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Vanishing on 7th Street (2010)
Tight little cast!
The comparison has been made: this movie is like The Mist! And, I agree.
I loved The Mist and I love this. The Mist was a significantly more expensive movie but the special effects were great and there was a lot of character interaction. This movie is very small but there are still great dynamics between the main characters.
One of the major differences in the story, though, is the relative lack of exposition. Didn't you want to know what the messages were about, whether these are real mysteries instead of pure fiction? I did. But, I didn't get a chance to write down the name of the thing allegedly leaving the message, and so haven't followed up on it yet.
The feeling I had watching the movie was that I was watching one of the writers of The Outer Limits' short stories put into a feature-length film. Sadly, the DVD I purchased didn't have more in the extras to help us out.
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Dustin Hoffman makes a literal splash!
I suspect that I am the only person who doesn't see this movie as a comedy at all, and that may be why it is the only Will Farrell movie I have actually enjoyed. I give the film an unskimping 10 out of 10 for being a brilliantly performed and captured tragedy that ends with hope.
Not only does the script and direction really allow Will Farrell to live up to Tom Hanks' praise, but it is perhaps the one motion picture where Dustin Hoffman makes a literal splash on camera!
Tenderness, kindness, desire to be good, and heroism made this viewing a one of a kind achievement that I am so glad I did not pass up.
Perhaps, this explains my choice of flicks within any genre.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Very well done - but you have to look at it through the right lens
This was written, directed and acted as a teen-comic romp but I can't help thinking of Robin Williams complaint to a comedy club in, was it, Vancouver, BC? "I did the same act before Mork and you hated me!" Looking back, what did we have here? A stellar cast and crew! Joss Whedon writing, Donald Sutherland, Rutger Hauer, Paul Reubens (playing the dark side of Pee-Wee Herman), then teen-idol Luke Perry (doing an impressive James Dean, or does he always act that way), Hilary Swank, Thomas Jane, and some very special acting from David Arquette, and I believe it is Sasha Jensen, who played newbie vampires either euphorically, or invincibly ~ both being reasonable positions when you discover you now have unbelievable powers. Oh, and did you see Ben Affleck and Seth Green? They aren't credited but they're in there.
Stephen Root baffles me here because of a striking resemblance to Randy Quaid but his role as the completely socially-detached school principal was something I could see Quaid doing. Some reviewers are obviously ahead of me on that one.
If the movie isn't already a cult classic, it will be! It would be a mistake to view this film as a serious horror. It is a definite spin on the vampire genre, but neither corn-ball or excessively violent.. instead the movie plays it as a subtle comedy. The only truly hammy scene comes when Paul Reubens gets staked and then it was so deliberate I can't fault it but rather cherish it.
Very sharp cinematography. One clear homage to Lost Boys. Scenes that I will never forget simply because they could never happen in real life (thinking especially of "Benny").
Lastly, Kristy Swanson, definitely in fine athletic form, with some of her own cart-wheels and a clear transformation from valley-girl into someone who suddenly sees the big picture.
The Rapture (1991)
After reading so many good reviews, I purchased this film with great expectations. No marfulled is not a word. Nonsense seems to fit this otherwise alarming depiction of the writer/director's view of pre-tribulationists; christians who believe that they will be spared from the wrath God will pour out on the earth.
No, it is not the nudity or unabashed sex that ruined the movie. But, the idea that Christ's followers would be so uncaring as to allow one of their own to enter into a situation that would compromise their faith.
Yes, Mimi Rogers did put in a great performance. In fact, the whole cast. And it was interesting to see a younger Will Patton in a role. Still, no, I wouldn't recommend this movie to Christians or non-christians. I really do think Christians would be disappointed and certainly non-christians would be misled.
This movie suffers from a low budget.
It seems almost unfair to criticize other elements because with better production values many of the faults simply wouldn't exist. Think of the Mission Impossible TV series compared to even the oldest of Bond films made in that time period.
The truly substandard element in the production is the faster-than-light running. It is just fast-motion movie magic of a man jogging, not running. Jason Connery's 'acting' is fine. Lee Majors 'acting' is fine. But, to really enjoy this picture, you have to suspend a lot of disbelief. And, that isn't easily done.
There are weaknesses in the Python-Lightspeed story-line. Python: code-name for an industrial terrorist, who just happens to be a man turning into a snake (and this hearkens back to the movie Sssssss) might be stronger than Lightspeed but there are inconsistencies. In no way could he be as fast, even as a fully-developed reptile, which he isn't. And, if we were to follow that idea to its logical end, after he did expend the energy to move faster than men, he would need to stop for lengths of time to recharge his anaerobic reptilian muscles.
In some ways, Lightspeed (the movie), suffers from being live-action on a very limited budget. But, let's face it - animations just aren't as much fun, and animations take longer. This is a quick-and-dirty TV movie.
12 years later, I took the video out and watched it again, and would you believe it? Tim Burton's film-noir has become a classic! Not only do we see the batman stirring fear into the hearts of crooks, which was the costume's intent, but we have been left with a motion-picture score that Danny Elfman didn't match again until Spider-man.
Out of all the Batman films that came after, this one is still my personal favourite. Why? Because of the sophistication of Bruce Wayne's equipment compared to the time period. Because of the twist in character that allowed a wealthy industrial magnate to create a force that could only be called a superhero in a world where there were no superheroes.
And, we're treated to a menace in everyway the Batman's rival, when Jack Nicholson steps out as Joker; a psychopath who kills and disfigures for pleasure. All told, the cast, the story, the direction and the production make this truly movie entertainment. Watch it at night in a dark room. You won't be sorry.
I am amazed by all of the positive reviews for this B-Movie. So much so that I intend on viewing this again.
I suppose I should mention that I studied herpetology as a kid and am not afraid of reptiles - lizards are still my favourite animal. The Freak Show was a little unsettling but not equal to 'The Funhouse'. Strother Martin was a character actor whose disposition was always on the likable side, and Dirk Benedict later went on to be the original "Starbuck" on 'Battlestar Galactica' (I always thought they named the franchise after him).
The story is very simple. It might have made a fair short story. I won't repeat the plot because many other reviewers have covered it.
What amazes me about this picture is the nostalgic loyalty that is admitted by the many reviewers here. I see so many negative, and frankly unhelpful, reviews these days. My guess is that this movie defines the youth of the younger set of baby-boomers and that is quite a comment in itself.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
From Screen Rant..
For me, 3.5 out of 5 translates into 7 out of 10, and no, I can't agree with that I'd have to give this beast a 5 out of 5. Actually, a 9 out of 10, losing 1 point because it was only incredibly entertaining and had a plot line that held together. But, getting that 10, is hard.
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS
but I want to say this first! The acting was picture-perfect. This reminds me of Richard Donner's post-production remark, in gist: "I guess Marlon Brando was worth the money." Perhaps I shouldn't put quotes around that, but that is what he meant. It pays to have talent and these people so earned. I agree, a half-naked Whiplash didn't seem believable Favreau and Rourke MADE it believable. The burning underneath relationship between fickle Tony and over-burdened Potts was believable. I really didn't believe Scarlet could pull off Black Widow.. but, boy, oh boy, did she pull off Black Widow, leaving me wanting more. I so wish I could say that about the former Spider-Man series! And, then there is Sam Rockwell's smarmy Stark competition, Justin Hammer.. very well played, sir. Sam is going places. We first saw him as the sneak in Charlie's Angels playing the victim to be revealed as the espionage snake, I saw him help beat a drug-wasted art celebrity to near unconsciousness in Basquiat. He's clearly doing things, be it Moon or otherwise. Very nice interplay within the cast. And Cheadle came through for us as the seamless replacement. Lessening my concern over the Edward Norton / Mark Ruffalo affair. Director Favreau, Happy, Foggy Nelson, +1, when are you going to return to your role in Dare Devil, I miss you (and that cast)!
and then there is the tiny role of Nick Fury.. actually, I am disappointed with the one-eyed Jackson in this. Maybe he isn't being given enough room to role but Marvel should have went with the original image.. no sense of Nick's toughness here.. I really hope he changes this in the Nick Fury Movie, if that ever happens.
but blink and that is really a very small part. I loved the timing and the story here. IM2 supersedes 1!! And as I say this I know there are other opinions: the hard-ass action all the way folks won't agree. Fine. Look at the story: Iron Man's dad has a greater vision but his creative partner in the formulation of the ark reactor did too. In a sense, Iron Man is Howard Stark's creation but Whiplash was his partner's. There is the idea of connectivity and karma here: what goes around, comes around.. sins of the fathers kind of thing.. not developed enough to bring that solid 10 out of 10 but close. And Whiplash is brilliant and not dead at the end of the flick either. Captain America's unexplained shield. And, Thor's hammer. All on a time-line preceding The Incredible Hulk.
I also loved the idea that Tony was dying from essentially metal poisoning via the battery implant (the alcoholic gig just wasn't palatable), that SHIELD is aware of it, and that Tony has issues with his past relationship with his father. Nice writing there! Frankly, Batman TDK does not hold up to this cinema. The writing, the acting, the film-making is better here. I really hope this is not Marvel's highest peak but just the start of a sustained plateau. Film-making is getting smarter.
Simply Irresistible (1999)
I can't believe the ratings collected on this movie!
This is Sarah Michelle Gellar's best movie! Unpretentious, genuine young lady battling the reality of small business and about to see her whole world go down the kitchen drain when she is saved by wonder.
And that is what this story is about wonder.. and food.
For me the details are everything. The plot is simple and that is probably what disturbs a number of the reviewers.. but they admit it themselves.. and they can't put their finger on it. Here we finally have a story where everything suddenly goes right. And wouldn't you like that to happen to you at least once! The movie has name players but not A-listers. The story features a great deal to do with savouring the taste of food, and who would go to see a movie based on food? Yet.. there are few pictures I enjoy more than this one. I am not a SMG fan, but in this motion picture Sarah is absolutely perfectly cast. It is her 13 Going On 30 role!
Nearly a 10!!
Seabiscuit is already a classic. Sensitive film-making, interesting interplay of characters, action, humour, realism.. the things that would move a 7 to an 8.. but this movie is a 9. Why? History. There is a thesis in this picture: I learnt something interesting and thoughtful while watching and, while not suspenseful, I was kept glued right to the ending! Casting has an impressive collection of actors assembled as well -- This is, very possibly, Tobey Maguire's best picture as we see him both visually and emotionally as a very different person.
Jeff Bridges plays a very rounded character, one of the three most central protagonists.
And, Chris Cooper does a surprising turn as the third member in this mix.
Add to this, William H. Macy's believable broadcaster's persona, and a real speaking part for Spiderman's Elizabeth Banks! But the real treat is the interplay of narration and stills used throughout the film tying us into the history of the assembly-line, the Great Depression, American horse-racing and that era's social consciousness. Definitely worth seeing!!