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paul51

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37 reviews in total 
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Largely verbatim, 21 June 2010
5/10

I had to watch this as part of my high school English class, so I had just finished reading the original version immediately before viewing it.

It was interesting to see the story put into a visual medium, but there was very little dramatic license taken with it.

The acting is not bad, albeit dated---even by my high school standards (the video was a full 10 years old then). I remember the actor playing the role of George causing some comic relief for the girls in the class; they often referred to him as "that pretty boy that looks like he's constipated".

It's not a bad rendition, all things considered. For young people that may be having trouble reconciling some of the things that are described in the story, the movie does a good job of clearing some of the hazier matters up (for me in particular, when she is trying to tell her relatives a list of things she wants to leave to her friends, family, and relations, I could not quite understand why the people surrounding her weren't seeming to pay attention---this is clarified in the film by having her inner monologue being clearly audible, but her character in reality is so far gone that she is not speaking clearly enough to be understood).

Robin Hood (2010)
6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Understated failure, 18 May 2010
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie starts out with much more realistic leanings than any other iteration I've ever encountered and is quite refreshingly understated for much of it's duration, and *most* of the action is well within the boundaries of dramatic license and suspension of disbelief. The acting across the board is commendable.

However, the movie is slow to build, and never at any point does the movie do a passable job of engendering care for any of the characters, Robin and Marion included. The sub plot of Robin's past is barely an afterthought. Nothing happens in the movie to truly stoke his memory. He simply closes his eyes on command and is given perfect clarity and total recall. What could have been a saving stroke of grace for this film---the recasting of the traditional antagonists in even a slightly different light---proves to be nothing more than a tease. They all return to traditional form without truly giving us a moment's wondering.

All that having been said, it is the last few minutes of the movie, the "reverse Normandy" sequence, that completely and utterly sends this movie into the refuse bin.

1) It shamelessly borrows its cinematography from Saving Private Ryan, complete with underwater shots of drowning soldiers and arrows piercing the water. And apparently, we're supposed to accept that the Medieval French had Higgins boats. Need more be said? Facepalm worthy when they're sailing in, worth raucous and derisive laughter when they slide ashore and drop their ramp.

2) Sudden reversal of realistic leanings---Marion riding in wearing armor that is an obvious nod to the armor Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio wore in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, followed by previously and heretofore unexplained Lord of the Flies children, now all astride Shetland Ponies and suddenly rather excellent cavalrymen.

3) Obligatory 300 yard arrow shot through the neck of the principal antagonist. It even fails to be a properly ignominious death---the last time you see him, he's still alive and smiling.

I didn't expect a great deal from this film. The understated beginning brought me slim hopes, but by the final act the only thing keeping me in my theater seat was my desire to be courteous to the other movie-goers.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Finest example of a very small genre., 11 October 2008
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...and that genre is "bland eschatology".

The Sixth Sense actually caught me somewhat off-guard, but that's the last time M. Night did so. Signs and the "swing away" thing was somewhat impossible to completely predict, but that just made it harder to buy into, and therefore cost it most of its dramatic effect.

I hadn't heard anything *at all* about The Happening before I gave it a watch on pay-per-view and I have to say this one didn't deliver any kind of twist. I knew what was going to cause whatever bad thing that was going to (sigh) happen the instant the first scene began. When it quickly became apparent it was causing people to arbitrarily act odd and then kill themselves in all sorts of ways, I laughed.

Why? It's not that I'd find such a device in a movie necessarily laughable, it's that the vapid characters and largely unengaging acting made it quickly apparent that the movie was akin to a disaster flick where the disaster itself carries the movie and doesn't have to heavily rely on the individual characters to complete itself.

The problem is, the film doesn't succeed. The causal factor for "The Happening" is implausible, even for someone who doesn't know a monochot from a dichot or a pistil from a stamen. That the film spends the lion's share of itself depicting all the different ways people choose to commit suicide just develops it into a higher-budget "Faces of Death" with worse acting.

A properly written story would have involved people just arbitrarily dropping dead...or, if you wanted something more fitting (and suitably gory), arbitrarily collapsing and writhing around while spontaneously and instantly decomposing into fertilizer. Of course, this would have meant the entire film would require better acting and much better characterization.

TLDR version: Thinly veiled environmentalist admonishment that is poorly written and unbelievably hokey with extremely sub-par acting. Barely worth a rental.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
God awful but fun, 20 July 2008
2/10

Well, Mr. King has demonstrated on several occasions why writers are normally not allowed to be anywhere near the filming of their own works. To his credit, he has shown improvement in this department...though the TV miniseries adaptation of The Stand is still something you couldn't consider "good" by any stretch of the imagination, it was a cut above this film.

This is the sort of movie you loved as a kid because you are gullible enough to be scared by the premise and the violence. Classic and good for a few laughs, no doubt.

Mr. King has written some wonderful novels, but still has yet to direct anything that comes up to that level.

3 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Excellent departure from the norm, 20 July 2008
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Despite being dark, this Christmas movie is a pleasant alternative to the usual fare that is warm and charming but fails to challenge us.

It looks like the people who will be most disappointed by this film are those who tune in expecting to see stereotypical Disney fluff.

Best viewed by older children who can handle the idea of tragedy sandwiched around non-idyllic home life. If your kids are still under 7 or 8 years old, probably best not to risk any emotional fallout.

If you'd rather not have to think and be availed of emotions other than happiness, don't show this one to your kids. If you prefer something different and thought provoking, it's more than worth a watch.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Lighthearted and fun, 21 June 2007
6/10

I thoroughly enjoyed Nate and Hayes as a "tween"---it had all the things a young fella would look for...action, adventure, and wry, often purposefully bad humor.

Certainly ranks up there with the Indiana Jones flicks as far as scripting and subject matter, just lacked the funding to be as over the top. Still, the film does not stretch beyond its means in this regard, as Temple of Doom tended to (ie the inflatable lifeboat "parachute" sequence).

As many folks here have mentioned, this is Saturday afternoon fare at its finest. Not to be taken seriously, does not take itself seriously, yet remains a class act.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
This show depressed me..., 15 April 2007

...because it signaled bedtime.

Being a kid, I never was too interested in watching Against the Odds...a very odd choice for a show to appear on Nickelodeon right before the "sign off" around 8-9pm (this was prior to Nick At Nite, it was called something else in those days).

I think my fondest memory of it was Bill Bixby unexpectedly showing up at the beginning of an episode of "Out of Control" starring Dave Coulier, who asked Bixby if he could change into the Hulk for him. Bixby explained he was in the wrong studio, he'd meant to go to the one where they were filming "Against the Odds".

Gummo (1997)
Yeah well...it's "art", 11 December 2006
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you want to call it work of art, I guess I'm unqualified to critique Gummo. But as far as typical movies go, very few people will glean a great deal from this film beyond "What the hell was that?" The work is an object to be reacted to, not a film to watch and understand in the normal sense. The bath scene nearly made me throw up (I think it was either the bacon taped to the wall, or the noises the kid makes when eating the chocolate bar, topped off with the fact he drops it in the lurid green water he's bathing in and continues to eat it anyway).

I saw this film at an artsy-fartsy old theater in an area not far from where the director attended high school. When I left, I was pretty confused but I figured that Gummo was one of the things you had to make if you were gunning for a spot in Nirvana close to Andy Warhol.

Classic post script (probably could have found a spot in a DVD extra if I'd filmed it): The same friend I saw the film with and I bumped into the midget from the arm-wrestling scene directly across the street from the theater we saw it in. Bastard tried to hit us up for money.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Aeiou I'll get you Tobe Hooper!, 25 November 2005
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Yeah, this movie was bad, but I'm sure that was part of the intent. Of course this sort of flick would have honestly spooked people in the 50s but now it's just one of those nostalgia remakes and it was just out of place in even in the 80s.

There's a mix of horrible (probably intentional) and passable acting. I'm not sure if you'd call this movie "big budget" or not --- there was definitely some money behind it but I noticed people using recycled props from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (specifically, Saavik's tricorder. Double geek points for me ;p).

I don't think this is one you'd really want to show to kids under 10, especially given the fact it has an elementary school kid being terrorized by adult authority figures...and aliens. The ending would also scare the crap out of young kids, I think. I don't think this movie would really even go over well with 10-12 year olds since they'd probably find it pretty campy even at that age.

The original was right for its time and place to a certain extent. This remake is just a full technicolor backwards glance at the original. Good for a few cheap laughs.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Brainless but worth a rental, 16 August 2005
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First off, comparing this movie to the old TV series in an effort to explain why the movie is horrible is an absolutely hilarious mistake. The old TV show was TERRIBLE, folks! It was more campy and contrived than this flick could ever be considered---and admittedly that isn't saying a great deal.

The things that make this movie better than the show: 1) the General Lee doesn't fly through a 30 minute chase scene and come out completely unscathed, 2) they actually RUN MOONSHINE, 3) the Hazzard exterior scenes were filmed in a genuine brackish, swampy, southern location (as opposed to the Hollywood hills), 4) they don't let the brainless token pair of ta-tas screw it up too much, 5) they actually admit what state Hazzard County is in.

Things in the movie I could have done without: 1) Jessica Simpson, 2) Willie Nelson's relegation to doing absolutely nothing but spouting out an endless stream of purposefully bad one-liners, 3) turning Bo Duke into some sort of borderline sociopath, 4) the reduction of key parts, namely Roscoe P. Coltrane, Enos, and Boss Hogg, down to near afterthoughts.

The movie is essentially half-drunk and doesn't take itself too seriously. Provided you do the same, you'll probably get a chuckle or three out of it.


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