared(to it's fault) but still the movie was worthwhile.
1st watched 12/6/2014 -- 5 out of 10(Dir-Stanley Kubrick): Sprawling inconsistent epic movie directed by Stanley Kubrick with a very good performance by executive producer Kirk Douglas as Spartacus and good cinematography, but a story that has it's good parts and bad parts but not enough of the good to carry it over the top. The story is about a slave in Italy who starts an uprising that eventually rises up to fight against Rome itself. Douglas portrays the main character with passion and a performance where the camera just placed on his face tells his character's story. Jean Simmons portrays another slave that tweaks his romantic interests at a gladiator training facility, which he is transferred to after being bought by Peter Ustinov's character, that trains slaves and treats them like Gods until they are transferred to another facility where they have to fight to their death's for entertainment purposes for Roman citizens. Laurence Olivier's character, who is a wealthy influential person, visits the facility and forces the caretaker to prematurely do a couple of fights to the death including Spartacus. He survives, of course, but then starts the uprising upon hearing that Simmon's character is being sent to another location. This is where the film doesn't do a good job, in my opinion, because it makes it look like it all started over a lover's spat when obviously Spartacus had a bigger idea in mind. Douglas and Simmons carry on a very powerful screen romance but this overpowers the bigger story. He then commands the slave army to try and accomplish the task of freeing all the slaves in the whole of Italy. The political complexities in Rome and the conflict between the Roman characters actually slows down the movie. Olivier's character's motivations are never explored so the conflict between him and Spartacus is not a watchable piece of entertainment. There are some wonderful moments of cinematography especially the initial fight between the Romans and the slaves but these small moments don't sustain a full 3 hours plus. Not a worthless piece of entertainment, but not good enough to keep your full interest throughout the whole length of this long epic.
1st watched 11/26/2014 4 out of 10(Dir-Brian Cox): Slow starting comic book adaptation stars Wilmer Valderrama(from TV's "That 70's Show") as a young man chosen to bring back an old Aztec religion and ends up turning into a healing superhero-like deceased man after his vehicle collides with a tree bringing his demise and bringing his spirit into the current world 1 year later. Valderrama's character is promising by the end of the movie, but unfortunately it takes that long to see the potential and then the movie is over. The film starts with an elderly man dying and presenting to the young version of the main character the fact that he expects him to be the one to bring back the old time religion. There is a lot of hokeyness to this premise explaining that the Aztecs were killed off and will supposedly return to prominence in the future after three days of rain while the sun is shining. During Valderrama's ghostlike return to the world he begins hearing weird voices in his head and starts healing others despite the negative voices wanting him to kill those who might stop the inevitable from happening(the current priests). So what we have is kind of a spirit-world bad vs. evil going on. Valderrama is fine in this character but the timidness early on kind of makes the movie boring. The evil spirit then starts killing the priests initially thru Valderrama's character and then takes over an elderly woman and a confrontation occurs late in the movie. The confrontation is interesting which makes you think there could be an interesting follow-up movie but I don't think this is going to happen. The movie is un-eventful although not horrible, but isn't well made enough for anyone to take notice. I liked seeing Valderrama breaking out of his comedic sissy-like character to tackle a fuller character and he did well considering the lack of depth he was given. This fair at best movie will probably not give him too many other opportunities, unfortunately.
1st watched 11/8/2014 -- 2 out of 10(Dir-George Bowers): Boring, titillating teen perversion movie about a young highschool student , played by Matt Luttanzi, who can't pass French class and is hired a tutor to retake an exam so he can go to Yale. The tutor, played by Caren Kaye, is well known as one of the best in the field, and the father -- played by Kevin McCarthy -- will have nothing but success, so hired her for the task. The student watches the teacher during her nightly nude swims and, of course, starts getting different ideas about her. The teacher is having troubles in her love life and eventually pulls the younger student into a relationship(which happens very quickly after a few of the swims). It's hard calling this film, a teen sex comedy, because there are very few laughs and very few attempted laughs. The student friends including a very young Cristin Glover invoke a couple of these with their antics early on trying to get laid, but nothing much else humorwise occurs besides this. The movie then must rely on the relationship between the tutor and student, which is mostly about a teenage libido and a middle-aged forgotten woman getting plenty of attention(including sex). The student actually learns somehow gain some cohona's, and fights against his father's wishes as he wants to goto UCLA for Astronomy not Yale. At this point we really don't care much about the real lives of these people --- and this makes the movie a failure. The movie really didn't try to do much and it succeeded in that, I guess, and it probably made some money for the filmmakers --- so bravo to them, but the movie is pretty much a waste of the viewer's 1 and 1/2 hours.
1st watched 11/1/2014 2 out of 10(Dir-Kermit Christman & Del Tenney): Confusing, amateurish production revolves around a late descendant of Edgar Allen Poe, played by Katherine Heigl, meeting another supposed descendant who is also a writer, played by Jeremy London. These two folk get involved with each other then all goes haywire. The plot actually is a lot more complicated than this so I'll try to break it down. This writer sees visions of "Edgar Allen" as he tries to write a novel and break away from his roots. His agent has the last name of "Usher", which is the family that had it against the Poe's as shown in the first scene where an Usher kills a Poe. If you are confused now it gets worse as the movie goes forward. Some murders start happening in the local area as we are introduced to a variety of characters who either have the "hots" for Heigl's character or there is some other reason that they could possibly be the murderer. And then, of course, we have the writer Ethan Poe who is also a suspect because of his past and his eccentricity. So do we care about the Poe vs. distant cousin romance or the murder mystery or neither I take neither. I don't know if the fault of the movie is the original story or the adaptation or the director's, but it doesn't come across like anyone really had a handle on what they wanted to do with the material. London, unfortunately is handed a role that is inconsistent from scene to scene and he hams it up pretty good. Heigl seems extremely unsure of herself early in the movie, but gets better as it progresses. The story starts as a mystery/romance but changes to a psycho horror movie before the end. It would be interesting to know the progression and history of this film's production because it has two directors, two actors that are involved in the writing of the movie, and comes across like a TV movie at times with fadeouts like it's going to a commercial. The bottom line is the confusion turns the viewer away from the film pretty early on so pass this one up unless you just have to see Heigl in an early film.
1st watched 10/19/2014 -- 2 out of 10(Dir-Steve Carver): Lame tennis movie where a ragtag band of college student try to be fun-loving, win at tennis, and stop the authorities from closing down the program at Los Angeles University. From the beginning --- this movie shows it's weaknesses in storytelling and consistent character flow right away after the first couple of scenes. A president, played by Christopher Lee, wants a winning championship sports program at the college because of a long drought and convinces the sports director to use the tennis team to get to this end. In the very next scene, the director is trying to fire the tennis coach, played by Richard Roundtree, but gives his group one more chance to win it all. The best player, named the Kid, first has to be re-instated after a boatload of offenses. The complete team consists of a dumb muscle man, a pleasing youngun, the Kid, a Mexican, a Prince-like impersonator who likes to go drag on the court, and a Texas betting wiz named "Tex", of course. This group is going to win a Championship?? In my highschool days of playing on a team I never saw any athletes that played tennis like this bunch. So anyway, the Kid -- actually turns out to be the most normal one of the group?? and eventually becomes attracted to a girl, played by Marsika Hargitay of "Law and Order" in a very early role. The group attend a couple of risqué things like wet t-shirt contests and then play a whole 2 team matches in Las Vegas for a small college championship competition. This movie is pretty much a waste of time, even though for some reason -- you are routing for the group in the matches before the end of the movie. The lack of character consistency and the story are the real losers in the movie including you -- if you watch this movie.
1st watched 10/11/2014 7 out of 10(Dir=Jean-Pierre Jeunet): Quaint little piece about a sheltered French girl named Amelie, played by Audrey Toutou, who attempts to turn her dreamlike life into reality through following a path of doing good deeds after finding a young boy's memory box behind a wall in her room. Her good deeds start happening after she delivers the memory box to the grown-up person --- who then pursues his ignored daughter and grandson. The complexity of this story and it's characters are actually too much to discuss in this short review but I'll do my best. Her adventures start as a young child who loses her mother and is left with a father who does not relate to people, and therefore keeps her locked up as well until she is able to move away. She then tries to pursue life and love despite her faults and this movie portrays this journey. She works as a waitress in a local bar and is helped in this journey by an elderly painter who lives in her building. A mishmash of characters are introduced telling us their likes and dislikes showing us the director has a backstory for everyone of them. The one that Amelie eventually pursues is a man who has supposedly had the opposite experience in life by having too many people in it. He keeps a scrapbook of folks who take pictures in airport picture kiosk's and is obsessed with this. Her positive approach to branching out also benefits her in a personal way as she changes herself also -- before the end of the movie. This is more of a light comedy than a deep serious piece, but there is definitely meaning behind it the film. The dreamlike approach taken by the filmmaker makes it so you never know what's going to happen next and this is part of the joy in the film. This is a definite gem that should be treasured by moviegoer's throughout the world and hopefully opens the world up to this kind of cinema.
1st watched 10/10/2014 6 out of 10(Dir-Vic Armstrong): Effective biblical end of the world action/drama does a good job of showing us why the book that this is based on was so well received. The story starts in an airport where a daughter is returning home to visit a father, who is having a birthday, but has to work an only gets a brief exchange instead. Nicolas Cage plays the father -- who is a pilot and clearly has alterior motives for taking this flight as he intends to hookup with a young stewardess at their destination. The daughter then meets the other main character whom she takes a liking to, and then also boards Cage's characters' plane. Once in the air a strange occurrence happens where some of the people disappear including the co-pilot leaving only their clothes behind them. We find out later that this same occurrence is happening throughout the world and is the cause of expected chaos in the air and on the ground. The acting and the representation of this event is believable and this is where the movie pulls off what could be a very silly plot. Cage's character later determines that believer's of Christ are those that are disappearing based on information he received from his wife --- who is a believer and has disappeared. For the most part this movie accomplishes it's task of being a thriller and an attempt at spiritual awakening. Cage is very good as he tries to put the pieces together to figure out what is going on. This 2nd version of the book does a much better job than the first although the ending seems unlikely and done for dramatic benefits. The movie completes itself, but also voices that this is "just a beginning" which could lead to sequels if it does well the authors have provided many stories if they want to do this, but we will see.
1st watched 9/13/2014 3 out of 10 (Dir-David Oliver): *review based on 85 minute VHS version* Goofy back in time teen sex comedy attempt about a high school student, played by Daniel Roebuck, who is fond of the prehistoric times but looked at as a geek to the girls. The class takes a field trip to a mine and the combination of a glowing crystal and a mistaken government missile test hitting the cave amazingly transports the student Rex to the cave people times. A sexy young cave girl, played by Cindy Ann Thompson, wakes him up the next morning and he spends the next half hour of the movie trying to have sex with her while they teach each other their languages. There are a couple of slightly funny scenes one particular one where the cave men try to destroy a flashlight, and a slight chuckle occurs when Rex asks the cavegirl to sit on his face - juvenile humor, of course, but brought an unexpected response from me. We get to see plenty of Cindy Ann's gorgeous body, but besides this there isn't much else worthwhile to get from this movie. It is a blatant attempt by Crown Pictures to pander to the teen audience even though the movie is Rated "R" with the theatrical trailer showing all of the nude scenes!! This is typical of the 80's where the titillation takes center stage and the movie falls flat on it's face skip this one unless you're interested in Cindy Ann.
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