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See it for Love
All I have to say is this: the one and only reason to see this movie is because of Jennifer Love Hewitt! She's in practically every scene, and her comedic skills in this film are outstanding. It really shows that she can hold her own amongst this generations best comedic actresses. I haven't laughed out loud at a movie in a long time, and I did at this one because of Love Hewitt's hilarious character!!! One of her best roles EVER, and hopefully she continues to churn out these co-medically brilliant performances! It's about time Hollywood (and the world) tuned into her talent! Overall, the film is a bit cheesy and shallow, but Hewitt's turn as the selfish Katya is amazing, and it's really something that we haven't seen her do before. Quite refreshing!
When you get sooooo excited about a movie, it's hard to tell people how good it is. Words just can't describe how thrilling it was to find a movie like SAW and have it be such an amazing surprise. There have been so many "horror" movies lately that critics call the the scariest movie of the year, that end up being huge disappointments ("The Village"? "Open Water"? I rest my case) So I was setting myself up for the same disappointment when I saw SAW at the Toronto International Film Festival last night. And I have to say the film blew me away. It's what true horror should be: Gory, clever, surprising, and terrifying on a very primitive level. This is a film that rarely has pointless "jump" scares (you know, a loud music hit then a cat runs by) but achieves a fear that stays with you in a way that you could see someone walk down the street, and it's scary. My heart was thumping the whole time. The images are truly disturbing, and that's a good thing. It creates more fear. Director James Wan is probably the best thing to happen to horror in a long time. Some of the visuals he creates in this film will stay with you long after you leave the theatre. And writer/actor Leigh Wannell has created such a cool premise for a horror story that it's so refreshing to watch, because you've never seen it before. Whichever one of the two thought about using a camera flash to light up a room when the power goes out (you'll understand when you see the film), my hat goes off. That scene is one of the scariest I've seen because of the pure suspense and fear that they've created. If I had to point out something bad about the film (and there's not much bad about it) it would have to be the acting. Now, I'm not saying it's community theatre acting, because there are some amazing talents here, and throughout most of the movie they all shine, but as an actor myself, I pick up on some of the weaker moments. And there where some lines that were said that weren't totally believable. But that being said, horror isn't really an "acting" genre, so it's easy to look beyond. Anyway, in closing, this is one of the most original movies, not just horror movies, to come along in a while, and truly one of the scariest. You have to go see it whether you like horror or not because it is such a thrilling movie going experience. It deserves to be up there with "The Exorcist" as one of the scariest movies of all time. I cannot wait to see what Wan and Wannell do next. They definitely have a successful future ahead of them!! SEE SAW!!!!!!!
Darkness Falls (2003)
DARKNESS FALLS, GOOSEBUMPS RISE!!!!
Okay, by no means is DARKNESS FALLS a great movie, but I LOVED IT!!! It's pure eye candy for an hour and a half, and it's quite intense. What I was most impressed about it was it's ability to make me jump time and again, and the director has a great sense of what makes things creepy. And if the noises that the Tooth Fairy make don't give you the shivers, then there's something wrong with you.
First I'll start with the bad stuff. There really isn't a plot to the story, other than the Tooth Fairy is after people. That's it. There's a neat little back story as to why the Tooth Fairy exists, but it's not enought to make an entire movie. And the entire premise evokes images of Freddy Krueger in "A Nightmare on Elm Street". The characters aren't really drawn out or deep enough to REALLY care about, however Emma Caulfied is the standout of the film as she conveys real fear and hurt toward her little brothers situation. I haven't decided if Chaney Kley is a good actor or not, because in this film all he does is look miserable and says his lines all the same way. Maybe that's what the director wanted, but if not, I would have liked to have seen more heightened emotion, or the character of Kyle have more of an arc. I think other actors reading this probably know what I mean.
The good stuff far outnumbers the bad stuff. I can safely say that I enjoyed this movie for what it was. It might not be a horror classic, but it certainly scared me (unlike THEY which everyone compares this film to. If you're wondering, DARKNESS FALLS is the superior of the two.) Anyway, the whole movie moves along at a quick pace, and I was surprised at how many times I jumped. Sure there were some cheap scares (ie. cats jumping, friends coming round corners) but in this film, they work and you actually get scared about it, you don't roll your eyes saying "WHY DID THEY DO THAT!!!" The character of the Tooth Fairy is definately one of the creepier villains to come out of Hollywood in a long time. The fact that she floats and makes REALLY creepy noises just put my senses over the edge. Definately a villain you can't hide from, and the filmakers used that tactic to the fullest. Every time a light goes out, you're heart stops, because you know shes coming. The whole film is a roller coaster ride, that starts right with the opening credits, and doesn't end until the closing credits. I don't remember a part in the film that was slow or not creepy.
IN A NUTSHELL: It's not cinematic brilliance, but it sure is great escapist entertainment that gets the blood flowin' and the heart beatin'. It definately should be experienced on the big screen to get the full effect of the Tooth Fairy. It's not as smart or deep as THE RING, but it is ten times better than THEY. So get your tickets now. I know I'm going to again!!
SKIPPY'S RATING: 7/10
Tune into this 'Frequency'!!!
When I first saw the trailers for this film, I thought it looked a bit, well, cheesy. Oh, how wrong I was!!
In a nutshell, this is one great film. Sure, the storyline is a bit far fetched, but isn't that the point of movies? Escapism? What makes this film work is that the creators don't focus so much on the scientific time travel psychobabble, and spend more time focusing on the characters. And what great characters they are! Everything about this film is good, from the writing and direction, to the brilliant performances from everyone! Dennis Quaid has never been better!! Jim Caviezel was great, and I really hope to see alot more of Elizabeth Mitchell, who is beyond perfect in her role as the wife/mother! These (and all the other) stellar actors involved make the characters so REAL, so you have no other choice but to care about them!
This is one film where you can say it has something for everyone! At some moments it's lighthearted and funny, at other moments it's suspensful and action-packed, and the ending is heartwarming. When I saw it in theatres, I don't think there was a dry eye in the house!
I really can't stop singing this film's praises, so I will end with this: SEE THIS FILM!!! IT'S AMAZING!!!! GIVE IT A CHANCE!! YOU WON'T REGRET IT!!!!
Skippy's Rating: 9.5/10!!
Save the Last Dance (2001)
Let's get one thing straight. Teen movies are starting to get unbearable. So it is a relief when something like "Save the Last Dance" comes along and offers something up that's just a little off of redundancy. There seems to be a lot going on here, with the main characters dealing with everything from death of loved ones to single parenthood to racial issues. You don't see THAT often in teen movies! But what it really comes down to is DANCE! Julia Stiles plays a former ballet dancer whose dreams are self-imposingly dashed by a tragic event, and the rest of the movie is about her re-chasing her dream in totally different circumstances than what she's used to (mainly: being the only white girl in a rough Chicago all-black neighbourhood). The movie does touch upon a lot of issues, as previously mentioned, but none of them are explored enough to give the film a lot of substance. What does make the film somewhat enjoyable is the dance sequences and the performances. There seems to be a real chemistry between Stiles (who's great in everything she does!) and Sean Patrick Thomas, who is really talented! I've only seen him in supporting roles, but this film shows he can be a leading man. The scene stealer award goes to Kerry Washington, who is so much fun in every one of her scenes. I hope to see a lot more of her in the future. IN A NUTSHELL: It's good to see a teen film that deals with more issues than just prom dates, and it will make you think, but it's not deep enough to be more than just a "dance" movie in the same vain as "Centre Stage" and "Dirty Dancing", culminating in long dance routine by Stiles, and when the routine is over, everything is resolved. Are all the issues REALLY resolved? Only in Hollywood!! Skippy's Rating: 7/10
Killing Mr. Griffin (1997)
Too good to be true.
I must say that this was one of the finest made for TV movies I have ever seen. It was a part of the post Scream teen movie boom, but this one was actually good (unlike I've Been Waiting For You" and "Teaching Mrs. Tingle") The acting was surprisingly good by the cast of up and comers (it was great to see Michelle Williams pre Dawson's Creek) the script was intense and the direction made us feel we were part of the scheme. If you liked "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (both movies were based on the books by Lois Duncan) you'll get a kick out of this one too. It's not a slasher story, but a story about covering up secrets and how they can ruin your life. Amy Jo Johnson is terrific in the lead, and Scott Bairstow is creepy and sinister. This was a good movie. Too good to be a TV movie. It should have at least got a limited theatrical release!
Whatever It Takes (2000)
Another Teen Movie? Whatever.....
"Whatever It Takes" is another vehicle to try to cash in on the whole teen movie phase. This one deals with the same old "boys-make-pact-to-get-girls-of-their-dreams" theme, only one of them realizes the girl of his dreams is right in front of him. Heard this story before? Of course you have.
Okay, maybe I'm making it sound really bad. It's not REALLY bad, just not up to par. What it does have going for it is the performances by Shane West and Marla Sokoloff in the "lovers who don't know they are yet" roles. They make the story, and their lives, interesting. Jodi Lyn O'Keefe is fun as the typical "it's all about me" girl. The only disappointing performance is by James Franco, who seemed to be just reading his lines, not acting. Aaron Paul as "Floyd" provides most of the humour, although sometimes it got annoying.
"Whatever" is more sexually charged than most of the other teen trash out there, and that's probably what works the most. Teens ARE sexual, and they really show it. Although it doesn't have the emotional core and witty writing of the best teen romance ever, "10 Things I Hate About You", there are some much needed jolts of humour that tear you off of the same-old-story treadmill.
So overall, it's not the best "teen" movie out there, but don't totally avoid it.
Skippy-60 gives it a rating of 6.5/10
Final Destination (2000)
GO EXPERIENCE THIS FILM!!!
WARNING: This review contains SPOLIERS!
Not in a long time has a movie "stayed" with me long after I left the theatre. I saw it a week ago, and I still think about it everyday, and the questions it poses.
If you're reading this, you probably already know what FINAL DESTINATION is about. But I'll cover the bases anyway. A student named Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) has a dream about a plane that he and his french class are on exploding in mid air. When he wakes up, things start happening just as they had in the dream. Alex freaks out, and is removed from the plane, along with five other classmates and a teacher. As these seven are grounded, their classmates are Paris bound, and everyone is mad at Alex for disrupting their plans. But lo and behold, as the seven (and the audience) watch in horror, the plane they have just left explodes shortly after takeoff. The rest of the story is like this: they cheated death. Now death has to come back and finished what he started.
Now that I've set you all up, here is my personal review. In one word: WOW!!. Sure the plot may sound a bit cheesy, but believe me, this film is one heck of a roller coaster ride. The first twenty minutes will hold you breathless as you await the inevitable plane crash. After that happens, the film sustains the gloom created from the disaster, adding creepiness to the mix because you never know what's going to happen next. Who will die next? And how? The movie hints at how the people will die, but it's not until after the fact that you say "oh, so THAT'S what they meant by that image!"
Speaking of images, this movie is filled with images you won't get out of your head for a while. The horrific plane explosion is just one of many. The writing is such that you actually care for these characters, so when one of them dies, you feel a sense of shock and sadness. And acting wise, the cast does a great job of showing us that what is happening is real to them. Sawa is terrific as the one who knows deaths design and must convince everyone else, and Ali Larter (who's great in everthing she does) is extraordinary at showing us the human factor of the tragedies. I was hoping that Amanda Detmer would have more screen time, but she was unforgettable in what little role she had. And cheers to Kerr Smith. Not for a second did I see Jack from Dawson's Creek. He was all Carter.
Even though there are some flaws in the film (you can clearly see a "dead" body's eyes moving) some of the explanations get confusing (at least they did to me) and some of the lines are corny, it's a wonderfully terrifying film that, on more that one occasion, made me jump out of my seat more that any film has in a LONG LONG time. The story is an interesting idea that could have easily become a terrible B-movie, but all the writers, directors and cast bring such a maturity and sense of seriousness to it that you can't help but be engrossed by it. And the film makes you think of your everyday life as well, making you think about what fate (and death) have in store for you. Finally!!! A "teen" movie that everyone can enjoy!!
For a great hour and a half of stunning entertainment, pay the money and see FINAL DESTINATION.