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20 reviews in total 
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Skyline (2010)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Skyline breaks the invasion movie mold, 19 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS - if you haven't seen Skyline, Don't READ AHEAD!!

Okay, it starts with same deal as Independence Day and War of the Worlds. Menacing ships hover above the city, panic ensues. Now Randy Quaid flew his plane into the laser port of the mother ships in ID4,and both human germs and rocket fire beat the tripods in WoTW. 'Cept this time, in Skyline, these things don't get damaged by our weapons. We all cheered when the UAV drone survived the gauntlet and fired the low-yield nuke into the ship. It wobbles and crashes, YAY!!! But then - and this was a painful moment - the dam thing reassembles itself with nano technology... NO!! The ships don't register damage from missiles; even the biological meat-slab monsters survive point-blank RPGs, and when a heroic F-22 pours cannon fire into one, gets waxed, and crashes into the burger being, IT STILL DOESN'T DIE!!!! Well, let's allow the propane to fill the room, light a match to vape the place and take yourself along with it - sorry NO EFFECT!! None of the main characters get it easy, except for the pregnant woman at the end who is "spared". Skyline takes a "realistic" approach to how an invasion by extraterrestrials would actually pan out in terms of there being no contest.

Skyline takes us into the motive of the aliens, something which not too many other alien invasion movies do. Yeah, we are usually told or it's hinted at, but never shown. The jarring sight of seeing ... ewww... brains and spinal cords removed and implanted into the dormant burger beings - - so THATS why they're here... Remember the scenes in The Animatrix with the machines using catatonic humans as guinea pigs. After years of seeing the humans prevail against the aliens, this time NOTHING works. Heck 2009 and 2010 have seen that theme played out - human paramilitary guys get wiped out by the Navi in Avatar, and the prawns in District 9 kind of beat the police at the end.

For my tastes, Skyline wouldn't have been any better if the "beautiful party people/melodrama and infidelity" first act was absent or changed. I would have liked to see us get to actually know and care about the characters, but that wouldn't have changed the idea of "nothing can stop the aliens; no, sorry moviegoers, we don't win this time." A pretty good spin on the usual "Humanity triumphs" ending.

Epoch: Evolution (2003) (TV)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
E.E. ain't so bad, 8 August 2009

Okay, so this movie, shot on location in Europe, was direct to video. The special effects are passable and the plot will mostly pass muster. Great to see Billy D, David Keith, and Angel Boris on screen. While E-E doesn't break any new ground by recycling themes from Alien, The Rock, and Independence Day, as well as trying to pass off clearly European actors/extras as US soldiers, the plot point were interesting enough to keep me hooked. Also we get a break some seeing the same old familiar actors of A-list Hollywood populate the screen, a welcome selling point for me.

The worst part for me was the *terrible* recreation of UH-60 Black Hawk cabin/seating area. OMG the producers built massively unrealistic studio sets to stand in for the interior. Quite blatantly cheap-o!

Ek Ajnabee (2005)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Rip off? Ek Ajnabee holds its own., 15 January 2007

Ek Ajanbee is a great movie! I mean, c'mon! High production value, awesome scenery, and very clever camera work. I was impressed, and even though I had already seen Man on Fire , and was aware this was a remake of it, Ek Ajnabee held its own plenty. I know that a lot of people on these boards are saying that it is a "rip-off", "this is Bollywood at its worst", and other mindless comments, they fail to realize a few key points. As far as I'm concerned, everyone knows that USA's Hollywood is king of the hill due to the sheer amount of money that is available. But India's movie industry may not have the same worldwide recognition as we do, but that doesn't mean their movies are crap. Think about how much foreign talent comes to the USA (Ridley Scott, Colin Farrel, etc) - this virtually annihilates the talent pool in their home countries, and they come here to act and direct under the banner of Hollywood. SO the USA just has it that good. A lot of Indian flicks (lol, I just thought about it - "Indie flicks". LOL!!) borrow heavily from established USA movies, that's obvious. But they aren't ripping off Hollywood, they're using tried and true formulas that sell tickets over here! Ek Ajnabee is not a virtual copy of Man on Fire, although it is awfully similar. But it has its own plot twists and new characters that make it unique. I liked the movie for several reasons - the "Creasy" character (who's name I can't type or pronounce) has awesome screen presence, the Paul Stanley (his buddy) looking guy made an awesome villain at the end, and it managed to be a fierce and powerful thriller without any profanities.

Okay, so I did think that Ek Ajnabee was a bit TOO stylized (too many complicated camera edits, over-the-top dialogue, people calmly walking in slow motion away from cars as they explode, the hokey special forces flashback scene and, oh yeah - the bad guys just happen to drive a 1970 Pontiac GTO that wouldn't be very hard to spot in Asia!!), but then again most movies that we are familiar with are too, i.e. the US version of Man On Fire, Catwoman, Armageddon, or any other bug dumb action movie... I wasn't sure what to think when the movie turned into a music video halfway through, and the coda scene "15 years later", the lead character looks EXACTLY the same and is still wearing the same sunglasses!!! Still, I was pleased with Ek Ajnabee - and I'll watch it again.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A well done TV-movie, 26 November 2006

I first watched this movie several years ago cuz it had Rutger Hauer in it, and I had liked his performance in Blade Runner. I had also taken a liking to Schindler's List, and I was aiming to explore similar movies dealing with the WW2 death camps (and there's only a handful of them out there).

There are some scenes that could have used some polishing up, or seem to have been prepared too hastily. I am under the impression that not enough time was given to developing the Nazi camp staff; we know that they're evil, but a bit more attention to their personalities and specific roles in the camp wouldn't have hurt. I would have like to have seen more focus on Sasha's (Hauer's character) fellow captive soldiers and their involvement in the escape preparation.

Escape from Sobibor certainly "shows" itself as a 1980s made-for-TV production, in terms of filming techniques and a lower-budget kind of feel. Nevertheless, the interaction between Hauer and Alan Arkin (the civilian leader of the escape) is solid, and the supporting characters (especially the guy who looks a lot like Fred Ward) come across as very likable. The death camp looks eerily authentic and resembles images I have seen in history books and documentaries. The concerns of life and death voiced by the Jews truly hits home, and the final 15 minutes of the escape are emotionally striking. The narration which describes the fates of some of the key survivors of the ordeal perfectly brings the movie to a close.

I give Escape from Sobibor a 7 because of its honest and poignant subject matter. If you haven't seen it, definitely give it a look.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Perfect Film, 6 July 2005

The Right Stuff accomplishes everything it sets out to do. I cannot think of another movie off the top of my head that can meet the same claim, but there are others, few and far between. What's so great about this film? Without getting into too much detail, it goes over the top - and succeeds. Batman (1989) did the same, as did Dr. Strangelove (1964). From the dramatic monologues and heroic score, The Right Stuff pays tribute to an equally dramatic and heroic period in our history.

I must admit that this statement is of minimal scientific value - there is no formula that makes the early days of the space program heroic or whatever. It's simply the historical perception that seems to have attached itself over time to the era. Director Phil Kaufman used this notion to the fullest extent - it is apparent in the recurring and very catchy techno/orchestral score, the cinematography, and the stellar personalities of the main characters (Gordo Cooper, John Glenn, and Chuck Yeager). While the most romantic aspects of the test pilots and astronauts, space flight, and the dangers they faced are indeed overdramaticized (in a bombastic way - even the masturb... the "sperm collection" scene is made into an inspirational sequence), the men still seem human. No GQ/or boy-band good looks here; just mortal guys accomplishing incredible tasks.

The Right Stuff does not falter in any respect, at least none that I can see. No scene drags out for too long, the dialogue is witty and interesting, and the editing is without error. It is a historical movie, of course, but The Right Stuff is filmed in such a unique manner that no other movie is similar to it, with the exception of From the Earth to the Moon (1998 TV).

Some of the greatest movies have become dated, either through dead giveaways (hairstyles, special effects, soundtrack songs, etc) to the more subtle (editing, that "old feel", etc). 2001: A Space Odyssey and Patton (1970) come to mind. The Right Stuff deftly escapes these trappings and easily could have been released today in 2005.

Fail-Safe (1964)
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A well-crafted classic.., 24 May 2005

If there is any movie worthy of a 10 on the IMDb ranking, it is certainly FAILSAFE. So much has already been said to its credit, but the acting is amazing and virtually faultless. I am especially impressed by Walter Matthau's performance as the civilian adviser, Mr. Groteschele. He is shown as being in love with the sound of his own voice, a man who feels he is beyond argument, and is self-righteous to a sociopathic level. The next best performance is that of Henry Fonda, credited as simply "The President" as he portrays the presence of a cerebral, stoic, and dynamic politician who ultimately must make a grand sacrifice. Everyone else involved gives a top-notch performance.

Of course, the 1960s-era film-making processes are distinct from that of today, from editing, camera angles, one-take static scenes, stock footage, the absence of a soundtrack, etc. There are a few goofs and inconsistencies, but then again, even the most expensive and/or highest-regarded movies (2001, Blade Runner, Titanic, Glory, etc) have an IMDb goofs list that runs off the page! I belief I have is that FAILSAFE would not have had the same impact if it was released in any other decade and with different actors. The relatively simple directing that is indicative of the 1960s serves it well. Can you imagine if it was released in the 1980s? Or even today? There would be gratuitous cursing, explosions, an obligatory kung-fu scene, some love triangle sub-story, and bad SFX. In other words, it would have been CORNY.

FAILSAFE is one of those hidden gems, yet it stands in the shadow of the similar and more popular DR STRANGELOVE. It is a product of its time, but to me, it does not seem dated.

Gettysburg (1993)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
'You must defend this movie to the last.', 23 April 2005

'Defend this movie to the last... exercize in rhetoric... last scene? last re-used shot of Rebs charging up Little Round Top? Last long-winded speech? Last mention of 'this is good ground'? Last reb?'


Here is a sample of some the gripes I've heard about GETTYSBURG. Some are nit-picky, obviously from hard-core Civil War reenactor types:

-"The collars on the uniforms of the 20 th Maine soldiers are about 1/4 inch longer than they actually were."

-"Tom Chamberlain's mustache is certainly a fake; it would have appeared greasier in the hot July sun."

-"The 5th Regiment actually was two blocks away from where they are depicted in the movie."

Some gripes get downright ridiculous, obviously from psychotic loons who think it's still 18 friggin 63...

-"The man portraying Gen. Lee is obviously a modern-day actor who closely resembles Martin Sheen..."

-"The rifles are actually firing blanks, not real Minie balls."

-"The actual battle lasted three days, not a mere four hours, as the director apparently believed."

-"There's no way anyone actually filmed the battle of Gettysburg, so this movie is undoubtedly a bunch of reenactors merely imita...."

SHUT UP!!! Anyway, GETTYSBURG is freegin great. And I don't wanna hear about Tom Berenger's beard or any retarded inaccuracies. We get to see some fine acting, archaic/glorious dialogue, and the best CW battle scenes (apart from the 1989 masterpiece GLORY) ever on film. Of course, during the Little Round Top sequence, there are some shots that are recycled two or three times. However, the sequence of the LRT is impressively edited otherwise. The panoramic views of Pickett's Charge, the sweeping aerial views of the battlefield... and so on.

And there's plenty of melodrama. Overacting? No. OK, maybe. But it works for this film. Here's a few sample lines:

"I'm Kilrain, and I damn all gentlemen." (Buster)

"General Lee... I HAVE no division." (Pickett)

"With me... who will come with MEEEEEE!!" (Armisted)

"Give em hell, 54th!" Ooops.. wrong movie.

Even in the midst of a serious, stoic event in or history, we are treated to some bits of humor. I particularly like the scene where Gen. Longstreet (T Berenger) and the artillery captain or discussing strategy. Some guy off in the distance gets blown head over heels and flies over his cannon. I always found it funny...

Now look... the movie was MEANT to be 4 hours long! You couldn't tell the battle of G-Burg in a standard 2 hour flick. No way. GETTYSBURG was made to cater to Civil War fans only, as well as history buffs - not a wide movie-going audience. It was made as about as flawless as a movie could be made. The right amount (in the form of a 4 hour running time) of solid, cerebral conversations, the right emotions for the right scenes, and of course, the heroic soundtrack!!!

Now about the dialogue, I've heard a lot of complaints about how it is spotty, lame, and robotic. Well, what'ya expect, realistic, modern CLERKS or PULP FICTION banter?

"General Pickett, are you OK?" "General Lee, I have no division, I'm pretty far from OK."

The cast pulls the job off wonderfully. Berenger, Sheen, Richard Jordan, James Lang, Stephen Lang... everyone.

GETTYSBURG rocks. It's historically accurate as any "period piece" out there. Even the acclaimed SAVING PRIVATE RYAN had some continuity errors and anachronisms. I give it an A++ for sheer awesomeness. And why the hell wasn't it nominated for a SINGLE Academy Award? At least a lead or supporting actor for (insert kick-ass actor here), Best Cinematography, Best Sound, and BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY!!!

An awesome movie. One of my faves. Just remember, GETTYSBURG, with the exception of GODS AND GENERALS, will probably be the last Civil War movie made. The WW2 and Vietnam War genre has been depleted... and there's only so many ways you can depict a CW battle differently on film. There is however, a movie coming out in the next couple of years with Liam Nesson as Abe Lincoln.. But just realize that GETTYSBURG is about as good as we can get for the War Between the States.

Rocky IV (1985)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
ROCKY IV is the best! Powerful and uplifting, 20 March 2005

This movie ROCKS! It is so inspirational that when I rented it on 3/14/05 I was totally motivated to take up working out again after a 2-year break. It has the best tunes... "Hearts On Fire", "Burning Heart", "No Easy Way Out", and "Living In America". The training montages are, in my humble opinion, the best of any sports-oriented movie ever. OK, the movie is a "Rocky" flick, and it's not "Schindler's List" or "Glory".

But who cares! The interaction between Apollo and Rocky is amazing and shows how the two characters developed an undying friendship over the course of their careers. The East vs. West theme is dated but indicative of the late Cold War era of the 1980s. The final fight is unrealistic as expected, but awesome! If you wanna see boxing how it really is, watch a televised match or "Million Dollar Baby" for some authenticity.

I can be realistic, and Rocky IV isn't close to the greatest movie ever made. Not by a long shot. But a movie is many things: the story itself, the directing, the casting choices, the technical aspects, and the soundtrack. To me, the camaraderie of the cast is wonderful. Rocky, Adrian, Apollo, Paulie, and Duke (Tony Burton; Apollo and Rocky's corner man) have wonderful moments and dialogue together. My favorite is Apollo's mention of "nails" and Rocky jokingly mishears it as "snails" and the dialogue that follows. Plus I like when Bridgette Nielsen's character (Drago's wife) is at the press conference and says "Why you insult us?" I dunno, she says it kind of choppy-like, and she sounds like an authentic Russian/Soviet chick.

Some gripes... it's too short by about 15 minutes. I would have liked to see some more of Apollo's wife... I mean, after all, it was HER hubby who died after fighting Drago. A few scenes with her and Rocky and Adrian would have given the story some amazing emotion and depth. Also, Rocky's final speech is kiiiiinda lame and simplistic. If he had shown some more emotion at certain moments, it would have helped a bit (or maybe it shows his distancing himself from anything but the upcoming fight). Lastly, since Adrian flew to Russia to be with Rocky for his fight, it would have been cool if she participated in his conditioning. I mean, she could have done some calisthenics with him(aren't women into it?)... something I've never seen Rocky do! A real fighter has got to be limber! Plot hole!

All inconsistencies aside, the story is direct and easy to follow. It must be said that having a great soundtrack is no small feat. Rocky IV is uplifting and energizing in a way many movies aspire to but never attain.

Classic Queen (1992) (V)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The essence of Queen, 14 February 2005

So many bad music video compilations were released in the 1980s, and this trend actually continues: band members acting like morons, and they always get misty eyed when talking about "the road". Oh yeah, and the "we couldn't do this without the road crew" part.

Anyway, here it is, Classic Queen. Queen at their bombastic, heroic best. We don't get any commentary, just video after video, and this keeps the magic in flow. The most original one is "The Miracle", and I think many other viewers of this compilation would agree. The special effects are dated, but the innovation and class make the 80 or so minutes a visual and sonic treat. "Hammer To Fall", "A Kind of Magic", and "Under Pressure" are, to me, the best of the set list. "Radio Ga-Ga" and "I'm Going Slightly Mad" are a bit hard to watch, but that's just me. Either way, Queen is one of my favorite bands of all time, and Classic Queen is the perfect showcase.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
the untold story of the early years of Vietnam, 5 February 2005

This is a solid war movie, and I enjoy watching it once a month. Well, given the fact that I am a Huey junkie, the chopper scenes certainly help. A friend of mine commented, "Well, it's strange, the soundtrack to the movie is tribal in nature, and there's no memorable Sixties' tunes, like in other Nam movies." I explained to him that WWS to place in 1965, about a year or two before the huge appearance of the anti-war movement, and certainly predating the hippie movement, so these elements weren't meant to appear.

A lot of it is fictionalized, but then again, so were many aspects of Black Hawk Down and Saving Private Ryan (some of the only worthwhile modern war movies in about the last twenty years). We Were Soldiers tells the rather un-hip story of the early Vietnam years, so, I must state again, that this is why you don't hear any tunes from the Rolling Stones, The Doors, or Zeppelin. That's 1968 onward... I guess... and WWS does a commendable job.

The uniforms are right on target with the 1965-66 timeframe. The choppers used featured equipment and weapons that wouldn't appear until a year or two later, but that's OK. The combat scenes capture the essence of the fighting, and thankfully no retarded cuts or zooms were used. However, we don't see a single M14 rifle (the precursor to the M-16, which is seen all over the place in WWS), as most of the troops would have been using them as the M16 wasn't fully deployed to units at that time. But the best thing I can say is that the characters of 2LT Geoghan (or whoever), SGM Plumley, and SGT Savage look incredibly like their real-life counterparts, as far as i could tell in the photo section of the novel. That kind of accuracy is commendable. The true-to-life events, such as the airstrike, are well done.

I do have some gripes though... having served in the Army (1996-2001), there are some shortcomings that I am able to spot. There is not enough development given to make enough of the supporting characters memorable. This worked in Black Hawk Down, but not here. Plenty of faces appear beyond the top and second-billed characters, but something was missing. I would have liked to see more of Too Tall (the other pilot), Godbolt (the black dude), Jimmy Nakawama (got burned bad) and CPT Nadal ("we have an American Platoon... OUT THERE!"). They're mentioned plenty of times, and they function to give what I call their "partner character" some depth, but they themselves either appear, disappear, or don't have enough lines. Also, the sound is not terribly well-mixed as some of the dialogue is muffled, and the editing is about average. Some key scenes take place in near darkness, so knowing who's who as well as the emotional impact is missed.

One thing that really irks me is.... the lack... no, the absence of the portrayal of black soldiers. PFC Godbolt is Geoghan's partner character, but he doesn't get a single line. He looks like a nice guy, throws a grenade, gets shot, dies. Obviously, black soldiers made up quite a bit of the Army in 1965 (and even now.... almost pointless to say) but there's no representation of them (I Don't MEAN "THEM" IN A BAD WAY, OK??) except for Godbolt's wife back home. The Asian soldier, Jiimmy Naki-something, appears, for like a split second in the beginning, then runs into Joe Galloway (I cant remember the guys name) during the attack. The he gets wounded. He's about the only minority who gets a line. Both he and Godbolt were real people...hmmmm.... The voice-over narration is used very spottily, and this coulda been polished up. Finally, there is a mention of "losing a boatload of draftees is a bad week": the draft wasn't in effect until 1969.

Nevertheless, WWS is a solid war movie that tells the lesser-known era of the Vietnam involvement. Yeah, everyone knows about the hippies, the peace signs on the soldier's helmets, the out of reg uniforms, the negative attitude, but these are staples of Nam movies that take place later in the war. I wouldn't mind seeing a movie made that deals with the later years of the war (say, 1972). Plus Madeline Stowe does a good job in as supporting role. Plus she looks real cute when she does that flinch/double take when the cab guy arrives at her door.

On par with BHD or SPR? No. But it is on the level of Platoon, Glory, and Hamburger Hill. 7 of 10

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