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Saving Silverman (2001)
Don't believe what the critics say
Synopsis: Three best friends who also happen to be morons, find their friendship in jeopardy when one meets the wrong woman, who proceeds to take over his entire life.
Review: "Saving Silverman" is obviously never going to be an Oscar contender or receive any major awards (with the exception of the Razzies), but what it is, is a lighthearted entertaining comedy that proudly wears it's sophomoric, slapstick humor on it's sleeves. But it's that of it's two particular stars Jack Black and Steve Zahn where the heart of the film really works. It's the chemistry that works between Zahn and Black that makes it particularly enjoyable as two idiots determined to save their best friend. The two bounce off each other with offbeat humor that proceeds to the best of their strengths in making them amusing. If you're someone who can't broaden their mind in comedy, then don't bother watching this film, but if you can withstand that of "Full Metal Jacket"'s Gunnery Sgt. Hartmann (R. Lee Ermey) defecating a lawn, then "Saving Silverman" is your choice.
Insomniac with Dave Attell (2001)
This show is basically one giant tourist show, about one unofficial tour guide and his late night misadventures in different cities. Dave Attell has got the right persona to make the show entertaining for a half hour by going everywhere and anywhere. Attell seriously finds some of the most bizarre people you thought never existed, but he does. Very much an entertaining watch if you've got nothing better to do.
One Hour Photo (2002)
A change of pace that reminds audiences of Williams' gift as actor
Synopsis: Lonely photo developer Sy Parrish has spent his entire life in a quiet, mundane existence. With his employment behind the counter of a one hour photo lab being his only solace, there isn't much joy that Sy seeks out. But his one curiosity transforms into an unhealthy obsession with the Yorkin family, a seemingly idyllic suburban family that has it all. That obsession begins to take over Sy's perception of what is real and what isn't.
The Review: With this film having sealed up what critics call his "Dark Trilogy", Robin Williams finally puts an end to that perception of critics saying he does roles that are too goody goody. Following the mean spirited "Death To Smoochy" and dreadful atmosphere of "Insomnia", "One Hour Photo" is a performance in which we sympathize with Williams' performance as an outsider of society, damaged by his psychological background and left to wander aimlessly without a family. It's an about face performance for the man who gave us "Patch Adams" and "Dead Poets Society" that is one of his best. The film itself is truly disturbing by undermining a normal, everyday thing such as photo developing, as being something more devious than expected. Mark Romanek's film is intentionally disturbing in the fact that it came from his own mind, with it's dreary atmosphere and odd music. But it's the work of a master who doesn't compromise story in favor of commercialism. Speaking of which, "One Hour Photo" is an art film that's away from the furthest recesses of anything Robin Williams has done in the past five or so years.
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Better than "The Lost World" but still a bit of a copout
The Story: Years after the disaster at Jurassic Park, and it's fellow island Site B, Alan Grant is peacefully working away as a paleontologist. But the lure of financial security to fund his projects is too good to pass up, which Grant reluctantly accepts from the Kirbys, a wealthy couple to return to the island in hopes of a tour. But Grant soon learns of their ulterior motives, leaving all of them trapped on the island, and trying to evade it's residents who seem steadfast on getting rid of their guests.
The Review: The first "Jurassic Park" was indeed a groundbreaking film, implementing special effects completely unseen in any other film. Technology at it's highest, "Jurassic Park" emphasized a thrill ride of a story with visual effects that were beyond impressive. It's sequel "The Lost World" was obviously a step down from the first with the impressive special effects against the weak backdrop of a story, and a ridiculous ending that had movie audiences wanting less. This time, "Jurassic Park III", is essentially different from the first two. Sans the Spielberg touch, "Jurassic Park III" is a B-movie that has essentially dropped the dreadful exposition that we knew all too well in the first and even the second one. This time drawing on good old fashioned suspense with our troubled heroes on the run, and introducing new creatures. Part 3 is in fact, better than the second one, especially the ridiculous climax from the sequel, but not all that much better. The predictibility factor reaches an all time high in this one, which could barely be found in the first two films. There is less human carnage and more suspense jacked up. But there are fewer and more subtle surprises that be found in this. And I only have one thing to say about the dinosaurs: There's only so many times you can see another velociraptor snarling and fighting before it becomes tedious. It's obvious that part 3 could never match up to the magic of the first one, because it was all about timing, and in today's post-Titanic, special effects driven films, "Jurassic Park III" is just another entry that is nothing more than good old fashioned entertainment, short that it is. If you go in expecting something like the original, save your money. But if you just want a straight through action adventure, then see "Jurassic Park III". On a neutral note, there are rumors circulating that Spielberg is interested in making a "Jurassic Park IV".
Ugly, that's all that can be said
There's a lot of movies that have set release dates, only to get pulled from distribution due to a legal snafu of some kind, and then put in limbo for a long time. You can only wish a film as rotten as "Slackers" remained in a coma for what it's worth, which is miniscule. Release dates were continually shifted around for this truly awful movie that is so much a bleep on the radar like it deserves. The premise kicks off under the guise of Ethan, a creepy nerd with a scary obsession for the campus bombshell Angela. Ethan devilishly enlists the aid of David and his friends who have been scamming the school for their entire run with blackmail to help win Angela. I don't like to give spoilers out, but for a piece of crap like this I can make an exception. Angela falls for David, Ethan intentionally screws everything up, the good guys win. That's what happens in a nutshell for another tired retread of the teen gross out genre. Gross humor is funny, it always has been dating back to the days of the immortal classic "Animal House", to the likes of contemporaries like "There's Something About Mary" and "Road Trip" amongst dozens of others of which there are too many to mention. But when you use it as a plot point you can only get so far, case in point, Ethan has an Angela doll composed of her individual strands of hair of which he does god knows what with it. No one wants to take witness to watch Ethan urinating in the shower while singing to himself. No one wants to watch a young man singing "She'll be coming around the mountain" with a sock on his penis. But nothing can prepare you for the full visual assault of seeing 50's bombshell Mamie Van Doren bare her breasts at 71 years old. I don't know if it's the story's lack of coherence, which cuts to scenes that make absolutely no sense. Director Dewey Nicks was a former fashion photographer, and after reviewing this film, you can only wish he'll go back to the profession. The worst thing you can do on any film, is to make it look like you're having fun, because you detract from your objectives, just like "Slackers" does, by burying it's plot outline under a pile of gross out gags, pointless vignettes, and lack of construction. It's like a bunch of college students got drunk, took one's camcorder, and shot a bunch of random crap and compiled it together. If you want to see a teen gross out comedy that's actually good, then I suggest "American Pie" and "Animal House", or "Road Trip", just something that's entertaining, and not dreadfully bad like "Slackers". Coincidentally Cameron Diaz makes a cameo in this film, just as she did in another bad film such as "The Sweetest Thing" where the story treats gross humor like another plot, instead of a device much like this disaster.. If you pass by "Slackers" at your local video store, just keep on walking, and let it end up at the bottom of the shelf like it deserves.
Haiku Tunnel (2001)
Amusing for some, funny for many
The Synopsis: "I don't go perm on my first week." remark the words of Josh Kornbluth, a San Francisco office temp by day, an aspring novelist whenever. Josh has gotten a new temp job with S&M, a downtown law firm where he works as a receptionist. But going back on his words, Josh takes on a "permanent" position as the receptionist of head lawyer Bob Shelby, and his first task is to mail out 17 high priority letters, but due to Josh's continual procrastination which run between his novel and an attractive lawyer, Josh gets further and further away from completing a simple task.
Review: If you've ever worked as a temp, you'll very much appreciate the kind of humor that the offbeat "Haiku Tunnel" injects. The Kornbluth Brothers' film captures every nook and cranny of temping from receiving that much awaited phone call to carrying out those simple tasks. A former temp himself, lead Josh Kornbluth is amusing in many ways from his unusual, yet warm personality as the inept temp. I really don't want to spoil the humor, but if you're offbeat, and I mean, a very offbeat individual, then "Haiku Tunnel" is precisely the kind of film you would want to view.
...and that is where this movie leads to
I saw Araki's previous film "The Doom Generation", I didn't understand it. I don't know what his approach was or his look. Instead what I saw was random crap happen all the time that just seemed to go....nowhere. Much like it's "sequel" of sorts, aptly titled "Nowhere", which expands it's cast of characters to make them more obnoxious and stupid than ever before. I don't know if there's a vision or just a bunch of different scenes slapped together, but this really has no point. Araki may be an observer of teen life with his themes that study sex and drugs, but to really study those themes, you actually need a well written story, of which this has none of that. Instead it perpetuates stereotypes of teenagers as outrageously horny, arrogant little sob's. Don't get me wrong, a lot of them are the same things but "Nowhere" ends up amping that up a little too much than it should've been.
Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
Another implication that movies are going to hell.......
It goes without saying that everyone is aware that a guy like Tom Green, is a total idiot. His schtick was funny at first because for the first time no one had ever seen a grown man get away with humping a dead moose, causing a ruckus in a supermarket via a motorized cart, or causing an uproar in whatever place he can. But now the inevitable has come, Tom Green has secured the movie deal to basically...play himself. In this hour and a half crapfest, of which Razzie honoree Green proudly picked up the awards, Green plays an unemployed cartoonist who moves back in with his folks and causes upheaval within the household. Rip Torn plays his less than loving father who is fully aware that his son's a total idiot. It went without saying that 2001 was the worst year for films in general, with movie studio product getting a whole lot worse from the likes of Tomb Raider, Joe Dirt, Pearl Harbor, and Domestic Disturbance amongst the dozens of other horrible films ever to disgrace the silver screen. Tom Green challenges his audience, or better yet, grosses us to look at him jack off a horse and an elephant, watch a young boy get slaughtered gruesomely by airplane blades, and the sight of Rip Torn's bare behind. It's not a pretty sight.
Now, don't me wrong, I was dumb enough to plop down the $3.99 it cost to rent this movie because there's no way in hell I was going to pay to see it on the big screen. But I gotta admit, there are standards to comedy, and Tom Green has kicked them deliberately in the balls repeatedly. He'd put Lenny Bruce and Redd Foxx to shame with the kind of crap that he visually demonstrates without restraint. His comedy plays off like a scripted television show that takes things up to the next level that television won't let him get away with. This is supposedly a remake of Roberto Benigni's "The Monster", but I don't think Benigni's film revolved around a guy licking someone's very open knee wound. It's a shame that such a good cast like Torn, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Julie Hagerty, Anthony Michael Hall, and Harland Williams would even consider being associated with this. Let this movie sit and gather the dust that it deserves. Unless you want to use it as a college drinking game a la Glitter, then I suggest going on with it.
Grade: Not even an F would describe how bad it really is
The Majestic (2001)
A noble effort on everyone's part that just didn't find the right audience
Synopsis: Peter Appleton is an ambitious screenwriter in 1950's Hollywood, dead intent on making a name for himself. But after an obscure association with communism comes out during the time of the McCarthy era, Appleton finds himself blacklisted from the kingdom he yearns to work within. But after an unfortunate accident, Appleton finds himself struck with amnesia in a sleepy California town where he's mistaken for Luke Trimble, the long lost son of a theater owner, missing in the trenches of World War II. As he begins to adjust his life as Trimble in this small town, he ends up discovering the real truth about who he is, and what he is about to become.
The Review: It's no doubt that Jim Carrey is a truly great actor who can expand beyond his range of usual dick and fart characters. From the urinating in a beer bottle Lloyd Christmas in "Dumb and Dumber", to the ridiculously stupid antics of the Grinch. He proved a breakthrough performance with The Truman Show, which was a summer blockbuster, and turned in a spot on performance in the underrated Man On The Moon, a film overlooked by all including the likes of the academy. In The Majestic, Carrey's third shot for Oscar favor, he turns in a fairly good performance in a film that just doesn't hit the right notes with it's audience. The problem with The Majestic, is it isn't in love with itself, it's not the thin mask of Frank Capra's spirit residing over it, and it's not the picture perfect look of the place, but it's two movies wrapped into one. It's a character driven, small town drama on one hand, and a political, freedom of speech drama on the other, and it can't quite make up it's mind. Because of this, audiences are left pondering what kind of film they saw, not to mention the considerable length of the film (2.5 hours). The cast is very good, but the film doesn't seem to hit the right notes. The production design, cinematography, editing, and direction are well done, but unfortunately, the film doesn't take off like it needs to.
Judge Dredd (1995)
Judge This Dread...
Synopsis: Futuristic actioner about a sun scorched Earth with civilization living in enormous cities. The law now functions in the form of cops who patrol the streets where they are: judge, jury, and execution. One such officer, Judge Dredd has been framed into a murder he didn't commit, by an escaped convict who has a personal vendetta against Dredd.
The Review: This is just a dreadful movie filled with nothing but dumb lines and poor plot devices. I really don't want to waste my time judging this studio funded tripe, because it's a real piece of crap. All I can say is, Sylvester Stallone, no one can forgive you for this, or "Driven".