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93 reviews in total 
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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Superb anime., 6 April 2005

Whether or not you'll enjoy a movie like this mostly depends on whether or not you're an anime fan. Personally I enjoy most anime -- obviously "Akira" is a fantastic movie, and Hayao Miyazaki has recently enjoyed massive success with his anime masterpieces "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away". Some people are put off by the weird creatures and the sometimes bad quality of the animation. Also, dubbing is never a good idea and most people are unwilling to deal with subtitles.

But if you are an anime fan, I definitely recommend checking this movie out. It's pretty much your standard post-apocalyptic, supernatural battle-to-the-death, with great characters and an interesting storyline. Vampire Hunter D is a very tough, emotionally-scarred vampire hunter who is basically a good guy but in some ways a bit of anti-hero (which is always nice). Oh, and he has a talking hand.

Vampire Hunter D is hired by a young girl to track down a vampire who has bitten her and destroy him. He has to fight a seemingly impossible battle to kill this powerful vampire, and there are plenty of great visual ideas along the way. It's the kind of thing that could possibly become a very entertaining, CGI-heavy Hollywood re-make someday, and the odds of that happening become increasingly likely as time goes on. All in all, this is a perfectly decent anime -- not the best I've seen, but fans of that genre will definitely find something to enjoy here.

Waxwork (1988)
16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Decent teen horror movie., 6 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The teen comedy horror genre isn't exactly popular with the critics. But people watch them because, well, they can be fun. And that's just what this is. Nice, neat fun.

It's especially impressive considering it's from a first-time writer/director, Anthony Hickox, who later went on to make decent werewolf TV movie "Full Eclipse" in 1993. Here he gives his own homage to a wide variety of horror movies. You've got your werewolf movie (the very first waxwork, incidentally), your vampire movie, mummies, zombies and an trashy period piece about the Marquis de Sade ... all of these are in waxwork museum along with brief appearances from aliens, Jack the Ripper and more.

At first I expected it just to be a "Dr Terror's House of Horror" style piece with six different stories involved, but it turns out the film has more than enough original ideas to keep itself going. It all ends with every waxwork piece in the place coming to life for a final battle. Which is nice. The actors playing the teenagers all give fairly decent, entertaining performances and you have notable cameos from the likes of Miles O'Keeffe, John Rhys-Davies (as the werewolf), David Warner and Patrick Macnee (who was in "The Howling"). The script is pretty well structured and very little about the storyline is disappointing.

All in all, this is among the most entertaining movies I've seen in a while, and I'd recommend it if you're after an ninety minutes of light-hearted, slightly twisted enjoyment.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good for fans ..., 6 April 2005

Okay, okay ... first the good stuff. Some of the colors here are very cool, particularly the intense greens and blues in Dracula's castle. But that's not what Scooby-Doo is about, right? It's about corny jokes, frightened squeals and Ghostbuster-style monsters. And there's plenty of that here, if that's what you want. Many of the usual cast -- Fred, Velma and Daphne -- are Missing In Action, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

But for those of us who aren't huge fans of the cartoon, there's really not much appeal. The monster race takes up about 50% of the movie, simply Shaggy and Scooby driving along while Dracula continually thinks up new ways for him and his cronies to stop them. As soon as they get past each of the obstacles, they're straight in the lead again. And that's pretty much what this movie has to offer. Well ... I say 'movie' ... really it's just an extended cartoon episode. There's nothing here to suggest that it's a departure from that, aside from the running time. Don't get me wrong -- I don't mind Scooby in small doses, but ninety minutes of this was just about all I could take without my brain melting.

Good for big fans, and maybe for kids, but not much appeal for anyone else.

Full Eclipse (1993) (TV)
8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
An enjoyable werewolf action movie., 6 April 2005

This action-packed thriller is more of a twist on the traditional LAPD action movie rather than a twist on the werewolf movie. It's starts off with two cops, Max Dire and his partner, and his partner is telling him how he's going to quit the force and get married. And he gets shot in the first ten minutes. Also, Max himself has a troubled marriage. But just as I was about to sit back and let ninety minutes of cop movie clichés wash over me, the movie goes in several new and interesting directions ... it's not great, but it definitely kept me entertained.

It comes from director Anthony Hickox, who's first movie was Waxwork in 1988 (which also featured werewolves), and he does a particularly good job here at emulating John Woo -- the action sequences are very exciting, adrenaline-fueled affairs and in the other scenes there are plenty of close ups and interesting sound effects to set the mood of the movie. Mario Van Peebles does his usual action hero thing with great flare, and Bruce Payne makes an excellent villain as Mr A Garou (Garou is French for werewolf, see -- pretty much the only high-brow werewolf reference in the movie). All in all, the directing is expertly done, the script is decent enough and the acting is competent.

But as a movie, it has it's problems. It doesn't really pick up it's pace until the the second half, when Max Dire becomes one of the pack, and that's when things really start to get interesting. The characters aren't really that likable or original, although the cast on the whole do their best. But as a pilot for a TV series, it almost works, and that's what I initially presumed this was. Or perhaps it just sets itself up for future movies. Who knows. If it was intended as a pilot, that kind of explains why the first forty minutes of the movie are so dull.

In conclusion, it's a fairly entertaining movie elevated by some great directing, but the storyline could definitely have used a bit more work. If you're in the mood for a decent action movie, this is one that I might recommend.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Interesting surreal animation., 6 April 2005

There's really not a whole lot you say about a 4-minute cartoon, but here goes ... a young guy goes into a haunted house, and sees a bunch of weird and spooky stuff. It's all very artistic and surreal, and the sound effects are pretty cool.

He moves through the doors and windows of the house and sees plenty of peculiar scenes, include a Wolf Man, a man experimenting with some kind of electricity, and a crazy surgeon doing some, erm, drastic operations. At the end of the cartoon, he hides behind a curtain from the surgeon (Ha! It rhymes!) but then the deformed 'patients', or 'donors', discover where he is hiding, and the last thing we hear is a blood-curdling scream ...

Pretty haunting stuff.

Wolf (1994)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Among the best of Mike Nichol's later movies., 6 April 2005

A werewolf movie starring Jack Nicholson? Sounds great! But what's that? Set in a publishing company? How is that going to work? Well, the truth is it works surprisingly well. Nicholson plays an editor who is being replaced by a younger, more ruthless man at his company. At first he's ready to simply accept it with quiet dignity, but as he's been bitten by a wolf the night before, he begins to undergo some radical changes and suddenly finds himself having the energy to fight for his position at the company and for the love of his boss' daughter. However, he also finds that he has the urge to hunt and kill at nighttime, and becomes terrified of the monster he carries inside. It's really an intelligent little story about a kind of mid-life crisis which was appreciated by the likes of Roger Ebert and various other respected film buffs.

However ... critics aside, this isn't exactly a very popular movie. Most people just find it dull and uninteresting, with elements of several genres thrown together in a big mess. I can kind of see where they're coming from ... it's a little dull in places, and probably could have been cut down by at least fifteen minutes or so, but to be honest I was never that bored watching it. Wolf is much more intelligent than most werewolf movies, and does have a few interesting ideas and metaphors that haven't really been done before in werewolf movies. The ending is a little peculiar, and in a completely different tone to the rest of the movie, but it's made up for by a pretty cool twist.

The reason Mike Nichols is such a hit-and-miss director is because he seems to make films that he cares about, which aren't necessarily aimed at a particular audience. Generally they do seem to find one somewhere, though, and I expect there are plenty of people out there who will enjoy this film as much as I did, or even more. Jack Nicholson is great as always. There are moments of that old hilarious, energetic Jack that we saw a lot of through the seventies and eighties, but mostly it's the sombre, ageing character that he often gets cast as these days. He does both of them very well, and I don't think anyone else would have been more suited for the part. James Spader is good is the slimy villain of the story, and Michelle Pfeiffer is her usual confident femme fatale character.

Though it may not be everyone's cup of tea, Wolf is a smart, fairly enjoyable twist on the werewolf genre.

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Not bad, but ..., 6 April 2005

"Wilderness" was originally aired as a UK mini-series and ran for a total of 174 minutes. Unfortunately, the version I saw was a movie edited together from the series which runs for only 100 minutes or so, which means there was over an hour of material missing -- so bear in mind that this is a review of the edited movie rather than the series.

It's immediately apparent from watching Wilderness that it's based on a novel, and fact is you probably already know the story. There's a whole bunch of books of the same type -- a woman has been living as a werewolf since she hit puberty, which causes problems in her relationships so she goes to see a psychiatrist and there's this guy that she really likes but she's scared he won't understand and he has this ex-wife who's a complete bitch and ... yeah, it sounds like popular British fiction alright, and if you're familiar with it you can predict all of the twists and turns here a while before they actually happen.

The directing feels like your average UK TV series, and so does the acting. Everyone does an okay job, but the real stand-out performance would have to be from Michael Kitchen as the suffering psychiatrist who becomes increasingly unhinged as the story goes on. The fact that there's an hour missing explains why the pacing is all wrong, I guess, and it's possible that I would have enjoyed this a lot more in it's original form as a mini-series.

I wouldn't generally recommend this unless you're a big fan of British TV. You may want to check out the mini-series if you ever get a chance, though.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A bit of fun ... but nothing compared to the original., 6 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We open in Paris ... the camera pans over the Gothic arches as atmospheric, haunting choir music plays in the background. A man dressed in a lab coat bursts out of the sewers pursued by someone or something. He calls out to a nearby taxi, but as he flees towards it some kind of beast leaps out from a nearby grate, grabs him, and drags him down into the sewers to meet his gruesome fate. Yum. Nice opening.

The general rule of sequels made this long after the original is that they're just cashing on the success of the others, and they really ain't good. Look at The Godfather III or the Star Wars prequels as the best examples. But is this one going to break the mould? An American jock called Andy McDermott is on a 'daredevil' tour of Europe with three friends. He decides he's going to bungee jump off the Eiffel tower for a stunt, but there he meets a girl named Serafine who is committing suicide, and he rescues her with the help of his bungee cord in a pretty neat sequence. As it turns out, this girl is the product of that steamy little shower scene in the original movie and has inherited some of her fathers traits. The title is probably the smartest thing about this movie. It is of course a reference to the original, but also it references the 1951 Gene Kelly classic "An American in Paris". Smart. If only good titles made good films, they'd be sorted.

As a result of all this stuff I mentioned so far, I do enjoy this movie more than I like to admit. But unfortunately, I think that's pretty much all the original ideas that this movie has. After that we're left with basically a teen comedy, with no real horror scenes, plenty of boredom and no sense of continuity. D'oh! There's not a whole lot of respect for the original either. For example, in the original the victims of th e werewolf remained in limbo until the wolfs bloodline was severed. Here, all they need is for the one werewolf who killed them to die. Hmm.

It's a real shame, because the seeds were all here for a good sequel, aside from that terrible decision to use completely CGI werewolves (what were they thinking???). The cast are all pretty decent ... Tom Everett Scott was actually an okay choice for the lead in my opinion, as he does remind me of David Naughton sometimes. Julie Delpy is always great as the mysterious female character, a lot like Emmanuelle Seigner in The Ninth Gate.

An American Werewolf in Paris does have it's moments, certainly, but it could have been a whole lot better.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Worse than the original ..., 6 April 2005

Okay, it's confession time. There's a part of me that really enjoys these movies. Like many of my generation, I grew up playing the games, and they were definitely among my favourites. I saw the first "Mortal Kombat" when I was about twelve or so, and at the time really I enjoyed it. And now, many years later, I've finally got round to watching the sequel.

The first "Mortal Kombat" at least tries to pass itself off as a film ... but there's none of that here. This movie is a feature length, non-interactive computer game. Only most computer games have better scripts. Okay, that's a little harsh ... some computer games have better scripts. I was prepared enjoy this movie, but that wasn't helped by the fact that Johnny Cage, the most interesting character from the original, is killed off in the first five minutes. The little kid in me screamed "How dare they!" when that happened.

We have a few new characters introduced ... there's a black guy with steel arms, some Chinese chick, another girl with four arms, and scorpion and sub zero's brothers pop in for quick visit too. The big baddie, Khan, is played by Brian Thompson who you'll probably recognised as the alien bounty hunter from the X-files, various roles on Buffy, a role on the TV series "Werewolf", or various other cult appearances. He along with the rest of the cast give the appropriate over-the-top performances. I mean, what else could they do? Ten to twelve year old boys might enjoy this movie, and I know I probably would have at that age. But it's far too silly for everyone else.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A failed attempt., 6 April 2005

The premise of this movie is simple -- it's a werewolf story for the new teen generation.

It's not a bad attempt at this ... it's just not particularly good. It came out at the same time as "Frankenstein Reborn!", which was attempting to do the same with that story. Both are aimed at a fairly young audience, so neither of them are all that horrifying and they both feature teenage girl protagonists. Basically, they're TV movies, and pretty average ones at that. There's some good stuff here, but it's outweighed by the mediocre.

Robin Atkin Downes does a great job as the lycanthropic uncle, and Len Lesser (of Seinfeld fame) is pretty good as the unbelieving inspector. The special effects aren't bad at all. It's difficult to think of anything else about the movie which is remarkable, in the same way that it's difficult to pick out anything worth criticising.

It's okay for 12-14 year olds who are interested in the genre, but even they might find it a little boring, and there's very little here for anyone else. It's certainly not a movie I'll be watching again any time soon.

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