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86 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Oh Gawd, this was awful!, 10 October 2015

This movie made me wish I was both deaf and blind. Blind, so I wouldn't have to see it, and deaf so that I wouldn't have to hear the soundtrack, which was like having nails pounded into your skull with a hammer. I will now have to plug my headphones into my iPhone and play a few Motley Crue songs just to get the sludge out of my brain. This gets 2 out of 10 only because some of the acting (and overacting) was good, so the actors get some credit here. Lots of boo-hooey scenes of astronauts crying over this and that, the soundtrack being relentlessly over-dramatic and so was everything else. This is the sort of film where you could take all the characters and blow them up with an atom bomb, and you would find yourself cheering at the end. Honestly, two hours of Beavis and Butt-Head reruns would be a vast improvement over this movie.

Gravity (2013)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Great visuals, okay plot, 28 February 2014


I just watched this on my computer. It was, in fact, my first ever downloaded movie from the Internet. I guess this is now the wave of the future, what with Blockbuster being out of business, though I will still miss going to the video store and browsing through thousands of movie selections, often not having a clue in advance as to what movie I was going to rent.

Anyway, on to the movie. Visually, it's great, and probably its best feature by far. The effects are so good you don't even notice they're effects, it looks like they actually shot this movie in real outer space.

As for the rest? The best I can say is the story is competent. For those who don't know, it's about two people stranded in space after debris from several exploded satellites has taken out their space shuttle (didn't the filmmakers know the Shuttle is now retired?). They are literally marooned with just their space suits for protection. The question then is: can they get to a nearby space station (in this case, Chinese) in order to find a capsule that can take them safely back to Earth?

The plot makes some technical errors, but you can mostly ignore those and just enjoy the drama and the great visuals. There's no need to spoil the plot, since there isn't much of one. Either they get back to Earth or they don't. Sandra Bullock does, I think, a pretty decent job, although she really doesn't come across as a real astronaut but more like a Damsel in Distress set in space. Although she's competent enough when she has to be, she's much too emotional most of the time to look like someone who's gone through the rigorous training and psychological screening given to real astronauts. And Clooney isn't really acting at all, he's just playing himself (wise cracking, obviously thinks he's God's gift to all women, etc.) only he's doing it in a space suit.

This has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Will it win? Should it win? On the first, I doubt it, since space/Sci-Fi movies almost never win Best Picture. Stanley Kubrick's 2001 didn't (and it's much better than this film) nor did any of the Star Wars flicks. Should it win? Probably not. The amazingly lifelike visuals (again, they really look like they're in space, but then, so did most of 2001 and that was filmed in 1968) simply can't make up for a pedestrian plot.

7/10 mainly for the amazing visual effects.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Worst Bond movie EVER!, 3 February 2014

I saw this in the theatre a few years ago when it came out, and the funny thing was, I couldn't remember a thing about it. So, when it was on cable TV a couple nights ago, I decided to watch it again to see if it was any good.

It wasn't. Indeed, I found out why I couldn't remember anything about it the first time, because there was nothing worth remembering about it the second time, either.

It's a given that most James Bond movies have plots that range from over-the-top to the downright preposterous, but nonetheless the plots are at least understandable. But "Quantum of Solace" has no plot at all, at least none that I could discern. It's just a bunch of action and fight scenes and car chases strung together with no central story to make you care about any of them. But beyond that, what was lacking in this movie was any sense of fun or style, two things that could usually redeem even the worst of previous Bond efforts. Bond is grim throughout, and one gets the sense that neither he nor "M" (Judi Dench) particularly like or trust each other.

The whole point of the Bond series was that it was pure, escapist fantasy. It presented a world in which you got to drive fast cars, travel to exotic locales, and have sex with gorgeous women. The whole thing was about glamour and style, and reality be damned! But apparently the current trend is to have Bond movies strive more for gritty realism. Well, I guess they got the "Grit" part right, but in the process tossed out all the fun and charm. In short, this movie fails as even good entertainment. Indeed, you would be much better served watching the silly Vin Diesel effort "xXx", with Diesel playing the wise-cracking, tattooed anti-Bond and Samuel L Jackson having ten times as much fun as Judi Dench in the role of his "Boot to ass" boss.

8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
One big cliché made up of lots of little clichés, 2 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just watched this on AMC. At first I was gonna give it 6/10, then later revised that down to 3/10 and by the end of the movie I was at rock bottom - 1/10.

Why does this movie suck so badly? Not because it wasn't well made, or badly acted, but rather because the the story itself is just so awful. What we have here are a bunch of smaller clichés that add it to some very big clichés. All the principal characters are clichés, and so are all of the premises of this film. You have five high school kids who are all stock high school characters - the jock, the brain, the popular pretty girl, the long haired greaser "Tough guy" and, finally, the misfit. They are all stuck in detention for a day, under the supervision of the 6th cliché, the (I think) assistant principal, the perfect personification of (from the teenagers' POV) mindless adult authority. He might as well wear a swastika armband, so one dimensional is his character.

Now, I suppose a conceit of this movie is the five kids aren't really clichés at all, but actual, real individuals who are forced into their roles by the neverending forces of social conformity (which is in itself yet another cliché), except, of course, they aren't. The jock really IS a jock, the brain a nerd, the popular girl popular, and so forth. None of them emerge as a true three dimensional character, at best they display a bit of two dimensions before reverting back to their one dimensional selves. And the principal doesn't even get that privilege, his character is a one dimensional authoritarian goon and is never allowed to rise above that basic stereotype.

Speaking of adults, virtually every last one of them comes off badly, indeed, very badly. They, as described by the kids, are little more than beasts who demand perfection from their offspring and show an almost total lack of love or even affection. This is one of the movie's biggest clichés, the notion of teenagers as being wise beyond their years while their parents are essentially abusers, if not physically then certainly emotionally. Portraying all adults as rotten is not only completely unrealistic, it also feeds into the worst sort of egotism on the part of the presumed teenage audience for a movie such as this.

Okay, so the kids (and their principal) are all a bunch of clichés. That's bad enough, but this film has other flaws as well. One, the misfit character, played by Ally Sheedy, seems to have no basis in reality at all. And nothing about the movie explains why she is who she is. Further, how clichéd (spoiler alert) is it that she ends up with the jock, this, after getting a makeover courtesy of the popular girl? Wouldn't it have been less of a cliché for her to end up with the brain? Also, her character would have been a lot more believable had she been genuinely unattractive, say, 30 lbs overweight, acne, and hair that was greasy looking because she never washed it. Instead, it was like - 5 minutes with a mascara brush and a little work on the hair and, Ta Da! she's beautiful! And a completely different person, too! Still, hers was probably the most likable character of the bunch, and she probably should have ended up with the nerd. By that standard, by FAR the most detestable character was the greaser. The tough guy with a heart of gold is an old staple in American entertainment, such notables include The Fonz and Vinnie Barbarino. But this guy has more like the heart of a sewer rat. That he is rude and defiant of authority is to be expected of this type of character, but his verbal attacks on the others, especially Molly Ringwald's character, border on verbal rape, so cruel and sadistic are his attacks on her. He was the one character whom you wanted to see the principal beat into a bloody pulp, unfortunately, that didn't happen. His is the worst cliché of them all, the sort of person, because he is a self-proclaimed "Rebel" and non-conformist, is transformed from being a complete A__hole into the conscience of sorts for this film. It is his character, perhaps more than all the others combined, who ruined this movie for me. Cruelty and sadism have their place in the movies (think "Apocalypse Now") but they absolutely don't belong in what is supposed to be a light teenage comedy.

And that's about it. When I first saw this back in the 1980's (on HBO, probably) I didn't think this movie was particularly good or back. But having now seen it just a couple hours ago, I think it truly sucks.


2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
"American Pie" was better, 24 February 2013

There is supposed to be some deep, maybe even profound, message to this movie, but, for me at any rate, I sure couldn't find it. Indeed, my recollection of this film, which I've only seen once, on Pay-Per-View shortly after it came out, was that this was basically really high class porno made by an extremely skilled director. As such, the best (and maybe only) way to enjoy this movie is to fast forward through all the parts that don't contain naked ladies.

The problem is, "Kubrick" and "Emotional richness and complexity" are two expressions that just don't go together. Think about how many of his characters, from Strangelove to this present movie, that you really cared about. The only one that comes to my mind is the unfortunate fat kid who cracks under pressure in the boot camp part of "Full Metal Jacket". And that's the problem with this film. We just don't care about these characters AT ALL. At best, this is a stylistic exercise, a slick production that is utterly devoid of real human heart.

In that sense, "American Pie", which came out the same year, does a much better job of exploring the sometimes embarrassing and often hilarious things that occur when men and women (or, in this case, boys and girls) tap dance around the issues of love, romance, and sex. Unlike "Eyes Wide Shut", we see real human beings in real human situations with real human emotions. We can relate to them, and laugh along with them as they deal with the various foibles that come with human relationships. In contrast, the characters from this movie might as well be cyborgs for all the warmth they bring to the screen.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Poetic Justice: "Che" bombed, "Braveheart" won Best Picture Oscar, 23 February 2013

Apparently this movie (well, both of them, actually) completely bombed at the box office. Outside of a few ex-hippies and leftie grad students at Berkeley, no one saw this movie. And, in the time since, it has disappeared from the public scene. The fact that this movie has only 52 comments on this site (The Phantom Menace has nearly 4,000) shows what little effect it has had on the public consciousness.

In contrast, there's another movie about a GENUINE Freedom Fighter that did much better. I'm talking, of course, about "Braveheart". That movie became an international blockbuster, earned an Oscar for Best Picture, and his still beloved by millions of fans to this day. William Wallace was everything Che wasn't, a genuine patriot fighting against a foreign tyrant who oppressed and abused the people against their will. Che was a faux revolutionary who, after helping turn one country (Cuba) into a totalitarian dictatorship, then went abroad and tried to use force to impose his evil ideology on the people of other countries, who, to their credit, wanted none of it.

In sum, Wallace was the Real Deal, and is still an inspiration to true freedom lovers to this day. Che was just another Marxist turd, a megalomaniac with a Messiah complex, a guy whose image appears on the T-shirts of assorted self-proclaimed "Hipsters" and pseudo-intellectuals who think Cuba is great because they have government run health care but, rather than move there and enjoy the fruits of the great People's Workers' Paradise, sit here at home and write angry screeds about the very country (America) that, quite unlike Castro's Cuba, gives them the freedom of speech to do so.

10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Weird, sadistic, no redeeming value, really, 21 February 2013

The trick to these comic book superhero movies is not to take the source material too seriously. That's what made the original Batman from the 1980's, with Jack Nickolson as the Joker, work so well; everything about that movie, including all the main characters, was over the top, and rightfully so. We are, after all, talking about a man who goes out and fights crime while dressed up as a bat. How seriously, really, are we supposed to take such a notion? But this movie (among its various other flaws) takes itself WAY too seriously. It's supposed to be some deep, even epic, tale of, well, something. But, hey, if I want that, I could read Homer. Or Shakespeare. Or watch "The Godfather". Stories that truly are epic, in no small part because they feature real human characters, not ones that came out of a cartoon book.

That said, I can only review so much of this movie because, quite honestly, I don't remember all that much from it. Nothing about it truly stood out in my mind, other than that the general theme seemed to be to inflict upon the audience several scenes of considerable cruelty and sadism. And, unlike in other movies where these qualities played a significant role (Silence of the Lambs, Apocalypse Now), here these elements seem to exist solely for shock value, not because they actually add anything to our deeper understanding of the story.

Which brings us to the character of the Joker. Let me be blunt - Nickolson's Joker was at least ten times better than this one. Both are completely unbelievable, but Jack's Joker was at least interesting, even fun. He was a pleasure to watch in much the same way that a good James Bond villain is. But there is nothing pleasurable at all about Heath Ledger's Joker. First off, he is so psychotic that he couldn't function anywhere outside of an insane asylum; he kills off his own henchmen, burns their stolen money before their very eyes, yet this psycho somehow enlists a small army of loyal followers without giving them any reason to be loyal at all, and yet, despite being a complete walking mental meltdown, he manages to put in motion any number of very detailed terrorist plots that would require the exact opposite mindset, namely, one of cold and calculating rationality. In short, as a movie villain, he simply fails. Not only is he not credible at all, his sole contribution to the story is to add the aforementioned cruelty and sadism, making this not only a stupid and unbelievable movie, but a thoroughly depressing one as well. I mean, seriously. If you want to see movie characters who have a dark, twisted, and sadistic streak and yet come off as credible on the screen, one need look no further than such persons as Tommy from "Goodfellas" or Luca Brasi from "The Godfather". But the Joker from this film is just a void. Encountering his character was like stepping on a dog turd. The experience is wholly unpleasant and disgusting, but thankfully you forget about it pretty soon.


Octopussy (1983)
2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A convoluted mess, 31 December 2004

I'll give this movie its due - it does have great stunts and exotic locations. A good chunk of this film takes place in India, which usually doesn't get much play in Hollywood productions, so that was nice to see. But, aside from that, this thing was a real mess (I was going to say "train wreck", but that would be too obvious a pun given the big chase/fight scene that takes place on a train in Germany) in that it's almost impossible to figure out what's going on. The main plot, such as it is, involves a renegade Russian general intent on provoking a war with the West using a stolen nuclear bomb. But this only occurs near the end, the rest of the time it's about the smuggling and counterfeiting of rare Russian jewelry, most notably Faberge eggs, all of which has something to do with financing the nuclear bomb plot, but I was never able to figure out how the two were really connected. True, the plots in Bond movies usually aren't the main reason you see them, but they should at least be relatively straightforward and easy to follow, so as not to get in the way of the rest of the film.

In all honesty, Moore should have hung it up before even making this film. He had already established his own legacy in the role, and could have quit on a high note with For Your Eyes Only. This film was even sillier than Moonraker, and much less enjoyable to boot. I would even say it's worse than A View To A Kill, which was also ridiculously over the top, but which was at least saved by Christopher Walken, who made a delightfully evil, psychotic villain. In this case, the villains (the general, and one of the smugglers, Kamal Khan) just didn't measure up. It's the latter who gets most of the screen time, and while he certainly is colorful, he just never seemed menacing enough.

But what really hurts this movie is the overall incoherence. The film just moves from place to place (London auction house, India, Germany) and gives us lots of great stunts and action scenes, but none of these ever add up to a complete movie. It's really as if they just came up with a couple hours worth of chases and fights and put together the plot as an afterthought. Perhaps the only good part was the developing romance between Bond and Octopussy, who is probably the best Bond Woman (as opposed to "girl") of the Roger Moore series, but that alone couldn't save this film. It's not a complete disaster (no Bond film ever is, though a few of the Brosnan ones have come close) but it wasn't exactly the best vehicle for Moore to use in the closing years of his Bond career.

5/10 (And that's due almost exclusively to the terrific stunts and locations)

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Team America ROCKS !!, 31 October 2004

This movie isn't the least bit subtle - it steals (or pays homage to) the Thunderbirds TV show from the 60's. The characters are all puppets, and, just like the Thunderbirds, they've formed a team that solves problems worldwide using really cool planes, subs, and other devices. Unlike the Thunderbirds, however, they don't rescue people in distress, but rather fight against global terrorism. They may be a little too gung ho in how they go about it (it seems that whenever they pop up, everything around them, from the Eiffel Tower to the Pyramids, gets blown up) but their intentions are good, and in the end they can be counted on to save the day.

Of course, this movie is brought to us by the same crew responsible for "South Park", so there's plenty of lowbrow humor and scenes designed to offend the overly sensitive. There's puppet sex, and a long dissertation on why it's better to be a dick than an a**hole, but the real joy of this film is watching puppets of sanctimonious Hollywood celebs getting their comeuppance. Honestly, these people already have more fame, adulation, and money than most regular folks could ever conceive of, do they have to then troll for additional brownie points by flaunting their political activism (especially when, most of the time, their understanding of the issues involved is about as deep as a mud puddle). Needless to say, these big shots come in for a nice dose of humiliation courtesy of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. And that's really what it's all about. Just as with "South Park", tons of sacred cows get slaughtered in this movie, and the whole thing adds up to a rollicking good time.


Awful!, 13 October 2004

OK, the visuals were great, but then again, with CGI technology what it is today, that's no longer much of a bragging point. The rest was purely awful. This movie is nothing if not an endless series of clichés ripped off from just about every disaster movie ever made, from "The Poseidon Adventure" to "Earthquake" and "Twister". The only thing missing were the dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park films, but I guess they would have frozen to death in the new "Ice Age". At least with "Independence Day" the Producer/Director Roland Emmerich never tried to insult the audience's intelligence by presenting that film as anything other than big budget summertime brain candy.


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