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Among the Best War Movies
21 July 2006
I have a large collection of war movies and consider this one to be among the best ever made. Many of the war movies have what I consider to be too many flashback scenes of home and try to become love stories with a few battle scenes. These scenes in Between Heaven and Hell actually have a real purpose in the story. More than any war movie that I have seen, this one shows a trend in American history that is often overlook—the fact that wars and the men who serve in them traditionally return home with a more egalitarian outlook, hungry to reform the society that they left. Between Heaven and Hell shows a man's transformation into a better person as a result of his war experiences. Sam Gifford is a man on the edge of breaking from the strain of war. He has experienced loss and hardship and realized that in the past he has been the unnecessary source of it for others. Between Heaven and Hell has a psychological realism that most war movies lack. It shows war heroes for what they are—men who rise above their ordinary selves to do extraordinary things in adversity. This is great story telling with great characters.
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Great B-movie title, but a disappointment
8 July 2003
I was excited to find CCIZT on DVD. Unfortunately, the movie is mediocre B-movie fare. All the elements that make a great B-Movie are here--a soap star(Jamie Rose), a great character actor (Don Calfa), a future star (Billy Bob Thornton), and Lewis Arquette as a cop. Other elements are sadly missing--over the top camp, extraneous gore, even gratuitious nudity. There is a hidden easter egg (Cannibal Lesbian Hoedown) on the disc that contains all of these The casual 80's slasher fan would do better to check out Slumber Party Massacre. For a celebration of zombie B-Movies, check out The Dead Hate the Living. Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town is a great movie title and the disc is a must have for the B-movie collector, but not a great zombie film or a great B-movie.
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There is a reason Christina's House debuted in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.
14 May 2003
Terrible! A waste of time. A first viewing left me with such a terrible opinion of this movie that I had to watch it again to see if it was really as bad as I remembered. Can a good-looking young cast carry a film? Uh…no, although, I love Christina's pajamas. Ultimately, this movie has no redeeming qualities. Don't get me wrong, after a second viewing, I see a great deal that could have made for a great fact, wait...already has...a psycho released from an asylum kills cute girls, hides in secret passages, stalks the lead hottie, then gets caught in his own trap. Yes, its Psycho meets Halloween inbred with Don't Look in the Basement and Crawlspace, with the cast of Scream IV. A better soundtrack would have been a great plus. The location of the house is also a distracter. Great horror houses are more isolated. Christina's house looks like its in a field by a ditch by a road. Well acted, the film benefits most from the inclusion of John Savage. Unfortunately, he, like the talented young actors, is wasted. Do yourself a favor and watch one of the great movies I mentioned. There is a reason Christina's House debuted in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.
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24 January 2003
Included with Universal's excellent Frankenstein DVD. Film historian David J. Skal hosts this documentary about the 1931 classic. Filmmakers, film historians, and writers discuss the novel and its many dramatic and film incarnations (at least Universal's long series). Discussions include the influence of German impressionist filmmakers on Hollywood horror movies, make-up, and the actors. Sara Karloff, daughter of the actor, is one of the many interviewees.
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The Road to Dracula (1999 Video)
Dracula Documentary
24 January 2003
Carla Laemmle, niece of director Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal pictures, introduces and narrates this documentary produced by film historian David Skal. Filmmakers, writers, and film historians discuss the timelessness of the Bram Stoker character and Universal's three adaptations, among others. Included on Universal's excellent Dracula (1931) DVD.
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Horrid, wretched, execrable
19 January 2003
I only saw about four minutes. This is the worst movie ever! I later went back and watched it at 8x speed. A good plot idea--girls pretend to be hookers to lure men to a cannibal lair to be consumed by a mad-man. Well, I guess that's the plot--I may be giving it more credit than its worth. Find a few cute girls (not to imply that the girls in this movie are attractive) willing to bare their breasts and walk around in lingerie, mixup some fake blood, and virtually anyone could make a better movie. A waste of plastic! The worst movie I have ever seen, it makes Garden of the Dead look like Gone With The Wind. At least Garden of the Dead is campy (no pun intended). If you want gratuitous nudity and campy horror, watch Zombie Lake. What were they thinking when they made this "movie"? Anyone who claims any other film is the worst ever should be mailed a copy of this contrivance. Horrid, wretched, execrable. Words fail to convey....
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Send in the Klowns!
19 January 2003
You couldn't watch a masterpiece of this caliber every day until video came along! This is what great b-movies are all about. Sure, it's not half as frightening as the thought of the Judy Collins song, but clowns are by their nature freaky! Apart from being the Citizen Cane of b-movies, the dvd may be the best ever made. MGM did an outstanding job with the design and the extras. The score is exceptional, adding faux seriousness to the ridiculousness of the imagery. If you want innocent fun, watch this movie. If you were looking for The Remains of the Day, perhaps the title should have clued you in that you were making a wee mistake! Give us more, Chiodo bros.!
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The Evil Dead (1981)
Play it again, Sam!
19 January 2003
Sam Raimi is a genius! Evil Dead IS a classic horror film in a class by itself. Scarier than The Exorcist, and funnier than The Dead Hate the Living (both excellent movies}, Evil Dead is a must see for any true horror fan. I last watched it on the porch of a mountain cabin, very similar to the one in the film. What a rush! Very few horror movies deserve the praise that this one does. The cult that has arisen around this series is deserved. Too much gore? Impossible, although Braindead, aka Dead Alive, tries. It's great that both Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson gained opportunities to make some money with big budget hits, recently. Still, Evil Dead proves that ultimately it's not the budget that makes a great movie--it's the film makers. Ash should appear in the Freddy v Jason movie and kick both of their tails!
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The Forgotten (1973)
Deserves the Anchor Bay full treatment!
19 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Contains SPOILERS! A bunch of crazies in a remote house. An intense psychological horror flick. "Poor lady--I hope that isn't catching. What's the matter with her--cat's got her tongue?" is a great quote! A great bloody surprise ending you will not expect. Some reviewers complain about the inappropriateness of the title, causing me to wonder if they watched all of the film, as there IS a basement, and it does only appear in the climax, as the main character realizes what has happened. This movie would be perfect for Anchor Bay to bring to full glory. One of the best movies made set in an asylum, it's far superior to Session 9--only the asylum itself makes Session 9 worth watching. I bet the catering budget for Session 9 was more than the whole budget for this movie! This is late night drive-in fare at its best! If you want more realism in a psycho movie, see Clean, Shaven or Dead Ringers, but Don't Look in the Basement is a classic in its own right.
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16 January 2003
The Changeling is a good movie, but very predictable with over the top performances by virtually everyone, except the great George C. Scott. It's a horror movie for those who are easily frightened by creepy houses and a great horror score, but there are no suprises. In this way it does resemble the great classic horror movies of yesteryear. The child's murder is the only truly uncomfortable moment(s) in the film. Great horror movies cause you to want to close your eyes, yet entice you to keep them open just the same. They are unfortunately rare. The real bad guy in the movie, the murder, is underutilized, and the Changeling's character is too underdeveloped to be a convincing bad guy. Heck, it's not clear that he necessarily knew about the murder in the first place. The film would have benefited from a giallo-like plot twist that makes you wonder if the old lady at the society--or the caretaker--was pulling a fast one, but such an element is never brought to fruition. Lacking in suspense, the film almost makes up for it with creepiness. I kept waiting for Scooby and the Gang to show up. The Changeling would have gotten away with it if weren't for that meddling dead kid. A good, but not great, classic.
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Chicago Sons (1997– )
Lost gem
28 September 2002
Whoever cancelled this program made a huge blunder. It is one of the finest sitcoms of the last 20 years--right up there with Cheers, Frasier, and Friends. It's a shame with all the fodder on Network tv that this show is no longer on.
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Runaway Bride (1999)
More predictable than bad popcorn
30 June 2001
Runaway Bride is a smoking gun for every critic who complains about lack of substance in big Hollywood productions. I found the movie painful to watch because nearly every plot shift, every line, every event is predictable. It is a trite movie for people who claim to be romantics, but like their "romanticism" homogenized. The most liberating aspect of the movie came when it ended. I was, at last, empowered to declare that never again would I enter a movie theater to watch a Julia Roberts movie.
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