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Time-waster that wants to seem more important than it is.
23 January 2003
Garbage of the kids-coming-of-age, oddballs-standing-up-and-fighting-back-against-oppression variety. I watched this in high school and couldn't understand why it was a popular movie. The words "tasteless" and "boring" kept going through my mind as I viewed it.

I can't say that this film is loaded with clichés. The entire plot is one big cliché, maudlin and trite. But at least it comes equipped with the obligatory 1970's-ish "downer" ending, to remind you that the filmmakers were making an oh-so big, important, pretentious STATEMENT, not something you were actually supposed to enjoy.

Do something important rather than watch this movie. This would include counting the pennies on top of your dresser, refolding your underwear, or anything else.
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Laserblast (1978)
I guess this is supposed to be a sci-fi comedy-
16 January 2003
Because there is no way they could have expected it to be taken seriously. Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde meets Dracula meets E.T. with a gun.

Cliches abound: the tormented loser of a kid who finds his deus ex machina and exacts retribution, the local yokel law enforcement who seem to be retarded descendants of Gomer Pyle, the Jock, the nerd, the bimbo, the jerk Government Official who thinks he's God, the negligent parent, the busybody gas station attendant, the wacked-out retired military officer. All they needed was a cute little freckled-faced boy with a doggy to complete the list.

The late Kim Milford may have been good-looking, and decent in other aspects of his professional life, but he clearly couldn't act. I DID like the clay animation aliens, however. Although we don't get any translations of their strange language, they ARE expressive.
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Eh.
11 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Possible Spoilers.

Let's mention the good stuff first: it has better acting than the first one. The photography is better, and the scenes don't appear to be as "stagey" as they are in the original.

The packaging for the DVD I bought doesn't have a printed index of scenes inside of it. I could see leaving out discount coupons for a theatrical release, but why leave out something so basic and standard as an index? Unless, perhaps, the filmmakers were convinced that there AREN'T ANY "memorable" scenes that the viewer would WANT to jump to.

Philosophically, the film has its problems. There's an awful lot of deception and lying by our Trib Force heroes and heroines- and that's just toward each other. The people don't seem to act the way normal folks caught up in this extraordinary series of events would.

And I'm sorry, but if anyone -even the anti-Christ- told me that those millions who vanished did so because of "accumulated nuclear radiation" (in the first film) from nuclear testing I'd have to laugh. You wouldn't buy that unless your entire cognitive ability had somehow been shut-off. This applies as well for the idea that the whole world would embrace one religion in order to achieve world peace (in the second movie.) If it could happen, the folks left behind would be more likely than not to EMBRACE CHRISTIANITY, not reject it. The Rapture is in the Bible, after all (even though the word isn't used.)

As you'd expect, Jews and New-Agers alike take a whupping in this movie. The greatest of theologians, a Jew, publicly confesses that his religion has been wrong all these years and that Jesus is the true messiah (which is patently untrue, as a close reading of the Hebrew Scriptures reveals.) The New-Age types get it from the rainbowish New Religion's emblem, which we get to see.

At least this one has a Bloopers and Outtakes section, thus showing that CT has a sense of humor of some sort. It makes the film seem more user-friendly, and makes the filmmakers seem less stuck-up on their own pretentions. I guess someone saw MST3K's "Poopie Reel" and took the hint.

I can only end by saying that Cloud Ten needs to work on its offerings a lot more. It's well acted, as I said, but the movie kept tripping over its own illogicalities.
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Gone the way of the Dodo...
10 January 2003
First, while I've trashed one of these instructional videos on this site before ("Cheating,") I will say that this film was made for elementary school students in 1960. It's very similar to films I watched in grade school in the early-mid '60s. So we can't expect anything.

This one gives us a look -admittedly VERY sanitized- of a dairy farm in 1960, when there was a seemingly bright future for such things. But today the family farm is virtually gone, its labors absorbed by huge agri-business. Therefore, I see this film as a document about a bygone era.
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What a wonderful film!
9 January 2003
I bought the DVD yesterday and watched it. I've found a film I'll watch again and again, of that I'm certain!

The acting was superb all around, and on top of that we have a movie that gives you things to think about- not prepackaged ideas, but ideas for the viewer to extrapolate from himself. The philosophical points that run throughout this movie are the stuff of dreams, while the movie itself is the stuff of legend!
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Cliche '80s JUNK.
9 January 2003
Sigh. Yet another pointless coming-of-age rites-of-passage film. This gunk was old hat in the early 1970's with the execrable "Bless the Beasts and Children" (which I remember being forced to watch in a "Man and Society" class in high school.) It ought to have been left in that decade.

WWS is just more of the same old tough-guy-mistreats-the-wimp and-ends-up-relying-on-him stuff. Cliche buncombe.

The movie has its good points: the locations are certainly lovely, and the photography is postcard perfect, and that's about it.

Don't waste your time, though. Kevin as a rough tough survivalist type? Talk about requiring TOTAL suspension of disbelief! If you want to see a good Kevin Bacon movie, then watch the 1990's horror-comedy "Tremors." At least it wasn't intended to be taken seriously. Avoid this.
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A comedy about a thief and liar.
5 January 2003
The summary line tells you all you need to know. How ANYBODY could even consider this entertainment is beyond me. I didn't watch it all the way through, and I never will, thank you very much. Even the amount I saw was too insulting for me.

At least it really keynotes the fact that every established film actor has one horrendous movie under his belt that he's ashamed of- or should be.
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Horrifying and hilarious.
5 January 2003
A great look into the ultra-paranoid mindset of the Cold War which I lived through. It is truly amazing how such madness (paranoia and intolerance of someone who dares to exercise REAL freedom of speech, of which examples are clearly shown) was accepted in those times.

The "Bert the Turtle" sequence cracked me up. I REMEMBER doing this "Duck and Cover" idiocy! When I was in grade school, we had Civil Defense drills: we were taught to leave the classroom, go out in the hall, face the wall, lean against it and cover our faces with our folded arms. Never you mind that the wall that was behind us consisted mostly of window glass! A shockwave hitting it would have blasted the shards into our backs. It would have looked like the St. Valentine's Day Massacre!

A great film.
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Bad Taste (1987)
Splatterfest on a bake-sale budget.
4 January 2003
I bought the DVD recently and watched this, only because I'd heard so much about it. It's not a benchmark-type "great film," but it is a good one. It displays fine improvisation and has great gun-violence scenes. Obviously a film like this appeals more to teen boys than to any other audience demographic.

It's very funny and believe it or not I didn't find it to be disgusting, probably because I went into it fully aware that NOTHING in it was to be taken seriously.

See it.
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Locust-Pocus
1 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Possible Spoilers-

One of the dumbest sequels ever attempted. Incoherent, badly-plotted, with some truly bizarre moments. The pointless tap dancing sequence and the idiotic collapsing house scene at the end (from which Burton's and Blair's characters traipse unscathed!) are enough on their own to drop the jaw and boggle the mind.

Once again, John Boorman proves that he can't tell a story coherently. This one is right down there with "Zardoz" and is light-years behind "The Emerald Forest," a film I didn't even like.

See this, but only to laugh.
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One of my favorites...
27 December 2002
I love this film. It's more of a detective story than a horror film, and as Sgt. Howie pieces it together, you're right there with him. I like the way Mr. Woodward plays the character as a stuck-up Christian, which initially makes him seem cold and uncharitable. But at the end you feel really sorry about his fate. The pleasure-loving pagan faith portrayed here has a dark, vile underside which was always there, ready to rise and show its destructive self.

One of my favorite contrasts is the joyous, seemingly life-affirming Maypole-dance scene as opposed to Howie's visit to the ruined church. In the latter, everything about the scene (which includes the haunting music) is wistful and melancholic- Howie picks-up a piece of the now decayed wooden screen and then let's it gently fall back. He approaches the desecrated altar and makes a cross of wood which he leaves on top of it. There is a sense of sorrow and loss as he turns and slowly departs- Christianity is dead here.

10 out of 10.
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Capone (1975)
Okay film, but unhistorical and with poor casting.
21 December 2002
There are enough pictures of Alphonse Capone available so that we know exactly what he looked like. Even though Ben Gazzara is a good actor, I couldn't watch this without thinking, "Not Capone, must be a different character of the same name." ;-)

Although a brutal man, Capone had enormous sense. He preferred making money to shooting down rivals, and always tried to negotiate first. He valued loyalty above all else, and he "broke the mold" by insisting that the clannish, ethnic gang style of old was gone and that a man's ethnic background ought to have no bearing in the outfit.

According to a recent biographer, Capone feared being shot and dying alone in the street more than anything else. Unlike in this film, he died as he had hoped: in bed surrounded by his family.

I've always been saddened by the thought that if Capone had wanted to go legit from the start, he could have done it. With his organizational skills he could have been anything he wished.
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Tremors (1990)
Reel fun!
20 December 2002
When this came out in theaters, I didn't see it. I'm not a fan of Kevin Bacon and don't watch much that has him in it. When I saw that he was the top-billed star in this thing, I thought, "Nah. He's okay in character roles I guess, but as a LEADING MAN? No dice." It's nothing personal, since I don't know the man (which I'm sure doesn't hurt him in the least.)

But recently I had second thoughts, so I bought the DVD and watched it; this morning I just finished watching it again. The film is a really good horror comedy, and everyone really got it together on it. Plus, nobody plays it too seriously. The fact that the late, greatly-missed Victor Wong is in it was a great piece of casting. The film works, and I'm glad I finally saw it.

Personally, I recommend it as a good way to spend a morning off from work.
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Really liked it!
13 December 2002
Okay, I'm looking at this thing through the gauze of nostalgia. I haven't seen it all the way through since that long-ago day in 1966 when I bought a ticket at a local movie theater and watched it.

I remember that I laughed throughout this. Dick Van Dyke has always been a favorite of mine and he was in top-form for this film. Richard Deacon ("The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Leave It to Beaver" among other things) provides narration. He had an excellent voice.
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Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963)
Who in God's Name would WANT to live in Mayfield?!
13 December 2002
Think about it: the kids get into trouble in EVERY episode, Ward is a tyrant who loses his composure at the slightest inconvenience (remember how he ranted madly at Wally for using his last razor blade?), June is a reprehensibly repressed hausfrau, Larry Mondello is an abused child (as is Lumpy Rutherford,) Gilbert is a spoiled brat who both enjoys hurting others and yet seems oddly unfocused most of the time, and so on. Wally and Beaver are snivelers who fear their dad, and Beav is so uncertain of himself that he makes-up extravagant lies to over-emphasize his family's importance.

Additionally, I agree with one poster who pointed-out that this show went on too long. As Jerry Mathers got older, he seemed to lose his acting ability. It's no secret that by the last season he WANTED the show to end so that he could concentrate on school sports; Stephen Talbot ("Gilbert Bates" and son of actor Lyle Talbot,) has severed all ties with this show, even refusing to be part of "reunion" programs. Think about it.

If you want to see real comedy in connection with this program, pick up a copy of "The Beaver Papers," which contains script treatments as if they had been written by famous writers! All of it is MUCH funnier than anything that occurred on the show!
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Mr. Deeds (2002)
Laughable in a bad way-
8 December 2002
I have managed, since its release, to avoid this junk. Unfortunately, I recently took a chartered bus trip to Chicago and it was one of those buses that have TV monitors every five rows of seats. I'm one of those people who appreciates a comfortable ride in peace, perhaps chatting with a fellow passenger.

So I had this drivel inflicted (and that's not too strong a word) on me. It was unfunny and being forced to at least listen to this rubbish sealed its fate in my book. An amazingly boring film from a production team that ought to know better.

I refused to see this in theaters- and now I can say I wasn't wrong to avoid it.
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Inferior to the classic cartoon on every possible level.
8 December 2002
Beyond the use of too much back story, beyond the decision to jam every bit of design and gimmicks possible into the film so that it is rendered unwatchable, beyond the ludicrous, over-the-top performance to the point that Carrey reminds me of Dr. Frank N. Furter wrapped in a green carpet, the filmmakers completely missed the point of the story.

A previous poster said it best: Geisel wanted to give us a character who just happens to be rotten, period. His redemption in the book and cartoon are far greater events because he finds the love in himself to vanquish HIS evil nature which is HIS ALONE. Additionally, the film seems to work overtime to secularize the story, which Geisel didn't try to do.

Read the book and see the cartoon, which is a truly uplifting experience. Avoid this load of green-and-red cotton candy.
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On the Beach (1959)
A personal favorite
30 November 2002
The film is emotionally devastating, even after you've seen it a number of times. Others on this site have reviewed the plot, so I'll say that the thing which most affected me about the film is, ultimately, its nihilistic viewpoint- that Death is indeed no respecter of persons, age, ability, or good intentions. The completely innocent die along with the guilty, there is no salvation for humanity, and in the end everything mankind has done, good and bad alike, is rendered irrelevant, completely meaningless.

The only thing I disliked were the dramatic chords and the scenes at the end- "THERE IS STILL TIME BROTHER!" Duh! We KNOW what the message was and didn't need it beaten into our heads, thank you very much!

Personally, I'd have ended it as the submarine is sailing off into the sunset to the slow, sad strains of "Waltzing Matilda."
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Hughes returns to the well...
16 November 2002
And dredges another bucket of the same old bilge from the "Home Alone" world. Once again we get the smart young kid foiling a robbery attempt. Ooh, but this one's different! It only has ONE robber!

I just get tired of this "We have no new ideas, so let's recycle an old gimmick that worked!" scenario. It's why we're still cursed with old-hat cop and doctor shows on TV, too.
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Best horror movie I've seen!
8 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I just watched this on DVD. Thank goodness someone finally realized that this cult classic deserves a much bigger potential audience than it could get from TV runs.

I love it. Niall MacGinnis's Dr. Karswell is at one and the same time both a cause for fear and himself a victim of paranoia. Dana Andrews is perfect as the rugged hero- the sort of character MacGinnis, oddly enough, had portrayed many years before this film was made.

Some people consider the film to be too talky. I disagree- I think that so much exposition was necessary to keep the viewer from becoming lost in the story.

Should the demon have been seen, or merely inferred? I must say that it is such an impressive piece of work that I think that showing it was a good choice.

*Spoiler* The victims die at 10:00 PM. Is it mere coincidence that in the current horror thriller, THE RING, the victims die at 10:00 PM? I think not! Karswell's death scene is itself fantastic!

An absolute must-see.
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Julia (1968–1971)
As well made as "The Donna Reed Show" and just as phony.
1 November 2002
Typical Hollywood "family" programming, this one is about a Black single working mom who raises a son, works full-time, and imparts those family values!

It doesn't take a genius to see this for the irrelevant, feel-good nonsense it is. It had practically nothing to do with real single-parent life then, and is even more dated now.
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Fascinating, expensive movie.
25 October 2002
This movie had the stockholders quaking when they saw the costs mount. It was the most expensive movie made up to that time, and it shows that silent films really COULD create spectacle on a grand scale.

One of the posters remarked on how ridiculous the Klansmen's hoods looked. Actually, the original "ghost costumes" were all homemade and there was no standardized uniform- some had spikes on the head, horns, painted faces on the masks, etc.

I myself had an ancestor who was a member of the Reconstruction Ku Klux Klan, and they saw themselves as guerilla fighters against an occupying power, not as terrorists. Today we can condemn them. At the time, it must have seemed to them that the war was over, but that the battle lines were still firmly drawn.

This film is a good peek into the attitude of the general public in 1915 about Reconstruction. It became a national obsession, and probably gave impetus to Col. William Joseph Simmons's decision to "resurrect" the Klan in that year.
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The Ring (2002)
Good, with one big flaw.
18 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS* SPOILERS* SPOILERS*

I saw this movie today, and I liked it. It wasn't scary so much as it was disorienting- the odd bluish-grayish-greenish coloring of the backgrounds contrasted with the normal appearance of the actors and actresses, for example. I also liked the way it begins- a few strange happenings which, by themselves, were apparently harmless but which taken together indicated strange things were afoot. The film as a whole is actually a hybrid- part horror, part detective story.

The ending was good, too- the mother and her son having been spared because she made a copy of the video, thus helping the vengeful spirit of the child to "be heard," and yet with the implication that now they must show the video to others, who will in all likelihood become victims themselves.

The soundtrack was another plus- the tinkling, slow piano seemed almost wistful and sad.

One thing I hated: David Dorfman's portrayal of the son, Aidan. Rory Culkin already did this in "Signs" (a film I despise,) and Dorfman gives it to us again: yet another big eyed, nauseously precocious brat who talks like a grownup and possesses the secret knowledge of whatever is wrong. It's too bad a kid like this couldn't have gone to work for the Government years ago- he could probably have told us all about North Korea's nuclear weapons program before Kim Jong-Il approved it.
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The Outer Limits (1963–1965)
I saw it when it premiered in '63. Fantastic!
12 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, forget about the wires that are clearly visible when an object is supposed to be levitating; likewise, ignore the Gumbyesque, stop-motion clay animation of some of the monsters. This was a show with such great writing and performances that you could easily overlook its unimportant flaws. Compare this with special effects-laden extravaganzas like SWE I: the Phantom Menace, where overwhelming effects did not save the film due to its poor storyline and laughable dialogue (and acting.)

(Spoilers, if that's possible): This show's episodes, like Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone," used the sci-fi as a vehicle to give us a moral. Among my favorite episodes were "O.B.I.T.", where the horror was not so much a planned alien invasion but that people could be so easily suckered into assisting it by appeals to their most base instincts; "The Architects of Fear," where an attempt to unite the people of Earth using a fake alien invader goes horrible wrong and we see that it would not necessarily bring people closer together (as the narrator says, "There is no substitute for soft caring and hard work."); "The Borderland," where a wealthy old man so desperately wants to see his deceased son that he decides to sacrifice his current, earthly existence (heroically, in my opinion) just for the chance of seeing his beloved son again, and "A Feasibility Study" in which neighbors, abducted by an alien race to see if humanity would be suitable as slave labor, come together and voluntarily choose to sabotage the aliens' plan by destroying themselves.

I am delighted with the DVD package of the first season's episodes. It serves as my own time machine.
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Cheating (1952)
Dire consequences-
9 October 2002
Big Youth on School Grounds Johnny Taylor gets his friend, Mary, to help him cheat on his Algebra test. In time, he slides further and further into the dark world of school cheating, until he is caught and publicly degraded- his friends now hate him, his girlfriend is disgraced, he is totally humiliated and -horror of horrors- he is booted off the School Council. You get the feeling that his life is, effectively, ruined forever by the trauma. Oh, the shame of it all!

The lighting and sets would have been appropriate in a Fritz Lang film like "Metropolis," "Mabuse- der Spieler," or "M". All is eerie foreboding and miasmic horror.
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