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SideFX (2004)
Ecstasy drug, but no ecstasy to be found
7 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is an okay movie if you find yourself in awe of the local high school drama productions. Otherwise this movie is one you probably want to give a pass. Despite the promise of an ecstasy type drug (Ace), there's very little nudity or sex. Which is one of the plot holes of the movie: the drug seems to give about 30 seconds of sexual bliss, and then people start drinking other people's blood. So you have 30 seconds of great sex and then start killing people: who would take this drug? There's a toss away line about how the drug affects different people differently, but still, it hardly seems worth it.

The only decent sex-type scene is with Amanda Phillips solo. She manages to be more erotic with her clothes on (although how erotic can the drug be if you keep your clothes on after taking it?), then the other actresses who go topless. However, she doesn't seem to be hopelessly addicted. Phillips has some talent throughout, doing an amusing Renfield impersonation at some points, and conveying the paranoia of the drug in others. Hopefully she'll move on to bigger and better things.

The other actors are execrable. Todd Swift is the worst example, coming across as a poor man's Jake Busey. His character Matt has no redeeming social value whatsoever: moving in with his "friend" Tuesday (how that comes about is never explained), slipping her a drug, leaving her with the tab for delivery pizza, and casually blowing off the deaths of two of his friends. However, nobody else is any better, Ms. Phillips excepted. Swift just gets more screen time.

Plot holes abound. Tuesday apparently kills two of her friends, somehow tracking them several miles as they're driving in a car and passing over hundreds of other potential prey. As noted, the sex drug only seems to cause ecstasy for about 30 seconds. The zombie- victims go from bouts of insanity to perfect lucidity. Some of the zombie-vampires wear masks, which prevent them from actually biting people.

The movie also provides a near-perfect example of Chekhov's smoking gun maxim: the guys find a functional gun in an abandoned house for no particular reason, and you know they're going to end up using it later.

And despite their relatively short run time, the movie is hopelessly padded with scenes of people walking... and walking... and walking... and staring off into the dark trying to see something. And then more walking.

Production values are non-existent, and the flashback historical sequences seem to have been mounted by dropouts from the local SCA group.

Really not much to recommend for this one other then Scene 6, but you can watch for the unintentional camp value.
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Tales from Beyond... the garbage can
1 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This doesn't quite plumb the depths of Creepshow 3, but it comes close. It also uses the same technique of using some of the same actors in multiple roles throughout the anthology, which is distracting to say the least.

It also rather irritating rips off The Twilight Zone (with the bookshop being comparable to Serling's later Night Gallery). Unfortunately, the producers & writers forgot that Serling would build up sympathy for his characters before messing them over. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic or interesting until the last segment.

Framing story: Adam West is... well, himself. He doesn't go the Bruce Wayne/Batman campy 60s route, but he rarely does. He simply plays the not-particularly-enigmatic "Jay" (there's an ominous spine-chilling name to compare to the likes of Dr. Terror, Eramus, and The Cryptkeeper), and makes some mildly awkward/creepy statements.

Abernathy: Seen Rod Serling's "A Stop in Willoughby"? Then you've seen this. The red herring of the nutso wife is introduced to no purpose, but even the main character's friend identifies him as a wimp. As well directed as can be expected, but basically incoherent.

Nex's Diner: Reminiscent of various Serling time travel stories, mixed with Steve Allen's "A Meeting of Minds." Most of the actors aren't too bad (except for Josh Astin as Cassius, who manages to walk, talk and even breathe awkwardly), and the idea is mildly interesting. But like Abernathy, it doesn't go anywhere. The main character raises some relatively reasonable questions, bugs out a bit (who wouldn't?), and for some reason he ends up banished to a nuclear wasteland.

Life Replay: Not a bad little piece, and manages to predate both Click and Creepshow 3. I suppose it says something that people are fascinated by the magical properties of remote controls. The main character is mildly sympathetic. Nothing substantially innovative here, but it's okay.

Fighting Spirit: You see the twist coming a mile away but like the main character, it has some heart and it's a decent story of defeat and redemption.

Finale: So... why do people end up in cold storage in silver lame suits? Don't know. And doesn't make sense. So... all the protagonists wandered into the bookstore and became trapped? Kinda undermines the happy ending with the boxer (thanks, guys!), and the guy in the first segment died. So how did he get trapped? Did he visit the bookstore before he died, got trapped and... didn't die? What? Huh? I supposer this isn't expected to make sense because it's supernatural. But still...

Overall: basically not dissimilar from the two newer Twilight Zone series, or some episodes of Tales From the Darkside or Monsters. The last two stories and part of the second are probably worth your time. But there's nothing really spectacular here.
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Fat Albert (2004)
Movie with Heart & Courage - not much Brain
10 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Generally I found Fat Albert entertaining. I'd have to disagree with some sites like - I thought the whole "we're cartoon characters in the real world" thing was played pretty well, and consistently throughout. They're not portrayed as idiots (like in 'The Brady Bunch' movies) but rather as cartoon characters who both know their limitations, and start figuring out how to overcome them.

Generally the whole "message" thing was done pretty well, given who the film is aimed at. Most of the characters were pretty well done, and at least we didn't have to watch some Brittney/Lizzy Maguire/Amanda Byrnes clones have some kind of crisis. And of course the tribute at the end is good.

Main flaws were that the movie was kinda rushed - it's like, wait - who are half the Cosby Gang characters? For those of us not so grounded in the original series, it was kind of confusing - it took me half the movie to figure who had what name. Also, the last act thing didn't make much sense. They can only go back to the show at 2:30 once every 24 hours. So Bill and Rudy jump into the TV, Fat Albert stays behind, and's just under 24 hours later.

Also the whole bad guy/villain thing was pretty feeble - Reggie didn't make much of a real-world villain and the buck-buck thing in the cartoon wasn't much either. That part they could have skipped. Also the animation in the cartoon I thought I was watching Space Jam there for a bit. It's one time when they might have been better off not upgrading the animation style from the 70s stuff.

Overall though I'd rank it fairly high - there are worse ways to kill a few hours.
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Best Disaster Movie of the 70's?
2 January 2005
Well, yes it is the best disaster flick of the 70s. But that's damning with faint praise. We've got Earthquake and Poseidon Adventure. Earthquake is just bad - Charlton Heston is the worst of the big-budget disaster actor-leads. Cruddy subplots, Marjoe Gortner as a sex-crazed National Guardsman, Walter Matthau embarrassing himself, and Victoria Principal in the worst 'fro in screen history. Poseidon - Gene Hackman in one of the worst portrayals of a man of the cloth in screen history, Eric Shea (arrgh), and Shelley Winter's death scene.

So Inferno is a classic by compare. Steve McQueen remains pretty much unscathed, Paul Newman seems only mildly embarrassed (what blackmail material did Irwin Allen have on him? - Paul ended up in Krakatoa, East of Java too), and Fred Astaire is charming. On the other hand, Robert Wagner gets the most embarrassing death in scene history ("I ran the 100 meter in college" - *snap crackle pop*) after trying to "hide" from a fire. "Be very very quiet - maybe it won't find us." And Richard Chamberlain is inexplicably made up to look like an Auton (that's for you Doctor Who fans). Sadly, the likes of Faye Dunaway and William Windom are reduced to non-entities, and O.J. remains a non-entity. And cripes, how many shots can Irwin Allen put his wife Sheila into? There's some shoddy blue-screening - usually in the mid-shots - the longer shots look okay but watch when Robert Vaughn and party go up the elevator, or McQueen holds on to the firefighter on the elevator. But the fire F/X sequences are good and there's decent miniature work. The plot is kinda non-linear - people wander in and out of the penthouse and you kinda lose track of how the firemen get in there, and Chamberlain leaves and comes back, and Newman and Mike Lookinland (who never says his dad is a better architect - one for you Brady Bunch fans) get up there. The setting has some potential for both claustrophobia and expanded outdoor/height stuff (unlike Poseidon Adventure) but sometimes it's a bit too "open". Overall it's pretty good though - watchable, at least, and it holds up fairly well unlike the other two big 70's disaster flicks.
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Prophecy (1979)
Lovecraft my feathered a**.
6 February 2004
H.P. Lovecraft rolls in his grave anytime someone compares his books to this flick. Me and my wife just watched the movie (thanks, AMC!) and god is the sleeping bag sequence funny. The kid doesn't just hit the rock - he frickin' EXPLODES into a cloud of feathers far larger then you'd find in any sleeping bag this side of a Himalayan expedition. Sorry, but if the Great Old Ones had turned their victims into feathers Lovecraft would be a long-forgotten hack and thankful for it. As to the rest...well, the film is certainly earnest. And there's an eeeevviil corporate tycoon type - poor Richard Dysart trying out a Maine accent. And watch poor Talia Shire when she discovers the mutant baby - she can't seem to decide if she's laughing or reacting in horror.

Director Frankenheimer tries his best to make this an artsy-fartsy "significant" movie but any hope he had is undercut by David Seltzer's pretentious script. He did this between Omen flicks and it has the same solemn earnestness of those flicks and all the way up to Dragonfly in '02. I think it's Seltzer's script more then Frankenheimer's directing that makes this a piece of garbage - Seltzer was big at the time and one suspects he had much more say in what appeared on screen then Frankenheimer did. Frankenheimer was on a downward slide here, though - his "The Challenge" in '82 is good for laughs but then he gave us the equally cringe-worthy Holcroft Covenant in '85. Maybe Seltzer's "talent" was contagious? Or maybe it's a curse and Prophecy represents some elaborate ritual on Seltzer's part to transfer his bad movie skills to Frankenheimer.

Either way, Prophecy remains a hilarious late 70's relic you really have to see to believe.
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Depressing cookie-cutter family-flick
31 December 2003
I found this an odd movie - despite the fact it's a supposed comedy, it reminded me of a gloomy version of Daddy Daycare. Turn loose some screaming kids and you've got 75% of your flick. Steve Martin seems oddly miscast - there's a few moments when he goes into his "schtick" that stand out like a sore thumb (like when Mom drives away to New York and he does "mad scientist Steve"). But basically this is a guy running his family into the ground because of putting his personal dreams before his kids. Wow, what a good cheery family concept! Yeah, by the end he's learned a valuable lesson (as presumably so have we), but one suspects most of the kids will be traumatized for life.

Bonnie Hunt is likeable enough as always - Tom Welling seems pretty much wasted as a sulky teenager who gets picked on and goes through several changes of character for no reason. I'm heading home, Dad. I'm moving out. I'm going to stay. I hate you. You were right. Welling doesn't have that much screen-time and it seems every time he appears on screen he's got a different personality. Hillary and Piper are tolerable. Ashton Kutcher is...well, Ashton Kutcher. He's annoying but since we're supposed to be rooting for the family against him, that's not too surprising. he's a bit too broad, though.

The movie really belongs to the kiddies - Bill Mumy's kid is cute, as is the Landis boy, a newcomer. They're all annoyingly precocious but that's pretty much par for the course with such movies. The supporting cast of non-family members don't have much to do and truth be told, the film is busy enough with the family subplots as it is. But sheesh, overall, this movie seems to go a bit too far into the third-act pit of depression and tragedy before pulling it together for an upbeat conclusion.
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Good, but too fast
12 July 2003
Generally enjoyable - Hyde, Nemo, Quartermain, etc., are well portrayed and there's plenty of subtle detail here. In fact the movie might be too subtle for many, who expect everything to be laid out for them. Whether that means Norrington and Robinson are just lazy, or figure that the audience should know who, say, Nemo is and don't want to talk down to them, I'm not sure.

The only three gripes I had were that a) Did they ever mention that Tom Sawyer's first name was "Tom"? If so, they must have jumped over it very very quickly. b) Wish they had mentioned Sherlock Holmes in conjunction with the revelation of Moriarty's identity. and c) Norrington's directoral style is all wrong for this - you can't bloody see what's going on? That works fine for, say, Blade, when they're fighting in a disco with strobe lights blaring. But that's what I felt I was watching here...and there's no disco, and no strobe lights (although he uses falling book pages to do the same thing). I should have said Nemo "appears to be" well portrayed - his fight scenes are so badly cut and quick-cut, who can tell for sure?
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Director's Cut "Official"?
8 January 2003
Not really. It's arguably better, but...I like how some people think that the Planet Zeist makes the whole thing impossible to be in the Highlander world, but guys in jet packs with ray guns arriving via time travel from "The Distant Past" somehow, someway, fits in with the Highlander continuity. Let's face it - time travel doesn't fit with any other Highlander movie or TV spin-off. The Director's cut makes H2 almost a tolerable movie, but it's still a stain on the whole Highlander mythos.
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The Musketeer (2001)
Pretty funny...
21 December 2002
What folks seem to be missing is that this isn't supposed to be that serious a movie. It kind of is, but no more so then, say, your average Hercules or Xena episode. It's no more true to the source material then those shows are to Greek myth (and the couple dozen other things Xena "borrowed" from, i.e., Caesar, Norse myth, etc.). I think some of the fight scenes they actually did in those shows, for that matter... And those shows did pretty well. Take this movie in the same spirit, and you should enjoy those shows. If you hate those shows, you're not going to like The Musketeer either.
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xXx (2002)
Stunts A+, Acting C-
12 August 2002
When XXX focuses on the action sequences, it does pretty well. Van Diesel's physical work is good, they blend him (as opposed to his stunt doubles) into the sequences pretty well, and the movie has just enough outlandish Bond-style stunts to work. The only thing odd is that the movie almost treats Diesel himself as a extreme sports star. Ever seen Gymkata? It's kind like that, where they set up Van Diesel to "Do something that spotlights your XTreme Sport Talent of parachuting/skateboarding/skiing/whatever". Except...Diesel doesn't have any such talents (as opposed to the guy in Gymkata who did). Weird.

When it comes to something besides action and one-liners, Van Diesel doesn't quite have it. His chemistry with Asia Argento (also good) is not very good, and he looks like a fish during his romance scenes. He also doesn't really capture the "Uncaring anarchist-type guy who learns to care when confronted by real anarchists! vibe that the movie requires of him.

Samuel Jackson is okay, the techno-geek is okay, and everyone else is...passable but forgettable. There are some odd filming and story decisions. The villain gets killed off prior to the climax, which leaves it curiously flat. The big build-up to the high-tech super-car is somewhat of a let down: Xander doesn't _use_ any of its capabilities. And for some reason the director felt obliged to intercut a high-volume super-fast chase sequence with shots of low-volume couples kissing and children playing - I guess to capture the pathos of what is going to be destroyed. Totally disrupts the flow.

Overall a good fast-action low-brainer kinda flick. It's basically a star vehicle for Van Diesel, and I'd like to see him succeed. But he needs to get in a little more work before he can pull it off entirely.
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Jason X (2001)
Problem is, what to expect?
30 April 2002
The creators of this movie don't seem to quite know what they want to accomplish here. There's a strong sense of parody and a sense of humor in the advertising campaigns, but this doesn't really kick in until about the last third of the movie. Before then it's pretty much bog-standard "generic horror flick" with some minimal nods to the updated science-fiction setting. Once the creators start having a little fun with the s.f. elements, and the KM unit gets upgraded into your typical "leather clad dominatrix/fighter" persona from most video games, things start to kick in a bit. Not surprisingly, Lisa Ryder as KM is about the only person who seems to be having any fun with her part. The virtual Crystal Lake is also a good idea, although tossed away way too quickly. The ending is also kinda cute in a circular/self-parody kinda way. Unfortunately, it's pretty boring for the first two-thirds, and the audience I was with didn't laugh once at any of the funny stuff in the early stuff. Overall, not too good and probably should have gone with direct-to-video.
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Classy little flick
23 April 2002
"Curse" spins out the usual Western fable, but with a few twists. The sheriff is an honest man, the local bad guy isn't either entirely violent or dumb, and Michael Pate as "Drake Robey" (sounds like a character Joey would play on a soap opera on "Friends") is pretty good. Eric Fleming is irritatingly strident, and the female lead is bland, so it's up to Pate to carry the flick and he does. He creates a strong sympathetic presence for Robey, and with Fleming playing a righteous priest, you kinda hope Drake will win out in the end. If it wasn't for the curse of his need to drink blood, he seems like a pretty decent, which is probably the point of the movie.
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Fright Night (1985)
Still a decent vampire flick 15+ years later
23 August 2001
I managed to re-catch this on AMC and still find Fright Night a decent vampire flick. It doesn't go the easy route of turning its vampire antagonist into a punk-types who's "with it" in the latest goth-style (see Lost Boys, Dracula 2000, Dusk til Dawn, etc.), but has Chris Sarandon show why Dracula could have been viewed as a seductive, evil yet believable presence whether Drac is in the 19th century or the 20th. Instead of doing a "modern" vampire, Sarandon plays a character who shows why vampires are timeless seductive evil and don't have to be up with today's styles to pull it off.

There's also lots of little injokes, from Dandridge whistling "Strangers in the Night" to his obsession with apples (harking back to Eden and the serpent and the apple), to his fixation with clocks (wouldn't you?) to the vague kind of bisexual relationship he has with a wacko Jonathan Stark as Billy Cole.

Roddy McDowell is the other half of the show, managing to be impressive, petty, egotistical ("What could be more important then an interview?" - "Oh, well I could see how a boy's life _might_ be more important."), desperate ("How _much_ money?"), all too humanly flawed, and heroic. McDowell flashes through all of these emotions sometimes in the space of seconds, and shows why he was always a class act.

The rest of the cast is okay. Amanda Bearse must have fun looking back at this, her only attempt that I can remember at being a female romantic lead. A little of Stephen Geoffreys goes a long way, and ditto for William Ragsdale, who I never really have liked. He spends way too much time in full-blown panic mode here to be very sympathetic - you end up wondering what kind of idiot this guy is.

It's pretty much those six actors for the most part - everyone else is pretty much forgettable. Sure there's some weird moments (Charley and Amy discussing their aborted sex life 20' away from Charley's mom), and the "Boy who cried wolf" thing goes on _way_ too long.

Overall, though, I'd still recommend this movie to those who want to see that vampires don't have to be punk to be impressive.
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Surprisingly creepy...
23 August 2001 an understated English kind of way. Okay, the creatures look kinda goofy but make up for it in the incredibly grotesque way in which they kill their victims. There's also a sense of "no one is safe" when first Dr. Lambert bites the farm, and later when Peter Cushing's arm must rather gruesomely be amputated to save him from one of the creatures. Like with other English monsters like the Triffids, these are rather slow, sedate English monsters, but they're still remarkably...well, creepy. There are some goofy moments: watch how the creatures mutate into rubber mats half their normal size when they do their drop-on-the-victim schtick (twice!). And when they do their on-screen amoeba-split-reproduction thing and something that looks like vomit with white worms in it pours's just weird. The performances are okay, except for Carole Gray who assays the typical screaming-woman role.

Overall, it's an okay movie, but I'd rate it a little higher just because the horror of the concept and the alienness of the creatures pushes it up a notch or two.
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Great camp movie
19 June 2001
This movie doesn't take itself to seriously, which is great. From the parody opening, to the in-joke references to much better "camp" movies like Army of Darkness and Creepshow, to the absurd levels of violence (everybody in the diner has a gun?!?), to the set-up for the (so far unseen) Freddy vs. Jason sequel, this movie just bounces right along. Steven Williams seems to be having a great time in the Robert Show/Quint role, and John D. LeMay is an absurd hero-type in the Ashe/Bruce Campbell role: he gets beat up, shot, and takes enough of a beating to kill Jason himself, but keeps coming back for more. Watch it with some friends and feel free to MST it.
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Timecop (1994)
It's a Tapert/Raimi film - what's not to like?
6 June 2001
Timecop is a pretty hilarious movie, and it has all the trademarks of a

Tapert/Raimi film (i.e., the guys who brought you Evil Dead, Hercules,

Xena, Jack of All Trades...). It's definitely a big-screen movie, but they have some fun, even including dialogue that pokes fun at Jean-Claude's at times unintelligible accent. There are some decent martial arts set pieces, they don't spend too long on the time travel aspects (which is about par for the course for the guys who did time travel in Evil Dead, Hercules, and Xena...). Ron Silver makes a suitably sinister villain, but Bruce McGill steals the show as the protagonist's somewhat befuddled but loyal boss. There are the usual holes that accompany any time travel story, and a weird ending. With the feel-good ending, no one seems to realize that Max won't recall the last 10 years of his married life and time raising his kid! Still, it's a pretty good, not too deep, enjoyable movie.
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Spy Kids (2001)
Generally enjoyable for the 5-10s
16 April 2001
Spy Kids is a kind of offbeat movie. It tries to parody the spy genre, and be a kids movie, and make a commentary and on the weird Barney/Teletubbies subgenre of kids TV shows. All filmed against a rather odd Mexican/Spanish locale, and using Rodriguez's stable of "favorite" actors like Banderas and Marin.

There's enough here to keep the adults (barely) interested. And the loud bangs and recognizable kid-social situations will keep your children involved. Generally I'd recommend it, but it's not really what I'd call an overwhelming classic.
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Generally enjoyable, but surprising it does well in America
16 April 2001
I have to admit, I'm surprised this movie is so popular in America. It's a very non-Occidental flick. I enjoyed it, however. There was a deep passionate romance, and a more restrained one. I typically found the main characters interesting.

My main problems is that _some_ of the flying/fighting sequences did look rather weird, particularly early on. When the defiance of gravity is used in conjunction with martial arts, it is excellent. When it's simply characters pointing their arm out Superman-style and flying through the air it looks a bit goofier.

Also, the desert flashback in the middle does tend to drag on a bit, bringing the movie to a grinding halt after about ten minutes.

But generally I enjoyed the various characters and found the plot engaging enough. There isn't really one "central" plot, and I'm not convinced they intermesh the various threads as well as they could have. Still, I would recommend it.
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Blacula (1972)
Someone should tell Marshall he's in a bad flick
16 April 2001
William Marshall (remember him as Dr. Daystrom from original Trek's "The Ultimate Computer") is the best part of this movie. He handles the role with a dignity and power that is ill-served by a character named "Blacula" which grows enormously absurd (or absurdly enormous) sideburns whenever the bloodlust overtakes him. He also adds depth to what is basically a vampiric romance that most other actors would have looked silly trying to pull off.

The rest of the movie is basic blackploitation, however. Making Blacula an old-style vampire in the real "hip" world doesn't work well - he just looks goofy. Again, Marshall _just_ manages to pull this off through sheer screen presence. But there's no sense that they're trying to update the genre (as later movies such as Fright Night and Lost Boys tried and succeeded). Instead, they just put all the old vampire cliches in a more update (for 1972) setting in toto, and that's about it.

So watch this movie if you want to see an excellent performance by the lead, but otherwise I wouldn't bother.
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Great Performances: Jesus Christ Superstar (2000)
Season 29, Episode 11
Generally okay production
12 April 2001
An interesting production, with a more "modernized" style (which was deliberate on the producers' and director's part, if you watch the post-tape "making of"). All the musical numbers are there, and that's always the strongest part of any JCS production. Glenn Carter is mostly harmless. Jerome Pradon gives it all, but no one seems able to decide exactly what his character's motivation is. He ranges from sarcastic and demeaning towards Jesus early on, towards a more "tortured" aspect as he is drawn into the betrayal.

Fred Johanson and Renee Castle are probably the strongest consistent performers throughout. Rik Mayall seems weak as Herod, apparently cast here more as a novelty than anything. The Herod scene also demonstrates one of Carter's problems: he seems incapable of reacting here, almost unsure of _how_ he's supposed to be reacting, like Pradon throughout. Carter seems more concerned that he'll be stepped on by the Herod dancers then the fact he's on trial for his life.

The staging is well done. The costuming is somewhat debateable. Okay, they wanted to update for the 21st century, but do we really need Roman guards dressed like Darth Vader and Pharisees dressed like Cenobites from Hellraiser? There's a curious de-emphasis on dancing and choreography: only the Herod piece is really strong here. The "Simon Zealotes" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" numbers are irritatingly static.

None of this really gets in the way of enjoying the core songs and book, however. I'd recommend it if you're a fan of Rice & Webber.
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Isaac Asimov is rolling over in his grave
9 April 2001
Honest to God, the Outline pretty much says it all. The planet Andromina (not to be confused with Aunt Jemima) is represented by a cheap L.A. stripclub. There's no strippers, so the most recent male visitors go off to recruit strippers.

The men get mistaken for kings or arrested for spying on women (although despite the fact its a planet of women we only get two women who participate in any girl-girl sex scenes), and eventually, as always happen in science fiction cliche movies everywhere, the women become convinced that men are good for something. Well, not the men who made this movie, at any rate!

But boy, do we get to see a lot of that something, in prodigious amounts of softcore sex and nudity. This one has less plot then usual for such flicks, so change the channel if you don't like this kind of movie, and grit your teeth if you're into this kind of thing.
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"The Big Chill" with soft-core sex!
9 April 2001
Attempts at drama pad out this soft-core skinflick which doesn't really resolve or accomplish anything. Folks show up, have sex, leave. Whew, that was dramatic!

As was noted elsewhere, at least the people involved look like folks you might meet on the streets, as opposed to the weird tattooed, permed, silicone-enhanced breed of people that typically inhabit such flicks. But nothing really happens.
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End of Days (1999)
Not too bad a flick...
9 April 2001
...mainly due to Gabriel Byrne, who does a decent Satan without the Pacino-like overacting. Ahnald is so-so: no, he can't carry the dramatic character-conveying moments, but it's basically an action flick and he doesn't too bad at the broader character-moments.

Byrne is a delight, though, particularly in the "temptation" scene in Jericho's apartment. Kevin Pollak has a decent role although he never gets to try out his killer Shatner impersonation. Robin Tunney is pretty much wasted, as her character is only given a chance to "get tough" once or twice (and gets a bit of gratuitous nudity that's so short you wonder why they bothered). Rod Steiger gives a curiously subdued but not-to-bad performance.

The main problem is just that there really isn't much...there. Satan flies around in Predator-mode until he can take over a body (Byrne's), and then spends the movie tracking down Christine. Like any good Lord of Evil (or bad movie villain), he straps up Jericho for torture rather than kill him. How thrilling. The Holy See (Knights Templar) are trying to kill Christine. Unfortunately, the irony of this is never really pointed out as we jump to another action sequence.

Generally entertaining in a big-budget summer-flick kind of way, but check your brain at the door.
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SJP shows why she's so darn cute...
9 April 2001
Basically an attempt to cash in to the "young girl just wants to dance" craze of the 70's and 80's (see "Flashdance") aimed at a slightly younger market. SJP fans will note that as her character breaks more and more free of her Catholic upbringing, she dresses in less and less clothing - can't argue with that.

The entire pretty movie is pretty much harmless. The occasional ugly crisis rears its head, just to be eliminated shortly thereafter, with little or no consequence. Jeff's father going to be fired if his son goes on Dance TV - no problem. Janey's father a military martinet: he'll come around by the end of the flick.

There are some cute moments and the occasional laughter, and lots of enthusiastic dancing (including some weird scenes with ballet dancers trying to be hip-hop). Generally entertaining, if you like that kind of thing.
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Slow and confusing as only a bad 70's horror movie can be
9 April 2001
Sheesh, this is slow and drawn out. Count Yorga is about as sexy as Dick Chaney, and varies between slow pompous movement and dialogue, and occasional "Hold out my arms, glare, and charge towards my victims in full vampire mode" fervor. Unfortunately, the former far outnumber the latter, which makes Yorga look less goofy but makes the whole movie slow down to a crawl.

There are some good moments in this movie. Yorga's occasional sparring with the townsfolk is kind of amusing, and there are a few scenes (such as the boy in the graveyard in the opening sequence, or the fem vampires' assault on a house) that aren't too bad. But generally it's a bunch of badly dressed 70's people acting stupid and running. All the "vampire hunters" (I use the term loosely) forget to use their crosses (two sticks, mostly), and don't even seem to carry wooden stakes. One guy, in all apparent seriousness, actually tries to drive off a vampire by crossing his fingers - something I never thought I'd see in a "serious" vampire movie! Perhaps fortunately, we don't find out if this tactic works since the guy he tries it on is a human manservant.

Roger Perry is remarkably useless as the protagonist, and Mariette Hartley looks like she's waiting for James Garner to show up for a Kodak moment. She seems as confused as we are as to exactly what Yorga has in mind for her: is he going to turn her into a vampire, hopes to sway her to his side through true love, or what? There are a few interesting turns from minor cast members like the boy playing Tommy and the deaf-mute. Generally not a very horrifying or interesting vampire movie, though.
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