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The Island (2005)
So Logan's Run, Coma, Blade Runner, and 1984 had a baby (spoiler warning)
It was perfectly good eye candy. It truly was. If one was willing to put one's brain on hold and ignore the plot holes big enough to hold a motor vehicle chase in (Which, oddly enough, was what Bay used every half-hour or so to distract us from the plot holes), one could have fun watching this film. Because, it was fun. Largely forgettable fun, but fun nonetheless. The action set-pieces were pretty well-crafted. The technology, although out of reach today, seemed internally consistent.The mirror "The Island" holds up to the self-obsession so prevalent in our culture, as well as that culture's weakness for the hope of that "one-in-a-million chance" that could change our lives forever, is both clear and uncompromising. Of course, my opinion could be biased by the fact that the sight of Scarlett Johansson makes my brain skip its track for a moment...
Much like "The Exorcist," it keeps getting funnier every time I see it!
Each time I watch this film, I pick up on more details I had missed on previous viewings. Wildy entertaining, with songs both tuneful and clever, "Reefer Madness" is clearly the finest film on that entire videotape. If you fail to be amused to the point of distraction, if you fail to find yourself humming or even singing those catchy ditties that fill the movie, if you fail to want to watch it over and over again, the fault must surely lie with you rather than the movie. Seek competent psychiatric help and then watch it again, you sad, mad fools!! Because as much as I hate to drop names, I have very important friends upstairs and they said anybody who doesn't enjoy this movie is clearly an enemy of all that is good and decent. Such people, they say (remember, these are not my words, but those of my friends upstairs), should be taken out behind the woodshed and tickled for forty days and forty nights. So unless you are a hell-bound enemy of democracy, I urge you, I implore you, I beg you to watch "Reefer Madness." Over and over, like crimson and clover, like Gibson and Glover. Yes, put down that joint and fire up the cable box. "reefer Madness" is about to air.
Ella Enchanted (2004)
I'd forgotten how much I loved this movie
Yes, I do realize that it was significantly different from the book. And I would like to see a film closer to the book made. But I loved this movie. I get a tremendous kick out of being able to spend a couple of hours falling in love with Ella all over again. This is the kind of film that makes me glad to live in the era of DVD. I have already shared the wonder and the magic of Ella Enchanted with a couple of family members who missed it in theatres. I even bought my mom her own copy for her birthday. It is a rollicking re-imagining of what was already a great re-imagining of the classic concepts of fairy tales. And in my personal lexicon of modern fairy tales, Ella stands right up there with The Princess Bride. I heartily recommend this one for the entire family. My only real regret is that the arrangement of "Somebody to Love" left out the second verse.
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
They didn't lie... I was in for some serious fun!
I love everything about this movie! I love "BTiLC" more than the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and Rocky Horror got me laid... A lot. From beginning to end, Big Trouble is filled with non-stop quotable lines, great effects, beautiful martial arts, fine acting, gorgeous sets and costumes, it really lacks for nothing you could want in a Hong Kong style movie... Yet Carpenter gave it to us before Hong Kong style became popular here.
I have enjoyed every John Carpenter/ Kurt Russell collaboration and find them all to be worth multiple viewings, but Big Trouble stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Frank Leaves for the Orient (1999)
intriguing foray into escapism
I found the six episodes of "Frank Leaves for the Orient" to be quite entertaining. It spoke to the part of each of us that wishes, on occasion, to dodge everything about the lives we have built for ourselves in favor of some great unknown. And by providing a send-up of all the annoying details that would have to worked out in order to make a clean break, it puts the reasons why most of us never go through with such flights of fancy into a sharper perspective.
Were this miniseries available on DVD, I would surely own a copy.
Wonder Woman (1975)
at the risk of sounding nit-picky...
The one thing I never cared for about Wonder Woman was the way that Lynda Carter ran. Her style of running did nothing to suggest that she came from a culture that valued athleticism. That said, let me say that I agree that the innocence that she brought to the role for WWII version really worked for the character, as did the slightly less innocent characterization she gave it for the 70s. As to who could play Wonder Woman today, the field is full of beautiful, athletic women with some serious acting chops. Finding one that looks quite so much like a panel from a comic book brought to life may not be easy, but there are numerous possibilities. Examples include: Lucy Lawless Eliza Dushku Jennifer Garner Jessica Alba Rose McGowan (who should've been tapped to play Vampirella Instead of Talisia Soto)
A surprise ending that loses nothing after 1500 viewings!!
The most I ever had spending 17 years seeing the same movie over and over again. Getting to act out various aspects of my own persona by playing different characters from the film helped me figure out who I am. Indeed, one could say that I became at RHPS, that in many ways I was born there. God knows it certainly got me laid a lot. And winning 3 (count 'em, 3) lifetime passes didn't hurt when it came time to deal with the box office. At one of the theatres we used, the manager even let me have the area behind the screen as an office. I thinks RHPS's glory days may be past, but for the best possible reason... In this day and age, the doors are blown off of most of the closets. Even if you can't come out about whatever makes you feel alienated publicly, there's a Yahoo Club for you. The internet provides a level of fellowship while allowing anonymity so that you can let it all hang out without getting hanged out to dry. But for some of us, the illegitimate children of the damned who came of age in Richard O'Brien's rose-tinted world, the glory of the horror will never fade to black.
The Time Machine (2002)
I wish it wasn't so much fun
The thing about good science fiction is that it uses the framework of a story about some advance in science and the ramifications thereof to provide some education about the nature of the human condition. In the case of H.G. Wells novel "The Time Machine," there is a lesson to be learned about the artificial class division of the human race. This lesson is carried, more or less intact, into George Pal's film version. But it is utterly lacking in Simon Wells' version. The depiction of the upper class becoming so dependent upon the labor class that they are as helpless children is morphed into a story of beautiful aboriginines, living in harmony with nature.
By the way, what is the exact evolutionary advantage to having a brain that doesn't fit inside your skull? I mean, really. Part of this guy's brain is not only not protected by hard bone, it's acually exposed to open air!
Unfortunately, it very easy to forgive these things when a movie is this much fun. Plus, the hero got to fall in love with two women, each the loveliest of her era.
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
IMHO, the best of the Trek films yet
I can't really explain why without loading this commentary with spoilers, but I enjoyed this film more than any of the prior Star Trek movies. The film's characterization and dialogue (and, to a lesser extent, the plot's events) were full of nods to long-time fans. The downside of this is that first-time trekkers won't get as much out of it as I did. Numerous beautiful moments show that our beloved command crew is not some static entity... They have continued to grow both as individuals and as a family. And that is a big part of what has made the STNG franchise such a success. Despite their many years together, the core crew of the original series (with the exception of the Kirk/Spock/ McCoy triad) seemed like co-workers who got along pretty well. The core crew of Next Gen felt largely like a group of strangers at first, strangers who became friends. Then friends who became family. And their becoming has always been a process rather than a result. Nowhere is the process more clear than in Star Trek: Nemesis.
I've enjoyed all of the Trek films (well, except for Final Frontier), but Nemesis will be the first one that will actually own a copy of.
The Naked Man (1998)
The "Big Lebowski" of wrestling chiropractor movies!!
Quirky? You bet. This surreal tale of a man torn between two worlds is populated with supporting characters from both sides of the rainbow. The dialogue, the pacing, even the camera angles scream "Sit up straight for an evening of romance, revenge, and spinal integrity."