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Corny, but OK for kids and a few cheap laughs
So I won't try to tell you that everybody is wrong and that this is a great movie. Watch the preview, and you'll see it's only a couple steps away from Power Rangers cheesiness.
However, a la crappy and corny kiddie stuff, kids do love it and there are a few funny asides and inside jokes for comic and movie fans throughout the script as well as with the casting. If you like Balls of Fury and the "Fill in the Blank...Movie" parodies (Epic Movie, Scary Movie, Superhero Movie, etc), you'll probably enjoy this one a little bit.
It's intentionally awful and corny, and obviously cheaply made, but it was worth the 4 bucks I paid for it to have a less serious superhero movie to serve as a bit of a gateway for my 3 little boys so that they can enjoy the better stuff with me when their attention spans grow a bit more! I gave this a 5 because it's tolerable and entertaining, even though it's pretty juvenile in its intentional silliness. Most of you will probably rather watch it after a few beers, but if you have kids that aren't ready for the Dark Knight and Watchmen yet, this is a decent kid-friendly compromise :)
Fly Me to the Moon (2008)
Voices killed the animated fun
The animation in this wasn't too bad, and the story wasn't the most original concept (surprisingly sentient characters, in this case flies, piggybacking on an existing human story or adventure), but still entertaining enough for a kiddie/family cartoon movie.
What made this awful was the voice acting by the kids that voiced the three main characters. All of the others were passable, but dialogue between those three made me feel like I was sitting through a table-reading in a second grade classroom.
I don't know if it was bad coaching or directing, or the kids themselves (who sounded just fine in the live-action features I've seen featuring them). Regardless, this was one prime example of a studio being so obsessed with finding a voice that was even mildly recognizable that they passed on quality.
That awkward line-reading made it almost seem as though they made the rest of the movie and then found kids to read the words that had already been animated, or as if they just plugged in dialogue from a read-through when they auditioned. All entertainment would cease as soon as the main characters started talking, and we just sat and waited impatiently for them to finish awkwardly pushing out their lines.
Ugh. Good job pushing this piece of crap instead of funding 3 or 4 other productions that may have been worth watching.
White Man's Burden (1995)
One of the most underrated and amazing movies I've seen
As some others have mentioned, it's shocking how few people have heard of, let alone seen, this film. I will admit that its social relevance would have likely had greater impact had it been made at least two decades earlier, but the discussion surrounding the more implicit racial tensions that exist in our supposedly politically correct modern society rather than the explicit ones that we are intended to believe are now solely a part of our sordid past may hold even more importance to some viewers.
Indeed, it is probable that many find the reversal of events depicted herein to be the result of overactive imaginations, delusions found only in cinematic representations of cross-racial interactions. However, having witnessed similar circumstances and having known a considerable number of people whose accounts are fascinatingly similar to the tendencies portrayed, I found it to be a very accurate study of our human need to find fault with another for whatever reason is most readily available to us.
The role reversal played out far better than in any movie that comes to mind as of this writing, and the acting and overall experience served to support the writer/director's vision perfectly.
I obviously gave this film ten stars, and would (and always do) recommend it to someone willing to have an open mind who chooses to further their understanding of underlying social structures in a more visceral sense.
Dark Country (2009)
AMAZING and incredibly undervalued.
I was expecting so much less! I'm sure that sounds terrible as a first line but let's be realistic...a B (or C) list actor has his directorial debut, and it goes straight to DVD? Yep, when I saw it for 4 bucks, I figured I'd see if it was entertaining enough to be worth the few dollars. What a shock! Though I guessed the "twist" early on, my wife (who is usually right and I'm usually wrong about such things) got us on a roller-coaster of a dozen possible plot twists...this had hints of Hitchcock movies and Twilight Zone episodes, mixed with a bit of the Tarantino/Rodriguez/Miller flavor of more recent films noir. I haven't underestimated the likely entertainment, suspense, and overall value of a movie this much in years. I will tell you this, though...if you expect tons of effects and blockbuster styling, you'll be disappointed. But if this type of movie (and the nostalgia of creepy suspense without all of the Hollywood hype) is up your alley, you're going to LOVE it! I know they made a "Twilight Zone" movie, but if they hadn't, this would have been the perfect submission for a full-length feature under that banner!
No Reservations (2007)
The most predictable movie I've ever seen.
If you've never seen a romantic comedy before, then this will delight you to no end, as it has all the necessary components: great acting and dialog, witty banter, chemistry between all members of the cast, and a nicely weighed smattering of heartfelt (and even sad) moments.
The problem is, if you've seen more than a couple of others in the same genre, you will likely - as was I - be bored to tears watching No Reservations. It was worth it for the couple of laughs and great performances, but I doubt I'll watch it again.
Fans of either of the leads will doubtless enjoy it at least a bit, as they complement each other so perfectly; and who knew Lenny Kravitz's daughter was 20 years old already?! (She's in it very briefly.) Overall, I gave this a 5/10 due to the redundancy, but if it's not your usual fare, it will probably seem more like a 7 or 8 to you.
Southland Tales (2006)
The absolute weirdest thing I've ever seen.
The 8/10 rating I gave this is fairly arbitrary, as I have no points of reference or comparison. This is, quite honestly, the most bizarre movie I have ever seen.
At different points, you think of it as sci-fi/apocalyptic narrative, parody/satire, drama, action, comedy...my brain is still sorting it out. I've seen a lot of weird movies, good movies, bad movies...this is nothing like any of them.
The weirdness goes way beyond the whole "independent film creativity" thing. You really just have to see it to understand what I'm getting at.
As far as other points...the actors all did well, and it's a veritable who's who of B-list actors (just check the cast list on this site). Justin Timberlake is shaping up to be decent, though I prefer his craziness hosting SNL, the ESPYs, etc. Regardless of what you think of any member of the cast, throw it out the window. Their characters, though well acted, are as insane and bizarre as the rest of this movie.
The only true downside is that the editing, directing, and such made it difficult to discern at times when we were shifting temporally. You couldn't tell if something was a flashback until a few scenes later, if at all. Not like Tarantino's patchworks, this was just plain confusing. I wonder if they did it just to make you watch it again...either way, I will, and not just to sort out the time sequence.
The worst of the recent Marvel movies (by far)
I've only flipped through a few of the comics, so I can't make any statements about the relevance of the plot to the stories. I don't think the relevance is the biggest thing to be worried about.
Aside from the gratuitous (though nice) boobie shot and blood, this isn't even worthy to be called a horror flick. The script is atrocious, though not an excuse for the acting. One odd thing is that the random supporting characters did a better job than did the main ones. With Marvel's budgets for other movies, why couldn't they afford anybody that could act for this one? I know "horror" movies tend to promote "unknowns" (Depp and McConaughey spring to mind), but lots of them can actually ACT in such simple settings even when they aren't future superstars.
The plot was also nonexistent. What you read on the DVD case, IMDb, etc. is about it. Dude gets hired to be a sheriff. Weird stuff happens in the town. Dude investigates. People die. The end. Some of the character interactions made me think there might have been some sort of conspiracy, revenge from a guy who becomes Man-Thing, whatever. Nope. Just a crappy "it's protecting sacred ground" explanation, and a couple of dudes who were shown to be "bad guys" at the outset. A possibility of more, which I won't spoil or spell out, but it wasn't delved into enough to make it worth a crap anyway.
No fact-checking above the 4th grade level, either. Area 51 is in Roswell, NM...not Nevada. And water cannot protect you from a 500+ foot explosion that takes place 30 feet away from you.
Since they spent so little on everything else, you'd think they could spring for some special effects. You'd think wrong. There were a couple of cool shots, and then about 5 minutes (if that) at the end that were decent action/effects, but that's it. If not for that, this would get a 1/10 instead of a 2/10 from me. Worth watching once for the teeny bit of coolness when you actually see more than a tentacle (yes, they actually made him look good during those 5 minutes). They probably intended the audience finally seeing Man-Thing to be climactic, but instead, you just think, "now, why didn't they have more of THE TITLE CHARACTER in it?" And I must restate another reviewer's question...why didn't they investigate the swamp during daylight hours??? Not really even worthy of the Sci-Fi 2am slot.
Achieved their goals, but that wasn't enough
Though I was thoroughly disappointed in this movie, Ang Lee and company did accomplish what they set out to do. Instead of a film adaptation of a comic book, they tried to make an actual comic book on screen. The editing, cinematography, etc. were very cool in that sense, because it was quite literally like watching a live-action comic book.
That is about all that I found interesting. The acting, delivered by some very talented folks, was very flat and unconvincing. The plot and villains were uninteresting. The CGI, though well done, was just so sensationalized that it seemed ridiculous. It's worth watching, but definitely isn't on my "must-have" DVD list. Catch it on TV if you can, as Sci-Fi runs it once in a while. Let's hope that the new one turns out as a better overall movie, even if it's not as artistically unique as this was.
I Am Legend (2007)
One of those "good, but also bad" movies.
If you've read other half-positive, half-negative reviews on this, I'm probably backing most of what they've said.
The acting was great. That's about it. This is yet another fight-the-whole-world, everyone-else-is-a-zombie movie. It had some great thrills - I practically jumped out of my seat a couple of times.
But overall...it could be Resident Evil 4, or 28 months later...or...you get the point. It had very little to contribute as far as giving a fresh, new idea in the recent "zombie film" obsession.
It's worth a look, once. After that, you might as well give Resident Evil or 28 Days Later another spin in your DVD player.
I'm usually pretty picky about what I watch in theaters, and actually got some recommendations for this one, so I paid the ten bucks each for tickets. What a waste...like I said, worth it just once, but wait for the dollar theaters. I wish I had. This is the worst movie I've seen in the theater in at least 2 years...and though I don't see everything right after it comes out, I see quite a few. I think the last time I was this disappointed for the price I paid was Star Wars Episode III, but at least THAT had some expectations attached.
This baby is a renter or dollar-theater movie, at best. Bad (video game) CGI, stereotypical plot, nothing new. Will Smith made it worth that one viewing. That's about it.
Legends of the Fall (1994)
I was shocked to see that this film was so poorly rated on IMDb. It came out when I was in high school, and through all of my education and the time that has passed, it is still, by far, one of the best I've ever seen. Nothing "new" pops up when you watch it multiple times, it doesn't have much deep philosophy or anything. However, it has everything anyone could ask for; love, violence, revenge, family values, politics...everything. Quite incredible. Even if you hate Brad Pitt, which I did for quite some time, you can't help but be completely mesmerized by this movie. If you are among the unfortunates who have yet to view it, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Don't bother renting it, because I can all but guarantee that you will want to buy it anyway, in order to watch it over and over. I've probably seen it at least fifty times, and it never fails to satisfy. Drop the 5 or 10 bucks for the DVD, and thank me later!
The Illusionist (2006)
This is a rather exceptional sleeper. No one paid it much heed after the debut of The Prestige, so it fell into the category of the second of two movies with a similar concept debuting around the same time, much like Saving Private Ryan and Thin Red Line, Truman Show and EdTV, etc. Though I LOVED The Prestige, this film, much overlooked by critics and the public, is an entirely different animal altogether. The use of symbolism and subtlety is incredible. Though not as sensationalist as The Prestige, The Illusionist is in a class by itself. The acting, direction, story, everything is perfect. This is a perfect example of why you shouldn't always trust box office numbers and reviews when considering what to watch. Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti are perfect as always, and it is a wonderful and unusual tale, one of those where you always see something new every time you watch it. If you like strong stories and depth, rather than sensationalism (which of course also has its place), you will adore The Illusionist.
Ghost Rider (2007)
Fun but not great
Perfect comic movie. Nobody's getting Oscars for their parts, but they were mostly convincing. Couple of funny parts, great effects, cool fight scenes. Also, the storyline stuck close enough to the comic to be "true" to it, but it wasn't overdone. I mean, they didn't just pull it straight out of the series or anything, it was an original story, so it wasn't just an adaptation, which is always appreciated (though some other comic fans don't seem to like that, not sure why stagnation is good to some people).
Almost every scene with GR in it was so freakin' cool looking that I almost creamed my man-panties.
SUPPOSED to be a B-Movie. AND...
Get real. Any movie starring Bruce Campbell is expected to be a B-movie. The COOL thing about that here is that instead of its counterpart, Twister, they decided on something that looked real, rather than something that looked exciting. I haven't seen Twister since I saw it in the theater. It blew, and I didn't give a crap about any of the characters or the story. As far as I'm concerned, THEY ripped THIS off, and made it a "sensation" of CGI crap. The characters are more believable, as are the effects and the story. I may have rated this a 6, but Twister is about a 2...and only because of the flying cow and Bill Paxton is it not a 1.
The Machinist (2004)
Familiar but still different
This isn't really a spoiler, but if you want to know the "feel" of the movie, it's kind of like Fight Club (or Secret Window) combined with The Woodsman. Very good, very dark, very well written and directed...the storytelling is awesome. So, much like my summary states, is familiar in both subject matter and the general feel of the film. Christian Bale is awesome (and looks AWFUL...he ate a one-cubic-inch size piece of fish for months to lose enough weight to do this movie, he looks like a starving Ethiopian, sorry if that sounds politically incorrect...)...and believe it or not, Jennifer Jason Leigh is actually quite good as well. If you get the chance, get the DVD and check out the Special Features AFTER you watch it. The deleted scenes explain a lot more, but would have given too much away too early in the film had they been left in.
Runaway Jury (2003)
Way better than expected
OK, so I love any movie with John Cusack, Gene Hackman, and half of the other actors in this movie, but didn't bother with it because, frankly, it looked like crap...the problem was that there wasn't a good "sound bite" moment in the movie that worked in the previews. This movie actually rocked, it's just not "commercially viable". If you have enough interest to be reading this, then you have more interest than I did...and I STILL loved it. So...yeah. Definitely worth it. However, IMDb says I have to submit 10 lines so...let's talk about acting. Crap, there were more recognizable people in this than almost any movie I've ever seen. It was crazy. Orlando Jones is in it for like 5 seconds. I swear, after Nicholson's nomination for "A Few Good Men", everybody must be waiting in line for a "trial movie". Check it out. Ohhhh, 10 lines! Woo-hoo! And then some!
Alone in the Dark (2005)
Come on, now!
Okay, I agree that this was far from being the best movie I've seen, but it was nowhere near as bad as most people have commented. So, the acting wasn't that great, and there were some parts that contradicted one another, but the premise was interesting, and this is one of the only movies that has come off as REALLY CREEPY in the last ten years or so. It still has that Alien-Predator-every-other-thriller thing going for it, where you wonder "okay, out of everyone we've seen, which 2-3 people will make it?"...but still, it does it well. I usually don't ever get creeped out by any movie, but this did it. Definitely not the greatest movie ever, but creepy as hell and interesting enough to keep you into it. Not sure why everyone thinks this is so much worse than it really is...they must have gotten their hopes up and been disappointed, because it was a decent movie (which is why I gave it a 5...nowhere near great, but definitely worth watching).
A good intro for the world.
Okay, so a lot of people try to look at this from a particular perspective, but the fact is that overall it works quite well. True, MOST drag queens don't dress in drag 24/7, though some do. Also, the explanation that it says men=violence and need to be beaten and women need to be pampered ignores the straight men in the end sequence (watch it and you'll see if you pay attention). (Note that these comments work best if you've read some of the other rather short-sighted comments on here.) Fact is, unless you're in "gay society", you will probably miss a lot of the "overtly sensitive" issues, and can instead realize that it is supposed to be a statement about accepting people and understanding that everyone can contribute something to their lives. If your purpose is to get people to see a glimpse of what "gay society" is like, you probably won't like this movie. However, if you appreciate the idea of having people dig a little deeper than where they already are and think about things from a different point of view to understand where others are coming from, then you will likely get a good vibe from this one. If you're reading this, you likely have more than a passing interest in possibly watching the movie, so take it from a straight WASP-y (though open-minded) man, it's an important lesson in understanding the people around you and getting a bit outside of yourself.
Blade: Trinity (2004)
Great with a few exceptions
Okay, first off, when you decide to see a movie like this there are a few things you want. Great special effects, a storyline that just makes sense, some good fight scenes, and believable enough acting that you can still enjoy it and stay into it. I'm not giving anything away, no spoilers, but when Blade meets up with the "main bad guy" this time around, they keep having these little standoffs where nobody starts anything and the guy takes off for no reason. Supposedly he's so much tougher and stronger and whatever than Blade, but every time they have a little "chat", he runs away like a little girl like he's afraid to fight. As much of a bad-ass as the other characters make him out to be, this just makes the whole movie silly. Then we have the acting. Parker Posey and Triple H (both vampires) are the worst...and that's surprising. Parker Posey is a pretty decent actress, and her first couple of scenes come off pretty well, but after that she seems pretty campy. Triple H must have been hired when they found out Tyler Mane wasn't available. This may sound sad, but the wrestler who also starred as Sabretooth in X-Men 1 & 2 and an oil rig hand in Joe Dirt - and was actually pretty convincing in his roles - was, when compared to Triple H was like comparing Tom Hanks to Pauly Shore. He was awful. If I made sock puppets, they would be more convincing as big scary mean vampires than Triple H was. Really. The friend I watched it with won't watch anything but action, horror, etc., no drama or "good cinema" for him (even hates Hotel Rwanda, even with all the blood and violence), and he even thought Triple H was terrible. The rest of the storyline was a bit stock, i.e. going after all the supporting characters to create some scary scenes...it wasn't bad, but mostly reminded me of most other action/horror/suspense movies I've seen. So we're left with the fight scenes and special effects. Awesome. Tons of cool moves that make you sit up and stare, all kinds of wildness. Definitely worth watching, if for no other reason than to finish out the series. The movie as a whole wasn't as good as the other two - by far - but the addition of the Nightstalkers (for comic fans, a good thing!) and Ryan Reynolds' character (very funny and a nice surprise since I was never impressed by his supposedly "serious" roles) make this a fun little ride. Not great cinema, with a few "what the heck were they thinking?" moments, but still really cool for at least one or two viewings.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
A movie for everyone.
I have to admit how skeptical I was prior to seeing this one. I thought it was going to be a generic flick, either just a girlie romance or teenybopper happy-fest. Wow, was I wrong. This was the sweetest, cutest movie ever, and even for the roughest guy who has a complete distaste for "chick flicks", you can't help but admit that Jennifer Garner's turn as goofy, 13-year-old-in-a-30-year-old-body Jenna Rink is completely flawless and absolutely hilarious. Even more than that, the "Thriller" dance scene is the best dance sequence ever in a movie. You know how most of the time, if there's some stupid dance scene in a movie, all you think is, "Oh, come on, how do all these people know this dance, and why is this even happening..."? Not here. I'm not going to spoil it, but you really have to see the movie to understand the whole thing, it just makes sense why everyone knows the dance and why it's important to the movie. Even though that was probably the dealbreaker for me, there's plenty more to keep most people in the moment with this movie. Mark Ruffalo is so believable as Matt Flamhaff that it feels so natural, like stumbling across the boy next door talking to a girl or something. Add that to the fact that by the end of the movie, you feel like you already know Jennifer Garner and that she's your long-lost best friend, and you have a perfect, 100% winner with just about any group that might see it. Really, check it out...I didn't want to bother with it, even as a rental, and now I watch it every couple of weeks, because it's a blast, the kind of fun that movies are meant to be.
The Final Cut (2004)
A definite disappointment
I don't often dislike movies whose ending requires a bit of inference from the audience; more often than not, they are among the better films out there. In this instance, however, it was a bit too much. By requiring that we assume that the "bad things" inferred throughout are actually what happened, and that we assume that the inferred ending is as we ourselves inferred, there is just far too much inference. I never like to have things handed to me on a silver platter, but half of what went on that seemed to be surrounded by so much intrigue just didn't really have all that much to do with the real point of the movie, and neither did the ending. Of course, by watching the whole thing, you can tell by the end what it was that the director wanted you to understand about it, but the heart of the film was at the periphery and the primary plot line didn't meld into it much, if at all. Just as things were heating up, it was over. A half hour added on would have given us, at the very least, assurance that things were indeed headed in the direction that the last five minutes seemed to infer. Have you noticed the repetition of a certain word in this review? I hope so. Additionally, if you were to exclude everything that was nonessential to the plot (in a very plot-driven movie), this would have been a 15-20 minute featurette. Ugh. Expand on what you really wanted to make a movie about and if you want filler, develop it more into a bit of a parallel plot line. Then show us where they come together.
Dracula 3000 (2004)
Good, sweet Jesus, have mercy.
Considering that they wanted to do a vampire movie in space, I thought, "Well, it'll probably be pretty cheesy, but at least interesting enough to see a different take on the whole genre." Whoops. I don't care what kind of movies you like; even if you're the biggest vampire, horror, thriller, or suspense fan in the world, or adversely, if you've never seen a horror movie before and would expect that your first would be impressive in any way whatsoever...you're wrong. I don't think I've ever seen a "made for TV movie" or after-school special this bad. I've never seen a TV pilot show this bad. I've never seen footage of animals sleeping or shitting that's as bad as this. This is, by far, the single biggest waste of hours you could otherwise spend contemplating the importance of dish towels and their effect on your life. I would far rather be trapped in a bathroom for weeks with nothing to consume but my own urine and excrement than watch even a single clip of this movie again. Watching this made me wish for the fates that the characters fell to instead of dealing with knowing that I paid money to watch it. It was, however, like a train wreck: so bad you just couldn't help but watch, hoping something good might happen. It didn't. Please, for the love of God, if you or your friends - even if using illicit substances while doing so - even consider watching this movie, choose instead to have a contest to see who can shoot a snot-rocket farther. It will bring you far greater enjoyment and entertainment.
Not exactly smart entertainment, but fun.
Look, I'm not going to pretend that this is some sort of masterpiece. Though it is basically another "generic action flick", the twists that they add to it make it worth watching. The way they incorporate their "recruitment program" into the movie is fun and original, and though Vin Diesel doesn't really "act" in it, it's a lot of fun to watch. It has a few suspenseful plot elements, and the way they incorporate his status as an extreme sports star (not a spoiler, it's in the previews) into the way he conducts himself as a secret agent makes it more believable. Ever think about some of the stunts that go on in an action movie and wonder, "Okay, exactly WHY would this particular person know how to do that?", because it seems completely unlikely that there would be some sort of training program for the stunt they just pulled off? This movie doesn't have that, because whether he's on a motorcycle, skis, or whatever, you can believe that an extreme sports star would be able to pull off what he's doing. Though the plot is as unrealistic as most movies of this genre, the stunts are a lot more believable than you'll find in most.