Reviews written by registered user

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128 reviews in total 
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16 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
I still can't get the hang of using the Holy Hand Grenade, 21 August 2002

Like the MEANING OF LIFE videogame, this one combines graphics and actual scenes from the film with a video game that is diabolically resistant to purposeful action.

I mean that as a complement.

To many games let players barrel through them like bulls stuffed with Jolt. And of course cheat codes make the game even more compliant.

Well, if you're looking of that kind of game, FORGET IT. PUSH OFF! This is a game where the designers have decided to play with your mind. Sit back and enjoy it. And don't think so much. Remember, if your brain hurts, then you must see a brain surgeon and get it removed.

But I still keep blowing myself up with the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

But I shouldn't complain; getting killed let me discover the closing credits and that incredibly wonderful full orchestra, full length version of the THEME FROM MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL! I'm trying to figure out how to move it over to my music files so I can play it more readily. If you have any hints, let me know!

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
This must be the pilot's cast/character list, 3 April 2002

Compare the name changes between this "Wolf Lake" and the regular TV series--

Lou Diamond Phillips.... Noah Cassidy ---> John Kanin

Graham Greene.... Professor Duke Joseph ---> Sherman Blackstone

Tim Matheson.... Sheriff Jack Kohanek ---> Sheriff Matthew Donner

Bruce McGill.... Dr. Sokolov ---> Willard Cates

Mary Elizabeth Winstead.... Sophia Kohanek ---> Sophia Donner

Adrienne Carter as "Davi Sokolov" got replaced by Mia Kirshner as "Ruby Wilder/Ruby Cates"

Postscript 31July8 -- finally someone at IMDb cleared up the confusion and clearly labeled this entry as the "Unaired Pilot."

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A perplexing Whodunnit set in an alien society, 30 March 2002

Dad and I like to go see mysteries, for the entertainment and for the mental exercise is trying to figure out the crime and perpetrators. This flick was definitely a good puzzle. The cast was pretty good, although Travolta I could have done without. Madeline Stowe was underused and gave pretty much her off-the-shelf talented-n-indignant characterization. Leslie Stefanson as the title character is a gutsy actress with a lot of talent. She's given little on-camera time but she dominates any scene she is in. And, getting outside the frame and into the actual filming, I have to commend her for her gutsiness to do the death scene. Naked and staked spread-eagled to the ground with her legs spread would have been hard enough for most actresses, but throw in the fact the set is rain-soaked.... It had to be a physically grueling scene to shoot. That she pulled it off and still gave a highly charged performance shows her dedication and skill as an actress.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Varying versions, different endings, 29 March 2002

I've been watching the VHS version put out by Alpha Video Distribution Inc. That version ends with the nuclear exchange destroying the remains of civilization. No clue as to what happened to the Antarctic bases or the submarine crew. The box for the tape reads "155 minutes" but this is false. The actual length is 103 minutes. THAT'S 42 MINUTES OF MISSING MATERIAL!!!!

Maybe the editor was just cynical when he cut out the ending I recall from the only time I saw it on a scramble channel way back in '83. IN that one, the Japanese doctor who'd arrived too late to stop the missiles is shown making the long lonely trek back south. The final shot is him standing on the tip of South America, looking at the survivors' ship that has come to meet him. If anyone knows which tape distributor has THAT ending, let me know!

8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Good news! UPN has picked up the series!, 27 March 2002

CBS, never known for its understanding of or tolerance for fantasy shows, summarily dumped WOLF LAKE right after the crucial turning point of the murder of the town's patriarch (played by Bruce McGill).

Well, tonight UPN started running ads promoting WOLF LAKE, starting April 3rd. In the time slot after ENTERPRISE, formerly occupied by SPECIAL UNIT 2, the show might finally have a chance.

Hope so, as the overall plot is quite engaging and the individual episodes are clever as well. For example, Tim Matheson's Sheriff runs a lycanthropic version of Alcoholics Anonymous, in which people try to help each other overcome the urge to transform into wolves. Also, episodes vary in their treatment of the local werewolves. In many episodes they represent the bad guys, but in others we see things from their point of view, as they try to maintain their way of life against intruders. If the series does well on UPN, hopefully a second season will be commissioned. But even if this does not happen, at least we'll finally have a chance to see the entire 12 episode run.

Showtime (2002)
An enjoyable romp, 15 March 2002

Dad (78) and I (46) both had a good time watching the flick today. For a guy primarily known for serious roles, De Niro is a heckuva comic actor. Of course, it helps to have his past film images to play against. Consider that one of those roles, 15 MINUTES, was a cop having to deal with the interference of the mass media, and you have an interesting set of compare/contrast performances.

Murphy plays another of his Axel Foley sort of characters. Shatner plays a burlesque of himself, a parallel world self who was best known for TJ HOOKER and not STAR TREK.

It's interesting to watch how the film comments on the contrasts between the reality of police work and its fictional counterparts in TV and film. Shatner lectures on the proper means of sliding across a car hood; De Niro points out holsters scratch the hood finish. Ironically, as the film progresses, De Niro's character begins to incorporate the illusions of TV-cop reality into the real world case he's working.

The film draws its inspiration from a gamut of sources, so one could make the comment it is derivative. Well, so what? Satire needs to derive its humor in order to exist. And besides, the film does have quirky moments of originality. For example, I'm reasonably sure the method of the villain's death has never been done before.

One quibble about the reality of the weapons involved-- shouldn't those guns have had some kind of recoil? In order to penetrate steel, those bullets had to have enough inertia to penetrate. And any bullet's highest level of inertia is at the moment of firing. So.... firing a volley of these tank-killer bullets should have driven the shooters back onto their butts. Oh, what the heck... it's a satire. Maybe the guns' lack of recoil is itself a satire on the B-F-Guns used so casually in thrillers.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Jeez, some people really need to cut back on their caffeine!, 8 February 2002

For starters, I thoroughly enjoyed JN:BG. I saw it immediately after seeing co-writer Steve Oederkerke's other current film, KUNG POW. An interesting and bizarre sense of humor, that guy has. I look forward to his future projects.

The movie is a great kid's eye fantasy. It reminded me a lot of the kinds of high tech fantasies I had back then. Maybe that was why I got misty-eyed during the blast-off sequence. TiNa was right, it is a really beautifully done sequence, showing the launch of the starships the kids have made out of modified amusement park rides.

That said, this is not a movie for old people. I don't mean people who are chronologically old. I mean people who are SPIRITUALLY OLD. Reading the preceding 37 posts, I have to say there are some truly depressed people wandering these boards, looking for ways to vent their bile.

Guys, this is a movie. This is an entertainment. This is a fantasy. This is all it's out to do and GUESS WHAT? IT SUCCEEDS! This is a fun movie. I am looking forward to the video release and hoping Nick gives it a greenlight as a series.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
An entertaining bit of bizarre film making, 8 February 2002

About every 10-15 years, somebody gets the idea to take an existing film, lop off the audio, and add a new, humorous audio track. Woody Allen invented the sub-genre with WHAT'S NEW TIGER LILY. The Firesign Theater did it to "King of the Rocket Men in their J-MEN FOREVER. And there was that shortlived MAD MOVIES syndicated half hour series about a decade back.

Of course, nowadays you can do more than just add your voice. Steve Oedekerk showed how his CGI coworkers could put him in the movie too. Again, it goes back to a Woody Allen project, in this case ZELIG.

Enough of the Film History 101 stuff.... I enjoyed the movie for the most part. Okay, I think I started to snooze a little in the middle of the film (I have no idea what happened to Limp Wu or whatever the whiny guy was called) but the rest of the film was pretty entertaining.

You don't have to check your brain at the door. If you do, you'll miss half the stuff Steve Oedekerk is doing in this idiosyncratic project. But you do have to check your arrogance at the door. This is not a movie for professional elitists or whiners. This is a movie for people who want to see a different kind of comedy.

KUNG POW shares something with Mel Brooks' HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART ONE-- a truly hysterical trailer for a sequel film that will probably never be made.

Oh, if you get the chance, see Steve Oedekerk's other flick, JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS. These flicks and his earlier SANTA VERSUS THE SNOWMAN suggest he has the potential to outdo the Zucker Brothers for comedic invention and creative parody.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Another fun romp, 9 December 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm sitting here watching the flick for the second time in 12 hours and... well, it's a nice "pop in the VCR and just have fun" flick! TREMORS was an incredibly pleasant surprise that still holds up well after lotsa viewings. TREMORS 2 built on the original nicely, with it's exploration of both Graboid biology and the effects the Graboid invasion had on the survivors of Perfection. TREMORS 3 continues on that line, making the trilogy a sort of mini-series, "The Adventures of Burt Gummer." I liked the discreet self-referential comments in the film. A visitor calls the giant worm a "Tremor" and is told "They're called Graboids." Or Jack's rifle-- "It's not real, I got it off some movie guy." Or Burt's bitter self-recrimination "What kind of a supreme being would condone such irony?"

The thing about the Tremors series I really like is it' portrayal of likeable characters and eccentrics suddenly stuck in ludicrous but lethal situations. Sure there is a lot of gunfire (none aimed at people or anything real) but gore? Nothing you can't see on prime time TV. Oh, the third film continues the running joke that people blowing up the critters get pelted by meat chunks.......

It was really nice to see how much of a reunion this flick was. The series writer/creators S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock brought back Ariana Richards (who is looking a lot like Kirsten Dunst here), Charlotte Stewart, Tony Genaro, and even Bobby Jacoby. And unlike some reunion flicks (say, Ariana's token appearance in Jurassic Park 2), everyone has something to do here. That Melvin, the clueless teenager is now Melvin, the opportunistic yuppie, makes wicked sense.

BIOLOGY LESSON (spoiler alert) I'm pretty sure this film makes a complete trilogy, as we now have every part of the Tremor megaworm's life cycle.

(1) Graboid: hatches from an egg, and grows to a mature length of 30 feet. Mostly subterranean and uses sonar to detect prey. Upon maturation, the graboid gives birth to six Shrierkers, who tear their way out of the body, killing the Graboid.

(2) Shrieker: a short-duration bipedal form about the size of a big dog. Shriekers are relatively deaf and use thermal sensors to detect prey. Shriekers contain more embryonic Shriekers within their digestive tracts. If an environment is suitable and provides Shriekers with enough food, they spontaneously release an embryo, whic grows to full size within hours. After a period exceeding 24 hours, the Shreiker form undergoes metamorphosis and sheds its skin.

(3)Assblaster: a bipedal form with stubby glider wings. Assblasters retain the thermal sensors. The digestive tracts produce highly flammable liquids that enable the Assblaster to fly by short rocket blasts. These are probably the final form, as Assblaster lay eggs. This form makes sense then, as a means for Tremor Megaworms to spread out as far as possible.

One question remains for a hypothetical Tremors 4 to answer-- what is triggering these appearance now? And how long does it take for the egg to hatch and grow into a mature Graboid?

Men of the Dragon (1974) (TV)
7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A classy little made-for-TV martial arts flick, 8 December 2001

Back in '74, the late Bruce Lee's breakthrough flick ENTER THE DRAGON introduced America to the idea of Oriental martial arts adventures. Sure, we'd seen martial arts in flicks before, but it was mostly a few judo flips and karate chops in spy flicks. This was something new, exciting, and exotic.

So of course TV execs had to figure out ways to get in on this new genre. I remember the ABC Movie of the Week ads announcing "the FIRST martial Arts movie made for television!" Okay, they were obviously ignoring the earlier KUNG FU..... Anyway, the ad got me interested....

The flick was pretty good. Jared Martin and Katie Saylor play siblings who have returned to Hong Kong to visit their childhood friend Robert Ito. Unfortunately, Katie gets kidnapped by a white slavery ring run by Joseph Wiseman. Drugged, stripped, locked in a bordello, Katie doesn't have much to do for a while except be the damsel in distress, waiting for the good guys to rescue her. Martin and Ito, martial arts devotees (and hence "The Men of the Dragon") are more than up to the challenge of battling their way through the villain's forces (ever notice how no one in a martial arts flick has ever heard of a gun????). Saylor gets in on the final battle, as all three join up to kick Dr No.... I mean, Balashev's ass.

I suspect the idea had been to do a series of MotD flicks for ABC; certainly the ending leaves the groundwork for a series. But, rather than be "the FIRST martial Arts movie made for television!", MotD turned out to be the ONLY martial Arts movie made for television.... Oh well.

Jared Martin and Katie Saylor were reunited a couple years later for the fantasy series FANTASTIC JOURNEY. Robert Ito hit the big time as Sam on QUINCY.

One odd note-- although, as a TV movie, there was no overt nudity on screen, Katie's nude back is shown, at least in the original version. The second time the flick aired, her disrobing was reduced to a head-and-shoulders shot. Many of the ABC Movies of the Week were also given European theatrical releases with expanded, explicit nude scenes by the actresses involved, which makes me wonder if there was a lot more to that scene than we Americans saw on the TV.

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