smatysia

IMDb member since November 1999
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Reviews

Lifeforce
(1985)

Kind of a hot mess
There is a lot in here that is OK to good, including some of the space sequences, some of the other special effects, from the days before CGI, and of course, the lovely Mathilda May. But there is a lot that is bad, like some other effects that are cheesy, plot holes, and a huge mish-mash of genres. I found it worth watching, but don't expect any sort of masterpiece.

Ad Astra
(2019)

A pretty good science-fiction movie
A pretty good science-fiction movie. My rating may be exaggerated due to my personal fondness for the genre. The effects were overall, very, very good. The plot owes a lot to Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Nice acting throughout. some minor plot quibbles, and effects quibbles. I appreciate that the filmmakers endeavored to be mostly accurate about the physics involved, but I was struck by the dust floating in the "air" on the journey across the moon, and especially, the way the characters walked around on the Moon and on Mars. Due to the much lesser gravity of these bodies, it is not possible for humans to stroll about in the same manner as on Earth. Look at how the Apollo astronauts moved about on the surface of the Moon. Having said that, I have no idea how one could simulate that when being filmed on Earth. But if you like space opera films at all, this one is definitely worth a viewing.

Sawbones
(1995)

Just really bad
A very, very bad movie. It actually had some accomplished actors in it, i.e. Adam Baldwin, Nina Siemaszko, and Barbara Carrera. But they could not overcome the material. Usually, a "Roger Corman Presents.." film will have some gratuitous nudity which will partially redeem a bad film, and though there was a little, it was also not very good. I don't know if they thought that this would be campy, (one would think so, from the script) it never remotely achieved that. Just really bad.

Not Like Us
(1995)

Campy rather than terrible
Upon beginning to watch this movie, I thought that it was extremely bad. I wondered why I had taped it many years ago, and figured it was because it had Joana Pacula. But as it went on, I realized that this was deliberate, that it was aiming at camp. It's not the best example of a campy film, but at least it does hit that target. So, I ended up finding it rather amusing. Rainer Grant and Annabelle Gurwitch looked very fetching as well. I don't know that I could recommend this film, but I might watch it again some day.

Subliminal Seduction
(1996)

Pretty bad movie
There just wasn't much positive to say about this film. Ludicrous plot premises led to bad acting, which led to, well, nowhere, really. It couldn't even be saved by the gratuitous nudity, although the women were attractive, aside from the silicone. I threw away the DVD, if that tells you anything.

Pinocchio's Revenge
(1996)

Average at best
A run-of-the-mill cable TV-level horror film. It had a few interesting features. It also had gigantic plot holes, and some really bad acting from the child actors. Yes, I know, it's hard to find children who can act, but this film really needed some. The main redeeming feature was a semi-gratuitous nude scene from Candace McKenzie, who was total eye candy.

Pie in the Sky
(1995)

(Very) quirky rom-com
A lot of things were done right in this film. Decent production values, unobtrusive direction, a pretty good cast doing as good of a job as possible with the material. All of the main characters are quirky, maybe too much so. Anne Heche and Christine Lahti looked great. But overall, it bored me and left me cold. Let this sleeping dog lie.

Cashback
(2006)

I can't decide
The big debate about this film seems to be if it is creepy and prurient, or not. I can't decide. Yes, the nudity could be considered gratuitous, but then you could say that about any film. Many, many films were made in the Forties and Fifties with adult themes but without nudity. Female nudes are simply beautiful, and that has been known and celebrated by artists for centuries. Was all that prurient? Maybe. Is my opinion about this prurient? Maybe. But I liked the film, and would have probably liked it less if it had been censored.

Léon
(1994)

Natalie Portman, wow.
Natalie Portman turns in probably the best performance I have ever seen from a child actor/actress. Wow! Jean Reno and the recently passed Danny Aiello were also top-notch. Gary Oldman was a bit over-the-top for my tastes. But a really good film. A few plot holes, but still very good writing. Some of the material was a bit disturbing, but I'm sure that's what Besson intended.

What Men Want
(2019)

Overall it didn't really work, and I'm not sure why.
There is some good stuff here. I have never seen the Mel Gibson movie that this is based on, so I have no idea if that would have affected my opinion. Also, I'm not black, so I guess I'm not the target demographic for this. But having said that, the film was well-produced, well photographed, well-directed, and mostly well-acted. I liked Taraji Henson, and Tamala Jones and Wendi McClendon-Covey in smaller parts. There actually were some laughs here, which is more than you can say for a lot of recent "comedies" but overall it didn't really work. I'm not sure why.

Out of the Dark
(1988)

What a truly bad movie
What a truly bad movie. Bad direction, bad writing, bad photography, bad acting, huge plot holes, and glaring police procedure errors. Karen Black was OK in this, but no one else. I think it could only have been saved with a LOT more gratuitous nudity.

Outrageous Fortune
(1987)

Slings and arrows
I recall seeing this one on cable in the late Eighties. It still seems to be a decent comedy. Shelley Long and especially Bette Midler have good comic timing and do well here. Yes, there are some plot holes, and some dubious directing choices, but that is a lot less important in a light comedy such as this. There were a good number of quite funny zingers, and amusing situations. Still pretty good. Not great.

Enemies, A Love Story
(1989)

A lot of good acting, especially by Huston
There is a lot of really good stuff here. The acting, direction, and photography are first-rate. There were issues with the sound on my DVD, so I had to turn on the subtitles. But that is almost certainly not the fault of the original film. Ron Silver has never been a favorite of mine, but he turns in some of his very best work in this film. All three of the women were very good, but Anjelica Huston sort of steals the show. It's not clear to me why these women all seem to love Silver's character, as he is neither attractive, nor rich, nor even very agreeable in manner. But overall, it's a decent flick.

Hannah and Her Sisters
(1986)

Not really very interesting
Woody Allen films in the Seventies were different and fresh. By the Eighties (and since) there is a cloying sameness to all his films. His angsty, nebbish schtick is, and was in 1986, long past its sell-by date. As usual, Allen assembles a phenomenal cast who provide first-rate acting, and his direction is good as well. But, like most of his films, this one bored me.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
(2019)

Failed to engage me
First, I did not see the first Maleficent movie, so perhaps that has clouded my judgement. Second, I am clearly not the target demographic for this film. I'm not sure who that would be, though. Maybe teenage girls? The acting was fine, and the CGI graphics were outstanding. But it utterly failed to engage me, perhaps largely for the reasons listed above.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(2017)

Lack of resolution
There is some fine acting here, from Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, (who I don't usually like) and some of the minor characters. There is a distinct lack of resolution in this movie, which is sometimes OK, but felt misplaced here.

Game Night
(2018)

A fairly amusing mainstream comedy
A fairly amusing mainstream comedy, which is actually somewhat rare. Justin Bateman and Rachel McAdams did very well with their roles, and I especially enjoyed Sharon Horgan. Yes, there were a few plot holes, and everything wasn't 100% realistic, but it was still an amusing wry comedy.

Nobody's Fool
(2018)

Overall this film really did very little for me
I saw a film with Tiffany Haddish recently, I think it was called "Night School" and just loved her in it. Liked her more than the movie as a whole. So, I sat down to watch this one, and found it disappointing. Miss Haddish played a similarly edgy character (more so actually) but it never really gelled for me. The rest of the cast acted well, with the exceptions of Whoopi Goldberg and Chris Rock in small parts. Overall this film really did very little for me. Can't recommend it.

Wide Sargasso Sea
(1993)

Karina Lombard shines
Really nice photography of Jamaica here. I understand that the source novel is supposed to be someone's imagining of a prequel to Bronte's "Jane Eyre". I was unaware of that as I watched the film, and I read that book so long ago that I have no clear memories of it, and thus have no opinion about that. There were, however, some very good performances from the main actresses, including Rachel Ward, Claudia Robinson, and Rowena King. And special kudos to the lovely Karina Lombard, in response to whom I moved up my rating by two stars.

Blind Side
(1993)

By-the-book psycho stalker movie
A pretty much by-the-book psycho stalker movie. Nothing remotely original here. Decent acting. Okay photography. Annoying direction. Rebecca de Mornay and Mariska Hargitay look quite nice. Ron Silver plays against type as a basically decent person. Rutger Hauer plays it sufficiently menacing and creepy. But overall, this film did nothing for me.

Miliardi
(1991)

Thoroughly bad
A thoroughly bad movie. Plot was about an international family company and associated financial machinations. Could have at least done better photography on some of the beautiful locations. And it didn't help that the main character was played by Billy Zane, who I have always found highly annoying. A lot of pretty women ,though.

Night Trap
(1993)

Pretty bad
Pretty bad. The obviously low budget results in fairly poor production values. Also, there was a lot of bad acting. Louisiana accents appeared and disappeared. The opaque plot may have benefitted from some more exposition about Ironside's character. The only redeeming feature I found in this movie was the lovely Lydie Denier.

Night School
(2018)

Haddish steals the show
OK, the premise is a little off, and there are a few plot holes. So what? Kevin Hart is still pretty funny. I got some laughs from this movie and thought it was an average-to-somewhat-better-than-average comedy. But Tiffany Haddish is a treasure. I saw her in some middling TV comedy, and liked her OK, but this role was made for her. She steals the show.

The Swinging Cheerleaders
(1974)

Minimal budget, and it shows
This film is what made-for-cable movies were in the Eighties. I suppose it played in drive-ins and maybe the "midnight movie" in theaters. The budget was obviously minimal, so it's hard to blame the director. The acting was mostly pretty bad, especially ALL of the male characters. The one unexpected bright spot was the lead actress, Jo Johnston, who was winsome and engaging. Unfortunately, she never seemed to have acted again.

Bohemian Rhapsody
(2018)

OK
There are things to like and dislike in this film. Some fine acting performances, and good photography. Unobtrusive direction. The gay stuff was distasteful to see, but, hey, I knew it would be in there, and watched it anyway. I liked Queen, and though I never saw them perform, some friends who did told me it was the best concert ever. The movie is OK, but it never grabbed me the way it seems to have done to many others.

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