Reviews written by registered user
midnightrane

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21 reviews in total 
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Magnolia (1999)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Sins of the Fathers, 23 April 2002
9/10

I'll keep this short, since the movie was long. Most films work that way. The longer they are, the less you need to say, and vice-versa (speaking of which...). I loved this movie. Intense, confusing, inspiring and incredibly well-acted. This is the kind of movie for which actors study.

All the technical elements are top-notch. The players are superb and the writing is special. This is a rare film experience. It may illicit adoration or frustration depending upon your perspective. It's out-of-style subtlety demands your complete attention. I can understand why so many people turn their nose up at a work like this, it's so ambitious that it invites it. It's also easy to see why so many love it, it earns it.

Finally, the "frogs". There seem to be as many valid opinions on their symbolism as there are viewers. Personally, I interpreted them to be a wide-spectrum response from the heavens on the theme of "Sins of our Fathers". Analyzing how the "frogs" affect each character in respect to their participation in the stated theme brought to light very interesting commentary on the creators' views, and provoked some serious thought on my own. Regardless, it may well be remembered as one of the greatest scenes of all-time.

Bottom line: whatever your take, if you have the time and the stomach for it (lots of serious, powerful subject matter), it's worth a look. My score: 9/10.

Deathtrap (1982)
22 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
The closest thing to modern Hitchcock..., 28 January 2002
10/10

No one better spoil this piece of work! Awesome movie! Written expertly by the likes of Ira Levin and depicted with the best performance of Christopher Reeve's career and one of Caine's very best, this is simply excellent. I wish I could catch a staged version somewhere...maybe someday I will. I hope this grossly underrated, overlooked film has not become too difficult to locate because it a 'must' for any Hitchcockian, Agatha-phile or lover of great film. One of very few movies I couldn't instantly solve or predict and worth a second or even third viewing, "Deathtrap" gets a 9/10 and earns every iota of it. We need and deserve more movies like this!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Tells it like it was, 15 January 2002
7/10

Fans of MNF will absolutely love this movie. Fence-stradlers will enjoy it and anti-football fanatics will relish the opportunity to say, "See, I told you they were idiots!" A behind the scenes look at ABC's Monday Night Football, "Monday Night Mayhem" included all the 'well-known' hijinx plus some more obscure shenanigans. Focusing on Howard Cosell (portrayed with grit and depth by John Turturro) and his relationship with producer Roone Arledge, the movie pulls few punches. It doesn't flinch on most incidents, including alleged racism, the infamous 'bird', booze in the booth, gambling and groupies. Best of all are the collage sequences featuring some good tunes and classic commercials from the era. As a child of the 70s, it was nostalgia overload. There are some excellent performances and some lackluster parts but overall it succeeds. I give it a 7/10: solid.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Another film lost to technology, 15 January 2002
8/10

This really is a good film, provided you're in the right mood. The 'mood' being one of relaxation and contentment. If you're not, you'll probably hate this film, or least you'll hate the way it makes you feel. But if you are already somewhat subdued and in the mood for a little 'none-too-heavy' movie entertainment, this is a superb choice. It examines life, love, marriage and parenting from various angles and perceptions. It starts a wee bit slow so bear with it. It goes down smooth and leaves a satisfyingly sweet after taste. Karla DeVito's 'sweet smile' is worth the price of admission alone. Sadly, this film's poor reception and the advent of DVD technology will most likely relegate it to dusty shelves and Beta machines-if it hasn't already. 8/10.

Best Morph Ever..., 7 January 2002
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*** A fantastic horror film: part dark comedy, part suspense, part outright gore, "An American Werewolf In London" is a classic of the genre. Featuring what is still the best werewolf 'morph' ever captured on film (including all the newer but inferior CGIs) it succeeds in avoiding the trappings of other werewolf films: campy, cheesy or just plain bad. The score is perfect, incorporating nearly every great song about the moon. Also impressive are ferocious growls and haunting howls, along with blood-curdling sound effects during the 'morph' (how 'bout those cracking bones!).

It is the story of two American boys on a Senior trip to England. The on-site scenery is perfectly eerie as they lose themselves on the country-side moors. After an attack from a 'lunatic' which kills one and leaves the other 'ill', the story begins a steady climb to climax. Although it fails as a mystery it succeeds as a tense thriller, in spite of all the catharsis. John Woodvine stands out as the skeptical yet deductive physician but Griffin Dunne steals the show as a progressively decaying, angry corpse in limbo trying desperately to convince his friend that he is a werewolf and must be destroyed in order to end his torment. Amid several excellent scenes including "Queen Elizabeth is a man!", awakening nude in a zoo and a tragically sad/funny/pseudo-erotic exchange in a Piccadilly Circus porno theatre, the 'waking from a dream into a dream' is classic. Sometimes surreal and often hilarious, "Werewolf In London" is a must-see for any horror, thriller or werewolf fan. I give it a 9/10 with the movie an 8 but an extra point for that fascinating change scene.

Trekkies (1997)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Sweet Memories, 4 January 2002
7/10

Ah! To be young (at heart) again... This enjoyable little docu/mockumentary is at once entertaining and befuddling. It brings to mind my own memories of watching the original "Star Trek" reruns as a very small child with my Pop whilst my Mother worked the graveyard shift. I would sit playing with the tall, mobile action figures that have long since disappeared. As I grew up, "Star Wars" replaced "Trek" for me and I had all but forgotten how involved I had once been in it's journey. However, between my "Trekker" brother-in-law, "The Next Generation" and "Trekkies" I have reacquainted myself with the "Star Trek" phenomenon. It is a fun film, filled with fascinating AND weird (literally) examples of fans' devotion to the various series, movies and characters. A must for "Trek" fans and a capable vehicle of entertainment for anyone who is slightly interested in the "Trekkie" mystery or just needs a night of light-hearted escapism. The glimpses into these peoples lives provide unexpected insight into how we should perceive our own eccentricities and to consider how seriously we take our own work--and our play.

Laura (1944)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Classic, 4 January 2002
10/10

The very definition of "Film Noir", "Laura" is an exemplary work. It is built around a minimal number of characters who play well off one another to create an aura of tension, mystery and intrigue. Clifton Webb absolutely steals the show amongst many great performances. Vincent Price fans will be surprised by and love his turn as the boyfriend. The classic "pseudo-symbolic" tie-tying scene never loses it's appeal. My Father convinced me to watch this movie and I am grateful. It is timeless and deseving of a 10/10 as the best film of it's genre, in my opinion. A DVD release is desperately deserving as even the VHS version usually requires a 'special order'.

Easy Rider (1969)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Bitter Pill, 4 January 2002
8/10

A sprawling classic, filmed with mesmerizing sweep and scope. The film plays like it's subject matter; fun-loving, drugged, beautiful, scary and bitter. An early herald to indie film, "Easy Rider" has become the flagship for an entire (counter)culture and retains all it's impact years later. It's a journey that must be experienced to be appreciated, so see it for yourself. Featuring a myriad of scenery, supporting characters and locales it effectively brings to life--life on the road. Not merely a "period" piece, it survives today as an accomplished endeavor. Dennis Hopper is nearly unrecognizable and Jack Nicholson is a haunting drunkard. Peter Fonda provides a continuity of purpose and image. Boasting an incredible soundtrack, "Easy Rider" is a great ride, but not easy. It's ending will leave you slack-jawed and somewhat bitter, but it is an enduring image. I give it a 8/10 and considering it's origins and durability it might deserve higher marks.

Incredible..., 3 January 2002
10/10

My two cents: Awesome! I'll try to let that be my summary contribution to the growing list of well-deserved one-word accolades for this film. Everything has been pored over in minute detail so it's not necessary to reiterate. I won't relay the story or plot because there are so many well-written recaps already (and you need to read the books anyway). I'll just say that I have been a Tolkien fan for 20 years...and this visual interpretation was worth the wait...that should say it all. The acting was above par, the SFX nearly seamless (arguably the best ever), the music moving and appropriate and the editing (considering the mammoth source work) was superior and far better than I anticipated. The (relatively) minor changes and omissions bothered me little. The one and only thing I truly missed was the conflict and blossoming bond between Gimli and Legolas. Alas, it is small worry in comparison to the spellbinding overall effect. The film maintained it's wonder even under the scrutiny of a second (and much more analytical) viewing. Suffice it to say that my wife and brother, both of whom have never read the books, nor cared to, were fascinated and kept me up until nearly 1 AM for Tolkien Q&A. Both now desire to read the books and have begun the fantastic journey of exploring Middle-Earth. 10/10 for the most accomplished adaptation in movie history, in my opinion. Thank you Peter Jackson and ALL the hard workers (extras, wranglers, techs, carpenters, farmers, etc.) who labored long to bring to inspiring fruition the dreams of little boys the world over. Count me one.

27 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
DVD release is a gem for Harryhausen fans, 29 December 2001
6/10

Okay, so the film isn't a masterpiece for anyone involved, but the DVD is worth the price for Harryhausen fans. I won't reiterate a fairly lame plot but to say that a prince is morphed into a baboon and Sinbad must find a way to correct this untimely development in order to repay a friend and win the hand of the lovely Jane Seymour. All in all, the film turns out to be rather entertaining once Patrick Troughton makes it on-screen to flesh-out the dialogue. Overshadowing the movie's multiple shortcomings, however, is the always inspiring stop-motion work of Ray Harryhausen. The Trog and sabre-tooth are two fine creations and while we don't see anything on par with the 7 skeletons in "Jason & the Argonauts" or Medusa from "Clash of the Titans" there are some great moments with other creatures. While to be treasured as one of Harryhausen's last films the DVD also includes the added bonus of "The Ray Harryhausen Chronicles", an in-depth documentary narrated by Leonard Nimoy featuring a bio and interviews with today's FX masters. This and other features combine to make an otherwise average fantasy/adventure film worth a look--if you're a Harryhausen fan and you've got a DVD player. For all the extra features, I'll give the DVD a 6/10.


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