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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A somewhat confused action film, 4 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


This film sounded like it has a lot going for it: well, an interesting sounding plotline involving an amnesia-suffering ex-governement assassin, Samuel L Jackson and Geena Davies. Ineveitable comparisons to other female action heroes such as Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and Demi Moore's GI Jane are bound to be brought up with this mid-90s dose of another early spin on teh action movie genre. The storyline itself is not so is the manner in which Renny Harlin directs the action. Whereas Moore and Weaver before her, were clearly masculinised women, Davies seems to be almost intersexual and this comes across as if the director, Davies real life partner, is trying too hard to give the audience something new and radical - a woman who can be both feminine and masculine. When Davies is playing Samantha (mother to a young girl with a happy homelife and a job as a kindergarten teacher), she seems more at ease than when she is playing Charlene (The pre-amnesia governement assassin, asigned to a failed job and then ordered to be killed). Charlie is the total opposite to Samantha and Davies playsa Jekyll and Hyde character whose unpredictability becomes very irritating. Also, there is a certain eroticism of the protagonist. This is demonstrated in the unneccessary shower scenes. I think it is easy to say that HArlin wanted to create the action hero that the characters in Charlies Angels have later come to represent. Women who have boyfriends waiting for them to lcook the dinner at home and do the washing up but also who are able to go out and kick ass as good as any man during the day. But lines such as "Suck my cock", tend to throw all his hard work and effort back in his face. Suchcontradictions suggest that she is actually more man than woman. And when yo usee her breaking the deer's neck near the start of the movie, it almost kicks off with you not having much sympathy for this character. MAybe preferential treatment led to the miscasting of Davies in this role. She is by no means an awful actress but she has certainly been better than this and her acting sometimes borders on the hammy. Samuel L Jackson does better and has some choice lines but the script and the storyline itself does the film no favours. It is definitely entertaining and i did laugh!! Probably not when i should have been, but hey - i watche dit through to the end and that means that it isnt that awful. BUt i think it is one of those iflms that will have gender theorists going mental all over the place!!

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Uncomfortable Viewing, 1 April 2004

The original Texas Chainsaw MAssacre is a classic partly due to it's ability to instil fear in the viewer using simple techniques. It was not so much what we saw as it was what we didnt see that scared us. Sure, there were some grim scenes such as the girl on the meat hook and the infested kitchen but ultimately, Tobe Hooper used psychological techniques to scare his audience. Fast forward thirty or so years and welcome to Texas Chainsaw MAssacre of the 21st Century - a clever reworking of the original material. Marcus NIspel is obviously a big admirer of Hooper's version yet he also brings in his own ideas in order to make up for the originals lack of cohesion in narrative. Nispel keeps the blood pumping at all times. No sooner has the first character been dispatched of, are the next batch being primed for target by an unruly sherrif. The 1974 film occasionaly seemed like we were just waiting for the next thing to happen. You dont get much of that here. The blood and gore is relentless and this is one of the negatives of the film. It indeed makes very uncomfortable viewing and you feel quite exhausted by the final credits.The gritty filming technique pays homage to the original and this film also attempts to give a backstory to the reasons why old Leatherface wears his victims skin as masks..I won't spoil it but hey, its all good. And you can't fault the acting either. Biel makes a plucky heorine whom you root for, and supporting actors Tucker, Balfour, Vogel and Leehrson are all nicely fleshed out as her friends who one by one fall victim to the local hood! Even the most unsympathetic amongst them, who wanted to dump their hitchiking suicidal passenger at the start of the film, are made to be seen as resourceful and caring before their demise.

So we all kinda know what is going to happen here, especially if you have seen the original. What makes this better than most remakes is the fact that it is not a scene by scene rehashing of a classic circa VAn Sant's Psycho. Extra scenes, more characters, story backlog and impressive sets- The Texas Chainsaw MAssacre 2003 throws up a few surprises and still leaves you horrified and jumping every five minutes and for that reason, i givethis a hearty 8/10. Just make sure you have a pillow with you whilst you watch!!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Back From The Dead, 1 April 2004

After watching The TExas Chainsaw MAssacre remake last night, I did not really fancy going to watch another multiple body count movie - let aone one that was yet another remake of a 70s horror classic! But hey, i found myself down the local VUE cinema, checking in to see the 2004 version of George E Romero's 1978 original, Dawn Of The Dead. What mainly appealed about this movie was the high calibre cast. Sarah Polley is distinguishable for her somewhat eclectic choices when it comes to picking movie roles. The last film i saw her in was Doug LIman's 1999 film, Go and if both films are anything to go by, she has a good eye for good scripts. I dont want to spoil too much but the basic plot involves zombies taking over a neighbourhood and a group of locals trapped in a mall trying not to be picked off one by one! I have to admit, i have yet to see the orginal but maybe that enables me to provide an objective opinion on this remake without making unnecessary comparisons to the original. As it stands on its own, thsi film is am enjoyable, yet gory, horror film. The acting is of a standard you would expect form a high calibre cast including Polley, Ving Rhames and Mekhi Pfiffer. The storyline is simple yet effective and is reminiscent of the 70s action films where you have a group of strangers united in a building formwhich the yhave to escape. It is not as relentlessly horrific as the texas chainsaw massacre remake..Some comedic moments are entwined, the best being the jay leno /burt reynolds zombies!!

Definitely watch this film if yo uare a fan of horror remakes.. Don't go in comparing this to the original, let it stand alone as a film in its own right. Post success of 28 Days Later and Dog SOldiers, it was surely only a matter of time for this zombie classic to be remade!

Anyway, 8/10!! That is my final word!

16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Worth Joining, 25 March 2004

Greg Berlanti's film is worthy of a lot of praise in a society where gay men tend to only fulfill certain stereotypes. A character, Howie mentions how he would like to see gay men being represented as something other than the woman's best friend, the hustler, the aids victim or the sex addict and this film does tend to try hard to avoid these stereotypes. The script is brilliantly written and sparkles when it is at its peak. At its worst, it may be a little bit cliche ridden but also has originality ( I have taken "Meanwhile" and now its commonplace down ere!) and is not afraid to portray gay men as just a group of lads who are falling in and out of relationships, liek any other group of young men. However certain characters do tend to bring the pace down a little and it does sometimes seem to have the sentiment that gay men have got it so bad compared to everyone else in the world. Timothy Olyphant stands out here in an able cast, made up primarily of TV actors. My only grumble was the inclusion of the lesbian couple who seemed to only be there to represent the ladies and also to give Howie a meatier role. 4/5

Had me laughing, 22 March 2004

Definitely my kind of humour. Yeah, we all know that Stiller excels in this kinda role and we have seen it many times before, biut why shouel he change it when he does it so well?!! He still belts the laugh and is a much better fall guy than, say Adam Sandler. It would be nice to see him do something serious a la Jim Carrey and see if he can still succeed but i am happy with these ambling performances circa Something ABout Mary, Meet The Parents, Zoolander... Aniston goes up another rung on teh ladder. Whilst she was good in Bruce ALmighty, here she is even better. Kooky and cutesy, she plays a varaition on her Rachel character. Again, the filmmakers are just giving us what they know the audience likes!! The humour is basic and works, the story is predictable. But what makes this film is the reliability of such performers as Stiller, Azaria and Hoffman as well as showcasing the talents of Debra Messing and Jennifer ANiston. Go and see it. It will raise a few belly laiughs and keep you tittering until the MEet the PArents sequel, Meet The Fockers, is released anyway!! 4/5

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Dumb sequel to a franchaise that needs to be put down, 22 March 2004

Granted, i was on the final leg of a 24 hour flight back to the UK from New Zealand and i was pretty tired..but really, this dumb ass entertainment can only do so much. It is neither stimulating or engrossing. I am a big fan of Paul Walker- the stud, but i find it hard to take Paul Walker- the actor- seriously. If he wants to avoid being recognised for his appearance and more for his talent, i suggest he quits this franchaise fast. This installment is marginally better than the original, but that was blighted by one of the most overrated actors, Vin Diesel who has as much charisma as my little finger.

It's glossy and it is fast, sure. Some boys will love it for the predictable racing and fight scenes which are nicely choreographed but i think that this core audience will not remain faithful if this franchaise continues much longer..2/5

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Stunning, 5 March 2004

I first watched this film nearly ten years ago and, to a thirteen year old, it went right over my head. Today, I watched it for the first time since, mainly because it is featured heavily in my dissertation and I can not really find much to criticise. In my (humble) opinion, the relationship between Mike and Scott is reminiscent of that of John Voight's and Dustin Hoffman's characters in Midnight COwboy. There is a real screen chemistry that makes Mike's feelings towards Scott even more poignant. I have to agree with many of the other users comments that the campfire scene was beautifully written and touching in its simplicity. I also admire Van Sant's bravery. Few directors would tackle homosexuality in their films for fear of alienating audiences at such a time and equally, few actors would take the roles. Admittedly, this film is not about homosexuality per se, but the undertones create such tragically compelling relationships..Firstly, Mike is abandoned by Scott who also then goes on to break Bob's heart. MOPI displays some remarkable acting and it goes without saying really that River Phoenix's performance stands way above those of the impressive supporting cast. It is amazingly real and is so emotive that it makes you want to go and watch everything else he ever did.

Although everyone is entitled to their opinions on any film, i really think people should give it a chance, rather than dismiss it after ten minutes.It is not a commercial or mainstream is something better than that and actually makes you think. Give it a while and you too will find yourself drawn in to the lives of the characters. MOPI now has a place in my top three films of all time just ahead of #2, Dancer In The Dark. I didn't think i would enjoy it so much that it would leave me with such an after feeling of both emptiness and fulfillment. 10/10

(Excuse the focus on homosexuality - my dissertation is on representation of gay men in 90s film - i did obviously notice other themes but i focussed on this!!)

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