Thursday, August 30, 2007

White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf

Here is a nice throw back to the Disney films of old. Standard Alaskan fare raised to a higher level on the strength of Ken Olin and David Fallon. Olin we know and love from his work on ALIAS and Fallon is building quite the following with his on GHOST WHISPERER. Scott Bairstow is actually quite convincing in the lead here and Alfred Molina is on board as a good guy for a change. Ethan Hawke who starred in the first WHITE FANG does so vocal work in the set up. A perfect film for family and all.

Dumb & Dumber

This would introduce the world to the Farrelly brothers own special kind of literal toilet humour. There were a few laughs that got me here but by the time this was rolled out in theatres I was already sick of Jim Carrey. Jeff Daniels is actually much funnier here and for my money he got the best material. About the only thing of real interest other than seeing my man Mike Starr was Cam Neely of the Boston Bruins doing a cameo. Speaking of Neely, be sure the check out the CAM NEELY FOUNDATION. Since retiring from hockey he has been working with his charity to provide housing and support for families faced with medical hardships. A worthy cause indeed!

The Deadly Bees

Blame on the bees with this one because this should have been a good film. What with Robert Block scripting and Terrence Fisher directing it had everything going for it......except a stupid story about mutated bees up to one ton of no good. About the only thing interesting here is the appearance of a band called THE BIRDS at the beginning of the film which features a very young Ronnie Wood....other than that...give this clunker a pass.

Black Moon Rising

Little seen film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Linda Hamilton. The black moon in question is actually a car and John Carpenter came up with the idea. It's standard stuff with some fair action and watching a young Tommy Lee is good fun. Lalo Schifrin provides an interesting score and there are small parts for Bubba Smith and FEAR's Lee Ving.......and ya gotta check out Linda's hair! In profile it looks like a mock plastic Elvis doo.....out of this friggin' world! One to keep your eye out for on late night TV....when nothing else is on!

Mission: Impossible

Somehow I managed to forget Brian De Palma directed this fabulous update of the television classic. His style is perfect for this type of film and quite frankly I was stunned at how he handled the action scenes. Total top drawer all the way here. Tom Cruise is at his very best here and the supporting cast is simply out of this world. Need I mention the lovely Emmanuelle Beart is here as well. No, don't think I need to write another word about the box office smash hit!


An aboslute disaster at the box office and I suppose there was good reason why. Still, XANADU retains a fond spot in my heart. Perhaps it was nothing more than my memory of Olivia Newton John (who earned the moniker Olivia Neutron Bomb when this baby hit the screen) dancing around in her leopard print mini skirt or THE TUBES cameo but I simply adored this film, Granted, the acting is bad, even from Gene Kelly in his last feature film, and the story totally inept but there is the lovely Don Bluth annimated segment and a fun soundtrack to back most of this nonsense up. You can take it or leave it.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Whenever I hear people talking of movie magic CLOSE ENCOUNTERS always comes to mind. I was eleven when this now classic film hit the big screen and to say it blew my mind would be an understatement of gross proportions. It was scary, it was serious and it was simply amazing. As so much has been written about it I shan`t bother saying much more. It`s another video going out the door and hence I have to write my little blurb for it. I will say I enjoyed the ``original`` version much better as I still feel the interior of the mother ship should have been left to the imagination, alas, Spielberg is Spielberg and it`s his film so if he wants to add extra footage who am I to bitch. Also, Lance Henriksen is in there which a lot of people, including myself, often forget. A timeless bit of film making well worth a reviewing sometime soon.

Cape Fear

John D. MacDonald truly created a monster when he gave birth to the character of Max Cady. In this 1991 remake of the 1962 classic has the great Robert DeNiro in the role this time giving yet another outstanding performance. Martin Scorsese was a perfect choice to direct this one and it's a nice touch how he brings in the principal cast members from the original for cameos, hell, they even kept the original music. Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis are all excellent and what else can I's one bloody great gripping piece of work.

Hearts in Atlantis

Though Anthony Hopkins is listed as the star here, the honor really goes to Anton Yelchin and Mika Boorem who both worked together in ALONG CAME A SPIDER. William Goldman does a superb job of adapting this Stephen King short story which is yet another where he laments the loss of childhood. Hopkins delivers his most low key performance to date and is in beautiful form here. The film almost could have done without the supernatural elements as the key themes can stand on their own. With nice work from David Morse and Hope Davis, HEARTS IN ATLANTIS is one to add to your "must see" list.......and keep a close eye on Yelchin...we'll be seeing him soon as Checkov in the new STAR TREK.

The Postman

I can't even begin to rattle of the number of problems with this film so I won't bother....though I willl say it's biggest drawback is trying to jam way too much into it. Between the Civil War aspects, the whole Freemasonry thing with the postman code, the analogy of communication being's enough to give you a headache. If you want the real story read the David Brin novel. If you are looking for a couple of hours of silly action then this one's for you. Kevin Costner does double duty as director and star and is enjoyable as always. Will Patton as the evil General Bethlehem is excellent but the real treat here is the bit part played by Tom Petty. Olivia Williams as the love interest is stellar and Giovanni Ribisi puts in some fine work as well. There are some great moments in THE POSTMAN, just don't let your logic ruin them for you.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Some films just seem to capture moments in time and FAST TIMES is one of them. Watching it makes me feel as if I'm in a time warp and I'm happy to say the laughs well stand the test of time. As great of an acotr as Sean Penn is, he will always be burned in my mind as the surfing stoner Jeff Spicoli. His work with the late Ray Walston as Mr. Hand is fantastic and is just as funny now as it was when it came out in 1982. Another late great, Vincent Schiavelli, as the biology teacher Mr. Vargas, is simply legend. Jennifer Jason Leigh is perfect as the female lead and what red blooded male could ever forget the pool scene with Phoebe Cates. Also, if you look hard you'll catch Nicholas Cage in his big screen debut.......and who ever would have thought Forest Whitaker, or Penn for that matter, would go on to A-list status. Amy Heckerling directs this Cameron Crowe script right into the classics as far as I'm concerned and come Debbie Harry never got a credit?!?!?!?!?!?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Darkness Falls

It is best to treat this little bit of nonsense as a BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER episode which is kind of easy to do as it stars Emma Caulfield who I must say I much more prefer as a hormone challenged vengence demon than the character she portrays here. Our ghoulie is known as the TOOTHFAIRY (never mind the fact Thomas Harris already used that one in RED DRAGON) , a good witch wrongly burned who comes back to Darkness Falls to grab the kiddies. Silly stuff for sure but it does deliver so good jumps and Stan Winston's work on the witch is top notch as always. Lee Cormie does a great job as the kid in distress here and I imagine we'll see good things from him in the future. Emily Browning also has a nice bit part. All in all, standard fare you can live with or without.

Brassed Off

This little known film from Mark Herman deals with a group of English coal miners faced with an obsolete future. It's a true story and Herman does a brilliant job telling it, warts and all and holding no punches. He brings together a virtual all-star cast of English character actors making this look almost like a special episode of THE EASTENDERS. Pete Postlethwaite and Ewan McGregor provide what might pass for star power here, I say this only because everybody brings their A-game here making them all stars in their own right. Of course, the whole plot revolves not only around the impending closing of the local mine and the labor disputes that come with it, but the brass band they all belong to, hence the title. Tara Fitzgerald provide the love interest here in what you will fin to be one of the most understated and moving films around.

Children of My Heart

Keith Ross Leckie both wrote and directed this romantic look and the early life of Gabriel Roy. Genevieve Desilets does a wonderful job of bringing warm depth to her subject and the overall feel here is hauntingly sublime. Genvieve Bujold has a nice cameo as the older Roy and Michael Moriarty has a minor part here. Although made for television, this docudrama of the French Canadian author is well above average.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

Good little number with tons o' splat. Features some early work from Viggo Mortensen as well as horror veteran Ken Forre. Really though, the title says it all and if this is your bag of bones then go for it.

Angel and the Badman

This 1947 number has everything you've come to expect from a John Wayne film. Drinking,women and romance and bar room brawls with the Duke as always saving the day. ANGEL AND THE BADMAN would mark the first time Wayne produced a movie, something he would do a fair bit of for the rest of his career. Gail Russell as the Quaker daughter is the girl who wins ol' Wayne's heart in this one in one of his best romantic performances. Look for Bruce Cabot of KING KONG fame as well. Standard stuff you can no doubt find on late night TV.


This looked like yet another one of the bad Rutger Hauer nonsensical sci-fi flicks and I'm happy to report it wasn't. Oh sure, it's a low budget jobbie but what it lack in dollars it makes up for in sense. A smart and imaginative concept about dimension hopping is what we have here with Josh Charles taking the lead and the lovely Andrea Roth kicking some serious ass. Jack Black makes has a bit part and this is one to grab from the cheap section of your video store (do you still have one?!?!?!?!?) for a looksee.

The Day of the Jackal

A near perfect dramatization of Frederick Forsyth's famous novel, THE DAY OF THE JACKAL is a wonderul example of fine Seventies film making. Fred Zinnemann directs this one with the hand of a master as if he were playing a game of chess, moving pawn into position for a wonderful display of hard boiled police work. Edward Fox is impeccable as the Jackal and gives the character a stunning coldness and precision making this a true classic. Skip the remake and stick to the original.

The Terror Within

So.....just how bad is THE TERROR WITHIN? Well, there is a scene where a dog is chasing a woman which is supposed to be dramatic and scary and here is the pooch tail a wagging and looking like he's out for a fine old run in the park. Just incredibly bad film about society after a biological agent all but wipes out human life on the planet and causes a plague of mutants to run rampid. Somehow poor George Kennedy was roped in to starring in this piece of garbage and about the only good thing I have to say about it is Starr Andreeff is in it. Avoid like you would mutants selling flowers.


I've not yet had the pleasure of reading the Julian Barnes novel but if it is anywhere half as good as this film I'll be bloody well looking forward to it. Christian Bale is fantastic here as man, prompted by a visit from an old childhood friend, who is having serious question about his life as a working husband and father. This story will ring clarion for any man who's been married for a while and I reckon the feeling is pretty much universal. Emily Watson as Bale's wife is amazing as always but the real treat here is a pivotal speech delivered by the great character actor John Wood. There is also some very fine work from Elsa Zylberstein, Amanda Ryan and Lucy Speed. Philip Saville's directing style works like a charm here making METROLAND a state of mind you won't want to miss.

The Horror Show

The late Brion James here stars as Max Jenke, a giggling recently electric chaired psycho who comes from beyond the grave to cause some serious trouble for the man who captured him. Special effects man James Isaac takes the direcotr's chair here and brings a good splatter filled atmospheric jaunt into spooksville. Lance Henrickssen star as the persued detective and is his usual entertaining self. Abover average offering from this genre and James often is quoted as saying the role of Jenke was his all time favorite.

Beverly Hills Cop II

Tony Scott delivers a fast paced and better than the original sequel here in an oh so Eighties flick. Eddie Murphy returns as Axel Foley who is on the hunt for Jurgen Prochnow who killed a buddy of his. This is about all you need to know about the plot which is a well ballanced mix of action and laughs. Brigitte Nielsen is here and showing no signs of her future in the SURREAL LIFE and look for a youg Chris Rock in his film debut as a valet at the Playboy mansion. Old Hugh Hefner does a cameo as well as many playmates including Kymberly Paige and Herrin. Straight forward fun you can easily catch on late night television.

They Live

It certainly helps if you are a wrestling fan to watch this gnarly little number from John Carpenter. Based on a short story from Ray Nelson (somebody you should most certainly check out) THEY LIVE deals with aliens taking over the planet and using devices which make them appear to be just like us as well as using some not so subliminal techniques to keep us humans in line. It's silly stuff to be sure but with Rowdy Roddy Piper in the lead it's damn good fun silly stuff! He and co-star Keith David have a wonderful "wrestling" scene in the middle of this baby which may put off non fans but it sure is a howl to watch and the one liners here are just amazing...gems like "life's a bitch and she's in heat". Also around looking mighty psycho is the lovely Meg Foster who has an am,azing scene where she puts Roddy through a plate glass window and down a hill. I gather Piper did the stunt himself and it's a beaut' fer sure. This is one where you leave your brain outside the door and simply go along for the ride.


Richard Attenborough rolls out an all-star cast in this film based on the autobiography of Charlie Chaplin. Robert Downey Jr. does duty here as Chaplin with amazing results in what is perhaps the performance of his life. Though a little slow at times it does manage to examine a good portion of Chaplin's life even if a little heavy on the mother fixation aspect. Speaking of the mother fixation, Milla Jovovich has a scene with a tube of lipstick related to this which is one of the most stunningly erotic you will ever see. A wonderful twist on this as well is the casting of Chaplin's own daughter Geraldine to play his mother! Definately one to check out.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Here is one those Eighties classics that became a staple in the acid houses. Jeff Bridges gets all jiggy with the black light action as a computer hacker who gets whisked into a game world for real. In the visual department this baby is a wonder as they used actual animation techniques rather than computer generated and the results are a captivating feast for the eyes. Sadly, it could have doen with a bit more scripting but hey, it's a Disney film and it was meant for the kiddies....not a bunch of stoned out tripsters who raised it to cult status It is interesting to note this film has both Bruce Boxleitner and Peter Jurasik who would go on to star in our beloved BABYLON 5. Davis Warner does his thing as yet another villain and it's a hoot to watch him try to keep his beer belly sucked in and speak at the same time. Hey, not knocking Warner in any way shape or form here but they have the poor man in body tights and it's just a funny thing to notice. Speaking of body tights, Cindy Morgan spends a fine amount of time running around in one too. Now there is a black light poster I wouldn't mind having!

The Owl and the Pussycat

This was the film responsible for showing me why so many people though Barbra Streisand was sexy. She is voraciously electric in this romantic comedy of a mismatched pair of New Yorker's trying to get on in the world. As I seem to be learning about "romantic comedies"...they tend to be heavy on the romance and light on the comedy. Here, there is an equal mix of both with some wonderful gut busters and some genuine tears. Even better, director Herbert Ross manages to incorporate the sometimes mean spirited nature of couplings and the results are truly whqat good film making is about. George Segal perhaps gives the performance of his career here and look for a brief scene with Marilyn Chambers but don't be fooled...this one is all about Babs who is just friggin' out of this world. In the scene where she delivers the famous line "you are intruding on my personal time so fuck off"...oh can just tell...she ain't acting! By all means let THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT intrude on your personal time.


Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips are reunited (think Peaches and Herb here) yet again more this mediocre action flick. As a fan of Jack Sholder's films I'm a little biased here and the fact most of it was shot in Toronto makes it even worse. There are some interesting little subplots here, better than in most from this genre, and I won't spoil them for you should you wish to catch this one on TBS or what have you. I will say RENEGADES is worth watching simply as a lesson of WHY one needs a continuity expert. There are more problems in this department than there should be for a film of this budget! This also marks the big screen debut of famed native actor Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman and cult favorite Jami Gertz has a minor role.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I can't help but think this film might have been better if Jodie Foster had directed it as she intended. Not that Michael Apted isn't great in the character development department but something about this film just seems off and perhaps Jodie could have fixed. What that something is I can't quite put my finger on....perhaps it is Nell herself. A young woman is found living in a small home in the woods after her mother dies. The only people she has ever met were her mother and her twin sister. As the mother was a stroke victim, the twins developed this odd form of language and this is what NELL revolves around. Liam Neeson is excellent here as the doctor who attempts to understand her with Natasha Richardson as an opposing doctor who believes Nell should be put in protective care. There is of course a love story that just HAS TO develop from this plot item and that's fine but I found it detracted from the film's overall impact. Jeremy Davis also has a fine part as a local yocal which is a treat to watch. Still, as fine as the direction and the performances are (Foster took an Oscar nod for her work) something seems if we are made to feel intruders inNell's world. Perhaps this was intentional but part of me thinks not. Still, worth one viewing at least.

Body Parts

I know a lot of people who worked on this film so I really don't want to tear it to shreds....on the other hand I would be remiss of my duties if I recommended it to you. Dude on death row gets stiffed and his body parts are farmed out for transplants. Problem is his spirit is still floating around and he wants said body back. You can figure out the rest for yourself. Jeff Fahey is adequate in the lead but the real treat is Brad Douriff as a nut bar painter...he easily steals the flick. Kim Delaney is all bust wasted here and while it is an interesting premise with some mighty fine splat you would be far better off with something else.

The Mr. Bill Collection

Long before Seth Green was getting funky with his ROBOT CHICKEN Walter Williams was working his demented magic with MR. BILL. While not a true film per se, THE MR. BILL COLLECTION brings together the SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE episodes under one banner and begs one to ask the question...what the hell were we smoking back in the Seventies. At one time there was talk of a film being done with Mr. Bill, Mr. Hands, Sluggo and Spot and it`s a good thing they didn`t bother as the schtick wears thin fast. Still, if you were there back in the day and are lookinng for a nice bit of nostalgia this baby will do the trick.


WARLOCK is one of those films so bad you just have to love it. The premise is a simple one...evil son of the devil gets transported through time and tries to put all of the pieces of one heavy book of spells together so dad can uncreate everything and some dude in a funky fur coat has to travel through time as well to stop him. Hey...I said it was bad but nothing that a good bottle of wine and a chunk of black hash can't fix! See, as bad as it is you have Julian Sands and Richard E. Grant running around taking themselves way to seriously and this is what makes WARLOCK so much damn fun. Lori Singer is an absolute gas here looking like she just walked out of a Bangles video or something and there is fine array of character actors to keep you going ``hey....I know him`` throughout. Steve Miner takes the director chair for this baby and though a little slow at times it does provide a couple of hours of good gory fun!


We start off tonight's festivites with one truly bad piece of business. BOOGEYMAN is yet another classic example of film makers wasting money and they do it here in spades with dreadful results. In short, some dude is afraid of the cupboards in his childhood home because some boogey woogie popped out of one and whisked away his old man and that is really all you should ever know about BOOGEYMAN. It is a long, plodding, boring, sordid affair. Yes, Lucy Lawless is there for the die hard XENA freaks and I can look at Tory Mussett on freeze frame for hours on end but that is about all good I can find to say about this stinker.

Happy Birthday Mr. Yink!!!!!!!

Come join Mr. Yink and I for his 13th Birthday where we will be watching lots of bad movies, drinking tea and eating cheesie poofs and doggie biscuits!

Friday, August 24, 2007


Holy shit......what a fucking bad film!

Kicking & Screaming

Welcome to BLOGGER post #400!

Here we have one mighty strange little film. A story about a dueling father and son who end up coaching opposing soccer teams. This is the set up for this Will Ferrell and while the results are mixed there are moments in KICKING & SCREAMING that will make you scratch your head. See, this flick takes itself a little too serious in the pontification department to be authentically funny but when it let's go you are quite liable to bust a gut. Try as a may I cannot dislike Ferrell because he is so damn genuine are riotously funny. Robert Duvall does duty as the father here and though he plays it straight for the most part he gets in a few licks here and there. Also on board is the great hall of famer Mike Ditka who is the real star here and if nothing else amuses you here he most certainly will. Also, keep your eyes out in the future for Steven Anthony Lawrence...already a veteran he does some mighty fine work here and no doubt we'll see much more of him in the future.....and yes...that is Musetts Vander palying Duvall's young wife!

Alone in the Dark

This is exactly where this film belongs....alone in the dark! I swear, poor Christian Slater must have done something very bad in a past life to end up in this horrid stinker. Yet another in the glut of films based on a video game, ALONE IN THE DARK is so friggin' bad you just might enjoy it. Director Uwe Boll, who looks likes he's about to score a hit with the highly touted POSTAL to be released next week, has made a fine living (much to our detrement) off of making crap like this and if people keep wanted to fund him who am I to throw stones. If nothing else Stephen Dorff, Tara Reid (yes...THAT Tara Reid!) and Slater got to spend some quality time in my hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia and damned if it don't show. If the cast don't look drunk then they look as hung over as o'hell and I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to hear the director spent the entire shoot pissed out of his mind. your lunch money on this one!

Glory Road

Texas, 1966 and there is still prominent racism in the sporting world. GLORY ROAD tells the true story of basketball coach Don Haskins and his decision to use black players on his team. When you consider Jackie Robinson broke the colour segregation in baseball in 1947 it's quite shocking that twenty years later there would still be a problem in college basketball. Josh Lucas is perfectly cast here in the role of Haskins and delivers a truly outstanding performance. Jon Voight has a small role as an opposing coach for the final and look for a cameo from Coach Pat Riley and Haskins himself as a gas station attendant. James Gartner, who made his name in commercials, cuts a fine directorial debut here and I sure do look forward to seeing his future work. A fine viewing experience even if you're not a fan of the hoops.

Hustle & Flow

Here is another one of those films in no way shape or form made for me. I'd be tempted to say HUSTLE & FLOW is just a poor man's 8 MILE but then I'd be wrong. A simple story about people trying to change their lives around in "the hood" turns into an inspirational tale of motivation. Quite proper in the directing style, there are some fine performances from Terrence Howard and Anthony Anderson. One of my faves, DJ Qualls, offers some good support as well....I can watch this guy in damn near anything. Isaac Hayes and Ludicris have some bit roles and if the story itself doesn't do it you can always just Taryn Manning or wait for Playmate Tracy Davis to do her routine.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Forgotten

THE FORGOTTEN is by no mean a good film but I have to say I enjoyed it. Sure, the premise of aliens hovering around wiping peoples memories out whilst stealing their children to whatever the hell it is aliens do to abductees is pretty damn silly. Still, there is a wonderful vibe to the whole project and I reckon I could watch Julianne Moore doing her taxes and still be entertained. It also doesn't hurt to have Gary Sinise about to keep things tense. The ending the studio chose to use in the theatrical release is a bonafide stinker so if you get the chance grab the DVD and watch the alternate ending which is far more satisfying.

Shall We Dance

uhhhhhh.....let's not and say we did. Truth is this ain't my cup o' tea. Other than GREASE and MOULIN ROUGE dance films just don't do it for me. Still, director Peter Chelsom does a good job with this one and so even though it didn;t float my boat I'm sure it will be just fine for dance lovers. Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere all look to be having a great time here so I ain't gonna write anything bad about it.

The Aristocrats

A documentary about the dirtiest joke ever told. This is one disgusting film and it will depend on your sense of humour if you will like it or not. I didn't find it as riotous as many other did and truth be told I thought it was one very poorly made film. If your subject matter is a joke the least you could do is get the dialogue in sync with the lip movements. The SOUTH PARK take on the joke I found amusing as was Gilbert Gottfried and Tim Conway has a neat little bit at the end that has nothing to do with the joke at all. You can take or leave this one but should you decide to watch it grab a barf bag just in case.

Humanoids from the Deep

This one has everything including the kitchen sink thrown into it. Mutant fish creatures, dead dogs, rape, mayhem and even a ventriliquist. Roger Corman was producing this baby and felt it needed some more sex so when director Barbara Peters objected, Corman gave her the boot and brought on somebody else to shoot the scenes. Good thing too as HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP is all that much better for it. Sure, it's sleazy splatter filled nonsense but that''s the point now isn't it. Rob Bottin cut his chops here and provides one extremely effective belly burster scene. Vic Morrow and Doug McClure are here to do their best to save the day but trust me, you'll be rooting for the creatures. Good action packed low budget fun suitable for family and friends.

Two for the Money

When I watch this film I can't help but think I'm watching an alternate universe version of THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE only instead of Keanu Reeves as a lawyer we have Matthew McConaughey as an odds maker. This is the problem with TWO FOR THE MONEY, we've seen every damn element of it before which results in a stale viewing experience at best. Al Pacino and Rene Russo are great like they always are but the truth of the matter is for those of you who have lives and don't sit around all day watching bad movies, time is limited....and you can spend your time watching better movies than this one...even though it does have nice cameos from April Telek and Ildiko Ferenczi.......still...there are better ways to waste your say...taking a walk or going out for a change and meeting actual people.

The Omen

Here is a re-make that simply never should have happened. While not entirely horrible it lacks...for lack of a better word..ooomph. An almost shot for shot recreation of the original it fails to have the same atmosphere and hence fails to elicit any proper scares. Oh sure, the visual eefects are far better and it does contain one of the best beheadings ever put to screen but that is simply not enough. It is nice to see Mia Farrow here though I suspect she, like the rest of the cast, would have rather been elsewhere. You should be elsewhere too!

Are We There Yet?

Ice Cube must have been smoking something mighty odd in the pipe to sign on for this dreadful piece of crap. I don't care if it was made for kids or not...a bad film is a bad film and ARE WE THER YET? is as bad as they come. Even the fact Nichelle Nichols has a small role is not enough for me to say anything good about this movie because there is nothing good to say.

Fever Pitch

Here we have a pleasant surprise. Loosely based on a Nick Hornby novel about his obsession with soccer, FEVER PITCH was wrongly promoted as a romantic comedy and it's a shame because the film has two good legs to stand on. Jimmy Fallon plays a die hard Boston Red Sox fan and the story follows the difficulty he has maintaining a relationship with Drew Barrymore. It's a nice touching bit of fluff and perfect for a date movie as it manages to be both a baseball and a chick flick. I was there when they were shooting some crowd scenes during a Blue Jays game at the Skydome and poor Drew tried to throw out the opening pitch and could barely make home plate. Speaking of opening pitches, Stephen King is shown throwing the opening pitch in a game of which the Red Sox lost snapping a ten game winning streak. Poor Stephen was blamed for it by the New England media the next day! My man John Olerud is shown briefly and the now hated in Boston Johnny Damon has a hilarious cameo.

Meet the Fockers

W. C. Fields supposedly said "never work with dogs or children" and MEET THE FOCKERS is a good example of why. With a cast comprised of heavyweights like Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand it is amazing how the cat and dog manage to steal the whole show with the baby coming in a close second. There are a few good laughs here but this sequel to FATHER OF THE BRIDE tends to focus far more on the dynamics of family venturing into the realm of seriousness far too much for my liking. Still, Jay Roach has a style of directing that keeps things moving and overall entertaining making MEET THE FOCKERS well worth the rental fee. Shelley Berman of recent BOSTON LEGAL fame and an original TWILIGHT ZONE veteran has a nice cameo as does Dori Barton and Kathleen Gati.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lorenzo's Oil

George Miller cut a mighty fine name for himself with the MAD MAX films so when you see him direct something like LOENZO'S OIL it can take you off guard. Mind you, he was behind BABE (one of the best pictures of all time in my books!) and recently scooped an Oscar for HAPPY FEET so it's obvious the man has both a heart and a love of children. Adrenoleukodystrophy (I think the spelling is correct?!?!?!?!?) or ADL is the disease being discussed here and the fight of two parents who refuse to let their son succumb to it. This is all of the story you need to know as it is really only a surface level while the character emotions are examined below. Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte are truly brilliant here with side work by Peter Ustinov and Kathleen Wilhoite. Look for Laura Linney in her debut role as well. Although this may be a little too much of a "real life" drama for some it should still be viewed at least once for the "human hope" content.

Along Came a Spider

Although this is considered by most to be the sequel to KISS THE GIRLS, in the James Patterson universe in in fact happens before and the book preceeds it. Sadly, many felt the was just another SE7EN rip-off and that is a shame. ALONG CAME A SPIDER has Morgan Freeman reprising his role as Alex Cross and once again he excels in the part. Lee Tamahori brings a sharp touch to the direction here and manages to keep the tension high and the pace even higher. Monica Potter, of recent BOSTON LEGAL fame, does an excellent job here as does serial nutbar Michael Wincott. Of special note is the work of Mika Boorem who still strikes me as an actress to keep a close eye. Also, brace yourself for one of the best pieces of CGI not in a sci-fi or horror film. Nicely done and you'll see within the first ten minutes.

Rapid Fire

Standard martial arts copper fare with the late Brandon Lee showing off his goods. Powers Boothe is fine is his sidekick role as the hard cop with a hidden heart and Kate Hodge provides an ample love interest. Dwight Little would move on from here to direct many fine television episodes for a whole range of hit series and while there is nothing of special note in RAPID FIRE there are signs of the stylings he would later make signature. A fine action film if this is what you're looking for.

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce return to take on the dreaded Nazis in this Universal. As was the case in most of the later films THE SECRET WEAPON borrows slightly from Arthur Conan Doyle's DANCING MEN and I do mean slightly. A new type of bomb tageting device is the secret weapon here and of course Hitler and his crew just gotta have it. By no means a great offering it is still very hard not to enjoy the old Rathbone Holmes films. Lionel Atwill fills in as Professor Moriaty this time around and look for a quick cameo from the great character actor Whit Bissell as a London bobbie..........and how can you not love Mary Gordon as Mrs. Hudson!

Color of Night

Richard Rush had a box office hit with FREEBIE AND THE BEAN in the mid Seventies so it should really come as no surprise that he would make such as film as COLOR OF NIGHT in the mid Nineties.Universally panned and considered by some to be one of the worst films ever made, COLOR OF NIGHT is not without it charms. Oh, I'm not saying it isn't bad because frankly it's an awful film but given this choice of this or THE SOUND OF MUSIC...well...I think you know where I'm going here. The premise is an interesting one. A colour-blind psychiatrist takes over a friends therapy group after he is shuffled prematurely from this mortal coil. Scott Bakula, sadly, is the one doing the shuffle and Bruce Willis is the one doing the taking over in his "not so rose coloured glasses". Of course, there is a psycho in the therapy group who sets their sights on Willis and there is where the "thiller" part in this soft core mess begins. I say "thriller" because the plot has more fucking holes in it than a whiffle ball. Who cares, you get to see Jane March naked for most of the film and that to me more than justifies it having been made. Back to the therapy group...when you have Lance Henricksen, Kevin J. O'Connor and Brad Dourif in a shrink group that would set some serious damn Spidey-senses a tinglin' to get my ass straight the hell out of there...but then again Willis's Dr. Capa is not the sharpest knife in the drawer or he would have figured out he was boning a friggin' whack job a quarter of the way into the film. Whoops...did I give away the plot??????? No worries, you'll have it figured out long before Dr. Capa does. Add Lesley Ann Warren to said therapy group as a raging nympho and you have a recipe for a mighty fine little party. Then there is Ruben Blades...shame he had to waste the performance of a lifetime's worth watching just to hear him curse. So, while being a jumbled mess in the story department it still does provide some fine action and stunningly lush visuals and if nothing else there is Bruce Willis supposedly pulling a Micky Rourke and doing the nasty for real in the swimming pool scene.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rat Race

Jerry Zucker assembles an all-star comedic cast in this uneven little project. I remember thinking of it as a must see back when the previews were running and then being gravely let down by the final product. On second viewing I feel I may have been too harsh. Taken as straight forward slap stick and gags RAT RACE more than entertain. Rowan Atkinson shines more than others though Jon Lovitz more than earns his share of laughs. Cuba Gooding Jr. has some moments but he looks like he was mailing this one in. Same can be said about Seth Green, Whoopi Goldberg and even John Cleese who all look as if they simply showed up for the money. Strangely enough, the one who gets the most belly busters is the flying cow though the bus load of Lucy's is a close second. Kathy Bates has a wicked scene stealer and look for cameos from Dean Cain, Kyla Wise and Tristin Leffler.

The Bodyguard

Welcome to STINK FEST at Dr. K.'s lab this evening. The things I do for you, my loyal fans and readers....things like sitting through THE BODYGUARD yet again in this lifetime,something, because of me you won't have to do. Kevin Costner tries to look all serious sporting the worst hair cut of his career and Whitney Houston sings that damn AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII song I wrote about in THREE ON A MEAT HOOK. A meat hook is exactly what I want everytime I hear that song. Hey, I'm not knocking her, she has the pipes of an angel but is it just me or does it sound like she is oout of tune and nobody in the studio had the balls to tell her?!?!?!?!?! Anyway, the truth is this film was never made or intended for me so I should shut the hell up. I watched it through, AGAIN, and it is a competent piece of work. Costner is fine and Houston is more than adequate. It provided a pay cheque for my guys Mike Starr and Bill Cobbs and as The Martha would say "that is a good thing" and I think that is all I have to say about that.

Big City Blues

I like Burt Reynolds, not just as an actor but as a man. I remember when Mike Bullard tried to be smart with him on some trivial bit of his past and though Burt didn't bitch slap him like he did that other tit head, he sure put Bullard in his place. This is part of why I like him so much, he's a cranky ol' tough guy and you really don't wanna mess with him. This is partly why I'm not going to write anything bad about BIG CITY BLUES. Not only does he star in it, he was one of the producers as was William Forsythe who also stars. Sooooooo...between Burt tracking me down and bitch slapping my head or William popping holes in my body that don't belong there...I think I'll just leave BIG CITY BLUES alone. There is an interesting angle with some dancing frogs mind you.


A cottage industry has been made out of dealing with the statement "bad things happen to good people" and being in this film might very well have fallen under the category of a bad thing happening. The mere fact it STARS Stephen Baldwin AND Pete Postlethwaite should be enough to tip you off that something is very wrong. It's kind of along the lines of Don Knotts doing a sex scene with Jessica Alba in my books! Anyway, here we find Stephen playing an actor (a stretch for sure) who ends up on a primetime reenactment news show called CRIMETIME. When he is contacted by one of Britain's most wanted (enter Pete who should have bloody well run away!) the fun begins as the real deal teaches the wanna be the tricks of the trade. How such a poor piece of drivel could have came from the acclaimed director of THE VANISHING is beyond me. The fact Sadie Frost, Karen Black AND Marianne Faithfull have to dragged into the quagmire is execusable. Bad things happening to good people indeed...kind of like what might happen to me if Baldwin reads this!

The Tailor of Panama

What was one of John le Carre less satisfying novels turns out to be one mighty fine film. John Boorman is a funny director in you either love or hate his work and this film is no exception. Pierce Brosnan plays the secret agent without a moral compass to absolute perfection here and you will hate him so much you can't help but love him. Jamie Lee Curtis is her usual wonderful self though I think we could have done with a bit more of her character. Same can be said of Catherine McCormack who I always want to see more of. Geoffrey Rush as the said tailor is a bloody gem here as the tailor selling bogus secrets so he can bail his ass and business out of the proverbial fire. He brings such a straight face to a very complex role your jaw will drop. The important thing to remeber here is, though billed as a spy thriller, this is a very dark satire on the whole game of espionage and if you lose sight of this the film will fail you. Also important here is the big screen debut of Daniel Radcliffe and it has been implied Boorman or one of the producers was instrumental in him being cast as Harry Potter. Well worth the time and effort to experience this one.

Broken Arrow

John Travolta and Christian Slater do the way overacting thing here in this John Woo action thriller. While by no means a good film it does succeed in keeping you interested for the two hours of your life it will take to experience. Stealth style fighter armed with nukes, said fighter is diverted, nukes are stolen and Slater has to face Travolta to save the day. Samantha Mathis runs around and look pretty and Delroy Lindo says shit quite a bit. Former NHL'er Howie Long also does his nest impersonation of David Lee Roth in a death scene...oh....and there is some nice sandy scenery. I think this is about all you need to know about this baby!

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

I've never figured out axactly why folks are so hard on this film. Cassandra Peterson A.K.A. Elvira cut out a little niche with her Vampira inspired schtick and what the hell is wrong with that. Here she works those charms of hers to present a fine collection of gags and one-liners making this very similar to a Cheech and Chong film. It doesn't hurt to have SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE veteran James Signorelli in the director's seat either. Sure, it's stupid and campy but if you like bawdy humor with dry sexual inudendo this will more than fill your stomach. Not nearly as bad as some would have you believe and if nothing else you can simply observe Elvira's "talents".

The Jewel of the Nile

Just bloody awful sequel to ROMANCING THE STONE. Poorly shot, horrid script and just all around friggin' bad. I've never seen Kathleen Turner act this poorly and even Danny DeVito is lack lustre here. Michael Douglas however does show that you can put him in a stinkaroo and he'll still bring his A-game. I won't even bother going into how offensive anybody from the middle east will find this number. Avoid as you would an egg salad left out in the sun.

As Good as It Gets've seen it. You know Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt both took Oscars for their work here. You know Greg Kinnear and Cuba Gooding Jr. are both excellent in it. You know there is a cute little dog who does a Nicholson impersonation and damn near steals the film and every perv on the planet knows about Helen's wet t-shirt scene so why do I have to write anything else about it.

Excess Baggage

Is there really any need to trash a film like EXCESS BAGGAGE?!?!?!? It was made for the teen set as a date film and should be taken as such. Alicia Silverstone and Benicio Del Torro have fine chemistry here and Christopher Walken has some great scenes. Sally Kirkland and Harry Connick Jr have some bit parts and the lovely April Telek has a cameo. The plot is a simple one having Silverstone fake her kidnapping only to have Del Torro steal her car while she is in the trunk and I'm sure you can figure out the rest from there. Overall, a few good laughs and a better than average time waster.


Australian painter and author Norman Lindsay certainly was the talk of the town back in the day. In SIRENS director John Duigan does a different take on Lindsay own story as told in his THE AGE OF CONSENT. The focus here is on a minister and his wife who go to visit the artist on his rural estate. While there they are tempted by the rampant sexuality as exuded by Lindsay's models and the free lifestyle exibited by all. Hugh Grant is fantastic in his role as the young man of God and Tara Fitzgerald is nothing short of stunning as his frustrated companion. Her work is so intense she easily steals the picture as her own. Sam Neill turns in a reserved performance as Lindsay in what essentially is a support role. The trio of models from where the title derives are comprised of Kate Fischer, Portia de Rossi and the lovely Elle Macpherson. While all three spend ample time cavorting about in the buff, which will keep the pervs happy, it should be pointed out all scenes of nudity are placed in proper context and are essential to achieving the necessary atomsphere. A wonderful visual experience with top notch acting makes SIRENS an easy must see!

From Beyond

Stuart Gordon was faced with severe budget restrictions on this one and it shows. A loose adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's short story, FROM BEYOND tells of a mad scientist who manages to open a gate to the sixth dimension via stimulation of the penial gland and this allows all kind of other-worldly shit to cross over and wreak havok. Jeffrey Combs does his usual job of looking blank eyed and psycho especially with a giant penis sticking out of his head. Ken Foree of DAWN OF THE DEAD fame has a few good moments but the real laurels here go to scream queen Barbara Crampton. She is worth the price of admission alone just to see her in her bondage outfit and if nothing else this will keep the splatter pervs happy. Speaking of splatter, they do a good job with the money they have so take the visuals with a grain of salt. All in all FROM BEYOND is for die hard fans of the genre and you would be far better off with RE-ANIMATOR.

Out of Sight

Elmore Leonard is one of the best character writers in the business with most of his work reading like a screenplay just waiting to happen. OUT OF SIGHT is no exception and Steven Soderbergh does a bang up job of directing this Scott Frank adaptation. Mind you, with George Clooney in the lead you'd have one hell of time fucking it up.....then again....Jennifer Lopez happens to share that lead and thankfully that is not a problem here. Say what you will about J'lo.....she is consistant in her ability to entertain and I've yet to see her in a film where I wasn't. A cast of wonderful talent round out this ensemble including Dennis Farina, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle and even a cameo from Samuel L. Jackson. With fine action and steamy sexuality OUT OF SIGHT is a can't miss proposition.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Terry Gilliam is usualy top drawer in my books but he sure screwed the pooch with this one. While seemingly faithful to Hunter S. Thompson legendary book it sorely misses one element...the humor. This is not a funny film and while Thompson's work was sometimes mean spirited it had a wickedly funny side and none of it is to be found here. Johnny Depp does a wonderful characture of Thompson but in no way captures his genius and Benicio Del Toro, though visually appropriate, elicits far more loathing than fear here. Tobey Maguire is all but unrecognizable as the hitchhike as is Gary Busey as a highway patrol officer. There are cameos galore to be had here, including one from Thompson himself (a highlight even though he does nothing) but they are simply not enough to carry this number through. If it's a Hunter film fix you are after...go find WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM.

Quiz Show

Robert Redford certainly delivers the good here in this period piece concerning the television game show scandals of the mid to late Fifties. All around even production with stellar work from Ralph Fiennes and John Tuturro. As always, even though this story is known to most, I have no desire to spoil the plot details for you and even though there are no great "twists" there are character developments I feel you should discover for yourself. The "yourself" part is what makes this such a wonderful piece of work...Redford doesn't judge or pontificate....he leaves it up to the audience to come to their own conclusions. Rob Morrow turns in the performance of a life time as the man searching to uncover the deception and he is flanked by Mira Sorvino who plays his dedicated wife. Look for Martin Scorsese and Paul Guilfoyle in small roles and for Ethan Hawke in a neat cameo.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


The rise and fall of lives in Las Vegas. Once again the great Martin Scorsese wields his bat and plows a massive grand slam! Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, James Woods and Sharon Stone.....the are all utterly amazing. What more can you say about this modern classic?

Friday, August 17, 2007


Bad science, good fun! FREQUENCY tells the story of a different type of father/son relationship. Here's the bad science part...the northern lights cause a ham radio set to bridge the difference of thirty years time allowing a father to speak to his son in the future. Needless to say, the change a few "bad" events and screw the pooch but regal. Here's the good fun.....FREQUENCY is one of the most thrilling heart warming projects to come down the pipeline in ages. Shot mostly in Toronto, this was another flick I was fortunate to spend some time on set for. Director Gregory Hoblit uses lessers names to carry his vision and the results are perfect for had he casted Hollywood A-Listers the effect would be nowhere the same. Dennis Quaid truly shines here as the elder Sullivan with James Caviezel playing the son with equal gusto and finesse. Andre Braugher, Shawn Doyle and Elizabeth Mitchell provide a solid framework behind them to make this a total thrill. We have cops and firemen, and a murderer and baseball...four key elements for a feel good film in my book. Sure, there are holes in the plot bigger than the Mets's a clean gaff and anybody walking away from this one debating the science deserves a smack upside the head. Amazingly enough this was scripted by Newline exec and big cheese Toby Emmerich and I whole heartedly salute him. If I ever came up with a work half as entertaining I would die a happy man, alas in Toby's case he has done just that AND no doubt made a few billion to boot. In all seriousness though...this is one you don't want to miss.

White Sands

One would think with Willem Dafoe and Mickey Rourke on board you'd be in for a good ride. Well, think again partner. Rourke is his usual endearing self but Dafoe is way off.....think BODY OF EVIDENCE off. Hey, happens to the best of us so we won't lay the blame on his shoulders. No, this one is going right on Daniel Pyne for writing it and on director Roger Donaldson who really should have known better. I mean, not only does he have two marquis players, he has the talents of Samuel L. Jackson, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and M. Emmet Walsh and they are all but wasted. So, though some may find this so called thriller entertaining, I think you'd be far better off with a Hitchcock classic.


I find films about making films tedious at best, when in the hands of a lesser talent, bloody excrutiating! Such is the case with LOADED. I understand many people thought this was the cat's ass and hailed Anna Campion as a newly found avatar in cinema. Sure, it looks nice, and there is some fine acting from Catherine McCormack and Thandie Newton, but, truth be told, it bored the living shit out of me and I've watched it three friggin' times, each one trying to figure out what's so bloody great about it. Still haven't and I highly doubt I'll try on the other my guest.

Bad Santa

Simply put this is one of the fucking funniest films I have ever seen! From the man who brought us GHOSTWORLD comes this moraly bankrupt tale of a man who poses as a Santa in department stores simply to case the joint out and rob it on Christmas eve.....and this is his good side. Billy Bob Thornton truly should have received an Oscar for his work here because it is over the top. So over the top I wonder if he acted at all or if he just stayed drunk for the whole shoot and addlibed the damn thing. It doesn't because the end result is perhaps one of the most offensive films ever made. There is not a punch to be pulled and nobody is safe. Tony Cox, Bernie Mac and Lauren Graham are simply great here and John Ritter makes his last big screen appearance. If Terry Zwigoff can ever top this masterpiece of offense I will be greatly surprised!

GWAR: Phallus in Wonderland

What kind of man would Oderus Urungus be without the Cuddlefish of Cthulu? This is the working theme of PHALLUS IN WONDERLAND, a film adaptation of GWAR's AMERICA MUST BE DESTROYED. To say this film is offensive would be an understatement of gross proportions. It's rude, lewd and crude...everything a GWAR project should be. GWAR as a puppetry rock troupe are simply the best in the business and with PHALLUS IN WONDERLAND the live performance is simply moved into the studio and flushed out with dialogue that wouldn't work in the concert setting. For those yet unaware of the comedic brilliance of GWAR, do yourself a favour and submit.

The Secret of NIHM

An all-star cast supply the voice work for this wonderful adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's novel. Don Bluth has a wonderful eye for animation, he should having cut his chops as an assistant for the original SNOW WHITE and under his direction a simple film becomes an absolute pleasure. By no means dismiss this as a kiddie flick for the subject matter is quite mature and there are even some rather intense scenes of violence making this highly unsuitable for "televised' babysitting duty. It tells the story of a widowed field mouse who must raise her four offspring, one who is very sick, on her own and the struggles she faces. The late Elizabeth Hartman (who sadly jumped to her death) provides the voice for Mrs. Brisby (Frisby in the book but changed in the film to avoid law suits) with Derek Jacobi, Dom DeLuise, Wil Wheaton, John Carradine and even Shannen Doherty rounding out the cast. A fine film for a rainy end of summer afternoon at the cottage and well worth looking for.

Children of the Corn II:The Final Sacrafice

Well, we can't blame Stephen King for this one as he had nothing to do with it. The kids in the corn field are back to raise some bloody hell and that's just what they do. Better than the first film, which isn't saying much, CHILDREN OF THE CORN II does have some good splat but that is about all. They borrow an page from THE WIZARD OF OZ and kill an old lady with a house which I found amusing. Christie Clark I always find amusing but that's just me. As for what you'll find amusing here...who knows but it sure as Hell won't be the story!

Sons of Trinity

SONS OF TRINITY would mark the last time director Enzo Barboni would try to squeeze the water from this spaghetti comedy series. As the title states, this one follows the adventures of the sons of Trinity and Bambino, played by Heath Kizzier and former NFL'er Keith Neubert. While there is nothing wrong with their work they simply don't have the magic of the original players and this is where the film as a whole suffers. It simply seems stale and overworked, much like a plate of spaghetti left out in the sun too long. Still good enough to fill your stomach as long as your don't care about the taste.

Prince of Darkness

Certainly an ambitious little project from the great John Carpenter. He continues his exploration of technology as a vessel of evil, mixing computation and metaphysics to come up with some interesting conclusions. Donald Pleasence is here as Father Loomis ( a in joke on the character he played in the Halloween series) who takes over the BROTHERHOOD OF SLEEP after the death of an elder. In doing so, he discovers the essence of the devil (which happens to be that green luminous crap in camping lightrods which is a catch-all evil thing for films like this) who we find out was a space alien, as was Jesus Christ, and the tank in which this dastardly stuff is being held happens to spring a leak and the proverbial shit starts to fly. Hard to tell if Carpenter was heavy into Scientology or simply watching news on the Russian nuclear power system. By no means his best work PRINCE OF DARKNESS will at least get you thinking which seems to be Carpenter's point here. There are some good jumps to be had as well as some mighty spooky atmosphere. Watch out for Alice Cooper's interesting cameo.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wild Things

Is Viagra too expensive for you? Then you might wish to consider picking up a copy of WILD THINGS for the evening because this is one of the steamiest little numbers to come from Hollywood. The lesbian action between Denise Richards and Neve Campbell made this baby a must see for perverts everywhere but all joking aside this is one serious little mind bender. John McNaughton, who brought us HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER does some seriously fine work from his director's chair keeping the pace fast and sharp. Kevin Bacon and Matt Dillon are both on top of their game here and even Bill Murray shows up to do some serious work. Perhaps filled with too many "beautiful people" to be taken seriously it does nonetheless manage to keep one enagaged making it an excellent choice for movier night.

American Psycho

This film caused a major kerfufel even before it started shooting. Here in Toronto, citizens were still reeling from the crimes of Paul Bernardo, who happened to keep a copy of Bret Easton Ellis's novel on his night table. Protest again using Toronto as a location were loud and furious but Mary Harron stuck to her guns and ended up making one of the best pictures of 2000. Following the mental disintegration of businessman Patrick Bateman, who is played by Christian Bale, AMERICAN PSYCHO is a film that works on so many levels it may leave you with a headache. As a straight horror film it is unrelenting, as a comedy it is morbibly gut splitting and as a social commentary it is truly brutal. This is about all I want to tell you about this just in case you've not yet had the viewing pleasure. The great Willem Dafoe has a nice bit part as a detective but it really is the actresses I must mention. Solid, solid , solid work from Chloe Sevigny, Resee Withersppon, Samantha Matthis and Guinevere Turner help turn AMERICAN PSYCHO into the masterpiece it is and if the subject matter has been anything different I'm pretty damn sure Bale would have been given an Oscar nod. Though not for the faint of heart I still consider this to be required viewing. Hell, you may just find you know Patrick Bateman, or somebody just like him!

The Dead Matter

Here is a little heads up and off to a project coming from the MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE guys

Midnight Express

I have a lot of Turkish friends and the understandably have a serious problem with this Alan Parker film. As a matter of fact, somebody involved with this project, I can't quite remember who, recently went and apologized to some big cheese in Turkey for the damage this film did to said country's reputation around the world. So, let us put aside the Turkey fact, and let us also put aside the fact it turn out this "true story" wasn't and look at the film itself. By far it is one of Parker's best, and the performances of John Hurt and the late Brad Smith as the drug smuggling Billy Hayes (also deceased) is mesmerizing to say the least. Another great late actor, Paul Smith is truly stunning as one of the head prison guards and even Randy Quaid turns in some top notch work as well. Giorgio Moroder took an Oscar for his score as did Oliver Stone for his script work. Still, the laurels really should go to Parker who brings this hell to amazing life and I can certainly tell you this is one film that will stick with you long after you watch it.


Here is a film that takes the suffering artist theme to the next level. Salma Hayek is fantastic as the hard drinking, chain smoking unibrowed Frida Kahlo and the praise she received for her work here is very well deserved. Superior acting all around with stunning work from Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush, Antonia Banderas, FRIDA is one of the finest biopics you will ever see. As it explores the art of Kahlo we have a rare glimpse into the technique of transforming pain and suffering to coloured canvas and it is highly unlikely Hayek will ever top the work she does here. Look ofr Didi Conn and Edward Norton as Nelson Rockefeller.


Bryan Singer does a kick ass job of converting this comic book series to the big screen. Much has been writting and damn near everybody has seen it so I won't waste time blabbing about the plot and scenario. What I will blather on about is how amazing it is to see a director change the city I live in into a totally different world. The old Gooderman and Wort factory is turned into a concentration camp and Roy Thompson Hall is turned into the United Nations. Union Station is used as well which is nothing new. I had the pleasure of being on set many times which was a real treat for me. All in all, great action fun.

The Howling

Joe Dante works his magic in this fantastic werewolf film. Dee Wallace stars as a telejournalist who stumbles into the world of the lycanthrope with horrible results. Rich Baker and Rob Bottin team up in the special effects department to give us some mighty fine transformations second only to AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Dante also drags out a wonderful assortment of horror veterans including Patrick Macnee, John Carradine, Kevin McCarthy, Robert Picardo, Slim Pickens, Dick Miller and even throws in a cameo from Forrest J. Ackerman and his own mentor Roger Corman. All around great fun...make sure you stick around to the final scene.

Renaissance Man

Penny Marshall directs this engaging little comedy drama about a man forced to teach a group of misfit army cadets. Danny DeVito pretty much carries the film on his own shoulders though some fine support is given from Gregory Hines and Ed Begley Jr. Though billed as a comedy it is far more a serious look at how literature can change peoples lives. Some fine shots from the Stratford festival are to be found here as is the lovely Stacey Dash. RENAISSANCE MAN also marks the big screen debut of Mark Wahlberg.

Va savoir (Who Knows?)

I fine little observation of how tangled life is from acclaimed director Jacques Rivette. In both Italian and French with subtitles, I would not suggest this for early morning or drunken viewing as it requires a bit of work though it does go well with a nice bottle of red. It follows six people and how screwed up their love lives are and that is about all I have to say about this one.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

This is by far the most unique of the HALLOWEEN films and has nothing to do with Michael Myers. What it does have to do with is some nut bar ripping off a piece of Stonehenge, busting it up and making microchips which are put on Halloween masks and when exposed to a special broadcast commercial cause snakes and bugs to come out of the kids heads and I think this is all you need to know about Halloween III.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vampire Journals

Ted Nicolaou has garnered quite the cult following with his work on sequels and spin-offs of Leprechaun, Puppet Master, Subspecies and others and I can understand why. The man has been doing horror since THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE where he was working location sound and from this he worked his way all the way into the director's chair. With VAMPIRE JOURNALS we have one seriously faulted product and this is a terrible shame. Beautifully lit and shot the visuals here are way above par. The actors look fine and no doubt could have turned in far better performances with a tad more coaching. No, the problem here is the script and this is where Nicolaou should have know better. He's worked the writing depatment enough times that with all the other pieces in place he should have stepped up to the plate with some stronger words in his bat. This being said, VAMPIRE JOURNALS is still worth a damn close look for those who are fans of the genre. Sure, it's a rip-off of INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE...who cares...what isn't these days....but with VAMPIRE JOURNALS you have a love of the subject matter and this boils over and infuses the project with, dare I say, more energy than is to be found in most films of this sort. Once again I have to mention the lighting. It's almost as if they are using rock show lighting techs rather than film and it works in spades. If nothing else, I have to say I admire Nicolaou for his neverending ability to find beautiful women, get them to take there clothes off and throw fake blood all over them.

The Glimmer Man

As far as Steven Seagal films go, this is my all-time fave. It certainly helps to have Keenen Ivory Wayans along as a partner and the two work mighty fine together. THE GLIMMER MAN leans a tad bit more towards the mystical side than any of his other vehicles and in this case, with a fair script to back it up, the effect is quite satisfying. Also helping this one along is the directing style of John Gray who would move on to do some mighty fine all around work on the GHOST WHISPERER series. You know it, the one where Jennifer Love Hewitt shows of her acting "talents". Well directed with competent acting and action...what more could you ask for from this type of film.

Violets are Blue

Hhhhhhmmmmmm.....Sissy Spacek and Kevin Kline in a steamy eco-friendly romance with lots of sex scenes. What in bloody hell's name is this doing in my video collection you might ask. Well, check this action out! It's all about director Jack Fisk. Who he? He be the MAN IN THE PLANET in ERASERHEAD!!!!!!!!!
So you know I have to check out what this dude be up to and here are the goods. One hell of a sappy but moving love story with two of Hollywood's best working with a crew of film makers who know what the hell they are doing. The results are a surprise to say the least and the fact Spacek and Kline can generate any sexual heat whatsoever is a testament to that. It's worth noting great character actor Mike Starr has an interesting role here as well as a small town blue collar and he makes a great "straight" man for Kline to bounce some fine eco speaches off of. Strong direction, a fine script and superior acting make this one stand heads and shoulders above the pack.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Conspiracy Theory

Mel Gibson absolutely soars in his portrayal of a paranoid taxi driver who believes "they" are out to get him. Of course they are out to get him...wouldn't be much of a film now if they weren't! What gets even better is "they" happens to be led by the great Patrick Stewart who takes off the captain's pips to don the nose of one serious black opps psycho. Oh, and Julia Roberts runs around looking pretty and serious and riding horses and stuff like that while shit blows up and people shoot the crap out of everything. This is about all I want to tell you about this Richard Donner film and if you've never seen it this is all you'll WANT to know for now. I simply love Donner's directorial style and on his worst day he can film make circles around most and you can see him in the back of Mel's cab in the opening shot of CONSPIRACY THEORY. If it's action with lots of "gravy" you want then this Bud's for you!

The Langoliers

I swear there is a cottage industry out there solely devoted to making bad TV movies from Stephen King stories. Like ever so many of these mini series projects THE LANGOLIERS builds up great hopes and delivers sooooooooooooo little. Tom Holland, who has given us such classics as CHILD'S PLAY and FRIGHT NIGHT does his very best to keep this thing in line only to be hamstrung by horrid CGI effects and an ending that will leave you wanting to whift your beer bottle at the damn television. Still, because of the strong acting, it will keep you entertained right up to the last goran. Dean Stockwell as the brainiac who figures out what the hell is going on, David Morse (who is excellent here by the way!) as the pilot with the "can do" attitude and Mark Lindsay Chapman as the soldier of fortune type who will always save the day. Speaking of Chapman, he hold the distinction of playing THE GREAT MARONI in a BAYWATCH episode, the one where Pamela Anderson produces a boiled egg from her mouth...fine credentials indeed! Multi Emmy winner Patricia Wettig is very strong in the female lead as is Kimber Riddle but Kate Maberly steals their thunder in spades as the weird blind kid who "sees and hears" things........and then there is Bronson Pinchot! I have never liked this actor as his charaters always grate on my nerves, hell...they're supposed to, but here as the neurotic and extremely lothful Craig Toomey....damn...he should'a got an Emmy for this performance. Just over the top outstanding work! There you have it, you can make a night of this baby or you can save three hours and a bit......choice is yours. Did I mention the Langoliers look like furry Pac-Men with big teeth? No? Well, they do!

Tang shan da xiong (Fists of Fury)

As the Sixties were rolling into the Seventies a young Bruce Lee was fed up with trying to break into the North American acting pool. Because of this Lee returned to Hong Kong and made not only his bloodiest film ever but the one that would turn him into a world wide phenomena. Released in 1971, it was severely cut, in part due to the graphic nature of the martial arts displayed, but also so wonderful gratuitous gore, such as a wonderful yet rarely seen head splitting shot. Even though this is not one of Lee's better films (he doesn't fight til half way through) FISTS OF FURY or BIG BOSS as it is also known, is still required viewing for students of the martial arts genre, in particular, if for no other reason, to see why they dropped the erotica aspect from so many subsequent productions. Somehow they could get the fighting right, the loving part, that needed work!

Three on a Meathook

Not the best work to come from William Girdler but certainly the best title. This 1972 production sorely suffers from lack of funds and thank heavens what money they did have was spent of titties and splat. Seriously, with a title like THREE ON A MEATHOOK what would you expect. Not much else to say about the film itself but there is the matter of Linda Thompson. She would go on to not only marry Olympian Bruce Jenner (after dating frikkin' ELVIS and capturing the Miss Tennessee-Universe in 1972) but later David Foster and it is here where the real screaming begins. See, she co-wrote the I HAVE NOTHING with Foster. This, I believe but I'm not sure nor am I going to go and check because it really doesn't matter, is the song Whitney Houston sang in THE BODYGUARD. You remember THE BODYGUARD? The one where Kevin Costner has the worst fucking haircut ever seen on screen. I swear...the THREE STOOGES had better friggin' barbers! As I was saying, I think this is the song where Whitney does that "AAAAAAAAAAAAAEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEE" thingy which damn near made me rip a few car radios out back in the day. So, what does the lovely Linda Thompson get for this achievement????? A BLOODY OSCAR NOMINATION FOR BEST ORIGINAL SONG and no doubt a boat load of cash in royalties! I really don't know if I should laugh or cry...still...good on her!
Girdler? He went on to make THE MANITOU and then was sadly killed in a helicopter crash in Manila.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman

Tyler Perry and one of his alter egos Mable "madea" Simmons have gained quite the cult following and I'm not entirely sure why. Might have something to do with the fact I'm not black nor am I a woman. Still, this gun toting grama from the projects has her endearing qualities and I'll surely not begrudge anyone wishing to indulge in them DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN is standard chick flick fare and really it's only shortcoming is it's "made for television" feel. The script is pretty simple boiling down to the "never forget where you came from" moral play so prevalent in these type of pictures. Hey, the only thing that surprised me here was Oprah had nothing to do with it.


After laying THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU on his audience, John Frankenheimer decided to clear the air and reclaim his directorial throne with this modern action masterpiece. With an all-star cast and some of the finest car chase scenes ever put to film RONIN won the applause of critics and viewers alike and like many of the films I blurb here you've more than likely seen it. Because of this, allow me to say have a careful looksee at the details in this film, it's the little things that make it so spectacular....little things like the jobbers wearing earplugs...things like this. Also, note that is the lovely Katarina Witt as the star skater. Trust me...with RONIN you can't go wrong.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Eighteenth Angel

What is it about writer David Seltzer and his thing for having women jump off of buildings during birthday parties?!?!?!?!?!? Really, this one should have been called THE EIGHTEEN ANGLE as this is at least how many times THE OMEN has been ripped off. Oh wait, Seltzer wrote THE OMEN so I guess he's allowed to rip himself off. He should have stopped there because as far as I know ripping other people off, mainly the movie going public, is still a crime. THE EIGHTEENTH ANGEL is just simply bad and no doubt the lovely Rachel Leigh Cook would like to forget she had anything to do with it as I'm sure you will too if you are unfortunate enough to have to sit through this one. Hey, at least the actors were paid to be there which might explain the presence of Maximilian Schell and Stanley Tucci. Oh, and did I mention there is one mighty evil in feline....ooooohhhhhh...Satan's kitties are coming to get you! Be very....oh...never mind.


I've never understood why Keanu Reeves has not received an Oscar. I mean, in SPEED his elocution is just pure magic. So os Dennis Hopper's for that matter....and while your at it....may as well give one to Sandra Bullock as well! I know you've seen SPEED....everybody and their cat has. So, you either liked it or you didn't....end of that!


If M. C. Escher were alive to make a horror film I'm pretty sure it would look pretty much like CUBE. One of the most unique concepts to ever come down the pipeline, CUBE finds seven strangers, each with different strengths, stranded inside of a giant shifting cube full of rooms, many of them laden with unique ways to die. Nevermind how or why they are there, they simply have to try and get out and this is when the fun begins. Vincenzo Natali simply does an amazing job directing a relative cast of unknowns here and it is this very fact which makes CUBE so disturbing. Had he used faces you recognized the effect would not be as unsettling. Mind you, Nicole de Boer from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine but you won't twig to it quickly. Come to think of it, the netire cast is comprised of very well travelled character actors so you may find yourself scratching the head wondering "hey, where do I know this person from" but the action and dialogue is so tight I don't think this will be a problem. Answers, on the other hand, may be in short supply. Perhaps you might wish to follow this up with a reading of HOUSE OF LEAVES.

The Peacekeeper

Director Mimi Leder does a fantastic job on keeping the action tight and nerve bending in this terrorist action thriller. For some reason George Clooney is more than believable in his role as a U.S. Army Colonel sent to track down a missing nuclear bomb. More often than not you find yourself saying "oh's such and such Hollywood actor trying to play a soldier" but there is something in Clooney that makes you almost feel as if he were a combat technician in an earlier stage of his life. Just as remarkable is the fact Nicole Kidman is also believable as a nuclear expert and, as is the case with the both of them, they look stunningly beautiful while going about their job of saving the day. While a little heavy on the U.S. can do attitude THE PEACEKEEPER does what it's supposed to and that is keep you on the edge of your seat cheering for the good guys.

Queen of the Fish Heads

You still have a couple of weeks to catch this spellbinding photo exibit from Ivan Otis presented by PITKO in Toronto's Distillery District. See for more details.

Getting It Right

Long before THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN took the silver screen by storm there was Gavin Lamb. Portrayed by Jesse Birdsall the virgin in question happens to be only 31 and it is he who is trying to "get it right". This offering comes to us from the director of GREASE, Randal Kleiser, and how he managed to get this film so wrong is beyond me. Helena Bonham Carter shows up and is an absolute wing nut, which of course means I fall in love with her character in a second. Lamb on the other hand, anyone who can turn down an offer from Bonham Carter for "a freindly little screw" is an absolute ponce in my books and will receive no sympathy from me. Wrongly billed as a romantic comedy (it's about as funny as an autopsy) GETTING IT RIGHT plays out like an extended episode of THE EASTENDERS on some serious downers. A fine cast including Peter Cook, John Gielgud and Lynn Redgrave are all but wasted here and Jane Horrocks, who gained great fame from the ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS series may as well have stayed home. There are some great bits ivolving Lamb's parents acted by Pat Heywood and Bryan Pringle but it simply is not enough to justify the tow hours this will waste of your life. Hell, even the brief nude scene of Helena's isn't enough!

Bless the Child

Well, let's get this out of the way right now.....BLESS THE CHILD is one bloody silly film. A supernatural God is coming and the Devil is gonna stop him type vehicle with Kim Bassinger looking like she's in a valium coma. That aside, it still manages to provide a few shocks and be a little bit of fun at the same time. For instance, watching Jimmy Smits pout in "why the fuck am I playing a cop yet again?!?!?!?!" is a riot and Rufus Sewell pulling the "I am evil incarnate" routine is a definate million dollar howl. Even more amazing is how then child actor (maybe still) Holliston Coleman outacts everybody...even Ian Holm who somehow managed to get roped into this whole sordid mess. Parts of it were shot around Toronto so I do enjoy seeing the local hoods with Hollywood big shots lolling about in them, especially Christina Ricci running around in our abandoned subway station and homegrown gal Nicole Lyn, who I'm sure we'll see more of in the future, has a nice little bit role as does Brian Steele who will be playing the Gill Man in the upcoming CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON remake. So, while there was a lot here to keep me entertained I would be very hard pressed to recommend it to anybody else.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Here is another one of those films where I think people simply expected too much. Yes, it is guilty of poor scripting and severe overacting but so what. Kevin Costner is more than adequate in the lead and how can any film with Alan Rickman playing the Sheriff of Nottingham truly suck? Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman seem to be having a bit of fun with heir respective roles and look for Jack Wild of H.R. Puffnstuff fame in a bit part. Yes, I know Kevin Reynolds would go on to direct WATERWORLD (which wasn't THAT bad) but he does a fine job of keeping the pace up here and if an old fashioned feel good swashbuckler is what you want Robin Hood will fill the hole and hey, it has Sean Connery playing yet another king!

Valentine's Day (Protector)

From the son of Dorian Grey, sorry...I mean Dick Clark comes this mediocre crime mob picture. Duane also gave us that award winning sequel to HIGHLANDER but we'll forgive him, just like we will for this one, because of the superior work he's gone on to do in directing for the CSI franchise. Mario Van Peebles does his normal job of looking tough and cool while bagging the ladies and Randy Quaid kind of tags along for the ride. Rae Dawn Chong actually turns in a good show here as does Ben Gazzara. Truth be told, I can't be too hard on films like these. Sure, they reek of money laundering or tax shelter havens but they provide solid work for up-and-comers as well as an avenue for actors and techs alike to cut their chops and for this alone they should be applauded. Bringing ANY motion picture to fruition is one hell of an undertaking and we should never forget this! That be said, VALENTINE'S DAY is just fone for a late night viewing with lot's of ta-ta's, a bit of gratuitous sex and enough action the keep you from falling asleep.

Transylvania 6-5000

Here is one mighty fine gem that has for years now been my daughter's favorite film. Jeff Goldblum and Ed Begley Jr. are sent to Transylvania in search of the Frankenstein monster by their National Enquirer type newspaper and the high jinx start from there. A collection of slap stick vignettes strung together to provide an avenue for some of Vegas's finest stand-up jobbers TRANSYLVANIA 6-5000 will not tickle the funny bone of all but it is well worth giving it a chance to do so. Michael Richards has some fantastic surreal bits here and Begley Jr. manages to pulls some great gags but the real show rests with Carol Kane and John Byner. The chemistry between these two as a hunchbacked couple is one of the finest comedic presentations you will ever see on film. Geena Davis looks stunning in her little vampire outfit and perhaps that is all I should say about that. All in all a fine couple of hours of nonsensical fun and can't we all use that now and again.

The Skull

Strangely enough this is not a Hammer film though you would be forgiven for mistaking it as such. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee star in this adaptation of a Robert Bloch short story concerning a cursed skull. Oh, I suppose it might have a little something to do with said skull having been once on the shoulders of the Marquis de Sade! Other Hammer regulars Michael Gough, Nigel Green and Patrick Wymark provide fine support but the real treat is in the direction. Saddled with a low budget the recently deceased Freddie Francis works his magic to tease a good little creeper out of the material at hand. Sure, some wires are to been seen here and there but this is more than made up for by the atmosphere Francis creates. If nothing else there is a fine scene where Lee and Cushing discuss the esoteric over a friendly game of billiards and the film is well worth seeing for the sake of watching these old friends together.

Snow White: A Tale of Terror

Well, this sure ain't your Walt Disney version here, and a shame because truth be told Disney did one hell of a better job with the source material. This faithful telling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale is definately not for kids and here is the problem. It's not suitable for kids yet it's made for them but does not carry enough weight to entertain and adult audience. Even Sam Neill and Sigourney Weaver can't save this bogged down mess. Again, it's a shame because the visuals and mood are there but the script is so uneven and the acting so off it simply ends up being one bad apple and I think this is all one should ever need to know about this one!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Red Corner

A fine tale of a businessman who gets in some seriously big trouble in little China! Very believable story with some mighty fine set design RED CORNER marks a high point in Richard Gere's work. Ling Bai is also wonderful as the lawyer assigned to defend Gere who is on trial for murder. Speaking of murder, the footage Gere is shown of a government execution is in fact real and was smuggled out of China! The plot is sadly predictable but the film is so satisfying overall this can be forgiven. You could do worse in your choices for the DVD of the night!

The Insider

Well, you know you'll never see me write anything bad about a Michael Mann film and I'm not about to start here. Perhaps his greatest piece of work THE INSIDER is one serious film about serious issues. Based on the true story of the chemist who blew the whistle on what the big tobacco companies were up to this is a film for the thinker though it does manage to add some action elements as well. Russell Crowe is simply fabulous here and Al Pacino puts in one of best performances ever. Christopher Plummer does abrilliant job of portraying Mike Wallace and right across the board the acting is top notch. Timely for me as well as I plan to quit smoking this Monday! Ultimately though this is a film about truth and the very real costs of it and as an example of this concept you will be hard pressed to find a better examination.

Notes from the Complaint Department

Some of you have been sending me emails on about how little information I provide in blog blurbs. As many of you know I am a film addict and over the years have amassed on serious collection of videos. Also, many of you should know by now that VHS tapes are next to worthless and as I simply no longer have room for them I've been watching them and giving them away. After their final viewing I write my little blurb for friends and family to check in on when the need arises....hence there is no real need for any serious critical review in this forum. Should you require some long winded views with lot's of big words might I suggest you hit the link to the right which will take you to the blog of Candy Minx who, if nothing else, has found a cure for insomnia.

The Fugitive

Every once and a while the big wigs in Hollywood get it right and such is the case with this big screen version of THE FUGITIVE. I know you've seen it so I won't bore you to death by repeating what everybody else has already written but I will say even though Harrison Ford is the "star" he damn near has the show stolen from him by Tommy Lee Jones who is simply bloody excellent here. Also, it is fantastic to see the late Andreas Katsulis get some love as the One Armed Man. We of course all know and love him as G'Kar on Babylon 5 and he is sorely missed by us all. All in all, you can't go wrong with this ten star blockbuster and I'm sure you'll enjoy a second time around.

Wag the Dog

Barry Levinson directs Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro in this biting satire of politics and manufactured perceptions. Hilary Hinkin and David Mamet do an amazing job of adapting Larry Beinhart's novel "American Hero" for the silver screen. A simple story has the acting president involved in a sex scandal weeks before an upcoming election. Enter De Niro who enlists Hoffman (who got an Oscar nod for his work here) to help him create a war do distract the American public's attention. A very funny number with fine acting from Anne Heche (yes...that Anne Heche who actually doesn't suck here!), Dennis Leary, William H. Macy, Kirsten Dunst, and Woody Harrelson who almost steals the show. Even Andrea Martin and Willie Nelson show up to lend their talents but one of the best dry laughs comes from James Belushi. A relevant piece of work even today...just be careful not to look to hard or you may find it's not a comedy at all!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Terror Train

Here is a little film very dear to my heart.....not so dear to that of the director! TERROR TRAIN marks the directorial debut of Roger Spottiswoode who would go on to direct the best of the Brosnan JAMES BOND films as well as many other great action adventures. Sadly, he won't even talk about TERROR TRAIN and it's a shame because it's one of the finer slasher films from the early eighties. Scream Queen supreme Jamie Lee Curtis joins a cast of now very well known Canadian character actors on a train where somebody has come on board looking for a bit of the old revenge. Magician David Copperfield as well as Hollywood vet Ben Johnson (who does some fantastic Clint Eastwood impressions here...wait...maybe Clint has been doing Ben all of these years!) are here doing there very best to look all scared and serious. In fact, Curtis does her best screaming ever in this one and damned if she don't look right smart and sexy in a bloody white dress shirt. Only Jamie can pull that look of with style! All os this aside, the film is dear to me because it is shot on the train run between Halifax and Montreal, a trip I've done numerous times and my only complaint here is they don;t make use of the observation deck car which would have been a nice touch. Also, the inside joke of using a very popular (at one time) Rene Levesque mask (which was based on a Macpherson political cartoon) struck me as an absolute riot. Not as much splat as I would have liked from this type of movie but a strong ending sequence which still holds up well today. Nothing at all here for Spottiswoode to be ashamed of...........also...look for Vanity in a neat little role!

Long xiong hu di (Operation Condor 2-The Armour of the Gods)

Due to releasing schedules this North American sequel is in fact the first film in Hong Kong. Jackie Chan takes all the roles here as star, director and writer and the results are standard fare boiling down to if you're a fan of Chan then this is a movie for you. Some great fight scenes as to expected with a few good laughs thrown in to boot. Look for a small cameo from veteran Bo Svenson.

Citizen Kane

It was good.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Scream 3

Wes Craven gives us the quirky little film within a film as Sidney and the gang return to get chased around by the Rich Little of slasher films, old Ghost Face himself. Certainly a tired little offering it does manage to garner some laughs and provide a few good jumps. On extreme problem I have with SCREAM 3 is the Chris Tucker wannabe they brought in. Tucker is well annoying enough on his own let alone having somebody swipe his schtick and be damn sure if I was Craven I would have spent a good fifteen minutes killing this characters ass off. Hell, come to think of it, I would have tried to get Chris Tucker himself as I'm sure the guy is able to laugh at himself...and if not...well....something for the audience to enjoy. Look for Roger Corman as well as Craven in studio cameos and if it's really a laugh you're the SCARY MOVIE films instead.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

1951 and the cold war was at it's peak and in response to this the legendary Robert Wise unleashed this sci-fi classic on an unsuspecting American public and thank the good Lord some numb nut hasn't defiled it by doing a remake. Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal are simply superb in this classic about a man from outer space who will bring peace to the planet Eath by any means necessary. Some critics have been harsh on it's pro-America stance over the years and they may very well have every right to be but let us never lose sight of the fact this is just good old fashioned film making and story telling and it is remarkable just how well it still holds up to this day. Damned if it doesn't actually make you want to go and visit Washington to boot! An absolute must-see!


Just a short note to mention this new Toronto outfit just starting up. They did an opening spot for Nash the Slash and Corpusse last Saturday night and have an nice retro 80's metal sound I think some of the peeps here might enjoy. I tried to look them up on the MYSPACE circuit and being the Luditie I am found no results so hence I am unable to tell you who they are or what bands they came from but I will say what struck me most about them was their unlikely vocalist, who once he gets warmed up, look right something off like he should be in the padded room. Something to keep your eyes and ears open for around town.

Boogie Nights

Here is one of those numbers where damn near everybody has some great to say about it and in this case it is well deserved. Honestly, if it were not using the California porno industry as a backdrop BOOGIE NIGHTS would be hailed as an absolute masterpiece in film making. An amazing script with a stunning ensemble of acting talent backed up with solid direction, an outstanding soundtrack and out of this world set design and dressing this is simply a film that will blow your mind....and maybe a few other things!

and by the way...Burt Reynolds absolutely rules in this picture!

The Quiet American

I'd love to say this was a nice adaptation of the Graham Greene novel but truth be told I've never read it! What THE QUIET AMERICAN is, however, is one mighty taut little slice of history wrapped in a sour romance and brutal politics. Set in Vietnam just before the French withdrawal the story revolves around a journalist from London and his love for a local and his unknowing involvment with both the budding CIA and the rebel forces. Michael Caine rightfully deserved his Best Actor Oscar nomination for this one and while not his best career showing it is certainly one you won't forget soon. Brendan Fraser more than carries his own with his dramatic counterpart but his character is so slimey you simply cannot like the guy. Though uneven in pacing, director Phillip Noyce does provide nice atmosphere and wonderful visuals and were it not for some scripting problems and continuity gaffes I think this easily would have taken a Best Picture nod from the Academy as well. Brace yourself for an ending you won't forget anytime soon.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

I must admit I thought it an odd choice to bring director Paul Greengrass on for THE BOURNE SUPREMACY and I was more than pleasantly surprised with the results. Greengrass returns to helm the latest offering and the results are a hell of a lot different this time around. Make no mistake here, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM delivers the goods in spades with excellent scripting and top notch acting. The problem is with the camera work. I haven't seen anything quite like this since THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and I seriously and strongly recommend you take a fist full of Gravol before viewing this baby. That aside, it's well worth the money to check this one out in the theatre and it's also nice to know that despite Damon's assertions there is still room to perhaps squeeze another film out of this franchise.


I have to say it was a nice effect to see the scripters fold the ending of the last film into the plot of this one. Excellent touch...also...Julia Stiles once agains shows she is growing into her acting chops just fine. A small sidenote...those of you who have not checked out THE THEORY OF FLIGHT by Greengrass really should do so.

A View to a Kill

This is by far one of the silliest Bond films ever made and it is for this very reason why it is so much fun. Roger Moore is as fantastic as ever as the womanizing rogue he was born to play and delivers some of the finest double entendres to ever make the screen. Christopher Walken is perfect as the maniacal Zoran and Grace Jones looks like she is having an absolute blast playing May Day. Over the top stunts and women galore make this a classic James Bond outing for the 80's and one must always remember to keep the salt shaker near by when watching such fare. Bond girl extrodanaire Maud Adams has an uncredited cameo and look for Dolph Lundren in his big screen debut!

A Lot Like Love

I love to be surprised and this was what A LOT LIKE LOVE provided for me. A wonderful little romance film is uplifted by excellent performances from Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet who showcase acting skills here I honestly was not aware either had. Mind you, I could watch Peet in a two hour toothpaste commercial and be entertained but to see her demonstrate the range and subtleness here was a true eye opener. As far as the story, it's not anything special in particular but there are moments that truly touch the spirit and I find this rare in these kind of vehicles. Perfect first date movie or even for those wishing to once again examine the motivators of attraction.


From Alexander Payne, the director who gave us ABOUT SCHMIDT, comes yet another thoroughly depressing look at life in it's later stages and I have to tell you I did not like this film at all. This is not to say it's a bad piece of work but I just find it too hard on a personal level to watch characters such as the ones presented here go through the mundane torture of existing. I also have a problem with this film in that it inspired a shit-load of wine snobs to come out of their linen closets and annoy the crap out of the world at large. Still, it is amazing how the two male leads, played by Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, end up being likable in the end considering they are absolute despicable human beings and this is a testament to Payne's skill as a craftsman. Virginia Madsen and Sandrah Oh round out the overall high calibre of performance and while this one may not to everybody's taste it certainly warrants a cursory viewing.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Bourne Supremacy

Matt Damon returns in this stunning action packed second installment in the BOURNE series and damn is he ever good. Gripping story shot with immaculate precision THE BOURNE SUPREMACY rocks in every way shape and form. Tow things really stand out in my mind when comparing this to the first and those are 1; Damnon must have hit the gym 'cause he sure looks to have bulked up and 2; Julia Stiles doesn't look like a fish out of water anymore! There are some great plot twists to be had here and one of the greates car chase scenes ever put to film. Do yourself a favour and make sure you see it before checking out the new one.


The world at large seems to have had a field day ripping this poor film to shreds when it came out. To them I have this little news's a friggin' kid's film get over it. I actually remember listening to a group of secretaries in a food court complaining how this film was not faithful to the comic strip. Then again, I'm guilty of doing the same when it comes to Spider-Man and such so I suppose I should keep my trap shut. Point here is, as a kid's flick there ain't a damn thing wrong with GARFIELD. It's innocuous harmless fun perfect for a six year old which might explain why Bill Murray came on board for the voice work. Fans of his may very well wish to check this baby out simply to hear him mangle the blues. I suppose it also worth mentioning Jennifer Love Hewitt who brings her "talents" to the cat food dish. All and all, good light fun for the young of heart.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The third part in the growing series still remains my favorite simply on the strength of Gary Oldman as Serius Black. Tighty directed with stellar performances all around, I honestly don't think there is need to say anything more.

Kiss the Girls

Morgan Freeman does an excellent job of bringing James Patterson's Alex Cross to the big screen in this tightly wound little white knuckle action thriller. I also remeber being absolutely shocked at how strong Ashley Judd was in her performance when I first saw this in the theatre. Simple premise has Cross hunting for a serial killer who goes by the handle of Casanova who is building himself a little kidnapped harem. Simple at first glance, KISS THE GIRLS has some very nice undertows and enough twists and turns to satisfy even the most discerning viewer.

The Lost World:Jurassic Park

Here is another film in which time has once again been kind. When it came out I remember absolutely hating it yet in reviewing it today I was very surprised to discover it's not that bad at all. Then again, with Spielberg directing how can it not be worth a view or two. Jeff Goldblum returns to go look at the dinosaurs along with Julianne More and Vince Vaughn and there is lots of screaming and stuff. Pete Postlethwaite turn in a great show as the cranky "big game" hunter and even old Spielberg himself has a neat cameo. A little heavy on the anti-hunting message for my liking but it still provides a good couple of hours of entertainment providing you don't make the mistake of taking it as seriously as it takes itself.

The Bourne Identity

I still remember what they did to this great Robert Ludlum novel when they adapted it for television and threw Richard Chamberlain in the lead and for this reason I was gravely concerned when I heard Matt Damon was chosen to revive the roll for the silver screen. As fate would have it Damon was the perfect choice and not only did he bring the character of Bourne to amazing life, he managed to spin it into a fine trilogy of which the latest and no doubt last chapter will be relesed tomorrow. I won't give away the plot other than to say and injured Bourne is found floating in the ocean and deosn't have a clue who or where he is. Hey, we all have mornings like that, shame is we don't get paid the big bucks for doing it. Sadly, Ludlum passed away while the film was in post-production which is a shame as I'm sure he would have greatly enjoyed the success this project received. I had the pleasure of meeting him in the mid 90's and he was just a gem of a man. The running Lola, Franka Potente is superb as the female lead here and Chris Cooper makes a wonderfully convincing nemesis. Also on board is Clive Owen who doesn't seem to be acting whatsoever in his role as a hitman. Spinmaster Moby provides some fine original music in the score and if I have any complaint at all about THE BOURNE IDENTITY it would have to be with the casting of Julia Stiles in a minor role. As talented as she may be she simply look like the proverbial "deer caught in the headlights" here. Oh wait....she always looks like that...nevermind. In all, if a believable and sincere espionage film is on your ticket for the evening THE BOURNE IDENTITY will certainly fit the bill.