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The Medallion (2003)
Did Jackie write this script?
Though the martial arts choreography was incredible as usual, I was somewhat disappointed with the execution of the plot. Most of the jokes were poorly translated when they overdubbed the film for European/American audiences, and I was often found squinting and asking, "Did Jackie write that script?" Typical Chan humor and stunts, so if you're a fan of the man, it's well-worth a watch. Julian Sands, however, will never suck at being evil, that I've finally become convinced of.
A story about storytelling
When we first put Dust into the DVD player and the film started, I wondered if maybe the video-rental store put the wrong dvd in the case. As the story progressed, I was enamored by the brilliant execution of story within story within story. The world needs more films like this, with semi-unfamiliar faces who don't need to work so hard convincing us that they are indeed this character they portray. This is one of those films people will still be talking about in 25 years; a monumental masterpiece that broke the grounds in straightforward plot-telling!!
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
I hate to say it but...
I am going to anyway. This movie was nowhere near as good as the original. Without the camaraderie between characters that existed between Turetto and his gang, all we had was the same movie, only now there are two undercover brothers and a really "bad" guy. There was a lot of potential here to create something great, but I don't think it was achieved. Then again, if all you're after is some fast driving, and no-brain action, you'll probably LOVE this movie! I don't even care for Vin Diesel all that much, but his presence was sorely missed here!
Treading on other people's dreams and such
They try to sell you this film with a comparison to the Matrix, when in fact, the only likeness it shares with the Matrix is that the people are being controlled by a force(the drug/father) they would rather succumb to than revolt against because revolution would mean awakening to the true human spirit. The development of a superior fighting style for the enforcement officers was rather brilliant, even though at times it looked laughably unbelievable. The overall plot inspired evocative thoughts, much in the same vein the classics, "A Clockwork Orange," and "1984" once did. Christian Bale's awakening to emotion in this film was outstanding and Sean Bean's brief cameo in the first 20 minutes was a brilliant foreshadowing of the unraveling of Bale's own structured life! Don't watch th is movie because you like the Matrix, you will be sadly disappointed looking for ways to compare it and finding very few strings that hold that judgment together.
Bravo Two Zero (1999)
This film about a British Spec. Ops officer and his men trapped in the middle east after a botched mission during the Gulf War was absolutely amazing. Based on the true story by Andy McNab, Sean Bean captured this essence of this role fantastically. The dreadful things they went through combined with the horrors they faced, accentuated by their incredible bravery made this true-to-life tale almost larger than life.
I can say nothing bad about this movie!
Sharpe's Rifles (1993)
I'll never understand why...
I read the series of books that inspired these teleplays, and though I like the teleplays almost as much as the books that brought Richard Sharpe to life, I don't understand why they adapted the plot. I didn't mind the plot adaptation, but I just didn't understand why. A lower-class soldier rises through the ranks much to the scorn of his men, who believe only a proper officer should lead them, but Sharpe proves himself more than competent in leading them. After seeing this teleplay, I can't see anyone other than Sean Bean portraying Richard Sharpe. I thoroughly enjoy Cornwell's books, so it's nice to see someone else appreciating them through film!
Lan feng zheng (1993)
Soaring Hopes and Dreams
This film is right up there in educating the masses on a bold, but chilling truth. The first time I saw this movie it not only made me cry, but it haunted me for weeks. Exposing the truth has been a difficult endeavor when it comes to China, but this is one of those films that has done it with grace and style.
Ba wang bie ji (1993)
The story of two men who grow up together from boyhood, one of them born of a prostitute, to become two of China's most beloved Opera stars during the Chinese Revolution and Japanese Invasions. This riveting portrayal of the trials of love and friendship disrupted by the horrors of war and revolution will leave you in tears!!
Lady Chatterley (1993)
D. H. Lawerence wrote some of my favorite books of all time, including Lady Chatterley's Lover, so at first, I was afraid to watch these short little missives. I was not disappointed, however. It held true to quite a few aspects of the "Sir John Thomas and Lady Jane" version of the book than the original publication, but Lawerence never seemed to be quite satisfied and was always changing. Joely Richardson was a beautiful Lady Chatterley, and Sean Bean seemed the perfect Mellors. James Wilby was so convincing as Clifford that by the end of this movie, you just wanted that horrid wretch to be left alone, wallowing in his misery, because like everything else in his life, Constance was a possession, not a human being. This movie is a timeless treasure for anyone who loves the idea of being in love!
The Lost Boys (1987)
I still think this movie is so cool!
This was one of the cooler vampire flicks in the 80's and I really feel that it set the stage for a lot of teens from that era. The story was just fantastic and some of the characters were truly amazing, spinning on the popular peter pan tale of the "Lost Boys" who never grow up and get to do whatever they want all the time! For a group of teenage Vampires in Santa Clara, CA, it's up all night and sleep all day in a cave by the ocean. It sort of teaches the lesson that doing whatever you want gets old and stale after awhile, when Authority, the master vampire and suitor to the main characters mother, steps in and starts to dictate the rules!
This movie was a 10/10 for me! Even after over 15 years, it's still a fantastic saturday night movie for me!
Warlock: The Armageddon (1993)
Once upon a time, evil was a cool distraction
It had been years since I had watched this film, but watching it recently, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed this sequel to the original warlock. The characters weren't near as annoying as that girl who lost her bracelet in the original, and the Warlock was actually given some pretty cool lines and parts. I don't know, maybe it was the plot, but the Warlock just seemed so much more evil in the sequel. Is it cheesey? Yes, because the early nineties were a cheesey time, but sometimes it's fun to look back at the past and smile.
If you like cheap, cheesey horror films, this one might make you grin.
Boxing Helena (1993)
I would expect nothing less from a Lynch
This movie is comparable to timeless art. The film shots and angles often elude to such a deeper plot than the surface story we're given. A brilliant surgeon haunted by the memory of his heartless mother finds himself obsessing over a woman treats him with similar cruelty. There are so many instances throughout this film that one can't help wondering is this real or just a dream, but only time will tell if Dr. Cavanaugh is really capable of attaining the one thing he desires most: his manhood!
Julian Sands was fantastic, and Sherilyn Fenn made it easy to absolutely loathe Helena at times.
When I say typical, I mean that this movie was very typical to Stephen King film traditions, plot-lines, and ideals. The only thing missing from this one was Stephen himself. There is a certain standard of excellence one can predict from all of King's adaptations to film. You have the bonded group put into a horrid situation and then you watch as the little group falls apart piece by piece. Dreamcatcher was no different. The best thing about its predictability is that those of us who enjoy a good Stephen King movie from time to time know exactly what to expect and never fear a let down. Good plot, fine acting, enjoyable watch, enough said.
P.S. For those of you expecting the movie to be like the book, tsk tsk, you should know better after 30 years of Stephen King!
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Snore of 1000 Snores?
I have always considered myself a fan of b-grade horror movies and cult-classics. However, this movie, I hope will never be considered either. Practically plotless, Zombie borrowed too many ideas from Texas Chainsaw massacre when scripting this musterpiece (meaning is that all he could come up with,) and lingered far too long on pointless camera shots in an attempt to capture an artistic sense of suspense(? is that what he was thinking??)
This film relied heavily on sex, foul language, and pointless gore to appeal to thirteen-year-old boy mentality. Who is Dr. Satan and what does that name have to do with this movie?-almost absolutely nothing. I have all but convinced myself that Rob Zombie just wanted to have a character in his movie named Dr. Satan because it was "cool" and kids would "dig" it. He should really stick to making boring music, at least in that area, he's somewhat talented, but then again, if all he was trying to accomplish was make money off of preteens and the rave generation looking for the next Rocky Horror play-along, well then, he's a bloody genius!
Rose Red (2002)
Not for the desensitized
Rose Red was one of the better adaptations of a Stephen King Novel for screen. Though after the transition into the second half of the film, it sort of loses it's scare appeal and leaves the viewer somewhat deflated. However, for a made for television miniseries, the gaps in plot can be easily overlooked, and this movie enjoyed if it isn't being overanalyzed and sized up against massive budget Hollywood productions.
That said, just think about this: A house that builds itself and devours the bodies and souls of any and all who dare to inhabit... if that's not scary, I don't know what else is. Then again, if you've been desensitized by years of media violence, you certainly won't be scared by a creepy old house. ;)
Essex Boys (2000)
Spoiled Gansters & the Women who Stab Them in the Back
This movie had all the elements of an action/drama, murder, betrayal, more murder, some drugs, underground gang activity, more betrayal, violence... The plot is interesting, based on actual events in the underground, but we all know how things get blown out of proportion and prettied up for the big screen. Sean Bean was dynamic as Jason Locke. Alex Kingston brilliantly portrayed his vengeful wife and let's not forget Charlie Creed-Miles, as the not so intelligent lackey, Billy.
In the end, maybe we'll find that the underground is a woman's world.... or maybe not.
Naked Lunch (1991)
The incredible amount of thought, or perhaps it was unthought that went into the making of Naked Lunch, is absolutely mind boggling. The shallow have called this movie ridiculously stupid, boring, senseless and more, but what they fail to mention is that they turned it off after the first scene because they couldn't comprehend the immense genius of William S. Burroughs hallucinations.
We follow a man inundated by his own intoxicated hallucinations and paranoid delusions, crossing several times over the bounds of reality. Deep are the piles we sift through in trying to understand the depth of those hallucinations, yet quite simple if you give it the attention required to stay focused.
This is not a film to watch because you fancy a particular actor, though Ian Holm and Julian Sands were both incredible, and Peter Weller personified Burroughs own portrayal of himself brilliantly. This is a film you watch when you want to question the ever fading boundaries of reality.
Tale of a Vampire (1992)
This film isn't about plot or dialogue so much as it is about angles, style and lighting technique. The plot moves slowly so the watcher can enjoy the express talents of the director's shot choices.
Julian Sands is riveting, capturing the personality of a slightly deranged vampire riddled with heartache and centuries of guilt, while Suzanna Hamilton portrays a woman beside her own wits with grief. The shift between plotlines is especially brilliant when they collide with present moments in time.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who can appreciate a good art film.