Reviews written by registered user
|34 reviews in total|
Here's an action movie done with sass and style. Geena Davis plays Samantha
Caine, a schoolteacher living with her daughter and charming boyfriend. The
thing is that eight years ago, Samantha was struck by amnesia and can't
remember her past. To unlock the mystery, she enlists that aid of several
private investigators, including a sleazy, low-rent PI (Samuel L. Jackson).
It turns out, although, that she used to be Charly Baltimore, a deadly
female spy who used to work for the CIA. As Charly begins to slowly recover
her memory, she realizes that she is being targeted by her former
The action is non-stop and delivers on its premise. Geena Davis definitely proves to be one Hollywood's most versatile actresses, as she admirably transforms the warm and cookie-cutting Samantha into a lethal femme fatale. She certainly doesn't look out of place, when she is handling a high-powered rifle shooting off some bad guys. Even, a funny Samuel L. Jackson knows to step out of Geena's way to let her dominate the screen.
Rating: 7/10 or (3 stars)
'The Andromeda Strain' is an adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel about
four scientists, all of whom are assigned to study a mysterious alien virus
and stop it from spreading.
There is a great story to be told here, but the film seems to be more concerned with astonishing us with technology rather than telling it. Throughout the film, the audience is subjected to close-ups of machines and computers, and this quickly becomes redundant. So does the film, as it drags in excruciatingly slow motion. The screenplay hardly ever cuts deep into its characters. As a result, most of the characters never rise above the level of caricature. Only Kate Reid, as one of the scientists, manages to inject some humor into an otherwise lifeless sci-fi. But despite all of its flaws, the film never feels the need to insert any romantic mush or alien cliches, so we have to give it some credit.
Rating: 5/10 or (2 stars)
'Igby Goes Down' is definitely in the 'Catcher in the Rye' territory.
Although, the film is nowhere near as powerful as Salinger's novel,
writer and director Burr Steers has made an indelible film about
teenage rebellion. Kieran Culkin comes into his own with a
career-making performance as Jason 'Igby' Slocumb Jr.
Right off the bat, we learn about Igby's rather dysfunctional family. His pill-popping and neglectful mother (Susan Sarandon in a icy yet hysterical performance), his schizophrenic father and prep-school jerk brother (Ryan Phillipe). Igby does not see eye-to-eye with his family, particularly his mother, whom he blames for his father's mental breakdown. Igby constantly p***es of his mother, by taking some of her pills and getting kicked out of school after school.
Igby refusing to 'go down' like his father, decides to leave home and make it on his own. He leaves to Manhattan, where he goes on a rather bizarre, yet memorable adventure to find himself.
Kieran Culkin has certainly come a long way from his sappy turns in 'Father of the Bride' and 'Nowhere to Run'. Here he rises above the material to create a sarcastic and emotionally charged character. It's an award-caliber performance that was sadly overlooked when the Oscars came rolling around. 'Igby Goes Down' may start slowly and awkwardly, but once it gets going, it grabs you.
Rating: 7/10 or (3 stars)
Nicole Kidman (in a spellbinding performance) plays Grace, the WW2-era
mother of two. She was left behind to live in a rather huge chateau while
her husband went off to war. However, after the war is over, Grace doubts
that her husband will ever return. In the meanwhile, she takes care of her
two light-sensitive children with the help of a few servants. But, strange
events begin to occur in Grace's home. In a matter of time, Grace begins to
fear that there are other spirits or ghosts haunting her
To reveal too many details of the plot would ruin the magic that 'The Others' works on you at the end. It's a twist ending that grabs you and makes you see the entire film in a different way. The same way that 'The Sixth Sense' did. But comparing to 'The Others' to Shyamalan's 'Sixth Sense' could translate into disappointment. The trouble spot is in the pacing of the film. Like in Shyamalan's film, 'The Others' creates its suspension through the tension felt by its characters. However, Shyamalan was a mastermind when it came to keeping its audience riveted. In 'The Others', there are numerous scenes that go on way too long for their own good. Thus, at times the film feels unwatchable. No matter, despite its flaws, 'The Others' works a spell on you.
Rating: 7/10 or (3 stars)
Just when you thought that throw-away movies couldn't possibly get any
worse, along comes 'American Virgin'. 'Virgin' is simply a shameless piece
of trash. The filmmakers know it and for that reason they changed the
of the movie from 'Live Virgin' to 'American Virgin' in order to cash in
Mena Suvari's success ('American Beauty' and 'American Pie'). I feel bad
the poor sap who'll buy this crap expecting to see something like the two
This movie is just downright terrible on all levels. One only has to look at the idiotic plot involving Mena Suvari as the daughter of a porn director (Robert Loggia) who agrees to lose her virginity onscreen just to spite her father. To add further insult to an already lame plot, while Suvari's character is losing her virginity, many paying customers will be participating in the event via a virtual sex machine. Hell and I haven't even got to the talk-show scene that even Jerry Springer wouldn't admire, the subplot involving Suvari's geek boyfriend, and the annoying loudmouth antics of the two porn directors. As far as disposable movies go, this one is roadkill.
Rating: (2/10) or (0 stars)
'Kung Pow' is a movie that would have been served better as a five-minute
sketch on SNL. Or, it could have worked better as a martial arts spoof a la
'Scary Movie'. Instead, the movie is basically an old kung-fu movie with
voices dubbed over in silly style by the movie's director and star Steve
At first, the dubbing seems moderately amusing, but there is no doubt that this spoof wears thin well before its halfway mark. Although, it has its moments like the cow-fight that does a good job at poking fun at 'The Matrix'. In a movie where the laughs are few and far between, it needed more moments like these.
Rating: 5/10 or (2 stars)
Michael Douglas is electrifying as detective Nick Cochlan, a loose cannon
that plays by his own rules. Nick is definitely at a low-point in his life,
as he is divorced and under investigation by Internal Affairs for stealing
money. As if things couldn't get worse for Nick, he accidentally lets a
killer, that he is responsible for delivering to the Japanese, escape.
Consequently, Nick and his partner Charlie (Andy Garcia) decide to stay in
Japan to track down the killer.
Director Ridley Scott is no stranger to creating stylish and provocative films. One just needs to look at his work in 'Blade Runner' and 'Gladiator' to realize his talents. Certainly, Scott provides plenty of eye-popping visuals in the scenes taking place within the streets of Japan. Another point of interest is the way the movie handles the cultural clash in the scenes involving Nick and the Japanese detective, Masahiro (Ken Takakura), that has been assigned to watchdog him. When Nick first arrives in Japan, he seems to be rather contemptuous towards his Japanese counterparts. By the end of the movie, Nick develops an attitude of respect and shares a friendship with Masahiro.
However, the movie's nagging flaw is its depiction of the Japanese mafia and police department. Most of these characters are under-developed and sink to level of being caricatures. There is also a subplot involving a developing romance between Nick and a cocktail waitress (Kate Capshaw) that is pure filler. As a result, too often the film feels like an all looks, no soul kind of show.
Rating: 6/10 or (2 stars)
With a growing trend of rappers starring in their own movies, Snoop Dogg
joins the pack with 'Bones'. Snoop plays Jimmy Bones, a 70s hustler, who is
betrayed and murdered by some of his closest associates. Since the time of
the murder, Jimmy's corpse is buried in the basement of an abandoned house
in Bones' now seedy neighborhood. When a group of empty-headed teenagers buy
the abandoned house, they unsurprisingly wake up Jimmy's spirit, resulting
in Bones going on a bloody rampage for revenge.
What the heck are we to do with a movie like 'Bones'. Are we supposed to take it seriously as a horror movie. Or laugh at its silliness and Snoop's attempt at becoming a real-life 'Doggfather'. Whatever its intentions are, this movie doesn't have the feel of a horror movie. Rather, it feels more like one of Snoop's pot induced fantasies.
Rating: 5/10 or (2 stars)
Julianne Moore gives a career-high performance as Cathy Whitaker, the 50s
era housewife whose life is shattered upon the discovery of her husband's
homosexuality. In her neighborhood, the Whitakers are idolized for being
perfect family. Frank (Dennis Quaid), for being the father with a hot-shot
job. And Cathy, for being the ideal mother of two children. However,
everything goes downhill for Cathy when she discovers that her husband has
been secretly involved in a homosexual affair. In an era where appearances
are more important than anything else, Cathy does everything she can to
Frank's secret from slipping out. She even goes as far as to hire a
psychologist (James Rebhorn) to deal with Frank's homosexuality. But this
only the beginning of Cathy's problems. Facing alienation in her marriage,
Cathy finds comfort in her friendship with her black gardener, Raymond (a
superb Dennis Haysbert). When Cathy is spotted with Raymond, she is
condemned by society for being a 'negro-lover'. The Whitakers, once the
basis of everyone's admiration in society, quickly become social
'Far from Heaven' is not your standard chick-flick. Rather, it seems to be more of a study, or perhaps criticism, of social life in the fifties. Director and writer Todd Haynes brings forth a touching and captivating story of Cathy's fall from grace. Haynes never succumbs to cheap sentiment. Instead, he lets the story and the actors carry the movie. The performances in the film are all of the excellent variety. Enough good things cannot be said about Moore's performance, she is just flawless in her portrayal of Cathy Whitaker. Dennis Quaid also gives arguably his best performance ever in a raw yet sensitive role. 'Far From Heaven' marks a triumph.
Rating: 10/10 or (4 stars)
As the 'Death Wish' series went on, the movies became more of an excuse to
watch Charles Bronson shoot some bad guys. 'Death Wish 4' is no exception,
as there is hardly any plot worth talking about. It is basically the same
plot of every 'Death Wish' movie. Only this time, we get to see an hour and
a half of Bronson shooting some drug dealers.
There is no sense in complaining about the cheesy script or subpar acting, because this movie is definitely not set out to change your life or anything. When you watch these kind of movies, you know what you're getting. That is, some mindless shoot-em-up scenes and action. 'Death Wish 4' does just that (even in bad taste at times) and nothing more.
Rating: 5/10 (2 Stars)
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