Reviews written by registered user
rah604

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34 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
'The Long Kiss Goodnight', 22 May 2004
7/10

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 allies.

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)

4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
'The Andromeda Strain', 18 May 2004
5/10

'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)

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
'Igby Goes Down', 18 May 2004
7/10

'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)

The Others (2001)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Others, 11 May 2004
7/10

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 home.

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)

17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
'American Virgin', 10 May 2004
2/10

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 title of the movie from 'Live Virgin' to 'American Virgin' in order to cash in on Mena Suvari's success ('American Beauty' and 'American Pie'). I feel bad for the poor sap who'll buy this crap expecting to see something like the two aforementioned films.

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)

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, 10 May 2004
5/10

'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 Oedekerk.

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)

Black Rain (1989)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Black Rain, 10 May 2004
6/10

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)

Bones (2001)
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
'Bones', 6 May 2004
5/10

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)

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
'Far from Heaven', 6 May 2004
10/10

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 the 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 hide 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 is 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 outsiders.

'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)

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
'Death Wish 4: The Crackdown', 3 May 2004
5/10

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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