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Mr. Nobody (2009)
I Want To Love This Film, But I Can't
Ever since seeing Jaco Van Dormael's Le Huitième Jour (The Eighth Day) I had been highly looking forward to his latest work....MR NOBODY. Last night I caught an early screening of it in Liege, Belgium with special guest, director Jaco Van Dormael in attendance.
I tried so hard to get into Mr Van Dormael's brilliant, yet fatally flawed vision of love, life and the choices we make. My first problem of the film is its structure (flashforwards, flashbacks..). The film rarely gave me the opportunity to sit back and immerse myself in its world without constantly jolting, and distracting with its fractured structure. I understand this was to show how every choice has its consequence, every choice leads down a different life path. It often reminded me of the more mainstream and simple chick-flick SLIDING DOORS, which my wife adored. I loved the film for its ideas and questions it posed on who and what we are. MR NOBODY certainly can't be criticized for being empty or shallow. If anything, the problem with the film is that there is too much to consider. It's overblown and bloated which ended up numbing me to the point of not even caring.
Van Dormael clearly loves the use of color in his films. In THE EIGHTH DAY his use of color was beautiful and poignant in the way it illuminated its troubled young hero's fantastic world, in contrast to the gray realities of the true world around him. That is another one of my major problems with MR NOBODY. This film had so much to say about who and what we are. It dealt with such real issues of abandonment, loss and loneliness, but his Tim Burtonesque use of colors and over-the-top jests didn't slightly resemble anything real or believable. If only he had given the film some sense of the real world from time to time, like with The Eighth Day it would have strengthened the film tremendously. Something has to look and feel real in order to feel any emotion or anything at all.
I just wish Jaco Van Dormael had simplified things a bit. I don't mean dumb down his vision, but give it some space to breath and room to move the viewer. As I said before, I really wanted to love this film, but now I can say I really didn't like it. MR NOBODY was a bold effort with a lot of good in it, including the fine cast, but in the end unfortunately it falls rather flat.
The Box (2009)
No Donnie Darko, but also (luckily) no Southland Tales
I just saw Richard Kelly's flawed but highly involving THE BOX. I really enjoyed it as well.
I'm one of the many who loved DONNIE DARKO when it first came out, before there was much buzz. I eagerly awaited his second film SOUTHLAND TALES which ended up being so unbearable I couldn't even finish it. Now, Kelly's third film, THE BOX which I entered a bit skeptical but highly enjoyed it. It feels like a cross between 1978's BODY SNATCHERS and SCANNERS as directed by early Brian DePalma (not necessarily in story but in atmosphere and mood). The look of the film and the music are like watching a film from the late 70s (in which this film takes place). At times Kelly's choices are a bit overwhelming and somewhat goofy on the overly dramatic end of things, but at least he never underwhelms with THE BOX.
THE BOX is a bit heavy and stressful, and I recommend it for that. It could have been better with a different lead actress though. You can see the acting wheels turning in Diaz's eyes. Marsden on the other hand is solid the whole way through...maybe because he has "Mars" in his name...hint, hint.
This is good stuff. It's better than most of the usual retreads that are constantly dumped on us. AND it's way better than SOUTHLAND TALES.
See it, even though it's no DONNIE DARKO.
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
I Want To Love This Weak Treat
I'm one of the many that has been dying to see TRICK'R TREAT since first reading about a few years back. I love Halloween, the holiday and as an avid horror fanatic I adore the film HALLOWEEN as well. So I pre-ordered the Blu-ray of Trick'R Treat the moment it was listed on amazon.
A couple of weeks ago my Blu-ray arrived in the mailbox. I raced upstairs and threw it in the player. I watched it. I loved the look and feel of this lovingly made throwback to 80's genre films such as The Thing, The Goonies, ET, Monster Squad and of course John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN. TRICK'r TREAT wants to be everything and suffers for that. There is very little character development or backstory. There is no one to route for and no one to hate. It's too short and too rushed to take time on anything except the aesthetics, which look great. This film is like a cute girl with nothing on the inside. She'd be perfect if only she had a brain too.
Needless to say I'm disappointed. Sure I would have liked to have been scared but I understand it's difficult to execute a good scare, but at least one quick jump would have been nice. I do like Trick''r Treat for what it tries and wants to be, but for what it is I'm left hanging, waiting for my anticipation to be fulfilled with looks and brains. A bunch of well lit jack'o'lanterns do not a perfect film make.
I now understand why TRICK'r TREAT never got its day at the cinema. It was a nice try, but no cigar.
See it and enjoy the lite ride while it lasts, because soon after you will forget you saw anything at all.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
A Reminder Why We Love Horror
First of all I must say, living in Belgium, I have the benefit of not being caught up in the hype machine. I'm sure if I were living in the States, I too would be numb to the affects of this film.
I would imagine being in a crowded cinema would take away from the intimacy of the scares. I watched this alone on my couch in the comforts of my own home cinema. I am a huge horror fan, not just a gore hound, though I do enjoy some good gore f/x from time to time, but most of all I love a good scare...which is rather hard to come by. Films that have scared me are, The Changeling, The Innocents, The Ring, Inside (A L'Interior), The Brood, Blair Witch... I'm not easily scared, but given the circumstances in which I watched PARANORMAL ACTIVITY I was quite tense.
This film is a lot like Blair Witch, Cloverfield in the use of the home camera, but the way in which the characters in PARANORMAL approach their situation is rather realistic and believable. The characters are like normal people, not Hollywood types. The acting is fine and the characters are fun and likable. The only thing I had a problem with (as far as believability) was the exorcism footage they looked at on the net.
Maybe I would have been disappointed if I had driven half an hour to the closest English language cinema to see this film when it comes out in December. I love going to the cinema for the great image and sound quality. I wouldn't want to watch AVATAR for the first time at home. But PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is the film to watch at home with as few people and distractions as possible. It's not groundbreaking or amazing, but it works and it's good. I applaud the filmmakers for sending some chills down my spine. Thanks.
Lower those expectations and enjoy the ride.
The saddest film I've ever seen.
Let me start by saying, I don't know if this film touched me so much because I've recently had a major loss in my family. But this film touched me deeply. I've never struggled so hard to hold back tears as I did watching Dear Zachary.
I don't know if this is the finest documentary I've ever seen, but it's certainly the most moving. The pain is so raw and so new. The loss these family and friends encounter along the way is nothing short of devastating.
I'm not sure if I can recommend Dear Zachary, unless you really want to be sad. I'm not sure if I'm happy I've seen it. I didn't need someone else's loss in my life, but now I mourn for these lovely people I just met on TV. What a waste of such joy and life. It brings back all too familiar feelings.
I leave it at this... If you have never experienced true loss, then Dear Zachary is open window into a devastating world of pain that you can only hope you'll never have to deal with. But if loss is something you are familiar with then maybe you don't need this refresher course on the subject.
Thank you for this real and sincere work.
Fireflies in the Garden (2008)
What a mess of a film.
I'm an American living in Europe and usually when I see a film with such a fine cast released here before it is in the States an alarm goes off in my head. Normally that means the film is junk and they want to make some money back before word gets around. I read the 2 other IMDb reviews and thought maybe it's not too bad. I then read the Hollywood Reporter, and Variety's reviews, which were not as kind. But I decided to take a drive over to Maastricht, Holland to form my own opinion of FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN. The first 15 minutes I thought, okay maybe this cast can rise above the seemingly Lifetime special material. But in the end it was clear they couldn't. I've seen much finer Lifetime movies (because of my wife). I can't understand WHY the cast agreed to making this movie. The characters were inconsistent and the script was sloppy. It seemed as though a reel had gone missing, some footage had been erased or maybe they had forgotten to film 30 pages of the script. Characters make huge changes for no apparent reason. Plot points are mentioned but never followed through. I could go on forever but I'm not sure about what. There is no substance to FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN. It's a pure waste of your time and it's talent. Clearly they thought they were making a solid family drama like ORDINARY PEOPLE or IN THE BEDROOM but they certainly did not succeed on any level. So unfortunately my theory about the US dumping its cinematic junk on the rest of the world for a quick buck has proved true again.
Crystal Skull Is Never Dull
I was 17 when the last Indy film came out in '89...yes I'm that old. I loved the Indy films. "Raiders" was by far the best and "Last Crusade" remains the second best for me. Even when I first saw "Temple Of Doom" I thought it was pretty lame and over-the-top, so it still remains the least engaging of the bunch. Which leads me to "Crystal Skull," the third best of the series. I was so excited to catch the latest Indy today in Belgium. Ever since I saw "Last Crusade" I've been anticipating a new Indy and "Crystal Skull" delivers the goods...I repeat "goods", not greats. There are some great Speilbergian moments but the film rarely soars. As with "Temple Of Doom," "Crystal Skull" is too cute at times and goes way too far over- the-top and unfortunately Lucas' special effects can't do the scripts imagination justice. So much of this film looks so fake that it makes it hard to believe or even really care. I must say it was great to see the older Indy in action and Shia was a nice addition, but this franchise has seen better, more energetic days. Too often the film got bogged down by too many characters. It felt like Indy was the Pied Piper who kept on collecting more and more followers. The first half is pretty solid, but the second half gets too bogged down in weak stunts and lackluster special effects. If you love Indy then you'll definitely like this film, just make sure to check your brain and critical eye at the door. "Crystal Skull" is never dull but it's also never "Raiders" or "Last Crusade."
Iron Man (2008)
It's no ELF, but it's a lot of fun...and way better than ZATHURA
I was excited when I first learned that John Favreau would be directing IRON MAN. He brings a new and nostalgic energy to the his movies especially ELF. IRON MAN continues that winning formula, though ZATHURA is far from a classic, but my kids dig it,
IRON MAN is well made, but follows the typical path of your first in a series of super hero movies. Everything has to be established the first time around...and after having seen several super hero movies it's a little bit boring. 55% of the film is spent watching our hero construct the 2 versions of his super suit, which is kinda fun but kinda not. I did love IRON MAN's first outing in his souped up super suit, that's the only time I was completely eating it up. Don't get me wrong, this is a good film, but it is a bit limited by establishing itself. Without Robert Downey Jr and the rest of the great cast this movie would just be fine...but they lift it to nearly excellent.
I definitely do recommend an outing at the cinema for this, but I'm sure the second one will totally rock.
Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
Poo Em Up!
I know I was supposed to check my brain in at the door, BUT man this movie is pure trash. It has nothing going for it. I love a good action flick. I'm willing to forgive a weak plot for some over the top stunts, but even the action in this film was poor. I wanted some John Woo action ballet, but this stuff is clunky and unconvincing. Every attempt at humor and wit falls flat. Oh god, and the soundtrack just didn't work. this film had no suspense or excitement.... only boredom. I have no idea how this director got such a good cast. If you want good over the top action rent, Die Hard 1, Face/Off or The Rock....don't waste your time on this clunker. I have two kids now, so I rarely get time to see films anymore and to waste my time with such a bummer is such a time sucker. Please, take my advice and save your eyes and ears for something better like reading a milk carton or anything else.
Black Sheep (2006)
Artless, pointless, laugh-less, scare-less....void of any creativity..AVOID Black Sheep
I adore horror films. I love all kinds of horror films....monsters, ghosts, slashers, werewolves...and I'm even open to a good killer sheep film, BUT this isn't it. It seems that the creators of this film just had an idea....and that's all. the script, the acting...everything about this film is so weak and low grade and it thinks it's so funny....maybe to some frat boy wasted on pot. Don't waste your time or your dime. Rent Dead Alive (aka Brain Dead) or An American Werewolf In London instead. I really feel this film was made by a fan of Pater Jackson's early stuff, maybe this guy loves horror like me, but he doesn't have an ounce artistry or imagination...no offense, but stick to working behind the counter at McDonalds Mr Director.
REEKER is now officially retitled STINKER
Let me start off by saying I LOVE MOVIES, especially HORROR MOVIES. If a horror movie is done well it can be some of the best cinematic entertainment ever, but if it's not done well then it can be the most painful cinematic experience like REEKER. I tried, I really did try to like this movie. Three quarters of the way through I was still giving REEKER the benefit of the doubt because of some of the fine reviews it received. So now after finally being finished with this stupid grade D movie I can't understand how on earth it got okay reviews. Sure, a few moments are kind of funny in a slapstick, NAKED GUN sort of way but for the most part REEKER just builds and builds up to nothingness. It's clear that the filmmakers tried a last ditch effort to cover up their poor makeup effects with even worse computer effects. And the end does attempt to surprise us like THE SIXTH SENSE, but this is lame, lame stuff. The acting for the most part is pretty bad, as is the pacing, the story, and let me just say again the F/X are terrible. I give this film three stars for trying...something, but don't let those three stars lead you into seeing this pointless poo-poo. EMPIRE MAGAZINE should never be purchased again by anyone based on their review for this film....I rest my case. To sum it up in one word REEKER is DISAPPOINTING. I can't believe I dragged my wife through this film....she'll never trust my judgment again, which means I'll have to sit through another viewing of SLIDING DOORS or FORCES OF NATURE again and again.
QUINCEANERA is a lovely, sweet, real, touching charmer One of the best of 2006
I just had the pleasure of catching this lovely gem QUINCEANERA (aka: Echo Park, L.A. in Europe) and I absolutely adored it. It was so refreshing to see a movie about Mexican Americans that wasn't all about gang violence and drugs. This is a lovely and insightful film about family, tradition and life as a Latino in Los Angeles, California. This film deals with a lot of issues from homosexuality, teen pregnancy, family, racism... without ever seeming preachy or forced. The acting by the two leads is some of the finest I've seen in a while and I'm a movie addict. And just when you think the film is about to stumble into the world of cliché it's lifted to an even higher level of beauty and realism. I don' know what else to say without giving away too much other than see this film and you won't be disappointed. This is by far one of the best and most rewarding films I've seen so far this year and that's saying a lot from a guy that sees way too many movies. See this movie and tell your friends about it because they don't make enough movies like this and this kind of art needs our support.
TWISTED!...original and sad to admit it, but BORING
I just saw this film yesterday and have just come to terms with the fact I didn't really like this movie. I see everything Mr Gilliam directs, including last year's mess THE BROTHERS GRIMM which should never have been released it was so weak. He is certainly the great mad genius of the movie world and usually I really dig that about his films like BRAZIL, THE FISHER KING, TIME BANDITS, 12 MONKEYS, FEAR AND LOATHING and THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHEAUSEN but TIDELAND is a disappointment. This time I feel Gilliam has gone twisted for twisted's sake without any real meaning or depth. Though the lead girl is highly talented as is the underrated Jeff Bridges (in a very small role) BUT not once did I believe these were people with real lives. Everyone was just playing wacky characters in wacky situations. This film was so far removed from reality that I didn't care what was going to happen and nothing really does. There's very little forward movement after the first 15 minutes of TIDELAND, as if the writer(s) had no outline, no idea where he was going. Now, I appreciate something new and fresh and I like a lot of moments in this film, but as a whole it's more of a black hole of the bizarre and creepy...in a dirty-dead-drug-whore kinda way. At times this film meanders and is quite redundant so much so I was bored to the point of sleepiness. The young man that plays the mentally challenged guy is fantastic and the end is interesting but...hmmmmmmm.....I think Gilliam may be out of great ideas. Not bad, but not great...see it or don't....after a shower it won't make a difference in your life.
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Coppola Brings New Life To A Dead Genre
I had reached the point in my life where I could not bare the idea of seeing another historical-costume-drama. The thought of seeing another actor attempting the stilted period lingo and mello-drama gives me a headache, BUT Miss Coppola has undone my pain with this fresh take on the period drama, with her lovely and off-beat MARIE-ANTOINETTE. Usually you watch the piece from afar, thinking, "Wow, life sure was hard back then," but you never really can relate to the characters, but Coppola breaks tradition in a completely refreshing way, so that you can really understand these characters. She uses modern day music (not like the horrible A KNIGHT'S TALE did) and hand held camera work. Her style is much more free and alive. She takes her time with the material so that we get a feel for time period and all of the free time they had. The acting is first rate, other than a mis-cast Rip Torn who's a little too over-the-top. If you've enjoyed her other movies (THE VIRGIN SUICIDES & LOST IN TRANSLATION), then you are sure to enjoy this film. But if you are looking for another stilted period drama with forced accents and dead camera work then rent THE PARTRIOT or VANITY FAIR. I really enjoyed MARIE-ANTIONETTE, though I'm not sure how historically accurate it is, it's a fine film. Some have criticized Coppola for making a French subject so American, but that is not the point, she has created an accessible historical biopic, that people of MARIE-ANTIONETTE's age could enjoy and relate to.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Ron Howard's THE DA BORING CODE.
Just when I started to think that Ron Howard was getting interesting with A BEAUTIFUL MIND and the underrated Cinderella MAN he goes back to his old ways of painting by the numbers. Once again, he proves he has no style with this lame duck movie, THE DA VINCI CODE. I never read the book, I had no idea what the story was other than it had religious over-tones and still I wasn't thrilled or surprised for 2 seconds. If the end is supposed to be a twist then I wasn't surprised...it was so obvious. Everything about this movie is mediocre and ordinary, from the dull screenplay to the bland acting (Tom Hanks looks pained and the usually charming Audrey Tatou can't act in English)....And there are fine actors in this film...What happened here?...I don't understand. Maybe it would make a better TV mini series, but as a film it was forced and pretentious without any right to be. Now, Ron Howard seems like a good man, so I don't mean to insult him, but as a director he has no style or imagination. I obviously can't recommend this movie. I'm not at all a god fearing Jesus-freak so I'm not biased in that sense. I guess the only way that I am biased is that I prefer better films. Don't bother with this one unless you feel you must rent it eventually.
Inside Man (2006)
Fantastic! Denzel & Spike @ Their Best
INSIDE MAN is a complete joy. It has tension, a good script and fine acting. I was afraid I was in for another one of Denzel's macho cop outings (the African-American equal to the ever boring Harrison Ford), but was happily surprised to find him in top form, bursting with energy and life. On top of his excellent performance this is also Spike Lee at his best since CLOCKERS providing us with a lively and crackling heist flick (or is it?). This is an all around fine film giving Lee the perfect platform for weaving in some relevant and finely pointed political and racial commentary. It's also a great New York City film. Lee must be a big fan of THE TAKING OF PELHAM, ONE, TWO, THREE. It has the same vibe and what a great vibe to have. My only complaint is Jodie Foster's stilted and somewhat over the top performance...there is nothing natural about her in this role. Everyone else, including the large cast of bit actors are fantastic. I obviously highly recommend INSIDE MAN, an upbeat, exciting and always surprising night at the movies.
An American Haunting (2005)
more like, "Little HAUNTED House on the Prairie"
After attending a screening of AN American HAUNTING at the Brussels Fantasy Film Festival last night I must say I am a bit disappointed. The other reviews in IMDb made it sound like I was in for something new, something truly frightening, BUT it's neither new or frightening. Sure this film had a couple of moments like THE RING or any of the other somewhat classy chillers, but AN American HAUNTING is quite hokey at times. The historical setting feels like a made for TV period piece. There's no true grit to the atmosphere which you should expect from a period piece. With such an excellent cast I expected a good, powerful script but instead the script is ordinary and the performances were weak considering who they are. And why must every new horror film have to have a weak twist ending. Unfortunately this film relies too much on on quick edits and loud music and not enough on building actual suspense. At times this film feels quite redundant. It goes like this (don't worry, no real spoilers)...the ghost cam swirls around our scared looking stars, weaving around and over them...it sees in black and white, then after that brief scare encounter our leads try to figure out why they are being haunted. At first I thought it was kind of creepy, but by the third round of these same events it becomes quite boring. I do give the film credit for never really letting up on its attempted scares, but a little subtlety could have gone a long way. Also there are a few tiny moments with poor CGI f/x. So many lost opportunities here. This is certainly not half as frightening as THE EXORCIST. If An American Haunting gets a full theatrical release in The States I'd be surprised. An American Haunting is well made and classy for straight to DVD fare. It would certainly make a fine rental but it doesn't make for a worthy outing. I give it 6 stars for its heart being in the right place. If you are looking for superior haunted house fare then certainly check out THE INNOCENTS or THE CHANGELING.
Where the Truth Lies (2005)
Are Atom Egoyan's films supposed to feel like comedies?
There is always something odd about Mr. Egoyan's films. With his movies I am never convinced I'm watching real people in real situations. Often I find the dialog and acting to be quite stilted as if each film is some sort of inside joke. If it is a joke I don't get it. WHERE THE TRUTH LIES is probably the best example of this from the three Egoyan films I've seen...including EXOTICA and THE SWEET HEREAFTER. It seems as though the actors are about to break into laughter the second the camera stops. Maybe Mr Egoyan is a funny guy and he makes funny faces at his actors while the camera is rolling during what should seem like serious scenes. I also felt this way during what I thought would be a heart-breaking drama THE SWEET HEREAFTER, which I saw at The Boston Film Festival the director was attending. After the screening Egoyan was taking questions from the audience and I was just dying to ask him if he intended to make a comedy about grief....but in case that wasn't his intention I didn't want to offend him. What is the deal with his artificial take on the world? I understand WHERE THE TRUTH LIES is a homage to one of his favorite genres, but where is the subtlety? Where is the mystery? The over powering music score was telling me I was at least listening to a mystery and Ms. Lohman's question mark line delivery was trying to tell me I was watching a mystery, but then why did I find this movie funnier than THE FAMILY STONE? It beats me. I won't go on with EXOTICA though I recall feeling really disappointed with that as well. So I suggest you save your money on this one. I don't think it would even make a good rental, unless the comedy section has been emptied out. I think the answer is that Egoyan is an empty filmmaker who yearns to be provocative. This is my vow in print that I will never see another one of his films again. Luckily for me, at my showing of WHERE THE TRUTH LIES the projector died during the final 15 minutes and the film never came back on. I never found out the mystery of who killed the girl and I didn't care. At least I had a good laugh and I got my money back.
Black Christmas (1974)
It's actually as good, if not better than all the reviews that made me see it
I am a huge movie fanatic and horror is one of my favorite genres. Horror films from the 70s to the present are my favorite, but it's usually quite difficult to find the good ones amongst all the junk. I had gotten to the point to where I thought I had seen all of the great horror pictures of this time period...including...THE CHANGELING, AN American WEREWOLF IN London, THE DEAD ZONE, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, EVIL DEAD 2, THE THING (1982), HALLOWEEN, THE SHINING, SUSPIRIA, THE DESCENT, DEAD-ALIVE(aka BRAINDEAD), THE EXORCIST and THE BROOD...to name a few, so obviously I was skeptical that this film BLACK Christmas that had passed me by for almost my whole life could actually be as good as all my fellow IMDb reviewers were stating. But being a huge fan of Bob Clark's A Christmas STORY, I took a chance and purchased this DVD right out and to my surprise all of the hype didn't even begin to do this film justice. It's been compared to HALLOWEEN and John Carpenter's film is certainly one of the best of the genre but BLACK Christmas...dare I say it...is actually better..scarier and more original. First of all I was impressed by how good the film looked for its age. BLACK Christmas is a class act, with pretty fine actors, a great script and an excellent crew behind the camera. It's hard for a film to scare me after all the films I've seen but my wife and I were often creeped out by BLACK Christmas. There is very little gore and you don't see much of the killer which proves sometimes less is more...WAY MORE in this case. BLACK Christmas is now in my top five of all time horror flicks. See it if you like a good scare. BOO!
Tony Scott at his most repellent
I thought being written by writer/ director Richard Kelly (DONNIE DARKO) this film would at least be interesting and maybe the script was BUT Mr. Scott murders this film with his over eagerness to try out his new editing technology. DOMINO makes MTV look like an episode of Martha Stewart's Living Home Arts And Crafts Hour. Usually I enjoy Tony Scott's movies....he's certainly not as talented as his brother Ridley but his movies are at least usually quite visually impressive and entertaining. DOMINO though it seems the director got carried away with style and editing effects. The constant edits and over-lapping shots are so distracting and annoying it's almost impossible to follow the narrative....which it does seem this film was lacking. The film starts off with the smug subtitle, "Based on a true story...Sort of," and that's the first place the film goes wrong. I wish they had actually made a film about the real Domino Harvey, who just recently died after the film wrapped. Instead Scott has decided to incorporate these far fetched scenarios to pump life into her story but ends up actually killing it. Sure maybe he's getting older and he wants another TRUE ROMANCE under his belt....but this is so far from that good or interesting. Mickey Rourke is the only one who actually squeezes any bit of humanity out of these cold, non-dimensional characters. I witnessed many audience members grabbing there things and leaving the theatre as I struggled to remain seated. This film is a complete waste of time and a repellent one at that. Don't see it for any reason..including a fine figured Keira Knightley.
The Devil's Rejects (2005)
A Good Old-Fashioned Raunchy Guilty Pleasure
THE DEVIL'S REJECTS is 1,000 times better than THE HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES. I could not stand the first film. It was complete trash. BUT its sequel (DEVIL'S REJECTS) is a charmer of the depraved sort. My wife even enjoyed it and this is certainly not her usual cup of blood...I mean tea. She describes it as late night, Showtime, almost porn kind of entertainment. You know you shouldn't be enjoying it but you can't help yourself. It's not very scary but there are some horrific images that will stick with you a bit. I expected to be repulsed by extreme gore but Mr Zombie spared us even on the Director's Cut DVD. Don't let me fool you cause this film does have its share of gore, nudity and harsh language but it's great characters, twisted sweetness and love of the horror genre make it an original ride. It's a blast trying to figure out which horror classics a lot of the supporting actors are from (including cast members from SALEM'S LOT and HALLOWEEN) I couldn't sing you one note of a Rob Zombie song but I could sing the praises of his accomplished funhouse of a movie. Make DEVIL'S REJECTS your next guilty pleasure and if you haven't seen HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES consider yourself very lucky, cause it's not necessary.
Match Point (2005)
A dramatic melodrama out of touch with real emotion.
I think we can say Mr Allen has lost touch with the human race. This is certainly not a bad film...I was intrigued for a while until I realized I could care less for any of these shallow characters. Maybe that's Woody showing us the shallowness of class structure in such dark times, but who cares. If you want to see a good drama by Woody Allen, see his beautifully heart breaking, INTERIORS. So much of the film didn't ring true, though I must say this film is a cut above MELINDA & MELINDA..which was painful. I love earlier Woody, but unfortunately I think those days are long gone. At times it felt as if this film was some young director's debut, as if it were directed by someone with no real life experiences. This is mediocre stuff with an interesting dark twist. The one surprising thing about this film is that you don't really feel Mr. Allen's presence behind the camera, other than the sometimes stilted dialog and eccentric music choices. MATCH POINT is not a bad film but it's not a very good one either. See it at your own risk.
The Matador (2005)
The sweetest hit-man-buddy movie I've ever seen.
THE MATADOR is hit-man movie lite....if you can say that about a hit-man movie. The violence is never really shown but often introduced. At first I was scared I was in for another retread of mid-90s gangster-hit-man-hipster-dark comedy BUT was happily surprised when I realized this is just a sweet and humorous story about friendship. Nothing terribly exciting happens in this film but every bit of it is kept me grinning. The three leads have the best chemistry the big screen has offered in recent years and it looks like they had a great time making this film together. The writing is sharp though at times it felt as if the script had been adapted from a stage play because of the one set dialog scenes. This is a good film that I probably won't remember for too long but at the time it was a complete joy. Good film.
The Descent (2005)
A blast of a stress fest. Great for a close date.
I wish I had seen this film on the big screen. I imagine in a dark theater, with the huge screen and surround sound this film was amazing...hence all of the excellent IMDb reviews. I purchased this film on DVD because of the great response and I wasn't disappointed. It wasn't the scariest film I've ever seen. In fact I wasn't really scared much at all, BUT my wife and her friend were scared out of their minds...which made it more fun for me. THE DESCENT is a very well made chiller with excellent pacing and a bunch of great jump-out-of-your-seat moments. The creatures are cool, but not so frightening, I guess cause the ladies in the film kill them so easily. The makeup was on the verge of being a little Star Treky but the gore is fantastic. I watched it a second time alone to see if the hype had hurt my first viewing and I'd have to say it did a bit. The second time I watched it I was really impressed and startled quite a few times. If you're looking for a film to rent to get closer to your lady or man this is the film for you. And if you're in The States where this film hasn't opened yet definitely take advantage of seeing this film at the theater...it's gonna be a great ride. Grade A horror fare. I highly recommend it.
Well intentioned does not a scary film make. Really low grade horror fare.
I give this film two stars because I think they thought they were making a good film...But it's not. I fell into the ever growing pit of hype surrounding this film and regret every moment of it...well except for one little moment in a ghostly graveyard. It's not in the least bit scary and can only maintain one's attention for about twenty minutes...which is when you realize you've seen this stuff before and much better. It is certainly an intriguing idea to send a bunch of war weary soldiers on a ghost hunt but an idea is all this film has going for it. It's so predictable and actually annoying at times and never scary. It also has some of the worst American accented actors ever....non-English speakers may not notice how bad they really are. Mainstream (American) audiences will hate R-POINT and horror fans will only enjoy it for what it could have been. Unfortunately I suggest you don't waste your time as I did. BORING.