Reviews written by registered user
kenneymljken

9 reviews in total 
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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The Dirty Seven vs. Emanuelle, Queen of the Desert, 18 June 2010
6/10

The reviews so far on IMDb seem to be split down the middle regarding "La belva dalle calda pelle," also known as "The Dirty Seven" and "Emanuelle, Queen of the Desert." The majority of the negative reviews seem to base their criticisms on the fact that it is clearly not an official Emanuelle film (Laura Gemser is in fact called Sheila in the movie) and a flashback sequence that is over thirty minutes long, while the positive critiques make no mention the flashback, which is absent in the version known as "The Dirty Seven." This and the original Italian title make no allusion to Emanuelle. In this form the film is much more linear with only one very brief flashback where Sheila finds the dead body of her sister, thus establishing her motive.

It should also be noted that Gemser is not introduced into "The Dirty Seven" until a substantial amount of time has past, where in the "Queen of the Desert" she appears almost immediately.

I contend that the former is director Bruno Fontana's actual vision and that the "Emanuelle" version was re-edited (by someone other than Fontana) to cash in on Gemser's "Black Emanuelle" status.

While I may be stating the obvious, I wish to appeal to those negative critics and let them know that this film exists in two entities, under two different titles and to think twice before blaming Fontana for "Emanuelle, Queen of the Desert," it's slapped-on title and its shoddy chronology.

Collateral (2004)
Disappointing All Around, 2 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*SPOILERS*

I wasn't expecting much from `Collateral,' given the film's stars but Michael Mann's ambient style –- even though it can often hinder his otherwise superlative story-telling ability –- has always fascinated me since his `Miami Vice' days. However, I left the theater feeling patronized and condescended to. `Collateral,' is the kind of film that Hollywood puts out seemingly to dare us to point out its flaws lack of credibility

The film is told essentially from the point of view of Max, a cab driver with the dubious dream of starting his own limousine company.

After picking up a myriad of fares, Max stops for a comely district attorney (who will figure all too coincidently in the film's story during it's third act). The two become quite friendly with as they teasingly argue over which is the best route to take her to her office. Max is even able to score her phone number when they reach her destination. (Plausibility wears thin here, as well.)

Seconds later, Vincent, a contract killer, comes to the window and asks Max if he's on duty. Max, like us, still can't believe he got the lovely D.A.'s number and doesn't immediately hear his potential fare, but, with fate stepping in, Max wakes up and calls Vincent back over.

On the road, Max and Vincent make small talk; Vincent's a business man in town to run a few errands; he hates L.A. and he wants to leave as soon as he arrives. Then he makes a 600 dollar offer Max can't refuse. All he has to do is be Vincent's chauffeur for the evening, then take him back to LAX at job's end. Vincent even gives Max half of the money up front. Max agrees and Vincent leaves to complete his first mission. Sitting peacefully, thinking about his limo business, perhaps thinking about the D.A., knowing he will be 600 dollars richer by the end of the night, Max's reverie is broken by a dead body falling on his taxi. When Vincent reappears, it doesn't take Max long figure out that his mysterious fare is responsible for the man's death.

Vincent takes Max hostage and what ensues in an all-night tour through downtown L.A. as he assassinates organized criminal after another. When Max finally frees himself from Vincent's capture, he discovers that Vincent has one more hit to make, a district attorney.

Yes, that district attorney. L.A.'s smaller than I thought.

The script for `Collateral,' could have easily been condensed into one hour but it is stretched out to an unnecessary –- and quite tedious -- two. In the intervals between plot points are filled with insipid dialog between the two main characters as they cruise through the dark streets; Vincent's words sound more like those of a wise sage than a ruthless sociopath.

The interplay between Vincent and Max is intercut with a distant pursuit of a cop, who senses a pattern in the in the otherwise random murders. But as the police close in what seems to be the film's imminent climax, it ends in a mediocre gunfight only to reveal that the movie is far from over.

When the finale does arrives it is drab and stereotypical and, simultaneously, beyond belief; Max shoots Vincent before he can kill the district attorney. The bullet grazes Vincent's cheek and while the wound is not fatal, Vincent, cyborg-like, does not flinch in the slightest pain, and the final shoot-out is where the viewer's intelligence is insulted the most.

The final showdown takes place on a moving train. Vincent and Max are facing each other at point blank range. They commence firing. After the cease-fire, Vincent is fatally hit. Max is unharmed.

The script, written by Stuart Beattie, is in desperate need of a re-write. I'm surprised Mann, who usually collaborates on the script, didn't write a draft himself, although at one time he was granted a screenplay credit. (Whether or not his input was included in the finished product is unknown.)

I have never been particularly impressed by Tom Cruise as an actor, and his performance as Vincent in `Collateral' does not incline me to revise my opinion, but in all fairness he does not have a great deal to work with character wise, nor does Jamie Foxx's Max, whose only drive seems to be do get out of the taxi business. What has he learned after this harrowing experience?

Cruise's hairstyle and wardrobe is reminiscent to that of Robert De Niro's in Mann's 1995 film, `Heat.' It makes me wonder if De Niro was ever considered for Vincent. Even so, I doubt even he would have had any more luck trying to make the character less of a caricature –- in a sea of caricatures.

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Avoid at all costs, 14 August 2002

When I watch an Asian film, I am not interested in one where the hero is a non-Asian and at least fifty per cent of the cast is as well. Miike has a track record of pushing the envelope, and maybe that's what he was trying to do here, by breaking the taboo of a Western protagonist, who kills many Asians to boot.

Most of the Asian characters are portrayed here as hissingly antagonist or just weak and victimized. Though I am a non-Asian myself, I was personally offended, and felt this was just a strident attempt at shock and irreverence.

No where near as good as some of Miike's other films, such as "Odishon."

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
People need to give this movie a break., 13 November 2001

No, this is not the best film ever made. Okay, not even close, but there are some fine actors here: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Jason Miller, Scott Wilson, Brad Dourif, Lee Richardson and Nicol Williamson. All their performances are are good, given what the performers have to work with.

I have a hard time blaming William Peter Blatty for the inadequacy of the finished film. I am only presuming, of course, but it looks like it was one of those situations where studio heads were not comfortable with the director's vision made a cut of the picture on their own leaving the narrative a confusing clutter of somewhat incomprehensible scenes.

But I still can't help being drawn to this movie. I saw it again tonight and, unexpectedly, sat through duration without regret. The first time I saw it was back in '91 or '92 when it was first released on cable. I was fifteen or sixteen at the time. I was not oblivious to its flaws but at the same time was reassured by the fact that I was not sitting in an uncomfortable theater or had payed seven dollars for a bad movie, and could leave or change the channel anytime I wanted. But I found I did not have to do that, as I was satisfied with the good things the film had to offer me. It also made me an avid fan of the late Mr. George C. Scott. Now nearly ten years later, at twenty-six, I found the film had even more to offer me. I was particularly intrigued by the dialogue between Scott and the late, great character actor, Ed Flanders. Though the screen time is short, I think it leaves the most redeeming mark of the film's integrity, and Brad Dourif is wonderful as the Gemini Killer. It was also interesting to see Jason Miller after so many years.

If anyone's negative feeling about this movie has allowed them to color their perceptions of William Peter Blatty as a director, please see his 1979 film, "The Ninth Configuration," starring Stacy Keach, and also with Flanders, Wilson and Miller.

People need to give this movie a break., 13 November 2001

No, this is not the best film ever made. Okay, not even close, but there are some fine actors here: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Jason Miller, Scott Wilson, Brad Dourif, Lee Richardson and Nicol Williamson. All their performances are good, given what the performers have to work with.

I have a hard time blaming William Peter Blatty for the inadequacy of the finished film. I am only presuming, of course, but it looks like it was one of those situations where studio heads were not comfortable with the director's vision made a cut of the picture on their own leaving the narrative a confusing clutter of somewhat incomprehensible scenes.

But I still can't help being drawn to this movie. I saw it again tonight and, unexpectedly, sat through duration without regret. The first time I saw it was back in '91 or '92 when it was first released on cable. I was fifteen or sixteen at the time. I was not oblivious to its flaws but at the same time was reassured by the fact that I was not sitting in an uncomfortable theater or had paid seven dollars for a bad movie, and could leave or change the channel anytime I wanted. But I found I did not have to do that, as I was satisfied with the good things the film had to offer me. It also made me an avid fan of the late Mr. George C. Scott. Now nearly ten years later, at twenty-six, I found the film had even more to offer me. I was particularly intrigued by the dialogue between Scott and the late, great character actor, Ed Flanders. Though the screen time is short, I think it leaves the most redeeming mark of the film's integrity, and Brad Dourif is wonderful as the Gemini Killer. It was also interesting to see Jason Miller after so many years.

If anyone's negative feeling about this movie has allowed them to color their perceptions of William Peter Blatty as a director, please see his 1979 film, "The Ninth Configuration," starring Stacy Keach, and also with Flanders, Wilson and Miller.

12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Great Episode, 28 December 2000

I found this to be one of the funniest episodes I've ever seen, even though most of them are funny, anyway. Falk and Shatner work great together. One of the funniest things is when Shatner's character is video taping Columbo and he has no idea how to act on camera. One of the aspects of Columbo that fascinates me is how he is able to almost befriend his suspects; that plays a great part in this episode. Don't miss character actor Timothy Carey's hilarious cameo.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
An interesting movie for Bruce Lee fans and others, 13 December 2000

The film that would make me a life long fan of Bruce Lee, who died two years before my birth. Although my further studies would later prove this documentary to be a little underdeveloped and one-sided, but those who are willing to suspend their disbelief might find this to be an interesting watch. Golden Harvest truly knows how to immortalize its former star.

"MADtv" (1995)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Typical Fox TV Show. Need I say more?, 1 December 2000

Condescending. Contrived. Geared to goofy teenagers and moronic college students. Immature. Rehashed humor (if you can call it humor). Sophomoric. Unsophisticated. And first and foremost: NOT FUNNY! A typical Fox tv show. Need I say more?

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The Personification of Joe D'Amato's Work, 26 November 2000

There are basically two kinds people in this world: those who like smut and those who don't. Those who like it should revel in the work of Aristede Massaccesi, a.k.a. Joe D'Amato. Those who don't should stay as far away from it as humanly possible. However, I see myself as that rare someone who is able to walk the line that divides them. I can watch a D'Amato film from beginning to end but will have a storm of mixed feelings afterwards. The first Joe D'Amato film I saw was either "Emmanuelle Around the World," "Emmanuelle in Bangkok" or "Emmanuelle and the Last Cannibals." I saw them on Showtime and/or the Movie Channel (now called Starz) back in late '92 and early '93. I was not familiar with D'Amato at the time; I was intrigued by the star, Laura Gemser. I had seen her in another Emmanuelle film called "Emmanuelle, Queen of Sados" (not directed by D'Amato) and was struck by her exotic beauty. I had always been a fan of 70s movies and many of the Gemser and D'Amato films had the texture of kung fu movies, exploitation movies and other genres of that time. Unfortunately, the cable stations stopped showing them and the only ones I could find at the local video stores were the aforementioned "Emmanuelle, Queen of Sados" and "Black Cobra," a soft-core film directed by D'Amato, with Gemser and Jack Palance. But finally in 1995 I jumped on the information superhighway, and thanks to many cult films sites on the net, I was able to find many if not all of these films and purchase them. Upon receiving the videos, I soon realized that I wasn't as seasoned a Joe D'Amato fan as I thought. I watched "Black Emmanuelle," Gemser's first outing in the title role, and "Erotic Nights of the Living Dead I was shocked in find her in a hard core scene in the former with Angelo Infanti, the same guy who blew up Michael Corleone's wife in "The Godfather!" I'm not going to say I've never watched pornography but it wasn't what I was looking for. In fact, I would find out later, and much to my relief, that a body double was used to substitute Gemser in the scene. I was still however shocked to find these films I had seen late on Friday and Saturday nights contained graphic, often violent scenes of hardcore sex. It took some adjusting but I found that I was still curious. I tried to find "Emmanuelle in America," the unofficial grand daddy of 'em all, on the net but tracking it would prove not to be so simple. The online store that was supplying it appeared to have ran out of copies. So I went on to buy other D'Amato films like "Caligula, the Untold Story." Though I was taken aback by the graphic scenes, I wasn't surprised by them. Finally I found another site that carried it. Though I was anxious, I must admit I was eager to see it, especially the infamous "snuff" film (at this point, I feel obligated to point out that it is well documented that the snuff footage seen in the movie was staged, so please don't go awry trying to contact the FBI to confiscate the film). I finally saw `Emmanuelle in America,' and its most famous seen. I found I wasn't as jaded as I thought, as I found myself quite disturbed by the footage. Emmanuelle thought she saw it in a dream, but when her boss at the paper shows her photos of the crime, she replies (much to my shock), "Amazing." I burst out laughing at her quip, but when the film reached its anti-climactic end, I was surprised to find that Emmanuelle did not further investigate the sadistic crime, then I thought to myself, "It's a Joe D'Amato flick. What do you expect?" And I burst out in laughter again.