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171 reviews in total 
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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
The absolute worst of the Cold War Sci-fi movies!!!!, 20 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Even by the standards of classically cheesy 50s cold war sci-fi propaganda movies; this one totally takes the cake for being the worst of the bunch.

The portrayal of the bad guys is both bland and hammy at the same time (which is a remarkable feat in itself). The models look like cheap constructor-kit toys. And don't let me get started on the MARRIAGE scene. I seriously wanted to hurl at that bit.

And the final proof of badness? Hayden TRoarke looked more credible playing the psychiatrist in I DREAM OF JEANNIE (a sitcom) than he did playing this serious drama story! Nuff said.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Early Harryhausen work is great escapist fun!, 27 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I came to this movie with a lot of expectations. And as you know, usually that mean you;re going to be sorely disappointed.

But I wasn't with this movie! It was everything I imagined it to be - and more. The iconic scenes of the octopus dragging a ship down, and attacking the Golden Gate bridge; were the absolute classic scenes I knew them to be. And this was topped off by the dramatic climax at the jetty - which I hadn't seen before and was the icing on the cake. Totally love the army attacking with flamethrowers - very visually dynamic.

Okay, the dialogue was totally hokey; very narrative intensive and stagy: "We must stop this creature to save our lives." "Yes, we must." "I don't like what it's doing." "Neither do I." "I have feelings for you." "I know, I do too." - cheesy low-grade stuff like that. And is it just me; or is there a constant gay subtext running through this? All those shots of sailors' butts and emphasis of the rigors of life at sea and so forth; pointing at things with pointy objects.

Anyways, the human stuff is all lame, but the monster scenes are totally drool-worthy. I thought it was great escapist fun. Everything I want in a classic monster movie.

PS: If you didn't know, you couldn't really tell that the model octopus doesn't have eight legs - it's not that noticeable in the movie as you never see all sides of the body. It's a total nitpick of the film critics (as usual!) to blame the movie excessively for this. It doesn't hurt the story at all.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Cheesy fun mod take on classic fairy tale, 8 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was great fun! The characterizations and the story gags especially were absolutely hilarious - had me totally amused.

First the minor down points. The animation looked very simplistic and cheesy - like out of a very cheap kiddie video game. The characters and cars and such were stiff; and had the old "plasticy" look of very early computer animation. And the song numbers, while fun and cute, didn't feel very dramatic, or link with the storyline very well like a good musical number in a story should.

On the other hand, the voice talent was totally top class - particularly Patrick Warburton, Andy Dick, and my perennial fav David Ogden Stiers. And I would never have picked Glenn Close or Jim Belushi if it wasn't for the credits - they totally lost themselves in their characters.

And director Cory Edwards personification of the twitchy rodent was a comic highlight of the story. In fact the whole throwaway gags were very effective in this.

The tragedy is that this is probably going to be thrown into the "doesn't neatly fit in a category basket" when it comes to historic analysis of computer animation. Like a lot of my fav movies, it's probably going to be considered too cute for adults, but too sophisticated for kids. And funny enough, that's just the storytelling I personally prefer.

The great thing about this one is it's got a soft coating, but a bit of a punch on the inside. So applause all round for the production team on this one!

6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Funny gay romp with cool CGI scenery, 25 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This satirical spoof on 50s-60s Hollywood - obvious inspired by the Rock Hudson story - is very funny, witty and has great comic timing and good performances from its cast.

The settings do feel a bit overly plastic and glamorized with CGI establishing shots that feel like out of a computer game; but I suppose that suits the feel of the Hollywood location and time period.

The plot felt a bit convoluted and cynical, however the humor and charm kept it moving.

Some of the political statements seemed overly simplified and packaged; ironic since that was what the movie was joking about; but for an escapist satire the story worked very well.

I certainly enjoyed watching this fun movie, not sure if I'd want to keep it though,

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
One of my top fav shows as a kid, 19 March 2006

This is one of my all-time to fav shows when I was a young.

I still think the earlier episodes were the best, especially with Walt Disney hosting and the great animation.

I always used to prefer the animation and comedy shows to the drama.

I especially loved the fun educational shows like the ones on the atom, driving and Donald in Mathemagicland.

And especially the ones with Ludvig von Drake - he was excellent!!!

And the music was totally awesome - especially the original theme.

One of my fondest memories of childhood!!!

Definitely top class!!!!

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
This is the one that finally won me over to Chaplin., 1 August 2005

Yes, well ... I've always said Buster Keaton was my favorite classic comic of all-time. Especially masterpieces like THE GENERAL, and SHERLOCK JUNIOR, Keaton was actually **funny**; while Chaplin tended to be **just** simply cute and sweet (obvious connection to modern humour there).

Now I've just seen this one, and I've finally admitted that Chaplin does have the knack to be out-and-out rib-ticklingly hilarious. Of course, I could also have remembered classics like "Easy Street" and of course "Modern Times" (which I really have to check upon again); but definitely in this film, there were scenes that were so perfect and spot-on hilarious, with impeccable timing and pure side-splitting hilarity.

Not only the famous "playing with the world scene"; but the whole opening segment with the Big Bertha gun; including the bit with the anti-aircraft gun, the walking through the smoke scene, and of course the upside-down aircraft bit. Pure comic genius!!!

And to top it off; the absolute satirical punch of the Dictator Hynkle - the speeches, the gestures, the bits with the microphones, the competition with Napolini... And I think Jack Oakie has to be totally on par with Chaplin in this movie. The sheer gusto of the big guy's performance is breathtaking. Especially the classic "food fight" scene! This film has all the great comic bits!

Another actor that doesn't get enough credit I think in most discussions of this movie is Henry Daniell. I just saw him a few months back in TOM BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS - the difference in character between that and this is quite amazing. Further proof that with the right material, a very serious drama actor can be a great choice for a comic movie. (Am I the only one who Garbitch reminds of Professor Snape? Not knocking either character or anything, though.)

And the final big point - just look at the date this film was released (1940 - right in the middle of WWII.) Talk about topical! Can you imagine any filmmaker today who would have the guts to make this type of movie about a subject matter that was hitting the headlines so blatantly? It would be like the Farrally brothers today doing a trash comedy about Osama Bin Laden - (and I know just mentioning the idea is going to have some people flame me ferociously!) And to think modern filmmakers think they're "so current and trendy - not like the olden days when people just made frivolous entertainment." Ha! Double Ha!

Thie is a true comic masterpiece. It made my top 100 list.

South Pacific (2001) (TV)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Very good adaptation, shows great showmanship - and preserves personality!, 16 July 2005

I think this version of the classic stage musical works very well. It manages to capture the drama and a lot of the comedy of the original stage play, as well as fleshing out the locations and presenting the character drama very well.

I especially like the way that the musical numbers are presented "dramatically"; not just glorified pop songs that are tacked on to the storyline as in a lot of contemporary musical films (like EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU and even MOULIN ROUGE). It helps that the songs are purposely written for the story. The lyrics are delivered like dialogue that has been set to music, and I can tell the actors have been told to play their characters even through the song numbers.

It's the main reason I think Glenn Close actually works as the lead female role here - even if she may be technically a bit old for the young love-lorn romantic; she certainly has the personality, and presents her role with enthusiasm; which goes along way in musical presentations.

And Robert Pastorelli as the mischievous Luther is also very well-cast and has the right "feel" for the role; even if he isn't the sort you would normally associate with a classic musical role.

As as an Aussie I have to congratulate Jack Thompson for playing the role of the Commander, who I think is one of the most underrated non-singing comic support roles in a musical. He puts a lot of personality in the role, and his balance or enthusiasm and dramatic gravitas was very well presented.

Harry Connick Jnr is still one of my favourite modern singers, and he handled the military aspects and the romantic ballads very professionally. His personality seems somewhat subdued in this production; though I personally attribute that to the rather bland character that I think Cable is. I haven't seen any performance of this character I would regard as memorable.

Overall a very high standard production that plays the story very well - and really kicks the stuffing out of the earlier film version, quite frankly.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Story regains the the dynamics of Episode IV!!!, 31 May 2005

The first thing I want to say is that the dialogue in this movie is exceptional. The opening scenes especially feel really dynamic and casual, serious without being pretentious. I'm really regretting the fact that this is the climactic appearances for Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, because I get the impression they've finally found the right fit for their characters.

This story is really very much on par with Episode IV, especially with the pacing and the plot dynamics. It's snappy, with a great balance between light-heartedness and serious themes. I personally think the balance is spot-on here. We've finally gotten rid of the 90s-style self-conscious p/c delivery that was apparent in the first two episodes, and finally have characters that really move and talk with each other.

And once again, the art direction in this film is totally breathtaking. The ship designs sets, locations, costumes and props feel just right - alien but still some familiarity. The art deco-style look of the central planet is very chic (same reason I personally loved TITAN A.E. btw), Naboo still looks like a romantic paradise, and the outer war planets and the Wookie world look suitably grim yet photogenic and appropriately thematic.

(Main spoilers here)

Now for the (minor) quibbles. General Grevious really doesn't work that well. The character is way too clichéd and forced, and the coughing and wheezing feels too unbelievable for a droid character - even one that apparently has a little natural biology buried within it. I know he's meant to be an escapist stooge villain, a blow-hard menace - bur even so, the character still feels thin and under-developed; not really that convincing as a serious threat.

And the ending feels a bit too pat and anti-climactic, with too much of a forced shoehorning to Episode IV. Yeah, it was great to see the babies delivered to their adopted homes, to see the big transformation of Anakin to Vader, and to hear the familiar old character themes in the music; but even so the ending actually sort of just peters out, nothing really awe-inspiring or climactic. Even if it is a downer ending, it could have been a bigger one. Something like the final ousting of Bail Organa out of the capital and the Emperor forcing his rule maybe. Or something else big and majestic.

But enough of the whining, this is still 99.99% effective. It still is the most awesome sci-fi legendary storytelling we have. Great job; kudos to everyone involved!!! PS: The scene where Yoda knocks the Emperor's guard out of the way got the biggest laugh with the audience I was with - it's a good highlight moment.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Very good little B-grade character caper movie., 3 May 2005

I was very impressed by this movie. It contained a totally awesome cast lineup, was genuinely funny - very remarkable on such a low budget. And it also moves fairly tightly and briskly, with none of the pretentiousness of most B-grade "arthouse" fare.

The cast ensemble was an absolute dream in fact. Stalwarts like Jeff Goldblum, Steve Zahn, David Cross, David Hyde Pierce - and that lady who now plays the wife in "Scrubs". They were excellent.

And Elijah Wood is totally awesome in this. I once said that he had totally lost his comic touch or interest after the NORTH fiasco. Well, I now have to completely eat my words. He showed a lot of the brilliant personality that he displayed as an all-time great child actor - especially as Huck Finn. This is the role that I would class as his definitive transition role from child protégé to credible adult actor. It contains most of his charm and personality that were the highlights of his early career, with the professional maturity of his later work.

And once again I am totally blown away by Tom Wilkinson. His was a great role for a jobbing British actor in Hollywood; and he handles it wonderfully. This would be the perfect foil to his dramatic antagonist in Mel Gibson's THE PATRIOT (see my review); and a great foretaste of his comic flair as Doctor Chasubile in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.

This movie really worked a lot better than I thought it would. I was expecting some dour, slow-paced cynical "modern" serio-comedy with garish visuals and poor pacing - like RUSHMORE, or ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, or ADAPTATION; i.e. **way** self-consciously smug, with far more drama than comedy. But instead I got a snappy, witty, intelligent little character comedy with enough imagination and pacing to really keep it rolling along. It lacks the real punch of a classic movie like THE STING, Jim Carrey's THE MASK, or even ZERO EFFECT; but on its own terms it is very watchable, and totally deserves a lot more success. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone. A movie that's definitely worth renting.

Evolution (2001)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Interesting concept - rather dully delivered, 6 April 2005

This is weird. Yeah, the alien lifeforms are weird, Seann William Scott's character is weird, classical independent drama actor Julianne Moore attempting to do broad slapstick comedy is weird, David Ducovny doing a half-baked parody of his famed X-Files persona and baring his ass is weird; and Ivan Reitman attempting to copy the success of his hit GHOSTBUSTERS with a sci-fi movie comedy grounded in science exobiology theory is weird. Hell - even the art direction is weird.

Not really bad. Not really good. Just ... weird.

Like a acid-trip-inspired memory of a 50s B-grade sci-fi drive-in fodder that appeared on late nite television kinda weird.

Interesting, but really - was it actually worth the effort?

Nice try anyway.

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