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8 reviews in total 
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116 out of 215 people found the following review useful:
The Dresden that really wasn't, 24 January 2007

First and foremost, yes, I'm very much a fan of the books, so this led me to a bit of concern when I heard it was being made into a TV series. Not that there isn't an absolute wealth of information crammed into Jim Butcher's amazing novels with which could make several glorious movies or TV shows, but all too often (as is the case with this series I'm afraid) the series is developed by business people... not fans of the material. The result is a less than half-hearted attempt at realizing Butcher's amazing series.

Now trust me, I was not gunning for this series to fail.. quite to the contrary I wanted to see it succeed in hopes that it might inspire others to check out JB's novels.

Harry Dresden is the kind of character you'd buy a beer for in a bar. He's just an interesting cat with a great sense of humor and sarcastic edge that would keep fascinating conversation going well until last call. The Dresden of the TV series you'd pass by and not even give a second thought to. He's as flat as the script paper he's created on.

You see far more development of the character as a kid than you ever did as an adult. And it's not the actor's fault (even though I do think Nathan Fillion of "Firefly" would've been a better fit for those who are familiar with the Harry from the books), but Paul Blackthorne is doing what he can with what he has. The written script however is where I find fault for not dipping into Butcher's bag of tricks enough to bring the wonderful universe of The Dresden Files to life.

What they got right: Bob. That's about it. The way they changed Bob for the series makes sense AND it works. Both in the way he's written and performed. And is it me, or did anyone else who read the books also imagine Bob with a British accent? It kind of surprised me to see that's how they created it in the show, so I guess I'm not the only one.

I do hold out hope that they will find a way to turn things around.. but I'm not left with an awful lot of confidence. The preview of episode two looks pretty lame.. "Murphy gets possessed".. eh.

The first episode should've been an absolute grand slam home run. It wasn't even a double.

I was disappointed and I'll give it one or two more shots.. but beyond that, I'll just be waiting for April when the next novel of the Harry Dresden series comes out.

Oh by the way, when I first had read comments the producer of the TV series had made about things they were changing for the TV show, I posted a note on Jim Butcher's website and just aired a few of my concerns. I actually did receive a response on the site from Jim Butcher and he was most unhappy with what I had to say. I thought this was a shame because I did and do want to see the show be a success.. but for now I'll bide my time and hope I won't be left with the empty fulfillment of an "I told you so."

*** Update *** Having now watched up through week 5 I can tell you I think they have improved. I'm surprised they still haven't gone as far into the depth of the books as they can. I don't know if that's cause they're saving story arcs for another season or they just don't want to spend the time on them yet.. but they could do more with this and I hope they do.

Paul Blackthorne has grown on me as Dresden.. with the first episode I felt he was OK but with the show's progression I think I like how Blackthorne is presenting Dresden. It's not exactly like the books, but not too distant either.

I still wouldn't say the show is great and to be honest I'm not even sure I'd be watching right now if it weren't called Dresden Files. But for now they have my attention.

9 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Yeah.. and if you thought "Battlefield Earth" was bad..., 1 August 2006

If a film could actually set out to be one of the most horribly worst films ever made.. from technical, lighting, written, and acted.. boy oh boy they'd still never come as close to this corn-filled turd.

You could actually say that they "backed up the truck" of pure filth and poured it all over celluloid thus creating "The Wicker Man".

Ever sit on a wicker chair in the middle of summer for an extended period of time? Know how your skin starts to kind of stick to the wicker a bit and when you finally stand up you have a massive pain in your arse? Congratulations, you've just taken in a viewing of "The Wicker Man". I just saved you an hour and a half yet given you the same result.

Do yourself and future generations a favor and skip this flick.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
TNT hits a triple, 1 June 2004

I wouldn't say this is a home run for TNT, but as far as "made for TV" movies go (not counting the wonderful HBO ones) TNT does a really good job at remaking "'Salem's Lot".

The story, for those who don't know already, is one of the "evil comes to town" kinds of stories where vampirism is the new chic bubonic plague that begins to infest the town of "Jerusalem's Lot". Big bad vampire guy moves in (Rutger Hauer doing a bit of a serious spin on his old "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" role) and bad things start to happen.

Rutger's right hand man is Donald "Crazier every year you see him" Sutherland. The hero is the tragic character Ben Mears, played by Rob "Why did I leave West Wing again?" Lowe. Rob does a great job by the way which leads me to...

First, the acting. I really thought everyone did a great job all the way around. Complete with an, "Oh my god that really IS Samantha -Pump Up The Volume- Mathis!" Apparently the beautiful Mathis found time to jump out of the Witness Protection Program to turn up in this rendition of "Salem's" only moments before rapidly fading into obscurity once more. Rutger Hauer is an old fave of mine.. he's so good at being bad and I wish he could find better roles. James Cromwell... well what can I say about the guy who always makes me feel like he could be everyone's grandfather. Another stellar actor. I don't like quite what they do with his character and after you view it, if you want to know why I say that, email me and I'll let you know.

And Andre Braugher... god I love this guy. He's an amazing actor and I curse ABC for getting rid of "Gideon's Crossing". Braugher, you rule the earth, let it be known. I also don't like how they handle his character here either, again if you want to know why email me and I'll explain.

Total running time is 3 hours but with commercials it will probably be a total of 4 hours (2 hours each night I'm guessing). I think once you see it you might agree that they probably even cut out some other stuff in order to come in on time.. and that's a shame. I hope there might be a director's cut of this to come later because some things happen that are just flat out not explained. Pretty odd for a 3 hour long film where some issues are still not given explanation.. but ah well.

So the story... well it's not the book but it is, in its own right, a very good rendition with albeit a crappy ending. I think it's kind of a requirement that most (not all, but MOST, so no flames) anything related to Stephen King has an ending that sucks wind. BUT, the key here is creepiness. The box art to the DVD I have is very "Silent Hill"-ish.. for those familiar with the game series. And the movie has that feel too. It's very dark, very brooding and at times very creepy.

And let's hear it for TNT! They make vampires creepy again! Gone are the efforts to romanticize vampirism... no fops running around with a powdered face biting necks like a more annoying, invasive form of flatulence... no no, these vampires that infest the Lot are creepy vampires. This is not a SCARY show, but I bet you it will creep you out a bit here and there. It did for me.

All in all, nicely done TNT. I do applaud your efforts and despite some minor squabbles with it here and there I think you guys turned in a really good piece of work that you should be proud of. I give it a 7 out of 10. It's worth your time to catch once... but that'll probably be about it. My only recommendation to those who will view it is forget the book, understand that this is still a made for TV film.. and just try to enjoy it and you'll be fine.

Identity (2003)
Wow, 25 April 2003

Yes, Wow.. and I mean it. This was a very intelligent film that I was afraid that it wouldn't live up to what the trailer offered for it. Well it not only lives up to it, it surpasses it. This movie starts off seeming like it would be a paint-by-numbers 'knock-em-off and guess who the killer is out of who is left' kind of flick. Then it's like the writer turns around from the driver's seat and says, "Ok now you really want to see where we're going?" Then he presses the 4 Wheel Drive button and off you go into the unpaved and bumpy terrain of suspense and thrills.

There is no way to guess how this all is going to turn up from the beginning.. nay.. even half way through the film. It's not till enough of the puzzle is even mentioned that you could even fashion a guess at what is going on. But trust me, that's a good thing.

I'll tell you guys now, the writer of this also was responsible for "Jack Frost" (yes the slasher one) and its sequel. But if "Identity" is any evidence of what this guy is capable of then I have no problems offering him the opportunity to thrill my movie prying eyes again.

It was really really well done and as I said, very intelligent. I put it on the intelligence level of smarter films like "The Usual Suspects", "Memento", and "The Sixth Sense".

As I said to a friend about this, to make "Identity" take one part Agatha Christie, add one part slasher film, and sprinkle a touch of "Primal Fear" and mix thoroughly.

Nice one, Michael. Good luck with future projects.

Worth stepping into, 4 April 2003

Well what can I say... after about 4 years since I first heard about this film (plug for Patrick Sauriol and Corona for that one) I was really looking forward to tonight, the much delayed "Phone Booth" opening.

No film, and I mean no film, is truly worth that long a wait to see and this one is no exception. But I want to praise it for what it DOES give. It gives you a good 1hr 20 mins show that only slows down to let you catch your breath before you're back off to the races again.

The film was advertised correctly. What they hint at in the trailer is what you will see in the film. Nothing p***es me off more than a movie that promises to be one thing in an ad but in reality turns out to be something different. This movie held up its end of the bargain.

I cannot praise Colin Farrell enough for his performance. He does a wonderful job. There is one scene in particular where he absolutely shines and you'll know it when you see it.

Keifer Sutherland phoned in this role (ba dum boom ching). Actually he did do a good job considering he had to sell the audience on his voice acting for them to buy him as a threat. Good job Keif, glad to see you back in form again (cause as much as I dig it, "24" will run out of gas eventually so here's hoping the movies start rockin again for ya)

The ending did leave some to be desired. But when you look at it.. why would this seemingly omnipotent sniper REALLY want to spend so much time and effort on a guy who is as tame as Farrell's character anyway?

Anyway, it was a good film. Not great, but good. Kudos also to Schumacher for somewhat redeeming himself here. This is a good date film and one I'll add to my DVD collection. I give it an 8/10.

Ax 'Em (1992)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
What's that on my shoe?, 26 March 2003

Oh I stepped in a pile of "Ax 'Em". I actually took this garbage back to the video store and lied to them saying the DVD wouldn't play just so I could get some more esteemed filth to watch.

Ouch my eyes still bleed from this travesty. It starts out showing a "step" group... but as anyone who knows what a "step" group is, it's a group that is "in step" with each other. Not "step when my body jolts".

However for as vile as this travesty is it only makes a huge turn for the worse at the beginning of the closing credits where the filthmaker dedicates this piece of eaten corn to his dead grandmother. I'm sure she had no idea what nast would seep from the bowels of her grandson but I am sure she's glad she wasn't around to see it.

May god have mercy on her soul.

This film should only be viewed in the same sense someone would watch those "Banned in America" videos. View this as a trainwreck in action that has been recorded for posterity. Enjoy it as that and even then you'll feel so dirty in the end that a bath will be in order.

7 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Family entertainment sprung a leak, 16 March 2003

The only thing haunted about "Haunted Lighthouse" was the fact that about 30 minutes of my life has now passed on and I will be forever reminded about how I cannot ever get it back.

The "Spy Kids" series, Warner Bros. cartoons, and the Muppets constantly show that you can do family entertainment that will appeal to everyone and avoid heavy shipments of cheese.

I would say the writing was primarily what was at fault here. I've never read any of R.L. Stine's books but I am familiar with the genres the author deals with (early teen thrillers). I can't get on the actors here too much. The kids were.. well.. not every kid can be Haley Joel Osment.

The adults were primarily Christopher Lloyd and Michael McKean since Lea Thompson only had a scant two or three lines and Weird Al was mainly scenery for while he was present. Lloyd and McKean did performances that were right on par with what the film was supposed to be. The problem was the material they were given to work with wasn't up to par with them.

The 3-D effects featured were well done and the '4-D' interactions (water spraying, buzzing vibrations from the seats, wind blowing, etc) were pretty effective. It's just a shame that the entire package that was delivered could not compare to the wrapping that encased it.

For anyone visiting Busch Gardens I recommend seeing it once (because I think every flick they have in the Globe should be viewed at least that many times) but similar to their "Auction at Castle O'Sullivan" in Ireland... once is more than enough for "Haunted Lighthouse".

Neat idea, needed more of a plot than what was likely enscribed on the back of a napkin in 5 minutes by the author.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
In a word... Wow., 11 October 2000

Most TV shows, especially pilot episodes, start with one hell of a grabber and from there on out either fail to live up to the expectation that they've built OR they hit the home run.

"Gideon's Crossing" nailed a grand slam. The main character "Gideon" played wonderfully by Andre Braugher (this man doesn't get enough credit for his talent) is a Doctor, but not a perfect one and they carefully execute his flaws little by little to the audience. But the difference is his flaws are what makes him human. In a world where we expect nothing but perfection from our physicians we tend to forget that they have the same hopes, dreams, and desires we do. We expect them to be super-heroes in a world where nothing known as krpytonite exists. We expect them to be perfect.

To this end we are greeted with "Gideon", a doctor who not only has flaws, but appears to resent and embrace them at the same time. Very real, very human. Mad props to Johnson & Johnson for sponsoring a commercial free series premiere. Great choice on their part. I hope ABC has the round items required to keep this show around. One last word, for those few of us who saw "Hollow Man" remember the hottie who lived across from Inviso Doc? Well she's in this show too AND she speaks! How about that? She's good too, and certainly not too hard on the eyes either. Excellent show. May its health prognosis be good well into the future.