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Cheesy trash movie.
31 January 2003
Final Destination didn't need a sequel in the first place, but I guess all those gore-hungry teens and their wallets were too much to pass by. If you've seen Final Destination then you've seen part two already, they are exactly the same. Kimberly is on a road trip with her friends, foresees their deaths and many others' in a huge traffic accident, wakes from the premonition, saves several people from getting on the freeway, the survivors start to die...wow, how original, add in a plane and you've got the first movie again! Magic! The script is Final Destination with new characters and new deaths. The dialogue is very corny, I felt embarrassed to be watching a movie where every character goes "What are you talking about?" or "What's going on?" every other minute, as if that line hasn't been used in horror movies over and over to the point it's a cliche in itself. Plus, it just adds to the bad acting. The girl playing Kimberly is serviceable and of course Ali Larter is fine, but the other "actors" must have done this between their commercial shoots. It's bad. The body count is the only thing the movie is concerned with, and that's no surprise. Everything just leads up to another deathtrap in which someone dies in a horribly gory way. If you don't like blood, stay away. Really there's nothing much to look forward to except to see who's going to bite it and how. There's some bogus subplot about how only new life can defeat death, but it's very cheesy and uninteresting, just like the movie. The opening car pileup is neatly choreographed but brought down by the bad acting and amateur music, which should have been more impactful. Ali Larter should have stayed away just like Devon Sawa and made a real movie where she gets better lines and a chance to show she has talent. Her lines are bad, just like everyone elses'. The movie takes itself way too seriously at parts that it's embarrassing how corny it all is.

The first film was no masterpiece, but it was a serviceable thriller with a fine cast. There is no one in this sequel with a bit of acting talent observed from the first cast. I'm sure this movie will be an embarrassment to Kerr Smith, Devon Sawa, and surely Ali Larter since all it does is give the first one a bad name. Yep, they've turned Final Destination into a franchise. This one is not even half as good as the first and the direction, music, and acting minus Larter is rock bottom. If you like gore and no more, treat yourself. Otherwise, the creepiness and deft craft of the first film is absent and cheesiness takes over. Stay away if you can help it, death should have taken this film.
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Innovative movie wasted on teen audience.
29 January 2003
In Final Destination the characters are all out to keep Death itself from finishing them off since they are supposed to have died anyways in a plane crash. Eerie premonitions, a plot that holds much potential, and a great atmosphere...all gone down the drain with the teen horror garbage. Instead of highly executed characters and a little more fleshing out, the film wastes everything to feed this thing to the gore-hungry teen audience. The issues of death and all its aftershocks could have been buttered up into a better movie overall if the studio had not cast a teen audience and set it among a high school crowd. For the benefit of the doubt there is one cardboard adult character who doesn't make it very long. The opening is flavored with enough eerie fingerfood to make you think you're in for a treat. But as soon as the plane goes kaboom, so does the film. After that, we look forward to whiny teens running around while Death hunts them down in more and more ridiculous ways. Take away the dressy plot and it boils down to nothing more than another slasher. We wait on end while the cast drops one by one. Actually, the death scenes are not the problem, it's the way they are set up and what's in between all the messiness. The characters who don't make it all die fascinating deaths. I use fascinating in the sense that a simple turn of events, the smallest detail, sets off a chain reaction that leads to a very bizarre ending for the unlucky survivors. Death never looked so stylish. Hell, these deaths are downright classy and sleek. Death in this film is like the shiny silver on the blade of a knife. But for all the eye-candy, the holes need to be covered up better. For one thing, why does the main character Alex have a premonition in the first place? Just so Death can play cat-and-mouse? And what's with the stock characters? It's really sad because beneath it's teen horror goofiness are the blueprints for a fine film. All they had to do was scrape off all the bubble gum. The film reaches heights when it deals with the survivors reactions to all the stuff happening to them, and their view on Death. The film touches on loneliness, fear, and rejection. A character study begun and not finished. In the end, it is all swept away for the Clearasil crowd.
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Vertigo (1958)
What a stupid, overrated movie!
29 January 2003
HOW is this on the top 250 films list??? Sitting through this thing was just awful, it was worse than physical pain! The...most...boring...movie...ever...made! Trust me, I have seen my share of hokey, boring films, but if this film went any slower I swear you'd see the frames. The fact that this is liked by so many people is a travesty. I only rented it (thanks a lot, guys) and I feel like I blew my money, and it was only $3.00. WHAT was this film trying to do!? How could this even have been made?! I'm surprised anyone was left in the theater when the credits began to roll. I'm serious, anyone who has not seen this, avoid it like a serial killer. A guy is hired to follow his friend's wife around because she is possessed and possibly suicidal. They manage to fall in love in an unbelieveable and cheesy way. Then she goes and dies and he meets a woman who reminds him so much of her that he even begins to dress her like his lost love. Oh yeah, and this is spread out over like 2 hours. It feels like 5. I was bored to death while the cheesy soap opera music soared when he kissed her in their stupid love affair. The ending is very dumb, I was hoping for some gratification after having sat through the most God awful dull film ever, but no. It ends badly and that's it. Blah. How anyone could enjoy such an uninteresting film is beyond me. We see movies to be entertained. This is not anything near entertainment. It provides nothing to the viewer except a slow, deathly drag scene after scene. Entertainment at it's worst. The most unenjoyable film ever. In the end, just another seriously overrated film that anyone normal would fall asleep watching and laugh at later.
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A positive review.
25 January 2003
These days horror can't win. No matter what, a horror film is going to get bad reviews. It's as simple as that. So why worry about it anymore? If you like horror movies, go see them, because if you wait for one with good reviews, it'll never happen. That out of the way, let me say this movie is pretty average, but it does have its moments. It's fun, full of scares, and has some pretty tense moments at times. A lot of it is contrived, but who cares? The characters all survive by staying in the light, or else the evil tooth fairy/witch will suck them into the air and rip them up. This leads to many suspenseful situations involving flashlights and overhead beams. The acting is good, and the movie zooms along at a swift pace. I recommend seeing this if you're a horror fan or if you just want to have fun. Don't go expecting to see a masterpiece, this is horror. You go to these movies to have a good time, enjoy it. Critics really bashed this film...REALLY bashed it...but then again most critics are like 40 years old and up, so do you really want advice from them? The film is of course full of cliches. The lights all go out at the wrong time, even flashlights die and overhead lights go out just in time for the witch to kill someone. About the 6th time a light goes out and puts our friends in doom we have to start wondering how many times a light can just run out in one night. The witch is also better when she stays in the dark, I have to add. When we get a good look at her she looks too much like a puppet. Her mask is the only scary thing. So in short, ignore the reviews. Was there ANYONE expecting this to get a good grade? Is there ANY horror movie that ever will? Think about it. Funny how no one gripes about the more and more contrived romantic comedies popping up every month...or the more and more contrived action flicks every summer. It seems every other genre can recycle the same old stuff and not get in trouble for it. Think about it. EVERY movie these days, spare a few, suffers from horror symptoms: cliches, contrived plots, cheesy lines...So trust me, think about where you're getting advice from before you skip a fun movie.
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The Shining (1980)
Artsy horror...nothing more.
23 January 2003
Don't be fooled that just because this a Stanley Kubrick movie and it's on the top 250 films here that it's good. Don't get me wrong, the movie is certainly top-notch horror, but only in the terms that it's not a teenage slasher, the body count is not sky high, it has people who can actually act, and the mood is just right. For a horror film, that's VERY rare. BUT...you will most likely fall asleep waiting for the movie to get to a scare. Kubrick lets this movie drag on forever...it's exhausting. If you've read the book, you know it's about a family that moves into the Overlook Hotel where the dad pulls a crazy and goes postal with an axe (actually, a mallet in the book). Sound interesting? It is. If you can wait the 2 hours to get to that part. The only good thing about this is the end, which is terrifying and definitely a horror classic, and the several good scares Kubrick inserts...between all the boring stuff. This "family" just walks around the hotel alone, not even talking to one another except about meals, etc. while Nicholson (a great performance, by the way) loses it for no apparent reason...a little explanation would have helped. Shelly Duvall is a good actress...her character is such a wuss you could hit her with a feather and she would die. Overall this movie has serious flaws like slow pacing...um, VERY slow...and the biggest flaw of all is in the characters. I never even FEEL the connection between these people. You never believe they are a family. I mean, the little boy Danny is being chased by his own FATHER with an axe...that's something absolutely terrible...but in this movie you never even see the two as father and son...you see them as killer and prey. Hello?! They are blood relatives, shouldn't we feel that? This is NOT a family. This movie is just artsy, dressed up horror, boil it all down and you got a boring movie with a few good scares. If you want to see this, make sure you see it alone. That way you won't make your friends sit for over 2 hours watching Danny ride around on a bike, Wendy make meals, and Jack type. YAAAWWWWNNNN!
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The Shield (2002–2008)
Great drama and action.
22 January 2003
This series is really entertaining if you like your drama hard and gritty. Those of you who get your fill from soaps and shows like ER should stick to that, this is more in the lines of Sopranos, Oz, and the new 24.

The series doesn't seem like it should deliver much, another cop show in TV land (who can even count how many there are...?) that airs on a channel mostly known for reruns of other great shows from networks like Fox and the WB. But it delivers more than any other police drama and many of the shows that air on the big networks.

The reason for this might be that the happy family hour drama is tossed right out the window. This series is realistic and often very controversial. That may be a weakness, but in terms of creativity, it's a big strength. You'll be shocked to hear and see the things that happen on this show. This show is allowed to get by using words you would gawk at on the regular networks. Other networks might let b*tch pass, but this show has almost every profane word you can think of. Finally, cops talking like cops! Thank you! Gone are the days when cops never cuss. That is the worst case of reality.

The violence is also a big part in setting this series aside from the other "fantasy" cop shows. It doesn't waste time trying to make sure the cops are always the good guys. It admits perfectly that cops are not saints, they do what they have to do.

Every character in the series is fleshed out with their own story for the episode. The show usually cuts between two or three different cases, and the cops' interactions with one another. The main case always centers around Vic Mackey, the good/bad guy. He's the perfect character because you are appalled at the things he does yet strangely sympathetic to him. The Emmy is well deserved, the guy stirs up emotions unlike any other character on TV.

The stories might not be all that original, but with 20 other cops shows around since the '80s, what stories HAVEN'T been done? The stories are mostly a mixture of Law & Order style cases mixed with violence, action, and drama. Who doesn't like that mix?

The series only produces 13 episodes a season. That seems to be a pattern with all the really great shows today (Sopranos, Six Feet Under, etc.). Maybe others should take notice that when you have to make 22 episodes a season it's impossible to keep all the drags out of the line to last that long. The show is following that (hopefully) growing trend where they reduce the number of episodes and keep all the crap "filler" episodes out. Most series that have to make a slate of 22 episodes have to fill the season up with nothing episodes just to have breaks in the story arc. Thank the creators of The Shield for giving us quality over quantity.

So a word of advice to other networks: if you're not going to do away with cop shows anytime soon, at least do something the others aren't doing to keep them going that long road (something The Shield is proud to be doing). And some advice to bored TV viewers: wake up and see what's now one of the hottest dramas on TV.

P.S. A BIG thanks to whoever is responsible for getting the first year out on DVD so soon. Finally the U.S. gets a DVD release of a great show before the UK. Let's see these DVDs come out season by season, please! So how long after season 2 ends can I buy it...?
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Extreme Ops (2002)
Man, this movie was BAD.
17 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This is the most pointless movie I've seen in years. The characters spend like 3 and a half quarters of the film snowboarding around and doing tricks...then like the last...!!15 MINUTES!!? are spent fighting off terrorists. Trust me, I could not believe how long it took for those guys to show up and threaten the group and it was resolved in like 15 minutes. What a waste of time! What were we sitting there watching the movie for? The trailer promised a thriller with action. We got action...where's the rest? And the action is all intermediate stuff. The tricks aren't anything any student filmmaker can't do with a couple of snowboarders. I think the most complex action sequence in here was the use of some rocket launcher. Whoopie. If you don't count Devon Sawa, the cast sucks. You're practically begging for them to get captured by terrorists. And then there's the unforgivable cheesiness. This film is double the cheese. Amateur filmmakers trying to make an action movie. A junior high kid could do the same job with a big budget and a camera. Seriously. They all chalk up the sport with cheesy lines and make bad jokes. Then there's the whole sub-plot about a girl who's won a gold medal and must prove herself to the gang that she can ski like they can. In fact (SPOILER) the movie ends with a shot of her smiling like the whole thing was about her and her problems with becoming "one of the group". Hahaha! AVOID AT ALL COSTS. PLEASE, TRUST ME, YOU WILL BE SORRY!!!
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Friends (1994–2004)
A fun half-hour.
16 January 2003
I generally tend to hate shows everyone won't shut up about and the ones that get like a gazillion viewers every week because that just makes you look harder for flaws, but I can't do that with Friends. Yes, as everyone has said, there are flaws, but if you are looking for the flaws then you're missing the point anyways. Do you sit down and watch a sitcom to see what you can complain about in it or do you sit down to watch it and have fun?

One thing that you do need to get through this thing is a little suspension of disbelief, however. To believe that an actual person can be as ditzy as Phoebe or as stupid as Joey requires some leeway there. Joey would be put in "special" place if he were real and Phoebe...well...let's just say she'd also be a "special" girl. The jokes are often very unrealistic in the fact that no one's life is THAT funny and no one tells jokes every 30 seconds.

The whole laugh track seems timed, and that is one thing I will comment on about being flawed. I hate the whole system where they babble about something, make a joke, babble, joke, babble, joke...see where I'm going? And no one in the show seems to think anything is funny. Something insanely funny will happen to, let's say, Phoebe, so that you are cracking up and the other people (Ross, Rachel, etc.) are just standing there. Their reactions are all wrong.

In one episode, Rachel let a pillow fall off their apartment balcony and later a man came to their door and handed the pillow to Chandler, who was unaware it had even fallen, and he takes it with a weird look, the laugh track goes crazy, and he turns around and just sets it down, not even bothering to ask his friends in the room "What the hell was that about?" I mean, who would just put it aside and not say "Hey guys, someone just gave me a pillow...". Hello? He just forgets it? Sure.

But all this is not the point, however bad it may seem. It's a fun show with funny situations and the characters are great so the show has endured for years. If only people in real life knew how to kick it back like these people, there'd be no worries. I think everyone could take an example from the characters of Friends.

And by the way, what's with the bad reviews? I mean, the show gets number 1 or 2 every week in the Nielsen's...that MILLIONS and MILLIONS of viewers...obviously just about...gee...90 PERCENT of America thinks it's funny! Who's bad-mouthing, the other 10 percent? Enjoy it, it's a funny show.
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What are you talking about, this movie rocks!
28 October 2002
This is the best in the Poltergeist series, mainly because the first two were so boring. The first was really more of supernatural kid's movie. It was not scary at all and felt like it was geared towards elementary children, as if it's a substitute for a horror movie to them because they're not old enough to see a real one yet. In short, it was just plain boring. The second was double the bore. I couldn't even sit through that one. Whew. But oddly, this one comes along and blows those away. The setting is awesome (a high rise apartment building), the mood was creepy, and Lara Flynn Boyle is freaking hot. This did what the other two should have done -- cut out all that soapy family lovey dovey crap and getting sucked into a stupid TV with spirits that are as scary as my poodle and make a real horror movie. This one has a great plot. I love the idea of people trapped in a building with evil spirits (at least in this one those damn spirits DO something SCARY rather than play games like wrapping braces around kids and not hurting them (what was that, a joke?). I would skip the first two and go straight to this. All you need to know is spirits are following around a little girl. This movie rocks.
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24 (2001–2010)
The best series on TV.
24 September 2002
24 is simply amazing. I would rather watch this than anything else on TV or at the movies. From episode one I was hooked. Mainly because there are so many things happening you can't wait until the next episode to see what happens to who. The story is about a government agent named Jack Bauer whose daughter supposedly snuck out to party around midnight, but in reality she was kidnapped for a plot involving him, his wife, and the assassination of a senator. I was on the edge of my seat through the whole season as plot twists crept in and out and enemies were revealed. There were some moments I thought I would die of suspense, and some moments I couldn't believe what happened. This series is like all the good episodes of other series rolled up in one. The decision to show everything in real time, only skipping minutes for commercial intervals is great. It gives you the feeling you are there. Plus it's really neat to see how the scenery changes from night to day to night again. It's fun. This got snubbed by some people who say it is for people with ADD and that there are plot holes. Well maybe if you overanalyze, but why when you're having so much fun? I love this show, every episode leaves you craving for more. Clearly this is top notch entertainment. Watch it. Or to catch up, buy the DVD box set. It is WAY worth it.
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The Sopranos (1999–2007)
Please stop glorifying this garbage.
21 September 2002
With shows like The Sopranos it's no wonder society is the way it is today. The main character is a mobster that assumes a life of drugs, sex, and murder. He's a man that can commit a horrible act and go home to his wife and kids and act like nothing happened. And he doesn't care about the things he does, he can kill someone, but if someone tries to kill him or one of his friends, it's wrong. Whatever. Not only that, all the characters sit around knowing everything that's going on and it's just a normal day. It's sick. The show glorifies and tries to make you feel for a guy that's a criminal and a murderer. We're supposed to care for this guy? Why, he doesn't care about anyone except his family -- both of them. A horrible show. The saddest thing is why people enjoy watching this. I guess watching people get strangled or shot and sniffing coke is called entertainment today. In reality, anyone who witnessed or knew about these acts would be repulsed (hopefully). These people have no remorse and don't think anything about their actions, killing people with families and children. The greatest episode this show could make would be to have Tony Soprano locked up behind bars where he belongs. Sick, disgusting TV, all the more sad for all the people that eat it up.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996–2003)
A confused show.
21 September 2002
Buffy is a show that seems to not know what it wants to be. The creators and audience assure us it's more than a teen show, with more depth and maturity. But they seem to be overlooking the obvious fact: the majority of the people that do watch it are teenagers. And for that, I think the show is careless in what it puts out for the audience. The show is generally unsuitable in my opinion for the age group the majority of its viewers come from. Some common Buffy themes are the effects of raunchy, careless sex, lust, murder, lying, and there's an abundance of witchcraft elements and the occult. Now I know the creators aren't gearing this towards teens, but teens are the ones watching. That's what makes Buffy a very confused show. If you want to make a show suitable for a mature audience, like the creators always try to do, then you don't air it on the WB and you don't make it about high school kids and a vampire slayer. Honestly, who were you expecting to watch? Hopefully not adults. But the irony here is, it should be the adults watching because the material here is not suited for teens. The episodes from the first season are what the show should have stuck with. Each episode was a nice little romping adventure that was light-hearted and fun for all ages. Then the show focused on sex and murder, and in a high school show, no less. That's when the show crossed the line. The show was once fun and bubbly with a few silly scares (the first season), then it was dark and too serious and kept alternating back and forth. Now the new episodes I have seen are soapy and a lot more graphic in sex and death. And they're not near as dark as the earlier episodes. What is this show trying to be? It keeps alternating back and forth, and for a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there is a strange absence of many vampires from the show at all. Instead we get witches and normal everyday humans committing murder. All in all this show really seems to not know what it wants to be and is very confused. Half the kids watching it shouldn't be. And it takes itself too seriously. Granted the acting is great as well as the direction, but when Gellar says "It's my job, I'm the Slayer" you can't help but cringe at how seriously it takes itself. Season one was good, the rest...ehhhhh...steer clear.
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The X-Files (1993– )
Regarding the criticism of the later seasons.
14 September 2002
It seems to me that everywhere I look, every X-File fan praises the first few seasons and completely bashes the remaining ones, mainly seasons 8 and 9...boy do they get it bad. But what exactly constitutes your opinion that the show went "bad"? The criticism began in season five and every season it seemed to grow and grow and now it seems everyone has labeled the last seasons as total crap. But why? The main argument is Mulder's absence from the show after season 7. This ticked many people off. I admit, I hated to see the guy go, but did anyone seem to even care that Scully was still on the show? It's like since Mulder was gone the show was ruined. Did anyone pick up over the years that the show has TWO main cast members, Mulder AND Scully? But no one seemed to care that she stuck with it. Another thing people complain about is the location move from Vancouver to L.A. Well most of the time the X-Files takes place indoors anyways, so why do you care? Plus, it's not that big a deal and the difference is little. As for the writing, that gets complaints, too. Personally I thought it hit ruts every now and then but certainly never deserved all the criticism it got. Look at an episode from season 1 and one from season 8 and you'll find the same structure and tone, and the characters are still perfectly drawn and have great dialogue. Is the fact that the show had to change the reason everyone got peeved? Well wake up and smell the coffee. Every show has to change. People got sick of not getting any answers from the mythology and when they ended it in season 6 people complained about that, too, so there's just no winning, is there? No show can run for 9 years and have a perfect record with the fans. Mulder left, sure, but Doggett was great and made up for it, Scully was still there, there were interesting new stories like Scully's pregnancy, and the show got a new feel, which is good because of the change. So get over it. Plus, the score got better, especially in the scenes with Scully and her baby...very moving. So stop complaining already, the show never was bad, most people just couldn't handle the fact that a show has to evolve and change. And as for the remarks that the series ran for too long: that just makes it better. It makes the journey the characters have more meaningful since we can look back on them over the years and they didn't rush it, which was good. The whole series is a journey of the characters. To make it good, you have to have a nice running time. If the series had only 4 seasons it would leave less an impact. Think about it. And when seasons 7, 8, and 9 get released on DVD, I'll be there to buy them, like anyone who is a true fan would.
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Not appreciated enough.
1 September 2002
I really think this movie deserves more credit than the reviewers on this site are giving it. Really, everyone should write a letter of apology to Mr. De Palma for their unnecessary comments on him "ripping-off" Hitchcock. Okay, we all know Hitchcock was one of the most talented directors that ever lived and his thrillers are almost all classics. He showed great camera movements, impressive shots, and terrific stories. So then a guy comes along and makes a film that matches the guys work, and what happens? He's a cheap rip-off. Okay, call me crazy, but if this guy made a movie that can even be compared to Hitchcock, doesn't that make it GOOD? If Hitchcock was so talented and this guy made something in his league, isn't making a comparison between them a COMPLIMENT? Not many people I know can make a film like Hitchcock if they tried. De Palma did, and he's cut down for it. Not right. First of all, I assume that from now on anyone that uses an artful approach to camerawork and comes up with some really neat ideas is going to be bombarded with calls of "Hitchcock wannabe." What, since the guy was so great no one can make a movie that matches his talent anymore? Every director HAS to steer clear of ANY Hitchcock shots and themes or the audience will crucify him? WHY? I found myself asking this. Clearly, De Palma made a great movie here with nice visual storytelling and remarkable shots. These were HIS OWN shots. Not Hitchcock's. Hitchcock never choreographed a straight razor murder in an elevator or half the stuff De Palma directs so well here, so where did he rip it off from? I liked this movie because it was very riveting, flowed nicely, and often kept me on my seat in suspense. The gore was plentiful (another thing Hitchcock DIDN'T do) and the only time anything in here mirrors Hitchcock are the times when the first victim is killed and the revelations at the end. And even then, they're loosely based. Basically, I think De Palma delivered a great movie, full of great things, only to be shot down by devout followers of The Master who probably can't bear to face the fact that someone else out there has talent to give Hitchcock a run for his money. Sounds like someone's jealous to me. I hope this film gets more widely appreciated and seen as time goes by. Then maybe all the newer generations who didn't grow up with Hitchcock will stop cutting it down. Time may be the only justice to this great movie.
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Feardotcom (2002)
I didn't think it was bad.
30 August 2002
Seems to me a lot of people didn't like this movie. Personally, I don't get that, but hey, we're all different. After years of teeny-bopper Scream crap and failed attempts to resurrect horror, it stands to say that I think the general interest of horror in the eyes of the moviegoers is fading fast. No one likes them anymore and they're getting fewer and far between in the theaters (although several are released on direct-to-video now and then). Really, it's a shame, because this movie should be appreciated more than it is, but of course, it never will be. There's nothing fantastic about the movie in general. The plot is a switch from the tired serial killer formula, being that the "real" killer isn't exactly a serial murderer. It's basically about people dying 48 hours after logging on to a site called feardotcom. How they die is a mystery to even the viewer, as it's not really explained well. As usual, an investigation ensues and two people work together to solve the mystery of the dead bodies with the bleeding eyes and noses. Many complain about the logic and say the movie makes no sense. Well if the people who made it tried to explain it all, they would complain about that too, so there's no winning. I think it does just fine without revealing too much. The soundtrack is good. Really dug the music. It fit perfectly with the other best element in this movie: the PHOTOGRAPHY! The photography is short of amazing. Really, I can't remember the last time I saw such a visually profound hour and a half in a horror movie. The lighting, angles, look...it is astounding for a film such as this and I would recommend seeing the film for this alone. It is really art heaven. If only all movies looked like this. If you're looking to get scared you might miss out. What you'll get is disturbed, as one of the killers (yes, there's more than one) loves to torture his victims by doing autopsies on them while they are alive and torturing them, etc. He also likes to hear things about their hopes and dreams so as to "make a connection so the death will have more impact." Needless to say, many will be disgusted at it's perversion. Many have complained about it. To this I say what did you expect? A guy is murdering girls and torturing them first, what did you want to see, HAPPY, UNDISTURBING deaths? Come on. The atmosphere in this film bleeds right out of the screen. There's oodles of it. If you have any interest in horror see it for a change of mood, but really go see this if you have an appreciation for great visual work. You'll love it. This makes up for the occasionally slow parts.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996–2003)
One of the best series ever...long ago.
19 August 2002
Here's the deal: If you haven't seen Buffy yet, wake up and see what everyone's raving about. You don't know what you're missing. It's terrific. One of the best shows ever. But as of this point, the new episodes simply suck.

My advice to you would be to ignore all Buffy episodes airing on UPN and stick to the old ones that still air on FX. You should even buy the DVD box sets, they are way worth it. But once they reach season six, if it gets released on DVD, don't waste your money.

Here's the lowdown on Buffy, the greatest show on TV for several years:

Season One - Nothing compared to what's to come on the show, but still enjoyable and all the favorite cast members are here and the gang is still battling high school, BIG plus. But you have to deal with some cheesy plotlines.

Season Two - This is the season the show really opens up, showing us what it can do. It breaks all those teen soap opera cliches with ease. Some really fantastic episodes are here, including the best finale the show has had. Really powerful episodes only offset by the weird monster-of-the-week episodes that range from fun to really stupid.

Season Three - Simply Buffy at her best. While none of these episodes are as powerful as the few gems in season two, this season has a higher quantity of good episodes to even it out, easily making this and season two the best seasons ever.

Season Four - Eh, not horrible, but nothing like the first three years. Angel and Cordelia are gone and the Scooby Gang is out of high school. This is a solid "okay" season that is quite disappointing and rather dull. No impact. But still watchable.

Season Five - An improvement on season four, but can't match the brilliant seasons two and three. This one might give season one a run for its money and its definitely better than four. Buffy's sister is introduced and this season's finale is the second best on the show. This is the last "real" Buffy season.

Season Six - What happened?! Simply horrible. Buffy is trying too hard to be an adult show, which is okay, but the fun is gone. No more wacky adventures, hardly any fighting, and full of nothingness. The stories are bad, like Willow addicted to magic and trying to destroy the world. These things are really showing their age by now. The worst Buffy season ever.

My advice? Stop watching at the conclusion of season five. You want a series finale? Let the one from season five be it. Don't let the show go on for you. Buffy ended its run on the WB, and it was the end of its golden age. This new UPN Buffy is a pale shadow of what the show once was. The whole series began to decline after season three, but at least four and five were respectable and in my opinion the WB let the series go out with a bang. Now it's slowly getting the life drained out of it. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - 1997-2001. FIVE seasons. Think of it like that.
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Cape Fear (1991)
Nice thriller with flaws.
14 August 2002
I have not seen the original Cape Fear, so therefore cannot compare the two films, but from what I saw of this one, it is surely to be the most violent one. The film has a criminal getting released from prison and going after the lawyer who screwed him over. But he also deals with the man's wife and daughter, weaving his way into their lives and making it known he's out for a little vengeance. The potential is all here -- a great director, a nice cast, and a good story to begin with, but the film simply can't manage to rise above anything other than slightly above average. For starters, the film opens very well, jumping right into the tale of this obsessed madman, but towards the end the scares wind down into silliness and predictability. After the great first act, the end is a huge letdown. Another tired horror movie cliche showdown between good and evil. You know the film is leading up to this, and are hoping the director will shock you by throwing in some surprises to throw you off. But he never does. What this film does have going for it are great actors -- especially Juliette Lewis -- and a director who handles the material the best he can, judging by what he has. Great camera angles, tense close-ups...he does fine. But the script manages to be nothing more than a Fatal Attraction/Dead Calm/Basic Instinct clone. For the most part, this film is better than those in the sense that it works more on a psychological level. But the methods used to get there are all the same old tricks. Many scenes are too long and overly drawn out, while others fall helplessly into conventions and stereotypes. The film itself is too long as well. In the end this adds up to nothing more than an average psycho-thriller with the exception of good acting and direction. Watch if you dare.
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Phenomena (1985)
Good, but not for everyone.
12 August 2002
Hey, if you know you like Argento, then by all means, see it. If not, maybe you'd better pass. This definitely isn't your typical horror tale. Dario Argento gives a very weird movie about a young girl attending a Swiss boarding school which is the favorite hunting ground of a vicious killer who loves to slaughter teenaged girls. On top of that, the girl can communicate telepathically with insects. Together, she and her few million friends work to solve the mystery of the killer. I can understand if anyone doesn't like this film because it is generally offbeat and very weird. I liked it, but then again, I am an Argento fan. Jennifer Connelly gives a good performance as the young girl with the "gift", and Donald Pleasence is his usual self. But sadly the other actors are so bad, they make these two look miraculous. The cinematography and atmosphere were right on, definitely holding this picture together. Really though, this is not Argento's shining hour. All the typical elements of his films are here, like the strange plot, the killer, and of course, animals. But nothing really stands out like it does in his earlier works, like Deep Red. No weird camera angles (or at least none that aspiring), no stylish deaths (really nothing special), and basically nothing to get all worked up about. Argento's style is very toned down here. But of course, he does have his moments. Jennifer's first sleepwalking scene is awesome. Loved the music there. The white hallway and the doors: very unique and strange. We also get an angry monkey (or chimp?) with a razor, a genuinely weird killer, and thousands of nasty insects. I liked the music except when that heavy metal crap was played. It does not go at all and makes those scenes suck badly. And that opening narration when Jennifer arrives at the school...what was that about? It just said what we heard Jennifer and the other woman saying, and even of they didn't say it, like we couldn't figure it out. Duh! I'm not sure if anyone besides Argento and Connelly fans will like this. I wouldn't watch it at a party or with friends. Be sure you like this director first, otherwise you might regret seeing this. I like this one better than some Argento films because I like the setting. But really there's nothing special. I do recommend it to fans of the maestro.
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I don't know why, but I liked it.
7 August 2002
I only rented this because everyone says what a God Kubrick is, and I had to check it out. Most people I knew hated it. They said it was nothing but an endless charade of nudity and dullness. While I do agree that it has those things, I did like it. I can't explain it. I was actually impressed with myself that I, as a teenager, was able to appreciate the film. Does that mean I am a serious moviegoer? I'm not sure. But I can say that all the people who hated it are probably those who have become adjusted to non-stop action, special effects, and explosions, a hint at why Steven Spielberg is more popular with the people. It takes a lot of guts these days to make a film like this. People are used to something happening right away, they have forgotten how to watch movies and read into them. I didn't understand this movie, I'm not sure I ever will. I didn't watch it to see Kidman naked, either. I'm sure Kubrick made this for some reason, however, it is lost to me. This is one of those movies where you just know they are trying to tell you something, to send you some message, because they simply couldn't have made a movie like this unless they were. You might find yourself asking why it was made and what it is about. Really I don't get that either. But maybe I am not comprehending enough to see it. But I still liked it. Strange. Whatever Kubrick was hinting at, I'm sure it was something important. I think the title had some meaning, too, but I don't know what it is. Kubrick liked to challenge people by making his movies a very different experience than most. The personal experience I had was that I learned I can still like a movie that is slow and very weird. Maybe everyone has their own reactions to this film. That was mine. But I can tell you this: I'm gonna go check out some more Kubrick films after seeing this.
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Opera (1987)
Fans of the maestro will be happy.
6 August 2002
If you love Dario Argento and are satisfied with most of his other works (Deep Red, Suspiria, Tenebre), then you should know what to expect from this one. Lots of animal references, bloody killings, paper thin plot, mediocre acting, and style upon style upon style. The killer with the black leather gloves this time around is forcing a young opera star to witness the deaths of people she knows. With sharp needles taped under her eyes, she simply has to watch, for even a blink can tear her eyes apart. Very unnerving. Someone mentioned in a summary that she had to watch the deaths of people she loved. That sounds like friends and family, these people are merely connected to her by the opera, I wouldn't say she loved them. The killings are typical Argento. Vicious, extremely gory, and sprinkled with a touch of sadism. The acting is pretty average in this one, not great, but a step up from his other films. Maybe it's the English dubbing that is so horrible, the voices don't match the characters and sound like they are reading the lines off the page. Bad acting, or bad voice dubbing? You decide. The music, usually a profound element in an Argento flick is surprisingly weird, given that it's heavy metal and opera. Not that I didn't like it, it was okay, but the two musics do not mix. Argento really handles that camerawork like a pro. Some notable shots in this little beauty feature nifty killer POV shots, a bullet-through-the-eyehole scene (worth the price of the film alone), ravens soaring over a crowded theater, and a beautifully shot ending. The cinematography is superb. Many had problems with the ending. I didn't, but that's just me. I would say any Argento fan should see this, and maybe anyone who likes Italian horror and appreciates great visuals. But to anyone else, you might be forced to turn it off. It is rather slow, and the reactions the main character has after witnessing such atrocities are really absurd. She doesn't even tell the police what she went through. And the killer keeps taking her and tying her up, making her watch more murders. Very illogical. But Argento fans will not care. Others might. I wouldn't recommend it to "normal" movie fans.
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The Sopranos (1999–2007)
A mature drama, very well-made.
4 August 2002
I give The Sopranos a lot of credit even though I am not a huge fan of the mob and their movies, TV shows, etc. But I started watching the show expecting to be turned off with all that Godfather drama, but it pulled me right in anyways. For a show built on something that a viewer might not like (the mob) to still draw them in is something really great. I think a good show should make people want to watch it, even if they hate the subject matter.

The Sopranos is well-acted, the stories are very cut and dry and very entertaining, and above all it is a mature hour of TV that you can't find with all these other shows on the air. It's not full of all that "soapy" Days of Our Lives drama like other TV series. It's never too dramatic that it gets bubbly. It delivers the goods with great precision, keeping the gritty violence and soapy drama perfectly balanced.

I admire that everything in this series is character driven. It takes a lot to develop characters so well that these people on our screen are the reason we watch for an hour every Sunday. Other shows might have too many gags (Friends, which is getting so old) and special effects and over-the-top dramatic situations. The Sopranos has nothing but characters and the things they are dealing with in life. Everything that happens on the show happens because of another character's actions. That layer of development alone is outstanding.

Plus, the seasons seem to be all planned out and designed well from the beginning. One character can do something in episode 1 that will lead to something else in episode 4 that will lead to this scenario in the season finale. It is all planned out and handled very well. I also like the fact that the show has 13 episodes a season. While it may seem like HBO is shorthanding us since every other show gets 22 episodes in a regular season, The Sopranos takes those 13 episodes and does what it has to do without all that extra junk I call "filler." Other shows have 22 episodes to take care of and often the season story arc isn't capable of being stretched over that many episodes, so what we get is a lot of "filler" to take up episode space that never adds up to anything. In the end, only about half of the season's episodes actually deal with the season story arc. The Sopranos does what it has to do so well because it doesn't have time to mess around with all that extra junk. It has to set up the story arcs, pan them out, and finish them in half the time other TV shows do it. And the clean-cut feeling you get from each season is worth it. The story arc was laid out in 13 episodes and you were happy with it. To the point, and right on the money.

The Sopranos may turn people off with its violence, language, and nudity, but if you really want to see a series that takes care in its writing and characters, see this. It often feels more like a movie than a TV show. I hate the mob, and I watch it. Very mature, and very well made.
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Rear Window (1954)
Wow!
30 July 2002
Let me start off by saying that I am a young man, so by the time I was born Hitchcock was already dead and most movies were already learning how to capture audiences with explosions and special effects. Therefore, watching any movie made after 1980 was pretty hard for me, I simply didn't grow up in that time. But hearing all the rave about Hitchcock's films, I decided to give it a shot. I went to the video store and saw Rear Window on DVD. I almost balked when I looked at the year it was made and almost put the thing back on the shelf but something made me check it out. I was not disappointed. At first, it seemed slow and boring, not enough thrills for my taste. I was about to turn it off by the time that nurse came back again, but I just made myself watch. Things started to pick up and the rest is history. By the end of the film I was gripping my chair and with my pulse pounding. Talk about suspense! I never knew I could get so worked up over a movie made in the 1950s, it scared me more than most thrillers I have seen since 2000! I also have never seen a film that only used one set, like this one. To top it off, this movie gave me so many thrills and there were no shootings, no gore, and (I don't think) any special effects! I was really shocked. So many exciting moments, like when Grace Kelly and the nurse go to check out what's buried in the garden, when Kelly is caught in the murderer's apartment, and the climax when the murderer learns who is spying on him and goes to pay him a visit. Terrific stuff, all done using mood other things besides endless visual effects and blood! Needless to say, I can now see that some old movies are not as bad as I have thought, in fact they are better, focusing more on characters and stories than their rock soundtracks and computer images. I don't know if I would recommend this to many people my age, but I do suggest they try it. I did, and I loved it. Thanks to this I will be watching many more classic films now. If it seems slow at first, bear with it and wait. You're in for a great movie.
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Near Dark (1987)
Decent vampire flick, nothing spectacular.
28 July 2002
Near Dark features a nice cast, some good direction, and an excellent soundtrack, but the movie is nothing to get all worked up about. A boy falls in love with the wrong girl who just happens to be a vampire. After being bitten, he begins to get a feel of the vampire life on the road as he travels with a mean group of vamps who terrorize areas of rural Texas. The thing that is actually the most shocking next to some nasty killings is that the word vampire is not used in this movie once. In fact, despite being allergic to sunlight and having to survive by drinking blood, these "vampires" have nothing in common with the traditional tales. Jenny Wright is good as the vamp torn between her new lover and being loyal to the gang, but her sweet face and kind nature make it hard to believe she's a violent killer. In fact, it's hard to believe this group of vamps made it as long as they have. They can't seem to keep themselves out of the sun and have the tendency to get chased by cops and shot at. For as many scenes I had to watch the gang taping up the windows in their car because they are too stupid to get inside before daybreak, I thought I deserved a better movie. Sadly, the ending goes way over the top, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Besides that, the whole thing really adds up to nothing. Just a pointless vampire movie with a little style, maybe better than most efforts. But nothing really comes out of it. A boy experiences the world of vampires, finds a love. That's it. Due to the ending, every scene is pretty useless and serves up nothing. This movie balances on a line between slightly above average and pretty good. Certainly not a must-see. Good direction, some nice lighting, and a good effort. Not too bad.
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Sleepless (2001)
Not bad, but suffers in some areas.
27 July 2002
I was very excited to see that Dario Argento finally returned to his classic giallo filmmaking. It's what Argento is best at. So I think that more than makes up for anything in this movie, because it was nice to welcome him back. But as a giallo, it was very weak. The plot is so similar to his other efforts that you wonder why he keeps ripping himself off. If I didn't know this was directed by Argento I would think it was made by some hack trying to rip off The Master. The relation to animals, the children's rhymes, the elusive keys behind the killer's madness and his motive are all here, and all lifted from his other movies like Deep Red and Tenebre. Argento needs to focus on different things. But the one thing that stood out the most as truly atrocious was the ACTING! Really, this is some of the worst acting in a motion picture that I have ever seen. It is so bad, at times it almost makes the movie unbearable to watch, completely overshadowing everything good. Why does Argento get such bad actors? He's a well known, very renowned and popular filmmaker, shouldn't he be able to attract bigger stars? Shouldn't actors want to work with him? How come he keeps getting these imposters whom he must have picked up off the street and payed a few bucks to just so he could have a cast? I could have been a better actor. Why is it THIS bad, does no one want to be in an Argento movie? It is truly the worst acting ever in an Argento movie. Or maybe any movie. This makes the stars of Baywatch look like Oscar winners. Basically, Argento returns to his old habits, and I guess that is worth it all. The movie is rather dull, and too long, but it's so nice to see him return to the giallo genre, I couldn't help but like it. Probably his worst giallo, but hey, it's a giallo. Watch this if you can take the acting, which almost completely ruins everything.
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Memento (2000)
A very different, very good movie experience.
27 July 2002
I can't say this was a fun film to watch, for the most part I was too busy getting frustrated trying to make sense of it all. Really, it makes you mad. But it deserves a lot of credit because it is very creative and ambitious, and overall a great film. It was only after the film was over that I realized I had just seen a great movie. Some advice: don't rent this movie and just expect to sit back and watch it with some popcorn and some buddies. This film requires an enormous amount of participation from the viewer. There are facts to remember, people, places, events, etc. And to make it even worse, the movie plays backwards, in intervals. Don't let any of this scare you. See this movie, the agony of trying to piece the thing together is worth it. Very different, very good, definitely worth seeing. If you can handle it.
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