Reviews written by registered user
groovymike_16

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15 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A pleasant surprise!, 30 May 2013
8/10

Maybe it's because my expectations weren't real high, but I enjoyed "Beautiful Creatures" immensely. I'm actually disappointed I didn't bother seeing it theatrically. I thought it basically looked like "Twilight" with witches. And while on paper that sounds like an apt comparison (both are supernatural romance movies based on young adult novels) it does do the film a disservice. I believe it's a better made and better acted film.

From the trailers I thought the leads (Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert) seemed poor, with him seeming particularly terrible. To my surprise they were both great and the two had a really nice, believable chemistry. The supporting cast is also great. Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson seem to be having a great time, and Emmy Rossum is fun and sexy.

From what I understand fans of the books weren't crazy about it, but I've never read the books and I loved it. I'm sad it was a box office flop as I'd love for the other books in the series to become films. I'm glad, unlike most movies based on a series of books, that "Beautiful Creatures" is able to stand on its own and doesn't really end with a big cliffhanger or anything (not in my opinion at least). But it would still be great to see more. It's unfortunate this had to become a victim of a terrible release date. I do believe with a different date where it didn't have to go up against another film attracting the same audience (Safe Haven) it would have performed much better. And if by some miracle they did decide to make another I do think the audience would grow as more discover the first on DVD/Blu-ray, as long as it was released amongst less competition. They'd certainly need to try and cut the budget in half though. But alas I'm not holding my breath for the series to continue, as sad as it may be. "Beautiful Creatures" is well-worth watching though. Such an entertaining film.

The Words (2012)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A fascinating literary drama!, 8 March 2013
8/10

My expectations were pretty low due to the majority of reviews being fairly toxic, but I have to say I loved it. What a pleasant surprise and one of the most under-appreciated films of 2012. I don't understand the bad reviews at all. It's a fascinating story, both sad and thoughtful. The three stories were perfectly woven together. I loved the scenes set in the past. Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons were great here and the standouts, but Zoe Saldana and Ben Barnes also deserve mentions.

The film is gorgeously shot. I loved the cinematography. Also really enjoyed the score. I don't really know what everyone else was thinking, but I thought "The Words" was a lovely literary drama. It's a small-scale film and is rather quiet and intimate, but I was never once bored. I see no reason mature audiences wouldn't enjoy this.

Pariah (2011/I)
22 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Criminally Under-seen, 8 May 2012
9/10

Such a shame this is so criminally under-seen. What frustrates me the most is this could have and should have been seen by more people. Focus Features really messed up the release of this one. If handled better I could have seen newcomer Adepero Oduye's acclaimed performance as Alike earning her an Academy Award nomination. She's wonderful in the lead role. Even comedy actress (and sister to the Wayans brothers) Kim Wayans may have scored a Supporting Actress nomination for her serious turn as Alike's misguided mother. She makes the transition from comedy to a serious role amazingly well (not unlike Mo'Nique's turn in Precious, though I prefer this less showy role to hers).

I highly recommend seeking this out. It's a great drama with a star-making performance by Adepero Oduye.

S. Darko (2009)
13 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
Not the abomination it will be treated as..., 9 May 2009
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I know I should have found this to be an abomination, but it's really not. I was very pleasantly surprised. I definitely didn't expect to like it so much. I really liked Daveigh Chase here too. My only beef is the finale. It seemed like it was going somewhere else, somewhere better, but it didn't.

Definitely recommended though. I'm sure the die-hard Donnie Darko fans will hate it, but the casual ones (like myself) should be able to enjoy it. I loved the cinematography and the music. It's very stylish and trippy.

8/10 (B+)

Inside (2007)
6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
If you're a true horror fan, INSIDE is a MUST!, 30 April 2008
10/10

Words just cannot describe the experience that is this movie. Even after hearing how brilliant it was I still wasn't expecting a lot from it. This went above and beyond my expectations and is one of the best horror films I've ever seen. The set-up is really well-done and creepy. Especially the stuff with the woman outside the window. There are some really brilliant shots and the atmosphere is great. And once it gets going it doesn't let up. This is easily one of the bloodiest films I've ever seen.

Anyone who calls themselves a horror fan has to see this film. The French sure know their horror.

6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
A Direct-to-DVD sequel with the quality of a theatrical release..., 7 October 2007
8/10

I saw the first "Wrong Turn" its opening weekend in theaters back in 2003. It was a very entertaining and fast-paced (granted it was only 81 minutes long) thrill-ride that rarely let up until the credits rolled. I wanted to see a sequel all along, but a Direct-to-DVD one wasn't what I had in mind.

So, yeah, when I heard about this being a Direct-to-DVD sequel with a plot about reality show contestants no less, I was expecting it to be entertaining crap at best. But once the movie was wrapped and people were able to see screenings of it, surprisingly positive things were actually being said about it. Some were even saying it was better than the original. How could that be? Were these people that just didn't like the original and found it easy to surpass? I didn't see how a Direct-to-DVD sequel with a plot I wasn't very thrilled about could manage the feat of being better than the first. But after reading mostly encouraging reviews for it I began to think that maybe this really would be good.

Were the reviews right or were my fears realized? Well, I must say I'm very happy to report that this was a shockingly good sequel with the quality of a theatrical release. It really did deserve to be released in theaters. After a killer opening with a nice death scene the movie does slow down a bit to set-up the storyline with the reality show contestants, but soon after it gets going and is an exciting, gore-filled time. I was really impressed. This is actually a very worthy follow-up to the first movie and in some ways it actually surpasses it. I'm kind of surprised they even managed to make this movie for as cheap as they did. If this cost only 4 Million then where the hell did the almost 13 Million spent on the original go? I sure can't figure it out.

I'm not too sure what to say about the actual movie. This is one where I really don't have many comments about the events in it. I just had a really good time and I enjoyed Erica Leerhsen (Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 2003) in it. Her character, Nina, was my favorite and the most interesting. Aside from her character, the only others I liked were Amber, Mara, Jake, and especially Dale (played by Henry Rollins in a pretty cool role).

The major problem I have with most of the endless line of Direct-to-DVD sequels being released is that the majority of them just copy the plots from the previous films. Some even annoyingly feature the exact same type of scenes that were in the original, with the exact same thing happening to another character. Thankfully "Wrong Turn 2" is none of this. This is a perfect example of a Direct-to-DVD sequel with its own idea. I wish the quality of others could be this good.

Since this is going to be a profitable title for Fox you can bet we'll see a third entry sometime in the future. But advice to them; keep the same writer and director. Such an impressive job was done with this one that bringing in someone else could just screw up what is so far an enjoyable series. I will be disappointed if the next one has all new filmmakers. I trust that with them and another new plot (one different than the previous two) they will deliver another winner.

Grade: 8/10 (B+)

17 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
A hidden gem! Don't miss it!, 3 September 2007
10/10

What a wonderful gem of a film! I am so angry it flew under-the-radar and couldn't have been something even remotely close to a sleeper hit. I would have been happy with it grossing even 1 Million at the Box Office instead of the paltry $3,130 it ended up with in its entire Box Office run, which, to be fair, only lasted a couple of weeks and was only shown on one screen.

It's a good thing Alexis Bledel was in this or I might have missed this great little film. I wasn't all that impressed by the trailer but thought it looked decent. However, being a huge fan of Gilmore Girls, I planned on seeing it anyway for Alexis. I'm really thankful I did. The whole cast is terrific. I especially loved Jay Baruchel in it. I've never been that impressed by him until now. He gives a really nice, natural, and charming performance.

I'm just so disappointed that it didn't do better. Did they not even market it? It couldn't have been marketed very well that's for sure. It deserves to be seen. I will definitely do what I can to get people to see it. I'll pimp it out at the video store (unfortunately we only got one copy - we couldn't even get 3? Come on!) and if I can find one I'd like an "I'm Reed Fish" shirt. Then if people ask about my shirt I'll tell them about the movie. Hopefully it can be discovered by quite a few people on DVD.

I urge everyone to seek this one out.

Grade: 8/10 (A-)

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not nearly as good as "HEX", 20 July 2007
6/10

You know, this show "should" be able to offer the same fun that the BBC show "HEX" did, but it can't. That show was somewhat light on story (when it comes to its big mysteries anyway), but it doesn't matter because it's so addicting that you can't help but be sucked in. "Dante's Cove" has the potential to be such an entertaining guilty pleasure but despite the beautiful bodies and sexy scenes it's all rather dull. Maybe it needs new writers or something (it should team with the creators of "HEX"). The shows remind me so much of each other in a way but I only wish "Dante's Cove" was as cool and addicting. Add the hot sex of this show to the fun of that show and I'd have a new favorite show. As of Season 1 I'm not that impressed though and recommend anyone watching this to give "HEX" a shot instead, or as well.

Cursed (2005)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
An absolute BLAST! A great popcorn flick! Very FUN and entertaining!, 4 March 2005
10/10

This isn't some amazing film that will make my top 10 at the end of the year, but it is sure to be one of the most fun times I'll have at the theater all year. It was an absolute blast for what it's worth! Yes, the CGI sucks and there are things to nitpick about, but it has a nice amount of jump scares and couldn't be more entertaining. I saw it in a packed audience opening night and there were plenty of laughs and screams. I didn't hear anything negative on the way out. I was afraid I'd be highly disappointed by this movie, but all of the negative things lowered my expectations and lead to me being very pleasantly surprised.

I had so dang much fun at this movie! It works great as popcorn entertainment. It deserves to do much better than the other horror crap that was released this year. Too bad this one wouldn't have gotten released sooner before everyone was sick of so many horror movies (a new one was released almost every week), leading to this one not doing as well. If it would have come out sooner it could have done quite a bit better. It's a shame because it's a blast and I'd kill for a sequel. I wish they'd do one anyway. I know Wes Craven wouldn't be back to direct but I don't care as long as Kevin Williamson returns to write.

Grade: 8/10 (A-) ----- I normally wouldn't give this high of a rating to something that works as great popcorn entertainment, but it's a personal recent favorite of mine. It's not Million Dollar Baby, but if you're looking for more of a "fun" movie then this is definitely satisfying in that area. It was fun and funny. See it with a group of people. The more the merrier. A movie like this is best with a bunch of people. It's way more fun that way. At least try to go when it would be busiest so you can see it with a good amount of people in attendance. Friday night and Saturday night would likely be best.

It's no SCREAM, that's for sure, but it works on its own. It's the best horror movie I've seen in theaters in awhile. I went to SAW opening weekend because it was Halloween weekend and I wanted to see a horror flick, and I didn't think it was that great at all. It's one of the most overrated movies of 2004. The acting was atrocious by the leads! Plus the movie was just cheesy. It does work as something to laugh at though because the bad acting and cheesy stuff make it quite hilarious. Then the following weekend I sat through THE GRUDGE which was even worse. It was so boring and pointless. It wasn't involving in the least, unlike the movie it couldn't resemble more - THE RING. Now that one was highly engrossing, hypnotic, and creepy - with a mystery that was actually interesting.

THE GRUDGE was just lame and is also overrated. I'd give SAW a 6/10 (C+) and THE GRUDGE a 5/10 (C). I'd highly recommend CURSED over those two.

I plan on seeing it again in theaters. I want to support it and plus I'd just love to see it again. It's too fun! I plan on buying the DVD the day it hits stores for sure. Hopefully it's extras packed...

Open Water (2003)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Open Water is an unforgettable film that is not to be missed!, 22 August 2004
10/10

OPEN WATER (2004)

Based on true events, Open Water is the story of Susan (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel (Daniel Travis), a workaholic couple that is in desperate need of a vacation. But the one they get isn't exactly the one they had in mind, as their tour boat leaves them behind while scuba diving and they are now stranded in shark-infested waters in the middle of the ocean.

I had been dying to see Open Water ever since I first heard about the raves it got at the Sundance Film Festival. Being scared of the ocean, I found the premise terrifying. No, I'm not scared of the shallow stuff off the beach, but of the huge deep, dark ocean a ways out there. I'd find it scary enough being out there with a boat and a group of people, but the thought of being abandoned out there with no way to call and let anyone know that you're there, being so helpless, is even scarier. There's nothing you can do but be taken wherever the current takes you and hope that sooner or later, someone will find you and you'll be able to go back to the life that might not have seemed so great before, but seems like heaven now. If you put yourself in the place of the couple in the movie, and just imagine what they'd be going through, it's scary. The day would seem endless. You could try and play a game like the couple in the movie attempt to do, but like Susan (Ryan), it's likely you just won't feel like playing. Even though worrying about the situation you're in would only make the time go by slower, it would be impossible to think about anything else, and impossible to be able to just relax and play a game. You'd have nothing to do but think about the sharks swimming around you and wonder if the boat will come back for you. And as it gets later and later, you'd be faced with the realization that it might not be coming back, that you might not be rescued, and the panic-inducing thought that you're going to die out there. Which then makes you think about how you won't get to see your family and friends ever again, and won't be able to tell them how much you care and that you love them. To top it off you'd be dying of thirst and getting more and more dehydrated. Sure, you're surrounded by water, but you can't drink it. Drinking some of it can make you sick, and drinking enough can be fatal. You'd be hungry too, but won't have any food. It would make you long for the luxury of being able to open the fridge at home and grab something to eat, something you take for granted when you can do it whenever you want. And could you imagine if you were in a hurry and decided to skip breakfast that morning? You'd have no water to drink, no food to eat, and swimming can be tiring enough as it is, but when you have weights on you and a big oxygen tank on your back, it would be even more exhausting. With no food and water to keep your body going, you'll just keep getting weaker and weaker, and more and more helpless. Then when night comes, and it's pitch dark and you can't see what is around you, the fear of not knowing what's there would be almost unbearable. You wouldn't dare let go of the other person, because if you drift apart, you might not find eachother again with it being too dark to see. And as bad as it would be being stranded out there with at least one other person, it would be even worse being stranded alone. You'd have nobody to keep you going, nobody to keep you calm. Thankfully this couple has eachother, I couldn't begin to imagine how frightening it would be alone.

As dangerous as it is, the idea to use real, untrained, wild sharks is brilliant and makes it scarier. I applaud them for having the guts to do this. The actors went through a lot for this movie, and didn't even receive a huge paycheck like A-list stars do for making movies not nearly as dangerous. The two actors here didn't have the luxury of getting to sit around between takes and be pampered. They sacrificed all of that for the film, and they deserve tremendous credit for it. Spending day and night in shark-infested waters doesn't exactly sound like a pleasant experience.

While Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis have done a few little roles here and there before, this is the movie that will really get them recognized. They have to carry the entire movie on their shoulders, and are on screen 95% of the time. The movie relies on their performances in order for the movie to work, and the movie couldn't have turned out better, as they give exceptionally realistic performances. They have a great chemistry together, and are really believable as a couple. What surprised me is how downright likable they are. It's amazing how much you end up caring about them. They are such a likable couple and you can tell that they really love eachother. You find yourself wanting, needing for them to get out of this alive. I was so engrossed in what was going on and in these characters that whenever they got upset and would have a breakdown, I almost cried for them. The movie is so intimate that I could feel their pain, their sense of hopelessness, and their love for one another. This is a very effective and emotionally draining experience. Ryan, who looks and seems a lot like Charlize Theron, and Travis, both give two of the best performances this year in their respective categories of Best Actress and Best Actor. I'm looking forward to seeing them in a lot more roles in the future.

Before seeing it I had heard that some loved the ending and some hated it. This made me worry that it might end up being an abrupt ending, or something stupid like they see a helicopter in the sky and the movie ends without us knowing if they get rescued for sure or not. My imagination ran wild thinking of what could possibly make some people hate the ending, and other possibilities I came up with were that a helicopter does rescue them and then once they're in the air and being brought in the helicopter blows up, or that there's a twist and we find out they were left behind on purpose. It's funny that out of all of the things I imagined happening, I wasn't even close to what actually happens. Thankfully I didn't know the ending before seeing it, because that would have ruined the experience and made the outcome less shocking and the trip to get to it less intense and effective. It's best to see this movie knowing as little as possible about the things that happen in the movie. Even if you're curious, DON'T FIND OUT. Wait until you see it. Of course, even if you knew the main outcome of it, but didn't know the details, you're still likely to be surprised by how things play out. If I had heard the ending before seeing the movie, I most likely would have thought, `Well that's a stupid ending.' However, it works so well in the movie, and I'm glad I didn't know beforehand because it would have thrown me off from seeing it. The ending makes the movie all that more memorable.

When seeing movies, even if there is stuff during the end credits, most people still get up and walk out. But nobody got up during this movie, even once the stuff was over people didn't hurry up. Everyone just sat, stunned, and too dazed to move. Most people didn't talk on the way out, other than a couple positive comments. Surprisingly I didn't hear any negative comments. While walking out I felt worn out, unable to clear my head and think of anything else but the movie I had just witnessed. And on the way home, I was in a daze. I couldn't stop thinking about the movie. I was excited about the amazing experience I had just had, but my body was too tired for me to do much of anything other than smile. It's very thought provoking and a great conversation movie.

Open Water isn't for everyone. The main people that will dislike it are young, immature teens and other closed-minded people that were expecting a violent shark attack movie. It's not like that at all. It's not very bloody, and it's not constant shark action. The sharks are certainly there, but this is not a blood feast. It's a quiet film that starts out being kind of funny with the characters cracking a few remarks about the situation they're in, but as it goes along and they're out there longer and longer, the tension increases more and more. It's not filled with a bunch of boo scares, and only had one part that made me jump. Instead it works by creating a nervous, uncomfortable feeling in your gut, and keeps you on edge. As the suspense built, I started to sweat more and more. This is a mature film for adults or the more mature teens. It's just too bad the people going into it expecting something else and don't end up liking it are going to bad-mouth it and keep others away. It's people like that that are going to cause this movie to become underrated. However, I wouldn't let any of those comments discourage you from seeing it in theaters. As long as you know what to expect, and are fine with that, then you shouldn't have a problem with it. I don't recommend waiting for video, because it wouldn't be the same at all. It's more effective when you're in the dark with more people and are able to be consumed by the screen, without the distractions you might get at home with the phone ringing, people talking, or whatever else going on. And this wouldn't be a movie you'd want to get distracted during, or that you'd want to stop to take a break and get a snack or something, because by doing that you're cutting the tension that was building and it will take you out of the movie, and it just won't be the same once you come back to it.

Not many movies can pull off being so startling, but Open Water succeeds on all levels. It works at being a dramatic and exhausting experience, and provides the viewer with a real sense of dread. This is definitely a scary movie, but not scary in the way people have come to expect movies to be scary, by having loud spine chilling music and boo scares to make you jump. This put a chill down my spine without the help of music, it did it by providing a genuine, human terror. Forget the overrated Jaws and Deep Blue Sea; Open Water is the stuff real nightmares are made of. Easily the best shark movie of all time, and I'm very confident that I will never see this one topped in my lifetime. So far this is the best film of the year, and there's a good chance it could stay that way. Open Water is an unforgettable film that is not to be missed.

Grade: 9/10 (A)


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