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Home Invasion (I) (1997 TV Movie)
plot? you mean you need a plot for a movie?
10 October 2004
That about sums it up: zero story. Okay, make that one percent. The rest is summed up by the title. Some blokes try to steal a car from a woman at her home but things go pear shaped when a security patrol catches them at it. They have no choice but to take the woman, her daughter and her friends hostage while they decide what to do. All they really do is talk about it and nothing really happens until the final act. The acting is certainly nothing special: the girls just scream hysterically and the terrorists just play their respective roles. You've got the smart one, the nutter who goes psycho a few times and the dying one. There's nothing remarkable about this film except that it's very ordinary indeed.
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hackman goes well, Baryshnikov goes better
9 October 2004
the great acting was about the best part of this for me. I also liked the storyline; it was deep enough but not so that you get too confused about why the things that are happening are happening. It was good to see lots of different and interesting locations: Berlin and Paris (I always wondered how the elevators went up the curved legs) in particular. The script was no slacker either. On top of the normal discussion you had witty one liners to lighten the mood. I thought it was charming how they started out (Hackman and Baryshnikov that is) as 'business men' doing their respective jobs, playing their roles but then became attached to one another and thus fought together. I also liked the mysteriousness of the ending. The 'where are the going to go now?' factor is usually a good touch. If anything was wrong with it I would've liked a little more action. The only real action scene I recall was the shootout in the subway. Other than that they were just running from baddies and jumping out of windows, which was entertaining but more confrontation would have been appreciated.
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Fight Club (1999)
one of the best films because it makes you think
9 October 2004
Some films are just incredible because they make you think about yourself and question your morals and principles and stuff. This is one of those and that's why it's so great. I think this is Norton's best performance to date (though he was great in The Score) and Pitt, well, I have trouble complimenting him because he was so believable that I still hate him for being a stupid manipulative imaginary 'friend'. I can't wait to read the book because they're always so much more detailed and this story obviously has near infinite depth. The major twist (every one probably knows about it any way) makes the ending to this film one of the more inventive and meticulously planned ever. Besides the credit well deserved by the writer, the film is great also due to the way it's shot. In particular I noticed the lighting always gave the right effect as did the music.
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Hot Shots! (1991)
My face hurts from laughing
8 October 2004
The great thing about the comedy in this film is that you never see where the next jokes is coming from. The jokes are all unexpected and sudden which adds to their impact. Charlie Sheen holds the whole thing together very well as the 'hot shot' pilot and the supporting actors and actresses also work perfectly. For example Cary Elwes as the equivalent of Iceman from top gun and Valeria Golino as the love interest. Jon Cryer is also worthy of mention. The two obviously work well together as can be seen on a current TV series Two and a Half Men starring Sheen and Cryer as brothers. Lloyd Bridges is also memorable as the 'slow' Admiral. The only thing lacking was a real plot. I would've liked to see a tidier story to make better reason for all the humor.
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Murphy at his classic best
8 October 2004
You could put that man in any film and he'd make it hilarious. He could make you laugh by reading the bible in his own way. Now about the actual film itself it's nothing special in terms of storyline; much the same as the other Beverly Hills Cop films which are all pretty standard for that type of idea. But you have to remember that this film started the trilogy that started the whole almost sub-genre of comedy cop films (like the kind Martin Lawrence does now-a-days), so it's worthy of recognition for that. Aside from Murphy I was also impressed by some supporting actors like Judge Reinhold (played Billy Rosewood in this film and the next two in the series). He goes nicely as the green cop. Lisa Eilbacher goes well also but I felt Steven Berkoff didn't look scary or evil enough to make a believable bad guy.
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Taxi Driver (1976)
great performances from lots of stars in their early days
8 October 2004
I was impressed with every actor and actress here. De Niro, Shepherd, Foster, and Keitel all played their respective roles very well. They had a great story and script to back them up. I really liked how the plot was fairly simple (the title sums up the main character and the setting) yet great depth was added to the characters and the story as a whole. This was achieved through monologues by De Niro and conversations between characters that told us how they each felt. I also liked how the film was broken up into several threads that really weren't related except through the involvement of the main character. For example you had the relationship with Betsy (Shepherd) and the saving a prostitute (Foster) from her life as one. Also interesting was how De Niro's character Travis evolved throughout the film. You had the veteran looking for a job that became his life, then the gun addict then the good samaritan who wanted to save one particular girl from prostitution. I also liked the way the film was shot. Lighting was often used noticeably (for example Travis and his taxi driver friends were often illuminated by a red neon light that surrounded them). The lighting was usually sparse to match the dark atmosphere which was very appropriate to the story. There were also some interesting camera shots and angles. There was always plenty of time to think about what the characters were feeling and reflect on the action that had just taken place (for example in the final scene we get a nice long sequence covering everything thats just happened, again). The sound track and score were also very appropriate and always seemed to fit the scene perfectly. You know it's a good score when you don't notice it much because you're not surprised by it. i.e. there's no unexpectedly up beat tunes. This may also work the other way but in this film there wasn't much upbeatness so it was never an issue to have slow music in a happy scene.
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Corky Romano (2001)
mildly funny, Kattan goes well as a goofball
7 October 2004
The best aspect of this film is the cast. Familiar faces like Peter Falk and Chris Penn that just have that crime family look about them give it some class. Chris Kattan makes an excellent idiot but sometimes is too predictable in his stupidity, meaning what he does isn't as funny as it could be. However there are still some moments where its pretty obvious whats going to happen but it turns out funny anyway. For example trying to translate Vietnamese. Aside from Corky's actions there were lots of other things I didn't see coming. Some don't even have an impact on the story but still result in funny moments. It seems the first three quarters of the film was made up off the cuff with some pretty standard comedy scenes. I think they may have hired a writer for the last part though: it gets funnier and the plot thickens and resolves nicely.
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Teen Wolf Too (1987)
horribly bad sequel that doesn't add anything new
6 October 2004
Think of the first movie then take away good acting (except Chubby's character played by Mark Holton - he was funny) take away humor and throw originality out too. In the first movie we saw Michael J Fox's wolf rise to fame, here we see his cousin (what a lame excuse to make another film when the original actor doesn't want to do another) first fail as a wolf then decide he doesn't even want to be a wolf. The sporting storyline is almost exactly like the first film except it's boxing, not basketball this time. I was most annoyed that none of the original actors were there (didn't that tell the film makers something when none of the originals wanted to do another?) but the same characters were present with different names (stiles is different and has a mullet, the attractive popular girl is different, as is the true love). The idea of a teen aged were wolf may have had a little live left in it if all the same actors signed and more time was given to writing a decent story and script. Like the first film there was lots of 80s clichés but then it is 80s so maybe that can be excused. The first one made in 1985 made the 80s look cool but this one makes it look horribly dated and retains none of the charm (I think Michael J Fox had a lot to do with making it charming so the new actor didn't help).
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Bring It On (2000)
I'll pretend I didn't like it only because of the cheer leaders
3 October 2004
Apart from the obvious I did like it because of the way it seemed to satirize the whole cheer leading theme whilst not being derogatory towards the idea of cheer leading. Most of the jokes I found tastefully amusing, which is good because it's meant to be a comedy. The story line was fairly standard but there were a few surprises to remind me that it wasn't as thoughtless as it could have been, which gained it a little respect from me. In terms of talent (yes, I mean acting talent) I think Eliza Dushku's character Missy was about the best performance; she supported Dunst well. Speaking of her character, I think she about saved the film from being too straight forward and not interesting enough. However, the rebellious evil girl who turns out to be nice and helpful in the end is a little clichéd.

Having seen it I also get some more jokes from Not Another Teen Movie that I didn't get before, so it was worth the viewing.
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great because it made me think
3 October 2004
Some film just have an atmosphere that make you constantly question yourself, your moral, that kind of thing. This did that very well through a very intense and deep storyline without being too complicated to make it's several points. The plot was anything but predictable and even when I thought I knew what was going on it turned out I was way off track, I'm sure I fell for the intentionally misleading trap that were set, which is proof of very skilled writing. The soundtrack was very appropriate; I really like it when films use mostly real songs rather than music composed specifically for the film: it seemed to apply better because you know the songs weren't written for what we know the characters are feeling and thinking but it still lines up perfectly. The acting was great by all the main characters. I particularly liked Chris Cooper's character - the slightly messed up marine.

It was also well shot with an interesting variety of shots & angles. The shots from Ricky's camcorder were a great way to show things about his character by what he pointed his camera at, whilst being an interesting perspective for the audience to see the characters. It was also evident that great thought was given to lighting in most scenes. Great thought was given to everything and nothing was left to chance, which it why this film won so many awards. At first I thought this may have been what you'd call a 'chick flick' by the poster and reading that it was about relationships and that kind of thing. I'm so glad I gave it a try because it's definitely not all these stereotypical and clichéd things. I'm also glad I saw it because now I get one of the jokes in Not Another Teen Movie.
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Patriot Games (1992)
A great credit to Clancy that one if his books was made into a movie that almost lived up to the book
3 October 2004
I think this film's greatness (it is indeed great) is a credit more to Clancy than the film makers, because writing is the most crucial part of any film. Unfortunately, a novel adapted to a film will almost never be as good as the book because there just isn't enough time or money to include everything and make everything look as good as it reads. This is evident here. Having said that they certainly didn't leave it to the story to support itself. Impressive heroics from Ford and a superb bad guy performance from Sean Bean (strikingly similar to his performance in the James Bond film Golden Eye) turned Clancy's classy classic book into a classy film. I was also impressed to discover that the director was none other than Australia's Phillip Noyce. As is also sadly common among films made from books, the plot was a little hard to follow due to the audience having to fill in the gaps that were left by the film makers not having time or money to include it all.
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Teen Wolf (1985)
sports flick with an interesting difference
3 October 2004
To me it seemed more like a pretty standard American high school sports film in which the main character happened to be a werewolf, rather than a film about a werewolf who played basketball, but there's no problem with that.

The werewolf thing had some interesting consequences and it was amusing to see Michael J Fox as a werewolf having seen him in lots of other things where he's just the type of character he played here, minus the werewolf thing. The two main threads about basketball and romance were both pretty run-of-the-mill but it still provided enjoyable lunch time viewing.
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a charming follow up that sadly didn't live up to the original
3 October 2004
The thing that brought this film down the most was that the only original character was the VW. I much preferred Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo for two main reasons. Firstly the main character (Jim Douglas) was there and secondly because the plot was more about the car. This film felt more like a regular comedy that happened to involve Herbie. I would've rather the film to be more about the car rather than just involving him (as the original and Monte Carlo were). Funny moments saved the film from total lameness, as did the amusing 1974 special effects (was there really as many special effects people involved as were listed in the credits to get these results?). Not all the charm of the lovable car was lost on the plot that didn't involve him as he still played his part when the chips were down. In terms of acting, Herbie was obviously the best performance followed (albeit by a large margin) by Keenan Wynn as the baddie. I think he actually did a better job as the baddie than David Tomlinson did in the original 1968 film The Love Bug.
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The Corruptor (1999)
good action, good acting and a deep plot
2 October 2004
Wahlberg and Chow both perform very believably and work well on screen together. This partnership reminded me of Training Day (with Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke). That is, the green cop being "educated" by the seasoned cop and we're not sure if the seasoned one is corrupt or not. I also thought it was shot well with good use of lighting. The action scenes were well directed and quite spectacular in some cases (eg. the car chase and several shoot-outs) without going too over the top. The plot was a little hard to follow at first, but I blame this on myself, not the storyline. It's commendable that so much thought was given to the script and plot so it didn't always seem we were just waiting for an action scene. The drama added intensity and suspense well, too. For example, the tension between Chen and Wallace. The thread with Wallace and his father added good depth to his character and the story, as did the fact that he and Chen retained their partnership in fighting even when the suspected worst was revealed about Chen. It was also notable the role music played in the film. For example you always knew when the Asian punks were about to show up due to the rap music. The subtle music in dramatic dialogue scenes gave the scenes a good atmosphere.
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good blend of comedy and action
1 October 2004
This is the first Jackie Chan movie I've seen that wasn't in English and I'm glad I went out on a limb to watch it. I think its the funniest Chan film I've seen. I was also delighted that not every action (may as well say 'fight') scene didn't feature Chan versus one or more baddies. Instead it wasn't uncommon to see another good character fighting baddies, and often it was a female character, just to show they can fight just as good as blokes. Like I said it was really funny. In particular I liked the Street Fighter fight scene and the way it satirised very similar kung-fu type movies (which I'm sure Chan has had his share of). The plot was pretty run-of-the-mill but you really don't want a complex plot when the attraction is the action and comedy. It's also good when the two get combined (like in the Street Fighter scene). The ship setting proved a good place for many interesting fights, which allowed for great use of the environment when fighting (a trademark I love about Chan films).
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mildly amusing, good acting
1 October 2004
Steve Martin and John Candy make a good team and played their respective roles well. However I didn't find the results particularly funny. Since it was told from Martin's perspective I became sorry for him and got depressed rather than amused when more bad things happened. The part I found most amusing was when the reason for the very coarse language warning became apparent: Martin snaps and gives the rental car company lady a spray of profanity. I did like the themes of family and friendship and was pleased to see all end well, as it should in a comedy. I also liked the simplicity of the plot. It was easy to follow even if you missed a bit because you knew he was still trying in vain to get home ASAP.
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Proof of Life (2000)
SPOILER - enough plot depth to make action believable
27 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
the action at the end was the best part of this for me but it would be completely lame if not backed up by the deep plot through the middle. Crowe goes fairly well in this as does Morse. However I was more impressed by David Caruso's appearance in one of his most recent films before CSI Miami. I'd only seen him before in CSI Miami, which I watch a lot of, so his "hard but fair" cop style was fairly ingrained in my mind. It was like watching every episode of the X-Files and then trying to watch David Duchovny in some other film. You can tell a good actor, though if they can blend into any character and make it believable. Caruso did this exceptionally well here.

In terms of the plot I was a little annoyed that Crowe's character Terry Thorne allowed himself to take things beyond a professional relationship with Ryan's character Alice. For one I see Thorne as a more professional man than this, and second it took the edge off the glee when Peter Bowman (Morse) got rescued and returned home because we the audience knew that all was not as well as he thought it was because his wife had been kissing the negotiator.

Like I said i really liked the action, Caruso was the most crucial element to the success of the shootout at the end. I didn't, however, like how the opening action scene seemed only to be there to get the audience's attention and didn't really wind into the story. Except I guess for introducing Crowe as a "KNR" bloke. I would have preferred this screen time to be spent on getting to know Ryan and Morse better, but I suppose the producers wanted to make the film more about Crowe than these two.
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Bootmen (2000)
good setting, entertaining dancing and decent drama
27 September 2004
I'm from near Newcastle so I couldn't help like it for that reason alone. Aussie films usually score points with me just for that reason but, this got bonus points for being so close to home.

Setting aside the dancing was entertaining and I'm glad there was plenty of it because that's the way the film was marketed; as a tap dance film, so I'd hate to see anything less than that. Sometimes in this sort of film they can get too caught up in the reasons for showing the dancing (or songs in the case of musicals) but I think they kept it simple, without leaving the audience wondering why we're seeing this particular dance. I also liked how they tied it into the BHP steel works closing down. This shows a bit of thought has gone into the writing of the story and it's nice to know that it wasn't true, but could have been.

I was charmed with the appearance of Sophie Lee, known best (by me anyway) for being in 'The Castle'. I was a little disappointed about the romance and the relationship troubles between her, and the two brothers Mitchell and Sean. Frankly, the film could have done without it. On the other hand, just to show I don't really hate drama, I did like the tension between the boys and their father.
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action is OK but why the flying people?
27 September 2004
like I said, the fighting scenes are pretty good but not backed up well enough by a good story to make them really enjoyable. Half the time it feels like the actors just said "Okay, time for a fight scene now...what... there's no reason for us to fight? Who cares, we're filming a fight scene anyway. Just fit it in where ever you like."

Also from my summary you can tell that I hated the way everyone flies. Fair enough they can jump high, but not over a three story building! in the TV guide review for this film it said something like "you can do better wire stunts hanging from your clothes line". I think he was right: I can (I tried).
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No One Would Tell (1996 TV Movie)
way too clichéd drama, got better towards end
27 September 2004
Like I said this film was mostly very ordinary due to the boyfriend/girlfriend drama being way too unoriginal and clichéd. The plot was very predictable except for a few twists I didn't see coming. These twists helped make it a bit better as did a very dramatic ending, but this was mostly a case of too little too late to save the film from ordinary acting and an worse script.

I found it hard to believe it was only made in 1996 because it looks like everything this film did has been done already decades before. I don't think it was even worthy of a 2am screening on TV, which is when I saw it. The only good thing was that I didn't have to work too hard to follow the plot. I think I could have stopped watching and gone to bed half way through and written a better ending myself.
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