Reviews written by registered user

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12 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
How much of Easy Rider came from Then Came Bronson pilot?", 25 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Like the other reviewers, I saw the series at a seminal time, when I'd just graduated from college, and was very influenced by it. However, having just watched the European release of the pilot on DVD, what struck me was the similarity to Easy Rider (SPOILER ALERT!) Remember the early scene in which Fonda and Hopper stop at a rural adobe farm house occupied by an old friend and his poor, but happy Hispanic family? There's an extremely similar family in Bronson. One character in Bronson is also philosophical artist, very similar to a few of the zen hippies encountered in East Rider. Also, the ultimate destination of both traveling teams is New Orleans. That's a minor similarity, but still, I think, shows much of Easy Rider was inspired by Then Came Bronson.

I rated the pilot an 8, but I give it a 10 if Bonnie's character had a reunion with Michael Parks' on PARENTHOOD and they rode off together on a Harley. (full-dresser trike at their age, of course)

33 out of 65 people found the following review useful:
Grindhouse 3D Thriller / Modern Morality Play, 25 February 2011

Although it bogs down a little in the middle with close to cliché action, the first and last thirds are prime - grade A - PULP! This is the best use of 3D since AVATAR. Although it's very different, Drive Angry has a touch of a theological theme. Forget about supernatural sequels. The Angels and Demons here are much more interesting and faceted than those in the usual "drive-in movie" parody.

Drive Angry is what MACHETE promised to be, but wasn't.

In the Middle Ages morality plays superficially provided instruction in religion, but eventually became extravagant comedy/dramas based on religious themes. Drive Angry, a 3D explosion of sex, violence and mythology is in the same tradition and that puts it centuries ahead of the typical thriller/horror movie in continual recycle today.

8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Touching redemption story with good sports action, 17 August 2009

I think a several of America's baseball movies are among the best movies ever made. When this movie was in production and heard it described as a rugby movie. I'd read about the Highland team in the newspapers, but didn't have high expectations for this film about a sport that didn't interest me.

Last night I viewed it "on-demand" and loved it almost as much as my favorite baseball movies. Ryan Little and the cast and crew did an amazing job. Neil McDonough was especially convincing. As the "bad dad" he displayed fine range and a subtle, but moving character arc.

I also enjoyed the Pacific Islander actors. I've been fortunate to know many of these fine people and this film captures their wonderful spirit and culture. A flashback showing how the Islander culture became such a key element of Highland's team would have been a excellent addition to the film.

Some pretty tacky movies have been shot in Utah recently. It's good to see a quality film like this from the Beehive State.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Excellent companion piece for Pontypool - Prime Clyde, 12 August 2009

I've known Clyde Lewis and been a fan since the birth of his Ground Zero radio show in Salt Lake City. His skills as a broadcaster are nationally known, as is his V.O. performance as Toxie. I even worked with him on several episodes of a stillborn investigative television show. I was still taken by surprise by this performance.

At first, I thought, "Ah, here's Clyde doing his usual stuff," but that's not it at all. I was an acting coach and theatrical director for many years and I was seriously impressed by the caliber of this short film and Clyde's performance.

Wordspeaker really would make a great double bill with Pontypool. Both feature powerful performances, by beaten-down talk show hosts who fall into the classic mold of the wounded, but not yet defeated anti-hero making a last stand. Great stuff.

Wordspeaker deserves much good word-of-mouth.

A Very Low Budget Gem from the early days of the Sundance Festival, 4 May 2009

I saw this in 1990 in Park City. This was before Hollywood overran Sundance and it was still a venue for very low budget independent features. It was an early morning showing, with a small audience, and only a few, including my buddy and I, but not our wives, really got into it.

I later saw a somewhat similar audience response to a Raising Arizona preview. Those two films would make a great double bill.

There may be a particular style of "Western America Satire" that both these films capture. It's possible the Three Stooges foreshadowed this school of dumb-dude cowboy comedy. Or not. There's at least an interesting thesis there for some hapless film grad student somewhere.

The stars/filmmakers were in attendance at that Sundance showing and came out looking and acting a little apprehensive. I suspect they may have been skewered by some of the comments after previous showings. The first couple of audience comments I heard weren't kind.

However, my buddy and I were effusive in our praises of their comic achievement and that seemed to be appreciated.

Seriously, I don't know if "Never Leave Nevada" has ever been shown on the Sundance Channel or IFC, but it should. Do see it if you get the chance. I promise you'll either love it or hate it and that's a good thing!

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
I like bizarre Nevada flicks, but this one's a sad excuse for a biker road movie with a few amusing bits., 4 May 2009

Like another reviewer, I'm glad I saw this on IFC instead of paying for a ticket in a theater. Is the lead's name really John Doe? After seeing this mess I thought it was a fake name he used to hide behind. He's not a bad actor, it's the script that reeks -- if they had one. I suspect most of the movie was improvised. The cameos by Arlo Guthrie and Tim Leary are interesting, especially Arlo's rambling tale. He's a master of that genre.

I sometimes enjoy a real "golden turkey," but Roadside Prophets wasn't quite bad enough for the achievement of "so bad it's good." It comes fairly close, but the cinematography and editing are competent enough to keep it out of the "Plan Nine from Outer Space" clan.

The title is excellent -- if only the roadside characters they meet had lived up to it. A more honest title might have been "Roadside Pseudo-philosophical Ramblings." It could have been billed as America's brain-damaged response to the film "Mindwalk".

I'm giving it four stars instead of the three I originally rated it because I was impressed with the huckster-style of the trailer. Together, the movie and the trailer prove anything can be made to sound good with the right sales pitch.

If you want to see a really good, bad movie shot in Nevada, check out "Never Leave Nevada". I saw it many years ago at Sundance and it's a gem from Bizzaro Nevada school of minimal budget strangeness.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
BIG production by Sunn Classic standards, 22 March 2009

I worked on several Sunn Classic productions in the late seventies and early eighties and this one was the most elaborate I experienced with them. I agree that Linda Purl is an under-appreciated actress. She also was a generous and gracious person who was a pleasure to work with.

Oddly, although this movie was filmed entirely in the Salt Lake City area, it was never carried by the local station. I've often wondered why they did preempt its one showing when so many locals were had been waiting so long to see it.

Sunn Classic may not have made any real "classics" but this is the one that came closest.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Low key docu-style drama, 24 February 2009

I saw this at Sundance with a mixed bag of much slicker shorts. At first the raw documentary style was a bit off-putting, but as the story evolved, it's style grew on me. It was a pleasing contrast to its companion shorts.

Rebecca Thomas was effective as the druggie mother who may or may not have made the best choice for her baby. In the last shot the baby wears the rising sun headband of a Kamakazi pilot. Does this mean that she and the baby are one a path of self destruction or redemption. The answer is left up to the viewer.

The director and screenwriter created a cinematic image poem with opened-ended closure. Subtle acting made it a moving, fifteen-minute "haiku" portrait of a touching dilemma.

10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Excellent acting, writing, directing - a touching morality tale., 6 August 2008

I've been an extra on over a dozen movies and this is the one I'm most proud to have participated in. Although it is a bit predictable, that doesn't lessen its emotional impact and touching story.

Lisa Pepper gives a subtle and effective performance. This is the first Michael Landon, Jr. film I've seen and he's an even better director than his father.

Elliot Gould gives a fresh spin to what could have been a cliché -- the hard-bitten news editor. His gentle humor makes the role more than it would have been in lesser hands.

The kids manage to be cute, while avoiding diabetes inducing sweetness.

If you are looking for a family film with unusual depth and feeling -- this one of the best.

I also highly recommend the DVD for it's interesting and insightful features.

Animals (2008/I)
24 out of 56 people found the following review useful:
Very HOT Thriller - cools with delayed release, but NOT DOA!, 18 March 2008

I finally got to see the final cut of this film and although I still think it's a good horror film, with a few fairly intense sex scenes, it's a bit less effective than I expected.

It is much better than the IMDb rating indicates. Only the cartoonish digital "animals"(imagine Scooby Doo's angry ghost) weaken what could have been a well-above-average film. I find it interesting that Reno is listed first in order on locations. Nearly all of this was shot in Utah. But I know there was some controversy about the close to "soft porn" sex and the Utah Film Commission. Just filling in the long pause at the end of the first sex scene with talk I heard on set, I suspect that long cut leaves out a lot to be desired.

I worked four days on this film as Bart Johnson's banker buddy, mostly in the bar scene. I loved watching the director working. Animals had a strong cast and crew and the editing and "most" of the effects are fine.

It's certainly worth the price of rental from Redbox!

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