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I Spy With My Little Eye - CRAP!
8 August 2003
Unlike the original "Spy Kids" (2001), this movie was written solely for children ... very stupid children. If I were 6, I'd find this movie insulting to my intelligence. I was surprised that Robert Rodriguez had written such a vapid pile.

As what is trying to pass for a "story" opens, Juni (Daryl Sabara) has been off on his own for a while after feeling betrayed by the OSS. When he enters the game world to save his sister, one wonders how the heck he ever survived! He's completely helpless and useless! He gets nothing done unless someone steps in and grabs him by the hand. He doesn't affect anything in the story. Everything happens TOO him, not BECAUSE of him. The story is made up of one heavy-handed cliche after another. If you want to be entertained during the film, try and figure out how many movies in which you've heard all the cliched lines the characters seem to vomit forth with bulimic regularity. Believe me, they're ALL in there! The hackneyed script did nothing but accentuate the horrendous acting. Where the original "Spy Kids" proved, through their actions, that the family unit is important, this dreck pays it only lip service ad nauseam, so much so in fact, it makes one wonder if the Menendez brothers didn't have the right idea!

Oddly enough, that's not the worst of it. 3-D technology has advanced impressively over the years as showcased in "Captain EO", "It's Tough To Be A Bug", "T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous" and "Ghosts of the Abyss". Apparently, no one told Mr. Rodriguez. His 3-D technique dates back to 1922 when it was first used! If he had heard of the advancements in the medium, the audience could have enjoyed the various primary colors that were used in the costumes and in the scenery not to mention that fact that it would actually have looked three dimensional. At best, the 3-D portions of the film were a muddy mess. Needless to say, I had to remove my glasses after some time - the movie itself was annoying enough.

If you have the choice to see this movie or have extensive and painful oral surgery, visit the dentist - at least he'll give you a lollipop for your pain.
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Hail The Heroes!
18 December 2002
Every great adventure story worth telling has a solid hero - someone who puts others before themselves and uses their talents to do their best at keeping the forces of evil at bay even if it means the loss of life and limb. At its core, this movie has eight such heroes and each one lives up to the call. From Pippin and Merry, the lost hobbits who aid the Ents in battle, to Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas who held back the hordes at Helms Deep to Frodo and Samwise who continue to make their dangerous and arduous trek to Mount Doom. All of these characters are heroes and they're played with love, respect and meaning.

Though the acting in this film was top notch throughout, I found myself amazed by Gollum's (motion captured body and voice by Andy Serkis) overall performance. Though obviously CGI, there was so much emotion in this character that I couldn't help believe he was real! Though "Final Fantasy" was the only movie that created the most realistic CGI characters that dominated an entire film, Gollum is lightyears ahead with the simple fact that this deformed li'l hobbit seemed human. He had the spark of life behind those eyes that the FF "cast" lacked.

As a film, this movie has it all - action, drama, comedy - but none of it would've worked without characters we cared about, villains we despised and heroes we cheered for. With the obvious success of the first two installments, the release of the final film next December may prove this to be THE BEST trilogy ever made!
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On Par With Watching Paint Dry
14 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
*WARNING - POSSIBLE SPOILERS* If this film had been only an

hour long with commercials and I had watched it at home, it may

have been good. Here we have a film that has a great and

intriguing opening on Romulus. It then cuts to the main cast of

TNG which was the logical progression. That would have been

fine, but they decided to speak and it was from that point onward

that inanity after inanity would spew forth to the end of the film! Picard discovers the film's threat to be his clone. Data discovers a

version of himself made before his time. In the several minutes to

follow we are repeatedly hit over the head with, "I'm your mirror! No

I'm YOUR mirror! No, it's ME!" and "He may be me, but he's not me

because I'M a better me than HE is!" and "How can I be so sure

that I'm the me I should be and not him?" These dances of

supposed depth and inner reflection are revisited so many times

with no furtherance to the storyline that they go beyond cerebral

stimulus and go straight to evoking ennui. These constant bouts of

what the writers may have thought as "clever" and "deep" reflection

could have been completely cut knocking the running time down by

at least a half hour. Finally, it would be refreshing someday to see a villain who is

determined to carry out his greater goal to the exclusion of

everything else. Shinzon's (Picard's clone) personal goal is to get

a complete blood transfusion from Picard and, ultimately, kill him

so that he, Shinzon, would be the only Jean Luc in existence. His

greater goal, the one he shares with his compatriots, the Remans,

is to destroy the Earth with a weapon he's carrying on his ship.

Now, this ship is so formidable that it could either a) whiz by any

and all Starfleet vessels or b) destroy them outright in order to lay

waste to the Earth with the push of a few buttons and a seven

minute countdown. Of course, Shinzon's cronies are blown off and

the ship never makes it to Earth because Shinzon is too busy

trying to smash his "mirror image"! Feh! The ending was anticlimactic and the death of Data was as

poignant as a tumbleweed blowing through town! Who cares if

Data's dead since his predecessor's walking around with Data's

memories and experiences floating around in his data banks

somewhere? If they decide to make another TNG movie, I'm sure

Geordi will come up with some widget that'll make B4 as good as,

if not better, than Data.
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1/10
Much Like Jingling Keys In Front Of An Infant
31 May 2002
Excellent special effects! AOTC was certainly a site to behold with its sweeping landscapes, zooming vehicles and diverse alien races. It's truly a spectacle! With that being said, what happens when we look beyond the veneer of pretty pictures and bright shiny objects? To be blunt, not much!

As much as I loved the special effects, they were obviously there to hide the fact that there's nothing more to the film. It's like distracting an infant by jingling keys in front of them. The AOTC plot showed great promise, but it fell victim to a hackneyed script which didn't know where it was going or what it was doing when it finally got there. Most of this happens during the "build up" of Amidala's and Anakin's "love affair" in which there is no build up or real love affair involved. Jingle! Jingle! Look at the ocean swept world of Kamino! Doesn't it look awesome?! Slow pacing is also another of this film's greatest flaws. When a film is 2 hours and 20 minutes plus, pacing should be a real concern. Jingle! Jangle! Look at this! Isn't the "car" chase on Coruscant zippy?! Wow! Though a sophomoric script is mostly to blame, the acting came across as wooden and would have been better played by marionettes. It was imperative that Anakin "tell" us on a regular basis how bad he felt and how mad he was when actions would have been much better at driving the point home. The scene at the Tusken Raider camp would have been perfect for that, but it was cut far too short which leads me to believe that the Star Wars franchise has fallen out of the realm of General Audiences and is now the sole providence of children. Jingle! Jangle! Jingle! But check out the monsters in the arena! Don't they look scary?! Look at how the tiger-thingy rips Amidala's shirt just perfectly so we can see her bare tum-tum! Ooo-aaah!

If you love special effects, I suggest you catch a matinee of this movie. Much like Centropolis' "Godzilla", it's a wonder to behold. Also, much like Centropolis' "Godzilla", if you listen to your favorite tunes on your walkman while viewing AOTC, you won't miss a thing.
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Aspiring Script Writers, Take Heart!
6 September 2001
If this summer has been any indication, Hollywood is willing to put ANYTHING to film! JEEPERS CREEPERS is the best proof of this and the final nail in the coffin for this summer's schlockfest! If you're looking to sell your script idea, do it now! Hollywood will most likely buy it, especially if you don't know what you're doing! Victor Salva has obviously never taken a class in screenwriting or movie making.

Jeepers Creepers has socially inept, mentally stunted, unlikeable characters. The "story" (using the term loosely) meanders aimlessly like a lazy Sunday at the mall shopping with mom. I can't comment on the climax since it didn't have one and the ending just ... ends. The movie seemed to be made up of scenes that Salva thought would look "creepy", but, with nothing to hold them together and camera work as static as my socks, the scenes failed to pull anything from me except contempt. I have seen some drek in my day (Reptilicus & A*P*E), but at least they make me laugh. My friend and I laughed during Jeepers only to keep ourselves from setting fire to the projection booth!

Bottom line: Easily the worst movie ever made! If you miss it, you won't miss it!
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Not Fit For Man Or Beast
31 July 2001
"Planet of the Apes" LOOKED great! The make-up was phenomenal, the ape mannerisms were top notch and the production design was excellent! Some have complained about the overuse of wire work, but in all of the movies I've seen, this is where it belonged. Charlton Heston's line was delivered hilariously for those who remember the original! Upon entering the theatre, I refused to compare this film to the classic since it wouldn't be fair, so I judged it solely on its merits.

I don't care for this movie. I expect more from my movies than just eye candy which is all POTA has to offer. The story is cliched, thin and excruciatingly slow, characters are one dimensional and the film never reaches a climax. For all intents and purposes, the film ends twice and both endings are equally ludicrous.

If you MUST see this in the theatre, load your favorite disc in your Discman and listen to it while looking at the awesome visuals - you won't miss a thing. If you want to see a movie with a great story and awesome eye candy, rent "The Matrix".
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8/10
A Modern Movie For A Simpler Time
16 May 2001
"The Mummy Returns" plays like a film made in the forties when Universal produced four sequels to the original "The Mummy" (1932). Though I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think most classic monster fans will, it may seem out of place to today's more "sophisticated and enlightened" movie crowd.

The movie's all about fun and high-adventure and it delivers in spades on both! It contains all of the excitement, thrills and intrigue that can be found in the adventure serials of the thirties and forties. Whether intentional or not, the CGI creature effects hearkened back to the days of Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen. Though much smoother than their stop-motion techniques, there was an obvious separation between the computer world and the real world. This added a kitschy feel to the film which I loved. When this movie is released for home viewing, I plan on watching it in black and white to get the complete 1940's feel!

The bottom line: If you go to the theatre to be entertained and to escape the real world, go see "The Mummy Returns", the kid inside you will thank you for it!
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Spy Kids (2001)
Cool Cheese
27 April 2001
Keeping in mind we were going to see a kids' movie, Mrs. Monster and I found ourselves pleasantly surprised at being thoroughly entertained! Robert Rodriguez has yet to disappoint us!

Being big fans of 60's-70's spy films ourselves, we were happy to see that Rodriguez kept the cheese factor and actually turned it up a few notches! There seems to be a secret gadget in practically every scene and a smarmy villain-type around every corner. This movie differs in that where there would normally be a larger-than-life hero ready to smack down the baddies, our heroes are a family of four who are only strong when united. Action is the tie that binds this movie, but at no detriment to a cohesive and entertaining story. For those who feel movies should have a message, there's a few obvious ones in there dealing with the family unit which, oddly enough, adds even more to the cheese factor!

Bottom line: It's fun for everybody!
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3/10
Unaffected
24 April 2001
With the exception of the impressive CGI car crash shown in the previews, this film failed to affect me in any way.

It tried to be a 'Whodunit?' thriller, but succeeded best at being a contrived 'Who cares?'. The storyline was tired, the "mysterious mastermind" of the crime was made obvious within the first 20 minutes for even the most passive viewer and the movie just stops at the end. The acting was mediocre only because the script didn't give the actors much to chew on.

Bottom line: Sophomoric attempt at a thriller.
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10/10
Expect the Unexpected!
6 October 2000
Mrs. Monster and I walked into the theatre expecting nothing. After blowing some hard earned green on the first Pokemon movie, which was akin to a bad acid trip and a typical half hour episode that ran too long, we felt we should have known better, but being the hardcore animeniacs we are, we had to give it a whirl. We were more than pleasantly surprised!

First and foremost, the animation was phenomenal! The fluid motion and obvious emotion of the characters was a great example of what animation should be! The animators departed from the more simplistic style of the television series making "Digimon: The Movie" more of an event than a film adaptation. The photo-realistic background paintings made the settings come alive. The mixture of computer and traditional animation blended smoothly, one style never overshadowed the other.

The story was cohesive though it seemed a bit long in parts. It breaks down into three acts. Act One goes into detail about the first experience the Digidestined had with the Digital World and introduces a character named "Willis" who was mentioned once on the current series up until this writing. Act Two takes place some time after the original Digidestined have saved the Digital World. Finally, Act Three deals mostly with the new Digidestined. Willis plays a vital role in all three of these stories though we don't see him interact with the other characters face-to-face until the third act.

I'm the last person to try and find some kind of moral lesson or meaning in a movie. That's what school, your parents and living life's for. Movies are for sheer entertainment, but "Digimon" did have a few lessons in there for the kiddies without feeling the need to beat them over the head with them. The film taught the importance of teamwork, being happy with what you have and turning a bad situation into something good, but just to name a few.

Finally, the soundtrack was awesome! Of course, any soundtrack that has the Barenaked Ladies is awesome to me since I've been a diehard fan for the past 7 years!

With most movies where I go in expecting nothing, I usually get nothing, but with "Digimon: The Movie" I got more than I could have ever expected! So, whether you're a Digifan or don't know a Digimon from Digitalis, there's enough solid movie here to satisfy everyone! I'm going to go see this one again!
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