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Red Riding Hood (2006)
I admit; I looked for the sound track to the movie after I rented it. This was good. They went for the music and story over visual effects. Frankly, I think that was a good choice. The culture was current and I'm worried that will make the movie dated but you can tell everyone had fun making this movie; and it's infectious. Anyone can enjoy it. When you make a movie out of a fairy tale, you have to pad it. This was padded mostly with music. It was pop music but it was good pop music. It was specifically for the movie and it added to it. The rest was the modernization of it. That made it look like an episode of Lizzy McGuire, but Lizzy McGuire is popular for a reason. Watch it. It's good. You'll enjoy it and so will you're kids if they give it a chance.
Josh and S.A.M. (1993)
hilarious, realistic, suspenseful, and poignant
This is one of my favorite movies. It is about two brothers, Josh and Sam. Their parents are divorced. Their dad is remarried and seems to like his stepchildren more than Josh because they are athletic and Josh isn't and he doesn't appreciate how bright Josh is. Their mother is getting married to a man who isn't interested in the kids. Sam is the younger brother. He is athletic but is always getting in fights and generally has trouble adjusting socially. Josh persuades Sam that he is a S.A.M. (Strategically Altered Mutant), designed to fight a war in Africa. It starts out as normal sibling torture but Sam believes it because it explains all his social problems. Josh wants to run away because of his horrible home life and Sam wants to run away to avoid going to war. Watching Josh's mind work as he tries to get out of the situations he creates is hilarious and yet it always stays realistic, suspenseful, and poignant. The acting is excellent and the story is tightly constructed. Hopefully this movie will come out on DVD some day but watch it on VHS now.
Playing Dangerous (1995)
good movie bad advertising
First of all, let me say that this is not a bad movie. If fact, I quite enjoyed it. The thing is, it is not as advertised. The tag line, right on the box, is "In the Tradition of 'Home Alone.'" "Home Alone" is a comedy. The bad guys are stupid. The Kid works alone and outsmarts everybody. People slip on things. In "Playing Dangerous", The bad guys are not stupid. They have guns. It's established early in the movie so it's not too much of a spoiler to say that the bad guys know how to use the guns and kill people with them. The Family isn't in France. They are being held hostage by the bad guys too. They aren't stupid either, so they do what they can to help the kid. In other words, "Playing Dangerous" is a THRILLER. If you like thrillers, this is a pretty good one. If you're looking for a comedy try "Dennis the Menace" or "The Ransom of Red Chief."
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
internally inconsistent time travel
*** contains minor spoilers but nothing you couldn't figure out from the trailers***
The Butterfly Effect was well done as a movie but I always get annoyed when the time travel is internally inconsistent.
There are two ways to imagine time travel, The "Somewhere In Time" (SIT) way and the "Back To the Future" (BTTF) way. In the BTTF way there is a base reality involving no time travel. Someone goes back in time, changes some stuff, comes back to the future and things are different so Marty fixes his life. In the SIT way there is no change. The original time line already has the time travel and any changes the character makes in the past only make the original future possible so Christopher Reeve is doomed. If you only use one of these types your story should make sense.
In "The Butterfly Effect" the black outs don't work. He has a black out because he goes back to that time but in the base reality sometimes he changed something and sometimes he didn't. One example is when he picks up the knife. He wouldn't pick up the knife until he messed up a lot of other points in his life but the movie continues on and those points aren't messed up yet so he had no reason yet to pick up the knife. Almost all of the black outs are sloppy like this but I don't want to reveal the whole movie.
Even though much of the movie is very well done, the lack of a sound foundation makes the whole thing flop. You go away from the movie saying "That wouldn't work."