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The Others (2001)
Great ghost story
13 September 2002
Finally, Hollywood delivers a smart, taut suspense picture which actually provides an intelligently written story along with the thrills and chills. A lot of suspense or horror films (like, say, "The Haunting") seem to consist of various scary or gory scenes around which the writers loosely draped a story to link them together. In a film like this one, the story is interesting enough on its own; the scares flow logically from the established characters and plot. That's the way it's supposed to work!

The previous comments here do a more than adequate job of summarizing the film's plot, so I'll not retread that territory. I'll simply add my voice to the chorus of accolades: "The Others" is a superbly crafted story that is satisfying on every possible level.
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Bedazzled (2000)
1/10
Give me a break
13 September 2002
The original 1967 "Bedazzled" is not a film that needs remaking--it's simply one of the most brilliant comedies ever committed to celluloid. The only thing that Ramis & Co. seem to have accomplished in this exercise is completely subverting everything that makes the original such a pleasure to watch.

Dudley Moore's bumbling yet endearing short-order cook is replaced by Brendan Fraser as a genuinely annoying computer geek--honestly, I don't know why we're supposed to like Fraser's character; I couldn't stand to be around him for a minute. Where the original "Bedazzled" ended on a beautifully dismal note, this edition opted to go with wishy-washy optimism. And perhaps worst of all, every bit of the biting British wit of the 1967 film has been replaced by a deep and abiding Californian sappiness.

Go see the Peter Cook/Dudley Moore original--don't waste your time with this mess.
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7/10
Not-so-funny exploitation comedy
16 February 2001
Not quite thirty minutes into this film, it's clear that neither good storytelling nor funny comedy were foremost in the film-makers' minds. As one might expect from a film in which two thirds of the lead actresses were former Playmates of the Year, the point here is T&A; no doubt about it. Needless to say, all three leads (Vetri, Jennings, Eccles) provide that abundantly.

Unfortunately, the only "actor" in this film who can actually act is Victoria Vetri. Saddled with a poorly written character and a few minutes' worth of bare breasts (undeniably enjoyable to watch, that; but not the stuff that respectable acting careers are made of) Vetri somehow makes the best of the role and her character does come to life. One of her last scenes, in which she is distraught and tearful, is a fine piece of acting by any standards... more than the script deserves. Claudia Jennings and Aimee Eccles don't fare so well. Also saddled with lifeless roles and a few more nude scenes, they each deliver their lines as if they were reading them from teleprompters: with complete lack of emotion, exactly what one would expect from a film of GROUP MARRIAGE's class. The three male leads are no better. They may as well have been played by cardboard cut-outs.

The picture's screenplay is, in all respects, typical of an exploitation film's. Chemistry between leads, snappy and/or humorous dialogue, deft comic timing? Nada. A liberal social message ("communes are okay and should be legal!") is in there, but it's presented ineloquently and is frequently lost in the barrage of skin and poor comedy. Besides, are we actually expected to take seriously the message of a film that spends more time doting over the snugly-clad busts of its actresses than showcasing coherent dialogue and/or comedy?

All in all, the picture is only worth finding if you're a rabid fan of Vetri, Jennings, or comedy that consistently falls flat on its face.
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10/10
Campy fun
26 June 2000
I've got to say this film is a lot of fun. The dinosaur effects were excellent for 1970, and the integration of the stop-motion footage with the live-action still has me wondering "How did they do that?" The film's female lead, Victoria Vetri, is my easily my favorite ex-Playmate actress; she's relentlessly beautiful in the role of Sanna, and surprisingly enough, her performance is as engaging and convincing as one could hope for in a "prehistoric" role. The location shooting is also a plus. All in all, it's a film to enjoy in spite of its silliness, and to laugh along with; not exactly "Citizen Kane", but one of the finest bad movies in existence.
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