Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)

Get it, like the cookie, but more ferocious, like.

Genre: Horror Fantasy (Canada)

Starring: Katharine Isabelle (On The Corner; Ginger Snaps), Emily Perkins ("Da Vinci's Inquest"; It)

Directed By: Grant Harvey ("Whistler")

Overview: Set in the early 19th Century, two sisters seek safety in a Canadian trading outpost, but soon discover it is under siege by werewolves.

Acting: The acting on Katharine's part was good, and the other film veterans too. Emily has a way of overacting constant surprise and fear just a little too much for my liking. The budget seemed good enough to allow the director time for a good production.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The look of this was more impressive than I expected, based on the two other Ginger Snap movies. The outpost was absolutely gorgeous in it's rustic way, and the historical accuracy looked legit to me at least. There were a couple of time passage effects, a foreshadowing here and there, the gore didn't let me down and that little kid's face was appropriately freaky. Damn professional.
Rating: 7

Script: The writing was typical dramatic horror for the two sisters, though the white men in the camp were well defined in their characters. As horror goes, the story unfolds well enough, though calling it 'good' is a stretch.
Rating: 6

Plot: This is the third installment (and prequel) in a fairly successful Canadian Horror Series, so it's already go that going for it. What's relatively odd (though appropriate I suppose) is that the characters are the same, played by the same people, only in a different setting and era. This would actually be a better stand alone film than part of a series, and it stands alone very well. The movie is just long enough, short as it is. The flow is fairly predictable, yet the ending is unique and the way there is entertaining. Overall though this had the feel of a TV movie more than a feature film, regardless of the ample gore.
Rating: 6

Mood: The mood was pretty good actually. The budget looked good, the costumes and outfits definitely added to the feel, especially the native hunter with all the knives strapped to his chest. The doctor with his leeches, the muskets and the sets all made for a good lookin' period piece. As for horror, it wasn't that scary, but the blood was aplenty.
Rating: 7

Yeah, for as cool as that sword may be, this movie is one big wolf turd

Overall Rating: 66% (More Bark, Less Bite)

Aftertaste: I don't know if they wanted this film to look a whole lot like Brotherhood of the Wolf without all the courtroom drama / investigation aspect of it, but they pulled off the era of it alright, if my Canadian fur trader history of Upper Canada does me justice. After all is said and done though, I knew it would be another mediocre installment of a popular and professional (yet mediocre) werewolf series. I normally would not have seen it had I had anything better to watch or do, but this interminable heat wave makes other tasks difficult. This was strictly a killing time flic, and it did so fine.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hearts in Atlantis (2001)

Not to split hairs but aren't those just hands on a pane of glass?

Genre: Drama Mystery

Starring: Anthony Hopkins (The Remains Of The Day; The Elephant Man), Anton Yelchin ("Huff"; Along Came A Spider)

Directed By: Scott Hicks (Snow Falling On Cedars; Shine)

Overview: An 11-year-old builds a friendship with a friendly yet strange old man who lives upstairs.

Acting: The kid is good in the TV Series Huff, but in this his acting is weak (though I blame the direction more than anything). Hopkins delivers his part very well, remarkable for such an uninspired character - who should have been completely fascinating - but back to the terrible direction of the other characters... They stink.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: The images were as bland and uninspiring as you could expect from this no name director (or at least lets hope). I haven't seen Shine or Snow Falling on Cedars, but I really feel safe in saying that I'm not missing much. Yes it was professional, and the scouts picked some pretty good locations, but that isn't the direction now is it? Utter mainstream crap for people who have no imagination. Barely better good than bad.
Rating: 6

Script: The writing was semi-decent in the beginning. Again, nothing truly original, but not stagnant or anything. Then the end approaches, and for some reason it's like the writer suddenly realized he was on a deadline, and utter fecal matter ensues. I was rolling my eyes, yelling, "Come on!", and even booing at the screen, and I watched this ALONE.
Rating: 4

Plot: The plot goes the same way the script does, actually it's worse. We're waiting for the secret, waiting fore the secret, little hints as to things, waiting for the secret... An hour and a half later, BAM, kid asks flat out, "This is why they're after you!", mom gets her tragedy and Bobby's stupid little girlfriend gets hers too. I couldn't believe it. It's like the predictably of mom's events juxtaposed with the bullshit resolution of Carol's... Piss! Don't bother.
Rating: 3

Mood: The score was completely distracting. Here's this movie trying to be feel good and happy, and you know it's going to end with some tragic drama and they're playing happy doo-wop music and playing up the wrong things. There's this moment of utter disjointedness, as though someone realized that there wasn't enough time to tell it all (more like no one would sit through this cowpie) and they skipped three chapters to jump to the climax. More like premature ejaculation if you ask me.
Rating: 4

"Anthony, You're fine but will my career ever recover?"

Overall Rating: 46% (Flush This Back to Atlantis!)

Aftertaste: This movie bothered me... Even the title was terrible! I didn't expect much here, but the whole way through I was waiting for the feel good bee-bop music to end and for some serious or at least half-decent story to start. This is some retarded coming of age tale with a twist, and that twist is nothing more than some lame add-on to make it interesting. Well guess what? It wasn't. This movie was given to me as a "Here, I don't want it." Frankly, I'm embarrassed to own it, and look forward to regifting it.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Clearing (2004)

Don't clear your calendar for this one...

Genre: Crime Drama Thriller (USA, Germany)

Starring: Robert Redford (The Horse Whisperer; Out Of Africa), Helen Mirren (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover; 2010)

Directed By: Pieter Jan Brugge

Overview: While a victim of a kidnapping deals with his captor, his wife works with the FBI to get her husband back.

Acting: The names are huge. Redford, Defoe, Mirren, they're all veterans. Mirren does a good strong housewife not trying to lose her cool, Redford also plays a good calm role, and Defoe plays his kidnapper role well too. Perhaps it would have been nice to see less middle aged coping, and a bit more freaking out... For these people to be calm as Hindu cows throughout a kidnapping ordeal...I wanted more.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The movie inspired nothing. No great cinematic effects, no interesting angles or scenery, just a plain old regular story unfolding. It was professional Hollywood, but sans artistic originality...
Rating: 6

Script: The writing was good, especially with the Defoe and Redford characters, and the little spat that Mirren has with that woman from Redford's past, but overall, standard fare. Good, but not great, nothing to walk away with.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story unfolds predictably enough, but half way through I was starting to wonder why days had gone by for the wife and they're still walking around the woods in the daytime, as though it was the first day out for the kidnapper and his victim. It took a while for me to realize they were working on different timelines. By the time I clued in the movie was coming to a close and the ending was pretty lame, especially the denouement. I curled my nose at those last few scenes in disappointment.
Rating: 5

Mood: The style was "calm on the surface, unseen roiling waters beneath". The score was appropriate enough, but after all was said and done, I was waiting for this grand drama to unfold. Even those two dramatic scenes near the end were relatively bland in their display. After all is said and done, it didn't excite me.
Rating: 5

Robert Redford's character drifts along with a zen-class calm

Overall Rating: 60% (Not Too Captivating)

Aftertaste: One of those "I have a couple hours to kill" moments and I saw this at the Blockbuster a couple times. Turned on the Movies on Demand and said, "What the Hell?" No it wasn't terrible, but don't bother unless you're die hard fans of one of these actors. Easily forgotten.

Squish's Six Month Recap (June 2005)

So I've been at this for six months so far, and I thought that for those infrequent travelers who just want to know what the best movies I've seen since I've put up this thing, for you, I'll give a list of the top five.
At the same time, the five worst ones will also be presented, as a warning to never see these, ever! Sadly, I have seen too many bad movies. Maybe in another six months I'll be able to say, "Nothing was as bad as last time."
Here's hoping...

Best Movie Ever of the Last Six Months: The Celebration (1998) - 96% (Nigh Perfection)

There's a tie here numbers wise but without a doubt The Celebration deserves to be on the top of the list. Granted this is a dangerous choice for recommendation, as you may not even find this one as good as the next four on this list, but this is my second favorite movie, begrudgingly bumped down by Requiem For a Dream. The thing that makes this so good, besides the fact that Lars Von Trier, one of the world's filmmaking geniuses who came up with the Dogma Project concept (of which this is the first film), is the purely human element. There's no guns, no grand external crisis going on, no war or epic scenarios. It's just the story of a family reunion whose members need to heal from some devastating events. Brilliant and complex while still making the audience understand what's going every step of the way, I find this the deepest and most immersive family drama I've ever seen in my life. Be weary though, it's not Hollywood.

Number Two: Apocalypse Now: Redux (2001) - 96% (A True Masterpiece, a Testament to Excellence)

A safe bet right? Everyone knows that Apocalypse Now is an amazing movie. Those of you who don't want to see this movie because of all the hype are missing out on one of the top five American Classics (I will include Rocky, Taxi Driver and Deliverance in this realm of 'most watched Americana', just for point of reference). When you watch this film, you're watching a dark time of the soul, not only for the director and the actors, but for the historical relevance of Joseph Conrad's tale in this modern era. The documentary of the making of this film, Hearts Of Darkness, is as telling as the film itself. This is one of those movies that you will most likely watch several times in your lifetime. Yes, it's a safe bet for being at the top of this list, because it's one of the best movies ever made.

Third Best Film: Sin City (2005) - 94% (A True Masterpiece...)

In all fairness this also sits in a tie with the one below, but as good stories go, this one is tops. The thing that does it for me is the immersion into the mood that we experience. From the black and white to the gravel-crunching script we go deep into this world of filth, crime and trenchcoats. The cinematography, the acting and the direction were outstanding, but after all is said and done, this will appeal to your dark side, while still allowing you to enjoy the fact that this is Film-Noir Crime Drama. It's the kind of film that you can watch, be disgusted by, then shake off, because it's so fantastical. Seedy, sinister and so entertaining.

Numero Quatro: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) - 94% (Holy Jumpin' Shit, See This...)

Squish recommending a kid's movie? It happens. Squish recommending a kids movie as top five in a list over 100 long? Amazing, I know, but as I said in the review, this will shake the foundation of Children's movies. I do like dark themes, we should all know this by now, but honestly, the acting, the sets, the mood, the plot and especially the script are all mindblowingly good. Seriously, take my word for it, you will be impressed. A must see. MUST. Go Now!

Bottom of the Best: Goodfellas (1990) - 92% (If You Haven't Seen This, Wassa Madda Witchoo?)

Ah Goodfellas. Yes, I think this is better than Casino or Donnie Brasco, comparable in quality to Scarface and The Godfather, and better than most crime movies ever written. This has been around for 15 years now and I can't think of any Mob Crime movies made since this one that are better (Reservoir Dogs?). The characters are extremely well written, they're funny and driven and we get a truly epic feel from the way this movie spans 30 years of a man's rise into Mobsterdom.
"I love the smell of napalm in the morning.", "You talkin' to me?", and "You think I'm funny how?" are three of the most quoted lines I know. If you don't know which one of those comes from Goodfellas, go get yourself a refresher, and Salud!

That's that. Now for the keep-aways:

The Best of the Worst: Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (1996) - 36% (Piss Poor)

"36 isn't so bad", you may think to yourself... I need you to remember that there are no zeros in this scale, therefore the lowest possible score is 10%. Think of it that way and then think of the suffering I went through. Compound this with the fact that this is a MINI-SERIES on top of it all and weep for me! The story was one big suspension of disbelief, and it's too bad because the premise was good. If only Neil Gaiman knew how to write human logic, this would have gone well. The tragedy here is that in the end, when everything is on the line, I realized that the job of the Keepers of the Key was to make sure that the situation that is unfolding never be allowed to happen yet, they willingly gave away the key to the bad guys! Why? I'm sure it's because Gaiman didn't know how else to finish his crappy book.

Sinking Deeper to Number Four: The Ghouls (2003) - 34% (Get This Bad Memory Out of My Head!)

So terrible and low-budge that I couldn't find an image, even on their own website, this is tied for third, yes, but no doubt lies in my mind as to the fact that this movie is better than the next one. The thing about horror is that it's often low budget and uses shody cameras and amateur actors. The filmmaking and acting in this is atrocious, not to mention that the entire cast is trying to exist through posturing. The cover looked great and on it someone reviewed that this was the best movie he's seen all year. I literally said, "It can't possibly be that bad if someone liked it that much." Quite obviously this was the same person as played the mongoloid from the scenes in the end. I mean exploiting this poor fellow's Downs Syndrome is bad enough, but putting him in a shitty movie too? You should be ashamed of yourself.

Up to your neck for the third worst: Skinned Deep (2004) - 34% (Skinned or Fleeced?)

Lord Almightly. I'm tempted to make this number two, because it has no lasting value, no pleasure whatsoever, no redeeming quality of "at least this is a well known director of it's genre" like the next one has, but the numbers are what they are. The worst thing about this movie, besides the fact that the characters are poorly thought out, is the entire premise of this woman who is kidnapped and forced to live with this family of freaks is destroyed in the scene in the park, when she can flee to a busload of tourists for safety. And no it's not one of those, "But the bad guy would have killed all the tourists" kind of things either. The dude she was with was a pussy. SO STUPID, SOOOOOOO STUPID NEVER SEE THIS.

Over Your Head with the Second Worst Movie: Creepers (1985) - 32% (What on Earth possessed you!?)

As the title shows this is also known as Phenomena. This requires an amendment: Yes the score I gave is terrible and yes the movie is nasty, but the ending is quite... Interesting. This is the kind of movie that you hate, then when you think about it later, you remember how good a time you had talking shit about it with your friends as you watched it. The other thing about this is at least it's somewhat of a classic. It's Dario Argento, and that guy is a horror God. Maybe not a God but a Mohammed or a Buddah for sure. This is actually one of those movies that's so bad you'll want to watch with friends, as part of a marathon or a double feature or something like that. Just remember, watch this one FIRST, then watch the good one, like The Ring, or Saw.

Which leads us to:

Drowning in the worst movie ever: Ghost Lake (2004) - 22% (This Floating Turd Should Be Thrown Back In!)

See? Yeah. I had a theme there with the water. Before we begin I want to remind you that this is 12 points over the minimum score, which basically means that it's 12%. This, contrary to Creepers, is NOT fun to watch with your friends, because your friends LEAVE while you're watching this. Read the review and you'll find I almost turned it off. I have not turned off a movie since I started this website, and I feel that I at least have to suffer through it to review it. Let this be a lesson that you need not learn! Let me be your Christ just this once; let me take the sins of this film upon myself and do yourself the favour of never seeing this. It's not scary, it's not well done, it's low budget, it's technically "Horror" but it's really just a terrible soap opera with a ghost story in it. This is so completely terrible it passes the 'So-Bad-It's-Good" category straight to, "Get your money back".

There you go.

I hope you enjoyed this little thing I made. It'll keep running for a while yet, I can guarantee. All I ask is that you please leave more comments, it's the least you could do, that includes adding any great movie recommendations. I read all the comments, cause Blog has this great way of emailing them to me.

Roma (1972)

She's Roman cause she's got the laurels, duh.

Genre: Comedy Drama Documentary (Italy, France)

Starring: Peter Gonzales Falcon, Fiona Florence

Directed By: Federico Fellini (Fellini - Satyricon; 8 1/2)

Overview: Director Federico Fellini unfolds to us a montage of his most beloved city: Rome.

Acting: Fellini has a way of making his characters all seem very independent in their roles. Everything unfolds as the scene does. Little stories take place while others are observed. Tiny slices of life are focused upon for minutes, or mere seconds. The acting in this is very good, the touch of over-the-top that we experience from time to time doesn't detract from the lives we watch unfold.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The images are of Rome, inside, outside, daytime, nighttime, in the sky and underground, in the past and in the present. This is why people see this movie. It's interesting to look at, but given that this was shot in 1972, it seems that the camera work was a little shaky in several of the driving shots. It was unfortunate to be distracted by that.
Rating: 7

Script: The tales told in the scenes are interesting. We get more a glimpse of an era and a commentary of Romans than a flow of ideas or a story. Last time I saw it, I remember much less dialogue. That's really because this film doesn't need that much script to get it's point across. The words just add to the characters on display.
Rating: 7

Plot: The movie is plotless really. It's more of a showcase of a city through a couple of generations, including WWII and the modern era (early 70s). There is no great story save that of, "This city has survived and been reborn time and again, and it shall continue to do so". This film is more art house than mainsteam, like Baraka, but I enjoyed it still.
Rating: 6

Mood: The mood of Rome seems very well captured, from brothels to boxing rings, from dining on La Piazza to digging underground subways. It's really a good look at a city's life. Each scene is stand alone, and the driving scenes, though shaky really worked well, because of the little dialogue.
Rating: 8

Oh yeah, Pope Parade!

Overall Rating: 72% (Benne!)

Aftertaste: The first time I saw this, I remember really liking it. So much so that years later I bought it. I don't know what happened to my memory, but I do recall a much better movie. Perhaps the fact that the first time I saw this I was nowhere near the film aficionado and critic I was then. The montage in my mind recalls a greater flow and vast panoramic scenes, like in Satiricon. Sadly I was a little disappointed the second time round, but it's interesting to see how tastes change.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Predator (1987)

Both Shwartzy and Predator have come a long way since these good old days...

Genre: Action Horror Sci-Fi Thriller

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator; True Lies), Carl Weathers (Happy Gilmore; Rocky II)

Directed By: John McTiernan (Basic; The Hunt For Red October)

Overview: A commando Search and Rescue team find themselves hunted as they return from a mission in the jungle.

Acting: The acting is fine, if not a little super-heroic. The 80s were the days of big hair and big parts, I know, I know. It's a bunch of tough guys being tough. It's more about the nostalgia for me...
Rating: 6

Cinematography: The jungle is everywhere! It must have been pretty hard to shoot in that setting, but it was really well done. The night assault and all the explosions were top notch, if a little too perfect. Stunts and that alien P.O.V... great stuff.
Rating: 8

Script: The script mirrors the acting in this. The lines are statements of the too obvious: "The mud. He didn't see me", or grand declarations of bravado and one liners: "Hang around..." after nailing someone to a post with a machete or "Knock, Knock!" after kicking open a door and blasting the people on the other side. But at the same time, it has its place in this movie. Again... Nostalgia.
Rating: 6

Plot: The plot, granted, is thin, thin, thin. Intro, go to the mission, talk on the chopper, explosion, explosion. Head back home, survival, death, survival, showdown. Simplicity has it's place, but without good acting or script the plot has to be a little better than this. The big bug fight at the end makes up for it, but still weak.
Rating: 6

Mood: From what I would guess, I'd bet this is one of the first "my crazy alien perspective vision cam" films. I like it. It's really effective in getting that alien stalker look going. Oh wait, Liquid Sky did that alien perspective thing, but that movie is queer underground so it doesn't count. It's Sci-Fi, it's cool, the alien is creepy stalky and if you like Alien with a Commando twist, this is for you.
Rating: 8

Why is the chick the only one without makeup?

Overall Rating: 68% (Just Under The Tripwire...)

Aftertaste: I borrowed this from a guy at work and all night I was thinking "Boy do I ever wanna watch this when I get home". I watched it, I liked it, and I liked it a lot. Turns out I like Schwarzenegger. I mean Total Recall and Running Man? Come on! Hell, I even liked 6th Day. Eraser not so much, and ugh Last Action Hero... But even Kindergarten Cop kicked ass, and if he kept making movies, I'd keep watching them. As a governor he's even well received, so keep it up. Though I do wish he would stop collecting HumVees...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Nothing (2003)

Then what's making that shadow?

Genre: Sci-Fi Comedy Fantasy Mystery (Canada)

Starring: David Hewlett (Treed Murray; Pin...), Andrew Miller (Cube)

Directed By: Vincenzo Natali (Cube; Cypher)

Overview: Two men troubled by the world find themselves alone in the universe.

Acting: These are two of the guys from Cube. They're great in this, all neurotic while exploring this new universe of theirs. The supporting cast, for the few moments we see them, do really well in creating a world of strife around our characters. A nice portrayal.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The look is good. The special effects are great, the house full of the clutter of a shut in, the house itself is neat, wedged into a highway overpass. This is very interesting to look at, very well done.
Rating: 8

Script: "Did we die? We're dead!"
"We can't be dead... We have cable!"

The script has to be good, half the movie is literally surrounded by nothingness. They deliver! It's hilarious and wacky!
Rating: 8

Plot: The plot is totally out there. There two guys face a crisis in their lives and suddenly find themselves alone in the universe with themselves, the turtle and their house. The whole movie is wacky, but the ending especially. Very original concept. I don't want to ruin any of this for you guys, but let's just say cabin fever sets in.
Rating: 8

Mood: The mood is as wacky as the script. I mean it's out there, given that there is just this house floating in emptiness with a couple of dudes and a turtle. I like that they explore their surroundings and answer the odd question that laid in my mind. This was just all round good fun.
Rating: 7

As if! You could totally be making muffins right now.

Overall Rating: 76% (Nothing Sure is Something!)

Aftertaste: What a great little Canadian Film. I was watching my Movies on Demand Channel, which I've been neglecting of late, and saw this title, reminding me that I missed it the first time around at the Bytowne theater. I was glad to see it. It's funny, neat, weird. Good times.

The Terminator (1984)

"Give me all your WD-40..."

Genre: Action Sci-Fi Thriller

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger (Predator; Total Recall), Linda Hamilton (Children Of The Corn; Terminator 2: Judgement Day)

Directed By: James Cameron (Aliens; True Lies)

Overview: A cyborg from the future is sent to terminate Sarah Connor, the not-yet mother of the saviour of the War of The Machines.

Acting: In general, the acting is fair. On occasion, you may squint, but that last line in that big scene, holy Lord, pure magic. The direction in this was a little weak, another take or two could have helped Reese and Sarah, but Arnold was great!
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The cinematography was not as good as I remembered. The special effects of the stop motion were a touch sketchy, and the rubber Terminator head was detailed though obviously fake and even a couple scenes were too dark, but those repair scenes were pretty cool, and the shots of the future were great.
Rating: 7

Script: The retelling of the future could have been described a little better. It's well done but I'm all about the realism and the post-apocalyptic, so I wanted to hear more about it. Yep, the occasional fromage line, but pretty decent.
Rating: 7

Plot: There are a couple of suspensions of disbelief that were a touch out there, but those are forgivable. As for going into a building when you could have run down the street (for that lat scene), sure it's more dramatic, but let me teach you a little lesson. If you're running from a busted robot, don't go into a building, just run down the street and let the army take care of the rest. As for the actual Reese, Sarah Connor, Terminator premise, there are few movies that are this good in concept. Amazing story. Remember how much you liked the premise for The Matrix? Right, good like that.
Rating: 8

Mood: The mood is the thing! It's Terminator! He's coming to kill you liker a bad nightmare! You can't stop him, he just keeps coming!!! Scream and run all you like, he will lay you to waste!!! The outfits are pretty cool too. Too bad about the music.
Rating: 8

No it's not my favorite scene cause all he does is kill pigs though the whole thing...well...

Overall Rating: 74% (But I Personally Liked It Much Better)

Aftertaste: The first time in a long time since I've seen this. The debate about which movie is better rages on, this or the sequel. I'm a purist and for as much as there were moments of unbelievability, and the odd cheesy effect mixed with some corny 80s Sci-Fi scores thrown in, I still love it better than that "Hasta La Vista, Baby" spoutin' sequel. I put it up there with Alien. Damn this is good. They should really do a Terminator 4 (like the Terminator: Burning Earth comic series: all set in the future, all about the end of the war of Man vs. Machine. Schwarzenegger doesn't even have to be in it...)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Aviator (2004)

"Are you f***ing my plane? I asked you a question. Are you F***ing my plane!"

Genre: Drama (USA, Germany)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio (What's Eating Gilbert Grape; Titanic), Cate Blanchett (The Life Aquatic; Babel)

Directed By: Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas; Taxi Driver)

Overview: The life and times of millionaire Howard Hughes, including his affair with aviation, film and Katharine Hepburn.

Acting: I'm sure Scorsese doesn't settle for less than the best, and for as much as I may not be a fan of Leo, he's turning into a fine little actor, a nice portrayal of determination and madness. Keanu could take a lesson or two off of this guy. Everyone else does excellent jobs in their roles too, but like I said, Scorsese won't settle for less.
Rating: 9

Cinematography: The pretty sets and the huge halls and the airstrips full of planes. The costumes and the hairdos and the Brillcream and the way of life...Scorsese captures the period perfectly, at least as far as I am able to tell... Amazing. And from time to time they threw in these sepia touched shots to give us a feel of a soon to be colourized past, and they did it just enough times to get the point across without disturbing us. Nicely done.
Rating: 9

Script: The writing was fairly original too. If Katherine Hepburn was genuinely that much of a spitfire, her life might also be interesting to showcase. The dialogue at that public hearing was damn dramatic, but I expected more grand speeches and more... Hughesy attitude. It was good just not mindblowing.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story is great. I knew nothing about this guy, I just thought Hughes was a millionaire's millionaire, but he lived in the height of changing times, a genius of an inventor with deep OCD. I wish it had ended with us knowing how it ends, but otherwise nice story.
Rating: 8

Mood: The mood was all roaring wealth with a rollercoaster of financial and emotional ups and downs, with inquests and inventions. The fact that this was a period piece made it even better. Long after the movie was over, I was still thinking about those gin joints and cigarette girls...
Rating: 9

Overall Rating: 84% (Fly to See This!)

Aftertaste: The beginning started somewhat in the middle, the end ended somewhat in the middle. It would have been nice to shorten this movie just to add how he made his drill bit millions, it would have been nice to know what happened to him in the end, like one of those black background text things. I liked it, I liked it a lot, it was pretty stunning and no one will ever hate this movie, but it would have been nice to conclude on a note that wasn't "You wanna know how this ends? Go look him up online."

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Not the first Zombie Punks on the scene, but the surely the best!

Genre: Zombie Horror Comedy Drama Sci-Fi

Starring: Clu Gulager (Feast; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge), James Karen (Wall Street; Return Of The Living Dead Part II)

Directed By: Dan O'Bannon

Overview: The medical supply warehouse has sprung a leak. That leak was a military secret. That secret is out, and the zombies are hungry for BRAIIIINS!!!

Acting: The acting is terrible! But the wonder and amazement of this production is that it's terrible in the best possible way. They got beginning actors who could do their stuff just passably enough and they got comic actors to try and do the Horror genre. This could have failed miserably, but didn't. It's a perfect fit! Seriously funny stuff.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: There was one issue I had with this and that was recycling a scene - the water trickling into the earth, and dripping onto the dead. I mean the budget wasn't great but it would have been better left out. Other than that, the scenes were simple and obviously studio, but the camera work was professional and I didn't see any boom mics...
Rating: 6

Script: "Nobody understands me, you know...You think this is a costume? This is a way of LIFE!"
Funny stuff. The character development was so weak and two dimensional that it was laughable, and mixed with such lines as, "I forgive you for my broken ankle, but if you really loved me you'd let me eat your WARM BRAIIIIN!", it can only help the comic themes. Hilarious, melodramatic, terrible, well-written stuff.

Rating: 8

Plot: The plot is simple, yet entertaining, with very few suspensions of disbelief. The characters, though comic do well to advance the plot in a way that makes sense. By that I mean, they ARE trying to get out of there and they ARE trying to make smart decisions while still being funny. A good ending too. Absolutely entertaining.
Rating: 8

Mood: The outfits are hilarious. And the fact that this is 1985 glam-punked out makes it even more tragically funny. The score and the characters were all just out there! A perfect blend of gore with creepy zombies and comedy. This was a really fun movie, tragically set in the 80s...
Rating: 8

Did I mention the hot undead?

Overall Rating: 76% (Good Times!)

Aftertaste: No really, see this! If you've watched the trilogy of Romero's zombie movies, or even just seen 28 Days Later, this will be a nice light look at the zombie genre. I had such a good time with this, I want to show this to others. I want to watch this again real soon.

Finding Neverland (2004)

Yeah, it's fluff but as fluff goes it's pretty decent...

Genre: Drama Romance (USA, UK)

Starring: Johnny Depp (Corpse Bride; Dead Man), Kate Winslet (Heavenly Creatures; Titanic)

Directed By: Marc Forster (Stranger Than Fiction; Monster's Ball)

Overview: J.M. Barrie wrote the tale of Peter Pan. This is the story of the children who were his inspiration.

Acting: The acting by Winslet, Depp and Hoffman are as excellent expected, but I was quite impressed with the portrayals of the children. They were good little actors, and it seemed to me that a lot of time went into making this just right. The boy Peter, was a tremendously good pick.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The images were great. This late 1800s period piece with the outfits and the mansions and the plays themselves made for an impressive visual spectacle. Well done.
Rating: 8

Script: The writing for this seemed well rooted in the era, and the dramatic dialogue was very entertaining. Again, the most impressive speeches come from the children themselves. Some pretty moving scenes indeed.
Rating: 8

Plot: The story unfolds in a fairly predictable way, but it's nice to get a look into the life of a man who wrote such a popular tale. The story itself can be equally enjoyed by older children, but it doesn't hold back any punches. A healthy dose of reality is thrown in to this wonder of imagination.
Rating: 8

Mood: The way the imaginary world blends in with the actual, the look of London back in the day, the costumes and the attitudes... The mood is well set in this film, and you shouldn't have any problem letting yourself be immersed in this world.
Rating: 8

... ick, this level of purity would turn even pedofiles right off...

Overall Rating: 80% (You'll Find That This is a Great Movie)

Aftertaste: This was exactly as I expected it. Real good movie with solid everything. It's nice to see a little feel good movie like this on an early weekend afternoon. Good stuff.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Tarnation (2003)

'Literally dazzles'?! Literally? I hate that!!! It's not literal! It's figurative!!!


Starring: Jonathan Caouette, Renee Leblanc

Directed By: Jonathan Caouette

Overview: A man's self-filmed documentary about his life with focus on his schizophrenic mother.

Acting: This filmmaker actually was an actor for a time, but it seems his best moments are the ones from his youth, very haunting stuff. His mom, in the end, has some rather disturbing moments captured of her, and it's not so much about "acting" as it is about capturing the right moment. Well captured.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The images were grainy, old, VHS and Super-8 quality stock footage mostly, and it really would have suffered if not for the excellent editing. Gus Van Sant (one of my favorite directors) co-produced this, and I can see his hand in the look of this film. Overall it had a home-video look, but there were some nice slices of haunting or touching imagery thrown in. Original stuff, if a little unrehearsed.
Rating: 7

Script: The dialogue and the written narration made for a very interesting telling of this tale. It's one thing to know that your mom is crazy, but actually hearing her talk and titter and break-down is another. I was a tad disappointed in this, but it's still good.
Rating: 6

Plot: The story is one worth telling. A true everyman tells us a story about his life and we see it unfold into anything but an everyman scenario. With stories of abuse, madness and homosexuality, we find some very unique ideas stemming forth.
Rating: 7

Mood: The mood was a little disjointed I found. We were immersed in this kid's life but at the same time the different edits and quick scenes made for a film that I would have liked to get into a bit more than I did. I wasn't as troubled as I should have been, not as happy at the good times, because of the limited stock.
Rating: 6

Yeah, well Gus Van Sant said he could produce this but I'd have to blow him... no I'd really like to anyways, but it is ETHICAL?

Overall Rating: 66% (Fine, I Guess)

Aftertaste: I expected a lot more from this, and the timing was great. Late afternoon on a Friday before going out made for a nice early evening prep, but I think I'll remember the company more than the film itself. I've seen better montages of this style, including the amazing Etre et Avoir. See that one if you have the chance, wow.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

Eeee! there's fighting all over the place!

Genre: Samurai Action Crime Drama Thriller

Starring: Uma Thurman (The Avengers; Be Cool), Lucy Liu (Three Needles; Charlie's Angels)

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction; Reservoir Dogs)
Overview: After a failed attempt on her life at her wedding, The Bride is after her assailants, a team of highly skilled assassins, led by Bill.

Acting: The acting by everyone was impressive with that hint of Kurosawa melodrama. The Bride, O-Ren, Vivica, Sonny Chiba, Daryl and Bill seriously deliver. It's quite obvious that Quentin did a great job directing them and all their supporting cast. Good times to be had all round, even Buck.
Rating: 9

Cinematography: Black and white scenes, silhouette fighting, even a really sharp and unique Anim? sequence make sure that the look of the film is visually stunning. As for the camera work, framing and the settings, from living room fight scenes to one with light snow in a Japanese Zen Garden... Again Quentin really outdid himself.
Rating: 10

Script: The writing in this film tends to be superbly clich? with rare moments of commonplace. Impressive lines such as, "Those of you who still have your lives may leave, but leave your limbs, they belong to me", and "Sometimes her cooch gets dryer than a bucket o' sand". Sometimes it seemed a little forced, but Quentin has always been a good writer, even back in the days of True Romance.
Rating: 8

Plot: The story is one worthy of a sequel. Not only does Quentin do the wonderful job of bringing back the vengeance plot with ... a vengeance, but he throws in the O-Ren Ishii story of vengeance on top of it, in animé? format even. Simple enough to be comprehensible and fun, while still being deep enough to touch us all, and as always, full of original scenes.
Rating: 9

Mood: The film is all about the old Kung Fu style ninja battles with insane odds and giganto blood spray and limbs all over the place and costumes and posturing, and Holy God does Tarantino ever know what he's doing. Yes he's gory, but so would all those Kung Fu movies be if they had better budgets! This is the dream of so many fans, to have a good production of a nostalgic tale of "YAKAMUZA HAI!"... for lack of better words... and that intro cracks me up every time!
Rating: 9

Just a flesh wound!

Overall Rating: 90% (A Masterpiece of Revenge)

Aftertaste: You haven't seen this? Are you living in a cave or are you a Born-Again Christian who snubs your nose at high art because there's a little blood spray in it? What the living hell are you waiting for? As for the rest of you, you know how good this is, why haven't you shown this to your ignorant friends? If you're going to see 10 movies a year, this should be one of them, period... And maybe then you'll have to see the sequel (but you don't have to).