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The Hitcher (2007)
Spoilers are in the review below.
I had high hopes for this film. The original is one of my favorite guilty pleasures from the 80's. Not the world's greatest film, but still thoroughly entertaining. This film started off alright, but then went downhill from there.
I'm OK with the fact that the film wasn't a shot by shot remake. I didn't have any issues with the changes in the setup and where the story was going. This is what I did have a problem with:
- Acting. Sophia Bush is nice to look at, but beyond that there wasn't anything there. - Sean Bean. He's one of my favorite actors. Loved him in 'GoldenEye' and 'The Lord of the Rings'. In this film, though, he just wasn't menacing enough. Rutger Hauer could scare the hell out of you just by looking at you. Bean couldn't match Hauer's menace. - Profanity. I'm OK with profanity in movies. I realize it's going to be there. The issue here is that the original film was pretty limited in its use. This film had it peppered throughout. Adding profanity does not make a better film. Which leads me to... - Violence and gore. One of the beauties of the original film was that the most violent and gory sequences (and I'm thinking of Jennifer Jason Leigh's death) were implied, not shown. It gave the film more of an impact. Watching Jim Halsey get torn in half didn't add anything to this film. I think it cheapened it. - The ending. I thought it was overblown and silly. The ending of the original wasn't perfect, either, but at least it wasn't so overblown. Pyrotechnics don't add to the suspense.
It's difficult to watch a remake without comparing it to the original, especially when you've recently watched the original. Taking it by itself and disregarding what has come before, this was OK. Comparing it to its predecessor, it can't stand on its own two legs.
Blades of Glory (2007)
An instant classic
This film is an instant classic. If you love Ron Burgundy and Ricky Bobby, then this film is for you. For me, it was better than Talladega Nights and almost as good as Anchorman. Ferrell is at his best, playing Chazz Michael Michaels as extremely as he can. Most of the laughs in the film come from him. Jon Heder, though, provides an innocence to the film that another actor might not have been able to pull off. And it was nice seeing Jenna Fischer in there. Perfectly cast, perfectly acted, perfectly written. Hats off to Ben Stiller for producing this beauty. If you're up for laughs, sit back and let this film take you on a 90 minute ride.
Michael Mann's masterpiece
For me, this is Michael Mann's masterpiece. That's saying a lot, considering I find all of Mann's films to be excellent. It's a very interesting character piece that contrasts the roles played by Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino.
Two scenes define this film for me and make it memorable. The first deals with the characterization, the second does not. The coffee shop scene is one of the best in cinematic history. Here you have DeNiro and Pacino, arguably two of the greatest actors of all time, sitting across from each other at a table, each discussing how they think things are going to play out for the other. The scene is as perfect as it can be, and is worth the price of admission in and of itself.
The second scene that will always be memorable for me is the gunfight in the street after the bank robbery. The first time I saw this, my reaction was, "Wow". I had never seen anything like that in a film before. The Wow factor has not deteriorated with subsequent viewings. The whole fight is staged perfectly, and one gets the sense of actually being there on the street in the midst of it.
As crime dramas go, they don't get any better than this.
Dracula 3000 (2004)
Where does one begin? (Spoilers included)
This review contains spoilers.
So, where does one begin? This film was recommended to me by a friend. I went into it knowing it was a bad movie, but I didn't think it could be *that* bad. I was wrong.
Let's see. It takes place 1000 years in the future, but the look of the movie is that it's 100 years ahead at best. What, no advances in 1000 years? No advances in weaponry. No computer advances. No advances in spaceships. No advances in wheelchairs. No advances in anything.
Then, there's the ship that's carrying the vampires. Pretty big from the exterior view. And here's the crew talking about how much they'll get for it: 15 million credits. I sure hope those credits are really worth something.
The only person who comes anywhere close to acting is the poor sap from Ace Ventura playing the captain of the ship and talking to us from 50 years ago. Casper, what has happened to your career? Erika, you never had a career other than Playboy and Baywatch. And...Coolio??? What else? Orlock loses an arm in the door and cries like a girl? Orlock explains his whole strategy to Erika (Aurora), who turns out to be a...robot??? And not only is Aurora now a narc who has bee watching the crew, but she used to be a...pleasure bot! So since we're going to die anyhow, have your way with me! I could go on, but it isn't worth it. No scares, no gore, no nudity, no story, no ending. The director should be publicly flogged.
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Just saw this film this evening on DVD...
What can I say? I liked it, a lot. It wasn't great cinema, but damn was it entertaining. There was horror and there were scares. There was some good action. And there was humor. Come on folks, this isn't supposed to be taken seriously. It's a popcorn movie, and it succeeds at that. Samuel Jackson was gloriously over the top. His performance alone is worth the price of admission. If you want some scares, to be grossed out a little bit, and to have some laughs as well, then this is the movie for you. Add to it the catchy 'Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)' song at the film's end, and you have a winner.
Remington Steele (1982)
Revisiting an old favorite
The DVD release of this show has allowed me to go back and visit an old favorite. I had not seen the episodes since their very first run, so I was curious if I would still like the show and still derive the enjoyment from it that I remembered the first time through. Well, good news: the show was just as good as I remembered it, and had held up well for being 20 years old. Pierce Brosnan displayed the charm that made him one of my favorite TV stars, and his chemistry with Stephanie Zimbalist was still excellent. The shows themselves are extremely well-written. Unlike shows on TV today, this show didn't talk down to you; the characters were sophisticated and spoke like they were well educated, not like they hung out at the bar all the time. The wit hasn't been lost, either; I laughed through many of the episodes I watched. This was like catching up with an old friend. I can't wait to see the second season!