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666: Kreepy Kerry (2014)
Not a horror film
I am a straight woman who enjoys horror films and beautiful adult men. This monstrosity offered neither. The males in this gathering were too physically immature to be of interest, and the film had no plot. It consisted mainly of these boys touching themselves in a matter as though they were applying sunscreen to their chests in the most boring way possible. It was not sexual touching, it was monotonous and repetitive. I suppose if you want to watch somewhat fit teen-looking guys pose for the camera while moving in a way that even bores them, this is the film for you. I'm sure there's a market for that, but this mess does not belong among films identified as horror. The only horror here is the time one wastes waiting to get through the ridiculous undy shots to discover there is nothing else in the movie.
Lost Woods (2012)
A Monster Movie About Friendship and Family (possible spoilers)
Consider that this film was made for less than what other productions spend on catering, it is a decent effort from what is clearly a family business (just read all the end credits). The rudimentary special effects for the creature are balanced against a beautiful location and able camera work. The characters are not one-sided, and there's even a fair amount of character development as the story progresses. The relationships in this close-knit group of friends and relatives and a pet are the core of this story, and the external threats are secondary. The opening credits with the graphic novel style are a nice touch. The company might have been wiser to do all the creature scenes the same way. There are a number of strong spots where they went against the trite "standard creature vs. group of friends" clichés, and this deserves some respect above other entry-level productions. Examples: there's only one female, but she's regarded as a friend, not a target for the men. I would knock a point off that because she had to cook and call the men to dine as though she were the house mother. The "science nerd" is not an inept guy who can't socialize. In fact, this is a rare character who obviously works out and has a nice tat, truly swimming up-stream in horror movies. The "dumb guy" isn't dumb at all, just very open and unpretentious. The "scared guy" is not a total flake as in other films. The "leader" is calm and confident and actually knows how to get around outdoors. Spoiler: There's no dog violence, thank goodness! The last time I saw a horror flick with a dog that survived happily through the whole thing, it was an early film from The Asylum, and the production values were not even as good as for this film. There were a few very minor editing problems where the story jumped, but later conversations filled in the missing information. Pacing was also uneven. Still, this is an ambitious film by so many newcomers, and I don't think it deserves a bashing. One reviewer surely didn't see the same film I did, else he would not have said it was about teenagers. Hopefully, any future projects will have better research and props. One does not have to go to Honduras or anywhere else outside the US to get a nice machete, and it seems visually odd that the person who has that cannon of a sidearm and some large blades would not also have a more imposing rifle. The sight of burly men holding tiny rifles is nearly comical, and that includes the rude men who claimed to own the land. I think this company did a passing job, and I hope they will learn from the experience and give us something more in the future.
Most Blended Family, Quirky and Sweet
I started watching this show because I'm a life-long Greyhound-aholic. While some of the "Hounds" are dogs, there are many more human hounds among the characters. Dog racing is a background for the development of these characters and the central group who become one of the oddest blended families on any sitcom. Not only is this series hilarious, it is surprisingly full of warm moments. Writing, acting, and production values are fine. I hope the show finds support for a second season. Perhaps the global audience will help that happen.
For those who lean toward the animal rights perspective that all racing is enslavement and exploitation, this isn't for you. For people who just love dogs, especially beautiful sighthounds, the Greyhounds are presented as valued living creatures, loved and treated well. If you welcome your dogs to your furniture, you will see your peers among the characters here.
Some of the themes are best left to mature audiences. There's drinking (including by a child), swearing, and a lot of talk about sex regarding legal cases (one character is a defense attorney). I mention this so no one thinks, "Oh, good, a show about dogs...must be OK for my kids."
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (2011)
More than a concert film
This film documents a concert by Glee characters, not by the actors portraying them. If you already like Glee, you will enjoy the concert and the profiles of the beautiful diversity that exemplifies the fan base. The real lives of several fanciers are profiled through clips inserted into the concert and behind-the-scenes footage. Through these biographical snippets, as well as comments from the concert attendees, viewers hear revelations of how Glee has helped people accept those who are different from themselves--and to accept themselves. Many in the crowd share a common experience of finding a "family of friends" who share their appreciation of the soul-freeing power of music and stories on the television show.
The concert itself is full of powerhouse performances that showcase the entertainers (including the musicians) as individuals and as a dynamically synergistic group. Onstage and backstage, all stay in character, adding to the fun factor of this upbeat film.
Glee fans will love it. People who have not seen Glee, do not like Glee, or are mean-spirited bigots should probably stay home and find something else to gripe about.
Twist Around the Clock (1961)
Low Budget Cultural Fun
Teen potboilers should not be viewed with hope that great cinematography or compelling plots loom within. Instead, catch Twist and its counterparts through the decades just for the music, slang, and fashion. Ignore loose lip-syncs...even big-budget musicals have missed the alignment at times. Forgive this film for failing to meet music video standards, and just appreciate the stage performances by hit acts of the era. Understand that the Twist was a hugely popular dance that spawned several hit songs just about the dance, a movement across the country that loosened up the straight-laced post-McCarthy public, increased popularity of African-American performers who had more often up to that time been known better by the cover records of their songs by white stars. There was even paperback book about the impact the Twist had on "discoteques" around the planet. Maybe this little film would have been better had the producers simply stripped out the plot and made a documentary of the performers, but there were other films of this kind, and continue to be. Think about it...is showcasing the performers that different from Twist to Justin Loves Kelly, Get Rich or Die Trying', Our Dancing Daughters, 8 Mile, Spice Girls, Help, or Orchestra Wives? But do people go to a film if there's no plot, even a thin one? Some are better than others, but they're all showcases of a music in its time and place. If you don't like the music circa 1961, then pass it by. Otherwise, don't hold it to the same standards as your favorite blockbuster or art house Golden Palm winner.
Cadet Kelly (2002)
Better than average kidflix
I didn't expect to enjoy this movie at all, except that the sterling actor Gary Cole was in it. Cole earned his stripes in the Steppenwolf company and surely deserves to be a bigger star than he is. His role as the camp commander was a refreshing change from the goofiness of Mike Brady and the nastiness of various television guest characters he's delivered on "The Practice," "Frasier," and others. As a person in the same age group as Kelly's parents, I enjoyed seeing seeing their believable love story and Sir's benevolent dictator relationship with his stepdaughter. Though I'm not a parent, I think parents weary of obnoxious cinema teens will appreciate the pleasant youngsters in this film. I commend the film for including authentic military school drill team performances, too.
A Horse Flick for Star-Spotters
Cantinflas plays a sweet Everyman with dreams of rising above his work as a rodeo (well, bullfight) clown through successful management of the beautiful stallion, Don Juan. Possible Spoiler Comments follow. Make no mistake about the point of this movie...it is a horse movie that equestrians will enjoy simply for the stunning stallion. The movie star cameos and high-power leads are just a bonus. The formula is one familiar to all horse lovers who read the books and watch the movies: wholesome person (child, innocent, or virtuous adult) needs horse, loses horse, conquers adversity, gains horse. The colorful settings and many celebrities fill out the story with fun, such as the "Tequila" drunken dream sequence. Like the Kim N. fan, I've sat through this film multiple times during the original run and many times since then, as much to see the horse as for the Hollywood legends.
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
What's scary is that this film was even made.
What a disappointing waste of talent! As a long-time fan of the Wayans family, I looked forward to the sharp wit and excellent sense of parody on which the family's name was made. With K.I. Wayans at the helm, this should have been a sure thing. Unfortunately, it was instead a waste of time and money to sit through this sad, humorless film. I did not think it possible to drag so many talented people so far down. Relying on gross-out and sexual "jokes," this film insulted the viewer with non-sequiturs, build ups for which there was no punch line, and scenes that run pointlessly on. The film had only one truly funny moment, a scene which had little to do with the rest of the story and involved a "potted" plant. "Scary Movie" was sharp and funny. The sequel is just pitiful.
The Musketeer (2001)
A movie-lover's movie
No spoilers here, but the Dumas tale has not been completely sacrificed in this version. The plot is more of a side-step to see threads from a different perspective, one that focuses more on D'Artagnon and less on the brotherhood of Musketeers. Other characters step back into the shadows as their peers are brought out into the plot, making this telling different from previous Musketeer flicks. It would have been impossible to improve upon, or compete with, the early 1970's two-parter, and this interpretation honors its predecessors with plenty of swashbuckling swordplay and comaraderie. There's just enough pyrotechnic display, astounding fight choreography, and romance to appeal to a variety of moviegoers. The female characters are bolder than in most period films, strong and not merely window dressing. Certainly, there are engaging men and women of all ages, something that is often lacking in current movies. For the darker side, Tim Roth delivers a deliciously evil character that rivals his "Rob Roy" counterpart. Justin Chambers captures the spirit of D'Artagnon, Catherine Deneuve is a monarch worth fighting for, and Mena Suvari's Constance is a spunky heroine to ease the hearts of all who wonder why women characters in films rarely fight for themselves. The cast unites for an elegant and entertaining composition in action-adventure--no weak links here. As a bonus, equestrians will doubly appreciate this film for its remembering that horses are companion animals, not merely a method of transportation.
Jurassic Park III (2001)
A Logical Progression from I & II
The story is an honest follow-up to the first two films, given human nature and government snafus. The film allows for the passage of time, the current robust research (some of which can be attributed to the JP phenomenon), and the unfolding knowledge gained in real time since JPI.
Undoubtedly, some of the film's harsher critics have not seen this film; they place characters in the wrong plot line or location, and they completely overlook a few fine satiric comments on pop culture and modern conveniences.
Over all, this movie is filled with high emotions, terrific effects, and a cast doing a good job of portraying real people in an extreme situation.
The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)
This cast deserves much, much better.
A truly painful experience for this viewer to see people, so enjoyed in other performances, undergo the torture that is this film. Gilligan, Li'l Abner, and Perry Mason together could not save them from the anguish of serving time in The Plot of the Giant Spider Invasion. Better movies have been written and filmed by high school students. The only salvation for the stars in this bomb was its appearance on MST3K.
Run, Joe, Run (1974)
Former war dog on the run to search for his military handler
Joe and his person, Corey, have returned to the States after a tour of duty in Viet Nam. Joe is a good dog, but he is perceived by authorities as a dangerous weapon. Only his buddy from the service can help him, but being on the run keeps him from connecting with his friend. On the way, his heroics bale out people. Like the Lone Ranger, Joe must move on after his rescues.
Hey, Jeannie! (1956)
A musical sitcom!
Witty early sitcom features Jeannie, a young woman who has come to the USA from Scotland. In this unique series, characters occasionally exchange dialogue in song. Jeannie boards with an American couple who advise her with parental guidance and share her zany experiences.
That Was the Week That Was (1964)
Razor-sharp political satire surpassing everything to follow.
Some of the brightest minds ever in entertainment were gathered for this furiously funny look at the week's news highlights. "TW3" was a cut above SNL's Weekend Updates, racing ahead of "Not Necessarily The News," and nosing out "The Daily Show" as the best of its kind. Fueled by the players in a period of stunning global events, the players managed both biting commentary and lively entertainment. Bring on the re-runs.