Wizard-8

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Reviews

Hard Kill
(2020)

On par with other recent Bruce Willis efforts - in other words, very bad!
By now, you would think that the prolific B movie producing team of. Randall Emmett and George Furla would have managed to improve SOME of their skills producing direct to DVD efforts, but "Hard Kill" doesn't prove to be an improvement over most of their other movies.

With their frequent movie actor Bruce Willis, you probably know what to expect. For starters, this is yet another Willis/Emmett/Furla exercise where the extremely and notoriously lazy Willis just lent his acting services for a couple of days for a few million dollars, meaning that he doesn't appear all that much. Actually, I can't say Willis lends his "acting services" because he doesn't make ANY effort to act at all. He sits down for most of his limited scenes, and when he talks he seems to come across as heavily medicated.

In fairness to Willis, none of the other actors in the cast come across as even remotely competent in their performances, though the somnambulist performances by all may come from the fact that the dialogue is downright terrible, full of cliched statements and awkward utterances. The rest of the screenplay is bad as well, setting 90% of the movie in one particular abandoned factory, and with plot turns you'll see coming a mile away.

So why am I not giving this movie just one star out of ten? Well, director Matt Eskandari does occasionally rise slightly above the limited budget, bad script, and confined location. The movie is well lit and photographed, and he manages to throw in a few somewhat interesting camera movements and angles. Had he managed to make the action sequences good, and the pacing exciting and suspenseful, there MIGHT have been a chance the end product could have been passable. However, Eskandari can't rise enough to make the action and atmosphere sparkle.

In other words, if you are even just slightly familiar with Willis/Emmett/Furla collaborations, you will know exactly how this particular effort will come off even before you start watching it.

Bill & Ted Face the Music
(2020)

Not terrible, but could have been much, much better
I have a kind of soft spot for the previous two "Bill & Ted" movies, even though I'll freely admit that they are far from perfect. The leads are amusing and charming, there are some funny gags, and there is a very likable atmosphere. Those things are present again in this third entry, and that may explain while I am giving this a recommendation.... but a MILD recommendation. As entertained as I was, there were some things while watching it (and thinking about it afterwards) that kind of drained some of its full potential. Some plot elements brought up in the first two movies are either ignored or changed in this entry, resulting in some confusion. Also, it is very clear that this movie was severely chopped down in the editing room to bring it to a reasonable running time. There are so many plot points (and so many characters connected to these plot points) that the movie simply doesn't have enough time to flesh out each plot point so that the entire package makes sense. Finally, the ending of the movie is a disappointment - it should have been bigger in scale and more satisfying, and abruptly ends before it has a chance to really conclude and be finished with everything. There is still enough cleverness, good performances, and funny gags to make it worth a look for die hard fans of Bill & Ted, but even for those people, I would strongly recommend they lower their expectations somewhat so they won't match (or exceed) the somewhat disappointment I experienced.

Honest Thief
(2020)

Honestly, it isn't that good
I'm a bit perplexed as to why someone like Liam Neeson would agree to do a movie like this. Granted, someone who is his age (nearly 70) would find it harder than your typical male movie star to be chosen for plum roles, so it's possible that this was the best project available for him at the time... which makes you wonder about the quality of the other projects that were being offered to him at the time this screenplay fell on his lap. Anyway, the movie is a disappointment, mainly because it is extremely predictable. You'll be one (or more) steps ahead of the characters at every point in the movie, because you'll have seen the various plot terms in many other movies before. Making matters worse is that some of the plot turns (mainly in the last 30 minutes) are either downright stupid or not properly explained. The movie may have worked had it been directed in a gritty or pulse-pounding fashion, but instead the story unfolds in a really slow and leisurely manner; you never think that anyone is in danger. Some viewers may also object that the movie was obviously done on more of a limited budget than usual, often making it look like a straight to DVD "B" movie. I don't object to low budgets and predictable plotting as long as a movie compensates in other areas - some straight to DVD "B" movies manage to do this so that I end up enjoying them a lot despite any shortcomings - but even while I admit that I was not bored at any moment watching this movie, I really can't see this movie offering enough to any particular viewer, save for die hard fans who want to see their now senior citizen-aged idol still managing to find work.

Mean Dreams
(2016)

For a Canadian film, it's okay
While this movie is merely okay judged by itself, it is definitely a lot more watchable than what Canadian filmmakers usually churn out. Maybe part of the reason for that was that *none* of the screenwriters of this movie were also the director. That means there is a lot less self indulgence in the direction and writing than what you may be expecting. That's not to say that the direction is without bite - I will admit that the atmosphere of this movie is fantastic - you really feel the chill in the air, the somewhat impoverished signs of human civilization, and that these characters are really stranded alone in a nowhere place in this big planet of ours. The cast is also good; while Paxton, as expected, is great, the no-name supporting players are also pretty convincing in their performances. Unfortunately, the intended impact of the entire package is severely lessened by the fact that the movie can't seem to find a palatable tone for the most part. Most of the movie plods by extremely slowly, and the remainder parts of the movie feel quite rushed and lacking full explanation for their plot turns. Had the movie both given that needed explanation and had been executed with an overall tighter pace (though not TOO quick in speed), we might have had a real sleeper of a movie. There is still enough merit in the movie to make it worth a look, but I suggest you seek out a free way to watch the movie to increase your chance of enjoying it (as of this writing, the movie is available for free on Tubi TV, at least in Canada.)

Line of Duty
(2019)

Well, I liked it!
I see that the majority of the user comments here are very negative, along the line of "worst movie ever made!" But while this is not one of the best action/thriller movies made in the past few decades, this effort can still stand its head up proudly next to them. Yes, I will admit that the characters occasionally make some dumb decisions, though considering that this is a race against time, it does make sense that these pressured characters would make the occasional mistake. The Internet angle to the movie does also give a slight implausible edge to the narrative, though at the same time it's an interesting look at live streaming and Internet amateur sleuthing - we both get a negative and positive look at these modern things. While there may be some other problems, the movie remains buoyant because after the set-up, the movie becomes a relentless and fast-paced exercise in action and suspense. Any flaws of the movie are more than compensated for by the excitement generated. Getting back to those negative IMDb reviewers, as someone who has been around the cinematic block way more times than the average person, I can say with 100% certainty that there are MANY WORSE action/suspense movies than this one. I think if you sit down with the expectation of being like on a rollercoaster - nothing cerebral, but exciting from start to finish all the same - there is more likely a chance you'll like this movie.

Mind Rage
(2001)

Modern noir stumbles more than it succeeds
It didn't take long into watching "Mind Rage" when I saw that it was an obvious attempt to replicate the "noir" movies of the 1940s and 1950s. While in color, it is photographed and lit in a way that those black and white noirs came across as, the music is very noirish in tone, and the camerawork and other directorial touches feel right out of the cinematic golden age. I do applaud the director and everyone else working really hard to emulate classic noir, but unfortunately the results don't really work as well. I think the main reason is that the movie also mixes in a lot of modern elements to go along with the noir elements, from the costume design to the R-rated sexual elements. The movie ends up feeling like two movies were edited into one. This might also explain why there are some really murky elements to the story. (For example, a character suddenly has a bandage on his face in one scene with no explanation, and the bandage is never seen again later in the movie.) There is an unexpected twist at the end, but the more I think about this twist, it more seems like the screenplay was trying to avoid dealing with much of what happened before this twist. Still, you don't see a movie every day that has both Charles Hallahan and Dennis Christopher in it, two underrated actors who do a decent job here. If you must see the movie, the best thing to do just before starting is to prepare yourself for an extreme curio instead of something more akin to full blooded entertainment.

The Devil and Daniel Webster
(2003)

What a strange movie...
Years ago I first learned of this movie, as well as its troubled production and reportedly bad quality. Of course, that made me want to see it, but I couldn't find it anywhere until I came across it by accident on Amazon Prime Video. Well, does the movie show tell-tale signs of behind the scenes troubles, and is it a really bad movie? Yes and yes. There are many things wrong with this movie, such as the flat or downright awful performances by the cast, the fact that it's obvious that linking footage or entire scenes are missing, the pacing is extremely slow, and the fact that telling this classic story in a modern setting brings no new perspective or angles. However, what really bothered me most about the movie was that the movie never finds a clear tone and sticks with it. As it is, the movie is too goofy to be taken seriously, but somehow also too serious to make the comic touches amusing. The results are that I was not quite sure how to take this story.... apart from it being done in a really bad manner. While I'll admit some of the blame for the movie's failure doesn't fall on director/actor Alec Baldwin's shoulders - he claimed that the movie was taken out of his hands and butchered by others - there are no real signs that his intended version would have been that much better. In short, the movie is a really strange change of genre for prolific schlockmeister producers Randall Emmett and George Furla. But not strange enough to really catch the interest of the select few who sometimes get a kick out of big budget cinematic misfires.

Highway 395
(2000)

Bizarre... to put it mildly!
Fred Dryer was in one of my favorite 1980s TV shows ("Hunter") when I was a teenager. He directed several episodes of the series, and I thought his direction on those episodes was pretty solid. Years later, when I first heard word that Dryer had directed his first movie (this one, of course), I was really interested in seeing it. I didn't expect it to play in theaters, but I did anticipate a video release. However, it never appeared on VHS or DVD during the next few years. After a while, I forgot about the movie. But then just the other day when I was at the Tubi TV streaming site, I accidentally discovered that the movie was there after almost 20 years sitting on the shelf, and also found out that it had been released on DVD and Blu-Ray a year earlier. So curious, I sat down to watch it.

It didn't take me long into watching the movie, however, to realize the probable reason why it was never released on video - it is pretty bad. For starters, the movie's tone goes all over the place. Sometimes it's a thriller, sometimes it's a slapstick comedy, sometimes it's an action movie, sometimes it's an experimental film, and sometimes it's a look at various kooky personalities. The movie never finds a firm footing and stay on it. That may also explain why the storyline is (almost) incomprehensible. There seems to be a LOT missing from the movie. For example, Dryer's character kills several people during the course of the movie, but as soon as the victims are killed, they are immediately forgotten about and their deaths are never (or pretty much never) brought up again!

In fairness to Dryer, in the director's chair he does manage to coax acceptable performances from some of his cast. And despite the jumbled storytelling, he does manage to not only make some eye-catching visuals, he does manage to generate some real atmosphere. The surreal tone is unlike that of almost no other movies, and you also feel the isolation and parched environment. Dryer may have been trying to make a unique movie, but while I applaud his intent to make something different, the end results for the most part just don't work. Had he aimed for something more conventional, we might have had something here. But overall, the final results illustrate the most likely reason why Dryer has to date not directed another movie.

Ally Was Screaming
(2014)

Yet another loser Canadian film
While I was cruising around Tubi, I stumbled across this movie, and I decided to give it a chance because its plot description sounded intriguing and promising. However, a few seconds into watching the movie, the credits state that the movie was funded by Telefilm Canada - a government film financer that uses taxpayers' money almost all the time to fund movies that no one wants to see for good reasons. I instantly predicted that the director would also be the writer (another common theme in Telefilm funded movies), and I was proven correct.

But I decided to stick it out, and I managed to watch the whole thing.... though I really wish I didn't, even though I watched it for free. Despite its premise, the movie is extremely boring. There is pretty much no suspense, and when there is suspense it's so low key that you will know that nothing bad is actually going to happen at the end of a "suspenseful" scene. The movie really moves at a snail's pace.

There are further problems. The movie actually tries to be funny at times, but the humor not only doesn't mix well with the drama, it's not funny at all by itself or with the other material. Also, the characters keep speaking dialogue that doesn't sound like anyone in real life would speak even under these circumstances, made worse that the cast can't seem to even make a valiant effort to try and sell the audience this dialogue. The whole production also suffers from the fact that the entire movie looks really cheap, with minimal production values and substandard photography. It looks like a low budget Canadian television show.

It's easy to see why the distributor only (briefly) released this movie to just three theaters in Canada. The whole movie is proof that Telefilm has got to severely cut down the projects it funds where the director is also the writer. The best thing that could be done would be to solicit screenplays from people that are just talented writers and not directors, choose the screenplays that are actually good, and then offer them to directors. Until then, we are just going to get more waste of taxpayers' dollars like this movie.

Inheritance
(2020)

Not awful, but I was left unsatisfied by it
I have to admit that the premise for "Inheritance" is quite unlike any movie I have seen (or heard about) to date, and that I was kept interested in it to see how things would be wrapped up in the end. However, when the end credits started rolling, I didn't find myself satisfied. As others here have stated before me, this movie has quite a lot of holes in its plot. How did nobody know about the bomb shelter before? Why didn't the heroine's father leave her proper instructions about her "inheritance"? Then there are questions that come up at the end that the movie does not answer, such as the unmentioned fate of the heroine's brother, who simply disappears from the story. The performers do a pretty good job despite the weaknesses in the material, and the entire production looks okay despite a limited budget. I've seen worse on Netflix, I admit, but I think this is one acquisition you should only look at when you've run out of really good movies to watch there.

El hombre de la diligencia
(1964)

Only for real fans of Euro westerns
"Fury of the Apaches" (a.k.a. "Apache Fury") was released the same year as Sergio Leone's game changing western "A Fistful of Dollars", and there is interest in comparing both movies. "A Fistful of Dollars" was swiftly told, unfolded in a gritty manner, and had plenty of energy. "Fury of the Apaches", on the other hand, sticks pretty close to the style of westerns made in the United States in the late '50s to early '60s. It's much slower in pace, has less action, and has far more talking. Also, the way it's directed lacks any flashy style, though it picks some atypical locations in the Spanish desert to shoot on. But for the most part, the movie just plods along slowly with not very many surprises. I think that's because there was more of a Spanish influence on the movie than Italian; the Italians were much better at making lively Euro westerns. Anyway, there's not much to recommend in this movie unless you have great interest in seeing a Euro western that was made in a more conventional style before Leone came along and really shook the genre up.

Jexi
(2019)

Pales next to the movie it rips off
It didn't take me long into watching "Jexi" to get a strong whiff of deja vu. This story had already been done in the 1984 movie "Electric Dreams". Both movies involve a nerdy man getting a new piece of technology who initially helps him out in its own strange way, but when the nerd start a romance with a woman after getting help from the technology, the technology rebels against the nerd. Heck, both movies even take place in the same city, San Francisco! So the movie doesn't get any points for originality. But even on its own terms, the movie pretty much fails. In its core is a sweet and amusing story, but it decides to tell this story in a vulgar manner. Don't get me wrong, I watch (and like) R rated movies all the time, but for this particular story, the vulgarity seems way out of place, and as a result I didn't find the humor particularly amusing. Also, despite having a short running time (83 minutes), the movie feels somewhat stretched out. While this movie is a lot easier currently to track down than "Electric Dreams", I would strongly recommend you make the effort to find the original movie rather than choosing to watch this weak clone.

Pets United
(2019)

Yes, it's pretty bad
Something obviously went very, very, very wrong during the making of this computer animated movie. The only theory I have that might explain its general failure to entertain is the fact that it was a co-production between three very different countries - China, Germany, and the UK. With three different cultures working on the same project, it seems that it couldn't be fine tuned to be satisfying to one (or any) culture.

The movie fails in two big ways. First, there is the script. It is an utter mess. There are many things that are not explained, character development is usually near zero, and there is obvious padding. The second misstep is that it is directed in a manner that is pretty much free of passion and enthusiasm. Things plod along EXTREMELY slowly, and when there is a scene of action or suspense, the movie is remarkably casual and unexciting. Even the music score throughout is held back so much that you hardly register it in your mind.

In fairness to the movie, I will admit that I wasn't unsatisfied by its visual presentation. While the movie didn't have a Hollywood budget, the movie looks fairly colorful and detailed. But even with an acceptable look, the rest of the movie is so tiresome and badly handled that it was a real struggle for me to watch the movie completely to the end. I think even young children will get some sort of feeling that the movie is being held back in many key areas, so even they should not be subjected to watching it.

Tiny Creatures
(2020)

Too fake to succeed
After the bad taste of the awful Netflix animal documentary show "Absurd Planet" several months ago, I had hopes that this new animal documentary series would be an improvement over the previous show. Unfortunately, this is another misfire. It doesn't have the problem that "Absurd Planet" had, which was with its strident and irritating narration. However, this newer show fails for another reason. My biggest objection with this show is that it's clear that ALL of the animal footage was almost to completely staged and manipulated. Now, I do understand that sometimes for an animal documentary show that the people getting the footage sometimes have to step in a little to get a certain shot or two, but in these other shows they at least TRY to make it come across as natural as possible. In this show, I never bought that I was watching how things actually are. Maybe kids might go for this show, but honestly I think that there are many other animal documentaries they could watch that are a lot better - and a lot more honest!

Animal Crackers
(2017)

Longish and cluttered, but fun
I'm not sure why someone like me chose to sit down and watch this family movie - I'm not a child, and I'm also not a parent. Maybe I decided to watch it since it was for free on Netflix. Anyway, I am glad that I did give it a go, because the movie was often quite fun. The voice actors seem to be having a lot of fun in their roles, and that gives the movie a very amiable feeling. Contributing to that feeling is a message (not delivered too thickly) that family is very important. Indeed, the protagonists really seem to care deeply about each other. which is a nice change from the usual strident animated family entertainment we get today. While the animation isn't extremely exceptional, it's colorful, and often giving some amusing production design. There are also a number of amusing gags, as well as some fast-paced action that add some real energy.

While I did like this movie (and I am certainly recommending it), I think it could have been significantly better. With a running time of about 105 minutes, the story seems stretched out at times. Also, there are plot threads and characters that don't seem to be terribly important, and just end up making the story somewhat of a jumble at times. Though there are also some times when we don't get enough information, one example being a central character whose eventual fate is never really explained, and the "rules" of the animal cracker box don't seem to be firmly set.

I've heard that the production was troubled by studio interference, so that may explain why the story at times seems kind of messy. Because of this, I don't blame the directors or writers for these story problems. Anyway, the movie is still enjoyable whether you are a child or an adult, so I say give it a look.

Hell on the Border
(2019)

Sadly, it just doesn't work
Given that African Americans haven't been represented well in the western film genre despite in real life having a big impact during the days of the wild west, I was really interested in seeing this movie, especially since it was based on a real African American lawman (Bass Reeves). But whatever your ethnicity may be, I am pretty sure that you will find this movie to be simply terrible.

The portrayal of Bass Reeves here is extremely unsatisfying. About all that the movie can think of to do with this character is for him to regularly meet people who are racist and/or doubtful he can do the job, and brood silently about it. If they had really explored this character deeply, I'm sure things would have been better.

However, even if great effort had been made to portray Bass Reeves in a multidimensional manner, the movie would still have been pretty awful. Right from the start, viewers will see that the movie did not have much of a budget - cinematography looks almost like VHS quality, the locations are drab and boring, there's not much in the way of props, the costumes look too clean and too new, and the sets are really flimsy and cheap.

Probably due to this pittance of a budget, the filmmakers didn't seem able to put in a lot of spectacle. The movie is really slow-moving, with a lot of (cliched) dialogue instead of action and a swift pace.

I'm sure the filmmakers had their heart in the right place, but the end results indicate that they should have waited to get a bigger budget (and a better script) before filming started. As it is, it's yet another Lions Gate / Grindstone production that's way below par.

A Thousand Words
(2012)

Melancholy comedy
Probably the most memorable thing about this Eddie Murphy vehicle is the fact that after principle photography it sat on the shelf for four years before being released to an indifferent public. It doesn't take long to see why the studio wasn't exactly gung ho about getting the movie released. Some have called it a variation of the Jim Carrey movie "Liar Liar", and there are some striking similarities. But that didn't bother me as much as the downbeat spirit given to the entire enterprise. It's sometimes a somewhat angry comedy, but a lot of the time it just feels... well, sad. There is no wacky spirit, no sense that the writer or the director were having fun in their roles. Murphy does try hard (maybe TOO hard) to wring out a few laughs, but you can eventually tell by looking at him that even he was thinking it was all futile and the ship was doomed to sink from the start. Another problem is that (despite the movie going through some reshoots) there are some important plot details that are either not fully explained or not at all, meaning that it ends on kind of a confusing and murky note. You won't need anywhere near a thousand words to express how this movie goes wrong should you decide to watch it.

Our House
(2018)

Mostly a by the numbers exercise
Canadian filmmakers make so few movies that are aimed at a wide audience that I really don't want to criticize one of these few efforts that despite best intentions does not work. Alas, I have to do this for the Canadian supernatural thriller "Our House". I could forgive the movie for hiding any "Canadian" traits that would show that the movie was taking place in Canada with Canadian characters, since the credits indicate that the movie was made with American involvement, and the movie might not have been made without the American involvement. I could also forgive the movie for having (despite the American involvement) somewhat low production values at times, though it never looks too tacky or cheap.

What I can't forgive about the movie are two aspects. The first is that the movie is painfully predictable. While it does start off with an interesting angle concerning how the evil forces are brought into the story, there's not any other plot element or plot turn that doesn't feel like it's been done dozens of times before in other movies. You'll be able to pretty much predict what will happen before it happens, right down to the closing shot.

Actually, I might have forgiven the movie for its standard script had the director brought in some serious zip and/or a new presentation style, but unfortunately that doesn't happen. The story plods on at a really slow pace; it isn't until about halfway through the movie before the characters really sense they are dealing with something potentially dangerous. Also, the tone throughout feels "soft", lacking conviction and energy. It's also somewhat aloof at times, seemingly afraid at some points to add a believable human angle.

This is far from being among the worst movies (Canadian or not) that have been made, but I still can't recommend it. It simply doesn't go the extra mile in key areas that might have made it more intriguing or entertaining. Probably most viewers will agree it was yet another waste of Canadian taxpayers' dollars.

Evolution
(2001)

Blandly made by everyone involved
It's obvious that producer/director Ivan Reitman was hoping to recapture the magic of his earlier hit movie "Ghostbusters" with this movie, but unfortunately the results this time around are a real disappointment. From what I heard, the original version of the screenplay was written in a serious vein, but someone along the line decided that it should be made as a comedy. It's not much of a surprise that the comedy here seems extremely shoehorned in here instead of coming across as natural and belonging to this particular cinematic environment. It might have been okay had this forced-in comedy been funny, but it simply isn't. It's both extremely predictable and without any big spark to it. This may explain why the cast doesn't seem particularly enthusiastic, giving passive performances from the beginning to the end. The movie doesn't even have any good eye candy; the special effects, even for the period this movie was made in, are really below average for a big budget Hollywood movie. They come across as really phony and unnatural. You'd be a lot better off rewatching "Ghostbusters" instead.

The Courier
(2019)

A stupid script + bad acting = A bomb
I'm into B movies, so when this came up on Netflix, I thought it might have enough action and thrills to make it worth sitting through. However, it didn't take me long to suspect that what was to follow was as badly handled in the opening sequences. For starters, the movie is really boring for the first 25 or so minutes. There is absolutely no way that establishing the situation and the characters should have taken this long.

Things do pick up a little after that point, but then the script finds new ways to be unendurable. For one thing, it soon becomes yet another clone of "Die Hard" instead of doing something more original. What makes this clone worse is that a lot of the plot turns are really stupid. Why aren't there more cops nearby where the witness is going to testify to come in should there be trouble? Would a power and maintenance room of a tall building be located on the top floor? Why doesn't the courier just pull a fire alarm to alert the authorities? Those are just some of the many hard to swallow things about the story.

The script is bad in another way. The dialogue, quite frankly, is really atrocious. It wavers between clichés done in many other movies before, and really awkward sounding statements. Making the dialogue worse are the actors to have to speak it. The acting in this movie is quite frankly awful. Gary Oldman gives a really weird performance, the witness character is extremely annoying, and the hired goons are stiff. Kurylenko isn't that great, though you do see that she's trying and may have the ability to give good performances elsewhere with the right material and the right director.

I guess the movie is not completely bad. There are some really intense bone-crunching action sequences as well a good amount of blood and gore spilled. But it's not enough to make it worth sitting through an incredible amount of awfulness. Instead of watching it... return to sender.

10
(1979)

Lightly amusing fluff
For several decades this film was always on my list of movies to watch, but for some reason I never got around to watching it until now. I'd had heard how hilarious it was supposed to be, though I didn't find it laugh out loud funny, just a silly but somewhat likable exercise. But at least it's more palatable than "R" rated movies in this day and age, because of its much different tone and pacing. What really surprised me about this movie was how leisurely paced it was, as well as being over two hours long. A modern comedy wouldn't take long to get down to business, but this movie takes its time; for example, Dudley Moore doesn't get down to Mexico to crash the honeymoon of his dream girl until almost half the movie has passed. But the movie never gets so slow that it's boring, and Moore does give a likable comic performance. Not one of the best comedies ever made, but perfect when you want to kick back and be lightly amused for a couple of hours.

Trauma Center
(2019)

It will give you brain trauma!
I really don't understand why Bruce Willis keeps agreeing to do these quickie direct to DVD movies where he only appears for a few minutes. Granted, getting a few million dollars for just a few days of work would be tempting even to me. But after doing so many of these movies, Willis has severely damaged his reputation.

This particular one (yet another by the prolific producing team of Randall Emmett and George Furla) is, I admit a little better than usual. Willis, for one thing, shows up for about ten minutes this time instead of his usual five minute limit. (Though he continues to use the same awful sleepwalking performance he uses for these quickie efforts.) Production values are also not bad for a movie where most of the budget had to be designated to pay Willis his exorbitant salary. And occasionally there is a little suspense.

However, the movie is saddled with an incredibly dumb script, one that constantly brings up questions that are never answered as well as characters making incredibly stupid decisions. Do emergency doors really have internal locks that can make escaping from a building impossible? Why wasn't the entire hospital alerted when the fire alarm was activated? Why didn't any other security guards arrive after the security guard radioed to his command the request to send more security guards? Why did the heroine just stop at calling Willis' character when she got to a phone instead of calling other avenues of help? Why didn't she use the Internet on the computer to send the contents of the memory chip to the authorities?

I could go on and on for quite some time illustrating this movie's stupidity, but I think you've got the point by now. Even the (limited) merit to be found here and there is not enough to make this worth a look even for the biggest fans of B movies... or the few remaining fans of Bruce Willis.

I Don't Want to Be Born
(1975)

Unsatisfying mishmash
It was perhaps inevitable that the casting of Joan Collins in the star role of this clone of "The Omen" (with a little bit of "The Exorcist" and "Rosemary's Baby" thrown in) would instantly destroy almost every avenue of giving the movie credibility. Actually, it seems that the makers of this movie did sense that, because there are some moments that are so absurd that it seems they were admitting that the movie was ridiculous. Though these touches of black humor are somewhat amusing at times, the rest of the movie is pretty much a disappointment. General production values are acceptable, but it seems the movie didn't have much money for special effects or true spectacle. There's also little nudity and bloody violence. A bigger problem is the script. For long periods (well, pretty much the entire movie) the story advances at a really slow crawl. There are no real surprises as well, except maybe that the movie ends on a note where some really glaring questions remain unanswered. Whatever you may think this movie might have to offer to your particular taste - '70s genre movies, Collins, exploitation material, substantial unintended comedy - most likely you'll be very disappointed at the end

The Last Days of American Crime
(2020)

Good premise badly botched up
When this movie came up on Netflix, I was really interested by its advertised premise, that being a future American implementing a system that will prevent people committing crimes, and a small group of people planning one last robbery just before that system kicks in. I hadn't heard of a premise like this before, so I was really interested to see how it would be depicted. But believe it or not, the movie doesn't really explore the implications and consequences of what would happen if such an anti-crime system was put into place. It wouldn't take much of a rewrite to make the story into a full caper movie, which is mostly as it is now. It's possible the movie might be able to be salvaged with the planning and execution of the caper, but there really isn't anything new with this portion of the movie. It just goes through the same tired elements such as double-crossing partners, corrupt law officers, etc. etc. Even when the movie tries to throw in some action, it still goes through the motions instead of being original and special. And as others here at the IMDb have pointed out, at two hours and twenty-eight minutes in length, the movie is far too long for its own good. All I can say that's positive about this movie is that it doesn't depict my country (Canada) with any real stereotypes when there are Canadian references. In short, the movie is yet another Netflix exclusive flop.

Carter's Army
(1970)

Worthy subject given shabby treatment
The premise for this made for TV movie had a lot of promise - there haven't been a lot of movies made concerning African Americans who fought in World War Two, and the production managed to round up some serious talent in front of the camera.

But the cast really deserved a lot better than what they actually got. Since the production was made for television in the early 1970s, you can imagine how the movie looks and feels. If for some reason you are not able to, I'll just say that the locations are inappropriate (California does NOT look like Europe), there is a bare minimum of props in most sequences, and often the props that are used don't seem to fit the time and place (such as the uniforms the soldiers wear.)

The fact that the production doesn't seem to have bothered to hire any kind of military advisor doesn't just apply to the production values, but also with the battlefield maneuvers and interplay with fellow troops; even those who have never been in the military will get a strong feeling that all of this is simply inaccurate. It's also sometimes insulting, because most of the African American soldiers in the movie come across as lazy and undisciplined; I am sure real African American soldiers in this war were trying extremely hard to prove themselves to the Caucasian soldiers.

The biggest disappointment, however, is that most of the movie is really dull and slow, even though its running time is only about 70 minutes. The thin story is ridiculously padded out. There also isn't any real action until the last twenty minutes, which certainly doesn't help things.

Is there anything worthy to see here? Well, the movie does provide the chance to see some then unknown African American actors who later became famous, such as Robert Hooks, Billy Dee Williams, Rosie Grier, and Richard Pryor. Speaking of Pryor, you also get to see him in a rare serious role. But apart from that, the movie is so poorly done that you'll understand why no one renewed its copyright, resulting in the movie being widely available in DVD bargain bins at Wal-Mart and other retailers.

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