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House of the Dead (2003)
Uwe Boll? Might as well have been MANUTE Bol...
Oh. My. God. This movie was terrible - even worse than I expected. At least they got the gratuitous nudity in early on, and Clint Howard made his seventeen zillionth cameo - but holy CRAP, that was terrible.
The friggin' cuts to scenes from the House of the Dead Sega game were mystifying... as in, "Why the heck did they put those shots of the game in the film? Was it to show us that at least the VIDEO GAME had some moments of suspense? UGH!"
Boll clearly does NOT understand pacing, how to establish mood, or even how to build up a feeling of dread within the viewer, knowing that something bad is going to happen, but not expecting when. Lemme tell ya, something BAD happened, all right - this movie got MADE in the first place!
I really don't know where to begin describing how horrible this thing was - the score seemed to be written by the same guy that did the Scooby Doo cartoons, and since there was a Scooby Doo reference in the flick, I wouldn't be surprised if that was indeed the case. In the big fight scene with all the stupid 360 degree shots (yup, another Matrix/Bullet Time steal), the zombies would (in most cases) just walk past "our heroes", I suppose to go after other, more well-armed prey - yep, the ones that would be better suited to blow their heads off.
Even opportunities that the "director" had to give us some cheap scares (like when the lady cop was under the blanket - I figured for SURE she'd crawl out from it and attack "Curien" and his woman), he chose not to. Or when "Liberty" or the black girl are killed, you think that perhaps they will join the zombie hordes, but nope, they just stay dead, never to reappear.
Of course, the dialogue was completely laughable - there are so many examples to cite, that I can't even specify one, although that "here's an old book - maybe it will help us" was particularly memorable. The makeup was probably left over from school projects Tom Savini did when he was in Kindergarten. Oh, and the stunts and action scenes? It looks like everyone that goes to a rave is an action star that "knows kung fu" - heck, even the ZOMBIES seemed to know their martial arts. Let's not forget the foreshadowing - one of the first lines Rudy Curien says is that he broke up with his girlfriend to concentrate on his studies, and so she could focus on her fencing. "I don't see how that's useful", he tells us, and it was pretty obvious that her fencing "skills" would come up later in the film. I was right, but when watching that scene, I thought to myself, "looks like she needs a LOT more training!". Of course, when they show the group of friends during his voice-over, he mentions that they're all dead now - which is an EXCELLENT way of establishing dramatic tension. Not that you could possibly care for these characters, as it is... even if his ex-g.f. was amply endowed.
Anyhow, I could go on, but I've wasted enough of my life on this film. Yes, the two hours I've spent watching and then immediately typing out this stern warning is already too much. Fortunately, I didn't have to pay to rent it - it's on my digital cable movie package this month. Mind you, I think I would have demanded a refund of my rental money as well as the gas to get to and from the video store had I actually rented this tripe. Either that, or forced the video store clerks to WATCH this crap a la Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange" - but that would have been just cruel. Really, the person who should have been forced to watch this in that fashion SHOULD be Uwe Boll, with a roomful of disgruntled moviegoers asking him every two seconds this pertinent question:
"WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??"
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
You say you want a Revolution...
I JUST saw it, on IMAX to boot. It's funny reading the user comment IMDB chose to post, because it's pretty obvious the guy didn't see the film. Anyone who gives this film a 1 out of 10 is obviously just looking to get flamed, to be completely honest. The film was, in a word, awesome - excellent visuals (tell me that one bullet time sequence with Neo punching Smith didn't look simultaneously completely cool and extremely funny!), coupled with several very emotionally impactful scenes (yes, even involving Keanu, who seemed to me far less "wooden" than he did in Reloaded) as well as well-placed moments of humour, dramatic tension, awestruck wonder (the Logos breaching the scorched sky comes to mind) and of course martial arts action. It was nice to see that tall Aussie actor (you know, the guy from "The Road Warrior" who played the Ultralight pilot) making a cameo as the Trainman, as well. I also like that if not all, then MOST of the loose ends from Reloaded were tied up. For example, you realise with the Oracle's help why the Architect said all that he said - which I will not give away here. Suffice it to say, he does believe that he is correct regarding the outcome of the machines' attack on Zion, but his reasoning is based strictly on pure logic, without factoring in emotion, love and desire to the equation.
*SOMEWHAT LESS MILD SPOILERS*
My only extremely minor gripe is with the ending - while it's clear that there is peace at last, I would have liked to see how it played out in both worlds. For example, it appears that the Matrix continues to exist, but is it there for programs alone? Apparently, all humans connected to the Matrix will be released - so what would ultimately happen to the machines? As for Neo, what about him? How exactly did he defeat Smith? I personally believe that the Deus ex Machina tricked Smith, using Neo as a conduit to destroy his program once and for all. I just wish I knew what really happened with Neo after Smith was defeated, reverting back to a certain program in the process. It's obvious that either they (the Bros. W) are leaving things somewhat ambiguous in order for there to either be one more film, if they decide to pursue that path, or leaving the ultimate fate of mankind, machinekind and Neo himself to the extrapolation of the viewers themselves. I tend to think the latter is the case, and more power to the Bros. for respecting the intelligence of the audience. Anyhow, as a fitting conclusion to the Matrix concept, I'm giving it a 10 out of 10. If you disagree, challenge my perceptions of what I've seen - I doubt you'll be able to!
Pulp Fiction (1994)
ONLY bad point was Quentin's cameo...
Excellent film with a memorable screenplay, and an awe-inspiring performace by Mistah Jackson. The only reason I can't bring myself to give it the full '10' it probably deserves would have to be Mr. Tarantino's (thankfully) brief performance as Jules' buddy. His performance during the "coffee/dead ni**er storage" scene was rather brutal. With that one exception, Samuel L., John Travolta, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Harvey Keitel, Uma (Oprah?), Ving-man and Bruce Willis all put in fine performances (again, with the last scene involving Jackson and Roth the most impactful) that only get stronger with repeat viewings. Of course, I'll always have the question in my mind of whether or not Jules ever DID leave "the business", and if Mr. Wallace rescinded the "there is no you and me - not no more" he gave to Willis' character, (Spoiler) after finding out that Vincent Vega was dead (not to mention the obvious one of what the heck WAS in that briefcase), but that's just one of the many ways this new classic affected me - and undoubtedly the legions of other fans it captivated upon its release. 9.5/10