Reviews

92 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Super Godzilla (1993 Video Game)
Mainly for Godzilla fans
15 March 2005
This is a cumbersome game in which you march Godzilla around a grid playing field (cities or rural locations) trying to collect power-ups and recharges and then battle other kaiju.

The 'overworld' scenes aren't very detailed - just a map in the upper part of the screen to show where you are, and a window at the bottom showing Godzilla repetitively passing by or through the same scenery over and over.

This is not a faithful adaptation of Godzilla, at all. The only way to cross the power lines is to take out the towers - you can't walk through the lines. The power line mazes can be really vexing, since you can't STOP Godzilla from walking, so unless you constantly redirect him, he'll blunder right into the obstacles.

The kaiju vs kaiju fight system is very frustrating. In order to build up your power, which allows you to perform more damaging attacks, you have to advance on the other monster. Typically, just about the time you get the meter built up, the opponent will charge into you, and you have to start the buildup all over again.

If you play the game right, you'll get to change into Super Godzilla; it's kind of interesting to note that 'Super Godzilla' looks almost exactly like 'Space Godzilla' from the movies.

This isn't much of a video game; I'd say it's only for Godzilla collectors, like myself.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Seems like a template for films to come
24 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Has strong elements of W.C. Fields' films 'Running Wild' and 'Man on the Flying Trapeze', especially within the family unit, but it predates both of them. Now. how this chronology covers Fields, or any of the other performers'/writers' skits performed on the live stage, can only be left to conjecture.

But this film does run very close to Fields' silent 'Running Wild,', though it leaves out the subplot of getting tickets to the wrestling match. And, as opposed to 'Man on the Flying Trapeze', our henpecked protagonist in this film IS having an affair with his secretary. In real life, Fields was having an affair with the actress who PLAYED his secretary in 'Man on the Flying Trapeze'.

This flows along satisfactorily, in the classic battleaxe/henpecked character flow, until the end, which I suspect was cut off in the version I have access to. It ends after Collier wrecks the new car, and he's trying to convince the cop not to arrest him, while his wife and mother-in-law shout for his incarceration. He lifts his lapel to the arresting cop, talks to him, and shows it to him again, then it fades out.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Good for a few laughs
24 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
COULD BE SPOILERS Polly Moran is the most 'live' character of this slapstick romance, playing a stage-struck girl who's in love with beefy 'matinee idol' Hale Hamilton.

The theatre property man and local bill-poster don't take her seriously until she inherits millions from a dead uncle, then they engage in a slapstick fight to the finish to win her for their own, while she pines for her 'matinee idol'.

There are some fairly clever gags, in this film, but mostly slapstick laughs - and the better kind of slapstick, definitely. I generally shy away from the frenetic 'Keystone style', but this is a paced, building comedy that manages to get a little character development in, on the side.

The biggest problem I had with it is that, due to film quality and costume, it became very difficult to tell Polly Moran's father from the theatre manager, leading to some confusion in the viewing.

This is a funny little film, with the two men who formerly rejected her trying hard to woo her back, while she's trying to woo a man who won't have anything to do with her.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Hollywood Dinosaurs (1991 Video)
8/10
Informative and entertaining
24 February 2005
One of those movies I grabbed for three bucks at a grocery store, this proved to be a real bargain.

It contains mostly trailer footage from dinosaur movies of the past, starting with 1,000,000 yrs BC (original) and coming up just short of Jurassic Park.

Reid Richmond, whoever he is, does a great job of narrating the collection. He dispenses basic well-known facts of these movies, some obscure trivia, and his wry delivery is great for the dry brand of humor in the writing.

Assuming the producers did their research, there are some trivia bits here that I've never found in any other format. The video covers most of the great monsters, but excludes Gamera, for some reason. But, as sardonic as the writing gets, this film still shows respect for the dinosaur films it shows.

If any copies of this are available, I'd advise fans of the genre to seek them out.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Useless romantic subplot
18 February 2005
When is Hollywood going to learn? If your story is compelling, and your characters are strong, you don't NEED to insert some useless romantic subplot.

I'll agree on the base with most reviewers who say Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill Cutting stole the movie. I really enjoyed his performance. I think his over-the-top scenery chewing was just what the larger-than-life character of Bill the Butcher called for.

DiCaprio wasn't so bad in his character, but he's just too cute to ever be believable as a street tough. Oh, Diaz? Was she even in this? I was lucky enough to see it the first time in a form in which I could fast-forward through the useless subplot between her and Leo.

I came into this film expecting my weak stomach to be very upset by the violence, but it never really comes home. The brutality of the first gang war was impressive, but it was the only real episode that illustrated the gangs. The film was hit-and-miss, from there.

The filmmakers missed BIG in getting distracted by Amsterdam's romance with that cipher of a woman (Diaz). You can fast-forward through every scene they have and not miss a bit of the movie.

The REAL romance here is between Amsterdam and The Butcher. The filmmakers shied, in fear, from showing the romantic relationship between Amsterdam and Bill. That was what was clearly being built, all the way. But because American audiences are too frightened to accept a male/male romance, they had to throw in that gratuitous hetero romance for Leo. Watch the film; the only logical end is for Bill and Amsterdam to be lovers.

The fact that the moviemakers were too constricted by Amurkan Valyoos to show a homosexual romance between two powerful male characters is what makes the later scenes between Bill and Amsterdam seem so fake. That's also what would explain the strange actions of Bill after the knife-throwing incident, when he knows Amsterdam is plotting to kill him.

Picture: Bill, a vicious man, has Amsterdam in his power, and he knows Amsterdam has been plotting to kill him. So he lets Amsterdam get away with just a burn scar? If Bill wasn't in love with Amsterdam, he would have truly mutilated him - taken an ear, a nose, probably an eye, which would have matched up with Bill's own handicap.

That's where the continuity gap hit hard - and it's not like continuity was being well-served, up to that point. Whether or not you like the idea of Amsterdam and Bill being lovers, Diaz' part was still totally useless, and should not have been in the movie. I'd like to see a version of this film, without her. Yes, and I will go ahead and make the same criticism often heard, on the IMDb: the combat wasn't realistic. I saw in that first battle at least twice as much carnage as showed up, at the end.

If you're gonna be real, be real all the way, like 'Saving Private Ryan'. Don't kill thirty guys in your opening battle, then end it with most of them surviving.

Oh, yeah. There's another point. After Bill throws his knife into Amsterdam's gut? If Amsterdam was wealthy and connected, he would have had a low chance of surviving it. As a poor street person, his chances of surviving after his intestines had been punctured would be nil. Peritonitis would set in, without professional help - and WITH the professional help, of that time, he most likely would still have died. A street kid who'd been stabbed would have just died.

The visuals were great - especially the gangs 'uniforms' in the last scene. The film itself was so disjointed, I'm hoping for better on the DVD - and I'm hoping I can cut out Diaz' scenes. The real romance in this film is between Amsterdam and Bill. Diaz is a cipher.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Enjoyable, engrossing film
16 February 2005
Richard Pryor shows his versatility, in this story of a black moonshine runner who forces his way into the white-dominated professional racing circuit. I'm not sure how historically accurate it is, but the film drew me into the story, right off the bat. When they establish Pryor's character as a WWII veteran, that automatically buys some sympathy, and it's not hard to guess how hard it would have been for a black man to make his mark in the white-dominated south, let alone the white-ultra-dominated auto racing field. This particular aspect of racing, I think, still shows today in the incredibly-low percentage of black drivers in the major leagues of auto racing. I know it's not because African-Americans can't build or drive cars - I believe it's still because of the redneck image of pro stock-car racing.

Anyway, off my soapbox. This is a great movie. Pryor is very believable and turns in a fine performance as the protagonist. It's also great to see how the small local drivers started to build up the sport into the massive, ugly organization that is is, today. The film also kept my interest by showing the NASCAR races, year after year, showing their evolution and devolution.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, front to back - of course, I'm kind of tilted towards car films. But the way the actors played out their characters in this film made them very human. I recommend this to any open-minded NASCAR fan. This'll show you where it came from.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Grudge Match (1991–1992)
'American Gladiators' for couch potatoes
3 February 2005
Always silly, sometimes even amusing little show that used to come on our worst local UHF affiliate randomly in the middle of the night. Contestants with a score to settle would agree to fight in the Grudge Match Arena. As I recall it, they usually started with a boxing or wrestling event with some odd handicap - boxing gloves the size of suitcases, or hitting each other with foam clubs while hopping around in stacks of inner tubes, for instance. There was always a messy event, too, usually the last one of the three in each show. These often involved food, which gave host Ventura lots of cracks to make about over-sized referee John Pinette. I remember seeing pie fights, condiment fights, even a donut fight. This show probably was inspired by 'American Gladiators', which was quite popular, at that time. I don't know if I'd buy the DVD, but I wouldn't mind seeing the re-runs on cable, somewhere.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
As war propaganda goes, could've been worse
10 July 2004
This is your only chance to see The Boys in full color. Reportedly shot on their lunch break, it IS a weak entry, a film in which Stan and Ollie do nothing more than open their luggage and respond to Pete Smith's jackass narration about how many of their toiletries bow to the timber industry.

Taken as a film of its time, this is no embarrassment to Stan and Ollie. As the only film they ever made in color, it becomes an odd little collector's item, which is really where its only interest lies. Completest should have this in their collection, but fans who only want to see a Laurel & Hardy comedy should probably pass this up.
12 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Babe (1992)
7/10
It's not without it's charm
29 March 2004
I may have liked this movie better than many reviewers because I DON'T know a whole lot of details about Babe Ruth's real life. Other than the famous 'called shot' and his home run race with Gehrig, I'd only heard that he was larger-than-life, a real undisciplined manchild.

To that end, I thought John Goodman turned in a pretty good performance as the Bambino, bringing his usual genius to his work. His range of emotion was excellent, and did much to complement the whirlwind pace of Ruth's salad days. The most powerful scene was definitely Ruth attacking the booing hometown fans during his slump; Goodman gave a frighteningly convincing impression of a man quickly devolving into an apoplectic state. Whether the incident took place in real life, I don't know, but being as I haven't seen a reviewer on imdb castigate it as fiction, I'll assume that it was.

The soundtrack in the movie was perfect, as well. A great combination of uplifting sports-movie heroic music and hopping, gin-joint jazz; it hid from the spotlight and supported the whole film, like a good score should.

The only major problem I found with the film was, ironically, John Goodman himself. He clearly tries very hard to look, move, and talk like The Babe, but he's so recognizable on his own that I didn't see the Sultan of Swat in living color - I saw John Goodman playing baseball. Unfortunately, the remainder of the cast gave mostly-forgettable performances, but I supposed that's something you assume when their whole point of being included in the movie was to show their relationship to the central character.

In conclusion: maybe not good for sports historians, but a pretty watchable film, on its own.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Tremors (1990)
10/10
For all you know, they can fly
29 March 2004
**VIBRATING SPOILERS**

This is a great movie and a fun ride. They went back to the basics and came out with one of my all-time favorite flicks.

There are two ways to make a good monster movie: slow-paced and suspenseful, or fast-paced and surprising. Tremors definitely opts for the latter method. The producers also managed to assemble an excellent cast, all of whom establish their invidual characters with admirable clarity. Only Mindy, the young girl, comes off as kind of a cipher. Plus, with the exception of Kevin Bacon and Michael Gross, they all look like REAL people.

The spotlight gets shared out pretty equally among the cast, as well. One particularly nice touch was the fact that our two main heroes weren't the only people in town who have any competency, at all. Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon DO carry the movie, but it's more because of the great screen chemistry between them. Miguel has the better ideas, and Burt contributes more to the actual destruction of the monsters.

While Tremors never really 'cheats' the audience, i.e. sets up a situation and then doesn't deliver, the movie does vary teasingly from the expected. One of the aspects I enjoy most about showing this film to first-time viewers - aside from the the pride I take in indoctrinating new members to the Cult of the Graboid - is how the movie fools them about things like who gets eaten and who doesn't, and how the worms actually operated.

My one bullsh*t call is the Cat loader. Any operator with any kind of experience could have used the loader bucket to lever the tractor up and out of the pit it fell into, and that impact wouldn't have knocked out the engine. Whether they could have pulled themselves out before the Graboids yanked them off the tractor is less certain (Every time I see the scene of Burt Gummer falling from the loader to the ground, I cringe and think: there's a stuntman with two broken ankles).

I also could have used more Victor Wong and less Reba McEntire. She's just hard to listen to, as an actress. As little as she contributes after Burt and Heather shoot up the Graboid in their basement, they could have fed HER to the monsters and let Walter Chang survive.

Ah, well. YOU try telling a Graboid who it can't eat.

Oh, and I love Val & Earl's truck. I think it's a late-60s Jeep J10 Warrior. Absolutely indestructible.
47 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
So real you can almost smell it
29 March 2004
I was lucky enough to catch this on the Independent Film Channel, thinking it was a different film entirely. Within a few minutes, I was engrossed.

It seemed from the very beginning that I was watching real people, not actors; that someone was just filming what happened to be going on. The fact that several of the actors have no other credits besides Last Night At the Alamo bears out this theory.

These are real people with real jobs, real lives and real problems. You can go to any dank bar in America and find exactly the same people you're watching, here, and they'll act exactly the same way. They come in, tell lame stories, posture for each other, and get drunker and stupider as the night goes on.

The byplay between Cowboy and Claude was interesting; it felt like a seduction, at times. It would have added a new dimension to the film if Cowboy had actually been trying to put the moves on his friend, but the filmmakers copped out on that one.

As more and more characters showed up at the bar, I started to think that Cowboy didn't even exist, and I'd been suckered into a drunken version of 'Waiting for Godot'. When he did show up, I immediately began to wonder exactly why he was so popular with the patrons - and believe me, there's a guy like that in EVERY bar.

It's difficult to describe the rest; the concept was so simple, it boils down into very few words. It looks like this film hasn't been released to the home market, yet, so I'll have to keep my eyes open and tape it, next time it comes around. I suggest you do the same.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Big Business (1929)
9/10
Iconic Laurel & Hardy humor
29 March 2004
*XMAS SPOILERS*

One of The Boys' funniest silent films, 'Big Business' contains their trademark Reciprocating Destruction theme. Irascible James Finlayson's temper and Stanley's oblivious ineptitude light the fuse to a battle that starts with a broken tree branch and ends with the total destruction of a Model T and the partial destruction of a Culver City bungalow.

It's a sheer delight to watch The Boys and Fin deliberately, and with malice aforethought, find new ways to inflict indignities upon each others' property. Fin cuts up the Christmas tree they were trying to sell, Stanley takes a pen knife and carves the wood off Fin's door frame. From there, we build to a crescendo of Stanley pulling up shrubs and hurling them through windows and Ollie methodically potholing the yard with a shovel, while Fin dances on the rubble that used to be The Boys' delivery truck. The neighbors gather on the sidewalk, unsure what to make of the melee; even the neighborhood cop is too stunned to step in and break it up.

This is a sport at which Laurel & Hardy excelled, and at which they can be seen again in the all-out wardrobe assault of 'Hats Off' and the freeway free-for-all of 'Two Tars', possibly their greatest Reciprocating Destruction movie.

This is a movie you should definitely buy.
15 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Gunslinger (1961– )
Maybe not a classic, but respectable
22 March 2004
A short-lived Western series starring the stunning Tony Young, Gunslinger apparently just didn't show enough to the network to get it even a second season.

The plots are typical western fare: rescuing ranchers' daughters, saving towns from gangs, rounding up bad guys. The main character, Cord, is an early version of the Eastwood antihero. Though he's probably not the first one to dabble in this kind of cowboy character, he should get some credit for being on the frontier, at the time.

The pilot episode is the only one to break new ground in Western series. Cord is sent to bring in a war criminal from the American Civil War: a Confederate army doctor who performed medical experiments on the Union POWs at the infamous Andersonville prison camp. This is uncharacteristically dark for westerns - or really, any TV series - of the time period, and was a promising start, but subsequent episodes drift off into the usual horse opera.

I doubt it will ever see the light of day, again. Just a little blip on the TV screen.
20 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Funny and warming film
4 January 2004
This is one of my all-time favorite comedies. A lot of it is gritty, but the movie never loses sight of the humor it's trying to get across.

Gene Wilder is the center of it. Anyone could have played Ford's role, but he does a competent job. He's not really believable, but the ROLE isn't believable. It's hard to be a good guy when you're threatening peoples' lives in order to rob them.

Wilder is the whole movie, except for Val Bisoglio as Chief Gray Cloud. Wilder portrays a lost man in the wilds of frontier America, and he does it well. The movie itself deftly avoids moralizing about the 'right' religion. The Amish people helping the Rabbi on his journey is very realistic. They would not have turned down another religious man; they would have helped him, just as they do, in the film. I appreciate little touches, like this. It would have been far too easy to portray the Amish (or Mennonites; it's hard to tell, with a movie set in that time period) as ultraconservative bigots, but instead, the production crew chose to show them realistically.

This is a sweet, funny movie, with some real drama, unless you're just too cynical to care. And if you ARE too cynical to care, I truly pity you. This is a fun, exciting movie that anyone should like.

knsevy KCMO
20 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Red Green Show (1991–2006)
Hit and miss, but when it hits...
26 December 2003
Look out! This show has supplied me life-saving laughs since the early 90s. I feel so lucky to have on tape nearly every episode, from the very beginning of the series - when old Red was so clean-cut and young that you can hardly recognize him as Steve Smith.

It definitely has lost its edge in the last couple of years, but the rustic humor is still pure. They just seem to be out new ideas for the Bill segments, The Experts and the Word Game.

I can't think of any other show or movie that could match this, in its style of humor and its near-accidental staging. This kind of show only comes along once. The way it's staged, it could have been a great live hit in the earliest days of TV.

It's more than likely that I love this show because it talks about people like me, who'll use duct-tape to fix a machine I depend on my life for, because it's easier than drilling holes and setting bolts.

No show that I'm aware of has done so much to celebrate men, even though the show mostly ridicules them. I'm sorry to see how much it's degenerated, in the last season, but you can only come up with so many believably outrageous (or is it outrageously believable) stunts.

I don't know from whence the concept originated, but I'll always love Steve Smith and Pat McKenna for giving me a show about myself, and the people I know.
13 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Tank (1984)
6/10
Mindless fun
17 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS - LIKE I'M REALLY GONNA RUIN IT FOR YA!***

When I first started seeing posters for this film in the movie theatres, I thought all my dreams had come true. A movie about a tank! ALL about a tank! It'll crush cars and blow things up!

I went into the theatre on opening night expecting just that, and that's just what I got. At nine years of age, plot and acting didn't mean a whole lot to me - not when a Sherman tank was running over cop cars, anyway.

Now, I can see this film for what it is: a paper-thin plot, mostly-wooden acting (Except for G.D. Spradlin chewing the scenery), and plot holes you could, well, drive a tank through. But what the hell? It's a fun little movie, with plenty of tankish action to keep armor enthusiasts like me interested, even if the rest of the story IS so stupid it makes me want to retch.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Some good bits
17 December 2003
***SPOILERS FOR EMILY***

This is one of Laurel & Hardy's weaker short film entries from Hal Roach Studios. It suffers from a repetitive script and an ending that feels so tacked-on that I can't help but wonder if the crew realized they were filming a mess with no good resolution.

The byplay between Stan and Oliver is the bright spot, though some of the gags in the bedroom scene are a little too hokey to get much of a laugh - that has to be the fakiest fake bat I've EVER seen in a movie.

The opening scene, with the Boys fishing off the pier, contains most of the movie's funniest material. You can always find something good about even the weakest Laurel & Hardy film.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Reno 911! (2003–2009)
A funny original series on Comedy Central?
16 December 2003
I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it.

As much as 'Cops' just begs for a parody, I'm surprised it took this long for somebody to come up with one. Maybe it's because 'Cops' is kind of a parody of itself; it's so pitifully funny on its own merits that it's hard to spoof.

I read that the show doesn't really follow a tight script; they set up the situation and let the performers ad-lib it. Maybe THAT's why it's actually funny: No Comedy Central 'writers' ruining it.

I don't know how long this show will last - funny as it is, it doesn't seem like the kind of thing that's going to go very far - but I've enjoyed every episode, so far (the Scavenger Hunt and trying to break the microwave oven are my favorites).

Funny. Comedy Central. Original.

For once, that's not an oxymoronic concept.
51 out of 64 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Shame there weren't more
16 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS ON THE BARBIE***

This spaces out like a made-for-TV holiday special. It would have been nice if Pogo had had more of a television presence, but I suppose they DID cover every single holiday (plus a few) in this one half-hour.

I don't agree with all the voice characterizations, but since Walt Kelly was involved, one can only assume he had final approval, so what we get from him and Mel Blanc are the voices Kelly had in mind for the characters, all along.

The special itself is your typical light feel-good fare with a little bit of swamp humor sprinkled in, such as the eternal disagreement over the words to 'Deck Us All With Boston Charlie'. For me, the biggest treat was hearing Kelly's inimitable songs and poetry on the screen.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
South Park (1997– )
It had a good run
16 December 2003
Now it's over.

A crass, obnoxious surprise hit for Comedy Central, South Park's first several seasons were painfully funny. The writing was consistently intelligent, even WITH all the stupid humor. The show was meteoric satire: it hit EVERYTHING, including itself, which made it very hard to attack.

They've lost the light in the last two seasons, though. The funniest aspect of the show was the characters. These were real, believable kids reacting to all these twisted adventures. Now, though, the duo responsible for the show have fallen into the trap of turning child characters into miniature adults. They're particularly guilty of doing this with Stan, and to a lesser extent, Kyle. Cartman and Kenny (Butters, sometimes) remain the two most childlike characters, so their motivations and actions are still funny. But they can't make up for the humor drain caused by the other boys talking like educated adults, instead of ignorant children.

Time to go, South Park. We'll always have our memories. Unless somebody hits us with a framing hammer.
3 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Simpsons (1989– )
The King is Dead
16 December 2003
Long Live the King!

It is with great sadness that I have reached the conclusion that what was once one of the greatest shows on television has run its course. Recent episodes have traded more on stupidity and slapstick, ignoring the satiric, incisive writing that made it great. Now that I've taken off my rose-colored glasses, I can see that the show was in decline as early as the twelfth season, and possibly a little before.

This is still one of my all-time favorite shows; I won't let the mediocre writing of its declining seasons tarnish my memory - unless they KEEP ON with the mediocrity and decline, instead of going for a graceful finish. The Simpsons marketing is so powerful at this point that they don't NEED an active TV series in order to sell merchandise, so please, Fox, surprise me and make a good decision, here. Kill the series and put it in re-runs in the usual time slot. Show the entire series, from the very beginning, and show it in order. I believe it would be a HUGE ratings-getter, even with the DVD sets appearing sporadically.

The show may die, but the Simpsons will live forever.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Was this really funny, or was I just young?
16 December 2003
All I know is that my family watched Sheriff Lobo and enjoyed it quite a bit. It's been so long since I've seen an episode that I can't bring any real specifics to mind, but I know I always looked forward to Perkins' antics, week by week.

Of course, my taste in television wasn't critically-acclaimed, by any means. I watched the Dukes of Hazzard, religiously, but I never had much feeling for B.J. and the Bear. It was only recently I found out this show was a B.J. spinoff.

It would be nice to have this on TVLand (since there's no longer a TNN to show reruns of hick shows) so I could see if it really WAS any good.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
What a Spaghetti Western should be
16 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS DRAGGING ALONG***

The infamous Trinity: 'Right Hand of the Devil' by name, but known better as 'The Laziest Gun in the West'. If the opening sequence of our 'hero' being dragged slowly across the desert on a litter doesn't give it away, his non-reaction to being dragged through a river will.

This movie set the running gags for all those to follow: the dirt, the lackadaisical attitude, the interplay between Trinity and Bambino, and the grotesque eating scenes. These movies do seem to put comedy before the western aspects; dirt aside, they're not really gritty. This is not 'Lonesome Dove', by a long shot.

Terence Hill and Bud Spencer made a slew of movies together, not all of them westerns, and not all of them watchable (see any of their cop movies for evidence), but they did have great chemistry. Hill always played an impish but earnest thorn in Spencer's side, and Bud Spencer essayed his roles as a malevolent Oliver Hardy type. All he really lacked was Hardy's trademark exasperated look into the camera.

If I could ask for one improvement, it would be better choreography in the many fight scenes, but you can't expect a whole lot from Spaghetti Westerns on this score, anyway.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
I've seen worse
13 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS FROM MARS***

I admit, the concept struck me as extremely goofy. I was picturing some little cardboard donkey covered in yellow tissue paper that's somehow mauling people. The pinata in question turned out to be an ancient, ceremonial type made of clay and painstakingly crafted into a pretty malevolent-looking beast.

The movie was completely predictable, of course, with the survivors being exactly the ones you expected to survive, and everyone else dying just about exactly when and where you expected them to, but there's only so much you can do with this genre.

One thing I definitely liked about it: the monster isn't afraid of daylight. Sun or moon, it was active and ready to go. The only thing I didn't understand about its motivations (other than being a spirit borne of the combined evil of an entire village) was why, with all its power, did it trail the group and pick off stragglers, instead of leaping into them and shredding them all at once?

The monster itself was a good design; the CGI was as convincing as you could expect it to be, and they did a very good job of combining the CGI facial effects with the obvious man in a suit when filming the 'first phase' form. I didn't think the two full-CG forms were really necessary, nor as scary as the stunted humanoid form of the 'real' pinata (who says there are no good jobs for midgets in movies?).

Gore wasn't too bad, or too good. Maybe I just haven't seen enough movies, but this is the first time I've seen a guy get crotched to death.

My biggest complaint is with the ending. I don't buy the pinata being vulnerable to fire, when it was BORN in fire. I also don't buy that they blew it up with a canteen full of gasoline. If you're gonna have a mystically-created monster, then you should only be able to get rid of it by mystical means.

It's worth a rental.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Unseen Evil (2001)
4/10
Rooting for the monster
13 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS IN CLEARCOAT***

This is a forgettable 'cursed treasure guarded by ancient monster' film that breaks no new ground and shows its lack of budget rather obviously. Near as I could tell, the plot involved an archaeologist gone bad who decides to loot a sacred site, and thereby awakens the ancient evil there.

It's a good thing there were so many characters; since none of them had more than one dimension, it would have been hard for them to stand upright without each other for support. Hatch was incredibly annoying as the treasure-mad professor, though it's hard to say who was the MOST annoying. When you hate every character in a monster movie, it's hard not to hope the monster wins.

The monster itself was rather disappointing; the CG effects weren't very good, so it was hard to tell just what shape it had. It seemed to bear a fair resemblance to the warrior bugs from Starship Troopers. Apparently, it was just some kind of animal, not a mystical guardian, since all it took to kill it was standard weapons - though it did manage to die and come back.

Major continuity gap with the 'gold' they were carting around from the looted site. A good rule for any movie in which quantities of gold are being moved around by the characters is to assume that gold weighs as much as lead. A duffel bag full of lead items is NOT going to be something you can carry three of, let alone RUN with.

The 'gold' artifacts themselves were cheesy, and their placement in the 'ancient' site downright insulting to a viewer's intelligence - unless we're to believe somebody's come down to shine them once a week for the last 10,000 years.

Just proves that low-budget monster movies never die - they just go straight to video.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.