Sunday, December 13, 2009

BAD LIEUTINENT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS (2009)

Director: Werner Herzog
Written By: William M. Finkelstein
Cinematography By: Peter Zeitlinger
Editor: Joe Bini

Cast: Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Irma P. Hall, Brad Douriff, Xzibit, Shawn Hatosy, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Jennifer Coolidge, Michael Shannon, Fairuza Balk, Denzel Whitaker, Shea Wingham, Nick Gomez


This was a film I expected to be fun and really enjoy, Yet I found this to be another disappointment. It has good and interesting characters. But for all the great actors in the film they have characters who would be interesting if they really had something to do and fit more into the film.

Nicholas Cage gives a great performance and this film is practically a one man show. As he is a live wire from beginning to end. Now knowing that his character is on legal and illegal medication most of the film. It strikes me as odd that none of his co-workers think that he is on high on illegal substances considering how jumpy he is and always seems to be on. I only wish the film could be as off the wall and entertaining as his performance.

The film is missing interesting scenes and a good story to keep interest up. I guess the lack of these things gives the film and cage more free reign to maneuver. I like the films divergences with the trippy iguana and alligator scenes. But even with that the film lacks Director Herzog’s amazingly surreal images. It lacks his visual appeal. It’s a thriller that never feels suspenseful nor dramatic.

One scene Puzzles me as to why are mobsters always philosophers when threatening people. Yet the film still has some tricks up it’s sleeve to preserve it and save it. Especially when things look like they will be going for a storybook ending.
The actor Xzibit laughs so much in this film as a drug kingpin half the time I just think it is his natural reaction to cage’s performance.

The film is one of Herzog’s recent stabs more into the mainstream genre of cinema this and RESCUE DAWN may be an attempt to make mainstream movies that make money so that he can fund his films that more fit his interests.

The film feels like what I would never describe a Herzog film as dull. It seems small potatoes compared to the things we know he is capable of as a director.

It’s worth watching only for Nicholas Cage’s performance really.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

VAMPIRE MOVIES

In honor Of TWILIGHT: NEW MOON being a success and Ruining a new era of moviegoers with it’s Romeo & Juliet with vampires storyline. I am rather tired of all this romanticism of vampires everywhere all of a sudden in books on television and in movies. Can a slasher get a hug. Vampires are always so Romantic, distinguished and classy sort of like the myth applied to Europeans. That I tend to like the films that give you more of a realistic portrayal. That look at it as more of a curse you have been infected with. That make it seem more like a drig addiction you have been infected with that you can’t quit or you die. One of the problems is that there has been plenty of films with vampires in them that don’t really feel like or to me count as vampire movies. I have decided to make a list of vampire movies that might be more entertaining then any TWILIGHT movies.

Friday, November 20, 2009

SNOW ANGELS (2007)

Directed By: David Gordon Green
Written By: David Gordon Green; 

Based On The Novel By: Stewart O’Nan
Cinematography By: Tim Orr

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Thirlby, Amy Sedaris, Tom Noonan, Nicky Katt


CLOSER (2004)

Cast: Clive Owen, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman

Directed By: Mike Nichols
Written By: Patrick Marber
Cinematography By: Stephen Goldblatt
Editor: John Bloom & Antonia Van Drimmelen


The beautiful thing about this movie is the words the language used which is both smart and cruel it’s amazing how sentences can hurt and destroy so much

This is not a film to watch if you are looking for action it’s more about Character , Drama and situations then anything else. This is just a adult relationship drama and everything here is beautiful.

This is a drama but feels more like a horror movie there are so many scenes of emotional violence that this is like watching a massacre. Since there are only four characters it’s easy to get to know the characters even though they don’t talk about there pasts much you get to know them so much that you feel the pain and despair that they do.

The Switching allegiances, mind games and harsh words make this like a british David Mamet film though you can tell the film is based on a play for it’s limited locations and exclusive intimate closed spaces that the action takes place in. Mike Nichols wisely knows how to open the film up to make it looks sumptuous.

Even though the cast is all good the person who walks away with the film is Natalie Portman this is what award winning acting is all about een thought she didn’t even get nominated it was a chance for her to escape her shackles of her teen and lightweight roles to show that she is not only grown but a fully sexual being. From her scene in the strip club where even though she is taking orders she is in total control while also letting herself be completely vulnerable by actually telling the truth for one of the first times in the film. To when she is being vulnerable when she is supposed to be running away with the love of her life. Mike Nichols also knows how to make this beautiful lady into a goddess with color, dress and showing just enough skin.

Cate Blanchett was originally cast in the Julia Roberts role she played the role in the play that Julia Roberts plays but she got pregnant and could not do the role so she was replaced by Julia Roberts who does pretty good in this role since this is really one of the few times where she plays a three dimensional character that is kind of like her usual self of being likeable but also capable of being hateful. There is no cutesy sweet girl we are used to here. Jude Law and Clive Owen were both also in the play but here they switched the roles they originally played. Both are too perfection.

The film also has a beautiful opening scene with the song the blower’s daughter by Damien rice that this movie seem to put on the charts for people to discover which in itself is a haunting song that hovers over the rest of the film

A definite must see

GRADE: A

Monday, November 9, 2009

WHATEVER WORKS (2009)

Written & Directed By: Woody Allen
Cinematography By: Harris Savides
Editor: Alisa Lepselter

CAST: Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson, Ed Begley Jr., Samantha Bee, Michael McKean


The film feels more like a play then a film just a play that uses a lot of exterior locations. Not that good of a play but a ok farce. The film just feels lazy like it has no energy. Which is a shame as it was coming off a Actual good film VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA

The main Attraction to see the Film is star Larry David but the results are not quite as good as you would think it would be. While playing a character it’s not too much a departure from him playing himself. Only here he is more of a downer and a scientist.
Usually in films the main character is supposed to change or at least learn a lesson from the beginning to the end. Here his character is basically the same and learns nothing. He just changes his outlook a bit.

The Film is about a cynical Scientist who decides to take in a southern runaway and marries her then all of a sudden her parents come to new york to be reunited with her and take her back home and find themselves under the spell of New York to change there lives and be there true selves.

Woody Allen has said that this was not a new script he wrote recently but a script he wrote in the seventies that he never really finished so he stuck it in a drawer and only recently found it and finished it. Maybe there was a good reason he hid it away back then. He was a lot sharper of mind and probably realized it wasn’t that good or original so e hid it away now he seems to be running out of steam so he finally makes it because he really can’t think of anything. That is also how the film plays no insight or effort it just lays there. While some of the ideas are still there and funny it feels uninspired.

One of the main problems of the film is that there never seems to be anything at risk for any of the characters in any way shape or form. No emotional changes they just seem to exist and very few things happen then they change slightly. The only real change is in lifestyle for the two supporting characters who come to New York and stop being repressed and open up to a new lifestyle. Yet it happens so quick and gimmicky it just feels false.

Even the ending is too neatly wrapped up in a cute cookie cutter kind of way.

I am a huge woody Allen fan and a big Larry David film and found this disappointing not as bad as Allen’s recent dreadful output but not too much better either. As usual it has it’s charms but if the film was made by any other director it would be considered subpar. It’s only noteworthy because of Mr. Allen and Mr. David. Watch only if you are a completist.

GRADE: D

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (2008)

Directed By: Ryuhei Kitamura
Written By: Jeff Buhler
Based On A Short Story By: Clive Barker
Cinematography By: Jonathan Sela
Editor: Toby Yates

CAST: Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Vinnie Jones, Roger Bart, Peter Jacobsen, Tony Curran, Brooke Shields, Ted Raimi, Quenton “Rampage” Jackson


I can see why the studio held this film up. By doing so they made this into a unofficial cult film the truly sad part was I bought into it. But the end product is not worth it. I don’t believe it was I had my hopes up to high even if I wasn’t expecting much this film is pretty much a disappointment on many levels

The film is too stylized for it’s own good. There is nothing wrong with having style especially if it’s a good style but here it goes overboard it’s clear the director is talented but he seems more fit for action adventure type films not for horror first off the gore and violence while overabundant and messy is just too fake looking to much digital effects automatically take you out of the scene. For the type of film this wants to be or at least a decent entry into the films based on Clive Barker stories this film needed more suspense and shocks. Clive Barker films usual feel supernatural and messed up this seemed a little too clean cut and easy. It’s not really too disturbing in fact after awhile it seems to get repetitive

It also doesn’t help that most of the cast is damn near model good looking I know they all revolve around the art world but let’s get serious it is almost like a adult website in a horror movie that sent me back to memories to the 90’s teen horror boom albeit this one is more violent but still it is sub-par.

The characters don’t make you feel anything in the form of sympathy for them as they seem to be passé about violence happening to other people in fact brooke shields character finds beauty in these violent scenes the drama and intensity in the eyes of the people the photographer takes pictures of are what is true art.

This film is about a photographer who is trying to get work or at least a show for his work but the problem is his photos seem to lack the drama and intensity of the city so one day he saves a girl form being mugged she ends up missing but he remembers he saw a man get on the train with her and he begins to follow the man to find out about him and investigate him and the deeper he gets into finding out the more obsessed he gets and the more trouble he causes for himself and everyone around him. He soon starts to change himself not physically but emotionally and mentally.

The only scenes I found somewhat close to what the intention of this story might have been or at least close to the disturbing images that are supposed to be common in a story like this is the scenes of the massacre on the train that the photographer actually witnesses. Also the final battle scene between the butcher and the photographer with the 360 degree camera angles and where the gore finally seems organic and real

I would say check this out when it is on cable the only reason I don’t say to wait for television is that It makes no sense to televise this movie as for the most part you need the violence to understand the film and to really get into it but it is a disappointing endeavor just the wrong director with the wrong project Mr. Kitamura has directed some great visually accomplished violent films Like VERSUS but if John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, or Tobe Hooper got there hands on this. This film could have been something amazing a lot more hard-edged not as glossy


GRADE: D

I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER (2009)

Directed By: Chris Columbus
Written By: Larry Doyle (Based On His Book)
Cinematography By: Phil Abraham
Editor: Peter Honess

CAST: Paul Rust, Hayden Panettiere, Jack T. Carpenter, Lauren London, Lauren Storm, Shawn Roberts, Samm Levine, Andrea Savage, Alan Ruck, Cynthia Stevenson, Patt Finn


This is a disappointment considering I loved the book so much. Soon as I heard that Hayden Panettiere Was staring as Beth Cooper I knew it was doomed. I thought in the hands of Chris Columbus this could be decent but this is studio chis Columbus not early screenwriting whiz Chris Columbus the man behind YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES.

Basically that is what is wrong with the film the cast is just strange. But I can’t blame Mr. Columbus Totally since the screenplay is written by the author of the book. Who initially had the idea to write this as a screenplay but when there was no interest decided to write is as a book to garner more interest and low and behold they decided to make it into a film. But the funny thing is that it was better as a book!!! With a better ending that felt full while being ambiguous while this one just feels dead.

The film feels like it was sanitized from the book so it could play to younger teens but keeping some Raunch so that it doesn’t seem too tame. It’s a film that talks down to its audience by just lumping in one slapstick violent scene to the next. Instead of sticking to a novel that managed to be funny, Naughty but also reminded you of what it was like to be young and have that passion for a girl of your dreams. With your future ahead of you. This film just feels gimmicky. It has no soul.

The film is a perfect timewaster but you won’t laugh much or remember too much afterwards, it makes a threesome not sexy at all nor funny. This film will be perfect to put on television as you don’t really have to cut anything. Plus the characters don’t remind me of any real teenagers at all.

This film came and went to theaters with hardly a blip on the screen. Which is not all that surprising since as soon as I saw the trailer I knew it was doomed. It wasn’t funny and felt like it was trying way too hard. It was a struggle and after i saw the trailer my heart broke.

When it comes to the cast. Paul Rust is a good actor with a strange look but he still looks to old to be in this film. I thought it was impossible but the film finds a way to make Lauren London not attractive plus it doesn’t give her much to do. Hayden penirette is attractive but she doesn’t have the look or character to play this dream girl that many men obsess over she looks just regular to me. Plus her character half the time seems a little off or crazy and her later reasoning make no sense in the film. Plus with the age difference of her and the male lead it makes him more look like a molester then a paramour. The only actor who comes off good is Jack T. Carpenter, Who plays his sexually confused best friend while he is funny I only wish it was in a better film.

This film is not horrible but it’s not good or decent either. Maybe a good pick for older highly clean cut kids but all others will be bored except for maybe senior citizens.

Wait for TV. Which I’m sure it will be on in no time.

GRADE: D

ORPHAN (2009)

Directed By: Jamie Collet-Serra
Written By: David Johnson
Story By: Alex Mace
Cinematography By: Jeff Cutter
Editor: Tim Alverson

CAST: Vera Farminga, Peter Sarsgaard, CCH Pounder, Isabelle Fuhrman, Karel Roden, Margo Martindale, Jimmy Bennett


The film succeeds in a lot of ways until you get to the third act which I know disappointed a lot of people with it’s ridiculousness. I think it is because the film so far plays but logical realistic rules so far and then you have this twist that belongs in a crazier movie. Especially since all the advertisements say “you’ll never figure out the ending” they are right you won’t no one could have. It’s like those mysteries where they give you all this evidence and clues to suspect one of the characters you know about up to this point is the murderer then they bring out a character out of the blue making all that came before it null and void fully knowing you were never really meant to figure it out.

For the most part the film is entertaining it starts off with a gory scene but hardly rises to that level of violence again. The rest of the film is more diabolical. It set’s a dark tone as all of the scenes and surroundings seem drained of color. So there is a lack of vitality yet a polished look that is supposed to be laid back but really tries to cover the trouble that is down deep.

The film is about a couple that has two children who lost a child at childbirth that the mother has never fully gotten over so they decide to adopt after she has gone to therapy for a few years. They decide to adopt a seemingly perfect intelligent little girl. Soon after is when all of the trouble starts soon there are many violent accidents. Which the mother soon suspects is committed by the girl we know only because we are witnesses to it. Which could have made this film a totally different type of thriller if we don’t know if she is actually commiting these acts or is it really just the other going crazy. But then the film would have been more of a slow moving psychological thriller insead of a more traditional thriller with more action.

I have to give the director credit it shows more skill and is better then his previous Film HOUSE OF WAX. The film intrigued me from the beginning and I was never bored.

It’s interesting that Vera farminga stars in this film which is a bit similar to a thriller she made last year named JOSHUA. Only in that film it was her son who was evil and driving her crazy but his real challenge was his father. Here it is her really versus the little girl.

This Film goes best with a Demented kids Film Festival with THE BAD SEED, WHO CAN KILL A CHILD, THE GOOD SON, JOSHUA, and this film. This is a good rental. It has the requisite thrill factor and the shocking I can’t believe they just did what they did. Especially since children are imperil more then the adults in this film.

SPOILER. The alternate ending where she survives could have been done many different ways she walks downstairs the cops don’t believe she is dangerous and she kills them all. Or they don’t believe she is the killer so they let her slip through there fingers only to show up later at another orphanage. Or leave it open ended where she just escapes leading to more sequels.

GRADE: C+

GOOD HAIR (2009)

Directed By: Jeff Stilson
Written By: Lance Crouther, Chris Rock, Jeff Stilson, Chuck Sklar
Cinematography By: Cliff Charles & Mark Henderson
Editor: Paul Marchand & Greg Nash

Featuring: Raven Symone, Eve, Salt N’ Pepa, Lauren London, Maya Angelou, Andre Harrell, Sarah Jones, Nia long, Tracie Thoms, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Megan Goode, Melyssa Ford, Al Sharpton, Ice-T, Paul Mooney, KRS-ONE,


This is a must see. It’s not the greatest documentary of all time but it is like a Michael Moore documentary in other words it’s a documentary for people who don’t usually like or go to documentry’s it’s funny while being informative and bringing up emotions of course the film has the celebrity interviews to bring more people in to see them give there personal account of the subject but that is not the whole film it’slike a little boost now and then

Good hair is about the business and culture of black women and there hair the processes they go through to be what is taught to them to be beautiful by straightening and having long hair. It not only follows the culture by talking to hairdressers and the women who are paying big bucks for this but it also talks to business owners and the place where most of this hair is coming from India. While exploring this it is also follows the Bronner Brothers hair show and the competition for hairstylist of the year. The subjects are almost as entertaining as the film and some easily walk away with the film.

Though the film is hosted by chris rock he is not the director he is the producer and host because this subject is something he wanted to explore but he is the one asking all the questions and helping to explain everything. While showing sad and hostile scenes and making them a little more bearable and calm through comedy. But you can’t help but think a lot of times he gets answers and access a little more easier because of his celebrity status. Without that it might have been a little harder to gain access to certain places.

The film is much like the skit when Chris Rock hosted the scars, and he went to a black movie theater and asked them about the Oscar nominated films. Through his comedy he is exploring and shining a light on a broader serious subject.

The shameful facts of the film are aplenty like the fact that African Americans are 12% of the population but 90% of the fake hair business a billion dollar business that only 5 % of African Americans own any of the businesses. Most of the companies are owned or run by Koreans. The Fact that as a African American it seems so hard to keep our own money in our community and we willingly gie it away to others who make money off of our community but don’t respect us is a on-going problem and another reason why it seems hard for us to come together and have any power as a community. The film is certainly an eye opener. Plus as African American cinema it is a film that needs to be supported so that more black cinema can be made and cultivated since there is so little of it out there.

As usual I was enjoying the film so much I only wished it had been longer.

GRADE: B+

Sunday, October 18, 2009

SPUN (2002)

Cast: Jason Schwartzmen, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Josh Peck, Patrick Fugit, Debbie Harry, China Chow, Charlotte Ayana, Julia Mendoza, Eric Roberts, Nicholas Gonzalez, Larry Drake, Rob Halford, Tony Kaye, Ron Jeremy, Billy Corgan

Directed & Edited By: Jonas Akerlund
Written By: Will De La Santos & Creighton Vero
Cinematography By: Eric Broms


This film is just a dirty as the characters it portrays it seems to be trying to send the message of drawing you in with the visuals and showing you the life of a tweaker so you can see how pathetic and disgusting the life is but at times it seems to also make some characters mythically cool like the character of the cook played by Mickey Rourke.. Worse all the bad things seem to be played more for comedy then anything else like telling a story. I wanted to like the film but only found a few things noteworthy or fascinating

Like most movies that involve drugs as central to the plot and addicts as most of the main characters there is a lot of misadventures that you think are going to add up to something like a plot but it ends up the movie doesn’t really have anything to say. Sure visually it is great and the cast is likeable but they need better material they inhabit the characters but if the characters are just there with nothing to do then it’s just like the life of tweakers a waste

The movie is directed by Jonas Akerlund who has directed videos for Madonna, He certainly has a eye for visuals but he needs to find material that match his eye here he doesn’t find it. There seems to be a epidemic with foreign directors when they make American movies they seem to like to direct stories that focus on the underground and the downtrodden there little joy’s and mostly bleak existences which is there right to do but at least make it dramatic or interesting that would be nice instead of making it seem like a photo shoot with a theme no substance and all deteriorating gloss.

There are some really gross scenes like Mena Suvari having a bowel movement or John Leguizamo’s constant masturbating or the castration of Patrick fugit I can understand the need to be shocking with your dark comedy to be noticed and make a statement but it’s just a wasted endeavor here in fact the most interesting character is in the movie but really doesn’t do too much and that is Mickey Rourke the movie isn’t all bad it ‘s worth a watch but it’s not as good or revolutionary as it thinks it is.

You get to see The strippers, The dealers, Porn shops and all the usual taboo material.
But for some reason it seems rather tame and not cutting edge.

The film was originally intended to be a documentary on Meth Cooks. Instead they just took the story of a meth addict (Co-Writer Will De La Santos) and his experiences chauffering a meth cook round town in Eugene, Oregan for three days. They just embellished the stories to be more cinematic.

GRADE: C-

HOSTEL: Part 2 (2007)

Cast: Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, Heather Matarazzo, Roger Bart, Jay Hernandez, Jordan Ladd, Richard Burgi, Vera Jordanova

Written & Directed By Eli Roth
Cinematography By: Milan Chadima
Editor: Gorge Folsey Jr.


This was one of those movies that had a chance to really be something different something special make this franchise count go past all the accusations that had been thrown not only at the film but the filmmaker but as they say in easy rider Not we but “he blew it”

This film takes place on the same train after the last one ended but after tieing up loose ends fro the first film we are thrust into the company’s next sale of three girls visiting Prague who are American and there to study art who have almost no personalities just character types the shy one the good girl the party girl as they are seduced into being captured how they are sold to the highest bidder and the death set-up it also focuses on two friends one alpha male who gets his buddy involved the alpha-male feels this is the ultimate hunting trip and will give him the killer edge in business he feels it will toughen his friend up and let him get out the aggression he can’t at home with his wife and kids. We see what they have to go through to get certified and prepared

This is almost the same story as the first movie except he has replaced the males with girls who don’t have as much fun or hook-up instead before they are kidnapped they just have fun and think of all the art they will get to see and experience. Kind of a stereotypical way to make these characters. But also if the whole big idea here is to make the women get tortured then this is just another typical horror film where women are mutilated and tortured in states of undress almost like a punishment for being femanine that was what made the first film so different was it was the males who were hunted and mutilated

There are only a few things in general which make this film interesting finding out how the business works was interesting but could have been explored more like it would have been a departure from what was expected if the while story was told from the business part of view with having to deal with the escape of the girls from the planning of the abduction or in something totally different remake the first film totally seeing how the business deals with the set-up the sale and trying to find Paxton when he escapes and dealing with the deaths of there workers and clients. The other interesting thing is the next to final scene where there are double crosses and revelations galore before the ridiculous revenge filled final scene. The reason this movie will probably be remembered is the castration of a character in full close-up which he deserved for his all of a sudden change in demeanor that makes no sense and also as punishment for making the audience sit through this whole movie and this is the only really edgy scene in the whole film

Despite his intention to shock Mr. Roth also tries to beautify certain scenes of the carnage with what he deems as artistic flourishes that he has seen in European films this movie strives to be like and seems to be at least a little modeled on but it comes off more as pretentious and unnecessary and with little sense like the killing of one character by a woman who seems to be a countess she hands the girl upside down naked and slashes her with a blade that makes blood drop onto her while she seems to get turned on by bathing in the blood the way I described it is more exciting then the finished product of the scene

There are some scenes where he tries some dreamlike surreal imagery but it’s out of place in a film like this so it just makes you wonder what is going on it isn’t subtly put in there it’s more just comes out of nowhere and is too abrupt. He seems to be trying to make a art film where as this is and was like it’s predecessor a popcorn horror movie with extreme violence almost a exploitation movie or a grindhouse film with gloss

The first movie had a cameo by filmmaker Takashi Miike and just like his body of work the first film was over the top lunacy at certain points but entertaining this film with a cameo by filmmaker Ruggero Deodato is like his body of work lots of beautiful camera work but really all that does is decorate the gore his films are more exploitationish in a sick depraved way where as mike’s films are sick but fun.

I guess this film was Eli Roth’s fate he already had made 2 pretty good films Cabin Fever and the original hostel maybe he had too much confidence being the wunderkind of horror and this hopefully brought him back down to focus on good work instead of anything I do will fly.


GRADE: F

DANCE FLICK (2009)

Directed By: Damien Dante Wayans
Written By: Damien Dante Wayans, Craig Wayans, Kennan Ivory Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans
Cinematography By: Mark Irwin
Editor: Scott Hill

Cast: Damon Wayans Jr. Shoshana Bush, Amy Sedaris, Lochlyn Munro, Essence Atkins, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Chris Elliott, Keenan Ivory Wayans, David Alan Grier, Kim Wayans, Tichina Arnold, George Gore II, Craig Wayans


While rarely funny at sending up it’s targets the film is not witty the jokes are lazy and not very well thought out with its low budget the film just looks cheap

Even though it’s not directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans. It is written and directed by the next generation of the Wayans family and while the previous generation had at least some success with a few good and hilarious films. The next generation is not starting off well.

Half of the jokes are stand alone nd seem to be more about spoofing pop culture then staying on course and spoofing all of these teenage dance movies like, SAVE THE LAST DANCE which it seems to be mostly inspired by. And films like STOMP THE YARD, STEP UP, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL and HAIRSPRAY. The film really never stays on the theme which makes the movie seem like a wide collection of skits rather then having a natural plot. This seems to be a common problem in a lot of the modern day spoof films which seem to only be made to be year end revues of all things pop culture instead of the subject or film(s) they are supposed to be spoofing. Which I guess is because these films strive not to be one joke films so they need to pad the films with unnecessary jokes that have nothing to do with anything else in the film.

I realize these films are not made to be cinematic classics but at the least it should me memorable for being entertaining and good. The film just feels lazy.

The main story is the two leads falling in love and him not only teaching her how to dance but find her passion for it again and gain her self confidence. One of the problems is that the leads look too old to play believable teenagers. Yet none of the performers seem engaging enough to really pay attention to nor do they create characters who are the least bit interesting nor do they have any charisma or personality to engage you to watch them.

Since its not rated R The material feels watered down ad keeps the jokes from going profane and over the top. Which is where the Wayans usually excel but here trying to market to a teen audience. So it leaves them kind of shackled.

The film involves separate characters who have nothing to do with each other until near the end when they come together to be a dance crew though they don’t actually do any dancing, but they are just there no scenes of them bonding to come together as a team, it just happens. In fact one character is introduced and is never used later so there is no reason for the film to spend any real time developing the character who is not even used in running gags he is only around for two scenes. He is not needed at all.

Skip It

GRADE: F

WHIP IT! (2009)

Directed By: Drew Barrymore
Written By: Shauna Cross
Based On The Book By: Shauna Cross
Cinematography By: Robert D. Yeoman
Editor: Dylan Tichenor

CAST: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Daniel Stern, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Landon Pigg , Jimmy Fallon, Zoe Bell, Eve, Andrew Wilson, Ari Gaynor, Juliette Lewis, Alia Shawkat, Har Mar Superstar


Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut is much like her personality. It’s cute, fun, funny and surprising. With a career in front of the camera for almost all of her life and working with so many talented directors and running her own production company. It really goes to show that while she was working, she was taking notes and paying attention because she definitely picked the right story to direct and is more successful then I believe most people would have thought.

The film based on the young adult novel by the same name it’s the story of a teenage girl whose mother always enters her in beauty pageants and doesn’t really fit in too much in her town then she discovers a all female roller derby league and enters into it and finally blooms and bonds with people.

This is the type of film you usually discover you see the advertisements and think it’s going to be one way but then when you actually sees it. It is totally different and it has an energy and mood that is infectious that you can’t help but find yourself smiling throughout.

It has a bunch of cliché filled scenes but the difference is they end in a totally different way. I’m not going to lie this film is a chick flick but not the typical one where the guys will be eyeing the exit and checking there watches. It has a girl power theme but can be entertaining to both sexes

The performances are all good but special Mention goes to Andrew Wilson as the girls coach. Juliette Lewis who whenever she is on screen in most movies puts a smile on my face and usually makes me laugh as bliss’s rival on another team and Kristen Wiig as bliss’s surrogate mother on the team. Drew Barrymore has a supporting role that is more comedic then anything and she really throws herself into as the member of the team who is always getting injured. Ellen page has seemed to corner the market on this type of role not exactly JUNO here not as wisecracking and more shy. But I can see why she choose this over the film DRAG ME TO HELL which she dropped out of to be in this film. This seems to speak more to her sensibilities and resume.

At heart the film is a coming of age film told from a female’s perspective. The film doesn’t clearly define exactly if the film takes place in the 90’s or the 2000’s. It also has her mother have the least likely job for a woman who is so obsessed with Pageant’s and being a lady.

It also has a very good soundtrack. This is a must see.

GRADE: B

Monday, September 28, 2009

TRAILER PARK OF TERROR (2008)

Directed By: Steven Goldmann
Written By: Timothy Dolan
Cinematography By: Jeff Vinditti
Editor: Jarred Buck

CAST: Nichole Hiltz, Priscilla Barnes, Trace Adkins, Lew Temple, Tracey Walter, Ryan Carnes, Duane Whitaker


Better then you would think this being a straight to home video film now with that title alone I knew I would enjoy it. I wasn’t wrong.

If you are expecting something great or new with this film you will be sadly disappointed this film is based on the comic book of the same name and it plays like a mix of tales from the crypt mixed with a b-movie.

The title is so cheesy you expect a subpar movie. This film reminds me of the 1980’s that don’t have a care. TheFilms were a pure product and that’s it. Some of the movie is tongue in cheek but it plays like most horror movies aimed at teens the victims are picked off fast and as violently as possible.

The storyline is two decades ago a girl from a trailer park who has had bad-luck and hard living her whole life finally finds a way to leave the trailer park and after a accident that dream is smashed so she goes on a shooting spree massacaring the residents now every few years people traveling around the area disappear so of course this is the perfect time and place for a youth group filled with troubled kids and a youth preacher to travel through. The film has a already downtrodden feel to it. The girl’s past is so troubled you wouldn’t wish it on anybody so as she says it is true she never had a chance. I won’t spoil the movie



Let me just say that this film has the old staples of anyone who doesn’t follow the rules and if they sin even a little there is no mercy for them they are picked off. The film doesn’t let you really get to know each character through and through but you know there types it doesn’t make there deaths effect you in anyway but you watch to see the interesting waves they are dispatched.



Once you get to know the characters you already can predict who will live and who will die but the film does violate it’s own rule by eliminating a character who really did nothing wrong.

The film achieves what it wants along the way you don’t like the victims but you do feel sorry for them when they are being stalked and killed but the film also creates these monstrous evil characters who are interesting so you can alos kind of root for them to catch these characters and do there worst to them. Which is strange as before they were pieces of shit as hman beings but they are more likeable in there later incarnations. I guess because you expect the worst from them already they don’t have the mask of being a so-called human being.

I believe so that the filmmakers can make this film a franchise like Jason or Freddy Kruger. The possibilities of that happening I don’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised if this film gains popularity.

It’s a strange film but I was never bored.

GRADE: C

AMONGST FRIENDS (1993)

Cast: Patrick McGaw, Mira Sorovino, Louis Lombardi

Written & Directed By: Rob Weiss
Cinematography By: Michael Bonvillian
Editor: Leo Trombetta


I Don’t know what happened to director rob weiss but I remember the hoopola over this film when it first came out immediately made it onto my list of must see movies and then it came on home video I went to my local blockbuster (It was the 90’s) and rented it I waited for a Friday night so it could be a premiere with me as the only guest

While it borrowed heavily from Martin Scorsese films and the then current kids who want to be criminals and must be taught a lesson about the life it was interesting as a story of three childhood friends who grew apart one becomes a minor league criminal the other wants to be a mobster and is coming up with all these plans for a big score that never seem to happen the third goes to prison for a crime all three of them were in on he was just the only one who got caught now years later he comes back to town to visit his family finds that the minor criminal is dating his ex-girlfriend who he is still in love with. Let’s just say there is a lot of double crosses and betrayal leading to overwrought dramatic finale that even though the director thought he was making a bold statement feels underwhelming.

Now in the book spike mike slackers and dykes john pierson writes about his time on the set and doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the director or the production. In the end this film is ok nothing necessarily to set him apart form the new directors that were coming out but a minor flair behind the camera at least this film has more heightened dialogue and scenes filled with edge of the seat drama Rather then Gratuitous action and violence that is there just to be there.

Another reason this film is a footnote in cinema history is that this is Mira Sorovino’s first starring role her part is more supporting and doesn’t really give her a chance to show the dramatic chops she would in later films she is gorgeous.

All I know is rob weiss was dating shannen Doherty for a little while and was supposed to direct a film about the history of the milk bar but after that he seems to be a producer/writer for the show “Entourage” Which in a way feels right since the characters on the show a reminiscent of the characters here or at least would have been cast if amongst friends was made today

Interesting tidbit was that Rob weiss wrote this film in desperation after dropping out of design school, kicked out of film school and failing to become a club promoter.this film reminds me of the type of guys you run into from Long Island, New York

The Film is not yet on DVD it’s worth a look but only if it is on cable

It makes you wonder sometimes if some of the great films that directors have on there resumes are like music one hit wonders. They are supposed to be artists but if they didn’t write or come up with the material are they like a singer who doesn’t write there own songs they have a visual style to interpret the story but it seems to only work once or twice since there re so many directors out there who do have talent but are stuck working on hack work maybe some directors are just given the chance they don’t deserve because they bring nothing new to the table do work that 20other just starting out directors could do no real new interpretation.

GRADE: C+

Friday, September 25, 2009

TRANSFORMERS (2007)

Directed By: Michael Bay
Written By: Alex Kurtzman & Ronerto Orci
Story By: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman & John Rogers
Cinematography By: Mitchell Amundsen
Editor: Tom Muldoon & Paul Rubell & Glen Scantlebury


CAST: Shia Lebouf, Megan Fox, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, John Turturro, Jon Voight, Anthony Anderson, Josh Dummel, Tyrese Gibson, Zack ward, Amaury Nolasco, Bernie Mac, Rick Gomez, Tom Lenk


At this point I have to recognize Michael Bay as a auteur. He has 2 films in the Criterion Collection ARMAGEDDON and THE ROCK. When he makes a film you know it is his he puts his own signature on his films, That at first were produced by Jerry Bruckheimer the perfect producer for his style of filmmaking. Which seems to have rubbed off on the director as there films usually employ, Loud sound, Light plots, plenty of action, inventive shots, quick cuts and attractive actors who are more or less like mice in a maze ping ponging and running from one explosion to the next. The man has a certain filmmaking style that I’m not sure anyone else could make or would really want to but he will certainly be around for a long time because his films make money and audiences love them.

This film has all usual touches but for this type of film it actually fits. There is no way you can tell the story of the transformers in any realistic way based on the cartoon series of the 80’s which mainly consists of the battle of the Autobots (The good guys) VS. The Decepticons (The bad guys) The Subject is ripe for bay’s bombastic style of movie making. This time produced by the one and only legend Steven Spielberg.

There is no subltlety in this film everything is ham fisted with a good cast that strangley makes this popcorn movie watchable. The action sequences and effects are both excellent. The only problem is towards the end of the film when the transformers are fighting the bad guys it’s hard to tell who is who because they all look the same, like hunks of metal.

Another staple of Michael Bay is to install stale awkward jokes or bad comedic scenes into his action oriented films. Though it is usually a macabre humor like the BAD BOYS films but in those films it at least fir the criteria. In this film there are full on scenes of physical comedy. There are also important characters who are more comedic invention and act that way then being serious characters. For the comic relief they cast Anthony Anderson which also is nice to have the black guy be the smartest guy in the film which I haven’t seen in a sci-fi movie since VIRUS.

I will give Bay some credit he Is a good technical director. He is just lacking in the aspects of making a film though he does bring the goddess that is Megan Fox to the big screen in a substantial role her role as a love interest for Shia Lebouf. It’s a role that is unbelievable. She is so gorgeous like a Angelina Jolie Clone that she doesn’t seem real. I don’t know what role she could ever be cast in and be believable or look natural.

This film is so big it actually goes global bringing together the members of the cast who have survived numerous attacks from the Decepticons to face them in a building destroying fight in Los Angeles to save the world.

In the end this is a entertaining Perfect popcorn movie for a rental. If yo like his previous films you will like this one.

GRADE: C

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN

Directed By: Terry Gilliam
Written By: Terry Gilliam & Charles McKeown
Cinematography By: Guiseppe Rotunno
Editor: Peter Hollywood

Cast: John Neville, Eric Idle, Robin Williams, Sarah Polley, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Charles McKeown, Sting, Jack Purvis


While not the crowd pleaser his earlier works had been. This is truly watching a natural storyteller tell a story with all the materials he could get his hands on. It is quite a remarkable film a little long but definitely worth watching. The film is a feast of costumes, production design, make-up, mattes, models and special effects to tell a story.

This film s a epic yet very simple. It’s like a bedtime story that is adequate for children but made for adults who have a need to see sincerity for there mind to be open for wonder and imagination.

The plot is exactly as the title says we watch as Baron Munchausen a fantasy world traveler goes on many adventures trying to find members of his old gang to help him stop the sultan from attacking the town in which he is staying. As the film goes on though we see that there are stories within stories within stories.

The cast is all spectacular and while not all the adventures are exciting or interesting. They are there for a reason a piece of the puzzle that is needed to be completed. The fun of this movie is you truly never know what is going to happen next because whatever it is it could never be too outlandish.

It’s a fun ride with it’s unpredictability A scene could be violent, Funny, Heartbreaking or magical. It would almost be perfect for the whole family though some scenes may not be appropriate for younger children. Plus the film may be a little too visceral for the kids even though it has a childlike innocence.

It bombed when it came out I can see why some might not like it.

This is a film I remember all the commercials and posters when it came out. I really wanted to see it but was worried it was a little too arty for me. I was 11 at the time.the commercial/preview which is included on the DVD made it seem like a fantasy comedy filled with tons of one-liners and I still remember to this day the vision of Uma Thurman coming out of a shell barely clothed. It was her entrance onto the screen and into my mind as she still is a screen goddess. The star John Neville should have become a star off of this film. At least a more respected actor as this is one of the only times he played a lead role.

This film is amazing and just the scope of it amazes you to the imagination it took to make this film and come up with this story that gives you a partial Don Quixote like hero. This was in the days when director Terry Gilliam could still get budgets to match his imagination and make it come true. He was at his creative peak. Which I now wonder if it has wavered over his last few films and dealing with studios to make it or has his imagination just gone too far to alienate conventional storytelling and entertaining audiences that at this point he only makes sense to him and his collaborators.

Either way and I don’t throw this term around lightly the man is a genius and I always await news of his new projects with excitement

This is Definitely one for the home library.

GRADE: A-

Thursday, August 27, 2009

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (2009)

Written & Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Cinematography By: Robert Richardson
Editor: Sally Menke

CAST: Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Bruhl, Eli Roth, Samm Levine, B.J. Novak, Paul Rust, Omar Doom, Til Schweiger, Michael Fassbender, Mike Myers, Michael Bacall, Rod Taylor, Jacky Ido, Julie Dreyfus


I am going to start of by saying this is not Tarantino’s best film it is good but not his best. It breaks him out a little paying attention a little more to history which of course he re-writes for his own purposes. The film shows that tarntino is a man in love with dialogue and words particularly his own. Like DEATHPROOF there are tons of scenes of dialogue and the dialogue is great but he needs to learn to edit it down. The film is long and unfortunately feels the same way.

Having read the script I knew what i was getting into but still a few times the film managed to surprise me. Though I will warn you it is advertised as a espionage action oriented war film but knowing tarantino you should know it’s not exactly like that and almost half the film is in a various foreign languages so there is a lot of subtitles. But if you are a true film fan you shouldn’t mind that.

Many scenes feel too long but they are understandable as each scene seems to be tarantino taking glee in having each scenes begin innocent that as it goes on it sowly switches gears into a thriller with impending doom then towards the end the tables turn and show that a certain character has been in control the whole time without letting any other person knowing it.

Christoph Waltz Steals the movie as a nazi who is nicknamed the jew hunter his character is the best written and the actor has fu and truly inhabits the role with steely determination and a certain happiness. His mastering and fluency of many laungages and dialects is amazing. Brad Pitt seems to be having fun with his role but it delves into the more ridiculous aspects of the movie and seems more like a character then a real person. Which is the problem with the third act.

The third act excites and speeds up the action then had been in the film before but feels more movie action then real war film finale.

Also considering you filmed in Europe with beautiful buildings interesting locales and beautiful nature you would figure a filmmaker with a eye would use these locations to there fullest. But just as Tarantino has a talent with dialogue and a eye for visuals. He has always seemed a perfect Indie director as he makes his scenes and camerawork feel claustrophobic. This is a tale that needed to be more open it looks like it was shot on a set or soundstage instead of on location in Europe.

I also wish the Basterds had more time to prove themselves and let us get to know them I know his original ideas were much longer so i feel almost like this is a condensed version. I also was not impressed by Melanie Laurent she didn’t do anything wrong but she didn’t impress or engage me either and the less said about Director Eli Roth the better it seemed like a natural fit of a character for him but he goes for a ridiculous accent and is way too over the top. He also directed the film within a film NATION’S PRIDE.

I guess I feel the movie had a great bunch of elements and memorable scenes but they don’t merge to make a great movie. This is a mild disappointment. It is in the Tarantino mold of KILL BILL VOL. 2 AND DEATHPROOF where it is tons of dialogue and a few scenes of extreme shocking violence and action mixed in to keep the audience awake and interested in what is happening. Almost like a gift or payoff for sitting through the previous scenes. Trust me it still isn’t a film that will be easily forgotten.

Plus I wonder if the reason for the last line in the film “This maybe my masterpiece” is what Quentin Tarantino really believes about this film.

Now don’t get me wrong I respect Tarantino and get excited when he has a new film out. He is one of my favorite Auteurs, it’s just I hold him to a certain high standard that this one approaches but doesn’t quite rise to that level. It is a movie best scene on the big screen but you could wait for home video

GRADE: B

Monday, August 24, 2009

KISS OF DEATH (REMAKE) (1995)

Directed By: Barbet Schroeder
Written By: Richard Price
Story By: Eleazer Lipsky
Based On The Original Film Written By: Ben Hecht & Charles Lederer
Cinematography By: Luciano Tovoli
Editor: Lee Percy

CAST: Samuel L. Jackson, David Caruso, Helen Hunt, Kathryn Erbe, Michael Rapaport, Nicholas Cage, Stanley Tucci, Ving Rhames, Paul Caledron, Jay O. Sanders, Philip Baker Hall, Anthony Heald, Kevin Corrigan, Anne Meara, Hope Davis


The film is about a ex-con who ends up going to jail for a crime he tried to help his cousin with. while in prison his wife is killed and he decides to help the feds by going undercover to catch the boss who he did the job for but as usual complications rise and a lot of dirty dealing and double crosses.

This was one of the most exciting trailers I had seen at the time. So I anxiously wanted to see this film though it didn’t live up to the trailer I enjoyed it none the less.

Coming on the heels of PULP FICTION at the time it came out it borrows heavily from that film. The quirks and at least three cast members that make it feel like a sort of Pulp fiction redux at times. Which beat many of the imposters that started to be made for years afterward.

None of the characters feel realistic in this film. They feel like movie characters, Normally this would be ok but when you are trying to look gritty and truthful it doesn’t at all it looks like a polished production. I would go as so far as to say it feels like a LAW & ORDER episode come to life the locations and the plot are reminiscent only this time it focuses more on the criminal side of the equation.

The cast is great with the characters and there quirks. Nicholas Cage gives one of his best performances as kind of a comic book villain sequel gangster in a realistic world with all his bulked up muscle. It shows a certain dedication to the role. David Caruso is a consummately good actor whose personal life and attitude may have cost him film roles before he got NYPD BLUE he was a dependable character actor then after he decided to leave the show at it’s height of popularity to be a movie theater. It was a bad decision that he seemed to keep getting punished for and hurt his career until he got another hit TV series. Before he would pop up here and there in various films this was one of his first starring roles that was a hit that made him decide to leave the show. But here he proves he has what it takes to play a lead.

This was the first Stanley Tucci Performance I remember vividly. It made me really notice and pay attention to him as an actor.

This film feels like a graphic novel version of a gritty pulp thriller. It’s too colorful and gloss to be a true down and dirty tale. Though it surprisingly funny in a lot of scenes intentionally. It has scenes of Nicholas cage bench pressing strippers and Samuel l. Jackson as a FBI agent with a constantly tearing eye. But it is a fun film that is never boring. Though he does get over his dead wife rather quick.

A Satisfying Rental

GRADE: C+

BLOOD & BONE (2009)

Directed By: Ben Ramsey
Written By: Michael Andrews
Cinematography: Roy H. Wagner
Editor: Dean Goodhill

CAST: Michael Jai White, Eamonn Walker, Nona Gaye, Dante Basco, Kimbo Slice, Julian Sands, Francis Capra


A typical straight to Home Video movie that seems to partially a remake of LIONHEART mixed With a episode of KUNG-FU only with a minority cast and more brutal violence.

The film is violent but thankfully when bones are broken many times they don’t protrude like a Steven Seagal film. While the film is brutal at times, you never worry about the hero who always seems to be in control no matter what the situation. No one really seems to put up a challenge for him even when he is outnumbered which hurts the film. Sure it makes the hero a total Bad ass but there is a lack of tension. You never worry about him you know almost exactly what is going to happen.

One of the strengths of the film is the villian played by Eammon Walker his character has many good one-liners and a certain demented philosophy that makes him a memorable screen villain the problem is that it is a shame someone with so much talent is reduced to working in this film. When you know he is capable of so much better.

Though they are predictable the fight scenes are memorable.

Michael Jai White is a good leading man he has slimmed down some of his muscle but still looks solid and still makes a viable leading man he could be a superhero.

This film was directed by Ben Ramsey unfortunately not written by him which you can tell because it lacks his dark sense of humor. Though the film does contain the line from all his productions “I’m From Pittsburgh, You know what that means”

With this film what you see is what you get the film is rather simple. You know what you are getting into in terms of quality when you watch a straight to home video or now DVD Movie they will be low budget not the best quality of movies but this is one of the better ones. It’s not a classic but it will entice you for two hours.

I hope this is the first in a series of films about this character so we learn more about him in future installments. This film keeps most of his past a secret.

The film is about a man who gets released from prison and works his way up a street fighting circuit with his eyes on defeating the top fighter to get close to his boos the villain.

While the film has Excessive violence it doesn’t have excessive sex or nudity. Even tough it plys like a modern update of a black exploitation film of the 70’s though not as much a time capsule of the times it does have a social message. but no sex and more hand to hand combat action instead of weapons plus this film has better actors.

A Good Rental

GRADE: C+

Saturday, August 15, 2009

TROY (2004)

Directed By: Wolfgang Peterson
Written By: Daid Benioff
Based on the poem – The Illiad by Homer
Cinematography By: Paul Bond & Roger Pratt
Editor: Peter Honess

CAST: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Rose Byrne, Peter O’Toole, Brian Cox, Diane Kruger, Garrett Hedlund, Julie Christie, Saffron Burrows, Owain Yeoman,


The film is grand but in trying to tell this grand story a lot of things have to fall by the wayside to make a enjoyable entertaining movie. Because above all else it seems the effects are the thing that is most important to the film then characters, plot or acting. The only other thing that seems important is the beauty of the actors.

The disappointments of the film are many. For instance you have this great dramatic cast of classically trained mostly British actors in supporting roles. They gear up like this will be a historical epic with plenty of dramatic opportunities. Instead they get a middle ages war film with many overwrought melodramatic scenes. Mostly though battle scenes that the main cast is not involved in so they are more like window dressing and wasted. Which is one of the films major flaws. The Film tries too hard to be something it’s not then can’t decide what type of films it wants to be.

Films of this magnitude don’t usually have top of the line actors. This film having so many is very uncommon. So to try and please them and there fans they each have scenes to shine in. Which makes the film too long and feel bloated. It’s no wonder when Terry Gilliam Was considered to direct the film he only made it 5 pages into the script before he stopped and turned it down

The film builds up to a great sword fight scene that the film has been hinting at throughout and when it finally happens. It is pretty much a letdown. It is realistic for the believability of the weight of the armor and weapons but for the most part is one-sided and not much of a spectacle. In fact the fight between Eric Bana and the imposter was more impressive albeit quicker.

I will admit Brad Pitt has never looked better physically and facial wise This movie presents him as a fierce warrior who is almost womanly beautiful. But still gives a barely passable performance.

Another one of the more laughable aspects of the film is how fast the royals cousin who is kidnapped and turned into a slave to brad Pitt. Becomes his willing lover so fast is questionable then at the ending of the film it’s presented as a great love story.

I don’t know too much about history but Orlando Bloom’s character is made through most of the film to be a spoiled pretty boy. Stealing another rulers wife. Then getting beaten badly while barely putting up a fight his family has to suffer for his crimes defending him. He chickens out of another fight. Then at the end he finds courage and becomes a heroic archer warrior (That reminds the audience of his role in the LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY a little too much) this leads to learning the story of Achilles Heel.

While the film tries for epic and does have some amazing shots. Half o them you can tell are digital and feel like videogame scenes. This film just feels inauthentic and like a bad game of Dress-up.

The film is never really exciting nor do you feel anything for its characters. I advise skipping.

GRADE: F

Sunday, August 2, 2009

STAR TREK (2009)

Directed By: J.J. Abrams
Written By: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Cinematography By: Daniel Mindel
Editor: Maryann Brandon & Mary Jo Markey

Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Winona Ryder, Leonard Nimoy, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Eric Bana, Tyler Perry, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Ben Cross, Jennifer Morrison, Rachel Nichols, Lisa Vidal, Oz Perkins




There is a certain gloss and openness that separates this film from the others that maybe because this s a resurrection of the series with a cast that wasn’t started from the television series. making the cast for this film more big screen ready then previous casts.

This is a restart for the series it is grander even though it takes place before the series and films the technology and effects are way better plus ahead of there time.

The film shows how the enterprise crew came together and gives each member of the crew and cast a scene in which to shine to show how vital they are to the crew. The ymake each cast member essential even the lovely Uhura. The filmmakers also implant a genius idea as to how this and if there are any future sequels don’t necessarily have to follow the adventures we have already seen or have past knowledge of the history of the characters opening it up to novice audiences

The film is well cast especially Simon Pegg as Scotty he is a particular standout he brings energy and much needed humor to the Preceedings. Karl Urban also makes things lively as Dr. McCoy but it still feels mostly like a comedic performance with a dramatic scene here or there. At least he gets a chance to show some range since he is commonly associated with action roles. The give Eric Bana the villain role and while he is scary he doesn’t make a impression on me as a memorable villain.

I have always bee a mild star trek fan I still am a bigger star wars fan but this film instilled a interest in the series for me.

The film still keeps up the philosophy of decisions and technical talk but also adds what most of the movies lacked, general tension and full blown exciting action sequences. Which may have been not as big in the other films due to the age of the cast and the fact the TV episodes were low when it came to action .

J.J. Abrams makes a noticeable improvement in his directing style, Since his last film. There are some scenes of silent comedy, Drama, Physical Comedy, Special effects and action all handled admirably. Though I still feel his direction is still too boxy and Televison styled. Which makes sense, Since that is the medium he has garnered the greatest success in. He still has room to improve but this is his first big screen endeavor that I thoroughly enjoyed .

This is a film well worth seeing and adding to your film library even if you are not a big fan of the series or previous films.

GRADE: B

Sunday, July 19, 2009

AMERICAN PIE 2 (2001)

Directed By: J.B. Rogers
Written By: Adam Herz; Story By: Adam Herz & David H. Steinberg
Cinematography By: Mark Irwin
Editor: Larry Madaras & Stuart Pappe


CAST: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eugene Levy, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Tara Reid, Shannon Elizabeth, Chris Owen, Natasha Lyonne, Joanna Garcia, John Cho, Lisa Arturo, Mena Suvari, Denise Faye, Eli Marienthal, Bree Tuner, Larry Drake, Tsianina Joelson, Adam Brody, Kevin Kilner, Luke Edwards, Jennifer Coolidge


The plot this time is set around after the first year of college the guys decide to reunite to hang out for the summer and get reacquainted at Stifler’s dad’s lake house where they noticed how there life’s have changed and how some things remain the same and jim’s quest to get another chance with nadiya.

This movie is all about the money as it seems the film tries hard to live up to or surpass the first movie to no avail it doesn’t even seem to really have anything for the characters to do as far as storylines go. The women of the first film seem here for just cameos except for Alyson Hannigan. So it just seems like a bunch of supposedly gross out funny scenes stitched together that are not very inspired toe original movie took you by surprise. Here you can see the scenes coming. Shannon Elizabeth looks good in the film but there is nothing for her to do and of course everyone has there happy ending. But I can’t say the film was very enjoyable.


Chris Penn was originally in the movie playing Stifler’s dad until he was completely cut from the film. Seann William Scott really is the only saving grace of this film as well as the series as the filmmakers seem to realize that after the first one he is the most entertaining character and the mascot for the series where as in this movie he is still on the fringes of supporting his character is beefed up more then in the original.

Some characters make a return that really are not needed. Chris Klein just seems to just be in the background there really is no story for him and Mena Suvari. The same can be said of Tara Reid, But I am happy to see the return of Chris Owen’s character Sherman.

This should be called the real revenge of the nerds as they seem to get all that they have ever dreamed of and never knew they wanted.

For a film that is supposed to be a hard r it is rather tame there is nudity in like two scenes but the film seems more about sex talking then actual action.

At first I thought maybe I didn’t give it a fair shake maybe I was disappointed due to the fact that the build up for the film was high but upon watching it a second time I was right the first timethe film is very weak and obviously rushed out.

Skip it not worth the time

GRADE: D

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE (1985)


Directed By: Jack Shoulder
Written By: David Chaskin; Based On Characters By: Wes Craven
Cinematography By: Jacques Haitkin & Christopher Tufty
Editor: Bob Brady & Arline Garson

Cast: Robert Englund, Robert Rusler, Kim Myers, Clu Gulager


S.F.W. (1995)

Directed By: Jefery Levy
Written By: Danny Rubin & Jefery Levy
Based On The Novel By: Andrew Wellman
Cinematography By: Peter Deming
Editor: Lauren Zuckerman

Cast: Resse Witherspoon, Stephen Dorff, Joey Lauren Adams, Jack Noseworthy, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Jake Busey, Steve Antin, Tobey Maguire, China Kantner, Gary Coleman, Eve Plumb


This has a good storyline that somehow got majorly messed up in the editing or follow through. This film is a satire on the futility of not only fame but making celebrities out of so-called real people on television or reality shows now this film pre-dated the reality show boom that seemed to happen after survivor became a hit. It also shows the ridiculous nature of praising nothing celebrities such as Paris Hilton. Who are famous for no reason. So this film without knowing it could have really been a monumental film but as it is a incoherent mess and not in a good way or a artistic way but in away of let’s throw everything at the screen and see what sticks. It has good ideas but somehow wastes them in the follow through.

The Story is of cliff a burger store employee who is a slacker. Who with his best friend is taken hostage inside a convenience store for 30 days as the burglars film all of them for 30 days and make the networks air the tapes before the police come in and cliff leads a mini revolt out of 18 there is only one other survivor a girl (Of Course). Now Because of these tapes he becomes a celebrity/Youth icon very reluctantly. He likes the free stuff but is upset about people trying to be like him, Dress like him. They find him a hero and no one seems to care about the victims or the memory of his friend. He finds he can’t relate to anyone either about his ordeal. So he must contact the female survivor. She has to know what’s happening, though she has kept a relatively low profile. Then after he talks to her and they bond he finally decides to embrace his celebrity status and that is when the backlash begins and finally they are both shot by a girl who can’t stand the Apathy/Empathy they have caused with the catchphrase “So Fucking What” She wants her generation to go back to morals and caring, being intelligent. By shooting them though she becomes a celebrity herself.

The reason I am spoiling this movie for you is because there is no reason to see the movie. The story is the best part and if this film was given to a talented director and a better writer. This could have been a excellent thought provoking satire. I mean just writing out the plot. I have made this film smarter then what the finished product is, This film doesn’t even have wit. It’s version of wit is casting Gary Coleman and Eve Plumb as themselves playing in the TV Movie Based on the survivor’s story.

The Film is just a mess nothing seems inspired. It looks like the filmmakers were on the same drugs everyone else in this movie seems to be on in almost every scene. The film is also just ugly looking. The only time the visuals look slick is in the flashbacks to the hostage crisis. It also doesn’t help that most of the characters seem to be borderline retarded, Which can work in comedy but not if your trying to pass your film off as art luckily at least for me and the audience director Jefrey Levy never seems to have made another film after this. Looking at S.F.W. and his first film INSIDE MONKEY ZETTERLAND. I can see why. Just like I can see why this film is still not on DVD.

Stay Far Away.

GRADE: F

RANSOM (1996)

Directed By: Ron Howard
Written By: Richard Price & Alexander Ignon;
Story: Cyril Hume & Richard Maibaum
Cinematography By: Piotr Sobocinski
Editor: Dan Haley & Mike Hill

Cast: Mel Gibson, Gary Sinise, Delroy Lindo, Rene Russo, Dan Hedaya, Donnie Wahlberg, Lili Taylor, Liev Schrieber, Brawley Nolte, Jose Zuniga, John Ortiz


This film is the type of event film they would have made in the 1950’s Starring a huge matinee idol where they give him a paint by numbers plot but really the film is for the audience to watch the actor play to his strengths in a series of scenes and make him look like a icon. That is this film.

It’s not a mystery who kidnapped Mel Gibson’s son. It’s how long it will take him to realize it’s someone who is in his midst. This film presents you with Mel Gibson surrounded by a well known cast as you wait for the inevitable fight he is going to have with the main kidnapper and hoping it’s as goon and violent as the one he had with Gary Busey In LETHAL WEAPON

The plot is a rich man’ son is kidnapped and pretty much breaks all the rules his kidnappers set to try and get him back going against what the cops and FBI tell him to do. Showing he is a rebel and loves his son. While endangering his son’s life with every stunt just to be stubborn.

The only two interesting things about this film are the scenes where Mel Gibson confronts a old incarcerated business partner who he feels may be behind the kidnapping as revenge. The other scene is when the villain dispatches his gang including his lover to cut all ties to himself to show just how evil he is. While we are discussing it, Why this person would pick this group as kidnappers is beyond me they are like the gang who couldn’t shoot straight. It’s a miracle they even pulled the kidnapping off. So that goes beyond all reason. Why he would associate and plan to share money with these people but other then that there is nothing noteworthy other then to watch how athletic and heroic Mel Gibson is in the movie, for a man who is only supposed to be a industrialist.

This film is fine to watch on TV, When nothing else is on but no need to seek it out.

This is another Ron Howard film where he tries to have more style due to the genre. He tries his luck here with a little more dark material then he is used to but somehow still manages to make it bland. At least here the direction is a little stronger then usual for him but it is still not quite a home run.

When it comes to Ron Howard films I loved most of them as a kid growing up he somehow makes you feel a nostalgic mood when watching his films. But after this one there was a feeling something wasn’t right so I began watching them with a more critical eye. He is a talented director but he really has no style. He was born too late because his films are more idealistic when it comes to content and character. The films fit right in for the 1950’s type melodrama. He seems a perfect director for the middle aged male demographic with material that is not too harsh and more family oriented more over sentimentalized.

GRADE: C-

Sunday, July 5, 2009

DAY OF THE DEAD (2008) Remake

Directed By: Steve Miner
Written By: Jeffrey Reddick;
Based On The Original Script “Day Of The Dead” By: George Romero
Cinematography By: Patrick Cady
Editor: Nathan Easterling

CAST: Mena Suvari, Ving Rhames, Nick Cannon, Annalynne McCord, Pat Kilbane, Ian McNiece


The film is so bad that after awhile I don’t even think the director could take it too seriously as the film gets more ridiculous and seems to make up the rules of zombieism as it goes along until soon it almost resembles a Sci-Fi channel original movie or a really bad comic book. Especially the scene where the group of survivors hear a zombie in the air duct and all the characters who have a gun shoot up in the air at it like it is a reflex they don’t even look when they shoot. Plus when did it become acceptable for zombies to all of a sudden have super human powers. I’m not talking about the strength, I’m talking defying the logics of gravity all of a sudden they can scale walls like Spiderman and leap in the air 50 feet.

Ving Rhames is in this movie more as a extended cameo. Though he is top billed it actually is more of a Nick Cannon and Mena Suvari movie. So that should alert you to the quality of the material. The only reason I can think that Mr. Rhames appears in this movie is either a big paycheck or he felt a loyalty to the series after starring in The DAWN OF THE DEAD Remake.

Nick Cannon seems only to be here to crack racial jokes about why do white people do this. Then he becomes selfless all of a sudden even though throughout the film he’s been pretty much only the strong survive street type.

Mena Suvari who I am glad to see working apparently a lot maybe she is hoping to find that role that immortalizes her again or at least resurrects her career but this and the films she has taken recently are not it. My advice fire your agent you deserve better then this you do have talent and beauty.

I can see why this movie never made it to theaters. Not only because of the low budget but it feels cheap. The effects are horrible. The script idiotic it just feels like a product that was rushed and made t make a quick buck not paying any attention to quality

What did they spend on this movie whatever it was wasn’t enough a true director can overcome difficulties to make something somewhat decent even if the script sucks, which it does. Or the actors are not great, Most are not to bad.

Even though the film is a brisk 87 minutes it felt longer like it was a actor oriented play since the cast seemed so small. To add to the problems of the movie the try to be shocking ending makes no sense.

There is a noticeable difference between this and the DAWN OF THE DEAD Remake other then talent in front of and behind the Camera. The Dawn remake was handled by a talented artist who was visionary and had original ideas for pacing and camera angles. It also has a true director Zach Snyder. Steve Miner is a good television director making a speedy schedule making film he can make the ordinary look extraordinary on a certain budget but when it comes to movies he’s a bit of a hack. He has had his triumphs but he has a somewhat limited talent with film. Which was perfectly fine for Friday the 13th Part 2 and 3 and lake placid but the first two were in the 80’s. for those films you didn’t have to necessarily be good or have style or flair, but since then Halloween: H20 he hasn’t been too visionary actually not too good maybe he’s comfortable and stands by his reputation and resume. Bringing films on budget and on time and they make enough money to be considered successful.

In the end watching this I feel cheated.

GRADE: F

Saturday, June 27, 2009

MY LIFE'S IN TURNAROUND (1993)

CAST: Eric Schaeffer, Donal Lardner Ward, Phoebe Cates, Martha Plimpton, John Sayles, Casey Siemaszko, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson

Written & Directed By: Eric Schaeffer & Donal Lardner Ward
Cinematography By: Peter Hawkins
Editor: Susan Graef


This film was meta right before the films of Charlie Kaufman were made and came out. The story revolves around A cab driver named Eric played by director Eric Schaeffer and his best friend Donnie a bartender played by co-director Donal Lardner Ward who are tired of there mundane lives and decide to make a independent movie about there lives where they try to get financing and get stars they meet on the streets interested in the project all the while Eric falls in love with a girl who is just not entirely available. The film is partially a true story of the obstacles the two of them in real life went through to make a movie.

The film has cameos by many names and the film is full of ideas and at times is inventive what the film is not is enjoyable. I wanted to like the film but I feel it is bad when you are sitting through a film and it feels like more of a chore then any actual enjoyment. I can understand the film is low budget but it is also cheap looking and garish. One of the main problems which is a problem in the films of Eric schaeffer is he is a smart guy but he seems way too interested and in love with himself and his own writing and theories. He seems like a interesting guy but he kind of needs someone to edit him down on reign him in which at least here you have Donal though he doesn’t really have much to do other then be a sidekick. He has no real plotline other then to react and be a sounding board. In future films Eric doesn’t have him around so the films are really still all about him mainly even when it’s supposed to be a ensemble. Maybe that is the reason it is not available on dvd yet as there is little demand for it it seems like a nice attempt for a movie but seems suited as a film you made as your film school thesis then a theatrical release.

This is one of those scrappy films where youwant it to succed despite it's shortcomings that critics and hollywood embraces as showing what you can do with independent spirit and hard work plus reliance.

After this film the guys expanded there success to a sitcom starring the both of them named TOO SOMETHING it lasted one season with Portia DeRossi as a co-star it was more of the same but a little more polished then the film more glossy very little plot it seemed like a weekly excuse for the two of them to lampoon whatever was going on in pop culture they didn’t like sort of like SOUTH PARK but a lot tamer and not as sharp.

GRADE: D-

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

FRIDAY THE 13th (2009)


DIRECTED BY: Marcus Nispel
Written By: Damian Shannon & Mark Swift;
Story By: Damian Shannon & Mark Swift & Mark Wheaton
Based On Characters By: Victor Miller
Cinematography By: Daniel C. Pearl
Editor: Ken Blackwell

CAST: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda
Righetti, Aaron Yoo, Derek Mears, Travin Van Winkle, Willa Ford, America Olivio


Monday, June 15, 2009

QUARANTINE (2008)




Directed By: John Erick Dowdle 
Written By: John Erick Dowdle & Drew Dowdle 
Based On REC The original Screenplay By: Jaume Belaguero & Luiso Berdejo & Paco Plaza Cinematography By: Ken Seng 
Editor: Elliot Greenberg 


Cast: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Marin Hinkle, Jay Rodriguez, Columbus Short, Dania Ramirez, Rade Serbedija, Jonathan Schaech, Greg Germann

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SCARY MOVIE (2000)

Cast: Anna Faris, Jon Abrahms, Lochlyn Munro, Shannon Elizabeth, Regina Hall, Carmen Electra, Dave Sheridan, David L. Lander, Kelly Coffield, Kurt Fuller, Marissa Janet Winokur, Cheri Oteri, Keenan Ivory Wayans,

Directed By: Kennan Ivory Wayans
Written By: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
Cinematography By: Francis Kenny
Editor: Mark Helfrich


This film is actually pretty good that is not so much funny as it is shocking. It goes way over the top at times and still manages to hit all the right buttons to be a successful spoof.

It’s interesting that dimension films released this film with what was supposed to be the intended title of the movie SCREAM. Which this film mostly spoofs on. The film is actually based on two separate scripts that were combined to make this one feature film.

I saw this movie at least three times in theaters and while it doesn’t reach the heights of I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA. But is still marginally funyin it’s own way and passing the torch to the next generation of the wayans brothers. I won’t lie the film does go over the line many times to the point of being disgusting. But it doesn’t disappoint. It was a film that came out at the right time. On the heels of the movies it was spoofing instead of what a lot of spoof films these days do either combining a year’s worth of pop culture, trends and spoofs into one film with a rather thin storyline that makes no sense. Or they wait until years after the subject is not relevant anymore so that the film is ill timed and beating a dead horse. The film is generally funny at least. That actually manages to surpise me towards the end of the film.

The film still relies on the plot of a killer going around killing high school students and is somehow linked to the lead Cindy Campbell as more and more of her friends are murdered.

This is the first film of Anna Faris in a lead role and gives a glimse of the comedic talent she had. Not too much of the rest of the cast went onto bigger and better. It also marks the first use of a Keenan Ivory Wayans staple Actor Loclyn Monroe.

One of the bigger problems of the film other then the film occasionally being disgusting is that somehow keenan ivory wayans makes things such as backgrounds and production values look either cheap or just plain old bad.

Now I know this film may have been bad mouthed or doesn’t have a lot of things going for it viewed more as toilet humor then generally smart comedy. That maybe true but it is a lot better then some give it credit for and at least has a original feeling in it’s concoction. Plus I enjoy it over some spoofs which are celebrated as original or noteworthy. It is a film I can look back on and watch at anytime. I still like it either way.

I feel it is a worthy addition to any film library


GRADE: B-

A TIME TO KILL (1996)

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, Oliver Platt, Kevin Spacey, Chris Cooper, Charles S. Dutton, Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, Brenda Fricker, Ashley Judd, Nicky Katt, John Diehl, Kurtwood Smith, Doug Hutchinson, Anthony Heald, Octavia Spencer, Patrick McGoohan

Director: Joel Schumacher
Writer: Akiva Goldsman
Based On The Book By: John Grisham
Cinematography By: Peter Menzies Jr.
Editor: William Steinkamp


I know at the time it was released it was compared to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD since it was a white lawyer defending a black man in a racist town and he is viewed as brave for doing it in a predominately white town. The only other similarities are that both films are based on popular novels.

Now while this film is entertaining it is nowhere near the classic TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. This film is interesting in the fact that director Joel Schmacher choose a newcomer matthew McConaughey to be the star of the film over screen veterans and more bankable actors Woody Harrelson, Kevin Costner and Val Kilmer. Who would have fit the bill as more age appropriate. The film became a success either way. Matthew McCongnahey was cast after he had the kiefer Sutherland role but wanted a chance at the lead and had a private scrren test that was successful and got him the lead. Matthew McCognahey here is not the one we know now here he seems earnest free of the clichés that most of his performances are filled with now no shirtless scenes sleeveless shirts but not totally shirtless. His character is more serious the party ready and he is not the best necessarily at what he does in fact he needs help from almost all who surround him then towards the end he need almost all of his friends must come to him to get him to believe in himself and be confident so he can be successful. It’s almost like this is a legal thriller produced by Jerry Bruckheimer it has fingerprints on it cocksure character who has it all has a setback then needs coaching into believing in himself again.

This is a legal thriller that revolves around a black man whose daughter is raped he decides to get revenge by killing the two men who did it then he is put on trial for the murders and matthew mccognahey is his white lawyer and friend who defends him in court. While he is tempted by outside forces to quit and let more professional lawyers handle the case.

The film is a all-star extravaganza that has great performances. The film doesn’t rely on a who done it type of thrill since we saw him do it we know he is guilty we are just wondering if his lawyer will be good enough to get him off. Since the guilty party is made to look near saintly and justified in what he did we are made to excuse him or understand his motives. It being in the south helps throw in a racial antagonism into the mix. Represented by the Klan watching the case closely and sabotaging any victory that the lawyer makes.

It surprises in many ways in between the clichés. With a simple down home crowd pleasing philosophy. That makes us recognize some of our own prejudices. But it is a nice popcorn film that brings out the best in director Joel Schumacher who seems to like extreme close-ups in his film He also seems to enjoy not only implying that it is hot in most scenes but extremely hot so hot that it seems no character or location has air conditioning so they all must seem like they are glazed in sweat. Though not quite a thriller as much as a drama.

These are the type of popcorn films that Joel Schumacher seems best at directing these are also the only films he seems acclaimed at. This is a entertaining film that is sure to entice and pull at your heart. It is also the the second collaboration between him and screenwriter akiva goldsman which I think helped Joel Schumacher gain a group of movie fans who not only hated his films but I think in there hatred for screenwriter akiva goldsman they pulled him into it.

A Satisfying rental that is worth adding to your film library at 14.95 .

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SCARY MOVIE 2 (2001)

CAST: Anna Faris, Shawn Wayans, Regina Hall, Marlon Wayans, Chris Elliot, David Cross, Richard Moll, Tori Spelling, Christopher Masterson, Natasha Lyonne, James Woods, Tim Curry, Andy Richter, James DeBello, Kathleen Robertson, Veronica Cartwright, Beetlejuice

Directed By: Keenan Ivory Wayans
Written By: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Alyson Fouse, Dave Polsky, Craig Wayans, Michael Anthony Snowden, Greg Grabianski
Based On Characters By: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer, Phil Beauman
Cinematography By: Steven Bernstein
Editor: Tom Nordberg, Richard Pearson & Peter Teschner


To say this film was a disappointment would be a understatement now I didn’t love the first scary movie but I liked it and enjoyed it. Despite a few reservations and this film unfortunately this film doesn’t even come close to the quality of the original. It feels like a movie just based on squeezing some more dollars out of a franchise. I mean it has 7 writers which is never a good sign. That many cooks working on the same dish. I would bother telling you the storyline but as it seems non existent and the film doesn’t follow it. It would be a waste of time.

The main problem with recent spoof films and this one in particular is to stay on subject and still have a main plot. This film brings jokes about the subject it is spoofing but it has no real main storyline it starts off with one then seems to forget it and seems too busy with the jokes and spoofing more modern day people and events then actual scary movies which is also the problem with comedies like MADTV and the wayans own IN LIVING COLOR while both are legendary and hilarious they won’t age gracefully as all of there comedy are based on modern celebrities and events that 10 – 20 years from now audiences will be scratching there heads to understand the jokes or if they weren’t around when the film was made will be wondering who they are talking about.

Tori spelling is in this movie and was supposed to be a small comeback but I wonder if it was just stunt casting because she barely makes a mark in a role almost any actress could have played. Most of the cast reprises there roles from the first film even the ones who were killed return with hardly any explination. The bad thing about this movie is with all the talent involved it should have been funny or at least funnier but it’s not. There is a chuckle here and there but as a whole I can’t say it is successfully funny the jokes just seem stale.

I also had one of many bad experiences seeing this film in a theater I had some woman sit next to me who i didn’t know and our seats while separate were connected together and all through the movie she laughed loudly at everything even things I thought were funny I would start to laugh and then so would she so hard that she drained whatever I found funny about it out. So that I would pray no more jokes would come to make her almost have a coronary. I have since seen the film at home and still have the same opinion of it that I had that day.

The opening sketch was supposed to have Marlon Brando in a way spoof the exorcist but when he got to sick to do the role he was replaced by James Woods now if Brando would have done it. He is the only thing that would have made this movie noteworthy. This was also the last semi decent Scary Movie Sequel all after this one are horrible.

Bottom line if you liked the first one you will probably like this one.

GRADE: D

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

COP LAND (1997)

CAST: Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Kietel, Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Annabella Sciorra, Peter Berg, Michael Rappaport, Cathy Moriarty, Noah Ememrich, Janeane Garofolo, Malik Yoba, John Spencer, Frank Vincent, Paul Calderon, Edie Falco, Mel Gorham, Method Man, Vincent LaResca, Robert John Burke, John Ventimiglia

Written & Directed By: James Mangold
Cinematography By: Eric Edwards
Editor: Craig McKay


I think the problem with this movie was that expectations were so high that what audiences were expecting and what they got were two different things. I admire the movie for it’s low keyness instead of being gratuitous and highly charged in each scene that would have been overkill.

This is a all star movie, That while it has many stars most of them have roles but not many scenes or much to do. Robert Deniro is only in the movie as more of a extended cameo. That at times his performance drifts into parody. So it is disappointing in that aspect as you watch the film hoping to see some heavily dramatic scenes with your favorite actors and they never come. Surprisingly or not to surprising to me as he is always a scenes stealer when he is a supporting actor is Ray Liotta as the live wire, the rouge cop whose side you are never really sure he is on.

The film feels more like false advertising you think this is going to be a top notch cop thriller. But it plays more like a drama a slow moving drama. The good thing about this is that during these slow dramatic scenes you get the material to understand the central mystery and all the details. The movie is more like a modern day Western, with a sheriff who wants to be the hero but is under the thumb of someone who turns out to be the major villain and finally gets courage when everyone else either deserts him or tells him to look the other way even the woman he is in love with. It all leads to the movies most exciting and tense scenes the showdown. The third act is where all the buildup finally pays off. It is there that the movie comes alive and feels like the type of film you thought the whole movie was going to be.

This film was supposed to be Sylvester Stallone and he does good here even gaining weight for the role but the material never rises so that he can give a stellar performance or have a really stand-out scenes, Though his unrequited love scenes with Annabella Sciorra are quite touching until it just comes to a abrupt stop. but i give him props for taking a chance and doing a major dramatic role after all of those years of action movies, at least he tried and doesn't embarass himself.

The film is about a town in New Jersey that is inhabited mostly by cops from New York. They elect a local hero who couldn’t become a real cop as sheriff because no one is stupid enough to commit a major crime in the town so he has nothing to do the sheriff also harbors a crush on one cops wife who he saved years ago and caused him to be handicapped. When a cop who is supposed to be dead shows up alive in town and so does internal affairs the sheriff opens his eyes to the corruption around him and must decide whether or not to make a stand.

The film is missing some scenes that were shown in the trailer that made it look more standoffish when it came to outsiders just coming into town that might have added some depth and dimension to a already layered film. In the end the film is ok it is a nice attempt.

This was only James Mangold’s second film he shows talent here but I’m not sure he was ready to handle a story like this at this point in his career and with his limited experience. He showed an ability to understand the material by making this like a 70’s film that emphasized the drama over everything and lacked a distracting style in favor of long takes and limited camera movements. He sure proved himself when he finally got to make a real western with 3:10 TO YUMA.

Rent it Though itmaybe worthy of adding to your library for 14.95

GRADE: C+