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A very emotional story of the supernatural.
I was fortunate enough to get to see this film a couple weeks back at one of my favorite theaters (the Rialto in Pasadena) and the ambiance of the venue really added to my experience (the Rialto is a grand and spooky place - you can feel the ghosts that surely live there). My only wish is that more people turned out for I can only imagine how much fun it would be to see "Spectres" with a big audience.
Having read about the movie in advance, I knew it was not going to be a horror film. Still, there were several moments in the movie made me jump and based on the reaction of the rest of the audience I was not alone. Also I was surprised at how funny the movie is. It's a good thing too because if this film had taken itself - or its philosophical/spiritual ideas - too seriously, it could have been a disaster. Instead, it wears its heart on its sleeve without shoving anything down your throat. And because the filmmakers don't violate the rules they've created in this world, you walk away at the end, maybe not believing, but thinking it'd be really cool if the ideas expressed were true.
If people come to this film for any reason other than the supernatural elements, of course, they'll be coming for the cast of recognizable sci-fi veterans (so amazing to see David Hedison again - he looks FANTASTIC). It certainly is fun to see so many good actors playing against type. Still, it is the young actress who plays "Kelly" that steals the show. She IS the movie and that's no knock on the other performers, who all do really good work.
Technically, the film is somewhat of a mixed bag in that there's some choppy camera work and the music is often that of a TV Movie. Some of the effects are cool, some are barely serviceable. According to the filmmakers, the movie was shot in high definition, and it has a really unique look to it that seems to fit the mood. Also, the sound effects and design do a lot to add to the spooky and emotionally haunting atmosphere.
Still, technical flaws aside, this is clearly a modest-budgeted picture with huge ideas and an even bigger heart and as such I really hope it finds wide acclaim and success.
The Party Crashers (1998)
Dark, twisted and funny!
I saw this film on DVD because I'm a huge fan of John Saxon (who isn't?!?). The first thing that struck me was how cool it looks. The cinematographer is Matthew Libatique (who did "Gothika" and "Requiem for a Dream") and I'm definitely going to check out more of his early films. Although the film must've been super low budget, the attention the filmmakers gave to actually creating a unique mood and look for the film pays off as it gets the viewer through some of the rougher patches and more clichéd moments. Another major virtue is the song score by Sid Hillman (who plays himself in the movie and if you stick through the fun end credits, you learn that he actually played a second role as well, and it's hilarious!). I've researched him and it seems like he's had a couple of albums released independently, but he certainly deserves a wider audience. The cast is mostly unknown, except for Shawnee Smith, who gets one of her best roles as a spoiled rich girl (is there any other kind?) who loves to provoke people (her father, her suitors ... everybody). I particularly liked the Asian actor, Burt Bulos, so much that I rented another film he starred in ("Yellow", which isn't as good, but he's great). The director is quite good in the film as well (and you'll love his audio commentary). Overall the cast is attractive and hard-working and it even features Josh Randall (from "Ed" in an early performance). My only complaints are the brief running time (things get wrapped up really quick, although the ending is really sick and funny), and the fact that John Saxon, though top-billed, doesn't have a very big role. It's not a cameo, but it's a supporting part and I was hoping for more. I wonder if he had fun making the film because it seemed like a pretty cool project in which to be involved.
Licence to Kill (1989)
Someone owes Timothy Dalton an apology!
Not only is this the most under-rated of all Bond films and not only is it head and shoulders above ALL the Brosnan films (which range from "crap" - "The World is Not Enough", to "utter crap" - "Goldeneye", to "Oh, my god, I never want to see a movie ever again" - "Die Another Day"), but Dalton was truly in the spirit of Fleming's James Bond and "Licence to Kill" is, for my money, the best Bond since Connery split the first time! Granted, there are weaknesses, the gritty story-line might not be what people who grew up on the Roger Moore extravaganza's are used to and Talisa Soto is laughable, but Davi's a cool villain, Hedison's magnificent reprising his role as (the best) Felix Leiter (I'd pay real money just to hear him yell, "Sanchez, I'll see you in Hell!"), Q actually gets out into the field and Carey Lowell is smart AND sexy. Oh, and let's not forget, future Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro in a fun supporting role. I even like the classy opening number by Gladys Knight (who looks like a million damn bucks, tuxedo-clad, in the music video).