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8 reviews in total 
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Murderball (2005)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Best Sports Movie Of The Year, 2005, 6 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Murderball" is, first and foremost, a sports movie. Indeed, a glorious sports movie. This is the type of movie you can take your football buddies to - seriously.

Yes, the athletes in this film have limited use of their limbs for various reasons, but this is not tear jerker like "Brian's Song." Indeed, this is more in the vein of the various "come from behind" sports movies - the ones where a renegade coach rebuilds a team to fight a team that has always dominated the sport.

I was so caught up in the drama of the competition that I was always a little surprised to see the athletes still in their chairs after a match. Murderball players live their lives like any able bodied athlete would - USA team leader Mark Zupan even makes a point to say that if somebody has a problem with him talking trash to him that they should take a swing at him, wheelchair or no.

I left the movie with nothing but respect for the athletes - and a strong desire to watch some live quad rugby matches.

43 out of 55 people found the following review useful:
Just Great, 22 August 2004

I found "The Triplets of Belleville" to be one of the most charming movies I've had the pleasure of seeing the last couple of years. This delightful movie follows the adventures of Madame Souza, her son, Champion, and their dog, Bruno.

Madame Souza recognizes that something is missing from Champion's life. His parents are, clearly, gone. All he has left from them is a picture of the pair of them on a bicycle. As she silently pieces together what Champion needs to be happy, she and he discover a new life as participants in the Tour de France - he as a competitor and her as his coach and trainer.

They live a life of quiet, simple joys until he is kidnapped, an event that leads to a trip to Belleville for all three. This fictional city will prove oddly familiar to most viewers. Here, Madame Souza is befriended by the titular characters - I will leave the "book report" style commenting here.

There are so many delights in this picture, but I am going to focus on my favorite character, Bruno the dog. I don't think I have ever seen a movie capture a real dog as well as this one does. We see him from a puppy, learn the event that leads him to hate trains, feel anxious for him when he paws at his bowl while the silly humans finish their own dinners, and fear for him when his canine instincts lead him to places of danger.

Throughout this all, Bruno is gloriously canine. He dreams of the things that are important to him, he sees the world as smells and images. He is awesome. Or, perhaps, she is awesome. Bruno is a male name, but many have suggested he is a she.

Anyhow, the other characters are great fun as well, but my heart belongs to this big fat dog. Even if I hadn't loved the rest of the movie (I did), I would recomend it for Bruno alone.

Finally, The Spirit of The Books on Screen, 7 June 2004

I love the Harry Potter books. I've read them several times, search obsessively for information about the new books and, yes, went to see the first two movies. They left me flat. Yes, they hit the plot points of Rowlings' books, but (in spite of their special effects) they lacked, frankly, the magic.

"Azkaban," on the other hand, abandons some of the major plot points of the book. If you are somebody who wants to see the book on screen exactly as it was written, this movie will disappoint you. Of course, let's not forget that there were plenty of plot points abandoned in the first two movies as well.

Anyhow, if you, on the other hand, fell in love with the world of Rowlings' books, this movie is likely to be a delight for you. There are tons of little details that don't scream out "LOOK - MAGIC" (like nearly every magic moment does in the Columbus films) and, as a result really seem magical.

Some fine acting from all the cast members - this is the first time that, for my money, the kids really seemed like the characters instead of like children who were just lucky enough to look like the characters. David Thewlis is an excellent addition to the cast as Professor Lupin. The scenes with Radcliffe and Thewlis are among the finest in the film.

At any rate, I give it a 10 out of 10. It exceeded my expectations.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Elfman at His finest, 17 February 2004

I have been a huge fan of this movie since it was first released. For the first bunch of years, I primarily enjoyed it for the animation and story. However, in the last couple of years, I find myself coming back to it for Danny Elfman's music and lyrics.

If you've never noticed how certain exceptional composer weave character themes throughout a movie, you could do worse than to start your study of music in cinema with this film. Witness how variations on Sally's theme accompany her throughout the film - or how strains of Jack's early lament repeat in several of his songs and appearances.

Katherine O'Hara, who did such a nice job singing in the 2003's "A Mighty Wind," is really an outstanding vocalist. Here, she sings for both Sally and Shock and is quite excellent as both. Elfman sings most of Jack Skellington's songs, as any fan of his early band Oingo Boingo will notice.

Anyhow, the movie is a delight, the soundtrack even more.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Painful, Wonderful, 5 February 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


It take a rare combinations of elements for a truly awful movie to achieve legendary status. Most bad movies vanish into well-deserved obscurity. Sometimes, however, one is so bad that it rises above its own failings and turns into an inadvertently entertaining nugget of, well, not gold, but something precious. "Plan Nine From Outer Space," "Showgirls," and, yes, "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park" fall into this category.

This movie is entertaining for all of the wrong reasons. I think it was meant to be a kind of drama or thriller or at least a movie that made Kiss seem cool. It turned out to be a campy nightmare of badly dubbed voices, embarrassing acting, cheesy stunts and (best of all) some of the most marvelously wooden dialogue this side of "Josie and the Pussycats." That Kiss survived to once again be one of the great rock bands is a testament to their musical prowess.

I watch this movie at least once a year, and there is a line in it - the last line - that is one of my favorite pieces of dialogue of all time. Alas, it gives away the conclusion and hints at a major plot point, hence the spoiler warning:

"He built Kiss to destroy Kiss... and lost..."

I mean, good writers can't produce lines like that. The more the pity.

I gave the movie 1 out of 10, because it deserves it. IMO, A movie should receive a 1 if it is memorably awful, as opposed to just dull and bad.

The Order (2003)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Just Awful, 30 December 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What was the worst movie of 2003? "Cat in the Hat?" "Gigli?" Mais non! I propose that it was this atrocious little film from earlier in the year. Badly written, badly edited, and (if I may be so bold) badly acted, "The Order" is the black hole of film - a movie so dense not even the slightest bit of entertainment could escape from its event horizon of suck. It isn't even accidentally funny, like (for example) "Showgirls."

You know that the producers are assuming that their audience isn't going to be very smart. They renamed the movie, originally titled "The Sin Eaters," because they figured Americans were too stupid to understand what a sin eater was, even though they go to great lengths to explain what a sin eater is in the movie. Instead, they figure an utterly generic title and a picture of Heath Ledger looking sullen are more than enough to get you in there.

And, hey, what do you know, they were right! My ex-girlfriend saw the picture of Heath and dragged me in. Congratulations, producers, you've met your target market. She also liked "Grease II," so you're in good company.

Back on topic, Heath plays a Catholic monk from a specific (you guessed it) order that is trying to investigate the murder of his mentor. He has celibacy issues, possibly because nobody in their right mind would believe that he knew the slightest thing about religion, much less be a celibate monk. The only other member of this order is a funny alcoholic fat guy. As much as I've wanted to see the return of the funny alcoholic to the big screen, his attempts at humor reminded me of all the dorks in my high school who did imitations of Monty Python, thinking that if they just said the lines like the Pythons did they would automatically be funny. You know the sort of people I'm talking about.

If I utter any more, I would be in danger of generating spoilers. Frankly, the thing that spoiled this movie for me was the fact that it was created.

Very Silly Indeed, 19 December 2003

IMDB asks "would you like to comment on this film" whenever you rate it. While I am not sure that I would actually *like* to comment on this film, I feel compelled to comment on it.

I like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy with pretty decent taste. You know, the kind of person who is happy to sit down and watch a high quality foreign film with a glass of port. In general, I despise mindless comedy. Oh, mind you, I like smart comedy - like, say, Monty Python or Oscar Wilde.

Then I saw "Kung Pow" and just about burst a lung laughing. I don't know if it was the hilariously stupid dialogue of Master Betty, or the heroine's constant "wee-ooo wee-ooo" sobs, but something about this film had me on the verge of tears from laughing several times.

While this is not a film that will impress your educated friends, it is a great "sit around with your beer swilling pals and laugh until you barf" kind of film. Better still, the lines and, well, sounds from the film will stay with you and become fun little in jokes (much like the more intelligent dialogue from, say, "This is Spinal Tap" or "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"). For example (and this will make no sense until you've seen it), my friends and I sit around still going "Birdie... birdie... birdie..."

There is no logical reason why this film should be so much fun, but, for me at least, it really was. (7 out of 10)

Hulk (2003)
Excellent Comic Book to Screen Adaptation, 18 December 2003

The failure of "The Hulk" was one of marketing. People went in, perhaps, with a certain set of expectations based on the trailers ("Oh, it will be just like 'the X-Men'") and instead found a much more "artsy" film. When you want to see super villains and explosions and, instead, get psychological depth and pathos, you are bound to be a little disappointed.

That being said, I found "The Hulk" to be a pleasant surprise. There are many things to recommend it, but I would like to focus on the editing. This is, in my opinion, one of the first movies based on a comic book that actually looked like a comic book. Split and multiple screens allowed Lee to give us multiple reaction shots all at the same time. This was, for me, great fun.

Every writer and artist who take over the comic book take it in their own direction. I believe Lee did the same thing when he took charge of this project. Lee's "Hulk" isn't an awful lot like the one in the TV series or the most recent comic book versions, but it is one worth visiting - without any preconceptions about style or content.