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Comic Book Villains (2002 Video)
Good movie, not just for Fanboys
8 December 2012
First I should say I am fanboy who owns about as many comics as the collector only seen in this movie in a photo of a woman's departed son. Needless to say I was interested in the movie. I did like the movie, not because it was about comic books as, to be honest, the comics were just a prop for what I felt was a very good story.

I am pleased to say I did not see a two dimensional simpsonesque 'comic book guy' in this movie. I did not see a movie about comics but a movie about how rivalry, greed, desperation, and regret can cause people to do bad things.

I believe the real focus of this film is the habitually greasy comic book shop owner and true fanboy Raymond. A man who has a true passion for comics, who is 'off' and because of this has had a very hard life. He followed his passion and now finds himself broke and faced with what might be his only chance to find what he see's as greatness and while it seems trivial to most to set the bar of greatness where he has, his desperation has now made it so that he is willing to do whatever to takes to accomplish this goal.

Although he justifies his actions by the fact that he truly appreciates the art, history and craft of comics while his rivals merely see them as a means to make money...in the end it is, to him, also all about money and he is just the most desperate of those who are looking to get them. It did not have to be about comics. It could have been coins, art, jewels, anything of great value...this is about a group of people turned into killers to get their hands on what they see as a chance to cash in and become rich....and certainly this can happen, to good people, especially in the case of someone like Raymond who feels he has nothing at all to lose.

This movie IS a comedy / drama but it is a very dark one. I enjoyed the film and recommend it whether you like comic books or not....in the end it was a good story and well executed by most involved with a special acknowledgement to Donal Logue who was outstanding.
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I Liked the Movie
25 September 2012
I am not a film maker or film student, just like movies and watch way more than I should. This is not the type of movie I would generally watch but because I like Robert Carlyle I gave it a chance. I am glad I did.

I forgive the fact there are no great dancers in the film as it isn't about dance and most in the classes are students, children, older...in essence, they aren't dancers and most are probably not there to become expert dancers.

It IS a movie that looks to tug at the heartstrings and manipulate the emotions but most movies are trying to illicit a response, an emotional reaction, of some kind. This movie did a good job.

Personally I had a hard time investing emotionally in this movie but it gradually weakened my resolve and I started caring about the characters.

Indeed it is an older short film encapsulated in an updated shell and secondary story but to be honest, the characters (and a few were real characters), anachronisms and all, were still just as interesting and was worked into the new overarching story quite well.

Any weakness of this story, this project, was ably work around by a great cast that did seem to immerse themselves in their roles. Its not a perfect film, it overtly tugs at the heartstrings, sappy, some comedy. I recommend it but it certainly isn't going appeal to all.

I wish they had credited 'freeway' the boombox button pusher...it was a funny touch, one of a few minor quirky characters both modern and flashback, little touches that added to the enjoyment of the movie.
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I Genuinely Liked this Film
21 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This film started off grabbing my interest right away and kept it for most of the running time. There were a few spots where I felt it began to drag and get slightly tedious but the incredibly interesting and intricate plot created in me a genuine need to know what was going on and kept me watching.

I was not aware these two actresses were so well known across the pond although I am sure I have seen them in other films. They did a wonderful job. All the actors were spot on.

By the end of the movie all is made clear and we are not left in the dark wonder what happened. I did not walk away feeling I was dropped without the ability to make sense of it all but it is deep and deals with heavy issues.

SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO ARE HONESTLY CONFUSED: The main character is having an identity crisis that is manifesting its self in transformations of everything in her life. She realizes that after a traumatic incident in her young life, she has been living her life as if she were another person who died in a tragic accident when she was a little girl. The woman we see in the beginning of the movie is that woman...the woman we see at the end of the movie is her true self. This is a woman working through a life shattering trauma as the truth begins to surface after looking into her past. She is becoming her true self.

The problems with the movie are few and forgivable. I highly recommend it.
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Not Horror but more a Good Story.
26 August 2012
Karloff is great in this tale of a compassionate surgeon who is looking to relieve the pain and suffering that he inflicts through his life-saving surgery. In the process of developing an anesthetic, he becomes addicted to his formula and is used as a pawn of criminals.

This is not a horror film at all but a good story about the historical problems facing surgery before anesthetic. There are murders for profit, there is the suggestion of painful bloody surgery but they do not really show it. There are no real disturbing scenes. This movie was billed as horror but most horror fans would probably object to this classification. It is, however, a good solid movie about a very real problem, surgery before anesthetic and a man who looked to find the secret to painless surgery.

If you are looking for a horror movie, you wont find it here...but you will find a pretty good movie with the bonus of Christopher Lee as a ruthless criminal killer called Resurrection Joe.
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Next Floor (2008)
One of the Best Shorts I Have Seen (and I have seen a lot)
25 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This was simply a great short. The characters, costuming, and setting where so well done. Being almost completely without dialog, the acting was almost all facial expression and subtle looks. It seems in no way pretentious but rather simple in its elegance. It leaves you to try and figure out what was really going on. I decided it was hell for gluttons.

We are introduced to the maitre'd, very serious, ominous. Then we see the diners sitting around a table sitting in a simple, old room, all silently eating (silently save for the sound of the diners eating a constant stream of food.) The diner's looks are classic stereotypes of society. They eat and eat and in some glimpses we see a hint of a relationship here...or even doubt and sadness. One even gets the slight idea that they may not even be in complete control of whether they can stop eating.

The food that is brought seems disturbing, sometimes hard to identify, even down right bizarre. Then the floor gives way, the diners fall through, and the staff is called to go to the next floor and the chandelier moves down through the hole to light the table and diners that now sit one floor below. They begin eating again and food of all types (save anything that looks appetizing) are served.

At one point a woman puts her hand up to a waiter as if she wants no more. She seems concerned, as if she is beginning to realize what might be going on. She turns her head and she is served anyway by a waiter that seems to be shocked she turned down a serving. As if NOT being served was unthinkable....and not allowed. The woman looks at her plate and see's the food. She has a tear in her eye as she begins eating, manically laughing while shoving food in her face.

The table falls through again. They all go to a new floor. In the end...they fall through and never stop falling. We see the Headwaiter, he looks as if his mission is accomplished.

Well acted, well, shot, looks great. A bit of dark humor and bizarre imagery that suggests something off, sinister, or otherworldly. A stunning example of what can be achieved in a short film.
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Foul Gesture (2006)
Everyman Fall into the Deepend
21 August 2012
This is a story about a man, out of work, his marriage is falling apart, overbearing mother, father decently died. In general he is down and in a rut.

After an incident on the street where his car is damaged after his wife is rude to the wrong person, he does nothing and is made to feel like less than a man. He goes to the police for assistance and, getting none, he instead finds that the person is a powerful and connected man, untouchable. It then becomes a crusade for this man to get satisfaction.

I liked this film of an underdog everyman who has decided not to bow to the entitled. Watching him getting pulled deeper and deeper into dangerous waters until there is no turning back. He is pushed, and in some way allows himself to be pushed, to ever more drastic measures as he butts heads with dangerous people. This is the hill he is ready to die on.

Well made movie and fine performances. I recommend.
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I Enjoyed the Ride
19 August 2012
This movie was interesting to say the least. Upon the death of the head of a family with a colorful history, the family gathers for a funeral and a lot of family secrets are revealed.

Its not terribly serious in tone although it gets heavy in parts. The nervousness regarding the Black man in their midst was funny and rather true of the time and place. It certainly had humor which balanced the heavy subject of past wrongs and injustices and as the facade each person holds up starts to crack.

Its hard to classify such a film that is trying to be a little of everything. It couldn't be but it was interesting watching them try.

In the end the movie was engaging and I found myself genuinely interested and invested in most of the characters. So much so that I almost wish they could have had 'a what happened to these characters' segment at the end as I wanted to know how it all turned out for each person!! Worth a watch.
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Interesting if Not Great
19 August 2012
That is to say, this movie wasn't great. Some genuine horror, one in particular involving razor blades was particularly disturbing, but I felt the story and the twist ending didn't jive well. I like to have a chance to possibly guess the twist but sometimes that twist is more just a complete 180 out of the blue that almost negates everything you just watched.

All the same the story itself, that unravels during most of the movie, is a reunion of students who visit their now sick and aged teacher, all of whom have issues with how she treated them as well as issues with each other. As I said above, the actual events of this reunion that unfold rather well into a very interesting story of bitterness and revenge are almost negated by the movies twist ending.

Still worth a watch if you are a horror fan.
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Koroshiya 1 (2001)
It Certainly is Violent and Gory
19 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I had read nothing about the movie going into it and didn't know what to expect save that it was about Yakuza. What was presented to me was certainly one of the most violent and disturbing movies I have ever seen. This movie seemed to try to pack in about every depraved and deplorable act human beings are capable of (and a few that defy the abilities of humanity) into one movie.

You have Rape, torture, hanging from hooks, burned by hot oil, rape, mass slaughter, disemboweling, dismemberment...did I mention rape? Oh...and lets not forget a guy eating another guys hand, being cut in half, and lots of semen and blood. The blood letting puts Kill Bill to shame.

Sprinkled in is a storyline that would have certainly worked well, even without the over the top gore and violence. There were a few scenes I simply could not sit through and had to fast forward. Not that I couldn't handle seeing a woman being raped and beaten for an extended period of time or watching a woman have her breasts sliced off before being beaten to death...It just became a bit to much, violence overload.

If they were going for pure shock value they achieved it. If they were going for a great movie, it didn't come together. The almost constant violence and deplorable acts of depravity over powered any story that there was and there was nobody I ended up caring about thus it was impossible to invest anything in the characters save to guess whose next.

Ichi was an interesting but, in the end, annoying character who did most of the killing in the film while the sadist Yakuza boss and his men were the main prey although they perpetrated their own violence and torture on their way to their inevitable deaths. Ironically, probably the most disturbing scene was when Ichi's handler removed his clothes to reveal a body builders body.

If you like over the top violence and gore, a movie that leaves nothing to the imagination, you will love this movie. I found myself trying to find any other reason why a person would want to watch this movie and had a hard time.
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Vampires (2010)
Great Idea and Generally Well Done
16 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I liked this movie a lot. I generally do not like fake documentaries and the vampire has been so over used its hard to think something worth watching could still be made but combine fake documentary WITH Vampires...throw in a lot of dry, dark humor and you seem to get a winning combination.

This movie takes the form of a documentary about a community of real vampires. After the first few attempts to shoot the documentary end in the death of the camera crew by vampires who, although they agree to be filmed, cant help but kill them. They eventually find a vampire family able to control themselves enough to allow the human camera men to film them.

We get a peek into the family, we get to know their lodgers (a vampire couple), their daughter who want to be like a human, their human slave whom they feed on. We get to know this particular vampire community, headed by an elder vampire forever a young boy, and its rules.

It is these rules and a son who breaks them that get the family expelled from their community and they end up in Canada where they find a new community with very different rules and a new life they must get used to.

In the end, the movie is entertaining, witty, humorous, and dark. I recommend it. It is subtitled but very much worth the read.
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Trollhunter (2010)
Very Cool Movie
16 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I tend to one put my 2 dinars in on movies that as less reviewed but I was inspired to go ahead and write a bit about this one simply because I enjoyed this movie so much.

From the title I didn't expect much so i was pleasantly surprised to find that this movie was so good.

First of all, it doesn't take itself so seriously, there is a bit of dry humor scattered throughout and even a few places where I chuckled out loud. The Main character, the troll hunter, was portrayed so well...at times I thought to myself, these seems plausible!! I don't think its a spoiler to just say that the movie is about some student film makers who go to shoot a story about bear poachers and end up with a much more interesting subject...following a Norwegian government employed troll hunter.

I don't mind low budget but I am generally not fond of the shaky hand cam (think Blair Witch) documentary gone wrong type of movies but this is certainly an exception.

Even though it is obviously somewhat of a low budget movie, it does such a great job with what it had to work with and kudos to the animators as the somewhat brief (but pivotal) scenes which actually show the trolls, and the masterful work on the trolls themselves, made the movie. It would have been so much less of a movie without it.

So to keep it brief, this movie is subtitled but well worth the read. I highly recommend it...Hollywood will remake it and it will probably not be near as witty and fun as this.
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Great historical drama
16 August 2012
First off this movie LOOKS great. The cinematography, the period costumes, the landscapes and the sets were masterfully done in exacting details giving the movie a genuine feel of the period (Late Imperial China during the Boxer Rebellion). It is an historical drama as well as a tragic love story telling of a pivotal time in a family. The gravity of the film never lets up and the drama is, at some points, a bit over the top but the subject matter, the crumbling of a banking family by external and internal problems, is a heavy one. This movie comes with some very harsh scenes and will not be for everyone but those who enjoy well shot, well acted (if not a bit over the top on the drama), and well set period pieces with a touch of history will like the movie. I did.
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No magic here
15 August 2012
I went with the wife and kid to see this movie and was disappointed. Contrary to some of the shills above, there is nothing special or magical about this movie and once it was over I was quite happy. I tend to agree with many who say the character development and aspects of the story made me wondering why they bothered. I never started to really care about the characters, I never felt that this movie was offering anything besides a poor story line, poor character development, and cliché. Its only memorable because it left one feeling that they wasted several hours of their life they wont get back. Not the worst movie I have seen by far, or even the worst this year...it was just....blah.
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Fails as a movie and as camp
21 February 2012
I understand what they were going for in this movie but it just failed. It wasn't funny...if it had managed to make me even snicker a bit I might be more forgiving but it just seems like trash for the sake of trash. It just didn't work on any level and I understand why nobody wanted to distribute the film. I am sure the actors did exactly what was asked of them but any talent there may have been was stiffled by delibrately awkward dialoge and stilted acting. The movie was a one note running gag that I got immediately and then tired of within the first 10 minutes, after that it was simply a chore to make it to the end of the movie.
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Just Awful
12 September 2011
I cant even bring myself to write much about this gem but to say it was just awful. Easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen. There was a point while watching that I thought 'is this a joke? are they making fun?' but I concluded that this was no joke. The acting was as bad as the writing and the effects were just terrible. The lead character who could not act to save his life had what were supposed to be scars, they looked like condoms stuck to his body, some of which seemed to be peeling off!! How much did Malcolm McDowell need a paycheck to show up even for the 3 minutes he was on screen? Or Chris Penn who was probably the only half way believable character, even in the outlandish costume he was forced to wear? This film is a complete mess so I would say, unless you want to watch one of the worse movies ever made...avoid this one.
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Not as bad as I expected it to be
29 August 2011
This is not a very good movie. I watched it on the sci-fi channel so I wasn't expecting it to be Oscar winning material and it wasn't. The comparison to Predator is valid when it comes to the creatures and how they see the human targets (quite a bit of monster eye view scenes). The acting isn't great but then again, most of the time its just the victims running around, screaming. The plot is certainly weak but if you are looking at this movie and complaining about details such as how the radio still works after washing up on the beach, this is not your movie. Turn off the critical thinking.

The movie begins by laying down the premise. Woman archaeologist finds missing link. Church wants her dead and her findings covered up. She is killed and then assassins are killed by creatures. Main characters wonder in after all this and have nothing to do with the archaeologist and the church. The church wanting to cover up proof of evolution is not terribly hard to believe but sending a group of brutal assassins is certainly over the top but even that isn't a new concept as Tom Hanks has been battling Vatican assassins over the course of two movies now.

So after they crash on the island its a lot of running around and stupidity. There is an argument and a main character walks off (wanting to be alone for a bit) and we are completely shocked that he disappears. This sets off the rest to go searching for him and the hunt begins in earnest.

You don't see any of the 'lost tribe' until the last 10 minutes of the movie and I was pleasantly surprised to see them as they weren't terribly bad, I could even say they were rather well done. Hybrid creatures that show part human part ape. They look more ape like in the way they move but more upright standing and they obviously have a language they speak, ritual and hierarchy.

Acting is, by far, not the worst but far from the best, monster affects are better than your average low budget and are the best part of the movie but only shown in the last 10-15 minutes of the movie. Script and originality are the real weak points.

All in all it was better than I expected but I was expecting it to be so bad I would not finish it (like many sci-fi channel movies).
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'Til Death (2006–2010)
Great Show then not so much
7 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I gave the show a 5 because it started out as a 9 and now is probably about a 2. I liked the show a lot when it was the older couple contrasted with the younger couple. I thought the show was real funny, both me and my wife looked forward to watching it. Now we watch it just to see what time its on now, who is playing the daughter now and try to make sense of all the changes made from show to show. What a disappointment to see such a great show turn into this.

They have made so many changes to the show from when it started till now that its not even the same show anymore. All the supporting characters have changed multiple times. The wife was working as a travel agent...then she seems to be working at the school. His next door neighbor is the principal, now he isn't on the show any more as well as his wife. The daughter has changed 3 or more times and now they seem to just be throwing in new characters willy nilly.

I must say that the show started off great. The juxtaposition between the older married couple and the newly married couple and how the characters worked together was great. The woodcocks (the younger couple) were great characters...the husband somewhat naive and slowly learning about his new wife's somewhat wild past, all the same a happy newly married couple. Then there is Brad Garrett and his wife who have been married forever and the effect this happy newlywed couple has on them...and more importantly the affect they have on the newly wed couple who see their future in the less than romantic life of a long married couple.

I think this show was the best sitcom on (not saying much these days) and genuinely funny until they just started tearing it apart, moving it around, until even people like myself who watched it regularly no longer even knew what it was about anymore. The biggest mistake was to remove the woodcocks, then to add Kenny who wasn't funny and was a poor replacement...I feel for Garrett who started off in what I felt was a funny possible hit and ended up in convoluted mess. How can someone care for characters and a show where the characters are all coming and going...all I can say is its a shame what happened to this funny show. If you can somehow catch the first shows with the woodcocks...watch them, they are worth watching...after that...its a convoluted mess.
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