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Like Windows 8, Star Wars 8 was a complete mess. Only they have to make another movie based on 8.
13 May 2018
I've read a lot of reviews and pretty much everyone has said it all. For me this is one of the biggest mistakes ever in film. Badly written, massive inconsistencies, plot holes, terrible character and story development and badly.........everything.

I watched a number of YouTube videos by fans who were predicting the story for 8 and even put some artwork together to represent some of the key scenes. Every single fan idea was better than the movie. Everything I guessed would happen myself, was a better idea than what actually happened in 8.

They (Disney) need to recognise they've got to make a 9th film based on what happened in this one. I don't think it can be done, even with the best story line in the history of film and TV.

I actually think they'd be better off scrapping this movie and remaking it with a different plot, different story, different scenes, different outcomes and different.......everything. They could draw in some of the loose ends from 7 and have a great project in 9 to look forward to.

As things stand I think fans will simply not bother seeing 9.

Not sure how this film scored 7.3 out of 10 at the time I wrote my review.

As I was finishing my review my 19 year old son asked me "are you really giving it two stars?". I think that sums it up. He thinks I am being too generous.
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One of the much better found footage horror films
21 July 2017
I saw this on Amazon Prime and was interested in the premise as well as the simple artwork cover for the film. It wasn't trying too hard to look scary.

I'd like to review it from a number of standpoints. Firstly the acting. Although I don't think I recognised any of the actors from other films or TV, all were credible and delivered very good performances. Quite often with lesser known films the performances are wooden. Not in this case.

The story is the strong point in my opinion. The premise is a group of enterprising young people rent or buy an obscure old hotel that has been closed for 20 years and make it into a haunted house attraction. Little do they know the old building has a back story and the details are well conceived. During the film new pieces of information come to light about the hotel's past.

The other strong point is the location. The building (appearance and layout) and the grounds (including the abandoned cars), are creepy and the attractions they add improve the overall effectiveness of the location.

The pacing and scares are about right and I get the impression the writer/director and crew are fans of the genre and wanted to get this right.

I think they've made a modern day classic and I think the location of the house will soon get some fan pages with pictures on. I'd go visit the outside if I wasn't 4000 miles away.

I don't want to say more about the film because it might spoil it.

It's quite possibly going straight into my top 10 horror films list. It's there are thereabouts.
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Merlin (2008–2012)
It's Magic (sorry that was corny)
8 November 2008
There are many similarities between Dr Who and Merlin in terms of the way they are written. Like Dr Who Merlin features likable characters, moments of comedy and a little bit of tension that kids and grown ups can both enjoy.

There is good chemistry between the main characters. Good sets, decent special effects and each show works well on its own and as part of a series.

Don't pick too many holes in the factual details though. There are many ethnic groups in Uther's court, which probably wasn't truly representative of the population of England at that time in history. But hey, magic doesn't really exist so why not make a new TV show that has its auditions open to any actor regardless of ethnic background.

I think Merlin will run for at least another series. It would be a shame if it didn't continue. Whatever the future holds for the show the excellent Colin Morgan has a bright career ahead of him.
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Supernatural (2005– )
Basically it's just the best show on TV
18 June 2008
Supernatural delivers great entertainment in so many ways.

Firstly there is the horror/suspense side, which is spooky without being unsuitable for any non horror fans. The ideas are well thought out and there s clearly much imagination being employed in developing a wide base of supernatural foes for our main characters to fight.

Secondy there is some well placed humour. I've seen humour used in other films/TV and it hasn't always worked. In Supernatural it's always just right. The story can move between humour to suspense to seriousness without ever feeling like they were just trying to cram in some unused funny lines. There are proper laugh out loud moments but it's never at the expense of any other part of the show.

Thirdly the acting, direction, soundtrack and all the sets/locations are all first class. The right ingredients are well used to develop each show in it's own right but also to develop the characters and storyline. Each episode can stand on it's own merits and doesn't automatically require you to have seen the previous episodes. I like that about a lot of US shows. Each episode has it's own story, it's own set and a different spooky/scary thing, be it a ghost, monster or whatever.

Fourthly there is a little but not too much eye candy. Women are attracted to the two main characters. My wife likes the show partly for this reason. There are some attractive females on the show too but at no point is there any full nudity. The show doesn't need it and I am happy for my 14 year old son to watch the show with me. I also like the fact that they have kept swearing down to a real minimum. Again the show doesn't need it. Scary, fun, funny, entertaining, thrilling etc etc does not mean there has to be lots of swearing and nudity and this show proves it can be done.

Fifthly there is a great soundtrack. A bit like the film School of Rock, this film is making mullet rock popular again. There is a good combination of modern and older songs whose titles and/or lyrics often fit the story...Don't Fear The Reaper!

There is more I could say. Everyone I have shown an episode of Supernatural to so far has become hooked. Male and Female, from about 14 to 50 years, they've all thought it was really good. All I can say is if you haven't seen it yet, you're missing out on one of the best shows on TV in the last 30 years.
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The funniest film in recent years
3 May 2006
Quite definitely this is the funniest film I have seen in a long time. There were small parts of The Anchoman and Kicking and Screaming that made me laugh out loud but this movie has by far the most laugh out loud moments of any film I can remember since first seeing The Life of Brian.

This is a well scripted film which is then developed further by a great cast who deliver the script perfectly. Add to that a few quirky bits, like the musical ending and you have a film you will remember when all the other 'comedy(s) of the year' have long been forgotten.

You get the impression that the cast really enjoyed being in this movie and wanted it to be as good as it could be. It certainly proves Hollywood can make a good film still.

I would say this is definitely not the film to put on when the village vicar is coming round for scones and tea and is rightly a 15 certificate in the UK. It's adult themed of course and there is some brief nudity but the film doesn't rely upon a little titillation to keep the attention of the viewer.

At the time I made this report IMDb had this film scored at 7.7 out of 10, not many films get that sort of score. I think this speaks for itself and is as good a reason as any to rent this.

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Live 8 (2005 TV Special)
Fantastic and a piece of history on DVD
22 April 2006
I really enjoyed Live 8 at the time.

There was a real sense of occasion about it, that it might have an influence on world poverty.

Now watching the DVDs some of that sense of occasion has gone. Although there are still children dying every few seconds and the haunting video to Annie Lenox's 'Why?' still affects as it should.

What disappointed me most was the removal of some tracks, presumably due to shortage of time. I was particularly looking forward to seeing Keane's 'Bedshaped' again and found it was one of those that had been left out.

The sound quality however is excellent through my hifi speakers but not all the bands performed that well on the day. For me Pete Doherty and Black Eyed Peas were a little bit poor.

Overall it is still an excellent concert to watch, the variety of artists and the reason they were all there make it unique...apart from Live Aid of course
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Shocker (1989)
Out of fashion horror
4 April 2005
This film screams of an 80s style that is now out of fashion. Just like thin ties, dangly earrings, shoulder pads, flicked hair and leg warmers this film no longer works at any level. I'm sitting here trying to think of it's redeeming qualities and after a few minutes I realised there just aren't any.

The film borrows its ideas from other films, particularly A nightmare on Elm Street 1-4 and American Werewolf in London and has little of it's own uniqueness. In fairness Wes Carven produced this and the Elm Street movies but that doesn't excuse this from being so poor. The movie is laughable but not in a good way and the acting is surprisingly poor. I looked up the main actors to see what other films they'd been in and it was quite a few so it must have just been bad in this movie.

I can't really recommend this unless you are having a nostalgic 80s horror night with your friends, in which case don't forget your leg warmers!
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The Grudge (2004)
Disappointing remake
4 April 2005
There's not much wrong with what they did include in this remake other than they made it a little bit too chronological and simplistic, perhaps they don't credit Westerners with as much intelligence. The big let down is that they cut the best segment of the original movie and just elongated what was left to fill the 90 mins. The original film relied more upon building a tension of fear and a feeling that you can't escape the curse no matter what. This remake tried to make too much of a story out of it and as is often the case scares were second to the plot having to fit together exactly.

I have to say this is not a bad movie, so if you haven't seen the original and can't be doing with subtitles then you'll enjoy this. For those that have seen the original, there isn't any reason I can think of for you to see this one.
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Very decent remake
4 April 2005
I understand that the UK version has been cut because apparently we have to get a worse deal than other countries. I'm sure that's not it but I was disappointed to find out that there were scenes cut from the version I saw because what I did see I thought was very good.

The things that made the original so brilliant were not touched on at great length in this movie but this version is more about action. Good action scenes they were too, well paced, well acted and the tension was well developed by the direction. The zombies were scarier than in the original, they looked scarier and posed a bigger threat than the zombies in the original movie, which were slow moving and easier to escape from. I was pleased they didn't over gore the film as was the case in Day of the Dead.

All in all a very good horror film that doesn't require too much thought. Just sit back and enjoy the scares.
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One of the better Christmas movies
4 April 2005
Great film for all the family. Been a little while since I'd seen this and having seen it again I think I'll need to go and buy it. The film has the right ingredients to make a good Christmas film and will be popular with my family for many years.

The story follows a dad and his son one Christmas night when due to an accident the sceptical dad finds himself having to finish Santa's deliveries. Of course when next year comes around is the new Santa going to believe in himself in time to take on the job again.

There was a sequel to this film which was pretty good but this is the better of the two films.
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There's no 11 out of 10 score.
4 April 2005
Wonderful and charming classic movie that makes you feel good to the very end.

The story is based a great deal on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, only in this case it's a guardian angel and not 3 ghosts and it's a good man he comes to visit. The guardian angel shows our hero George Bailey how life would have been without him. When George realises how much he has and how much he's done for others and on Christmas Eve no less, he understands what's really important again. It's inspiring to see George swimming most of his life against the current but always in the pursuit of doing what's right. His selflessness and understanding of others is something in modern society we don't seem to even aspire to emulate any more.

If you haven't seen this film you will find scenes you've come across in other movies and never knew where they came from. The film contains so many memorable scenes and wonderful moments that I really can't do it justice. You simply have to see it for yourself.

Make sure you have a full 2.5 hours free to watch it because it's a long movie. In fact leave 5 hours free so you can watch it again straight after.
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Ghost Ship (2002)
Truly Awful
3 April 2005
Having now been converted to Eastern horror I suppose I was foolish to watch this film, expecting to enjoy it. I have realised for some time now that Hollywood horror is about as imaginative and scary as an episode of Scooby-Doo, not one of the better episodes either. This film started with a terrible idea, used bad script and direction to develop an utterly scare-less atmosphere and then insulted my intelligence by connecting every single aspect of the story, giving me absolute reasons for everything. I've seldom felt like my time was wasted watching a film because I love films and enjoy a variety of different genres but particularly horror. This was one such time when I think that 90 minutes of my life have been wasted and I feel aggrieved that I can do nothing to get those 90 minutes back.

I'm actually writing this review wasting further minutes of my life but as I'm ranting I consider this therapy. If you do like a ship based ghost story I would recommend 'Deathship', from which I imagine this film was loosely based. 'Deathship' however is a superior film in every way to this and is worth 90 minutes of your life. If any type of horror is your thing then you must start to watch films like 'A Tale of Two Sisters', 'The Eye', 'Kairo' and 'Ju-on' to name a few. These films will alter how you judge other horror films and they will challenge your intellect as well as properly scare you.
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A masterpiece!
22 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Words cannot describe how good this film is and I'm not that great with words so I should stop typing now. For all those that like either horror movies or International cinema this is an absolute must see. In fact unless you really hate the above two categories this is an absolute must see.

The story surrounds two sisters who return from a spell in a mental institution to the house of their father and stepmother. The family is also quite dysfunctional and the stepmother in particular is very cruel. As the film progresses you begin to understand why the sisters were in an institution. You also get some terrific scares. But what is really going on? is the house haunted, are the sisters really mad, is the stepmother playing tricks on them, or even the other way around. By the end of the film, if you've been paying attention you'll know and I simply cannot give anything away as it will ruin it for you. The film is supremely clever and you're required to use your own intelligence to understand what is happening. If you didn't there are numerous forums on film websites you can trawl through for others opinions. That's how good this film is, you'll never see forums with threads 500 messages long about US horror films.

Anyway, just go and rent it.
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8 Mile (2002)
Modern day Saturday Night Fever......kind of
19 February 2005
I'd heard good things about this movie and then eventually I saw Scary Movie 3(what was I thinking renting that?), in which there is a brief parody of 8 Mile. It intrigued me enough to rent this. I certainly enjoyed this movie, which was good on many levels.

The story is set in the mid 90s in the poorer districts of Detroit. It follows a white rapper trying to succeed in an almost completely black music style. The similarities between Saturday Night Fever and 8 Mile represent themselves in the main character's families, their work, their friends and in their one real talent. In the case of Saturday Night Fever it was dancing, in this movie it's rap music.

This was a good movie to watch and the performances from all the main characters were excellent. It's difficult for me to relate to the environment in which the movie was set and the prejudices a 'white trailer trash' rapper would face, not having experienced anything like it. But the movie did a good job of making me feel a part of it all.
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Stylish modern day Rosemary's Baby
10 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers

It's quite difficult to write about the story in this movie without putting in spoilers. What I will say is, it does leave you guessing right up until the finale as to whether she is right about it all or just crazy.

I would like to say is how good the main leads are. Charlize Theron gives a similar performance to the one in Devil's Advocate, which in many ways is a similar movie. She plays the semi-depressed, slightly dysfunctional if intelligent woman very well. The way her character doesn't cope with life in New York has a sort of Lost in Translation feel, in the way she feels alienated and alone. But as often is the case Johnny Depp stole the show with his performance as a caring husband which develops (in his wife's eyes), to be this cold maybe even cruel man with whom she has nothing in common. It's good to see and compare how Commander Armacost is the same actor as Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. Depp does have such a repertoire of acting styles and has in my opinion been convincing in every movie of his I've seen.

This film has many parallels with Rosemary's Baby, which is a great movie too. I don't think this movie will be remembered in the halls of fame as Rosemary's Baby will but it is still a good film and worth more than the 4.7 rating on IMDb at the time I made this post. If I were to be negative I would have to say that the film could have been more disturbing and a little darker. The performances though kind of stole the show and so in some ways that detracted from the tension, a strange negative/positive comment I suppose.

The film is quite slow in building up the tension so those that have seen some of the great Asian movies like Kairo will be fine but those that need a movie to be in their face from minute 1 will perhaps lose interest. What it does do well is leave you to make your own conclusions about certain facts. This is another thing that films don't always do these days, or Hollywood ones at least. I like that approach, in the end you may still not have all the answers. Maybe that makes you watch a film a second time? I don't think I will see this again, it's not that good but I was left pondering some of the information after it was over.

I'd say it was deserving of the 7/10 I gave it.
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The father of the Austin Powers movies.
8 January 2005
These days a Hollywood director's budget doesn't seem to stretch beyond one A-list actor/actress and a couple of B-listers. Try this for size: - David Niven Peter Sellers Peter Falk Alec Guiness James Cromwell Maggie Smith to name just a few.

Many very funny one liners and silly moments plus more than a few spoofs of old murder mystery films 20 years before Austin Powers came along. It has become a little dated in some respects but it's still a very enjoyable film to watch.

My kids were interested to see that the fairly glamorous lady in the white was in fact Professor McGonagal from Harry Potter and that the butler was Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars.

Good, clean, wholesome fun for all the family.
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Where were the last 20 minutes?
30 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
OK so if you are English and enjoy football you'll probably find this film funny and with a lot of truth to it. The problem is it's more like a 1 hour pretend documentary for TV and not a film. Three games that could have been shown like the others were shown, were just cut out. We beat Argentina, qualify for the second stage and then just fly home after telling us we beat two more teams and lost in the Semi-Final. It was almost like they all decided to go home early and just say 'this is what happens in the end'. A good job all films don't do that. What if Star Wars had been 1 hour 15 mins and just as they arrive on the Death Star we get told 'they rescue the Princess, escape and Luke blows up the Death Star'? This was a good bit of entertainment up till the quick end. Sorry to be moaning but we want a full film when we pay to see it.
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Spiral (2000)
Curious, Strange, Bizarre, Odd, Weird
30 December 2004
Not all Japanese horror films will be remade by Hollywood. This certainly won't be one. For Hollywood to attempt a remake the film needs to be good in the first place.

From the start of the film a few things come to notice, these are: -

(i) the acting is not good, (ii) the director has gone for a lot of darkness in the scenes (dark isn't always scary), (iii) the film was obviously made on a shoe-string budget, (iv) the film was probably not made with Western audiences in mind (after seeing Ringu, Dark Water to compare ones that were).

For me the film was neither scary, interesting, gory or surprising, just very strange. The people affected by the uzumaki seemed delirious like they were on drugs. Were the producer and director likewise on something?

The plot is a bit weak , there were so many things that could have made it better, its frustrating to think 'that must be what's happening', only to discover that you were wrong and that your idea was better.

When you're short on budget it's not always a good idea to go for too many effects, so what there was looked silly.

I really couldn't recommend this film unless you specifically want a bizarre film with worse than school play acting.

I gave it 3/10. If you want Eastern horror and you haven't seen them yet then go with Kairo, Ju-on, Ringu, Dark Water, The eye and A Tale of Two Sisters.
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Brilliant, touching, entertaining!
26 December 2004
I may have seen this film more than 20 times, unfortunately it has been unavailable in the UK for 10 years and not on TV all that time so I'm missing it right now. It is such a good film whether you enjoy Benny Goodman's music or jazz for that matter or not. Benny Goodman's life was pretty interesting anyway and it's portrayal in this movie is fairly accurate. The music score covers all the best from Benny Goodman and his Orchestra and is a tribute to one of the earlier band leaders in Jazz. There were not too many bands with both black and white members at that time but this was such a band. What was great for the Benny Goodman Orchestra was the fact that many of the members were such well known and respected performers themselves. There was such talent in that group of musicians and how fortunate it was that they should all come together at that time to create and play some brilliant music.

With regard to the film it is based on the life of Benny Goodman and if you know about him the presence of spoilers here would not ruin things. In short though this film shows Benny Goodman from a young boy through to after he has made a success of himself. His challenges, disappointments, love interests are all a part of the story through the film.

I couldn't fault anything in this film, direction, acting, all of it is just right and it makes for a film you can enjoy over and over again.

They certainly don't make movies like this anymore.

9 out of 10. (I reserved 10 out of 10 for my very best 3 or 4 films, this is a top 10 of mine still).
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Elf (2003)
Wonderful Christmas movie!
26 December 2004
There are some Christmas songs that are just right and will be on every Christmas compilation album for 30 years. They'll be played on the radio every year for 30 years and people will listen to them/sing to them/dance to them at their work Christmas parties for 30 years. Well this is that but in a movie. The ingredients are right and like Home Alone, A Miracle on 34th Street and The Santa Clause it will be a long running favourite Christmas movie in my house for......probably 30 years. Why is everything 30 years? I don't know it's just an approximate number.

The story follows Buddy the elf who after discovering he's actually a human but was adopted by elves travels to New York to find his real father. He fits in New York like a Terminator would fit in at a tea party, which makes for a lot of the laughs. Of course eventually the film moves on to being heartwarming, touching and even a little exciting. There's even a chance for Buddy to save Christmas before the movie is finished.

This is another film where the acting is good allround and as I said earlier it has the right ingredients to make you feel good at Christmas time. Kids will love this film and most adults will enjoy it too.

Definitely needs to be in your Christams movies collection.
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Very enjoyable family film
26 December 2004
This was a good film for all the family. Once again Pixar and those people at Disney have put in enough humour for the grown ups along with all of the good clean wholesome fun that you want your kids to see. There were no moaning kids during this film, even though the popcorn had run out well before the trailers started. It's quite long, 2 hours, which is long for younger children but they sat still throughout the entire film. In fact the kids were so impressed my older two took themselves off to the cinema with their pocket money to see it 3 days later.

I wonder, did other adults notice how they'd modelled the older daughter on Sadako from Ringu? It was just something some adults might spot and would have one over on the kids when it came to one film fact.

The story follows the lives of two superheroes who after getting married are forced to settle down in the wake of public opinion no longer wanting superheroes. The kids they have, also become super-powered and soon enough the world needs superheroes again. The film is great fun with good effects, a fun soundtrack and likable characters. There are plenty of laughs and kids will be comparing who is the most powerful or has the best powers after it's over.

I'd have to rate this up there with or possibly above similar types of films such as Shrek and Toy Story. I'd say it was a better film than Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo.

Definitely a good movie to see.
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The Ring (2002)
Very clever horror flick
12 February 2004
I haven't seen the original film 'Ringu' from which this movie was based but I would have to say that Hollywood did an OK job on this film. The plot is not Hollywood's, thank heavens, because in recent years any horror movie with any plot coming out of Hollywood seems to need to conform to the Scooby Doo format. By that I mean by the end every little mystery has been explained in full detail.... unfortunately at the expense of the real ingredients, fear, suspense, etc, etc.

The idea of this film is very clever, if you didn't know anything about it then you would be surprised at what is going on and you would not be able to predict the ending even if you were convinced you had it right, you'd be wrong. Having read reviews to other Japanese horror movies it seems that many of them have intelligent and curious causes to the supernatural phenomenon as well. An influx of American remakes may follow The Ring.

To give some sort of review I would have to say that it is for the most part one of the very best horror movies of the last 5 years. There is a deep and disturbing atmosphere, although I will see Ringu next and compare to see if it comes close. There is an excellent score of music to set the mood and tone of what the director wants you to feel during the scenes and the sound effects are used well to develop the tension. The storyline itself is by far the movie's strongest point and compares with any horror I can think of.

In short I would definately say watch this movie if you like supernatural horrors, or maybe you should see the original 'Ringu' first though??
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The Fast Show (1994–2014)
This week I'll be mostly laughing at the Fast Show
22 May 2002
When I first saw this it was in between two comedy programmes that I did like and I couldn't be bothered to move because it was Friday,9.30pm and I had clocked up 60 hours that week. I hated the show and thought it was totally unfunny. Next week came and same thing only this time I thought it was OK. Week after, again saw it and instead thought it was very funny. By the following week it was the brilliant show in between two fairly good comedy shows. Now it is established as one of my absolute favourite comedies ever.

Well done to the team who created this show it is truly refreshing comedy.
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Automan (1983–1984)
I have to admit it. I liked it
22 May 2002
I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit this but I loved Automan. Like a lot of things from the 80s I think we are amazed with what things appealed to us back then. An episode of Friends summed it up when college aged Ross and Chandler turn up to thanksgiving dressed as if they were from Miami Vice. Yes this series typified 80s style in many ways and because of that has not stood the test of time. I can't see them repeating it in the UK because 14-15 year-olds will think it is stupid.

Anyway the show is about an LA cop(Arnaz jr) who has an expertise in computers. With his computer equipment he creates Automan(Wagner) and the flashing 'cursor' who makes the cars, boats, guitars or whatever Automan needs at the time. The two of them go after the big bad criminals and get them. Only two people know about Automan, his creator and another cop, an attractive female who never quite becomes anyone's love interest. There are lots of good driving scenes, likable characters and fairly good Sci-fi effects but most of all it has charisma. Unfortunately it is also a silly idea that never quite explains itself and is so corny the phrase corny could be replaced by the word Automan.

If you see it for the first time now you will probably be shocked at how bad it was. If you remember it from the first time round you will probably have that old familiar feeling which you might describe as comfortable.
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Ghosthouse (1988)
Flawed but still a few good scares.
19 May 2002
This film is better than most of todays Hollywood horror flicks. For two simple reasons. Firstly the plot and making everything add up is less important than disturbing events and straight forward scares. Hollywood seems to rap it's plot up so tightly these days it's almost like watching an episode of Scooby Doo. Sometimes there is no reason, no motive and so on. Secondly despite the relatively poor acting the characters do give you the impression that they are afraid. What chance has the viewer got of being scared if the characters are not frightened, even if they do stay in the house when they should have left.

Anyway the plot is simply this; A CB radio user picks up a message of a man pleading to someone and ends with someone being killed. This same message is picked up 2 days in a row at the same time each night. He traces the signal to an old deserted house and takes his girlfriend with him. When they get there they meet 3 college kids one of whom has a voice that matches the one from the message. All 5 stay in the house and wierd things start to happen. The place is haunted (hence the name of the film being Ghosthouse). They all stay there well beyond the point that they are afraid for the lives so we can be entertained.

For horror fans this is enjoyable and refreshingly different from the normal haunted house films. Just don't pick too many holes in it because you will not enjoy the good bits.
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