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The Extra In The Background

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28 reviews in total 
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"Bad Dog" (1998)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Just plain bad, 23 December 2001

Before the review, a brief plot summary: No plot. A dog named Berkley lives with a disfunctional family and screws everyone up. That's it.

Dull, dull, dull. Each episode follows this formula: The family gets into a situation, there is a disgruntled character they meet, Berkley will mess around with everything until near the story's end, the character will call him a bad dog, he'll collapse, they'll find Berkley's actually a hero, the character will apologize, and he'll be back. The animation is so-so but slightly below average, 4 out of 10 about. That's not important. What's important is that it's cluttered, loud, and annoying. The characters are annoying and unappealing, and they yell enough to make "All in the Family" look like a period of meditation. There's just nothing to critique. It's inane children's "entertainment" which probably can't even amuse children. The whistle theme song is just poor and sounds familiar, the voices are horrible, and it's just boring.

So don't watch it. A pointless dud.

0/10

PS That was about the worst review I've ever written but it's just so bad you can't even critizise it. It's just unbelievably poor.

"Hulk" (1966)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Very poor, 22 December 2001

Before the review, a brief plot summary: Dr. Bruce Banner, possibly America's most renowned scientist and leading expert on gamma rays, is about to test a bomb on a supposedly abandoned site when neglected teenager Rick Jones wanders out into it. Banner runs out to get Jones to safety, but his Russian assistant, Igor, sets it off anyway hoping to kill Banner and steal his formula for his superiors. Somehow, Banner survives, and Jones becomes his apprentice. He soon learns that at a certain point of day (and later when he gets angry) he will transform into a huge, brainless green giant who strikes fear into the heart's of the army. General Ross is desperate to destroy this incredible hulk, but his daughter Betty secretly knows he's really her lover, Bruce.

BAD, BAD, BAD. Unlike most Marvel cartoons at that period, it wasn't even in the "so-bad-it's-good" category. It's just boring. Let's start with the theme song. Most people know "Spider-Man"s theme, and it's wasn't a fraction as good. Anyone whose seen "Captain America" will also be accquainted with a cheezy but catchy little tune. The Hulk's theme was UNBELIEVABLY poor, and had this little squeak who sounded like Bat-Mite spouting inane lines like "so he ain't glamorous" in an attempt to make rhyme with "stricken by gamma rays". Usually the best animation on the show would be in the theme, but this is WORSE.

On to the stories. Before "Spider-Man", as most know, cartoons were mostly just comic-book cut-outs were mouths and sometimes a limb would move, sometimes not even that, the fastest animation (besides the theme) being in scenes were the hero would pull down a mask or something to that extent. Somehow, with the flow of the plots, you could still tell what's going on. Here, the poor drawings (they look like rough drafts with colour) pop up, showing scenes from all different, often irrelevent, angles that make it impossible to tell what's going on, and the narration is a drab equivalent of a Power Ranger overstating the obvious, only not nearly as addictively corny. The dialouge sounds like it was aimed at particularly dumb children, and the voices always sound SOOO bored, so unconvincing. Of what little you could make out of the plot, you could tell it stunk like Baldrick's family heirlooms. I simply never cared about Bruce Banner, he was so poorly characterised, and what characteriztion he got was cliched and sterotypical.

Stan Lee and everyone down at Marvel must cringe when they look back at this. Watch just about any other Marvel cartoon from the era, but pass this one over.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Mather triumphs again, 25 November 2001

Before the review, a brief plot summary: What if Luke had been defeated by Bib Fortuna when he visited Jabba's palace to rescue Han Solo, and used as the gold bikini love slave? This film shows that Ben "Obi Wan" Kenobi, kung fu master, would set off to rescue him, all though he must leave his lover, Lobot. Along the way, he meets flatuent green Jedi master Yoda, finds himself sneaking into Jabba's palace by tunnelling underground, and using Bantha Beans to destroy the giant slug.

Evan Mather first expirimented with using Kenner Action Figures for Internet movies with "Kung Fu Kenobi" in 1997. Since then, he has made full-length films like "Quentin Tarintino's Star Wars" and "Godzilla Versus Disco Lando", but decided to pay homage to his original work by making another story about Obi Wan, potrayed as a martial artist. This time, however, he made it much more insane and warped then his previous films. Fortunatley, Mather's crazy comedy actually works, with a Monty Python feel to it. You can imagine Terry Gilliam doing something like this.

Mather uses clips from the SW films for the character's voices. However, this time he cleverly pays homage to "Pulp Fiction" by using Jules' voice for Mace Windu, in the film-within-a-film "Gettin' Medevial". Lines like "I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger..." "Anger leads to hate!" provide laughs throughout, and it's just fun to watch, all though it may be confusing on first viewing. It should also be noted the soundtrack is good and really suits the scenes it's applied to: for example, "Momma Miss America" as Luke heads up to Jabba's palace, "Mission: Impossible" as Kenobi battles his way through his tunnel, "Across 10th Street" for a kung fu fighting scene, and "Heartlight" when Obi Wan and Lobot re-unite (complete with a shot of them flying across the moon!)

Absolutely bizzare but fun to watch.

Short and sweet, 20 November 2001

Contrary to popular belief, "Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars" was not Evan Mather's first film. This brief film with Kenner Action Figures was the inspiration for "Kung Fu Kenobi's Big Adventure", and doesn't have much of a plot at all. Mather was expirimenting at this point, and karate moves seem like a perfect idea to master this unique style of animation. There's not much to critique; the animation is good and it's fun for the soundtrack, which includes the "Kung Fu Fighting" song. Recommended for fans.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Like so many other once-greats, it has lost it's spark, 10 November 2001

I gotta give it credit: it was funny for a long time. Shows like "Friends" and "Third Rock from the Sun" were funny for about a year. "The Red Green Show" started off witty, original and clever. The Quotes section displays the show's wit. It often got slightly adult at times, with references to condoms and sly innuendo crudity. It was great fun, and Red Green's throaty voice (suprisingly) never got annoying. However, with "The New Red Green Show", it has gotten unbelievably childish. Harold has been more emphasised on to enlighten children, yet the sex jokes (which have grown far more apparent and thus much less funny, a sex joke is only funny when it's sly [someone should tell the SNL writers that]) should keep parents from letting kids watch. Red Green's voice hasn't got annoying yet, and it is still slighlty fun to watch, and I still look forward to "Duct Tape Forever", but the spark has been smothered. Watch reruns or read the quotes section.

Acceptable Risk (2001) (TV)
8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
A risk TBS shouldn't have taken, 1 November 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This supposed "thriller" is just plain awful. Is mildly amusing at best because of it's stupidity, and clearly shows it's place on a TV screen. Uninspired performances and lackluster action make this one a real turn-off, despite the appearance of Sean Patrick Flannery (why, Sean, why?). The plot is unoriginal, and as if we haven't got enough of those. The characters are so flat you don't feel a hint of emotion for most of them, and I never cared what the main character did during his rounds of insanity. The only character that even slightly moved me was Lois, and her death was so rushed I barely had any time to feel anything. She was also almost completely ignored and deserved a better role (not to mention a better actress). The dialouge was horrible and stiff as a board.

The plot involves an old house that a woman named Elizabeth lived in during the Salem witch hunts. Because of her wild claims and ferocious behaviour, she was hung outside the building. During present day, a descendant of hers is living in the house with her husband, a scientist trying to find a cure for brain disease. After finding a strange moss in the basement, he turns it into a medecine that heal the brain injuries of rodent test subjects dramatically. Intruiged, he tests it on himself, and finds a 30 point boost in his IQ. However, his personality is also altered. He becomes easily angered, goes out for runs at awkward hours, and suspects his wife of cheating on him with a friend of her's from campus. Despite the overload on cliches, it could have been better if done rightly.

One subplot involves a fire on the front porch, which burns the symbol of Satan into the porch. Another involves a stain on the roof which keeps growing, about which the scientist has a dream where it drips blood on him and his wife in bed. Yet another has some members of his team testing the medecine on themselves and running Lois off the road to her death. And yet ANOTHER involves a corpse in an upside down coffin found in the basement. Each of these are competely ignored and forgotten. Perhaps if they hadn't intensified the finding of the corpse so much, it wouldn't have been such a big deal. The same goes for the stain. And perhaps because the ancestor was supposedly a witch, the symbol appeared. Each of these explinations have to be thought through for an arrival at them, and I'm being generous by mentioning them because they leave even bigger holes in the plot (which I won't explain because they'd be serious spoilers). There are countless others.

Add this with a sterotypical ending and, as the previous reviewer commentd on, a tad too many over-the-phone fights so close together that seem so much like each other, and you have a worthless piece of mediocre that should probably be skipped. 1/10.

5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Gives "Goldeneye" a run for it's money, 20 October 2001

This video game captures the spirit of the original series and mixes it with thrills of the movie. The levels will satisfy both those looking for some brain candy and a shoot-em-up. They really make you think, and are cleverly executed like in the actual show. Jim Phelps has grown too old to handle th IMF, so he recieves the missions (in intros before each level) plans out how they will be solved and sends Ethan Hunt to carry them out. They don't turn him into a villian, they respect him, but keep Hunt so as to satisfy adults and children. It evenly divides brainwork with action, whereas Goldeneye, while still giving you something to think about, excessed a bit on violence and often abandoned all plot (and allowed players to kill colleagues after they helped).

Let me give you an example. In one level, Agent Candice Smith is captured in Russia with half of a list of covert agents. Hunt, who is using the identidy of "Smith" is attending a party in Russia thrown by the ambassador who kidnapped her. The ambassador's aide is there, but upstairs. He must do this while eluding a female killer named Scofield. Hunt plants smoke generators in the ventilators, so that when he has completed his mission, the smoke will make everyone think there is a fire and he can make his getaway. Using his two contacts, he recieves a facemaker and a glass of wine with nausea powder. He then finds the score for a national anthem, which a piano player plays to lure down the aide. Hunt offers the aide the drugged wine for a toast, and soon the villian is hurrying to the bathroom. Hunt follows him, knocks him out with a blowgun, and uses the facemaker to assume his identidy and trick Scofield when he meets her. Hunt then heads for a restricted area and fools all the guards with his disguise.

It's great fun. Recomended to all fans.

2 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Crap., 16 October 2001

More tasteless and crude jokes about sex, only more offending. Not because of the bathroom humour- it was sickening, but rather tame- but because it makes a joke of people who have "something wrong with them" as this show cruelly describes them. Children calmly but sadly saying "I didn't get any shut-eye except this one which doesn't count because there's something wrong with me" is not funny. Missing limbs is not funny. This show didn't deserve half a preview. If you are a twisted, retarted, moronic idiot with a one to two digit IQ and have no respect or decency, you'll love this.

7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Utter crap, 29 September 2001

The voices are annoying. All the characters are REALLY annoying. The animation, a wannabe-Terry Gilliam style, really sucks. The jokes can make you chuckle but the rehashes wear off quickly. It also meanly stereotypes. Catholics, Germans, Italians and smart people are all mocked. The plots are always ridiculous. The voices are VERY annoying. The characters REALLY make we want to cringe. The music is really dumb, and the way Angela giggles and acts cocky really REALLY tills me off. The way everything always works out just makes me want to burst a stress bag. If kids ever meet Catholics, foreigners or "nerds" they may not befriend them because of this load of crap. As Angela herself might have said, "I will not watch this sucky show on account of it sucks".

0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Ummmmm.....ok., 8 September 2001

Before the review, a brief plot summary: The majority of New York's artists loathe F. Holmes Harmon, a cynical, cruel art critic who has prevented several of them from making sales. No-one, however, despises him more then Marcel DeLange, a genious sculptor who no-one really understands. He has no money, is starving, and when Harmon prevents him from selling his finest work, he goes to the bridge to commit suicide. He is suprised to find a massive, ugly character floating in the river, half-drowned. His feautures inspire DeLange to carve a bust of the man which someone's bound to buy. He takes the man home and nurses him back to health. What DeLange does not know is that his model is The Creeper, a ruthless murderer known to snap women's spines, which he continues to do at night. And when he learns Harmon's address, he's off to take care of him. Just when he was writing a scalding review about paint-brush wielder Steve Morrow, who gets framed when Harmon is found dead, and his girlfriend, critic Joan Medford, goes off to prove his innocence.

This B-movie was a spin-off from "The Pearl of Death", a 1944 Universal Sherlock Holmes picture with Basil Rathbone. The Hoxton Creeper was a supporting character, a sort of sidekick to the true villian. Near the end of the film, Holmes murdered the rogue. Two years later, The Creeper was ressurected, plopped in a river in New York, had the Hoxton part stripped away, and made the star "monster" in a horror flick. He is not even a monster at all: He is a disfigured murderer. And not quite as frightening as the studio had intended. He isn't quite "the perfect neandrethal man", as DeLange called him, and his dim-wittedness makes him difficult to be intimidating. Played by Rondo Hatton, who needed no makeup thanks to a condition that enlarged the head and hands. The producers assumed that meant he didn't need makeup to be frightening. Poor, deluded men. Hatton cameod in a series of movies as a typical "ugly guy", like a contender in the ugly contest in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

Martin Kosleck plays Marcel DeLange, owner of the "House of Horrors", his studio full of strange statues. As amusing as Martin is (more from his overracting then his charming little accent), he fails to potray insanity well. Alan Napier (most famous for playing Alfred Pennyworth in the 60s series of "Batman") potrays the acid-blooded Harmon, and I must admit he is an easy character to hate, and as small as his role is he has some good lines. Robert Lowery plays a somewhat under-developed character in Steven Morrow (ironically he actually played Batman once, in the 1949 serial), who is currently working on a painting of a blonde tennis player. The beautiful model (played by Joan Shawlee, credited as Fulton for some reason, and another flat character) catches the eye of yet another uncolourful character, Larry Brooks, the policeman investigating the murder of Harmon and several street women (played by Bill Goodwin). Finally, independant art critic Joan Medford is played by Virgina Grey. Although Kosleck is fun watching and some of the chemistry and dialouge between Joan and Harmon is crisp, most of them are wooden acting and show no chemistry. Sometimes it's painful watching.

The plot is slightly intriguing and moves quickly, but the script gets quite ridiculous and often unoriginal. The soundtrack is unfrightening, the scenes where the Creeper leaves at night leave you yawning, and some of the sets are pitiful. Not to mention the whole darn thing is anti-feminist. Yes, Joan is an independant woman but she is portrayed in a negative way- plus a copy boy calls her "my dear young woman"- err, that made me cringe. The ending is both predictable and ridiculous, I was irritated by the stupidity of DeLange's err, and there are a couple plot holes you could march an army through.

Not a particularly great film. But if you have to decide over this and it's sequel, "The Brute Man", pick this. At least it's mildy amusing. "The Brute Man" is a plain pile of dung.


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