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My favorite STAR TREK film.
This has been my favorite of the STAR TREK films, despite its length and gritty special effects. But viewers have to understand that this film was rushed during production. That's why the space scenes look the way they do. But that problem is soon to be solved when the DVD edition is released in 2001. The space scenes will be cleaned up. I hope that when this underrated masterpiece is re-released that people will see it for its intended beauty. As for those who know its beauty all ready, I hope they will appreciate the film more.
Summer of '42 (1971)
This is a wonderful film. Gary Grimes played the geeky and sensitive Hermie rather well. He reminded me of a very young Anthony Perkins. Jerry Houser and Oliver Courant did rather fine as Hermie's friends, Oscy and Benji. Oscy was tough while Benji was a coward. A rather nice contrast. Hermie was in the middle of the tough-weak spectrum. He was not afraid of girls like Benji was and yet he was not crude like Oscy.
I thought Jennifer O'Neill was dazzling in this film. Her pretty blue eyes, bright white smile, and dark brown hair lit up against the gritty and pastel scenery of the film. I liked how her character was nice to young Hermie. While watching the film, I wanted Dorothy and Hermie to "get together."
Michael Legrand's Oscar-winning musical score gave the film its nostalgic feel. I loved how gritty and pastel the film was. The forties were a gritty and pastel time, the picture should reflect that. And it did.
I recommend this film to anyone who likes a nice quiet drama with simple characters and simple plots. I give this film a 10/10.
Bio Hazard (1996)
A game that redefines horror.
Back in 1997, my brothers and I still played Super Nintendo and were entertained by it. Then one of my brother's friends brought over his Playstation. Among his menagerie of games was Resident Evil (or as it is known here as Biohazard). Upon playing it, my brother was addicted. Soon after, I got addicted to watching him play it. I attempted it once, but got killed on the spot. I played it again and got a little farther, but then died again. It was when my brother bought his own Playstation that I really got into it.
I fell in love with its dark surroundings, the old Victorian (or what seems Victorian) mansion. I fell in love with the musical score, which was dark and utterly creepy. And I fell in love with the story, which is one you the game player have to piece together yourself. The characters were interesting, but nothing to fall in love with. Chris is tough, but not very skillful. Jill was skillful, but not all that strong. Barry is helpful, but only to Jill. Rebecca is just plain annoying. And Wesker is just plain shady.
The creatures are as much the part of the story as the STARS members. Zombies, killer dogs, a giant snake, giant spiders, a giant shark, a giant plant, Hunters, killer snakes, Gremlins (sometimes known as Chimeras or Clawmen), and an overgrown giant humanoid killing machine known as Tyrant are the baddies that will make sure you do not walk out of that mansion alive. Plus there are a nice assortment of puzzles to keep your mind somewhat active.
I would have given this game a perfect 10. But I did not. What kept me from doing that was one thing, the acting. The actors who provided the voice-overs and were in the beginning and ending cinematic sequences were awful. The actor who was Barry was probably the only half-way decent one. The worst was the actress who was Rebecca. She was terrible. But to do proper justice to the game itself I gave this a 9.
Few movies can do what this can.
"Metropolis" is by far one of the greatest films ever made. It is not only entertaining, but deeply true.
The sets of this masterpiece were large, cold, and formidable. And the black-and-white film accentuated that aspect, giving the feeling to the audience member the environment of a cold and heartless future.
The beginning scene (which is quite famous) where the shift change takes place really spells out (to me) what working-class life can be (just me, I come from one). The scene also made me think that our educational system is set up like that on "Metropolis". The students are the workers and the faculty are the "Super Trustee".
As the film continued, I continued liking it more so. I liked Freder the best because he felt sympathy for the workers, unlike his father, John Fredersen (who ran Metropolis). He (Freder) even offered to work one of the machines for a tired worker. That shows great sympathy I think.
Also, I liked how they introduced a staple of modern sci-fi films, the robot. I was amazed on how odd the robot looked, blocky but strangely human.
Another thing that caught my eye in this film was all the machines. Scads and scads of them every where. That was one thing my friend told me about before I watched this film was the amount of machines in the movie. I guess that was to hammer in the idea that this was supposed to be the future.
"Metropolis" definitely inspired many films and film-makers. It inspires me to say the least. Few movies can do what this can.
The Boondock Saints (1999)
It's a film on the lines of Reservoir Dogs and Trainspotting.
When my brother watched this film with my father, he told me afterward that it was, and I quote, "Better than Reservoir Dogs." Better than Reservoir Dogs? That's a serious review. So for my birthday he bought it for me from a local Blockbuster and that night, I watched it for the first time. And I have to say, he was right. Reservoir Dogs was great I don't deny that. But this film managed more laughs and looks of quiet awe than Reservoir Dogs.
This, I think, is writer/director Troy Duffy's first big film. And I say he did a fine job. He laid the storyboard perfectly, using a lot of flashback techniques. He presented a horrifying scene at first, then he shows you how it happens. Like how it was done in Reservoir Dogs.
The two main characters, played excellently by Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus, had light twangy accents from the Isles that made me think of Trainspotting. That and the fact that Sean Patrick Flannery vaguely looked like Ewan McGregor in the film. I also liked how, despite the fact that they were killers, they managed to pull it off like teenaged hooligans.
I also tip my proverbial hat to Willem Dafoe for playing such an odd character, an highly-stressed, highly-intelligent, highly unorthodox homosexual FBI agent. And I also tip my hat off to David Della Rocco. He played a laughable, bumbling mafia turncoat quite well. And I loved how the Saints managed to pick on him from time to time.
And the ending was definitely powerful. A definite way to end an excellent action film, but at the same time make room for a potential sequel.
Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924)
It, like all of Fritz Lang's films, is worth watching.
I usually do not rent silent films. I have to be in the mood for them. And I definitely was in the mood for this one.
I was amazed that how well this film was made. The shots were beautiful and full of Old World splendor. And the organ solo that accompanied the film set the proper mood for this medieval German epic.
And I thought that the scene where Siegfried fought the dragon was all right. I expected the scene to be flimsy effects-wise, but it wasn't. In fact, it was much better than I expected. Kudos to the special effects people.
I have yet to see its latter half "Krimhilde's Revenge". I hope that it is as good as "Siegfried".
The Haunting (1963)
An over-hyped, obsolete, waste of film.
I fail to understand how anyone can say that this is one of the best horror films ever made. The mood was weak. The characters, except for Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson), were idiotic. And the story was slow-paced and bland, just like Shirley Jackson's novel.
Richard Johnson's cold narrative at the beginning did manage send chills down my spine, but it was the only thing that did. The rest was just a waste. After I finished watching it the first time, I was unsatisfied. I thought it was just me. Then I rented it again and watched it all the way through and again I still was unsatisfied. With that in mind, I knew it was not me. The movie was, simply put, weak. I imagine if Alfred Hitchcock directed this movie instead of Robert Wise, it would have been a lot better. But don't misunderstand me, I like Robert Wise. I thought he did fine on "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". That film, I think, was more spooky than "The Haunting".
Claire Bloom's presence was the only other aspect of the movie that was good. That woman could grace just about anything. I could watch her read the phone book and still be aroused.
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Darker, spookier, and better than "The Haunting."
It's amazing how this film has seemed to slip through the cracks into the realm of the forgotten. It is the best of its kind, better than "The Haunting" (I'll probably get guff for that remark, but I don't care).
John Hough better established a dark and utterly cold atmosphere for the house in this film. The musical score certainly added to that. And Richard Matheson, I think, did a better job on the screenplay for this film than his original novel "Hell House" (which is a rareity).
The actors all performed excellently as well. All the actors, Roddy McDowall, Pamela Franklin, Clive Revill, and Gayle Hunnicutt, played their parts well. Their grim visages and soft British accents really fit well with the cold, dark scenery of the film. Heck, even Roland Culver (who had a very small part) did an all right job with his character, Rudolph Deustch (the old rich guy). And yes, let us not forget Michael Gough's performance (which consisted of a spoken part that was cut on a record and played back on a victrola and a cameo appearance at the end). And while I'm at it, I even commend Peter Bowles for his role, even though it was nothing special. Well, that takes care of the entire cast.
That was another thing I liked about this film, a small cast of characters. It let you focus more on the dark scenery. It let you absorb all the spooky elements. All the horror.
Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)
Not as good as Psycho or Psycho II, but good enough.
My father first rented this film in the summer of 1991. I was about ten years old when I watched it. I didn't understand most of it, but I liked it. I just re-watched it within the last few months as result of a sparked interest in both the movies and the books.
I liked how this film dove into Norman Bates's troubled past (that of course is an understatement). That was probably the best aspect of the film, not much else. I liked how Anthony Perkins once again reprised his signature role as Norman Bates after suffering that horrid humiliation from Psycho III. Olivia Hussey was wicked in this movie as Norman's mother. She must have taken lessons from Faye Dunaway in her role as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. The way she yelled at him and stripped poor Norman of his manhood was just awful. But yet, she managed to stay human in certain scenes of the movie and not be such a demon. Henry Thomas did somewhat a good job playing Norman Bates as a teenager, but his performance lacked the geeky, child-like charm that Anthony Perkins had in the original film.
As for the rest of the actors, well, most of them aren't worth mentioning. Except for Thomas Schuster, who played Chet Rudolph, Norma Bates's midnight cowboy. His character was very cocky and rude, the kind of guy you love to hate. The kind of man mom would bring home and expect you to call dad, which in Norman's case was true. But that never came to pass, if you know the story line.
Director Mick Garris is no Alfred Hitchcock. He is no Richard Franklin either. But he does manage to deliver a good addition to the Psycho series. Not as good as Psycho or Psycho II, but good enough.
Black Christmas (1974)
Lovers of John Carpenter's Halloween will love this film even more.
When I rented this film around the Christmas season of 1999, I did not know what to expect. The only reason why I rented it was that Olivia Hussey and Keir Dullea were in the leading roles (I have a strange and sick obsession with Olivia Hussey and I liked Keir Dullea in 2001). But then when I first watched it that dark and cold Saturday night, I was amazed.
The film's style was very dark and mysterious, as well as bizarre. While watching the film, I saw where John Carpenter might have gotten a lot of his filming technique from his 1978 classic, Halloween (one of my personal favorites). It, like Halloween, involves the murders of young women. And in the case of Black Christmas, it's sorority girls.
What set this apart from Halloween is that the killer is less human than Michael Myers. You saw Michael Myers, but you do not see the killer in Black Christmas. Plus the killer is insane, especially when he rants. His rants make no sense, making his intentions unknown. He just kills, not for revenge like most horror films. But he just kills. I don't know about you, but that is what makes this film even scarier, aside from the spooky musical score.
They say that Jamie Lee Curtis is the "scream queen." Well whoever thinks that obviously has not heard Olivia Hussey's lungs in action. That woman can SCREAM.
It's best if you watch this film alone in a quiet house at night during the Christmas season. I did that the second time I watched it. I tell you the truth, I had a hard time walking downstairs to go to the bathroom I was so scared. And no horror film has ever done that to me since the first time I saw Scream about three years ago.
Some may argue that the characters in the film are not very developed, but that does not matter because most of them die anyway. One of the few characters that stood out in this film was Barb (Margot Kidder). She is a drunk, trash-talking sorority girl who manages offend just about everybody. The woman who played the sorority house mother, Mrs. Mac (Marion Waldman), also stood out as a trash-talking, drunken woman. Olivia Hussey's character is a bit snobbish, like any sorority girl, but not to her other sisters. Keir Dullea's character is high-strung and unpredictable, which adds to the film mysterious style. But as for the rest, there really was no room for them to grow. Besides, like I just stated, most of them get killed off anyway.
The end really surprised me. I mean, really. No questions asked. It even shocked me, but I'm going to spoil it for anyone. But if you loved John Carpenter's Halloween, you'll love this film even more. I guarantee it.
Psycho II (1983)
An original and worthy successor to Psycho.
Many times when a sequel to a good Horror film is made, it usually is not as good as its predecessor. This is not the case, however, with Psycho II.
It does not try to be Psycho, and director Richard Franklin does not try to be Alfred Hitchcock. Franklin has a different style altogether. Though he employs the use of odd camera angles, like Hitchcock, it is only because it can be indirectly identified as a Psycho film. The film itself is more of a mystery/drama than a horror film. Yes, people do get killed, but you, the viewer do not know who is doing it until the very end.
lso, Norman Bates seems to be the victim in this film rather than the victimizer. This is due to Lila Crane's thirst for revenge for what he did to her sister those twenty-two years ago. And in a particular scene with him and his lady friend, Mary (Meg Tilly), he reveals the torture he went through in the mental hospital about how the doctors robbed him of all his pleasant memories of his abusive mother. He eventually breaks down and weeps and the sad music commences. This made me feel sympathy for poor Norman. But that sympathy ended right at the end of the film. The end was probably one of the best parts of the film, that's the scene where the big mystery unravels.
What I also liked about this sequel was that both Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles reprised their original roles. I probably would not have liked it as much if some new people were assuming the roles.
Jerry Goldsmith's sad-toned musical score was original, not a Bernard Hermann rehash. Music, to me, is an important factor in how good or bad a film is.
All and all, it is definitely an original and worthy successor to Psycho.
Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996)
Like its successor, Soul Reaver, this game has its share of intrigue and carnage.
One night in the spring of 1997, my older brother came home with this game called, "Blood Omen: The Legacy of Kain." He had neither heard of it by way of mouth or by seeing someone else play it. He bought it just in blind faith. When I saw him play it that night, I was enthralled by its dark, Gothic scenery and powerful, chilling musical score. That was just my initial reaction to the game. Then, when I played it, I could not stop because of its intriguing story line. It is about a petty nobleman, Kain, who goes into a small town and tries to lodge there for the night. But the innkeeper refuses him and sends him back into the cold, bitter night. Outside the inn, he is killed by unknown assailants and is sent to the hellish underworld. Chained and tortured, Kain is confronted by the necromancer Mortanius. He offers to resurrect Kain so that he can take vengeance upon his assassins. Kain accepts this, not realizing that by doing this that he will become a vampire. And so Kain returns to the world of Nosgoth, his home, and wreaks blind vengeance upon all. That's all I'm going to tell you about. If you want to know more, PLAY THE GAME.
The brilliant diction and syntax of the script is spectacular, and in my case educational, for it inspired me to build my vocabulary quite a bit (my brother's too). An excellent voice talent cast brings the characters of this masterpiece to life. Simon Templeman is excellent as the blood-thirsty, hate-driven Kain. Voice actor Tony Jay with his deep, throaty voice does well to give life to the shady necromancer Mortanius. Great performances from Neil Ross, Richard Doyle, and Anna Gunn, who did the bulk of the voices in this game (Anna Gunn did all the female voices). And Paul Lukather is incredible as the veteran vampire Vorador. To anyone who likes fantasy games, or any kind of action/adventure game, this one is worth at least a try.