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Ghost Rider (2007)
Both entertaining and a disappointment
I will admit I watched this movie purely because I love Nick Cage. I didn't go in expecting much of the movie because, with very few exceptions, movies that are made from comic books just can't do them justice.
This has to be the case here. The acting is fairly good (Wes Bentley is GREAT as Blackheart!) and the special effects were decent (they must have been awesome on a large screen!) It was even a decent story-line.
What it lacked was answers. (here is where the spoilers come in, people...fair warning!!!) If the contract was so powerful, why did Mephistopheles not hunt The Caretaker down earlier? Was it because he was on Hallowed ground? I also didn't like how they ended things with the Caretaker - what happens to him? Does he find redemption? Then there is Blackheart's gang...we know NOTHING about them. Why are they willing to follow him? I guess I feel like I watched half a movie, there was SO much missing from this movie.
Queen of the Damned (2002)
Almost but not quite
I have two basic problems with this movie.
1. Lestat was a blonde with blue eyes in the books. Stuart Townsend is great in the part...he has the attitude JUST RIGHT, but I can't help thinking that they could have done even a few blonde highlights to make him look closer to what Ann Rice had in mind.
2. They combined two books into one movie. It is hard enough distilling one book into a good movie, but two? Because they have to leave SO much out, it's hard to get a good clear picture of why the characters do the things they do. you just miss way too much this way.
Having said that, they did hit it right with Aaliyah as Akasha. She was sensuous, sexy, seductive, persuasive and psychotic all at the same time. I don't think I could think of a better actress to play the part. She will be missed as an actress.
The other thing that they hit with is the Gothic feel to the movie. The music and the scenery are spectacular, with some of the greatest special effects.
It's a good movie, but not a great movie...maybe I was just hoping for more.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
This is an enjoyable movie made to last. It has an enjoyable plot, a great score, and a lot of laughs. The best part is that it doesn't take itself seriously.
Marilyn Monroe is a treasure in this movie as the beautiful and only as dumb as she wants to be blonde, Lorelie Lee. When Lorelie and her best friend, Dorothy (hysterically played by Jane Russell)go on a cruise to France, Lorelie's natural friendliness gets her into trouble.
The movie is a bit dated in the messages it sends, but there are some universal constants that still apply.
Anyone who is serious about movies needs to see this wonderful film
Almost a good movie but....
....There was WAY too much of an ick factor involved.
Oh, and the boy who played Sean didn't have the the acting ability to pull it off.
Oh, and it was confusing.
And too ambiguous.
And I still can't get over the ick factor.
I will say that the score was excellent and Nicole Kidman proves that she can handle any script that comes her way.
The purpose of this movie is to make you think, but the ambiguity about whether or not the boy was Sean re-incarnated makes it too confusing to make a decision. It just makes it painful to watch.
Oh...and did I mention the tremendous ick factor involved?
Too real to be fun, but still good
This is an almost too accurate view of relationships. We see how these four dysfunctional people deal with each other over a four year period of time: the frustrated (Jude Law) writer who is obsessed with two women at once, a sex-starved dermatologist (Clive Owen) who is obsessed with one woman, a confused woman (Julia Roberts) who is a confused woman who wants to do the right thing, and Alice, a young girl who seems to be a professional victim (Natalie Portman) and is possibly the most screwed up of the bunch.
It's a difficult movie to watch, mostly because it hits home. People don't like to look that closely at their flaws.
A perfect movie
Bobby isn't really the story of RFK's assassination. It is the story of how his life affected thousands upon thousands of people from all walks of life. You see how his death affected everyone in this country.
This movie is spectacular. It features an all-star cast, wonderful directing, and a score that will haunt you. As if that wasn't enough, the editing was incredible. They managed to flawlessly (yes, I do mean that literally) meld footage from the actual event and the movie footage so it was virtually impossible to separate the two.
I won't go into any details about the sub-plots and back stories except to say they were engaging and felt real, even if they were fictionalized. I usually will point out one great performance to rave about in each review, but there were too many to single just one out. Anthony Hopkins, Harry Belefonte, Lawrence Fishburn, and William H. Macy all turn out the high caliber performances that we expect of them. Sharon Stone showed us, once again, that she is more than the femme fatale of Basic Instinct, and Demi Moore shines as Virginia Fallon. Oh, and look for an absolutely hysterical Ashton Kutcher! The rest of the cast was equally as engaging and skillful, but there were too many to single them all out.
I think the most amazing thing for me was the end. Most of the time, I would clap to show my appreciation for such an amazing movie. This time, however, it seemed as inappropriate as applauding at the end of a church service. It would have been disrespectful. Instead, I, as well as 95% of the audience sat through the credits...absorbing what we had seen and gone through.
Emilio Esteves has outdone anything he has done in the past with this movie. I can only hope that the Academy will recognize this stellar accomplishment at Oscar time! Personally, I think this movie should be mandatory viewing for everyone!
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Almost as good as the Disney Classics
I grew up watching all the Disney Classics like Snow White, and Bambi. Before this movie came out, I had written off Disney animated films.
This is a retelling of the classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale about a mermaid (Ariel)who falls in love with a human. She goes to the fearsome sea witch (Ursula) for help. The sea witch agrees to help, but the cost is high, she wants Ariel's voice. Now, human legs in place, she has three days to get the prince to fall in love with her and kiss her.
Here is where this movie gets "Disneyfied" and gets a happier ending than the classic. In the classic fairy tale, she doesn't win out. Instead, she throws herself back into the sea where she bursts into a million bubbles.
Having said that, the music, the animation and the script are all up to the original Walt Disney standards and is definitely worth watching...over and over again!
Les Misérables (1998)
Close, but not a ten
This is a visually stunning, superbly acted retelling of the classic Victor Hugo novel of the same name. It tells the story of Jean Valjean, a man who, because he stole a piece of bread for his starving nephew ended up in a hard labor camp for 15 years (five because he stole, and the rest for running). When he is finally given his ticket of leave (parole) he discovers that there are few opportunities for a man on parole. He tears up his ticket of leave and makes a run for it. The rest of the story follows his life over the next twenty-some odd years.
It is a story of redemption and forgiveness, pointing out that people can change, and that not everything is black and white. Along the way, we see a broad cross section of society, the good, the bad and the ugly.
It is heartbreakingly beautiful, and, truthfully, it can be hard to watch in places.
It's also well worth it. The only thing keeping this movie from being a 10 is that it does deviate from Hugo's novel.
Not as bad as the critics said
I actually found this movie captivating. I couldn't walk away from it. It's the story of what happens when Charles Schine, (played by the brilliant and sexy Clive Owen, has a brief encounter with a woman he meets on the train (Jennifer Anistion).
This is one of the movies I don't want to say too much about because I might spoil the plot twist(s). And there is a good one here, one that I never saw coming.
I will say that what starts out seeming like another con artist movie turns into an unpredictable movie with plenty of surprises.
Like Jennifer Aniston. Hollywood seems to have typecast her as the girl next door. In this movie, she proves that she can be more than that. In this movie, the girl next door has an edge to her.
It's a great movie to watch with friends to see if you can figure out the plot.
I'm betting you won't!
Como agua para chocolate (1992)
Visually stunning, erotic, and thought provoking
I used to be one of those people who wouldn't see a movie with subtitles. I didn't think I wanted to work that hard to watch a movie. Well, this is the movie that changed my mind.
It is the touching story of Tita, the youngest child of a Mexican family with strict values and traditions. One of these traditions is that the youngest daughter must stay single and take care of her mother into old age. Unfortunately for Tita, she meets a man named Pedro and they fall in love. Pedro, thinking it was the only way to get close to Tita, marries her older sister.
The rest of this breathtakingly beautiful film is about the family relationships that develop over the years. It is touching and the emotions are real. It delves into the internal conflict of doing what you want with your life and living up to your parents' expectations.
The acting is great, especially Regina Torne, who is superb as Mama Elena, Tita's unyielding mother.
The cinematography really shines in this movie, too. There always seems to be something else to look at, and no detail has been overlooked.
If you pass this movie by...you will be sorry!
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Best Film Noir, ever!!!!
Ever since I can remember, I have heard how great this movie is. I understand it now.
Humphry Bogart is the quintessential Film Noir detective. He is what all actors should strive to be: always in control, smooth and confidant.
Mary Astor shows her talent with her brilliant portrayal of Brigid O'Shaughnessy. She goes from innocent victim to cold blooded killer effortlessly.
And what can a person say about Peter Lorre except he is a legend for a reason. He is one of those people who can make you care about the character even if he is not exactly a good guy. I haven't said anything about the plot, which is stunning. I will only say that it concerns a mysterious idol called the Maltese Falcon. Saying much more would give too much away and that would be a disservice to anyone who has yet to discover this gem. Don't fall into the trap of thinking it's a dated movie. It isn't. Even though it was a contemporary piece at the time, it has aged gracefully and can now be considered a period piece in my book.
A must see for any serious movie buff!!!!!!
Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Sweet, but never sappy
This is an almost perfect romantic movie. Al Paccino shines as Johnny, a man who was just released from prison. He finds work as a cook in a small dinner and meets Frankie (Michelle Pfiffer) a bitter, lonely waitress. He falls in love with her immediately.
Unfortunately, Frankie finds it hard to get over her past and it takes a bit longer to fall for the charms of Johnny.
Paccino shows, yet again, what a versatile actor he is. And not to mention sexy. His delivery is spot on, and could steal every scene he's in. His true brilliance is knowing when to pull back and give his Pfiffer a chance to shine.
Speaking of Pfiffer, this, to me is her best roll to date. She portrays Frankie with dignity, even in the midst of emotional breakdown. When you find out about her past, all the abuse and pain, she makes you want to cry. I do, however feel she could have pulled back just a little with the emoting.
I don't want people to get the wrong impression, even though I would consider this movie a drama, it's a funny drama. The comedic touch is expertly added by the supporting cast, including the incomparable Nathan Lane. He is the king of sarcastic comebacks and, as usual, his timing is brilliant.
And then there is Hector Alonzo, who seems to be the king of bit parts. His roles may be small in many of his movies, but he is talented. He adds class and character in ways that many actors who get more screen time than him ever will.
If you are looking for a mind numbing, silly teen movie with no morals, keep moving on.
What I liked best about this movie is that it showed us real life and made it OK to laugh at it and ourselves. The teens in the movie act like real teens, not small adults. At first glance they may seem like stereotypes, but more than once I found myself saying "I knew someone JUST like that in high school!" Each one is well-developed with just enough of a kernel of truth to make you care about them, even if you don't like them.
The adults were well done, too. They run the gamut from the responsible principal, to the recklessness of a man cheating on his wife. Again, we care about these people, even though they aren't likable all the time.
It's not a push-button movie, but it can be a tad predictable at times (although there is one twist toward the end that works well!) Most of all, this movie ends up not being about who wins the election (no...I'm not going to tell!) It's more about how people react during and after the election.
Watch it if you've played the game
I am a big gaming fan. I will admit I went into this movie expecting to completely trash it on IMDb, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it really was. That's not to say it was a great movie. It was a push-button horror with very few surprises ****spoiler******Although, I must admit I was shocked when Rock didn't turn out to be the hero in it. The best line out of the movie was him saying "But I'm not supposed to die!" as he is being dragged off.
The special effects were good, although you could tell what was CGI and what was real far too often for my taste. Oh, and it did slip into "how many ways can a human be killed off", but that's not surprising considering the game it was derived from.
One final comment for the gamers out there: there is a 15-20 minute stretch where it is shot in first person (the view you have in the game). That scene is done just right, it wasn't too long, and it was filled with touches that fans of the game are going to love.
The Day the World Ended (2001)
A waste of talent
I was really disappointed in this movie. There were some good actors in this movie, but, alas, no amount of talent could save this contrived, convoluted mess.
The story itself wasn't bad...in fact it showed great promise. It was the follow through that lacked. I felt that the monster (was it an alien or not?) looked silly. Oh, and everyone who died acted so stupidly, they deserved to die. There were no real surprises here. No shot in the stomach revelations that changed your perception. Just insipid dialog, disappointing acting and a score so heavy handed, it didn't let you discover any truths, it force-fed them to you.
I can't recommend this movie to anyone...avoid!
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002)
They made a third?
OK...I love shark movies. Jaws is still on my list of the greatest movies ever. This is no Jaws. It isn't even Jaws 3-D.
The acting is stilted and amateurish. The two main characters develop a romance when there is no chemistry between them at all. The dubbing is poorly done, and the characters are not well developed. You find yourself rooting for the shark to kill them all.
The special effects are poor at best. They can't make up their mind what the megalodon looked like. During the attacks, the shark had one kind of teeth, but whenever a tooth was left behind, it looked different.
Spoiler! The best part of the movie: The main characters' boat has been demolished, but what they think is the big shark has been killed. They all rejoice as the rescue boat motors toward them, only to watch in horror as an even larger shark jumps out of the water and swallows the boat whole! I must admit I laughed long and hard at that! In fact that is the only thing that is keeping this movie from being a 1, the laugh factor.
I went into this movie with high hopes...I've always thought that the story of Anansatsia was intriguing and romantic. I saw who was doing the vocalizations and I was thrilled.
Too bad it didn't live up to the hype.
I guess my biggest disappointment was Rasputin. The real Rasputin was a strange enough character without making him an immortal evil antagonist.
Yes...I know it's a kids movie (although, it's too scary for little kids!)but I feel it could have been handled better.
Having said that, the rest of the movie is OK. There are two songs that really stick with you at the end, and the animation is great.
All in all, it's a bland treatment of what could have been a terrific story.
And now for something completely different
This is an absolutely wonderfully silly movie. The acting is over the top, the plot is push button, and the music is overdone. The script is tongue in cheek and the special effects are cheesy.
All of this add up to a completely brilliant movie that will stand up to the test of time. The Monty python group outdid themselves with this retelling of the classic Camelot story. You can tell, right from the start that they aren't taking themselves seriously, and it works!
The best way to watch this is in a large group of people who have seen it enough times to know it by heart. I guarantee you a good time! It gets a 10 from me for sheer cheek!
Benny & Joon (1993)
Sweet and entertaining
Benny and Joon is the story of two misfits that find each other. It is a sweet, funny entertaining movie. Johnny Depp is at his best here with a wonderful tribute to Charlie Chaplin. Mary Stuart Masterson shows that a person with mental illness can still have dignity. You can also see some good performances from Aidan Quinn and Oliver Platt.
Other than Johnny Depp's performance, the thing I liked best about the movie is the soundtrack. It is full of great songs that keep you humming them long after the movie is over.
The story is original and touching but never saccharine sweet. I'm not going to give anything away about the plot, but it does go in directions I wasn't expecting.
A delight to watch.
Three Kings (1999)
War Drama at it's best
This isn't what I would call my kind of movie...I'm more into singing and dancing and a happy ending sort of thing.
Well, mark this down as the movie that started expanding my definition of a good movie.
The cast is great at making you care about these people early on, and keeping your attention where it belongs. It makes a few powerful statements and is hard to watch at times. The plot is riveting and the script is brilliant. It has the kind of cinematography that makes you go "wow!" and the special effects, both large and small are very well done. I heartily recommend this movie for anyone!
Dead Men Can't Dance (1997)
This is supposed to be an intense movie, but it just misses. Instead it is a physically dark mess. I am an Adrian Paul fan, but I gotta say, he just missed here also. He was too over the top as an intense soldier. Instead of intense, he was laughable.
This is a thin plot, combined with a poor script, lack-luster performances, and boring cinematography. The only saving graces with this movie is that the score is decent (not memorable, though) and some fairly good special effects.
This movie is a complete waste of time and only deserves a five out of ten. Watch three kings instead!
Not bad, but not great
This is a sentimental musical about a muse named Kira (Olivia Newton John) who is sent to Earth to inspire two men, Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly) and Sonny Malone (Michael Beck) to open up a nightclub. It is filled with some great music and some innovative dance scenes (Gene Kelly could even dance on roller skates, the show-off!) Along the way, she breaks all the rules and falls in love with Sonny.
Unfortunately it's a push button plot with a predictable ending, and the script is marginal at best.
Still, with the terrific cinematography and the wonderful wardrobe, it's not a bad way to spend an evening at home.
The Scorpion King (2002)
This movie has a lot going for it. Terrific special effects, wonderful cinematography, a decent plot and a wonderful score.
Unfortunately, it also has a poor script. Oh, and who told The Rock he could act? The man was stiff and unbelievable as the scorpion king. This was supposed to be a prequel to The Mummy, but it lacks the charm of the mummy. I never became involved with the characters so I didn't care what happened to them. The battle scenes were OK, but a bit confusing...who's fighting whom? This is a good example of a decent movie gone bad. I would stick with the first two movies in this series and leave this one alone.
The Mummy Returns (2001)
A worth while sequel
I'm not a great fan of sequels usually. They tend to be derivative and just plain stupid.
The Mummy Returns did not fall into that trap. It is just as clever as the first. Brendan Frasier and Rachel Weiss reprise their roles as Rick O'Connell and Evelyn Carnahan in the Mummy Returns. This time, they are married and their son has been taken hostage by the newly raised Imotep (brilliantly portrayed by Arnold Vosloo).
It is filled with the clever repartee and the cartoonish fights that made the first movie so good. The special effects are terrific and the cinematography leave you wanting to go visit Egypt.
OK...It's not great cinema....it's not suppose to be. It is, however a great movie to watch for a night of fun!
Camp at it's best
This is the ultimate campy movie. You can tell that everyone in the cast had a blast filming it. The special effects are low tech, which is OK because this movie is supposed to be a nod at the '50's B movie.
That's not to say it's a bad movie....quite the opposite. It's a fun ride that takes you places you never expected to go. It is filled with memorable musical numbers that make you laugh out loud.
Oh, and you mustn't forget the incomparable cast, most notably, Tim Curry as Frank-n-furter. He is wonderfully over the top here. And his songs are a great showcase for his marvelous voice.
The best way to watch this movie is to get a large group of people together late at night (alcohol is a must here!) and let loose! Everyone will be up on their feet doing the Time Warp before you know it!