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releasethebats76

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14 reviews in total 
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Spellbound (2002)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
grumble....., 25 August 2005
3/10

After seeing Spellbound, I just don't know what to say or think. I'm sure this was supposed to come off as light-hearted fun and a nice little portrayal of the 'little smart kids' but I saw this as just another slap-in-the-face of their already difficult lives.

I don't think the director has much regard for his subjects at all. I'm sure I'm misreading many of his quirks and attempts at humor, but mostly they come off as very negative social commentary, not unlike humor one would find in The Simpsons or This Is Spinal Tap. For example, interviewing the manager of the local Hooters about town pride in the spelling bee and showing 'Congradulations' on the marquee. Is this a joke??? How about Angela's father working for this old racist couple? I actually choked on my lunch listening to him refer to Mexicans as "they're not all bums and tramps, there's some good ones mixed up in'em." Was that a compliment? A joke??? Or perhaps we are supposed to just pay no mind, as the director goes out of his way to cut in shots of the confused elderly wife knitting.

And there's poor Ted. Oh poor, unfortunate, white-trash Ted who appears to be the rebirth of Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade. I say this because we are led to believe through the director's imagery that he is. I mean, right off the bat, there is a drive-by shot of a run down, back-road house with garbage all over the yard. I'm guessing this is to represent where he comes from and his lifestyle. Come on, director, who's side are you on??? Moving onto April, the shy, studious, awkward little girl. This is the one I really felt bad for. It's evident she was very shy in front of the camera, but it didn't seem like the director cared. He just played off it. Maybe just capturing the reality of being a shy, awkward teen with no friends with close-ups of fidgeting hands, her bumbling on a swing nervously, etc. What was really upsetting was the description she gave of her parents being like Archie and Edith Bunker "because Archie's always getting mad at Edith for being dumb." It doesn't seem like she meant it to sound that way, but all the while we see merciless shots of her mother being just that- annoying laugh, whiny voice and blatant flightiness as she goes thru a dictionary with a big question mark over her head. Well, the director might as well have superimposed one! And of course the interview shot in the living room with grumpy dad and the dog licking her feet, as they discuss their disappointment of April forgoing a social life for studying.

Harry Altman is the point where I really started to hate this. It's obvious he was the ham in this particular sandwich, but to the point where it was just painful. Kids will be kids, but this kid is plain uncomfortable to watch. The director doesn't seem to like Harry very much either as he just lets him carry on in awkward silliness. There are ways for his personality to come out without making us want to ring his neck.

The second half was cleverly done, but for me it is useless as I was just so offended by the introduction to these characters. As this movie was/is rated so highly, it appears I am the one mistaken, but I just think this served no good to its subject or its target audience. If anything, it would seem to me to make them more self-conscious and uncomfortable.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
oi..., 20 May 2004

Let me just say this is the most idiotic idea for a movie since Wes Craven's New Nightmare..... I'm so fed up with this ridiculous 'retro-generation' garbage I could puke. I got 15 minutes into this and knew I was going to hate this. This is just a dumb story with a ton of dippy, forced, throwback cameos for twenty/thirty-somethings to say 'wow! I know him/her!'... So, 15 minutes into this, I checked IMDb for a cast list, and lo and behold, there were most of the child actors I grew up watching. Then I saw that the king of all morons, Adam Sandler produced it. This movie is nothing but a tribute to all the teenies nowadays paying tribute to all the pop culture icons that they wish they were around to enjoy, but with all the dumb humor of the current times.

like wow, the 80s were cool! let's pretend Gimme a Break is on and wear a fake Ebay Rainbow Brite shirt while pretending to eat Fruit Roll-ups. Later we can play Centipede on our Playstation while listening to and pretending to enjoy Duran Duran on our DVD player that's ALSO a cd player! And And And tomorrow, we're gonna rent a ton of John Hughes movies and watch some Nick-at-Nite......

Hitched (2001) (TV)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Not the best exponent of modern filmmaking...., 22 February 2004

This is quite an interesting little piece of film.... Never cared much for Sheryl Lee, though I'm a major Twin Peaks/Lynch fan. Nice concept for a film I must say! Very interesting storyline and being part feminist, I enjoyed most of it. But, does anyone else think this film is is too much of an homage to the director's favorites? Dunno, perhaps I'm nuts, but there are several tributes to other films, such as 'North By Northwest' in that there is a character named Cary Grant and the female lead (whose name is Eve) is almost trying to seduce him.... and the film 'Big Lebowski' where Hall says 'this agression will not stand' along with the mock porno vid.... Not to mention one of Hall's girlfriends' name is Sheryl.... just thoughts.........

Shaft (2000)
The Shaft......, 19 February 2004

Well, of all the African American actors out there I was delighted to see Samuel L. Jackson cast in the lead of this 'remake.' He's got all the cool and attitude that Richard Roundtree's Shaft had. Unfortunately, this cool and attitude is only found in his other films and not this one. Shaft 2000 is a decent film if you've never seen the original. It's just too serious. The originals were perfect for their time and place and the best thing about them was the fact that the films never took themselves too serious. Why do we like the Shaft movies/TV series? 1- John Shaft is a vigilante fighting to break down the stereotypes given to Blacks in poverty stricken neighborhoods. 2- He's arrogant, confident and proud of who he is and can hold his own with the police and the mob. 3- He's a lover and every woman wants to jump in bed with him (especially white girls) and he knows exactly how to handle it. 4- The movies are effective in their portrayal of 'ghettos' and just how bad areas can get, thus the ability to relate to the struggle.

and on and on....

I believe Shaft 2000 didn't fulfill any of these aspects. Granted, these are different times, but I think more could have been done with this character considering the Shaft image. I was hoping for more of Pulp Fiction, Last Kiss Goodnight and Die Hard With a Vengeance rolled into one. Instead we got an angry cop with a chip on his shoulder coming off as more of a villain. Also, Richard Roundtree was unnecessary and just thrown in for the retro-generation. He must have just done this for nostalgic purposes. With a better script, this could have been wonderful, because both Jackson and Roundtree are fantastic.

**Hopefully I've not made too many generalizations in this or offended anyone racially.**

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
NOT Caddyshack!!!!, 16 May 2003
10/10

The only conceivable flaw of this film is it's title!! Please stop comparing it to the first! I did in my previous review only to separate it from the first. If you haven't seen the movie and are curious, TOTALLY forget about the first and invent a different name for this. There is nothing alike and has a mood all its own. This is a great exponent of screwy mid-80s comedy. I seriously doubt such big names in this cast did the movie because they were broke or even wanted to remake the first. Anybody who ever wanted to give a kick to the snobbish aristocracy should love this little opus. I maintain, the only reason this is in the IMDB bottom 100 is because of its title. I usually hate movies like these (i.e. adam sandler, will farrell, farrelly bros....), but this movie just keeps me laughing hysterically. I dunno, maybe it's like a bad relationship I can't get out of or just a ridiculous guilty pleasure. Either way, this is the single most underrated movie of the 80s behind 'The Stunt Man.'

Robert Stack- WE LOVE YOU!!! (1919-2003)

6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
....., 9 May 2003
1/10

Warning- this won't be the most intelligent review. Sixth Sense is about as cliche a thriller as can ever be- disturbed kid, hated by others, draws violent pictures in school and has touch with the supernatural. I really don't understand the hype on this one. Couple of quality scary images, but basically just a bunch of psycho-drama. This should have been titled 'The Shining II- Danny moves to Philly and gets therapy just to learn he and the therapist are dead.' Semi-interesting film, though Mr. M. Night is rather overrated.....

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
True message, yet too radical for the non-believer, 24 April 2003

This was shown to me in my church youth group as a kid, along with its 3 sequels. These films always stuck in my mind and had been looking intensely for them until a couple years ago, while in college, I found them in a small Christian bookstore for rent. It was interesting to see them again after so long, but being older and more knowledged (so I'd like to think!) I found this to be a bit on the radical side. To me, a media arts/film studies major and devout Christian, I find it sad that nothing much has changed in the world of Christian filmmaking, other than better effects. The 'end-times' films such as this and 'Left Behind' and 'Apocalypse' and their respective sequels seem to lack the single most important element- appeal to the non-believer. As a passionate Christian, I watch these films as if I were a non-believer and find them to be poorly written, too cheesy, badly written, judgemental and preachy and understand why the average non-believer would laugh and/or tune out. Plainly put, SCARE TACTICS DON'T WORK! I am thankful there are folks out there trying to get the message out, and I praise the 'Thief in the Night' quadrilogy for starting the trend, but hopefully we, as Christians, can find a better and less fear-driven way of leading people to what is the most important decision of their lives and helping to give a small taste of the true joy of Christian life. 'Thief' is good for believers as re-inforcement, and was a semi-effective film for its time, which makes it all worth its while, but it is not up to today's junkfood tv standards and may actually have quite an opposite effect on the average non-believer or teenager. Hey- for all you film geeks, and this makes me chuckle every time i see it, listen to the score, which was later used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail!! Intentional?? But seriously, probably the best Christian film out currently is 'Tribulation.' As a frustrated movie lover/film studier/Christian, I recommend it!

Toys (1992)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
'Toys' is a great statement....., 23 December 2002
10/10

I really don't think most know much about how good filmmaking this is. If anything, this is a light-hearted, yet serious, sarcastic poke at the act of war. It's lightly funny with a strong dose of 'fantasyville u.s.a.,' but more focused on the real world and the ideals of war-minded governments and those with a war-minded mentality. I have a signed photo of Robin Williams from a scene of this film; he addressed it 'make love, not war' and that is what this film is trying to say. Please, do human-kind a favor and just criticize a film like this for what it says, not for the 'laughs' you expect or other mindless drivel. Perhaps this is a modern fairy tale. This is not a vehicle for anyone. Yes, it's silly and childish at times, but only to set the blithe, 'childlike' point-of-view of the film and to amplify the the 'governmental' desire to attack on 'provocation' when in reality, there is probably none. Basically, this is entails a man's obsession with war and the paranoia that it induces, and what ultimately overcomes is a joking, playful, and somewhat sarcastic sense of humor. It's comically frightening, in the way 'Dr. Strangelove' is, in it's loose, flippantly accepting madness. Please, think more before judging this wonderful film and what it's trying to say. Please, do not go into this one expecting wall to wall humor. This has some definite comedic moments, but don't lose sight of the fact that their 'land' is metaphoric and whatever 'silliness' is perceived is for artistic reasons and to amplify the childlike mood of the film and how innocence can be easily influenced or destroyed. Please don't look at this film as a comedy or some sort of light entertainment. Try and look into your heart and find it's statements, not it's 'idiocies' in which ways too many try to write it off. It's more important nowadays than ever!

not too sure........, 13 September 2002

Very cleverly done, but way too cliche and annoying. Nice to see Don Knotts!! But you can see his TV co-star John Ritter in a better, funnier and more thought provoking social commentary movie 'Stay Tuned' which has 'Pleasantville's' original concept. 'Pleasantville' has some very cool ideals and images and a great cast, but is too 'modern retro' for my tastes. For my tastes, I'll take the obviously intentionally idiotic, typically short-lived TV show 'Hi Honey, I'm Home'.........

Ed Gein (2000)
the most infamous 'psycho' is turning in his, as yet, undug grave..., 27 June 2002

I try to see everything Steve Railsback does, ever since the ridiculously underrated and characteristically screwed-by-Hollywood

'Stunt Man' where he gives award deserving praise. Of course, none could forget his disturbingly accurate performance as Manson 4 years prior either. Ed Gein is absolutely no exception. Railsback's uncanny attention to detail is spooky to sa the least. The slightly crooked smile, the exact baseball cap and flannel, the incidental tone in speaking of his actions, all chill viewers like myself who are familiar with Gein's character and history. Unfortunately, the film takes a more factual approach to 'the events that occurred' rather than attempting to get into Gein's head or even taking license to extrapolate any certain event that may have happened or even expansion of things that did. For a man who literally inspired a genre of films, this guy prints like a weird guy who killed a couple of townfolks. The audience has to figure out for themselves that a bowl he is using is that of a human skull, as the oblivious to Gein would not know. All we are given is his mother fixation and the forced morality. Nowhere is there ever sufficiently discussed his motives for the graves he dug, the reasons for skinning his victims, etc... There is just no insight to feel for or understand Ed or his victims. This is a low budget film with a low budget script and insultingly lack of research and/or detail. Detail implies research and detail makes a film. This is an insult to storytelling and I'd suggest reading about Ed Gein before seeing this 'film' or if you wish to see something, see 'Deranged,'a documentary on Ed Gein. In short, Railsback is fantastic, as usual, but could not save this abysmal piece of wasted film.


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