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Rest Stop (2006)
Given the garbage out there, this is better than reviewers allow
"Saw" and crap like it brings in a hundred million plus and gets remade four or more times (only worse). "Van Helsing" likewise. I could name dozens of other abysmal, wretched horror/thriller movies -- all as bad or worse than "Rest Stop". So "Rest Stop", with grade 0 production values, continuity errors and a raft of dopey plot clichés (like hammering the dead radio, or picking up the phone receiver to find the cord cut), is still more satisfying than the block buster bombs.
Moreover, "Rest Stop" does what a slew of bigger budget bombs attempt to do but fail -- that is, catch some of the 70s era schlock factor. Sadly, in this regard, it is shot cheaply in sunny California, detracting from the dark fear/thrill factor. But I'll take this low-budget miss over the over-produced Hollywood variety any day.
Agreed about audio; and Geraldine McEwan is miscast
Frankly, i think Joan Hickson established the standard for Miss Marple in the 1980s and early 90s. If I remember correctly, she was actually portraying a character younger than herself. (She played Marple into her mid-80s.) She did it wonderfully -- a great example of an actor coming into her own in later years.
Geraldine McEwan is an excellent actor, but she falls into the trap so many have playing Marple -- she plays it too lightly. Hickson took the role more seriously, gave it more gravity, and conveyed the essence of Miss Marple -- somewhat reclusive, quiet, wise observer. Miss Marple has an almost Buddhist quality. I have only seen Hickson capture that.
As for this episode another reviewer is right on the mark -- the audio mix is terrible. For some reason, British television productions chronically suffer from this problem (not always, but typically).
Here, the sound mix makes the program almost unwatchable, not simply because it drowns out everything else, but because the scoring is abysmally syrupy and overwrought.
Stunning effects (at the time) and that's all
This film just goes to show that great 3D animation doesn't make great film. Final Fantasy is little more than a showcase for an early, and then very good, dynamic treatment of hair -- a particularly difficult effect in 3D animation. We're treated to long shots of the main character -- Dr. Aki Ross -- with her hair swaying, blowing in the wind, etc. Now, just a few years after the film's release and compared with Golum in The Lord of the Rings, the animation looks dated. In particular, the facial animation is lifeless (and looked so at the time).
Final Fantasy may remind some of some of the Tarzan and similar movies of the 30s -- a time before wildlife documentaries and before most people had ever seen footage of lions or elephants. Whole films were effectively travelogues. But unlike those 30s serials, Final Fantasy lacks acting, and ultimately realism, despite the extraordinary animation efforts.
The film reported cost $137 million to make. It bombed -- for good reason.
Batman & Robin (1997)
one of the ten worst films of all time
How did the Batman series begin so well and come to this? OK, none of the films are masterpieces, but this one is insulting. Anyone who paid to see it should join a class action to recover damages against the filmmakers.
Lousy acting from great actors. And some of the worst -- perhaps the worst -- set design ever. The plot is a grab bag, literally. A little of this, a little of that. No particular rationale behind any of it. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall as the cast watched the film. Every single one must have thought, "It can't get any worse than this."
The most amazing thing of all: Director Joel Schumacher has actually been entrusted with directing jobs after this.