Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009)
Does what it says on the tin
Lets face it folks if you see this film you know exactly what you are getting. A big shark and a big octopus duking it out whilst a load of has-beens and never-will-bes badly act to over-ripe dialogue.
But this is the film to see if you want to try and see Debbie Gibson act and make out with a Japanese guy, see submarines get bitten in two, the Golden Gate bridge being chomped in half and in what is destined to be one of the great moments of grade Z cinema, a 747 get taken out of the air by a giant shark.
I doubt few of the cast and crew took this film seriously when they were given the script and that is how its played. The effects suck, the shark and octopus look like they were filmed in a fish tank and the climatic battle is really anti-climatic and makes you think, huh? What happened there? This is not a great film but is totally worth it if you switch off and want to watch grade Z cinema with a few beers and a few buddies.
The Descent (2005)
This is the stuff nightmares are made of.
Imagine being trapped underground with your closest friends and some not very nice creatures preying on you. Then see those who you thought were your friends splinter and the group dynamic fall apart in a welter of gore and primal survival.
This is the basic premise of Neil Marshall's "The Descent". Its a very visceral film which meanders along for the first 60 minutes after the initial shocking car accident and then explodes into life with the appearance of the Crawlers (imagine Gollums nastier country cousins).
From the outset Marshall makes us sympathise with the group especially Sarah (whose character grows throughout the film), who loses her husband and daughter in the first few minutes and even with Juno, the "villain" who is weighed down by guilt of a big secret, whose recklessness gets the group into this mess in the first place. I personally found Beth's death the most upsetting. Her character was the most sympathetic.
Marshall does a good job in setting up the group dynamic in such a way as to make us care about them. Its because of his good writing here and its not often that you find such characterisation in a gory horror film. What Marshall has given us here sets a new standard for visceral shocks. He does rely on one jump-shock too many and I personally do not want to see what a compound fracture looks like (or how to treat one. Ever seen an entire cinema audience pull a nauseous grimace.) Its worth commenting on the production design. Stunning. You would not think it was a film set at Pinewood. It was a character by itself, adding to Marshall observations about claustrophobia, fear of the dark and friendship.
Of course, he could be asking: Do you know really "know" your "friends"?
Bloody excellent. 10 out of 10.
Ocean's Twelve (2004)
Why do I feel cheated. I tend not to believe film critics and make up my own mind about how good or bad a movies is. This time they are right. This was unbelievably bad. Absolutely awful.
Put it like this. When I go to a friends house, I would resent having to pay admission to watch their home movies made with their buddies swanning around some major European capitals looking cool and mugging at the camera whilst going through some makeshift plot.
Yet this is what a major studio has given us. Steven Soderbergh has put together a two-hour snooze of a picture, filming some of his buddies obviously having a good time with some artsy camera shots and editing tricks designed to push along the caper movie. Instead this film never thrills and I ended up wishing I got the hell out of there at the two-thirds point.
This was about the point at which Julia Roberts plays Tess plays Julia Roberts made you think that we were inside some Hollywood inside joke so inside that it made sense to those up on the screen. Add a completely pointless cameo by Bruce Willis then you kind of get the picture.
Morally dubious, a waste of some good actors (Clooney, Damon, Gould), some more exposure for bad ones (why is Catherine Zeta-Jones famous? Try and count how many times her Welsh accent disappears and re-appears), this film is a total waste of time from start to finish.
1 out of 10 (and I'm being generous)
The Corporation (2003)
Lets get straight to the point. Was 145 minutes really necessary to be told something that we already knew - that corporations were evil and bad for everyone.
After 90 minutes you kind've got the point - enough already. So I looked at my watch. Jesus, another hour of this sledgehammer-over-the-head pontificating!!! The monotonous commentary didn't exactly help my induced comatose state.
Still it would be interesting to see if any opinions are changed by this. Really, mine have - I'm now a full-blown misanthropist when I was only a pessimist before. Not the response the filmmakers were perhaps seeking.
That said, I do have my doubts over capitalism and corporations but I also have my doubts over government and people-power too but somehow this film saw only the positives in the latter which only your romantic delusional absolutely believes in, when after all, so-called people power can create tyrannies too (the early Soviet Union anyone).
It also didn't tell me what I knew already. This film was strictly preaching to the converted. A quick read of any politics magazine or social science journal will tell you about the issues raised here. So we didn't really need the usual rent-a-quotes such as Chomsky, Michael Moore and NoLogos Klein expounding on their bar-room philosophies on corporatism.
A good 30 minutes too long - I dread to think what the 165 minute version is like.
5 out of 10.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Very good, but not iconic
I had low hopes for this film, considering that the original Dawn of the Dead is my favourite horror. I was rather pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying this.
Where it differs for the original is that it lacks that movies political angle on consumerism and greed. In that movie the zombies go to the mall because it was something they used to do. In this version they go to the mall to eat people. And that's it. No political motivation or satire on American consumer culture. Let's call this re-make (or re-imagining) a zombie movie for the MTV generation.
Thats not to say the re-make has its faults. With the exception of Michael or Kenneth there is really is no sympathetic character to latch onto - most seem to fall into one-dimensional stereotypes such Steve the selfish one or Andre the street punk who is finally wiseing up to responsibilities. I could not really handle Ana at all - what was the point of her character? I figure she was there to have someone the audience could identify with - the average person who is caught up with something way beyond their control. However her behaviour seems odd. She seems to figure out what's happening and then going all gooey and showing reluctance to use that knowledge for the benefit of the group? Huh?
And what exactly was that ending about? Shades of Cannibal Holocaust here with the filming of the fate(?) of the final survivors. Personally I would have left a more enigmatic ending with the final fadeout of them going to a destination unknown.
Still what's the point of carping about what is a very good and entertaining film. It may lack the human frailties of the original and the iconic zombie figure. I suppose that's the message - when we become a zombie no one stands out.
8 out of 10.
The Last September (1999)
I should have guessed what this film would be like from a couple of hecklers at the cinema I saw it.
"I've seen milk turn quicker than this". And this was only during the opening credits. They left soon after. I should have too.
All I can say about this film is a perfect cure for insomnia...show this to a chronic insomniac and they will be out like a light in a couple of minutes.
An A-list cast should have turned out something much more interesting than this bore-fest. Thank god I haven't read the book...
Bad Boys II (2003)
I must have been drunk too see this...
Here's a quick-fire summary of my views of this alleged film - homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic and deeply, deeply disturbing.
Deeply disturbing in the fact that there is no level to which Michael Bay and his writers will not stoop in order to gain either a cheap laugh or a funny murder. How does necrophilia sound to you? Or having your brain fried with Ecstacy? Or intimidating an innocent lad just because he's coming to take his daughter out on a date? Make you laugh. Ha, ha, ha.
How about comedy Russians or Haitians? How bulldozing a Cuban shanty town to the ground with innocent people inside those houses - still what's a dead Cuban to director Bay. Still laughing.
There are several things to dislike this movie. Is it only foreign types who import drugs into the US? Judging by this, the answer is yes. What's makes this film the most disturbing I've seen in a long while is that Cuba and anti-Castro terrorism is used as a plot device.
SPOILER ALERT (not that this film need spoiling) - In one of several false endings, our gang go to Cuba with help from a group called Alpha 7. Here's a quick history lesson, the Alpha 7 is based on a real group called Omega 7, who are a bunch of nasty right-wing anti-Castro terrorists based in Miami. Far from the underground freedom fighters as portrayed in this film, the real Omega 7 have tried to destabilised Cuba and Castro through terrorism such as introducing Dengue fever into Cuba in the early 1980's which killed at least 113 Cuban civilians and a spate of bombings in Havana hotels in the late 1990's and alienated those Cuban exiles who want to seek a detente with the Cuban government.
The introduction of this element into the plot, implys that Castro and Cuba are involved in Ecstacy drug-running into the US, something I suspect that is further from the truth. In turn this film turns quickly from a nasty, little action flick into a right-wing, militarist, anti-castro fan-boy fantasy, giving the people who see this film the impression that what America is doing to Cuba is right. Did the actors read the script they were given. But I forget this is a Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay film. When you are signed up to one of their films, check your critical faculties into the bank along with the fat pay-check you've been given. If you want to see what Cuba is really about go check out some Cuban solidarity web-sites and not have your opinions warped by a tenth-rate film-maker like Bay
Finally, this film should finally give credence to the fact that Martin Lawrence is untalented, which is evident to most people, except to film executives with their eyes on the box-office returns. Will Smith is undoubtedly a talent, which why he chose this film remains a mystery to me or to anyone who saw what he could do in a serious role such as 'ALI'. No-ones career will be hurt by this film, which is a shame because there are lots of careers of people of people involved with this project who deserve to go down the tubes.
My rating 1 out of 10 (Zero out of 10 had I been given the option)
Red Dragon (2002)
Not bad, but not as good as 'Manhunter'
Hannibal the Cannibal has become something of a joke, a kind of Freddy Krueger for our age, a character that was ingeniously evil and creepy to begin with but has now seemed to have lapsed into a carnival sideshow freak full of lame oneliners like a bad Schwarzenegger movie.
Discuss in less than 1,000 words
I found myself going through this hypothetical as I watched the latest Lector opus 'Red Dragon'. Has old Hannibal become less of a bogeyman and more of a stand-up. One can imagine his character prowling the stage at a Vegas casino like Don Rickles handing out quips to the audience and still living off the chianti line from 'Lambs'.
Perhaps I am being unfair. After this, the second sequel (or prequel or whatever), any film that follows 'Lambs' will suffer in comparison. The only immediate comparisons we can make with 'Red Dragon' is with the superior 1986 movie 'Manhunter'.
At least with this version of the story, we now know how Hannibal was captured and sent Will around the bend. Some of the story elements were still the same...the video film, the tree, the fate of the reptilian journalist Lounds (better done in 'Manhunter' by the way), the blind girl romance.
But Hollywood being what it is could not leave the final confrontation alone and ended up being more reminiscent of your average slasher movie with the 'twist' ending I could see coming a mile away. Also what was the deal with that final scene. My god, that brought a new definition to the word contrivance. Perhaps it was a joke between Ted Tally, Hopkins and the director that was too inside for your average audience and felt too tacked on, as if only to exploit a rather weak joke.
Speaking of direction, there was no thrill element to this movie. Director Ratner seems to have no way of building up tension which is central to movie like this. I felt more tension in a wet flannel. 'Lambs' and 'Manhunter' built up this tension because you did not know what coming next. This is why the fate of Lounds was better handled in 'Manhunter' than in this movie. Build-up friends, build-up. In this version, Lounds' final fate looked more like a rag stunt gone hideously wrong.
At least I could not fault the acting which was pretty good all round. Edward Norton was pretty good playing a tortured soul, but who also did silly things. Do forensic detectives actually go around redundant crime scenes at 2 'o' clock in the morning. Ralph Fiennes did psycho pretty well and played the role of sympathetic monster rather good.
But if I had to compare this to the 1986 movie, I'd rather buy that version on DVD than this.
Six out of ten
Better than Episode 1 but
that does not say that Episode II is that much of an improvement.
It should have been.
But it wasn't and how many reasons do you need to classify a film as bad?
For a start let's take a look a Lucas' contribution to this whole mess of a movie. Namely his script and his direction.
With regard to his script, Lucas ain't exactly Shakespeare. In fact he isn't even Ed Wood or Robin Moore. At least with Ed Wood, his bad scripts had the factor that they were done in complete sincerity. With this George Lucas script we don't even get the sincerity. Lucas seems to believe that he is writing a masterpiece for the ages.
So we get some real clunker dialogue with the real zingers being delivered by our star-crossed lovers Amidala and Anakin, done with all the intensity of a read through rehearsal. Their romantic banter was embarrassing with their relationship being conducted with the white hot intensity of an arctic winter. Do we honestly believe that these are the two most essential characters who will shape the destiny of an entire galaxy?
Also, do alien beings really say 'Mom' and 'Dad'? For a galaxy far, far away, some of the characters seem to come from downtown.
Then there's Lucas the director. What made Episodes 5 & 6 good was that the script and direction were farmed out to different writers and directors who brought their own vision of Lucas' universe to the screen. What we have here is Lucas' baby and this is his vision. And it does not feel real. The direction drags and the plot exposition seems to only exist to move the characters from one set-piece to another to show us how great and advanced the special FX are in this scene. Even the climatic battle scene feels truncated as though somebody got lost for ideas.
Indifferent acting didn't help (though armed with that script, do you really wonder why?). The two young leads were wooden, Ewan McGregor posted in his performance, Ian McDiarmid had little interest in his dialogue and character, Pernilla August must have been on set for all of a day for all that she contributed to the plot and we found out that Stormtroopers have New Zealand accents.
So what was to like. Christopher Lee, who seemed to realise how ridiculous the whole exercise was and outacted everybody, which wasn't difficult. Then there was the CGI and special FX. Very spectacular but I was too aware that it was special FX. I couldn't lost in the whole fantasy and the magic that should been there wasn't.
Yoda could kick arse but his fight with the Count and Yoda's bouncing around felt like an out-take from Muppets in Space. One almost expected Miss Piggy to turn up with a light sabre and a well-placed karate chop.
So I was disappointed. Lucas has got to go a long way in Episode 3 to tie up all the loose ends in his story. Perhaps this time, he will give it to a more talented writer and director.
Stars: 3 out of 10 (begrudgingly)
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
A perfect metaphor for L.A...
In that this film can be described in three simple words: Big, Loud and above all, Pointless.
The story was barely beyond one-dimensional (the ending was so so telegraphed, it defies description) as was the acting. Paul Walker find another profession or you will end in the roles that Wings Hauser would turn down.
On the upside, there were the car stunts, which were stunning and my marks for this film is because of those stunts only.
2 out of 10 for the stunts. A flat zero for everything else.
Flawed; Should have been a masterpiece
It should have worked. There was a great idea here and it just did not come off.
FF had its elements. The animation was amazing and will help push the boundaries of what could be done with computer animation. I thought the animation in 'Shrek' was well advanced but this surpassed it.
But it also had its weaknesses.
Who were these people? We had a back history of sorts without resorting to a back history database. Not being overfamiliar with the FF oeuvre, I assume they are characters based in the original VG. One suspects you had to have a knowledge of the VG to get to know these people. Of course cynically, the reason why there was some back history was so that we could have a couple more prequels or some spinoffs. Cynical, moi?
Just a personal gripe but we could have without the whole pseudo-spiritual crap that seeped throughout the film. As a personal non-believer and sceptic in things spiritual, sometimes the whole thing felt like an propaganda exercise in Gaia theory. Earth as a living entity which can feel pain and hurt. Oh come on!!!
Flawed yes and should have been oh so much better. 5/10
Cats & Dogs (2001)
Intriguing Premise...Poor Execution
I had hopes for this film. Real, honest hope. Now I feel that 87 minutes of my life have been wasted. No exaggeration.
Which is more upsetting, given the films premise of a James Bond-type struggle for world between canines and felines had so much potential. But twas not meant to be because I saw a film that great moments of genius (those ninja cats)but a lousy whole.
It had its highlights - Mr Tinkle was a fantastic character and as a whole the cats had more character than the dogs. Guess who I wanted to win despite being more of a doggy person.
As for the human story, well that could not have been a more perfunctory exercise in one-dimensionality (what an original concept: the father too busy for his son.Where have we seen that sub-plot before???). So one-dimensional in fact that they did not exist as a plot device. They only seemed to be there to pad out the films running time to its current length. Otherwise we would only have had half a film.
4/10 for the cats. 0/10 for everything else.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
A film for the losers in all the world
I could never see or understand the fuss about the character of Lara Croft and her adventures in the Tomb Raider series of games. To me, she was a female fantasy figure for the thousands of losers and SB's who wasted their time playing those games and who could not be bothered to go out and find the real thing. Fantasies tend to be safer you see.
Having now seen the film version of Tomb Raider, I still cannot see the fascination people have of the pneumatic chested Lara.
It is a bad film. And it's boring.And there is nothing worse than a boring, bad movie. One expects a film like this to come from a hack like Simon West whose resume includes Con-Air (need I say more).
But I expected better from good actors such as Angeline Jolie, Iain Glen and Daniel Craig to be laboured with such a banal, laboured and obvious script.
Glen seemed to sleepwalk through his part with all the villany and menace of a Chartered Surveyor. He not mailed his part in but mailed it in without the stamp. And why was an English actor used to play an American (Craig)? Why not use an American actor to play an American. Such was the oddball casting of this film that an American was used to play an Englishwoman with an English accent nobody could place and a Englishman was hired to play an American with an American accent that did not stay in one place.
All in all, a waste of everybodies time and talent. 1 out of 10.
Vertical Limit (2000)
Jesus, who the hell optioned this???
At this moment in time, there must some Columbia studio exec. rubbing their hands with glee, because they have managed to sell ice to the eskimos...H.L. Mencken once said, no one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public. I would add a codicil to that and add the British audience too.
My god what was this?
A film that finally proves that O'Donnell cannot act his way out of a paper bag, that Tunney looks great in climbing wear but looks like an actress trying to play a climber and Scott Glenn phoning in his usual performance as Mr World-Weary. Add Bill Paxton as the murderous millionaire (aren't they all), a stunning piece of miscasting with Temeura Morrison (a Maori) playing a Pakistani with a New Zealand accent and the standard comic relief Aussies and what you have is a real crock of a movie. Even the stunning photography (and it is stunning) cannot save a movie based on cliche and one-dimensional characterisation.
Ludicrous writing too. For example, just how did the Izabella Scorupco character get across that ravine after the O'Donnell character leapt across it Superman style. He leaps across, hangs on for dear life, cuts to another scene and hey presto, Scorupco is there with him. What did she do, levitate across??? Who was the consultant on this film, David Copperfield?
If you want a man-in-peril-on-the-mountains movie stick to Stallone with Cliffhanger. Avoid this at your peril.
Final Destination (2000)
Gives us something to think about
Normally, I'm not spooked by a film but this movie sure as hell gave me the chills.
'Final Destination' was a taut, sharp and intelligent piece of horror, not reliant on that many gore effects for shocks. Indeed the films horror was based on a good use of suspense rather than out-and-out gore. I've got to admit, some deaths came out of nowhere and those who did die, died in less obvious ways than you may have thought of.
It gave us mere mortals something to think about too, in that (a)I'm not flying again for a long time and (b) death is not an accident but is planned so that when your time comes, you can do absolutely nothing about it. You can only cheat death temporarily. It'll get you in the end, by any means necessary no matter what plans you have made to avoid it. Morbid to be honest, but entirely true.
The downside to this movie was the confusing explanation of how the pattern of 'Death' was explained. It lost me. Can someone explain. It seems as though the writers became stuck for an explanation as to how 'Death' moved from victim to victim and thought hey this'll do for now.
This is only a minor quibble about a very good movie. I haven't seen an intelligent horror film like this since. Well, since. Good use of horror movie in-jokes too. I love the use of using surnames of horror directors and actors as character names. Some were obvious (Hitchcock, Lewton), some less so (Waggner, Schreck).
Highly recommended but not a date movie.
The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
Light, but fun
Well it's about time someone made a movies that was as spiritually bankrupt and amoral as this movie was. Thank whoever for Mr Wapner and Mr Lynn for bringing this to the screen.
'The Whole Nine Yards' was a light yet fun film who made being a hitman more like a viable career option than an immoral murderous activity. The plot was easy to follow and Willis proved he could make fun of his hard-man roles. Matthew Perry also shows a flair for slapstick and plays comedy well away from the awful froth that is 'Friends'.
A nice waste of a couple of hours. Recommended but not for the more moral and uptight amongst us.
Man on the Moon (1999)
What made the man tick?
As one of the few Brits to have heard of Andy Kaufman before his death in 1984, I was intrigued at this biopic of him as played by Jim Carrey.
To be sure it was a good movie, with a first-class performance by Carrey, but I felt a feeling of detachment from this film. I feel we never really ever got to see the real Kaufman in this biopic. Instead it relied on the old standby of the 'misguided genius' and that the world never really understood what made Kaufman tick. After this movie, which attempted to explain what made Kaufman tick, never got near to what I feel made Kaufman tick. The real story of Kaufman, has I feel, yet to be told.
Marks **1/2 out of 5 (just for Carrey's performance).
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
One thing that irritated me
I enjoyed this film immensely. It seems more intelligent than your average fright-flick with the most haunting image being that of Mike, facing the wall (see it again and you'll see what I mean. Neat image huh?)and how power and trust can be diffused and eventually destroyed within a group. Sometimes team work doesn't work at times of high stress.
But one thing bugs me. With all this technology at hand, couldn't these idiots manage a mobile phone between them. I mean common sense would dictate that if you are going out in the middle-of-nowhere then at least one of you should have a mobile, just for safety's sake. Can anyone tell me why this was the case?
The Dark (1993)
Canadians should stick to hockey not horror
Give the Canadians their due, they have produced some good directors (Atom Egoyan, Denis Arcand) and some good films (The Decline of the American Empire, The Sweet Hereafter, Felicia's Journey). This ain't one of them.
It's your standard monster-loose-in-a-graveyard flick featuring a giant rat that could have come from a 1950's grade-z movie. The Killer Shrews has more convincing giant mammals and FX than this film. Worth only watching to see Neve Campbell in an early role (she must have needed the money) and why Stephen McHattie's acting style gives new meaning to the word 'minimalist'. He makes Lance Henriksen look like Jerry Lewis.
La lupa mannara (1976)
The cheesiest film in a generation
I saw this on terrestrial television here recently and found it one of the most hilariously bad films I've seen in a long while.
It's starts out with a make-up job that has to be seen to be believed (get a load of the stuck-on fur and black nipples on the were-woman) and get's progressively worse.
It's your standard Italian 70's exploitation fare with the usual contents of rape, gore and standard soft-core lesbian scenes and editing that's been done with a meat-cleaver. If MST3K ever do adult versions of their show, I'd recommend this one.