144 Reviews
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Poker Run (2009)
Not Really Anything New, but Still Pretty Solid
12 September 2009
Caught a screening of this one at the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear in August '09, introduced by co-writer/co-producer/star Bertie Higgins. While it certainly wasn't the best film that I saw at the festival, it was still a gritty, gruesome and - at times - very tense little thriller.

The plot centers on two suburbanite wannabe bikers and their wives taking part in a "Poker Run" - a high stakes poker game taking place through numerous stops across the American south. But when the crew meets up with a dark, charismatic biker and his crusty partner, they stray from the beaten path and it before long everything goes straight to Hell. The women are kidnapped, and our heroes are forced into a brutal game of cat and mouse.

It's nothing that we haven't seen before...think Saw meets Last House on the Left by way of Easy Rider, essentially. Still, once the ball gets rolling there are some super intense scenes and plenty of the red stuff (if that's what you're into).

One of the films flaws lies in the cast. Certain cast members are pretty dull...our 2 protagonists especially. That said, Robert Thorne gives us an unpredictable, strangely magnetic villain and his partner (who's name escapes me entirely) is wonderfully insane and has moments of being creepy as hell.

My only other real gripe with the film was the pacing near the first. Things seemed to take forever to get started, but once things hit the fan it managed a pretty breakneck pace until the end. I'll go easy on this particular flaw though: in his introduction to the film, Higgins explained that we weren't quite watching the final cut.

Assuming they get the pacing issue sorted out, this one's a pretty tight and gritty thriller. Nothing earth shattering and it doesn't bring much new to the table, but if you're into this kind of flick you'll find a lot to like in Poker Run.
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Amusing timekiller
24 June 2006
OK, I admit it: As bad as they are, I'm a sucker for these movies. This one isn't quite as "so-bad-it's-good" as Godzilla Vs. Gigan, but it's still an amusing way to kill some time.

It has everything that you could you want in a Godzilla flick: A totally nonsense plot, bad dubbing, an annoying kid...and dancing giant monsters. Yes, you read that right. We have Godzilla attempting to moonwalk, Gigan doing the jitterbug, and Megalong trying what would appear to be the macarena. Why? That is one of life's great mysteries.

If you're looking for a good movie, run as far from this as you can. But for cheesy fun this one is perfect.

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The Sting (1973)
A true classic
23 June 2006
"Winner of 7 Academy Awards!" the DVD box proudly proclaims. And now after seeing this classic for the first time, I have to say that it deserves every single one.

Newman and Redford are perfect together as the two grifters that set of the sting of the century against a crooked banker played wonderfully by Robert Shaw. The rest of the supporting cast is great, especially Charles Durning as Lt. Snyder, possibly one of the most easily hated characters I can think of.

I wont say anything more about the plot, because I went in blind and I think it was for the better. Suffice to say that unless someone has spoiled it for you, it'll surprise most anyone at some point along the way.

Nothing else needs to be said about this film. A true classic, and anyone who hasn't seen it should do so right away!

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Silly but lots of fun!
23 June 2006
Being a huge fan of the Evil Dead franchise, and a huge Bruce Campbell fan in general, I knew I was going to enjoy this. It totally abandons the horror aspect of the first 2, but is still A lot of fun.

The plot is completely off-the-wall, and I loved it. It picks up where ED2 leaves off, with Ash transported to the Middle Ages. He has to find the Necronomicon in order to return to his own time, but inadvertently unleashes Hell upon the world...literally. Great plot, kept me absorbed and enthralled from beginning to end.

Ash has got to be one of the greatest characters ever put on film. He really comes into his own in this one, spouting more one-liners than ever. Bruce Campbell is a very underrated actor who really deserves more recognition. The rest of the cast are pretty good as well.

Though it's nothing like it's predecessors, this is a great film. Sure it's kind of silly, but it knows what it is and has fun with it.

"Hail to the king, baby"

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The Game (1984)
Very 80's and very strange!
23 June 2006
Well this was certainly a weird little film. Very low budget, very bad actors, very 80's...very strange!

The plot is basically just a confusing rehash of House on Haunted Hill. 3 eccentric millionaires invite a group of people to stay at their mansion to face their greatest fears. The last one gets a million dollars. Pretty straight forward, but they still manage to make it a jumbled, confusing mess. At one point near the end, the narrator even admits he doesn't have a clue what's happening!

The actors are exactly what you'd expect to see in a low budget 80's horror flick, which is to say that they couldn't act their way out of a wet paper bag. They do have some amusing lines, including the best pick-up line ever "I had a vasectomy!".

Really though, this isn't an awful film considering. It's interesting to watch, because you really have no idea what's going to happen from one scene to the next. Really odd and poorly made film, but still entertaining in it's own way.

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Oldeuboi (2003)
23 June 2006
A man is kidnapped and locked away, without any idea why or for how long. 15 years later he is released, and vows to find his captors have his revenge. Sounds like a pretty basic plot, right? You couldn't be more wrong.

I was really surprised by Oldboy. I'd read plenty of reviews calling it a masterpiece, an instant classic, the "best movie ever", etc., but I never imagined that I really would be this good. The actors are great, especially Min-sik Choi as the main character.

There really isn't much else to say about the film. One of the best movies I've seen in a very long time.

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Good, but weak by comparison
21 June 2006
Though it is nowhere near as good as the first 2 Universal Frankenstein films, this is still a fairly enjoyable outing.

The plot is straightforward, yet still interesting. As the title would suggest, it centers around the son of Henry Frankenstein, who originally created the "monster". He returns to the village where his father lived and worked, only to be met with hatred by the townsfolk. He soon comes across Ygor, who has been protecting the "monster" after the explosion that supposedly destroyed him. I would say more...but that, my friends, would be spoiling it for you.

Basil Rathbone does a very good job as the titular character, and Bela Lugosi's Ygor is quite possibly his greatest post-Dracula role. Karloff, playing the "monster" once again, isn't as good as in the previous installments. Lionel Atwill was one of the highlights of the film, playing the local detective whose arm had been ripped off my the "monster". Perhaps it would have been better if I had seen this prior to Young Frankenstein, because I found myself chuckling every time he moved his fake arm. The rest of the cast is pretty typical for supporting casts of the time period, AKA not very good.

One thing that really stood out were the sets and their design. It almost seemed influenced by Dr. Caligari, which I found very interesting.

This isn't one of the best Universal monster flicks, but it's still worth a watch. It's very slow, but still enjoyable.

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Hostel (2005)
Not great
21 June 2006
Let me start by saying that I wasn't really interested in seeing this movie in the first place. It looked pretty dumb, but I thought I should see it just to see what all the fuss was about. That said, now that I've seen it, I still think it's a dumb movie, and still cant see what the fuss is about.

I had the same problem as a lot of people with this movie: It starts out like a bad porno. By the time it becomes an actual horror movie, it had already lost my interest. The gore was good, the acting was surprisingly decent, but the plot was so mind-numbingly awful that I really couldn't enjoy it much.

Basically, this movie is well made and well acted, but it has such a boring, straightforward plot that it really wasn't all that great.


PS- I did like the TCM reference near the end.
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Dark City (1998)
One of the greatest sci-fi films of all time
20 June 2006
I don't really want to say a lot about this movie for fear of spoiling anything, so I'll keep this short and sweet.

First off: The plot is incredible. If you thought The Matrix was thought provoking, this will blow your mind.

The cinematography and overall design of this film are also incredible. Very dark, very surreal. Along with the spectacular effects, the whole movie looks great.

The actors are all very good as well, especially Keifer Sutherland.

Put simply, you have to see this movie. One of the best sci-fi films I've ever seen.

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Do you like cheese?
19 June 2006
Do you like competent actors? Senseical plot lines? Good writing? If you do (and you all saw this coming) do not watch this movie! On the other hand, if you like a good cheesy plot, some over-the-top gore, gratuitous nudity and buckets of lab mice painted black....this is the movie for you!

Just look at the title: What would you expect from a movie called "Rats: Night of Terror"? Hell, that title is the only reason I bought the film! It just screams cheesefest, and let me tell you there's nothing wrong with that. Sure the actors suck, sure some of the lines are horrible (Stupid machine needs a kick in the balls!), but who cares? Doesn't that just make it that much more fun?

The gore is actually pretty well-done, surprisingly enough. The corpses near the first look great.

Oh, before I forget: The ending! Even if you don't like this film, you NEED to watch the whole thing just to see the amazing ending. I don't want to spoil it, so I'll just leave it at that.

Overall if you don't enjoy cheesy movies, leave this one on the shelf. If you do enjoy the, this is a dream come true!

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Very good
19 June 2006
It's films like this that remind me just how incompetent the Academy Awards really are. Not even a nomination? Come on now.

Nick Cage wasn't any better or worse than usual, but I truly think that Micheal Caine deserves some kind of recognition. He was incredible IMO. The entire cast did a good job, but it was Caine that really stood out for me.

I also really enjoyed the plot. I was worried that I might get bored, but while not a lot happens in this film I cant remember one moment where I wasn't interested. You really start to feel for the characters, and you want to see them succeed. It's a simple story on the surface, but is wonderfully complex if you stop to think about it.

It even managed to have it's funny moments. The "glove slap" had me laughing like a lunatic, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

I don't really know what else to say about this, other than that it's a shame it didn't get an Oscar. Is it one of the best films of all time? No, not really. One of the best films of '05? There is no question.

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Very underrated...A lot of fun!
19 June 2006
Why does this film get such a slagging? Sure, it's flawed in some ways, but it's just so much fun! I'll start with the casting, which has it's ups and downs. John Goodman was born to play Fred; he did an incredible job. On the other hand, Rick Moranis didn't make for a great Barney. He was OK, but just didn't seem to fit the part. I'm not even going to get in to how awfully cast Rosie O'Donnell was. The other characters, such as Wilma's mother or the villain, Cliff, were all well cast and did great. Oh, and Harvey Korman as the Dictabird was easily one of the highlights.

The style of Bedrock translates perfectly to the screen, and looks amazing. Just like the cartoon come to life, they did a great job.

The only real downfall of this film is the plot. Sure, the cartoon always had kind of cheesy plots, but this takes the mud-pie. Essentially it's just a formulaic spin on Greek tragedy, complete with catharsis and all that fun stuff. Fred as a tragic hero? Bad idea.

When it comes down to it though, this is A lot of fun. Lots of laughs, great sets, great effects and (some) great acting. Definitely worth a watch.

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Good but flawed
18 June 2006
I went into this with very few expectations, simply because I didn't know what to expect. I must say it turned out to be a decent flick, but rather hit-and-miss in places.

The plot is a classic one, and it is handled very well here. The message is made quite obvious, and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, I do wish that they would have been more subtle about it. It also suffers from some very bad writing, with many very poor lines. Still, it's an interesting account of the story.

The actors are, for the most part, very good. Branagh does a great job on both sides of the camera, but he really shines here as an actor. He does a fantastic job as Victor. As for DeNiro, I'm somewhat torn. He gave a great performance as the Creature, however I'm not sure that I liked how the character was portrayed. He was a very uneven character, who seemed to change his entire mindset on the drop of a dime. Perhaps this was intentional, but if so it wasn't handled very well.

One thing that I rarely comment on about of movie is the score, though I feel the need to mention it here. A good, though generic, score, I was very annoyed at how intrusive it could be. It seemed very out of place most of the time.

Finally, the pacing was very uneven. It moved along at a good clip most of the time, but was almost unbearably slow in the middle.

Despite it's flaws, this is a pretty good film. I enjoyed it, and it's recommended by me.

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So bad it's (almost) good!
17 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
*Spoilers, though there really isn't much to spoil.*

What can you expect from any of these old Godzilla flicks? This is exactly what you'd think it would be: cheesy, stupid, and actually kind of fun in a so-bad-its-funny way.

Most, if not all, films like this have terrible dubbing. It's a fact of life. However, this movie quite possibly has some of the worst I've ever seen. Most of the lines don't match their facial expressions in the least, and I found it quite hilarious. The actors doing the dubbing were pretty brutal as well, but what would you expect? The plot is beyond cheesy. Turns out some cockroaches from space have destroyed their home planet, and now they want to take over ours. So they summon some space monsters to wipe out Tokyo, only they are soon foiled by Godzilla and Angilas. There is also a group of people trying to figure out what's going on, but nobody really cares about them. I don't think I really need to say anything else about the plot, it speaks for itself.

When it comes down to it, this is an awful movie. The so-bad-its-good factor earns it a few points, but it's pretty bad nonetheless.

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Walk the Line (2005)
15 June 2006
I should start out by saying a few things. First off, I'm definitely a fan of Johnny Cash, and if you aren't you likely wont share my opinions on this fine film. Second, the isn't much in the review that hasn't been said before...but it's my review, so sue me.

Now, let me get this out of the way: The actors are phenomenal. All the praise, awards and nominations were wholeheartedly deserved. Phoenix does an incredible job as Cash, as does Witherspoon as June Carter. They are very believable together and both do a great job. There was some great work in the supporting cast as well, for example Tyler Hilton as Elvis Presley. He didn't have very much time on screen, which I think is a shame.

Next, the music! On top of being great actors, Phoenix and Witherspoon show that they really have pipes! Not only are they very good singers, the sound very similar to their real-life counterparts. I almost felt like singing along at a few parts...but then I realised that I'd probably scare everyone away.

The only thing I didn't particularly care for was the directing. It seemed very bland, and on top of that the editing was pretty bad in places.

All in all this is a great movie to see, even if you aren't a Cash fan. Highly recommended.

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A must-see
14 June 2006
I recently picked this up for $5 on DVD, and let me tell you folks: It was five bucks very well spent. I'm very surprised that this movie isn't very well known today, as it certainly deserves much more recognition.

First off, the story somehow manages to seem current even in our modern times. It truly is a timeless story about corruption, greed and how we really are just sheep to the media.

Really though, this film is character driven. "Lonesome" Rhodes is the whole movie; it's his life, his rise and his fall. Andy Griffith, who until now I knew only as Matlock, give an absolutely amazing performance as the simple country boy as he slowly becomes corrupted with power. He creates one of the most interesting characters that I think I've ever seen, on so many levels. The cast of the cast are incredible as well, especially Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau. His speech at the end of the film was spectacular.

Last but not least, the directing. Elia Kazan really does a great job here, using some great metaphors and creating a great noir-esquire atmosphere. A slight flaw was the very fast pacing near the first, but it was really nothing major. We didn't get to see as much of Pickett as I would have liked but as I said, it's no biggie.

Overall, this film is really incredible. Amazing acted, written and directed, I think it's a must see for anyone.

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13 June 2006
Well it's not really as bad as everyone says, but it's still a pretty awful movie.

Let's start with the plot, shall we? Not a lot to say about it really, other than the whole thing is a giant plot hole! It makes no sense what-so-ever, as it makes the entire first movie completely pointless. Even if it did make sense, it still isn't much of a plot. They have 6 days to save the word from total destruction. OK, whatever, not as bad as you might think, right? Wrng. The majority of the film could take place in less than a day, so I really wonder what the hell they were doing for the other 5. Stupid plot.

Moving on, I'll mention the actors. Oh God, the actors. Most of the returning characters from the first movie are replaced by new, even worse actors. I'm really glad that they killed off Johnny Cage within the first couple minutes, as that actor seemed to be the worst of the bunch. Sonja Blade's replacement was pretty awful as well, and saw fit to completely change the character.

Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on the actors. I mean, look at the script. This movie could have had Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, but even they would have looked terrible having to say some of these pathetically cheesy lines.

One thing that I'll give this film is that it has some half decent fight scenes. Nothing spectacular, and the CGI is really bad, but at least they were mildly entertaining.

In all honesty this isn't a whole lot worse than the first film, but it is really, really bad. Id avoid it.

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Frenzy (1972)
Violent, disturbing and subtly hilarious.
13 June 2006
Though much more violent and gritty than most of his work, this is certainly a Hitchcock classic, and much better than some of his supposed "masterpieces".

There are no especially famous actors involved, but everyone does an outstanding job. Jon Finch is splendid as a man wrongfully accused of serial murders, and Barry Foster is just as phenomenal as the actual murderer. His character, Bob Rusk, was a very interesting villain, far from the typical movie serial killer.

Hitch managed to make some scenes very, very uncomfortable. Most obviously, the infamous rape scene, but his use of the camera elsewhere in the film also served to create a lot of tension. He offset this with a good deal of black humor, witch I really enjoyed. The dinner scene was especially well done and subtly hilarious.

The only real flaw that I can think of is the pacing, which is a common problem in many of Hitchcock's works. Overall however, I think this is one of the better films from the "Master of Suspense".

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Vertigo (1958)
Possibly the most overrated movie ever made
12 June 2006
You know what I think? I think everyone who has seen this film only remembers the ending. After a certain turning point near the end of the film, it lives up to it's reputation in every way. Up until then, it's a poorly paced, criminally overrated film.

They call Hitchcock the "Master of Suspense". Sure he has earned the title, and films like Psycho, Frenzy or Rear Window are proof. Well, I don't know what happened but he was sure missing that gift in '58. Most of the film falls flat, and the first hour and a half or so, with a couple rare exceptions, drags on at a snails pace.

The actors were good for the most part. Stewart gives a great performance from beginning to end, while Novak does her best work after the turning point. She seemed to be asleep for most of the first hour and a half. The supporting cast isn't awful, but not nearly as good as I would have expected.

Now, there must be some reason why people hail this as Hitchcock's masterpiece? Of course there is: The ending. I wont ruin it for any of you who haven't forced yourselves to sit through this, but the ending is incredible. A couple good twists followed by a huge shocker, this is what people remember about the film.

This is all-in-all a pretty lackluster film. The dream sequence and the ending are great, as are the lead actors, but everything else seems to fall flat. One of the most overrated films I've ever seen.

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Suspiria (1977)
Argento is a master
12 June 2006
Ever since I bought it for $2 on VHS, this has been one of my favourite horror movies. It was the first Italian horror I've seen, and unfortunately is still the only Argento film I've had the pleasure of viewing. If the rest of his film are as brilliant as this however, I'm really missing out! A little tidbit that I've always found interesting about this film is that it was originally written to star children. The producers wouldn't allow this, so Argento cast adults, but did not re-write the script. This really enhances the surreal feel of the film, as many of the lines seemed very out of place coming from women in their 20's.

The real strength of the film lies in other ares however. First, the lighting and use of colour. As mentioned, Argento gives the whole film an eerie, dreamlike quality through various devices, but the most obvious and effective is the lighting. Always unnatural and unsettling, it creates a wonderful atmosphere.

Add to this the amazing Goblin score and the wonderfully orchestrated deaths, and you have a movie sure to creep out most anyone. Highly recommended.

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The X-Files: Pilot (1993)
Season 1, Episode 1
A great start
11 June 2006
I bought the Season 1 boxset today, and it was essentially a blind-buy. When the show was on the air I was somewhere between too young and not interested, so I only watched it once or twice. Now that I'm into horror and everything, I've been wanting to check this out, and the new, cheaper boxset was too good to pass up!

Suffice to say, it was $30 well spent, based solely on the pilot. I highly enjoyed it, the characters are great, the story was creepy, the actors were very good....I loved it all-around and am looking forward to watching more in the near future. A great start to what I am sure is a great series.
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Bad, but worth a watch
5 June 2006
Strange, fun little movie. It's really not very good, but it has a few perks that make it worth watching.

I'm sure, as horror fans, we've all seen our share of bad actors. As far as I'm concerned, some of these guys are pretty close to Dark Heritage levels of bad. Even Bruce Campbell, who did uncredited voice overs for a couple characters, doesn't seem as great as he should. Sure, he's a million times better than anyone else involved, but that really isn't saying a whole lot.

The strength of this film lies in it's plot. It actually has a really good zombie plot, J.R. Bookwalter actually came with a rare original concept for the sub-genre. Up until the ending it's pretty basic and straight-forward, but the whole deal with the serum was really cool. I wont spoil it by saying any more about it.

For a movie that was advertised, to me at least, as a no-holds-barred gorefest, the blood and guts were somewhat disappointing. They looked great of course, but we rarely got to see any.

When it comes down to it, this is a pretty bad movie. However the plot and a bit of gore make it worth seeing on a rainy night if you have nothing better to do.

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Nightmarish comic book come to life!
5 June 2006
This film is a lot of fun. It forgoes the gritty realism of the first film for over-the-top gore and comedy, with crazy characters and bizarre situations aplenty. The end result is more like some sort of nightmarish comic book come to life than a slasher flick.

Let me start off with the characters. Dennis Hopper is great as usual as Lefty Enright, uncle of Sally and Franklin from the first film. He's completely obsessed with finding the killers responsible for their deaths. He gives a great performance, going from 100% badass near to first of the film to certified lunatic as it near the end. The Sawyer family is even more over-the-top. Leatherface and Drayton (AKA The Cook) return from the first film, crazier than ever, and are joined by brother Choptop, who puts the rest of them to shame in terms of craziness. Bill Moseley plays him superbly, in what is easily one of best and most over-the-top roles. I didn't particularly care for Strech, the heroic late-night radio DJ, but she was well acted and served her purpose.

The plot was much better than the majority of slasher movies, but I think it's best to go into it knowing as little as possible. I didn't even read the back of the DVD before I watched it, and I really think that helped my experience.

Last but not least, the gore! The first film had almost no on screen gore; it left it up to the viewer's imaginations. This is the polar opposite, throwing buckets of blood and body parts at the audience as often as possible. One of the greatest horror effects gurus, Tom Savini, was behind them, so you know they had to look awesome.

All in all, I really enjoyed this film. It's brutal, it's insane, and it's a lot of fun.

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Well animated, great voice work, fun characters and a half-decent plot...what more could you want?
3 June 2006
Call me childish, call me immature, do as you wish, but I really enjoyed this movie. It's cute, it's funny, it's just plain enjoyable all around.

The plot is nothing new really, basically just a dummed down gangster type plot. A raccoon named RJ (voiced by Bruce Willis) is caught trying to steal food from a bear (Nick Nolte), and is given a week to replace it or else the bear will eat him. He comes across a family of woodland creatures, and tricks them into helping him. Needless to say, the obligatory guilt trip soon follows as they welcome him as one of their own. It's nothing we haven't seen before, but kept my interest and had some pretty fun plot devices, mostly near the end. The only thing that could have been better about the plot was that it wasn't very fleshed out, everything seemed to happen all at once.

The actors were all a lot of fun, and the voice work was great. William Shartner does a great job making fun of himself, playing a completely over the top possum. Willis also did a very good job as the raccoon, as did Garry Shandling as Verne the turtle. But, as the previews would lead you to believe, it's Steve Carell that really steals the show. His manic, insane, hyper-active squirrel, Hammy, was easily my favourite character. Sure, some of his jokes might have been a tad immature (Wanna help me find my nuts?), but I still found myself laughing at every perfectly delivered line he said.

I don't know what else to say other than that this movie is a lot of fun. Well animated, great voice work, fun characters and a half-decent plot...what more could you want?

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Mortal Kombat (1995)
Fun but flawed
3 June 2006
I've always been a big fan of the Mortal Kombat games, and while this might not be the greatest movie, it captures the feel of the games perfectly.

Let me start off by saying that, like in 90% of movies based on video games, the actors and writing are awful. Robin Shou is particularly bad, however his sarcastic banter with Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) is pretty amusing. For the most part though, the guy really needs to stick to martial arts. Christopher Lambert has a few decent moments as Raiden, but his character is wasted and underused. The script delivers a few cheesy laughs, but that's about it. When it tries to be serious, it falls flat on it's face.

The effects are hit-and-miss. Some of them are great, mostly the ones involving Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). A lot of the CGI was very poorly done, and the anamatronic Goro wasn't a whole lot better.

The plot was pretty contrived, but what can you expect from a video game movie? It wasn't anything spectacular or overly original, but it kept my interest. However the massive plot hole that they call an ending really bugs me. Sure, it leaves it open for the sequel, but it just doesn't make sense! Despite it's flaws, this is a fairly enjoyable action movie that's worth seeing at least once or twice. However the flaws are plenty, so it's rating isn't as high as it could have been.

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