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Final Destination 2 (2003)
Cheesy trash movie.
Final Destination didn't need a sequel in the first place, but I guess all those gore-hungry teens and their wallets were too much to pass by. If you've seen Final Destination then you've seen part two already, they are exactly the same. Kimberly is on a road trip with her friends, foresees their deaths and many others' in a huge traffic accident, wakes from the premonition, saves several people from getting on the freeway, the survivors start to die...wow, how original, add in a plane and you've got the first movie again! Magic! The script is Final Destination with new characters and new deaths. The dialogue is very corny, I felt embarrassed to be watching a movie where every character goes "What are you talking about?" or "What's going on?" every other minute, as if that line hasn't been used in horror movies over and over to the point it's a cliche in itself. Plus, it just adds to the bad acting. The girl playing Kimberly is serviceable and of course Ali Larter is fine, but the other "actors" must have done this between their commercial shoots. It's bad. The body count is the only thing the movie is concerned with, and that's no surprise. Everything just leads up to another deathtrap in which someone dies in a horribly gory way. If you don't like blood, stay away. Really there's nothing much to look forward to except to see who's going to bite it and how. There's some bogus subplot about how only new life can defeat death, but it's very cheesy and uninteresting, just like the movie. The opening car pileup is neatly choreographed but brought down by the bad acting and amateur music, which should have been more impactful. Ali Larter should have stayed away just like Devon Sawa and made a real movie where she gets better lines and a chance to show she has talent. Her lines are bad, just like everyone elses'. The movie takes itself way too seriously at parts that it's embarrassing how corny it all is.
The first film was no masterpiece, but it was a serviceable thriller with a fine cast. There is no one in this sequel with a bit of acting talent observed from the first cast. I'm sure this movie will be an embarrassment to Kerr Smith, Devon Sawa, and surely Ali Larter since all it does is give the first one a bad name. Yep, they've turned Final Destination into a franchise. This one is not even half as good as the first and the direction, music, and acting minus Larter is rock bottom. If you like gore and no more, treat yourself. Otherwise, the creepiness and deft craft of the first film is absent and cheesiness takes over. Stay away if you can help it, death should have taken this film.
Final Destination (2000)
Innovative movie wasted on teen audience.
In Final Destination the characters are all out to keep Death itself from finishing them off since they are supposed to have died anyways in a plane crash. Eerie premonitions, a plot that holds much potential, and a great atmosphere...all gone down the drain with the teen horror garbage. Instead of highly executed characters and a little more fleshing out, the film wastes everything to feed this thing to the gore-hungry teen audience. The issues of death and all its aftershocks could have been buttered up into a better movie overall if the studio had not cast a teen audience and set it among a high school crowd. For the benefit of the doubt there is one cardboard adult character who doesn't make it very long. The opening is flavored with enough eerie fingerfood to make you think you're in for a treat. But as soon as the plane goes kaboom, so does the film. After that, we look forward to whiny teens running around while Death hunts them down in more and more ridiculous ways. Take away the dressy plot and it boils down to nothing more than another slasher. We wait on end while the cast drops one by one. Actually, the death scenes are not the problem, it's the way they are set up and what's in between all the messiness. The characters who don't make it all die fascinating deaths. I use fascinating in the sense that a simple turn of events, the smallest detail, sets off a chain reaction that leads to a very bizarre ending for the unlucky survivors. Death never looked so stylish. Hell, these deaths are downright classy and sleek. Death in this film is like the shiny silver on the blade of a knife. But for all the eye-candy, the holes need to be covered up better. For one thing, why does the main character Alex have a premonition in the first place? Just so Death can play cat-and-mouse? And what's with the stock characters? It's really sad because beneath it's teen horror goofiness are the blueprints for a fine film. All they had to do was scrape off all the bubble gum. The film reaches heights when it deals with the survivors reactions to all the stuff happening to them, and their view on Death. The film touches on loneliness, fear, and rejection. A character study begun and not finished. In the end, it is all swept away for the Clearasil crowd.
What a stupid, overrated movie!
HOW is this on the top 250 films list??? Sitting through this thing was just awful, it was worse than physical pain! The...most...boring...movie...ever...made! Trust me, I have seen my share of hokey, boring films, but if this film went any slower I swear you'd see the frames. The fact that this is liked by so many people is a travesty. I only rented it (thanks a lot, guys) and I feel like I blew my money, and it was only $3.00. WHAT was this film trying to do!? How could this even have been made?! I'm surprised anyone was left in the theater when the credits began to roll. I'm serious, anyone who has not seen this, avoid it like a serial killer. A guy is hired to follow his friend's wife around because she is possessed and possibly suicidal. They manage to fall in love in an unbelieveable and cheesy way. Then she goes and dies and he meets a woman who reminds him so much of her that he even begins to dress her like his lost love. Oh yeah, and this is spread out over like 2 hours. It feels like 5. I was bored to death while the cheesy soap opera music soared when he kissed her in their stupid love affair. The ending is very dumb, I was hoping for some gratification after having sat through the most God awful dull film ever, but no. It ends badly and that's it. Blah. How anyone could enjoy such an uninteresting film is beyond me. We see movies to be entertained. This is not anything near entertainment. It provides nothing to the viewer except a slow, deathly drag scene after scene. Entertainment at it's worst. The most unenjoyable film ever. In the end, just another seriously overrated film that anyone normal would fall asleep watching and laugh at later.
Darkness Falls (2003)
A positive review.
These days horror can't win. No matter what, a horror film is going to get bad reviews. It's as simple as that. So why worry about it anymore? If you like horror movies, go see them, because if you wait for one with good reviews, it'll never happen. That out of the way, let me say this movie is pretty average, but it does have its moments. It's fun, full of scares, and has some pretty tense moments at times. A lot of it is contrived, but who cares? The characters all survive by staying in the light, or else the evil tooth fairy/witch will suck them into the air and rip them up. This leads to many suspenseful situations involving flashlights and overhead beams. The acting is good, and the movie zooms along at a swift pace. I recommend seeing this if you're a horror fan or if you just want to have fun. Don't go expecting to see a masterpiece, this is horror. You go to these movies to have a good time, enjoy it. Critics really bashed this film...REALLY bashed it...but then again most critics are like 40 years old and up, so do you really want advice from them? The film is of course full of cliches. The lights all go out at the wrong time, even flashlights die and overhead lights go out just in time for the witch to kill someone. About the 6th time a light goes out and puts our friends in doom we have to start wondering how many times a light can just run out in one night. The witch is also better when she stays in the dark, I have to add. When we get a good look at her she looks too much like a puppet. Her mask is the only scary thing. So in short, ignore the reviews. Was there ANYONE expecting this to get a good grade? Is there ANY horror movie that ever will? Think about it. Funny how no one gripes about the more and more contrived romantic comedies popping up every month...or the more and more contrived action flicks every summer. It seems every other genre can recycle the same old stuff and not get in trouble for it. Think about it. EVERY movie these days, spare a few, suffers from horror symptoms: cliches, contrived plots, cheesy lines...So trust me, think about where you're getting advice from before you skip a fun movie.
The Shining (1980)
Artsy horror...nothing more.
Don't be fooled that just because this a Stanley Kubrick movie and it's on the top 250 films here that it's good. Don't get me wrong, the movie is certainly top-notch horror, but only in the terms that it's not a teenage slasher, the body count is not sky high, it has people who can actually act, and the mood is just right. For a horror film, that's VERY rare. BUT...you will most likely fall asleep waiting for the movie to get to a scare. Kubrick lets this movie drag on forever...it's exhausting. If you've read the book, you know it's about a family that moves into the Overlook Hotel where the dad pulls a crazy and goes postal with an axe (actually, a mallet in the book). Sound interesting? It is. If you can wait the 2 hours to get to that part. The only good thing about this is the end, which is terrifying and definitely a horror classic, and the several good scares Kubrick inserts...between all the boring stuff. This "family" just walks around the hotel alone, not even talking to one another except about meals, etc. while Nicholson (a great performance, by the way) loses it for no apparent reason...a little explanation would have helped. Shelly Duvall is a good actress...her character is such a wuss you could hit her with a feather and she would die. Overall this movie has serious flaws like slow pacing...um, VERY slow...and the biggest flaw of all is in the characters. I never even FEEL the connection between these people. You never believe they are a family. I mean, the little boy Danny is being chased by his own FATHER with an axe...that's something absolutely terrible...but in this movie you never even see the two as father and son...you see them as killer and prey. Hello?! They are blood relatives, shouldn't we feel that? This is NOT a family. This movie is just artsy, dressed up horror, boil it all down and you got a boring movie with a few good scares. If you want to see this, make sure you see it alone. That way you won't make your friends sit for over 2 hours watching Danny ride around on a bike, Wendy make meals, and Jack type. YAAAWWWWNNNN!
The Shield (2002)
Great drama and action.
This series is really entertaining if you like your drama hard and gritty. Those of you who get your fill from soaps and shows like ER should stick to that, this is more in the lines of Sopranos, Oz, and the new 24.
The series doesn't seem like it should deliver much, another cop show in TV land (who can even count how many there are...?) that airs on a channel mostly known for reruns of other great shows from networks like Fox and the WB. But it delivers more than any other police drama and many of the shows that air on the big networks.
The reason for this might be that the happy family hour drama is tossed right out the window. This series is realistic and often very controversial. That may be a weakness, but in terms of creativity, it's a big strength. You'll be shocked to hear and see the things that happen on this show. This show is allowed to get by using words you would gawk at on the regular networks. Other networks might let b*tch pass, but this show has almost every profane word you can think of. Finally, cops talking like cops! Thank you! Gone are the days when cops never cuss. That is the worst case of reality.
The violence is also a big part in setting this series aside from the other "fantasy" cop shows. It doesn't waste time trying to make sure the cops are always the good guys. It admits perfectly that cops are not saints, they do what they have to do.
Every character in the series is fleshed out with their own story for the episode. The show usually cuts between two or three different cases, and the cops' interactions with one another. The main case always centers around Vic Mackey, the good/bad guy. He's the perfect character because you are appalled at the things he does yet strangely sympathetic to him. The Emmy is well deserved, the guy stirs up emotions unlike any other character on TV.
The stories might not be all that original, but with 20 other cops shows around since the '80s, what stories HAVEN'T been done? The stories are mostly a mixture of Law & Order style cases mixed with violence, action, and drama. Who doesn't like that mix?
The series only produces 13 episodes a season. That seems to be a pattern with all the really great shows today (Sopranos, Six Feet Under, etc.). Maybe others should take notice that when you have to make 22 episodes a season it's impossible to keep all the drags out of the line to last that long. The show is following that (hopefully) growing trend where they reduce the number of episodes and keep all the crap "filler" episodes out. Most series that have to make a slate of 22 episodes have to fill the season up with nothing episodes just to have breaks in the story arc. Thank the creators of The Shield for giving us quality over quantity.
So a word of advice to other networks: if you're not going to do away with cop shows anytime soon, at least do something the others aren't doing to keep them going that long road (something The Shield is proud to be doing). And some advice to bored TV viewers: wake up and see what's now one of the hottest dramas on TV.
P.S. A BIG thanks to whoever is responsible for getting the first year out on DVD so soon. Finally the U.S. gets a DVD release of a great show before the UK. Let's see these DVDs come out season by season, please! So how long after season 2 ends can I buy it...?
Extreme Ops (2002)
Man, this movie was BAD.
This is the most pointless movie I've seen in years. The characters spend like 3 and a half quarters of the film snowboarding around and doing tricks...then like the last...!!15 MINUTES!!? are spent fighting off terrorists. Trust me, I could not believe how long it took for those guys to show up and threaten the group and it was resolved in like 15 minutes. What a waste of time! What were we sitting there watching the movie for? The trailer promised a thriller with action. We got action...where's the rest? And the action is all intermediate stuff. The tricks aren't anything any student filmmaker can't do with a couple of snowboarders. I think the most complex action sequence in here was the use of some rocket launcher. Whoopie. If you don't count Devon Sawa, the cast sucks. You're practically begging for them to get captured by terrorists. And then there's the unforgivable cheesiness. This film is double the cheese. Amateur filmmakers trying to make an action movie. A junior high kid could do the same job with a big budget and a camera. Seriously. They all chalk up the sport with cheesy lines and make bad jokes. Then there's the whole sub-plot about a girl who's won a gold medal and must prove herself to the gang that she can ski like they can. In fact (SPOILER) the movie ends with a shot of her smiling like the whole thing was about her and her problems with becoming "one of the group". Hahaha! AVOID AT ALL COSTS. PLEASE, TRUST ME, YOU WILL BE SORRY!!!
A fun half-hour.
I generally tend to hate shows everyone won't shut up about and the ones that get like a gazillion viewers every week because that just makes you look harder for flaws, but I can't do that with Friends. Yes, as everyone has said, there are flaws, but if you are looking for the flaws then you're missing the point anyways. Do you sit down and watch a sitcom to see what you can complain about in it or do you sit down to watch it and have fun?
One thing that you do need to get through this thing is a little suspension of disbelief, however. To believe that an actual person can be as ditzy as Phoebe or as stupid as Joey requires some leeway there. Joey would be put in "special" place if he were real and Phoebe...well...let's just say she'd also be a "special" girl. The jokes are often very unrealistic in the fact that no one's life is THAT funny and no one tells jokes every 30 seconds.
The whole laugh track seems timed, and that is one thing I will comment on about being flawed. I hate the whole system where they babble about something, make a joke, babble, joke, babble, joke...see where I'm going? And no one in the show seems to think anything is funny. Something insanely funny will happen to, let's say, Phoebe, so that you are cracking up and the other people (Ross, Rachel, etc.) are just standing there. Their reactions are all wrong.
In one episode, Rachel let a pillow fall off their apartment balcony and later a man came to their door and handed the pillow to Chandler, who was unaware it had even fallen, and he takes it with a weird look, the laugh track goes crazy, and he turns around and just sets it down, not even bothering to ask his friends in the room "What the hell was that about?" I mean, who would just put it aside and not say "Hey guys, someone just gave me a pillow...". Hello? He just forgets it? Sure.
But all this is not the point, however bad it may seem. It's a fun show with funny situations and the characters are great so the show has endured for years. If only people in real life knew how to kick it back like these people, there'd be no worries. I think everyone could take an example from the characters of Friends.
And by the way, what's with the bad reviews? I mean, the show gets number 1 or 2 every week in the Nielsen's...that MILLIONS and MILLIONS of viewers...obviously just about...gee...90 PERCENT of America thinks it's funny! Who's bad-mouthing, the other 10 percent? Enjoy it, it's a funny show.
Poltergeist III (1988)
What are you talking about, this movie rocks!
This is the best in the Poltergeist series, mainly because the first two were so boring. The first was really more of supernatural kid's movie. It was not scary at all and felt like it was geared towards elementary children, as if it's a substitute for a horror movie to them because they're not old enough to see a real one yet. In short, it was just plain boring. The second was double the bore. I couldn't even sit through that one. Whew. But oddly, this one comes along and blows those away. The setting is awesome (a high rise apartment building), the mood was creepy, and Lara Flynn Boyle is freaking hot. This did what the other two should have done -- cut out all that soapy family lovey dovey crap and getting sucked into a stupid TV with spirits that are as scary as my poodle and make a real horror movie. This one has a great plot. I love the idea of people trapped in a building with evil spirits (at least in this one those damn spirits DO something SCARY rather than play games like wrapping braces around kids and not hurting them (what was that, a joke?). I would skip the first two and go straight to this. All you need to know is spirits are following around a little girl. This movie rocks.
The best series on TV.
24 is simply amazing. I would rather watch this than anything else on TV or at the movies. From episode one I was hooked. Mainly because there are so many things happening you can't wait until the next episode to see what happens to who. The story is about a government agent named Jack Bauer whose daughter supposedly snuck out to party around midnight, but in reality she was kidnapped for a plot involving him, his wife, and the assassination of a senator. I was on the edge of my seat through the whole season as plot twists crept in and out and enemies were revealed. There were some moments I thought I would die of suspense, and some moments I couldn't believe what happened. This series is like all the good episodes of other series rolled up in one. The decision to show everything in real time, only skipping minutes for commercial intervals is great. It gives you the feeling you are there. Plus it's really neat to see how the scenery changes from night to day to night again. It's fun. This got snubbed by some people who say it is for people with ADD and that there are plot holes. Well maybe if you overanalyze, but why when you're having so much fun? I love this show, every episode leaves you craving for more. Clearly this is top notch entertainment. Watch it. Or to catch up, buy the DVD box set. It is WAY worth it.