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All reviews - DVDs (113)

not as bad as it may look

Posted : 8 years, 1 month ago on 14 May 2009 08:49 (A review of Death Race 2000)

i fully expected that this would be laughably bad, and in fact its like watching a fairly decent saturday morning tv movie. nothing great about it, but you'll sit through it and enjoy the ride.

the acting is at best soap opera quality; i'm not sure whats worse the psuedo-tv reporters or stallone trying to figure out what acting is.

the special effects are almost no where to be found. there are stunts that are overly slow and rather unmotivated. including both driving scenes and a fight.

the cars are just silly, and thats unfortunate as the movie is supposed to be about the deadly machines and their drivers. they're far more of an old school comic book dramatic then they are dangerous looking. they bounce around like go carts with spraypaint and clown car appendages. its difficult to believe that if these cars hit someone, which is how the scoring for the race is done, that they would not actually completely fall apart.

all in all its a quick plot: racers kill people for points as they compete against each other. most of the racers die by the end. and this 'sport' has become a national pride. and there is a resistance group trying to undermine and eliminate the race by infiltrating it. and of course a small bit of a love story. thats about it.

what hurts the movie the most, despite lackluster performances and low budget thrills which are perfectly watchable, is one of the main discoveries of the story. the main character, frankenstein, who has been surgically rebuilt after previous races, keeps his hand gloved. until its revealed to his navigator....as a visual pun. what? i thought the scene of stallone shooting a machine gun into a crowd without killing people was an odd mistake of something that perhaps was cut or never filmed and then had to be glanced over in the final sequence. but a "hand grenade" that is a literal hand with a grenade (half showing) built onto it...thats just lame!




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stellaluna ain't no english lesson

Posted : 8 years, 1 month ago on 11 May 2009 08:05 (A review of Stellaluna)

the kids might like it, but parents will notice the horrible examples of english in the movie. "ain't" isn't a word, as the saying goes,but worse "ain't...no" is grammar at its worse.
you cold probably strip this movie of its musical numbers, which seem tacked on after the fact anyways, and the movie would be much better. the poor examples of english are mostly relagated to those segments and frankly the musical numbers are sub-par.
other than that, the movie runs a decent 40 mins and is nothing more than fair. nothing great here, nothing really even good, just above being useless. it may entertain the kids for a moment if you can tolerate the english and believe that kids do not learn from these things.

for the adults there is one moment that is aimed at them (Stella! Stella!) and otherwise they'll probably toss this one in the back of the bin and hope their kids never ask to see it again.


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love you to pieces

Posted : 8 years, 1 month ago on 2 May 2009 04:13 (A review of Stacy [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC])

stacy is a weird movie without a doubt. low budget story telling with some poetic sense that perhaps is a bit lost in translation. i've seen a number of japanese (and chinese) films that have this effect on me. theres somthing more here that i'm not grasping. i'm positive its a cultural subtlety that i wouldn't know, having never lived there and only knowing bits and pieces. that is to say that i hesitate to condemn the film for faults which may be perfectly fine in another context.

my impression is that this film provides a unique love story to the zombie genre. it essentially equates the coming back to live with the desire to be loved. cool! the budget and the clear attempts to be a comedy somewhat confuse this. its funny, quirky, gory, and sentimental. a strange brew for sure. the acting is so so, the filming mediocre mostly, the script is convincing if repetive at the end, and the special effects low budget but totally fun (lots of blood, guts, and gore). the zombies are the stumbling type with a almost electric spasm tweaking. theres a couple subplots which are fairly well rounded (even a brokeback mountain moment).

getting to the end is almost tedious. the mere 80mins begins to feel stretched out, and the last 15 or so just seems like nothing but really confused filler until the actual ending sequence which is worth the wait. the end is drama with a comedic twist.

all in all the movie is watchable, entertaining in fact, and certainly unique story wise. i'd recommend seeing it, but its not one you'll seek for your collection. just an unusual take on a zombie flick, with some worthwhile additions.


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dean part 1

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 25 April 2009 05:38 (A review of East of Eden (Two-Disc Special Edition))

so i've never seen james dean before i watched this. didn't really know what all the fuss was about. i mean sure he was decent looking, but to me nothing profound. i always thought he looked a bit old for his age. so i was skeptical of watching him act.

surprise, its a good movie. and his acting, which i've heard mixed things about, was really good. minus a few moments but for the time it seems to me he was exceptionally good.

the plot takes a long time to develop but never becomes boring nor drags on. its entertaining through and through. at points i had expectations and it almost never happened how i imagine. surprising but never purposefully shocking; just plain good writing.

a great old movie that should be seen.


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dated but classic horror

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 21 April 2009 07:25 (A review of Phantasm)

i saw this back when i was a kid and enjoyed it. picked it up on dvd to see it again. as with many films, what was fine then leaves a bit to be desired now.

the plot: a kid, his older brother, and his uncle (?) get mixed up with a otherworldly creepy "tall man" who masquerades as the funeral director. his creepy minions help him out and the mystery of what and who they are unfolds as they discover what the "tall man" is actually doing with them.
the unusual sized minions, and the motives of the "tall man" are explained. and thankfully they don't go into much detail about how it could be possible. (one of the movies assets is not toiling over details but using them as matter of fact possibilities. trust me explaining "how" in this movie would just be aweful for sure)

the acting isn't so much bad as it is far from good. the stunts (yes there are some minor ones) are laughable. the dialog is 70's lame, "man". the sets are cheap but effective. the filming is mixed and occasionally dark.
the music is good, typical 70's horror soundtrack, that plays a little less like a score than it does added music. often it fills the void where nothing much is happening in the film.

so whats so great about the film? its unique, fairly creepy although not to much, plods along at an ok pace with no major errors, and is still fun to watch today.



the worst part about this movie is the "twist ending". i seem to recall a lot of movies from back then attempting twist endings that ended up just being confusing. phantasm's "twist ending" isn't so much a twist as it is an about face that leaves you wondering what the hell was supposed to have happened. not sure what happened there. bad editing? who knows. unlike the rest of the movie which avoided the problems with horror and sci-fi plots, the ending seems like a train wreck that perhaps was suppose to be a cliff hanger to entice you to watch the sequel (i'll have to watch part II again).

if you expect a lot you'll probably not like this. if you're used to modern horror movies, this will seem slow and not terribly gory. if you know old horror films and appreciate them in that context, this is deffinately a cult classic worth seeing.



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still good

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 15 April 2009 08:42 (A review of Benny & Joon )

watching this again, its clearly dated. which is sort've sad. its a fun and quirky movie about two special people falling in love and how the family also has to deal with this.

johnny depp is great as always and is convincing doing the physical comedy ala buster keaton whom his character is obsessed with.

its light hearted with some serious moments. love, laughter, and comedy with some drama in a well balanced movie.

fun soundtrack too. the whole thing will stick in your mind, its certainly memorable. it does seemingly reek of the 80's, and being as it is a early 90's film that's not unexpected. in the end i wonder how many people watching this for the first time might find this trite and a tad boring, for those of us that saw it back then its a good memory.


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wild and demonic

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 5 April 2009 07:17 (A review of House of 1000 Corpses)

i prefer House of 1000 Corpses to Zombie's second movie with these characters (Devil's Rejects). House is almost cliche in its general plot; a group of young people get stranded while driving and end up a a house full of a homicidal bad-roads sort've family. Zombie is smarter than to fall to cliche though, his films are clear homages to this these concepts and he is able to breathe new life into them.

House moves along with many twists and turns giving us something which is not exactly unexpected but rather something that feels fully developed. these weird things that happen seem utter plausible if manically demented.

Where Devil's Rejects spends the majority of its time trying to be vile, House develops the characters and story into a fully enjoyable experience. Its weird, its vile, its demented, and its totally fun.


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underappreciated

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 4 April 2009 06:01 (A review of The Goonies)

honestly i do think this movie, even despite its well known status, is somewhat underappreciated. i guess it is on the cheesy side, but it doesn't make any attempt to be profound. its fantasy, adventure, and its comedy.

its a kids story thats wild, weird, and complex enough to keep adults aboard. for me this movie is like an old adventure story, akin to treasure island and the like. it doesn't pretend to be realistic, and for me thats a plus. i don't need to be mocked by psuedo-science, i understand and appreciate story telling as entertainment. for a relatively light movie, goonies is surprisingly complex drama. about losing homes, special people, and more. relationships between the characters are interesting and well developed.

sure there are things about this movie which will forever date it to the 80's, but i think it still remains as entertaining today as it was when it was released.

a good story for kids and adults to loose themselves in for a short while.


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quirky

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 4 April 2009 05:51 (A review of Mozart & The Whale [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC])

mozart and the whale is a fun little drama comedy about people with aspergers and their relationships with each other. most of the story is about a local group who meet to talk about issues related to their lives, etc. the story ultimately is about two of them who are falling in love, trying to make it on their own, the complications that arise from that, and ultimately giving in to your self and being who you are. acceptance is what is all about.

its a good quirky comedy, that if you're not put off by the characterizations of these people (its drama, liberties are taken) then its a worthwhile emotional ride full of laughter and love.


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mixed fruit

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 4 April 2009 04:44 (A review of Orange County)

more of a drama about a dysfunctional family and the kid who's trying to overcome it to make it into an ivy league college. it certainly has plenty of comedy and a good love story to.

jack black (who is not among my favorites by any means) is fairly subdued here and the comedy parts, which he is a large part of, are perfectly suited to him.



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