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The Specials (2000)
Nothing too special for me
Personally, I liked Mystery Men better. There's not really that much action here, and the pacing of the movie is slllooowww. Dialogue is kinda goofily-fun, but the use of profanity (which, generally, I have nothing against) I think was too excessive for this genre of film, to the point where it detracted from the movie. In fact, it almost gave it a "dark comedy" feel which I don't think works for a superhero movie. I think moreover, that there were just too many unsympathetic characters in this film, especially the adulterous Ms. Indestructible (I REALLY did not like her). I couldn't find myself feeling for one character, or disliking another above all others.
From a visual standpoint, this was a well-done movie. The costumes and visual effects were very nice -- lots that jumped out at you.
Still, this could not make up for the fact that, to me, this movie just wasn't that funny. Nice try, but nothing "special."
My Grade: C-/D+ (See Mystery Men instead)
Star Trek: Voyager (1995)
Most underrated Trek series ever . . .
This series always gets flak from fans and critics, but, in my opinion, it is largely unwarranted.
Janeway certainly does seem to let her heart give the orders many times, but this doesn't make her a worse captain than those former, just a different kind of captain.
Some crew members could have been developed more (namely Kim and Parris), but other stronger characters made up for them (namely Janeway, The Doctor, and Tuvok).
Call me a non-purist Trek fan, but I actually thoroughly enjoyed the plots and storylines of Voyager (especially the ones involving Q) even though they may have been more "mainstream."
Anyway, regardless of what kind of Trek fan you are, there is no denying that this is a fun series. It may not be "loyal" to the overall storyline or theme at times, but so what? A television series should be entertaining -- which is exactly what Star Trek: Voyager is.
My Grade: B+/A-
All the King's Men (1999)
I'm usually not a Masterpiece Theater watcher, but . . . (Spoiler Alert!)
. . . this was a superb film. Oddly, I could not stop watching it.
History lovers, war film lovers, and unexplained phenomena lovers will all be pleased.
An entire company of soldiers (often called The Sandringham Men) mysteriously disappeared in the middle of a Turkish battlefield in 1915. Reports say the company was enveloped by a cloud shaped like a loaf of bread, that seemed to hover over them before floating down and covering them. The mysterious cloud then lifted into the sky and vanished . . . along with the entire Sandringham Company! Over the years, thousands of explanations have spread, including alien abduction. To this day, no "official" explanation has been given. Nor has any trace of The Sandringham Men ever been found.
Now, this aside, the production quality of the film itself was spectacular! The cinematography, the music, the effects, all helped to drive this picture home. Everyone did a tremendous job in portraying their on-screen personas, making every scene believable.
A great film, all around!
My Grade: A
I was cautious of this movie at first, considering the mixed reviews it was receiving, but after seeing it, there is no more doubt in my mind -- this movie was nothing short of spectacular!
Every aspect of it was fine-tuned to perfection. The casting, acting, visual effects, musical score, etc. were all superb.
I honestly have no clue why anyone would dislike this movie. Die-hard Tolkien fans will pick it apart, I'm sure, but I think they need to enjoy the movie for what it is instead of what they think it should be.
Why are you still reading this? Go see it now! ;)
My Grade: A+
Most people either loved or hated this movie.
I, for one, absolutely loved it.
The emotion, the acting, the visual effects, the musical score -- all felt real (perhaps a little too real at times).
Perhaps Foster and McConaughey's best work (especially Foster, who stole the show).
As a human being, you owe it to yourself to see this film.
My Grade: A+
The Doors (1991)
Pretty good, pretty neat
The Doors are one of my favorite bands (perhaps my favorite). And this movie is probably the biggest reason why.
I'm not saying this movie is without its flaws, because it is not (the one-dimensional portrayal of Morrison, most noteably).
But great music and stunning visual effects more than make up for those few flaws.
As I mentioned above, there's more to Morrison than is portrayed in the movie. Sure, he was over the top and larger than life sometimes, but he was also, more often than not, an oridinary guy with ordinary feelings and problems. But the spirit of Jim Morrison and the Doors endures and inspires regardless of what you think of him.
I would have liked to have seen more emphasis put on the other band members (since the movies is called "The Doors" not "Jim Morrison") but hey, I'll forgive Stone -- he did an incredible job.
My Grade: A
Universal Soldier (1992)
The diner scene made the movie
The diner fight scene pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the movie -- humor mixed with violence.
Ok, ok, in all fairness, it wasn't THAT bad. The lead roles did very well considering what they had to work with:
Van Damme was born for action movies. Ally Walker, by far the strongest character in the movie, did and admirable job of playing the civilian caught in the middle. Dolph Lundgren's, while imposing of stature, actually delivered a nice performance.
Just don't go in to this expecting Ben-Hur, and you'll be entertained :)
My Grade: C
Not a bad film
Saw this on TV a few days ago. I don't know what was edited out, so I can only say so much, but I must say that the special effects and makeup effects were awesome! The main, cybernetic nemesis (while a tad blue-screenish) was menacing to the very end. And some of the sets were very richly-detailed. $75,000,000 to make? I can believe it. Now, that being said, there still were some flaws in this movie - mainly, the dialogue and acting. While not terrible, these elements could stand some work. Had they been brushed up, this movie would have been so much better than it was. But as is, it's not that bad.
My Grade: B
"The only winning move is not to play"
All I can say is "Wow!" The entire movie builds up to those words from WOPR. At first, it seems like a cheesy, anti-war sentiment, but upon retrospect it is exactly something a computer would say.
As for the rest of the movie, it was very well-crafted, but a little slow in places. Fine performances all around. Sobering (especially in light of the recent attacks on the World Trade Center) to think that such a situation as this could happen at any time.
My Grade: A
Blind Fury (1989)
A fun movie. Not a great, sweeping movie. Not a trashy, useless movie. Just a fun, well-made action movie. Hauer does an excellent job as the blind hero and the swordplay in this film is top-notch. A must-see for martial arts fans.
My Grade: B
Alien Cargo (1999)
Surprisingly Good, Mis-titled (WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!)
Just got done seeing this on re-run, and I must say I was quite impressed. London and Crider do fantastic jobs as the two lead astronauts -- they are so believable that they almost demand sympathy. The scenery and special effects were well-done, especially for a TV movie. Only gripe is that the title may be misleading to some (I certainly was). We never actually SEE the aliens, which is disappointing, but ultimately effective as the point of the movie is to emphasize the psychological element more than the physical element. Fans of "Event Horizon" will probably like this. Overall, very well-done for a made-for-TV sci-fi outing.
My Grade: B+
Wo hu cang long (2000)
I am truly disappointed in those reviewers who cannot suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy this film. The characters are floating and flying because the China portrayed in Lee's film is a place full of wonder, tradition, and mysticism. Remember, this was based on a book so Lee was most likely interpreting the author's "flying" the best he could. Besides, it's Lee's film, he can do whatever he darn well pleases. If you can do better, then please, by all means re-make this movie, I will watch it. Anyway, on to the film. Beautiful in every detail. The choreography, cinematography, and all the other -ographies were superb. The acting was appropriate to the movie (Michelle Yeoh, Chow-Yung Fat, and Ziyi Zhang are stand-outs). The action sequences are awesome (especially the courtyard scene between Yeoh and Zhang) and the flying scenes are breathtaking (my favorite is the treetop scene between Zhang and Fat). On the surface, it appears to be an attractive martial arts movie. But underneath the surface, it is SO much more. It is a love story, a story of revenge, a tragedy, an artistic vision. Simply beautiful. This movie deserved every award it received.
Predator 2 (1990)
Not as good as the original but close! (WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)
I really enjoyed this movie, even if it did suffer from "Sequel Syndrome." Upon first viewing, you will miss Schwarzenegger, but on retrospect, Danny Glover will really win your approval. More great performances all around. Glover, I've already bragged about. Busey is perfect as the slimy Fed, and, of course, Kevin Peter Hall returns in his second (and sadly, last) role as the Predator. The atmosphere is fitting, as I for one asked myself, "You know, how WOULD the Predator act in the urban jungle?" This movie does suffer from some cliches, but, to a degree, what movie doesn't? It dragged on at times and had more "violence for violence's sake" than the original, but I think the overall quality of this picture makes up for the flaws. The new toys that the Predator had were a nice touch, as was the inclusion of the other Predators. Some notable bits: the discus weapon, the showing of honor by the other Predators, and the subway scene. Was it as good as the original? No. Was it a good movie nonetheless? Absolutely.
They just don't make em like this anymore (WARNING: Spoilers ahead)
I just got done watching this movie on TV, and now I want to go out and buy the DVD! This has always been one of my favorite action/sci-fi movies, and with good reason. Everything was appropriate for the tone of this film. The actors (especially Schwarzenegger and Weathers) played their roles superbly. For the time, the effects were cutting edge and setting was so fitting that it was spooky. Now to the show stealer of the movie -- the Predator itself. Kevin Peter Hall was a perfect choice for the headhunting alien. He was tall but well-toned, massive yet graceful. He made the Predator look so real! I can go on and on about this movie, but I will spare you my ramblings. In closing, what really sold me on this movie was at the end, after a fight sequence that would make Mohamad Ali cringe, when Arnold looks over the dying Predator and asks "What the hell are you?" To which the creature squawks back, "What . . . the hell . . . are YOU?" Goosebumps every time!
In Search of... (1976)
I first saw "In Search Of" about 6 years ago and instantly fell in love with it. I am an avid fan of the supernatural and especially love documentaries concerning it. Out-of-date, but a must see for paranormal junkies.
My Grade: B+
Sci-Fi TV at its best
Who says sci-fi shows nowadays have to be cheesy? Farscape is definitely a cut WAY above the rest. The sets are beautiful, the effects are top-notch, and the stories are great! But it's the characters that really make Farscape a stand-out. Just when you think you have someone pegged, they turn around and do something completely out of character, making them so much more credible and sympathetic.
Superb in every respect.
WWE Monday Night RAW (1993)
I'm not ashamed to admit that I absolutely LOVE this show!
I know it's cliche now to poke fun at "professional" wrestling. It's contrived, choreographed, and phony as hell in some respects, but you know what? That's exactly why I love it!!!! How can you not get goosebumps when one of your heroes is being pummeled in the ring and then down the ramp comes another superstar ready to lay the smacks down on their roodey-poo, candy . . . well you know the rest. Anyway, "redneck soap-opera," "poison for the mind," "phony sports," etc. Call it what you will but it's still pure sports entertainment and it never pretends to be anything more. Besides, the superstars on there are some of the most athletic people alive today.
The Pretender (1996)
I am not a die-hard fan by any means and I only catch it on every so often. But when I do see it I am impressed more and more. Stand-out performances by all, especially my Michael Weiss as our hero, Jarod and Andrea Parker as the beautiful femme fatale. What really set this show out for me was how there were no clear-cut roles for anyone. Jarod is our hero but still shows his weak, vulnerable side. Miss Parker and her cohorts are the people we love to hate, but still display their compassionate, human qualities.
Even for the casual viewer such as myself, this one's a winner.
Dave's World (1993)
OK, but pales in comparison to Barry.
With some good guffaws tossed in here and there, "Dave's World" just doesn't hold a candle to real-life Barry's words of wisdom. Harry Anderson does the best with what he's got, but even that couldn't save this sinking ship.
Worth a view or two, but I'd rather read Dave Barry's real columns.
Night Court (1984)
Probably my all-time favorite sitcom
Of all the great sitcoms that came out of the 80s, this one takes the cake as my favorite. The cast couldn't be better and the gags are still hilarious even today. Excellent performances all-around, especially by Anderson and Larroquette.
On a side note, one of my favorite quotes of all-time comes from "Night Court" ---
Man in courtroom: "Why is the sky blue?" Harry: "Because if it was green, we wouldn't know where to stop mowing."
The Cosby Show (1984)
Still one of the greats
I laughed along with the Cosby gang when it was in its original syndication and I still laugh now at the re-runs. Bill Cosby was unparalleled and stole the show every episode. Still remains as one of my absolute favorites. The new "Cosby" just doesn't have the same spunk that the original had.
A very "different" show
That's about all I can comment on Lexx.
As far as uniqueness goes, it is a breath of fresh from many other sci-fi shows. It is SO different.
That being said, I think my problem with it is that there are no real sympathetic characters. Stanley is loveable but too whiney and whimpy. Xev is exotic, but spoiled and too pouty. Kai is my favorite character. He's dark, mysterious and just plain cool. But I think they try to make him a little TOO dark and chaotic.
Anyway, nice-looking show that just doesn't have much depth. Those looking for something different or fans of the original series will really like it. All others: enter at your own risk.
Popful Mail (1991)
Goofy, fun game
Say what you will about the Sega CD, but they had the most original RPGs. And Popful Mail was no exception. Great story, great voice acting, nice animation, and clever, often hilarious jokes.
My favorite punchline (which I still throw into conversations sometimes) was when you are trapped in an ice prison by these talking penguins. The enemies attack it and penguins go scattering everywhere. If you take over the character Gaw and talk to one of the jailers he (Gaw) says: "What's going on? People are clearing out of here faster than Euro-Disney."
Still one of my faves.
One of my favorites
I am probably one of the few persons who does not go "P'TEWY!" after saying "Sega CD." This was one of my favorite video game systems ever and I think it is unfairly underrated.
Anyway, "Vay" (pronounced vEYE) was my favorite video game on that system. It had a superb story and great voice acting. The graphics may not have been the greatest, but the gameplay was top-notch. The cine-cuts were also ahead of their time, albeit the colors could have used some brightening. The music is what I REALLY loved, tho. That techno soundtrack really carried the game along.
Still, remains one of my favorite and I would love to see one of the new generation systems redo it.
Superb in every sense.
The characters (and character development) are excellent, the music is wonderfully atmospheric, and the storyline was so well-written that it grabbed you and wouldn't let you. I don't think a video game has ever actually made me emotional while playing it until "Xenogears."
I could go on but I would probably exceed the posting limit, hehe. If you can find this game anywhere - GRAB IT! And never let it go.