Reviews written by registered user
el7

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17 reviews in total 
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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Vastly Improved, 10 November 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ravenswood follows Pretty Little Liars regular Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn) from Rosewood PA to the nearby town of Ravenswood. Caleb arrives in town and instantly bonds with Miranda (Nicole Gale Anderson) a foster kid who has just discovered the town funeral director is her long lost uncle. The fast friends part makes more sense if you saw the back door pilot on Pretty Little Liars, in which Caleb and Miranda had a fairly long conversation about their respective pasts and Miranda further endeared herself to him by saving his girlfriend Hannah. The standard pilot, admittedly, has a certain campy far-fetched ambiance to it, with some lines of dialog that demand to be riffed upon. That kind of thing is like my catnip though, so I kept watching. I'm glad I didn't give up because episode three, Believe, is actually very good and bodes well for the future quality of this show. The curse that drives the plot is now developing recognizable parameters, the characters have developed distinct personalities with individual motivations, and the actors are developing a rapport that seems to be having a cascade effect on the quality of the dialog. I'm in for however many more episodes of this they make.

Ghost Shark (2013) (TV)
0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Watchably Hilarrible, 2 September 2013
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story goes that the screenplay for Ghost Shark was suggested by the 7 year old daughter of someone involved with its development. Have you ever watched Axe Cop? Then you know what sorts of logic-defying ideas can spring from the mind of a child. But then the idea is sieved through the minds of adults, and the result is a heavy helping of The Fog with a side order of Jaws and a dollop of Pet Cemetery. I won't spoil the raison d'etre for the ghost shark as it's one of the better/sillier things going on here. But the conceit is this: the shark's spirit can manifest itself in any body of water, no matter how small. It just can't emerge very far out of that water. So you have people prat-falling like Laurel and Hardy to get within reach of the shark in a lot of scenes. It's awesomely goofy. Check it out if you like this sort of thing.

Second Sight (2007) (TV)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not quite enough awesomely bad moments to save it., 1 August 2013
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Second Sight tells the story of a woman whose childhood trauma seems to be repeating itself in the form of mental breakdowns as an adult. Only, the screenplay makes the fatal mistake of literally telling the audience that this has happened instead of showing us. The childhood trauma was that her best friend was kidnapped and murdered, and somehow Jenny was able to see it even though she was not at the scene. Only, nobody will believe her. The way that she was able to see it, and is still able to see what's going on, has the stupidest non-explanation I've ever seen in a quasi- supernatural thriller. It's so stupid I laughed out loud. Then there's the fact that *(big old spoiler ahead but it's a pet peeve so I'm bringing it up)* you don't meet the killer until way into the film's runtime. I hate when the movie throws you a few red herrings to keep you guessing, only to show you a complete stranger's face at the reveal. If you're going to do that it had better be done with some style so that the viewer feels unnerved and thrown off balance. I just felt frustrated.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
I don't wanna be buried in a pet sematary., 12 October 2012
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"What you buy is what you own, and what you own always comes home to you." Jud Crandall (an excellent Fred Gwynne) says this to Louis Creed, and its an apt summation of what makes this film so scary. It's a faithful adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name, about an earnest doctor (Dale Midkiff as Creed) who moves his young family to a house right next to a two lane road frequented by 18 wheelers. His wife Rachel (Denise Crosby) has misgivings about the road, but the family meets friendly neighbor Jud and visits the charming pet cemetery on the other side of the property, and are won over. She should have been a lot more worried about that pet cemetery. As Jud starts spinning tales on his front porch, it comes out that it's right over the crest from an ancient burial ground with terrible powers. Dr. Creed starts falling down that slippery slope after his daughter's cat dies, and what results is a fascinating study in self-justifications from all of the adult characters. It's also spooky as hell. Just wait 'til you get a load of Zelda. The only spot that mars the perfect terror of this movie is (SPOILERS AHOY) that it's nearly impossible to be afraid of the kid. In places it's downright comical. Luckily the movie redeems itself with an awesome shocker of an ending.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Haunted House Freaky Deakiness, 17 June 2012
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Legend of Hill House tells a familiar story to anyone who has watched a haunted house flick or the SyFy channel over the last decade or so: a group of intrepid paranormal investigators sets up shop in a house rumored to be very dangerously haunted, hoping to at last record proof of life after death. Of course they get more than they bargained for. So why see this one? Mainly for some great performances. Roddy McDowell in particular turns in some spectacular acting as the survivor who returns for another round of terror. Although some of the special effects are dated (there is a scene with a possessed cat that might make some audience members titter) overall the production values are top notch for the era. The score is one of the spookiest I've ever heard. And the villain - you always need a great villain - is the freakiest freak that ever freaked. This movie is not safe for children! However (spoiler!) you are not going to believe this ghost's reason for being a super freak. It made me laugh out loud. If you like high camp you're going to love the revelation scene. If you don't, you might want to pretend the movie ended right before that scene. I have no reservations about recommending this movie regardless. It's a classic of the genre.

Happy Holidays!, 25 December 2011
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of my favorites episodes of this show. I won't go over the points the other posters have already made, mostly because this is all about Monica and Ross's dance routine for me. Monica and Ross are invited to a televised dance party as guests of Joey's love interest Janine (Elle McPherson). The siblings really really want to be chosen to perform on a platform, and they decide that a dance routine they invented for a grade school talent show is going to get them a spot. Well it does, but not for the reasons they intended. The episodes where the characters think back to their less glamorous pasts are always funny. This is perfect viewing for the wee hours of New Year's Day.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
This Road Comedy is as silly as they come., 30 September 2011

This all-star Road Comedy headlined by Burt Reynolds in his prime is basically an extended chase movie punctuated by punchlines. It's like Smokey and the Bandit and It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World got stoned and had a love child. The basic plot is actually based on a real outlaw cross-country race, but that's as close to reality as this movie ever comes, and that's a blessing, because this is not the film you want to be watching when you're in the mood for something gritty. This is the perfect movie for a TV party line-up. It's actually even better when viewed on basic cable, because some of the dubs they came up with to cover the swear words are pure genius. "Crumb bun" is just the least of them.

Swamp Shark (2011) (TV)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Silly Good Fun, 26 June 2011
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Swamp Shark is a SyFy Original Picture, and in spite of not being particularly shocking or scary, it's still highly watchable. The plot concerns a dastardly sheriff who releases a man-eating shark into the bayou, and the subsequent attempts of a brave local family to remove the thing before it eats too many of their establishment's customers. Robert Davi plays the heavy with gleeful malevolence, Kristy Swanson is back in heroic form as the head of the family, and D.B. Sweeney lends his affable charm to a mysterious role that becomes quite clear the first time you see him using a zoom lens.

The shark is actually rather effective through most of the first two thirds of the movie. The filmmakers take a cue from Jaws and don't show too much of it, mostly a fin slicing through the water and the occasional dappled view of it (rendered in CGI of course) gliding through shadows underwater. It works, right up until the end when it finally launches itself out of the murk and into clear view, at which point it's as realistic looking as any SyFy Original Pictures CGI monster, which is to say: not in the slightest.

But most people who tune in for these flicks aren't there for the thrills and chills anyway. We're there to watch familiar actors chew up the scenery in a goofy monster movie, and on that score, Swamp Shark completely delivers.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
You Will Guess Most of the Fake Ones, 13 May 2011
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This only takes some of the enjoyment out of this Canadian import currently airing on the SyFy channel. They are still interestingly told, especially since you've heard about them before and wondered for yourself if they're true or not. Each episode has three main stories told in some detail, at least one of which is fake, along with a couple of filler stories ("mini-myths") told in broad strokes.

Ironically, the silly filler stories told with bobble-head Photoshop animation are harder to guess correctly. They sound ridiculous to a fault, but they are as likely to be true as not. It's amazing how often truth is stranger than fiction. The show offers swifter gratification on the outcome of the mini-myths, revealing the truth after the commercial break, while waiting until the episode's end for the reveal on the three main myths.

The three main event stories, however, are much, much easier to guess. The giveaway is the actors. The Canadian actors in the interview sections just cannot hide their pronunciation of "about." It sounds like "aboat." Every time I hear that distinctive pronunciation from a supposed interviewee, I am sure the story is fake, and lo and behold, it is.

This is still a good show to have on in the background while you're doing other things. It's a good conversation starter.

Insidious (2010/I)
6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
I Wanna See It Again, 7 April 2011
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Only next time I won't be hiding behind my bag of popcorn for most of the movie. Insidious tells a tale about a family who flees their haunted house, only to discover that it was never actually the house that was haunted. The proceedings follow a familiar path to anyone who has seen classics of this genre like The Haunting and Poltergeist, but it tells it so much better than similar films of more recent vintage. Right out of the gate it spooked me. I can't think of another movie that grabbed me by the throat quite that fast that I've seen in a theater recently. A good bit of the credit for that goes to Joseph Bishara, who wrote a score that skittered up my spine like a spider. Director James Wan also made great use of shadows and unexpected juxtapositions, and just created such an all-around sense of dread that even when you're pretty sure you know what's about to happen, it's still freaking scary when it does. Leigh Whannell hits all the marks for an Old Dark House movie, and layers it with believable middle class family pathos. The actors all fill out their roles sympathetically, and Lin Shaye in particular knocks it out of the park as the psychic who tries to help the family. The only flaw I can see here is that the way the story plays out is not really going to surprise anyone familiar with this genre. If you watch a lot of haunted house horror, I'll bet you even guess the twist. However, it's all told so very, very well that I'll only take away one point for that. Highly recommended!


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