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 Posted:   Apr 4, 2010 - 5:47 AM   
 By:   MikeP   (Member)

Sherlock Holmes (2009) */****

I figured this movie could go either way. But I had no idea that, if it was bad, it would be this bad. I thought it captured the spirit of Holmes to a degree, but it was ultimately sunk by a story that seemed to make little sense half the time and was just boring the rest, with a villain who's off-screen for far too long to do any good. Not to mention the worst Hans Zimmer score I've ever heard. I'll stick with the Granada Sherlock Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett.

But then I give 1968's 'Night of the Living Dead' a higher rating than 'Citizen Kane' just to show you where my head's at.

Haha!! I would probably do the same, even though I don't care for the original Living Dead. big grin

Holmes - 3/10

Boring. My girlfriend had been wanting to see it , so, we tried it out. The story, yes, lacks any real menace or threat and takes entirely too long to even begin, 30 minutes before the story really gets into motion, and then we don't have any inkling of the any threat until an hour an - the action scenes were poorly shot , they were just...there... a huge misfire all around.

Runaway ( the Crichton /Selleck movie) 7/10

Had not seen this in years and picked it up from Amazon for $5. Still not a great movie but what struck me this time as how freaking AMAZING Tom Selleck is here - he sells the movie - indeed he saves it - he makes it watchable, he does what an actor is supposed to do, he draws you into the reality of the film and carries it home. The rest of the film, hit or miss - Gene Simmons as the bad guy is still laughable, he just glowers, or, has the Evil Wide Eyed Look - like he's channeling a silent movie villain.

Hachi A Dog's Tale 10/10

Absolutely loved this. A movie about a man and his dog, and their bond. Simple. And what's remarkable is the low key approach, how the movie earns it's emotion honestly, without the manipulation you'd expect in this type movie. That's probably why the studio dumped it and tossed it onto DVD, it's not the BIG MOMENT BIG DRAMA type Hollywood film. Funny, I was the one who cried during this one, not my girlfriend. A lovely sweet movie.

 Posted:   Apr 4, 2010 - 10:14 AM   
 By:   Josh   (Member)

The Andromeda Strain (1971)


 Posted:   Apr 4, 2010 - 12:17 PM   
 By:   mark ford   (Member)

The House Where Evil Dwells (1982) 5/10

Filmed in Kyoto, Japan, this ghost story starts off promising enough with a Samurai's murder of his wife and her lover followed by his suicide in 1840, but doesn't add up to much when it moves to the modern day. At least Susan George has some nude scenes to help partially save the day, plus it has a nice, mostly ethnic Japanese score by Ken Thorne.

Beware the demonic crabs accompanied by the sound of guttural chanting, they might take your soul while you're laughing!

 Posted:   Apr 4, 2010 - 12:56 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Child's Play 2 (1990) ***/****
Child's Play 3 (1991) ***/****

I've never seen these sequels until just this past week. It's amazing how jumbled I saw the Chucky series, starting with Bride of Chucky first back in 1999 or 2000, then seeing the original film just a few years ago, and now finally seeing the second and third. Haha!! Anyway, I enjoyed both of them, especially the second one. And I've normally never cared for Justin Whalin, but in the third film I liked him and completely bought him as a grown-up Andy. The military academy setting seemed a little odd, and a couple of the deaths were a bit uninspired, but I still liked it.

Now I just need to see Seed of Chucky, even though I've heard it's terrible. But I've seen all the others now, so I might as well see it just to complete the series.

 Posted:   Apr 4, 2010 - 12:56 PM   
 By:   mrscott   (Member)

Clash of the Titans / Rated PG-13 for violence between giant monsters and regular sized people, scary images and naughty stuff
This is a remake. The original COTT came out in 1981 and didn’t succeed at the box office. The new COTT hopes to do better. It is made in the real 3-D process. I have been somewhat critical of this process in the past. Calling it Real 3-D is like stringing empty beer cans together then hanging it around your neck and calling it real jewelry. Now we can move on to the Real review. Liam Neeson plays the God Zeus. Other important roles include Sam Worthington as Perseus, Ralph Fiennes as Hades and the beautiful Alexa Davalos as Andromeda. Alexa is the daughter of actress Mom, beautiful Alyssa Davalos. Alyssa is best known for her regular role in the MacGyver TV series in the late 80’s and made a recent unbilled small appearance in the latest incarnation of Nancy Drew in 2007. Alexa is best known for this film. COTT is a BIGG movie with lots of BIG creatures on the attack. It is BIGBIGBIG. About as BIG as it gets. Like Kirstie Alley after her last trip to the Las Vegas Hilton all you can eat buffet. The first thing you are going to notice when you see COTT is a sense of dejavu. The volcano scenes will look strangely familiar. They were filmed at Dinorwic Slate Quarry in Wales. I’m sure that you, like most of us, have visited the quarry but if not you remember it from the films Willow (1988) and/or Street Fighter (1994). It is a really big quarry. This movie follows the same lines as the original. Perseus (like Sinbad the Sailor and Jason and the Argonauts) is on a quest. He and his Special Force fighters must take on evil spirits and giant scorpions to get to a big showdown with the original Medusa. Avert your eyes. After Medusa comes the biggest of the big creatures…. the Kraken. Yes, the same Kraken who took down Johnny Depp at the end of the Pirates of the Caribbean II. As Kraken’s go this one is on a frequent films program. Perseus, according to Greek legend, destroys them all. I cannot confirm most of these things as all I know about Greek legend comes from the movie “Zorba the Greek”, information printed on the back label of Grecian Formula containers and bottles of Ouzo. Good special effects and big fights can’t keep the slow moving quest from being more than average. The first COTT ran 118 minutes and seemed a little long. This they have corrected as the new version runs 118 minutes. According to Greek legend.
Rated 2.5 out of 4.0 questions as to why Anthony Quinn, who was from Mexico, was cast to play Zorba who was from Greece and where will the Kraken show up next?

 Posted:   Apr 5, 2010 - 5:11 AM   
 By:   Urs Lesse   (Member)


I might have to re-watch it after a while, but as of now, my ass, San Francisco did look ugly back then frown The movie makes it appear like I would imagine a Northern England city in the 1970s.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2010 - 11:26 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Seed of Chucky (2004) */****

Awful. Absolutely awful. Even Brad Dourif's vocal performance was just "okay." I can't believe Don Mancini considers Child's Play 3 the worst of the series. This one easily takes that honor. Gets a * just for Jennifer Tilly in that form-fitting white dress. Otherwise, just plain bad.

 Posted:   Apr 8, 2010 - 5:00 AM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Yes, Seed Of Chucky was rancid. Not even good for laughs.

 Posted:   Apr 10, 2010 - 12:34 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

The weekly round-up:

The Informant! -- Steven Soderbergh, 2009 -- Isn't it amazing how old they can make the 90s look? I shudder to think how this past decade will look to my kids! Really, this is a wonderful, wonderful movie. An offbeat, hilarious character study. The biggest criticism I read was that people couldn't connect with Matt Damon's Mark Whitacre, but I didn't have that problem at all. (Make of that what you will.) This is a movie that reveals itself layer by layer, always keeping you on your toes but never quite knocking you off balance, and it's just a pleasure to watch. (****½)

The Bad Lieutenant – Port of Call: New Orleans -- Warner Herzog, 2009 -- Warner Herzog’s reimagining of Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant is a grand example of cinema occurring first as tragedy, then as farce. It is also a near-perfect thematic inverse of the original. And to think I came very close to not seeing it (for three good reasons: (1) A title that sounds like a video game, (2) Nicolas Cage, and (3) Eva Mendes). Where the original was a painful passion play that opened with the lt already so bad he was barely human struggling for some scrap of redemption, this is a black comedy of an lt going bad, embracing the bad to work through his problems. And Herzog and Cage, as you might imagine, don't hold back. Unfortunately, Cage is already such a self-parody that it's hard to tell what to make of his performance here -- is he just doing what he does? Is Herzog being cruel? I don't know. It's a whole meta level of the film. And I don't really know what to make of the film. It was funny and disturbing and ridiculous and while I had some problems with it, I really got into it. (****)

Black Gold -- Marc Francis and Nick Francis, 2006 -- Documentary about coffee production, focusing on Ethiopian coffee growers. Effectively shows the plight of coffee producers the world over since the ICA collapsed in 1989, and with it a set price for coffee. The price of beans have been extremely volatile for the past couple decades, mostly in the crapper with only a couple brief spikes, even as the sales of product by Starbucks, Procter and Gamble, Nestle and Sara Lee have been doing better than ever. So producers -- in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, mostly -- are often working at a net loss despite long hours of hard work, unable to afford basic nutrition and education for themselves and their families, even as the corporations rake in more and more billions of dollars in profits. Given that the majority of America and probably Europe enjoys coffee every day, it would be nice if the producers had a better deal, and if the consumers had some idea of where that staple of their diet came from, and what sort of working conditions provided it. This is not the most sophisticated look at the topic, but it's a pretty good introduction, or a nice visual supplement if you already know more. (****)

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever -- Ti West, 2007/2009 -- Here's a movie that was apparently completed in 2007 and shelved until 2009. Not a good sign. But wait, it gets worse! Apparently the producers did such copious refilming that West left the project and wanted an Alan Smithee credit but, not being in the DG, wasn't allowed to do that. So don't take this film's awfulness as a mark against West, who's quite a promising young director (see House of the Devil). Basically, the disease that wreaked havoc in the original gets into a school (during prom, natch), and before you know it a bunch of annoying youth are dying horribly and gorily. And then the g-men in gas masks show up. There's very little fun or funny or clever about this movie. A few interesting gory bits for those who enjoy being unnerved, but mostly it's a mean-spirited and stupid teen death movie. (*)

Couples Retreat -- Peter Billengsley, 2009 -- I'm not sure why this movie is so loathed. It's not great, and it certainly suffered for following the similar and better Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it wasn't terrible. The chief complaint I read was that it wasn't funny enough. I actually thought it could have used more work in the dramatic department than the comedic. It would have been nice if the plot resolutions hadn't been so pat and expected, and if maybe one of the couples had ended up taking an unexpected direction. Also, it was a little curious that half of the couples had a 10-year age difference between the husband and the wife -- is that really that common? Anyway, not a great movie, but not terrible. An amusing enough comedy. (**½)

Alice (Neco z Alenky) -- Jan Svankmejer, 1988 -- After Burton's boring film I've kind of been craving an iteration of Alice that was a little more imaginative and different. This was it. Czech animator Svankmejer recasts Alice's dream of Wonderland as a domestic nightmare. In 1988 Czechoslovakia was in its final troubled couple years as a Communist country. Alice is a little girl, bored, seen but not heard, her curiosity stymied. Her dream of wonderland is an exaggeration of her dirty dilapidated home, with bare bulbs hanging, floors creaking, windows opening into new rooms. The creatures and characters she meets are constructs of household objects, brought stunningly to life by Svankmejer's animation. While this wonderland, like Carroll's, is fraught with symbolism and is itself symbolic of the child's entrance into the nonsensical adult world, Svankmejer's wonderland is, unlike most movie versions, not a happy place -- Svankmejer's Alice is growing up into a less happy adulthood than Carroll's. The movie is not without its problems. It's got an extremely annoying dialogue effect that lasts that entire movie and gets quickly on one's nerves. It's beautiful and magical and surreal, but it's not well-paced; it takes a while to get going and is more picaresque than narrative, which helps the dream-feeling but doesn't always help move things along. Also, its transfer is not that clean and it's only available dubbed, not subtitled. Which isn't that bad, because there's very little dialogue, and most of it is coming out of animated mouths rather than Alice's, but even so I generally prefer the original soundtrack with subtitles to a questionable dub. Still, while not for everyone and not without problems, it's an astonishing and magical and dreamlike film and recommended to those who don't hate more experimental films. (****)

"Darkness Light Darkness" ("Tma/Svetlo/Tma") -- Jan Svankmejer, 1989 -- 7-minute short that was included on the Alice disc. An astonishing animation of a body assembling itself in a room. (*****)

 Posted:   Apr 10, 2010 - 7:20 PM   
 By:   Cryogenix   (Member)

Planet 51 - It's about what I had expected. Some lulls here and there, but overall a good flick. The setting was charming and hip - kind of Future-Retro. Rover was the coolest character. Xenomutt was funny, too. The score was exciting but unmemorable. Definitely not worth paying more than $11.99 for the DVD - 8.5

Sicko - Another romp with Michael Moore. His best so far. Not sure why I waited this long to see it, since I'm a big fan of his other works. His latest one, "Capitalism: A Love Story," is on the front burner for next week. Sicko is brilliant! Makes me want to either move to Canada or England, or rally Americans to revolt against the government so that perhaps some good, needed change might finally come to our country - 10

Tomb Raider - Of all the "real" people they could've gotten to play Lara Croft, why Jolie? The movie was merely about her flaunting her big eyes and ugly-ass big lips. I noticed how they avoided showing her from behind or too sideways - that's because she has no ass. A clunky, square, mannish body that wasn't interesting to watch. I think Una Damon (Deep Rising) would've been a far better choice to play Lara. Some great effects and locales, but a stupid, boring film. Cradle of Life was even worse. I tossed both discs... - 6

Jumper - A decent concept that fell way short of its potential. Not a bad film, just not nearly as cool or as imaginative as it should've been. The half-baked love story was pretty lame. Despite my relatively high rating, I'll never watch this again - 7.5

Futurama - Seasons 1 & 2 - A friend turned me onto this cartoon a few months ago, and I gotta say it's superb in every way. Sharp, witty, clever and highly imaginative. The series is starting up again in June of this year - 10.

Has anyone seen The Fourth Kind or Gentlemen Broncos? If so, any thoughts?

 Posted:   Apr 10, 2010 - 7:40 PM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Force 10 From Navarone (1978): 6/10

Okay "sequel" to The Guns Of Navarone has a great cast, rousing Ron Goodwin music and a topless Barbara Bach, but it also feels like a movie from 1965 that had been kept in a vault for a dozen years before finally getting released in the late 70s. Fun, but wallows in WWII "guys on a mission" cliches. At least Eegah! is in it...

 Posted:   Apr 10, 2010 - 11:22 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Cryogenix, I have seen Gentlemen Broncos. My capsule review was:

The latest offbeat comedy from the director of Napoleon Dynamite. This movie wavers between inanely hilarious and just plain inane, unfortunately spending more time in the latter mode than the former. It could have been an interesting look both at the creative process and science fiction fandom if it had any respect for either. Basically, a kid writes a science fiction novel and submits it to a publisher's contest. One of the judges, a famous sci-fi author riding his own success but out of ideas, rewrites it and publishes it as his own. The kid who wrote it, meanwhile, sells the rights to a local indie filmmaker. So we see three sequences from three alternative versions of the same story. Which could have been interesting if the kid's story weren't so awful. Anyway. Occasionally hilarious but more often completely misses its mark, because the filmmaker doesn't seem to have any understanding of the culture he's attempting to skewer. (**½/*****)

 Posted:   Apr 11, 2010 - 12:00 AM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009) ****/****

Loved it! Beginning to end, it was just one fun ride, with a heavy dose of action, good vocal performances, and solid animation. Will definitely be getting a copy of this.

 Posted:   Apr 18, 2010 - 2:25 PM   
 By:   Urs Lesse   (Member)


I have been undecided as to whether this deserves 7 or 8 points. It's a very strong tale, though I guessed one (in hindsight: lesser important) sting early. My undecision is very much about the music. Early in the movie, I was quite impressed with the low bass. Later on, I came to find it a bit too much (not irritating, but too obvious). Thus 7 and not 8.
Still, very strong.

 Posted:   Apr 18, 2010 - 4:18 PM   
 By:   Cryogenix   (Member)

Mastadge, thanks for the info re: Gentlemen Broncos. Guess I'll wait to find the DVD used.

Igor - I had no expectations. It was a spontaneous purchase since it was cheap. I simply didn't care for it and kept nodding off and fast-forwarding - 5

The House of the Devil - I bought this thinking it might be another House of 1000 Corpses, but it wasn't. It felt 100% like a good 80's horror flick, except without the horror. The 80's songs were great, the clothing and hair were very 80's, and the style of the film and atmosphere were exceptionally 80's. This seemed more like an 80's flick than anything actually created in the 80's. The lighting, camera angles, movement and framing were very interesting, and were the only things that kept me watching - I never lost interest, despite this being more of a voyeuristic drama without much drama, and little suspense except towards the end when the score picks up some momentum as the action increases. Not sure why this missed the mark, since it had all the right elements: a big old house, a nearby cemetery, creepy people, a Halloween-like night, plenty of eerie shadows, things that go bump in the night, and total isolation. A very good film that delivers nothing great, but offers something very unique that I can't quite put my finger on. I wouldn't read any detailed reviews about it. Just see it cold. BTW, I didn't realize until just now, after IMDB'ing it, that this was a film that was trying to emulate the 80's. No wonder - 8.5

The Ruins - I reviewed this last Summer and didn't care for it much - I think I gave it a 5 or 6. It was a lot better the second time around and this time I didn't laugh hysterically during the gory scenes - 8.5

The Game - I had no idea clue what this film was about when I found it cheap for $2, but it was fairly good. Not nearly as suspenseful or as riveting as Disclosure, and lacking the character complexity of Wall Street, but Douglas was very good in this role and the movie flowed well until about the last 30 minutes, at which point I felt like I didn't care what happened just as long as the damned movie ended soon. It was all too secretive and cat-and-mouse without being really all the interesting at times. Good for one viewing and that's it - 6.5

 Posted:   Apr 18, 2010 - 8:41 PM   
 By:   mrscott   (Member)

Kick-Ass / Rated R for a lot of bloody brutal violence, bad language, sex, drugs and rock and roll.
I’m sure that most of you recall the last episode of season 3 of MacGyver broadcast May 9, 1988. As you know it was a simple story of good guys versus bad guys in the attempted take over of an Asian shipping business. One of the good guys was Ernie Reyes, Jr. Then 16 ERJ looked about 12 years old. He was a monk in a monastery brought into the fight after his grandfather is attacked and killed. ERJ was a show stealer. Although he appeared very young he was a kicking, punching and martial arts wiz. Bad news for Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver) who was always the cleverest guy on TV but stuck as a sidekick to ERJ. ERJ is not in Kick-Ass (but has appeared recently doing stunt work in Avatar and Alice in Wonderland) but he has a very capable fill in. Kick-Ass is a teener and super hero wannabee. He has no super powers. He looks ridiculous in his green skin diver disguise. He gets the poop beat out of him on a regular basis. But he has guts and a determination to fight crime. A big crime boss runs things with a brutal simplicity and a large gang of thugs. KA has no chance against them. Enter Hit-Girl…. and her dad. HG is played by Chloe Moretz. Chloe was born in 1997, which means she was 12 when making KA. Nicholas Cage plays her widowed ex-cop dad who is a lot like Bat Man. They have no super powers but they make up for it in armament, smarts, and fighting ability. Especially show stealing, movie dominating Chloe Moretz. She looks a lot like Drew Barrymore in E.T. except a few years older. Cute as Shirley Temple she dons a mask, a costume and a purple wig and turns into a one girl fighting extravaganza. Overall KA, which runs 118 minutes, is a little too long for a storyline that is very predictable. It also has an identity problem in that it seems to be a teen angst movie coupled with a brutal crime drama and never sure which angle will dominate. It drags a little until CM enters the scene as Hit-Girl then the hitting begins. A few subplots and characters appear, which seem to be lifted from ideas we have seen before in Spider-Man and Batman movies leaving lots of room for a sequel should Kick-Ass be a financial success. The real success here is young Moretz who projects juvenile innocence and Dirty Harry style cop savvy with ease. And she is the real super hero of Kick-Ass. If no sequel appears, I look forward to her next movie whatever it turns out to be. Actually it’s already here since she is also in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and has lead billing in a movie to be released later this year called Jack and the Beanstalk. Her billing in the film precedes Christopher Lloyd, Chevy Chase, Katey Sagal and the voice of James Earl Jones as the Giant. Maybe I’m not the only one who recognizes talent when I see it. Hit-Girl indeed.
Rated 3.0 out of 4.0 only because of you know who.
If 10 is the standard then 7.50

 Posted:   May 8, 2010 - 3:03 AM   
 By:   Urs Lesse   (Member)

UP! - 7/10

Never cried so much like a baby during the initial 10-15 minutes of a movie!

3:10 TO YUMA - 6/10

Technically well made, but uninspired. What's the point?
Ben Foster was very good though. And so was Beltrami. smile

 Posted:   May 9, 2010 - 4:33 PM   
 By:   MikeP   (Member)

The Lovey Bones 2/10

A huge misfire, stunningly stale and bad - having not read the book I don't know if it's good or bad that many changes were made but, you can see why it was tinkered with in post for some time.

When the bad guy meets the young girl and actually does the Evil Guy "muuaaahhhahahhaha" laugh...I knew we were headed for trouble.

Gorgeous effects that weren't really needed, awkward melodrama, Susan Sarandon in a role that seemed like a Desperate Housewives cast off - it was frustrating how the movie just falls apart fast and then just....goes on. And on.

 Posted:   May 9, 2010 - 4:52 PM   
 By:   Scott   (Member)

THE CRAZIES-1973-8/10

A Romero film that had sliped under my radar until now. A plane crash releases germ warfare on a small Pennsylvania town. Chaos erupts in every direction. The acting is a little stiff at first but the film really takes off when it enters the second act. Scary premise but the film is surprisingly fun to watch. A true grindhouse treat! The Blu-Ray from Blue Underground offers a terrific transfer of the film. I doubt it looked this good in 73!

 Posted:   May 9, 2010 - 6:38 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)


Grotesque. Degenerate. Insipid


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