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Porky's (1981)
Accurate portrayal of the 50's South
5 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Some people would like to forget the South in the 50s. but Porky's won't let us forget (At least the "lighter" side of it). Whites hated just about anyone that wasn't like them--even if they were white! They didn't like Jews, adolescents, Negros (preferred word deleted), and women were just objects of sexual desire. But--there were virtually no sexual outlets--even Playboy was considered pornography in many areas. This lead to a lot of sexual practical jokes by both peers and adults on adolescent males. People were not any hornier then now they just had no place for it to go.

"Porky's", although way over the top in the prankster area, really, more than any other movie, really capture the flavor of the fifties and was definitely an American comic classic. It's too bad they didn't show the fire hoses and the police dog's it could have been the next "Gone with the Wind!"
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Transformers (2007)
Earth Survives, Ho Hum
21 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It wasn't ever really threatened. In fact, Los Angeles (it was supposedly called something else in the movie) was barely threatened.

When you go to see a "keija" film, especially after seeing the destruction caused by atom bombs, earthquakes, tsunamis, "Godzilla" movies, etc., you expect a "threat" to damage some major real estate. However, the Transformers barely did some low-grade demolition work.

Most of the film (I assume to save money on not so special effects) is spent on a not so enticing "back story" where the characters do one of the worst "misunderstood teens" movies since "The Blob". There is the usual "The military, secret government knew about it all the time" conspiracy and few "explicit" references to teen sex that are typical of modern teen comedies, but, the characters (especially the hero) is completely unengaging and he has no sexual chemistry with the pre-requisite girl friend. All I kept saying was "When do the Xformers start slugging it out over Earth, Democracy, the USA, Los Angeles, their home planet, or whatever the hell was at stake".

Unless you really are from another planet and haven't heard or, nor seen a "Transformer" movie, cartoon, or toy you would be better off skipping this movie.
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Thunderbirds (2004)
See it before the Thunderbirds are gone!
13 August 2004
In spite of an apparent advertising glitch where the title was either Thunderbirds Are Go! or Thunderbirds to the Rescue! (Last minute changes are almost a sure sign of trouble), I went to see it anyway -- mostly out of nostalgia for the old show.

My mouth was agape at the superior production values (especially the 60's style cinematography) and the detail in the machines and sets. The acting level was far superior to, say, "SpiderMan" (Ben Kingsley could have slept walked through his role, but he tried to put a little effort into it).

My only disappointment was that I thought this was aimed at nine year olds, but it seemed much more suitable for about 16 and older.

Maybe 40 years of "Spiderman" comics, cartoons, TV series, and now movies may have given me unrealistic expectations for a $100 million plus dollar movie, but Thunderbirds (what ever the title) did a much more spectacular job for its $57 million or so.

This is not Oscar(R) material, but it will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling for your admittance.
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Mean Girls (2004)
More superficial teen banality
10 May 2004
Although the 22+ year old "teens" do a good job of delivering the script and making the implausible seem real, when you open the box you realized all they delivered was packaging popcorn.

The script talks about teenage sex, venereal disease, pregnancy, homosexuality, social acceptance, child molestation, etc. However, you never really see how any of this affects the main or any other characters in other than a stereotypical way.

I know this was intended to be a fluff comedy, but even fluff has to have the slightest bit of substance or it is just air: This movie was cotton candy with no spun cotton and just a big hollow paper handle with no nutritive value.

Tina Fey is a genius at obfuscation and slight of hand. She makes you think you are watching a fairly poignant, but funny look at teen life and by the time you realize her trickery, the credits are rolling.

Watch "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" if you really want to see how this is done right.
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Swimming Pool (2003)
Seen it before, but I did not mind seeing it one more time
14 March 2004
We've seen this plot a zillion times before. An author supposedly is "blocked" for a new idea for a book so becomes a semi-recluse to find inspiration. Of course, inspiration comes not from solitude, but from interacting with interesting people and the author gets any thing but peace.

The beauty of "Swimming Pool" is that you don't realize it's a mystery until the very end! At first you are treated to a women who is probably passed her sexual prime coming in contact with a young girl who is at her sexual peak (I think the nudity added to the plot). The author's need for solitude seems like an obvious cover up for jealousy of lost youth. Then the author realizes that the girl is inspiring and not inhibiting. When the author realizes that the girl can be useful they become fast friends. Then the mayhem starts--or does it?

The ending will have you thinking--what the hell went on?

If you like a mystery without anything mysterious that gives you a killer (!) twist ending (Something Miss Rampling's character was famous for), you will love this film. If you are expecting the usual "Mrs. Marples", you will be slightly disappointed, but will love the character interactions of the two female leads.
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Its a "chick flick", so what?
22 December 2003
About once every four years, I like to go see a film where the women have the brains and the guys just seem to be 2D cardboard cut out supporting cast (instead of the opposite in "guy movies").

This movie almost satisfied my (largely suppressed) feminine side with its particularly scathing insight into the time (1950-ish) and the supposed banality of this period (I think we had the "H" bomb, but this movie seems totally oblivious to this fact).

The film only fell flat for me when the girls started to question Julia Robert's philosophy before even being converted (although in some ways the girls seemed to be secretly ahead of her and it was J. Roberts that had to do the catching up).

There probably won't be a great film that does not have bombs, rockets, bullets and naked babes in it, but this film was a genuine praiseworthy attempt.

P.S. this movie should get a nomination for costume design.
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Why the Cylons hated humanity.
21 December 2003
In spite of what Vellmont said about Cylons. Cylons did not hate humans "just because". It was clearly established in the original series that Cylons hated humans because they tried to interfere with their affairs with other star systems. It was also established that Cylons hated humans because of their duplicitous ways. Overall Cylons were more than fleshed out as just not soulless machines, but on the contrary they were the "next stage" in humanoid evolution.

The reinvented Cylons in this mini-series were more than in keeping with the older concepts.
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Anarchy TV (1998)
The message is the medium
14 November 2003
This is one of those gems of a film that seems to rise above the sum of its not so stellar parts.

Although the production values don't seem to be up the quality we would expect from the cast, everyone seems to be having fun and the commentary of the director appears to confirm this.

Why are they, and the viewer, having fun? Simply because by not taking itself too seriously, this movie manages to skewer everything in its path: The religious right, the over-righteous (and cantankerous) left, and the seemingly unconcerned middle, and even conspiracy theorists that see everyone as the enemy. (Didn't anyone catch the naked aerobics instructor bit as a Jane Fonda reference?).

Rather than re-summarize the plot, let me summarize the idea: Nobody has a lock on the "truth", only on their concept of it.

This is one of those films that if you want to check your brain at the door and sit back and be entertained, you will miss the whole point of the movie.
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The new widescreen DVD
24 October 2003
Having just seen a "restored" theatrical print a couple of months ago and now having seen the new DVD, I can say that it is virtually flawless. The subtlety of color makes many sequences appear almost three dimensional (especially on the Galactica). They appear to have removed most of the annoying matte lines from some scenes, although a few garbage mattes are visible. Some scenes that were almost unviewable blurs on the VHS have been restored to almost crystal clarity. Also visible are occasional film scratches, but it is far superior to anything I have seen since the 70's theatrical release in "Sensurround" or however they spelled it.

If you are a Galactica nut or even a fan, you will cherish this in your collection.

P.S. I don't work for Universal!
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Cabin Fever (2002)
"Cabin Fever" will give you the chills.
18 September 2003
As you have probably guessed, this movie is very uneven. The first problem is that it is trying to be too many horror genres at once without achieving any semblance of hybridization.

First it wants to make you think it is a typical 70's-80's slasher flick by having a bunch of youth go to a secluded location and get offed one by one (4 of ten points). The director doesn't seem to care if you care about the main characters or not. They have no chemistry and just say the "F" word about a cagillion times. Then it tries to do "Deliverance" with some generic David Lynch by introducing the weirdo, inbred towns folks (8 points). The only problem here seems to be inability to find anyone that can do their roles believably. Then there is the obligatory sex scenes (6 points). Cerina Vincent is hot, but the director sadly underutilizes her (although she does most of the sex) and her boyfriend doesn't seem to notice (although the director does), except during the sex scenes. Finally the real star, the flesh eating virus hits our heroes and it tries to be a psychological thriller by keeping you wandering where the virus will strike next (8 points): I was pretty caught up in this part until the people started to speak. Again, better actors like those in "Rosemary's Baby" my have sent me jumping from my seat. Of course today, what would be horror without gore (5 points). Anyone that has seen more than 5 gore-fests have probably seen these tired old "skin eating" effects before and won't be to impressed. For good measure they threw in some "I Know What You Did Last Summer", but did not pursue it enough to make it more than filler. And last and certainly least is the "Government conspiracy, cover up" angle (4 points). There seemed to be no clear motivation as to why officials handled it the way they did.

In summary, this movie had a lot of great potential, but probably dropped the ball because of lack of money, talent, and time. It definitely needs to be re-made if we can get that MPAA monkey off the box-office back (can you say "Hayes Commission"?)
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Lots of naked, very little cheerleading
5 August 2003
About the only thing this movie has to do with cheerleading is that one of the girls was apparently one in Junior High School and most of the girls wear some kind of outfit that is traditionally associated with cheerleading, that is, halter tops and short pleated skirts. A few actually wiggle some pon-pons.

Mostly this is about pole dancing and stripping. Although some of the girls look better than your average pole dancers (or even cheerleaders for that reason).

If you were hoping for that cheerleader spirit while getting undressed, you will be sorely disappointed. If you just wanted another strip movie with some decent to excellent looking girls, you have come to the right place.
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Purest of Howard Stern
28 July 2003
This is an "extension" of his old late-night TV show and he emphasizes this by having a girl take off her top, ala the TV show, only they remove the censorship strip.

He proceeds to do sketches like, "Jungle Man in 3D: The Sloppy Naked Titty Women", and "Ode to the Vagina" and a "sniffing dating game". Of course there is a semi-nude version of his "Lesbian Dating Game".

The "piece de resistance" is the eponymous "Butt Bungo" where it is just that: girls with some fairly decent bare or thong pantied butts getting their cheeks slapped red while a male uses them for bongos. Howard plays a greasy latin type.

If you liked his original late night show you will love this. If you weren't a fan, you will be after this (if your IQ is below 90).
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Deep insightful movie into the human condition
2 July 2003
Yeah, right! First is starts with a rip-off James Bond beginning. Does a stupid moto-cross sequence that goes on way too long with obvious SFX flaws. Then proceeds to a plot that was not even worthy of the TV series (Jackie Smith is way hotter than all of them in her mid-fifties!).

But Cameron, Demi, and to a lesser extent Lucy (should show more, babe!) your bodies rock and it carried the movie for me.

They can't get Cameron to go nude for $20 million(US)? Halle did it for 500K and she later won an Oscar. Cameron if you just don't wont to collect a paycheck, show us the jugs!
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"strong erotica" ?
25 May 2003
Somehow, it seems that bad porn from the seventies is now being reclassified as "strong erotica". This movie has all the trappings of the old porno 1) Very little pretense at plot (although more than "hardcore" of today): A bunch of hubbies at a hotel are having erectile problems with their significant others until a slut shows them, and everyone else in the hotel, how to do it. She even goes so far has to help them when they are sleeping. 2) Lots of oral contact with just about every erogenous zone, but surprisingly few hard responses from the guys. (a couple with phony spunk shots) 3) A brief explicit sex scene, without a spunk shot.

All of the woman, except Romay, are young and in fairly good condition. The guys are in good shape, but don't "stand out" very far, if you know what I mean.
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Daredevil (2003)
Better than Spidey by a long shot
23 February 2003
After 40 years of Spidey, my hopes for the movie were really high. But alas, the studios went for the later "Fantastic One" Spidey, rather than the original introverted, self doubting Spidey.

The DD movie had a much more realistic, edgy look and feel that I felt much more satisfied with (A superheroe that takes pain killing drugs--that's "realism"!).

The "love line" seemed to belong more in a chop-socky flick than an American superhero outing, but the "vision by sound" picture of his girl friend (daughter of a crime boss!) almost pulled this out of the banal.

I hope they don't make a sequel, because they will probably go for the 9-year old mentality for the box office. I want to remember this as the superheroe flick that should have been made a long time ago!
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003)
The later shows lacked "Charisma"
9 February 2003
In my opinion, Charisma Charpenter should have been "Buffy". She seemed like she had the physical presence to be more of a "Vampire Slayer" than the too cute little munchkin "SMG".

A. Hannigan, however, always seemed to be the perfect second banana and she was always wonderful.

When the show lost its "Charisma", I immediately lost all interest in the show.

I lot of people don't agree with me, but I don't care!
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Something for everyone (Oriental & Occidental)
8 February 2003
A surprisingly entertaining film from Honk Kong that starts off as a western style soft core porn sex comedy (I laughed out loud for the first one quarter of the film), gives some political commentary on the brutal Japanese invasion of China, and ends up as a chop-socky film between a Taoist priest and a Female ghost of the past concubine of the former owner of a Haunted House!

Another surprise is that it works at every turn! The women are absolutely gorgeous (check out Yuko Amuro and an uncredited actress as "Vivi"--fantastic). And they engage in sex scenes just shy of outright pornography. The characterizations make the flimsy plot almost believable (but entirely funny, but thoughtful).

The special effects are far short of "Poltergeist". but it is the acting that makes this believable. The cinematography was almost flawless, as well.

This movie is definitely a keeper for fans of Hong Kong cinema!
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Lies (1999)
A classic comedy about sex addiction.
6 January 2003
As I recall, in G. Lucas' film "THX-1138" there was a television channel that featured nothing but a robot beating a naked person with his billy club. When I first saw this, I laughed out loud at the obvious satire of our society's need for sex and violence in our entertainment. I had much the same feeling after seeing this film.

At first the film seemed like a competent look at how two people in love want to explore every aspect of each other's bodies. The initial mild S&M just seemed like a logical extension of that exploration. But when the beatings bordered on mutual self destruction, I immediately saw this as lampooning our society's need for ever increasing "kicks" to satisfy our insatiable lust for ever increasing degradation of the human body.

The director suckered us in and punched us right in the gut! Bravo!.
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Futz (1969)
Excellent testimonial to experimental theatre
6 January 2003
"All the world's a stage and its people actors in it"--or something like that. Who the hell said that theatre stopped at the orchestra pit--or even at the theatre door? Why is not the audience participants in the theatrical experience, including the story itself?

This film was a grand experiment that said: "Hey! the story is you and it needs more than your attention, it needs your active participation". "Sometimes we bring the story to you, sometimes you have to go to the story."

Alas no one listened, but that does not mean it should not have been said.
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Guardami (1999)
Explicit for a main stream film, but not a documentary.
25 December 2002
This movie has the typical implied message: "People who flaunt the norms of society lead short painful lives". This is usually the only way the mainstream will accept (in theaters, anyway) stories about sex stars.

The director, in this case, uses this as an excuse to show more about the porn business in the way of nudity and simulated sex (with lots of shots of genitalia).

The star of the show (inspired by the life of Moana Pozzi, the Italian hardcore sex queen), just seems like Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz", where she takes a journey, but most things happen to everyone else. But, like "The Wizard of Oz", what is happening around Dorothy is highly fascinating.

This may be the best film to date about the porno industry that was released in the mainstream.
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Alien Intruder (1993 Video)
Good premise, with lukewarm execution.
25 December 2002
Although the idea of aliens using computer viruses to attack terrestrial computers is almost old hat, here the aliens use the viruses as a siren to lure men to their deaths through their computer stimulated libidos. This is a very interesting twist that held a lot of promise when I first heard about it.

The movie fails on one account. The seductress should be the sexiest chick in the movie! Apparently because of miss Scoggins star power, she wore nothing sexier (that could be easily seen) than a one piece bathing suit, while other fantasy women bared all (Tracie did a very dark love scene, where you could barely make out her darkened breasts).

The first question that comes to mind is: "Even though Tracie is a fox, how could she lure the guys from the other gorgeous women that were baring way more skin"? I know she was the virus in control of the men's minds, but I need visual justification for her control over men.
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A very good effort in the right direction
17 December 2002
The "Star Trek" franchise must walk a wide chasm between the desire to generate the big box office (true of almost any major release) and not alienating the "faithful". Unfortunately, as of late, concern number one has held increasing sway. But as in the "classic" movie series, they finally decided to throw one more bone to us starving dogs of the faithful. This is a big thigh bone, with a lot of meat on it, but it still is not quite satisfying.

With out going into details, some threads were left dangling that even the original one hour TV series would have not overlooked. Some parts of the ending were telegraphed from the middle. Some parts seemed too talky, even for star trek and the usual contrast of characters did not make the dialog interesting enough. However, I felt more for this group of characters in this movie than I ever have--and there were a couple of surprises!

Before you think this is a bad movie--don't, it is way above the usual drek of mainstream motion picture fair (as is most Star Trek), but just is not quite up to the standards die hard fans have come to expect from the best of this series (this is a very high standard).

Let's hope the powers that be continue in this direction. It is more than a worthy entry into the Star Trek legend and certainly the best of the "Next Generational" offering.
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Great story on the irony of being a Marine
16 December 2002
I have not seen this film in over 20 years, but having been in the Marines, it will always be burned in my memory. You may also have to be, or have been, a Marine to fully appreciate the film (although anyone that has lived under authoritarian rule must feel some sympathy for the situations presented).

Although the film may have been re-cut for video release, I remember Duvall's character as being a fully fleshed out dichotomy of a man who rebelled against authority when submission was called for (his practical jokes while performing military duties) and invoking authoritarianism when more compassion and understanding were called for (his family life).

This is what it was like to be a Marine: The Corps was your family and your family was just an inconvenient duty to be performed for society.

If the movie has been re-edited, I suggest you try to see the original theatrical release, if possible. I found it to be a thoughtful and powerful motion picture.
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200 Motels (1971)
The first feature film captured first on video tape.
16 December 2002
There is currently a great controversy waging in the feature film community: Film or videotape(digital)?. Although I think that digital will ultimately win (not because it is superior or cheaper, but it is just much more fun to use in post-production!), one thing should not be overlooked--Frank did it first!.

There were no Avids (TM) or Editdroids (R), hell there was not even scan line removal technology! But FZ, I am sure with the help of some diligent and inventive technicians, solved all of these problems and had the entire thing acceptably transfered to 35mm film for theatrical release (digital film had not been invented yet).

This is another tribute to FZ's genius!
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Restored my faith in Canadian sex comedies
10 December 2002
For a long time it seemed like all the good Canadian actors had headed south of the border and (I guessed) all the second rank ones filled the top slots and that left the dregs for the sex comedies.

This film was a real surprise: despite the outlandish plots that are typical of farces, the actors seemed to be trying to put something into their characters and what we, the viewer, got back was almost true suspension of belief. When the extras from the music video attacked the evicting police, you almost believed it was possible.

If you are a fan of some of the better sex farces (Canadian or not) you should definitely seek this one out. And the big surprise, this sex farce is also loaded with some very good nudity.
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