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Sub Zero (2005)
K2 North Face in WINTER for a neon Rubik's cube .... really? REALLY?
I direct you to the plethora of reviews that point out the hilarity of the script, plot lines, acting, and stunts, the absolute impossibility of the political implications, horrible technicals in climbing (gear clothing, physical fitness, NO Sherpas, the EMP, ad infinitum) ALL add up to a totally ridiculous jaunt up a mountain chasing a glow in the dark Rubik's cube upon which the fate of the world rests.
All that being said NUMEROUS times, there is some magnificent footage of the mountains, avalanches, breathtaking, sweeping vistas that will either excite you, kick your death wish sporting sense into overdrive, make you wonder how on God's 3rd rock from the sun ANYONE considers mountaineering FUN BUT will across the board make you feel small and leave you awe struck.
If you go into this with a coupla joints, a bucket of salty buttery popcorn, a Big Gulp and absolutely nothing else to do on a cold rainy day you will not feel like you've been robbed of 90 minutes of your life -- It is what it is - a piece of straight to DVD B grade fluff made to entertain, not educate you on WMDs, mountain climbing, global political relations, or American clichés (and there are 85 minutes of clichés) - if you are looking for American Oscar worthy films, BAFTA contenders or even Golden Globe potential -- MOVE ON. if you like a train wreck of a film that will, if nothing else, entertain you - it's worth a watch... and ladies, you gotta admit the guys are HOT.....
Safe Haven (2013)
Unimaginably Boring for so much Potential
This story line had so much potential with domestic abuse, redemption, love, family, but the screen writers TOTALLY missed the mark - Josh Duhamel does a decent job - not the vacuous role he is usually placed in and pulls off more than a pretty face here - David Lyons as the alcoholic Detective Tiernny and abusive husband of Hough shined - he seems made for bad guy roles - Julianne Hough - I think the girl has some potential as actor given a more meaty role but as stated this was painfully drawn out with idyllic lazy southern settings where IMPOSSIBLY in a town of 2000 no one questions the appearance of a newcomer and in fact embraces her without question (being from the south - that "ain't" how we operate - if you are in town for more than 48 hours we know everything about you if we have to pry it out with a velvet crowbar), impossible circumstances, clichés enough to fill a NY phone book. Oh how I wish they'd made the most of this story line.
All of this being said - the last 40 minutes was great and the ending? TOTALLY unexpected - right out of left field - loved it - knowing what I know now I would watch the first 20 minutes to get the lay of the land and characters, then skip to 108 and watch to the end. Sadly I cannot give this more than a 3 thanks to an awful job by the screen writers.
The Cold Light of Day (1996)
Well Worth a Watch
First let me say that one thing I LOVED about this film was the use of sound to set the mood - not noise and music but common every day sounds - the clinking of glass, the slamming of a cell door, the creak of a windmill the squeak of a child's swing, tires on pavement on and on -- and in moments when they were magnified -- just brilliant use of the ordinary to create the extraordinary.
On the whole, I am usually not too taken with foreign made (outside the USA & Canada) films so went into this with the idea I'll give it a few minutes - it's free on Netflix so nothing ventured nothing gained. Not being familiar with any of the actors my first reaction to Swaziland born Grant was Milquetoast - however, his passion in the role and believability took me quite by surprise - effective as an obsessed investigator looking into the brutal murders of three young girls. When, in a game of political chess, the wrong man is accused and commits suicide, effectively closing the case to further investigation, he leaves the department and personally takes the investigation to surprising lengths. Soliciting the help of a psychologist and his access to computers, he narrows down a locale to ferret out the perpetrator. He meets a homeless young mother (outstanding acting by Lynsey Baxter (The French Lieutenant's Woman))and sets her up as his housekeeper secretly using the daughter (a young Perdita Weeks) as bait.
The story effectively plays his obsession with nailing the homicidal pedophile against his growing affection for both the mother and daughter and he does a fine job of drawing you in to the conflicting emotions while leaving you unsympathetic to his using a child as bait for a serial killer. The killer is really rather brilliantly (and sickeningly) portrayed by the late Simon Cadell - Nice character development and surprisingly good insight into how a pedophile sees the world - a struggling mom in a war torn region protecting the innocence of her child, a detective who cannot let go despite the potential for heartbreaking results, a brilliant serial killer, all make for an edge of your seat thriller for the most part. Hauntingly beautiful locales in he Czech Republic. Drags in a few places but well worth a watch.
Deadly Whispers (1995)
Outstanding Acting, Okay Editing. Okay Directing
Plausible storyline with OUTSTANDING performances by Reed, Danza & Rhames. I liked the narrow focus - it was not cluttered with unnecessary roles so more focus could be placed on developing the pertinent characters. Excellent dialog and very plausible "southerners" - I am a native southerner so I know what I'm talking about - surprised at the review that contends seeing a New York Italian with a southern accent is weird - that's laughable - Consider the British actors with American accents - the Australians (consider Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Renée Zellweger in Cold Mountain. These were great southern characters and from the accents I think they were West Virginians (not Georgians as suggested by another reviewer) WV, VA & KY have different accents from AL & GA and TN is a cross between KY and GA. NC & SC also have their own dialect -- nutshell GREAT job on the accents.
Good research on MPD. They don't as normally depicted change on a dime and just jump into the alternate ID it's a gradual process that is drawn out with the dominant personality wanting to control and the others struggling to come out - it was flawed in that one personality believed Kathy to be alive - as the real, kind, loving father he KNEW she was dead - that knowledge would not have fallen with MPD to hallucinations that Kathy was still alive so bad research on MPD.
I just love Ving Rhames and keep hoping he will get an Alex Cross role - his role was minor but well played as a compassionate but determined detective - that stare of his just gives me goosies.
Intense storyline - this is much more a drama than a thriller - an avid movie fan will have figured this out by the time Rhames suspects Danza but the dialog curiosity on the return (or not) of the kids will hold you and keep you from fast forwarding. despite no sex and nominal profanity it has very adult story line - not for kids at all.
based on a) the acting b) dialog c) realistic depiction of southerners and southern poverty 6/10
The Help (2011)
Mesmerizing - Pure Oscar Material!
Oscar Oscar Oscar Kathryn Stockett's beautiful book is Oscar worthy in this film -- for editing, screenplay, supporting actress (several deserving) Emma Stone just shines at just 22 years old, this film proves she is a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. There are so few roles written for black women and I was thrilled to see such great roles filled by Viola Davis (Abigail) and Octavia Spencer (Minnie) - both should be nominated for supporting roles although in my opinion, along with Emma Stone, all three share top billing.
The character development in this movie is really outstanding I hate movies with flat single dimension characters and these from the lowest to those with the most screen time are just remarkably developed even the newspaper editor, the lines they chose for him to keep gave you enough information that even he is a memorable character with only three scenes, maybe 4 in the entire movie. Same for Stuart, Skeeter's love interest you actually like him then hate him and he only has maybe 3 minutes of air time. Great great job. Sissy Spacek with so few speaking moments is great as is Cicely Tyson who speaks volumes even in scenes with no words. Admittedly, being based on an amazing book the background story was already set out and tracks the book closely without some of the details but they have done a great job of putting it to film
This movie sets out beautifully a terrible time in our history that unfortunately is not over it is better, but not over by a long shot. Being a child of the south and coming up during that time, being raised by such bigoted grandparents and parents, it leaves me pause to wonder how I avoided this rabid virus of hate and takes me back to long hot lazy days in the deep south before every building was air conditioned such attention detail right down to the Jesus fans they waved in church awesome flick. You FEEL the heat, the tension, the pain, the injustice of the time but still you laugh with them even as you cry for them - both races - ignorance is to be wept over.
However, I think this movie does more, goes further in its exploration of the behavior of the privileged during that time. They were rabid toward blacks but were not that much better toward anyone who did not share their socio-economic status (the way the "Junior League" treated Celia) and the enormous peer pressure they put on one another (the club encouraging Skeeter's mother to make a poor decision). It visits the sins of the parents passed on to their children the bigotry and injustice that is learned at the knee of our elders. OMG it is just an awesome, poignant, moving, NOT TO BE MISSED film.
Mesmerizing from start to finish never once drags just an easy easy easy 10
Rock Solid Enjoyable Entertainment
Since Charlton Heston washed up on the shores of a devastated NYC and a fallen Statue of Liberty, we have wrangled with the idea of evolution on film painted from a natural evolution gone awry to an uprising against the indignities that our simian counterparts suffer at our hands in places like the Yerkes Primate Center, zoos and tiny cages in carnivals. If you are looking for a sequel, prequel, whatever name you want to call it to our beloved Beneath, Escape From, Conquest of, etc. get ready for a surprise. It is not.
I wish they had called this Revenge of the Apes or Vengeance of the Apes and not followed the confusing Planet of signatory - it would thus have avoided the prequel reboot, etc. discussion so folks could just talk about a pretty decent flick. It was okay that they "paid homage" to the earlier films by repeating names (Dodge, Cornealia, Ceasar) but could have and probably should have been avoided to keep people from comparing the two Here we have science gone afoul with James Franco in one of his better roles Will Rodman a scientist searching for a cure for his father's (specifically) Alzheimers using various ape species for his experiments. Upon a failed experiment affecting a female who gives birth after her death, he "adopts" the infant primate (Caesar) whose genetic makeup has been affected by the experimental drugs given his deceased mother. His intelligence grows exponentially until he ends up in a cruel animal control facility where he learns while interacting with other apes FIRST that he IS an ape and second that his true enemy is man. Not even the hand that fed and raised him appears to be exempt from his loosely controlled rage and the plight of his fellow apes.
Wonderfully conceived and written concept film on the complicated nature of the man/animal relationship and the complexity of animal rights versus human discovery and experimentation. As entertaining as this film is, it is impossible to escape the emotion, the empathy, the heartbreak and the rage we should all feel over animal abuse and neglect in any form however well-meaning and that stages the core of the plot development of pure unadulterated revenge - a nice inside look at how reactionary people can be to the unknown the love of Will for his ape/child versus the fear of the animal displayed by the neighborhood, which further sets the stage for the stunning turn of events in the film.
The dialogue in this film and indeed the film as a whole is intelligent, provocative and flows beautifully despite a few jumps in narration that the writer assumes an intelligent audience will follow (and we do). Whether the writers or director or a collaborative effort, attention was paid to this rewrite of a classic and thought was given to the direction this film and any sequels might take. Overall exciting with a few places near the end that might be overplayed but not to the detriment of the film. The same can be said for any weak moments in the film that could have been better handled or perhaps built upon none are to the film's true detriment.
Outstanding computer graphics treated with just the right amount of caution to keep this flick from being over the top and gimmicky. Perhaps an Oscar contender for the restraint showed in CG -- a fine example of how CG can be used to truly enhance a film and not be relied on to BE the film.
You have to be a sci fi fan to love this but not to enjoy it. A rock solid enjoyable film - An easy 8 in my book
Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)
Entertaining but Predcable B film Sci Fi Fare
Opens with the requisite introduction of your victims/passengers you have the mandatory kid, the mandatory old frail person, the mandatory ass, the mandatory "love connection" then moments into the flight, one of the less likable characters erupts (literally) with an illness that is magically from 34000 feet diagnosed as a contagion warranting immediate landing dropping through a thunderstorm (yeah right) and quarantine once on the ground.
Almost funny in how fast the airport locks down we ALL know we don't have this kind of security even in a post 9/11 world. And the sheer ignorance of opening a door where the original sick victim was put AFTER learning you are quarantined is laughable as is how rapidly the sick degenerate has lots of the requisite screams and monster like rages (the result of the virus) but as these B films go you expect some chuckles from the unbelievability. Becomes even more unbelievable as the movie progresses from the armed CDC (who turns out to be part of Homeland Security not a spoiler as this is revealed within moments after CDC enters) and despite some gory moments does have some suspenseful turns.
Cool plot twist involving the origin of the contagion evoked a bit of anger from me (LOL) as totally unbelievable as it is but I do love these low budget sci fi doomsday flicks
Very predictable but good filming none of the choppy poorly lit fare you expect from these films moves at a good clip but tends to bog down and become repetitive as victims begin to manifest symptoms. The characters are 2 dimensional and poorly developed you really don't develop any significant attachment to any of them -- but the acting is not altogether horrible and you do feel for their plight (and wonder how YOU would react in this situation).
I personally love this kind of sci fi flick I love all the contagion, Apocalypse, jump at sudden events flicks and don't care how bad they are as long as the story engages me and this one does.
If you watch movies for talent, drama, art, this is not your cup of tea. If you have kids under 12 or 13 that want to watch this probably not a good idea. If you love cinema for the drama and creativity, don't bother. If you just like a decent suspenseful B flick for the fun of it you will probably like this.
Do not expect awards material it's not but it is entertaining - worth the rental but it's a one time viewing not a cult classic
Super Low Budget and it shows
I wish there were a zero rating - I don't know if I can get 10 lines unless I put 10 1 line synonyms for horrible, terrible, awful, waste of time and money, etc.
Choppy filming, terrible sound track, sound editing and "score", stilted acting, ZERO character development. Even as cheap B horror flicks go, this is just terrible - at least with the better B films you can laugh - this is just painful to watch.
You just have to feel sorry for the poor schleps who thought OMG I'm making a movie only to find they made a mess.
The only way editing could have salvaged this film would have been to recycle the film stock
Order of Chaos (2010)
Absolutely awful waste of a million bucks
This was bad even for a low budget film!!! Why anyone reading this script would want to be in this movie is beyond me - why any investor would invest $2 in this after reading the script is beyond me. Implausible yet predictable from the minute the two men meet at work to the very last second -- a few "weeks in the life of" the office creep and office nerd. With a little work, the script and some character development COULD have salvaged this flick a little.
Easy to follow because it's so simple minded - NOT thought provoking unless you enjoy dwelling on the psychosis of others Horrible use of effects with cameras - unpredictable and very unnecessary flashes and repeats only add to the stress you feel of wanting this movie to end.
The director/producers would have fared better if they could not afford good sound editing and a decent score to go with silence or some inexpensive royalties to some retro tunes.
Super stilted performances - almost like reading lines - I've seen better acting in high school plays.
Overall do not waste your time.
The Conspirator (2010)
Seering Indictment of our Wartime Criminal Justice System
Well, it seems that everyone from Southerners to Northerners to pseudo Canadian "experts" on the Civil War have reviewed this, some having only seen the trailers and as a Southern redneck I am here to tell you they are so off base. This movie was not about the guilt or innocence of the Surrats nor of Booth it was about political snobbery, a rush to justice to placate the masses, to bury a tragedy and move on instead of standing up and doing the right thing.
The plot summary states in part: "As the trial unfolds, Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped (her son)" and that is correct but the BIGGER picture is not his belief in her innocence not once does he say "I believe she is innocent" he DOES contend the prosecution is using her to get to her son from which they will not back down because by their own admission, SOMEONE HAS TO PAY for this -- it is a vendetta, not a trial what Aiken DOES contend is that she is "entitled to a fair trial" by a jury of her peers (not an all male military tribunal).
After trying to get out of representing her he comes to realize that much more is at stake than her guilt or innocence. It's more that any potentially innocent person in the future could face what she is facing if not given a fair trial his role as an attorney and not just trial counsel to the Defendant becomes crystal clear.
This film was not made to address the right and wrong of slavery, racism, the rise and fall of the south, the domination of the north or even about the war itself. It was not even about the assassination of the President of the United States. It was about the miscarriage of justice plain and simple. Coming off the bloodiest period of American history TO DATE, our soldiers died not for slavery or commerce but to prevent the south from seceding from the Union.
True, you cannot have one without all the trappings whatever they may be for any given war, but as with any war there are mitigating factors and none should circumvent our basic rights as American citizens. The bottom line was our nation was founded on a set of principles stipulated in Constitution. That document alone is the glue that keeps us free, makes us accountable for our actions as a nation and as individuals.
Specifically, the Fifth Amendment was not written to protect the guilty, but to protect the innocent from being railroaded without due process. Someone once said it's better for 10 (or some arbitrary number) guilty men to go free than for one innocent to die and it is upon THAT premise that our Constitution addressed our individual rights and it was THAT premise (I believe) that Redford wanted to convey in this Oscar worthy film.
It is just astonishing to me that even after seeing the film so many people still address the guilt or innocence of Mary Surratt unfortunately we will never know if she was innocent or guilty because in our country, under our still flawed but to date best in the world criminal justice system, only a jury of one's peers can determine guilt or innocence.
One of the beauties in this film is the relevance to our times we lost 3000 lives and it stirred up the same "bury the Constitution" mentality going into our current Middle East involvement History will indeed repeat itself if we do not learn from our mistakes. A person can be accused of terrorist activity and jailed indefinitely without benefit of counsel and where the premise of innocent until proved guilty is becoming a vague suggestion and not a given right. That is the larger premise of this film.
I don't think the film was a perfect movie but I do think it was EXCELLENT entertainment hence my vote of 9 -- The editing was choppy but easily followed. I would have preferred less of the crowd scenes and the silly parlor banter regarding Surratt wearing soldier's bones that all appeared out of place especially when it was a given that the public was angry and blinded by rumorI thought more emphasis should have been spent on dialogue among counsel than an already given public sentiment and filling out the characters. A better job of editing and writing could have made this an Oscar winner and not just a contender.
The characters lacked depth I would have loved to see more dimension to them and less attention paid to the frivolities mentioned above, however, the costume and set design was dead on if nothing else, this film deserves the Oscar in those two categories it was all in the details very well researched.
If you love justice, if you love courtroom drama, if you love the late 1800s period of our history this is a must see but please DO REMEMBER this is NOT a civil war film it is an indictment of our justice system on how it treats civilians in a time of war and where it can lead This film is about justice, checks and balances, knowing and doing right in times when it is MOST trying -- not when it is easy to do the right thing.
Brilliant movie, kudos to Redford and crew