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4711 reviews in total 
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Lock Up (1989)
Rocky in prison, 14 April 2015

Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone) is in minimum security lock up with 6 months left and even allowed out into the world with Melissa (Darlanne Fluegel). He gets transferred to maximum security Gateway by vindictive warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland). He had escaped Drumgoole's prison before and made him a laughing stock. Captain Meissner (John Amos) is his hardnosed guard. Guard Braden is more by the book. Dallas (Tom Sizemore) is an overly helpful prisoner. Eclipse manages the motorpool. Prison strongman Chink Weber is gunning for Frank.

The setup is questionable. I don't get how a guy who escaped once could possibly be slated for release. The only way is to do a deal with the D.A. probably as a whistleblower against Drumgoole. The short exchange in the movie seems to suggest that and then the question becomes how does Drumgoole still have a job? The explanation for Frank's situation is so short that it feels like the movie would rather ignore it.

The movie is trying to be gritty but parts of it seems wrong. At times, this feels more like a Rocky movie. There's even a musical montage of them fixing up a hot rod. It's completely out of place. There are other moments like teaching First Base how to drive. Again it's trying to be heart warming which is ill-fitting for the premise. Some of it works better but there are too many situations that don't match the expected tense grittiness. The dialog is also wrong. First Base actually uses the word 'jive'. The movie has a few too many clunky things going on.

Lost Behind Bars (2008) (TV)
off-putting lead character, 14 April 2015

Filmmaker Lauren Wilde (Paget Brewster) and her cameraman is doing a documentary about death row inmates. They travel to Hillsdale, Oregon to film Kevin Reese scheduled to die in a month. She's pushing an agenda and most of the locals are not buying. Kevin was convicted of massacring the Watson family. He was having an affair with the wife Amanda Watson but doesn't remember the murders. Detective Tom Redler is reluctantly assigned as Lauren's liaison with his partner Charlie Quinn. Police forensics Patty Sutton helps out. She starts to believe in Kevin's innocence especially after Redler loses the case file.

Lauren Wilde is too stridden at the beginning. She's very off-putting and no interviewer would push that hard with any expectation of usable footage. The flashbacks are mostly boring and the acting is generally second rate. There isn't much to recommend in this TV movie.

jailbait Drew in slasher movie, 14 April 2015

L.A. writer Charlie Cox (Matt Frewer) and his restless daughter Joleen (Drew Barrymore) are driving home after a cross country trip of the national parks. She's turning 14 and can't wait to return home. They stop at the small desert town of Banco, Nevada. Gas station owner Ducket (Richard Masur) has no gas and Joleen encounters local Jimmy Reed. Sheriff Bill Childers (Dick Miller) is investigating a murder at the store and tells them to go to the nearby Palomino Guest Ranch and Trailer Park. It is owned by the hard Agnes Reed with her bad boy son Jimmy and bratty Sissy. There are Louise (Karen Austin) and Amy (Jennifer Tilly) at the park. Also there is nice boy Pinky Sears.

After her childhood success, a young Drew Barrymore is trying to continue with some jailbait roles culminating in 'Poison Ivy'. This could be a tense slasher thriller but the movie plays up the jailbait element at every turn. It's a bit awkward. It would be so much more appealing for her to be a little reserved and play up more of the innocence. She's a very compelling actress and it would make Jimmy Reed more threatening. The music cues for Jimmy get a bit annoying. The Reeds are so over the top that it borders on camp. The narration is mostly unnecessary, the title is too weak and the twist is too obvious. There are some good elements in this like Drew but it also fails in too many places.

an interesting attempt but a small miss, 13 April 2015

Frank Castle (Dolph Lundgren) is a former cop who lives in the sewers as The Punisher after his wife and kids were murdered. Mob boss Dino Moretti is responsible but is released after the court fails to convict him. The Punisher kills him and his henchmen. Frank's former partner Jake Berkowitz (Louis Gossett Jr.) gets hounded by Sam Leary to be his new partner. She believes that Frank Castle is still alive as The Punisher despite official denial. Gangster Gianni Franco (Jeroen Krabbé) returns to town while Lady Tanaka of the Japanese Yakuza proposes a partnership with his organization weaken by The Punisher.

I appreciate the strip down attempt at a hard-nosed comic book movie. They even kick around some kids. However Mark Goldblatt is not a good enough director. The style and look of it is solidly in a lower level. The action isn't that exciting. Lundgren doesn't do much acting-wise. It gets a bit boring without any compelling acting.

not enough chemistry, 13 April 2015

Chris Wooden (Patrick Dempsey) is a college freshman. The computer mistakenly puts him in with Alex Page (Helen Slater). She's a flighty social butterfly and he's trying to emulate a stuffy writer. They don't get along at first. Brian "something with a K" (Brad Pitt) is her boyfriend until the next one. Stan (Dan Schneider) is their wacky neighbor always with his girlfriend mannequin. Ruth Carpenter is their drama teacher.

I have never been a fan of Dempsey. Slater is on and off. She's pretty but I'm not always in love with her characters. Together, they don't have enough chemistry. The dialog isn't good enough to have fun with their relationship. I struggle to get involved with this duo. They are a lot better on paper but they are not in reality. I actually think that it would work if they become friends and it would be more interesting. Her problem is that she hates her flirtatious reputation and her lack of stable relationships. Stan's wackiness isn't particularly funny. Just in case you're wondering, Brad Pitt doesn't do much in this movie.

unfunny comedy, 13 April 2015

Johnny Walker (Anthony Michael Hall) is the star high school football quarterback and punter. Backup quarterback Leo Wiggins (Robert Downey Jr.) is his best friend that never gets into the game. Wayne Hisler (Paul Gleason) is the hated coach. They win the championship and Johnny is recruited by everybody. His girlfriend Georgia Elkans (Uma Thurman) wants him to follow her to State college for a solid education.

There are nobody to like in this movie. This is trying to be a comedy but it's not funny. This subject could allow for a dark gritty realistic tale of bad recruitment practices but it's so fake. The writing is nowhere near sharp enough. It's always fascinating to see a young star and this one has Uma Thurman. Hall isn't convincing or likable. Downey is mugging for the camera too much without getting any laughs. This is Bud S. Smith's one and only directing credit. There's a reason for that.

The 'Burbs (1989)
fun and funny movie, 13 April 2015

Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) is staying home for a week of vacation. There are strange things going on next door at the Klopeks who moved in last month. His friend Art Weingartner (Rick Ducommun) has wild theories about them. Along with military vet Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) and Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman), they try to convince him of the worst. Mark's wife Bonnie (Wendy Schaal) finds neighbor Walter Seznick's dog Queenie running loose. Walter is nowhere to be found. Ray's wife Carol (Carrie Fisher) insists on the best and drag the Rumsfields to visit the creepy Klopeks.

This is such a fun premise of nosy neighbors in the suburbs. Tom Hanks is a great everyman and he has a lot of fun. The guys are basically full grown boys and the Klopeks are the creepy neighborhood bogeymen. It's not suppose to be scary. It's a bit wacky. It's just a fun time.

so bad that it's almost cheesy good... but not, 13 April 2015

Jack "Soldier" Kelly (Lorenzo Lamas) was in the Marine's Search and Destroy Special Forces known as "Snake Eaters". He's an undercover cop in a rundown city. After spiking the criminals, he is fired. Junior and his backwoods criminals kill his parents and kidnapped his sister Jennifer. Jack comes to hunt down the perpetrators and gets a motorcycle seadoo to do it.

This movie should prove that Lorenzo Lamas is a horrible actor. He's not the only one in this movie. There are some very cheesy lines that are almost funny. Everything is so bad that it borders on being a spoof. The problem is that Lamas and the gang aren't good enough to take advantage of its inherit camp. I kind of laugh at how bad this is but I don't feel good doing it.

not necessarily a kids movie, 13 April 2015

Max is a rambunctious brat. He's imaginative and often wears a wolf costume. He plays around with his sister Claire's friends but they make him cry. He's angry at Claire and trashes her room. His mother Connie (Catherine Keener) is struggling and is dating Adrian (Mark Ruffalo). Feeling uncared for, he runs away wearing his wolf costume. He boards a small boat which then sails the high seas to an unknown land inhabited by large wild beasts. Max convinces the creatures that he is the king with magical powers who could even keep out the sadness.

Director Spike Jonze has filled out a pretty thin story with a good sense of wonder and a lot of childhood angst. The kid fits the role quite well. I think the creatures are terrific especially as they smash things. It is the confused child's struggles that is the heart of the movie. It may not be for little kids but it is a fine movie about something deeper.

Cyborg (1989)
campy cult B-action movie, 13 April 2015

Pearl Prophet is trying to escape a band of pirates. She is a cyborg carrying valuable information to the doctors in Atlanta looking for a cure to the plague. Gibson Rickenbacker (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a mercenary or a slinger who temporarily rescues her. Pearl is quickly captured by Fender's gang. Fender intends to go to Atlanta with Pearl as his hostage. The pirates kill for a boat. Gibson follows them on the road and is joined by Nady Simmons.

It's a second rate action B-movie. The production, the acting and the script are all lower quality. There isn't much to recommend other than Van Damme in this post apocalyptic world. Its best hope is for great action but it's not filmed that well. It still has Van Damme kicking and possibly has some campy cult value. It doesn't have much more.

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