Reviews

44 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
7/10
Not Bad
31 August 2007
Watching the first 15 minutes of this movie gave me that uh-oh feeling of: I just paid money for this. Seemed pretty cheesy and too sweet and cliché as we are introduced to the family. Acting wasn't too hot by Bacon either as Kelly Preston upstages him in every scene. Kind of knowing what was coming allowed me to bear through it.

When it got going though, the movie started rolling pretty good. Lots of no holds barred fights with blood and bone, gunshot blasts and vicious stabbings. Great scene in the underground garage that was the highlight of the film. Hard to believe undernourished Bacon could portray a man on the warpath well, but he dished it out pretty good. I was actually kind of shocked in some of the scenes with the pure nastiness, but it is a vigilante movie.

This movie borrows a lot of material from other sources: Dirty Harry, Max Payne, Death Wish and some scenes straight out of Taxi Driver. But it worked. If you are into ultra violent flicks with weak plot line, little emotion and brain splattering gore, then this is your end of the summer Christmas gift. Pretty good for what it is.
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6/10
Fluff entertainment
19 June 2007
A movie based on the romance of the President and a quirky lobbyist. Some good scenes, clustered near the start, notably the dinner and the first phone call the President makes to Annette Benning's apartment. The movie is fresh at this point and Michael Douglas is cool in his role; Benning, equally charming. Martin Sheen shines in his role as the Chief of Staff and I think is the actor who steals the show. It's no wonder when the West Wing came calling, who was getting the lead role.

But this movie gets wearily cute after an hour and falls into cliché in the last half. There is no real chemistry or energy between the two lead actors despite their fine performances and they fall flat. No really emotional scenes and the movie plays it too cool. No charisma.

So as a whole, I can recommend this movie because of some good scenes and it's style: just expect whipped cream instead of meat and potatoes.
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8/10
Griffith is dazzling!
25 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Kind of a clunky war movie with lots of cliché about the spy genre, but still good fun. We have the microfilm, the secret weapons, the infiltration of Nazi inner circles and lots of trench coats and Derby's. Still if you enjoy that kind of yarn, like myself, you will no doubt enjoy this film.

Built with a larger romance angle than most World War 2 spy stories, Shining Through aims to be ambitious; to model itself after the greatest Hollywood WW2 romance, Casablanca. It is a fine film in many regards, with a bit of everything thrown in there; action, suspense, thrills, human interest, and romance. There is an incredibly zingy start with Griffith's spunky character ripping up the screen for the first half hour. It kind of loses it's momentum after that, when the romance of Douglas and Griffith ends and Douglas's character leaves her to go to war. It's too bad, because that first half hour was just plain movie magic. When the two characters are separated, the movie loses something, mainly due to Griffith's sweetheart and breathy performance. I dare any man not to fall in love with her in the first few scenes!

This is simply Griffith's movie and probably best performance ever. There are times she looks simply like a Hollywood Starlet of old when the light falls upon her a certain way. Blonde and beautiful, her sassy and intelligent character wreaks havoc on the screen. Not many actors can put Michael Douglas in their shadow during the eighties and nineties, but it is all Griffith up there. It's too bad she never got any better roles after this.

I recommend this movie for Melanie's performance alone. Still, you will not be disappointed with the stylish cinematography and settings of Nazi Germany in WW2. The Nazi Parade was fantastic ( as far as that regime allows), all sweeping banners, youths marching with their flags held high. You really get the feeling of the excitement, pomp and allegiance felt by the crowd.

In general, I highly recommend this film. It has it's weak points to be sure, falling into cliché and a kind of a made for TV feel. Still you will be carried along by the charisma of the actors: Douglas, Neeson and Griffith and come away with a smile on your face. Great stuff.
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United 93 (2006)
9/10
Fantastic
17 September 2006
This is the best movie of the year thus far. It is an incredible piece of film that everyone should see. In fact, it plays so realistic it is hard to believe there are actors up there on the screen. My knuckles were clenched white near the climax of this movie and I was so caught up in it I was stuck to my seat like cement. Go see it because it should win the Oscar for Best Picture this year.

The buildup in this movie is simply masterful as gradually we realize the chaos ensuing as America's skies are under attack. It is such a shocking revelation that such a thing could happen here. Then the terrorists intentions are revealed as CNN shows the footage of the World Trade Center and we are shocked again. When the camera rolls to the scene on Flight 93, the real suspense builds, for I myself, was unaware of the outcome of the flight. My hat goes off to Mr. Greengrass for managing to place me in the passenger seat of that flight and make me feel so much compassion and shock at the outcome. A simply unforgettable movie that shows respect for the subject matter.
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8/10
Very Well Done Action Flick
10 September 2006
This is one of the great actions flicks that is completely underrated on IMDb. Great plot twists, great acting, great actors, great story. This movie kept me enthralled the whole way. It was when Affleck still had his charisma from Good Will Hunting. Charlize Theron dazzles us with her smile and charm and Gary Sinise is sinister as the intimidating "older brother". My only complaint was there were one too many plot twists in the end. Otherwise, settle in for a smooth ride.

My favorite part of this movie are the prison sequences at the start and the final scenes. The prison sequence was very well done and Affleck is immediately identifiable as the likable car jacker. The final scenes are a great touch after the explosions, a nice touch to an enjoyable film. Sinise's fellow gang members are excellent as well, their intimidation tactics and craziness well transmitted to the screen.

See this movie around Christmas time. It may hold some more value.
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8/10
One of the Best!
10 September 2006
This is one of the greatest comedies out there. This movie never takes itself serious and is a laugh a minute. The flick has no mean spiritedness whatsoever and thrives on the chemistry between Stiller and Wilson. Also some great performances from Snoop Dog, Will Ferrell and Fred Williamson.

I never laughed at at a movie so hard since Scary Movie 2. Great intro as Starsky's by the book character comes to clash with Wilson's slacker attitude. What it promises is a laugh-fest for the next hour and a half. I cannot sing this movie's praises high enough. Go and see it for pure zaniness and foolishness of it all.
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The Woods (2006)
5/10
Terrible
9 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you want to watch a horror movie with no suspense, the longest, most boring plot development to flounder on a movie screen, then this is your flick. About an hour in, I wondered why I was watching this dud when the most exciting thing happened was a cat fight with one punch thrown.

Bruce Campbell is in this film, (I guess as a tribute to the nutty trees he fought in The Evil Dead) but he couldn't add any flavor to this pile of crap. Patricia Clarkson, a fine actress, mostly walks around with a confused look on her face, a look that mirrored my own. After sitting through this bore fest, I thought I would be amply rewarded by a conclusion that would tie up the mystery the story presented. Instead it turns a slasher film in a finale Lizzie Borden would be proud of. Stay away folks, for you are now warned.
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7/10
X men 3
9 September 2006
Last of the series is the weakest. Although there were good action sequences, lots of new mutants and some fine acting, it does not have the same panache as the first 2. Too many things were added just to clue up the series, too many character deaths and the story is not as well developed.

I really didn't think that they could mess up this series but they did. Although the special effects were great, it seemed more of an eye candy treat than anything else. That made it an empty shell compared to the first 2 movies. A lot would have to do with the departure of Bryan Singer. Rather than focusing on the story of a few characters as the first 2 did, there were too many characters popping up and as a result, the story was spread too thin.

But heck, this movie is not all bad. Juggernaut and Dark Phoenix are great and Magneto's power displays were fantastic. Wolverine, Rogue and Storm were weaker as was the side story of Angel. Mystique is almost non existent. A weak conclusion to a great series. Or have we seen it too many times before?
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The Watcher (I) (2000)
6/10
Cliché but not bad.
9 September 2006
Straight out of the mould of the serial killer movie handbook, nothing new or creative here. Very contrived flick as former FBI agent, James Spader tracks down serial killer, Keanu Reeves who has a slight obsession with Spader and a serious obsession with killing women with piano wire. Spader is of course, plagued by nightmares from his past and Marissa Tomei is the psychologist trying to help him.

The good points of this movie: Spader, Spader, Spader. He is great in this role and his "I don't give a **** attitude" will charm you. An underrated actor, much in the same fit as William Petersen, he needs that big role to give him star power. There are also some really genuine scenes between him and Tomei, and Spader's candidness gives the scenes depth.

Also, I don't know how the director gained so much star power for such a low budget movie. James Spader, Marissa Tomei, Keanu Reeves, Ernie Hudson... not bad. It certainly doesn't hurt the movie. And there is a great chase scene...

Drawbacks: very, very contrived. Plays like a made for TV movie. Some of the actors are very wooden in their supporting roles. Also, the direction relies on some out of place, slow motion and strange camera tricks to try and give the movie some flare. The movie would have benefited from some plain, gritty camera-work that matched the subject matter. This isn't Miami Vice or a John Woo flick.

Neutrals: Keanu Reeves. If Reeves had have changed his appearance as he did to play the bullying husband in "The Gift", it would have added a whole lot more to this flick. Instead, I couldn't see past his surfer image. He's not bad in this role, but it could have been so much more.

As a whole, this movie could have been great but was ruined by shoddy direction and a low budget feel. You get the feeling it was pushed out there with the star power to draw audiences instead of the movie itself. Still, a little disappointing when you realize, with a little passion and more creativity, this movie could have been great. Still, there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half.
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Slither (2006)
8/10
B movies of Old
7 September 2006
Great entertaining flick with humor, gore, suspense, special effects, action, acting and plot. In a year of mediocre movies, this little hidden gem pleasantly surprised me.

It's also good to see Mr. Serenity landing a decent role in his departure from Firefly. To me, he is an up and coming actor and a good choice to take over the Indiana Jones series. I hope he does not take more roles like the forthcoming White Noise 2.

Elizabeth Banks is always a scene stealer. She positively glowed in Seabiscuit and here she is again, lighting up the screen. Another actress who deserves her due.

The rest of the cast is stellar with vets Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry joining the ensemble, providing lots of tongue and cheek humor. This movie reminded me of a cross between a less serious Dawn of the Dead and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This one got it all folks. Rent it for pure, gory fun.
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