Reviews written by registered user
|9 reviews in total|
A couple of University students take over an apartment in an empty block that's due for demolition. They want a quiet place to study for a couple weeks and their relative has already moved out. The only other apartment with tenants turns out to be a trio of vampire ladies. One of the fellows falls for one of the vampire sisters without knowing she's a vampire. Sadly the film makers take the potential and do little with it. Wong Jing has turned in much better comedies in the past. The film lacks his usual flare, silly jokes and manic activity. There isn't much of anything going on way too often. Two people, out of four watching, fell asleep during the movie, one of them twice, this can't be a good sign. There isn't anything special or interesting about this movie, you'd be better off giving it a miss.
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A sad film, not for the story, but for the poor saps who thought they would take a chance and watch it. You'd think that after making several films writer director Donald Farmer would have learned something about film making but sadly he has not. Lucky for me I haven't had the opportunity to see any of Donald's other films and I'm hoping to keep it that way. It's a film lacking in so many ways, there's a bad script with dumb story ideas, some so-so actors, poor special effects, unimaginative CGI. We watched it as a group and no one was happy. There was a lot of complaining. It wasn't bad enough to be funny, just annoying. Really annoying. And on top of that he spent $300,000 on it. Where did that money go, it's not on the screen. How the movie scores a 3.9 is easily explained, 13 of the 55 votes are a ten. Nice to know someone has some co-workers. I could only give it a 1, like 32 other voters, especially after the nearly 10 minute end of the movie. That ending has to be seen to be sneered at but don't watch it, just take my word to stay away. Go watch a good movie, one you like, and forget about this mess.
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A lumberjack encounters a movie crew who've come to his small town to make a zombie movie. Kôji Yakusho plays the woodsman. I'd seen him in a few other movies over the years, like The Eel, Cure, or Pulse. In TWATR his character is going about his lumberjack duties, cutting away with his chainsaw, when the producer of the film comes over to ask him to hold down the noise. One thing leads to another and the lumberjack reluctantly starts helping out on the production. He comes to enjoy being there and he turns out to be a good resource for the film company. Slowly the woodsman bonds with the young inexperienced director who's cripplingly shy. They both benefit from the others company and each grows from the relationship. The scenes with Kôji and Shun Oguri, the director, work well and they work well together. More and more the locals are drawn into the production by the woodsman. Some become villagers and become some zombies. All seem to enjoy their movie making experience, making me wish I was there. The scenes with the locals are often amusing and not at their expense. There are a good number of jokes, both about the movie business and about life in general. I found a lot of them funny. There's plenty of nice sentiment without being melodramatic or sappy. There's even a bit of drama. The script is well written and the movie is well shot and directed. It's kind of slow moving, the movie runs 129 minutes, but I didn't find it too long. When there wasn't someone to watch there was plenty of great looking scenery to look at. The movie was filmed in the Gifu Prefecture in an area that's very hilly, heavily wooded and beautiful. I liked the people, I enjoyed spending time with them, and I was sorry to see them go. They seemed like real people and the humor seemed real. I sure enjoyed watching it and while it might not be for everyone I'd sure recommend it.
It was easy to get take in by the pretty ladies on the DVD box and the title - Oppai Chanbara - Striptease Samurai Squad could have some potential. Sadly there isn't a squad in movie and there isn't much stripteasing. It's one lone gal trying to help protect a village from a gang of robbers. Lili is learning sword fighting in modern Japan. Her grandmother tells her about a special fighting style that only women use and magically transports her 300 years back in time. Lili meets her ancestors and fights the robbers. Lili's special sword fighting style features her whipping open the front of her kimono and showing her breasts. Delightful as that is there isn't much to keep your interest in the rest of the movie. It's so dull that the 66 minute running time seems to take forever. The sword fighting is awful too. The poor stunt men have to carry the show. Lucky for them they don't have any dialog and as soon as they're stabbed they get to leave the movie. I stayed to the end and I'm probably the worse for it. Still the gals were pretty and that's why it got a 4, it deserves a 3.
Every Friday evening our film group watches two films. Our second feature was handed to one of our viewers, by the director, at some film convention. It's a zombie film and we are all interested in seeing all the zombie films made, so we took a chance. The Resurrection Game is a low budget zombie film directed by Mike Watt, who's also the writer of the movie, the novelization of the movie, and many articles in many horror movie magazines that I don't read. I thought the movie was pretty poor. It was made over 3-4 years starting in 1997. While that worked for Peter Jackson when he made Bad Taste, it doesn't help here. It's pretty hard to watch. It's got a lot of technical problems. Bad and uneven sound. Poor editing of the often poorly shot scenes. What was up with all those close ups? Couldn't see a thing happening at times. And the fight scenes? Sad. Once the spanking nun did a flying kick that was totally embarrassing to watch. Fair to awful acting. A complicated story, filled with clichés, that doesn't get explained very well. Too many other issues to list. I'd be more forgiving of these kind of problems if I liked the story and characters better. Neither of which held my interest very well. One guy slept through parts of the movie, filling in for another guy, who was absent. Lucky day to be gone, or asleep. The zombie make up was fair to poor. Occasionally someone would get a cup of blood thrown in their face. There were some light moments that weren't very funny, and some serious moments that were. We all liked Necro-Phil, the zombie puppet. Too bad the movie wasn't just those 3-4 minutes with Phil. Luckily this isn't readily available on DVD.
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A group of us watched The Rage, and thought it was pretty gory and pretty much fun. And you hope it would be, being directed by Robert Kurtzman of special effect house KNB. Kurtzman is the guy I just don't remember of the trio. Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero are the two I see all the time. They first worked together on George Romero's Day of the Dead. They met Kurtzman on Evil Dead II. As a company they have done make-up and special effects for many many great movies. Sadly, I didn't even recognize Kurtzman's name at the start of the movie. His being there certainly would explain the continuous gore effects. As the movie opens a crazy doctor with a wish for vengeance is experimenting on some kidnapped travelers. A poor family got caught, the doc's just killed mom, and now it's dad's turn to give his life to science. When the experiment goes wrong, doc gets infected with his own mutating rage virus. It both mutates you and makes you mad. Then you need to eat someone. Can doc get to the antidote in time to stop his head from swelling up? There's a juicy slam fest of a fight in the last half of that opening scene, as the doc and dad, both rapidly mutating, and mad, duke it out in the lab. And what a filth hole that place is, blood and corpse parts all over, and a cage filled with failed experiments who are eating a little girl. One is a midget who will wear her clothes, face and hair. Geeze! It seemed funnier in the movie. Anyway, things are going to hell in a beaker as the doc and his victim battle it out. They take their fight out doors, some vultures get in on the act and the virus is on a flight path to the rest of the world. We next meet some kids who are having a drug and sex filled night at an outdoor rave of some sort. Real band Mushroomhead is playing. Next day the kids meet up with the vultures and Reggie Bannister. You might recognize him if you're a Phantasm fan. He helps the hero in that movie, here he eats a little girl. It's okay, she was already dead. And that's only the first ten minutes or so. It's a blood bath as the kids run from one place to another, getting picked off one by one, before the leftovers wind up in the lab. It's still a mess and there's a basement that's even worse. It's not a movie for the viscous impaired, or my mom. Most of the sets and physical effects were pretty good. Lots of experience behind their creation. The vulture puppets were great, while still being puppets, and the CGI versions of them were fair to middlin'. We all agreed that the vultures were a great menace. They like people. For snacks. They're mad, and they bite real well. Most of the CGI was acceptable, and we believe that was the first CGI poop we'd seen. The acting was a mixed bag, some of our players better than others. The story had some goofy stuff in it and the dialog didn't alway keep us on the edge of our seats. But it has that fun sense of humor that made us laugh along with it. And occasionally at it. Not for everybody but certainly something most horror fans should find enjoyable.
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Yokai Monsters Along Came Ghosts is the third in the series. A poor grandpa gets caught in the cross fire between rival bosses. Nearly slashed to death he crawls off home. With his dying breath he hands his 7 year old granddaughter a pair of dice and instructions on how to find her father. She heads off to town with some guys chasing her. She's helped along the way by a nice kid and one of the men of the dead boss. It's a story of murder, vengeance and redemption. With ghosts. The film is more reminiscence of a Zatoichi movie, and not surprisingly. One of the two directors, Kimiyoshi Yasuda, directed some of that series. I enjoyed the movie but sadly there weren't enough monsters, especially after seeing Yokai Monsters - 100 Monsters. That's not a very serious complaint, although I wouldn't mind seeing YM - 300 Monsters. Maybe someone should get on that. I liked the little girl and the hero played by Kojiro Hongo. She was cute and he was heroic and valiant. The villains were your typical bad sorts whose fall is enjoyable. Eventually the good guys prevail and things are as good as you can expect in feudal Japan, by which I mean you aren't being killed right this minute.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this movie back in the late 60's and had fond memories of it. I
just finished the book and thought a re-watching of the movie was in
order. Made in 1964 in Berlin by Disney, the movie bares little
resemblance to the 1929 novel by Erich Kastner, other than some of the
names and most basic of plot elements. Updated to modern day Berlin of
1964 the film, while still fun, is missing the charming affection
between Emil and his widowed mother. The opening chapters of the book
are devoted to Emil and his mother and their life. In the book Emil
travels by train from Neustadt to Berlin to see his grandmother. He's
carrying money, to his grandmother, from his mother. When he falls
asleep in the compartment, his pocket is picked by Mr. Grundeis, a
fellow passenger. Emil wakes up and discovers his money gone. Out of
the window of the train he spots Grundeis and gives chase. Broke, Emil
takes a tram ticket from a generous passenger, and follows Grundeis
from the train to a café on Kaiser Avenue. It's here while watching
Grundeis that Emil meets up with Gustav, the local neighborhood
head-boy, the boy the other kids look up to and willingly accept as
their leader. It's Gustav who calls the neighborhood boys together to
help get the money back. The brains of the neighborhood, the Professor,
organizes the boys into a fairly well organized team, each person is
given an assignment and the detecting begins. Communication, tactics,
and food are arranged. The teams follow and eventually hassle Mr.
Grundeis right into jail. It's doesn't even take 24 hours to catch him.
It's told in a delightful style, with a nice bunch of characters.
There's a sweetness to the book, but it's never saccharine. All through
the book Emil's thought's are on his mother and her struggle to keep
food on the table and a roof over their heads, the loss of the small
amount of money stolen is devastating to their poor family and it's a
heavy burden to Emil. He's a good boy, in every traditional sense, and
he fights back for what is rightfully his. And he is rewarded for it in
The movie version omits the sentimentality of the novel, skipping the mother son relationship. Emil get's his pocket picked on a bus, after Mr. Grundeis hypnotizes him. Emil wakes and gives chase, literally running into Gustav, knocking him and his packages down. Gustav confronts Emil, who is now spying on Grundeis, and eventually learns Emil's story. And this is where the movie starts to build it's more exciting version of the story. Rather than have the boys organically become detectives, Gustav is already a detective, he has a badge, he rescued a cat recently. He calls together his team and they go to work. The movie moves the off screen bank robbery of the book on screen, and involves Emil in it, creating a higher level of jeopardy that doesn't exist in the book. Mr. Grundeis is involved in the big robbery, he's a regular mole, digging the tunnel into the bank. Walter Slezak plays The Baron, the robber gangs leader. There's also Muller, the grumpy guy, he yells a lot. There's lot of running around, more yelling, and much tomfoolery with girls. Pony, Emil's cousin, is much brasher in the movie and more of a presence. In the book the boys are much more in awe of her, everyone's much more polite, in the movie they're not. "Get rid of her," says Gustav. But Pony is not to be deterred, the plucky school newspaper columnist sticks to it and together with the gang of detectives, and the confused and belatedly involved police they rescue Emil and the mole from a watery death. The Baron and grumpy are captured soon after, and all is well. Emil's mother shows up briefly at the beginning and end of the movie.
I enjoyed both versions of this story. They both had a nice take on the story. Both can be enjoyed for different reasons, especially by different people.
Actress Kellie Martin makes her TV directorial debut on this fun detective series, after the 2004 short film Frenching. I hadn't noticed this series before, not being a big Hallmark Channel watcher, but I was intrigued by the book angle. The Mystery Woman series is part of revolving trio of detectives shows that fill a two hour time slot. I haven't seen any of the others, but I think two hours is a great time period, lots of room for stuff to happen, room to flesh out the story. I enjoyed the fun interplay between the main group of characters, played by Kellie Martin, Nina Siemaszko, Casey Sander, and Clarence Williams III. In Vision of Murder Kellie and Nina visit a spa so Kellie, who's also a photographer, can take pictures for their new brochure. At least these writers know it's really hard to make a living from just selling books. These are all good actors, and everyone does a good job bringing their characters to life. Nothing new or strikingly original about the show, it kind of reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, without the fighting or monsters, and if Buffy was about 30. In a bookstore rather than a library, Kelly spearheads the chase, Clarence does the research, Assistant DA Nina is the law-talking' gal, with Casey as the cynical chief of police. Puzzles to solve, lots of computer work,and lots and lots of talking but not much action, get the bad guy caught, after a smidge of suspense. There is some book talk, Clarence telling a possibly psychic woman about some fictional psychic detectives. It's nice to encourage book reading. Watch a movie, read a book, that's my motto, and this low throttle thriller has people talking about books, so what's not to like. A good solid piece of entertainment, nicely directed.