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Rest Stop (2006 Video)
6/10
Often wondered about those rest-stops!
10 April 2010
Now here's a minor curiosity. Not a film to adjudge as you watch it. Rather, one to ponder and to write about in the cool light of reflection. It is neither the scourge of film-making as many believe, nor the misunderstood gem others would wishfully crave.

Personally I found it "interesting" for the most part, which itself indicates something of the director's intentions were clumsily achieved.

Jaimie Alexander, whose greatest achievement prior to this little flick was playing young "Tammy" in a TV semi-doco entitled "Underage Drinking: A National Concern," portrays the hapless Nicole Carrow, who absconds with her boyfriend Jess, unrealistically hoping to set themselves up in Hollywood somewhere.

She selects quite the wrong rest-stop so far as the call of Nature is concerned. Just how much of what follows transpires in the "real time" remains at the behest of the individual viewer. Whether the director was aiming for "Wrong Turn 3" or "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4: Jess Loses His tongue" is unclear. What he hands us here is a near psychedelic re-working of "Jeepers Creepers III: Mystery of the Pick-Up"

Alexander acts herself into a frenzy. Shame the script wasn't up to it. Yet something intrinsically fascinating draws the viewer to gaze upon her increasingly manic behavior with the work-ethic of a mongoose.

The scenes with the unfortunate bike-cop border on lunacy, yet one is drawn to the girl's plight, wondering sadly "Why the Hell didn't she just return to the highway in the first place and flag someone down?"

So like I said. A film one might extract some appreciation from - however small.
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The Risen (2003 TV Movie)
8/10
If you prefer your soul-movies to be credible - "The Risen" is an option!
31 August 2009
Slavish followers of my former cinematic ravings (such ARE out there!) may wonder why my reviews came to a grinding halt in 2005. The simple fact is that I tired of the abusive and sub-intellectual feedback that they generated. The fact that films were being regurgitated additionally, on a brain-dead assembly-line-of-remakes, soured my inclination to comment further. The days of "Midnight Cowboy," "Jacob's Ladder," "Goodbye Mr. Chips," "Blade Runner" and their ilk, long dead, I deduced.

Last night I watched "The Risen." It affected me sufficiently that I harbored the desire to comment on it. Is it a masterpiece? nope! What it IS though is another interesting Canadian flick that transcends its limited budget...a trait exhibited by "Ginger Snaps" before it. What we have here is basically a "displaced soul" concept, that leaves crap like "The Unborn" floundering in its cosmic amniotic fluid.

Suffice to say, Amanda Knowles is rendered operable upon, courtesy of an ectopic pregnancy. When she awakes, she recalls nothing, including her husband. This is not necessarily a bad thing, given Darren Knowles considerable total lack of appeal, one ponders. From this point on, her life becomes a real-time nightmare, helped not one jot by her inexplicable fascination for a young student at her husband's upmarket college of learning.

T'would be churlish of me to comment further except to say that despite having the outcome telegraphed early, the very last line of this film will probably upset...in a heart-warming fashion, the aware viewer.

Alberta Watson gives us a very believable characterization, as does the always reliable Helen Shaver as her sister Lynn.

Interesting also that the film was co-executive-produced by Anthony Ginnane who gave us the equally offbeat "Men with Guns" and the minor Aussie classic "Sally Marshall is not an Alien."
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Black Sheep (2006)
7/10
Ram-bo 4?
16 August 2007
If movies are all about entertainment, then BLACK SHEEP delivers.

Exactly WHAT it delivers is largely up to you and your level of humor. In terms of film-making talent, both the actors and film crew are some decades off an Academy Award and yet I personally enjoyed this more than LIVE FREE DIE HARD (Limply, DIE HARD 4 in Australia) which remains probably the greatest cinematic disappointment of a lifetime's viewing, one which stretches back to early Lon Chaney flicks of the 30's.)

Danielle Mason has probably less charisma and acting skill than most dentists, yet makes the most of her second big-screen opportunity. in 2004 she was seen as a ditzy fruitloop roped into a dating agency in the barely-funded NZ comedy FUTILE ATTRACTION) Some of her lines here as animal-rights activist "Experience," cracked me up in their intellectually-challenged delivery.

Nathan Meister, with even less acting experience, portrays a suitably unhinged wimp of an anti-hero that following his childhood experiences at the hands of his boorish bro (Peter Feeney) suffers a nervy turn every time he claps eyes on a baa-lamb.

This canny take on "Shorn of the Dead" IS funny. Raw film-making indeed, but so was EVIL DEAD. The blood flows but nothing to be taken seriously. Let's face it, how credibly fearful could one BE of an obviously rubber mutant baby lamb, chewing gleefully on a man's tattered left ear? True, the humor sinks to levels of plebeian tastelessness once or twice, but what kinda New Zealand comedy would it be without some reference to the residents' amorous inclinations towards their beloved wool-packs?

Leave your inhibitions in neutral, switch off your higher brain functions and just go where this film wants to take you. It's a fun ride.
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9/10
Exquisite satire deserving of better appreciation.
1 March 2007
Way above the average viewer's ability to negotiate - sadly demonstrated by the asinine and cretinous comments published here for the most part.

Its not American Idol, or the Presidency the film is lampooning. It is US - the general public, at the butt-end of this black humor. The flimsy values we hold dear, the deconstruction of original thought, the subtle shifts in social attitudes - it is all this and more. Every reviewer who found this 'boring,' 'slow,' 'not worth watching,'uninspiring' and 'disappointing,' would have been better served watching SURVIVOR or JERRY SPRINGER - something in keeping with their own limited conventions.

An insult to the Presidency? I think not. I'd vote for anyone had the guts to say "enough's enough, lets get back to our grass roots" before sending their every last 'adviser' packing.

Too much for the collective conscience this film. For all its humor it isn't a comedy, for all its stage-time it isn't a musical. For all its warring sentiments it isn't quintessential political satire. What it IS is brilliant! Dafoe nails it as the one-dimensional "Lets keep America on track" adviser. Grant, the impeccably professional host of "American Dreamz" who despite his pretensions, hates most every facet of his (and everyone else's) life. A great performance from him.

Many scenes are memorable - if you have any idea what you're seeing! The terrorists voting for their idol. Mandy Moore's first solo performance. The presentation of the News headlines. Grant telling Moore she mirrors his own existence and that it's "revolting."

Wonderful film. We need to be "Omarised" more often!
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Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
10/10
Only for those WITH a soul!
21 February 2007
The fact that this film seems to divide reviewers - The one-dimensional "Total boring crap - I want that 90 minutes of my life back" set, and the more perceptive, "Wonderfully insightful movie" adherents, illustrates the gulf between those who can "see" and those who have nothing cranially to "see" with!

Bubba Ho-tep starts and ends with Bruce Campbell. It is the performance of his career....pretty much of ANYONE'S cinematic career. The first half my friends is NOT slow - its a portrayal of life at the wrong end of the timeline. The zest of youth has gone...the body is in sad-decline, brain-cells are dying by the truck-load.....the river has fully slowed to a stream.

Every one of you who complained about the film's seeming slowness and dearth of action, are gonna end up in your own little "Shady Nook" somewhere on the planet. Let's see how fast you move and think then, how exciting YOUR life is - how many nurses YOU can karate senseless.

Campbell conveys it all. It is a tour-de force performance and whether you subscribe to the concept of soul-sucking mummies, believe you're Jesus Christ or just sit there being spoon-fed your tomato puree, it really doesn't matter! How Coscarelli ever managed to come up with a film of this stature given his previous claim to fame with the inventive but ultimately low-grade Phantasm series stuns me. Plaudits however must be shared by the entire crew.

This is a film that sets a benchmark for "quirk." Forget the mummy..the horror - this is a film about not only growing old but BEING old. If you happen to be Elvis Presley - so much the worse! The power of this movie - if you have ANY awareness whatsoever is in the last five seconds of the film. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you wasted your time watching it!
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The Fog (2005)
4/10
The final cut of this movie should have been left on the "Elizabeth Dane"
16 September 2006
The question is WHY?? Why would anyone even BOTHER remaking Carpenter's 1980 Fog-fest? It wasn't his greatest moment even back then - but hey, HALLOWEEN might have been a tad hard to top I guess? Why for that matter, would JC himself want to co-produce a watered down and quite obviously rushed version of his own film? It has lost a lot in the translation....mainly the 'spirit' of the film...as it were.

The CGI of the fog rolling in might be better, but the FOG itself is less menacing and oddly, prone to laughable tidal activity. There one moment...right across town the next and clear as a bell the following scene. Some cretinous FX - such as the old lady having a bad night washing up, insults the viewer - least those who hung around in the theater long enough to see it.

Inarguably from the DARKNESS FALLS and GHOST SHIP school of horror, the film is an exercise in futility. How many genuinely needy people worldwide, could the $40-50 million budget allocated to this flop, have fed? As for Smallville's favorite son, read my lips: "The guy doesn't have it" Mind you he was in equally charismatically-bereft company. Something's majorly wrong when a pair of rather sexy little panties proves to be the highlight of the movie!

Is Hollywood so hard-up for original scripts they must continue to pillage (and desecrate) those from yesteryear? How long before Adam Sandler stars in a remake of THE THIRD MAN or maybe Jackie Chan can upstage Chuck Heston in the new BEN HUR (After all, look what he managed with AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS) Meanwhile someone might fancy their chances remaking Carpenter's classic THE THING next..I'm sure there are people out there THAT stupid!

What really irritates me. I picked this up last night in my local video store's bargain bin for $5.95. That would have gotten me a medium cheeseburger meal - with OJ!
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10/10
The World is not ready for this
15 September 2006
I was born when Sinatra was making a name for himself, The Beatles were still seventeen years from discovery and you could leave home without locking the front door.

I still believe in fairies, Santa Claus and opening doors for girls. Be advised though - I'm no fruitcake.

I DON'T believe in screwing a client for a few extra bucks, selling the car for two grand more than its worth, driving around trying to save a few cents a litre on a tankful of gas. I can live without the Dow Jones index, flash jewelry, new age thinking and latte coffee!

I can't live without magic.

LADY IN THE WATER is magic - for the fortunate few that can see it. Unless you are fully able to suspend belief and simply let the fantasy embrace you - you are totally wasting your time with this movie. You think Shyamalan cares? he doesn't! He has a depth of awareness few possess. He made this film because he COULD, not because he's desperate for cinematic recognition.

Whilst preposterous in concept - it is still at its heart, a tale of hope and belief. Belief in yourself, belief that life has a purpose that as yet you have not discovered. Story is our own conscience. We all have the Healer, the Interpreter, the Guardian....even the eagle, inside of us.

Giamatti is not far short of awesome here. A wonderful portrayal of a stuttering man with a devastated past who asks nothing from life yet gives of himself freely. Again one cannot overlook Shyamalan's unequalled ability to fashion rich and interesting characters out of the meek, the oppressed and the emotionally underdeveloped. He himself plays a key role in this film and his talent in front of the camera should not be under-rated.

There is so much to watch and listen to here - IF you are of a mind to. If you prefer, follow the crowd - sit there and see nothing but a slow moving film with seemingly no purpose and childlike intentions. Laugh at the dialog, the funny green hyena, Bryce Dallas Howard's make-up.

On the other hand, if you see beauty in snow flakes, red ochre sunsets and a child's smile...odds are, the last ten minutes of this film will make you cry!
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Days of Our Lives (1965– )
5/10
Like sense through the looking glass, these are the pits of our lives.
12 September 2006
I have watched sporadic episodes of DOOL since 1966 - yeah! I'm THAT old....funny thing is, MacDonald Carey was getting-on on even then! Tuned-in perhaps to every four hundred episodes on average (I admit to having a dry spell when ABBA were big - missed every episode from 1972 to 1979) the next time I caught the thing, in a doctor's surgery - while my wife was waiting to have an ultra-sound, it seemed to me nothing had changed. Now call me picky, but any show you can pick-up on having missed way more than 1000 episodes has to be something less than enthralling entertainment.

What IS it's fascination? Who knows? probably different things to different people, but I imagine its core devotees simply get their fix artificially enhancing their own plebeian existences by living through and sharing the fantasy lives of their chosen characters. Not that different really to peering over your neighbor's fence to find something else to talk about to "Doris" across the road! In terms of artistic merit, DOOL doesn't crack the big time. In terms of staying power, yeah, ya gotta admire the thing.
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Magical Mystery Tour (1967 TV Movie)
8/10
If this is a failure, I can live with it!
6 September 2006
Incredibly, I never got to see Magical Mystery Tour in 1967. I was twenty-one then and an entrenched Beatlemaniac. I had heard the rumors, read reviews of the time and decided not to risk sullying the magic I had grown to an adult with, by watching it. Never even gave the thing much thought in the ensuing years though I loved the title track and have never gotten over I AM THE WALRUS, which I will discuss in a moment.

A week ago, I saw several copies of this DVD on a grubby little stall at a small-town open market on the Australian coast. They were selling (or rather just sitting there) for $4.95 (That's two pounds (GBP) or $US3.80) and I thought to myself "How sad!" Tonight I watched it.

Quite obviously it was meant for me to see this so long after the film was made. I am now, given the passing of almost forty years, able to view objectively what in 1967, I (and most every other detractor) could not possibly have done.

It isn't a masterpiece - yet there are inspirational flashes in this film that highlight what the Beatles were and what they stood for. FOOL ON THE HILL though amateurish by comparison with today's techno film clips, is beautiful in its raw simplicity - especially if one is to listen to the lyrics as the clip invites you to do. Ringo comes across as being by far the most natural performer of the group - his manner and smile are infectious. It is no wonder all the girls loved him. He has no pretences, no gratuitous pleasantries. With dear old Mr Starkey, what you see is most definitely what you get.

The years of idiotic complaints as to the film's relevance and purpose! Its a Magical Mystery Tour for God's sake. There IS no purpose. There IS no relevance. It's the Beatles Home movie - so what if it's nuts? If you don't like it - go film your own.

Much of the cinematography is truly inspired and far from hack work. Following the tour guide's almost twilight-zone suggestion "Now Look to the Left" can be seen some amazing photographic FX (for its day)of ice floes, mountains, far distant fields, blinding sun etc, as they kaleidoscope and blend. Does not this remind you of anything? How similar are some of those shots (the mountain slopes especially) to Kubrick's trip through the Stargate - released two years later!

And then we have The Walrus! That song I believe was so far ahead of its time production wise on its release - we STILL haven't caught up to it! For me, it - together with STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER, are the two greatest pop songs ever recorded, or ever LIKELY to be recorded. Watching the I AM THE WALRUS sequence tonight I can hardly credit how emotionally I was affected by it. SEEING the thing, added a dimension that simply a turntable cannot. Again, some of the lyrics are awesome in their contemplation - far from the ravings one attributes to John Lennon occasionally. I wonder how many people WOULD have cared, watching a crowd kicking Edgar Allan Poe? How many people reading this I ponder, have even the slightest clue who he was? If you have access to this DVD I would suggest you watch this sequence again....even in its fading seconds it is innovative brilliance.

Sure they couldda ditched BLUE JAY WAY - the undisputed low-point off the film and really only with any shareable purpose if you are stoned of your face, But it's OK..it's where George WAS at that time and it stands as an epitaph to that fact.

The strip show sequence is a hoot and almost makes up for George's little turn. Lastly I am curious as to what so many people have been on about complaining that the mop tops "do nothing" when they descend the staircase? What exactly were they supposed to be doing. Its just a light-hearted film clip (complete admittedly, with totally out of sync dance moves)of YOUR MOTHER SHOULD KNOW...another nostalgic McCartneyesqe piece from a period long dead!

In the upshot, what MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR represents, is a totally unshreddable memory. A time-capsule without peer, a showcase of Beatle madness, innovation and lovable tomfoolery. It may not be art but I didn't hear the "f" word, no one was raped, I didn't see a terrorist with a bazooka and I'm wondering just what humanity has in fact achieved since that bus pulled out of Liverpool that one magical day.

Given the option, I really would prefer to spend a few hours on tour with Mr Buster Bloodvessel than Bin Laden!
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Dracula 3000 (2004)
1/10
Infinite Dumbness!
30 August 2006
Let's look at what we have here guys! We may all be doing Roodt's spaced-out vampire epic a disservice!

Like where else you ever gonna see a girl strapped to a lounge offering her captor the opportunity to check "every square inch of her body" for a bite-mark. Peter Cushing never got that lucky!

What's the chance of ever hearing that immortal line "I wanna ejaculate all over your bazonkas" uttered again in a thousand years or viewing?

Who can ever again hope to experience the thrill of the chase, supposedly in a galaxy far far away - but looking like it was filmed in the boiler room of some retired battleship from World War 2?

And then, the spectacle of Udo Kier in his twilight years having inordinate difficulty reading off his own cue cards? You're talking movie magic here!

But I digress, Dracula 3000 (It was meant to be $3.00 btw) leaves every other horror film pretender floundering in its wake when it comes to endings - it achieves the unattainable - there IS NO ENDING!

Humvee doesn't get to have sex with his re-programmed pleasure robot. No one ever reaches the twin-sun. Dracula isn't staked by Van Helsing's great great grandson....he ISN'T even Dracula....just a fashion-wimp sobbing his guts out on the floor because his arm happens to fall off!

Yes my friends, you have all missed the greatness here - a film bigger than life itself. A movie event so bad, so trivial and so irredeemably embarrassing - its like may never be seen again.

Casper Van Dien RIP
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Elektra (2005)
7/10
Way better than the sum of its parts!
26 April 2006
There is nothing inherently wrong with this movie and the IMDb rating is just plain laughable. For any half-intelligent person there is enough in this film to drag it into the high sixes.

It IS a stand-alone film and has nothing whatsoever to do with DAREDEVIL which was enjoyable synthetic fluff, no more - no less and really served no other purpose than to introduce Elektra.

I'm no fan of Marvel comics either - ANY comics come to that. I left all that behind with dear old Rupert Bear in the early fifties.

ELEKTRA should be viewed simply as a film - not a comic book adaptation. It has plenty going for it. Great cinematography, credible dialog for the most part, state of the art action sequences and heaps of style - something Daredevil did NOT.

Certainly slow in its formative stages - that is what probably alienated attention-deficient audiences worldwide. Once you have to listen AND think...you've lost 2/3 of viewers to start with. Garner and Co can be proud of their work in this film.

It is vastly underrated and well worth seeing - especially for anyone such as I, who steered clear of the thing for twelve months - purely on word of mouth.

If this was the worst film you ever saw in your life - man, you've had a good run!
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8/10
As far as remakes go, this was a damn fine effort!
7 April 2006
I have less than no idea why this film has been slated by so many people - mainstream audiences and critics alike. When total amateurish crap like WOLF CREEK can cut it at the box office and a genuine contender for fine film-making like this is passed up - its a sad indictment of today's intelligentsia.

Whilst virtually impossible to top the 1939 original, this version offers more than enough to stand on its own two feet. As a member of society I would rate Heath Ledger as a rung below Russell Crowe but on screen - like his NZ born counterpart, he delivers the goods. In this particular outing he is exceptional.

Dramatically on-track (OK the first half drags in places) with some cutting-edge action sequences, stunning cinematography and thunderingly good good music from James Horner and Co, what you have here is entertainment with a capital E. The last twenty seconds of the film are inspired.

Something for everyone in this mini-epic. It deserves far more recognition.

To add insult to injury, I bought this DVD from a bargain-basement table for just $5. Their loss - not mine!
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Red Eye (2005)
4/10
'Cred Eye' more like?
29 March 2006
It finally happened - Wes Craven ran dry in the creativity department. For so many reviewers to think they saw a good film here is sad in the extreme - probably confirmation if such be needed, that communal IQ's are fast sinking towards single figures.

This film is total trash from go to whoa - an embarrassing waste of such theatrical luminaries as Paul Cox. Absurdly amateurish cinematography at times with little continuity from one angle to another especially during the interior plane shots. If it was supposed to be a thriller - I wasn't thrilled.....a riveting action drama - I was far from riveted....a half intelligent movie - I must have caught the wrong half! Come to think of it - it's a while since I saw anything this bad. What the Hell was the point of the film? It didn't gel - it didn't flow...it simply doesn't work on any level. About the only constructive thing it managed - was to finish!
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Hostel (2005)
5/10
If there is a point to this movie - I missed it!
26 February 2006
"Quentin Tarantino presents".....and that's about as far as his influence extends. Several cogs above "Cabin Fever" to be sure, but that isn't saying much.

If one were to be objective about this film...perhaps "subjective" is more appropriate - one might justifiably wonder what the Hell has happened to society's values and creeds generally, that a piece of questionable cinematic worth like this is paraded as "upmarket entertainment." Not a solitary person's life on this cerebrally-challenged planet could possibly be enriched by watching this ode to mindless violence. The sad thing is, that just such a scenario - an art-house catering for the more twisted morons amongst us, let's say - WOULD in fact make millions! There would be no shortage of psychotic customers queued-up with their Black and Deckers!

Tarantino has flair - his horror (From Dusk Till Dawn thru Kill Bill) IS art. HOSTEL is artless - a crudely assembled, rampagingly dark canvas filled with a motley array of fully dislike-able people...Hernandez himself the one marginal exception. Who amongst us is in to Euro trash like this anyway? - this flick has probably set tourism there, back three decades.

The cinematographer's odd artsy turn cannot hide the true nature of this vulgar and unbecoming little flick.....and that's exactly what it is - little! For those of you happy to queue up, expecting to be pleasured at the sight of on-going torture and maiming throughout the film - be aware that nothing happens until so far into the thing you'll be wondering whether or not you wandered into the wrong theater. By my estimation...actual screen shots of a high disgust factor (read as drilling, sawing, gouging and their ilk) take up less than eight minutes, the rest is simply your imagination at work.

The film justifiably deserves an Oscar however for "presenting the greatest number of repulsive characters on screen in the space of 90 minutes."

Do you really think Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, David Niven, Henry Fonda, Kenneth Moore, Danny Kaye, Bette Davis, Peter Ustinov, Deborah Kerr, Robert Redford, Audrey Hepburn, Laurence Olivier and Katie Hepburn (to name but thirteen) would have queued-up for the chance to star in this crap? .....Yeah, I hear you..."Who are THEY?"
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Wild Grizzly (2000 TV Movie)
9/10
A simple little TV movie that blows away so many big-budgeted films.
4 February 2006
A wonderful throw-back to a time when parking was free, people were polite, sex was for adults and life had no hidden meanings. Almost Disneyesque in execution, you could be forgiven for thinking - looking at the DVD cover - that this was just another JAWS, CLAWS or PAWS, with some monstrous mutation of a creature wreaking havoc on helpless visitors to its habitat.

It's anything but - more an environmentally responsible statement for a world these days, dominated by rudeness, dysfunctional families, drugs and mindless violence.

Riley Smith as sixteen year old Josh Harding totally steals the film as the citified youngster struggling to come to terms with the death of his father - a policeman killed in the line of duty. I've seen worse acting from Academy award nominees. Introduced to small town USA, he finds the transition oppressive - until he learns about Grizzlies from the local police chief. His daughter Terri (played by initially annoying-but-effusive Courtney Peldon) strikes up a relationship (and does she ever have to work hard here!) with the lad as they become reluctant hunters and the hunted of the Grizzly in question.

Daniel Baldwin - probably the only "name" in the cast is barely on-screen, and he plays to the hilt, the black-hearted opportunist who ultimately reaps of course, what he sows.

A film with no frothy and unnecessary foul language, no gratuitous violence and even some beautiful bear cubs. I found it eminently watchable and charming in its very innocence.

If every film ever made had maintained even this standard, the world would be a far better place to live. No one ever needed Rambo!
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7/10
Just sometimes....what you see, really ISN'T what you get!
29 January 2006
How is it I ask myself, that a Z-grader like this, offering absolutely nothing innovative except maybe John Saxon prostituting his art, special fx from a bunch of six year olds with a slate-board, fully embarrassing fight-scenes, King Arthur running round like one of "The Goodies,' cringe-worthy dialog and bottom of the harbor production values, actually puts many mega-budgeted flicks to shame? I guffawed at the childish antics, shrieked with laughter at the would-be sincerity and just about called the paramedics when Lancelot swapped his trusty steed for a Mustang convertible.....but yet, I kept watching it ...and after a while I felt guilty for mentally trashing the thing, even hoping that Lance and Kate might get to share a pash or so. I was made aware of the child in me and how everything learned during adulthood counts for zilch ultimately.

Much of the complete innocence and appeal of this strangely gentle film is due to Singer's awesomely focused role as Lancelot of the Round Table displaced in time but not purpose. Surrounded by Z-grade everything - from actors to props. Singer stands unflinchingly tall and trustworthy....everything in fact that Lancelot ever represented.

To it's everlasting credit, the film offers no blood (the fight scenes are played for laughs rather than pain) not a skerrick of bad language and good of course triumphs (gently) over evil. It is a film that could cause no offense to any living person. Watching it, I was reminded very much of Shelly Duvall's "Faerie Tale Theater." If you want to laugh at this - feel free, just make sure though you're not actually laughing at yourself!
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6/10
Occasional fun with Dick and Jane
27 December 2005
Are we to believe there is insufficient comedy writing talent out there that they have to re-make yet another seventies movie? The original wasn't exactly the greatest crack-up ever filmed.

Carrey tries his hardest to reprise his LIAR LIAR appeal but these days is looking more and more like Anthony Perkins propped up in reception at the Bates Motel rather than a wannabe goof-ball. The film strains for humor in the first thirty minutes or so and despite the odd sight-gag that works, is at best a poor man's THE MASK.

On the credit side, Leoni is very likable and quite obviously she and Carrey had quite some rapport going on location filming. The film lifts in the middle, by the time Dick and Jane sink to the level of suburban mayhem, but it is really too late to save a film that never had the legs in the first place. Tragically with different writers and production team - this COULD have been one of Carrey's best. As it is though, it is merely a passable time-filler despite two scenes that might fairly be described as full-on hysterical.

The less said about the political overtones - the better!
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Godsend (2004)
3/10
For God's sake!!
23 December 2005
If you want to watch the "Godsend" go dig out the original 1980 flick. Although not quite the same story - it leaves this for dead! An exercise in how to completely antagonise an audience. The thing appears to be the result of almost daily-re-writes and a veritable conga-line of replaced directors (It wasn't) In support of the theory the makers had no idea what they were trying to achieve, the DVD itself has no less than FOUR alternate endings - three of which are better than the theatrical release.

The end result is neither scary, horrific, edgy...or even interesting! Up until the "Hey, have I got a cloning offer for you?" sequence, the flick had possibilities - not many admittedly...but some at least! You've got De Niro spouting epithets of medical babble but at least "looking" purposeful. Kinnear with all the charisma of a dead lemur and the ever statuesque Rebecca Romijn-Stamos taking up the slack as "Adam's" mom. Speaking of "Adam," (Cameron Bright)...has any kid ever had less cinematic appeal? When all is said and done.....nothing much is explained and the film simply "stops" rather than ends. Personally I think the IMDb's 4.7 is overly kind!
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Wake of Death (2004)
8/10
Van-excellent!
16 December 2005
One might wonder why Van Damme's efforts these days are pretty much consigned 'straight to video' when a production such as this, can cut it with the best of Hollywood. Matter of fact it far eclipses many mainstream movies.

Intelligent, well-acted, beautifully shot and stylish all to hell, this may in the upshot be no more than a 'revenge' movie, but I'm here to tell you its up there with Van Damme's best work. For those who come traditionally to bury the guy whatever he does.....those acting workshops have finally paid-off - he is great here. I saw "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire" last night...it wasn't worth twenty minutes of this film! Both this and the earlier IN HELL would suggest Van Damme is surely on the comeback trail. Both are heavy on style and low on cheap thrills. WAKE OF DEATH is I should warn however, heavy on extreme violence ...probably the most explicit of any Van Damme movie.

You could do way worse than give this one a spin!
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6/10
Harry putts a loser!
12 December 2005
Let's get one thing straight - Emma Watson in that ball gown at the top of the staircase has to rank as one of the most entrancing and serenely beautiful sights my eyes have beheld since I saw my wife (then, only a few years older than Emma) glide into the church on our wedding day. Nothing in this movie was ever going to top that emotionally riveting scene. Every man's dream - a mixture of childish innocence, youthful beauty and understated desire, who could deny she embodied at that moment, every aspect of sought-after femininity a man could crave? The film hit the heights in places - the computer graphics for the Quidditch World Cup. The awesome dragon-fight sequences - the scenes of the beast scrabbling and dislodging tiles on the steeples of Hogwarts was unadulterated movie magic. The inspired underwater camera-work with the creatures of the deep bent on making life excessively uncomfortable for Harry.

What the film lacked was continuity and in the upshot - purpose. Almost everything you saw in this film would have made not the slightest difference in whatever order you saw it. Scenes came and went which may well have been meaningful to those who live and breathe Potter and who have read the book cover to cover, but for the unconverted...a case of huh?? What a chronic waste of those stunning Quidditch World Cup scenes when you never got to see any World Cup. All that pre-release guff about Harry Potter's first big romance and screen kiss with the young Japanese student....they barely had three lines together! Radcliffe himself - back to his ultra wooden ways of the Philosopher's Stone - he has no vocal delivery or 'presence' whatsoever. As always - it is left to Emma Watson to act her two co-stars right off the screen.

Visually sumptuous but sadly lacking in meaningful come-uppance. A good test of any movie is to ask yourself "Could you sit through that again?" The last two films in the series - yes I could...this one - no way!!!
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Asylum Days (2001)
6/10
Even "Oliver" never had it this bad!
27 November 2005
Best viewed expecting the worst and let's face it, this title IS only ever going to grace Blockbuster's bargain-bin.

Approaching it as I did (having acquired the DVD yesterday, as part of a "4 for $10" special) with not a little trepidation, I would be lying if I said it was not worth a measly two-bucks fifty! Thomas-Howell has a field-day playing an ex-con with a touch of the demented Jim Carreys that crashes his younger bro's pad, then upgrades to murder and kidnapping simply to help his younger sibling finish his home movie.

Admittedly the premise is never matched by the wildly offbeat and fully unhinged denouement which by then has descended into a "Blair Witch" meets "Witchfinder General" compromise.

Still, the old lady at the gas station upstages the entire cast with HER few moments on screen. Absolute must-see gem of a cameo. What the purpose of her last scene was however, remains totally unexplained. "Someone up there you know?" asks the cop. "My sister," she replies, getting in the car.

WAY better than the 3.8 rating accorded here.
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Breeders (1986)
1/10
If you paid more than twenty cents for this in your local bargain-bin, you've been had!
13 November 2005
Imagine Roger Corman in pre-school - drunk and on Prozac...it would STILL have turned out better!

Unfit to be classified as either a "horror film," a "Sci-fi outing," even "entertainment," BREEDERS is unadulterated juvenile and fully amateurish crap, easily eclipsing well-documented losers such as R.O.T.O.R, PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE, PSYCHOCOP and FLYING VIRUS in the "crap of all time" stakes! Obviously made on a budget of $200 tops, no self-respecting film student would likely offer-up this garbage for assessment.

My daughter recently submitted a six-minute short film called "Melodic Disconnection" as part of her school final exams - Even allowing for nepotistic prejudice. it rates a ten besides this! Inane script, talentless acting, appalling "special effects" and an absurd music score, this soft-porn crud defies belief.

The benchmark for putrid film-making.
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Wolf Creek (2005)
3/10
Talk About "The King's New Clothes!"
11 November 2005
Occasionally a film comes along that grabs the public's awareness - dazzles them with its originality and bravado. Occasionally the public is fooled! WOLF CREEK is trash - unmitigated trash. That it has earned what it has is a sad indictment of public acceptance and gullibility.

Unequivocably the most boring, amateurish and cringe-worthy opening to any film since THE ADVENTURES OF BARRY MACKENZIE, the most horrifying realization is that this IS typical Aussie social culture you're seeing on screen. Watching the brain-dead antics of three one-dimensional and supremely unattractive back-packers does not engender my sympathy I have to say! Repulsive as Jarratt was - at least he was alive! The "horror" itself? Well other than the airborne plastic fingers and the spinal tap....you really don't get to see anything much. Probably as well, gives you more time to concentrate on the incessant and fully irritating screaming.

Based on "true" events???? I think not. What it IS based on is Greg Mclean's fanciful "what if??" (What if they hadn't caught Ivan Milat or Brad Murdoch? - two locals/yokels with a fetish for guns and backpackers - not necessarily in that order either!) To even mention this film in such illustrious company as Roeg's WALKABOUT is laughable. Believe me, McLean will never be receiving his Order of Australia at Hanging Rock!

By the by......had they simply either hog-tied Mick Taylor or telescoped his brains with the gun butt when they had the chance (after he was shot) there would have been no need for the movie!

The only redeeming feature was the cinematography and that alone was not worth $14.95 be assured!
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13 Gantry Row (1998 TV Movie)
7/10
Renovate at your own risk!
9 July 2005
Just two comments....SEVEN years apart? Hardly evidence of the film's relentless pulling-power! As has been mentioned, the low-budget telemovie status of 13 GANTRY ROW is a mitigating factor in its limited appeal. Having said that however the thing is not without merit - either as entertainment or as a fright outing per se.

True, the plot at its most basic is a re-working of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR - only without much horror. More a case of intrigue! Gibney might have made a more worthwhile impression if she had played Halifax -investigating a couple of seemingly unconnected murders with the "house" as the main suspect. The script is better than average and the production overall of a high standard. It just fails to engage the viewer particularly at key moments.

Having picked the DVD up for a mere $3.95 last week at my regular video store, I cannot begrudge the expenditure. $10.95 would be an acceptable price for the film. Just don't expect fireworks!
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Flying Virus (2001)
4/10
Zero budget schlock? Yeah...so what?
11 June 2005
If ever a film deserved "WTF?" It's this one. But hey they all had such FUN making it.

This is not a movie to be reviewed subjectively. You couldn't even call it a movie, but you know what? I enjoyed the whole damn thing. From probably the worst plane fx ever put up on screen, to the shoddy "lets blow it up then show it again from another angle" cinematography.. right the way though to Rutger Hauer's comical turn as the "wannabe baddest z-grade terrorist" ever unleashed on an unsuspecting bunch of refugees from the ANACONDA film set. The "Shadow People?????" heheheh! My only question is how did they ever get these actors to keep a straight face when delivering their lines.

Sheffer....who cut his teeth on zilch-grade flicks (TURBULENCE 3 springs to mind) excels himself here in his pursuit of Miss Anwar while endeavoring to prevent the "killer bees" (Irwin Allen sold them what he had left over from THE SWARM) from infiltrating the first-class cabin of the hitherto unknown Boeing design we see here.

It is the very comical ineptitude of everyone from the Director to the tea lady that makes this the crap classic it is. Where else you gonna see killer bees massing for attack in the toilet bowl? scores of trained and fully armed commandos unable to bring down a bunch of natives with spears? A 737 perform a 180 degree U-turn in less than 5 seconds? some teenage d***wad re-program a heat seeking missile with his lap-top? ONLY here my friends!

Pay homage where its due. THIS is the cruddiest and most entertaining piece of unoriginal if not downright hysterical cinematic flotsam ever to grace your local bargain-bin. Grab it while it's hot!
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