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5 reviews in total 
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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Nasty, brutal, and not much else., 8 June 2009

The Devil's Rejects follows a family of three serial killers. While on a violent road trip, they're pursued by a sheriff seeking revenge for the murder of his brother and seventy-four others.

As we'd expect, the movie is relentlessly gruesome and sadistic, never shying away from violence. People are nailed to chairs, impaled with a hatchet, and raped with the barrel of a gun. Even though its intention is to be unflinchingly brutal in its horror (and succeeds), The Devil's Rejects has none of the aspects that make a decent horror flick; it isn't scary or suspenseful, it's simply nasty. That might be appealing to some, but the rest of us expecting more won't get it.

The main characters are truly awful human beings, and it takes a much more skilled writer/director than Rob Zombie to keep us interested when we hate everyone. Sticking around for their comeuppance isn't worth it, either, since the sheriff has lost just as many of his marbles as the killers.

If there is a bright side, it's that the movie captures the feel of old exploitation films very well. And surprisingly enough, the acting isn't quite so bad, even good at times. The writing is clever every now and again, too, but it uses profanity as if Zombie had a quota to meet.

And whereas most homages are decent enough, this is almost as bad as the type of movies it shows affection for. Nothing redeems The Devil's Rejects. Those of use looking for something beyond gratuitous gore and sadism should stay away.

Tarzan (1999)
Great to look at and listen to, but formulaic and a little shallow., 8 June 2009

In Tarzan, the title character is adopted and raised by apes after his mother and father are killed. He feels as if he doesn't belong as he grows up, and these feelings come to the surface once humans arrive in the jungle.

The movie is beautifully animated. With lush backgrounds and creative character designs, the art style is eye-catching. Motion is fluid and a joy to watch during thrilling action sequences and Tarzan's movement like an animal.

Broadway-style singing is absent in this feature, replaced by background music that Phil Collins composed and sings. His lyrics narrate the story, and the tunes are catchy enough to stand well on their own. Voice acting is good, with Minnie Driver standing out as Jane, making her charming and likable. On the other hand, Rosie O'Donell as a gorilla named Terk is out of place and grating.

The storyline doesn't hold up well. Tarzan questioning his place among the apes is a good idea and the love story between him and Jane is cute, but neither is explored with enough depth. Comic relief sidekicks, the love story itself, and the final confrontation with the villain (who feels needless) point to a typical Disney formula. The third act with the bad guy is predictable and far too convenient.

However, Tarzan is still very entertaining, lightening things up with humor and action. It's delightful to look at, but probably won't be looked at as a classic.

Clerks (1994)
Highly profane, and highly entertaining., 3 June 2009

Dante works at a convenience store and Randal watches over a video rental place in Clerks. Over the course of a work day, they deal with many different bizarre customers and strange situations before finally getting to close up for the night.

The movie was shot on a very low budget in black and white, with almost documentary-style filming and amateur actors. Everyone does justice to their characters, but none of the acting rises above mediocre and at times it's obvious that these are only people reciting lines. The camera work is decent, though, and the style helps the acting feel more natural.

Even though the quality of the shooting and acting makes it seem like amateur hour-and-a-half, the writing is very good. The dialogue is clever and hilarious, making Dante and Randal seem like real, likable people. They'll discuss things like the deaths of the roofers working on the Death Star in Return of the Jedi and then deal with laugh-out-loud situations like staging a hockey game on the roofs of the stores. Even though most of Clerks is just watching people talk, it's actually interesting and manages to keep up a constant string of laughs.

Where it does falter is during Dante's girl troubles, which feel like feeble attempts at drama and, as a result, are boring to sit through and devoid of humor. It should be mentioned, too, that Clerks was nearly rated NC-17 for its highly profane language. Anyone easily offended should stay away. The low budget may be off-putting, also, but none of this makes it any less than one of the funniest comedies out there.

Enjoyable, if you can handle the content., 2 June 2009

Trainspotting is about Mark Renton, proud heroin addict, and his friends. When they're not getting into trouble, they're shooting up or just talking. There's no real story; the movie is more of a look into the lives of these junkies than anything else.

One of the main strengths of Trainspotting is that it only shows. It doesn't judge these people or the drug, it simply shows their lives and is careful not to take a side. But it doesn't pull any punches, either, so quite a few people won't want to watch the graphic heroin injections. The movie also goes too far at several points, showing both Renton taking a dump and a dead baby, just to disgust and shock the audience, it seems.

It's not an easy movie to sit through because of its graphic nature, but it can be likable as well. Despite obvious reasons to dislike the character, Ewan McGregor's performance as Renton makes him at least a little appealing. His witty and clever narration is very enjoyable, and the best part of the movie. A few chuckles are hidden here and there, and director Danny Boyle makes Trainspotting visually striking, particularly with creative hallucinations and fantasies.

But it's also rushed. Renton and his friends are barely established before things go wrong and change, while the third act seems to belong in another movie. As a whole, though, it's a picture that has quite a few things to enjoy, but not everyone will be able to sit through because of its content.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A new gangster classic, with great acting and plot., 2 June 2009

The Departed tells the story of two inside men: Billy Costigan, a cop inside Frank Costello's mob, and Colin Sullivan, the crime boss's mole in the police force. Their lives cross on opposite sides of the law, as one tries to bring Costello to justice and the other tries to prevent that by any means possible.

It's a movie about lies and deception, filled with blood, guts, and profanity. Living in secrecy takes a toll on the mental states of Costigan and Sullivan, both portrayed well by Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon. But without a doubt, Jack Nicholson as Costello is the best, being truly scary and delivering his lines with a menacing authenticity. The supporting cast is excellent, too, with Ray Winstone giving a standout performance as Costello's tough right-hand man.

Martin Scorsese's direction is as skillful as ever, with every scene being great to look at and the actors playing their roles flawlessly. The deeper the moles go, the more he ratchets up the suspense. The sky-high tension ensures The Departed is one of the most effective crime pictures of recent years.

But the effectiveness is diminished a bit by a minor flaw. The ending is nothing more than a bunch of people shooting each other in the end. It completely takes the whole thing off focus, and feels like a lazy way to finish up an otherwise extraordinary movie.