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Shining moment for Del Toro
5 August 2011
Now, I must warn you that this isn't your typical scare fest of a movie. Del Toro tends to pull the most out of his actors, pushing them to give the best performance and with Backbone he succeeds. Geniusly, he uses the location of the orphanage (in the middle of nowhere) as a means to create feelings of isolation, helplessness and, believe it or not, even claustrophobia. The movie is methodical in building the plot, allowing the tension to simmer and boil as it slowly gnaws away at us, the viewers. Guillermo del Toro directs with patience, employing the use of effective atmosphere rather than overwhelming us with CGI. His ghost story is a subplot, designed to further the real meaning of the movie but never does it truly take a backseat. Instead, the story lines all become a richly woven tapestry where one loose thread would unravel the next, all being necessary to create the image as a whole. Del Toro allows us moments throughout the film to contemplate and to make the allegorical comparisons between art and reality. And it is here that the movie becomes so much more than simply a ghost story. It almost becomes a narrative on life, greed, passion, war...and the overall, sometimes explosive effects these things can have on people, but more so on our children.

While I wouldn't recommend this movie to those of you who only enjoy slasher films, hack n stacks or supreme gore fests, I must say that for any fan of the horror genre this is a must see. Del Toro sufficiently uses the most basic elements to create a sense of haunting and dread, though perhaps not fear itself. These feelings linger long after the credits roll and the movie is complete. The best type of film to compare this to is perhaps The Others or Session 9, although neither of those are quite accurate. If you get the chance, see it!
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Dym (2007)
Stylistic, intriguing short film
7 November 2010
Smoke is an excellent title for this little gem of a surrealistic short film. What blurs the images between reality and perception is the smokescreen of the mind and such is what I garnered from "Dym". The beautiful and haunting imagery may seem nonsensical, but upon further examination there is depth and meaning in this short film. Far too many 'surreal' films are nothing short of ridiculous imagery meant to look clever without ever conveying meaning, but such is not the case for "Dym". There is cohesiveness and coherency and it's obvious each scene is meant to have understanding beyond that of what first meets the eye. There is no dialogue, but the acting is fantastic...much is said through the expressions of the face and particularly the eyes. There is a professional quality to the film that lends itself to remind the viewer of something Lynch or even Kubrick would have made, and I consider that a high compliment and no easy feat.
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Emotional Roller Coaster...
11 October 2010
What begins as a quest to learn more about filmmaker Kurt Kuennes murdered friend, Andrew Bagby, ends up becoming a tribute to Andrew's parents David and Kate. This is a poignant and gut-wrenching story of love, loss, betrayal, and the will to endure. Im finding it difficult to accurately describe the emotional roller coaster this film takes you through; and while its a sad and difficult journey for David and Kate Bagby there is a profound sense of endurance and perseverance that is nothing short of inspirational. Its difficult not to laugh, cry, and get angry right along with the Bagbys throughout this film and by the end you almost feel as if you know the people involved. This is a heart-wrenching and emotional film that is definitely not for the lighthearted.
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Heat (1995)
A Must See
11 October 2010
In the saturated genre of Action/Thrillers, Heat finds a way to stand tall above the masses, maintaining originality and an overwhelming sense of tension even despite moments of predictability. Michael Mann brilliantly utilizes both veteran actors (Pacino as Vincent Hanna, DeNiro as Neil McCauley), playing them with and against each other to the ultimate confrontation neither can avoid. There is an underlying depth to the film as the actions are incidental, its the characters that matter. While the defining line between good guy/bad guy is drawn it is equally blurred as your empathy lies with both men, understanding they're one and the same, each capable of being on the other side. Black and white hardly exists here, but rather those murky shades of gray that calls to question what matters most, what truly defines us: the motivation or the actions, the man himself or his job? Truly a magnificent cinematic feast.
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Poetry, pure poetry
11 October 2010
The Thin Red Line is poetry on film: a beautiful, bitter, harrowing, thought-provoking contemplation of life, love, death, pain, loss and fear. Without playing too much to one side or the other, the film depicts each viewpoint as if it's of the utmost importance and the line between enemies is slowly blurred by common human emotion.

The quiet, almost hypnotic voice overs lull the viewer into a sense of calm that is in stark contrast to the violent struggles of war splayed out across the screen. The beauty in every shot only further illustrates the tragedies that play across the landscapes. There's no typical war movie here. Instead, it's a hauntingly philosophical look at the effects of war on all involved...from the soldiers in the field, to the hardened commander, the 'enemy' and those left behind at home.
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Re-cycle (2006)
Don't be fooled into thinking it's a typical Asian horror film...
5 August 2010
Gwai wik starts out like most standard Asian horror films, particularly with the expectation that we're about to see yet another long haired female ghost. However, the film soon takes a dramatic turn towards the surreal. What starts out as typical soon twists into anything but, creating something of a love child between Pan's Labyrinth and Ringu. Gwai wik is hauntingly beautiful in its twisted landscapes and strange zombie-like creatures, pulling the viewer into a surreal dream-like and sometimes nightmarish world.

The film covers territory regarding things we throw away, delving quite a bit into social commentary. This isn't meant to preach but rather shows the internal struggle a person feels when trying to do what they believe is right...and may not end up being so years later. It's a beautiful tale of love, loss, redemption and inner struggle. The biggest flaw is its hokey 'twist' ending that tries too hard to bring the film back around on itself. Nevertheless, it's an experience and a film I am happy to have seen.
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Not great, but OK for a rainy, boring Sunday
12 March 2005
Admittedly, if I had seen this movie in the theatre, I'd have been more than just a little upset over having spent my hard-earned money and would have probably demanded every cent back. However, since I was fortunate enough to catch this movie on a dull, early Sunday morning (or late-late Saturday night...take your pick) my defenses were down and I was able to enjoy it for what it was: a mindless venture into plot less laughs. While this wasn't the funniest movie I've ever seen, it certainly wasn't the worst and I can honestly say that I enjoyed watching it.

I don't particularly care for Amanda Peet and find her acting to be a, but that was simply a minor irritation. Bruce Willis was refreshingly funny stepping outside of his typical action roles. Matthew Perry is a bit dry but his use of physical humor did pull some laughs from me.

All in all, The Whole Ten Yards was watchable. It's not great, it's not fantastic, but it's certainly watchable.
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Peter Pan (2003)
Rather Enchanting...An Unexpected Gem
31 May 2004
I had put off seeing this newest version of Peter Pan after sitting through countless horrid renditions of the magical fairy tale and not wanting to endure another. But, my kids really wanted to see this one (and honestly, my curiosity was piqued) so I was convinced. And glad I was!

While I agree with some of the comments that director Hogan doesn't spend nearly enough time fully exploring Neverland, he does create a beautiful realization from book to movie of the famed faraway fairytale land. It simply would have been wonderful for Hogan to have allowed the viewers more time to explore Neverland and the rich wonders it holds. Another downpoint was Jeremy Sumpter's accent (or lack thereof depending on where you're from). I do believe his mannerisms and characteristics were fabulously portrayed for Peter Pan, but his American accent made him sound more like Huck Finn than our beloved Peter Pan. In my opinion, this was his only real fault.

With the 'negative' aside, let's move on to the positive, for there truly was much more of that in this film. Jeremy Sumpter's performance as Pan was, overall, fantastic. Aside from the accent, he portrayed Pan with all the boyishness and bravado that one would expect. He giggles at the right moments, is brave at the right moments while exhibiting just the right amount of uncertainty, for he is, afterall, only a boy. Not only were his actions on target, but the voice inflections and facial expressions were as well; and along with that, Sumpter conveyed necessary emotions with his eyes that is difficult even for the most seasoned of actors.

The true star of the movie, however, is Rachel Hurd-Wood whom I think Barrie could have modeled Wendy after had she been around when he wrote Peter Pan. Rachel Hurd-Wood is absolutely fantabulous as Wendy. Through every step she has you believing she is Wendy, born to tell fantastic stories, fight pirates, and to love Peter. Quite simply, she was made for this role.

The movie itself is a great mixture of what it should be: love, romance, fear, bravery, happiness, sadness, hope, and most of all a remembrance of youth. This isn't the Disney "happy time" Peter Pan, but one that has it's darker, more sinister it should, and yet keeps it just a step away from the line so as to remain a film that the whole family can enjoy.

I highly recommend this movie to young and old anyone who enjoys fantasy, fairy tales, family movies and the like. A very fantastic re-telling of a wonderful story. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
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Special Effects Movie...nothing more, nothing less
30 May 2004
It rather cracks me up to see all the negative comments written about this movie regarding the ridiculous, predictable, and completely unbelievable plot. I have to ask myself two questions: 1. did people not realize this before going to see the movie? and 2. did they not realize the only reason anyone would really go see this would be to see the 20 tornadoes overtake LA or the Statue of Liberty be engulfed in a tidal wave? Honestly.

Roger Ebert normally pans about every nonsensical, mindless dribble ever made yet gave this movie 3 out of 4 stars. Was I surprised? Not really. The man knows his stuff and realizes that this movie isn't meant to be about a solid plot, but a big-budget special-effects driven summer blockbuster popcorn movie. Period.

As for me, I was quite pleased with the movie, really. Was the plot ridiculous? Oh absolutely! Ed Wood could probably have come up with some better dialog and scene structures in some instances, but I'll tell ya, the special effects were dazzling. And, let's face it, that's really what we're here for, paying our hard-earned money to see Mother Nature stick it to the people once and for all. And, well, she delivers. Now, if only Emmerich could have done this without all that pesky plot stuff gettin in the way...
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Dicaprio shines...
16 January 2004
I'm not a huge fan of "pretty boy" types (much like Leonardo Dicaprio) because often times they tend to rely ONLY upon their "good looks" to get them through a movie. Such is not the case with Dicaprio, however, and he proves it in this movie (along with one other performance...What's Eating Gilbert Grape...stupid movie, but fantabulous acting on his part).

I won't go into the synapsis, since most know it already, I'm sure. The movie itself is a pretty interesting view into the world of drugs and their ultimate impact on a young person's life. Do not be fooled, though, by any mention of this being the story of Jim Carroll's life or even a factual account of his Basketball Diaries. Sure, there are some similarities, but overall, the director took a lot of artistic liberties with this movie. Regardless, The Basketball Diaries is still a realistic representation of "street kids" and drug use.

The movie can be boring at times, but Dicaprio draws you in nevertheless and inspires you to keep watching. Overall, I believe it's worth it. There are a few especially incredible scenes that are well worth the time in watching the movie. One of which includes the friends basketball-in-the-rain game after the loss of a friend.

Most likely, had a less charismatic and talented actor taken on the role of Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining as it was. Thanks to Dicaprio and his ability to fully become his character, the movie has some very redeeming moments. Overall, 3 out of 5 stars.
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Party Monster (2003)
This movie proves one thing...Mac still can't act
24 November 2003
Party Monster really could have been a "good" film about Club Kids and the Rave scene. However, the biggest mistake that could have been made was casting Macauley Culkin as Michael Alig. During Home Alone, Mac couldn't act, but his "cuteness" was at least his saving grace. Welp, he's no longer cute and his acting has gotten worse, if that's possible. He doesn't even come close to believable as Club Kid Michael Alig. Instead, Mac comes across as inexperienced, dry, and monotonous. Not quite the right person to play a flamboyant, outrageous, "fabulous" clubber who was anything BUT dry.

The story itself, however, does well in telling the story of Michael Alig, James St. James and the rest of the Club Kids during that time. It's "real", sick, twisted, and, unfortunately (in my opinion), very close to the truth about Raves.

Seth Green does well as James St. James...equally flamboyant, yet more level-headed than Michael. Seth portrays his character believably enough without coming across as simply making fun of the lifestyle. The rest of the cast does well and help push the movie along. Unfortunately, though, Party Monster cannot truly be saved as long as Mac has the lead. He is stale and boring...his dialogue never delivered in anything but monotony.

Party Monster can only be recommended for those with an interest in the rave scene...or those with morbid curiosity of Club Kids and the like. Beyond that, this movie isn't worth a viewing...yes, thanks to Macauley. Sad, really, that the pinnacle of his career will be Home Alone. 3/10
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Bones (2001)
Starts out strong, fizzles in the end, but still entertaining
18 November 2003
I suppose when going to see a movie how much you end up liking the movie depends on the expectations you had of the movie. Most people would agree, the lower the expectations, chances are the more you'll like the movie. HOwever, with high expectations the movie is pretty much damned...never being able to live up. Well, with Bones, I have to admit I went in with expectations being the lowest of the low. Actually, I was half asleep at 3am channel surfing when this caught my eye.

To give Bones credit, it caught my attention and held it (even as tired as I was). The movie starts out quite strong. Very intriguing, moody, and atmospheric. The shadowy shots, the subtle inferences...all start to add up to what could be a good scare. Unfortunately about 1/3 of the way through it really fizzled. The acting (which wasn't too bad to begin with), simply got worse and less believable. Although the premise wasn't anything new or unheard of, it still started out strong. A deal gone bad, murder, betrayal...all combined with a chilling "ghost" story and Bones could have been more successful. But, like I said, it eventually succombed the to inevitable cheese and instead of keeping with the cool, atmospheric creepiness, decided to go full swing into cheesedom. Aaaah, such is horror.

And, well, since my expectations were low (and I was half asleep), I actually liked the movie overall. Sure, I could have done without the last 20 minutes or so. But what it lacks in a great ending, it makes up for in overall eerieness.

I'd have to say that Bone is, at the very least, entertaining. No, I wouldn't rent it, buy it, pay to see it, etc, but if it's it. The first 40 minutes alone are worth it.
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Great End to the Trilogy of the Matrix
6 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I've read quite a lot of mixed reviews on Revolutions and I'm honestly not surprised. The moment I saw this movie I knew people were most likely going to either love it or hate it. Personally, I loved it.

While Reloaded tried too hard to be everything viewers were expecting, Revolutions went beyond that and took us exactly where the story was intended to go in the first place.

For the action fans, Revolutions has some seriously exhilarating action sequences that, while using "bullet-time", didn't OVER use it as in Reloaded.

For those interested in the story, Revolutions had the cerebral aspect so prevalent in the first film, yet missing in Reloaded.

That being said, the two came together in a powerful third chapter of the Matrix trilogy. To be honest, the first half hour to fourty-five minutes of the movie were, granted, a bit slow. But from there it picked up the pace and kept it at an elevated level for all to enjoy...never quite missing a beat or falling back on lame cliches and Hollywood "sunset" endings.

For the most part, the loose ends from Reloaded are tied up quite well and leave the audience with a satisfactory "aaah, I get it" feeling. Some may find the ending a bit ambiguous, however, but if you paid close attention to the full series, it will be quite clear.

Do not read further if you are not interested in spoilers or an my interpretation of the ending...

________BEGIN SPOILERS________

The Oracle had stated "all things that have a beginning must come to an end" and that Smith, basically, is the "anti-Neo". He is Neo...only the opposite version of him. At the end of the movie Smith stated the same thing the Oracle had regarding all things ending. Neo then knew what he needed to do. He allowed himself to be taken over by Smith, thus "choosing" (choice being an important theme throughout the trilogy) to "end" himself. If Neo no longer exists, than neither can the "anti-Neo" for the only reason Smith (anti-Neo) existed in the first place was really BECAUSE of Neo. Sounds a bit confusing, granted, but after watching all three (and, really, the Animatrix) it all falls into place. It wasn't the machines that destroyed Smith. It was Neo basically sacrificing himself to end his anti-self.

I have to admit I liked the way the entire series ended. Had either side simply obliterated the other, I'd have been very disappointed. Instead, both sides were able to live in "peace" which was what the machines really wanted in the first place (watch the Animatrix and you'll learn this). Furthermore, not everyone was "freed" from the Matrix. Actually, you could miss this point since they stated it so swiftly. Those that choose to leave, can, but those that wish to stay, can remain within the Matrix. Again coming full circle back to the point of the two pills from the first movie.

The ending was a great way to allow closure to the trilogy without spoon-feeding or hand-holding the audience. It also provided a satisfactory end to a great series without getting overly cheesy or becoming cliche.

________END SPOILERS________

All in all, Revolutions was fantastic. The acting was good (not superb, but not awful in the least), the action was incredible, the storyline was well played out and delivered and the special effects were, indeed, special. I know there are going to be those that hate this movie for various reasons, but put aside any expectations or pre-conceived notions and let the ending take you where the storyline is SUPPOSED to go. All in all, 9 out of 10 stars.
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Point Last Seen (1998 TV Movie)
Intriguing and heartfelt
24 September 2003
I caught Point Last Seen on USA one morning and, having little else to do, decided to watch the movie. Admittedly a sucker for drama (as well as the fine performances from Linda Hamilton), I was immediately intrigued.

The story centers around Rachel Harrison (Hamilton), a tracker searching for a missing 9 year old girl lost in the desert. We soon find out there is more to the story...much more. Rachel's own children are lost - kidnapped by her abusive ex-husband, Kevin (Kilner), whose only goal in life seems to be tormenting his ex-wife and their children.

We follow Rachel as she tracks down the missing girl, but also as she struggles with her past and her present. It isn't long before we realize that after years of abuse, Rachel finally had the courage to leave with her children. Unfortunately, Kevin eventually wins out and gains custody of their kids. It is a long and painfully emotional battle for Rachel to finally get her kids...only to have him steal them from her.

Honestly, this little movie is quite amazing. Although not an action/thriller type movie, it has its moments of keeping you on the edge of your seat wondering if everything...and everyone...will be ok. Linda Hamilton, as always, does an exceptional job playing Rachel. Her voice overs give us much insight into the character she plays and the emotional beatings she, and others, put her through. Kilner is menacing as the ex-husband and plays the role all too brilliantly.

The only real drawback were the flashback scenes. Although they gave much information into the history of Rachel, the person who played the young Rachel looked nothing like her (while Kevin looks the very same). This detracted from the movie a bit, but not enough to make it unworthy of a good review.

If you can find this one, and enjoy drama (particularly family dramas), then check it out. It's worth it for a Sunday afternoon.
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Unbelievably bad...exactly why books should NOT be made into movies!
23 September 2003
Let me start off by saying that the book "Flowers in the Attic" was absolutely incredible. Perhaps because of how much I enjoyed the book, I absolutely hated the movie. Yes, I mean hated. Abhorred. Despised.

First off, the acting was...oooh how do I put this? CRAP! And that's putting it mildly. Victoria Tennant (Mother) was just purely awful. Not a single line portrayed any realism whatsoever. Louise Fletcher (as Grandmother) is normally quite menacing in her roles, but this time, she was absolutely laughable. Perhaps she simply didn't have much to work with. Kristy Swanson (Kathy) on EARTH did they choose her? Every single line was over the top, overly dramatic, and just so plain ridiculously delivered it made me wonder if I was watching an Ed Wood film. Umm, yeah, it was that bad. Jeb Stuart Adams (Chris) was, well, ok I suppose. He wasn't *as* bad as the others, but still had his moments of "Can someone please buy me some acting lessons?" Thankfully, the children playing the twins had few lines as they were already difficult to deal with WITHOUT words.

The screenplay was just downright awful. Now I understand that books cannot always be *perfectly* translated into a movie, but c'mon...FAR TOO MANY changes took place that completely took away from the story itself. Well, at least for those of us that read the book. The dialogue was excrement, to state it lightly.

About the only thing this movie had going for it was the setting. The huge mansion and grounds would have been fantastic for the movie had not the rest of it been so darn awful. It's a shame, this really could have been a great one. Unfortunately, it was nothing but a major dud that left little to enjoy.

Flowers in the Attic (the movie) earns 2 out of 10 stars (and that's for the ability to pick a great setting).

The book, however, earns 10 out of 10 stars and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who loves reading.
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Strange and Odd, but nevertheless good
14 September 2003
Ok, I must admit (albeit a bit ashamedly) I love this movie. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure why. For some reason, whenever it comes on I have this overwhelming compulsion to watch it...almost a morbid fascination. It's just so, well, strange that you can't help but to enjoy the hell out of this movie.

Dawn Weiner is a basic "nobody". She's picked on at school and is virtually non-existent at home. Basically, her life sucks. She endures bullying from her classmates, her older nerdy brother, and even her all-too-cutesy little sister. We see her struggle with coming into her own during the hellish times of Jr. High...struggling to fit in but never quite succeeding.

Heather Matarazzo is absolutely FABULOUS as Dawn and is so highly under-rated it's disgusting. She doesn't quite fit Hollywood's standard of beauty and therefore is kept in the background for the most part...a waste of pure talent in my opinion. As dorky Dawn, Heather is fabulous...pulling you directly into her clutches. Brendan Sexton is another under-rated young actor who plays the overpowering bully who, in all actuality, really has a crush on Dawn. He is fabulous in his part and portrays a young, angry tween/teen to perfection. Brendan is as captivating as Heather and both of them work quite well together.

The storyline itself is definitely dark, strange, but completely on-target. Yes, life in middle school *can* be that brutal...and so can life at home. It's horrible going through your pre-teen years feeling like a nobody and both Heather and Brendan portray this with dead-on accuracy.

Definitely a strange movie, but enticing nontheless. I actually give this 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
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Fresh (1994)
Perfectly Fantastic
14 September 2003
I have very little criticism for the movie Fresh. There just isn't really anything there TO criticize. This movie is one of the few that is close to cinematic perfection...yes, it's THAT good.

Young Michael (or Fresh) witnesses the horrors of street life every day. His mother is gone, his father is a virtual bum, he loses his friends to violence, his sister is a prostitute, and he is a runner for the drug lords of his neighborhood. Not surprisingly, Fresh isn't content with his lifestyle and is determined to make life better not only for him, but for his sister as well.

The movie sounds like a standard cliche film, but this is far from the truth. Fresh is a breath of fresh air in the realm of movie redundancy and predictability. There is no overacting, use of gratuitous violence or sex, or unbelievable plots to spoil this little gem. Young Sean Nelson is as gifted as any veteran actor and carries this movie on his small shoulders. Yes, he is simply *that* good. Fortunately, he is supported by a fabulous cast in Samuel Jackson as his father, N'Bushe Wright as his prostitue sister, and Giancarlo Esposito as the local drug dealer.

There are no big budget shootouts, no computer enhanced scenes, or ridiculously cliche special effects. No, Fresh relies on the very basics of moviemaking: acting, plot, setting, and direction. And it succeeds where so many others have failed.

All of this is woven into an intelligent and entertaining movie that is as close to perfection as Pulp Fiction. Undoubtedly, it is that good.

Fresh earns a 10 out of 10 stars rating and I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys seeing what movies SHOULD be.
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Juice (1992)
Decent Drama
14 September 2003
I caught this movie late at night while channel surfing and was immediately enthralled. Omar Epps is absolutely fantastic in this movie and his on-screen presence is worth at least viewing this movie once. Shakur was a bit, shall we say, OVERLY dramatic, but not to the point of getting annoying or looking at this as a cheesy "B" movie.

The storyline isn't a bad one and serves to entertain as well as teach. It actually succeeds in doing both. Granted, the movie is a bit predictable, but thankfully this doesn't ruin the experience entirely.

Overall, I give the movie 8 stars. The only real drawbacks being its somewhat predictability and Shakur's tendency to overact.
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Candyman (1992)
The Candyman definitely can...
9 September 2003
Being a horror movie buff, I have no idea how this little gem escaped me the first time around. I'd heard a lot about it, read about it, etc but wrote it off as "probably stupid" like most of the other horror movies I had so wanted to see. So, it wasn't until many years after the movie's release that I finally saw it. And boy am I glad I did!

Surprisingly, the acting is fabulous...especially for a horror movie. Each character portrayed fantastically so as to add to the movie, rather than detract. No one really went over the top or became TOO dramatic. Overall, each character was portrayed realistically.

As for the plot: absolutely wonderful premise playing on the Bloody Mary urban legend. Surprisingly, the movie delivers on aspects of believabilty. Of course we don't *really* expect Candyman to pop out of a mirror, but how many of us have started the "Bloody Mary" chant only to stop at the very last one, not daring to continue? Our fears lie behind what COULD happen and the possibility that maybe..just maybe it's all real. Candyman plays on that fear and takes us even further over the edge.

The movie rids itself of the typical cliches (white, undefeatable stalker chasing half naked twits) and allows itself to be an entirely enjoyable, CEREBRAL horror movie. At first we wonder if the Candyman is perhaps just a person pretending to be him, then we start to question Helen's own sanity...wondering perhaps if SHE isn't the "real Candyman". Eventually, the movie leads us to an ending that answers our questions but doesn't shove those answers down our throat. Candyman also does what very few horror movies are capable of: it succeeded in having a strong ending rather than fizzling out during the last 10-15 minutes.

The setting and atmosphere are top notch. Using Chicago and Cabrini Green as its stage was perfect...bringing into play racial issues without going over the top or getting "in your face" to the point of losing its focus. The music in Candyman adds a mysterious mood that matches the dark, dismal atmosphere of the lone apartments in Cabrini Green.

All in all on my horror movie scale, I give Candyman a 10. To me, it was purely artistic and absolutely enjoyable. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone even slightly interested in horror movies.
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Great horror sequel
7 September 2003
I'd be surprised if any film can truly hold up (in our minds) to the intense feelings the original Halloween stirred up. With such a horror classic to be compared to, it's no wonder so many fall short of the mark. However, on that note, Halloween H2O is a sequel worthy of being part of the Halloween series. (There are a few, I'm afraid, that should simply never have been made <CO resurrection UGH>

Anyway, H2O once again features Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode...younger sister of Michael Myers. This time, however, it is 20 years later and she is now living under an assumed name with her teenage son. It isn't long before Myers discovers her whereabouts and the fun begins.

Sure, it's a cliche film (err, what slasher/horror movie ISN'T?) and it certainly has its moments of predictability (again, what slasher/horror film doesn't??). But that aside, H2O is a fun and enjoyable sequel. Honestly, you really should look at H20 as an extension of Halloween one and two and NOT as the sequel to the other films.

H20 is a fantastic popcorn horror flick to simply be enjoyed by those that love a fun time. The slash is back, the gore is good, the creepiness is a bit lacking, but not so bad in and of itself. And the ending is THE BEST for the series to date (excluding Halloween the original of course). They should have stuck with the ending of H20 rather than go on to make Resurrection with some ridiculous plot to return Michael Myers. Just my opinion, of course.

On the "it's a sequel" rating scale Halloween H20 earns a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. On Halloween night, grab 1, 2, and H20 and simply enjoy the ride!
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oh come ON already!!
5 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Yes yes yes, I'm a BIG fan of the horror genre and an even BIGGER fan of Halloween. I'll even admit I liked two, four, five and H20. However, the rest could all go out with the contents of my cat's litter box. Rusurrection is no exception.

I honestly had no intention of seeing this movie, but curiosity got the better of me (as well as my horror fixation) and so I finally broke down. Thank God I didn't spend a single penny of my hard earned money for this load of garbage.

First off, they start it off ALL wrong by their explanation on bringing Myers back. They did an AWESOME job of putting an end to it all in H20 and had they still wanted to do more movies, then a prequel could have sufficed. But noooooooo, they go n screw it up with this load of trash.


Their next big mistake was killin off our beloved Laurie Strode. How dare they!? Now, I'm quite certain Jamie Lee Curtis probably had something to do with that. Probably a conversation along the lines of: "If you MUST do another movie, kill my character off PLEASE cuz I don't want to be linke to what has now become crap." I could be wrong, of course. But I doubt it.

*End Spoiler*

Honestly people, if you really must see this, rent it on someone ELSE'S dime. Not yours.

I'm not even giving this one stars. Blah.
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It's horror...that alone says don't expect much
4 September 2003
Horror/monster/slasher/etc films are not exactly known for their unpredictability or fantastic acting. Even the greatest of the classic horror films have their moments of pure cheese, idiotic oversexed characters and the traditional "is this really necessary to the plot?" scenes. In fact, we've come to *expect* all this from our beloved horror films. However, the primary reason horror films are made (aside from the obvious money making) is to scare. Plain and simple. Horror films are not out to win any awards on acting, continuity, or in depth plots. They are designed merely to try and keep us on the edge of our seats.

That being said, Jeepers Creepers 2 both succeeds and fails. The action that was seriously missing from the first film was definitely found in this one. That made me happy. The Creeper was, well, creepy...a definite plus in a horror film! The suspense was OK...definitely could have been better and built upon much more. And although it was predictable, it did have it's moments of unpredictability.

The biggest drawbacks, however, were the half-nude jocks runnin around (c'mon, is this opposite cliche day? Don't wanna have half nude chicks so go for the dudes?), the twit who suddenly became psychic and the fact that they try to explain things without ever explaining anything (now sometimes this it didn't).

But, being honest, as far as horror movies and sequels go, I was pleasantly surprised. The Creeper was awesome and I would honestly like to see more with him. Definitely scare potential there. Sure there were typical cliche scenes, but c'mon, what horror film DOESN'T have those?

I don't know that I'd recommend anyone paying 8 bucks to see this, but it's definitely worth a rental...or a viewing at your local dollar theatre (for the big screen experience).

Like the first one, just let it ride and have fun with it. Stop expecting things from horror movies that the genre isn't quite prepared to deliver.
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Amending my first review...
4 September 2003
When I go see a movie, particularly a *horror* movie, I usually go in with little to no expectations. More often than not, expectations can seriously ruin a movie. In Jeepers Creepers, well, I went in thinking one thing...and got something entirely different. Because of that (and anyone who read my first review knows this), I absolutely hated..and I mean HATED Jeepers Creepers.

But, in seeing the commercials for the upcoming sequel, I decided to give this one a second chance. So, being the good horror moviegoer that I am, I emptied my brain of all expectations and delusions of grandeur and gave it a go. I'm glad I did. Sorta.

Ok, granted this time around I no longer had the desire to shove toothpicks in my gums. This is a good thing.

I found myself still enjoying the hell outta the first 25-30 minutes or so. Fantastic buildup with tension and fear. I was a happy camper. Midway into the movie, however, I again noticed it slipping. But not so much as I did last time. This time I was able to stay focused and enjoy the ride.

I was still bored at times. And of course had to laugh at some of the ridiculous errors in continuity (but who goes to see a horror film for continuity???), but overall, I rather enjoyed the experience this time around. The creeper was cool lookin and the acting was even had the sense to poke a bit of fun at itself. So, I was still a happy camper.

But then the ending came. Well, not the end ending, but the sorta-ending (being vague I know, but don't want to ruin anything for anybody). And, well...I was still a bit disappointed. Honestly, I can't really say why. Something just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was the psychic, or the fact that a small town suddenly had 30+ police officers on duty. I dunno. What I do know is, Jeepers went from being a tension-filled thrill to somewhat of a dud.

Don't get me wrong. The first half hour of the movie is DEFINITELY worth seeing and the last bit is certainly watchable.

Just take my advice, please...go in with your mind clear and ready for some good old horror fun.
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Radio Flyer (1992)
Excellent acting in a highly underrated film
2 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Basically, Radio Flyer is a story with two main themes: the horrors of child abuse and the seemingly inevitable loss of innocence and imagination. Mike (Elijah Wood) and Bobby (Joseph Mazzello) are moved to a new town with their mother Mary (Lorraine Bracco) who meets "The King" (Adam Baldwin). It isn't long before The King moves in with the three and begins taking his frustrations out on young Bobby. Mike does his best to try and protect his little brother, but has promised Bobby he would not tell. So, in the hopes of saving his little brother, Mike comes up with "The Big Idea".

Both Mazzello and Wood do a fantabulous job playing the young brothers. Their acting is superb and Mazzello plays the part of an abused child in a fashion that could put most adult actors to shame. It's just too bad we don't see much of this young actor any longer. Wood is equally good, but he's always been a fantastic child actor and has proven himself once again in Radio Flyer.

You don't see much of Bracco throughout the movie, but I think that was rather the point: a single, working mother who wasn't home much. Quite possibly this is how she "missed" much of what was happening to her son(s). Even when she does discover, however, you go from being proud of her for protecting her children to hating her for allowing The King back into their lives. I didn't find this unrealistic in the least. This happens all too often, unfortunately.

The part of The King was done well although you didn't see much of the actor himself. The direction in scenes with the King is incredible...never really truly showing his face. This made him much more menacing and also allowed the audience to view him through more child-like eyes.

I've read that not a lot of people found this movie to be realistic. I disagree entirely. The fact that Mike was not abused while Bobby was isn't all that uncommon. Many abusers prey on the weakest, and undoubtedly Bobby was the "weaker" of the two brothers. Furthermore, many abusers also go after those that are less likely to tell. Mike probably would have said something, and would have if not for the promise he made to Bobby. As far as the ending, granted, if you took it at face value without any thought, not only are you going to miss the point entirely, but of course you're going to end up thinking the movie is entirely unrealistic and full of "fluff".


My take on the ending: I do not believe that Mike was an only child and Bobby was his imaginary friend or the personification of his "inner self". While I find that a valid argument, to me it simply didn't fit in with the movie itself. The older Mike (Tom Hanks) mentions Bobby to his young sons and I doubt that would be done had Bobby never really existed. Furthermore, the King would not have been arrested that last time at the wishing spot (thus the end of "Bobby the inner child") due to the fact that he hadn't yet done anything (at least not since the LAST time he was arrested). Sure, he was about to, but he'd not have been arrested for "thinking about hitting" the boys. Nevertheless, I believe that Bobby truly existed and was killed by The King. As far as the movie goes, Mike did everything his young mind could think of in order to save Bobby. He kept him out all day, made the "monster repellent" and yes, I believe he tried to make the Radio Flyer really fly. However, before Mike had a chance to get Bobby to safety, The King killed Bobby. It was easier for his young mind to believe that he got Bobby away and Bobby was OK. As for the postcards, it's not unthinkable that those were written by Mike as a way to enforce his belief that his brother was still alive.

As the older Mike said "At least that's how I choose to remember it". That was a huge clue that Bobby ended up dying and Mike simply couldn't handle the guilt that he couldn't save his little brother.

End Spoilers

Overall, I give the movie a 9/10. Although it touches on a horrible subject, it is done with tact and in such a way that even younger kids can watch the movie. Highly recommended.
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80's all the way
7 July 2003
Ok, I must admit that I am a fan of the 80's genre. From "one-hit-wonders" to the "Brat Pack" and so on, the 80's gave us a plethora of insignificant albeit esoteric trivia. Just as those who didn't experience the 60's and 70's firsthand can never understand what living in that time meant, the same applies to those that did not grow up in the 80's. There's a certain charm...appeal...and yes, absurdity to it all. Often times the write-off is, "well, it *was* the 80's". Indeed, it was. And so the Breakfast Club captures much of the essence of the 80's: teen movies with the jock, the dweeb, and the menace to society (along with some "moral" we're supposed to walk away from the film with). Ok, so it really had little impact on, well, anything but that doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment value of the movie itself.

Breakfast Club is chock-full of one-liners you'll hear repeated long after the point of the movie has left your brain. These one-liners make this movie (along with many others in the 80's) worth watching. Sure, it's predictable. Sure, it's "cheesy". And sure, it's stereotypical 80's. But dangit, it's fun! I've lost count of the number of times I've seen this movie, yet it's lost none of its appeal for me. Have fun with this one...let it take you where it goes and expect nothing more than it wants (or is able) to give.

For pure enjoyment value...nothing more nothing less...I give Breakfast Club 4 1/2 stars.
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