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The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen are 2 pretty blonde people. In her prime, I think Faye was the most beautiful woman on Earth , she was my reason for watching this, but what a disappointment. I do not understand the good reviews for this, not much of a story, loads of 1960s style, light on dialogue and way too many scenes of nothing much. Steve piloting a plane to the theme song , Steve and Faye in a dune buggy that goes on and on, Steve and Faye shopping in an open air market. Loads of silly 1960s special screen effects for no reason. There wasn't anything here to make you care for the characters and it didn't seem they even had much chemistry. McQueen was playing it stereotypically cool and Faye just looked spectacular in one outfit straight out of Vogue after another, but that was about it. The 4 stars are just for watching Faye looking like the goddess she is.
State of Emergency (2011)
State of Emergency is not quite a zombie film in the strictest sense but has more in common with the excellent film "The Crazies". Done in a minimalist fashion it is going to disappoint anyone going in expecting a true zombie film, or anything like the excitement and special effects of World War Z. On the plus side it is kind of moving, beautifully shot, even stunning to look at , with great atmosphere and some genuinely suspenseful and tense moments. On the negative side, it needed more drama, the dialogue was far from compelling, and the acting was very uneven. Jay Hayden in the lead is pretty good, not great , but Scott Lilly is awful, delivering every line in the exact same unemotional tone, he might as well be reading them off a piece of paper. Great looking guy, bad actor. Since this is basically a 4 actor play, it really needed a better script and better actors. And yet I saw it several years ago and just watched it again, because in an overall way, it works. You will come to care what happens to the characters.
These Final Hours (2013)
I love movies about the Apocalypse , but These Final Hours isn't really about that. If the world were about to end, who would you want to spend those final hours with ? With outstanding performances from the 2 leads and many great performances along the journey of this movie from the supporting characters, These Final Hours is a very moving tale while still throwing in some realistic ugliness. Luckily this is not the cr@p Hollywood churns out, there is no sugar coating here. Some great special effects too and plenty of suspense. This is a movie I know I will watch again.
Interesting subject, dull film
I believe Lee Alexander McQueen was a genius, and certainly some of that genius is on display here. Problem is, this look at his life is a bit dull . Filled with lots of old video footage that looks awful, the film seems to concentrate more on the earlier years of his career and doesn't really fill in the blanks when it comes to his personal life. 2 ex-boyfriends are interviewed but don't add much to the film. His family members and friends , along with videos from his own interviews help some, but in the end, his life isn't ancient history, he'd only been dead 8 years when this was created and yet you would think he was a complete stranger to everyone in his life. Maybe that is an answer to why he took his own life ? His problem with drugs is mentioned but only briefly. As a documentary this seemed to want to celebrate him, but not look too closely at the man behind the genius. He was great, this film is not.
Ape vs. Monster (2021)
Worst of Asylum
I know this question may seem preposterous, but is Asylum going downhill ? Sure their movies are garbage, but usually entertaining garbage. Not this one ! If you watch the preview you will see that they spent a bit more money on the CGI here, say $200 as opposed to the $20 they usually budget for special effects, but that trailer contains about all the special effects and computer generated monsters you are going to see. The rest is just one long boring story that had me nodding off over and over. This movie also proves to me something I have felt before, when The Asylum uses actresses to carry the story, it just does not work. Maybe watching men make fools out of themselves in these stupid films is more rewarding ? Eric Roberts seems to be turning up in more of these low budget films but he adds nothing except a recognizable name in an advertisement. The whole movie is just pathetic. I wish it had been so bad it was funny, it is not.
As Above, So Below (2014)
Out of control Shaky camera
At the heart of this movie were a few ideas that could have made a great film, and although there are some good performances here and one great short scene, this has too many flaws to even watch once. It has too few scares, and honestly looks like it was filmed in a not very frightening fun house. Some of the make-up jobs were bad although there was a little realistic gore. The very worst part of the movie though is the actual filming, not just shaky camera but out of control, all over the place camera, that literally made me nauseous. I had to turn it off and finish watching it another night, although by the time it ended I had to wonder why I bothered. It seemed to be going in an interesting direction at least, then completely drops the ball and very soon ends. Had the potential to be good and fails miserably.
I Love Lucy (1951)
The only shocking thing about I Love Lucy, is anyone rating it at less than 10. When I began watching I Love Lucy as a child it was already in reruns, but more then 60 years after it ended, it has no equal. Too many sitcoms are of their time, touching on issues, some political or social, that may have been relevant when they aired but feel dated years later. Years before Warhol's comment about everyone's 15 minutes of fame, Lucy Ricardo was looking for hers. The show was never political, it was about friendship, jealously, the battle between the sexes, all the human conditions that have always existed and always will. Lucy wants to break into showbiz, Lucy wants to buy a dress, Lucy thinks Ricky is trying to kill her, Lucy wants a souvenir. These were funny in the 1950s and all these many decades later they still are. The casting and writing were perfection. Lucy was glamourous ( I always found The Honeymooners depressing , that awful set and the same clothes) and the character's concerns with how they dressed, what they lived in, how other's thought of them, are universal themes. Best TV show ever.
Interesting if Flawed
Crisis is one of those Hollywood movies filled with stars and in this case, taking on the Opioid crisis from different angles and with 3 stories going on, some which will overlap. It's well shot, very well acted by the leads although some of the supporting players are a bit stiff. The individual stories can get very involved. It doesn't completely play it as good guy vs bad guy either which is good. It was never boring, but you should know this is a movie approaching the opioid epidemic more so from the supply side than the small amount of time onscreen given to it's effects on people's lives. I couldn't help but feel though I was just watching big name stars in a movie. It's a very dry movie of course with the subject matter, no humor to be found here, but I have to wonder if the movie needed so many stories going on, as it went back and forth between them all. While some of it came across as realistic, towards the end it just kind of fell apart and became typical Hollywood unrealistic, even preposterous. Worth watching once if you follow any of these stars. Armie Hammer was actually better than I expected him to be. Lilly and Oldman were great.
The Blob (1988)
Enjoyable but poorly cast
Haven't seen this since 1988 and was surprised to find it entertaining with a fair amount of suspense and a lot more gore than the original. Still, if the original is a classic, this is not. In 2021 , this has a very dated 1980s feel, and the movie contains some typical nonsense teenager oriented scenes that add little to the movie and would never have made it into the 1958 original. Updating a film to a current time doesn't always work, in this case bits of humor ,missing in the original just play as too cute more than 30 years later. The worst part of this film though is Kevin Dillon, not exactly a grand replacement for Steve McQueen. In fact awful casting, he appears way too young , small and thin to carry the role and has no charisma at all or chemistry with the female lead. He never became a big star and I have to wonder how he ever got the role to begin with . Even worse, he is upstaged by the handsome Donovan Leitch which had me wondering, why wasn't Leitch the star instead of Dillon ? It's poor casting that shows up as an obvious mistake in 2021.
While I would not watch this a second time, this is much better than some of the reviews here are making it out to be. Interesting, at times suspenseful, well shot and decently acted, it held my interest. If there is any problem with it at all, it's that characters aren't as well developed as they could have been and chemistry was lacking between characters when it was needed. This led to the movie being entertaining while not all that compelling. It needed a better script. Still it's worth watching for Tye Sheridan and Fionn Whitehead kind of steals the movie. It also has a decent message, one relative to our times.
Norma Rae (1979)
Sally yes, Movie no.........
Hard to believe this movie is 42 years old and although I'm a Sally Field fan , this is my first time seeing it. Yes she was outstanding and deserved the Oscar. There were many fine performances in the film, even if some of the characters seemed to be playing stereotypes. Overall though the movie seems very long, with some scenes not adding much to the story, and it takes quite awhile to get going. Most of all , while it is an OK film , other than her excellent performance, this is just Hollywood being pro-union. Nothing that happens is surprising, the people in charge are the bad guys , the workers are the good guys and there is no in-between. If you are in the mood for Hollywood's one-sided take on this issue, or enjoy Sally, this is worth seeing. If Hollywood drivel makes your skin crawl, I would pass this up.
Stunning if slow-paced.
I usually hate films that have little dialogue and are slow-paced. Some write that this movie is all about atmosphere but has little substance. Yet I saw this several years ago, it stayed with me and I enjoyed it again here in 2021. It's more then the stunning B&W cinematography, it's the charming story and the very realistic chemistry between the 2 leads. It's love in a land of desolation and death. All the actors are excellent , including the cat. If you are expecting any kind of traditional horror film you will be very disappointed, but this film is a fascinating watch, stylish , moody and captures so many emotions so well, from loneliness, to emptiness, to desperation and a great portrayal of a world that seems to exist and come alive only at night.
Like something from The Asylum
If the people behind this had say, 80 million dollars more added to their budget, this might have been a good film. Instead it seems they paid Chris Lloyd $5000 for half a days work, gave the always good Ben Cotton $500 for half a days work, spent $300 total on the rest of the cast , and $49.50 on special effects. Sets were any building or out of the way road or gravel pit they came across. Actors were told to bring their own wardrobe preferably something comfortable and unrealistic for their characters. Thinking back on this movie (I just finished it a few minutes ago) I don't remember them doing much other than acting scared while running around or acting scared while riding in cars. If there were some type of award for overwrought acting inside of a car, the cast of this would surely win it. This isn't the worst Cr*p I've ever seen but it really is The Asylum level bad and stupid. As others have noted, the son is written as a terribly annoying character, but the actor who plays him is great looking so that is a plus. Not worth watching because it isn't so bad it's funny, it's just kind of pathetic but if someone pays you to watch it or actually threatens your life unless you watch it, then go ahead.
13 Sins (2014)
Great idea , poorly executed
At the heart of 13 Sins is a great idea for a horror film. A man has to complete 13 tasks to win millions. The idea itself is dark, sinister and could have been played that way. Unfortunately, while the movie is well acted, It isn't well thought out and seems to go against the rules it has laid out for the game. There are scenes here that are dark, yet instead of playing them tragically, they're played with little emotion. At other times the film just cops out. Maybe to cut down on running time , scenes seem to have been left out. As the movie wears on, it completely falls apart and the end is simply ridiculous. Had it been better made, and truly played with a dark and sinister tone , you could forgive the 567 holes in the plot. I think it wanted to say something about the corruption of money and greed, but by the time it ended I just thought "well that was stupid".
Shookum Hills (2021)
Roll your eyes at the stupidity
A horror movie that wants to be The Descent and is just some stupid , poorly written horror movie. Scenes that make no sense, characters behaving poorly or just moronic, no chemistry between the actors and for as long as it takes to get going , no real character development. The director has no idea on how to make a movie suspenseful. The make-up effects/suits are completely and laughably fake looking. The only sad element to the film is that Will Patton must be scraping the bottom of the barrel to appear in a movie this poorly made. Kept rolling my eyes at how ridiculous this was at times and ended up feeling sorry for the actors who tried but were give little to work with. There were some good sound effects but I've heard the same sound effects used in other films, that is how generic and run of the mill this movie is. Why did they bother making this ?
Excellent , score is way too low
I don't understand the low scores and bad reviews for this film. From beginning to end this was entertaining. Great atmosphere, great story, fantastic cinematography, and most of all top-notch acting from Andi Matichak and Luke David Blumm. Yes, there were some questionable points to the plot, but it's a horror film. Andi's performance , as a mother desperate to save her son was Oscar-worthy, really equivalent to Ellen Burstyn in The Exorcist. For a horror film , it also had some very realistic elements to it. There was an attention to detail that put this way above many of the horror movies now being produced. Perfect locations, great dialogue, I was shocked only by how well this was done and how much I enjoyed it. Loved the ending !
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
The Best Zombie film is 17 years old in 2021
It is rare that a remake is better than the original , but the 2004 version of Dawn Of the Dead is not only better than the original, it is the best zombie film ever made. With fleshed out characters you grow to care for, excellent dialogue, suspense, some wit, plenty of horror, a great soundtrack, filmed well, and directed to perfection, there isn't a boring moment in this film. The actors do a great job and the movie isn't filled with stereotypes. Watching it 17 years after it's release, and having seen it many times over the years, it isn't a bit dated. One of my favorite films.
Overindulgent and Absurd Soap Opera
I was going to give this 1 star, but this is so fascinating in how bad it is I felt it should have an extra star. The film actually starts off well but very soon descends into something like a really bad daytime soap opera with performances and a soundtrack to match. When I headline this with "overindulgent" realize going into this mess it is almost 2 1/2 hours long. It's obvious the filmmakers thought they were creating an epic masterpiece but this is nothing more than a poorly done, totally implausible crime mystery. Aren't most TV crime shows 1 hour ? Well imagine one stretched to 2 1/2 hours, but far less interesting. They attempt twists and turns in the plot but none of it works. Things happen that make no sense. For part of the film I had no idea what was going on. Even trimming the many completely unnecessary scenes this is still nonsense. A couple wants answers to a crime committed against them, yet they refuse to cooperate with the police ? And if the main drag of the movie is the seemingly endless middle, this bomb of a film completely explodes at the end, with a finale so shockingly awful it was almost worth the previous 2 hours and 18 minutes . The running length should keep most people away.
Dead Man Down (2013)
Good but a bit slow
I went into this blind, but when I saw it was co-produced by the WWE, I really wasn't expecting much, certainly not the parade of A-list actors who inhabit this fairly enjoyable film. If you are a Colin Farrell fan this is a must see, the camera is squarely on him throughout most of the film and Noomi Rapace does a great job as the female lead in a role that is not some meaningless girlfriend role. Both bring heart to the film, because otherwise this is a kind of typical shoot'em up gangland thriller although with a few good twists. One of these twists luckily comes early on, because while this is exciting at times, it also has scenes that drag, enough that I almost turned it off until that twist showed up. Well shot and well acted , a fairly involved story with multiple plot lines, it's worth a watch, but just didn't have that extra bit of flair to be considered a classic. As much as I enjoyed it as a fan of Farrell, I wouldn't watch it again. It's rating of 6.5 seems perfectly reasonable.
Apocalypse of Ice (2020)
If there is a fate worst than death, it is this movie. Some things I said to myself while watching this " Do they pay Tom Sizemore to mumble his lines ?","Would anyone wear a tank top in the Artic?", "Does this thing have a plot ?", "Why is there a virus in this film, the ice wall wasn't enough?", " Why is Timothee Chalamet in this ?" " This doesn't make any sense " "The guys are cute and have great hair, I guess that's something", "That isn't Chalamet, just someone hired because he looks like him " "This is stupid" "I'm bored" . At one point someone says something like "I don't think I can go on" and eventually I said that too and turned it off. I swear, I felt like I'd been watching it 2 hours and it didn't seem to be coming to an end so I just gave up. The Asylum can produce some stinkers that are LOL funny , but I didn't laugh even once. If I were to guess it's because in their very worst , most boring films they use the actresses to carry the film , as they did in this, and they just can't. This wasn't entertaining, it was a sedative in movie form.
Jakob's Wife (2021)
Barbara Crampton plays a minister's wife who finds a new calling in life......well sort of. A Charming, kind of fun film because Barbara and Larry Fessenden play so well together and both are excellent in their roles. The movie starts off on some high notes , gets a bit slow and random in the middle , then picks up in the finale, but overall is better than most of the usual low budget horror fare tossed out these days. It's nicely shot, and while it doesn't outright play it for laughs, this isn't a serious horror film. What puts it a cut above is the depth given to the 2 leads and you actually like and feel for them. Worth watching.
I am only just discovering that Joan Crawford made some very entertaining movies, and this is one of them. A story a bit ahead of it's time, think Fatal Attraction the 1947 version, this is a great production, with an interesting story, Joan at her best and looking not so hard, excellent cinematography, and some well written , even LOL funny dialogue/insults. This isn't camp but it isn't what I think of as Film-Noir either, although I've seen it advertised that way. In some ways it's a kind of a typical Crawford film , but a top-notch one. The movie did have it's negatives and for me that was Van Heflin, never got his appeal and don't understand him in this role. Not only couldn't I figure out her obsession with him but the movie doesn't really fill us in on why she was ever attracted to him. Still it was enjoyable, not at all boring and is a must watch for Crawford fans.
Finding Vivian Maier (2013)
Amazing, both her and this documentary
As a photographer I found this film on Vivian Maier to be a fascinating look at piecing together not only who she was , but how great her talent was. I envy her talent and I envy John Maloof for being the one to discover her. Since she is deceased, a part of her life is always going to be a mystery but the facts he was actually able to unearth were amazing. His dedication is to be admired and is on full display here. I found it interesting too, all the people he was able to find to talk about her, how well spoken and interesting they were, along with painting at times a less than flattering portrait of her. These facets made her real and very human. This is not a film that paints an unrealistic glossy version of it's subject. Street photography is very hard to master , many people just do not want to be photographed , it can even be dangerous, but the many examples of her work shown throughout the film prove she was an exceptional photographer with a brilliant eye for composition and capturing a moment. Love her work and loved this look at Maloof's journey to discovering the woman behind the camera. An absolute must for photographers , who will most likely see some of themselves in her, and photography lovers.
The Slaughterhouse Killer (2020)
Good, could have been better
For a low budget horror/thriller this was much better than I expected it to be. The 2 leads actors were excellent, especially Craig Ingham in the lead as Box. At the core of it the writers had a good idea for a movie, and a bit of a decent script, but in the end all of this needed to be developed and fine-tuned. While Box was developed some, James Mason's character Nathan was not well written leaving the viewer with lots of questions. In fact there were potential plot lines in the film that weren't expanded upon at all. Worst of all there was a particular turn of events in the film that made no sense considering the plot. I liked the film but it's obvious they were constrained by budget and some poor writing. Still it's worth a watch , held my interest and certainly wasn't boring.
Night and the City (1950)
Classic, Perfect Film Noir
With all the fantastic reviews on here and the very high score I wondered if this film, now 70 years old, could hold up to all that praise. Yes it does. This is one riveting, entertaining film from beginning to end. I love movies filled with low-down and dirty characters and this has a truckload of them. Richard Widmark is amazing as Harry Fabian but every actor in this is perfection, savoring their scummy characters. The cinematography is outstanding, and combined with a great score, the film is kind of mesmerizing. Genuinely sad in parts, Widmark brings the lead to life, making you feel for him. For 1950 , this is an ultra-realistic look at a gritty underworld, that doesn't feel dated in the least. As Film Noir, I think it's only competition is Double Indemnity. If you love that film , you will love this.