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Pamela Sue Martin
Catherine Mary Stewart
Tommy Lee Jones
....to name a few
Dark Water (2005)
How to save your child's life, whilst fixing the plumbing.
After the post-mordem madness of that lousy "Ring Two", I was sure to steer clear of this film, even though I was aware of actress Jennifer Connelly getting the film all to herself. A first for her in quite a while. Just the same, I knew better than to fall victim to the puerile junk of petty thrills and stupid nonsense that would match the likes of the stupid Ring sequel, and I'm congratulating myself for that. This film was embarrassingly similar, and painfully intolerable to watch. What did we have with that trashy Ring sequel? I'll say this much, "Dark Water" would have been easier to watch, and maybe even a little enjoyable, had we not been disgraced with that pathetic Ring sequel. Dark water centers around a Young woman (Connelly) who moves into a shabby apartment with her five, or six year old daughter, while her jerky husband tries to pull out all the stops on her in an attempt to prevent her from it. Once settled in, on the suggestion made by her daughter, not hers, she is walking down easy street with her daughter at a new school, and a job with health benefits. Yeah, real good huh? Not when that wall in the home is leaking with dirty, filthy water. Apparently, the plumbing is really bad there. Evetually, our young protagonist discovers the truth of a little brat, whom wasn't loved, or cared for, by either of her two trashy parents. Now, she haunting the walls...in search of a MOMMIE DEAREST! UGH! What a predictable and unsatisfying plot! How can anyone watch this film, and go back to pretend? Sheesh, this film couldn't have been released at a worse time. It looks like a ring movie, the music sounds like a Ring movie, and it has a child antagonist...just like those putrid ring films. What a shame, Connelly has depth, something we never saw in the other films. Actually, the story is better written, because of the realistic conflict between Connelly's 'Dahlia', and her husband, not to mention bad memories of an abusive mother. The parental commentary is quite amusing, but what will we benefit from it? The only logical thing we see, is Dahlia reeling to rid her life of this ugly brat, whilst keeping her hair clean of that filthy water, literally! I beg you, pass on this movie, and watch something a little more constructive. I wish I hadn't watched this film the other. It was exactly what I was expecting...even with an easily impressive actress like Connelly. Performances are decent and the twists were kind of kinky..especially the end. Still, there's nothing here but a rubbishy, stylized Japan remake, in the vain of the 'Grudge' and those awful 'Ring' films. What's next? A sequel? Don't be surprised. The other remake franchise films had them.
Casino Royale (2006)
Hot Patutti! Bless My Soul!
As I'm not a Bond expert, I cannot make the biggest comparison to other Bond films, but I can say this much: I was so engulfed in the high-energy action, and the scrambling intrigue, blended with wild humor, sensual attractions, and great performances...not to mention incredible writing. Here, in the latest installment of the 007 Bond franchise, we have a rambunctious carnation of Bond (Portrayed brilliantly by a charismatic, and adorable Daniel Craig) who is living his job to the limit, dodging bullets, and confronting danger face to face. On a particular assignment calling for an investigation into the levels of a hot poker game, our quick, flashy, and convenient man of mystery is faced with more than just a job, and he may need to rethink his plays before making a move.
I am a real skeptic when it comes to the average film these days, and I don't really like what is released. Spielberg, Scorsese, even the late Robert Altman-they all failed to impress me in any way. This film, however, was something different. I was blown away by it's innovation and surprises. I was overwhelmed by the emotion and the struggle that many of the main characters were torn with. There is such humanity in our eager James Bond this time around, and it's so compelling at times. Daniel Craig has left me wanting more, as the famous character is supposed to do. A+ for Daniel Craig! Now...Eva Green stole my heart and sent it flying to dreamland! So mesmerizing and delicate-I couldn't imagine a better leading lady! The rest of the cast is superb- especially the always reliable Dame Judi Dench. A flat-out, straight A action film from the heart! BRAVO!
Desperate Housewives (2004)
The Black Hole!!!!
I used to adore this once-groundbreaking nighttime soap, now, the very thought of it sickens me to NO end! It is a total wreck of a show, that is also absolutely out of control! When it very first aired, i was so in love with, I was overcome, like the rest of America. The premiere of the sharp witty satire was all one could wish, and I was especially proud to see women on screen, women who weren't "pop-tarts" or teenage sluts. This great display proved that women, as well as everybody, are always cool, hip, and sexy, no matter what age. Furthermore, the show had a nice structure that opened and closed with lessons learned, and stories leaving the viewers with a bit of intrigue to see next weeks episode. This continued all throughout the entire season, culminating with a terrific season finale.
Then.....when the second season started, something was strange, It just lacked something, something I could not put my finger on. I can't remember if I ever found out what it was, so I assume it was nothing important...but wait, if it wasn't important, why was it's absence marring the show for me? I finally came to the conclusion that what happened, was the realization that this show had nothing more to offer, because it lived it high run in the entire 1st season. The story lines were watered on, or rather urinated on, or were just always tacky, I never knew it until now? YES! I choose the latter! Not only was that revolution in motion, but the writers were obviously trying SO SO SO hard to impress the fan base at any cost, bringing out the most random, unrealistic, and unfunny material ever put on TV! What happened to the best new show ever? I'll tell you, it was never that great, we as an audience were so taken aback by some clever dialog and witty humor, covering up a boring premise. The five leading ladies are also what made me tick on it. I was in serious love with them all, at first.
I continued watching the series despite the setbacks I noticed. Soon enough, I couldn't stand it anymore, and I called it quits almost halfway through the second season. It was that irritating. I would have rather endured a root canal, than put up with a once- addictive show that now resembles a show for pre-schoolers. Guest-stars were usually unfunny, and offered nothing, except Melinda Paige Hamilton as the nun, I wish she stuck a steak through Gabrielle Solis' heart, so she could see how black her blood was, as though it were tar.
Now as I look back on the closing episodes of this repulsive season, I am soothed by the choice of abandoning the crappy night soap before it was as bad as I've heard it now is. The actresses are not funny anymore, and the stories are WAY TOO EXTREME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This show has way too much going on, and it has much more fans than it will ever deserve, and it is continuing to suck up our media economy like the foul, ridiculous, stinky, perverse Black Hole it is! I HATE this show, and we as the people who feed it, are now robots that work to serve it with our very souls taken over, believing this filth is a reality (It's not). I know most will not listen to my rants. They would rather enjoy watching trash, than actually read a book, play a tennis game, or something healthy. Alas, this world is corrupt. I thank you.
Sticky Fingers (1988)
One of the most 'rock'em, sock'em, roll on the ground, laugh 'til your face aches' films ever made!
"Our pockets are empty, our cupboards are bare, the bills keep coming, and the drugs are scarce. I need some money, I need some dough, for the things I want, for the things I own. I got Sticky Fingers!"
The title song says it all. "Sticky Fingers" is one of the most hilarious films ever made, and done so with such a style and even a type of elegance that has kept it fresh and funny for every viewing. Two roommates, and best friends Lolly and Hattie are struggling musicians, who can't pull in the attention of anyone past the civilians in Central Park, New York. One day, out of the blue, Diane, Hatties dope dealer, leaves them with a mysterious bag, with important contents inside. It is, yes, almost 1 million dollars. Eventually, everything is crazy, and all mixed up. These two women, who are honest, decent people in the Big Apple, are transformed by the green power slips, into petty, light-headed money grubbers. Soon the cash begins to run on, and the two have a lot of explaining to give Diane...and the mob men who have been watching their every move...
Helen Slater is the not so bright Hattie. She surely gives a new name to the word 'energy' in this one. With her quick and witty dialog, and sharp timing, she is amazing, and always turning on the laugh-machine. Melanie Mayron is the squeaky, nervous Lolly. Mayron is up to par with co-star Slater, giving off the same amount of energy and confusion. Needless to say, Christopher Guest is, as usual, a treat to watch as the love interest of Mayron. Other cast members include Loretta Divine, Eileen Brennan, Carol Kane, and an absolutely outrageous Danitra Vance, who steals the show with her every scene.
The comedy used in this gem is a bright blend of slapstick, and witty stand- up, with honesty as a key factor, bringing in solid goods. It is a shame that this one was never received as well as others in that time. The film is well representative of it's time,(1988) and it's pop-culture wackiness. I suppose it was the "different" factor that says just why the film was little known, if at all. This film does have a different tone, and even more so, it is very general. Sometimes, the smaller, more overlooked things are funny. Sexual lingo and politics are restricted, very restricted. This film is not "Majoy League" or a "National Lampoon" film, or even like any of the "Porkey's" movies either. It stands out completely on it's own, with ultimate originality and sharp comic texture and context, which make it a real riot to watch over and over again!
Commander in Chief (2005)
Powerful, and Deeply Moving.
This show, was as exciting as any show could be for the 05-06 season. Alas, as a show of this grand nature would do, it moves my soul to the highest nature to see a woman as the President Of The United States. This is a first, on television, but the thought of a female president has long been a thought in the minds of many for the past years. Now, with "Commander-In-Chief", we can see a glimpse at was it would be. I think the idea is fantastic, and powerful. 'Powerf', a word that men do not usually associate with women, but it is a possibility. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday, we will see this as a reality. Women have been displayed with power over the years in film, as Geena Davis stood up for feminist rights in "Thelma & Louise". How about Helen Slater in 'Legend Of Billie Jean'? Even earlier, Katherine Ross and Paule Prentice in "The Stepford Wives"?
Geena Davis is remarkable and deep as the first Female President. The rest of the cast adds up as well. Beyond any doubt or utter in vain of the women of America, this can be a reality, and this show proves it, and proves it well. Shall this show make a difference in life and politics. Many people don't like the idea, but others do, so were I anyone other than myself, I would give this show a chance! It's actually really good!
Beautiful People (2005)
Daphne Zuniga returns to a world of Beautiful People.
Naturally, I feel compelled to tell you about my love for an amazing actress named Daphne Zuniga, the main head-liner of this nice show. Years ago, try twelve or thirteen, Zuniga was a young photographer named JoBeth Reynolds on the critically acclaimed drama, "Melrose Place". She was, herself, beautiful, witty, tough, and deep, as well as surrounded by beautiful people all over. Now, in this new drama, "Beautiful People", she returns to the prime-time dial, but with a new breed of beautiful people.
With Jo Reynolds a fond memory, Daphne is now the lovely Lynn Kerr, a newly single mother, trying to provide a warm, sharing, and loving world for her two daughters, portrayed by Torry Devitto and Sarah Foret. Zuniga never fails to satisfy, and as Lynn Kerr, I see new depths to which she can dive into, especially now as other Melrose alumni are resurfacing as well. (Marcia Cross and Doug Savant in "Desperate Housewives"). The two new actresses Foret and Devitto are cute, and even amusing in this family based drama, but obviously, Zuniga helms the project with force and experience to which the younger stars are lucky to work with. The rest of the cast is okay too. Ricky Mabe takes the cake among the co-stars as a non-conformist, straight-forward, honest , but good-hearted outcast, stealing the scene as he spits his words about the truth concerning the "BP'S" (Beautiful People). The show has soft touch for familiar development, but just as the 'beautiful people' it introduces, looks are always deceiving.
I can also say, that this show is truly misplaced on the ABC-Family channel. It does deal with a mother, and her two daughters in their new life, and the concern for safety and love in the big apple, but there are some touchy situations this show touches base with. I have no problem with a single part of this show, but the surprise is the channel it airs. I know it would seem fairly normal on the normal ABC station, but Family is a bit risky, as Daphne even said in the beginning about the program. I didn't completely believe it myself, but it's true. The Kerr family meet people who take drugs, teenagers who have sex, in hot-tubs for that matter. An adult male, speaks his mind on the basis of his homosexuality, and other kinds of chaos ensues.
I am all for risk, and to that I can say I hope to see more of this show around. It's about time we see Daphne Zuniga in the spotlight again, and she is, without a doubt, having a great time like the rest of the cast. I know only as much as the next viewer about the eight episode run for an opening season, but I hope much more will come! A good Welcome Back to Daphne Zuniga, and an even bigger good luck to the show! It's a fun show to watch.
Red Eye (2005)
As Below, So Above!
It looks like terror has found its' way back to the films of Wes Craven, and this guy couldn't be happier! I am so uplifted to the skies, as Wes Craven has shot straight back to the original tactics that made his most earlier films classics! In such films as "The Last House On The Left", "The Hills Have Eyes", and "Deadly Blessing", there is the realism of natural terror that settles into the human psych much faster than a pathetic CGI wolf film or puerile slasher copy-cats with damning dialog and embarrassing story lines. Those early films are remembered for there simple fear factors that prove less is more. Even with a slight supernatural piece of mind in 1981's "Deadly Blessing", it was the more realistic terror of human evil that scares far worse than that creepy incubus! In "Red-Eye", Craven takes an amazing script by Carl Ellsworth, and weaves a new enchanting film which bares resemblance to his first three films. For the first time in years, most notably since "The People Under The Stairs", a statement has been made on society, through realistic action and non-stop suspense. In 1991, 'The People Under The Stairs" was released as a comment about the exploitation on the 'have-nots by the 'haves'. Now, albeit a lesser known statement can be said about society again. Yes, Craven has returned for the real scares that worked before!
The film begins out in a fast, and fun pace with a smart hotel manager, Lisa (played out exceptionally by a terrific Rachel McAdams) who is running in the fast lane of life, and getting home from a funeral is the most important aspect in life. On her journey home, she runs across a charming, and pleasant man(portrayed by a very game Cillian Murphy) who later turns out to be a demon in disguise! As below on earth, terror happens in the streets, and in the houses. Murder, suicide, accidental incidents plague us, but in the sky, it's not just terrorist attacks. The most cryptic of situations can happen when a young manager and a snidely viper meet on a 'red-eye' flight to Miami FL.
The direction is nothing short of miraculous and exquisite, and with Wes Craven on board, I knew this one would please me to the fullest. The script has many twists and turns around every corner, and the most un-expected moments, albeit predictable, are still effective. Rachel McAdams has always shown promise, from her early performance as a sweet-talking, promise-breaking high school cheerleader in "The Hot Chick". I knew from when I saw that film, that she would soon be something more in the future, and in the case of this film, she holds an extremely hard grip on her character, with the kind of drama that makes you dive into the story for more! She was just so good. When seeing Cillian Murphy in the 2002 zombie hit "28 Days Later", I figured he was no different than any other European break-out star. he was exceptional as well. he holds you in his palm for the right amount of time before he slides his scaly identity into your mind, then you know he's a dangerous man!
I am not a fan of many films today, but this film gave me all the hope I need to faith that in the future, films might be more appealing, and better than they have been for the past five years. Thank you to Wes Craven, Carl Ellsworth, Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, and the rest of the team, for bringing a new thriller to the screen, for all to be pleased. I am not easily pleased with movies today, as I have said, but this film blew me sky high!
James and the Giant Peach (1996)
Well done, just about the way I would have wanted.
Like all Roald Dahl novels, this one had a very specific way it would require were it to be adapted to a movie. Like such stories of this, Tim Burton used his specialty, fantasy. His style of such formula had proved to be successful in the previous years "The Nightmare Before Christmas". So why not do it again? With colorful characters and imagery to be seen only while using the imagination, Stop-Motion was a good idea, especially for films like this.
Young James is orphaned when a terrifying rhino storm takes away his parents. He is then left to defend for himself as he lives with his agonizing Aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Soon enough, a mysterious man gives him a sack of magical worms that will allegedly change his world, forever. After time goes by, a peach begins to grow on a blackened tree, drawing attention and money to his money-hungry aunts. After a chance encounter with a green worm, James is then transformed into a world with a few new friends. Escaping his evil aunts, James, and his new family begin a journey for a better life in the city where dreams come true! Before they reach this dream, they must face fears and monsters to challenge the dream.
The acting and voicing is very warm, and young Terry is convincible, as opposed to many other child actors who never had the right moment. Richard Dreyfuss, Simon Callow, Susan Sarandon, and Jane Leeves offer tender voices to the lovable creatures in whom James finds a new meaning to the word 'family'. Miriam Margoyles and Joanna Lumley are hysterical, if not over the top as the orphans wise cracking, crabby, and creepy aunts. Good direction and some often pleasing music accompany the actors as they compliment this journey of courage.
The imagery is remarkable. Tim Burton has always had a unique talent for a style of imagery and picture. The story and events are almost surreal at moments, but that is a wonderful thin g. Most films today are too nice, or way too family friendly, and the dark touch to such stories as this are well needed. I would say that this adaptation is the right type of film this novel could have to serve its' justice as far as visionary techniques are concerned. As for the rest, the film can speak for itself. It's just a fun little movie for all ages.
Not just a cult film, but a cult film with all the right moves!
On a dark, foggy night, two back-packers ignore the "no trespassing" sign, to engage themselves in a rest after a long while of mountain-climbing. They discover a pond, and instantly feel obliged to cool off. Before they can manage to enjoy this nice break, the most horrid feeling comes over them, and both become victims of a savage death, resulting in blood, only blood. Such an opening is familiar, yes, but also attention-getting, and enjoyable. This is "Piranha", the 1978 camp-classic horror film from acclaimed director Joe Dante and the production of Roger Corman. Given, the production values are some what less than "Jaws" and "Close Encounters.." but the heart and joy of film-making is also there, and thusly, the film is much more enjoyable than most Hollywood film of that era. The film is scripted by a then, young John Sayles, whom also makes a cameo! The two leads, Bradford Dillman and Heather Menzies are perfect, and chemistry is dead-on making for a very fun time indeed! The writing is, perhaps, the best part of the film, seeing as Corman obviously wanted a real cultish feel, and as such, the film has so many noticeable , fun, and convenient in-jokes such as a swimmer reading acclaimed novel 'Moby Dick', and lazy workers watching old cartoons involving fish. The thrills are pretty good too, seeing as the situation involves genetically enhanced knowledge within the fish. Therefor, it is much harder for Dillman and Menzies as they attempt to over power the deadly fish while chasing them down stream a beautiful Texas river. Dillman and Menzies lead a cast of familiar faces seen in earlier Corman films such as Paul Bartel, Dick Miller, and Barbara Steele. The piranha themselves don't look too bad, and thusly, the effects are pretty good for a low budget film such as this. Other goodies are one-liners, and other dialogs that are so witty, they will either make you howl, or are just plain great to hear over and over again. Yes, this film has all the right moves, as well as many other to boot! It is comic when needed, and when the element of serious conflict is present, so is the presence of serious characters. This film was remade in '95, with the most wretched cast and concept ever! And the thought of another remake causes my blood to boil! You cannot re-create an original classic! That is what makes it original! In any case, this film is a great classic, and an always enjoyable film, every time viewed!
War of the Worlds (2005)
And people say 1941 was overdone? Who are they kidding?
Where was the 2.35:1 aspect ratio? This is absolute deferance to the directors' first 'blockbuster'! In case you don't know, Spielbergs "Jaws" was the first blockbuster film, and it was filmed in 2:35:1 aspect ratio...in other words 'widescreen'. This film has a puny 1:85:1 aspect ratio which automatically takes it a minus on my numbers. But that's not really why I detested the film. From the beginning, John Williams has a grudged and grainy score which hasn't an element of science-fiction to compliment the film. It over sounds a narration by a familiar voice, and a bad CGI image of what we will find out later, will be a key in the film conclusion. In any case the music does not capture the moment. A narrative opening cannot work in todays times, because that classic touch has been taken poorly by most audiences in the twenty-first century! Ergo, most films today are lacking. The drained color is old news. We saw that in Spielbergs '02 Sci-Fi "Minority Report". I personally don't like it. What's wrong with mother earths natural colors...even on a winter day? More so, this was just overdone. It is reminiscent of earlier Spielberg films, such as "Poltergeist", with a brother and sister sharing a room, and the brothers' name is 'Robbie". This was a problem for me. I love the beloved ghost story too much. In any case, Dakota Fanning has never struck a good impression with me. Just an exaggerated little actress who is made up to be a starlit female version of the renown Marjoe Gortner. She gives too much off at a time, and her facial expressions overdo her emotions. Plus, she seems bratty in every film she does. With that said, I care not for many child stars, especially her. Miranda Otto is good, but far too underdeveloped...I think it's supposed to be that way. As for Tom Cruise, he didn't have to act to project the image of a bad father. He has no paternal instinct, even when he is attempting to take control of his family.
About the film, it bares resemblance to all Spielbergs earlier films. Namely "Close Encounters..". Spielberg obviously feels bad about the way he wrote his first alien film, so he wants to have another chance, make it better, like his pathetic friend, George Lucas. The early concept of a sudden summer storm was peculiar, almost amusing, but when those CGI battle machines showed up, well then, that was it! Some of the early signs of danger before strikes were not threatening, nor did they give off a premonition of danger. The CGI is atrocious as well. One thing that worked right, however, was that Cruise showed his age in many scenes. The story of redemption between father and son is okay, and it never clouded the actual action, so a minor clap is there...somewhere. The explanation or suspected conclusion as said by a game Tim Robbins is not interesting, and geographically impossible, but I guess that's why it's science- fiction. Film ends on a moralistic note, one we've all seen before in older films. So I can conclude my wrath by telling it as it is. This film was overdone, seriously overdone. And people say "1941" was overdone? No, Spielbergs early WWII classic was said to pale in comparison to "Jaws", it didn't. It delivers a great comic story full of heart. This new film has nothing but conformist film-making and overdone special effects. But it is Spielberg, so one might give it a try. As for me, I just knew it would be this way...or maybe worse.