Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
My Bloody Valentine (2009)
I just don't think so...good try.
This is a hip new update of the 80's Canadian slasher. (I'm not a fan of the early incarnation either) This one starts off rather promising; Miner gets caught in a cave in, resorts to murder and cannibalism to survive, goes on rampage when he's pulled out of the mine and townspeople discover his crimes. Years later mine's owner returns to town, and a killer miner also reappears. The plot was okay, the opening massacre was just plain awesome, but the 3d gimmicks weren't enough to save the movie with it's silly ending. 3D impaling of a midget was cool, but (spoiler)*******************
Making the killer a figment of deranged mine owner's imagination just plain ridiculous.
Piranha 3D (2010)
I liked it
Call me crazy, but I actually enjoyed this film. The producers did right in crafting a trailer for the film that presented it in it's true light; campy horror fun. It's definitely a step above the 70's original, and the sci if remake of the 90s. This takes a rather simple concept and thrusts the three essentials of all great horror films, gratuitous nudity, graphic violence, and humor in the light of all the tragedy. Gotta throw some laughs in to lighten the mood and remind people it's just fantasy. Earthquake opens up a fissure between a Nevada Lake (at Spring Break time no less) and a prehistoric underground lake containing pirhanna. They have massive appetites, and the human smorgaborg is just what the doctor ordered. Plus, it has some effects to really take advantage of the 3d technology it pushed to hype the film.
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
Vengeful confederate soldier...
A bit off kilter, as westerns go, this is none the less, a great film. It re-imagines the western genre, using the commonality of vengeance and loss, as the moving narrative, despite featuring a confederate soldier as the protagonist of the film. He witnesses the slaughter of his home and family by the mercenary "red legs", who traverse the Southern countryside waging a guerrilla war against the south on behalf of the Union. Josey joins up with an equally ruthless band, the Bloody Bill Anderson group (a true historical brigade), but again watches his adopted family's slaughter, this time at the hands of some double crossing Union officials offering "amnesty" at the conclusion of the war. Here, Josey begins a lonely odyssey on the run from the redlegs who've been commissioned to hunt him down and kill him. Several darkly humorous lines common in the Eastwood repertoire, appear, along with the one time Mrs. Eastwood, Sondra Locke. Great Journey of one man, first of vengeance, and then of forgiveness. But not after some excellent gun battles, and fight sequences.
Pale Rider (1985)
Clint's the man...
Here Clint Eastwood manages to nail down the Western genre in perfect form. An obvious homage to both Shane, an iconic western if there ever was one, and one of his previous, and under-appreciated films, High Plains Drifter. He's a man called Preacher, that rides into a small mining community on the outskirts of a town ruled by a ruthless strip miner. Here the strategy is to set himself up as the heroic Alan Ladd type character who just wants to be, but who cannot escape either what he is, or his past. He's a skilled gun fighter, and that comes in handy when the miners are assaulted by the hired goons that LaHood, the virtual big fish in the little pond, has let loose on them. He wants that land. When Clint's ways become too much for the goons to handle, LaHood sends out for some truly experienced men to do the job. A crooked Marshal named Stockburn, and his bevy of "deputies" who amount to no more than a tag team of ruthless killers. All have a tragic connection to the Preacher, ala the slain sheriff in High Plains Drifter. Great setting, and some light hearted moments to take some of the rough edge off. Great flick.
Farrelly brothers bowl over audiences....
An admittedly raunchy, somewhat crude comedy, this film none-the-less satisfies because it does what so many films fail to do, provide the "yuks". Here is a simply constructed story. Young wonder kid bowler has a life of luxury and stardom ahead of him, until a naer do well rival involves him in a con game that takes a tragic turn for the worse. Fast forward years later, and our young star has become a laughable, bald, and prosthetically challenged individual. He's basically a bum with a fake hand. Out of this misery he discovers an Amish wonder kid, a bit aloof, but full of potential. He takes him under his wing on a madcap trip to the World Bowling Championship under the auspices of saving their amish farm by winning the million dollar, winner takes all prize. Bill Murray's performance as the shallow, smarmy, and completely phony nemesis of Woody Harrelson, is worth the price of admission alone. It just goes to show what adding an understated comic genius to a film does for putting it over the top, and into priceless comedy.
They Live (1988)
John Carpenter = Genius
What a film maker John Carpenter is, he can make horror, scifi, and action films flawlessly. Here he takes the premise of aliens invading, and secretly taking over, to the nth degree. There are the veiled allusions to the fear of Communist takeover, and just looking at their subliminal messages scrawled about the sign-age throughout this California city used as the backdrop of the film, the message is received. The aliens have secretly arrived, and are taking over the planet through subliminal coercion. Their messages are literally hidden under signs, and their true visages are cloaked with a powerful signal they transmit from a Newstation tower. But there's hope. A scientist has stumbled upon their world domination plot and created sunglasses that actually see through the cloaking signal. Enter drifter Rowdy Roddy Piper, who packs of load of great lines, and delivers the aliens the butt whumping they deserve. Just remember, "I have come to chew bubble gum and kick a**. And I'm all out of bubblegum."
Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad.....
Ang Lee might be a talented visionary of the scenic tapestry, and landscape of the earthly environs, but this film just stinks. What a mess of a great source material. Man versus self is one of the most common film formulas, and here is the perfect vehicle to further that motif. But Lee manages to invest too much time in the wrong backdrop to pull of the subtlety required to accomplish that task. The Hulk is the moody, irritable, gamma-infused alter ego of Bruce Banner. A freak accident causes the genetic makeup of our protagonist to be horribly changed. Intense emotion, especially anger, triggers a chemical change in Banners body, that transforms him into the immense monster called the Hulk. Lee should have used heavy doses of dark light to enhance the dark tone of the character. Instead he chooses to try to "comic" it up, showing the campy cgi Hulk in bright light, and greatly diminishing his awe value. Besides that, the plot of the mad scientist father of Banner, and the unbelievably poorly executed love angle with his lady love Betty, makes this an unwatchable film.
Smokin' Aces (2006)
Big Disappointment....****Spoiler ensue**************
Conceptually this is a perfect premise for someone the likes of Guy Richie, would truly excel at, but in the hands of Joe Carnahan, it fails miserably. A wannabe mobster, who's just a washed out magician, decides to testify against a major mob figure. Not wanting to be ratted out, said mobster decides to have him clipped. FBI hears of the plot and races to save their star witness from a Reno hotel. There's a convergence of several different hit men teams, leading to a terrific gun fight. Or at least that's how it should play out, instead we get a bunch of small shootouts, no spectacular finish, a silly plot that Aces wasn't supposed to be murdered by the Mob Boss, but rather the mobster needed an organ transplant from the stoolie who turns out to be his son. There's a convoluted plot of the mobster being an FBI plant who has lived the part of the mob boss for forty plus years.
Complaints 1---The angle of mob boss as life long FBI agent is just ridiculous. 2---The angle of the organ transplant is equally silly. 3---Jeremy Piven looks like an actor desperate for an Oscar, and his performance is contrived, and overly melodramatic. 4---This film can't decide if it wants to be a dark comedy (ala Snatch, or Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) or a serious drama (think something along the lines of Training Day) 5---There's no payoff. The trailers promise a big shootout, and we get the set up of several interesting killers, but they never meet up. Instead we get a bunch of little shootouts. Really disappointing.
Van Helsing (2004)
A poor example of "homage"
What I expected to be a classic take on the monsters of the Universal Studios hey-day in the 30's and 40's, instead was a mishmash of dismal performances, and terrible writing. Great premise, if not slightly overused. The Vatican employs shady characters to do it's dirty work. Here, a man named Van Helsing is a monster hunter. Destroying the demonic hordes that threaten man kind. Great opening with him confronting Dr. Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, but it just goes downhill from there. Dracula is over-the-top in his ridiculous Bela Legosi impersonation. The Frankenstein is too melodramatic, and Igor is just a wise cracking smarta**. Then there's the silly plot of Dracula needing a wolfman to somehow harness a life giving power that isn't really needed, cause he's gonna get it from Frankenstein instead. Then there's the conflicting imaginings of the film itself. Part classic horror homage setting, and part techno futuristic, cgi nonsense. It just doesn't go together. It would be like combining Whoopi Goldberg and Playboy magazine. Never the twain shall meet, I pray.
Great characters, bad plot
I like the effort, but the result is sub-par. Here the X-men of Marvel comics are given the big screen treatment, ala Spiderman. And they actually employ a competent director with a feel for the source material, and quite a talented film-maker to boot. Brian Singer manages to give us the correct visual imaginings of Wolverine, Storm, Psyclops, Jean Grey etc. The convoluted plot leaves this a tragic mess. Fortunately Singer made a competent sequel that manages to take a poor first outing, and make it into a very balanced, smart part 2. Unfortunately he went too comic booky for the third and final installment, rendering the trilogy one of the most uneven productions in modern cinema. Blah, to Great, to Yuck. Amazing.
This is what the first should have been
Wow, it's amazing what infusing a bit of good writing will do to make a film great instead of bland. Like a chef who finally decides to invest in great raw materials instead of relying solely on his own prowess, Singer decides to employ some creative script writers that manage to harness the more serious undertones of the Xmen comic books. Tragedy and intrigue, combined with awesome over-the-top super hero battles are what make the source material stand out on the comic rack, and so too does it make this second part of the trilogy. Here a menace is fast approaching the Xmen, and a full out assault on the X mansion plus several traitorous mutants make our hero's take stock of their efforts on behalf of the "normal" human population they seek to protect.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
They learned nothing from X2... what a shame.
Where X2 managed to greatly outclass the first installment, this final chapter manages to mangle everything and cash in on the CGI craze. Movie making is supposed to be about the craft of fashioning a work of enjoyable, entertaining art with mass appeal. Here, they only cater to the mass appeal of mind numbing silliness of showing as many of the popular X characters as possible, without developing these characters, or melding them into the greater tapestry of an engaging plot. Mutants are being injected with a "cure" to their mutations. Magneto doesn't like it. Sides are drawn, and a battle royale ensues. There's several dispatchings of key characters that don't make sense, and the silliness of the plot, and the "resolution", make for a terrible movie experience. What was so right with X2, was completely ignored for this film.
High Noon (1952)
Great, great film
Gary Cooper is just such a larger than life part of golden age Hollywood, that not seeing this film makes for a kind of movie heresy. Perfectly cast as an aging sheriff caught in the whirlwind of the impending return of the town's leading bad guy antagonist, and his gang of killers. Despite Cooper's best efforts, and his history of heroism and loyalty, he soon finds that people often times abandon their false fronts, and reveal their ugly true natures. I suppose this was a motif for the Mccarthy hearings, and the people that turned their backs on friends in the face of the adversity of being labeled Communist during the Cold War. But for me, (a person who realizes the benefits and importance of the McCarthy hearings) this is just a classic Western with a haunting melody by Tex Ritter. Do not forsake me, oh my Darling. Wow, only family can be counted on when things really go bad.
The Proposition (2005)
Aussie take on American western
Italy has the films of Sergio Leone, and now Australia has a competent take on the American Western as well. Guy Pearce continually amazes me with the range of his work. Starting with L.A. Confidential, he's continually seeking out new characterizations. Not satisfied with one type of role, or a specific genre like so many of the Hollywood leading men today, Pearce stretches the boundaries of his immense talents each time he appears on screen. Here he plays the middle child, of a group of three reckless, criminal brothers. When he, and his youngest brother are captured by the local authorities, he's given the arduous task of seeking out, and killing the eldest brother he hasn't seen in many years. An outlaw of ruthless reputation who now resides in the dangerous aboriginal outback of Western Australia. While the middle brother has great affection for his younger brother, he doesn't regret leaving his older brother in his past. What ensues is a reawakening of what it means to be civilized in an uncivil world.
Mamet scores again...
While a lot of people don't care for the style of David Mamet, Chicago screen/play writer, I find his work to be some of the most engaging cinema of today. Here he weaves a complicated plot of double and triple crossing amongst various factions of the criminal underworld. The opening caper of the film, a jewelry heist in the middle of the day, is some of the most perfectly envisioned choreography of both film and action I've seen in quite a long time. Gene Hackman gives another stellar performance as a tired thief, who just wants out. Ricky Jay (a Mamet regular) and Delroy Lindo compose his rock solid crew. Rebecca Pidgeon (Mrs. Mamet and also a Mamet regular) is Hackman's over the head relationship catch. She's witty, smart, beautiful, and about twenty some odd years his junior. Sam Rockwell and Danny Devito are the criminals who sometimes pay the bills, and sometimes just rip off those who rip off for a living. There's definitely no "honor among thieves" in this lot. The centerpiece caper, stealing a fortune in Swiss Gold from an airport, is really something that has to be seen. The resolution of the film is satisfying if not initially confusing. Great work.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Not your typical war movie...
Here war is just a backdrop to tell the story of how far one will go to maintain their sense of humanity amidst horrific conditions within a Japanese prisoner of war camp. For the soldiers of the British army, that means maintaining their regimental ways even IN the Japanese custody. While they come across as naive in their ways, they do endear themselves to the audience with this naiveté. Sir Alec Guiness (yes Obi wan Kenobi) is the shining star of the film despite the top billing of William Holden and Jack Hawkins; they were more familiar names to American audiences at the time. Here he's almost an immovable rock, upon which rest the hopes and dignity of the entire corps of soldiers he commands. His interactions with Sessue Hayakawa who portrays the initially ruthless taskmaster-like commander of the prison camp, brings a humanity to the often times tiring representation of the Japanese soldier as soulless monsters.
Lake Placid (1999)
A fun, summer time thriller
This is a film crew that just gets it right. They don't take the subject matter too seriously, and yet don't go all out mad-cap, screwball, camp either. A nice medium between the two. We really feel the characters are put into the precarious situations in which they find themselves. Here, in Lake Placid, New York, in a remote area, some bodies start appearing. And "This wasn't any motor boat accident" (to steal a line from the movie this obviously pays homage to, Jaws). A museum curator is sent up to investigate the possibility of a new breed of Crocodile, one capable of sustaining a population throughout the harsh winters of the Northeastern United States. She meets up with the level headed Game and Fish rep, the surly local cop, and a very eccentric millionaire who's completely smitten with all things Crocodile. All come together to solve the mystery of how a creature like this would end up in Lake Placid, and also to capture and/or eliminate this dangerous threat to the fauna surrounding the Lake, especially the human population. The CGI effects are quite good here, and there's a neat little ending that had my six year old nephew so shocked he accidentally blurted out "What the f**k was that?" For a campy take on the Jaws theme, but one that entertains immensely, see this film.
Posters for the film looked cool..... at least it has that going for it
Yuck, another attempt to cash in on the Jaws phenomena. Put some people in the classic Man versus beast situation, throw in some gore, and some side stories, and voi la, you have a hit. Sorry, folks, this film promises more than it delivers. Film crew is sent to Africa to try to get footage of a legendary killer crocodile. It's a fierce-some beast of mythical proportions. There's also a side story about a warlord that threatens the crew because this is HIS, territory. There's an obvious foreshadowing of a confrontation between these two kings of the forest, and the execution of this is quite disappointing. They tried too many things here. The funny sidekick. The melodrama of the tragedy of the warlord culture so prominent in most African nations. The love interest angle between the Hollywood hunk of the moment, and an up and coming "it" girl. A Labored effort, and some laughable special effects of the croc, make for a terribly long viewing.
A for effort, D for end product
What starts with a promising premise, ends with just another weak attempt to cash in on the Jaws phenomena. Here a killer Grizzly Bear wreaks havoc on a wilderness resort. Of course the local government insists on hushing up the several early casualties of this bear, which turns out to be a prehistoric type of Brown Bear. The creature just isn't effective because we ultimately have to see it. It's similar to the disappointment of seeing the shark in Jaws. Just too fake. Maybe with the CGI capabilities of today, a remake would be much more successful. Although the performances vary from pretty good, to downright Shelly Winters awful, Richard Jaeckle (great character actor) saves this film from being a total wash. His portrayal of the experienced tracker, hunting the bear (note hunting, not your typical idiot trying to "capture" a killer beast), is probably the only character the audience empathizes with. *Note there's the requisite woman getting nude despite there being no logical or realistic reason for such a happening. She just gets the urge to bathe underneath a waterfall, whilst in the midst of looking for signs of the killer bear. Thankfully she's quickly dispatched in a very awkward bear hug death. Latent sexual overtones there.
Chopping Mall (1986)
Look out! It's R2D2's retarded cousin...
This (ahem) film, is just awful. So okay, you're expected to suspend all common sense and grasp on reality, but this is just ridiculous. Horny teens decide to break into a Shopping mall, and, well; "get their groove on". Why do these movies always include the horny teens with nowhere better to go. I mean, a shopping mall? I can just imaging it now, ""Hey baby, lets go have sex in the shopping mall. I'm too cheap to get a motel room. I'm too ashamed to bring you around my house. And you're place sucks cause you're Dad's a drunk, and you're Mom's chain smoking will give me cancer."" Also there's the implausible involved with the robot attacks. These things look like something rejected by Lost in Space for being to dorky. These are just boxes mounted on traction. A paraplegic has more agility than these things. I'd been more fearful of Steven Hawking stalking me. Why people continually look behind them to check the progress of their pursuer, and why the trip over the slightest thing, then instead of bouncing back up and fleeing just sit there with hands to face, screaming while the attack advances, is beyond me. It's tired, and cliché. And this film just plain stinks.
House of Wax (1953)
Proving once again, original is usually best
This 1953 horror film is both climatic and exhilarating for it's inventiveness and sense of true dread. Despite the similar name, the 2005 Paris Hilton slasher is no comparison to it's grandfatherly namesake. Here Vincent Price portrays a brilliant sculptor of wax figurines that was horribly burned and paralyzed in an arson's fire caused by an enemy. Years later, he decides to reopen a house of wax, this time with the assistance of ygor, (Charles Bronson) and with the full awesomeness of his talents. The figures are much more human-like, and the attention to detail is eery. At the same time, there are several disappearances of New York denizens, and no, this is no small coincidence. Here director Andre De Toth, known more for his western and noir work, crafts an eery setting of the dark and murky streets of predawn New York. His mastery of both the chilling atmosphere and the artistic vision of his surprising and disturbing climax, make for a most enjoyable movie watching experience.
The Karate Kid (1984)
Eighties cheese...... but worth watching
Okay, this is probably the epitome of eighties films. Some dufus moves to town, and gets picked on by the local bully/(ies). Some sage advice is provided by a reclusive adult. Soon thereof, the dufus hooks up with the teen hottie, who's usually the girlfriend of the bully, more problems ensue, but in the end, the dufus wins the day, the girl, and more importantly the respect of the bully. Yeah, this is just a morality tale, to find the hero in oneself, and conquer your fears, but in real life that's usually a bunch of hog-wash. Bullies usually prevail (I speak from experience, I've beat up a lot of nerds in my day), Sage adults dishing out useful advice don't exist (a recluse is usually that way cause they're a drunk pedophile), and the hot chick stays with the school bully, cause they're cool and can pretty much kick the a** of anyone dumb enough to mess with them. So why do I rate this film so high? Simple, in the final confrontation at the Karate Tournament, there's a goon that yells to his Buddy the bully "Send him home in a body bag." then gleefully laughs about it. Classic.
The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
A mamet caper for a more intellectual crowd
Here David Mamet utilizes more of an intellectual tract to create suspense and intrigue, rather than a dazzling cast and neat little caper like in his other "con game" films; Heist, and House of Cards. The what isn't as important as the why, and the execution of the con in general. Steve Martin, Mr. Saturday Night, here diverts from his slap happy demeanor to go down a more serious path. He's a mysterious stranger that befriends the affable, and isolated Joe Ross (Campbell Scott), a computer engineer who has devised some sort of powerful program with his friend and aid George (Ricky Jay). What sets this film apart from most of Mamets other films is that we don't really identify with Joe even after we learn of the overlying scam pulled on him. That is, not until he becomes human, rather than the boring automaton he spends most of the film trudging through. The underlying theme of the film seems to be that of coming to grips with one's situation and relishing the fact that life is to be enjoyed and experienced to the nth degree, not blind-faced like some robot. Just going through the motions.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Ridiculous........ and I'm a fan of slashers
This is a formulaic slasher film, playing on the premise of a local legend of a homicidal minor. He was trapped with a few others, and had to feast on their remains to survive. He blames the townsfolk, and more specifically their Valentines Day dance. It seems it played a part in delaying his rescue from the cave-in. The lead miners who should have rescued Harry Warden, skipped work early to attend a Valentines Day dance. After a year in a mental institution, he went after those lead miners, and cut their hearts out. Leaving the warning that it would happen to all those who dared hold a Valentine's celebration ever again. Well, think our cast of characters, a young group of college age vixens and horn-dogs, enough time has passed and they just "want to get laid". And where better to hold a Valentines party, but in the very mine that Harry is said to haunt. Some implausible bits here; why would anyone in their right mind go into a mine where not only has their been a catastrophic cave in, but also is the supposed haunt of a real life killer, not some imagined "boogey man". If you read about Jeffery Dahmer's exploits, and then realized he had never been caught, would you then go to a place he was known to have operated, and allegedly still lived? If you would, you're just as retarded as the characters in this film. Plus, why risk the claustrophobic confines of the mine? And what makes one think sex in a mine is a turn on? Which brings me to another gripe, the intro of the film, while entertaining, is leaves one unsatisfied, and realizing it's just a cheap cop out. A girl is led into the mine, and I mean deep into the mine, by someone she believes is her lover. Why? Cause she's amorous, and wants her man to take her in a dangerous place. Not really seeing the believability in this. Why would you let someone garbed in a miners' outfit lead you into the mine, unless you saw them putting the miners' gear on. And after that, why go into a isolated mine shaft to make whoopee? The town must have at least one motel, dorm room, bedroom etc. Just silly. Finally, when the deaths start occurring, and the characters realize there's a killer in their midst, why don't they do the logical thing and abandon the mine, in search of help? Why bother looking for your friends that are missing? Isn't it better to go get the cops, and some I don't know, weaponry to thwart the killer? I know slashers follow a basic formula, but do we really have to see another film with the red herring noises, and dummies that go "Is anyone there?" and then going further into a precarious situation to investigate.??? This is just a cheap Canadian cash in on the slasher revenues to be had in the early 1980's. Yuck.
The Good German (2006)
Great modern noir
A superb example of how to make noir. American noir I should say. Despite the fact I extremely dislike the smarmy George Clooney, and am not at all pleased with the gee golly acting of Toby McGuire, they put in some great performances here. A twisted tale of dead bodies and international cover ups during post war German occupation. The Soviets and Americans are in a race to steal the Nazi's greatest scientific minds and exploit them for their own gains. Toss in a secret a German woman has, or more specifically her presumed dead husband has about one scientist in particular, and you have a nifty little number in the tradition of Orson Welles greatest film The Third Man.