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Project X (2012)
Guys will love Superbad meets Hangover!
I love when movies don't pull punches. If the movie's about an out of control party, it better have: booze, drugs, cussing, sex, and lots of irresponsible behavior. This movie cashes its checks. The plot is similar to "Superbad" but it has a distinctly "Hangover" feel. The movie is shot entirely as if through a series of hand-held cameras, which I felt effectively added to the chaos, but beware if Blair Witch made you dizzy. My concern, however, is that this movie will mostly be appreciated by guys. Here's what passes for female character development: there are only two women characters in the movie (1)the gorgeous "friend" and (2) the gorgeous "conquest". I also suspect more mature viewers will have trouble not wondering about the insurance consequences of this party, but I personally had no trouble deciding to worry about that tomorrow along with the rest of the cast.
Hit enough of its marks to be insightful and fun
I admit that I'm a fan of school-age romantic comedies. I enjoyed this movie because a lot of the scenes rang true to my experiences at that age (except for the warehouse scenes -- hello creepy). I can remember putting my hand next to a girl's hand -- almost touching -- just to see if she'd go the last half inch. I can remember trying to get a do-over with a girl that I'd let slip away during high school. I can remember walking the streets of my town hoping to run into a pretty girl that I'd seen. I can remember picking the wrong girl because society told me she was cooler. And I can remember trying to catch lightening in a bottle on the last weekend before school starts. For some reason, this movie has slid entirely under the radar, but it deserves attention.
Horns and Halos (2002)
Be afraid of what you wish for...
The reviews spin this movie as a Bushies keeping the little man down documentary. It isn't. The movie never editorializes the way Michael Moore movies do. Heck, it didn't even have to be about politics at all as much as it attempts to explain why we are constantly reading how miserable the rich and famous are...
The movie is about a little guy that wanted to play with the big kids. Unfortunately, he got what he wanted. After writing several small time bios of people like Star Trek's Captain Picard, James Hatfield decides to hit the big time by writing a bio of then Governor George W. Bush. It worked -- for four days. The movie is about how an average, everyday guy reacts when the microscope of fame is turned back on him. Will he rise to the occasion and become a hero or be beaten down like a dog? Better yet, how would you react if all of your secrets were bared for all to see and judge? That's the question this movie explored for me.
Sinful Deeds (2003)
Sinful Deeds better than Mr. Deeds
What's it with the softporn genre's lack of title creativity? Sinful Deeds, Sinful Passion, Carnal Passion, Carnal Lust, Intimate Lust... Who could keep them straight? Obviously, the primary goal is not to become a classic, but with names this generic I can't even remember which ones I've seen.
Well, I've seen Sinful Deeds, but it appears not many others have. The story is very original -- NOT. Dancers at a strip club are being killed one by one. Who'll be next? Who could the killer be? Oh, there will be no spoilers here. Except to say that the story is not the worst I've seen. The movies big problem: there are about three too many sex scenes with the lead actress. She's the best looking woman in the movie -- not saying much -- and her scenes are good, but there are 10 very similar scenes. You know there's something odd when you are fast-forwarding through the sex scenes of a softporn movie.
Cause of Death (2001)
No baltimore, no pants!
This movie plays like the TV show Law & Order without the dramatic scene changes -- and just a little longer. The whodunit part holds together surprisingly well, but the acting is suspect. So, is the location. The movie was made and shot in Canada. So, why was it "set" in Baltimore? Since they clearly aren't in Baltimore, they do silly small-budget things like have bad signs that say "Baltimore Court House" and refer to Baltimore street names on which they clearly aren't. Also, the assistant prosecutor Maxim (nice name) is constantly wearing mid-length jackets over mini-skirts making it look like she's some kind of flasher. The skirts are too short -- this must have been shot in the Ally McBeal era of woman lawyer looks.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
So good that it destroyed careers
I just saw Jerry Maguire again for the first time since I saw it on the big screen back in 96. What a great flick! It was even better than I remembered it. What struck me was how great the three leads were: Cruise, Gooding, and Zellweger. Cruise has history. There was no way that he'd be defined by Maguire, but the other two were more newcomers -- at least to me. I can remember saying: watch Gooding and Zellweger, they're going places! But they never did. Not on to level I expected. Is it possible that Jerry Maguire set the bar so high for these two young actors that they could never again meet the audience's expectations?
This seems to be a problem for Zellweger in particular. I thought Nurse Betty was a fine movie. Bridget Jones less so. But they were both disappointing because Zellweger could not raise her performance to the level she did in Jerry Maguire. Same story with Cuba Gooding. Every time I see him in another movie I want him to SNAP OUT OF IT and start strutting around preaching about Quan.
The ending was awesome: Romantic conclusion followed by the comic wrap-up. I give it a 9/10.
Save the Oscars
This movie was entertaining. Let me just say that up front because the rest of this review will make it seem otherwise.
Warning: spoilers ahead. Warning: rant ahead.
This is not a cinematic treasure. (1) The characters were are all very cheesy. They all gave off this swinger vibe. It made the film seem much older than 1994. Sure it wasn't filmed in 1984? 1974? (2) Don't good movies try to avoid plot holes? The entire plot line of the guy with the eggs was half-baked (sorry). What, the heck, ever happens to him and his stolen eggs? No one really noticed because no one really cares about this rather large side plot. If this is such an all-fired great movie, shouldn't we care about the characters? (3) The finale with the school girl stripper is an "a ha!" but if you think about it for a couple more seconds it either makes no sense or, worse, is pretty twisted. Not that twisted is bad, but the movie does not set up why he would want to relate his dead daughter with a stripper that gives him lap dances every night. "We do things for each other" Deep stuff -- NOT. More like the guy has the hots for the high school girl who babysat for him. After seeing her, who wouldn't? But it is still a much more pedestrian plot line. (4) The longhaired guy is an idiot character who looks way too much like Antonio Banderas. Plus, who would go to a strip club with such a lame DJ? Ooooh all that mumbling and missing the ends of dances is making me hot... Whatever.
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Kathleen Turner -- fagetaboutit
I loved this movie. Not for the plot -- hokey. Not for the action -- not Indiana Jones level. Not for Danny DeVito -- almost midget humor. I loved this movie for Kathleen Turner. She's perfect because she's no bombshell. She does not have good hair or a gorgeous face. Nor is she well endowed, but, oh man, if you put her in the right "dress" she'll knock your socks off. Let's just say that she looks good in mud. Kathleen Turner is the best example of someone who is sexy without being drop dead gorgeous. Romancing the Stone captures all of her sexy je ne sais quoi better than any movie -- even Body Heat.
The Tavern (1999)
A little too real
The Tavern starts off very promising. A couple of sad sacks decide to throw dice and open a bar. Things go well, things go poorly, but the movie never seems to rise above pedestrian. If I want to see this story for real I can go talk with the owner of any local bar. It's touching--sure, but I'm not looking for this level of "reality," when I watch a movie. Besides, it isn't all that real. Each strategy for increasing business has an immediate impact -- suddenly, the place is packed! It's like the patrons were watching the movie. Otherwise how would they know instantaneously that the Tavern on Main had a new band/look/chef. 5/10.
Deviant Desires (2002)
I didn't need the fast forward button
Most significantly, I got through this movie without hitting the fast-forward. This rare occasion for a soft-porn movie means that (1) the plot was not too boring, and (2) the next on-topic scene was never very far off.
Plot first: the movie is about this hottie cop that infiltrates a gambling/prostitution/blackmail outfit to get to the bottom of the murder of her roommate. The club's concept is that several high rollers get together for some high stakes poker, and the winner gets a free-bee with one of the prostitutes. The next day, the "winner" gets blackmailed with a tape of the previous night's exploits. That's plausible enough, but I had a really hard time figuring out how these guys made money. Poker only works if the house wins. It seemed that at any given time, the house was three of the four people at the table -- and the one mark always won! They even stacked the deck so that the outsider won. That needs to happen for the whole black mail thing, but if the person is walking with $30k of the house's money, how profitable can it really be? Their whole plan relies on people claiming their "prize" and then allowing these idiots to blackmail them for it. Who thought up that business plan?
Obviously, the plot was not the most important aspect of the movie. The T&A was top notch. The sex scenes were much more realistic and the women better looking than usual Showtime fare. For example, the lead actress Flower -- no last name (is the name her Mother gave her?) -- was top notch. Also, this movie was listed as "not rated" instead of "R" in the guide. This difference should not be overlooked.