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Dark Nights with Little Scares, 2 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Man, Charles Durning's Otis got full use out of that mailman outfit. He probably even slept in it, if the character ever stopped running around for a couple of hours to actually sleep.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow was an easy watch, mercifully though, because even in 1981 it was nothing new and it relied heavily on the horror concept of that era that I despised.

Spoiler Alert!...but then, it's been 33 years, so whatever. You won't see the title character in action for 99.5% of the film and that has always irked me. I know it's supposed to be a type of suspense, but I have forever wanted to see the monster/beast/killer on screen more than off. This one even takes the cake as it doesn't show the scarecrow for all-but 10-seconds in 96 minutes. Hey, at least show him chasing the remaining victim in the climax!

Oh, and I know it didn't have to do with the miniscule budget. It had the budget enough to show the "killer" running amok. Heck, he was in just a cheap scarecrow outfit – that couldn't have cost more than 10 bucks and they already had the actor who probably didn't cost much more.

Anyhoo, in a "Frankenstein-type" setup, a "slow" 30s man, Bubba, attempts to protect his very young friend from a dog attack and the girl is rumored to be killed. Four hillbillies take murderous revenge on Bubba – who was hiding in a scarecrow getup - only to find out following the girl did not die and Bubba was actually innocent.

Some magical wind arrives in the town the day the four men get acquitted from one of the most hilarious, albeit unintentionally, on-screen trials and us horror fans know what's coming next.

Not the worst I've seen by far, but, like the trial, there are some more unintentionally hilariously scenes that make it almost recommended, like: the town's one mailman – and you'll know this because he never takes that outfit off and only drives the "company car," can close up shop at any moment and keeps a loaded gun in the drawer immediately underneath the front counter. In fact, that's the only object in that drawer. And someone's trapped in an empty silo, but is being drowned by grain. As creepy as the scene might be, he could've easily ridden it up to the top.

It's for free on YouTube, currently and if you have absolutely nothing else to do and want to reminisce about the early 80s horror TV programs, you could do a lot worse.

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Final thoughts: Never once heard of this (TV) movie if not for a friend watching it on his computer while we chatted online. Laughably, I saw all what he was telling me throughout our conversation, especially the "slow" character in overalls.

32 out of 50 people found the following review useful:
Hardly aMAZEd, 20 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While I was happy to finally see a male-oriented film series – and yeah, even before the last half hour of "To Be Continued!" scenes – in a female dominated marketplace (the Twilight "saga," The Hunger Games and Divergent) this movie all-but completely blew.

Aside from The Maze Runner being a blatant rip-off of the superior Cube film, or its sequels, it was so incredibly bland, run-of-the- mill, predictable and A-B-C, I actually fell asleep during the movie. It didn't help that the movie was twenty minutes too long and that I knew what scene would take place four scenes ahead.

During the movie I was absolutely giving it the benefit of the doubt. Without so much as telling us this was "Part One" of a trilogy (or four movies, depending on how well the first one does and they inevitably split the last movie into two so they can milk the series our longer than it needs, i.e. The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Twilight,) the movie seemed to take its long time to explain everything out in extreme detail of their world. I was trying to be as patient as possible when I knew this was a necessity since this is a sci-fi, futuristic test for young boys.

But, the rest of the movie played out this way. As if in narration form. They constantly had to tell us and remind us of the world they're referring to in the very movie they're showing us. I get it. I got it. And unfortunately, they we're showing me anything new.

So, I waited and waited for something fresh. Some new take. Nope. And worse, as mentioned above, the last half-hour was NOTHING but setting up the inevitable sequels.

I am getting ahead of myself since I haven't mentioned the synopsis. Very basically, once a month, a new young male recruit is transported into the middle of an obscenely large maze. He has memory loss and must have the entire plot be explained to him so he can integrate with the other males. They've been there between 3 years and present day and must make it through a hefty and unexplainably moving maze to get back to where they don't remember they've come from.

Naturally, our "hero," Thomas, is THE ONE to help them get free. With little explanation and in one of the most pointless plots of recent movies, he joins forces with one of the most uncharismatic of all females – the first girl to join the group. Hilariously enough, she looks incredibly similar to Kristen Stewart of her Twilight series. Just like Bella, Stewart's bland heroine from Twilight, this one offers nothing to the table and is so hard to root for. In fact, it appears this endless rock-throwing female was only introduced to attract more female viewers.

And that is a huge part of the problems here. While, again, I am glad to finally see a male-dominated teeny-bop series, not one single character had the charisma of any of the other series. Yeah, I'm not a huge Harry Potter or Hunger Games fan, but each of those had characters I rooted for and wanted to see succeed. This Maze Runner had one, and he was absolutely a second or third tier fella: Chuck. But, then again, if you've seen The Sandlot, he was the same guy who called that main character "Smalls."

With virtually no one to root for, a story as old as time, decent special effects but barely used and predictable scenes from beginning to no-conclusion, this movie is highly UN-recommended. Granted, it's not the worst movie I've seen in a long while and definitely not the worst of 2014 so far, it will be so forgettable, they will be regretting they only made this movie to be part of a trilogy that should never be completed.

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Final thoughts: If you're thinking of beginning this so-so franchise, either do one of two things: Wait for this to all come to home- viewing and have a boring, nothing weekend to get through them all or just rent/buy/stream the superior Cube series. Essentially, they're the same movie, but Cube had a tenth of the budget with ten times the heart, originality, imagination, suspense and characters than The Maze Runner had at any given moment.

Old Dogs (2009/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Old Clichés, 10 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Little did I know, when I watched Old Dogs for the first and definitely last time, that I would be seeing a "new" (to me) Robin Williams film that I would be very disappointed in just a couple of months prior his unfortunate passing. Now, this didn't and won't change my opinion as I write this after his death, but it's sad to know this was my last impression of him before the world lost him.

RIP Robin always, but this movie was purely horrifying. It was a comedy that had no comedic moments, a family story with no heart and an unoriginal script that was as random as Mr. Williams' normal schtick. Everything about this project screamed desperation on both stars, Williams and John Travolta and I pitied both of them having to experience such a fall from grace.

Since it's been about four months since I've seen this, I refreshed my memory with watching the trailer online. I actually wish I hadn't wasted those two minutes, even though it reminded me of how awful this movie was. It was just one underdeveloped scene after another with sight gags so bizarre, humorless and edited poorly. Hell, even the OLD plot of "Surprise! You're a Dad!" it took a back seat to terrible characters, uncool kids and depressing setups.

Basically, I've already given the synopsis, but to elaborate, businessmen Charlie and Dan "inherit" two twins as the kids' mother goes to jail and this is during an important deal with "the Japanese." (Their words, not mine.) Of course, chaos ensues, and the real Dad, Dan, must learn to be a Big Daddy. Even if he has to robotically become one. Yeah, that's one of the "gags."

Robin Williams' death aside, which would not take place for years following, this movie was littered with real-life disasters, including Williams' hospitalization, the death of Travolta's own son and Bernie Mac's death. Not to take any of those tragedies lightly, those should've been more than one sign this should've been scrapped. The real reason was in the movie.

Everything failed. Every joke, every visual stunt. Past the predictability level at high alert, the story and believability of the characters never felt like live-action. Williams' Dan was supposedly bad for kids, but the setup scenes didn't work. Charlie was supposed to be a womanizer as Travolta used to be, but here he looked like a botox'ed sick freak who should finally come out of the closest.

The cameos were, and I can't believe I am stating this, worse than any Adam Sandler ones, the stereotypes were not so-offensive- they're- funny and the conclusion completely unsatisfying. No need to see this, even as tribute to the great comedian.

Pick one of his better roles….actually any. I believe, without making a list, this is his worst movie. Even Toys wasn't this bad.

RIP Robin. We will miss you. I will miss you.

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Final thoughts: If you do decide to see this monstrously bad film, at least listen to the How Did This Get Made? podcast. It is one of their best.

Stop! Or You'll Be Sorry, 10 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a huge Golden Girls fan. I've seen every episode of the seven seasons at least seven times each. Also, I unabashedly, like Sylvester Stallone and his 90s films. So, watching 1992's Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot wasn't a complete waste for me as I got to enjoy both Estelle Getty and Stallone for about an hour and a half.

Is it a good movie? No, but it's not a complete waste either. It was just one of those Big-Burly Action Stars doing comedy for a change, like Schwarzenegger's Kindergarten Cop. (Mind you, I liked that movie a ton more than this flop, but I was just pulling out an example.) On the surface, it's the same ole mix-matched, buddy cop movies with "a heart," but in deep, it's just an overlong TV-movie that was unbelievably released in theatres.

I did only watch this because I love listening to the podcast, How Did This Get Made? where they talk about bad movies for about an hour and make me crack up on their take. They covered this movie in tribute to the late and absolute great Roger Ebert who they claimed he stated this was "the worst movie ever made."

As much as I love Ebert, and he'll always be on my mind, I have to respectively disagree. Bad, absolutely, but not the worst. Even when the movie's "heart" is within itself one of the many clichés, it works as a leave-your-brain-at-the-door film.

After (my forever "Sophia Petrillo") visits her son, Stallone's Sgt. Joe Bomowksi, his life is turned upside down and he must deal with some case he's on – it's really forgettable and it doesn't help that it was four months ago that I actually watched this for the first time – and her literal selfish need to baby and embarrass him. He's also trying to be romantic with his superior at the police station and, of course, momma's gonna get involved in that.

It's a thin premise that barely fills the already short 87 minute run time, but for a throwback to the 90s and, again, seeing (my forever "Sophia Petrillo") one more time, RIP Estelle!, I wouldn't mind a slight recommendation to this.

* * *

Final thoughts: I have heard that Getty didn't want to do the movie upfront because of her anti-gun feelings. Apparently they lied to her by telling her there would be no guns…in a movie named…Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Estelle, I love yah, babe, but seriously? She must've also thought there was also real gold in her TV show I was a fan of.

A Not-So-Straight Line, 10 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Admittedly, I saw From Justin to Kelly and in the end of my review I will state why. While FJtK came out afterwards, this "concept" isn't anything new. Both used it, but unbelievably, this *Nsync Nightmare is actually, albeit slightly, better.

What On the Line is, on the surface, mind you, is a "romantic comedy" of a love-lost boy trying to track down his soul-mate in the most ancient of ways in 2001 after one encounter during his commute. I bring up the year because this movie might have worked in 1981, but not in the internet-booming new millennium.

Basically, Lance Bass' Kevin uses everything but what he needs, i.e. the net, to find "the girl of his dreams." And we, the viewer, have to suffer through 85 minutes of his journey to know exactly how it will turn out. Even with a movie this short, it feels three times as long.

So, beyond the sadly ironic title of "On the Line" because he doesn't know how to log online, the real tragedy here is Bass was never believable. Not for a moment. Granted it would be about half a decade later when he came out of the closet, you can absolutely tell throughout this movie that he is gay and he was not into women whatsoever. Obviously, watching this movie today we have the knowledge he's homosexual, but I believe if I saw this in 2001, I would know (no pun) straight-up he was gay.

Just listen to how he talks about baseball, his character's passion, or how he looks and talks about women. There was zero chemistry between him and any of the opposite sex. And unfortunately for the movie, the secondary characters were just horrible individuals that spend most of the movie doing terrible things until they finally "do the right thing." So, there were really no one to grasp or root for.

The movie's only, and I mean ONLY, saving grace was the end credits. Again, even at very short 85 minutes, I was so frustrated with the film, I turned it off immediately as the credits rolled only to have to turn it back on then as I write this thanks to a certain podcast that told me about the additional irony in this film.

Justin Timberlake and his other *Nsync co-boy-wonder pretend to be gay for a fake "making of" makeup scene. Actually, it's a wonder if they were trying to help their friend come out sooner or if they even knew about Bass. Most likely they did know about Bass being gay, but it didn't work as Bass wouldn't enter the real world for years later.

Either way, it's not worth watching the whole movie for. Even though I liked some of the music, just stream the tracks ON(the)LINE and save another 70-80 minutes you'll never get back.

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Final thoughts: The podcast I referred to was the fantastic How Did This Get Made? I love listening to them, but you really have to see the movies first to fully enjoy their critique of the films they cover. So, yeah, they did, indirectly, make me watch two movies I had hoped never to see: On the Line and the (lesser remake) From Justin to Kelly. At very least, I was entertained when I listened to their take.

Iced Babies, 10 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Granted, I am not a user of marijuana, but I doubt Cool as Ice would even be enjoyable while high.

This beyond weird 90s flick that thinks it's still the 80s was a hard one to watch. Being nice, I will say it's not even in my bottom 50 of all time, but it's begging to be in the dishonorable mentions.

It featured horrible clothing, an uncharismatic protagonist, terrible dialogue and a creepy older guy/young teen girl relationship – at one point, he shows up in the teen's bed feeding her ice when she awakes. Today, this "innocent" scene would ruin the movie as it's nothing shy of pedophilia. But, oh, well, Ice Ice Baby was a hit back then.

After a horribly shot and all-but endless music video finishes the opening credits, our gang rides into a small town and mysteriously ends up at Pee Wee's playhouse and the leader, Vanilla Ice's Johnny woos a teen girl who's already taken and her father's in trouble with his past in some failed and cartoonish subplot.

Will Johnny take Baby out of the corner and rap her heart away? Duh, but it will cliché your heart until you will never want a taste of Vanilla again.

* * *

Final thoughts: Sure, I've heard of this, ever since it premiered, but never did I think I would ever see it. If not for the fantastic podcast, How Did This Get Made?, I would've always eluded it. Unfortunately, while I love those guys' take on bad movies, this one wasn't the best as the guest starred Vanilla Ice, so they – ah-hem – sugar coated their thoughts on this movie and made it out as a cult classic. Don't respect that one bit, nor did I think this movie was any bit a "classic." It's not even so-bad, it's good. It just stinks…yo!

Don't Chase this Tale, 7 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Will Smith has had his hits – more than his misses. Sadly for him, this complete and terrible misstep for him will rank as one of his worst.

Winter's Tale was literally all over the place. It never settled in on one subject or one of the multiple story lines. It attempted to create a new universe and failed at every aspect. Even with an all- star cast.

Very basically, the movie follows both thief Peter (Colin Farrell) through decades of wandering until he can save someone red-headed and his jealous demon mentor, Pearly (Russell Crowe) who only stole his role from the equally terrible Les Misérables movie.

The movie seemed to show some spark of heart, but was so blended in so many random directions, it could never focus long enough for us to be invested. This may be adapted from an astounding novel, but it only gave us the cliff notes version of the real cliff notes.

If they said – and they did – this book was unfilmable, they should've listened. This should've been a 13-episode miniseries instead. Then they would've had more time to explore the 82 subplots and additional characters that did not appear in the book. Like…Will Smith.

Seriously, I laughed out loud at his character and costume. He was unintentionally bad. Terrible. A Riot. And the CGI placed into his mouth was actually worth watching the entire movie for. It was pre- Jurassic Park bad and that might be a selling point for new viewers to watch and laugh at.

I see where they were going with this. Skip it. There is absolutely nothing here to see.

* * *

Final thoughts: I only watched this because of the fantastic How Did This Get Made? podcast. That episode was awesome and more highly recommended than this piece of crud. Here were a few notes I took during this movie:

> Why didn't Ray Liotta play the Crowe character? He definitely fit more perfectly, though I see why Crowe would want to reprise his Les Misérables role.

> What was with the score? It was really good and so misplaced here.

> NYC 1915: Population 20.

> 12th Street. Chicken. 12th Street. Chicken. Must remember this!

> Why not ride on the horse to safety? Why did he forget everything? Who the hell cares?

Abduction (2011/I)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The Bored Identity, 7 September 2014

Yeah, they were trying to capitalize on all three: Bourne Series, Taylor Lautner's good looks and the Twilight franchise. It did not work.

Abduction was an incredible rip-off and they spent very little time making it a movie on its own. And this was unbelievable with the amount of talent they had signed up for the film, including Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina and Maria Bello. No, of course I wasn't talking about the talentless Taylor Lautner.

Sure, he's fine to look at, but that should stop at underwear ad poster. He cannot carry a movie and even though he's nowhere near as bad as his Twilight counterparts, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, he's just blah and probably should've just gone into porn.

The movie follows Lautner's Nathan as he finds out he's a missing child and wanted for literally stupid reasons. He's thrown into a Goosebumps mystery, but luckily his non-charismatic "father" taught him to fight.

How this movie didn't just land on the direct-to-DVD schedule is beyond me. Admittedly, it's been more than a week and a half since I saw this and it has 97% left my brain. It was that unforgettable.

So, don't waste your time and abduct a real thriller. Like the Bourne movies this mocks.

* * *

Final thoughts: I only watched this for that fantastic How Did This Get Made? podcast where they ridicule bad movies. Unfortunately, I actually listened to that episode long ago and before I watched the movie – that was my first and last time doing that. This week, I will re-listen to it to hear their take on this terrible thriller.

0 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Sink! Sink! Sink!, 7 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Granted, I was in the mood for a terrible movie on a Friday night so this was the perfect match with the recommendation I got.

The Legend of the Titanic was just plain awful and lived up to its reputation. It was a terrible rip-off of the James Cameron Titanic movie, but with absolutely atrocious animation, side characters and music added to make it all the more unwatchable.

Basically, it's the story of the Titanic, but with mice pushing two lovers together and a back-story of how sea animals both caused the destruction and helped save everyone. Yes, it re-wrote history, but when Quentin Tarantino did it in Inglourious Basterds, it was much more exciting.

Look, I refuse to spend any more time on this film. It's dreadful from beginning to end, even when they suddenly switched from their bad drawings to super-cheap computer animation. It's not even a so- bad-it's-good movie. It's just a lazy, no-good, bad idea and if this made $5 profit, there is no God.

* * *

Final thoughts: Don't see this. There are far better terrible, "so- bad-they're-good" flicks like Birdemic and The Room. Stick with the classics.

Draft Day (2014/I)
Drafting on Looks? Absurd!, 6 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Yeah, I spent the good portion of the last three decades hating on football. It was an amusement I played and social media made it all the more easy.

That said…I joined a fantasy football league this year because a good friend/coworker of mine was enormously enthused about it. After a day of useless and backless – albeit fun – smack-talk, I vowed to learn more about this game.

Step one: Draft Day. And what a way to start.

This movie had its issues and clichés. The predictability level was at an all-time high, and still, it was a ton of fun.

Granted, I still don't know all I need to know to get "into the game," but I definitely got a good idea.

Sonny Jr. (Kevin Costner) recently lost his Sr. and still must keep his job by drafting for his Cleveland Browns team. Meanwhile, his job's on the line, the fans despise him and a baby's on the way with his coworker. He's got a lot on his plate. Oh, and he's expected to pick the most obvious first round choice for his traded first decision.

Audiences, even ones not as familiar with football as I am, know what the REAL choice should be and it takes the better part of two hours to come to that conclusion.

While I like this Moneyball version of football film – a lot, actually – it was so foreseen, I just needed to spend my time keeping up with the trade aspects and the football technical terms.

Honestly, this is a good movie for both football fans and casual fans, alike. It's well shot – and the overlapping scenes were actually pretty cool – and the acting dead on for real-life characters. I'd still recommend Moneyball tenfold over this, but hey, you could certainly do worse concerning a movie based on football that shows very little real-time plays.

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Final thoughts: True, my friend's enthusiasm and request got me involved in a Fantasy Football league this 2014 season. Because I had little invested and I do love great looking bears, I made my initial picks based on looks. In my defense, I went to the top 300 ESPN player's list and selected from there so that I would have both good looking guys and ones in the elite.

This did NOT fare well considering my projected points were in the 40s and everyone else's was in triple digits. On Monday, before the season opener, I added/dropped a bunch of players and basically rejoined the league in time for the 2014 opener with my favorite team, the Seahawks and the Packers – a team I should love.

I now match them with about 122 points projected, but with a less good-looking team. Ha. Regardless, this movie did open my eyes to a lot of the behind the scenes and showed me more of the passion my peers and friends have for this game.

So without being the superior Moneyball, it's still highly recommended for my friends and football fanatics.

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