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Phillemos

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79 reviews in total 
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Home Movie (2008/II)
14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
"Against our better wishes, we have to keep our attempted murderer kids in the house overnight." Come on, you can do better than that..., 10 November 2008
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I tried really hard. I wanted to like this movie so badly. There's a lot to like about it -- solid acting performances, underlying tension between the two parents, a lot of which seems to stem from the father's own abuse as a child, a slow buildup of psychotic activity by the kids leading to an uncomfortable sense of fear. But the movie's climax ruins it all. After the two kids snatch their friend and take him to their secret hideout out back, where he's bound and gagged, the father finds them and apparently the kids are charged with kidnapping and attempted murder. Then there's a cutaway scene of the two parents are sitting in front of the fireplace. They tell the camera that, because it's Easter Sunday, "Against our better wishes," the police are allowing the kids to stay at home until their arraignment the following morning. Right there, I turned to my friend and we both said, "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard." I don't care whether it's Easter, your birthday or Christmas, the police aren't going to let you stay at home if you're facing attempted murder charges because you just wrapped a classmate in trash bags, tied him up and tortured him, even if you're a kid. And of course, this leads to the kids systematically terrorizing, and, seemingly, murdering their father and torturing their mother, who presumably is on death's doorstep herself as the movie ends. (Which brings up another problem; by the time the movie ends it's clearly the following morning, so shouldn't the police be back by now to take the kids to their court hearing?) The attacking-the-parents plot line is fine. I expected that was going to happen at the end. I wanted it to happen. But surely the directors can come up with a better mechanism to get to the climactic conclusion than this. While there's a lot to like here, the lazy writing runs it all. A disappointing 4.

Get Smart (2008)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Funny, but not as funny as the TV show. Steve Carell carries this film on his shoulders, 14 July 2008
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie is funny. However, it's not foot-stomping, roll-around-the-floor funny like the '60s TV series was. If it weren't for Steve Carell (who is perfectly cast as Maxwell Smart), this would be a pretty mediocre movie. Steve Carell's style more closely resembles Don Adams than any other actor/comedian currently out there. He does a great job at parroting the typical Maxwell Smart-ism's (i.e., "missed it by THAT much"; "would you believe?..."). And the whole "well neither one of us is dead so obviously I'm not CONTROL" line is priceless. What ultimately drops this film down, however, is the film thumbing its nose at "Get Smart" canon. For example, 86 and 99 aren't married (though with what Anne Hathway has been through lately with boyfriends under FBI suspicion of multi-million dollar fraud, I can't blame 99 for being a little commitment-phobic). Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is introduced as a new agent, the blasé 23. In the end he turns out to be a double-agent, which was a nice twist, but why not just lump him in with KAOS from the start. If you appreciate Steve Carell, are a fan of "The Office" or "The 40-year-old Virgin," see this movie. If you're an aficionado of the old "Get Smart" sitcom, it's worth a look, but you may ultimately be disappointed.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Tyrannosaurus Mex, 15 May 2008
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Take a SciFi Original Movie and mix in a little alternative/revisionist history, and you get "Aztec Rex." Apparently Hernand Cortes, before conquering the Aztec empire, had to first conquer a Tyrannosaurus Rex and her mate. That's the thrust of this movie. Given the plot it could have really sucked; the fact that it only kind of sucked is a tip of the cap to the writers. There are a few problems. For starters, Cortes is played by Ian Ziering. Even with a black wig, Ziering as Cortes is about as convincing as Axl Rose playing Gandhi. And though Cortes conquers the indigenous peoples of Mexico, the Aztecs here seem to be played by an all-Hawaiian ensemble. Casting aside, the T-Rex(es) look reasonably good, though every time one of them gets shot it just oozed CGI. And they die too easily; I suppose if a T-Rex were around in real life they probably could be felled or at least wounded by some rather rudimentary, 16th-century weaponry. But it takes something away from the movie. There are also some graphic T-Rex-swallowing-human scenes, which is surprising, but in this context I thought they worked OK. There's plenty of action, and the whole colonization angle is prevalent throughout but doesn't overwhelm the dinosaur angle, unlike the other recent SciFi Original dinosaur movie "Warbirds." Overall, a mediocre (but decent by SciFi Original standards) movie that rates a modest 4.

Beyond Loch Ness (2008) (TV)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
You think salmon have it tough swimming upstream? Try swimming from Scotland to Michigan..., 29 April 2008
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You really have to suspend reality to enjoy this one, but if you can do that it's not bad. The problem is, supposedly our ol' plesiosaur pal Nessie has gotten tired of Europe's socialism and snobbishness, and left her Scottish home of 1,000 years for...hold onto your hats...the Great Lakes! Why she would do that is beyond me. Not that America doesn't provide her with opportunities (then again maybe she's set up shop on the Canadian side), but it just seems like an extreme step to go swimming from the interior lake of one continent to the extreme interior lakes of another on the opposite hemisphere. Besides, I'm sure Nessie would find New England's rocky shores much more to her liking than Michigan, so why not stop in Boston instead and save yourself some additional wear and tear? Further adding to the improbability, she's nesting and four or five baby plesiosaurs join the fun of terrorizing small-town Americans. They're all cute and blubbery, and seem to have a blast. They actually have rudimentary feet too instead of the usual plesiosaur fins, which gives them an inherent advantage because they're much more mobile on land. Once you get past the overwhelming adversity of how Nessie got here, the movie is formulaic SciFi Original. People in a small town are up against more they can handle, have to kill the monsters before they run out of supplies, and several get decapitated. The CGI is, as usual kind of weak; the monster and her babies actually look pretty cool, but the blood-splatter scenes were ridiculous. A good move by SciFi Channel to release this in early 2008, a couple of months before they premier the similarly titled "Beneath Loch Ness." And hey, a good trend by SciFI to move away from the stupid disaster movies and start wheeling out the dinosaur flicks -- the "Loch Ness" movies, "Warbirds," the coming premier of "Aztec Rex." While this isn't a perfect movie by any stretch, I'll give it a 4 just for that trend alone.

Warbirds (2008) (TV)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Hot babes!!! Flying dinosaurs!!!!! What more could a guy want? Well..., 28 April 2008
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...some excitement would be nice. I gotta admit, this movie was a disappointment. True, this flick is typical SciFi Channel Original schlock. But given that I have a soft spot for attractive women and dinosaurs, I thought this would be a winner if for no other reason than the cheese factor. But it was just dull. An American WWII mission ends up with an emergency landing on a desolate island where some Japanese soldiers got ambushed by some killer pterodactyls. Then the Americans get a taste of Pterodactyl Pterror, all the while trying to get their planes off the island and making sure the Japs don't take advantage of the situation. The problem is, there's not enough pterodactyl action; the movie really is more fixated on the WWII angle. The pterodactyls make their presence known but at times they're a secondary plot device to the "secret mission." Hot babe Max West (Jamie Ellen Mann) and her superior Jack (Brian Krause) spend too much time arguing over whether the mission is worth it. The other girls -- Betsy, Vicky and Lana -- serve nicely as eye candy. However, the scene where green galpal Hoodsie volunteers to attempt a solo mission off the island because she supposedly weighs less than Max is a joke, because Hoodsie looks like she needs to go see Jenny Craig while Max definitely takes care of herself. When they are fighting the pterodactyls, this movie is entertaining. But there's just not enough of it. I won't give this a 1 like most people have, because this is definitely better than most crap SciFi channel puts out (i.e., "Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep," "Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy"), but "Warbirds" is only worthy of a disappointing 4.

Bone Eater (2007) (TV)
8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Lemme get my checklist out..., 10 February 2008
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

....OK, small-town, clueless sheriff? Check. Sheriff's hot daughter? Check? Ne'er-do-well boyfriend of sheriff's hot daughter, whom sheriff hates? Check. Corporate land developer who greedily puts profit over people? Check. Developer's rank-and-file accidentally unleashing a primordial monster, then being pressured to cover it up? Check. Natives warning of mass death and destruction if things are not returned back to the way they were? Check. Amateurish CGI special effects that could have been produced by a Commodore 64 computer? Check. Seriously, virtually all the clichés of your typical Sci-Fi Original movie have been lumped into a classic, so-bad-it's-good movie. The only one that's missing is the scientist/expert trying to impart his knowledge; there is a paleontologist with three students who get ambushed my The Bone Eater fairly early in the movie, but they are basically extras in the movie. And I can honestly say that I predicted virtually all of this; right down to who survives and who doesn't (though I have to say I got the actual death time of one of the characters wrong by about an hour). I swear I could have done this movie myself if they gave me all the characters. Despite all this, the movie is fun to watch, if for no other reason than to play MST3K with your friends. If you're up for some mindless fun, it's a great movie to watch, which is why I give this movie a surprisingly respectable 4, even though for all intents and purposes it deserves a much, much lower rating. But then again you wouldn't tune in to a SciFi Original movie if you were looking for a movie with an actual plot, substantive characters or good special effects, would you?

Waitress (2007)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
What's the deal with those pies?, 23 January 2008
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So I was flying out to Las Vegas with my friend Mark and "Waitress" was the in-flight movie. Mark bought headphones; I was too cheap to do the same. But I kept looking at the pie scenes, nudging Mark and asking him, "What's the deal with those pies?" It made me have to see the movie myself (with sound) to figure it out. Keri Russell has a miserable life with a miserable husband (Jeremy Sisto), but also a gift for making pies, which she does for the local diner where she waits tables. The movie details her pregnancy and affair with a new-to-town doctor, who also happens to be married. In between she makes a lot of pies (which look delicious) and rises above her waitress friends: Cheryl Hines, who's also in a miserable marriage, and Adrienne Shelly (who also directed) gets roped into marrying the guy from the Budweiser "Yes-I-Am" commercials. Surprisingly, for someone like me who usually can't sit through chick flicks, I thought this was quite well done. Russell is very funny, the visuals of the pies being made are colorful and brilliant, and the rural-Southern feel of this movie just works well. It's not all perfect. As with many chick flicks, the men are stereotyped as total a-holes, Rusell's love interests clearly are questionable, Hines starts fooling around with the evil chef boss, and Shelly's fiancé acts like a complete tool. Even Andy Griffith, who helps Russell get on her feet, comes across throughout much of the movie as a curmudgeonly, miserable old man. But I found myself laughing through much of the misery, and I suppose a movie that can make you laugh while you feel for the pain of the main characters has something going for it. The tragic murder of Adrienne Shelly shortly before her movie was released will probably give the film extra legs and a certain degree of immortality. But it's a solid film that's fun to watch, and gives you a craving for pie.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
If you see a big, muddy hill in a grassy plain, DON'T CLIMB TO THE TOP!!!, 29 August 2007
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So the movie starts out with a honeymooning couple giggling in the woods when they come upon a giant, muddy hill. The husband says, "Honey, climb to the top of the hill so I can take pictures of you?" And I'm like, "Sure, why not? I'm sure there are no killer ants in that hill..." WRONG!!! Suddenly the wife is being pulled into the hill (after she was clearly tired of being photographed, no less), and when the husband tries to come up to save her, he gets dragged under too. So I'm sitting there saying to myself, "Wow. These must be some big-honkin'-a** ants. I'm intrigued." WRONG AGAIN!!! The ants are about the size of my thumbnail, which makes me think, how in the world could they all climb to the top of the hill and pull two grown humans under. Whatever. The other highlights include one of the natives seeing the skeletal remains of his deceased brother and saying to the coroner, "What could have picked my brother flesh clean," with all the emotion of a bad actor reading cue cards. The ending is silly, and there is, of course, the setup for "Marabunta: Terror in Burline Pines 2." But it's entertaining enough in a bad way that you'll keep watching until the end. A mediocre 4.

Supergator (2007) (V)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
DinoCroc's lawyers are on the phone. They'd like a word with you..., 29 August 2007
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Basically, this movie is DinoCroc2. The difference is, "Supergator" takes place in Hawaii instead of some small hick town. The creature looks EXACTLY like DinoCroc, with one small exception -- DinoCroc spent most of his time walking around on two legs, while Supergator is strictly quadrupedal. Surely though, that represents evolution taking its course. This movie, as is the case with most SciFi Channel Original movies, is pretty silly. The highlight is a bikini-clad model spending most of the first hour running away after her fellow model got chomped up by Supergator. She then runs into a geeky guy, and they try to hide together. And you're like, "will they shack up?" "will they escape from Supergator's reign of terror?" And just when you think they will, Supergator appears out of nowhere and ambushes them. Oh, well. For one brief, shining moment, I thought the geek might get lucky. The other highlight is being able to watch the continuing downward spiral of Kelly McGillis' career, from "Top Gun" 20 years ago to this atrocity. In fact, her career has gone downhill so badly, she turns into gator chow barely an hour into the movie. Overall, this movie is pretty bad, but still entertaining enough to keep you watching. Deserving of a 4.

Ice Spiders (2007) (TV)
5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
The '80s cult band Devo vs. giant computerized spider graphics, 16 June 2007
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Sci-Fi Network is known more for churning out monster movies in quantity rather than quality. Even by Sci-Fi standards, though, this is low-quality. Sci-Fi takes the top-secret animal experiment genre and rehashes it for the 674th time. Except that you really never get a good concept of what the top-secret experiment was, outside of "we were injecting spiders to make them larger; apparently the experiment was top-secret to the writers as well. The movie star Vanessa Williams -- not the "Soul Food" movie actress/singer/former Miss America/nude model Vanessa L. Williams, but the "Soul Food" TV show/bad movie actress Vanessa A. Williams. She's part of the experiment crew, as well as some guy Dr. Barnes, who looks like the lead singer from the '80s band "Devo," both physically and with his black outfit on; all he needed was the kooky red hat and I could see the whole gang breaking out in an impromptu karaoke of "Whip It" to try to keep the spiders at bay. The spider effects are pretty bad, and since the spiders are all colored a tropical green/black or orange, yet the movie takes place at a Utah ski resort, you'd think the spiders wouldn't have the ambush factor going for them. Yet somehow they still sneak up on hapless skiers throughout the movie. In its defense, "Ice Spiders" does have a laugh-ability quality to it that allows it to fall into the "good-bad" movie category, as opposed to other monster movies that are both bad and painful to watch, which is why I have enough sympathy to rate this movie a 3 instead of a 1 or 2.


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