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This one doesn't even come close
13 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
OK, first we got the stupid premise of the government training a whole family as a secret undercover investigatory team, including the 2 teenagers. This team is checking out reports of supernatural deaths at a high school due to a ghost. This, of course, is not the case. A much-bullied science geek whose uncle was harassed to death years before is taking revenge on those he sees as the same types that were responsible. The inconsistencies in this film are legion We have the family FBI unit, which would never happen under any circumstances. We have a school building infested with large, very aggressive and highly poisonous spiders that nobody notices until they figure out the cause of the mysterious deaths, but after that you can't swing a cat without disturbing a huge clump of arachnids. As another reviewer mentioned, the daughter, though FBI trained and skilled, squeals like an 8 year-old at anything that startles her and screams constantly once the spiders are discovered. Overall, this turkey needs to be forgotten, a bad idea poorly executed. If I saw this for free I'd want my 2 hours back. Really awful, a must-pass

3 out of 10 because at least it wasn't that even more awful House of Wax from earlier this year.
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The first truly great film I ever saw.
20 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Lemme see, what can I say about this film that has not been said many times before? Probably nothing. This was a magnificent movie, touching and topical, and a fitting vehicle for Sidney Poitier's tremendous talents.Set in a secondary school in a rundown part of London, Mark Thackery, recent graduate and prospective engineer takes a job teaching a class of seemingly unreachable kids. Intimidated at first, he decides that the curriculum is worthless to them and commences to teach them life lessons about courtesy, civility and the real world into which they are about to emerge. I was 11 years old I guess when I saw this film, and it touched me deeply to think that a teacher might care as deeply about his charges as Poitier's character does in the film. Add to that one of Poitier's greatest performances IMHO, and the film is riveting, emotional and deeply moving. Before this movie, probably the movie that touched me most was Old Yeller. Now I was real young so it wasn't like I had a 20 year track record. For many years afterward this film would be the standard by which I judged all movies.

8 out of 10 for a fine film and a powerful performance by Poitier
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Pearl Harbor (2001)
A steaming pile of dung, but very heroic dung
16 August 2005
Ridden with clichés, a predictable cornball back story, this film manages to take one of the more monumental tales of the 20th century and reduce it to a tale of a love triangle in uniform. The main characters are stiffly played, and so unrealistic that I was unable to care about their fates by the end of the picture. 2 hero wannabes fall in love with a nurse who can't keep her legs together (my interpretation). Her true love is reported missing in action, and she responds to the news by putting out for his best friend. The Pearl Harbor story spills over into the story of the famous Doolittle raid on Japan. Alec Baldwin emotes the role of Doolittle with his typical hammy style, causing the audience to begin to sympathize with Japanese anti-aircraft guns, and hope that they are successful in shooting down the mission, even if after their bombs have been delivered. An enormous effort was made to take this epic historic war drama and reduce it to cornball melodrama.

3 out of 10 (Rent the Victory at Sea series if you want a quality WW2 film experience)
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Half-nekkid amazon warriors follow their busty queen
13 August 2005
Let me say up front that this is NOT a great film. No Oscar nominations, probably none of the cast was ever in an award winning film. What this is, is your basic raunchy action flick, complete with bouncing bare bosoms. This is late night cable TV fare, watch it for free when you can, and be glad you're not watching the Ya Ya Sisterhood movie. Lana Clarkson is more than up to the task of providing the bouncing boobies frequently throughout the movie. The plot is stale and formulaic, the acting stiff, but there's still that charm of scantily clad amazon warriors led by their rather randy queen in a revolution against the Great Evil which is in power. This is from the eras before Hollywood became so concerned with accusations of smut mongering, the films of the last decade or so have been lacking the delightful skin scenes which used to be a standard component of such films. If this film were being made today, the amazons would be covered much more thoroughly and Ms. Clarkson would not share her bountiful charms with us. If it sounds like I miss those days, I do. Many a mediocre film was made worthwhile by a liberal splashing of young nubile skin. Don't watch this for an example of great cinema, watch it for young lovelies on display.

5 out of 10 for obvious reasons.
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I would only see it again at gunpoint
24 July 2005
A bad remake of a bad 1960 film, somebody inexplicably decided that it would play better as a musical. It doesn't. A really weak plot about a carnivorous alien plant made all the worse by putting it into musical form, thus treating us to Rick Moranis' singing "ability". Far worse than the original for just awful acting performances, a miserable score, and laughable special FX. I would not even consider seeing this turkey again unless somebody held a gun to my head or the head of a loved one and forced me to. Since that is unlikely, I am thankfully done with any involvement with this pitiful failure of a film.

1 out of 10. only because they won't register a zero.
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Fantastic Four (I) (2005)
simply fantastic!
23 July 2005
Among the very best of the comic book superhero movies, ranking up there with Spiderman and Batman Begins for quality. Casting was good, acting was adequate, special effects were tremendous. I hope my appreciation of the FX is not colored by how much superior they are to the 1994 dog of a flick directed by Roger Korman. Aside from the title, the two films have almost nothing in common. The plot line adheres to the comic book story very closely, with the only major difference being that of Dr. Doom being exposed to cosmic rays and changed along with our heroes. While a fairly major thing, this did not seriously detract from the film story. There were other miniscule departures, such as Ben Grimm being married, but these did not have a big impact on the plot. I have heard it said that the story was somewhat juvenile, to which i say, "It's a comic book Superhero movie." you aren't going to get Gone With the Wind, but you do get a fine and entertaining film. I haven't heard of anybody who thought that they wasted 8.50 by seeing it. Personally, I enjoyed it greatly, the film makers made the story come to life from the pages of Marvel Comics. Probably the best of the superhero movies from Marvel comics, and surpassed overall only by the magnificence of Batman Begins in all the comic book genre of films. I heartily recommend.

8 out of 10
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High Tension (2003)
another 3rd rate gore flick calling itself horror
14 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Aw c'mon, this one isn't even close. This film lacks the outright slaughter quality of Holloween or Friday the 13th and pretends to be a serious movie, but fails in doing so on a number of fronts. The plot twist at the end doesn't make any sense and leaves way too many holes, such as: Where did the van come from? What happened to the creep with the disembodied female head that we see in the original scene with the van? As usual with horror movies, how is it that our killer is always faster, stronger, and smarter than any of the victims? About the best I can say for this turkey is that it's better than House of Wax.

I'd recommend another horror film to watch instead, but I don't remember the last time I saw a good one. If you really want a good scare, watch the local news. This film isn't gonna do the trick.

4 out of 10 for decent photography and because one of the young women actually showed us a little skin.

(yeah, it's THAT hard to find anything good about it)
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EarthQuake! (2002)
Stupid and Pointless
8 June 2005
This is one of those short subjects that makes you want to scratch your head and go, "huh?" Made with puppets, the short is a series of scenes (actually the same scene over and over) which are given a time line and location. The locations used are Berkeley, California and Cedar Sinai Medical Center. There is no dialog, just grunting and muttering sounds like you would hear from somebody making a noise while vibrating. The visual scenes are all the same, puppets shaking, one of them upside down. I was left with the impression that there was film left in the camera after a film shoot, so they gave it to their 10 year-old to play with. No symbolism that I could see, just stupid puppets shaking over and over in 2 different places. The only redeeming value at all to this short is that it was very short. It was mercifully over in about 5 minutes. If you're watching when this turkey comes on, it's a real good opportunity to catch a bathroom break or to make a sandwich. You won't miss anything.

3 out of 10 Why did they bother?
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Backslide (2003)
reminds me of someone I know
30 May 2005
This short subject features 2 religious teens (from the 70's, judging by their fashions and hairstyles) who are torn between their religious belief in abstinence and their feelings toward each other. Without being explicit, it is clear that the young couple have just fornicated and are wrack ed with guilt. They pray together, asking forgiveness and for the strength to resist their lustful desires. By the end of the short subject, the young couple has determined that they will never again place themselves in the way of temptation. As the camera fades to black, we see the pair embrace and begin kissing passionately, followed by audio only of the girl saying, "Oh God".

This short reminded me of my own youth and of the fundamentalist baggage that I carried around for way too many years. The young man in the short could very well have been me, and the girl, well, she knows who she is.

Well made and well acted this is one of the more easily understood short subjects I have seen. It is repeated on a semi-regular basis on the Independent Film Channel's "IFC Shorts Collection." A description of the program does not typically include names of the individual short subjects which will air, so you are pretty much stuck with watching the program blind and taking pot luck as to what you'll see.

8 out of 10 for taking me back to a place from which I thought I was far removed.
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Only 1 good reason to see this movie
28 May 2005
If you're a guy, the only reason to see this film is to continue getting laid. I can't imagine what women saw in it, but I've about given up on figuring that out.The male reaction to the storyline in this film would be,"Hell, my family is more trouble than they're worth. Screw em" Women, on the other hand, insist on going back and reliving past mistakes and hoping that things will turn out differently this time. That's pretty much what this film is about, Siddalee knows that her mother is a bitch but desperately wants her to be something else, so she tries to change the past and the woman who abused her. This is the kind of movie where you can feel the testosterone being sucked out of your body and the rational and logical thought process being sucked from your brain.

A complete waste of time, no reason for any straight male to see this turkey ever, unless you have to in order to keep the woman in your life putting out. 3 out of 10, one of the worse movies I've ever seen, and I've seen some real dogs.

James Garner was apparently seduced by the Dark Side for the making of this film. It may have gone deeper still, after all, he made The Notebook after this one.

Support the Untied Dyslexic Church of Dog!!
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Blue City (1997)
Strange, but nice
16 May 2005
Saw this on the Independent Film Channel as part of a program of short subjects. Like so many such shorts, it's on the weird side, but at least with short subjects they're, by definition, short. Even if one sucks hard you're only out 10 or 15 minutes of your life. Sometimes it seems to me that shorts shown on IFC are in a continuing competition for "weirdest film ever", but I catch myself being drawn to watching as much to see what will be on next as anything else. I have, on rare occasion, seen interesting and even moving short subjects, but they're mostly just ways to kill 15 minutes. About the only place you're likely to see this short is on one of the IFC's short film collections which run regularly. Since, the program description never specifies which subjects will run, about all you can do is watch and see what turns up.

I rate this short subject 5 out of 10, neither bad nor good, just kinda existing.
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Mars Attacks! (1996)
Suspend disbelief and just enjoy
15 May 2005
If you get too hung up on reality, this film will annoy the hell out of you. Example: the Martians breathe nitrogen, but cannot breathe Earth's atmosphere (which is 90-something percent nitrogen). At the end, our hero and his grandmother receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. (The CMH is only given to persons in the military, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian award). Having said that, this film is a brilliant parody of all those b-movie sci-fi films of the 50's and early 60's. Pure entertainment. This flick did not take itself too seriously. I find it to be the perfect companion film to Independence Day (also made in 1996). You can't hate a plot where the Deus Ex Machina is Slim Whitman tunes. Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 for sheer entertainment value and laughs in virtually every scene in the movie, especially if you're a Boomer who watched all those old sci-fi movies back in the day.
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House of Wax (2005)
A large steaming pile of very smelly wax
8 May 2005
I can't believe I saw the same film as the rest of these people. This has got to walk away with the Razzie for Worst Picture in a runaway. Maybe the worst excuse for a horror flick I've ever seen. Predictable, formulaic, and follows the recent Hollywood trend (mistaken) of substituting gore and graphic violence for true suspense. Nothing to brag about here at all, Paris Hilton was awful, proving that while she obviously has talent, it is NOT for acting. My friends and I were rooting for the characters to be killed after the miserable first 15 minutes of this dull, painful turd.

Overall, I'd have to say this is the worse film I've seen in several years, and maybe the worse ever. (Even Return to Campus was better than this dog.)

2 of 10

Try again, morons, but next time don't charge us 8.50 a pop for your experiment.
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Strangers with Candy (1999–2000)
Just Plain Stupid
9 December 2004
I can't believe that there are people who actually think this dog turd is funny. I watched my first episode and remember thinking it must have been their worse one ever and gave it another chance, figuring it had to improve. It didn't. Now comes Comedy Central, polluting the airwaves once again with a butt-ugly 46 year-old high school freshman. Look, nobody who survived dropping out of high school and makes it through life for 20 years would go back to high school, they'd just take a G.E.D test or just say screw it. Beyond the idiotic concept, the "acting" is wooden and looks like a junior college drama production. If you want good comedy with drug-related humor, go rent the Cheech and Chong movies and quit while you're ahead. Watching this show will do nothing but waste your life in 30 minute chunks.
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Fireball XL5 (1962–1963)
It's a shame that so many never saw and will never see it.
27 October 2004
First of all, I didn't think that anyone else remembered this show. You guys are getting OLD. Don't believe I ever saw a rerun of the series, I watched em when they ran originally in '62. Yeah, I'm getting old, too. This was the first opportunity for Baby-Boomers to watch any real sci-fi on TV. At least where we lived, these were not shown in the afternoon, but rather on Saturday morning, early, about 7:30 or maybe 8:00, so you couldn't sleep in. I can still see my little brother and me lying on the living room floor in our pajamas, eating cereal as the Saturday morning wonderland unfolded. And didn't everybody who saw the show want a Robby the robot of their own? OK, so the name wasn't original, he was still the best robot ever. This show may seem hokey and stupid with primitive special effects to a Star Wars generation, but it was the only game in town for those of my age. The next opportunity to see a sci-fi series on TV was, I guess, Lost In Space, which DOES look hokey and stupid to me now. maybe you just can't lose the love you had for a program as a small child.

Whatever the reason, I'm delighted to hear that the series is available on DVD, I suspect I'll have to update my Xmas wish list to include it. What an opportunity, indulge my own nostalgia AND drive my family nuts simultaneously!

Update!: I did receive the DVD set with the complete series for Xmas, 2004, and it was all I remembered. Incidentally, It DID drive my family nuts as I spent about a week straight watching the whole series and singing the stupid theme song with the show.
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Should be required viewing for every registered voter in America
13 July 2004
This documentary exposes the George W. Bush administration for the Evil, though incompetent, Empire that it truly is. From Dick Cheney's Haliburton cronyism to the Bush family's close ties to the Bin Laden family and to the Saudis in general. The film starts with the Republican theft of the 2000 presidential election and follows with the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and President Bush's actions (or lack thereof) in the aftermath of the terrorist attack. The film is presented in large part in a rather lighthearted fashion, but becomes rather intense at times. There is film/video footage from the streets of war-torn Iraq, for example. In addition, the up-close interviews with a woman who lost her son to the Iraq conflict are quite moving and at one point, shows her doubling over at the grief she feels. This woman is a typical patriotic American, who believed in the necessity for military action and trusted the President as a leader to take all necessary precautions to ensure troops safety and not endanger them needlessly. This trust was, of course, hopelessly misplaced. I saw the film in Humble, Texas, a very conservative suburban community near Houston, but immediately after the film, the crowd burst into spontaneous applause. I doubt very seriously that anybody seeing this documentary will be filled with confidence in the Bush administration, nor will they feel a burning desire to reelect George W. Bush. I have heard that in some cities groups have lined the exitways coming from the theaters and offered voter registration cards to any who wanted them. Michael Moore, who also did the marvelous documentary "Roger and me" about the disinterest and lack of compassion of corporate executives for the everyday people (and their jobs) whom their decisions affect. Moore also made the much acclaimed "Bowling for Columbine". I heartily recommend this film to persons of any and all political leanings as informative, entertaining, and moving and believe that it will provide a much better understanding of the mechanics of government, or at least of THIS administration. Though there is an unmistakable message to the film, there is limited editorializing, with the film preferring to let the film/video clips of actual events and interviews speak for themselves. I believe that this film should be required viewing for every registered voter in America. The message one is left with is one that resounds with most Americans at this point I think, one of being unsure of John Kerry and what solution he represents, but of being quite certain that George W. Bush and his administration have got to go.
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One of the most underrated films I've seen in years
30 May 2004
This is a whimsical look at the human race through the eyes of an alien studying human beings and their mating rituals, much as a scientist might study the same behavior in chimps or zebras. The film is especially enjoyable if you're an aficionado of those nature pieces on the Discovery channel. The observer focuses on a young couple from their meeting at a bar, through their dating and sexual experimentation, to their marrying and having a child together. Carmen Electra looks stunning as the female of the pair, the male is played by some nameless swinging dick I don't remember. there is not any explicit sex or even nudity in the film, surprising after some of the comments I've read, but you can see far more skin AND sex on an episode of NYPD Blue. I'm no expert, but I really liked this film and so did my wife, a most unusual occurrence. I recommend it to anyone with a rather dry sense of humor and a taste for the subtle. (You won't see anybody smashed in the face with a pie) If I had to refer people to one underrated film of the last 20 or so years, this would be it. Take a chance and see it if you have a high I.Q. and are weary of car crashes and every film consisting of African- American actors calling each other the "N" word. Not mentioning any names here.
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Yellowbeard (1983)
generic rant from a fat middle-age white boy
13 May 2004
A comedic romp featuring many of the old cast from Monty Python. in addition, Peter Cook of Beyond The Fringe fame. The film is not for the serious. A farce about a pirate and his treasure with his former first mate and the British Empire seeking to relieve him of it. Peter Cook steals the show with a fine portrayal of a clueless boozer who has a good heart and tries it really hard. I've been trying forever to find the film on DVD without success. Marty Feldman also has a fine role in the moviea and Cheech and Chong appear in secondary roles with humorous results. Graham Chapman stars as the title character with Eric Idle playing the Queen's representative from the Royal Navy.
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