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hammerfan1

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8 reviews in total 
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Halloween (2007)
2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
New Halloween Exceeds Expectations, 10 September 2007
9/10

Fans of the 1978 original need not worry about Rob Zombie wrecking their favorite franchise. The producers took care of that with Halloween 6 and Resurrection. This is a chance to start fresh with a new take on Halloween.

John Carpenter created the modern "Boogeyman" with the original film. Since then, we have been bombarded with copycat killers with no reason for their madness. Rob Zombie takes us back in time with the 10 year old Michael Myers, and shows us how Michael became the "Boogeyman".

The first half of the movie is essentially Michael's backstory. This should have been a very boring build up to the nightmare that everyone knows is coming. Under a lesser director, this would have been true. But Zombie makes Michael's hellish home life seem interesting and disturbingly entertaining. Anyone who has seen "House of 1,000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects" knows how Zombie can accomplish this. He does it by making his characters real people. They don't speak or act like every other Hollywood character. They don't say or do what you would expect in a movie. They simply say and do what real people in that situation would say and do. It's raw, simple, and crude. And you can't take your eyes off of the screen while it's going on.

The most fascinating part of the film focuses on the relationship of Dr. Loomis and young Michael. We see a bonding between doctor and patient that is akin to the bonding between father and son. This makes the film all the more tragic because we all know where their relationship is heading. Malcolm McDowell gives an amazing performance as the complicated Loomis. In the original film, Donald Pleasance's Loomis was the protector of Haddonfield. Here he is protector of both Michael and the town.

The first part of the film is mostly story building and character study. The second part is a pulse pounding, edge of your seat, cover your eyes journey into a nightmare. If you feel sympathy for Michael during the movie's first act, that will disappear "the night he comes home". This is the part of the film that is a remake of the original. And it is pretty loyal, taking only a few liberties and speeding the story up slightly for length purposes. Scout Taylor-Compton and Danielle Harris as Laurie Strode and Annie Bracket give brave performances in the second act as their characters struggle to survive. Malcolm McDowell is great in this part of the film as well, as he changes from doctor to hunter. Even though there are some disturbing killing scenes in the first half, they are not particularly scary. In the second half, however, the audience is jumping and screaming as Michael goes on a killing spree with absolutely no emotion. The ending is sudden and shocking and leaves the audience reeling.

Overall, this is an amazing movie. If there never had been an original "Halloween", this would be an instant classic. It is dark and brutal, yet beautiful and entertaining in it's own original way.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
"Do you have a warrant?" "Yeah. It's in my shoe!", 5 September 2007
8/10

If you are a southern male who grew up in the 1970's, "Walking Tall" is your "Gone With The Wind". This 1973 movie is based on actual events in the life of Sheriff Buford Pusser of McNairy County, Tennessee during the 1960's. Though the screenplay takes some liberties with Pusser's story, it is an exciting account of one man taking on organized crime and corruption .

The story begins with Buford and his family moving back to his home town in McNairy County. Shortly after arriving, Buford realizes that his home town has changed. Gambling, prostitution, and bootlegging have taken over. Buford exposes the gambling operation to be corrupt and is brutally beaten and left for dead. He recovers and seeks vengeance using a big piece of lumber. He is arrested for his troubles. Buford is cleared of the charges and is soon elected Sheriff. He promises to rid the county of crime and corruption. The rest of the movie shows how difficult it was for Buford to follow through with his promise.

Buford Pusser is played by Joe Don Baker, who gives the performance of his career. Baker's Pusser faces the tragic events of the movie with a sense of sad but heroic nobility. The audience is able to feel what Pusser must have felt when these events actually happened through Baker's brave performance.

The story is ultimately a tragic tale of one man who walked tall and stood up against the forces of corruption. It is the rare action movie that makes you cheer and cry at the same time. This is essential viewing for anyone who loves true heroes.

A Day In The Life, 5 September 2007
10/10

Ever wonder where the cool slackers hang out and what they do on a daily basis. Well, here is the 1995 version of that. This comedy / drama is easily the best of it's kind. This ranks up there with "Dazed and Confused" and "Chasing Amy" as the best slacker movies of all time, even though all three are from the same decade. Maybe it's because the 90's was the decade of the slacker.

Once upon a time, before digital downloading dominated the music scene, cool kids hung out at record stores. In this film a talented cast plays a variety of these cool kids (and adults). Liv Tyler plays the pretty and popular brainiac who is headed to Harvard. Renee Zelweger is the sultry teenaged seductress. Johnny Whitworth is the artist who is afraid to do anything with his talent. The amazing Rory Cochrane is the 'James Dean' type who is sort of the mystical center of the movie. Robin Tunney gives a haunted performance of a troubled, suicidal teen. Rounding out the rest of the teen cast, there are also two boys who worship rock & roll as well as a wanna-be guitarist.

The adult cast is just as amazing as the younger actors, though outnumbered. Joe Mantegna plays 'Joe', the ex-musician and current record store manager who knows that he was meant for bigger and better things. Zoe Deschanel is the manager of a washed up pop star who is attempting a comeback. She shares Joe's views of her life. And Maxwell Caulfield is 'Rex Manning', the aforementioned pop star. He is perhaps the most underrated actor in the film. He plays "Sexy Rexy" with a cheesy self assurance that is masking the fact that Rex knows that his sex symbol days are well behind him.

The plot of the film is pretty thin. The owner of the record store plans to sell the store to a franchise that promises to rid the store and it's employees of any individuality. But that's okay, because the movie isn't really plot driven. It's a character study about the young and the young at heart hiding their true ambitions and selves behind false facades while they wile away their days hanging out at the record store.

Overall, this is a well written movie about characters that are well worth rooting for. It also boasts a great soundtrack of rock and alternative music that helps add to the fun atmosphere.

8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
The American Film, 29 April 2007
10/10

1973. It was the ten year anniversary of JFK's assassination. The US was still in Vietnam. College students were dying and being beaten during protest demonstrations. Watergate was happening. Rock stars from the psychedelic era of music were dropping like flies. America had officially completed the decade long process of losing it's innocence. It was gone. Then something funny happened. A young film maker who was trying to make a name for himself in Hollywood made a movie that was supposed to be simple. It wasn't supposed to be important. But it was. That movie was "American Graffiti".

"American Graffiti" is a story about one night in the lives of a group of small town teens. They are all on the verge of something great, but none of them know it yet. That something is called growing up. This night is their farewell to innocent youth. It is an obvious parallel to what America was about to go through. Within a couple of years, most of the people that the film's characters represent would be affected by the chaotic events that occurred in this country. But on this night, none of that existed. These kids were still dealing with the all important activities of cruising, muscle cars, going steady, street racing, the choice between beach music and rock & roll, and whether or not they should wait a year before going off to college. It is the last great American night.

Why is this film so important? It was made during a troubled time in America. People seemed to have lost pride in themselves and in their country. We had changed. This simple little movie changed that. It reminded us of what we used to be like. It reminded us of what we could be again. It was about good times. And the country needed a good time. We needed to go cruising for girls (or boys) while listening to Wolfman Jack crank out rock & roll classics. We needed to play pranks on each other without the fear of violent retribution. We needed to be innocent again. The movie did not make us innocent again, but it reminded us that we could be.

9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Likable Sequel Chooses Comedy Over Action, 29 April 2007
9/10

Director John Badham created a classic in the "buddy action" genre when he directed the original "Stakeout". He blended gritty cop drama with fun action sequences, romance, and humor resulting in a unique and entertaining cinema experience. So what to do in the sequel? Badham wisely chose to make "Another Stakeout" it's own movie and not just a clone of the original. Had he simply remade the first movie the sequel probably would have been successful but soon forgotten about. Instead, the filmmakers go a different route. They downsize the action, grit, and romance while focusing on the humor. The three leads from "Stakeout" (Richard Dreyfus, Emilio Estevez, and Madeline Stowe) all return in this film. But this time around they are joined by funny lady Rosie O'Donnell. Madeline Stowe and the whole relationship storyline from the original take a back seat in this one. Even Estevez' role is trimmed down. This movie belongs entirely to Dreyfus and O'Donnell.

The story here is pretty unimportant, but we will review it briefly. Bad guys are trying to silence an important witness played by Cathy Moriarty. Their plans to kill her fail but she disappears during the attempt. Cops Richard Dreyfus and Emilio Estevez are assigned to find the witness and stop the bad guys. They are joined by Assistand District Attorney Rosie O'Donnell. They take off to the mountains and rent a house in order to spy on Dennis Farina and Marcia Strassman in order to stop the bad guys. That is just about the entire story here. But the thin storyline is simply a premise for Dreyfus and O'Donnell to show off their comedic skills. And they come through in a big way. Everything in the film is built around humor, even the action scenes. For example, an early action sequence involving the chase for a murder suspect ends in tragedy. The suspect is killed by a witness with Dreyfus' gun. During this dramatic moment, Dreyfus looks down at his holster to see that his gun has been replaced by a dead fish. This is not a serious movie. It's a fun one.

In the first movie, Badham's taut direction and thrilling action sequences took center stage. This time, the director let's Dreyfus and O'Donnell, along with some stunning cinematography, guide the film. The result is a non-complicated and fun movie that everyone can enjoy.

10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Perfect Blend Of Disaster Film & Suspense Thriller, 24 April 2007
9/10

Roller-coaster was released in 1977 to capitalize on the disaster film craze of the 1970's. There's only one problem with this. This is a really good movie. Most of the disaster films of that era were full of cheesy acting and lousy writing ( excluding Airport, The Poseidon Adventure, and The Towering Inferno). Roller-coaster boasts great acting, great plotting, and terrific suspense. The disaster scenes with the roller-coaster crashes are exciting. George Segal, Richard Widmark, and Timothy Bottoms deliver amazing performances. Segal plays the wisecracking reluctant hero with ease. Widmark channels all of the grit that made him a star back in the 1950's. Bottoms plays the psycho with a disturbing calm that will send chills down your spine. The only flaw with the film is quite surprising, Henry Fonda. That's right! I said Henry Fonda. Sacrilege, right? Fonda plays a minor supporting role, but manages to bring the film down to a lower level every time he is on screen. Every other actor in the film takes the script seriously and delivers a great performance. Fonda, however, seems to consider this an unimportant role in an unimportant film. He may have been right if other actors and another director had been involved. But Fonda was wrong. This is essential viewing.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Overlooked, Superb 80's Action Flick, 8 October 2006
8/10

Gary Busey had his best starring role outside of 'The Buddy Holly Story' in this 1986 actioner. He stars as typical 80's action hero, Buck Matthews. He's a decorated Vietnam vet, husband and father, and a wrongly convicted ex-con.

Fresh out of prison, Buck heads home to his small town to lie low and reconnect with his family. This plan goes south in a hurry. His parole officer is the sheriff who set him up on murder charges in the first place. Then Matthews runs across the deadly drug-running biker gang who has been terrorizing the town while he was in prison. What makes things worse is the gang and the sheriff are in business together.

Matthews rescues a rape victim from the gang one night and receives the wrath of the gang's leader, played by veteran bad guy William Smith. Without giving away a crucial plot point, I will simply say that tragedy ensues. Buck goes on a vengeance spree that would make Charles Bronson proud.

This is not the type of movie that is nominated for awards and is discussed on any best movies ever list. It is, however, a fantastic example of the type of action / revenge movies that were popular in the 1970's and 80's. Invite some buddies over, heat up the popcorn, and enjoy this awesome movie.

Squirm (1976)
21 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Great '70's creature feature!, 2 July 2006
8/10

"Squirm" is set in rural Fly Creek, Georgia in the aftermath of a violent storm. Power lines are knocked down by the storm and are feeding electricity into the wet ground. This drives the worms crazy, and for some reason, to crave flesh. The day after the storm, a young man from NYC, Mick, arrives by bus to visit his new girlfriend, Gerry, a resident of Fly Creek. As strange events begin to unfold, the young couple turn detective and try to solve the mystery. They find a corpse, lose a corpse, frustrate Gerry's jealous neighbor, and try the patience of the local sheriff more than once. Will they be able to crack the case in time to save the town?! Tune in to see.

Director Jeff Lieberman did not direct many films , but he does a great job with this one. The pacing is great, and the cinematography is some of the best work done on a horror film during the 1970's. He includes plenty of humor and suspense, the required ingredients in these films. The lead actors also do a great job. Don Scardino, as Mick, looks like a young Horatio Caine trying figure out what is going on in this small town. He comes off as likable and heroic in an amateurish fashion. Patricia Pearcy plays Gerry, the perfect young southern belle. She's well mannered, attractive and has a subtle sexuality that you don't usually see in horror films. Though not a great acting performance, she seems comfortable in the role. She and Scardino seem to have real chemistry, which is refreshing to see in a low budget creature feature. The rest of the cast is hit and miss. Gerry's family, her love lorn neighbor, and the local sheriff are perfect. The rest of the cast seems to have no acting experience whatsoever.

This is a fun movie to watch late at night. The low budget limits this film's potential, but the cast, as well as the excellent direction, make this a must see.

The song that plays over the opening and closing credits is perfect. It sets exactly the right tone for the film.