japonaliya

IMDb member since September 2005
    Lifetime Total
    10+
    IMDb Member
    13 years

Reviews

Hereditary (2018)

Have they all lost their heads???? SPOILERS!"!" Film started off OK because you aren't sure where this is heading, but goes downhill big time. Think Rosemary's Baby, but not nearly in that same class. Enough with the witch covens and sacrifices already... it's been DONE to death. The only true horror scare is the scene driving to the hospital but even that is derivative of the Final Destination movies. I won't waste your time writing about the plot. I am reviewing this as s WARNING!!! SEE! THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK OF BEING VERY DISAPPOINTED. If you need to see some real scare horror films, See the org. HAUNTING, THE SHINING, IT (TV MINI SERIES) except for the ending, The THING (1980's ver.) ALIEN etc. and scores of others. This film will be forgotten 10 mins. after leaving the theater. Have the film makers lost their heads? Yes, and most of the cast too... No kidding!

Shortwave (2016)

WTF ??????????????????????? With a barely coherent and thin plot, this movie already has two strikes against it from the get go. However the direction is even worse and the attempt to be profound by the use of flashbacks and hallucinatory elements contribute to ending that makes no sense and the movie spends all 3 minutes trying to explain itself with pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo. I will not recite the plot as it is in previous reviews. I will only point out some of the things i remember that were either not explained, or made no sense and only confused the plot even more.



SPOILERS!!

1. Why does Isabelle in the flashbacks to hwer former happy life with her husband have a totally different hair style? In the flashbacks short blonde, and in the present brown long and mousy?

2. When Isabelle goes inside the bookstore dropping off her daughter to the reading group, she uses the bathroom for all for a minute, then she comes out to find her daughter missing. ABDUCTED? But wait, not only is her daughter missing, but all the other kids, the staff, the other patrons, in fact, the whole town is empty.! NOTHING is explained and then we jump to 2 years later where Isabelle is still suffering from PTS, but again no mention of where the whole town went?? 3. We never know if the entities are real or just in Isabele's mind. In some scenes she seems possessed, in others she just sits back and watches her husband die as if she has no control and the entities are separate from her.

4. The use of repetitive flashbacks that may or may not be real or imagined adds to the confusion, and the arty camera work, sometimes bright and in focus, other times compressed or even partially out of focus on the edges may be an attempt to convey states of reality or what was in Isabelle's head, but i only found it distracting.. I could go on and on, but my point is that this is a very amateurish film that "looks" like it is much more than it turns out to be.

I guarantee that anyone with a brain will be scratching their heads at the end of this one.

NOTE: A nice little horror/syfy movie I just saw with a good twist that is very low budget but at least makes sense when the plot reveal is told is "STEPHENIE"

It is the kind of movie that seems to start off normal, and than little by little things just get weird until we find out the truth. I didn't guess what the reality was until near the end, some may get it sooner. It is bit like "Sixth Sense" but I wouildn't put it in that class. Still, check it out, but don't read the reviews it you don't want to spoil the twist.

The Titan (2018)

So messed up and looooow budget. OK, first, a general rip off of an Outer Limits ep. But so was the great film, Alien. However, this movie rehashes every syfi cliche and is so implosable. First the Earth is dying so lets go to Titan! So, in a scant 30 years Earth is dying! Maybe 75-100 years, but 30 years is an eye blink. And why Titan? Only Titan has an atmosphere,? What about Mars? It has one too. Maybe thin, but it would be easier living in a dome than make man an alien to live on Titan. OK, in order for the human race to survive, we have to become non human. And even if we could become Titanians" how would we build? What would we eat? Nothing explained as well as how it would only the astronauts would only be gone two years even with 30 years of advanced technology. Even the total rip off LIFE, was a better film, also the Europa Report which had a similar premise. Usually Netflix movies care outstanding... Not this one.

Shôkôjo Seira (2009)

Wonderful..BUT BIG PLOT HOLE!!! Interesting Japanese adaption of A "Little Princess" with my favorite Japanese actress, Shida Mirai.

HOWEVER, the basic premise that the story leans on, the fact that in Victorian/Edwardian England (and elsewhere) children that were very poor, or orphans had to fend for themselves, many living on the streets.

This is important in order to explain why Sarah/Seira is bound as an indentured servant, and why the children living on the streets that she gives one of her buns to are in real need of a handout. However, the real problem in thus adaption is the updating to modern times.

There is no way today in Japan or in England or the US that a child would be treated this way (at least legally) Protective services would at least provide food and shelter to any orphaned child, so this fact is glossed over in the Japanese version, and makes it not as believable.

That said, if you can overlook some of the plot holes, it is a large production drama with great acting.

The only version of "A Little Princess" that beats it is the BBC 1986 3 part TV drama staring Amelia Shankley (Alice in "DREAMCHILD" 1985) and is the definitive version.

Dracula Reborn (2015)

Maybe The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made!! Sure, there are a ton of awful schlock movies esp. the low budget films from the 50's through 70's. The kind you see on Creature Features etc. But at least they were campy, or unintentionally funny....

Unless this is a high school student film masquerading as a professional movie, this has to be on all accounts the worst horror, or at least vampire movie ever made....it is not campy nor funny..actually, it isn't anything I could even explain!

The editing (esp. the first few scenes were jarring, the acting was laughable. If there was a plot, it made no sense.

The vampire looked and acted like he watched Nosferatu too many times.

Spoilers....

Did just Dracula's hood protect him from daylight as he was in daylight in many scenes?

How did he get from the US to Paris or anywhere the journalists were so fast..and WHY?

The journalists go to Paris, then Romania to interview Dracula and his "cult"

Hmmm the whole world (on the news broadcasts) knows Dracula is responsible for scores of deaths but no one tries to stop him? The journalists go to find Dracula, but don't bring ANY protection? No stakes, garlic,crosses, holy water...NOTHING.

And of course for the most part they find them selves alone in dark places so they are picked off one by one.. From now on i will always check reviews before renting a DVD. Even if it only cost at the kiosk $1.50. I have been robbed!!!

Lamb (2015)

A Film About an Inter generational Romance That Treads Waters of the Psyche SPOILERS GALORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have seen many films about inter-generational romances. Some are wonderful, some creepy...

I first would like to say that this film is no "Lolita" (excepting the road trip aspect and living in motels) and it is surely not the Academy Award Best Film of 1962, Sundays and Cybele (Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray) probably the greatest film about inter generational love ever made and now available on Criterion Bluray.

That being said, I am hoping the official DVD/Bluray release may have a director's commentary, as the film is really a Rorschach test given by the director to the viewer.

There is no sexual abuse in this film, though where the relationship was heading had not David sever all ties with Tommie is a matter of opinion, but in the end, he did worse..emotional abuse...

No one can be sure what David's ultimate intentions were...maybe he himself was not sure.. In a way, he was a kid running a way from home and wanted a companion

Likewise, he would do anything to keep the farce of this illusional relationship going at all costs, so keeping Tommie hidden was justification for that desire, and Tommie too was complicit until she actually got jealous when she realizes that he still (in her mind) thought of her as a kid.

While I am sure Tommie, as an innocent 11 year old did not actually want a sexual relationship with David, unconsciously and in her budding sexuality, she wanted him to want her as a woman.

I think however, the man had a plan, or had a plan which there were to be a couple of outcomes.

First, I want to establish a few things.. I don't think that initially he thought of Tommie as a sexual object, but definitely one he could mold, or "save" even though he couldn't "save" himself, or maybe he could, by giving Tommie the gifts of being needed, and to expand her horizons from the bleak existence she had.

Some very important scenes provide insight about both David and Tommie's persona.

When Tommie is shaving her legs (surely not actually as she was clearly not in that stage of puberty) but to mimic being a woman the way a young boy picks up his father's razor.

This is also why she screams at him when he wants to bath her. Not because she is embarrassed by nudity, as much as being treated like a small child.

This is further exemplified by her reaction of catching him making love to his girlfriend. NOT in disgust or fear that an innocent child might view it, but as a person who is told she is "equal partners" yet sees that in his eyes, she is not.

Whether she as a girl-child actually wanted to have sex with him was probably unconscious if at all, but the need to be "desired" was, and her need to act, and feel grownup is apparent throughout the film.

I think the ending is somewhat ambiguous on purpose, but there are clues.

While Tommie's life is going nowhere, and David attempts to show her the beautiful world beyond, his intent backfires when she is, by circumstances bound to him, and in a way, is "in love" with him.

So does the age old adage, "Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all, apply here?"

The very last shot is of her bag, still laying on the sidewalk where she left it running after David's car. This might imply that it is left behind,as she does catch up to David and he relents and takes her away.

You know that he sees her running after him by the shot of her running in his side mirror.

This would be the "fairy tale ending.

Another possibility is that good directors never put in scenes or props that have no significance.

That being said...there was a rifle....and also some very "poetic" parting words.

One earlier scene which might establish David becoming further unhinged in this temporary Utopian fantasy is that after considering the nosy neighbor to be a threat to his concocted world, he sneaks into the neighbor's backyard with his rifle. Was he planing to shoot the guy? Why was he there at all, spying on him, and with a gun? Only when he sees the dying wife and is reminded of his father does he back off.

When Davis realizes that his fantasy is over, and that he has harmed, rather than helped Tommie, he knows what he has to do.

The clues are the gun, the "willing" his cabin to Tommie, and he would never see her again, but he will be with her always..in the wind, nature, etc. Sounds like a man who knows what he is going to do and there is no turning back....

David is going back to the cabin to kill himself.

THAT is what I believe the ending is... out of the 3 choices, David and Tommie go on with life apart, or she does catch up with him and they ride off into the sunset, or Tommie is totally broken, at least at first, and David ends it all, not being able to live with himself for what he did, and not being able to fix it.

Tommie also has a few choices, to remain broken, and feeling used by David, or that she can sense that he did try to give her something she would never have in her world before they met, and would use that experience, bittersweet as it was to become empowered.

What Maisie Knew (2012)

What Maisie Really Knew!! Plus a Homage to Other Great Child Acting SPOILERS Of course!

I will not rehash the plot of this excellent film. I will only comment on the subjective undercurrent of the story, and at the end pay a little homage to similar great child performances.

A critic said that this film has a "happy ending." Unfortunately, I beg to differ.

Since the film makers knew that they could not, within the constraints of a 2 hr. movie, show the maturation and aging of Maisie the way James could in a full novel, they (the film makers) chose to end the film on an outwardly superficial and subsequently, a very unsettling ending.

Just as within the film, Maisie is viewed almost like a stagnant garden statue that is moved here and there by the whims of its owner, the ending is also one of "false" happiness, and security. a moment in time, or a slice of life fugue that becomes most unsettling, even horrifying when you realize that this idyllic moment is just that, a brief interlude.

Soon, Maisie will have to go back to her mother, her father will be almost totally out of the picture, and who knows where Margo and Lincoln will end up because it is painfully obvious that the glue that holds them together is not a true budding love for each other, but an overwhelming love of Maisie and a need to be her saviors.

But, in the end, they cannot be, and though we as viewers hope for the typical Hollywood happy ending, it also cannot be. The stoic innocence of Maisie's present will soon be shattered by the realities of adolescence and beyond. The fact that we can foresee the damaged adulthood that lays ahead despite the momentary reprieve is what is so horrific. Like the 1960's film of Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting", the "unseen" is often more horrifying than the usual theatrics of most films of this nature.

In closing, I would also like to comment on the affective emotional state of Maisie. I think this subtlety is where the film really stands out. We have been subjected to enough graphic horrors of child abuse, child abandonment, and unfit parents in film. Movies of this nature tend to be terrifying like "Bastard Out of Carolina" or lightly played as in Kramer Vs. Kramer.

Maisie is characterized almost as an enigma. We see her for the most part as a receptacle of the unchecked emotions of the grownups that surround her, yet she does not let us into her world, but we "know" what damage to her psyche must be taking place.

The most poignant moment in the film (to me) came where Maisie, for one brief moment lets down her emotive guard and while lying in her bed, sheds a single tear. We then "know" what Maisie "knew"

It also did not escape me that considering Maisie's almost "frozen" inner emotional state of being, that this momentary realization on her part, was an either intentional, or unintentional homage to that famous scene in the French short film, "La Jetee"

Maybe, it was in this moment that Maisie (as the James novel evokes) has a premonition of "the death of her own childhood". Because despite Maisie's false bravado, the film's ending is a but a momentary false hope.

The truer narrative is that Maisie, along with Margo and Lincoln will be forced by circumstance to soon confront the transient nature of their beach house fairy-tale, and we as viewers must transition from the world of film to the bleaker future realities of Henry James's novel.

This performance by child actor, Onata Aprile, reminded me of another child actress, Ana Torrent, who's wonderful understated acting can be seen in the films: El Espíritu de la Colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive) and Cría Cuervos (Raise Ravens) my personal favorite.

Though a totally different style of acting, probably the best performance of a child acting in a film period, was Ann Carter in the 1944 film, "Curse of the Cat People" the Val Lewton masterpiece that could be (and has been use d as such) A textbook of child psychology.

The title has nothing to do with this gem of a movie, used only to appease his RKO contract to make a sequel. Lewton wanted to call the film, "Anna and Her Friend"

And lets not forget the over the top "stagy" by design, performance of Patty McCormack in the 1956 film, "The Bad Seed" (too bad the Hayes code did not permit the film to end like the book...the movie's only flaw)

Finally, one of the most beautiful performance by a child actor was Patricia Gozzi, in the 1962 Best Picture, "Sundays and Cybele" ( Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray) I cry every time I see this film, now out in BD.

Bessie (2015)

Oh Where Oh Where Has Little Bessie's Song Gone! Where Oh Where Can it BE? (spoilers)

OK. this is going to be the shortest review you have ever read.....

How can one take this movie seriously when Bessie Smith's greatest song. "Nobody Knows You" (When You're Down and Out" isn't in the movie!!!!!!!!!(or did I sleep through it?)

I first heard of Bessie Smith through the John Hammond sessions sparked by The 1960's Spencer Davis Group's version of the song, sung by Stevie Winwood. Maybe it was a copyright thing like in the Jimi Hendrix bio, but I doubt it as the song is so old. This would be like the George Gershwin Story without Rhapsody in Blue! Or Billy Holiday bio without Strange Fruit! Finally, this quote from Wiki:

"Bessie Smith recorded the song with instrumental accompaniment, including a small trumpet section. When Smith's record was released on September 13, 1929 (a Friday), the lyrics turned out to be oddly prophetic. The New York stock market had reached an all-time high less than two weeks earlier, only to go into its biggest decline two weeks later in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which signaled the beginning of the ten-year Great Depression.

Bessie Smith's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" became one of her biggest hits, but was released before "race records" were tracked by record industry publications, such as Billboard magazine.

*******Today, it "more than any other, is the song that most people associate with Bessie Smith".[3]******

Q.L was fine as an actress. she can sing and did a reasonable Smith impression, but when all is said and done (according to THIS HBO movie, nothing much happens to Bessie, esp compared to Billy Holiday, or Ray Charles etc. etc Lost her mother, raised by a tyrannical older sister, otherwise not much real drama. The only nod to the dramatic is when her husband leaves her and takes their adopted son away, and of course the haunted locked refrigerator!!

Not very much the scheme of things to sing the blues about

Heaven Is for Real (2014)

7th Heavern on steroids! Of course SPOILERS>>>> First, I am an agnostic, not an atheist. However, this movie was a load of crap propaganda, and anyone who wasn't squirming in their seats while watching this overwrought religious comedy is either a zombie or looked at Methuselah too long. Besides the obvious, the kid was SO obnoxious I could scream. Not only did he sometimes talk like an adult, at other times barely got the words out, but his nervous spastic ticks, and infantile smiles (was that supposed to be the smile of an enlightened one?) made me gag.

The film ITSELF is doubtful of the child's claims to have seen Jesus and gone to heaven (he didn't even die) but without any further real evidence, chooses to say what the heck, if the kids says he went to heaven, he must have, because kids don't make up stories that good..

The movie touches on the exact reasoning that would negate such claims.

The fact that the child was the son of a minister, living in a deeply religious household. All the clues are there, and not hidden. The family was in bad financial trouble, and the father actually cashed in on his son's claims by writing a book, and lecturing...very convenient! The little bit of flimsy evidence to buttress the "heaven is real" argument was not only unconvincing, but again, was challenged within the film itself.

I could go on and on, but I want to end with this one last thought...

The family themselves were so unreal and unconvincing that except for the bit of tension (for about 2 minutes smashing a plate or yelling at God) they were like the Stepford Family, or an even more perfect combo of 7th Heaven, and the slew of 50's 60's family sitcoms before the likes of All in the Family type shows appeared.

And the evidence...?? The father, rather than have the kid pick out the grandfather's photo from a bunch of random photos (like a detective would) He practically shoves a photo of the grandfather in the kid's face and saying, "is that him, are you sure..?" About the same way overzealous social workers get kids to claim whole neighborhoods of satanic child abuse.

Even if you accept that the kid saw things like his dad praying, or the operating table while undergoing surgery, it could be untapped ESP at best...no proof for visiting heaven.

The main point of the movie as I saw it was that after all is said and done...it is a matter of faith...curiously, that is what religion has been about since the beginning of mankind, so after 2 hrs. the movie actually says nothing that we didn't already know....

I give this 5 stars on the "Vomit your guts out meter", and 0 stars for the "I am an intelligent movie goer" meter...

Eva (2011)

Little Girl Lost.... (SPOILERS) WARNING! MANY SPOILERS

I only have few complaints about EVA which was very good, but could have been great.

(1) Unless I missed it, all you have to say is "What do you see when you close your eyes?" and the robots "soul" is destroyed? Since there is a GOD/CREATOR/FRANKENSTEIN theme, maybe only the "creator(s) could "kill" their own creation, rather than anyone on a whim saying the magic words... I didn't see this explained in the film(?)

(2) The relationship between Alex and Eva is crucial to the film..and very complex. At first it seemed like a innocent romantic infatuation similar to Pierre and Françoise/Cybèle in Sundays and Cybele (1962) but EVA the movie is way too short to develop the budding relationship and give it true life. The depth of Alex and Eva's bond is what makes the movie, or could have.

However, rather than 10 year old Eva being a muse to an older man, we find out (spoilers) that being a combination of Alex and Lana, Eva is more a daughter than niece to a distant uncle.

(3) I don't think, despite her guilt, that Eva meant to hurt/kill Lana. It was totally unlike the robot prototype in the lab which had a murderous meltdown and needed to be terminated. Eva was just acting human, and it was precisely the FREE WILL given to her by Alex and Lana, that caused her to react to the mind shattering implications that SHE was not human. Eva was just pushing her mother away in anger, but not with murderous intent. Her inaction on the mountain top was more of shock, and impotence being a little girl. She could not have pulled her mother up even if she wanted to.

This was not an evil deed that need her "death" More frustrating is the father's (Alex's) inability to ask Eva what actually happened and realize that she was not an out of control machine needing termination.

This leads into the more profound themes of the film. As robots evolve to where they are indistinguishable from humans, shouldn't the protections of human justice prevail? Shouldn't Eva have had a"trial" or some therapy like a "real" child? But..it is so easy to kill a robot rather than consider that their "souls" are as sacred as human kind.

The old Asimov caveat of robotic law has a profound and perverse effect on the non-flesh and blood humans man is trying to create. A theme that Mary Shelly knew well enough about nearly 300 years ago.

And what about Eva? If she HAD "lived" what then? Another "flaw" was that the film starts 10 years after Eva was created, and she just happens to be 10 years old.. Does Eva "grow" or will she remain 10 forever, and what are the implications of that? What did the scientists envision for robots like Eva if they WERE successful?

(4) Finally, when Eva dies, what she "sees" is her view of heaven...a robots view of heaven, living in the idyllic world of her human family.

A robots dream... to be a real little girl.....just like a well known literary puppet.

In a larger sense, man cannot create a human from machinery. To be human is to be flesh and blood, to grow old and eventually die. It is what makes our time on Earth have meaning. A robot can be intelligent, it may have a "soul" but it can never be human...and a robotic humanoid like Eva can understand that...which is the paramount tragedy put forth in the film.

Revenant (2012)

Another shoulda-coulda-woulda! I usually rent these low budget, direct to video films from my local $1.00 video kiosk just to waste some time. Most of these films are BAD..really bad, but this movie is a bit better, but not much. I won't go into the simplistic plot as you can read that in the synopsis. I will however, point out some things that bothered me about the film and dragged it down:

SPOILERS...

As another person said, really low budget where after 2 months, the guy basically is wearing the same clothes..it is that lack of attention to detail that makes you not care more about the film.

Most of the poltergeist effects we have seen countless times in prior films, esp the stacking of chairs etc. The ghost in the bed, the ball rolling, is so clichéd.

Another thing that really bothered me was that since he was renting the house to write a book about "observed" paranormal events, but except for near the end where he tried to get some EVPs, he had no detecting equipment, not even a camcorder.. HOW was he supposed to write a book with PROOF about ghostly occurrences and not have anything to back up his experiences? Another red herring was the strange neighbor/landlord. I thought for a moment that his strange attitude and both denying any haunting, yet seeming to be spooked while inside the house, may have meant HE might have been the killer, and not the dad, and that he would finally be discovered...but it went nowhere.

The movie had a few scenes that made you jump, but these were just the typical BOO! GOT YOU stuff that films like these have.

Maybe the ghost/haunted genre has been played out, but I getting tired of the crop of half-baked films that promise a lot but deliver little.

There hasn't been a real good "haunting" movie since the 1960's "The Haunting" with Julie Harris, or maybe the first "Poltergeist" film, and maybe the 70's "Ghost Story" with Fred Astaire. (I am not counting general supernatural monster films like Stephen King movies)

Horror films today seem to be redundant, artsy-weird, or just plain rip-offs.

I am sure this film will make you jump at times, but just dropping a dish behind you while you are watching this movie will do the same thing.

Flickan (2009)

A Pretty, But Boring Little Film While probably not the worst film about childhood ever made as one poster said..I agree that just a quasi cinema-verite style is not enough to make a person become emotionally connected to the film.

Parts of the film, especially when she hangs with the young boy reminded me of "My Girl" , but without the humor or pathos...

Among many other stronger serious films about children abandoned and feigning for themselves...watch "Forbidden Games" ..or the more contemporary film, "Nobody Knows" (Japan-2004) And the list goes on...

There are too many films that portray abandonment issues of childhood better. While a pretty film with an attractive (in a child-like sense) heroine, this film will be ultimately forgettable.

The director avoids any serious issues and presents an almost idyllic childhood experience, which never actually gives the viewer the dynamic tension needed to make this a memorable film experience.

Spoilers:

The only thing near to a sense of peril or endangerment (and the examples are really not even that) in the film is the taunting and stripping of the boy, and his unfortunate fall in the barn. Even then, the boy is just momentarily embarrassed, and recovers from the fall with no more than a broken leg or ankle.

I kept waiting for a punch line that never came.

The obnoxious neighbor teen and her friend didn't go anywhere, and I half expected the neighbor father when in the house alone with the girl (esp. while she was taking a bath) to allude to maybe a more malevolent outcome. but no...the girl just bounces from one scene to another seemingly without a care in the world.

I DO understand that themes may be quietly understated and the main theme of the film was the girl's transition from pure child into the world of adulthood (symbolized by the tadpole turning into an adult frog and escaping its confinement) But did the film have to do it is such a ho-hum way?

While some will call this a "slice of life" film...It is more a slice of stale Wonder Bread.

Mama (2013)

What The Heck Was Mama..?? After 2 hrs. I still don't Know!! ***EXTREME SPOILER ALERT...ENDING REVEALED****

I WARNED YOU!!!!

OK, if you are a pedophile who likes to see little girls dressed mostly in pajamas for about 90% of the film, then you won't be disappointed...BUT..if you are a horror fan...I, like many others, felt cheated, as this could have been a great film.. I won't repeat the plot..read the other reviews, I will just tell you why this movie misses the mark. As others said, this was developed from a short film and it shows... After the creepiness factor and BOO scares are out of the way (and I will admit here that the kids, esp. in the beginning were very creepy) it really is a very simple and thin story line. Like Pans Labyrinth (a vastly superior film) the plot teeters on the edge of a horror film and a fairy tale (albeit. a Grimm style tale) not quite knowing which to be.

Even though horror films are fantasies, I like at least a modicum of believability in the story line, of course within the genre. (a very good example of a pure "ghost story" would be the 1970's film "Ghost Story" with Fred Astaire and a big name cast) First, there is a very sketchy background story, which at least I don't know what the director was trying to say. Was the mad lady who took the baby (eventually becoming the ghost/monster) the REAL mother, or did she just snatch any old baby from the nun's hands? Was the mad woman even a ghost at all? At times she seemed more a Earth spirit than a ghost, and HOW did she become this way? The psychologist seemed to know, but HIS AH HAH moment is not ours to know. He vaguely refers to the sign outside the cabin, but we never know what it means...(another reviewer said it meant Switzerland...SO...??)

Also, the entity called Mama was much scarier when in the shadows..once revealed...it was pathetic..

FILM MAKERS TAKE NOTE..the truly great horror films leave much to the imagination which is far scarier..the unseen is always better than the seen. Example. The best "ghost story" on film IMOP was the 60's film "The Haunting" with Julie Harris...you never see ANYTHING but that movie was one of the best films in it's genre of all time!! Again, what was Mama? A ghost, a creature from another dimension, a elemental spirit??? We just never know, nor do we find out WHY after jumping off a cliff with her "baby" she morphs into an unworldly creature. Even some H.P. Lovecraft mumbo-jumbo would been better than no explanation at all. and the cricket chirping sounds...It seems that after Mimic, every creature sounds like a cockroach or cricket...

Finally the ending.....

SPOILERS

Why is Guillermo del Toro fascinated by killing children in the end of his films? For the shock value? Of course the ends of both Pan's Labyrinth and this film are a bit vague, but at least as mortal beings both girls died...so what if it was a "compromise...Mama takes lily because she still clings to "Mama" and the ethereal world, while Victoria being older, is released to the care of the living in our world...

OK children dying in the end is at least not a cop-out, but it doesn't raise the caliber of this film enough to say...yeah..go see it!

Dream House (2011)

This movie was never made! The poster catch phrase says it all: "Once upon a time there were two little girls that live in a house"

SPOILERS!!!!!

Other than the fact that they were dead (along with their mother) the children had very little to do with the story/plot other than to look cute. They were killed, they may have been ghosts, or hallucinations, but the plot didn't concern them at all. I really love the evil kid, child ghost genre, and the trailer and the poster seems to say that the children were the focus of the plot...NOT!!

Even the two little girl ghosts in the Shining left more of an impression on me after 30 plus years...and those ghost girls were only on the screen for a minute or two at most!

The film, as some have said, had potential, but this is one of those movies that should have been a Lifetime Channel program that you could after about 40 minutes, switch to a rerun episode of Seinfeld!!!

I gave 5 stars because I did see it all the way through to the end...BIG MISTAKE!

I watched the CAM torrent and I still want my money back!!!

Hotaru no haka (2008)

Misses the Mark...Watch the 2005 NTV Drama for the Real Thing! Short & sweet...

This movie did everything possible to take the pathos out of the story...

If you want to see a live action version that actually for many reasons, was much better than this film, and even better than the original anime vs. see the 2005 NTV drama remake. In this film (2008) there were many scenes that weakened the tale...since the death of Setsuko was the climax of the story, the many scenes of dead children prior, removed some of the horror and sting of her death. Also, in this 2008 remake, they didn't even show her dying, which was very sad and touching in both the anime and NTV vs. The box of droplets had a unique significance. Not only was the candy a comforting link to pre-fire-bomb normalcy, to the better days, that a 4 year old could understand, but it also became her urn to hold her bones.

NOTHING is said about this in the 2008 movie...the container of droplets was just another possession like Setsuko's doll.

The 2005 TV drama had all of this background information and more.It is more believable why the aunt was the way she was, rather than a parody of just a greedy, selfish woman. The character of Seta was more fleshed out in the 2006 drama. He is not just a 14 year old, with bad judgment.

In fact, the opening scenes of the aunt finding the discarded can, opening and symbolically releasing the spirits of Seta and Setsuko in the form of two fireflies, had me weeping just 3 minutes into the film!!!

Watch it and bring two boxes of tissues with you.

The Last House on the Left (2009)

HORRIBLE REMAKE of n American Pshcyo Classic!! READ THIS!! BE WARNED, SPOILERS!!!

This had a made for TV movie feel, broke no new ground from the almost 40 year old original, and if the original film could be rated 10 for horrific grossness, then this movie rated a 4!!!

As said before many key elements were left out of the film and the characters (ALL) were poorly drawn, and in this version,everything that made the original unique was removed.

I will list just a few examples...

The bad "gang" in the original film were even more repulsive. The woman in the 1972 version was the mother and grandmother of two of the gang. A fat, repulsive one too. In the remake, she becomes a hot girlfriend with a mean streak, that only hints at lesbianism.

Lets take the rape and murder scene....

In the remake, one girl is stabbed to death quite quickly, the blond girl is raped, nothing really shown, just glimpses of panties being pushed aside, raped from behind, but no nudity. After being raped she runs away, finally after a heroic effort trying to escape. she is hit by a lucky shot and left for dead (where you find out later she isn't)

Now here is the uncut 1972 version which is still burned in my brain over 30 years later.....

First the young boy is forced by his dad to let one of the girls give him oral sex. His mixed expression of terror and pleasure at the same time is unforgettable..

Then one of the girls (they are both partially naked by this time) is forced to give oral sex to the fat mother, and then the other girl is forced to strip her friend totally naked, and give her friend oral sex. There is full frontal nudity, and you actually see her putting her tongue in her friend's pubic area. The dark haired girl tries to run away but is finally caught, (I think in a cemetery, though here I may be wrong) but in any case is killed and her hands are cut off as souvenirs! The remaining girl is very slowly raped. Her clothes are actually taken off, she is fully nude (and this actress could not have been over 16, and NO body double)

Every nuance of the rape is shown, just like a XX film (which actually this film WAS rated X in theaters) they even show her stomach with ejaculate on it after he pulls out! Then then, like in a trance, the girl walks very slowly to a pond and wades in, while the leader shoots her in the head, almost like she wants to be killed after such a demeaning ordeal.

Now THAT was a rape scene!!!!

Both girls die in this one.

Also the end...

Instead of the made for TV revenge version....

When the mom and dad find out that the killers have come into their home... The mom lures the 2nd guy for a BJ and while he is about to release..she bites his pecker off, and while he screams, she stabs him with scissors.

I actually forgot how the fat lady dies, but the leader's head is sawed off by the dad swinging a chainsaw.

Oh earlier the young kid is forced by his dad to put the gun to his mouth and blow his brains out...which he did quite spectacularly.

Esp. for its day, LHOTL (1972) was the most horrific film ever made (not inc. the actual Nazi concentration camp footage taken during the war)

This remake added NOTHING to the original. The special effects weren't better, nor was the acting, the storyline, or the horror scenes...so why make it??? The only reason Wes Craven had anything to do with this pathetic film is $$$$, surely not for any artistic motivation..

I don't know if the original, totally uncut version has ever been released on DVD. I saw the 1972 vs. in the theaters before censoring, and I have heard that copies purported to be uncut are still not the original full version that I saw.

In Her Mother's Footsteps (2006)

Overused, unimaginative, and flawed plot SPOILERS

Short and sweet, made for TV movie that is a variation on a plot that has been done about a million times... Think Ghost Whisperer, or any other "psychic" ghost story. I guessed who the killer was from the beginning...

Briefly..unforgivable plot problems, and unbelievable directing flaws: (1) Originally told by lawyer at house the only thing her father left her with was the house, and an old rusty metal box which he had brought with him. THEN he tells her at his office that she had inherited her father's estate worth $11 million!!!! Hmmm...why didn't he say that in the FIRST PLACE?? THE BOX!!! IF the ONLY thing you were given as an inheritance (at first) was a house and a rusty box, why didn't they (wife and husband, and daughter) have even the SLIGHTEST curiosity about what was in the box??? They didn't get around to opening up the box until they had already moved to the new house and had been there for some time... Weren't they just a bit curious to know that if there were important papers, documents, gold, jewelry etc. etc. in the box??? When she goes to open the box, the padlock was already opened!!!! Who did THAT?

(2) Since the father was still alive when the murders took place...how could he have already willed his daughter the house in order to catch the serial killer? OTHERWISE, did he just leave her the house because he was guilty, and the bad cop just happened to use THAT house to all of a sudden after years on the police force, become a crazed killer??

I could go on and on, but this film was like all the other lifetime, and SiFi Channel movies, contrived, stupid, and BAD!!!

The Edison Death Machine (2006)

Calling This a Film is Going too Far... The other 2 reviews at this time must have either been posted by the film makers themselves, or were on some kind of heavy drugs!

This isn't even a movie in the strictest sense.

First, it is done on low, VHS resolution video tape. The sets are cardboard, as is the acting. My son was in a few film classes in HS and this "film" is not even as good as the few short subjects he shot.

Special effects? give me a break..there is none, unless you thing a bunch of quasi-historical characters, including an Elvis zombie, and a 17th c. samurai wearing the same latex Halloween mask is "special effects" !!! The budget of this film could not have been much over $5.00 and that would be for the bag of pot those involved were smoking.

Another example:

Girl is shot in head by rival gang..slumps onto desk filled with papers...Blood starts oozing from her head, spreading out UNDER the scattered papers, WHICH MYSTERIOUSLY, DO NOT GET SOAKED WITH BLOOD EVEN THOUGH THE "BLOOD" IS COMING OUT FROM UNDERNEATH THE PAPERS!!!!!

That's special effects for you...

Think of SNL sketch that goes on for a bit over an hour that is not supposed to funny, but is...and then again..not all that funny.

The film's website claims winning best SiFi pic of 2007,Best sp. effects, and other film awards at various film festivals....

I bet those "festivals" don't even exist, or if they do, they most have bought off the judges with a bucket of KFC.

I won't even comment on the insipid plot...

Actually, there was one really great scene now that I think of it. In Elvis's tomb (of course they couldn't even call the character Elvis, for some weird reason) They use the Edison machine to bring Elvis back to life...Besides the bumbling gang of thieves and the captive museum director, somehow a bunch of Elvis groupies made it into the cramped cardboard tomb with them.. You just HAVE to see the bad acting, worse than my 5 year old daughter's nursery school play, as they run screaming...(I said screaming with artistic license) out of the crypt..

My last thoughts....unbelievable as this may sound...

This film makes" Plan 9 From Outer Space" seem like "Citizen Cane"!!!

Oh... the machine was cool....

See the 1998 TV movie Nightworld:Lost Souls if you like the Edison spirit Communicator machine.

Knowing (2009)

Kowing was a great disappointment !!! I will keep this brief...

I will not comment in length about this film as it doesn't deserve it.

At least Mr. Cage's "Treasure" films, like the Indiana Jones adventure series was somewhat tongue & cheek, this movie is dead serious, and so full of flaws I do not know where to begin. I will just say this......

Though the first half of the movie was at least suspenseful, the predictable and overdone ending ruined any merits this film may have had. The basic premise of the film was plagiarized from a few eps. of the TV series, "The X Files" and those who followed the series know exactly which eps. I mean. However, THAT was the GOOD part.

The ending was such was virtually the same, and had the same message as "Close Encounters", "Contact", and among many others, the recent remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" We have seen the same ending per se in scores of SiFi films and we don't need it beaten into out heads again and again....

******SPOILERS******

> > > The scene where the two children are shown on a distant planet, supposedly to start the human race over again was problematic in itself... We see the two children running in fields of wheat(?) and we see other "pods" containing it seems other children landing in the distance...

Call me a fool, but here are some questions that I do not understand, and it wrecked the movie for me...

With the alien spaceships the size of the state of Texas, why did they have to gather up the children by twos, each in their own pods? YES, along with the rabbits,

I did understand the allusion to Noah's ark, TWO BY TWO..but come on...that is such a waste of spaceships..

Or...another thought...were the children somehow paired up by the aliens?

This is TOO freaky.. !!!

So..the little boy and girl barely 10 years old are selected to be mated in order to populate their new planet?

Is that the Utopian future for our kids...to be selected into a predetermined "marriage" like the children of the LDS church, or Hindu and Muslim sects that believe in pre-arranged marriage?

Sorry...I rather they were burnt to a crisp...

And to be taken away from their parents???

What..there were no adults on the entire planet Earth worth saving?

Which brings me to another point.

Are the children to be left to their own devices, and possibly revert to "Lord of the Flies' mentality? Or are we to believe that the kindly aliens will see to their every need?

The children are still human, no alien agenda or influence can change that. No alien can guide into adulthood, a human child anymore than we should attempt to modify the lives of the mountain gorillas.

Another passing thought.

IF the spaceships are Noah's ark(s) and the planet the new Garden of Eden, the boy and the girl the new Adan and Eve, then it is still an implausible senerio that makes me want to gag...

The scene in CONTACT where Jody Foster meets the alien who is the visage of her dead father was schmaltzy, but at least it made sense...

Give me a break!!! I could write a few more pages about specifics, but I think that I have given enough examples to warn off any lover of good science fiction from this drivel...

Post Script: I originally typed this without reading any other reviews. Now, having read a bunch, I can see that I am not alone in the comments I made, nor in my condemnation of one of the worst SiFi flicks of all time.

Innocence (2004)

For the Snark was a Boojum.... There will be many interpretations to this film, but unfortunately, the truth is that there is no meaning what so ever. Based on fragments of a 19th c. story, all that you see are snippets of scenes that the director culled from the original story.

That being said, the whole is no more than the sum of it's parts. I am sure Lucile Hadzihalilovic was more interested in the moods that the individual scenes conveyed than the outcome, or higher meaning. This movie is an illusion. It is an artistic free-association that tantalizes, but I am sure, even the director hasn't a clue about the overall meaning.

I think of this film as a visual Jabberwocky.

Words that seem real, a poem that seems to have a meaning, but in the end is nonsense. The fact that the movie is all about little girls, is even more the reason to believe that Lucile Hadzihalilovic was invoking the darker side of Charles Dodgson when making this, and those who try to find a higher truth, meaning, or understanding are indeed hunting the Snark.

Children of Men (2006)

The Worst SiFi film ever made (Inc. Beast from Yucca Flats) Maybe I should have read the book... This was absolutely the worst SF film I have ever seen!! The movie was just a set up for the director's shove it up your ass, political agenda. Yeah, I get all the overblown allegory to the problems of today, but not only was it heavy handed, but a first year film student could have made a better film. Here are just SOME of the reasons: Even if you take everything on faith, SOME background must be given as to the WHY of everything or the viewer can't be engaged. Esp. in SiFi, the story must be somewhat plausible. In the film, we are never told what happened 18 years ago to make the world what it had become. Forget about the infertility, what happened to the US? It is a much larger and stronger democracy than Britain. Who the hell are the Fish, why do they hate the gov.? I can understand the plight of the fugitives, but how did so many foreigners get into England in the first place? It's a fucken island for god sakes! Why would England let them all in, only to put them all in deportation/detention camps? In some scenes, the Londoners go about their business like it's just another sunny day, in others its Baghdad or Belfast to the 10th power! ON a lonely back country road, the car was ambushed, but some how the authorities have PHOTOS of who was in the car! Give me a break. How did the Fish find out where Jasper lived? How did they just happen to find Theo and Kee in the most chaotic crowded of circumstances? Did they have a transponder up Theo's ass? Why does everyone want the baby? Sure, for political reasons, but at least, why would Theo and Kee be so afraid of the Brt gov.? Was Kee supposed to be a fugi? She sure seemed British to me. If it was because it was a black baby, which they said would irk the white establishment, then why were the soldiers so reverent when the baby appeared during the fighting? And could the fight scenes be a more blatant attempt to draw a parallel to the Iraq war? The BAD westerners, oppressing the poor civilians, and the heroic insurgents! I almost choked when I saw the shots of the Arabs marching down the streets with their Arabic banners and machine guns. Yeah, I GET IT. And the best of all is to throw into the mix...the most horrible thing to confront mankind...GLOBEL WARMING!!! Did Al Gore fund this film? Every real scientist knows that though there is a cyclic warming trend, however, not nearly as severe as Mr. Gore would lead you to believe, mankind is NOT the primary cause (and I don't want to get in to a debate here..If you want the truth ask the founder of GRENPEACE among scores of other non-agendized scientists) But to somehow blame global warming for only the next 20 year to virtually put civilization in to chaos????????????? I could go on and on but you get the point. It was a confusing, and purposely vague plot, devised only to get a cross another "you have been warned" agenda. (If you don't believe ME, listen to the commentaries and short extra material on the DVD) Yes, I know many Sifi films have a warning message for mankind, but THIS movie was SO agendized that it made me want to puke. I'd rather watch the 911 conspiracy film, or Michael Moore's trash, because at least they are up front about their beliefs and don't have to hide behind the guise of a SiFi movie!

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

Scott Hicks Gives Wonderful Performance Best film I've seen in the last 20 years...

I will not elaborate or critique the film which others have done before this comment, but I just want to say that Scott Hicks should get an award for his director's comments voice over. The film was great by itself, but watching it with the director's comments sent chills up my spine....There are very few films I can watch over and over...this is one of them. Hicks did somethings climatically that were so bold, so touching, yet he never resorted to cheap Hollywood clichés. The scene with the two young year old lovers inside the ceder tree could have been very disturbing, but Scott used cut-aways and a soaring music to underscore the intense passion of first love (hatsukoi) rather than debase his work by resorting to the show of flesh...

Stoned (2005)

Film does little to provide insight into a 60's icon's life and death. The worst thing about this film (and there are so many) is that Brian Jones is portrayed throughout as a snotty, drugged out loser.

Yes, he was at the end...but there was so little insight about his prodigious musical abilities (beyond a cursory look via grainy flashbacks) that it is hard to be sympathetic to his plight, and unfortunate demise.

(another curious point)

Why, besides the ton of boobs shots, were there mostly frontal nudity of the male characters only? This has nothing to do with my main comments, but it is indeed curious why only male "members" are shown, and female genitalia were mostly hidden? It is usually the reverse in most films. I also now might add that I am no prude, but the gratuitous nudity seemed more for "show" then to further the idea that indeed... this was the swinging 60's.

The scene near the end sums this movie up. Tom is telling Frank how he has to "clean up" everyone's messes including Frank's. Frank is about to confess to the murder, when Tom cuts him off, saying that he doesn't want to know how it happened. Tom's attitude mirrors my own.

It really doesn't matter what the truth is/was, Brian Jones was dead..and who cares at this point? ..and that's exactly the biggest problem with this film.

After making Brian himself and the viewer so desensitized to his life and accomplishments (and only belaboring the drugs, booze and sex) the movie at the end, tries to insert some meaning into it all by a imaginary meeting between Tom in his old age, and Brain's ghost. The scene might have been more poignant if the whole movie was a flashback through Tom's eyes, but it wasn't, so the scene plays out like one of Brian's drug hallucinations.

Another way the film tries to patch things up is the statements on the screen before the credits, but it is too little, too late.

My first thought when I turned off my DVD player was, "what a waste"..... and that goes for both Brian's beleaguered life, and this film...

An American Haunting (2005)

Ghost story film falls flat ! I never heard of the Bell Witch before, so I came upon this film from a total "pure" perspective. Ghost stories, and horror films are supposed to scare, and this film falls flat, esp. if you have seen the Exorcist, Ghost Story, the Haunting (org vs. and my all time favorite) and scores of other really scary films. The haunting/poltergeist scenes were "old hat" and I could have fallen asleep. I was was one of the few "dumb" ones who didn't get the "molestation" idea during the film. However, as a plot twist, it pales when compared to the first time I saw the Sixth Sense which had my hair standing on end as Bruce Willis realizes he is dead. This film's ending only makes An American Haunting even worse. Just because no one can know what really happened in the true historical incident, why does Hollywood have to bring child abuse into the plot any adult movie focusing on kids? As I mentioned above, I don't care if the actors were good or bad, if Betsy was raped or not. My only concern was that I went to see a "ghost" story film to be scared, and I wasn't in the slightest. End of story.

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