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All reviews - Movies (20) - TV Shows (1) - DVDs (21) - Books (1) - Games (2)

My Lucky Stars review

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 7 April 2015 09:11 (A review of My Lucky Stars)

Decidedly not a 'Jackie Chan film' but instead a Sammo Hung film with essentially a guest-starring role for Jackie. And in truth his fights aren't that great, certainly not of the jaw-dropping nature we are used to seeing, only an interestingly staged fight in a funhouse stands out as truly memorable. Third brother from the Peking Opera Yuen Biao has even less screen time. The action takes place mostly during the opening and closing 15 minutes, the rest of the movie has Sammo and his other cronies engaging in comedy set-pieces. Some are funny like Richard Ng believing he has the ability to control other people's thoughts, while others are more stupid than funny like a far-too-long parade of phony burglars so the guys can each get tied up to the lady detective. Yes, very infantile humor abounds so your tolerance will dictate how you find My Lucky Stars. It's one of the few Jackie movies I had yet to see, and its placement in the order of necessity is exactly where I would have scheduled it.


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DECADENT EVIL review

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 7 April 2015 09:10 (A review of DECADENT EVIL)

Dopey vampire flick offers no scares but a few intentional chuckles and one genuine surprise. Begins with a wholly unnecessary 4-minute backhistory of this particular vampire nest, although I guess they deserve some credit for trying to give their characters some footing, but what's with the little red homunculus dude named Marvin getting so much camera time? Knows not to overstay its welcome at a scant 67 minutes and doesn't take itself seriously, which are two reasons to prefer it over 'Twilight'.


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Revenge of the Musketeers review

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 7 April 2015 09:06 (A review of Revenge of the Musketeers)

Delightful escapist yarn finds Eloise the daughter of the famous D'Artagnan rousing the retired musketeers back into action to thwart a plot against young prince Louis XIV. Or so she thinks after she and others misinterpret a laundry list covered in blood for a secret code! Philippe Noiret and Sophie Marceau are terrific in creating a sparring father-daughter relationship, while Luigi Proietti is a hoot as multitasking Cardinal Mazarin. Plenty of lively horseplay, wordplay, and swordplay to go around with Marceau in particular breaking some uncredited ground as an action heroine, performing all her fencing and nearly all her own stunts a couple years before the likes of Xena and Buffy debuted on American TV screens. Combining a reckless abandon with breathtaking beauty, she's simply great fun and a real joy to watch in this. Furthermore it's a movie about the famous Dumas Musketeers that's actually made in France by the French, what more could you ask for?


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Anthony Zimmer review

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 7 April 2015 09:05 (A review of Anthony Zimmer)

Effective low-key thriller enhanced by short bursts of tensely gripping action. Greatly superior to the limp American remake " The Tourist ", make sure you see this one first to avoid the same anger I relived because the major surprise had already been spoiled. Even worse, that movie only survived by cheating with its characters' behavior, while "Anthony Zimmer" makes more logical sense while planting some shrewd clues. Admittedly that one features a ravishing Angelina Jolie, but an enticingly enigmatic Sophie Marceau doesn't get seated at the table by the kitchen door either.


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L'√Čtudiante review

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 7 April 2015 09:04 (A review of L'√Čtudiante)

A 22-year-old teacher studying for her literary exams meets a 28-year-old touring musician at just the wrong time. Can they overcome the many obstacles and differences between them? Does love in fact conquer all? These are the questions tackled in this seriocomic affair, drawing inspiration from the philosophical writings of Moliere. Starts off sprightly, loses some traction due to the geographical separation of the stars, but finds its way to an agreeable conclusion without tying up in ribbons. Sophie Marceau is at her best when playing a fiery, strong-willed woman like Valentine, and of course she's gorgeous too. Her emotional oral exams during the climactic scene give her a real chance to shine as an actress.


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True Blood: Season 1 review

Posted : 2 years, 5 months ago on 22 January 2015 03:19 (A review of True Blood: Season 1)

I'll admit that I was a hater without really knowing what I was talking about. I'd seen parts of a few episodes during HBO Freeview weekends and found them laughably ridiculous - although in fairness, they were probably from Season 5+ which even the most loyal fans concede showed a steep drop in quality. Something inexplicably kept tempting me to give it try though, and it certainly wasn't yet another story involving vampires.

As it turns out, the beginnings of True Blood provide hours of bawdy and bloody entertainment. That vamps have come "out of the coffin" gives them new life, so to speak, with some interesting societal sibebars to consider in-between fang bangings. The swampy Louisiana locations really create a vivid atmosphere for these characters to run around, and the cast is uniformly excellent with Anna Paquin simply perfect as Sookie Stackhouse. Her attraction to Stephen Moyer's 173-year-old Bill Compton provides the first human/vampire love affair that I really bought into, even Buffy & Angel never really had me convinced.

Often described as "trashy" which is fairly accurate, as long as the sharp writing is given its due, not for exposing any great truths but for capturing distinct character details that always resound with honesty. I was never bored at any point and enjoyed the presence and sidestories of all the main characters. Curiously the only boring characters are most of the other vampires, played with the same trite, shallow brooding demeanor seen in most every vampire onscreen during the past 25 years. Never mind, the first season of True Blood is a wild ride I'm very glad I chose to take.


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Meridian - The Charles Band DVD Collection Vol. 1 review

Posted : 2 years, 10 months ago on 15 August 2014 06:57 (A review of Meridian - The Charles Band DVD Collection Vol. 1)

Peculiar mish-mash of medieval legend, magic, ghosts, and misty portals in this Beauty and the Beast variation. While Italian locations help the atmosphere, the film never really generates many chills nor suspense. The "I only raped you because I love you" defense was heavily worked in the '80s (or 1990 in this case) but doesn't hold any water these days. Best word to describe Sherilyn Fenn is 'bewitching'.


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American Psycho: Uncut Version review

Posted : 2 years, 10 months ago on 15 August 2014 12:36 (A review of American Psycho: Uncut Version)

It's funny how some people 'get' certain movies and other people don't, part of the magic & mystery of cinema. There are plenty of films I don't get, but 'American Psycho' is one that hits the target. To me, it aims to skewer 1980's culture of greed and superficiality, when young hotshots made killings in the stock market while measuring their status based on what restaurants they can get into on short notice and the quality of font on their business cards.

Within this environment we are introduced to Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street executive who harbors secret homicidal desires that become increasingly difficult to control. In the first scene Patrick in voiceover describes his daily routine, which leads me to believe the entire movie follows his level of psychology. In reality, Patrick is a major hump: associates commonly confuse him with another broker, he gained his position as CEO simply because his father runs the company, he's trapped in a relationship with a nagging woman who obliviously disregards his opinions, his unattractive mistress is hooked on pills and is in a constant catatonic state, nobody considers him a threat even when his gloved hands are wrapped around the throat of a co-worker, and his taste in cheesy commercial pop music is openly ridiculed. However in the guise of an almost over-the-top Christian Bale, Patrick thinks he is a handsome hotshot, exemplified by his exaggerated posing for the camera as he videotapes his 3-way with a couple prostitutes visibly unimpressed by his status. His world is one of demented fantasy that escalates as his urge to kill grows.

This is not a horror movie - this is a very black comedy, savagely scoring many observational points (a favorite: undermining the common belief that heavy metal music fosters violent behavior) as well as generating a lot of laughter. Some of it comes uneasily, but stage me a scene funnier than Bale running naked down his apartment corridor maniacally waving a chainsaw. If you don't find that funny, then you probably didn't 'get' it. And I bet you won't hear Huey Lewis 'Hip To Be Square' the same way ever again.


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When Harry Met Sally (Special Edition) review

Posted : 2 years, 10 months ago on 15 August 2014 12:34 (A review of When Harry Met Sally (Special Edition))

Does what more adult relationship comedies should provide: laughs & likeable, intelligent characters.


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Caprica: Season 1.0 [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] review

Posted : 2 years, 10 months ago on 6 August 2014 07:20 (A review of Caprica: Season 1.0 [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC])

Engrossing and tantalizing slow-building drama set 58 years before Battlestar Galactica. How and why were the Cylons created? We start to find those answers in the first half of Caprica's first and only season. Some parts work and some not as much. Eric Stoltz and Paula Malcomson are exceptional as the powerful Graystone family and their side of the story dominates the screen. Less interesting is the Adama side, although no fault of intense Esai Morales as future Admiral Bill's father Joseph, because his search for his dead daughter in the virtual world makes very little progress in relation to screentime. Also unfortunate is that promising actress Alessandra Torresani is mostly confined to acting as the human component inside a robot body. I also wish the episodes would stick to one storyline for longer stretches rather than jumping back and forth, a tactic that seems mostly unnecessary for this series. I look forward to Season 1.5 and have a feeling I will be gnashing my teeth over another quality series that met an undeserved demise.


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