Reviews

3 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Scream Queens (2015–2016)
8/10
Welcome to the Slasher Universe
3 October 2015
This is clearly a show that some will appreciate and others will not. After reading some of the other reviews, maybe I like this show so much because I have never watched GLEE.

I think some reviewers have missed a couple things. First, this is not just a parody/homage to great horror movies. It is a parody of bad horror movies. Second, you're not in the real world anymore. You're in Slasher Universe, a universe of 1-dimensional characters, bad dialog, silly plots, terrible decision-making, and all the other horror conventions we've come to know and love. That this series of events could not possibly occur in the real world is exactly the point. This universe, while superficially similar to ours, operates very differently. It is populated by dumb jocks, corrupt or incompetent authority figures, earnest if clueless parents, killers in grotesque costumes, and of course SCREAM QUEENS. This is a show about clichés and conventions. If you have watched 3 slasher films in your life, then most everything in this show will seem familiar to you. To me, the silliness of the humor makes it more enjoyable than some of the poorly acted and directed movies that it satirizes.
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7/10
Lightweight but earnest social-consciousness fare, bears viewing.
20 March 2003
THE HEART OF DIXIE has been called lightweight social-consciousness fare. I would have to agree. If you know anything about the American civil rights movement you will not learn anything new from this movie. Nor will you meet any of the movement's historical figures. This film is not so much about the fight for equality as about the awakening of a new social consciousness in the South. The acting is solid (if melodramatic at times), and the film gives a glimpse of 1950's segregation and the lingering rigid social order of the Old South. A few scenes might be disturbing or offensive to some, but they don't strike me as being out of keeping with the setting and characters. Ally Sheedy is likeable as a southern everygirl journalism student who takes up the civil rights cause after coming face-to-face with the brutality of segregation. Virginia Madsen is believable as a traditional southern vamp, as is Treat Williams as Sheedy's photojournalist mentor. The remaining supporting cast is also credible as an assortment of good ol' boys, aristocrats, southern belles, and black laborers. I was greatly disappointed to find that Phoebe Cates plays only a minor role despite receiving 3rd billing. She is so appealing as outspoken, optimistic, free-spirited rebel Aiken Reed that you have to wonder why her character wasn't put to better use. As it is, she serves primarily as the symbol of a new southern womanhood, eager to throw off the societal mores that have held her back and yearning to come into her own.

There are certainly more powerful and compelling movies about the civil rights movement. Still, THE HEART OF DIXIE is an earnest little film that that bears viewing.
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4/10
Klunker that could have been gem.
17 March 2003
Siskel & Ebert have often said that they wish filmmakers would remake bad movies that had potential rather than update classics. DATE WITH AN ANGEL is one of those films that could easily be made into something much better. The opening and concluding scenes hint at the charming fantasy it could have been. Unfortunately, to get from beginning to end you have to slog through everything in between. The basic storyline isn't bad, although it could use a little reworking. Michael E. Knight is OK as the would-be composer who wakes up after his bachelor party to find an injured angel in his pool. Emmanuelle Beart is appealing as the angel. If you don't pay attention you might not notice that Phoebe Cates has the more striking features. Phil Brock, Albert Macklin, and Peter Kowanko are sufficiently amusing as Knight's scheming buddies, and David Dukes is the stereotypical conniving businessman.

The main problem with this movie is that it is populated by cardboard characters. Once you learn their respective niches they follow true to form. Phoebe Cates' talents are particularly wasted. She starts out as a real person but soon devolves into an ultra-spoiled, gin-fueled, jealousy-crazed maniac. I will say this for her, she gives it her all. The overacting is so pervasive (especially by Cates & Dukes) that I can't blame the actors. I have to think that the director hoped intensity would make up for tissue-thin characterizations. It doesn't.

In short, the filmmakers should have toned down the gags and noise in order to give the actors some real acting to do. I can't recommend DATE WITH AN ANGEL unless you are either a real fan of one of the actors or a sucker for romantic fantasy/comedies. This isn't a terrible movie, but it is a pity to see talent wasted on a klunker that could have been a small gem.
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