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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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7/10
Good flick
6 September 2006
Great shots of the abbey in the mountains and the film really captures the feel of the era. Stellar acting, especially by Mr. Connery and a strong cast makes this one of the better eighties flicks. A cerebral mystery, the different setting and time draws the watcher in a little deeper than your ordinary whodunit.

A young Christain Slater adds emotional content to the movie as his first sexual encounter with a village girl bonds him to her, despite their class. There are secret passages, the quest for the lost tome, cloak and dagger mystery and a wide array of characters to appeal to the imagination of fans of fantasy settings. The inquisition turns up to add a little flavor and intimidation factor to the movie as Sean Connery's character has been previously tangled up with them. Poison, murder, torture, lies all abound in this medieval setting thriller that should not be missed.
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A Simple Plan (1998)
8/10
Dark and well acted
31 August 2006
I went into this movie with high expectations. I was somewhat disappointed, but this is still a good film.

Acting was great, great, great, especially Billy Bob and Paxton. Paxton surprised me with the depth of his acting and I walked away with a new respect for the man. Billy Bob Thornton is just, you know, Billy Bob, so he always gives a great performance. A magnificent supporting cast of Bridget Fonda, Brent Briscoe, Chelcie Ross and Gary Cole lend some real grit to the story. So the acting I cannot fault.

The cinematography is unreal. Some of those snow covered scenes took my breath away, sending me back to my time spent in the woods on snowy evenings as a kid. Just incredible.

The story was nicely developed as well. However my problems lies on how long it took for something to happen. It would be no problem leaving at least 15 or 20 minutes of this film on the cutting room floor, and it would add so much more to the pace and excitement of this movie. Some films, like Blind Horizon and Blood Simple, rely on a slower pace to add more to the plot development. However, this is not the case for A Simple Plan. It is what separates this film from being good and from being great. Hat's off to Mr. Raimi for his exploration into new territory for him with this film, but like Spiderman and Evil Dead, there can be too much of a good thing.
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Blind Horizon (2003)
8/10
This is a great movie!
27 August 2006
Don't let the rating of the IMDb fool you. This is truly a great movie, very comparable to Blood Simple. Both movies revolve around a magnificent representation of small town southern US, and the setting plays a huge role in both.

The acting is peerless in this film, with Val Kilmer at his finest and notable supporting performances by Sam Shephard, Amy Smart and Neve Campbell. I would imagine most people who voted poorly for this movie were put off by it's slower pace but to myself, it was sheer magic. This movie hits every right note.

Val Kilmer plays Frank Kavanaugh, a man who wakes up in a border town with amnesia after being shot in the head. The rest of the movie is Frank recalling tiny glimpses of his memory brought on by sudden triggers involving the President of the United States, scenes of violence, and mental images of people and places. Neve Campbell plays Kilmer's suspicious wife, Amy Smart is Frank's nurse and Shephard plays the small town sheriff investigating Frank's shooting.

The difference in this movie and some of the big budget Hollywood films is how they manage to capture some of the smaller scenes so right. The seedy bars, the desolation, the cheap hotels, the small hospital. Incredible and has to be seen for that direction alone.

If you are a fan of truly great direction on a lower budget film with grittiness, plot twists and amazing performances then look no further. This is your movie.

Classify it under "The Hidden Gems" category.
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7/10
Great performance by Diesel
13 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I went into the first 10 minutes of this movie and couldn't see past Vin Diesel being Vin Diesel. Halfway through, I couldn't see Jack DiNorcsio being anybody but Vin Diesel. An Oscar nominated performance? I certainly think so.

This film tells the story of Jack DiNorcsio and the mob trial of 21 members of the New York Lucchese crime family; the longest trial in American history. It's an entertaining yarn, not worth a 2 hour plus screen time, but it keeps you interested. Some great performances give it a huge plus, notably Peter Dinklage, Ron Silver, Alex Rocco, Linus Roache and an absolutely riveting performance cameo by Annabella Sciorra.

But watch Vin Diesel turn from cardboard, action hero into a three dimensional, sensitive everyman. Some scenes were simply amazing to watch, notably the visit of his ex wife while he is in jail, his treatment by mob boss Nick Calabrese as Jackie tries to eat lunch with his peers and as Judge Feinstein breaks the news to DiNorscio of his mother's death. Vin Diesel wins you over as the likable mob soldier as I am sure Jack DiNorscio won over members of the jury.

It's nice to see Diesel rebound from some poor movie choices and head into uncharted territory for him. I hope his reputation and roles improve.

What I didn't like was how this movie was obviously on the mob side. Guaranteed there are some likable, charismatic mobsters like DiNorscio, but there are some vicious, dominating killers like Calabrese too. The problem was the tactics brought on by desperation and obsession by the prosecutors buried their case. The mobsters became more relatable to the jury than the cold, calculating almost sinister prosecution. The mob guys were smart enough to shut there mouths, except for Jack Dinorscio whose joking style and likability was a huge bonus for mob's side in the swaying of the jury. I am sure if the prosecution hadn't relied on subterfuge, perjury and shadowy tactics and hadn't underestimated the intelligence and charisma of the mob's side, they would have won the case. An interesting look into the American justice system.
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Poseidon (2006)
7/10
Formulaic but entertaining.
9 August 2006
Nothing breakthrough here. Action thriller with all the stereotypical, cliché scenes and characters. However it still manages to entertain due to moving and original action sequences enhanced by great computer effects.

There are a number of crazy mistakes in this film in regards to shipping. As a marine engineer, they are too long to list. But to mention a glaring few: if a cruise ship is on it's way too NY during New Year's Eve, shouldn't the water be COLD? It is winter. Yet the team frolic about in the water like a swimming pool. Kids cannot hold their breath long enough as adults. If you are willing to suspend belief in a movie that turns the naval architecture and marine engineering world on it's head, then go ahead, watch this movie.

Josh Howard and Kurt Russell play their roles well but the cost of Richard Dreyfuss for the small role he plays is hardly worth it. The rest of the ensemble is OK. This one is worth the money if you want to be entertained by a typical action thriller with a different twist, but it's not exactly Petersen's Das Boot. Don't set your expectations too high and you may be pleasantly surprised.
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Stigmata (1999)
8/10
Very Good Movie.
26 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Three stellar actors make this religious mystery a fine film. Gabriel Byrne, Patricia Arquette and Johnathan Pryce weave a tale of conspiracy, possession and mystery revolving around the notion of stigmata, or the wounds of Christ upon his crucification appearing on other people.

The story centers on Frankie Paige (Arquette), a modern girl with a party attitude in the big city. She has the everyday problems of all of us until one night upon taking a bath. From that eventful night, the stigmata gradually start appearing upon her body and she takes on the characteristics of another person. Gabriel Byrne is the priest sent by the Catholic church to investigate her traumatic experience and the real mystery begins to unfold. Johnathan Pryce plays the cardinal and Byrne's boss, and plays his role to a tee.

A smart mystery with a supernatural spin. Highly recommended to anyone wanting something a little flavorful in their thrillers.
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6/10
Great Setting and Atmosphere but Movie so-so.
24 July 2006
I recommend this movie for the scenery and atmosphere alone. The viking ships skirting ice floes, the horse rides on the spume flecked beaches and the lonely fog enshrouding the wooden hall is worth the price of admission. You won't have to be a fan of the story to admire the work that went into this film.

Unfortunately the acting and story do not share the same drive as the sets. Everybody here seems to fall flat, the only charismatic performance by Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson as Grendel. To his credit, he nails his part, revealing the rage, anguish and loneliness felt by the forlorn monster.

The rest of the cast, (even Stellan Skarsgård who flawlessly executed a similar role in King Arthur) seems to be going through the motions, so this film plays like an expensive made for TV Sci-fi channel movie rather than a film on screen. It's really too bad because the story is exciting and the potential was there but it simply didn't deliver.

Gerard Butler wasn't bad as Beowulf, but he never really shone either. Sarah Polley was terribly miscast as Selma, her flat and inexpressive tone seemingly inappropriate in a cast of rich accents.

I didn't really get caught up in this movie as I did with similar films such as the Thirteenth Warrior. So I can give this film a marginal recommendation for the sets and the performance of Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson as the torn troll.
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7/10
Strange but lingers with you...
13 June 2006
Having just watched this film, I can say it is a wholly original movie. At the beginning, we are given a slice of life on a Mexican border town which was enthralling. All the characters were three dimensional and I was drawn into the little web they were weaving. It reminded me of Blood Simple with the same kind of building process. It also strikes home on some familiar chords that it was uncanny.

What follows though is a a wacky kidnapping that may have you cringing in some parts, empathizing for both leads in other scenes but all the while involving and maintaining your interest throughout the whole movie. The acting is magnificent from Tommy Lee Jones and Barry Pepper (as to be expected), but the supporting roles add the real flavor to the movie. Dwight Yoakum as the small town sheriff, January Jones as the fish out of water wife and Melissa Leo as the slutty waitress indicate the work that went into this film. And it has to be mentioned, the scenery with the atmosphere it creates is nothing short of genius. One feels the despondency and loneliness built by that unforgiving environment.

Frankly, I was disappointed the movie turned in the direction it did and never focused more on small town life. Not to say this isn't a fine film, but I feel it could have been a whole lot better.

This movie left me feeling a little unsettled and thoughtful about how we deal with loss and how we turn our aggression on those who spite us. It addresses an ugly side to human nature on how cruel we can be to those who we have power over. An interesting movie, one that leaves you with something, which is more than can be said for most of the Hollywood crap being churned out right now.
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Sahara (2005)
6/10
Shouldn't be Compared to Indiana Jones.
23 May 2006
This movie is mildly entertaining at best, whereas Raider's of the Lost Ark rewrote action adventure in the eighties. There is a blandness to the film, which is tough to accomplish given the amount of charismatic stars in it and the marvelous setting. The cast seems to be just going through the motions, the script way too cliché. It is more in the vein of the Mummy than the Indiana Jones series.

With a name like Dirk Pitt, then I guess I should have expected cliché. But there is some real potential action adventure stuff here: a salvage crew globe trotting the world, a charismatic star and a hilarious sidekick, a beautiful woman, a plague and a bloodthirsty African warlord. Matthew McConaughey, William H Macy and Steve Zahn. How does it manage to fall flat?

The characters are undeveloped. Matthew McConaughey can breathe real life into a role when given the chance. Watch Frailty, A Time to Kill and Reign of Fire. Steve Zahn can be deadly hilarious as he was in Saving Silverman. William H Macy's resume speaks for itself. Why not give them room to breathe instead of forcing them from one action scene to the next so they don't develop. Poor direction. The script is so juvenile a twelve year old could have wrote it. I almost felt embarrassed for Mr. Macy in the phone sequence while Dirk and Al pull the "Panama" on his boat. There is no way an actor of his caliber should be given lines like that.

And so this becomes another Hollywood vehicle with star power to draw in crowds and con us into paying good money for crap. It's too bad because this could have been a series in the style of Mr. Bond if it had been handled correctly. Instead it becomes one of those DVD's with a dusty cover destined to sit on rental shelves everywhere across North America, quickly forgotten.
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Insomnia (2002)
9/10
Smart Crime Story
22 May 2006
This is hands down, Al Pacino's best performance since the Godfather. He goes through no mad tirades with wild hand gestures and screaming as he is accustomed to doing, so much so he has become a caricature of himself. In this movie, he gets back to acting instead of playing himself. And boy, does he ever deliver.

This is a movie about borders; where there are no shades of gray, only the thin border between black and white. When you lose you're way, no matter how slight, there is no going back. Pacino realizes this at the end of the movie.

This is not your usual bang em up, shoot em down cop movie, but an intellectual look at vulnerability due to stress and the blurring of lines. Robin Williams is excellent as the wolf in sheep's clothing predator. Pacino is amazing as the wore down big city cop, who meets his match in small town Alaska. The rest of the cast play their roles very effectivally, not deterring any attention away from Pacino or Williams. There are so many subtle lines delivered, so many fragile scenes, it doesn't surprise me it was directed by the man who carefully delivered us Memento. I look forward to seeing his next crime drama.

To all the people who are tired of the usual forensic themed, serial killer hunt movie, this is a darn original spin on good old fashioned cop work. I highly recommend it.
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8/10
Soak up Cruise's Charisma
22 May 2006
Yes, there was a time when Tom Cruise was charismatic. Take trashy movies such as Cocktail and Far and Away or great movies like The Firm and A Few Good Men and imagine anyone other than Tom Cruise in the lead role. Hard to do, isn't it? His brash, cocky attitude was once appealing. Now that he feels he's an intelligent spokesman with something to say, he just comes across as an arrogant a**hole. Fortunately, the first MI falls into his earlier stage.

This movie would have been just another action flick without Cruise. Sure we have a stellar cast, but did not Mr. Cruise steal every scene? He is perfect in the role of Ethan Hunt, a spy whose whole team is rubbed out in a convoluted cover up at the start. It is up to Ethan to uncover the plot behind the failed mission. The movie is a series of unveiled plot twists that becomes implausible after a while. But that's not the fun behind Mission Impossible. The fun is watching the great action scenes with their suspenseful turns. So much so, we are willing to suspend disbelief to enjoy the ride. And to let ourselves be swept away by Mr. Cruise's undefinable quality to take us there.
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8/10
Rare Case of Sequel better than Original
22 May 2006
This movie delivers. Fantastic visual effects, high flying stunts and a beautiful cast all filmed in a dark, gritty, blued out screen make this an eye candy treat. As of right now, May 22, 2006, this is the best movie of the year.

Selene returns with her sidekick and love interest, Michael Corvin (played by Scott Speedman) as they are on the run from the vengeful vampires they betrayed in the first film. However, the plot complicates as the original vampire, Marcus is released into the world and he seeks the release of his werewolf brother, William, from his eternal prison. Turns out, Selene carries in her blood the secret to unlocking William and thus begins the cat and mouse game between her and Marcus.

With some real stunning action sequences and magnificent sets, this film shies away from the brooding, goth feel of the first one and centers on giving us a knock 'em down, drag em out adventure. Marcus's makeup as the bat winged, hulking vampire is a sheer delight. The scene as he chases the two heroes in a truck on a winding, mountain road is movie magic. The climatic final battle as Selene and Michael engage Marcus and William is pure, gory entertainment. This movie is FUN.

The plot and dialog play a secondary role to the action scenes and the writer and director are smart enough to know this. The first one dragged in several areas with a slow moving plot that bogged down with it's sheer complexity. This is corrected in the sequel making this a superior film. Moviegoer's seeking fantasy escapism, look no further.

To say I was pleasantly surprised by this movie is an understatement. In a terrible year of movies so far, smart action flicks like Underworld: Evolution and V for Vendetta are really given a chance to shine. Let us pray for more
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8/10
Smart comic book adaptation
15 May 2006
V for Vendetta aims high to deliver a comic book adaptation with a soul and some depth. Although not a great movie, it has flashes of brilliance. It foreshadows if the Wachowski brother's are ever firing on all cylinders, they could deliver a movie of a decade. It's the Blood Simple of their credits.

Hugo Weaving portrays "V" as the heroic anti-hero, a man whose anger at being terribly wronged motivates him to declare war on the shadowy government figures responsible. One understands his inclinations, especially when his past is revealed. Weaving is the masterpiece of this film, playing a tormented loner with an agenda. The subtle nuances occurring in this film are designed to make you think, and Weaving delves in with this complex character. Poetry spouting, knives flashing, a man of bravado, yet still revealing a human side with despair and loneliness evident in his scenes with Evie. One of the best comic book characters to date.

The other two main characters I found weakened the film. Natalie Portman is weak as V's feminine companion, her accent both poor and distracting. There are a lot of young British actresses who were far more suited to this role, but I anticipate she was given this role due to her Star War's fame. The appeal of those films are probably targeted towards the same audience. Steven Rea, with his basset hound eyes and wore down look, just seems out of place as the detective on V's trail. Rea is a masterful actor (watch his as portrayal as the detective on the hunt for "The Rostov Ripper" in Citizen X) but his talents are wasted in this role. An edgier, younger actor would have breathed more life as V's foil.

The film teeters between comic book action style, but is delivering subject matter that is both dark and heavy handed. It left me befuddled where the direction was leading the audience. Confusing but somehow, engaging.

I would have loved to learn more of V's past for he is an entirely intriguing character.

This film is a bit of a crazy mess, but it is a lovely crazy mess. For something entirely different from the usual, unoriginal Hollywood crap being churned out, check out this movie. It aims to be smart and succeeds.
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True Lies (1994)
8/10
Classic Arnold Action.
29 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
They just don't make them like this anymore. This was Arnold's finest action film and it is a whopper. Great cast and acting, magnificent action sequences (Bridge/Harrier) and a comedic approach rank this one up there with Die Hard, Rambo 2 and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The cast. Jamie Lee Curtis steals the show from the charismatic Arnold. As the housewife turned action hero, she was metamorphosed convincingly. That body has to be up there with the best on screen ever. The strip tease was both hilarious and sexy. No problem to know a talented director is behind the camera.

Arnold is his usual dynamic self. He truly looks like someone who could save the world. The action sequences were some of the best in a movie, from horses and motorcycles in elevators, planes blowing up bridges and rescues from moving limos. The rest of the cast: Tom Arnold, Tia Carrere and especially Bill Paxton gave inspired acting. Just goes to show how much a supporting cast can add to a film.

If you missed this one in the early nineties, rent it now for an old flashback to the great action flicks.
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Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale (2000 Video Game)
8/10
Great Hack and Slash with D&D name.
29 April 2006
This game is unlike it's counterpart, Baldur's Gate which relies heavily on a story driven plot line and a feeling of freedom to explore surrounding environments. This is a well laid out hack and slash spanning a direct path through some well crafted settings. It's not quite the game of the Baldur's Gate series, but it is fun in it's own right.

The choice to create all six of your characters is a great development. I wished the Baldur's Gate series had followed this direction. Once you have created your party, you explore a town in the Icewind Dale region of the Forgotten Realms Dungeons and Dragons setting. You are encouraged to join a fateful expedition that leads into the main quest of your party. What unravels is a sheer joy in plot development.

You will explore lost temples, ice land settings, a fallen elven city, dwarven caverns and huge lairs. Gameplay is kept competitive with the sheer number of monsters, but it gets frustrating later on in the elven city and the dwarven caverns. The artwork is beautiful and some real imagination went into the sets. There is plenty of original equipment, evil bosses and different environments to explore. Any fan of Bioware's RPG's( Baldur's Gate, Planescape:Torment, Fallout) will enjoy this chapter in the series as well.
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