Reviews written by registered user
Newski_the_Hippie

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39 reviews in total 
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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Subtlety, and the Lack Thereof, 8 November 2007
4/10

Shawshank Redemption is a story of, well, Redemption. Just like any film from Quentin Tarantino, but with an extra dose of melodrama. Orchestral music to drive you to tears, overly dramatic dialog, and plot twists that come so far out of left field even M. Night Shylamalan would cringe. You just have a hard time seeing them, because the movie is relatively laid back.

Which is the best part of the film. It slows down whenever it needs to take its time. It's the story of two prisoners who bond over. One is a wrongfully accused man hoping to find a way out. One is a man who has given up all hope. And random acts of kindness help them earn their redemption.

See, it's about Redemption. It's in the title. No use thinking about the theme. Morgan Freeman is perfectly cast in this film, and gives one of the best performances in his life. But every one of his lines is not the line of a prisoner, but somebody who has been paid to pretend to be a prisoner.

The movie lacks any sense of reality, from the poorly supervised chain gang, to the subplot of the sinister warden, and even down to the fact that a man is allowed to keep a tool made for chipping away rocks in his cell.

The film would have worked as a stage play easily. Because we expect this detachment from reality. But this film likes to pretend this is reality. The film also likes to make conclusive statements, and then immediately retract them.

This movie has a heart. It spills out all over the screen while we watch the characters monologue, getting to the point of the movie over and over again. Long movies never bothered me. On the contrary, I think it's a shame four hour movies never get released these days. Still, when it's two and a half hours plus of monologues reiterating the same plot point, it's two and a half hours too much.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Spielberg, what have you done?, 5 November 2007
1/10

On September 11th, we all watched as the two towers came tumbling down. We were all affected in some way. Those who are in the creative fields looked at the world and saw something they wanted to capture. Spielberg thought he'd make a poignant look at the American family in the days following the crisis.

So. War of the Worlds. A movie that lacks any sort of subtlety (like most Spielberg films). From the grey ash, to the terror in the streets, to Dakota Fanning shouting "Terrorists!" every five minutes. We are looking at people reacting to something horrific. People under pressure. People doing what they can to make the best out of the situation.

Though since Tom Cruise's character, Jay, is always on the forefront. He's not an average American or the working class guy they make him out to be. He's too in the know. It's easy to see how poor his relationship with his kids is, because they say it. Over and over again. As I mentioned, this movie lacks subtlety. Still, he's one of the witnesses to the attack. After seeing something hit the ground, and a large "Tripod" emerge, he automatically knows everything about it's origin. How does he know everything? How was he able to piece all of it together? An average family in this situation would be in the basement, hiding, and fleeing. Just as confused, trying to make sense of it all. Instead, he's got all the information and he's even fighting Aliens that the entire U.S. Army couldn't scratch.

This is thematically different from any incarnation of War of the Worlds that has been done. I don't mind differences between books, or other films. Thing is, I should still be able to watch this, not knowing anything about it, and be able to say, with no question in my mind "This is War of the Worlds." Instead, I start thinking "Is this War of the Worlds, or Independence Day?"

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Boring, Pretentious, yet somewhat interesting Sci Fi film, 26 November 2006
3/10

Every movie has it's good and it's bads, and this is no exception. The scifi aspect of it was pleasantly low key. The director seems to have a knack for cinematography, which by and large was superior. The world it set up was interesting, and there is nothing wrong with the Sci Fi elements.

Except for, to remind us that it is the future, flying cars are digitally added time and time again. Why? Enough of the flying cars. Show a few of them, and that's fine. Not every time somebody is on the street, one just happens to whirl by. It's agitating. Not all of the time did it bother me, but sometimes, when I am trying to pay attention to the characters on screen that that hunk of metal comes across the screen.

The "Personal" story of the film takes over past the scifi aspects, which generally is something I respect in a film. Not this time. The story revolves around a thoroughly unpleasant man's sexual tension and attraction to a mysterious young woman (who is equally unpleasant). Sure, the mystery involved was more important then the fact that these were characters I couldn't care about. I probably wasn't supposed to like them, thus the attraction to the mystery.

And isn't everyone tired of the cliché "Man sees Mysterious girl who changes his life" thing anyway? I mean, seriously. Too many indy film clichés in this. Including the fact that if the characters aren't swearing at each other, they are trying to say something somewhat intellectual. People don't talk like that in real life.

Mysteries remain unsolved by the end, probably because this was planned as the first part in a trilogy. Which is fine. However, nothing conclusive ended this film. There was no catharsis, and all we got was a card that said "Red Cockroaches" to let us know the film was over.

With all my criticisms of the movie, I am looking forward to viewing the next two films. Perhaps the Director might have improved on his craft, because that's all it really needs. It had a lot going for it, but unfortunately became just another prententious indy film.

8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Independent Filmmakers Rejoice! The Bar is Lowered!, 10 October 2006
1/10

As an Independent filmmaker, I think it's only right to promote other independent filmmakers. I hope that with this review, as negative as it, people will seek out this film. Help the producers make money, and finance another film.

But it's a horrible movie. First of all, it has a plot that cannot be explained without giving away some major plot spoilers. It's about a man, Alex Tom, who is well educated, has a beautiful wife (who is a District Attorney prosecuting a child molestor), and has John Saxon as a father. Seems like an ideal life, right? Alex recently saw his best friend die. He also has a recurring dream about a woman he met the day his friend dies. Okay, so we are getting somewhere. The rest of the story is explained through Pseudo philosophical monologues spoken by characters in the movie, that contradict themselves so much that the overall philosophy of the movie is almost lost.

Nobody talks like the people do in the movie. Perhaps the worst of it is John Saxon recalling his experience in Vietnam. Great moment for a soso actor. Really well done. Except there is almost nothing that brought up the war. It's like the director thought "Hmm... A Vietnam Monologue might be dramatic." Now, maybe it was just setting up the fact that he went to Vietnam. Made sense, seeing that it is important in a seen later. However, his service would have been best explained through context clues when he explains why he never shows off his metals.

In another independent film Cliché, Self mutilation is brought into the tragic story of Alex Tom and his mystery woman. Quite Gratuitiously, I might add. Here's my thing: We know she's cutting herself. We don't need 5 minutes dedicated to it where nothing changes. At this point, I started wondering if she was watching the same movie we were.

Ultimately, it was poorly shot, poorly edited, and poorly written. And, with a few exceptions, poorly acted. I don't have anything nice to say about the movie period. And I hop to god the film is a success, i want to see all independent films succeed. However, this is the type of film that Independent films are stereotyped as being. It's simply 80 minutes too long.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Snakes on a Plane Delivers just what it promised. Snakes. On a Plane., 18 August 2006

Some movies promise to be the feel good movie of the summer. Some promise to be one of the most shocking thrillers ever. Usually, movies promise more then they can give you. This movie, however, promised only one thing: Snakes. On a plane.

And for this reason alone, it may be the perfect film. It does not let you down. There is a plane, and there are indeed snakes on it. Lots of snakes. It's up to Samuel L. Jackson and a few outstanding crew members to save the innocent passengers.

But first, why are the snakes on a plane? Well, how else can a mafia boss kill a witness set to testify against him? Especially when he is being protected by Samuel Jackson. You have to do something bold, something creative, and something unexpected: put a crate full of venomous snakes from all corners of the Earth on an airplane. Not only that, make them crazy enough to attack everything that movies. Or looks like wires.

Yes, before killing passengers, the snakes manage to sabotage the plane, and watch people having sex in the bathroom. These two young people are doomed from the minute we see them. They are interested in making out and having sex. Which means they are perfect victims.

Of course, it's a movie that has the perfect Airline Disaster film cast. The Celebrity. The Rich Asshole. The two kids on their first solo plane flight. The Flight Attendant who is on her last voyage. While the title was what drove the phenomena that is "Snakes on a Plane" it could have just as easily had the title "Airport '06: Snakes on a Plane".

The snakes terrorize. The people scream. Sam Jackson takes charge. People fall in love, and people die, and we get to sit an watch it all, laughing and cheering with a movie that is downright awful. This movie leaves no cliché unused, no one liner unspoken. The film revels in it's badness, but stays one step from ever being gratuitous. You see, it's intentionally bad but it stays serious just enough for it to pass as an action film and not a comedy.

Still, if this movie doesn't make you laugh long and hard, then you should probably check yourself into a hospital. This is the movie we were waiting for, folks. The god awful, action packed, hilarious glorified B Film. This is Snakes on a Plane.

***/****

Crash (2004/I)
5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Good Intentions Do Not Make a Good Movie, 13 August 2006
2/10

I didn't see Crash until a few months after the Academy Awards. My top films of the year were not nominated, but that's okay. After all, it's only a popularity contest. Still, I like to see the films nominated, and the films that win.

Crash is a movie with a very good heart, very good concept, but has many moments that talk down to the audience, thinking that we are, well, stupid. Pieces of information are explained to us repeatedly, to make sure that we know. Why? Because they think that we didn't catch on the first, or the second, or the third time.

It's a thoughtful film about racism that examines it from every angle, with no good guys or bad guys. Because in reality, there are no good guys and bad guys. Just the good and bad we do. People told me thanks to this moral, I'd like the film. However, I'm an intelligent person and do not like being talked down to.

To enjoy crash you must do one thing that is very, very difficult: suspend your disbelief in a movie that tries to base itself in realism. I can't believe the impossible unless I am given reason to. Maybe in the world set up in "Harry Potter" I can believe some of the extreme coincidences might actually occur. Unfortunately, this is supposed to be the real world.

I wish I could warn you all a lot better then I am doing. Unfortunately, I do not want to ruin the movie. Sure, it would be for the best, but I try to be a competent reviewer. Perhaps I should try to review more competent films.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Superman Returns to get rid of that bitter taste that X Men 3 gave us., 28 June 2006
7/10

Superman Returns starts with an opening title sequence that is made to annoy anyone who isn't watching the movie in IMAX 3D. This is not a 3D movie, except in certain theaters when available. The problem is, it looks like a 3D movie everywhere.

The other problem is, I thought one of the largest franchises in the world would be above bullet time. Or, at least, Faster then a speeding bullet time. Still, Routh performs a great Clark Kent, but plays Superman more or less as a pretty boy and not a triumphant hero, lacking the charm of Reeve's original performance. While Gene Hackmen may have played a great evil Genius and went over the top, Kevin Spacey took a psychotic character who was over the top and tried to bring him down a notch. And he literally stole the show.

I really don't understand why the people at the Daily Planet are so stupid. Not only does Clark go on leave for five years and Superman Returns the same day, Superman spends a week in the hospital for part of the movie, and by default Clark doesn't show up for work, without calling in or anything.

James Marsden probably will never be given enough credit for his performance as Richard White. His character was perhaps my favorite in the movie. He plays Lois Lane's long time fiancé (for five years) and the father of her kid. He is also very nervous of her past relationship with Superman. Now, we all know about the past relationships with Superman, and if the series continues, there will be more relationships with Superman. The writers could have taken the easy way out and made him a jerk, made him stupid, or all sorts of things.

In the end, though he obviously lacks the powers, he's as Heroic as Superman in many ways. Lois shows nothing but love for him, and confusion when Superman arrives. She really doesn't want anything to change. Yet Marsden is very aware that she may slip away, but that does not stop him from trying to help her or Superman by the end.

And now, the kid. Lois Lane has a kid who she doesn't seem to mind tagging along while they break into a houseboat. You know, that's pretty much child neglect if you ask me. Well, you can predict a lot of this story line, but the movie in general toys with it's predictability, and has a bit of fun with the audience.

Keeping with the tone of the Donner/Lester films, this movie has some really dark moments, some massive destructions, but a really strong sense of humor. Unlike the earlier films, it never comes off as disjointed.

Again, we have to find ways for human characters to create a challenge worthy of Superman. The Challenge presented does suffice, and while we know Superman is going to win in the end, we see that he is getting hurt pretty badly. Even as Zod had him "kneeling before him" I never once thought the character was in any danger. Hell, he's Superman. As the name implies, he can do just about anything.

Like X2: X-Men United this is a long movie. However, it just doesn't feel that way because Singer paced the movie very well. Compare to other Superhero fare, like X-3 which felt as short as it was. Singer knows how to pace movies, and manage to balance several story arcs at once.

All in all, it's a pretty good movie. It has it's good, it has it's bad, but I think the good outweighs the bad. If you liked X Men 3, this movie is not for you. It has the wit and intelligence that X Men 3 lacked. It had adventure, character development, and just the right touch of humor.

***/****

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Bad... Just Bad...., 26 May 2006
1/10

When you have low expectations, sometimes you are surprised by how well a movie turns out. Or, sometimes, your low expectations keep you from seeing how good a movie is because you are predetermined to hate it.

Or sometimes, a movie just sucks.

X Men the Last Stand starts out with two flashbacks: One to Jean Grey's childhood, the other to Angel's childhood. Both of these are good scenes. But, with Angel taking up much of the pre-credit sequence, you would probably expect more of his character. But, like most characters, he is introduced, then forgotten, so we can make way for a crappy love story between Wolverine and Jean.

Wolverine's lines, of course, are things Scott should be saying. And with a script like this, you can easily switch the two and with the dialog, nobody would notice that they ever belonged to Wolverine in the first place. Because, you see, the script is nothing but a punch of bad punchlines, explanations, that are perfectly interchangeable per character.

The Phoenix is well introduced, without having to go into detailed origins from the comics. It's probably done the best way it can be done for the movie. The problem is, Jean never maintains a "fiery form." Actually, let's just forget the ending of X-2 anyway, because it seems it was a completely different resurrection altogether. But then, if we start looking back to X-2, it opens up the door to so many mistakes.

While I just want to figure out "How does the X-Jet go invisible?" Or, even better "Why did the X Jet go invisible when the Brotherhood new they were there, and did nothing but land anyway." That hurt. That really did. But not as much as the line "Get your plastic guns." Did the writers not think that the audience would catch on that the guns that look like plastic, and are made to fight Magneto, plastic? I have a bit more intelligence then that. And a bit more the screenwriters.

The scene moved from scene to scene with a need to be an action movie above all else, leading to predictable plot twists and really bad cliché action movie lines.By the end of the movie, I just didn't care any more. If I had to some up the movie in one word: Pathetic.

The worst end of a trilogy I've seen since Star Wars: Episode 3.

Slither (2006)
225 out of 266 people found the following review useful:
An homage to everything, 5 March 2006
7/10

James Gunn wrote Slither as an homage to the horror movies he loved. Every single one of them. From the Deadly Swarm, to The Fly, to the Toxic Avenger, to Basket Case, to some films most people wouldn't know much about.

The film is about a loving husband (though noticeably not the best. His love for his wife is one of his better sides) who is stung by an alien insect. He starts mutating into a squid beast while slug like monsters Terrorize a small town where cell phones don't exist.

It's obvious from the previews that this is a bit of a comedy. You'll be surprised at just how suspenseful it really is. The horror ranges from cheap pop-outs, hilarious gore, and heart pounding action in a genre bending film that is like Tremors for adults.

The movie is well acted, and all the actors have such great chemistry together. While the movie isn't an excellent film, those looking for a good time have nothing to complain about. It keeps the audiences entertained like few other movies can.

21 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
The Manos Curse is born, 2 February 2006
7/10

I'm not going to lie about who I am and how I saw this movie. There are plenty of people here on the IMDb who just can't wait to see this film. I'm a film student who got into contact with Bernie Rosenblum, who sent me a copy of this film. Jackey Neyman-Jones, who played Debbie in Manos the Hands of Fate, asked me to burn the DVD and send it to her. I rather have that approved by the people who made this movie. Unfortunately, they think she is dead.

This is, as everyone who is reading this knows, a documentary about the making of Manos the Hands of Fate. And it's one market is to fans of Manos. And I will give my guarantee that they will not be disappointed. The documentary is thoroughly enjoyable. This is mostly because of Bernie Rosenblum, who talks about his experiences with such passion and wit. Joining him in the commentary is the man who owned the ranch, Colbert Coldwell himself.

Colbert is one of the old men you see rambling on the bus, and you listen to his stories and laugh, but don't want him to know you are paying attention. Then there is "Manos Historian" Richard Brandt, who wrote the two great articles on the film where most of the lore come from.

I said the movie was not disappointing, but only because it is worth watching. It's a very enjoyable film. But even with Richard Brandt, Colbert Coldwell, and Bernie Rosenblum, it seems like they simply could not get all the facts right.

Everyone has either died or mysteriously disappeared? No, this is an overstatement of Fact. Robin Redd, John Reynolds, and Tom Neyman are dead. The rest are people who are known as "Private Citizens." Just because you can't contact them mean it's some sort of freak occurrence. These are people who were in one movie, which by a stroke of luck still exists. Well, it's lucky the film existed in the first place.

The movie does not give any new juicy bits of Trivia, nor does it cover all of Manos Lore. Even still, it's worth watching.


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