carbuff

IMDb member since May 2015
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Reviews

Tucker and Dale vs Evil
(2010)

One of the best horror spoofs ever made
"Tucker and Dale vs Evil" is easily one of the lightest, funniest, warm-hearted (seems like a weird thing to say, but it's true) horror spoofs of all time. I almost never watch a movie twice. There are so films out there, I figure why bother. Still, I saw this quite a while back and wanted to re-watch it to see if it was as good as I remember. And it pretty much was. It twists the normal teen slasher movie in all kinds of unusual ways, and while it's quite bloody at times, it remains all in good fun. If you're into spoofs, you really don't want to miss this one.

Paranormal Activity
(2007)

Personally I think it's a solid addition to the "found-footage" horror canon
Eventually I'm going to have to get around to watching the "Blair Witch Project", the film that originated all these copycats. Personally, I'm going to have to give this low-budget horror film very high marks. The story is simple and straightforward, and being "found-footage" you kind of know how it's going to end; however, it's short, builds tension effectively, and ends with a bang. Horror movies aren't at the top of the genres I watch, so I might not be jaded enough to rate this lower. If you're like me and only occasionally watch horror, this could be an interesting change of pace for you too. If you've seen tons of these "found-footage" films, I'm honestly not sure how derivative it will seem to you.

Sinister
(2012)

Watching this right before bed was a big mistake, so I guess I'll be up much later
No more than halfway through you'll know how "Sinister" is going to end, the only question being how it's going to get there. For me, this film is true horror. I'll admit that I can be a bit squeamish, but I have serious doubts about the wisdom of my watching this film, at least for my short-term mental health. I would describe it as about 2% torture porn and 100% psychologically terrifying. On the other hand, I'm sure that there are plenty of people who get off on this kind of stuff, but I still think I should throw out a heads up for any other softies out there so that you know what you're getting into.

The plot reweaves many elements from older horror stories and comes up with a pretty fresh new pattern. I'm taking one star off from a perfect 10 only because it's one of those horror flicks where you keep trying to tell the characters on screen, "Don't do that, haven't you ever seen a horror film before?"

So, like I said, I fully expect that the grand finale won't come as a surprise, but the long and winding road getting there will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat while gritting your teeth. I'm writing this late at night, but unfortunately now I'm going to have to kill some time before going to bed, since I really don't want this to be the last thing on my mind as I try to fall asleep. In conclusion, "Sinister" is a really effective horror movie, but my watching it alone late at night was a bad idea.

The VVitch: A New-England Folktale
(2015)

Slow-burning adult horror story sculpted around actual historical supernatural beliefs
Horror isn't my favorite genre, but I like to dip into it periodically. I'm coming off of losing 2 hours of my life to a rather ordinary yet over-rated zombie flick (specifically, "Train to Busan"), so there's a good chance that I'm tacking an extra star on presently because this exceptionally well-crafted, high-quality production is catching me on the rebound.

"The Witch" isn't a conventional modern horror film and will leave those yearning for jump-scares, screams, and over-flowing guts wanting much more probably. It also builds slowly and feels longer than its runtime, although this is one of the rare cases when that isn't a bad thing. Still, most younger audience members will probably be reaching for their phones soon. In addition, the "Olde English" the characters use takes some getting used to and almost requires subtitles at times, or at least it did for me. On the other hand, like Shakespeare, you really don't have to get every word or phrase to easily follow the story. As is mentioned at the end, the plot was crafted around actual medieval witchcraft folklore and trials. Therefore, if you're familiar with that history, as the story progresses, you vaguely feel that you know where its all going. Personally, this film felt like it was ripped straight from my own personal cultural DNA, being that I'm one of those particularly loathsome creatures, in other words, an aging, well-educated, western, white male.

This movie really got under my skin as it went along and effectively erased the prior cinematic misfire, for which I'm very grateful. Zombies may have run their course with me. "The Witch" is time very well spent, even if you don't carry my particular cultural baggage. It's probably too slow and inadequately bloody for many or most of today's horror aficionados, but it works great as adult horror entertainment which sneaks in legitimate education about "olde-tyme", western, witchcraft beliefs. A win-win, as I see it and maybe for you too.

Busanhaeng
(2016)

As far as Zombie movies go, it's got high production values, but low oringinality
I'm tempted to give "Train to Busan" only 5 stars, but I'm upping it to 6 due to it's extremely high production values. The best thing I can really say is that it's probably got more than enough blood and gore to keep zombie lovers happy. After reading so many really positive reviews, as soon as I noticed it was coming off Netflix, I rushed to watch it immediately. I really wish I hadn't bothered. "Train to Busan" is no more than a rehash of countless past films--everything from the "modern" zombies to the old-fashioned moral lessons. There's nothing original or thought-proving at all. It's basically a Hollywood popcorn feature emphasizing a tighter social and ethical code (like, say, how we idealize our own society of some decades ago). "Train to Busan" isn't bad, it just wasn't the phenomenal viewing experience I was expecting given the reviews or the shockingly strong films that sometimes come out of Korea. Frankly, I don't know what so many other people are thinking. For my tastes, although very slick, "The Train to Busan" was simply too long and too ordinary and too blatantly emotionally manipulative to be worthwhile or memorable.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
(2018)

"Tales from the Crypt" meets The Old West
These six disconnected vignettes are slick and most of them pack an emotional punch. They're easy to watch, although the film seems like maybe it would have been better if it had been a bit shorter, but I'm not sure how you'd edit it much tighter.

It's a pretty bleak picture of "The Old West", but that's how I've long figured it probably was--not at all like the John Wayne and Roy Rogers fairy tales I grew up watching. I'm sure it was much closer to a more "natural" state of nature than most people imagine in their minds, and death was much more arbitrary and capricious than it is in our romanticized mythologies. (So many people consider nature "beautiful", but to me that only demonstrates an inadequate knowledge of biology and ecology.)

Most of the episodes seem like they're following a predictable path until suddenly a twist is thrown in (or at least they were suddenly for me), except for the last episode, which became obvious around halfway through and finished as expected. All in all, an interesting and take on "The Old West" with very high production values that should shift more people to my side, specifically, "Pardner, I wouldn't have liked to live in them thar times."

The Car
(1977)

I'm plagiarizing, but, yeah, it's low-budget "Jaws" with a haunted car cost-effectively substituting for a notoriously troublesome mechanical shark
If you grew up in the 1970s you might really get a kick out of this movie. It's a low-budget horror flick with minimal gore and maximum innocence. I simply couldn't help but be charmed by nostalgia, although this is a long way from being a classic. It's no "Christine" or "Jaws", but due to the time period in which it was filmed and my age, it was really fun to watch. Given those facts, many modern audiences might find it excessively simplistic and old-fashioned, but I don't think anyone can reasonably call it slow. So, if it sounds interesting, give it a go, you can always turn it off, but it's a strange old movie and you might even like it.

V for Vendetta
(2005)

Trump along with current domestic and global events bump it up a couple of stars
"V for Vendetta" is a super slick although fundamentally conventionally plotted work of dystopian science fiction. For its production values alone, this film deserves to be watched. Still, every "big" point has been made many times before, and, if you're going to be brutally honest, it's extremely philosophically, politically, morally, and scientifically simplistic and naive. On the other hand, it's derived from an adult graphic novel, so that's all to be expected, and it's steps up from "Archie". (It's funny how quickly times have changed from who's hotter, Betty or Veronica?)

For me personally, I don't feel like I've wasted my time experiencing this film (and it's really an "experience"). To the contrary, since this film was made in 2005, and given Trump and so many other modern idiotic, psychopathic, and megalomanical world leaders, so much social unrest, a collapsing economy disguised by a soaring stock market, an ongoing pandemic, bizarre conspiracy theories everywhere, and so on ad infinitum, this film is downright spookingly prescient. (I mean really, our president is more than 70 years old and spends most of his waking hours straining to create disparaging nicknames--I thought I'd finally escaped that nightmare when I got out of high school.) As I watched it and reflected on current events, I couldn't help but feel I might actually be trapped in a movie. I'm a sim only I don't know it.

So, normally I want greater sophistication in my "deep-thinking" films, but these aren't normal times, and "V for Vendetta" really hits today's nail pretty directly on the head.

Bad Boys
(1995)

It is what it is
I saw the original "Bad Boys" many years ago, but couldn't remember any of it. It was coming off Netflix, so I thought I'd give it another shot for old times sake. Nostalgia isn't always good. This film really hasn't aged well at all. It's also super forgettable. I know that I won't remember it a week from now again. It's painfully formulaic. The script probably wrote itself. I'm sure the special effects were "special" back in the day, but they're barely mediocre by today's standards, and without them the plot hardly qualifies as a skeleton. "Bad Boys" is like food that has been so processed it has no nutritional value left. So why am I still giving it 5 stars? Basically, because I have only myself to blame. If you buy a bag of potato chips, you really shouldn't be complaining about getting a bag of potato chips. I would even have given it 6 stars, except that these chips are a bit too stale and soggy. They're certainly not Ruffles. My rating only reflects my feeling that this "product" likely has appeal to aficionados of classic action flicks. Thus the 5 stars, even though I personally want my wasted time back really badly.

Candyman
(1992)

Old-fashioned (or at least 1990s) top-grade horror--I'm feeling nostalgic.
I'm sure I won't be watching the sequels, since they'll be obvious money grabs after this very successful original. A sequel doesn't even follow naturally, although that never stopped Hollywood before.

However, the original "Candyman" is an excellent example of horror movies from this time period. I saw it so long ago that I couldn't really remember much of it, but I was very pleasantly surprised that is was so much better than my poor memory had me believing. Or maybe this stuff just hits me harder now, given that I was so much younger when I first watched it.

The story line is compelling and disturbing, especially when you consider how dated it is. The special effects are easily good enough to carry the film, since it was much more dependent on psychological impact than just outright gore. Admittedly, It also very effectively hit a nostalgia bone in me. It might not be gory enough for some modern audiences, not to mention the plot might move too slowly and seem too naive. Just throwing those thoughts out for those who don't realize that they grew up watching levels of violence that were unthinkable to us aging but young-at-heart adults. Still, I think this flick might even creep quite a few modern kids out. Maybe give some old-time horror a shot.

Murder Party
(2007)

Allowing that the budget probably cost less than a tank of gas, it was pretty good.
When you consider the financial constraints that "Murder Party" was obviously suffering under, there's a decent amount of entertainment and talent peeking out. It's a horror/comedy which is sufficiently original that it kept me watching, especially since I knew it was really short. It rises quite a few notches above an art school project. It shifted between predictable and unpredictable plot elements, so I was pleasantly off-balance throughout most of it. "Murder Party" falls into that genre of "it was just one of those kind of nights" kind of stories. Predicting who's going to like this film and who won't is really hard though. The low budget is glaringly obvious, but the plot and execution are good, although the special effects must have been financed with overdrawn credit cards and bounced checks. Given that I've seen so many normal "good" films in my life, I really enjoy something short and off-the-wall like this. I think they did a really good job just running with the few bucks they had, probably shooting it in a few days with a lot of improvisation. If you're looking for something slick, professional, and some kind of conventional, you shouldn't get off at this station.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
(2019)

Yeah, I know, it's art
Basically, I either love Quentin Tarantino's movies (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown) or I hate them (Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight); however, "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood" is different. It's simply mediocre, long, and pretty pointless, but still interesting enough to sit though once.

By now the alternate history plot is out there along with the knowledge that it's presented with an idealized version of the late 60s American culture. (At that time, I was personally old enough to understand what was going on around me, although not yet an adult. This film represents a past that never really existed, although many people will no doubt say "it was just like that!", just like some people insist that Mayberry R.F.D. really existed too.)

"Once Upon a Time..." defines artistic indulgence. The detail work as far as cars and fashions is a pure joy to watch (and I can attest to the essential veracity of that stuff, except that they only showed the best things and people weren't quite that clean and pretty either), but there's no way that it deserves to run for nearly 3 hours. I suppose you could say that the story is a lot like life, since ultimately there doesn't seem to be much of a point to it. Still, as I mentioned earlier, it's worthwhile to sit though once, if for no other reason than that the visuals are pretty fantastic.

It's also very apparent that Tarantino has become such a formidable force in Hollywood that no one can compel editorial assistance upon him, yet his work cries out for it very badly nowadays. So my final verdict is that "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood" is worth watching as a one-off experience, but you're saving nearly 3 hours of your life and not really missing much if you pass on it.

P.S. For a Q.T. film there is shockingly little hardcore swearing or violence.

Terminal
(2018)

Dark surreal live action cartoon that seems basically directionless until the very end where it is tied up pretty well
"Terminal" is composed of striking, dark, moody, neon-lit, live-action cartoon visuals with some scenes bordering on soft-core porn, so it will at least draw in many guys on that basis alone. You know that this is a pretty short film, but it drags periodically and feels significant longer than it's actual runtime. The spectacular visuals and compelling air of mystery allowed me to forgive the often excessively pretentious dialogue, which was frequently too clever by half (and, yes, I'm generally familiar with the source material).

There were definitely some unexpected twists as this rather bleak story wended it's way to it final unexpected denouement, which, frankly, saved this from being just another failed professional-grade art film. My feeling is that if you're a guy you're likely to be seduced by the visuals right up until the end, whereas perhaps women won't be quite as much into the seemingly sexist visuals, but might be a lot more comfortable with the final comeuppance.

In the end, "Terminal" is a pretty short film (even if it doesn't feel like it), and is different enough to recommend to anyone who has the stomach for what passes as a moderate amount of violence nowadays. The production values are very high, and the plot isn't the same-old, same-old, which all by itself is worth a lot too me.

Tremors II: Aftershocks
(1996)

Belongs in a Drive-In movie theater
Instead of going straight to video, "Tremors II" would have been perfect for when I was growing up at a drive-in movie theater with friends and some illicit drugs. It's way better than it's given credit for, but I can see why it would have been a struggle to release it to major motion theaters--that's just not a proper environment for it. Big screen TVs give this very good sequel another lease on life, and, frankly, it doesn't suffer at all for not having Kevin Bacon, although his presence would have probably been good too. This sequel is much more fast paced than the original, and clearly not quite of the quality of the first, but it did a lot better than simply cashing in on the name of the first in the series. It was good, dumb, old-time movie fun, and I'm glad I watched it.

The Invention of Lying
(2009)

Hard insights, brutal comedy, heartfelt emotion, but unfortunately pulls the knock-out punch.
"The Invention of Lying" would have rated 9 or 10 stars with me if it hadn't chickened out. It's unique plot device throws religion some pretty mean body blows (although admittedly not fundamentally original ones) and has moments where it hits you pretty hard emotionally, especially if you in some way associate yourself with the "successful loser" class. While the plot was a bit too much stop-and-start, it's biggest problem comes at the end. I'm thinking they needed a Hollywood green-light, so the proper "foreign movie" punch that flattens you and speaks to the actual truth of the human condition simply couldn't be allowed. On the other hand, maybe they pulled the punch at the end because the man in the sky told them to do it. Still an odd and excellent story for an empathetic agnostic or atheist who occasionally feels sorry for himself. (If that last sentence doesn't resonate with you, then I doubt that this movie will either.)

Cloverfield
(2008)

A classic in the "found footage" monster/horror genre, which will determine how you feel about it.
"Cloverfield" is a truly top-notch monster/horror film in the "found footage" genre, which means you're probably going to love it or hate it. I enjoy all kinds of films, although horror isn't my favorite film type. The biggest problem I had with the film was that the protagonists were a bunch of smug, spoiled, young, New York, hipsters. I never felt particularly emotionally invested in their fates, because in real life I tend to find these kinds of people to be aggravating and self-important. To my way of thinking, in this film a bunch of people at the top of the metaphorical food chain get to experience what it's like to be at the actual bottom. Setting aside those admittedly snide remarks, I still found this film to be a compelling film experience, and, as an added bonus, the run-time was about perfect. So, if you're into the "found footage" stuff, you owe it to yourself to see this one, but if that kind of film only makes you nauseous, there's nothing here that you haven't seen in any number of monster movies before, just shot from a different perspective. I'll leave it up to you.

Hell or High Water
(2016)

You've seen it before many times, but it's a really well crafted derivative
"Hell or High Water" doesn't bring anything truly new to the cinematic canon, but it's well worth watching for the spectacular cinematography alone. Take a bunch of movies like "Bonnie and Clyde", "Badlands", and similar anti-hero flicks, skillfully mix them up real well, and toss in Jeff Bridges playing an idealized Jeff Bridges (he does in his sleep nowadays for a very solid paycheck), and you've got this film. I'm not making a back-handed compliment, just a simple observation. Frankly, this film grabs you and never lets go. It is exceptionally well-crafted and the landscapes alone make it worth the time. So I have no regrets about heartily recommending this film, even though it's fundamentally a long way from being original.

The Ring
(2002)

Creepy horror flick that would rate higher if I didn't know that a better version existed
First, I must confess that I have never seen the original Japanese "Ring" movie, but in my experience, without exception, the original foreign production is better than the Americanized version. There's just something that Hollywood and big budgets do to drain the life out of foreign movies when they remake them. Generally, it means emotion and nuance go out the window in the name of making a big hit at the theaters. So, even though I've never seen it, I'm sure the Japanese original is better.

This is still an effective and creepy horror movie with a decently original plot (neglecting the fact that it's a remake). I never knew where it was going and what was going to happen next. There isn't much actual gore, but, without really ever letting up, it builds sense of dread and claustrophobia as it builds along. I'm definitely not going to give any of the plot away, but it's really not like any other horror movies I can think of off hand. I'm not the biggest horror movie aficionado, but I like to watch one now and again, and this is solidly on the better side. Now if only I could get my hands on the Japanese original, since I'm really curious about it now.

Avengers: Infinity War
(2018)

If you're into this kind of thing, I'm sure that this is about a 30 on a scale of 1-10.
This was coming off of streaming on Netflix and not to return because of Disney. It's part of our popular culture, so I just felt I had to experience it and know what other people are referring to.

I grew up with "Star Wars", which dates me. The visual effects in this movie are truly mind-boggling. I'm not going to write a long review though, because from the point of view of biology and philosophy, from beginning to end the plot is total nonsense. I'll admit it's got some funny lines though scattered throughout. Personally, I'd be totally embarrassed to be acting in this film, but I suppose the massive paychecks help compensate for the blushing.

Part of the problem, no doubt, is that I've never had much invested in comic book worlds, and the logical holes in this plot from a nonfiction point of view make it look like Swiss cheese. Does anyone involved in this production understand the problems of invoking teleology in nature? I suspect that everyone was too busy going to theater arts classes that they couldn't find time for "boring" science ones.

I'm also a bit amazed at the level of violence that just seems ordinary in modern movies even aimed at children, which I strongly suspect is both a product and a cause what appears to be a simultaneous significant upswing in actual violence in the world's developed nations. There really might be other ways to settle disputes and problems other than with "magic" stones. Hasn't this kind of "magic" stone thing been done to death at this point?

So the whole film is basically ridiculous but insists on the pretense of making some "real" insights into life by way of fiction. (I realize that this is going to be an unpopular review, but this film is 2 1/2 hours long and it's got the mental nutritional value of Cheez Whiz.) There's simply no "there" "there.

On the other hand, I can't help but be amazed at the special effects. This movie is like an exceptionally high-quality amusement park ride which stirs your emotions strongly at times, but is still essentially meaningless. It's like vicarious BASE jumping. I'm still glad I saw it, since I now know what everyone else is talking about; however, it didn't leave me better off in any way whatsoever otherwise after watching it. To all the fanboys out there, I apologize for being such a "Debbie Downer".

American Anarchist
(2016)

Fascinating if you can get over the insolent interviewer--this "evil" guy is a way better guy than I'll ever be
I think how you react to "American Anarchist" is going to depend on your own experiences with "The Anarchist Cookbook" and if you can look past the interviewer. Personally, the only person I ever knew who owned a copy was going to do crazy things anyhow (generally crazy not "evil"). This was just some additional material for him, but he had no problem sourcing or thinking up questionable activities and was about the same age as the author of "The Anarchist Cookbook" was when he wrote it. (Frankly, I wasn't an angel at that age either and would have been a better devil if I could have been.)

I ignored the interviewer's sanctimony and found this documentary to offer fascinating insight into a book which had crossed my path in a memorable way. I had no idea about who the author was, what his life story or motivations were, and even the supposed links to every single bad thing that's happened in the world since the book was published. A lot of guys have been where he was at his age, including me, although much less successfully. There's nothing new about angry young men in history, since it's definitely firmly rooted in biology (oops, that's probably politically incorrect no matter how much ethology backs it up). He did nothing more than pull together information that was in the public domain. It's not like any number of motivated violent people hadn't been able to find this kind of information prior to his book.

I get why the author feels responsible for some of the nasty things that might have been linked to his book--I would too somewhat, but he isn't responsible. Look at the internet nowadays, "The Anarchist's Cookbook" is no big deal compared to what you can easily turn up with an internet search, yet the holier-than-thou interviewer probably wants to blame this old guy for Google, Facebook, Twitter, Trump, and Hitler. I was amazed by how he lived his life as he aged and matured. The guy's truly inspirational, and it's only because he's so remarkably truly social-minded that he reacts as he does. So if you can get over the bizarre agenda of the interviewer and "The Anarchist's Cookbook" has played some role in your life, then I'd consider this film well worth watching. I will warn you ahead of time that it's a completely cerebral experience and you're going to watch a 65-year-old guy who's probably a better person than you are be repeatedly and unnecessarily bullied.

Standoff
(2016)

"Small film" that moves down well-trodden path, but strongly acted and emotionally powerful
"Standoff" is a short film, and I'm only going to write a short review, although I was really moved by it. The essential plot elements such redemption and renewed love are set against some extremely harsh violence, and the story is derivative of too many TV and motion picture productions to mention; however, everything about this film is so well-done that it's obvious small budget probably amplified its emotional punch, rather than hindered it. It's not a spoiler at all, unless you're unbelievably naive, to say that you know how this is going to end and some of the major plot twists to come, but that doesn't adversely affect the viewing experience. I would probably have rated it 8 stars, and I know it's kind of lame to do this, but I tossed in another star in a vain effort to bump up it's average. Maybe it works a little bit in this case, due to so few reviews. Come on people. Its not a masterpiece that will mark a high point in human culture for centuries to come, but 6.1 stars? Does anybody out there still have emotions? This is a good film, and it's tight and well-edited, so you don't lose too much of your life watching it either.

Transcendence
(2014)

I so much wanted to rate this Sci-Fi flick higher, but it chickened out in the end.
Ultimately, "Transcendence" was a significant disappointment to me, although I'm not an ordinary reviewer. I like science fiction movies, but I'm well-educated in both the hard and soft sciences. I especially dislike interstellar travel, "warp drive", anti-gravity whatevers, and stuff that blatantly demonstrate a lack of the real limits that will almost certainly always confound human beings.

With regard to this movie, it is very helpful to understand that I've been extremely hammered by a genetic disease for 25 years. Until you've walked a few decades in my shoes, shut up about "designer babies" or "playing God" or whatever. I'm hurting badly and it's not getting any better. One single deleterious gene mutation can wreak havoc your life. If the gene has no reason for being in the gene pool (other than an accident of evolutionary history or random mutation), getting it out isn't a bad thing. It's easy to name numerous genetic diseases that fit this bill.

Truly strong artificial intelligence produces many philosophical conundrums and is a lot further away in the future than many people seem to be aware (I'm talking about you Elon). Also, even with CRISPR technology coming on strong, biology is hard. I'll vouch for that, only too painfully. This movie works off of a scenario that may well be in the distant future, but it's not going to be in my lifetime, even though ideally I might survive a few more decades. Still, overall, the issues raised are ones that humans are actually starting to face currently, which makes it timely and interesting.

My big problem with this film is that the last half-hour goes all Hollywood, throws hard and uncomfortable science out the window, and goes for a nice poetic ending. This is where the movie could have really distinguished itself from so many others in the past. It would have been much more thoughtful and enlightening if, instead of culminating in completely nonsensical, unscientific, feel-good fluff, the movie would have pushed on to the face the ultimate possibility that nature may truly be as cruel as it appears to be. Call me. I'll be a witness for the prosecution.

It Follows
(2014)

Cool 1980s vibe, but that's about it to me
"It Follows" was coming off of streaming so I thought I should give it a go. After reading a lot of reviews, I really wanted to like this horror flick; unfortunately, that's not how it turned out. The first 20 or so minutes were pretty good, but then it just got slow and dumb. I guess, when you really think about it, most horror movies don't really make much sense, it's just particularly obvious in this case. I agree with other viewers who thought it had a kind of cool '80s vibe, but that's about the best I can say about it. In the end, there was no way that I was going to sit through the whole thing, so I fast-forwarded here and there to see if it got any better, but it didn't. I'm not a big horror fan anyhow, and I guess that this is comparatively original plot to most, but it just gets slower and dumber as it goes along, with a few interesting subtexts.

The Tuxedo
(2002)

I'm sure I'm not normal, but I liked this "James Bond" parody more than the real thing
"The Tuxedo" was coming off of Netflix streaming, and, given all of the tepid reviews, I wasn't sure I wanted to bother watching it. Turns out, I'm glad I did. As far as I'm concerned, it's right up there with the best "James Bond" parodies. There's nothing really unexpected here and not a huge amount of kung-fu type stuff, but it's probably one of Jennifer Love Hewitt's better movies. In a few places it's laugh-out loud funny, but it's mostly just light and entertaining. I'm not sure what so many reviewers who wrote less positive reviews were expecting. It's not supposed to be a big, important movie. It's just how they used to do harmless fun, something we hardly see anymore in films. Younger audiences may even be all right with it, since it isn't so far behind the times as to be hopelessly uncool. So, I think as long as you go into it with reasonable expectations, you'll be just fine and not disappointed. If you're expecting a mile-a-minute sex-and-violence, you might be snoozing or hitting the fast-forward. From my point of view, sometimes I like to watch a slightly more innocent flick, and this fit the bill perfectly a couple of nights ago.

Spy Kids
(2001)

I'm not the audience, but I'll try something different while quarantined
"Spy Kids" is a children's movie meant to be "fun for the entire family". I'm a single adult male. Anyhow, it was still better than a lot of grown-up movies I've seen. It plays off of every James Bond ever made I think, especially the Roger Moore ones, but even in a more campy (and, of course) childish way. If you've been around a while, there isn't a single new element to the plot--it plays like some Christian group edited a mish-mash of spy movies (especially James Bond, as I mentioned), but it's short and feels even shorter. I won't be watching the sequels, but I found just this first episode to be an entertaining change of pace from my usual viewing activity.

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