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12 reviews in total 
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Dark House (2009)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Exceptionally poor script and direction, 25 November 2011

Awful movie. What's worse, it's so bad you can't make much of a judgment about the cast other than how pretty they are.

The setup is basic haunted house horror. As a child, Claire entered the Darrode House, saw something terrifying, passed out and for years since has been haunted with horrifying nightmares. As a young wannabe actor, she refuses to take medications that cut her off from her feelings. Her acting class runs an exercise of no value other than to give the audience a thumbnail stereotype of each character and then we get the horror-meister who wants to setup a reality/horror type show in the old Darrode House. Claire jumps at the chance to face her fears, buttressed by a crowd of people she knows and talks them into becoming the cast for the new show.

What follows is the most ridiculous, contrived horror-schlock that has nothing to do with the setup, no rising action, just scene after scene of hellish horror with no real context.

This was so bad that I couldn't make it through the whole thing. Not frightening and not even titillating enough to put up with how horrible it is as a motion picture. About halfway through my wife and I finally gave up on it. it's so bad that were I to have gone to see it in a walk-in theater, I would have walked out.

Someone PLEASE stop Darin Scott before he writes and directs again! Or get him some classes in screen writing and directing and a decent mentor?

Hamlet 2 (2008)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Can't make up it's mind if it's a comedy or a drama, 3 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS AHEAD! Read at your own risk!! I'm not going to agree with several of the reviews I've read on this site after watching the film. Just some comments on my first (and only) viewing. The movie can't seem to decide if it wants to be comedy or drama. It's paced like a drama, slow in the beginning to develop the characters and giving us little bits of discovery throughout to flesh out the characters more, yet it bills itself as a comedy. On top of that, the primary character Dana Marschz, played by Steve Coogan, is so inept and politically incorrect that he takes his advice from one of the students at the Tucson high school where he teaches. An incompetent actor with more than a little emotional baggage who teaches because he's too bad an actor to find work finds his acting class (with two hardcore students) filled up with a lot of other kids, most of them Latino. In his own world-view, Coogan's character assumes that they are mostly gang-bangers and attempts to deal with them like characters in movies he's seen. In fact, he worships the movies and his plays have been adaptations of popular movies that he's adapted himself for the only two students that will work with him. Not surprisingly, he doesn't connect well with them. He's also married to a woman who is obviously more than a little tired of the relationship and whose best friend seems to be a roommate who lives there with them in order to share rent. When the school principal announces that budget cuts have forced the school to cut drama, and his shows are so bad it's no great loss anyway, he decides to try one more show to save his program. He uses a time-travel plot device in his latest story to save the main characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet because he has never understood why it has to be so depressing. Not surprisingly, his use of language and brief nudity forces the principal to ban the show. The student who advises him makes a free speech issue and a lawyer from the ACLU, played wonderfully by Amy Poehler, arrives to fight for the play. As satire, the writing works. While the writing works, the pacing doesn't. As mentioned, the show develops like it can't decide if it's a comedy with some poignant moments and character development or if it's a drama with some funny shtick. The character of Dana is likable enough that the things he does that might be workable physical comedy in a faster paced vehicle instead are cringe-worthy in this movie. You like this incompetent, incapable slob because there is no meanness in him. Also not a lot of common sense. But it's because you empathize with him that you don't laugh at a lot of the events that revolve around him. Not that the movie isn't funny. There are some funny lines, and a few nicely comic situations, but overall the movie suffers. I put the blame on director Andrew Fleming who co-wrote the script. Fleming, who also penned "Dick" and "The Craft" should have let helm this feature. Catherine Keener and David Arquette are pretty much wasted here, their comedic abilities unused, as well as Elisabeth Shue. Usually a good director wants to surround the lead with talent to help them succeed. In this case, the effect of not properly using the talent he cast, the opposite has happened – Coogan is forced to carry the entire movie himself, and it appears to be a load that he may not be fully up to handling.

War, Inc. (2008)
14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A Funny and Topical satire., 2 June 2008

In War, Inc we find the logical extension of the current outsourcing of all war-related activities we are currently doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you are familiar with the antics of Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown & Root and Blackwater overseas you are already halfway home to fully appreciating the satire of Cusack's latest piece. Cusack plays a corporate hit-man named Brand Hauser who finds himself in Turiquistan organizing a trade show in the newly liberated country as his cover while waiting to get access to his latest target. While there he finds himself intrigued by the anti-establishment reporter played by Marisa Tomei and pursued by the over-sexualized pop star played by Hilary Duff. We are introduced to Hauser's past, which includes a tragedy that has haunted him ever since and the corporate assistant named Marsha Dillon who actually is running the entire operation for him (and played hilariously by Joan Cusack). While some moments are played suitably over the top, they aren't always the moments you expect and the little touches often catch you by surprise. All the principals turn in solid performances. Duff's accent comes and goes but otherwise she does a very nice job and goes a long way to dispel her Disney image. Tomei is funny but understated while the Cusack's own nearly every scene they are in. To be fair, they are given good material. The writers turn in a good script with enough twists and turns and visual gags to keep you giggling throughout all the way to the predictable conclusion. In fact, the predictability of the end is the only thing that keeps me from rating it higher as the story twists and turns it's way to the expected conclusion.

If you like your comedy broad and physical, there is probably not enough here to keep you interested the entire movie. On the other hand, if you like sly comedy and broad satire, this is for you.

BloodRayne (2005)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Ed Wood Meets From Dusk Till Dawn, 4 January 2007

What can you say about a movie with a script so poor that no actor can save it, slipshod editing and over-the-top special effects that belong only in a video game (not a movie based upon the video game)? Mediocrity, thy name is BloodRayne.

Not good enough to avoid being unintentionally funny. Not funny enough to save it. The cast has potential but they are brought to ruin by a poor script and poor direction. Some of the shots are setup in such a way that they emphasize the actors lack of training and grace. They look like no scene could have been re-shot more than 2-3 takes.

It's safe to say Uwe Boll brought the movie in on time and under budget but the finished product suffered as a result.

37 out of 50 people found the following review useful:
Wonderfully character driven laughs and drama, 10 July 2006

An outstanding drama that dances on the edge of being a formula cop show and a soap opera. Brenda Lee Johnson is an outstanding interrogator with a background of being difficult to work with but achieving great results. However, her personal life is a mess. She is hired from Atlanta to head LAPD's Priority Crimes Unit for those high profile crimes that need a resolution and need it quickly. Tensions arise immediately. Her brusque style makes her own people want to transfer away, her boss is a former lover who dumped her and she manages to make many more enemies than friends. The crimes are formula enough that you can probably figure out whodunit before you get to the climax but it's the characters and relationships that sell the show and make it worth watching. Not only is Kyra Sedgwick giving the performance of her life in this series but she has a terrific supporting cast that gives the series heart. The ability of the writers to also give us some great comic lines keeps the show teetering at times from comedy to drama. The first season is already out on DVD. Watch it from the first episode to the last, in order, and you can see why this show has become the most watched show in basic cable history.

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Barely predates King Kong, 1 October 2005

I have to say, this movie was so bad that if Ed Wood saw it, it's no wonder that he thought he could make movies. Like 50 years later when Sylvester Stallone first put pen to paper, assuming he couldn't possibly write anything worse than "Easy Rider." I kept watching, since if Maureen O'Sullivan was in it, it couldn't be that dreadful.

The hero was an offensive stereotypical Jewish man who spoke with a horrible dialect. The men and women on Mars were all born as twins, one good and one bad and one of the characters on Mars, a woman, spoke entirely in hyena-like laughter.

It was.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful adaptation from the stage version, 22 June 2005

I approached this movie with trepidation after finding that Joel Schumacher was going to direct. After all, he had almost singlehandedly destroyed the Batman franchise handed down to him from Tim Burton. I have to say though, that this is a powerful adaptation from the stage production, wonderfully cast and sensitively done. Excellent cast, with highlights from the "Big Three - Butler, Rossum and Wilson, but even the supporting cast are delights. Minnie Driver is a standout as the vain diva Carlotta, and Hinds and Callow are wonderfully comic. A strong support performance from Miranda Richardson who was given some additional dialog and scenes that helped move the film along. In the end, though, it's the eternal triangle and strong sensitive performances and yes, wonderful direction from Joel Schumacher to make this movie the real treasure it is. This one is worth owning and watching again and again with someone you love.

Boogeyman (2005)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Strong on images and so-so setup, Poor on delivery, 5 June 2005

Stephen Kay's direction has some strengths, particularly in finding some odd images and setting up a feeling of tension, but this overproduced piece of film is lacking a solid story, which has holes you can drive tanks through. The cast tries admirably to find a way to make something of this and Kay's direction has some hope but the real crime here is the script itself. Since it lacks any real substance the director goes for the "jump out at you" shock that passes for horror when there isn't anything really scary. The ending is over-simplified psychotherapeutic gobbledygook and leaves too many loose ends unaccounted for. There really isn't much else to the film. Save your money. You can watch "Sixth Sense" again and get as much real scare even though you already know the end.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
An Oft-Misunderstood Fairy Tale, 20 May 2002

A lovely little fairy tale that I see more and more has been misconstrued and misunderstood. It's been called a "race" tale due to it's use of the phrase "colored." It's been called liberal because the townspeople who refuse to change tend toward the conservative, and because by definition, "conservative" means resistant to change. The heart of the movie is that people change, life is ever changing and the people that embrace that change live more full, colorful lives than those who attempt to hang onto the way things always were before. In the world of Pleasantville, nothing ever changes. Tobey Maguire's character knows them all so well that he has memorized the episodes and the dialog. But the introduction of his and Reese Witherspoon's character brings change and disruption, until they learn to deal with the differences, and then they change and have color as well.

An enchanting little fairy tale and one that I can still go back and watch again and again.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Not a retread, but a better show, overall, 25 January 2002

While the original Star Trek series was hampered by financial hamstrings and inconsistent scripts ranging from the mediocre to the sublime, Star Trek: The Next Generation floundered the first three seasons with old re-hashes of the original series scripts and ideas. They didn't find their voice until the final episode of season three, "The Best of Both Worlds." Afterwards, they started seriously exploring the various characters and concepts (second chances, the nature of love and attraction, etc) and in their final season, with the exception of the attempted romance between Worf and Troi, they hit very few bad notes. The two shows really can't be compared, since the original series had been pitched as a "Wagon Train to the Stars" and were pretty much held to that, and was consistently cut in budget by it's producer, Desilu every season of the three years it was on. The Next Generation, also overseen by Roddenberry, suffered from some of the constraints that Gene put on the show (there is no conflict, no poverty, etc in the 24th century) was often just ok, seldom bad after season three and often hilarious. And, when it hit, it was the equal of anything in the first series, both poignant and thought provoking, such as the episode "Tapestry."

It was eclipsed in writing by Star Trek: Deep Space 9 which didn't have the luxury of travel and finding a new alien species each week (a staple of the first two series) so it had to concentrate on issues and characterization.

Later, another series in the canon, Star Trek: Voyager, attempted to recapture the sense of exploration of the first two series but failed badly as the writing never quite came up to par of the first two series.

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