Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Wish Upon (2017)
Box of Wishes
To begin, this is definitely not a very good film. What's on screen views as a promising second draft that needed a bit of story expansion and nuance by the screenwriter. It not helpful the script is directed just as written, meaning no atmosphere, mood or imagination. Young Joey King plays Claire, a high school student who comes into possession of a Chinese Wish box and granted seven wishes which are paid for by the death of those closest to her. Claire's vapid wishes lead to several deaths that take place in a vacuum. If you have seen a "Final Destination" film you've seen how this goes, The redeeming feature of the story is the writer has set up a rather interesting twist at the end, however, it mostly just sits at the beginning and end, ignored , almost like a draft. It's so underdeveloped, I was halfway home before I realized how clever it might have been. Watch the dog's scenes at the beginning.
When Night Is Falling (1995)
A heartfelt lesbian romance at the heart of an experimental film. Camille is a professor who is in the beginnings of rebellion against her repressed lifestyle at an extremely conservative school finds she is being pursued,by her opposite, a free spirited circus performer. Petra's attentions slowly frees her of her inhibitions and allows the teacher to blossom into who she really was meant to be. This of course brings confusion and heartache for Camille and those in her life including her straitlaced fiancé. To me this character study may not be a film you enjoy, but appreciate the journey of self discovery. Also, don't miss the very subtle suggestion of a hopeful end for Camille's broken hearted boyfriend Martin.
Once Upon a Holiday (2015)
A Holiday not to be missed
Really enjoyed this holiday season movie. It's different from the usual. This one involves grownups. There are no children, dire personal problems to overcome or last minute miracles. Not even a bad guy in sight. Just two people finding their way to each at Christmas. With a single exception, the charming supporting characters are pleasantly grounded. The two leads perform well together with much chemistry. The supporting cast performs on a high level. Production is of a high caliber for these films. The satisfying ending is earned, not just a given. I'm looking forward to a DVD release in the near future. Until then, if you get the chance, see it. You'll be glad you did.
On its own, not a bad film, but the follow up to Maze Runner just doesn't work the way it should. The first third is fairly involving and the middle act watchable, however the third act is a real mess. Countless scenes of running from zombie hoards, meaningless sacrifice and betrayal sound good, but it's boring after awhile. To make matters worse the violence is so strong its hard to believe this movie didn't get an R rating. It just seemed there were two writers, one trying to adapt the novel and the second writing the next Zombie Apocalypse movie. Did not hate it, but, it's not what I was expecting or craving to see.
Crack in the World (1965)
Saw this in my local cinema when I was about 5. Although I didn't quite understand what was going on, I knew it was bad. Others have noted the quality of the production and script, and I can't agree more. Compared to American Sci-Fi, 'Crack' was definitely given the A film treatment. All three leads were excellent with only the symptoms of Sorenson's sickness ringing false. For it's time, the special effects arex unparalleled. The only reason this film has remained somewhat unknown is the lack of a major home video release over the years. Too bad, many of the craftsmen involved in the making of 'Crack in the World' have missed well deserved accolades.
Where's Mel Brooks when you need him?
As a kid, I really enjoyed this movie. But that was the 70s. While still having positive feelings for it, that is from memory. I don't blame Allen and Rossi. Their humor did not translate to the big screen and were let down by a script written by someone who had no understanding of the spy genre, nor how to spoof it. It seems to me you have to have a plot that makes sense within the context of the story and then introduce humorous characters and twists that have no business being there. After an entertaining opening sequence, which goes on a bit longer than it should, the first half hour is fun, introducing Allen and Rossi and setting up the story. What follows after is slow, unfunny and nonsensical. More staid 50s than the hip 60s. Too bad Mel Brooks wasn't brought in to save it.
Bermuda Tentacles (2014)
This one's O.K.
I never thought I'd ever say this, but, Bermuda Tentacles is pretty good. The CGI as is usual for Asylum features is vastly underwhelming, however the script, involving a very unusual take on the Bermuda Triangle, has a certain style that allows the cast something to work with. Linda Hamilton appears to be doing an impersonation of Kate Mulgrew's Captain Janeway at times, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Other actors more than keep their dignity with controlled performances for the most part. Director Lyon really did a good job with this. The final scenes, with it's horrible decision to be made actually got an emotional reaction from me, something no feature from this company has ever managed to do. Like I said the special effects are below par, with a little too much stock footage, however,one has to wonder what this might have looked like with quadruple the budget. Congratulations Asylum, this time you did good.
Old favorite on DVD at last
"Baffled!" is a film I've loved since it's premiere as a movie of the week back in 1973. Leonard Nimoy plays Tom Kovack, a successful race car driver who in the middle of his latest race finds himself no longer on the track in Pennsylvania, but in rural England approaching an ominous manor house, with flashes of two women in danger. This vision causes Kovack to crash. The press finds out about what caused the crash and he is relentlessly questioned on television, bringing him to the attention of Michelle Brent, a dealer in antiquities who contacts Tom, sure he has latent psychic abilities warning him of dangers to people he can stop. What follows is a slow but entertaining story of supernatural conspiracies and simple human greed. The casting of Nimoy indicates the production was not looking for a typical leading man. Although he seems a little uncomfortable at times, I have the feeling he would have done quite well had this back door pilot gone into production as a series. Susan Hampshire is fine as Michelle, adding a much needed light touch and good chemistry with Nimoy. Vera Miles obviously enjoyed her stay in the English Countryside giving a fine performance as a 'Special Guest Star.' As stated, the story is a bit slow at times and could have used a bit more humor, something no one in the cast was particularly adept at. However, the story in total is atmospheric and quite captivating, leaving bread crumbs for a future series to follow. It seems the European companies passed on Baffled and NBC took a chance on the pilot, but that didn't take off either. It's too bad, there was so much potential here. Think of the many similar long running shows made decades later that picked up from this idea, making 'Baffled! 'ripe for a modern day remake. Are you listening SyFy?
The Host (2013)
After years of low budget monster movies produced for cable, The Host is pretty refreshing. While the casual viewer might find the pacing slow and uneventful, character driven drama is the goal here.The story involves the aftermath of an alien invasion where parasitic beings take over the bodies and minds of their human 'hosts' The invasion is nearly complete when Melanie, one of the few remaking free humans is captured arnd given to an alien called Wanderer as a host. Melanie remains conscience and begins to fight her domination. This is an interesting, thoughtful film. Performances are top notch with the only problem being the physical similarity of three of the male leads. As noted elsewhere, this ads confusion on who is who in certain scenes. While there are no vast battles and the setup of the resolution is slightly confusing, I still greatly enjoyed this thoughtful film.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Really did not like this movie. I'm giving it a 5 for the production values. Sure, this is Die Hard in the White House, but boy did it take a wrong turn. After 9/11 would it really take so long to bring down the assault plane? Was it really necessary to make the crumbling of the Washington Monument a copy of the collapse of the towers? Should not the seal attack be called off after seeing what they were up against? As for the hostages, the only politician to earn my respect was Melissa Leo's Secretary McMillan, despite her over the top recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, comes across as serious and dedicated, unlike the President. I know there's not much review as criticism here, but this is one of the few films that I couldn't get over the stupidity of some plot points.
The File of the Golden Goose (1969)
Who killed the Golden Goose?
While File of the Golden Goose is not a particularly well made film, it does have it's charms.
This is one of those films one reaches for when you don't really want to watch a movie.
Yul Brynner plays Secret Service Agent Peter Novak, who, after his girlfriend is caught and killed in the crossfire of bullets meant him, vows revenge on the counterfeiting ring responsible for the hit. In London, Novak and married policeman Arthur Thompson go undercover as surviving members of the infamous Golden Goose gang in order to infiltrate the counterfeiting ring.
I've always enjoyed this movie because Yul Brynner appears to be having such fun as he digs deeper and deeper within the gang, intent on getting to the unknown Head Man.
Charles Gray is suitably over the top in his performance as 'The Owl.' The homosexual distribution manager for the gang's counterfeit money.
All in all, it's pretty entertaining. Brynner's terse dialog and intimidation factor work very well.
Production quality is very good, from the opening of a boy and his dog at play on the beach to the finale at the mansion home of the gang's mastermind
My only complaints is the over the top sleaze in some places and the need for perhaps more fluid camera work during action scenes. It's almost like no one knew how to choreograph a film fight. Finally, the resolution of the identity of the 'Head Man' still falls flat, even after 40 years.
Still, this is a fondly remembered film still enjoyed.
But...if the gang had tried to kill Novak at the beginning of the movie, how could he expect to infiltrate them?
Ice Road Terror (2011)
As bad as this film is, there was a germ of something better.
A road crew frees a hungry dino-monster in Alaska. The survivors do everything to escape the beast in their ice road trucks.
Sounds kind of cool if you're thinking of a certain similarly named TV show.
However, this is syfy and the terror takes place on half melted roads for only the first hour or so.
With a bit of imagination. style and real location work, Ice Road Terror could have been a nifty little gem.
But then, this is syfy.
Green Lantern (2011)
In blackest night..
First, let me say I love Green Lantern. Since early childhood Hal Jordan and his alter ego have been my favorite comic book characters.
So, it's not pleasant to report the general failure of the movie.
What were these guys thinking. Both reviewers and casual film goers keep saying the same thing. The story, when it moves off Earth to the planet Oa and the Green Lantern Corps is fairly compelling, but when Jordan returns home the whole thing just dies.
Despite a fine performance, the character of Hector Hammond should not have been here. Blake Lively apparently was directed to act like an automaton, perhaps foreshadowing the future for this character. Tim Robbins was wasted in his role as Senator Hammond.
In the end, I just didn't care about the supporting cast and feel most of this back-story should have been jettisoned, leaving the focus squarely on Hal Jordan and his destiny as a member of the Green Lantern Corps. The ill advised use of Parallax, while intriguing on a galactic scale and challenge for the Green Lanterns might not have been a wise choice for an origin story. Even worse, it looked to be amateurishly conceived and almost comical as a threat to Earth.
Speaking of which, a film with such a budget has no business looking cheap around the edges.
So, will there be a sequel? Box office results suggest no, but given a different take, Green Lantern may still rise to greatness.
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
Follow the Plan
I really had not intended to write a review but just couldn't resist.
The Adjustment Bureau is nothing less than an excellent Art House film masquerading as a Sci Fi romance.
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are awash in chemistry as star-crossed lovers kept apart by Chance in the form of members of the Adjustment Bureau, whose sole purpose is to insure the world continues apace following the "plan" of it's "Chairman." What makes this film so good is the obvious love on screen and I'm not necessarily thinking of the two main characters. The mood, direction, cinematography and expert performances by all involved show great respect and belief in the material.
The only disappointment is the last two minutes or so. The denouncement needed... something. Perhaps a bit of dialog that might close the story on an even more satisfying note.
Finally, this film will not be a huge box office hit, but, over time I'm predicting it's stature will rise to the first rank of Science Fiction films.
Kudos to all involved.
The Little Drummer Girl (1984)
Accent on the Girl
Having read the intriguing novel beforehand, I had looked forward to a film adaption. At that time I always imagined Andrea McArdle a young Broadway stage actress and the original "Annie" was not only the right age but had the look and personality of Charlie as described in the book, might have been a fine "unknown" choice for the role.
Sadly, the casting of Diane Keaton was just a disaster. A choice the entire production never could overcome. Although a good actress, Keaton was about 15 years too old for the role of an ingénue who becomes the obsession of a terrorist and her pronounced New York accent was too much at times.
The movie follows the novel very closely, perhaps too closely for it's own good. It should nave been about 20 minutes shorter. Still, even at it's full length, the screenplay misses the most interesting moment in the book, where the reader is left to ponder if Charlie has truly joined the "movement" and was ready to kill for the terrorist group she had infiltrated.
The actual production seemed a bit on the cheap side. It appears the director wanted a look of reality, but by 80s standards that meant filming on location using real streets with little local activity to get in the way.
The rest of the cast, except for Klaus Kinski's star turn is totally forgettable.
Finally, over the years I've come to realize The Little Drummer Girl was a story that was best served on the written page. Too much of the story is internalized in Charlie's mind, and that personal struggle is not easily translated to film.
Earth II (1971)
Good SF, bad drama
I saw Earth II as a Friday Night movie of the week back in 1971 as an eleven year old. The special effects and production design gave this film a great look, but the story charting the establishment of an independent nation on-board an orbiting space station lost me.
Forty years later, I had the chance to see it again through adult eyes. Surprisingly, I remembered several scenes and plot points, but, the entire production was brought down by one simple fact: it's boring. The film has a lot of incident but little action. The cerebral dialog is interesting, but the performances are wooden in the extreme. Only Anthony Franciosa's opinionated character rose above the colorless performances of the rest of the cast.
While I understand this was an effort for an intelligent SF series, the lack of human drama kept that series from happening.
A Village Affair (1995)
Peeling an Onion
This is a review of the film adaption of A Vilage Affair and not the book, which I have not read, but understand is a better product.
A Village Afair sat on my TV table over a year before being viewed. It was tough going.
Sophie Ward plays bored and frustrated housewife and mother Alice Jordan who moves to a small English village with her husband and three children. This village is the kind of place where everybody inexplicably knows everybody else's business.
Alice's dull life is livened by the arrival of Clodagh Unwin, played by Kerry Fox. A free spirited native returning home after a failed love affair in New York. Feigning interest in her husband, Clodagh's real desire is Alice. Friendship turns to love and the two soon become lovers.
Near the end I began to understand the core of the writer's intentions. To see it, you have to peel away the story elements like an onion. First, the Villagers. These people act as if it's the mid 60s instead of the 90s. Suspicious for no reason, intolerant, suspecting things with no evidence. Next, the families, including a brother who appears only to expose the lovers with no reason and parents who abandon Clodagh when she needs them most. In fact, if filmed today, the movie would be ridiculed and might be considered offensive because nearly all of the supporting characters are so very intolerant and say so.
Anyway, this leaves Clodagh and Alice who really do love each other. Although it's soon apparent, the most passionate feelings belong to Clodagh. Alice realizes she has become the obsession of her lover and worried about losing custody of her children decides to give up her relationship. This brings Clodagh to what amounts to a emotional breakdown. This does not deter Alice, who in the end,leaves the village and her lover.
To me, Alice has left behind a broken woman and sold out her own feelings. Clodagh had been in a bad relationship overseas. One can only wonder how she acted during and after the breakup. Leaving the final question. Did Alice escape a life she found suffocating and or a obsessive relationship or did she turn her back on the love of her life.
Perhaps the answer is in the book. It's sure not on screen. 4/10
Don't Cross Her
Businesswoman Evelyn Salt, energetically played by Angelina Jolie, is being tortured in North Korea for espionage all the while denying the charge. Later she is "traded" for a captured Korean agent revealing she is in fact a C.I.A. operative.
Two years later, recovered, no longer in the field and happily married, Salt's life is thrown into turmoil when a Russian defector names her as a 'sleeper" agent under orders to assassinate the Russian President in New York.
The remainder of the film is largely a chase as C.I.A, FBI and Secret Service agents led by Salt's supervisor Ted Winter and Counter-Intelligence officer Peabody try to apprehend an escaped Salt who claims she's being set up and only trying to find her husband, whom she feels is in mortal danger now that her C.I.A cover as a civilian executive has been blown. But, to them, she seems to be making her way to the Russian President, just as the defector, Orlov intimated she would.
I really liked this movie. The story is filled with plot holes, but is still the most energetic film of the summer. Filed with several twists and plot reversals, keeping you guessing literally the last moment where Salt's loyalties really lie.
The ending not only leaves room for a sequel, it demands one. I'm in line already. 9/10
Quest for Love (1971)
Considering the budget, Quest for Love is a remarkable accomplishment. Based on the SF short story "Random Quest" the story follows nuclear physicist Colin Trafford, who is thrust into an alternate reality during a scientific experiment. Trafford finds he has stepped into a world where his counterpart has taken a different path in life and is a respected playwright with a myriad of problems including drinking and womanizing. The scientist, who has led a solitary life is shocked to discover he now has a wife, Ottilie, played by a very effective Joan Collins (who made a very wise decision to accept this role). Their rocky relationship is at the heart of this film. Does Trafford really want to return to his world...or must he? One of the interesting things is there appears to be some sort of edit done about two thirds through that makes a certain transition event confusing, but in no way effects the story. It's just, I would love to see the screenwriter's full intentions for this scene. Quest for Love benefits from fine performances by Colins and Tom Bell as Colin Trafford with good support from Denholm Elliott. Several well known performers, early in their careers, turn up in party scenes. Also of note is the wonderful musical score by Eric Rogers and especially the haunting 'Ottilie' theme by Peter Rogers. If it's on, don't miss it. You won't be sorry! 10/10
Jonah Hex (2010)
Bounty Hunter from Hell
The courious thing about Jonah Hex is that there are the makings of an interesting film here. Josh Brolin brings a bit of humanity to a comic book character who scared me as a kid. John Malkovich, in very ugly makeup phones in his role as insane Confederate General Turnbull. Megan Fox? She's a beautiful woman, but not much of an actress. The film runs 81 minutes but feels like 180. The story of Turnbull's attempts to commandeer a "super weapon" to attack Washington, DC during Centennial celebrations is undernourished. It also seems the constant cuts away from violent acts (to gain a PG-13 rating) may have unfortunately taken some of the connective tissue that might have let the story make a bit more sense. Don't look for a sequel, but it might make an interesting project for the small screen.
I wasn't bored, but...
Whiteout begins with a clever setup and even more interesting location. The bottom of the world. However, after the arresting opening aboard a Russian transport plane in 1957, the story reveals itself to be a rather clichéd exercise in futility. A lot happens in the story, but, it's all artificial, uninteresting or unbelievable. A masked villain comes out of hiding from the frozen environs. Kate Becinsdale's Carrie suffers an injury just to provide clues during the finale. The big fight at the end is muddled and boring. I couldn't tell what was happening. Plus, the no-name supporting cast dosen't help either. Not a failure, but really not worth the efforts of the villains nor of the casual viewer.
While watching Push, I kept thinking how much I'm hating this flick. The opening was interesting, but it's all downhill after that.
The story is sort of Heroes on steroids, with a large population of enhanced humans with psychic and telepathic powers under the sway of either criminal or government organizations.
Workmanlike Chris Evans and brilliant Dakota Fanning find themselves caught up in this scenario. Apparently in a search for his
girlfriend who is the key to "the secret." The problem is for all the action set pieces, the story is pretty much static. In other words, talk, talk, talk. The script is stupid, with various characters coming together in the final act for no real reason. The climactic moments only seem to set up an unwanted sequel.
Moon Zero Two (1969)
I saw Moon Zero Two in a theater as a little kid in 1970. Time passes, but I always remembered bits and pieces of the story, especially, a bar fight, a moon rover and a shootout on the surface of the moon.
After decades, the movie is finally available and proves to be much better than I thought.
James Olson, not the most charismatic of actors projects a certain dignity, suggesting Neil Armstrong. Appropriate considering the character he portrays is the first man on Mars.
The story involving a very unusual asteroid is well done. Only the
outdated 60s inspired wardrobe and music gives the production a camp flavor which the story is not. Produced a few years later without these over the top trapping, Moon Zero Two could have been a substantial hit.
This is one of those rare films that satisfied both my childhood memories and adult expectations.
Speed Racer (2008)
I am of the age where I can remember watching and loving the old Speed Racer cartoon series. Sure, the animation wasn't the greatest, nor the voice talent, but Speed Racer himself the colorful villains and especially, the Mach 5 were just so cool.
I really want to say the new movie is great, but I can't. I do appreciate it, much like some classical music I don't care much for.
The problem with this movie is that although it features some revolutionary storytelling, it's essentially a joyless exercise in visionary overindulgence. The CGI environment created for the film is at first mind blowing, then beautiful and finally oppressive. I found myself longing for a breath of fresh air as I watched the story progress.
The story, like the Matrix sequels is dense, complicated and frustrating, requiring the villain to go on explaining things for what seems like 15 minutes at one point. This is too much for a children's film or one that's supposed to speak to the child within.
The actors do their best with John Goodman as Pops Racer standing out. Emile Hirsch has a bright future, but only brings Speed Racer alive during the final confusing race.
I said earlier I appreciated the film. because I understood just what Speed was racing against at the end, and the scope of his victory. Sadly, my understanding was intellectual. I got it, but felt nothing.
So, Speed Racer, while not a failure is not a movie I can recommend.
Good Remake, But...
Before I reviewed this American remake of a highly regarded Thai horror film from 2004, I ordered a copy of the original to make a comparison.
Although the original is superior, the remake, to be fair smooths out some of the inconsistencies of the tale. This is not always a good thing as it's these little things that give the story a bit of character and individuality.
To be brief, the story involves the haunting of an American photographer and his new wife in Japan after hitting a young woman with their car on a lonely country road.
Most of the ghostly horror is more suggested than overt, with images appearing in photographs and just out of direct sight. Most of the set pieces from the original are here, but several of the most startling and effective moments of horror are missing. The unfortunate PG-13 rating keeps everything in check, so, while compelling, the horror is fairly muted. Another fault is the ghost lacks a bit of the personality the original has in spades. The final twist takes the story in a very different direction and is quite startling. But, like another reviewer wrote, leaves you feeling justice has been done.
Not a great film, but very watchable and satisfying.