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Tension filled drama
10 May 2001
This movie is a cold war tale of an American destroyer hunting a Soviet submarine. The tension builds up wonderfully throughout the film and eventually explodes, both on personnel and greater levels. Tension is present between the skilled but hard nosed captain(Richard Widmark) and a reporter sent aboard(Sidney Poitier). The captain also faces off against the ship's new doctor. Widmark and Poitier both give simply outstanding performances. This film is about them, not explosions or battle scenes. The supporting cast also gives fine performances, including Martin Balsam as the doctor and Eric Portman as a German submarine commander on board as an advisor. It has been said that this film inspired the recent production "Crimson Tide"(which I believe is much less impressive), and after watching you can see why. In turn, I think it is also possible that the producers and writers of "The Bedford Incident" were influenced by "Dr Strangelove" which came out the previous year. While this a drama, not a black comedy, there are some parallels.
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Bizarre and funny
3 May 2001
This is an odd comedy that can be quite humorous and entertaining. It contains a lot of neat and strange touches. I've seen this film on a number of occasions and it was an enjoyable experience each time. Hard to believe that's Antonio Banderas in there, but it is!
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Memorable Comedy
30 April 2001
This film pokes fun at Hitler through a mixture of slapstick and satire. The film does not copy Hitler and the Nazis exactly; instead the dictator is named Hynkel, and instead of a swastika there is a double cross. It is worth watching in part to see how contemporary artists treated Hitler back in 1940, when he was a threat, not a part of history, Charlie Chaplin gives a double performance as Hynkel and the barber, something alluded to in the beginning. Chaplin's Hitler is funny and pathetic, not scary and imposing. It is interesting to compare this performance with the versions of Saddam Hussein presented in modern films(like say "Hot Shots"); again a dictator is portrayed as a pathetic, comical figure with a high-pitched voice. One of the best scenes, I think, is where Hynkel plays with a large globe. I found it strange seeing Chaplin in a movie with sound, something I had not seen before watching this film.
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Wag the Dog (1997)
Great Title and Great Acting
24 April 2001
This movie, given the political events of the time, may have had the most timely(some might say freaky and prophetic) release date of any film. It features wonderful satire, not only of politics but of culture and Hollywood. But its greatest attributes are the performances, especially those of De Niro and Hoffman, which are simply outstanding and a pleasure to watch. I also loved the title, and I thinks it's a far better one than something more obvious or descriptive, like "The Fake War" or "The Spinmaster".
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Dinosaurs! (1987 Video)
Simply Wonderful
24 April 2001
I loved this early Will Vinton claymation piece as a kid, and it seems to have only gotten better with age. I can still remember how utterly hilarious we all thought it was when we first saw it. Even after 20 plus years it appears to be universally admired by all who see it. It uses both "Chalkboard animation" (complete with student comments in the background) and the "claymation" style of animation for which Vinton is now famous. This piece seems to have broad appeal, both because of its popular subject and creative style. I still think this is Vinton's greatest work.
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The Untouchables (1993–1994)
Good Entertainment
16 April 2001
This 1990s version of "The Untouchables" was actually pretty good, and was one of the better programs on FOX when it aired. The stories were engaging although, as in previous versions of "The Untouchables", they perhaps took their creative license at bit too far at times(Al Capone and Elliot Ness in a boxing match?!!). However, the real strength of the show was the performances. Tom Amandes and Paul Regina work well as Elliot Ness and Frank Nitty, and John Rhys-Davies does an even better job as Malone. But the greatest performance is without doubt that of William Forsythe as Al Capone, who really steals the show, and makes it quite worth watching. I think he did a better job in the role than Robert De Niro did in the 1987 movie. Indeed most of performances were better than those in the movie, which was itself not a bad piece of work.
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The Matrix (1999)
Great New Sci-Fi
9 April 2001
This movie features a great story that shows how great Sci-Fi films can be. While it is true that the plot is mainly an excuse to show neat looking visuals of people dodging bullets followed by lines like "You are the chosen one", the story still is very engaging and bold. The cinematography is also excellent and impressive. While not among the greatest films ever, this is one of the best, if not the best Sci-fi film to come along in a few years.
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Bed and Sofa (1927)
Perhaps that was not a good idea...
3 April 2001
This is a silent film made relatively early in the history of the Soviet Union. A construction worker allows his unemployed friend to stay at home with his young beautiful wife and whoops! This is actually a pretty good movie, although like many silent Soviet films, the score, while nice, is way too dramatic.
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A beautiful film
29 April 2000
This is a wonderful movie, based on the famous book. It features excellent camera work, which took full advantage of the beautiful scenery in the South African countryside. It also features an exceptional score by John Barry. In addition, the performances were quite good, although I've heard some people say they thought that James Earl Jones made Rev Kumalo too "soft around the edges". In any case, this is a quite good movie.
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Son in Law (1993)
Change of opinion
29 April 2000
When I saw this movie for the first time, it was dubbed in Spanish. I wasn't fluent, but understood enough to know what was going on. I thought the movie was kind of funny. A year or so later, I happened across it again, and was able to watch it in English for the first time. Now that I could watch it fully, I thought it was humorless and not very entertaining, and I have no intention of watching it again, in any language.
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Wow, that was some jump!
29 April 2000
This is a fairly typical Godzilla movie, with men in suits, cheap miniature sets, little kids saying "Godzilla", and the rest. My favorite scene, as well as the most hilarious one, was when Godzilla does his several thousand foot horizontal jump. This movie was featured on MST3K, where, of course, they made watching it a hilarious and enjoyable experience. In fact, the jump scene was featured in the credits during the Joel era for many years. Once you hear it, it will take you a while to get the "Jet Jaguar" song out of your head! I actually first came in contact with this film when I saw a clip of it during a documentary about film history. And guess which scene they decided to show!
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Matinee (1993)
Amusing film with interesting premise
28 April 2000
This entertaining film is not a B-movie; rather it is about a great movie showman (played by John Goodman) bringing a B-movie to Key West during 1962.

Meanwhile, the Cuban Missile Crisis is going on, providing an interesting backdrop. This movie takes a little while to get really started, but once it does it becomes a quite wonderful experience. The movie within the movie, "Mant"(half-man, half-ant, all terror) is hilarious.
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Simply Outstanding
28 April 2000
Real actors and animation have been placed together before, but never in such a vivid and entertaining way. This movie is just a great experience; it's one of my most favorite movies. The opening cartoon is simply hilarious, and it just gets better throughout the film. Bob Hoskins gives a good performance as detective Eddie Valiant. By the way, those Pacific Electric "trolleys" are really buses.
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Hobgoblins (1988)
This movie is great...
28 April 2000
...if you're into self-punishment. This movie has to be seen to be believed. It's that bad. If you want to know what it's like, you'll have to see it for yourself. This movie was featured on MST3K, where, as always, they produced a hilarious commentary. This is probably the worst film that MST did since the show came to the Sci-Fi channel. However, as bad as it was, I don't believe that this was the worst film that MST has ever featured, or the worst movie of all time period. In my opinion, "Manos: the Hands of Fate" holds the title for worst film ever, with "Attack of the the Eye Creatures"(that's really the way the title goes!) coming in second. "Hobgoblins" was a distant third. But it is still unbelievably bad, even to an MST3K fan.
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Watching this film is really an experience!
28 April 2000
This is probably the king of all cult movies, and I found watching it to be a wonderful experience that was quite simply a lot of fun. The movie itself isn't exactly a work of genius, but that's all part of the experience and the fun. To really understand what it's like to do the "Time Warp" you really have to see this film for yourself. If you do, don't just watch it on television(that doesn't count as really seeing it!). Watch it with as many other people as possible, including many who have seen it before. I just can't help but wonder what historians will think of all this many years in the future.
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Unintentionally Hilarious
27 April 2000
Warning: Spoilers

This action film was clumsy and silly, but was still fun to watch, in part to enjoy its ridiculous aspects. Not long after it starts, we learn that Kurt Russell is learning to fly(Hmmm, how could this airline hijacking movie end?). The dialogue was silly, and the scene when Halle Berry unfolds that map with Washington on it was so overdone that it was amusing. It hard to get angry over the movie's negative images of Arabs because they, like everything else about this, just looked clumsy, in particular when the dissenting terrorist is clearly thrown in to try to deflect such criticism. When thing about this movie that made me very happy though was that they get rid of Segal rather early in the film. I wish they would do that more often.
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Hackers (1995)
Not very entertaining
27 April 2000
This movie did not impress me. The acting was not exactly great, and I found it difficult to care at all about any of the characters. It was also full of cheesy and pointless effects. Nevertheless, despite all of its faults, it was better than the other 1995 cyberthriller, "The Net".
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Future War (1997 Video)
27 April 2000
This rather pathetic film features a cheap looking version of Jean Claude van Damme as its action star and a various puppet dinosaurs as monsters. It also features many scenes with cardboard boxes. This film was featured on MST3K, where, as always, they made watching it hilarious and fun.
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Romero (1989)
Excellent Film
27 April 2000
This was a pretty good film, about the real life story of the archbishop of EL Salvador, Oscar Romero. Raul Julia gives a good performance as the title character. The music is effective and interesting; at times it sounds almost like helicopter blades. If you close your eyes when you watch the beginning, you could almost think this film was about Vietnam. Some aspects of this film were not that great though. Some scenes appeared to be cut off too early or in odd ways.
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Victory (1981)
Quite Enjoyable
27 April 2000
This World War II is memorable because of its plot; a bunch of Allied prisoners agree to participate in a soccer game against the Nazis, who intended to use it as a propaganda event. But the prisoners plan to use it to escape. While this basic premise sounds kind of silly, I still found the film to be enjoyable and fun to watch. Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, and Pele make for an interesting mix of stars.
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Notable as an early O'Brien film
27 April 2000
This film is a 1910s version of what would today be called Claymation. It features dinosaurs, apes, and caveman. It is worthy of mention as it was one of the first films made by the legendary Willis O'Brien, who would later do the special effects for "The Lost World" and "King Kong". O'Brien's clay animation in "Missing Link" is certainly not as good as his work in later films(which featured far more advanced models). However, as this was one of the first films with stop-motion animation, it was a pioneering work for O'Brien, and for the film industry in general. It was probably not the first film to use stop motion animation, but it may well be the first dinosaur movie to have done so. These historical notes will make it worth seeing for some people, in particular those interested in film history.
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Shows that ancient cartoons can still be funny
27 April 2000
This short and rather old cartoon about a dinosaur is quite enjoyable. It was one of the earlier cartoons, and one of the first dinosaur movies. It may also have introduced cartoon violence to the world; Gertie chucks a mammoth named Jumbo into the ocean. I have found that it is more fun to watch the original silent version than the one with sound, although others may disagree.
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Okay, I'll give it some credit
12 April 2000
This is a 1950s era B-movie about a teenager(aka guy clearly in his 20s) living in a community of cavemen. Is actually somewhat better than most B-movies(and most Roger Corman movies, not that there really is a difference), mainly due to parts of the plot. That said, by any other standard, it is still a pretty clumsy looking film with a number of silly scenes, which earned it a place on MST3K. And if you want to see this movie, I encouraged you to watch the MST version, which is, of course, hilarious.
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Bizarre and hilarious!
10 April 2000
This was another exceptional cartoon series. Like "The Simpsons" it features a lot of great social satire, but the show is even more bizarre. I actually didn't start watching with any kind of frequency until after they stop making new episodes, but soon fell in love with it. Fortunately the old episodes are still on the air.
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The Critic (1994–1995)
The producers of "The Simpsons" did it again!
10 April 2000
This was an outstanding and hilarious cartoon series from the producers of "The Simpsons", and indeed featured some of the voices from it too. Like "The Simpsons" it features a lot of satire, both of modern movies and of life in general. Unfortunately, this show was not very successful. I don't know why it just never caught on with people. Thankfully the old episodes can still be seen.
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