LauraH2477

IMDb member since December 2001
    Lifetime Total
    25+
    IMDb Member
    18 years

Reviews

Gothika
(2003)

meh...
YAWN - how lame. Oooh, thunder and lightning and big dark hospitals are so scary! Oh look, there's a murdered ghost who wants justice done, but instead of just appearing to someone (like say, her dad or the cops) and explaining the situation or leading them to the evidence, she invades a woman's body and drives her to commit a grisly murder. If you're a ghost, how can the person you are contacting in the hope that they'll find out who your murderer is, do you any good if they're locked up in a mental ward for murder themselves? Couldn't the ghost just leave the lady clues, or communicate with dreams or something? Anyway, this movie was so bland and predictable, there ain't nothin' here that you haven't seen before in a hundred other, MUCH better horror films. The Ring, The Sixth Sense, The Exorcist, Stir of Echoes, Poltergeist, The Changeling, Candyman - all of these movies are examples of much better vengeful ghost/possession stories. This is just mediocre crap, so I wouldn't waste the time or the rental fee if I were you. Halle Berry has got to be the most overrated actress ever...I don't watch many of her films but if this is a typical example of her acting, then I haven't missed anything. All she does is scream and cry through the whole film. There is absolutely no logic or thought put into this movie..there is nothing believable going on here AT ALL. Penelope Cruz is just annoying...not to be mean but I can kind of see why Tom Cruise broke up with her. She has a squeaky little voice and a really thick accent, plus she looks like a vulture...sorry. Anyway, there is really nothing good here, even Robert Downey, Junior is annoying, and the ghost is lame and hardly does anything. The movie also loses points for bombarding me with Fred Durst's screeching at the end, as if the movie wasn't bad enough without that. Please - PLEASE, avoid this mess.

Love Liza
(2002)

Really Disappointing.
*Possible Spoilers?*

I really wanted to like this movie because I really like P.S. Hoffman and Kathy Bates, but I just couldn't get into it. I understand that Hoffman's character (Wilson) was devastated by his wife's suicide, but he just goes so off the deep end that I wondered if perhaps he was always emotionally unstable. There seem to be hints given throughout the movie that his wife's suicide may have had something to do with him, and his mother-in-law seems to be worried about this possibility as well. But instead of finding anything out about the relationship or the reasons for the suicide, we get to watch Wilson mope around and huff gas and freak out in public. The whole time he's carrying a letter from his wife that may have the answers as to why she committed suicide, but he refuses to open it. When he does, it doesn't really answer any questions after all. The whole thing is pretty pointless; you care for the character at first and get a sense of his pain and confusion, but you don't really get much of a story. His actions also don't really make much sense, I mean why huff gas? Surely he could afford something better, even if it was only alcohol? Why does he get up and go to work when he's in mourning - why wouldn't he take some time off? Also, his friends seem pretty cheerful around him, as if they had no idea what had happened. And unless I missed it (which is possible, of course, since I found myself drifting pretty soon into the film because there are so many scenes with nothing happening), we don't even find out HOW his wife killed herself. It's just really incomplete story-wise. Anyway, avoid this movie as both Hoffman and Bates have done far better movies and you should just check them out instead.

Punch-Drunk Love
(2002)

Adam Sandler rules!
Possible Spoilers:

I know it's not very cool to like Adam Sandler, but who cares...I happen to think he's funny as hell. So when I heard that he was doing a serious role, I wasn't sure if he'd be able to pull it off. But he does a wonderful job with his character, though of course the movie has its flaws.

Barry Egan is an unlucky young man who has seven sisters who routinely tease, torment, belittle and humiliate him. As a result, he seems to have about a dozen emotional disorders. He's one of the most sympathetic characters I've ever seen. He's an outsider, and who hasn't felt like an outsider at some point in their lives? Well I for one have, and still do at times, so I can definitely relate to him. He doesn't seem like a stupid guy (he runs his own business, takes care of himself and all that), though he often comes off as dim-witted to others. He just seems in a way to be easily flustered and upset. He frequently has outbursts of rage that he can't control because of his inability to communicate with people or to stand up to his sisters. He's surrounded by people, but he is completely unable to understand them or to make them understand him, and so he lashes out. I agree with a previous reviewer that he seems almost autistic in his behavior, especially when he whispers to his brother-in-law that he needs help because he doesn't like himself, he has crying fits, and he doesn't know how other people are. He has a piano that he rescued from the street in his office, and in moments of stress, his hands automatically reach towards it for comfort. Out of loneliness he calls a sex hotline that turns out to be a scam and he is being constantly harassed by a group of thugs who now know where he lives and are extorting money from him. In the middle of all this, he meets a woman named Leena, and an instant connection is formed. She is calm and serene, she listens to him instead of shouting at him, she laughs at his jokes, and she doesn't seem to mind his weirdness. She seems to be the only person who has ever been able to understand him. Her affection gives him the strength to stand up to his overbearing sisters and the harassing thugs as well.

It's just a lovely story, if you can get past the two major flaws, which are the the weird scenes where there is nothing on the screen but a bunch of trippy, swirling colors, and that horrible "He Needs Me" song. The song was bearable at first and sort of comical, but after about three or four minutes (or however long), it started to make me want to scream. Other than that, this is a really good movie. The performances are great all around and Adam Sandler is wonderful as Barry. The rest of the music is perfect; it really helps you to feel the tension and panic, or the joy that Barry is feeling. The cinematography is also gorgeous. This is definitely a movie I would recommend, but if you are an Adam Sandler fan, please watch with an open mind. Don't rent this expecting to see another Billy Madison, because this is a different type of film.

Hell Asylum
(2002)

What a pile of puke. (Possible spoilers!)
Hell Asylum is the story of a down-on-his-luck TV producer who want to make a reality show about hot chicks being forced to face their worst fears in a haunted mental hospital that was closed down long ago. He gets permission after groveling for Joe Estevez for a while, and then he picks the girls and brings them to the asylum, where everyone gets picked off one by one by ghosts in black hooded robes who pull spaghetti out of their victims chests and eat it. That's pretty much the whole movie...idiots doing the stupidest things possible and annoying you to tears before they get slaughtered in disgusting, cheap, fake-looking ways. It's only like an hour long, which is good since it's so worthless.

Boy is this awful. I was expecting it to be awful but I at least hoped it would be awful in a fun way. But this is just no fun at all, it's mean-spirited, ugly and dull. The characters are unlikable and stereotypical and you just want to punch them. There's the Sassy Black Chick (the first to die, of course), The All-American Blonde, the Slutty Blonde, the New-Agey Goth Chick, and the Ambitious Wannabe Star. They are all completely annoying and unsympathetic. You just spend the whole movie waiting for them to get picked off. The "Asylum" looks like a high school and isn't scary at all. The ghosts are laughable. Just don't bother watching this, it's crap.

The Order
(2003)

Completely boring.
Thank goodness I didn't pay to see this one. My eyes were literally glazing over about twenty minutes into this waste of film. Heath Ledger is unconvincing as a twenty-something hunk priest who is a member of some outcast order of the Catholic Church (yeah right!). His previously excommunicated mentor dies mysteriously and so he has to track down the sin eater, a guy who absorbs the sins of excommunicated people in a freaky ritual. Or something like that, truthfully I was too bored to care. There are a couple of demon children wandering around, but what their purpose is is never explained. Nothing in this movie is ever explained. The love story is boring and not the slightest bit moving, the sidekick priest is boring, the sin eater and the evil priest are boring. The special effects are stupid and boring. The whole movie is just boring to the point of tears. Also, the dialog is so low and the actors mumble so much that you can barely hear what the heck they're saying. Do not ever see this movie. Don't rent it and please don't buy it unless you are an insomniac who would like to get to sleep without pills or alcohol. That's the only way this would be worth a purchase.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
(2003)

The best movie ever made!!
This movie is as amazing as it was expected to be. I've seen it three times now, and it takes at least that many viewings to take everything in. This is the movie with everything - adventure, romance, horror, tragedy, great acting, great special effects, beautiful music, costumes, and scenery. All the rabid Tolkien fanatics who criticize this trilogy need to get a grip on reality. There is no way anyone on earth could ever put every detail of the books onto film. No one even had the guts to attempt to get it on film until Peter Jackson decided to dedicate years of his life to the project. He and all the actors and crew worked their butts off to get this extraordinary work done, and they did a wonderful job. It's as close to perfect as you will ever get, so why don't you quit whining and enjoy the films for what they are. They are historic pieces of cinema and will be treasured as classics for many years to come. They will lead many people to read the books so they can learn more about these beautiful characters that so many of us have come to love through watching the films. I can't begin to tell how much Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, Boromir, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimlee, Theodin, etc., have affected me. I feel like these characters are my friends, or at least they make me wish I had friends as true as these. I am really looking forward to reading the books so I can spend more time with them.

Anyway, to all the critics, if you think you can do a better job than Peter Jackson, I wish you'd try. I would love to see it.

Rose Red
(2002)

Nothing too original here, but it's fun if you like Stephen King, or bad movies, or both.
*There may be spoilers in here somewhere*

I was a huge fan of Stephen King in my teenage years, and I still think he's written some of the best pieces of horror literature EVER, from huge novels like the Stand and It to short novels like Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption or even short stories like Lady Fingers. But anyone who's read Danse Macabre or any of his countless interviews knows that he doesn't take himself that seriously when it comes to movies. Sure, every now and then a Stephen King movie comes out that actually remains faithful to the story it was based on and manages to be great. The Stand, The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, The Shining, and IMO, Pet Semetary as well, are examples of this. Pet Semetary didn't have the greatest acting, true, but it was pretty faithful to the book and let the truly frightening story come through, so it worked (for me anyway). But then every now and then King cranks out a silly, B-grade cheeseball either written for the screen or based on one of his lesser novels or short stories. Thinner, Sleepwalkers (a favorite of mine from long ago), The Mangler, and Creepshow are all examples of this, and there are quite a few more. If you're a King fan, you'll know that he enjoys cheesy horror movies, like so many people do, and so I don't see why people watch every movie he puts out as if it's destined to be the next The Stand. I think everyone needs to relax a little bit and just have fun with his films, instead of expecting too much.

Now, about Rose Red. Fans of Stephen King will also know that he is a big Shirley Jackson fan, and a fan of the haunted house genre. This miniseries is a blend of stories like The Haunting of Hill House, The House Next Door, House of Leaves (a newer one but I would say just as good as Jackson's novel), and several other stories about houses that are somehow wicked or warped from the time of their construction. I agree with some other reviewers that with such great inspiration to draw from, this could have been a good horror film, but only if it had been made for the big screen. As a miniseries, however, it's stretched out too long and there isn't enough character development or creepy stuff happening to justify a four hour running time.

Anyway, in Rose Red we have the standard professor/scientist/doctor character who contacts a bunch of psychically "gifted" people and offers them money to spend time in a huge, notorious haunted mansion so that they can wake up the presence there and record proof of life beyond the grave. Nancy Travis plays Professor Joyce Something-or-other, and at first she seems okay, but by the middle of the movie it's obvious that she's completely obsessed with waking up the power in the house and doesn't care who gets hurt, so she isn't very likable. Travis goes a little silly and over-the-top with her acting. The young girl who plays Annie is really pretty and isn't too bad an actor, but the character isn't very likable because she tends to sling huge rocks and axes at you if you make her mad and she doesn't seem to be too sorry about it, either. Melanie Lynskey is good, I like her as an actress, but her character is stupid. In fact, all the characters are stupid and are constantly making the worst possible decisions, even the likable ones. Julian Sands as Nick and Matt Keeslar as Steve Rimbauer are also good and do the best they can with their roles. Emery and his mother are annoying scumbags, but Emery seems to transform into a really nice guy at the end, which isn't very believable. The rest of the characters are completely forgettable.

Every cliche ever used in a haunted house movie is in this one. We have the house built on an Indian burial ground by a ruthless millionaire businessman; his young bride who comes to make her home and start a family there, but is beset by tragedy and dies vowing revenge on the world (or whatever); the voodoo servant woman who is the young bride's companion; as well as the crippled child. There is really nothing original or spectacular about this movie at all. It's not going to make you miss any sleep or turn on all the lights at night. The special effects are pretty badly done as well, although there are a few creepy moments here and there. There's also a Stephen King cameo, and those are always fun. He looks like he's having a good time, and that's really all I think this movie was meant to be - a cheesy horror movie for people who enjoy that sort of thing and don't expect too much out of a television miniseries about a haunted house. It could have been edited down quite a bit, true, but there is always the fast forward button if you get too bored in between the fun parts.

Recommended for King fans and people who love B-movies. Everyone else should skip it.

Gin gwai
(2002)

A decent little horror film
This is a good little Asian horror film that I would definitely recommend renting or even buying, if you like foreign films. A young blind woman receives a cornea transplant and soon finds out that she got way more than she bargained for when she starts being visited by some very unhappy dead souls. It's not very original, true, but the acting is good, the lead character (played by Angelica Lee, is that her name?) is adorable, as is the little girl who plays Ying Ying; there is some serious tension and dread here, especially in the first half hour. The scene in the hospital hallway had my skin trying to crawl off my body, as well as the "Why are you sitting in my chair?" scene. We're talking serious chills. Some of the music IS a bit cheesy and over the top, but hey, you can't have everything, right? The scenes where we see through Mun's eyes in the first few minutes are very effective; we know someone is standing there, we just don't know who it is, and we feel her fear and uncertainty. Not the best movie ever made, but it's definitely worth seeing.

Before I close, I would like to respond to the attitude expressed here by some people that American films are all stupid, and that American filmgoers are all drooling idiots who have to see a throat slashed every few minutes in order to be engaged by a movie. When you make comments like that, you really show how ignorant you are when it comes to American cinema, as some of the finest movies ever made came right out of Hollywood, and no they aren't all slasher films or mindless teen comedies. But then I'm sure you folks already know that, you just want to feel intellectually superior to others. I enjoy a good foreign film, and so do many Americans, but just because they're foreign doesn't mean they're perfect. They have flaws just like any other human effort, so please get over yourselves and try to watch movies with an open mind, because you'll enjoy them much more that way. That's just my two cents.

Watch this movie, it's good.

Bruce Almighty
(2003)

Don't listen to the bad reviews
Wow, what a surprise - a Hollywood film that portrays the Jewish/Christian God in a positive light (and he's black! I know that's gonna cause a lot of problems with the fundamentalists!)

I was a bit worried that it would be blasphemous and irreverant, and that at the most I would get a few guilty laughs out of it. Much to my shock, it turned out to be a wonderful movie. Jim Carrey does a great job portraying Bruce, a man whose life isn't going as well as he thinks it should. He blames God for every one of his failures in life, and some of the things he says COULD be considered blasphemous, but this story is really about a man who starts off thinking that money, job status, and the recognition of his peers is what life is all about. However, throughout the course of the movie, and through his meetings with God, he learns what's really important in life, and of course these things are: a relationship with the Creator, love, compassion, and selflessness. Bruce goes from a self-pitying jerk who thinks that God and the world owe him something, to a kind and caring man who puts others before himself. I know that in today's jaded, "me first" kind of world, a movie with a message like that isn't going to impress people (and that's pretty sad, when you think about it), but instead it's going to be called "lame", "preachy", "corny", "sappy", and a million other derogatory terms. Well, if you are a person who doesn't really care about majority opinion, then you will see this movie in spite of the bad reviews and decide for yourself, and you may even enjoy it. On the other hand, if you're a person who is easily swayed by critics, or overly religious (yes, that's possible), or someone who can't enjoy a film that lacks a nihilistic, cynical message, then avoid this because you will hate it.

I know I'm buying the DVD.

Final Destination 2
(2003)

Mixed feelings
I liked the first Final Destination because it wasn't the typical teen horror movie, although it wasn't perfect (no movie is). It had a little bit of a story and had quite a few creepy moments. The deaths were sudden and violent, but for the most part they weren't excessive. I had hoped that Final Destination 2 would continue with these traits, but it seemed to be just an excuse to show people being constantly splattered, burned, smashed, ripped, crushed and impaled very graphically. This is not scary, it's just makes the movie hard to watch for some people. I was entertained by the movie because it was fairly fast-paced and because it's fun to pick out all the mistakes, illogic, stupid dialogue, continuity lapses, etc., but I really don't care to see guts and heads flying all over the place. I understand that this is sometimes necessary in horror films, but really, can't we leave SOMETHING to the imagination anymore? All the best horror films have a message or a moral that they are trying to get across to the audience, however crudely executed it is, and that message is the focus of the story. But in Final Destination 2, and similar movies that emphasize blood and guts over plot and atmosphere, there is no message to be taught. It exists for no other purpose than to glorify death and carnage. I don't understand why some people find graphic portrayals of people getting sliced and diced amusing. At least in a movie like, say, Evil Dead, people are taken over by evil spirits that are bent on murdering everything in sight, and they HAVE to be killed in gruesome ways. FD2 is just full of nice people, who have done nothing more evil than avoid a car accident, getting destroyed in the sickest and most painful ways possible. There's no satisfaction in that, it's just sick and mean-spirited. So while it is entertaining, FD2 is definitely not a must-see movie. If you like bad movies, there are plenty out there that are way more entertaining than this one, without all the senseless gore.

Wrong Turn
(2003)

LAME!
I was hoping this would be good, I didn't know much about it when I rented it, so I thought there was a slight chance I'd enjoy it. Unfortunately it turned out to be another standard horror movie about braindead, annoying teenagers being picked off one by one in gruesome and painful ways. The inbred clan look like a bunch of leftover orcs from LOTR, only a lot less scary. There is absolutely no background story or plot, the characters are unrealistic and unlikeable, especially the females. What woman puts on her tightest, skimpiest outfit, and fixes her hair and make-up to perfection to go out into the woods? And what kind of airhead is worried about what her hair looks like when she's in an isolated, filthy cabin that has 50 ransacked vehicles in the yard, obviously stolen valuables stacked to the ceiling, and blood and body parts lying around? This is just so stupid that you don't care who dies. In the little "making of" featurette on the DVD, it's made clear that the folks who made this movie really thought they were making a great horror film. They are dead serious about how in their opinion, this film is going to make people scared to go into the woods. One of them actually compared this movie to Jaws! How embarrassing.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
(2003)

Pretty good, but it can't hold a candle to T2.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS

This is a very well done action film that's really fun to watch. Acting and special effects are excellent, and Arnold is funny as usual. But it actually does disappoint somewhat, because of course Sarah is gone and John is played by a different actor. The guy who plays John does a good job, but he just doesn't seem like the same person. I'm not sure it would have been much better with Edward Furlong playing the part, though, since this installment of the series lacks both the dark and brutal atmosphere of T1 and the emotional warmth and thought-provoking depth of T2. Those hoping for any deep connection between John and his protector in this episode will be disappointed. This is a straightforward action flick that doesn't leave much room for that kind of development. And I do like Claire Danes, she always seems to put her all into a performance, but her character didn't really add much to the story. In T1 and T2, Sarah goes from an innocent young girl to a hardened warrior. Danes doesn't seem to do anything but scream and get knocked around. T3 is fun to watch, however, and the new female Terminator does some pretty cool tricks, though she isn't nearly as creepy as Richard Patrick's T-1000. All in all it's worth renting and even buying, as long as you're not expecting it to top T2, which was a masterpiece and the end of the story, as far as I'm concerned.

PS - To those of you who think this was better than T2, please get real here. T2 was more than just an action/sci-fi flick, it was a deeply human story that had something important to say, while T3 is basically just a long, entertaining action sequence. Ok, I'll shut up now.

The Evil Dead
(1981)

One of the best horror films ever
This is not a movie you need to watch if you have been raised on "I Know What You Did Last Summer" type horror films. No, this film is for people who grew up watching the films that "Scream", "IKWYDLS", etc., got their ideas from.

It's a low-budget 1980's cult classic because it's full of originality, humor, and genuinely scary, sick moments, it never takes itself seriously and neither should the viewer. It intends to scare you, make you laugh, cringe, and even gag at times, and it succeeds in these areas admirably despite its budget and its numerous flaws. Keep in mind that it was made by college students who, in spite of being amateurs, put their best efforts into it. They did a great job and as a result the film is dear to my heart and to many other people who have seen it time and again over the years.

If you can't relax and enjoy a horror film because you're expecting "Sixth Sense" type mind games (not knocking "Sixth Sense", though, it was excellent), then you are also among the folks who should avoid this one, since there is nothing subtle or thought-provoking about it. It's in your face from the start and isn't the slightest bit ashamed of it, but it's done in a very friendly, tongue-in-cheek way. People should just sit back, relax, make fun of the mistakes and bad acting, and enjoy the scares, which are many. A great party flick.

Identity
(2003)

Pretty disappointing in the end
I expected this movie to be really good, and it is entertaining up until the "big twist" at the end, which just ruined everything. The performances were good all around, and it could have been a solid thriller if it weren't for the cop-out ending. As it is, though, I certainly could have lived without ever having seen it. I do feel the need to say to all the people who rave about this movie and how original it is and then call anyone who disagrees with them an idiot - just because someone doesn't share your opinions, it really doesn't mean they're beneath you in intelligence. If you were a mature adult, you would realize that, and when you start name-calling, you sound really insecure. Truth is, there really isn't one scene or idea in this movie that hasn't been done before, and better in some cases. Also, it in NO WAY compares to The Ring in the chills department. The Ring did have a few cliches, but it was actually original. Unlike Identity. All in all, this was just a let-down.

Bless the Child
(2000)

Very underrated movie, of course.
I wish I could say I was surprised at the bashing this movie is taking here, but I'm not. Something that seems strikes me as a little odd, however: when a boring, silly film like "The Last Temptation of Christ" (apostles with NEW YORK accents? How brilliant.) comes out, atheist types line up to see Christ being portrayed as just a "regular" guy who was just as weak and corrupt as the rest of mankind. They then praise the film as a "masterpiece", a "more realistic" account of Christ than the one the Bible gives, as if they had some sort of inside knowledge about Jesus that those "silly Christians" just don't have. They then get on boards like this one and preach to Christians about how narrow-minded and silly they are for having faith in something, and even tell them that they have no right to be angry or upset when their God is portrayed this way. As if upsetting Christians isn't the primary reason trashy, overrated films like "Last Temptation" get made in the first place. Well, that and greed, since people will flock to see such a "controversial" (read: blasphemous, degrading and disrespectful) film.

But then, whenever a movie like "Bless The Child" is made, portraying Christ as a force for good and a savior to mankind; as someone higher and more powerful than common humanity, atheists also line up to see it, strictly for the pleasure of denouncing it as "Christian propaganda". They then go on to exaggerate its every flaw and make it sound like the most horrible film ever made. They really hate movies that dare to suggest that the assurance that "There is no God but you" might be false. Similarly, a lot of people really seem to bristle at the suggestion that there are people who work against God and would kill for Satan. "That's so unrealistic!", they proclaim. Tell that to Charles Manson (in case you don't remember, he was a leader of a cult of drug addicts and devil worshipers who thought he was some kind of dark lord and gladly killed for him), or Richard Ramirez, or one of the hundreds of devil-worshiping killers or cults that have existed throughout history. This movie isn't so unrealistic, when you think about it.

I also find it very odd when a Satanist gets huffy about being accused of being, well, a devil-worshiper. Don't be silly. You follow a religion named after the adversary to the Christian God, and then you get all offended when people think you might just be a bad person. Perhaps you should expect that reaction among sane people. Come on, you can't expect to brand yourself with the name of the enemy of God and man, and be surprised when it gets a reaction. If you are, that suggests that perhaps you're playing around with something you don't understand. I pray you'll grow up some day and see the truth.

Sorry for the rant, but the way this movie is portrayed here is ridiculous. It's by no means the greatest movie ever made, but it's a good little film about good triumphing over evil. It's about love, faith, and the power of prayer. The child actress in this film is wonderful; she plays a believable and sympathetic character who possesses a vulnerable, fragile quality, as well as a quiet strength. She brings tears to your eyes. The supporting cast is good, Rufus Sewell, Christina Ricci, Ian Holm, Jimmy Smits and Kim Basinger all perform well. The story isn't flawless, but it holds your interest throughout and, if you're a believer, it's also quite emotional at times (whether you're Catholic or not). The movie manages to be frightening and thrilling without a bunch of gratuitous gore (although there is some) and nudity. But it also inspires us; it leaves us with a sense of hope and with the message not to be afraid to recognize evil and to stand and confront it with God's help through prayer and faith. That isn't a bad thing at all.

So I would recommend this movie to people of faith and people with open minds. If you're a die-hard atheist or a Satanist, you probably won't enjoy it, unless watching movies you've decided to hate beforehand is one of your hobbies. There seems to be a lot of people who like to do things like that. But if you don't like it and decide to review it, try to be honest about its flaws and shortcomings instead of getting carried away with your emotions and preaching your non-belief to the rest of us. Or can't you enlightened ones manage it?

Okay, now I'LL stop preaching. Sorry about that.

Virus
(1999)

They blew $70 million on THIS??
I rented Virus expecting it to be bad. That's okay, I enjoy a lot of bad movies, as long as they're fun. There was no fun to be had here. It was simply tedious, stupid, and unoriginal. I don't understand why actors with such solid resumes as Sutherland and Curtis feel the need to dirty themselves with such crap roles. The script for this joke of a film left them with absolutely nothing to work with. Curtis seems to be trying, but Sutherland was obviously as bored as I was. I managed to make it through the whole thing, but I found myself distracted throughout most of it. But I'll try to summarize it briefly anyway.

Basically it's about a self-righteous alien life-force of some sort who has decided that human beings are a virus upon the earth, and that it's much more qualified to run things. Which reminds me a bit of a line I heard in this little movie called The Matrix...but okay, pal, whatever you say. So, it infests a Russian ship's mainframe computer and electrical systems via the Mir space station and starts turning people into hamburger-bots. (Wouldn't it be more effective to just take over NASA or something?) A tugboat crew stumbles onto the ship, thinks it's abandoned, gets greedy thinking about all the money they could make if they haul it in for scrap, and boards. They immediately become trapped on the ship and merriment ensues. Oh yeah, and there's a hurricane, too, if anyone cares. It's the same crap you've seen a hundred times. No new twists, only one unique character (who seems to be a Maori dude, and of course he gets killed, but not by the monster, so I guess that's something), who is of course as underdeveloped as the rest of them. The special effects are okay but the gore is senseless and over-the-top, there are no chills and no suspense of any kind, no chemistry between the leads, and we wouldn't notice if there was because there's no decent writing. You know exactly what's going to happen and who will survive from the second they step on the boat. It makes for a very boring experience. There are a thousand bad movies you could watch that are more fun than this one. Not recommended at all.

Super Troopers
(2001)

Check it out and decide for yourself.
Ignore all the negative reviews here and make up your own mind about Super Troopers. This is a nice little comedy with great humor, decent acting, likeable characters, and a pretty believable storyline. Brian Cox gives a fun performance, and the guys from Broken Lizard are hilarious and seem like guys you'd want to hang out with (except for Farva, of course). There is a romance angle here, but it isn't thrown in for its own sake, it's actually a necessary part of the story, and it doesn't make you want to roll your eyes or gag. It's just a movie about a group of good friends who are just regular guys, except they happen to be cops in a small town where not much happens, and they don't take their jobs too seriously, until they have to work together to try to keep their station from being shut down by the governor. It's got its flaws, but it's all in good fun. You should enjoy it unless you consider Woody Allen movies to be the height of comedy, which I don't. Some people do. There's my two cents.

Jason X
(2001)

I was glad when it ended.
Well, the Friday the Thirteenth movies scared me when I was eight, but they just don't do it for me anymore. I understand that it's supposed to be stupid, but come on. Can't the writers put a little effort into it? Stupid story, no scares, bad dialogue, bad acting, no laughs except the sleeping bag murder scene (and that was more of a reaction to shock than anything). Just a bunch of stupid, unlikeable people running around half-dressed, doing stupid things and being killed in mostly unoriginal ways. Don't Jason's fans ever get bored with this crap? I guess not, since it seems quite a few of them think that setting the story in outer space makes it original. I got news for you guys, it's been done a thousand times.

The problem that nagged me throughout the movie was - didn't this movie start out at some kind of government facility? So, everyone here is killed, and this girl is left there, frozen, for over 400 years? No one ever wonders what might have happened to these folks? Okay. And people have forgotten what bicycles and hockey were, but there's a guy who knows Jason's story all these centuries later, yet apparently he's the only one? Did I miss something here? It just seems weird that Jason's legend has survived this long but no one but this one guy knows about him. Also, no one seems to be able to grasp the basic concept that shooting him doesn't work. They waste all this time dragging around weapons and shooting at the guy, when they could be finding a way to shoot his tail out into space and be done with it. The Matrix-Trinity-Wannabe robot was completely ridiculous. The campers seem really unconvincing when they're giggling about "premarital sex". I mean, come on, what teenager calls it that? It was corny. And how's this for clever dialogue (I'm paraphrasing): "You're lucky you weren't around during the Microsoft conflict. We were beating each other with our own severed limbs." WHAT? Stupid movie. There are a thousand other flaws in this movie, but to attempt to list them all would take many hours. Entire volumes could be written about the stupidity that is present in this film.

I am begging you people, don't continue to give these people your money so that they can churn out these pointless, wasteful, idiotic movies. It's shameful that people go hungry while this kind of CRAP gets made, year in and year out. Plus, every time you watch a movie like this, part of your brain atrophies. It's bad for you. Go watch something good!

The Calling
(2000)

Not nearly as bad as I expected.
Of course, it certainly doesn't come close to the best of this type of film, but it's an entertaining little time-waster. The performances weren't that bad, and it did have a few creepy moments. It reminded me a bit of The Prophecy, which I enjoyed.

The heroine is incredibly stupid, of course, but unfortunately that's to be expected in films of this type. I do have to admire her tenacity in trying to save her son from the forces of darkness, especially considering the abuse she takes from him (and everyone else) in the process. I would have told hubby and devil boy to screw pretty quickly.

Whoever the child actor was who played Dylan did alright (why be hard on child actors?). He had the cold and creepy part down pretty well, but he failed in the charm department. The Antichrist is supposed to be charismatic enough to seduce the entire world, and that certainly doesn't shine through in the kid's performance.

*SPOILER* At the end when Dylan's mother drowns him, there is a reporter on TV talking about how people all over the world were attending Dylan's funeral because he'd touched their lives so deeply (although we only see a handful of mourners). WHAT? All he did was appear on his "father's" news show and speak backwards. That's a neat (if disturbing) trick, but I don't see how it would "touch" anyone's life. Did I miss something? They should have had him performing healings, or something of that nature. It would have made more sense, but ah well. *END SPOILER*

The constant voice-overs were a little annoying, but I can live with that. The photography is above average and there's an interesting little character called Cormack who provides a decent surprise towards the closing of the film, which leaves us with the possibility of a sequel. If it comes out, I'll see it. I'd like to see the end showdown between God and Satan portrayed (with Satan getting his butt kicked, of course), hopefully in a film with a bit higher budget.

So, overall, this is a decent little low budget flick with no frills, but a few chills. It's definitely not original, but then this is an old (but fascinating) story that's been told many times. There's only so many new places for it to go while still remaining true to the story. Watch it if you like this kind of thing.

I do have to say that ultra-religious or easily offended people might want to skip this one. It does contain Satanic imagery, a bit of blasphemy, and gruesome deaths, so if you're looking for another Left Behind, this isn't it.

See Spot Run
(2001)

You folks need to relax!
Apparently a lot of people like to watch little kid's movies and then complain because they aren't cinematic masterpieces. How ridiculous. This is a film that was made to entertain young kids, and it's entertaining enough for parents to watch along with them. My little boy enjoyed it, but then he isn't much of an intellectual, since he's only six! Anything that makes him laugh is okay with me, though.

Also, I have to say that people are WAY too hard on David Arquette. I'm not a serious fan of his, or anything, but I feel bad for the guy when people trash him. I have noticed that it's mainly men who are so down on him. Gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that he's married to one of TV's most popular, attractive, and highly-paid stars? He seems like a perfectly sweet, charming man who is having fun with his life and enjoys making silly films. He doesn't seem to take himself seriously, so why do so many people hate him? It's ridiculous.

Oh, and just to let you know, he doesn't get film roles because of his wife. He was acting before he married Courtney Cox, and he is actually quite a talented actor. If you don't believe me, check out a little gem of an indie film called Dream with the Fishes. He gives quite an engaging and touching performance as a man on the verge of suicide whose life is changed when he befriends a terminally ill man, proving that he CAN do serious dramatic work. He just chooses not to. So why don't you people lay off of him? Not that he cares either way, I'm sure. He is having the time of his life. You go David!

Darkness Falls
(2003)

It's pretty fun if you're not expecting much.
Might have SPOILERS!

This movie is no masterpiece, true. But it hardly deserves the beating it's taken here. There are certainly films out there that are much worse, such as Fear.com. This is just another movie that took a potentially great concept and tried to pull it together into something truly frightening, but failed.

I expected this movie to be pretty bad, especially since The Ring has spoiled me for all other horror films, for a while at least. The first few minutes surprised me, though, and I thought it might be pretty good, but then it just fell apart. The first cheap scare (the girl in the window) was only one of many, and I knew it was a bad sign. So I tried to console myself by pointing out the flaws and mistakes, and I still ended up having an okay time.

The characters weren't that engaging. They were pretty much two-dimensional. I sort of felt sympathy for Kyle, but there just wasn't enough meat to the character. Did he spend those entire 12 years in isolation, or did he ever attempt to have a normal life, with normal human relationships? Apparently, his life revolves around the tooth fairy. How come he never tried to destroy her before? What happened to his father? Did he even have one? I can't remember. There's just nothing there.

The girl was lame and stupid. Who in the world would force their little brother, who's terrified of the dark, to go into a sensory deprivation chamber? Why, after her little brother has been telling her for weeks that some creepy lady is trying to kill him, does she yell "What the hell is that!?" when the tooth fairy shows up? It's as if she just couldn't possibly figure out what could be chasing them. It's annoying. The little kid had a speech impediment, or else he was drugged up, because you could barely understand him. The rest of the characters are just there to be picked off one by one.

Why do kids in movies always grow up to look completely different from their childhood selves? Can't the film makers try a little harder to make them match up? Also, why in the world do we have to have a romantic subplot thrown in every time? There's nothing so great about these lead characters (that I can tell, anyway) that would make either one of them fall in love after a night or two spent running from a killer tooth fairy. The couple here almost went to a dance together 12 years ago, and they're perfect for each other? PLEASE! If we just had some details, here! At least a hint, so I can make up my own? This movie is just lazy.

Darkness Falls also breaks its own rules way too often to be anything but comical. One minute the tooth fairy is scared of a dying flame, the next she's flying around grabbing people while extremely bright lightning is flashing everywhere. She also kills several people who haven't seen her face, instead of going straight for the people who have. Also, how does she kill the victims? All we see on them are a few scratches. Why does she kill anyone at all? The people in this film had nothing to do with her death. This would have been much more frightening if she had come back immediately after her hanging and killed the people responsible. Did her treatment at the hands of the townspeople after her disfigurement make her hate mankind in general? Was she angry at the children themselves? Did they lie and say she'd hurt the missing children, therefore causing her execution? A more detailed back story would have been nice. As it is, the story falls flat. It does have some very creepy noises and an okay soundtrack, but it's spoiled by blaring rock music.

I have a problem with the villain's appearance, too. I have seen pictures of the original tooth fairy, and I have to say, I don't understand why they changed it in the end. Todd McFarlane's version would have been way more effective, in my opinion. It's an evil angel/demonic creature VS. Freddy Kreuger's mom. There's no contest here. When the mask came off, the old lady just looked silly, like someone dressed up for Halloween. I also couldn't help thinking that someone who was burned that badly would have died long before anyone had a chance to hang them. It kind of ruined the moment. This could have been so much better if they'd stuck with the original idea.

So those things, along with the huge hospital that has no reliable emergency power source, the fact that none of the townspeople seem to have had any experience with the tooth fairy in the hundred years or so before this movie takes place, the forgettable dialogue, and the movie turning into one long chase scene in the middle, make this strictly a popcorn movie. If you're bored and you have a couple of hours to kill, call a friend or two over and watch this together. Watching it alone definitely wouldn't be as fun.

This is definitely not a movie for the younger kids, though, unless you want to be up all night for a couple of weeks.

Mulholland Dr.
(2001)

I didn't love it or hate it.
But I was disappointed, though. For the first hour or so, I thought, well, this has some typical David Lynch weirdness, but I might actually like it. But I guess it just isn't meant to be.

I have watched 3 or 4 Lynch films now, and I just can't bring myself to believe he's a genius. I love a movie that makes me think, but Lynch just doesn't give the audience much to work with. It seems like he just films a bunch of scenes, throws them together and walks off laughing with his paycheck in hand, while his fans make up the story based on what THEY think it means. Then they tell everyone who doesn't absolutely RAVE about every crapfest he churns out that they just aren't "creative" enough, or "imaginative" enough, or the worst ones - "You just don't 'get' it" and "You must only like movies like 'Scream' and 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back'. You're so dumb and lazy that you can't appreciate Lynch's genius. I pity you, really." I mean, it's sad. It's like he's got his own cult, or something.

As I was saying, though, I love movies that intrigue me and stay in my mind for a while. The movies that do that for me may not match the standards set by all you super-intellectual filmgoers, but I know when a movie is good. I also know when a movie stinks. And Lynch couldn't make a good movie to save his life. One of the main reasons is because he has no understanding of character development. I don't care how "original" you want to be with your films, if I don't like your characters or at least despise them heartily enough to be interested in where they will end up at the end of the movie, then why should I care enough to waste time trying to figure it out? There are other, better movies I could be watching.

The characters in this film are made of cardboard. Betty was the only one who I came close to liking, but there are several things that kept me from it. One is her hopelessly innocent and naive, 50's sitcom attitude. Then she switches to a raging nympho with a strange old guy in front of a bunch of strangers for an audition. That was totally out of the blue. Next, she's in a raging lesbian love affair with "Rita" some chick who wandered into her aunt's house and is most likely brain damaged. Judging by Rita's acting skills, someone better get her to a hospital, quick (but hey, she's hot, right). Naomi Watts is a good actress, and she plays her part well, but her character seems to change personalities every five minutes. I can't really tell if I like her or not. The other characters were mostly quirky and weird and had no purpose. They were just thrown in to make it "freaky" and "different". They go nowhere, and then when you get to the end you find out that they aren't GOING to go anywhere, because none of them were who you thought they were. But you didn't really care because they weren't the kind of people anyone would spend five minutes with, anyway.

I probably could have handled the ending better if it weren't for the pointless masturbation scene and the tiny, giggling old people. That was just plain laughable. Oh, and if I had given a crap about Diane, who just seemed to be an emotionally disturbed loser. But I didn't get to know Diane because the first chunk of the story was about an entirely made up character that never existed. I don't know about some of you, but I don't like to plunk down even a rental fee just so someone who thinks his every brain-fart is pure genius can jerk me around for 2 hours. I like movies to engage my emotions as well as my mind. I want to feel something besides exasperation that I got taken for a sucker. I won't be getting that from David Lynch.

If Dave wants to throw his audience a bone, maybe he could start using all the time that gets eaten away by dead silence and pointless, one-note weirdo characters to throw in a little main character and story development. It wouldn't hurt, in fact it might help some of us stupid people who think Armageddon is an intense psychological drama. Which, of course, is anyone who doesn't love this stinker. But hey, like I said, I don't hate it (though I probably would if not for Naomi Watts), I'm just disappointed. And I am certain that I won't be taking another risk on a Lynch film. I hope anyone who reads this will take my advice and avoid his films at all costs.

Oh, and if you didn't like my review, it's simply because you're too narrow-minded to understand my particular brand of genius. You have to go back and read it very carefully three or four times before you will start to piece it together. Trust me, it's a great review. I don't get it yet, either, well, not all of it, but trust me, I just KNOW it's brilliant, complex, symbolic, and a total masterpiece. No? Maybe I should have thrown in a lesbian sex scene?

Village of the Damned
(1995)

People are being way too hard on this movie.
Sure, it's not the best horror film ever made, but it was fun. I'm sure that people who grew up with the original would like it better, that's to be expected. But I thought the movie was a good B-level movie with some creepy scenes and a few shocks, and let's not forget the cheese. Most of John Carpenter's movies fall into this category. Halloween was a bit different, but come on, even In The Mouth Of Madness had some cheesy parts, and it was plenty creepy. Most of his movies are just fun to watch, and when they're over, you forget them. A horror movie that truly disturbs people only comes once every few years. Most of them shouldn't be taken so seriously. Pop some popcorn, grab a beverage, put your feet up and have some fun with this one.

Wendigo
(2001)

No really, this IS a bad movie!
This movie looks nice and has some nice music, but that's about it. We have a couple and their child driving up to the mountains for a weekend together when they hit a deer. Then we have some rednecks approach who were hunting the deer, and one of them is angry because they broke the deer's antlers, so he acts like a real jerk and waves his gun around while spouting some mindless dialogue that I can't remember. Then the family goes up to their house and talks some more.

There's a lot of talking in this movie. Not one line of it made any impression on me, so I can't tell you what was said. The poor kid seemed to be afraid of everything, but who could blame him, since his parents are real jerks to him. The cursing doesn't bother me much, because my mother could curse pretty well when I was being difficult, and it usually didn't bother me, but they're just terrible parents all around. They seem to have plenty of time to devote to each other, since unfortunately we get to see them making out, having sex, and just basically hanging all over each other constantly, but the little boy is always alone, off in another room. When they do spend time with the boy, it seems forced and uncomfortable. These three were definitely not believable as a family. The only one I came close to caring about was the kid.

SPOILERS - Even when the father dies at the end, the mother walks off crying, leaving the child to cope with his father's death alone. That really urked me. - END

Not much happens in this movie, though, it just seems like everyone talks endlessly about nothing whatsoever, and half the time you can barely make out what's being said because they're mumbling. What exactly is the movie about? Is it about the Wendigo, or is it about the family being stalked by a crazy hick? You'd probably care if something would just happen, but for most of the movie nothing does. The director seems to be trying really hard to scare us by shining lights in our eyes, shaking the camera, and speeding up the film occasionally, but that just isn't scary. It's boring. And no, I am not someone who thinks that Scream was a great horror movie. But at least Scream had some truly chilling moments, the dialogue was relevant to the story, and there was a feeling that the story was progressing in some fashion. This movie just drags on endlessly, with unnecessary sexual content thrown in every now and then, and then when something DOES happen, it's a laughable disappointment. It was a BIG MISTAKE to show that monster suit.

So anyway, I guess if you want to torture yourself by sitting through this travesty of a film, that's your choice. But please don't try to convince yourself it's some kind of masterpiece of understated terror, or something. It IS terrible, and it's OKAY to admit it. No one will think you're some teenybopper Scream lover, or anything.

John Leguizamo: Sexaholix... A Love Story
(2002)

Up close and personal
In this one-man stage show, John Leguizamo acts out scenes from his past family life, touching on his relationships with his mother and father, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and his wife and children. He shares with us the lessons he's learned from his life experiences. I can't imagine there are too many people who couldn't relate to some of them. At times it's so intimate that it's hard to watch, but at other times it's incredibly moving. And of course, it's funny. Mr. Leguizamo is so talented, it's a crime that he doesn't get better film roles. Hopefully, that will change soon.

Oh yeah, he's also a very good dancer, and he looks great in a wifebeater and tight jeans, which doesn't hurt at all. :0)

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