A shocking and unforgettable surprise...masterfully acted and directed
I had heard nothing on "Animal Room," but when I saw it in the video store, I noticed it had a big cast of young future stars and it sounded like it had an interesting premise. I figured I'd give it a try and was quite impressed with it, finding it to be quite a hidden surprise.
The story centers around Neil Patrick Harris (who we all know as Doogie Howser, M.D.) as a teen who has a bit of a drug problem and finds himself stuck in a school dropout prevention program where he finds himself often fleeing from a group of mean students there, led by Matthew Lillard (SLC Punk). They often torture and beat up Neil, with the only aid is his best friend (Gabriel Olds, Calendar Girl) who is the only bright spot in his depressed life. Neil hopes to find whatever way he can to avoid the bullies just in time so that things don't get uglier than before.
I wouldn't recommend this to many mainstream audiences or those looking for a cheery movie, since "Animal Room" is probably one of the more depressing and disturbing films I've seen. But its also a fascinating and creepy film that gives you plenty to think about and talk about when the movie is finished.
The actors are fantastic in their roles. Harris is quietly intense in the lead part as the confused teen. Lillard is the most powerful I've ever seen him. Lillards acting is phenomenal and I look forward to seeing Lillard in even more films for how talented he is. Olds performs the likable part really well that shows plenty of skill and charisma. Amanda Peet (The Whole Nine Yards) and Catherine Hicks (Childs Play, TV's Seventh Heaven) have small, but memorable roles as Olds concerned girlfriend and Neil's crazy mother.
The directing by Craig Singer is excellent and the camera work is both beautiful and dreary at the same time, which makes it perfect for the films gloomy atmosphere. It has your eyes glued to the screen right from the beautiful opening shot in an old carnival. The hallucination sequences in the film in particular are quite eerie and have the right creeped-out look to them. If I had to mention a gripe on the film, the script by Singer keeps you thinking, but it feels a little bit sloppy and tries to pack too much into one film. It tends to feel a bit uneven around spots and not all the subplots in the film aren't fully developed.
Overall, I would recommend this for art house fans looking for something different or those who are fans of the stars. I found it to be an unforgettable and VERY intense little film that will most likely shock you. Those who don't like brutal movies though should stay away since its a really graphic and violent movie.
Fun sequel packs enough gore and atmosphere to make for a cult classic
I loved the first "Dusk Till Dawn" and it really bugged me to see how terrible the second one turned out to be. When I got a copy of the third one at the video store I work at, I kept thinking how was it going to be. Surprising enough, its a fun-filled sequel with plenty of kinetic camera work and gore that really keeps it up to the first. The acting is solid from the cast and everyone plays it out fine, especially Marco Leonardi as the tough lead and Michael Parks, who played a sheriff in the first. For a small budget, the special fx look great and its good to see the old fun-filled makeup being splattered on the screen. The plot that follows is very interesting and all the characters are well developed. First-time director P.J. Pesce does a great job and handles the camera work well. It creates a perfectly odd western film. The only faults I had were that just when things are getting better around the plot in the first half, then suddenly piles on the gore, drowning everything from the intriguing storyline. I didn't mind, but it really takes out most of the plot/logic of the film. The end also seemed quite rushed.
(SPOILER WARNING AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!) - I was disappointed since they finish it exactly like the first and you really want to find out what happens to the survivors of the bloodbath.
All around and despite downfalls, I thought it was a great deal of fun and a mighty good cult film to watch with friends who have strong stomachs. Don't miss it if you enjoyed the first.
I came in the screener with little expectations, since I've seen very little on the movie and though I think he's the perfect casting for a Bond, Pierce Brosnan's Bond films have been pretty mediocre. This one was a huge surprise though. The storyline was very well written and all the characters were great. Robert Carlyle (who I barely noticed) was an excellent villain and Brosnan really gets to show off charisma in this Bond role. The ladies were great too instead of wallpaper; Sophie Marceau was the best casting, playing a role full of zest and shows off her amazing looks (after getting stuck in the dud Lost & Found). Though I'm not a huge fan of her and didn't expect her to pull it off well, Denise Richards does an excellent job as the sexy sidekick Jones. Directed by Michael Apted, this film is full of impressive action, with one of the greatest chase scenes on a boat shot on film. 128 minutes really fly by sitting through this one. It should be one to please both Bond and non-Bond fans, finding it to be my favorite Bond flick. While waiting for "End of Days," check this one and "Sleepy Hollow" out on the same weekend.
"Mikey" reminded me a lot of "Stepfather" with Terry O'Quinn, only a crazed kid instead of a grown-up. "Mikey" is a pretty disturbing, yet predictable film. The film is pretty violent; even a little girl is killed in the thing.
I thought Brian Bonsall did an extremely good job as the disturbed boy, when we're used to him playing that sweet kid. The film has a good measure of suspense and keeps you on the edge, but then they throw in an awful ending that you see coming a mile away. "Mikey" is worth watching if you like fun horror movies, but they could've done much better with the ending.
Weak finish, but very strong film (Minor Spoilers)
When I first saw "187" at the theatres around August 1997, I had really no clue what it was about and only read Owen Glieberman's "C-" review in Entertainment Weekly. I was still excited on seeing it since Samuel L. Jackson is an amazing actor and can make a lousy movie (look at Long Kiss Goodnight) worthwhile. When seeing this at the movies, I was really impressed with how great I thought it was. I told friends all around to go see it and even went to see it again, thought it died out fast from the box office. When finally debuting on video in December, I rented it several times until getting ahold of a copy. I finally put it on again since it's been a while since I've seen it. The film still is pretty impressive. Jackson is perfectly cast as the p.o'ed teacher and it surprised me that the oscars missed him. He's amazing to watch and you feel his characters breakdown the whole way through. John Heard is also strong as a burnt out teacher and Clifton Gonzales-Gonzales is excellent as the troubled teen who tries to make Jackson's life a living hell. The screenplay by Scott Yagemann, who was a real teacher, is realistic, tough, and never holds back even when going over the edge. It isn't quite your standard "Dangerous Minds" like movie. Kevin Reynolds works better on a low budget and seems better working on stuff like this better than he does on "Waterworld." Ericon Core as the cinematography uses a cool, grainy look that goes real well with Jacksons breakdown in the film. The score, taken from Massive Attack songs, goes real well with the films urban atmosphere and sounds great. The Russian Roulette finale is pretty shocking too and Jackson and Gonzales really show their strong acting muscles in this scene. On the down-side, there were a few things that bugged me from enjoying the movie as much. Kelly Rowan is miscast as the frightened teacher who Jackson falls for, though I didn't understand why she is disgusted at Jackson when (WARNING: SPOILER) she figures out that he kills Benny, the obnoxious kid who keeps on harrassing her (SPOILER FINISHED). Karina Arroyave (Lean on Me, Dangerous Minds) as a pupil of Jacksons who looks forward to him for help is another actress who seems miscast since she seems ten years too old for the role. The finale with Arroyave's speech seems forced, being both preachy and sentimental. If you can get past the small things that bugged me, "187" is a very tough and riveting drama that really impresses me the more I watch it. It deserves a look.
Its interesting to see where Calista Flockhart started out at. She gives a realistic performance, but unless you're a die-hard fan, there's nothing special in this slow, weak film. Christopher Peddito stands out as Horace, a young writer who meets up with the street-wise Flockhart and soon falls madly in love with her. Despite her violent mood swings, he tries to make her feel well and she becomes an inspiration to his writing. No real surprises here. The direction of the film is good, with some interesting visuals and camerawork. The main problem lies in the development of Flockhart; while she plays her part great, it's impossible to care for her when they want you to feel bad for her since she spends most of the movie whining and shouting at the people around her. Things feel really dragged out and pointless sub-plots don't add to anything. "Jane Doe" was interesting to see Flockhart, but otherwise, is a lousy film that you can find as a TV-movie of the week.
After a decade ago being the last time I've seen it, I'm still impressed with "Bad Boys" as I was the first time. Sean Penn is incredible in his role and proves how great of an actor he is. The rest of the cast shine as well; Ally Sheedy is touching as Penn's concerned girlfriend; Esai Morales is realistic as a tough guy really p'oed with Penn. There are many unforgettable moments, especially the scene where Penn excitedly visits Sheedy in jail, only to notice her beaten and bruised really bad, and begins bursting in tears. Its a real touching and shocking scene. The film is violent, but never feels exploitive. Director Rick Rosenthal creates a great atmosphere throughout and keeps you rooting for Penn to get out of prison and get revenge. I agree that the end was so-so, but it wasn't your typical hollywood tacked on ending. This isn't feel good entertainment, but a gripping, unforgettable film. It isn't hard to see how Penn is one of Hollywood's most amazing talents.
And I thought that "Never Been Kissed" would be the most painful sit this year. This poorly made satire set in the '70's takes two very obnoxious and unlikable Romy and Michele clones, facing them up against Dick Nixon, somehow never manages to evoke any laughs or any charm. Writer/Director Andrew Fleming obviously can't write or pace a film well; 97 minutes feel like 3 hours here. The big faults mostly go to the cast; the very talented Kirsten Dunst, who was great in "Drop Dead Gorgeous" and the non-talented Michelle Williams, are both howlingly awful and you keep hoping for one of the spies to deck them out. The "Saturday Night Live" members are embarrassing to watch, as they try and play it straight here, never bringing in any laughs. The only guys who try for laughs are Will Ferrell and Bruce McCollogh, and are terrible. I think the critics were on those drug cookies the girls keep sending Dick when hailing this movie. I found it to be quite a painful experience. I even brought my mom with me who I thought would enjoy, and she dozed off halfway through. The only person in the movie, one man by himself, walked out thirty minutes through. If you want to see a more funnier look in the 70's, check out "Detroit Rock City" or for a more biting satire, "Election."
The build-up for the film is good and the acting is strong, but it becomes a run of the mill slasher flick
"Black Circle Boys" seems promising enough. It's about a group of devil worshipping band members led by the devilish Eric Mabius who take in an outcast (Scott Bairstow), broken by the death of his best friend. The kid is cool with them, often taking bad drugs and p***ing off people, until he starts seeing their more violent sides. The film is worth watching for the strong performances from the cast, the script is realistic for the first two-thirds, and the low budget, grainy look makes things more creepier. The problem with the film is that the after an hour and fifteen minutes into the film, the screenwriter had no idea what to do with "Black Circle Boys" and turns into a silly slasher flick, with all of the typical horror movie cliches thrown in. The ending especially is a big cop-out for what seems like a great film. Overall, I recommend it for late night viewing, and if you're into independent films, it's a very interesting one, but the finale of the film is a big letdown and left me disappointed.
There was already trouble coming along with this film when the words "Directed by Alan Smithee" popped up and had nearly everyone at the theatre laughing. Most of the film is a silly re-telling of the legend of that dazzling box that brings the evil spirits back. Its not a bad idea and with makeup whiz Kevin Yagher (who was the Alan Smithee of the film) has some impressive gore FX, but it can't save from the poorly written script, wooden acting (with the exception of a wasted Doug Bradley who doesn't get to have as much fun playing Pinhead, but makes the best of it), and a very slow moving pace. Stick to the first three, which at least have some interesting things going for them. Still, MSTK3000 crowds may want to give it a shot. It has enough unintential humor that should keep b-movie fans laughing. Otherwise, a lame sequel
"Phantoms" was pretty decent book by Dean Koontz that I was looking forward to seeing on screen. When I went with my girlfriend, the theater we went to had only 5 other people there by themselves. I had the feeling there that this movie would suck from then on and I wish we would've left the theaters and got a refund. This was the slowest 90 minutes I've spent in the movies. I don't know how so many people can rave about this; it was basically every horror movie cliche taken and thrown into one movie. At one point, I was so bored, in my mind I was playing a game of "guess which movie this is ripping off of." Sure, another movie, "Virus" was exactly the same, taking elements from millions of horror films, but at least "Virus" was campy and it came off as mindless fun. The audience I went to in this seemed bored to death, I even heard some loud yawns behind me in the movie. For how much he complains about screenwriters screwing up his novels by bad adaptions, Dean himself did a pretty p**s-poor job adapting this one. This one makes "Watchers" look great. Enough with the script, the director (who brought us the crap-fest "Halloween 6") can't seem to know what to do with the script and just has the cast endlessly walking around a quiet town looking dazed by how quiet everything is, while we're stuck waiting for a cheap pop-out to appear or someone to shout out some stupid one-liner about how bad things everything thats happening around them is. The actors give it their worst and obviously needed a paycheck; Ben Affleck is miscast as a hick sheriff, Liev Schreiber makes an ass out of himself, overacting terribly as a retard deputy and deserves an award for actor most making an ass out of himself. Rose McGowan, who wasn't bad in "Scream," though her cleavage did the acting for her there didn't improve any bit from "Doom Generation," and what the hell was the great Peter O'Toole thinking when he signed on this film. Since I hated so much about this movie, the only good thing about the film was the performance by Joanna Going, she isn't given much to do, but she makes the best out of her one-dimensional character and is the only one who you hope won't get hacked to pieces. The make-up effects were really bad as well and were only a small improvement over "Plan 9 From Outer Space" (no pun intended on that movie). This is probably one of the worst movies I've had to sit through. .
How can you not love Bruce Lee? He's the baddest kung fu master of all time and all of his movies are classics. This one however, would have to be my favorite of them all. In this one, he's even more tougher and charismatic. There is a lot of memorable chop-socky action throughout, especially the coliseum finale where he whoops Chuck Norris' a**. This one shows his strong directing skills as well. The fight scenes are well choreographed. The comic relief is also great with help from the silly dubbed voices, my favorite being the scene where a punk tells a Chinese waitor what "Chinese Spare-Ribs" are. Definitely check this one out, I'd really love to catch it in theatres again. This is one that belongs in any martial art fans collection.
Disturbing, humorous, and very intriguing, I highly recommend "Chicago Cab"
I really enjoyed "Chicago Cab." They should've left the title at that, instead of the lame name on video, "Hellcab," which sounds more like a b-horror movie. "Chicago Cab" is mostly winning for how realistic it seems and how amazing Paul Dillon (Austin Powers) is in the lead. I hope to see Dillon in more projects in the future after this one. All the strange characters along the way are very interesting, though I was a little disappointed that Dillons character wasn't developed more. He's a very interesting character, though we don't get to know a lot about him like we wish. Some more popular celebrities pop up in this film as well like John Cusack, Gillian Anderson, John C. Reilly, and Julianne Moore as some of the passengers the cab driver encounters. Somewhat disturbing, humorous, and always intriguing, I highly recommend "Chicago Cab," and I'm looking forward to seeing a sequel.
I had real high hopes for this one. I remember when they had the short-lived Interactive Movies at the theatres like "Mr. Payback" and "Ride For Your Life," which were mindless, guilty fun and would be more of a blast to play on a home systems. I was so excited hearing that Interactive Movies would be making appearances on the DVD Player, which is a pretty good idea. "I'm Your Man," the first release, was a letdown, but it wasn't a huge loss since I rented it for free and at least a bit of the interaction was fun. When I had heard about "Misadventures of James Spawn," and read comments from customers on DVD EMPIRE saying it was "one of the neatest things ever," "a blast for everyone," and "better than Austin Powers", I rushed up to Suncoast after reading the comments and spent 30 bucks on the thing. It seems like it'd be a lot of fun and the idea is nifty; take an arab stereotype and try to get him hooked up with the perfect girl as you go from girl to girl, but the execution is terrible. The people I played it with were bored to death and we gave up with it after 10 minutes. I later ended up playing it by myself and grew tired of it very fast. The creators of the game throw in plenty of stupid sight gags and toilet humor that would only make a 5 year old chuckle. James Spawn is a very annoying character and after ten seconds, I wanted to just choke him. I've seen better acting in porn films, the interaction is very boring, and there's no redeeming values whatsoever. It just sits around in my room collecting dust to this day. I really enjoy the concepts of interactive films and hope they keep coming out with them and hopefully, can make them much better. For now, steer clear of this of this one, its one of the biggest wastes of time and money.
Steamy sex scenes heighten over typical cop thriller
"Hard Vice" is a typical, yet entertaining cop thriller that is worth watching for the gorgeous Playboy Bunny Rebecca Ferratti. She has the best body caught on film and the sex scenes with her are very steamy. Otherwise, there's not too much memorable in this so-so cop thriller about a group of vice cops on the trail of a prostitute who kills the men she sleeps with. The leads are likable, Sam Jones and Shannon Tweed (who keeps her clothes on through most of it, but still shows off her breasts in a scene) are great together and have a lot of chemistry. The rest of the vice squad are all good in their parts. In his directing debut, Joey Travolta stages scenes well, with plenty of gorgeous Las Vegas cinematography. The script however, is pretty weak and the plot twists are no surprises. Still, its a pretty decent late-night film. Ferratti definitely makes this film worth watching though...wish she would be in more of these films. Overall, Movie (6 out of 10) - For Rebecca (10 out of 10)
This Shaw Brothers production packs a lot of neat stunts and fast action. Director-star Jimmy Wang Yu does a really good job and is a really cool kung fu hero. A lot of his stunts are incredible and the action scenes are all shot magnificently. Fans of Hong Kong action shouldn't miss this one. This is the Shaw Brothers at their best.
What could've been a perfect adaption, ruined by two horrible performances
I really wanted to like this adaption. It has a great script and directing job from Randal Wallace, the guy responsible for "Braveheart," and brilliant performances by Gerard Depardieu, Jeremy Irons and Gabriel Byrne. So what was wrong with the movie? John Malkovich, first off, is awful! I think his performance was the worst I've seen this year, though I would've said Tea Leoni for DEEP IMPACT was the worst I saw. Lately, Malkovich has been so full of himself it's not funny, and sleepwalked through what could've been great movies (Mary Reilly/Con-Air/Portrait of A Lady). The other thing that ruined the movie was Leonardo DiCaprio. As much as I liked him in his other films, he was horrid in this playing a French king with a surfer dude accent. I just couldn't imagine him as King Louie, I more pictured Arnie from "Gilbert Grape" in my mind. This movie could've been awesome, but why was the miscasting so poor. DiCaprio should still keep going, I'm looking forward to his other projects.
Awful take on '80's teen comedies falls flat, though director Huang tries
"Trojan War" is a poorly written and acted take-off on "Booty Call" and all the '80's John Hughes teen flicks. The only thing to admire in this mess is George Huang's (Swimming With Sharks) great directing job. He tries, often using references to older movies, T.V. shows, and even adds in a fun cameo from Anthony Michael Hall, but he can't save the weak premise. It didn't surprise me this went straight to tape. Jennifer "Love" Hewitt is pretty, but obnoxious and Will Friedle tries, but his character is too stupid to be likable. My advice, rent any '80's teen flick or even "Booty Call," even though that was awful, it wasn't as bad as this garbage.
Starts off funny and then slips into "Home Alone" territory
"Career Opportunities" starts off promising enough, but after an hour it slips into "Home Alone" territory and becomes silly. The cast are very good in their parts, especially Frank Whaley, who's a very funny and charismatic lead and the gorgeous Jennifer Connelly. It also has a slick directing job by Bryan Gordon and a fun cameo by John Candy. I enjoyed the film's first half, which is really funny and clever. It's the films last half, which is a bummer. When the two robbers come in, the film loses mosts of its laughs and becomes pointless and silly. It seems as if John Hughes just ran out of ideas and ripped off his "Home Alone" concept, like all of his '90's family movies. Overall, its a failed, but entertaining and sometimes funny attempt for Hughes to make a comeback at teen movies.
I kinda had high hopes for Dee's new horror film. Then when the film came out and wasn't screened for the critics, I had a feeling it'd be junk, but after sitting through garbage like HOLY MAN and URBAN LEGEND, I figured I could take STRANGELAND, too bad I was wrong. This is on my top ten worst films, it's awful, not even fun on a campy level. The audience I saw it, two other teens, hated it obviously worse than my friend and I did, and they wisely walked out of it. I have no idea why we didn't. From the acting to the gore, everything about this movie was terrible, the pacing being the worst. Avoid this movie like the plague!
When I saw the box at the video store, I thought it was some quiet, independent sequel to "Kalifornia," but surprisingly, it was a wonderful coming-of-age drama instead of a serial killer film, with excellent performances from the always incredible Juliette Lewis and Brad Pitt, and an involving story. Fans of the stars will really enjoy this film. It kept me on the hook and I'm glad I saw it. If you don't see it at your video store, you're likely to find it on Lifetime, which it has aired on.
All the people who hate "Titanic" either must've missed it in the theatres or just hate Leonardo DiCaprio. Sure, he's over-hyped, but people forget how much of an awesome actor he is, see any of his older movies (esp. "Basketball Diaries" or "Gilbert Grape") to see how amazing of an actor he is. He does an awesome job in this movie, though I more imagined Christian Bale in his part. Gloria Stuart, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane are fantastic as well. Seeing this in theatres was the best theatre experience since "Star Wars." I even saw the movie 3 times. On video however, it lacks the oomph that the theatre left you, but it still looks and sounds incredible (get the Widescreen version). Director James Cameron perfectly caught the Titanic wreck and this is one of the most visually stunning and captivating films I've ever seen. Sure, some of the dialogue is weak, but who cares. This film impressed me and I'll never forget it. I still watch this movie from time to time.
The "Critters" sequels are awful and didn't lead up to the fun of the first one, but this sequel lives up to it and is even better. It has a good story, nice visual effects, and a quick pace. The cast are very good in their parts as well, it was especially good seeing Angela Bassett before she became a big name. The ending is pretty pathetic, but it still is a lot of fun and is worth a rent.
What a terrible TV series. A long waste of time that shouldn't have been made. The acting by that damn ugly, annoying little kid who played Danny and Stephen Weber were awful. The scares were poorly staged and the sluggish pace make this film seem to never end. Though people bitch and moan about how terrible the Kubrick version was, I happened to like it, and thought it was much better (and scarier) than this one. The screenplay may have added a few things the movie left out, but it's so mediocre and poorly done that you should just watch Kubricks "Shining" or just read the book. You choose. Just steer clear from this poor adaption.
Boring adaption of King's classic story "The Langoliers" is well written, but poorly executed with some of the most laughably bad computer f/x and awful over-acting I've seen in a long time. Bronson Pinchot is the only one who turns in a believable performance. If they would've handled it on a bigger budget and hired some better actors, this could've been a great adaption.