Reviews written by registered user
johnnyx-2

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14 reviews in total 
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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
This movie makes me want to die., 18 June 2006
1/10

Dwight Yoakam can't even be bothered to get a proper comb-over for his bald spot.

It's Vince Vaughn, Peter Fonda and...uh... Peewee Herman. In a Western. How can it go wrong? How!? But it does, and tragically. This is incomprehensible, poorly shot, vanity-project poo. Dwight adds nothing to the direction but muddle an already blasphemous script with lots of slow-motion and fuzzy camera angles. And there's lots and lots of yelling. For no reason.

In the name of all that's holy, do not pick up this movie. Implore your local video stores to remove it from the shelves.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
When is Vincent Ever Wrong?, 23 April 2006
7/10

An entertaining psychological thriller, spoilt by weak special effects.

Typical locked-room, haunted-house plot: seven people with differing motives (almost all dubious) - a bagful of weapons and a mysteeeeerious lot of ghosts. Really very good fun.

Solid direction, a good (if traditional) score and a thorough knowledge of archetypal horror sensory triggers (slamming doors, slow turns showing lights switching off...) makes the movie far, far creepier than I initially expected.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the 'big reveal', the special effects were so unbelievably dismal that its more likely to provoke laughter...

Still, good fun. Don't watch it in the light of day, it needs the benefit of darkness, I think.

Oh, and Vincent didn't laugh enough. That's always a disappointment.

9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly Entertaining Courtroom Thriller, 23 April 2006
7/10

I wound up with this movie on one of those dubious £3.99 four-packs full of 'films you've never heard of'. And, well, on a slow Sunday, I treated myself to the experience...

And, frankly, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Snappy banter plus strong performance from the leads made up for a transparent plot and lackluster 'action' sequences.

Gangsters, reporters, dames in distress (and even a particularly dismal 'car chase scene') - all the traditional trappings of the 'noir' genre, but given a slightly humorous edge by Ayres' enjoyable performance as a wise-cracking reporter.

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
An E for Effort..., 28 February 2006
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As far as plot goes, Vadim doesn't actually add anything new to the ages-old and oft-redone Laclos story, something, in fact, that he mentions himself during the introduction.

Rather, he retells it as simply as possible - the stark black and white imagery is beautiful, and the dialogue is actually quite sparse. You're invited to see the connections between people through body language, smiles, and laughter. It's actually too understated at times, but the effort can be appreciated.

And the spoiler...

Vadim's most significant addition to the cluttered world of Laclos-rewrites was to *marry* Merteuil and Valmont. He confesses at the introduction that the general hedonism of the characters would never shock a 1960's audience - so he had to up the bar. It's no longer the fact that they play people and wantonly take lovers, it's the fact that they're such willing partners in one-another's games. A wife helping her husband seduce a new (underage) conquest? Except in the creepy world of internet fiction, that's still very, very creepy...

Well done. Not the best of the films - John and Glenn still have that wrapped up - but a solid runner-up.

12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
What the hell happened here?, 19 December 2005
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I knew it was going to be bad, but I like cheesy movies. And I knew it wasn't going to do justice to the D&D game, but I was open-minded to the effort. But good lord, this might be the worst movie I've ever seen.

Lots of people have shredded this movie in a lot of ways, so I've got little new to contribute to the mass lynching. But three quick summary points: The acting was embarrassing - the Jeremy Irons was clearly chewing up the set with a bad Christopher Lee impression, and Thora Birch really, really wanted to be elsewhere. Whichever Wayans got drunk enough to sign this contract was cringe-worthy, and the best thing he did was die (although he took too long getting about it).

The special effects were hilariously bad. The CGI for the sets was a distant second to Wolfenstein 3D, and anything involving 'magic' could've been better accomplished with a handful of colored yarn.

Finally, the plot was UTTERLY INCOMPREHENSIBLE. Our heroes are sent to find the Rod of Thingummy, because the Empress is about to lose her Whatchamacallit. As they mosey along, everyone says 'good lord, don't find the Rod of Thingummy, it's a horrible evil'. In fact, the only person that could be benefited by the Rod of Thingummy is Lord Sinister Big Bad. Still, our idiot heroes keep on trooping around, trying to find the Rod of Thingummy. THEN, the Empress doesn't even LOSE the Whatchamacallit in the first place, so there's NO need for the Powers of Good to get the Rod of Thingummy anyway. BUT THEY KEEP GOING. So, inevitably, they get the Rod of Thingummy (more warnings about 'don't find it' coming in along the way), and HEY, the BAD GUY STEALS IT FROM THEM.

Furthermore, that's what turns the tide of the war! The Empress was WINNING until our stupid heroes find the Rod and give it to the bad guys, what's up with that? Champions of the Realm?! They're idiots, and are personally responsible for the destruction of the city.

Which is, may I add, a good thing, as whatever Commodore 64 was building the cityscape graphics was clearly overheating at that point anyway.

Avoid at all costs. This movie is an abomination.

Krull (1983)
4 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
I couldn't put my copy back on eBay quickly enough..., 15 November 2005
1/10

Good lord this film was terrible. I went through a burst of nostalgia, bought a copy off eBay and then actually received/viewed/listed it back on eBay within two days.

My childhood, rose-tinted memories had told me that there were - somewhere - scenes that were good. Yet, somehow, those eluded me. As does the comparison (generally unflattering, but still...) with Star Wars. Both had people. And, um, special effects. But that's about it.

Krull did have a really cool name. And a Star Wars-esquire opening sequence with 'something big moving in space', but that's it.

In fact, that opening sequence might be the only part of the movie that wasn't a thinly-concealed plothole. People meet. They fall in love instantly. Bad things happen because they have to. Then it turns into a scavenger hunt, as they just slip, snakes-and-ladders style, through an infinite series of plot holes, until they eventually reach the empowering conclusion.

The special effects were horrid, but, given the era, that might be the only forgivable thing about the movie. The writing and acting, on the other hand, well - no excuse. People have been doing those things for thousands of years.

Not sure what else to add. Except for avoid at all costs.

"Dune" (2000)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Like a high school remake of Lynch's ponderous epic, 2 September 2005
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I appreciate the effort that went into producing this epic of a series, and, in general, I enjoy it when channels/producers/writers/directors are up for a challenge of this magnitude.

BUT....

Wow. This was absolutely horrible. I'm actually proud that I made it through all the way to the end, and frankly, I think I deserve a bit of a medal. The DVD, fortunately, had a lot of extras. None of which I had the strength to watch, after enduring the countless preceding hours of miserable television.

The David Lynch film was interesting, unusual and daring. I'm not sure it was good, but it was a strong attempt. The main issues with it were: incomprehensible plot (unless you'd read the book AND seen the director's cut) and an incredibly weak lead for Paul Atreides.

This series managed NOT ONLY to keep those same (fairly prominent) flaws, BUT ALSO add countless new ones.

The leads were all just not very good. If you're going to try to be realistic to the book, please remember two things: Paul is YOUNG and Bene Gesserit DON'T CRY, ever. You can't have a dopey, doe-eyed woman for Jessica, who is bawling throughout the movie and losing her temper in the rest of it. She's afraid all the time, and cringeworthy.

The special effects were terrible. They actually really looked like they were shot in front of photos from the original movie, and the desert scenes were straight out of 'King Solomon's Mines'.

The plot was still incomprehensible - clearly lots of minor (Fenring) characters were added to add 'legitimacy' after butchering the major ones. But if you're going to introduce the many thousands of factions of Herbert's universe, you've actually got to provide a little more background, and not just one badly animated 'man-bat' scene for the Guild. And the Bene Gesserit were ridiculous, looking like Cirque du Soleil rejects, as they wandered around (crying and being afraid...sigh).

And the eyebrows? Yeek.

Oh, and Sting was better. Sad, but true.

Con Air (1997)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Academy-Award Nominated Movie, Con Air, 30 August 2005
6/10

If you're like me, the summary phrase above probably made you balk a bit. And then you realized something like 'ha ha, it's for like makeup or whatever' )Sound Editing, I believe). But that's kind of my gut reaction to this movie - basically a good ride (I remember seeing it a couple times in the cinema), but, wow, not anything that should ever be referenced as 'good'.

Scenery-chewing (in a good way) by John Malkovich, Ving Rhames and Steve Buscemi give this movie what entertainment value it has. All three ham up their performances with the director's (and the audience's) blessing, and clearly had a lot of fun doing this. I can't blame them, as it probably was.

Nicholas Cage competes strongly with Dick Van Dyke in the 'Worst On-Screen Accent of All Time' category, with an Alabama drawl that makes me feel like someone's working my cerebellum with a cheese-grater.

John Cusack is slapped in the background, even during scenes in which he's talking. His entire performance is straight-to-cable, and is possibly the biggest downer - we all know he (unlike Cage) could be doing a lot better.

The first ten minutes of the movie are swallowed by a gaping plot-hole, in order to get Nick Cage ('a really good guy, with some lethal training') aboard Con Air, surrounded by all the evil in the universe. Clearly not comfortable with making him an anti-hero (which would have been infinitely preferable), we're instead stuck watching a pre-credit buildup that stretches one's benign disbelief to the breaking point.

On the positive side, it gets a bonus point for having rocket launchers. I'm easy.

6/10. I'd buy the DVD on eBay, but not pause it while I'm cooking dinner.

11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
(One way that) a superhero film just oughta be, 11 April 2005
9/10

One way a superhero film ought to be is Blade. Or maybe X-Men. Where it's pretty much animation, but they shell out the money for Halle Berry's body as well as her voice. And most of it is just watching Wesley Snipes put on sunglasses and then hit people. It's nifty, and, frankly, worth the $8 to see.

The Specials is the other way. Nobody paid $8 to see it, but now, we all ought to be shelling out $20 for a DVD (or $16.99, and spend the change on some fried chicken. And a can of beer).

A mockumentary on a mediocre superhero team, the Specials is great 'cause the fight scenes are verbal. And there aren't any sunglasses. Good soundtrack through. It's absolutely cheeky and self-deprecatory, and shows that superheros are like ordinary people. But crazier.

Just a pleasure to watch. Very clever, with absolutely genius performances by The Weevil (Rob Lowe) and Deadly Girl (someone I don't know, but really ought to. She was fantastic). I even teared up a tiny bit. Kinda. In a manly way.

Barbarella (1968)
14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Irredeemable. Lovable., 29 March 2005
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Enjoyable while having absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever. Jane Fonda proves herself a worthy comic actress, and also manages to (as advertised!) strip on any occasion. Pygar is sufficiently vapid, the Black Queen is hot (and amusingly dubbed), what else do you need? The plot - Barbarella is sent to recover the scientist Duran Duran - is slightly meandering, and abandoned for the middle 60 minutes of the movie. The best comparison I've seen or heard was to 'Alice in Wonderland' - an innocent goes carelessly wandering through a psychedelic wonderland, populated entirely by misfits and lunatics. Which, frankly, is Barbarella in a nutshell.

Some decent villains would help. I'm unsure if it's a result of the poor special effects, but Barbarella is consistently menaced by the un-menacing: small birds. nibbling dolls. a giant space amoeba that looks like bath gel.

Decent music, (intentionally?) atrocious special effects round this out perfectly. Definitely worth a viewing.


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