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Reviews

The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos
(1937)

Fascinatingly Outdated
I first encountered this short while re-watching many of the classic Warner Brothers cartoons on DVD. The Looney Tunes shorts in particular have been some of my favorite cartoons since childhood and I enjoy many of Warner's other early efforts as well. While many of these classic cartoons make pop cultural references that have become obscure or mostly forgotten in the modern day, most of them maintain a timeless quality that children and adults of all generations still enjoy. The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos however is one of the most outdated Warner Brothers cartoons that I have seen, to the point where it's one of the only classic cartoons I have ever felt the urge to write about.

This cartoon is simply a parody of 1930s radio culture, parodying famous celebrities of the time as birds and woodland critters. I imagine this short film must have been hilarious upon release and would have succeeded at its intentions, but 77 years later it comes off as mostly outdated and incredibly boring as a result of the now obscure cultural references. The celebrity references to Bing Crosby, Al Jolson and WC Fields, which I recognized, weren't enough to save this cartoon for me. This could be because in the current age of brutal and scathing celebrity caricatures as done by South Park and Family Guy, simply seeing cartoon versions of 1930s celebrities as animals with puns based around their names is anemic by comparison. Which is another reason this cartoon aged so poorly, its approach to caricatures and parodies is simply, "hey look who it is, your favorite star in cartoon form with a pun for a name." The jokes run on a "can you guess who this is?" basis and do little else with the caricatures. Today this cartoon plays out like watching a late night show 10 or 20 years after its first airing, many of the jokes become forgotten, and the ones that are possibly remembered are often too far removed from cultural context to remain funny. This style of humor ages poorly, but has a place in culture as it can be very funny before its expiration date.

While I've bashed the cartoon's comedic content and long expired cultural relevance, this isn't a terrible cartoon by any means. The animation is great, especially considering the amount of characters present and the beautiful hand drawn efforts of animators from the pre-computer time. There is also a high level of energy to the cartoon that makes it somewhat watchable for anyone who is curious to see how a parody of then-fresh cultural references from the 1930s would play out. And I understand that parodying celebrities in this fashion was popular at the time, considering that many other cartoons from this era do the same, though admittedly the references to classic film stars age significantly better than references to radio culture of the time. The classic cartoon "Goofy Groceries," in which food mascots come to life in a grocery store after closing, takes a similar approach and not only references brands that are still regularly sold in the 2010s, but also uses the caricatures in a much more creative way than the rather shallow approach seen here.

When all is said and done, I don't regret watching this as it gave me one of the most unusual reactions I have ever had to a classic cartoon, but unless you were alive and following 1930s radio culture during its time, or have researched it enough to understand the ins and outs of it, the humor and cultural references are going to fall flat for most modern viewers.

Xing
(2007)

An Uneven Mixed Bag, but Heartfelt
First thing I should say is it's clear that this is a low budget movie and should be viewed as such. It's unfair to compare a low budgeted short film to something that had major studios backing it. Judging it on those terms though, it still falls short compared to many other short films I've seen on an even lower budget. The first half is very uneven due to some poor, student film sound quality, purely amateur sound effects, a laughable gunshot effect and uneven directing that ruin what was meant to be an emotional scene. The main actor, Jeff Freeman, is also very over the top in his line delivery at the beginning of the film.

Surprisingly, the last half was quite effective. Jeff Freeman delivered a more convincing, heart felt performance during the last half of the film and as a result, the film had more emotional resonance at this point, which was lacking in the first half.

On the plus side of this movie, Long Nguyen delivers a good performance in his short time on screen. The cinematography, while not perfect, did make great use of cranes, dollies and car mounts which added some very smooth and professional looking images to the movie.

A majority of the flaws in the movie come from the editing. Images such as the cartoonishly sped up car speed at one point as well as the crackling sound in others are partly results of the editing. The opening and closing graphics of the Earth were straight out of a High School production and gave the movie a more amateur feeling when it was clearly aiming for something more. This isn't the only movie I've seen with poor graphics, but regardless that is something that more filmmakers should find a substitution for.

Despite the flaws that ruin the first half of the movie and keep it from fully reaching its goals, it is clear that a lot of heart and soul was put into it which keeps the film from truly failing at it's intentions. The last half is, for the most part, free from the flaws of the beginning and succeeds at what the film aimed to achieve. Overall it's an uneven mixed bag, but because it is heart felt it succeeds on some level.

Last Words
(2010)

An Effective and Highly Psychological Short Film
Last Words is a short war film that examines the mental state of distressed and deeply haunted soldier Jason Gray (Justin Lancaster, who also directed). Despite studying the negative effects that war has on it's soldiers, the film never becomes political or points fingers at politicians, instead opting to focus on the life and mental breakdown of one soldier in his last days. This was a breath of fresh air to me as I'm sick of highly politicized war movies and am more interested in the stories about those who actually fight wars.

Similar to Platoon, much of the film is shown through the main character's first person voice over. The main difference is that Platoon's voice over was read as though reading a soldier's letters to his family, where as the voice over in Last Words is told in the mood of a suicide note.

Last Words begins in Jason's apartment and reveals that he has isolated himself from his loved ones, is deeply paranoid, haunted by memories from war and suffering from suicidal thoughts. The first half of the film is told through flashbacks which focus on Jason and fellow soldier Westler (John Woods, who also directed) during their time in Iraq. After showing his most startling memories and current paranoia, the climax of the film focuses on how Jason comes to terms with his decision and spends his last day.

Filmed on a low budget, the film's biggest flaw is the inaccuracy of the soldier's uniforms, which are outdated and are not used in desert combat. The war scenes were also filmed in Pennsylvania and as a result some of the outdoor locations show green grass and trees that are clearly not in Iraq. With that said, the most effective Iraq flashback scenes are definitely the night time battle scene and torture of an Iraqi prisoner which follows. Because the film's biggest battle takes place at night, the location used is more obscured and feels authentic as a decaying Iraqi village. This location is used again during the day for the torture scene, and because of the stone architecture and blown out windows, it proves to be a great and convincing location during the daytime as well.

The torture scene is the film's most intense and well acted scene, boasting strong performances by Justin Lancaster, John Woods, Tyshawn Jenkins, Damien Colletti, Russ Huth and Munir Kreidie. While I did criticize the film for it's lack of authenticity in the soldier's uniforms and non desert outdoor locations, I do praise the filmmakers for casting Munir Kreidie as the prisoner as he is very convincing and authentic in his role. This scene and the previous battle are the film's strongest scenes due to the filming location, strong acting, and high energy shown on screen. Also noteworthy about the battle and torture scene is that the supporting characters are interesting and engaging, even in their brief time on screen.

The film is inspired by the true story of Tristan Lancaster who committed suicide after returning home from Iraq. Because Tristan was the brother of director Justin Lancaster, this film is very personal to the filmmakers behind it, which definitely shows through. The personal nature and strong effort put into the film compensates for its flaws. Also effective is the use of real life Iraq footage and still images in the film, as it provides often intense documentary footage and brings more realism to the film.

Anthropophobia
(2008)

Enjoyable and Inventive short film
This was an interesting and very surreal short film. While it obviously had a very low budget and it suffers from student film type errors, it was a creative and enjoyable short film to watch. The concept was handled quite well and some of the effects were visually striking. I particularly liked the way the main character imagined his furniture attacking him, along with the stop motion look and digital distortion that took place during these scenes. While the recorded dialogue had poor sound quality, the use of sound effects to enhance the story was done very well.

This film won the Best Young Filmmaker award at the Appalachian Film festival in West Virginia one year. While judging it as a film by itself, there are many flaws related to the student film look and feel that it has, specifically due to the dull, grainy colors on the camera and the static heavy audio track. But while judging it as an early film from a young filmmaker, it shows much imagination and a good grasp on the medium that will hopefully go further for this director one day. There is more imagination in this short film than I've seen in some other low budget films by adult filmmakers. I hope to see more work from this director after watching this film.

A Hero's Burden
(2008)

A Prelude to Better Things
This is one of the first short films made by the Pennsylvania based film company Hogghouse Productions. The story follows soldier Jason Grey and his adopted brother who went to war together and were ultimately affected by it in ways that impacted themselves and their loved ones. While there are good things that this short film has to offer, it ultimately feels like a short preview to the superior sequel Last Words.

For a 10 minute short film, the character development is relatively well done. Much like Last Words, the production values are fairly impressive considering the low budget. The cinematography in this film is adequate and the editing is great. Most of the main actors gave good and convincing performances, and the direction was relatively good.

The main weakness of this film is the length, which ultimately makes the whole movie seem like a preview for the themes and ideas of the sequel. The climax of this movie briefly touches upon the ways that war affects soldiers and their loved ones, but it is very brief and the potentially great emotional impact falls short as a result. After this film, the production company made the sequel Last Words and the documentary Tristan's Story, which both explored these interesting themes to greater depth and have a much stronger emotional impact.

The other weakness of the film is that while the two main characters are well developed, the other characters are merely reduced to short appearances and are given little time to develop, despite the fact that some of these appearances feature good performances. More depth to the other characters could have helped this film greatly.

With that said, despite the low budget and flaws, this is decently made for a 10 minute short film and it does display some great talent.

Gummo
(1997)

White Trash theater
This is a very odd movie, and is probably one of the most critically divided movies out there. While it does have a cult following and it does receive a lot of praise, it also receives an equal amount of harsh criticism. I can see both sides of the argument. When I first saw this movie, I was interested because of how bizarre and surreal it was, but I was also kind of mixed about how I felt, because I felt it was just the director Harmony Korrine parading his personality. Sort of like this one guy I knew who bragged about how he was into film his whole life, I felt that Korrine was just saying "look how weird and messed up I can be." I've seen the movie about 3 times since, and my opinion changed. I like it now. Part of the reason I like this movie could be because I lived in a town near Xenia Ohio, where the movie is set.

The movie really doesn't have much of a plot. The whole concept is a tornado ripped through Xenia damaging half the town, and killing half at the same time. What is left afterward is a boring, post apocalyptic world, narrated by a 14 year old kid named Solomon. The rest of the movie is basically a series of somewhat unrelated clips, the reason I say somewhat is because the way they flow together is kind of like someone took a camera through a messed up town, mainly following two kids, but filming some other people on the way, and showing things that the two kids talk about.

Some of the things they do in the short segments are funny, some depraved, and some just completely weird. The two main characters, Solomon and Tumler, kill cats and sell them to a butcher shop, so they can get money to buy glue to huff. In the middle of the movie they realize they have a little competition, a cross dressing teenager who takes care of his catatonic grandmother is also killing cats to make money.

Some other characters are two teenage girls who try to raise their nipples, and basically do teenage girl stuff throughout the movie. One of them is played by Chloe Sevigny, who is currently on HBO's Big Love. Some other characters include an albino, two skinheads who killed their parents, a bunch of drunk hicks who wrestle chairs (one of which is played by skater Mark Gonzales), a guy who pimps his retarded sister, and the movie's mascot, a kid who skateboards around in bunny ears. One of the funniest and strangest parts of the movie is when he runs into two foul mouthed 6 year olds in a junkyard, who say some outrageous things. It's been commonly interpreted that the bunny kid represents the only true happiness in the rundown town.

One thing I've grown to like is how the movie is a half documentary. I say half because some of the stuff appears to be real people that the director found in a Tennessee town who are just being themselves. Another interesting element is the usage of different film throughout the movie. Most of the movie is filmed in regular film, but some parts are filmed with grainy hand-held camera footage, giving it even more of a documentary like feel.

If you're a metal-head you'll love the soundtrack. It has songs by Bathory, Burzum, Sleep (one of my favorite parts is when Tummler and Solomon bike down the hill while Sleep's Dragonaut plays in the background), and a song by Bethlehem plays during a couple of scenes. Black metal fans will be pleased during a scene in the middle when they show footage of people in corpse paint doing some kind of ceremony. Besides just metal, there's also that song Crying by Roy Orbison (another one of the best scenes is when this song plays), Like a Prayer by Madonna, and this one classical piece that perfectly fits the movie.

This movie might take a few viewings to appreciate, and it's not guaranteed you'll like it. One thing I can say is that once you watch it becomes hard to stop because of how depraved everything becomes. By the end of the movie, you'll wish the tornado had just killed the other half of the town the first time around.

Big House Blues
(1990)

The way the world was introduced to Ren and Stimpy
Ren and Stimpy is one of the best cartoons ever made. Everything about it is surreal, the situations characters get into are bizarre and funny, and the characters are great.

Big House Blues was the pilot that would later start the legacy of Ren and Stimpy. The two main characters are Ren Hoek, a scrawny, hyperactive chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat(Stimpy), an overweight, idiotic cat who is generally the dumb character, but has his occasional smart moments later on in the series.

In the story, Ren and Stimpy are brought to the "big house" along with other dogs. At first, they are told they will have fun, and they do have fun for a while with the other dogs, but not all goes well when they realize that they will eventually get "the big sleep." There are a few things that were just small details at the time, but when the series started, they would be more noticed. In this pilot, we see how Stimpy receives his beloved litter box, the music playing when the dogs are having a party is what would become the opening them music, and many clips from this episode end up being shown during the introduction in each episode.

This might just be a short pilot episode, but it is how Ren and Stimpy were introduced to television.

Any Ren and Stimpy fan should see this episode. If you want to see it in its entirety, the DVD has the uncut version that is worth watching.

Menace II Society
(1993)

Menacingly Powerful, and Gritty Urban Drama
Menace II Society is much more than your typical hood movie. It tells the story of young Caine Lawson, a teen growing up in Watts, California.

The opening briefly shows Caine getting caught up in a grocery store shooting with his friend. This was a chilling way to open the movie, as it shows how easy it is for someone in the ghetto to get caught up in the moment and kill someone. During the opening credits, we see footage of the Watts riots that took place during the 60's. Caine narrates the story of his life, explaining how after the riots, drugs came into effect, and affected his home life as a child. After loosing his parents on at the hands of drugs, he was sent to live with his Grandparents. His Grandparents love him, but they struggled to raise him and tried their hardest to keep him out of trouble.

Not too long into the movie, after we learn about Caine's early life, we see him graduate from High School. He hopes to leave the life of violence that surrounds him in his neighborhood. After falling victim to a violent car jacking, he is brought into violence and crime himself. As the story progresses, and things spiral downward for Caine, he ends up in a hell of a jam and tries to make a way out of it all.

This is an incredible movie. It perfectly balances the ugly crime life and murder of tough inner city neighborhoods, Caine's own personal troubles, police brutality, and drugs.

This is a powerful movie with a great story. It has a good message, but in some ways, I thought the film Boyz N the Hood showed the message in a better way. Menace II Society is more focused on the crime involved in inner cities, where as Boyz N the Hood focuses more on the family life of the characters.

This is an excellent film that you should see if you ever get the chance. It has a good message, and it has some very moving moments in it.

If you enjoyed this, I also recommend Boyz N the Hood, and you'll probably enjoy the Wayans brothers' spoof, Don't be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.

Vincent
(1982)

Short, but interesting, and at times amusing
Vincent is one of Tim Burton's first films. It is claymation, like The Nightmare Before Christmas. The animation isn't as advanced as Nightmare, but it still has a dark effect to it, mainly because of the black and white film.

Narrator Vincent Price narrates the story, which is a long poem. He gives it that Edgar Allen Poe kind of effect. The poem is catchy, humorous, and somewhat twisted. All of these elements add up to create a short gem of claymation short films.

The story is that of young Vincent. He is a young man so isolated from the outside world that he is driven into madness. The story shows how he feels about the people he interacts with, how he thinks, and how his isolation gets to him.

Vincent's twisted behavior is amusing at times. I sometimes wonder if that's how Burton used to act as a kid.

Though it's a bit dark, it's amusing and I enjoyed it. As a fan of Tim Burton, I'm glad I watched this. It's amazing to think that he starts out doing this, but goes on to making masterpieces like Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Beatlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Big FIsh. If you liked this, I would also recommend Franken Weenie, another early short of his. After that, watch the other movies I mentioned.

Edward Scissorhands
(1990)

Much like the title character, a bit odd around the edges, but inside, it has a good story and a great message
Edward Scissorhands is Tim Burton's masterpiece. He is a visual genius who can create unique images and weave a great story into all of it.

The story follows Edward Scissorhands. He was created by an inventor who lives in a castle, but was never given hands because the inventor died before he could finish him. He was uncompleted, but had scissors as hands(hence the name "Edward Scissorhands"). One day, a local woman finds him and brings him home. She tries to teach Edward the normal ways of their suburban life, but he has a hard time fitting in. He discovers a talent for trimming hedges into shapes, and later he discovers a talent for grooming. Despite being useful for these types of things, he isn't looked at in a positive light by the local neighbors. Edward tries and tries, but finds it very hard to fit in with the everyone else.

This is a great film. One can easily look at the cover and think it's a weird film, but you have to really look beyond the oddness and realize the great message and great story that is being told.

The cast is great, with an exceptional performance by Johnny Depp. Anthony Michael Hall makes a different turn with his acting and image. In Weird Science and The Breakfast club, he plays the nerdy character. In this, he plays the tough guy character who is more of a nerd torturer.

There are a lot of moving moments in this movie. There is also an underlying love story, and there's a great message about looking beyond someone's surface and looking deep inside to realize what they are really like.

Like Tim Burton's other films, this is a visual treat to look at. Every shot is like magic, the way everything looks is fantastic. Every moment in this film is great, and many of the moments are very moving.

The film is dark, like Tim Burton's other films, but at the same time, it is a beautifully told story, and it even has some underlying humor.

This is easily one of Tim Burton's best films. If you want to see more great films by Tim Burton, I recommend Beatle Juice, Batman, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Galaga
(1981)

A Simple, Yet Addicting 80's Arcade
Today when you go to arcade arenas, you may find an old box shaped machine in the corner of the room. In this box is a screen with an outer space setting, featuring a space ship at the bottom of the screen and aliens flying above it. This machine is the arcade of Galaga.

This was huge back in the 80's. For today's standards, the graphics are simple and there isn't a whole lot that you have to do. That's what makes it fun. While strategy games are difficult and often realistic, it's more fun to play older, simpler games where you can escape reality and play as a little figure on a screen. In this game, you must fight off the galagans in order to defend your planet. This game is very similar to Space Invaders, which is another excellent game. In this game, the Galagans can fly in circular patterns, making it difficult to destroy them, and certain ones can beam you up in order to capture you.

This game may not be real advanced for today's standards, but it's addicting and fun. Out of all the games I've played at an arcade arena, I've never had so much fun as I've had playing this. If you haven't played this yet, find it at an arcade center. While you're at it, try to find Asteroids and Space Invaders at the same time.

Have fun playing. Go to the arcade center and save your world, destroy the galagans before they take over.

Jurassic Park
(1993)

A Groundbreaking, Heart Stomping, Dino Sized film
In the year 1993, Hollywood saw something unlike anything else, the film Jurassic Park. Never before 1993 had dinosaurs been so breathtaking and realistic on the silver screen.

The plot is very original. A group of scientists cloned dinosaurs, and are about to open an amusement park where people can see the dinosaurs. The creator John Hammond(Richard Attenborough) invites a group of people, along with his grandchildren, to see the dinos and enjoy a relaxing time at the park. Could anything go wrong, at the time it doesn't seem like it, but something else is going on. Employee Dennis Nedry is planning to steal dinosaur embryos. In order to do this, he causes a security breakdown so he can get the embryos and escape. He isn't the only one that can escape, as hungry dinos also escape. After this, everyone on the island is in danger, and loose dinosaurs are everywhere. That is where the fun in Jurassic Park comes in.

This is an underrated movie according to the IMDb ratings. It isn't even in the top 250. Today, people don't appreciate it as much, mainly due to the fact that other movies like it have been made. Growing up in the 90's, this was one of my favorite movies. As a kid, I only watched it to see the dinosaurs, as I didn't understand a whole lot of it. Today, I realize how great the plotting and suspense are.

This spawned two sequels. The second one wasn't bad, but the third wasn't very good. I would recommend seeing the second after this, but the third is passable.

The story is great, how at first we see how the magic was created, and then later we see the magic turn into a disaster, in which everyone's life is at stake.

The special effects are still good today, but they were revolutionary for back in 1993. The acting is good, and the ensemble cast is great. All of the action sequences are perfectly executed, creating plenty of suspense and tension.

Younger kids may get scared by this, as I remember a lot of young kids being scared by it in 1993. If kids aren't scared by dinosaurs, they will probably enjoy the movie.

I highly recommend Jurassic Park. It is quite underrated in my opinion, it deserves more credit than it gets.

Watch this at all costs if you have somehow missed it and see what everyone was amazed about back in 1993.

Enjoy

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
(1964)

Great Political Satire, Perfected by Kubrick's Directing and by the Hysterical Performances of Sellers
Cold War tensions are very high, and US bombers have been ordered to destroy the USSR. The plan has been started by insane General Jack Ripper, who fears that the Soviets will destroy Americans' "precious bodily fluids." A war room full of Generals, Politicians, the President, the Soviet Ambassador, and wheel chair bound genius Dr. Strangelove, must stop Jack Ripper from succeeding in his plan. If the bombers attack the Soviet Union, a doomsday device that the soviets have will be triggered and it will "destroy all plant and animal life" on earth.

This movie's tagline "The Hotline Suspense Comedy" says a lot. There is a lot of suspense in this movie, and it is funny at the same time. This is a great political satire, as it pokes fun at the cold war and how Americans feared the Russians. While the movie is really funny, it is meant to be seen a couple of times. There is a lot of subtle humor present, that is hard to pick up on when you first see the movie. Much of the humor comes from the hysterical Performances by comic genius Peter Sellers. He plays three characters, but the most memorable character is the wheel chair bound Dr. Strangelove. One of the funniest moments with his character is when he has trouble controlling his hand, and it ends up choking him. Another character played by Sellers, The President, also has a memorable line, "You can't fight here, this is the war room."

Stanley Kubrick is a genius. This movie shows how he has a sense of humor, and he also displays his masterful directing skills. There is one scene in this movie which involves military combat. That scene is about 20 years ahead of its time. The hand-held camera movements are very realistic, and this was made 24 years before Saving Private Ryan. The special effects involving the bomber flying are also great. The model of the bomber is realistic looking, unlike the fake models that often plagued black and white movies of long ago. And the background effects are also pretty realistic. I'm surprised this didn't win an academy award for Best Effects.

The other actors are good, especially George C. Scott. It's kind of funny to think that he played General 'Buck' Turgudson, and then a few years later he played real life WWII General George Patton.

Dr. Strangelove is a brilliant movie. Peter Sellers gives great performances(he plays 3 people, which makes the movie even more fun), there are plenty of funny lines, the direction is great, and the story is very good. The humor in this is a lot funnier if you know more about the cold war. Those who are kids and haven't learned much about the cold war might not understand this, and might not find it to be funny. Otherwise, Dr. Strangelove is a classic that I highly recommend

La marche de l'empereur
(2005)

Great documentary, with great filming techniques, and good voice over by Morgan Freeman
I just went to see this today, and I'm glad I did. It is a good story that is shown through natural situations, and is told by Morgan Freeman. His voice over work really added a lot to the movie. At times, some of the things he said were funny, and some times the things that happen are sad. Some humor is present, such as how the penguins are compared to humans.

March of the Penguins follows the penguins in Antarctica from the moment they jump up from the water, to the moment the baby chicks grow up, and swim off to live in the ocean on their own. It shows the ancient ritual of the penguins, their march across Antarctica. Along the way they endure harsh conditions, mating, birth, loss, responsibility, gathering food, avoiding predators, and raising their young. This movie is good at making you feel delighted, and at the same time, it shows how many of the penguins, and the baby chicks die through natural occurrences, and some die because they are taken by predators.

This is a great movie for kids to see, because they will learn something, and will probably be delighted by the penguins antics. Adults will also like this movie. It has elements of a nature special, but it is taken to a new level, it tells a story like a movie. At this day and age, most movies rely on special effects and sound effects to entertain audiences. This movie doesn't rely on special effects, but on story and quality.

Another great thing in this movie is the camera work and cinematography. The shots are very well done, and the underwater shots are incredible. In the underwater shots, they certainly made the predators look intimidating.

I highly recommend this. It is great for kids, because it will teach them something, and adults will also enjoy it. It is very well made and very watchable. Special thanks to Morgan Freeman for the excellent voice over.

The Iron Giant
(1999)

Brilliant animated feature, easily one of the best animated films of the 1990's
The Iron Giant is one of the best animated films of the 1990's. It has everything you could ask for in a movie and it covers some great topics. It covers topics such as cold war tensions, childhood, and it even has an underlying message about anti violence and being yourself.

The story follows a gentle robotic giant who befriends a young boy. The giant has no recollection of his origin, or what he was designed for, but the young boy, Hogarth Hughes, tries to teach him about things, similar to how a parent teaches a little kid. At the same time, Hogarth also tries to hide the Giant and protect him from anyone who wants to destroy him. Unfortunately, not everything is well. A shady government agent is bent on trying to find the giant at all costs.

The animation is very colorful and very well drawn. The voice talents are all very good. What's interesting to me is how Vin Diesel, who later went on to be in action movies like Fast and the Furious and xXx, was the voice of The Iron Giant before all of that.

This movie has a great story, and there is a good message underneath it all.

Kids should definitely see this, and adults should too. Even though it looks like a kids movie, adults will be able to get something out of it and enjoy it as well.

Another thing this movie pulls off that many cartoons are unable to is to make you feel certain ways. When Hogarth and the giant are playing around and doing fun things, it puts you in a good mood. Later in the movie, when certain things happen to certain characters, you feel the way they feel.

Director Brad Bird later went on to make the excellent animated movie, The Incredibles. He has made some good movies, so I hope he can make even more good movies.

The Iron Giant is a brilliant animated movie, and as I said before, it has great animation and a great story, along with memorable characters, and a great underlying message. This is easily one of the best animated movies of the 1990's, and it has great elements. There is humor, but smart humor, not mindless fart jokes. There is never a dull moment, or a dumb moment. At certain points, there is action. Normally action at the end of a movie makes it that much more entertaining. It's very rare when you find a cartoon with all of these elements, and when everything works out perfectly. I recommend this for anyone, kids or adults, even teenagers.

Lord of the Flies
(1963)

Has Poor quality and bad acting, but it follows the book pretty well
I was pretty excited about seeing this movie. I loved the book Lord of the Flies, so I was excited to see this. I was a little bit disappointed, but then again, I probably had my hopes up a little too high. I read some rave reviews about this movie by movie critics, some claiming that it's a brilliant classic, others claiming that the actors were good, and most agreed that this is better than the 1990 remake.

There are good things and bad things about this movie. It is a low budget movie, so don't expect great effects. This movie was made back when special effects didn't matter, so I don't really care as much about the effects.

The directing is pretty good, the direction in this movie has better flow than the 1990 remake. In the opening scene to this movie, it shows pictures of the kids at their school, and it shows pictures of the plane as it crashes. This is a very low budget approach to the scene, but surprisingly, it is more effective than the opening to the 1990 version. Another plus side to this movie is that the character development is good, and this movie doesn't make a whole lot of changes to the book.

The only actor in this movie who was good was the kid who played Ralph. He was better than the kid who played Ralph in the 1990 version. While the kid who plays Piggy is exactly the way I imagined the character in the book, I thought his acting was rather poor. The antagonist in the story, Jack, isn't acted very well by the actor in this movie. In this movie, he is more of just an upper class, arrogant, and not intimidating character. In the 1990 version, the kid who played Jack was good, and was more of an intimidating character. In that movie he was more of a troubled kid, in this one he is just an arrogant person who is fairly normal otherwise. It just seems more likely for a troubled kid to degenerate to savagery than it does for an arrogant upper class kid.

The score is pretty good in this movie, but the score in the 1990 version is more riveting and intense.

While the direction is pretty good, the qualities of the film are very poor. The picture is blurry, the editing isn't very good, and the soundtrack isn't in the best condition.

The ending scene in this movie is done better than the 1990 version. In this movie, the death of Piggy is more shocking and since it isn't shown on screen, it isn't fake looking. The following scenes are also pretty suspenseful. The surprise ending is much better than the rushed ending in the 1990 version. In this movie, you get more time to feel the characters' emotions at the end.

All in all, this was an okay movie. It follows the book very well, but the poor qualities really bring the movie down, at times it is barely watchable due to the poor qualities. At least the direction is pretty good.

Only watch this if you have read the book. I thought the 1990 version was okay, but this wasn't a whole lot better. This movie had more of a flow, better character development, and better directing, but the 1990 version is more entertaining in it's own way.

Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood
(1996)

A hilarious, gut busting spoof of ghetto films
Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood is hilarious. The first time I saw this, I caught a few minutes of it on HBO. I had to do something, so I only got to see a few minutes, but in those few minutes I was laughing more times per second than I had ever laughed before. Through that one time when I only saw a few minutes, I knew I had to see this from the beginning.

This is a spoof of films that take place in the ghetto. The films it spoofs include Boyz N the Hood, Menace II Society, Juice, South Central, Higher Learning, Poetic Justice, and other films. Part of the reason I laughed so hard is because I had seen most of those movies, and I knew them well enough. If you haven't seen any of those movies, you probably won't find this to be funny. If you want to see any of those movies in order to understand this, the main ones you will have to see are Boyz N the Hood and Menace II Society.

I laughed so hard when I saw this. It seems as though every second something funny happens. The movie follows Ashtray, a young man who is sent to live with his father in order to learn better and have more of a chance to succeed in life(think of Boyz N the Hood). Strangely, his Father is younger than he is. Little things like that make this movie very funny. Some other funny characters are Ashtray's cousin Loc Dog, Loc Dog's trigger happy Grandmother, their crippled friend Crazy Legs, and a desperate drug addict with some of the funniest lines in the movie.

Funny things happen with these characters, such as when we first see Loc Dog's Grandma, she is swearing just about every word. A couple of minutes later, she smokes a huge joint, which is also hilarious. The look on her face, and her mannerisms in that scene are priceless. Another funny scene with Grandma is when she and another elderly woman are having a break dance competition in church.

The character Crazy Legs was formerly the best dancer in the hood, until he was paralyzed from the waste down in a drive by. He has these little stubby legs that are about half the size of normal legs. In one scene he has a dream that he is a dancer in the video for MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This." That scene is so funny, it had me laughing for quite a while.

This movie is not for everyone. Anyone who is offended by racial stereotypes will probably not enjoy this movie, as there are a lot of racial stereotypes in many scenes. Another reason this isn't for everyone is because not everyone is into this type of humor, and not everyone has watched the movies that this is a spoof of.

If you are into this type of humor, and you have seen the movies that this is based on, then I'm sure you'll love it. If you like movies like this, then it is a must see. If you aren't into this type of movie, then you will probably spend better time watching another movie.

Pulp Fiction: The Facts
(2002)

One of the best making of documentaries I've ever seen
I used to watch a lot of making of documentaries on DVD's. Eventually, I got tired of them, because most of the documentaries contain the same things. When I bought the DVD of Pulp Fiction, I was very pleased with the other features on the disk, so I decided to watch the documentary titled "Pulp Fiction: The Facts."

This documentary is a making of feature, but it also features interviews with the cast and crew. Some interviews are recent, but some are from over 10 years ago. It starts out by interviewing Quentin Tarantino, along with Producer Lawrence Bender. They tell the story about how Tarantino started out. It even shows footage from Tarantino's first film "Reservoir Dogs." Most of the stars are interviewed, and it even covers topics in the film, such as how Tarantino made three stories come together as one, how the film was conceived by audiences, and even a quick segment about Tarantino's view on violence.

To top it all off, there is some behind the scenes footage, mainly of the part where Butch hits Marcellus with his car. At the end of the documentary, there is footage of the Cannes Film festival, and there is also information about the awards that Pulp Fiction won and was nominated for.

This was definitely worth watching. Anyone who enjoyed Pulp Fiction, or likes Quentin Tarantino should see this. It is only half an hour long, and in that half hour, the viewer gets just about all the information they could want, without being overloaded or bored.

Doom
(1993)

One of the best first person shooter games ever made
Doom was a revolution in first person shooters. In Doom, instead of just shooting everything, you also have to hit switches and make your way to the next level. As you do this, you also fight monsters. Everything about this game is great. It's fun and challenging, the graphics are cool(though a bit dated now), the music in the background is top notch, being some of the best music I've ever heard in a game, and the monsters are cool. The levels in this game are very hellish, and frightening at times. Some rooms are dark, some are dirty, sometimes a monster will jump out from around the corner, the sounds in the game are realistic and creepy, and sometimes the music is creepy too.

As a kid, my friend and I used to play this game for countless hours. Other games we played were Duke Nukem and Quake. Those games are very similar to Doom.

Doom is a great game, I hope you can get the chance to play it some time.

Asteroids
(1979)

One of my all time favorite arcade games
Asteroids is a great game. It was made back in the day when graphics were simple, game rules were simple, the controls the simple, and everything was fun. There aren't any overly complex levels, it is just pure fun. At times, certain levels can get frustrating. As each level goes up, the asteroids are harder to destroy, this can get frustrating.

A few of my other favorite arcade games from this era are Galaga, Pac Man, Dig Dug, Tetris, and Galaxian. Even though these games are old, their levels are fun, and they are very addicting. At times, when you've been playing for a while, you just don't want to stop. That's what makes a game fun, when you never get tired of it.

This is a great game, I really enjoy playing it. Some day, I hope to find an old Asteroids machine and keep it in my basement, along with some of the other games I mentioned.

SpongeBob SquarePants
(1999)

Like it or not, this show is hard to avoid
SpongeBob is a very popular show. Its quirky humor, colorful characters, and crazy plot lines make it irresistible. It's hard to avoid this show, even if you're an adult, or a teen. This show also cheers you up very easily. You may like it, or you may not believe that you're watching something like this, but either way, it will somehow get to you.

The story lines are focused around SpongeBob, an energetic sea sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Each episode focuses around him and his misadventures with other people in his town known as Bikini Bottom. His best friend is the dopey starfish Patrick, his other best friend is the land squirrel who lives in a submarine home, Sandy. Other characters in the show are SpongeBob's drowsy neighbor, Squidward, his boss at work, Mr. Krabs, the evil Plankton, and the driving school teacher Mrs. Puff. There are a bunch of other characters in the show, but most episodes are focused around them.

These days, Nickelodeon hasn't been doing so well. Most of their new shows are spin offs of old shows, and most of the new shows aren't good at all. SpongeBob is very reminiscent of older Nickelodeon shows. Elements like quirky humor, annoying neighbors, fun plot lines, slightly dark humor in a few episodes(not as much as the old Nickelodeon shows), mishaps at work, worst enemies, and mishaps due to SpongeBob's antics all make this show great. There are times when this show can become stupid, as a matter of fact, every episode uses stupidity in a certain way. Some episodes are smartly written, and in odd ways, certain episodes have a message in them.

There is nothing in this show that should make parents feel uncomfortable. In most episodes, there is some type of adult humor that adults and teens will find to be funny.

Everyone should see this show. Watch it with kids, or by yourself, either way, you'll probably have a great time with this show.

Daredevil
(2003)

Disappointing, but not the worst comic book movie
This was pretty disappointing. Especially considering it was only released nine months after Spiderman, which was a great superhero movie. Ben Affleck's wooden acting does no justice to the movie, and the ending was disappointing.

The story follows Matt Murdock. When he was a boy, he was blinded by toxic waste. This waste also enhanced his senses. When he grows up, he uses these enhanced senses to become a superhero known as Daredevil. Matt Murdock eventually becomes a target of Kingpin. A hit-man named Bullseye is hired by Kingpin to kill Daredevil.

Matt Murdock's love interest, Elektra, becomes involved after Bullseye kills her father. She believes that Daredevil killed him. She is very unaware that Matt Murdock is Daredevil.

Daredevil has an okay plot, but I still think it tries too hard to live up to Spiderman. This is a dark movie, and it does have a lot of action, with style, but it still failed to be a good movie.

I would recommend this for someone who is a fan of superhero movies. While I didn't really like this movie, it is head and shoulders above The Hulk. However, if you want to watch a good superhero movie, watch Spiderman. You'll spend your time more wisely with that movie.

Carrie
(1976)

The type of horror you don't find these days
Carrie is a teen horror film that isn't mindless a slasher flick. It is a horror film that does have a great, now famous climax, and it follows how a tormented teenage girl is pushed over the edge. This is the type of horror movie that focuses more on the characters than on the blood and gore.

The story is about Carrie White. A pretty, but shy and abused teenage girl. Her life at school is a living hell, as she is ruthlessly tormented by the stuck up popular girls, and her life at home isn't any better. She lives with her mother, who is a psycho religious nut that thinks everything is a sin and strongly enforces religion upon her. To add up to Carrie's misery, her mother never allows her to have any friends.

One day in the school shower room, Carrie had her first period. She was never taught about menstruation, and she freaked out. The other girls thought this was hilarious and humiliated her over it. The gym teacher punishes the girls involved by taking away their privilege to go to the school prom. While one of the girls, Sue, feels sorry for Carrie, the most popular girl in the grade, Chris, is upset with the fact that she is banned from the school prom. Chris plans a revenge against Carrie. At the same time, Sue asks her boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom in order to make things better for her. Not everything goes well. Carrie has a rare gift known as telekinesis. When she is pushed over the edge at the prom, everything goes awry, and ends up with one of Hollywood's most famous climaxes, and one of the bloodiest scenes in movie history.

Carrie is the type of horror film that you don't find these days. It has blood, but it focuses on the character development.

This is a very smartly written story, mainly due to the fact that there is no real villain. Carrie did what she did out of rage, Chris was just an uptight popular girl, and Carrie's mother was just trying to protect her daughter from what she didn't like about the world.

This is Stephen King's first novel to be published, and remains to be one of his best. The performances in this movie are great, Sissy Spacek is excellent as Carrie, and this movie was John Travolta's acting debut.

This is one of the all time greatest horror movies, and should be seen by any King fan, or horror fan.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
(1989)

A fun time
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is really funny, and it is fun to watch. It doesn't require much thinking to watch this, and that's a good thing. It isn't the greatest movie of all time, but it is very funny, and it never becomes real stupid.

This movie follows two teens, Bill & Ted, who have to do a good history project in order to succeed later in life. A man named Rufus(George Carlin) comes to them with a time machine, which is also a phone booth. Bill & Ted go back in time and try to bring some of history's most important people to the future so they can use them in their history project. Not all goes well though, as the historical figures get into some trouble.

The humor in this movie is never dumb, it never becomes raunchy, and it always stays funny.

This is a great way to pass a couple of hours. It's a very entertaining movie that doesn't have a real complex plot. It's just something you sit back and enjoy. I recommend this movie for just about anyone. It has a pretty wide audience, as it never becomes too inappropriate for kids, teens will probably find the antics to be funny, and adults will probably find something good about it. Watch this movie anytime. While it may not be the greatest movie ever made, it's a fun viewing experience.

Pink Floyd: The Wall
(1982)

A surreal, and unique film unlike any other
Pink Floyd The Wall is a film unlike any other. It follows the life story of a rock star named "Pink." As a child, his Father is killed at war. During Pink's childhood, he was overprotected by his mother, and then was severely punished by his abusive teachers at school. He mentally builds a wall around himself to isolate him from the troubles he is facing, unaware that this will strongly affect him later in life. When he grows up, the movie combines live action and animation to show how drug abuse, neo fascism, and relationships affect his life, his music career, and eventually lead to madness.

The animation sequences in the movie are very creative, mesmerizing, and at times, disturbing. The Wall is very successful at telling a story, making it dramatic, and combining visually interesting images to catch the viewer's attention. All of these elements are perfectly accentuated by the music of the 1979 album "The Wall."

As a fan of Pink Floyd, I really enjoyed this movie. It is a good movie, and at times, it is like a really bizarre music video. Those of you who aren't fans of Pink Floyd may not enjoy this as much. For those who are fans of Pink Floyd, or their album "The Wall," I highly recommend this movie. If you enjoyed this movie's surreal qualities and unique images, another movie I would recommend is David Lynch's cult classic Eraserhead. That movie isn't a musical, but it does have unusual images and does focus on madness in a way.

The Wall is a must see for any Pink Floyd fan, or anyone who likes one of a kind movies.

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