Reviews written by registered user
|14 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Full disclosure I love aliens, UFOs, abductions, crop circles, etc, etc, etc and I'm a sucker for any film about them. However, (in my personal opinion) my alien movie standards are pretty high, so if your alien movie stinks, that stink is worse than a standard stinky movie see where I'm coming from? So what did I think about THE FOURTH KIND? Well, after careful consideration, I think I loved it. I should point out my hands down favorite alien movie is COMMUNION with Christopher Walken. Second favorite is CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Third favorite is FIRE IN THE SKY. Now I'm not saying THE FOURTH KIND's director Olatunde Osunsanmi is in the same league as Spielberg, or that Milla Jovovich comes anywhere close to Walken but THE FOURTH KIND has a lot going for it. Surprisingly the movie has a lot more in common with THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT or PARANORMAL ACTIVITY then the movies I listed above. And here's the part where I have to write "spoiler alert": the movie is supposedly based on "real events" and includes "real footage/audio" from those events (and even goes as far as having Milla Jovovich open the film as herself with a disclaimer about who she's depicting and a warning about the disturbing "real footage" included in the film). But here's the catch - none of it is real. Yup, these events aren't even rumored to have taken place, none of the people depicted in the film actually exist, and not one frame or sound of the "real footage/audio" is even remotely real (even though it's incredibly well done) this movie is pure fiction top to bottom. However, by immediately acknowledging that the movie is fake, but then continually inserting the so called "real" footage/audio juxtaposed against the fake movie footage, the audience is consistently in an uneasy grey area where you are forced to consider what you are viewing whether you believe it or not. It's the type of audience tampering that would absolutely delight the late, great William Castle. OK, I'm starting to rant, so I'll just wrap this review up by saying that one of the best decisions director Osunsanmi made was to not show what the aliens look like. That's right; no big black oval eyes, almond shaped heads, or smooth, grey/translucent skin can be found in THE FOURTH KIND. Typically the make or break moment in a lot of alien movies is when the movie reveals what the aliens look like. In this movie the director wisely chose "less is more" and allowed the alien loving audience's mind run wild. There's something out there
OK horror fans, you have to keep in mind this is a goof. Not a SCARY MOVIE style spoof but more of a pre-SCREAM "hey it's 1989 and the trappings of this horror genre are pretty evident" goof. It's also supposed to be an indirect sequel to WITCHBOARD even though the notice at the bottom of the VHS box cover says it's not. Yes, there's an actually note on the box declaring "this in not a sequel" - have we have seen that before? Anyway I think it's great - ridiculous but great. Like, have 10 beers then press play great. Plus scream queen Linnea Quigley is in it and she elevates any production she's in (and elevates my pants IF you know what I'm talking about it).
I think the most important thing to keep in mind while watching SHARKY'S MACHINE is that Burt Reynolds directed it... that sunk in yet? OK good. I'm not knocking Reynolds' ability behind the camera, I actually think he does a commendable job (p.s. I'm a big Reynolds fan), I just always think it's important to note when an actor directs and stars in their own movie. Sure, it's dated and fairly rough around the edges, but there's a great movie in here that continually peeks through the cracks. Unfortunately it just never seems to peek through long enough to win over most viewers. However the movie features some good old fashioned cop stuff, some good old fashioned violence, and a great, good old fashioned bad guy (the lost art of the great bad guy) played by the always stellar Henry Silva. It also features an awesome stunt by stunt legend (whatever happened to stunt legends?) and Reynolds' STICK co-star, Dar Robinson. As usual, Reynolds is great in the title roll of Sharky - I've just always wondered if a more experienced director (perhaps John Frankenheimer) had helmed this film, and STICK for that matter, would that have elevated this film to action classic status? It's very possible...
You are currently reading about an excellent (see: totally ridiculous) Saturday morning monster movie starring Amanda "Tina from A Nightmare on Elm St." Wyss and Christopher "Blue Lagoon" Atkins (among others). Sounds like a terrible movie, so why do you love it mickeyshamrock? Well, aside from the typical "so bad it's good" moments, and my raging hard on for Amanda Wyss, the baboon footage is insane. I've never seen anything like it. Shakma (aka Typhoon) literally goes ape sh*t every take. Every time the baboon is on camera it elevates this movie beyond it's B-movie shackles. Definitely to be watched in one sitting, breaking it up will only expose some of it's faults. Turn off your mind and get ready for some ape-tastic surprises.
ZERO POPULATION GROWTH is a very cool little, subtle/in-your-face, sci-fi movie from 1972. It's literally LOGAN'S RUN meets CHILDREN OF MEN but staring Oliver Reed (and released in theaters before either film). I had 8 beers before I watched this and I suggest you do too (and I'm sure Oliver Reed had at least that before the cameras rolled so when in Rome...). Anywho ZPG is one of those "utopian future but utopia is actually totally f'd up" movies where most of the inhabitants are like "hey, I'd complain, but nobody would listen" but one guy manages to step up and fight the power. I love that theme so if you're into that kind of thing too then you should absolutely check this movie out. Sure, the beer helped, but I sort of loved this movie.
I'll just come out and say it I love this movie. But is it a movie? I can't really answer that. Honestly, this doesn't really feel or play out like a movie but maybe that's just me. Keep a few things in mind: this is based on a stage play, the screenplay was written by the author of the play, Friedkin is a big fan of the play, and the lead (Michael Shannon) is from the original production of the stage play. Got that? Good. You know how they say Sam Mendes brings "theater" to the "big screen" (and I say F that) - well, BUG is how theater should exist on film. I don't know, maybe I'm over analyzing. But while I'm over analyzing I'll throw this out there - Michael Shannon gives one of the best performances I've seen in a long time. And screw it - Ashley Judd really surprised me in this too. Harry Connick Jr. is a little dead weight but you can't win 'em all Harry. Mix some old Cronenberg with a pinch of Lynch (can I coin that?), throw it on an Off Broadway stage and see what sticks, then have Friedkin direct it and you've got BUG.
This slick and gritty film consistently delivers. It's one of Frankenheimer's best and most underrated films and it's easily the best Elmore Leonard adaptation to date (and if you are scratching your head thinking "but I loved GET SHORTY" you need to be punched in the face). In my opinion, no one captures the "feel" for Leonard's characters better then John Glover in 52 PICK-UP. The relocation of the story from Detroit (novel) to Hollywood (film) elevates the story's sleaze factor to amazing heights. Be a man, have a few beers and watch this movie. For reference purposes my favorite Leonard books are: Swag, Rum Punch, Cat Chaser, City Primeval, and 52 Pick-Up. My favorite Frankenheimer films include SECONDS and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. I also have a real special place in my cold, movie heart for DEAD BANG and BLACK Sunday.
Being a big fan of Jamie Blanks' previous films (URBAN LEGEND & VALENTINE) and the writing of Everett De Roche, I was really looking forward to STORM WARNING. Unfortunately STORM WARNING was pretty disappointing. Save for some solid gore right at the very end of the movie, and some decent looking camera work, STORM WARNING is ultimately a very straightforward, extremely familiar (and fairly boring), survival/thriller/horror movie. Oh well, I'm still looking forward to Blanks and De Roche's remake of LONG WEEKEND even though STORM WARNING has severely lowered my expectations. And yeah, you read that right - I'm a big fan of URBAN LEGEND and VALENTINE - you got a problem with that? Let's step outside bro
Finally, a direct to video action movie that truly delivers. I can't say enough great things about UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION. Director John Hyams, son of director Peter Hyams who is coincidentally the DP on this movie (and it shows in spades), has given action fans a direct to video action film that outshines most of the glossy, bloated, over edited, over stylized, action films Hollywood cranks out. Unfortunately I feel like most moviegoers will be massively skeptical of renting this movie thinking it's a typical half baked, half assed, cheap-o direct to video offering the likes of Steven Seagal's recent output (and I'm writing that as a huge Seagal fan). But fear not action fans, I promise you REGENERATION delivers: great photography, great action and fight choreography, great performances from everyone involved (even the supporting roles are taking their parts seriously) and a dark and gritty, no frills story. This is a lean, mean movie that caught this action fan way off guard. The inevitable Van Damme vs Lundgren fight is awesome and Van Damme vs Andrei Arlovski (who is great in the movie) is cool too. Post JCVD, Van Damme continues to impress as his tumultuous real life and action persona meld into one. Not to take anything away from director John Hyams, but one has to assume his father's steady and experienced hand behind the camera really helped elevate this film. That said, the real winners here are you and me average joe action fan. Check this movie out!
Based on the trailer for THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES I thought I was going to hate this movie not because it looked disturbing but because it looked really lame. Truth is it is a little lame, BUT the movie has a lot more creative juice than I was expecting and ultimately I found myself enjoying it. Similar to J.T. Petty's S&MAN or Remy Belvaux & Andre Bonzel's MAN BITES DOG, THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES is a pseudo documentary about a serial killer. While S&MAN and MAN BITES DOG are superior films, THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES excels due to its strict adherence to/understanding of the documentary format. Personally I didn't find the film as disturbing or horrific as I assume it was trying to be, however it did contain enough well thought out moments to convince me that the writer and director had done their horror homework (in particular a very William Castle "esque" sound bite/moment toward the film's finale). 2 little notes: the first 15 minutes are kind of slow so give the movie time AND I don't see this as a "theater" movie (I saw a DVD screener). THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES feels like a small screen movie. Have a few beers and toss it on during a late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
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