huladog55

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Reviews

The Marriage Ref
(2010)

Totally awesome!
I caught the premiere of "The Marriage Ref" after the Closing Ceremony of the Vancouver Games, and I am hooked. Not your typical reality dreck at all. Fast paced, funny and real. Great to see Jerry Seinfeld back on TV, but it's not all about him. The burden will be on the producers to find ammunition for the panel in the form of squabbling couples, and I don't think it's a problem. I'm sure there are no shortage of them, and plenty of stars who will be pleased to appear on this fresh, fun show. Pretty harmless, but deadly funny!

Unlike typical reality schlock, this show is quick, entertaining and to the point. One half of the show is devoted to each of two couples resolving issues, like, one partner wanting a recently deceased dog stuffed and placed in the home and the other partner disagreeing. Awesome! Tom Papa is a great host/referee. If they can keep the momentum going, this might make it. Great idea, great show.

A Feast at Midnight
(1994)

What a find!
I saw this movie on a rainy afternoon when I was sick. Such a delight! Christopher Lee has top billing here, but the boys, particularly the Freddie Findlay as Magnus, make the movie. A secret society is started at an English boy's boarding school, but instead of making mischief, they make delicious delicacies! Not exactly a kid's movie, what with the not so subtle sexual tension between Raptor (Christopher Lee) and Mrs. Plunder (Carol MacReady). But it's a fun, if slightly naughty film. Samuel West is a standout as Chef, the taste challenged antagonist of the film. He steals any scene he's in. If you happen upon this title, enjoy being a member of "The Scoffers" if just for a little while!

Paranormal Activity
(2007)

Ridiculously terrible
I have to be honest, I expected this movie to be bad, but not this terrible. I left after the first hour. In that time, the suspense and horror could be summarized by a mysterious thump and a door moving by itself. The people portraying the main characters, I will not call them actors, succeeded in coming across as typical people who could be your neighbors, that's it.

If this is what passes for suspense today, I'm frightened for the genre, as it is dead. Whoever is rating this shitfest over 2 stars is clearly a shill for the tripe studio that released it. Any friends that liked this movie can consider themselves former friends, as they have lost any and all intelligence in their empty skulls.

Ratcatcher
(1999)

Tiresome and aimless
All the praise heaped on this film puzzles me. I found the cinematography to be beautiful, but the storyline, once established, droned on and on with no end in sight. That might have been the point, however. One positive is although it contains the stereotypical drunk father, at least he wasn't physically abusive.

You are left with a general sense of pity for many of the characters, but the mood is passive. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be appalled by the poverty or accepting of it. I think the director failed to connect the characters, and in turn kept the audience from connecting.

The ending was a leaden mishmash of fantasy and overt symbolism. Not recommended. I understand that this film is semi-biographical, but I felt left out in the cold.

Snakes on a Plane
(2006)

Worthy of the hype
"Snakes On A Plane" is worthy of the hype. I went in with the proper expectations. Some cheese, some gratuitous nudity, and some tasteless jokes, all present and accounted for.

Plus we get Samuel L. Jackson doing what he does well, play a frustrated main character. And he's got a gun. The movie is mostly populated with nobodies, and that's the way they'll stay, with this on their resumes. Julianna Marguilies looks like crap here, and well, I never really liked her much anyway.

Realistic? Heck no. Good writing? Of course not. Suspenseful? Nope. Hilarious? Oh, yes. Its a pity that we have to wait almost an hour to hear him utter the word he is most famous for from "Pulp Fiction", but everything that leads up to it is great.

The thin storyline is inconsequential. I do wish the director had at least made a mild effort to build some suspense into it, but the script is so bad, the setups so obvious, you know what's going to happen, but in that way, it works, because you're one step ahead of the stupid characters.

See it during peak attendance hours. You'll want to be surrounded by your fellow "SoaP" enthusiasts for this one. Definitely better when enjoyed en masse.

Song of the South
(1946)

Brings back such warm memories
I just finished watching a friend's copy of SOTS. The last time I saw it was in a theatrical release in 1980 or 1981. I still remember singing "Zippity Doo Dah" as we were leaving the theater. All the criticisms I hear thrown at this film are absurd. I believe that most people offering up such criticism have not actually seen the film, but are merely parroting other reviewers.

First things first. This film is not about slavery. There is no slavery depicted in SOTS. The action takes place on a plantation in Georgia AFTER the Civil War. No characters are mistreated, except for the Favers' brothers, who receive an off camera hiding for being cruel to their sister.

The character Uncle Remus is a respected man in the community. Everyone looks up to him, including little Johnny's mother and grandmother. While the living conditions of the workers on the plantation might be considered poor, this was just indicative of the economic conditions of the time, and not a reflection of slave status.

On to the movie itself. SOTS depicts a simple story of a small boy and his mother who come to live with their grandmother on a Georgia plantation. Bobby Driscoll is competent as Johnny. Compared to the majority of the juvenile cast, he did a fine job, and is simply adorable on screen. The mother, as played by Ruth Warrick, was the only weak spot to me, as she was just a bit too stiff, but still decent. Finally, James Baskett is delightful as Uncle Remus and carries the movie. He received a special Academy Award for his performance. Such a pity that he died so soon after the release of this film.

The blending of animation of live action and animation was cutting edge back in 1946, and it goes over pretty well. Being a Disney film, suspending reality isn't hard to do. The musical numbers are great, and "Zippety-Doo-Dah" won an Oscar for Best Song.

Rumor has it that there will be a DVD release of SOTS in 2006. I hope this is true, as this film deserves the full DVD treatment so a whole generation of kids, heck even adults, can enjoy this great movie. All of the political correct nonsense surrounding this film can be dispelled in the court of public opinion. Enjoy.

Fais-moi des vacances
(2002)

A little uneven at times, but nice.
I'm surprised at the low rating that this movie has garnered. While I think the storyline was a little uneven at times, the interaction between the two leads was very organic. They seemed like good friends, partners in crime, if you will.

"We Need A Vacation" gives us a glimpse into the underbelly of French society living in housing projects. Adama and Lucien feel like they're living in a fishbowl, and want to get away. They hitch a ride to what they think is a beach vacation only to be quite surprised when they arrive at a nudist camp! They engage in some petty crimes along the way, but this is in no way glorified.

The second act is a bit muddy. The relationship between Lulu and his brother becomes suddenly rocky as the older of the two realizes that his younger brother is idolizing his poor example. They have a shocking interaction, and then we're treated to an abrupt ending. You're not exactly left hanging however, because you're not surprised. I liked it.

Waiting...
(2005)

Just enough floorspice makes this one a treat.
Watched "Waiting..." over the weekend, and I will say that I was pleasantly surprised. This is a crappy movie, but it's funny. If you've ever worked in a restaurant, some of this will ring true. However, if you haven't, most of the jokes will fall flat.

A good effort, but you get the sense that the people who made this movie never really worked in a restaurant, but managed to find a good representative sample. Ryan Reynolds, while as attractive as ever, is pretty bad here, but he's not a good actor. He is eye candy, and is forgiven.

Standouts are Luis Guzman as the phallus-obsessed cook, and Alanna Ubach as the angry Naomi. Great characterizations. Props to Dane Cook, who I don't normally find that funny. Perhaps at 31, I am too old to understand the appeal of the incredibly unfunny Andy Milonakis as well as his partner in thespian crime here, Max Kasch. Both were a an awful drain, and fairly unnecessary.

You don't watch "Waiting..." for cinematography or drama, or direction. You watch it because it's the only movie that has even come close to portraying the dysfunctional life of working in a restaurant. Good stuff.

Crash
(1996)

One of the most bizarre films I've ever seen
I heard people lately referring to the 2005 movie "Crash" with superlatives. Upon hearing this, I can't help but associate the title with this 1996 freak fest. I consider myself pretty open minded, but this was just a strange pointless movie. Spader is a good solid actor, and the rest of the cast should be commended for taking on a story like this. But the results are very mixed.

Looking back, I suppose the acting was good, but it was hard to get over the absolutely freaky storyline. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. I just can't relate. To me, a car accident isn't a hot date, it's an appointment with my insurance agent. Stupid.

Cachorro
(2004)

A movie that could never have been made in America
Having just finished "Cachorro", I'm left with goosebumps. There is no way a movie of this depth could have been made in America. The reason being that homosexuality isn't vilified or degraded, and actually shows gay men caring about each other.

***Spoilers ahead*** The plot centers around a gay man, Pedro, and HIV positive dentist, who is left in charge with his 9 year old nephew, Bernardo, while his widowed sister heads of to India for a 'vacation'. Instead, she is jailed for drug trafficking and Pedro is put into a precarious situation. He's grown close to his nephew, and has to deal with an estranged grandmother who it seems will stop at nothing to gain custody of the grandchild she never knew.

I can't comment on the edited theatrical release, but the DVD release treats gay sexuality in a pretty straightforward manner, no pun intended. There are sex scenes, but they're not out of line with what I'd expect from progressive European cinema. We are instead treated to a closely knit social group who rally behind Pedro and Bernardo. The movie ends neatly with a few surprises that I will not reveal here.

There is a strong message of family throughout the movie. We see it in the relationship between Pedro and Bernardo, as well as with the other outstanding cast members. I must say that I was a bit taken aback by the casual drug use in the movie. It's just not my scene, but we do see Pedro move away from them throughout the film.

All in all, a wonderful effort by writer/director Miguel Albaladejo. The principal cast is terrific here, led by Jose Luis Garcia Perez as Pedro and David Castillo as Bernardo. What a treat! Recommended!

Red Dawn
(1984)

Bravo Milius!
Bravo Milius! I vividly remember seeing this movie when I was 10 years old living in Washington, D.C.. As a military brat, I was obsessed by all things military, but also keenly aware of the global political state of the world. Reagan ruled supreme, and a succession of weak Politburo puppets lived and died in the Kremlin. The mid-80's was a scary time for many.

It's easy twenty years later to dismiss the premise of Red Dawn as overblown and unrealistic. How things have changed since 1984.

Many reviewers have criticized this film for major plot holes and inconsistencies. I offer that these people have not actually viewed and absorbed the story elements portrayed by Red Dawn and John Milius.

1. It was clearly stated in the beginning of the film that the Soviet economy was suffering from back to back poor grain harvests. This is what triggered the attack on NATO and then the United States. Hungry people get desperate.

2. Nuclear weapons were used on strategic sites to disable key military installations and infrastructure. Many readers do not understand that since the 'invaders' would want to preserve the "Bread Basket" of the country, they wouldn't necessarily use tactical nuclear weapons. Battlefield nukes with small yields are strong enough to decimate with precision. They exist, but have never been used in combat.

3. The "Wolverines" were not acting alone. "Radio Free America" showed this. It was demonstrated in the movie that resistance was taking place all over the country. The U.S. has over 73,000,000 men of 'fighting age'. An enemy aims a gun at your home or family, show me one of those 75,000,000 who would not take up arms in defense.

4. The enemy used commercial airliners to invade the U.S. It's been done before. A bit of a stretch, but this is presented as fiction.

Some cheesy dialogue? Sure. Continuity problems? Maybe. Preachy? Sometimes, but this is a film of good over evil. Believable casting of teenagers. Sometimes wooden, sometimes moving, aren't people that way in real life? Spineless European 20-somethings and the like say that this is just another example of American imperialism. I'd say ask your grandparents if they feel the same way as America sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives to save your shores, while we were in no immediate danger. TWICE.

You spent your childhood living under the veil of security that the United States provided. My generation will repay your debt for the rest our our lives. Donations accepted.

That being said, this is a movie review. "Red Dawn" is a classic.

Days of Thunder
(1990)

Honk if you love NASCAR
I don't think this film gets the credit it quite deserves. People were looking for cinematic masterpiece, and they didn't find it, but I don't think that was the point at all. This was a summer blockbuster that Tom Cruise was good at until he went L. Ron Hubbard on us all.

Technically, the NASCAR stuff might not have been to the letter, but I didn't know it. My main beefs with Days is the ridiculously bad performances turned in by Kidman and Elwes. They were both horrific. For the life of me, I can't figure out how Kidman has managed to have a film career at all. Being the former Mrs. Cruise can't hurt. She makes Kelly McGilis in Top Gun look sincere. As far as Elwes goes, I just hate everything he overacts. Duvall and Quaid turn in serviceable performances here, anchoring the movie well.

The racing scenes are fairly exciting to watch, and personally, I think the rental car scene makes the whole movie worth watching. Other than that, Cruise was on Cruise control in this one. Not bad.

Millions
(2004)

A promising film that left me wanting more from less.
I'd love to say that I enjoyed "Millions" immensely, but I can't. The young leads were delightful. Alex Etel and Lewis McGibbon carry the film well. Somehow, the overbearing message of the film just beats the heck out of the viewer. At nearly every turn, the director seems to shout, "See? These are good children! Aren't they lovely? Don't you want to be like them?" The actors were very capable of conveying this message, but the script and direction takes this power away from them, and puts it into an overwritten script.

The basic premise of the materialistic versus idealistic is just fine, but the story is muddied with the "Water For Africa" storyline. While this might be a pressing need, it's inclusion draws attention away from the story, which suffers from a very weak introduction. The element of the saints in the film was hastily introduced. A pity, since this was a load-bearing element of the film. Lovely visuals, good music, and linear directing saved this movie for me.

All in all, a nice effort, but by no means a home run. I think "Millions" tried to hard to be the 'Successful Little British Film' from the outset, a la Billy Elliot, etc. Better to just have a solid story, a fine cast and a great director, and see where it leads. "Millions" had the elements, but unfortunately, seemed bogged down by the responsibility of being an 'important' film.

Love Actually
(2003)

Delightful, Actually
This movie had CHICK FLICK written all over it. Consequently, I missed it's theatrical release. What a shame! Movies like this should be enjoyed en masse.

It seems to me that there is a wide rift of opinion on this film. You either love it or hate it. Those who hate it tend to hate the concepts presented in the film, rather than the presentation. So it seems to me that if you're bitter and empty inside, you might not enjoy "Love Actually" for what it is: a light happy film about the perils and rewards of love.

The ensemble cast did a great job in a series of vignettes. Colin Firth is amazing with Lucia Moniz. Kris Mashall is hilarious as a Brit who heads to America to get lucky. I enjoyed the interaction between the stepfather and son combo played by Liam Neeson and Thomas Sangster. They have a real chemistry on screen. The story of platonic love between an aging rock star Bill Nighy and his manager is so touching.

If you're looking for a happy tale of love, you'll adore it. If you've recently left a relationship or have never had one, you'll hate it, because you'll want what these characters so brilliantly present. Recommended!

2001: A Space Odyssey
(1968)

Excellent for its time, but beginning to grey around the edges
I know that I'll offend the great masses for saying this. Kubrick's "2001: A Space Oddyssey" is showing its age. I watch this film every few years, just for the spectacle. After my most recent viewing, I don't think I'll revisit this film again.

The concepts explored in Clarke's novel are translated well. But the pacing of the film strikes me as uneven, and the acting is wooden on almost all counts. Many will say that this is a film about emotion and ideas. A pity then that the cast comes across as secondary, to the visuals.

If ever there was a film that was a product of the psychedelic age, this would be it. You'd have to be blind not to see the influences of the time in the end sequence. So much of this film now seems pointless and overwrought, consumed with its own artistic vision, that is graying with time.

Threads
(1984)

Simply the most devastating film I've ever seen
Words can't describe how this movie affected me in 1985, but I'll try. I happened upon a presentation of "Threads" when I was about 11 years old. As a Navy family, we were stationed in Washington D.C. After viewing it, I was frightened to the point of vomiting. I had nightmares for weeks. The world was a very unstable place at the time with a Soviet government that seemed to change monthly.

The cast does an admirable job here. Dialog is kept to a damaging minimum. There is no soundtrack other than screams of misery and explosions. Very effective. While you can't compare a TV production, there is effective use of stock footage. The interspersed scientific facts regarding the aftermath punctuate the film brilliantly.

While other films about the same topic, like "The Day After" and Testament", were reasonably effective in their messages, I think they failed where "Threads" succeeded. In the aforementioned films, there's a glimmer of hope. In "Threads" there is no hope, only death, misery and dread.

I believe I saw "Threads" before the TV broadcast of "The Day After" because my reaction was one of slight indifference. After seeing Mick Jackson's and Barry Hines' work, "The Day After" is like a day at Disneyland. No film portrays the world on the brink and over the edge as effectively. Highly recommended.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
(2005)

Pointless
I suppose if you've never read any of the Hitchhiker's Guide series, you might find this movie to be 'an entertaining interstellar romp" or some such nonsense. For the rest of us, save your time and money. I was very disappointed.

This film resembled the original novel in that it includes the same characters, some settings, and a basic plot line. From there it deviates in to stupidity. I don't fault the majority of the cast cast. I lay blame squarely on the inept directing of Garth Jennings, and the embarrassing overacting of Sam Rockwell. As a director with no feature film experience, he was way out of his league. And Mr. Rockwell is not the comic 'second coming'.

The entire storyline has been butchered. Changed from a fish out water tale to one of lost love. The credits list Douglas Adams as the screenwriter, but I find it hard to believe that he would have allowed some of the inconsistencies that appear in this film, or sign off on the confusion of the project.

In the novel, Arthur Dent is ripped from his world into the wild and crazy outer space world of Ford Prefect. Prefect is portrayed as, well, I don't know what they were trying to do. In the novel, Prefect is a man seeking pleasure wherever it is, and avoiding work whenever possible. Rockwell's Zaphod is a jerk. In the novel, he is a wild crazy playboy adventurer. The entire storyline involving Trillian was skipped, and her character seems bored to tears. Zooey Deschanel was wasted here.

I must say that I was pleased with Mos Def's performance. He did well with what he was given. You got the sense that his character was truly comfortable in the crazy world he lived in. Sam Rockwell, on the other hand, trampled his character. You have to wonder if these actors read the book at any point in the conception process. Rockwell turns a blissfully unaware, super rich playboy of a character into a mean-spirited jerk of a character who merely distracts from each scene he is in. Overacting does not substitute for character development. The twin heads SFX became tiresome after it's second appearance, ruining the duality of the Zaphod character.

It's not that HHGTTG isn't nice to look at. It is. The colors are vivid, and the sets are marvelous. I'd expect nothing less from a director with music video experience. But the glitz attempts to hide the lack of substance that permeates this bore.

For sure, it'd be easy to pick apart the technical differences like a Star Trek geek comparing the movies to the various series, but that's not the point. The fundamental character of the wonderful novel has been changed. The tone of the film is overwhelmingly negative, whereas the books are relatively positive works. They're fun. This was not. Not recommended.

Flightplan
(2005)

This flight should have been grounded!
Having read some of the other reviews for this film, I suspect that many are ringers. Either that, or the vast majority of the people reviewing films at IMDb.com are idiots. I think the former is true. Although, many people are entertained by shiny objects and loud noises.

I was invited to go see this movie over the weekend. Normally, I avoid airplane movies like the plague. Usually, they are unrealistic and stupid. I should have heeded my own advice.

In this bomb, Jodie Foster plays a recently widowed mother who takes a fight from Berlin to New York to deliver the body of her husband for burial. You've read the synopsis, you know the rest.

The main characters are never really given any background or story. Not that this would have kept me from wanting to leave the theater after the protagonist started pulling headphone-type jacks out of a control panel to wreak havoc on the airplane.

You have to wait until the final act to figure out what's going on with the missing daughter, and by the time it rolls around, you don't care. The script is laughable. Foster does a good job conveying frustration and terror. I'm sure this is a true reaction on her part. She must have been thinking throughout the filming, "This is it. My career is over." The jumbo airplane, aka A474, is Enormous. It has seemingly no end. This is a good thing, because it gives Foster plenty of time running to and fro trying to escape the director and the cameras. Nameless passengers have the best lines of the movie.

Of course, we have the obligatory Arab passengers who fall under scrutiny. I'd think that Ms. Foster wouldn't have been party to this sort of nonsense. The portrayal of the flight crew and their ineptitude doesn't shine well on the airline industry.

To the production company's credit, they did an admirable job of promoting this disaster. Billboards for this nightmare were everywhere, and people took the bait. About a third of the people in the theater left about 5 minutes before the actual end of the film.

Normally, if I think I'm going to go see a stinker, I sneak a flask into the theater, or here in Vegas, toss back a few before I go in. It might have helped. Avoid at all costs.

Roller Boogie
(1979)

Scary on so many levels
Linda Blair reached her peak in "The Exorcist", this film is scarier than that one in my book. The acting was dreadful, the soundtrack frightening, and the story non-existent.

Where the hell did they find these other 'actors'? I think most must have been taking time away from the adult film industry, judging by the prowess displayed here. Terry's love interest/skating coach (?) was pathetic on screen. His delivery made him sound as though he was slightly impaired somehow.

This movie represents the final nail in disco era's coffin. Avoid at all costs.

Mysterious Skin
(2004)

A brave, wide-eyed look at a controversial subject
I have a feeling that most of the reviewers here have not read the text of "Mysterious Skin" by Scott Heim. Doing so would be most helpful in viewing this film.

Out of sheer luck, I happened to find a screening in Las Vegas, almost a year after the initial release, having finished the book only one day before. It was an interesting experience from the start.

One got the feeling of stepping into an adult cinema, instead of a semi-mainstream release. I was surrounded by sprinkling of older guys watching an NC-17 matinée. A first for me, for sure. The movie captures the feel of the book spot on. Director Araki should be commended for staying so close to the text. Hardly anything was left out and what was deleted did not detract from the storyline in the least.

Heim's novel deals with subject matter that most people would prefer to deny exists. But back here in the real world, it does. On screen we see the sensualization of an 8 year old boy, along with his sexual fantasy. Not for the squeamish, but Araki communicates this brilliantly without diluting the message. Most people would shy away from a story that has an 8 year old boy having an orgasm as he watched his mother have intercourse, but Araki does not. And somehow he makes it okay.

Hats off to the boys cast as the young Neil and Brian. Chase Ellison captures the emotions of his character very well. He captures the darkness of Neil McCormick incredibly, and translates perfectly from the written page. We sense the confusion turning into acceptance and then, desire. It made me squirm in my seat. George Webster as young Brian is great.

I can't imagine a lot of actors lining up to play the boylover coach, but Bill Sage does very well. In the story, his role doesn't seem like a pure predator, but clearly he has devices at work. He's in the right place at the right time.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a marvel is this film. There was a genuine quality to his character, an aloofness that comes with knowledge at an early age that is hard to put into words. Brady Corbett successfully brought his youthful character along, and I think his interactions with the other characters is spot on for someone who had had an experience like his.

Critics will say that this film glorifies pedophilia. I disagree. I think it shows the effects of pedophilic relationship on different people, and how they react to it. It is a slice of life, albeit a very dark one, that does occur each and every day. Approach with caution and an open mind.

Put the Camera on Me
(2003)

A joy to watch
Twisted, bizarre, enchanting, and hilarious! I couldn't stop laughing watching this film. Darren Stein presents the movies he made on the family camcorder growing up in Southern California in the 1980's. It's an interesting look at a budding filmmaker and his motivations and ability to manipulate for the camera. Manipulation is a strong word, however don't we all watch movies to be manipulated in some way or another?

From the beginning, I was amused at the fact that the boys in the films seemed to appear shirtless whenever possible. Later, Darren comments about his budding homosexuality, and you can see it from the hints (big hints!) of flamboyance at an early age. Maybe it was just the warm Southern California weather, who knows? As a gay man who also grew up in a nurturing environment, it's great to see that his parents supported and loved him, and that his friends seemed to be entranced with his nascent talent behind the lens.

"Put the Camera On Me" offers a look back to the 80's untouched by commercialism. You'll remember the hair, the music, and the fashions. I'm the same age as Mr. Stein, so the trip back to memory lane was welcome. His solo lip-syncing dance number is priceless, enhanced by the Frankie Goes To Hollywood t-shirt.

The films deal with dark themes at time. Child abuse, the Holocaust, nuclear war, sexual fantasy, and social dysfunction. No childhood is completely carefree, and the way Stein deals with these subjects is interesting to say the least, and hilarious to behold.

Watch at your earliest convenience!

Katok i skripka
(1961)

What a delight!
I consider myself fortunate that this was my first venture into Soviet cinema. The fact that this was director Tarkovsky's graduate student film makes it all the more remarkable.

With a minimalist approach to dialog, Tarkovsky relies on imagery to communicate emotions and feelings, and he does so well. It's still a period piece, with obvious salutes to the "Worker's Paradise" but this is not propaganda. Rather, it is a beautiful tale of a brief friendship. Two people from different worlds are borough together, and are torn apart due to circumstances beyond their control, but you get the impression that they'll be wealthier for the experience. Highly recommended! 10/10

SpaceCamp
(1986)

Pretty bad, but strangely, I can't turn away...
The people who wrote this movie must have taken their potential audience to be idiots. I first saw this bomb in 1986, when I was 12. If memory serves, I felt insulted. The storyline was incredibly stupid, and unrealistic. Granted, at that time I was following the space program pretty closely, as a lot of kids were. The space shuttle was still a big deal, and the Challenger accident was still a fresh memory.

I'm not sure if U.S. Space Camp thought this was a good advertising vehicle for their program or not. Honestly, spending the summer with this pack of idiots would have turned me off completely. Perhaps the exception would be the character played by Larry B. Scott. Perhaps I just loved "Revenge Of The Nerds". Lea Thompson's character was slightly tolerable in her seriousness, but this was a far cry from 1984's "Red Dawn" or "Back To The Future" trilogy. A paycheck, I guess.

The producers must have thought they were producing Shakespeare and needed to cheer it up a bit. This can be the only reason for the inclusion of Leaf Phoenix's insanely irritating character, Max, and the stupid robot. Enough said. In my recent screening, I kept looking for obvious evidence that his scenes had been edited in. No such luck. What grating nonsense. The robot scenes had me squirming in my seat.

Watch this movie if you need to revisit the mid-80's, or need to induce vomiting. You've been warned.

Time Bandits
(1981)

One of my favorite childhood memories
I first watched this film in 1981 or 1982. We had just subscribed to cable, and it appeared on heavy rotation on Showtime. I was 7 years old. British kids + midgets = a winning combination.

Watching the film as an adult, I can clearly see the Monty Python connection, but back then, I had no idea that Terry Gilliam was a cohort of the MP gang. I just loved the George Harrison theme song, and the wild adventures a quiet, imaginative boy, like myself, could get into.

Certain things escaped me then, "Pansy! The problem! I must have fruit!" Now I know what they were talking about! The action was great the cameo by Sean Connery was superb. Having recently seen Alien, watching Ian Holm as Napoleon was a trip.

Stands up well even today. If you like them weird, Time Bandits does not disappoint!

That Thing You Do!
(1996)

Great tunes, great movie, one flaw...
"That Thing You Do" is one of those feel-good movies I can watch again and again. The music carries the film. I must confess to being a big Fountains of Wayne fan from their beginnings, and they do not disappoint here with jaunty tunes that sound period without being smarmy.

A balanced cast headed by Tom Everett Scott makes most scenes enjoyable. Steve Zahn is well used here as the off the wall, Lenny. Hanks is understated as Mr. White, but I think this enhances his dark-ish, calculating character. A fair representation of the recording industry.

The movie is nearly ruined by Liv Tyler, over acting as usual. She's a drain to watch as always, killing the pace of the movie, and not in sync with the rest of the cast.

Bill Cobb as Del Paxton, is a delight, as is Tom Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson as waitress in Marguerite. The bar scene is outstanding.

Watch this one to brighten up a rainy day. Get ready to tap your toes and enjoy! 8/10

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