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The Sixth Sense (1999)
In other words, an M. Night Shyamalan film.
I was preparing to sing the praises of this film like I hadn't done for any film in such a long time. The first 95 minutes formed one of the most hauntingly beautiful (or beautifully haunting?) horror stories I've ever seen. Osment's performance completely blew me away, and Willis didn't stop short of earning his paycheck either. Willis' performance as a troubled psychiatrist struggling to understand and help save this fear-wracked boy was a pleasant reminder of the man's true, unsung versatility.
And then the ending happened, and forgive me for somewhat glossing over the film's good points, but just thinking about how thoroughly wasted all this greatness was just has the effect of getting me angry all over again.
First, I should make it clear that, having heard the "I see dead people" line, I knew mostly what the film was about (though perhaps this would only have delayed how obvious the "twist" became). So from the end of the first scene onward, I was simply proceeding, as I assumed I was meant to, with the knowledge that Dr. Crowe was dead. I kept waiting for the emotional "reveal" scene that would provide the impetus for the film's final act, but I never imagined that that scene would be the *ending*. I thought we would find out that (for instance) Crowe survived the shooting at the beginning, only to somehow have Cole (or Cole's absent father) cause his death later. I also want to know more about Cole. Does he ever stop seeing the ghosts? Does he grow up and get his own TV show? Does he eventually snap anyway and go on Vincent's homicidal rampage?
But no. Shyamalan was too busy being flashy and trying to get talked about to wrap up his beautiful story in any meaningful way. Is this what we have become as a society? Are movies really getting this dumbed down, so that we're at a point where we won't trust anything a director doesn't smash over our head? Fine, fine, I'll get back in my seat; this was nine years ago, after all. Nobody knew that M. Night was an arrogant hack. Now that we do, I think it's high time we got over this film, and just allow M. Night's career to begin its inevitable petering out.
For a film to be bad is one thing. This film is not that. For a film to make you feel angry and used, to the point that you wonder why you even bother watching movies anymore, is quite another. Then again, I suppose that's what I get for taking an M. Night Syamalan film seriously.
Alone in the Dark (2005)
So bad it's... not good.
Alone in the Dark is a series of still images edited together. Many of them are pictures of Christian Slater locked in a single facial expression, accompanied by flat, monotone narration. The film contains characters, as well as dialogue, a love interest, a conflict, and a resolution. There is an antagonist and a protagonist, sets and props, and scenes in which things occur. Then there's an ending which features credits. Not the tiniest scrap of a plot to be had.
It appears they made an attempt at a story involving a mad scientist trying to resurrect demons that wiped out an ancient race of people (why?); a young Slater escaped from his experiment and got electrocuted or lost his memory or something. Now the demons have been unleashed and Slater is their main target. I think. The movie suggests it. There then follow endless scenes of people walking around stealthily with their guns drawn, and a major plot point is made out of how cool and buff Slater is. Then I think Tim Conway pops in and insults him while giving him tips on golf... wait, what?... Oh, now it's *Stephen* Dorf? Well, I don't know anymore. I feel like Boll came into my living room for 96 minutes and just sat on my head.
Coleman Francis lives, and his name is Uwe Boll! 1/10
Kitten with a Whip (1964)
The HOTTEST Garfield ever!
Look, I know what the guidelines say, but when someone comes in trashing MST3K, I just gotta react. After all, even the most hardcore MST3K fans will tell you that this was kind of a sub-par episode, recommended for regular viewers only, and if someone's going to use this episode as a yardstick for the whole series, well, we can't have that, won't we?
OK, maybe it had kind of an intriguing plot, but the movie could have been over with in about half an hour if not for the leaden pacing and relentless subplots. And if we're going to talk 'witless and worthless,' then look no farther than the acting in this film. The wooden performance of John Forsythe; the shrill, pointy overacting of Ann-Margret; the irritating, repetitive pseudo-funny philosophical observations of Ron (which became like Chinese water torture after awhile); the unappealing, unacting Midge; the lunkheaded, fiercely underacted Peter Graves look-alike Buck; I'm sorry, what's "witless and worthless?"
And it doesn't end there. Someone explain to me how a woman notices from across the room a light lit up on a phone and then comes to the conclusion that there's someone else in the house! (Mike: "David, there's some DNA samples and carpet fibres under your fingernails!") Also, why does a man who's faced a couple days of moral and psychological hell stay back at a motel to comfort his captor (let alone accept a kiss from her)? And where did Ron and Buck get the other car? And what was the significance of the final shot of the wedding ring? And what was the one thing? And what about Scarecrow's brain? Bottom line: Douglas Heyes was good on the Twilight Zone because it was a half-hour long; a 90-minute film needs more action and more plot development than a show one-third the length can possible encompass.
"I hate to mention this, but... I'm dyin' in a rush!"
The Young Ones (1982)
Oh my darling, can't you see...
Four roommates that couldn't be any different if they were different species have been thrown together by random chance at Scumbag College. Punk rocker Vyvyan, rock-stupid housewife-ish hippie Neil, slick, ultra-cool Mike, and ladies' man (yeah right) Rick cope with the struggles of day-to-day college life and their annoying landlord Mr. Balowski in this absolutely brilliant series that launched the careers of all involved. Extended scenes featuring totally irrelevant characters and the rampant subliminal film clips all add to the dementia. However, like many great British comedies, it chooses to end by killing off all main characters after its 12 unforgettable episodes.
If you prefer programmes with plots, have brain cells, or have completed the process of evolution, this is not the programme for you. Otherwise, grab a big bowl of lentils and some talking fruit and jockey for position on the sofa to watch 'The Young Ones'... before Vyvyan eats the telly!
Office Space (1999)
I think someone already said this, but this is just like a live-action cartoon for Judge. Quirky characters, ridiculous situations, and it all comes together beautifully.
Peter Gibbons is fed up at work and wishes that he just wouldn't care about it. So, when his hypnotist passes out after granting this wish, he is left carefree... just in time for performance reviews alongside his friends Michael Bolton and Samir Nag...heen...an...ajar. Not only does he get promoted, but he also falls in love with the ridiculously hot Joanna.
In a subplot, the squirrelly, insecure Milton Waddams is tormented by department manager Bill Lumbergh; his desk is constantly moved around, he is denied a piece of birthday cake, his paycheck is cancelled, and, the last straw, Lumbergh takes his red Swingline stapler.
Peter employs Michael's cunning plan of using a special software program to steal pennies from the company, but it malfunctions and begins taking huge piles of money from the company account. Only Milton's anger can save them now...
I have to give it a perfect 10 out of 10!
Tasteless... but that's why I love it!
Sex Education at St. Tit-arse... uh, Titus's academy, as presented by Pythons Jones, Palin, and Cleese. Absolutely hilarious, but not for children under 15!
The Witches (1966)
I don't mean to prejudice anyone's view of this film, but WHAT A DREADFUL MOVIE! There are parts where I feel like either Fontaine ad-libbed or the script was just stream of consciousness.
We start with a semi-relevant prologue featuring supporting characters only in which Gwen (Fontaine) is attacked by an African voodoo-priest-thingy. She then takes a job at a school in the countryside and spends the first few hours of the film settling in. She finds two of her students in love and digs right into their personal lives. The boy falls comatose, his father is killed, and the girl disappears (That should take up about 20 minutes in other films, but here they need at least 6 hours). Gwen tries to get to the bottom of all this, but, in a totally pointless stretch of movie, she loses her memory, goes to a nursing home, gets her memory back, and, as the film's running time enters day 2, returns to the school. Turns out Stephanie Bax is the head of a satanic cult who's trying to sacrifice the girl. After a three and a half hour long ritual, Gwen kills Mrs. Bax by wiping blood on her. (?!) Anyone still awake to watch the end now sees the film grind to a screeching halt.
2 stars out of 10.
The Meaning of Life (1983)
I would have to order the Monty Python films like this (best to worst):
Life of Brian
Meaning of Life
I mean, the songs were good, and they had a bunch of good jokes, but the Crimson Permanent Assurance segment was lacking in...uh...oh, yeah...humor. The sperm song was good, but not very funny, and I bet even one-celled animals were offended by the sex education class (I never wanted to have to see John Cleese's butt!) Still, "O Lord...ooh, you are so big..."
5 out of 10.
Funtastic Football Bloopers (1990)
Minor blooper film.
This movie has it all...too much, in fact. By that, I mean there are unnecessary items. There are perfectly normal fumbled snaps and quarterback sacks and false starts. I would guess that Steve Grad doesn't know much about football, because as a narrator, he seems utterly lost. The music changes with each of the five or six segments, and it can sometimes get pretty irritating.
It isn't a total waste of time, however. There are some cool shots of refs getting tackled and slippery balls (don't even think about it, you perverts) and silly halftime shows.
As far as blooper reels go, "Funtastic Football Bloopers" is good, not great.
4 out of 10 stars.
The Final Sacrifice (1990)
"So, anyway, Mike, I didn't think this movie was as bad as the usual fare."
It was better than most other MST movies...at least it had an interesting idea. I guess it just got caught up in its own silliness, plus it dragged at the beginning.
5 out of 10.
Low adrenaline output? Just got back from work/school? In a bad mood? Check your local listings and see when this is on (on FOX or FX). Never miss a single installment of this show!
Monster a-Go Go (1965)
This was better than Manos?!
I must respectfully disagree. While it's true that Manos was slow, poorly put together, and disgusting, it had a plot and interesting characters. For the plot of this one, someone could write, simply, N/A.
Out of ten stars, I vote...for them to invent a new numbering system to include negative numbers.
Design for Dreaming (1956)
I call YES way!
One of my favorite MST3K shorts of all time! The music is bouncy and the color is colory and the gizmos and gadgets are really neat and the cars look cool...still, it was really goofy and MST3K struck gold with this one!
A Date with Your Family (1950)
The funniest MST3K short EVER!!
I don't know what you consider a spoiler, so for all I know, this comment might contain some.
This one is so 50's, when everybody was supposed to have the perfect nuclear family. If you are unsure of how to do this, watch this short, preferably on MST3K.
Mike: "Dad, I'm dating a Negro."
I haven't seen the film in a while, but I recall liking it a whole lot. Tom Neal plays a drifter who is hitchhiking across the country (on Rte. 66, probably). One man who helps him dies while sleeping in the car. Tom doesn't want the blame to fall on his head, so he dumps the body by the side of the road and continues on in the man's car. I can't remember how, but he meets a girl, and they ride into California together. She is, I think, related to the man, and blackmails Tom, threatening to go to the police. They pawn the car and get an apartment (I think), where she accidentally strangles herself. Tom, to avoid deeper trouble, takes off and stops at the diner from the beginning of the film. I won't tell the ending, just watch this masterpiece of an early film.
8 out of 10!
The Plague of the Zombies (1966)
Hammer does it again-- fail, that is.
Look, the British have given us some pretty good things, like golf, tennis, Monty Python, Blackadder, and the like, but Hammer is not one of them. There are some people who simply should not try to make movies, and Anthony Nelson Keys and his Hammer friends definitely fall into this group.
I've now seen Plague of the Zombies, The Witches, Moon Zero Two, Rasputin, and The Reptile, and I've noticed these defining characteristics of Hammer films in each:
1. A flimsy, vaguely defined plot
2. All the tension removed and replaced with long, drawn out, pointless scenes and convoluted subplots
3. A baffling, confusing denouement, usually supposed to convey irony, but leaving the audience's heads spinning
4. Then, before the closing action is completed and before the plot has had a chance to resolve itself, the end credits elbow their way in.
Plague, however, is one of the most sustained examples of this. (1) The "plot" wanders around from Hamilton's sexual witchcraft fantasies to Alice becoming a zombie to Forbes doing research on rituals in "Heidi." (yeah, I know what he said, but it came out weird.) (2) The tension is removed by revealing almost immediately that Hamilton is the zombie priest, and then replaced by the interminable scenes of Forbes sneaking around the house, Martinus being grilled by the cops and both Sylvia and Alice being lured to the mine. (3) Do they ever explain in the film exactly how the zombies would be affected by burning the dolls? And why wouldn't Hamilton just run back to the secret passage to his house? I'd also like to ask why he needed ZOMBIES to work that mine. They did say that he was loose with his money, but nobody ever said he was running out. (4) Then, just as the tension in the final scene comes to a head, the film ends, just as befuddlingly and cryptically (no pun intended) as it began.
Not to mention, THERE'S NO PLAGUE OF ZOMBIES!
England should just go back to the things they're good at, like guillotining random people and producing drug-induced literary works. Horror is not for them.
The least entertaining Christmas movie ever
A) The story is abysmal
B) The actors sucked! (except for Voldar--I thought he was good.)
1 star out of 10.
A ha ha ha--!
The Eye Creatures (1965)
I really hate this movie.
I really hate this movie. There are no actors among the bunch. The film is slower than Siberian molasses, taken out of a freezer after 12 years, and saturated with cornstarch. I really hate this movie. It is so repetitive; we get it, no one believes them and the police think they're drunk! I really hate this movie. There is, of course, the title and the intensely loathsome oily guys. I really hate this movie. It was not scary in the least and the budget was just over $7 ($6.95 being burned for the Peter Graves voice-over). I really hate this movie.
1 star out of 10. And that's being generous. I really hate this movie.
I really hate this movie.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
What movie was everybody else watching?
I was watching the one with the non-emoting Kerwin Mathews, and the overacting, scene-stealing Torin Thatcher. You know, the slow-moving, repetitive one with the lack of tension and the all too predictable ending? The one that had a couple different plots going on at once and allowed scenes to drag on? The one with the special effects that were probably advanced for their time, but that couldn't manage to keep sizes consistent?
Hey, maybe I'm the one who's wrong. But check your tape boxes to make sure you weren't watching the one from 1941 with Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, and Everett Sloane about a publisher's rise to power.
Out of 10 stars, maybe 4 or 5, tops.