Movie Reviews (801-850)
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As all Edgar Allan Poe movies directed by Roger Corman it is a stylish Gothic movie with good atmosphere and a solid interesting story. Hazel Court has a darker quality over her which make her one of the better female actresses in the genre. Ray Milland is not bad either, but he is no Vincent Price who treats this stuff with a twinkle in his eye which makes any appearance entertaining. Instead, Ray goes a step too serious and become a tiny bit boring in the role which is probably not a nice thing to say about a man that has won an Academy Award, but it is the truth anyway.
Horror in 3-D and in a wax-museum that made Vincent Price a horror movie star and his best moment is taken from the silent "The Phantom of the Opera" when he reveals his "true" face. Fun to see Charles Bronson as a mute angry helping right hand and the make-up work is good. More forgettable are the main heroes who are boring and the story itself doesn't surprise much anymore and was old even in 1953 as it was a remake of "The Mystery of the Wax Museum" from decades earlier.
Fascinating film historic document of Eskimo life in the 1920s. It was the first true attempt at a documentary even if some scenes were staged. It is of course dated if you want to believe that life is the same in Greenland now.
It takes true talent to make something watchable out of this ridiculous story of a killer doll, but Brad Dourif's voice and the Chucky Doll is a fantastic mix together that creates movie magic. The human characters are less magical, but this has to be one of the few killer doll movies out there that at least makes some sense and works on the screen.
Sequel helped by the fact that the excellent Chucky doll and it's mimics combined with Brad Dorif voice still do wonders even if this now has become a movie about Chucky being an anti-hero spewing out one-liners. The ending at a factory that spews out dolls feels inspired after the rest of the film go through the motions. Good casting for several key roles help and Christine Elise is an attractive babysitter than any men would hire. Acceptable enough to have seen once.
Interesting change of atmosphere sending the story to a military camp and it helps that boy now has become a teenager as well. Andrew Robinson is the best in the film and hams it up as a barber that brutally cuts off people's hair before he gets the Sweeney Todd treatment himself. The dreadful script and boring direction ruin the film and there is a strange plot development when suddenly Chucky can transfer himself into other bodies at will? Then how come he wants to continue to live in a doll shell all his life and absolutely needed only the body of the young boy in the first two films because they were compatible? Stupid change and a stupid film because of it...
Finally it was understood how ridiculous and idiotic this premise really is and the franchise turned into a full-blooded horror comedy with blood, tits and humor instead. Jennifer Tilly as crazy serial killer and former lover add to the fun. Only the disappointing ending that we have seen million of times before is disappointing.
That Chucky gets a child is interesting in itself - is it even possible? Why then use such a lousy looking doll with wimpy voice from Billy Boyd? It isn't funny as a parody on itself or anything else. The film has the worst CGI effects that I have seen and I could almost believe this was a bad taste parody directed by John Waters - wait! - why did he not do it? He could at least let the "seed of Chucky" eat his own doll shit. Only Jennifer Tilly's parody of herself was marginally fun. Well, that was different.
A sequel that puts the film series back on track and tone after the dreadful last attempt. Fiona Dourif is a likeable heroine (and daughter to Brad) and worthy of the leading role. Going back and revisiting old plot elements from the original film series was also a smart move and give it a feel of full circle even if Brad Dourif look too old and unconvincing playing the same character in the flashbacks now without help from some CGI enhancement. The music also leaves a lot to be desired. Still, one of the better films in the series.
A more gory, action-packed and more over-the-top funny film than the original and I even felt it has better stunts too. Robert Davi and Claudia Christian is a interesting screen couple, but it is a shame we lost Joe Spinell who would have returned to his character from "Maniac" for this one making his "Maniac" character and this "Maniac Cop" part of the same universe. The replacement is dreadful and lacks the same intensity of Spinell. Original leads Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon reprise their roles for the sequel only to get brutally killed early on.
There is a lot of good pyrotechnics and explosions and it is nice to see Robert Davi returning as the main hero. The pace is much slower this time and is a much less interesting production that skips much of the humor for a full-blooded horror movie but it lacks inventiveness and becomes inferior to the first two. An ending that hopes for a new potential sequel that will never happen also annoys enormously.
Interesting character portrait of the musicians during their most troubled period before the release of the album, St. Anger, and before their redeeming return as one of the best live bands in the world. It gives also some interesting background to the band and their former history but it would have been nice to have seen and heard a couple of whole song performances from the studio sessions or from a concert to make this film perfect. There could have been a little less whining from Dave Mustaine as it is sad to see him still dwelling on the past like this as a ditched, bitter ex-wife.
One of the more entertaining "mad bomb men goes on a rampage" movies out there. Music kicks you into action mode at once. Dennis Hopper got a career redemption after spending most of the '80s in a drug haze which is good as he is pretty cool here, but nothing like his earlier crazier and more memorable roles. It also have a non-stop speedy feel throughout so that film title is actually good. Sandra Bullock do a terrible supporting role though and while pretty is very annoying role as she screams, complains and whine- she should praise the Gods that she got famous from the film because this role has no star quality over it.
Graceful and a lot of positive energy as the real life chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie make this film enormously watchable. Sadly it's potential of a spy couple is never really fulfilled. A better script with better dialogue would have helped a lot as it ends up predictable.
Unusual Academy Award nomination from Hollywood to an independent movie about upper-class people, but it is a well deserved nominee as the film is full of good dialogue and characters that have two facets (the one that they show everyone and the one that they hold secret to themselves) as they aspire to be perfect but probably will end up as failures. It is hugely likeable even though it tries at first not to be. Somehow I predicted a more depressing and sadder film at the end which this film thankfully is not.
A better than expected drama that has several plots that gets connected by a traffic accident. A likeable ensemble where especially Sandra Bullock is memorable as a racist bitch and Matt Damon is perfect as a sleazy cop. Good dialogue also help.
This one feels like a psycho-analytic version of "Dreamscape" and the hypnotic dream sequences do have a disturbing dreamy feel to it if you let the images and the music overcome your senses. It has solid acting and was the first Lithuanian film to actually get a theatrical distribution in North America, but the film also have the same non-humorous tragic feel that every serious Baltic drama seem to have and the main hero lacks any true depth. The romantic angle is also an enigma and seem more triggered by raw sexual energy than true love.
A well-written and beautiful directed movie that is targeted especially for dreamers and lovers of the play "Peter Pan". A young Freddie Highmore blows the established actors off the screen and the film has magical moments, but that the movie overlook the darkness that overcame the children of J.M. Barrie and that his "favorite" even took suicide in early age is unforgivable and makes this dark story end up in a very untruthful way.
The usual high quality animation that come from Studio Ghibli could have worked as an "old-fashioned" Hollywood studio film from the 1940s and it is almost sad that they didn't go 100% realism on the story and made the leading character a real person instead of a pig-man. The ending is a little underwhelming to me as it seem to be a poetic afterthought made because the director didn't know how to properly end it. The female characters are also boring this time which is very unusual for Ghibli.
One of the most underrated Studio Ghibli movies as this one manage to tell a lot about human dreams and finding one's way. As always excellently drawn and put together.
A love letter to all those mothers out there who have put their heart into helping their children growing up into young adults or - in this case - wolves. It is a breathtakingly beautiful drama to look at actually where the children just happen to be cubs. A gentle film with a message.
Surprising incestuous relationship drama between brother and sister if one start to think about it and how the characters declare their love for each other. It makes for an interesting and different romantic drama/anime film that's for sure with a lot of layers.
Sweet with unforgettable sequences with a silent bear-like forest spirit called Totoro. One of animation films' absolute best moments.
Exceptional mix of computer graphics and hand-drawn animations with likeable family characters but also cool avatar designs in the virtual world. Great comments about the social network and how it can be used against us and our own family. Filmed is weakened by it's predictable "bad guy" and that the gambling game at the end is not one that is much known in the western world.
Sean Connery as a Soviet Submarine captain was a masterful casting choice to be honest in this which was the first Jack Ryan movie - excellent for it's time and Alec Baldwin does a good job as the lead. A supporting cast to die for to full of my great favorites. Exciting nail-biting moments and an interesting plot which is now more like an interesting historical document since it was set so close to the fall of the Soviet Union.
Great production with a lot of stars and an absorbing story about IRA terrorism. Harrison Ford is one of the few actors that could replace Alec Baldwin as a main actor and get away with his all American hero version - even if Alec's version was more realistic. A lot of great action moments and solid editing, but the I.R.A. seems like a cliche - they look at music videos of folk music band Clannad and don't use condoms. Patrick Bergin is a boring villain too and I didn't like the anti-climatic showdown.
Great mix of action, plot and political intrigue in what is the best of the Harrison Ford led Jack Ryan films, but it has lost it's impact due to many series and films that have used this film as basis for their own story lines.
A failed reboot where one tried to start the franchise from the beginning, but I felt that they should have respected what have come before as this film series had only a hardcore following and a new beginning would not bring in new ones. Even worse was that Ben Affleck is too clean-shaven, fake-smiling, inexperienced and artificial to be believable as Jack Ryan and this become the film's downfall. The plot about neo-nazis is believable though but has nothing to do with the original novel. There is a scene with a shocking detonation of a dirty bomb that is even more believable today than ever and a grueling image that stick in my mind. The plot holds attention.
Remake of the excellent TV western comedy series with sci-fi. This one has great looking girls and production values with a memorable scene with a mechanic spider destroing a western town sticking out, but that is also all it has as this is one of the big failed Hollywood blockbusters. The first major problem is the non-existent chemistry between Smith and Kline which is essential in order to make this film work. The jokes are misplaced and stupid. Kenneth Branagh has gotten Alzheimer and seemingly forgotten how to act and believe he lives in a silent movie production. Ted Levine's character is so disgusting and moronic I want to kick at the screen. The annoying title music from Will Smith become a hit and it's music video was a much better production than the film itself even if I hate the song.
A good-looking Australian western about one of the country's most famous heroes who fought and lost against evil British officers. Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom are the brothers-in-arms. The film lacks something special in it's execution and the characters feel half-finished and while none involved seem to give their best acting they also have very little to work with drama-wise except being very angry with corrupt police officers. Naomi Watts (who I love) is especially lackluster and forgettable here and only in it for a nice paycheck I hope.
Samuel L. Jackson appear as the new Shaft, actually the nephew of the original Shaft, Richard Roundtree who also appear in a small role. Jackson is not a sex machine though, but still fight for injustice as he tries to stop bastard rich boy Christian Bale who is a mean, slimy racist bastard. Some inspired humor and the update of the title song works, but the subplot with a drug ring don't work well. Jackson is cool but the film is too Hollywood "safe" and lacks everything that made the genre cool in the 1970s - topless women and insane violence. An okay attempt, but seeing Richard Roundtree made me miss the original even more.
A interesting concept that is one half "Lord of the Flies" and one half "Cube" make this a fun "action movie for teens" with well-developed characters that are interesting to follow. It is also surprising brutal and have frank screen deaths, but it is ruined by an annoying and unsurprising conspiracy behind everything that is introduced midway in the film and a girl is thrown into the mix to create more tension between the boys. There is also a very easy solution to solve the maze, but since these characters are teenagers I guess we have to dismiss them all as not as bright and school dropouts.
Dario Argento deliver a decent giallo movie with Max von Sydow playing an inspector who tries to find a serial killer . Music from Goblin and brutal effective murder setpieces. Taleted Chiara Caselli is the next victim in line and refreshing to watch after Dario has overused his daughter in every film since she came in puberty. Sadly, the story itself is tired and based on past glories and the killer is pretty obvious. It could have also needed a little more cash to deliver some better gore and visuals, but I found this to be an okay film from Argento.
Gorgeous and lavish looking vampire movie with an excellent ensemble, especially Kirsten Dunst steals the show as a killer trapped in a child's body while Tom Cruise surprises as Lestat in one of his most unique career roles. One want to revisit this world from time to time as it is hypnotizing in its erotic vampire kisses and has a great operatic epic quality to it. The vampire split in two by a scythe was one of many scenes in this film that was pretty bloody and unique for a Hollywood film at it's time. It is easy to understand why Brad Pitt was miserable during the production of the film. His character was the most boring in the book and it is the same here as he is just sulking and feeling lonely all the time. The book and film also made vampires so sexy and romantic that they lost any appeal as anything really horrific and scary again in pop culture.
Probably the best photographed, gorgeously shot and epic propaganda war drama that was made during WW2. It has a great acting trio in Roger Livesey who gets better with more and more makeup on him, Anton Walbrook likeable as a (God forbid!) nice German and Deborah Kerr in a fascinating triple role. It can be a confusing film as it mixes all genres: comedy, drama and war epic into one big cauldron and doesn't really give into any of them, but I loved it and the cinematography is gorgeous. Winston Churchill loses his legend status in my history book as he actually tried to ban the film due to his own personal distaste for the film - he hated Germans no matter what.
Thriller drama that follow two characters that both have their own damaged emotional core and are forced to consider if vengeance is a good path to walk. Do anyone really walks away clean after killing someone? It is a revenge movie without going the usual standard of a hero killing off those "who deserve it" which is enormously refreshing. High quality acting, direction and cinematography make the film a gripping one even if it is sometimes quirky and has the typical Asian flavor of sleazy perverted dark humor as we have a scene where a woman scream in agony and pain while a group of perverted men in a neighboring room thinks she has sex and group-masturbates. A dark depressing universe.
Engaging visuals, fast paced and a memorable vengeance story with plenty of gruesome moments that stick out like violence with a hammer violence and eating of live animals. It's bleak streaks of humor and the strange feel of poetic (in)justice also is gripping. Maybe I'm also a little disturbed and terrible in my mind but I predicted the surprise plot twist in the film even though there was a shock (to me) that the film actually went through with it. Still, a very strong film that stick in my mind.
My personal favorite of Chan-wook Park's Vengeance trilogy mainly because it is fast-paced with a lot of flashbacks and editing and actually dare us into thinking how far will we be pushed before we would kill someone? I know that I would probably be one of the parents here. This is strong stuff with meaning.
Based upon Clive Barker's short story. This is a film filled with memorable imagery and Tony Todd is enormously effective as Candyman as is Virginia Madsen as the woman investigating the old myth. It has an authentic feel due to it's ghetto scenes and while it has stupid convenient behavior from characters chanting the name of the killer so that they can get killed off it is hard not to say this film feels like a filmed old urban legend. It may not be the smartest written horror movie but luckily it is one of the most visual and gripping ones.
A rather historic accurate film that exploits the fact that attractive upper class Nazi girls were used as prostitute agents for the Third Reich. Excellent sets by Ken Adams and gorgeously lit film help as Tinto Brass deliver his most depraved and degrading erotic movie filled with Nazi uniforms and sex-fetishes that floods the film. If you desire Teresa Ann Savoy and Sara Sperati this is the movie to watch, but the forgettable cabaret and song numbers with Swedish screen legend Ingrid Thulin drag the pace down. A scene with a S&M Norwegian spy is fantastic as the actor clearly talks and is Norwegian. Sexploitation at it's best.
Marlene Dietrich (and her legs) steal every moment in the film as showgirl that steals the dignity of Emil Jannings. Jannings' acting is underrated as he starts as a stiff pompous teacher almost being a caricature before breaking totally down ending up as a sad love-driven clown that loses both his status, job and friends to a woman who sees him as a fool. Perfect direction and technical merits too.
It is always a big cred. when you actually make something by hands and film it over a long time instead of just putting something on a computer. I have always liked the original children's book that is both witty and funny and the film have a lot of it's dark humor and fantasy intact. Sadly, the movie also have terrible songs and the kid actor could have been better.
Incredibly entertaining and violent bloodbath where Sly slaughters a motorcycle sect of criminal psychopaths that kill beautiful girls. Birgitte Nielsen does her best role as a hunted deer in high heels and Andrew Robinson is perfectly sleazy as a cop nobody likes. Brian Thompson is one of the most disgusting screen villains - and gets you "hooked" from the first scene where he (and the rest of the villains) bang two axes together. Excellent direction and music.
A fast paced and entertainingly stupid mountain rescue film. A selfish man justify the deaths of everyone in a climbing team so he can save one person - his sister. Boring stereotypical characters but Bill Paxton sleaze it up as a selfish bastard and I liked Scott Glenn's smart mountain expert who is too good for the film. Nice to see a sympathetic Muslim in a Hollywood production too, but Alexander Siddig's character is underdeveloped and sadly also underused. One of those films that seem to get worse for each time I view it.
Likable ensemble with a Hitchcock concept about an item that everyone wants and kills for. Action with consequences where even civilians get hit by stray bullets and die gruesome deaths. Car chases that are intense and actually keep me on the edge of the seat sometimes, but he "tough hero guide his own surgery" sequence is totally out-of-place and stupid to watch. Also strange oblivious behavior from the French police several times in the movie.
The hot Maggie Q. get trained as an assassin stripper that has to fight for her life and also get raped by ugly men before finally getting to experience a few seconds of happiness. It is a male fantasy action movie for sure, but the direction is entertaining enough and the film takes good care of Maggie's slender body. The film was good training for Maggie to do her "Nikita" role some years later as this is basically the same idea but with more sex and a few wild "Battle Royale" scenes mixed in for fun's sake. I is a rehash of "Naked Killer", a Category III movie though.
It never manage to be as crazy or inventive as the first one. Some jokes are thin and repetitive and Leslie Nielsen is so annoyingly dense sometimes that it gets irritating. Some fun visual gags are laugh-out funny but many never ignites. Still it is like a filmed cartoon without the manic pace, but why this brutal treatment of Mrs. George Bush when it would have been funnier to see George getting kicked around?
At least it feels like a final film in a trilogy. This one has Anna Nicole Smith perfectly cast as a dense femme fatale, but the last half is ruined by an overlong sequence at the Academy Awards with a lot of unfunny, "fallen from grace" cameo actors making fun of themselves. Raquel Welch do still look stunning though but should have gotten better work elsewhere.
Roland Emmerich remakes the same "end of the world" story again and again - as a reborn Irwin Allen with a better budget, but not necessarily better actors. A script clumsy and stupid - how possible is it that of all the few characters to survive : a father, a son and his potential love interest survive even if they are in different parts of the globe?
Superhero movie that really tries to become a deeper and more meaningful comic book movie than Wolverine's first movie. Wolverine, ninjas and samurais is something that blend good together and makes for a nice scenery change in the series and Hugh Jackman gives it his all as Wolverine. The fighting on the high-speed train is memorable fun and I liked the scenes with Famkee Janssen as they give Wolverine a more psychological interesting depth. The Japanese models doing their film debuts are surprisingly good too, with the exception of Viper who is a badly written character and the acting worse - ruining a lot of the film's impact in the final scenes. It is not always necessary to rewrite character's background stories either - especially the Silver Samurai character was a lot more interesting in the comic books. It could have been even more brutal and better if it let our hero be without his powers for the entire fil as the ending ends up as an anticlimax as if the makers wasn't sure how to end the story realistic ending up with a terrible choreographed fight that will satisfy no one.