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Reviews

Lake Mungo
(2008)

The Dark Journey Of A Family
How would you classify a movie that is about grief and ghost? Also filmed in a mock documentary style that rival some of today's Oscar winning documentary films. This movie belongs in a sub-genre of its own, and it's a very good thing that Lionsgate has step up to the plate and picked this film for its After Dark "horror" film series. Otherwise no one outside of Australia would have heard of it, especially in America where the horror genre has devolved into the realms of torture and killing. What now days constitutes as "scary" in the American horror is truly discouraging for those of us who were weaned on horror films that have a story to tell and is scary and creepy.

What makes Lake Mungo good is also its achilles heel. For those who are not a regular watcher of documentary films, which happens to consist the main audience of After Dark horror series, this movie will be as foreign to them as an Ingmar Bergman film. I would have wished Lionsgate to market this movie as a stand alone film and not be packaged into a group of horror films which it's not a part of.

Lake Mungo draws you in to its ghostly world slowly but surly like poison from a blow dart. This film let its editing, music, and atmosphere be the narrator how one family in Ararat, Australia deals with a loss of a love one and that loss somehow morphed into strange sound in the night and haunting images on the photographs and videos.

The documentary style in this film is by far better executed by the film makers than the recent other mock documentary films such as "Paranormal Activity" and "The Fourth Kind". The acting is subdue and the film draws heavily on family's "home videos" which adds a sense of realism. There are few times where the imperfection of the film does surface and disrupted the mood, for example, shortly after the Palmer's daughter died, the family was asked to identify the body and afterward on the way home their car's gearshift broke down and can only goes in reverse, which is how they drove home. That scene makes me scratching my head. The story line of Lake Mungo inter-twanged like a maze, and ends with a touch of supernatural, which makes one wonders if there is ghost or not?

As others have already pointed out, Lake Mungo is not a horror movie by today's American teenagers definition, and they are right. This film is not a horror film. It's a creepy, moody, and stylishly film about dark journey of grief and a ghost, if you should be inclined.

The Phantom of the Opera
(1925)

It Is Always Better with Live Orchestra And Concert Organ
I just attended a special showing of "The Phantom of the Opera" at Orange County Performing Arts Center's Segerstrom Concert Hall with Pacific Symphony. The symphony performed the restored 1925's film score with Dennis James at the helm of the concert hall's concert Organ. I knew something great was going to happen when the opening scene of the movie on the big screen was accompanied with a wall of sound from the concert organ playing Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. In my many years of movie going, I have never experienced watching a movie along with full symphony orchestra playing its score, it just brings watching a classic silent film up to a whole new level.

Even-though, the film was shown as film-to-video transfer, the images came out loud and clear, but not without some blotches, the film is after all some 84 years old. I have never watched any of the Phantom movies before nor the musical version, so last night's showing was my first exposure to the franchise. The story of the film was the timeless story of unacquired love and human hideousness. Much in the same vein as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "King Kong", and "Frankenstein". The plot of the the film was limited to what the title card of the silent film can express, but the words flashed before the screen speaks volume to the actors emotions and further more bring it up couple of notches by the organ and orchestra's film score. I was in awe by the movie's venture into Technicolor at the second half of the film. With color one could really tells the difference if the showgirls in the film were wearing white leg stockings or just barelegged. The acting style of the actors to those not accustomed to silent film did caused some snickers from the peanuts gallery, but mostly those of us at the concert hall were captured by the powerful imageries and music of this 84 years old film. In the end, I must remind myself that I'm watching a silent film.

The Burrowers
(2008)

A Good Subtle Western Horror Movie
This movie begins quietly on the prairie like other great western films with a man profess his love to a woman. A causal viewer would mistaken this as a western love story. Boy, would he or she be surprised. This movie is a cross between "The Searcher", "Days of Heaven", and "Feast". For me, I like the quiet opening of the movie without any loud and overbearing music, and its subtle overtone might strike others as being slow, but for me the subtleness sets up the creepy atmosphere of the film. I love Doug Hutchison's performance as cavalry officer, he gave this film a realistic feel to it, although, I doubt all cavalry officers behaved like him back in the old west days. The monsters which I am sorry to say are the weak point of the movie. Even though, they are scary but not well put together consider this film has some budget that are higher than other horror films. Also, I found the settings of the movie a bit disruptive at the end of the film as the characters went from a prairie setting to a forested mountain setting and back all too quick. It's too bad that this movie didn't see its theatrical release. Perhasp a better title would help.

Erinnerungen an die Zukunft
(1970)

Hmmmmm....Really!!
I would imagine anyone who gone though the trouble of obtaining this film already knows about premise of Chariots of the Gods so I will save you the trouble. I am a fan of Leonard Nimoy's In Search of TV series and its pilot shows. In the shows the name Von Daniken and the book Chariots of the Gods were mentioned, and I remembered there is a documentary film from the book. So, I looked it up and watched it. While Chariots of the Gods is not as dramatic as the In search of: Ancient Astronauts narrated by the great Rod Serling, but it has that snazzy 70's Euro pop jazz going for it. The kind of music that reminds you that you are watching a low budget 1970 film from West Germany. Also, if you had watched Rod Serling's Ancient Astronauts or Outerspace Connection, you will noticed most of the footages from those films are from the Chariots of the Gods. The images of the film is quite good on the VCI Entertainment release DVD. Like other reviewers have said, if you turn the volume down this movie could make a good travelogue.

Also, like so many other reviewer have wrote, the narrator is no Rod Serling. As a matter of fact, I think he is about as dry as a glass of martini, with no olive. This film consists of him reading from the book with no sound bites of people who were interviewed. If you want answers of strange going on with those little green aliens then this film is not for you, because this movie offers questions, a lot of questions, but no answers. With rhetorical questions like: "Could the ancient Egyptian mummifies body to copy alien's hyper-sleep during space travel?" or "Could the stone drawing in the middle of Sahara desert thousand of years ago be that of UFOs?" or "Could that 5,000 years old Japanese figurine be that of an alien in a space suit?" make me want to put my finger to my cheek and go "Hmmmmmm....Is that so?" Even though most of the questions posed doesn't pass go on my mumbo jumbo filter, it is still good a fun watch on a boring summer afternoon. What can I say, I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff.

The Car
(1977)

Rider on the Storm
Watching this film reminds me of the Doors' song, "Riders on the storm". Indeed, the villain rides on a storm of a car and straight from hell. If this movie is a commentary of American's car culture, then it held even more true today as a manifestation of what we now called "road rage", and there's no better embodiment of road rage then this car. A bulky low top car that's a cross between a hearse and a cardiac. Its horns are the trumpet of doom, calling for the end of the world. Its windows are tainted red, as if to contain the fiery fury of road rages from bursting out onto the world. The car itself vomited from hell, now rides in the badland of Utah, killing whoever is in its way or not in its way.

Unlike its contemporaries, this film is fast pace, dead bodies starts to pile up within 30 minutes. The Car is also unlike its contemporaries in its body count, I start to lose count after nine. With the newly remaster DVD the local of the film is breath taking made even more beautiful by the cinematographic. The music and the cast are straight out of memorable 70's disaster movies, in a good way. I love Kathleen Lloyd's performance as a spunky school teacher, and James Brolin as good humor but serious under sheriff and also the Richards sister as under sheriff's kids.

The film itself held up pretty well in its 31 years, sure, the bell bottom jean and the fluffy hair style are kind of out-dated, but everything else could come right out of today's Hollywood studio. If they ever decided to make a decent movie for a change.

Kaidan
(2007)

Journey of a Cursed Man
How many curses can a man suffer? Cursed by the sin of his father, and the sin done to his wife, the main character of this film does not have a lot going for him; except, his manly charm that have women falling themselves over for him. That's what this film is about, cursed by love and cursed to be loved.

This movie opens like a Japanese fairy tale not unlike the 1964 version of "Kaidan". A tale of greed and murder told in theatrical like black and white film, where a businessman was killed by a samurai over a debt, but before he drawn his last breath, he cursed the samurai's family. Later, when the orphaned samurai's son met the daughter of his father's victim, as if by magic, they fell in love and soon after, fall out of love. The daughter fell ill and before she died, out of jealousy she cursed her lover to suffer the lost of women he loves. The cursed man fled for his life, to another city, another town where once again women fall in love with him and the curses continue.

I was surprised that this film is own by Liongate films and didn't saw its U.S. DVD distribution, whereas Takashi Shimizu's "Rinne" or "Reincarnation" did. Perhaps "Kaidan" is too much of an eastern horror film for a western audience. I doubt target audience for horror films in America would be interested in watching a horror movie base in 19th century Japan with samurai and geisha.

Kaidan is more of a telling of a love story that involves supernatural elements than just a normal western type of horror story. I found myself drawn into the story of this movie and watched as the cursed man's journey ran its faithful course. Since this movie doesn't have a U.S. release, I have to settle for a blurry VCD version although the English subtitle in the movie is much better than other Japanese VCD movies.

Ame no machi
(2006)

Scary Children Spoiled A Scary Movie
I will tell ya, nothing spoils a good Japanese horror film than a bunch of scary children running around. Take them out and what you got is a atmospheric spooky movie that bring back to the ice cream days of Ringu, Ju-on, and One missed call. The movie is about a group of people who disappeared all at once at a mountain side village in rural Japan 30 years ago. They were never found. Now, during the raining season, those people who went missing are coming back to the dying village and aged not a day older. The thing is the people who came back are just a facsimile of what they suppose to be. Something is very wrong with them. The remaining villagers lock their doors at sundown, fearing the people who walks in the night, and in all this mix is a burned out tabloid reporter from Tokyo trying to figure out who are these mushroom people.

Doesen't sound too bad I might say, but why the missing people have to be children? Thus, setting up the movie up as another average J-horror flick. This movie has the style, direction, and story of a good creepy movie, but somebody has to say, "bring in the scary children! And make those scary faces!", and this film somehow becomes unintentional funny at times. Please! No more scary children.

The Outer Space Connection
(1975)

Take It or Leave It.
This film marks the birth of ideas such as, alien adduction, alien experimentation, and alien conspiracy. It also give rise to such films and TV show as, Close Encounter of The Third Kind, Fire in the Sky, and most important, The X-Files. It took me a while to track this film down. A not too bad transfer of film-to-VHS-to-DVD is given me all sorts of flash backs from my "younger" years in the mid to late seventies.

The Outer Space Connection is the hallmarks of the 1970's, with its heavy pseudo-science overtone to its otherworldly soundtrack which I find very soothing. One has to be a "true believer" to take stock of anything this documentary has to say, but it won't hurt to put up one's mumbo-jumbo filter in your mind as you watch this film. I love the narration of Rod Serling, his authoritative voice lend some credence to the documentary. Also, the creepy atmosphere the film presented is not too bad either. The subject of movie wandered from outer space alien to alien outer space travel to alien human experimentation, to communication with other specie of animals towards the end of the movie.

If you're a X-Files fan then you must have it in your library, agent Mulder sure has.

Bûsu
(2005)

Is it Ghost, or is it Your Imagination?
The Booth puts a whole new twist on your typical J-horror movie. This movie puts you in the shoes of the protagonist of the story. The director wants you to see what the protagonist sees and thinks.

The story is about perception of the people who works, lives, and loves of our protagonist, and how he perceives the people who surrounds him in an antiquated radio station DJ booth. The story peels back the layers of the main character like an onion in flash-backs as the movie runs its course, and from it we learned that things are not always the way it seems. The movie mostly took place in a small, out-dated radio station's studio with a very bad history, where the main character was forced to broadcast his talk show due to the radio station was in the process of re-locating. It is from this confined space that this movie thrives and makes you feel very claustrophobic and very paranoid. At time our protagonist can not determined the strange happenings in the old studio were caused by ghost or some conspiracy by his co-workers or it was all in his mind. What I like about this film is that the film-makers makes you see through the eyes of the main character and makes you just as paranoid as protagonist did. This movie is a very smart, abide rather short 76 minutes film.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
(2006)

A Serial Killer's Wet Dream
The story of Perfume played out like a dark Brothers Grimm fable. The story unfolds as our killer Jean-Baptiste Grenouille's early existence consisting of endless cruelties inflicted to him by others, which in his later years changed him into some sorts of super-killer in the same light as Hannibal Lecter. Grenouille shares the same traits as other serial killers, the lack of sympathy/empathy with the victims, killing and experimenting with victims' dead bodies, and collecting of items from the victims to re-live the experience, in this case, Grenouille collecting the scents from his victims. The character of Grenouille is tall, dark, smart, and handsome. What makes Grenouille really stood out is the fact that he is some sort of serial killer's version of idiot savant. His keen sense of smell was able to lead him to create great perfumes but also lead him to his victims. Grenouille is able to move freely amongst people without fear of being capture to carry out his twisted goal of making a perfect perfume.

Although, this movie is photographed beautifully and the production value is better than the other films that came out of Europe in recent years, and the story itself has a moral point of a goal that is archived by ill means is a goal not worth to have, this film also has a big problem of getting the audience to root for the protagonist of this movie, thus a feeling of disconnect from the movie itself. The movie's finality seems to be out of some bad 1960's psychedelic, orgy movie.

In the end, Grenouille as a serial killer, get to have all a serial killer ever wanted, power, fame, desire, and most of all, the control to which he can choose his ending, now that's wet dream for a serial killer or what.

P.S. If you dig this kind of movie, I would also suggest the following film: "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)"

Premonition
(2007)

Jacob Ladder Lite
This film is a cross between the movie Jacob Ladder and Groundhog Day. More of a metaphysical musing than a supernatural thriller this movie gives the viewers. It have nice dark and gloomy atmosphere, interesting and involving story, and Sandra Bullock, playing her usual dark and moody character. It also has an ending that leaves you scratching your head.

The plot of this movie is pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, sort of like Jacob Ladder. Our main character, Linda is similar to the character in Jacob Ladder who have to sort through bits and pieces of his memories to find out what is happening to him. Unlike Jacob Ladder, where the viewers are able to find "closure" along with the main character at the end of the film, in Premonition, the viewers are left with just one word: "Huh?". In short, there is no ending to Premonition, the movie just ended and the audience is left out in the cold. I have a feeling the director can't come up with an ending so he is leaving it up to us to figure it out. Otherwise, Sandra Bullock did a good job playing a woman of quiet despair, The local is nondescript but functional, and the pacing of the story is bit on the slow side. Until the director comes up with an better ending this film will feels like it is unfinished.

Otoshimono
(2006)

Watch Out for the Zombie Ghost
I like this movie, it has great beginning and ending but the middle part makes me give this movie five stars instead of more. This movie should be re-titled "Ghost Station", or "Ghost Tunnel" as much of the story doesn't takes place on a train.

The movie centered around a high school girl called Nana whose kid sister found a lost train pass at the train station. She then disappeared the following day. The story goes, Nana's sister is not the only person who happens to vanished into thin air around that station. Many people who come across lost items on the train or at the station seem to be cursed by a woman dressed in black. It's been a bad week for our heroine Nana, not only has her sister gone missing, but her mother is in hospital for heart condition as well. As she search for her sister, she meets a guy who works as a train conductor. He too, sees strange happenings in the darken tunnel of the subway. With his help, they are able to find out something much more darker and eviler within the tunnel.

As I watch this movie all sorts of questions popped up in my mind, such as, why are the locations of inter-cutting scenes don't match?, Why is a teenage melodrama doing in a horror movie?, And how can a woman without depth perception able to drive a car? This movie has a check list of things that needed to be in a J-horror movie, for example, ghost children, checked, evil ghost woman, checked, evil curse, checked, high school girl, checked, sound cue from Ringu, checked, unexplained ending, checked, and last but not least, zombie ghost, checked. As I said before, I do like this movie at the beginning for its creepy atmosphere and locations, and the story about a ghost haunting a subway tunnel although not new but still very interesting. I also like this movie for its zombie ghost stampede at the end of the movie. Still, due to editing and/or directing, the pacing of the film at time goes from slow to a dead stop. Lighting could be better also, as in the abandon tunnel scenes, the tunnels were too well lit to have any creepy atmosphere. This movie is good, but not very well thought-out.

Chakushin ari final
(2006)

A Positve Effect of Having Low Expectation on J-Horror Films.
Is that you might actually be amused if things turned out better than you thought it would. I am a sucker for any Asian horror movie, and I have been burned more than I would rather care. This third and final installment of One Missed Call franchise have me going in with lower than average expectation on this movie. I mean, come on, we pretty much know everything already, the cursed phone calls, the creepy ring tone, and the girl from beyond hell, but this movie actually is kind of fun to watch.

In short, a group of Japanese (what else?) high school students is taking a field trip to South Korea before graduation, but they are missing one of their own. Asuka not long before the trip decided to hang herself in the dark and empty high school where all of her so-call friends have abused her without pity. (what's with Japanese and Korean school girls killing themselves in their school in all of the Asian-horror that I have seen?) Anyway, one of them is Emily, yes a western name for once. Emily seems to be the candidate for the heroine role. She seems to catch on as each member of the group began to drop dead and figuring out who is doing the bad deed. This time something new has sprung up, when a person receives the death call, he or she could forward the call onto another person, thus avoiding death him or herself.

The role of Emily is played by Kuroki Meisa, a breath of fresh air in the world of J-horror I must say. She was able to carry out the role of Emily very well as with her ability to scream. Kudo to the director for casting this actress that's not like all other Japanese actresses in term of looks and acting skill. The special effects are on par with the first One Missed Call, but after watching the first two films, the scare factors have diminished greatly. The saving grace of the movie is the ability to forward the death call to another person turned the group into a pseudo-Lord of the Flies'ish savages where everybody is out to save him or herself. At the end of the movie things turns a bit melodramatic between Asuka and Emily and the ending is typical of all J-horror movies. Also, I still don't get why would the film be set in South Korea since so little of the locales was used in the film, unlike the One Missed Call 2, where the locales of Taiwanese island were used effectively.

Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia
(2006)

Help! I'm going Blind.
The first thing in the Curse of the Golden Flower you will noticed is the colors of this over-cooked film. This movie has the color palette of an exploding paint factory and overly loud like a pink fluorescent shirt.

This movie is about a Chinese Imperial family a thousand years ago that wants to play like a Shakespearean tragedy but ends up confused the heck out me. You have the emperor, his younger new empress, his three sons. Mixed them all up and add a dash of poison for a good measure and you got a whole lot of blood letting in the end. I can not make head or tail of this movie not until after I have read the plot summary on IMDb. It seems that the emperor is having second thoughts about his new younger wife and decided to pull a Henry VIII without the whole beheading thing. His new younger wife by-the-way got the hots for her oldest step-son, while her second oldest sons happens to be her son with the emperor. I have no idea who the third sons belongs to. Anyway, the empress discovered the poison plot and decided it's time for a management change at the top, while her oldest step-son is chasing the daughter of the imperial family's doctor, which the emperor wants to have the good doctor and his family doing the dirt naps. Things really got interesting when the youngest son decided to jump into the foray.

The color palette of this movie is not the only thing I have problem with this film. The costumes in the movie seems like somebody mixed up the woman's Chinese imperial costumes with the woman's Europen royal costumes of the 15th century. I have never seen so much cleavages in a Chinese film! Another thing you get to see is lots and lots of hallway tracking shots, long hallway tracking shots with color splashed everywhere by a person with a bad case of ADD. One more thing, the film-maker likes to show lots and lots of people in his movie. You have scenes of thousands of imperial soldiers running around for which you don't know where and how they came from. During the movie I have no ideas of who are the bad guys or who are the good guys, and frankly, I don't care, because in this film it's hard to root for the emperor, empress, or the princes or anybody. This is the kind of film that reaches across the border of China and over the vast Pacific Ocean and grabs you and makes you say, "holy crap, this is an awful movie!".

Kôkô kyôshi
(2003)

Teenage Love, Japanese Style.
KoKo Kyoshi is my first exposure to Japanese prime-time soap opera. After watching the whole ten hours of it, I must say that I like it in a guilty pleasure kinds of way. The story was well written, but it gets mushy from time-to-time, and the pace of it tend to drag on a bit longer than it is needed. The production value of this serial drama is quite good in comparison to American daytime drama. Unlike American soap operas that goes on forever, Japanese serial drama has a limited run on TV for about two months, more like a very long mini-series. The show was shot on video on locations in and around Tokyo and its suburbs.

The story is of concerns of one seventeen years old Hina Machida and her friend, Beniko Kudo during their 11th grade term at their girls high school. Hina is the shy, introverted one, while Beni is outgoing and loud. At the start of the school term one night Hina met a young man called Ikumi Koga, who she liked and somehow ended up spending a night with him. The next day, she happens to find out Ikumi is to be her new math teacher at her school. Like I said, this is teenage love, Japanese style.

Anyway as things got interesting, Beniko also fell for a guy called Yuji Kamiya, who was part-time host at a night club and a full-time pimp. He has plan for Beniko that is good for him but not for her. Not only that, Yuji had run-ins with the teachers at the school a year earlier which caused the death of a student. As Yuji sets his eyes on Beniko, both Hina and Ikumi can not seem to stay out each other's hairs, which could caused problem if their true feelings for each other were to make public. Oh yes, as this is a soap opera after all, Ikumi happens to be dying of a brain tumor, things only goes up hill, or rather, down hill after that. Along the way we get to see Hina somehow got tricked into believing that she is dying of brain tumor instead of Ikumi, the teachers at the school declared war on Yuji the pimp, and at the end, one of the teacher got killed in what I must say the longest death scene that I ever saw, and that's only covered a small amounts of goodies in this serial drama.

The storyline aside, if you are interested in the culture of Japanese teenage and what the education system of Japan is like, this film is for you. Other than that this serial drama is good to watch on a rainy day with a big bag of popcorn.

La monja
(2005)

The Bad acting ruined It
I don't usually like to comment on the acting in a movie, because it is the one thing that people who have agenda against a film will go after. In this movie, I will make an exception. The acting in this film are below average all around. I mean halfway into the film, I wonder how the hell did the producer and/or the director gets around casting such an ensemble of people who can't act. Even-though the production value was good, the ill written story just compounded on top of the bad performance of the actors, and there is even a half-hearted attempts to a twist to the ending of the movie, which ends up quite confusing. Is all the Spanish horror films this disappointing?

Silent Hill
(2006)

Faithful to the Core
This got to be the most realistic adaptation of a video game to movie today, and yet it works as a stand-alone movie. The problem with movies that are based on game and book is that if you have played the game or read the book already you will feel as if you were watching a re-run. For those that have not played the game, it will be a lot of information one needs to sort through to understand it. For most part, this movie copies the looks and feels of the game spot-on. The first half of the movie WILL send goose-bumps up and down your back as the town of Silent Hill and the atmospheres that surrounds it seems to rip it right off the game itself. I will tip my hat to the production designer for this film as he or she did an outstanding job. Nothing beats the creepiness of a lone woman walking down an empty street in an abandon town with a bad dose of ju-ju.

The monsters in this film are few when comparing to other movies that are based on video game, and their appearances are brief. Also, due to the nature of Silent Hill's game play, the protagonist doesn't engages the monsters but rather, avoiding them. The computer special effects are what drives this movie, and they will shock-and-awe you.

The pace of this film is also slower than most of movies of video game, but this is needed to provide the necessary creepy atmosphere that's the mainstay of the game, but 2/3 into the movie the pace of the storyline becomes bogged down with dialogs trying to explain everything. Which makes this film that is not heavy on the actions seems even slower to those who was bred on MTV.

All in all, I like this movie for its truthfulness to the game it is portraying and the craftsmanship of the production value, and at two hours long it doesn't seems to be long enough.

The Descent
(2005)

Girls Gone Wild
I really want to like this movie, a movie about a bunch of women go caving in the Appalachian mountain. What I don't understand is why would the director use an all girls cast instead of a co-ed cast. After watching this movie I feel as if there is no purpose for casting all women in this film, a cast of male and female actors will work just fine if not better in the movie. I don't know why the director would select an all women actors for the film as the novelty of it really didn't last long when the body count starts mounting not long after they entered the cave.

For the most part, once they entered the cave, the film becomes too dark in lighting for me to able to recognize which actor is doing the talking. At time I can't hardly tell what is going on while they are in the cave, but there is couple of good scenes where the girls get to kick some big time butts on the monsters, so much so that I wonder why isn't the monsters afraid of the girls rather than the other way around. There is another similar movie called The Cave released before this film and I find this movie to be more in substances as in the former movie.

Autumn Born
(1979)

Only For Dorothy's Fan
The only reason this film exist at all is that Dorothy Stratten is in it. Autumn Born has all the finesse of a 70's porn film, but without the sex scenes. Although, I did like the story, An uncle who have his niece kidnapped to brainwash her into signing her fortunes over to him. It is a interesting story, but not fully realized by the writer and by the director of this movie.

In Autumn Born, you get to see plenty of Dorothy Stratten than any other films that she is in. You get to hear her speak with her Canadian accent(she does have a very lovely voice). You get to heard her say "eh" couple of times at the start of the film. You get to see Dorothy in varies states of undress either by another or by herself a lot. What I like about this movie is that you get to see the budding of her acting talent. Now I have seen more than my shares of bad acting in low budget movies, but Dorothy's acting although rough around the edges, still have more room to grow, that is, if she was to allow to develop her skill. It is really a shame that all we get to see of Dorothy Stratten as an actress is in low rent movies like this one.

The Off Season
(2004)

A Really Low Rent Movie
To say this movie is low budgeted is an overstatement. If you like the quality, the production value, and the acting of a poorly done student film, you will love this one.

The story: Two people decided to hole up in a small room at a rundown motel so he could write his next great play while his girlfriend works at a menial job in town to supporting him. Right off, strange things begin to happen in this cramp room. As the day gone by, things become worst and worst.

The good: the first two minutes of the movie, when I thought this is going to be a reality style horror movie shot on video instead of film.

The bad: The next 83 minutes of the movie. First of all, the surroundings of this movie doesn't promote any scariness nor creepiness. The motel room the haunting is suppose to take place is not big enough to fit two people along with a ghost. I mean, if a ghost wants to haunt the room they are in, one person needs to leave the room first. The directing is amateurish and so is the camera work, especially halfway thorogh the movie when the camera-person decided to play with the zoom lens. The sound is hard to heard. The male lead is a poster boy of over-acting. Nothing in this movie is remotely scary for a ghost story. I am very glad that I only rented this movie instead.

Arpointeu
(2004)

A Interesting Vietnam War Horror Movie
A very unique point-of-view of Vietnam war from the Korean coalition soldiers, with a side of supernatural also. If you like movies such as, "Session 9", "Deathwatch", and "Below" you will like this one, although you will have to read subtitle.

The plot of this movie is very similar to the movie like "Deathwatch".

It is about a group of Korean soldiers sent on a mission to an island with some very bad juju going on. They are there to search for another group of Korean soldiers who have gone missing earlier. Between the Viet Cons, the ghosts, and the phantom American and Korean soldiers, They must keep their sanity if the soldiers want to return alive.

This movie is beautifully shot on location in Vietnam and Cambodia and also includes a building that will reminds you of the hospital in "Session 9". The ensemble cast is very good for their roles. But I do have problem with the filmmaker portrayal of the soldiers during Vietnam war. I truly think a military adviser during the making of this film will make the soldiers more like soldiers and less like boy scouts out on a field trip.

The Grudge
(2004)

You want to see something scary? Or maybe not.
The remake of Japanese's "Ju-On" is good, but it have its faults. First, the movie starts off well by having a guy takes a dive off his high-rise apartment building. From there it builds the suspense and the creepiness petty well. The jump-cut of the scenes are less confusing than the Japanese's version, I think the audience were able to follow the story line. The first half of the movie exceeds my low expectation of the remake due to all of the bad reviews that I have read. I thought this movie is not so bad after all.

But half way through the movie somehow it seems that movie starts to run out of the steam and the whole film starts to slow down greatly. The scares just doesn't seem that scary any more from the first half of the movie and I could sense restlessness amongst the audience. It seems that the director has run out of ideas on how to scare us and the film just slowly marches toward the end.

Now I am not a big fan of the FX in horror movies, but I believe the producer of this movie sticks too much to the old school of horror films. I think that a little special effects would greatly help in terms of scarieness of the ghosts.

Open Water
(2003)

Hopeless and Pointless
I hate movies that inspire hopelessness without redemption, such as "The Clearing" and "The Blair Witch Project", and this movie fit the bill just quite nicely. Watching this movie is like watching a person driving his car from point A to point B. This movie makes a person think what exactly is the purpose of this movie being made?

It has all the characteristic of a Titanic movie, you get to watch the boat sinks but without the drama. The film maker of this drivel even managed to throw in a gratuitous full on female nude scene ten minutes into the movie.

Open Water has got to be the cheapest movie ever made, I must say. The whole film was shot in some sort of analog camcorder and transferred onto film. Watching this movie is like watching an over-grown home movie, the film appeared grainy and under exposed. At time I was having trouble making things out on the screen.

Over the many years that I have been a moviegoer, I have never walked out of a theater angry, but this movie sure made me blew my top while walking back to my car. It is a good thing that this movie is only 80 minutes long because that is how much I wasted on this mockery of a film.

The Village
(2004)

The Movie that We do not speak of
Although I love the the way the film was filmed, but this movie have no story arc, no character development, and no ending. This movie ended in the same place as it started, no one have grown any wiser, no problem was ever solved, and nothing was gained. The film have many plot holds in it, for example, as others have pointed out where did all other town people come from if it was the core elders who come up with the idea in the first place? Where did they get all that fuel oil to burn at night? They must have cornered the lamp oil market. Even if the lamp oil are supplied from the outside world how do they get it? No matter how rich the leader was, there was just no way of keeping the outside world from intruding, and then how far the elder will go to keep their secrets.

The Ring
(2002)

A Scary Movie!!!!!!
Even-though I had already seen the original version of the Ring I must say that this remake is not bad at all. For all of you haven't seen the original movie I will say see the remake first and then try to get your hand on the Japanese version of the movie. This movie is not one of your blood and gore movie, it is very refreshing to have Hollywood to make a horror movie that doesn't have sex or violence in mind. This movie is a thinking man's of a horror movie which requires one to put some efforts into figuring out what the movie is about and not have to spell it out for you. The Ring is not one of the best horror movie out there, but it is not one of the worst either. Different people, different taste I must say.

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