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Walls Of Jericho
Favorite actors: Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Harrison Ford, Jeff Bridges
Favorite actresses: Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale
Favorite underrated films: Thumbsucker, This Girl's Life
I have no doubt the guys who made this film had some semblance of creating a complex character study of the post 9/11 political world, but somebody prodded them that drug use by teen hotties and sado-masochistic sex thrown in for good measure might help things along. Everyone in this film is fairly loathsome, with the Muslim extremist possibly coming off as the most sympathetic of the ensemble until the end. There is nothing special about the performances, mostly by b-movie actors. Lauren Holly as a hard line Republican US Senator maybe the most ridiculous bit of casting since Denise Richards was made a nuclear scientist in "The World Is Not Enough".
TCM Underground (2006)
I really wish they'd put this on around midnight or 11PM instead of regulating it to 2 in the morning. It's a great throwback to the old late night movie creature double feature shows, and it's clear Rob Zombie knows what he's talking about and giving great facts about these cult films. The wide variety of films they show from the old poverty row productions to the blacksploitation movie and Russ Meyer films really adds to TCM programming as a whole. I hope they keep the show around, because not only do I enjoy the films, but the wraparound segments giving the information about the film, stars and directors, as well as some of the clips and interviews they show during the previews.
The Avengers (1998)
Aside from Uma Thurman in a skin tight leather suit, there is no reason to watch this film. Sadly, Miss Thurman didn't learn from the "Batman and Robin" debacle as she continues where her Poison Ivy character left off to ham it up here as Miss Peel. Ralph Finnes goes along for the ride, but most distressing is Sean Connery's embarrassing performance. I heard rumors that Connery was offered the part of Morphius in "The Matrix", but turned it down because he felt it would be another "Avengers". Just as well, but Connery here is cringe-worthy. The plot itself is okay for an action adventure spy fantasy, but merely serves as a background for 90 minutes of cheeky British double-entendres (Or what an American thinks British double-entendres are) between the main players. A waste of time.
Spring Break Shark Attack (2005)
Horrible, even for a shark movie
Wow. This one is really beyond words. "Spring Break Shark Attack" couldn't get any worse if they tried. Most of the first hour is wasted with "O.C." style teen drama, and for a second I thought I had come across a Lifetime Moment of Truth movie about date rape or something. Bryan Brown plays the required money grubber who destroys nature and angers the sea creatures. It was sad to see Kathy Baker as the local shop keeper/environmentalist warning him about what he is doing. Why would such a fine actress sign on for this dreck? It's TV, so the shark attacks are kept pretty unbloodied. The movie might have had a chance if it was cheesy intentionally or they had played it more like a docudrama. Obviously, no one on the writing staff had the imagination or self-control for that.
Girl Fever (2002)
Similar to 100 Girls
Almost flipped past this one because I thought it WAS 100 Girls at first. This is a cute date movie, nothing more. It has almost the same premise as 100 Girls, with a guy hanging around a women's boarding house, getting to see all the different personalities of females while pining for one in particular. I didn't really buy the ending, and I thought they spent too much time on the setup, then resolved the major conflict in 10 minutes. Plus the "secret" surprise isn't really well hidden, it's even more obvious than who was the mystery chick in "100 Girls". Still, it's a cool flick, I say check it out with a lady friend, she'll probably like it.
Sorry, but you don't get two free passes
I liked the original Charlie's Angels movie, but this one just pushes it's luck. It's even more ridiculously fast paced and quick cutting than the first, and there seems to be a lot of little things going on that only the director and the cast know but don't let us see. Elaborate setups are made for minor plot points, and in some instances, there are shots that don't seem to have any connection whatsoever to what's going on. Granted, the chicks are hotter than ever, but as far as the movie itself, it's actually kind of annoying. It's short attention span theater to the max.
The Night Stalker (1972)
Best TV movie ever
The Night Stalker is truly the best tv movie of all time. Crackling with tension, Night Stalker works on two levels. First, it is a truly creepy horror film, even today. Second, is the paranoia that runs throughout the movie, with the idea of a reporter being held down by authorities from telling the whole story. And this was before Watergate! Darren McGavin is wonderful as Kolchak, and Barry Atwater is really creepy as Janos Skorzeny, the vampire. A must see for any classic horror fan.
Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
This came on HBO while I was half asleep and I was too groggy to shut it off. Then my body went into a state of numbness as I watched what was transpiring. This was easily the worst movie of 2001, which says A LOT.
Now if you've ever seen Tom Green's show, it's series of "Candid Camera" type skits where he harrasses people in public by doing gross and disgusting things to get a reaction. It's like a sociology experiment gone wrong. But in "Freddy Got Fingered", Green's annoying antics and stupid babbling in a scripted movie just comes across as idiotic. Well, unless the joke is just to annoy the movie goers.... Some of the scenes are just plain dumb. The "backwards man" bit is just bad, like something out of the old Chevy Chase show used to stall for time. He also takes throwaway lines and develops them into plot devices to annoy us more. There is one funny skit, the restaurant scene, which is the only one that at least has some sort of semblence of a plot in it...... The movie is a bad as they say it is...just trust me.
One of the best Bonds
After a six year hiatus, Goldeneye was the perfect return to the screen for 007. With all the women, the chases, the action and the gadgets, Bond proved he could hang with the action oriented films of the 90's.
Pierce Brosnan may be the perfect Bond. He has the coolness of Connery, the smugness of Moore, and even a dash of the harshness of Dalton. He puts it all together to make what Fleming probably had in mind as far as the look of the secret agent.
Goldeneye is smart, high tech, and more slick than most of it's predecessors. It doesn't rely on the camp of the later Moore outings nor the completly cold emotionless Dalton films. It updates itself enough for the Clancy era of spy tech, while still holding on to the old fashioned sleuthing we are used to. Also the femme fatales are wonderful, especially Famke Jansen as Onatopp.
Overall, Goldeneye is high on my list of Bond films, top three behind "Thunderball" and "Diamonds Are Forever"
Vanilla Sky (2001)
Heavy drugs needed for enjoyment or recovery from this film
When I go to a party, there are two types of annoying guests. The intellectual eggheads who drone on endlessly, and the babbling motormouth airheads who must keep their lips flapping or they will apparently die of asphyxiation. "Vanilla Sky" is like the combination of those two guests. It drones on and on endlessly, and if you actually care to figure out what's going on, it will never let you get a thought in edgewise. Tom Cruise smirks a lot for forty minutes, then gets all confused, just like the audience. Cameron Diaz is hot and she can stalk me any day, but unfortunatly she's gone before we have a chance to know more about her. I don't know what the hell Penolope Cruz was trying to say, but they should have provided subtitles. The movie then turns into a pretentious hodgepodge of philosophy and virtual reality that by this point had me shaking my head. Of course, just like every other "deep" movie ever released since "The Sixth Sense", it has to have some quirky explanation as to why things were the way they were. Trust me, you'll be so underwhelmed by the secret suprise ending of "Vanilla Sky", you won't remember to reveal it anyone. Just like at most parties, "Vanilla Sky" has a lot of pretty people to look at, all with nothing to say.