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Interesting premise, but crude delivery
Before I begin, I give huge respect to Ralph Bakshi to release this experimental animation to the public and going against the family- friendly-grain of most animated films from Disney and other studios. I loved everything that the film swings for (anti-establishment, questioning technology taking over our humanity, trying to tell an actual story instead of animating "horses eating apples"), but its delivery is a bit askew. I understand that they had a rather lax attitude to hiring animators off the street, which is interesting, but you can definitely see the results in this film. The emotions of the characters don't match how they're drawn, and this film suffers from "over-animation" if anything...back then, its as if every wrinkle in the characters' clothing had to move in every frame, and it gets a bit absurd. I LOVED THE was my favorite thing (aside from the wonderfully intricate background paintings) to watch, and the DVD has a wonderful "making of" video with Bakshi describing what the process was like. There's a commentary track, too, which I didn't listen to, but I got a lot of information from the "making of" video. The story was confusing a lot of times, and why certain characters ran off with different groups of faeries and elves and got captured almost seemed without reason. Having Bakshi describe the story in the "making of" video almost sounds like a completely difficult thing to capture, and I think the film needed to be worked on for a few more years. The thing that dates the movie the most is the funk music that plays during certain action sequences, as if it were a blaxploitation film or something...the breathy, airy singing of their "theme" for the movie is another 70's throwback that needs to go (and had nothing to do with the film). The Nazi thing...confusing as hell. I'm not sure why this was added in the movie or even the story...maybe to show that how dumb the bad guys were because they really dug war propaganda (?). As a fan of animation, I really liked it, but not enough to watch it over and over. It's crude, somewhat hastily-made, and could've been refined to be a lot more if given the time, but the studio's attitude was not in agreement to do that, so this is what you get.


The States' version of "Shaun of the Dead" is actually a joyous ride
I'm quick to dismiss modern zombie films mostly because it's become such an overused genre of film to make. I enjoyed the remakes of "Dawn of the Dead" and "Land of the Dead," and I had a feeling that this was going to be these actor's chances at making their own "Shaun of the Dead." That's fine, but I dug my heels in. I realize I was wrong to, though. The movie is very light-hearted with the zombie apocalypse acting as a mere atmosphere of day-to-day grind work to get through. It's a coming-of-age/horror/comedy film that has in-jokes for movie buffs and fun moments of destroying stuff for anarchy's sake in a world ruled my zombies. Is it believable? Is any zombie movie really believable? I guess that's up to you. They have an unrealistic amount of bullets and a number of convenient resolutions, though. This is a movie primarily based on characters and their development in a land that they loved which is now zombiefood. There's an amazing cameo (by who? I won't spoil it) around the midpoint of the film, and once the characters get to that point, the movie starts getting exceedingly hilarious. This movie subscribes to the plague element that brings people to roam the earth, searching for new flesh, and I liked how the movie didn't really tell how it got that way (like "Resident Evil" is quick to point the finger at a huge corporation). I gave the movie 8 stars. I'll definitely watch it again.

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Shakespearean-styled goth musical with an original twist
Well, curiosity got the best of me. I had seen this DVD on shelves for a couple of years now, and I gave it a shot tonight. I am usually quick to hate on these types of trendy cult films that gain followings within the first month of its release, but I have to give it to the guys at Twisted Studios and Lionsgate. This was an entertaining, Shakespearean- style musical complete with the new addition of "comic-book frames" telling parts of the story along with a full, dark-themed scenery. **Whoever downvotes this movie down to a 1-star rating is missing whatever sense of humor they thought they had.** This movie is purely farce and full of black comedy woven into a scorned-love story complete with cheap gore and cheap songs. It's an updated Rocky Horror Picture Show for fans of Rob Zombie's/Marilyn Manson songs with a touch of Evanescence singing. The gore is not meant to disgust the audience nor shock them; these are all nods towards stage plays where you know the props are not real. Although the effects used on Blind Mag's "R2D2-3D- projection" eyes was a treat, and I thought all of the imagery had a very nice, stylish tone that really brought the audience into their world. Was the movie "groomed to be a cult classic?" Who knows, but what was created is worthy of watching over every now and again for entertainment's sake, and should be given a good chance amongst other cult classics. Why fight a good thing?

12 oz. Mouse

Worst TV series I've ever seen
I've sat through multiple cheesy, pun-filled episodes of horrible shows before, but this series makes my brain cave in on itself. I give the Adult Swim crew props for trying to make it work or letting it live on for the irony that a show like this exists on television, but the joke of its existence is not enough to warrant good reviews. The show actually creates anger inside of me. I watched an entire disc that a friend left over at my house to get a taste for it. It's not Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which is actually pretty brainy and hilarious as you get to understand the characters and the flow of that show. But this has no flow, only a few reoccurring in-jokes (like the guy voicing the policeman is just reading off-the-cuff...that's fine), and a pathetic style...and who's it for, I don't know. The only enjoyable part of the show I witnessed was the mouse's pet performing a drum solo...that's it. 3 seasons of this trash? Why? Hey it's your money being thrown away if you like it and purchase the DVDs, but don't expect others to understand your simple logic.


Porn for art students, boring for the rest of us
I feel that I somewhat gave this DVD some disservice by fast-forwarding through most of it. I'm rather tired of people over-analyzing sex on film as potential for art. I think it would be more original to produce a series of paintings made by couples covered in paint, screwing on top a canvas. What we get with this collection is an offbeat tale of a village and their exposition of breasts and bums, a guy and his fetish for rubbing himself against moving machinery, a rather well-done collection of spliced sex scenes one-after-another, an interview of several individuals for a trial-screw for a porn actor's first experience on camera, a jarring, strobe-lit piece on a guy defiling a doll and a girl getting it on with a stuffed doll, a scene from a porno, and a guy beating off in the desert. That's it, no more, no less. This is the UK version I watched, so the scenes do change with the US version, but the idea is the same.

I don't know if the idea was to shock the audience into understanding that sex can be artistic, but it didn't work on me. I've seen far sicker things multiple times, so the shock factor definitely isn't there. As for the art of it all, the only piece that I would expect to see in a museum of any sort would be Marco Brambilla's "Sync," the spliced-sex scenes. The rest of this really loses me, and it's a shame more women directors were not on-board for this project because, although the results were laughable, Marina Abramovic's "Balkan Erotic Epic" was, at least, different from the others. For the work put into each one, I gave that an extra star than I would have if this was some college hack work, but they spent some time with this, even if the results were confusing and boring.

Ken Park

Meaningless scenes, like posters in Clark's mind
Jumping right into a Larry Clark film after watching something as mundane as the nightly news is a refreshing twist on an evening, I must admit. I'm a fan of his earlier films "Kids," "Bully," and even the movie made after "Ken Park," "Wussup Rockers." There's something about his ability to visualize a scene using young and underused actors that can hold it together and play a scene through to the end, especially when the scenes involve heavy, adult-themed concepts involving drugs or blatant sexual acts. At times, as a viewer, you can question yourself watching these scenes, maybe pondering what this is doing for me by watching this? And that's where I think this film falls flat.

The movie is nothing really but Clark getting his directorial-nut off by cleansing his mental-palate of these vignettes I'm sure he's always wanted to see in a film but never knew where they should go. I kept thinking of Harmony Korine's "Gummo" through the entire viewing; these are obviously artfully-thought-out scenes that this director just conceptualized for the sake of their existence in one of their works. I think it might be better if he stuck to one story like the rest of his works, but divide them up amongst the various groups, like Kids did, or even Bully.

The problem I have with the groups who have reviewed this film always point at the fact that this wasn't released here in the U.S. because it was sexually explicit and too real of an experience. Sure it was sexually explicit, but I'm sure some art house would have released it if the film had a damn purpose behind the on screen carnal experiments. Personally I thought the scene ending out Kids was more shocking and devastating. Clark himself responds to his films by saying "I'm trying to create a reality that makes sense." I don't think this makes sense as a film. It makes sense as individual paintings might make sense with what we're given, but as a film, you can't call it anything but absurd.

I gave the film 4 stars based on 5 stars meaning that I liked it. I like mind-bending concepts in movies, but I like even more when it culminates into a movie that I want to watch time and time again. I just didn't understand what he wanted to do with these scenes that he gives us to watch, it's like opening up someone's diary who you don't even doesn't really mean a whole lot.

Filthy McNasty

B-movie, but lame
I was recommended this movie because a friend saw it on Netflix, and one of the characters reminded him of a friend we knew. So I tried to watch it. Mind you, the entire movie's only 46 minutes long, which is basically 2 TV shows, but the entire thing felt like a trip to a dentist...I really didn't want to go, and afterwards I felt tremendous pain inside.

I get it. You're low-budget and cultish. I understand the Troma sensibilities of making movies to make movies. But c'mon...this didn't really even have a plot, it just had characters who did things. The whole idea of the movie, as I understand it, is that a creepy guy introduces too repugnant college girls to a Satanic-genie-like character (Filthy McNasty) who changes them into hot college girls, but the price for changing them includes killing off their college peers (who don't like the girls to begin with). I don't understand. If these were friends of the girls, I would get it, but these girls have no friends, only each other, so who cares if these people die?

In the meantime, there's a lot of low budget special FX, inter spliced ska music (for "fun" scenes), and blatant rip-offs of others' music (notably Tenacious D and Yello). I had to score this 2 stars b/c it was lame, not b/c it was low-budget. Jon Waters made tons of low budget works that were awesome just b/c his characters were interesting and you can tell he was thoroughly interested in making a movie. This seems like a bunch of friends got bored one day, shot a bunch of footage, edited it and said, "Here's our movie." I'm bumping the stars to 2 b/c of the posters on the wall and the line "I've gotta wash all this sex off me so I can have some more sex." That was pretty funny.


All eye-candy, no believability
Some have called the movie "good ol-fashioned, campy fun." I just want my money back. The movie is all eye-candy, and then you're done with the "box" after almost 3 hours. The movie should've been called by its full name: 2012 - A Bucketload of Coincidences.

I'm not even going to provide context in a well-written manner for the horrible parts in the film, so here it goes: Let's start with John Cusack, who plays an author with marital problems, but he must have ESP or psychic abilities to foresee that everything about the near future is dire and in need of escape. He jumps fences which just happen to be controlled by military forces that know of his famous book. He just happens to have written about a mythological topic which seems to be unfolding before his eyes. And his physical abilities to take on these world disasters is amazing. Let's jump to the bad visual jokes, like the one when the couple are in the supermarket, saying "Let's never split up" and then a "small" earthquake literally divides the two hand-holders. It splits the Sistine Chapel in half, right in between where "Adam" touches "God" in the painting. Every escape is near-death and impossible to pull off in real life. Around the end John Cusack seems to possess gills or at least lungs like a fish for as long as he was underwater, as does his son. The music was forgettable and generic, even during the flash-bang explosions of fire and lava and other pyrotechnic crap they threw on the screen.

Then come the questions: in the end, they get away alive on vessels set sail for...wherever. What do they use for fuel after everything's demolished. Or food? What does that giraffe meat taste like, and how soon before Cusack degrades into cannibalism? The ships took in a lot of water...why did they not sink? In fact I was more curious about their outcome after the credits started rolling than I was in the relationship between Cusack and the new step-dad, or any other part of the movie. So everything's what? Good luck.

The best part of the movie was the hilariously-bad animation of Woody Harrelson's character explaining the 2012 concept on his computer...that's it. And that's all of the explanation you'll get about why 2012 was devised by Westerners to be a year of disaster. I was hoping for a real-life, Apocalypto fashion-setting to tell the story of the Mayan calender.

Well, Roland Emmerich said in an interview that it would be his last disaster film, so good riddance to that director of this played-out genre. I hope someone picks up the torch to make a film about the setting after the ships set sail, though.

All in all, its 2009's best comedy, just behind The Hangover.

Whatever Works

Cantankerous genius finds out he's one of us
As a fan of both Woody Allen (as a director, and occasionally as an actor) and Larry David, I could not bring myself to bring the score of this movie down to where critics have been placing it. I simply failed to see what the major "problems" of the film were supposed to be. I laughed at some of the smart little jabs in the side that Allen wrote for Larry to throw to the audience, and the dialogue that poured out of almost every scene had me really paying attention to where this was going.

I think the main problem people might've had is with Larry David's "acting" that many (if you've ever watched an episode/season of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm') might just believe that David doesn't possess any acting talent, that this is his true colors being thrown all over his hit show and now this movie. In my point of view, it works. I don't care if this character is a transplant from 'CYE' or not, he's got a different disposition with his philosophies and belief that he's an absolute genius while everyone around him is merely an "inch-worm." I love the jazz & classical music, the wistful look back at the way things used to be, and classic inspection of modern culture that pours out of Allen's head onto paper. Like this film, he pushes people to see past the comfort level that we set for ourselves and open your world up for chance to work its magic, even when we may fight it every step of the way, which you feel like doing once we first meet Boris Yellnikoff on screen.

Great comedy, good heart, great insight and great job of figuring out how to cross one's boundaries. I recommend.

Les quatre cents coups

Technical savvy does not equal an awesome movie, but good time nonetheless
Have you ever wanted to just get "away from it all" in life, go joyriding in stolen cars, steal stuff to keep your fantasy thriving, all while dealing with constant contradictions of authority and goal-makers? That's pretty much what I got out of this movie. There was excellent, whimsical acting by all the cast (mostly out of the kids in the classroom), great direction on little nuances that the lead boy, Antoine, felt like doing, and excellent cinematography showing the depth of where poor choices can lead you (and oppositely, the grandeur of the openness of hope in a stress-free society). The story was typical of any boy trying to understand what everything means in life while still under the roof of his parents, who constantly lie to one another and live a dramatic lifestyle between each other.

One the other hand, though, nothing was really learned after Antoine experiences his version of remorse for his actions. In fact, he doesn't really grow up at all. It's almost as good as half of a movie. I think the film was just trying to show the consequences for a life gone awry, made possible by the lies he told, by what he stole, and how he treated supervision and authority, which, in my opinion, isn't a grandiose story to tell at all. It's pretty understandable in anyone's life that's been raised well. So I lack to see the fervor in which some might enjoy the story or the film as a whole.

I think the replay value of the film is low. The score was amazing, with his own complex theme and everything. Again, the technical aspects were there, but the experience of Antoine's was not much of one.


Shocks = mostly hollow laughs
I love when artists and film makers make a stand to stick with outrageous behaviors and points of view, which Sacha Baron Cohen repeats again, first in Borat then again with Bruno. The laughs are plentiful and shocking at times, if you let your rage and homophobia go before you enter the theater.

The sexual-jokes are the most abundant, with cracks at the seriousness of the style community, the gay community, the political world, the religious communities, and the overall social faux pas of cultures intermingling. Cohen learned by making Borat that obvious humor can come from the most foreign of places, so again he plays an Austrian television host for a show about fashion. Skipping around in cropped lederhosen, he explains the complexities of trying to run a successful career and take care of your pygmy lover back home.

I thought the jokes were hilarious for the brief time each one filled. The quality and quantity of the joking around was about even, which made for a great watch, but I couldn't help but ask myself why it just kept going on with no direction through a lot of bits he played on people. The payoff of the bits were mostly hilarious, but again, it felt like something was missing by the end.

I applaud his bravery, wit, and acting abilities to pull off such a brazen character who uses the conservative palette as his stage, but I can't help but wonder if it was closer to Borat or Jackass.

Get Smart

Pretty good action movie with awkward comedy
Almost like a cross between Austin Powers and The Spy Who Loved Me, Get Smart resurrects random TV show nostalgia with the movie adaptation of the series Get Smart. Maxwell Smart (played by Steve Carell) is a bumbling secret agent who is paired up with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) to stop a nuclear scheme by an evil spy group, headed by none other than Terence Stamp's character Seigfried.

The movie was OK. It had a number of gags and puns to fill the story out with light-hearted humor. The music was a typical fare of action films, but well done, though. Carell's acting is mostly coming from watching The Mask (with Jim Carrey) a little too much, I think. Hathaway plays an awkward partner whose chemistry with Carell seems a little at-arms-length through the whole movie, so their "love story" seems a little misplaced.

There were a ton of cameos that whiz past you: Bill Murray, Kevin Nealon, James Caan, Patrick Warburton, Ryan Seacrest, The Great Khali (of professional wrestling fame), Larry Miller, and Cedric Yarbrough all make their way around the more prominent characters. I thought Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) did a pretty good job with his delivery, and he had some good scenes.

But despite all those good points, you really get frustrated over the all-important question: what does Get Smart have anything to do with all of this? I get it, the shoe phone and gadgets, but in actuality, this is just another Steve Carell vehicle where he gets to play himself...but what if the 40-year-old Virgin goes sky diving? Or is a bumbling mess while trying to get past a high-intensity laser-field? It all gets very monotonous and dull. The gags wear out after a while and that's when the director tries to shock the crowd with a kiss between The Rock and Carell...oh no. Alan Arkin was in this, too, but should the chief of such an operation really be over-emotional and bumbling as much as the most novice agent you have on your team? In conclusion, if you have 2 hours to kill (2 hours even?), it might be worth it if you're a Steve Carell connoisseur, but you'll quickly see why "fat jokes" and awkward communication between you and your enemies will do nothing for your loss of those couple of hours. Save money; split the rental cost of this one with a friend.


What do we do now, though?
Michael Moore has a lot on his mind. His motivation for starting to work on this subject of health-care companies is well-warranted, but so broad, I had to see what he could make from all this information. I was a bit disappointed with the outcome because with all of the information that he learned, he didn't stop to think about how the United States could accomplish socialized health-care, which he sells as a good point for us to fully understand.

The topic of health care alone gets buried underneath the overwhelming new (and, in my opinion, more important) problem of society in America and how we run things when compared to other countries in France, England, Canada, and even Cuba. He acknowledges that we have socialized other things in our society like postal services and firefighters, but he fails to crack open the brains of politicians in this documentary (with interviews) to at least get their opinion on whether it will work (aside from the expert who believes it will never happen in the US). He had some wonderful speakers in the movie, particularly one unforgettable British expert on economics and sociology in our two different cultures. And he's right to believe it will never happen in the US, but it would've been interesting to get some major politician to come in, get his opinion on the matter (in the US), and take off.

We all have hard lives no matter the area we live in. It's a division in attitude, not just culture. Simple people live in France and swear by the treatment they get there, fine. Just as the movie says, they're swimming in taxes, which will never fly here. We expect too much for the taxes we get away with. So I fail to see the movie's point other than being a fascination piece. It lacked a lot of the fun that Fahrenheit 911 and Bowling had while talking about the gun control (going to K-Mart and watching actions taking place there) and the president's faults. It told a lot of interesting stories about case studies in the health care world and being an insured person who got faulty treatment, but that's so common that Moore goes towards the down-trodden as a cliché rather than as a novel search in life.

Don't get me wrong, I love what this man brings to the table, issue-wise. He has the guts to find a way to Guantanamo Bay as a stunt to receive health care for some of the main people interviewed in the documentary, all of which is fascinating. He tries to turn Americans' heads around for a change on a broad subject, but most of the people in the theater had their jobs to get to the next day, and weren't about to drop everything and move to Canada or France to change their personal health care situations around. That's what I was missing was information on what to do with this documentary and how he expected the audience to take it. Does he expect a complete upheaval in social norms on the multi-billion dollar corporate levels out of this information that he's collected, or does he just want us to know better? I guess it's up to us to decide, but then again, it always has been in his documentaries.


1st time seeing Transformers in action
I went into the film not knowing most of the characters or even seeing the previous show nor movie. I grew up in the time that they were on TV, but I wasn't allowed to watch violent cartoons, so there you go. The Michael Bay version is interesting; a lot of new special FX that are more common in shorter doses (like car commercials) were displayed for the eye candy. The humor was a great touch (Bernie Mac especially)for such an odd movie (robots from space land on earth to search out a relic from an Antarctica expedition so that they can regain control of some energy cube before more evil-doing robots get there first). The movie, I was thinking, was aimed at kids, which it is but in a more mature fashion. And where there were Transformers, there's always a hidden agenda, it seems...

More than a slightly shadowed message about alien races (like, say, immigrants and recent national policies here in America about such), I had a giant problem with the fact that the producers of the film must've said to themselves, "Here's a movie about a cartoon that was made popular because a lot of kids bought their toys. But kids haven't heard about Transformers in ages. What they have heard and seen lately are sports-cars, mobile phones, and XBOX 360s. Let's incorporate products in the movie as much as possible." And they went crazy with it all. Brand names everywhere. I understand that movies cost money to make, but if a soul hasn't heard about eBay on the internet by now, do we need to hear the name "eBay" spouted at least 3 times in the film? How about Pontiac, a Saleen Mustang, or a new Camaro? How about Nokia phones? No one's heard of those? How about spending that money for some decent shots of space, where these robots originated and fought most of the time? How about offering advice to the cameraman in charge of placing the CGI screen so close to the robots fighting that you can't tell what they're doing? The camera was so wobbly, it made Michael Bay look like a drunk behind the shot concepts.

The concept behind Transformers is mind-boggling enough (who makes these things? what responsibility do the "good" guys have over the things they destroy on alien planets, like ours?) that a crazy director was all they needed. But you have to call this movie what it is, which is a car-commercial aimed at big kids with Transformer-size wallets who want to see how Army men handle getting blown up by giant outer space robots. It's a fluff piece aimed at kids with loud CGI in-your-face action without purpose. It was pretty fun while it lasted, but it made the storyline behind the series look pathetically boring. But they kept the same crappy music in the film like the original movie (I have since seen the cartoon movie) like Linkin Park.

My advice to people like me who never really got into the series, go watch the original cartoon movie. Watch a few episodes, then see the live-action-meets-CGI version. Its something for the legacy of Hasbro to deal with, but what warranted this movie to be released other than new products to talk about and new issues in the news. Skip it.


1st time seeing it w/o previous knowledge
Here's a shock to fans of the movie and show: I had never seen the movie nor the show before sitting through the newest Transformers output by Michael Bay. I knew mostly nothing about the characters' origins, what powers they have, or why they have so much inner drama between them. I got a lot of those questions answered (except the last one), but it doesn't make me a die-hard fan of them after one sitting.

The Transformers are weird. The animation doesn't go into much detail about how their bodies change into a car or jet (just a lot of pieces flipping and melding into a piece of transportation, which they really don't need to happen seeing as all of them could fly somehow). The voices and personalities are the best thing about the series, and in the movie, big names like Robert Stack, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, and Orsen Welles (?) are amongst the "names" to promote the "film." The movie doesn't seem like a movie; it seems more like a long episode based around concepts that probably take too long to animate for the series, but then mashed them all together for the movie so that the plot could sort of make sense. The music is standard 80's arena rock (with great classics as "The Touch" by Stan Bush...later parodied in "Boogie Nights" as the hit single that Dirk Diggler tries to record) and off-choices like Weird Al's "Dare To Be Stupid" which have nothing to do with the action on screen. The sounds were classic Transformers, from the "changing" sound to the sound of portals and laser blasts. All of the artwork was exceptionally well drawn (with an anime-feel to the setting) and reminded me of animes like Akira.

Getting back to their weird qualities, these technological marvels, the Transformers, go around blowing crap up like it means absolutely nothing to them, and then trying to preach the goodness and magic of a Matrix (which doesn't have anything to do with Keanu Reeves). When Megatron throws a piece of lumber into Optimus Prime, it goes into his armor with no problem, but he can take hits from lasers and all and not feel anything? Why weren't they all created equals with similar qualities if they all just operate computers without a problem as their only "job?" Hell, even the worthless dinobots were flying (the heavy brontosaurus flying?), and others couldn't? I was just in shock at the stupid "anything goes" mentality of creators of these scripts. But I know they were trying to get more kids in the theaters so they can see which toy to pick out at the store next time...and speaking of kids, is it really necessary to throw the words damn and s_hit into the script? It's just stupid writing to try and push the envelope to let you know you're watching a movie and not the show. Why not show a scene with RC boning HotRod while you're at it.

All in all, if you liked the show as a kid, you probably should have seen this about 10 times so far. The new DVD was released with a Transformers transferable sticker, a metallic action card, and some pretty good trivia that you may want to store up in your memory banks for when you and your friend are challenging your knowledge on the subject of interchanging robots. It was good, but I think the new movie shows a better view of the random challenge of being a robot in this crazy, mixed up world.

Casino Royale

Surprise from a new Bond with more emotion
Short and sweet...I loved this addition to the Bond characters out there. Although he's no smooth-looking guy, Daniel Craig gets his business done and out of there. There was more humanity in this Bond character than I remember seeing in past films (he makes constant mistakes, he finds romance more possible in this film). he of course has the cool cars and gadgets, but the director strays from over exhausting them this time around and focuses on the story at hand.

There was a ton of double-crossing in this one, which was a snag at times to remember what to think about each character, but in the end, it works fairly well. The titles were awesome looking as ever, but I wish they could've overlooked Chris Cornell to sing them (with his hound dog yelping of notes). The scenery and images in each land were magnificent as always, and somehow, the director managed to make a good time out of a long game of poker (for non-fans of poker tournaments like myself, I found it pretty bearable).

In the end, 8 stars. I think it would work out great to have Craig show up in another in the future of Bond stories, but I wonder if he should regarding his decision around the end of this one....we shall see.


What a joke...1 star.
Seriously. Whoever gave this film 7 to 10 stars is either lying or has no taste in film altogether. Even as a light-hearted romp with an adrenaline junkie, it still blew. I was so confused as to whether or not to care about anyone in that damn film for the entire film.

The plot anyone can check out on IMDb, but there's no back story for the guy past his days working with a crime syndicate. Whatever girl in the movie (Amy Smart's character) fell for him as being some mean-looking video game programmer is a total bimbo and deserves this crazed maniac of a man. Jason Statham, who's previous roles in The Transporter could've easily been played in this one, is basically a guy's excuse to check out some dude who has it all (nice furniture and underground goings-on), and it forced to figure out how to live however long he can with this Oriental serum in his bloodstream. And, for action-film fans' sake, he has to keep his adrenaline up like an extra in a Mountain Dew commercial on crack throughout the whole 88 minutes of film-time.

When did filmmakers decide that the machines should do all the work for them? I counted too many filters being used all the time, too many cheap transitional effects from shot to shot, too many boring shots of JS looking "out of it," and heard way too many corny sound effects (a goat when JS laughs around the end?) to forgive the filmmakers for this ridiculousness. If you're going to wear the action film jacket on the DVD, don't sell me a comedy. But it was the directors' first film, which means they shouldn't be allowed to make any more after this one. Someone should take their computers right out of their studios because they rely on them to make the shot better than their eyes do. Anyone seen Biker Boys? They were visual effects guys on that bomb, too.

The music was just annoying, like something off a bad modern rock station, even though it drove the film as if we are watching a long music video. The cinematography relied on Statham all the time; in fact, I got so sick of seeing him in almost every shot. Just like in Transporter when they had him sliding around in oil, now they got his ass sticking out of a hospital gown and banging a chick in public...I question the image Statham is allowing himself to become.

All in all, never see the film. It's a giant commercial for manly actions with a poorly thought-out gangster plot line for no reason. You will wish that the movie was made in the 80's so that rental stores will stop shelving this release for the public. What happened to cinema?

Zu zhou

Dramatic thriller worth watching, if only once
I thought this was a typical dramatic script with added elements from movies like Scream. A dancer is killed while a girlfriend of the gaffer looks on secretly while hiding in her dressing room. But is she necessarily the killer? Who will after this one's over with, but you don't quite believe what you hear.

The film's quality and the music draw you into the film throughout the duration, and like most thrillers, the main point of watching through to the end is to find out the truth, but that's what the actors want more than anything throughout this who-dunnit film.

It was a decent watch, but there's no replay value for this one unless you really like the artistic dancing and the visuals that the director uses, which are all greatly impacting upon the story, by the way.

I gave the film a 6 out of 10 in the end.


Cult creature-feature with yawning surprises
Now that everyone knows that this is a Project Greenlight picture that was made with minimal funding and an inexperienced director (at shooting feature-films), I don't need to expound on the movie being somewhat corny at all, and in many ways, this film is not ridiculous. The film stock looks great (for the most part), the great cameo-actors and hilarity that they're involved in is original, the monster (once stripped of his exoskeleton...around an hour and 13 min. into the film) looks very killer (harkens to the Predator design a little minus the dreadlocks), and they included some killer scenes of the hottest girl IMO in this film (Krista Allen) going ballistic with rage against this unsheathed creature of sorts, killing him.

There was plenty to nit-pick about, though. I don't like the idea that they decided on a comedy/horror mash-up. It doesn't work because there's no real timing to the joking around. It makes the actors look like goof-balls who love to roll around in fake blood and shoot/blowup stuff while a key few get their share of bad one-liners (Rollins: "We'll get your front" ...corrected "We'll get your back."...what?) Rollins was great to see in the film, but his acting has gotten more robotic over the years. The character introduction scenes got very annoying (basically pausing on the character after their first line of dialog, and giving "funny" facts about them) and made me want to smash my copy of Feast. The camera shots of any kind of action looked way too jerky and sped up past their usefulness, killing the impact of these giant creatures killing their prey; instead they rushed in, eviscerated their meal, and in the meantime, had corny monster-sex (probably using the boring prop/joke of a monster cock). To top off the movie, it tries to get a joke in right before the credits that is just lame; as they drive away from their bar that they're holed up in (and the morning sun seems to have scared away the creatures outside), the car stalls and sits there...and sits there...sits there...girl gets out, car sits there...did I mention that this director doesn't have the timing that is crucial to any comedy movie? All in all, I think people should see it for its unique take on a creature film, but you'll miss the background stories you get on better creature movies (what happened to that part in the story? we don't even get to figure out what they are?) and you'll want to see the characters in this place get eaten within the first hour of the film. Worth a watch only if a friend as a copy.


Splatter-fans delight
I had never seen this film til today, and it was a treat. I had overlooked the early films of Peter Jackson's, mostly because they had that weird-looking way they always looked, sort of like a Sam Raimi film in his past days. Although the originality is a plus, I found it a bit rudimentary in cinematography, even if the stop-motion animation is a big factor to the look.

The film is closer to a hilarious spoof of a zombie film than an actual, scary film. Jackson's premise must've been strongly based on being able to see as much blood-splatter more than to complicate the story beyond respect. I like the weird story pretty much. There's also something to said about Jackson's addition of psychobilly music to the party scene (like he has his finger on the pulse of the underground scenes in music and culture). The film is loaded with hilarious death scenes and creations of "monsters." Any scene with the "zombie" baby getting into mischief is hilarious.

All in all, I think everyone needs to see it, if not make it a classic in your collection. There are strange aesthetics for the way things look and how the actors act which didn't really draw me into the story at all, but it has a quality of something like the Evil Dead series, so I can see how a cult can be made out of Jackson's movies as well.

American Masters: Sketches of Frank Gehry
Episode 7, Season 20

Excellent exposé documentary on the buildings of a free soul
Frank Gehry may not be a familiar name known to many, but his buildings are known worldwide. From his sketches to his philosophies on working with his pieces of extra-terrestrial architecture, this documentary, directed by actor/director Sydney Pollack, delves into the complete process and history behind one of the world's most ambitious and competent architects and artists.

The film never grows old at any point in its lapse. The expositional shots that Pollack chooses within the structures Gehry built are phenomenal. As much as one wishes they could be in Germany or Spain and look up into the sky under these sheets of twisted metal, this film chooses to show you the best representation of the actual feeling that it can. And the footage from the inside of the cancer center Gehry built (along with the touching story and thought behind the design) really moves you.

I had to give it a high 8 stars. Any documentary lover should see it now, and anyone looking for a step into the life of this genius man will be pleased, if only for 10 minutes if they can.

C'est arrivé près de chez vous

Simple, controversial documentary gone wrong
I was told about this film after viewing Ichi The Killer and Irreversiblé (spelling?) as a great movie to check out when it deals with shocking, artful desecration of mortality. I just saw it for the first time, and it was better than a mere violent film; with cinematography that intense and acting as good as it was for all actors involved, it is surprising that more people haven't been talking about it as a must-see film.

For an American viewer, I could tell as I watched my roommates get lulled into sleep by the wash of the French language which abounds this film, and for me, it was fine. It took nothing away from the strange future that could be had by this stoic career-killer. There was a lack of music of any kind, but the sound-direction (the idea seems like an after-thought in most films today) when, for example, the sound man gets shot, and the boom mic goes down with him, is a great example of what strengths this director and the movie's cast had.

A little bit Blair Witch, a little bit American Psycho...even though neither of them came out at the time this film hit the Cannes Film Festival for its awards.

I gave it a fair 7 out of 10 stars. Had my viewing taste been more patient and more magnetic towards the screen and the character's every move, I would bump this up to an 8. (Who knows? I may change my vote altogether with a second viewing) Must see!

Miami Vice

Highly interactive drug-ring movie plays well on DVD
When I first commented on this movie, I was furious. First, I couldn't tell why this was being adapted into a movie from the 80's TV show, but with that aside, secondly, I couldn't figure out how I felt about Colin Farrell (with his gruff voice throughout the whole movie trying to replace Don Johnson as Crockett) and Jamie Foxx playing Tubbs (especially because I always loved Foxx's more comedic acting over his serious roles). I saw it in the theater the first time around, and everything just felt completely off-putting for me, even little things like not including the trademark theme song from the TV show to hype up the movie.

So I lost that initial impression altogether with a second viewing. I forgot that they never used the original theme music. I overlooked Farrell's acting like Don Johnson. And I had time (and subtitles for most of the overly specific commands and subtle name changes that the characters used throughout the film) to sit back and figure everything out without being uncomfortably squirming around in a theater chair to view it. Although I felt that some music changes would've gotten this film a higher score with my taste in soundtracks (or maybe a loss of the random sex scenes between the two vice partners and the included music in those changed around), ultimately the DVD proved a lot of my primary opinion were false.

The camera-work was awesome (each scene being shot with a photograph included in place of a traditional storyboard layout). Time was put into the detail-oriented script almost to the point of confusion, for the audience at points, but in the long-run, the totally expanding life of a vice agent and the takeovers that are possible in the real world might be this sky-bound. Michael Mann deserves a lot of the credit for the entire film for its look and continuous feel throughout; this adaptation definitely could not have been made as complete without him as the director. And his tests for simple things (such as .50 caliber gun impact tests on a car) really show through in the final draft of the film.

All in all, the film deserves at least 7 stars as its rating. I don't know about seeing it again and again (mostly due to its heady-script and elongated duration of the film), but there are moments of the film that have you laughing to yourself abut how this drug-trade stuff goes on within vice squads. Very informative, very stylish and functional camera-work, and very worth seeing.

Little Man

pretty sad...pretty sad
From the producer/actor of "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood" and director of the hits Scary Movie 1 & 2, Kennan Ivory Wayans has created a truly original work of garbage with "Little Man." A picture that should have died on the storyboard designs alone (if there were any), "Little Man" does little else than replay too many children's films put out by Nickelodeon with a twist that the person that you're supposed to be paying attention to (the once-talented Marlon Wayans) just happens to be a little guy with Marlon's head.

I think what the team of brothers was thinking was the same thing the team working on "Babe" (talking-pig and animal movie) were thinking when technology proposed new sights to be seen on movie screens worldwide...let's cut and paste Marlon's head on every one of his shots and bring in a jewel-heist twist to give the character a bad-guy edge and try to work in the fact that he has to pretend to be a baby for 3 days while he tries to get the jewels that these newfound "parents" have in their possession.

Well, this movie gets a few laughs when it came to adult-jokes, but it didn't make a whole lot of sense that Shawn Wayans' character, Darryl, didn't notice the "baby" making love to his wife, played by Kerry Washington (from "Ray" and prior TV fame). The acting was decent, but it didn't really matter because the whole film was more like an exposé on film-making technology than any real story-telling and good humor put into it.

I gave the film 4 stars out of 10. It deserves maybe a star more for its others actors, such as John Witherspoon (Friday) and Chazz Palminteri (how did the makers of this film get this guy?). Otherwise, steer clear of this and wait until the possibility of Keenan Ivory and Marlon's adaptation of "The Munsters" coming out next year.

Brothers of the Head

fantastic original fictional-biopic
i loved the movie from about the middle to the end. (the beginning was kind of slow for my taste and confusing to catch on to) i thought it had great actors (who played as the acquaintances/friends/family) to play the supporting roles, as well as the two boys in the film. it was fantastically emotional in the right way (only slightly was it overdone). the photography was phenomenal and the story couldn't have been any more to-the-point and entertaining.

again, the movie was a bit slow and direction-less in areas of the final, edited film, but the points in which the two boys were to figure each other out after hitting the "big time" were very interesting and kept me watching all the way through with no problem after the middle of the film.

i gave it 8 stars, and i regard this a very cool film indeed. it feels like "velvet goldmine" mixed with a bit of brotherly rival-ism, which can sometimes prove fatal. great film to see with someone you love, but it might not lift so many spirits up as you might think.

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