Resurfaced Short Reviews, Part II

These are Resurfaced short or quickie reviews written in 2002 or earlier. For more information, please visit this link: Resurfaced Reviews.

One

One (2000)

Rating

Director

Tony Barbieri

Screenplay

Tony Barbieri, Jason Cairns

Length

1h 42m

Starring

Jason Cairns, Kane Picoy, Autumn Macintosh, Edward Lynch, Gabrielle Ruvolo, Paul Herman, Muhammed Hassan, Willie La Nere, Cassandra Braden, Karah Michaels, , Rainy Jo Stout

MPAA Rating

Not Rated

Review

The best success in life is achieved when you follow your dreams, instead of allowing indecision and lethargy to determine your actions. “One” focuses directly on this idea, forcing viewers to question how they approach their own desires and expectations.

Charlie O’Connell (Jason Cairns) has just gotten out of prison and is about to begin the rest of his life. Before his incarceration, he wasn’t intent on achieving anything. He was an underachiever in school and never amounted to anything, but now wants to go to college and become a teacher.

His roommate, Nick Razca (Kane Picoy), a former baseball player, manages his time by working as a garbage collector. His dreams were crushed through his own incompetence, but after seeing Charlie’s hopes come alive, he decides to re-attempt success in sports.

“One” declares that courage and determination can lead you anywhere you want to go. However, the road to that idea took a long, unsteady route through slow and methodical plotting. Most audiences expect a great deal of action to help movies flow between dramatic moments. “One” doesn’t have that; it is a steady path with limited excitement.

Cairns has potential; he has both the look and sound of a young Christopher Walken, but isn’t as menacing. Picoy goes through the motions never able to rise above mediocrity. His performance is solidly underwhelming. While you can surmise what his character’s supposed to be feeling, it’s never certain if you’re assuming or assured.

Director Tony Barbieri proves that he’s a new director by using unusual techniques to bring “One” to the screen. Several times, he uses a stationary shot while action goes on in front of and behind walls, but still manages to use framing effectively. The editing is flawed, forcing us to watch the same scene for more than a minute without changing camera position or focus. In the end, it makes the film more tedious than the story alone.

Average is the best way to describe this independent film. Although there is intense meaning behind the dialogue and events of the story, “One” skims the surface of a much larger idea. Success in life is difficult to achieve; however hard work, dedication and strong relationships help simplify the experience. Without them, you’re just a husk of existence with little hope of greatness.

Awards Prospects

None. Too small for broad Oscar appeal.

Review Written

November 15, 2000

Operation Condor

Operation Condor (1997)

Rating

Director

Jackie Chan

Screenplay

Jackie Chan, Edward Tang

Length

1h 46m

Starring

Jackie Chan, Carol Cheng, Eva Cobo de Garcia, Shôko Ikeda, Alfredo Brel Sánchez

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Basic Plot

A reissue of a 1990 Jackie Chan film. Entirely in dubbed sound. Searching for a long-lost gold stronghold from World War II, Jackie comes across many people trying to find it and reap the rewards.

Review

The dubbing doesn’t help the film one bit. The story is tired and the acting is mediocre at best. The action seems slightly recycled, but sometimes refreshing. Several comedic scenes as well as Chan’s performance of his own defying stunts save the film, but not enough to be one of his or the best.

Awards Prospects

Ineligible: Previously released.

Review Written

Unknown

The Pest

The Pest (1997)

Rating

Director

Paul Miller

Screenplay

David Bar Katz, John Leguizamo

Length

1h 24m

Starring

John Leguizamo, Jeffrey Jones, Edoardo Ballerini, Freddy Rodriguez, Tammy Townsend, Aries Spears, Joe Morton, Charles Hallahan, Tom McCleister, Ivonne Coll, Pat Skipper, Jorge Luis Abrell

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Basic Plot

A wealthy eccentric, Gustav Shank, enjoys hunting human game on his island home. He has collected the heads several human races, yet lacks one head of a Hispanic. Pestario “Pest” Vargas is lured to his island to become that last head.

Review

While the acting of some of the sub-characters, namely Gustav and Pestario’s friends are rather dauntless, John Leguizamo is as bright and vivacious as all of his other fantastic characters have been. The plot is extremely old, yet the comedy, on the most part, is only half-baked and on the most part quite funny. Eduardo Ballerini as Gustav’s gay son, Himmel, does a better than average job of not making a overly stereotypical homosexual. With the way the comedy is portrayed by Leguizamo Pest is an entertaining hour and a half at the movies.

Awards Prospects

No prospects for awards or nominations.

Review Written

Unknown

Peter Pan

Peter Pan (1953)

Rating

Director

Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske

Screenplay

Ted Sears, Erdman Penner, Bill Peet, Winston Hibler, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, Ralph Wright, Bill Cottrell (Play: Sir James M. Barrie

Length

1h 17m

Starring

Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Bill Thompson, Heather Angel, Paul Collins, Tommy Luske

MPAA Rating

Approved

Basic Plot

A little girl who doesn’t want to grow up and her two younger brothers go on a magical journey with Peter Pan.

Review

Young Wendy, who takes care of her younger brothers cannot stop talking about Peter Pan. Her father puts a stop to her, saying that he’ll move her out of their room and force her to grow up. Peter Pan comes along to rescue his shadow, which was caught by Wendy’s dog. They are whisked away to the Neverneverland, where Peter takes an instant liking to Wendy. Tinkerbell, Peter’s fairy sidekick, doesn’t like the idea and tries to get Wendy killed. Captain hook is the arch nemesis of Peter Pan and wants to destroy him. Peter caused Hook’s hand to be severed by an crocodile to be replaced by a hook. The story is very old and its adaptation is very interesting. It’s a fun children’s film, but not much more. The crocodile is the most fun of the film, with his own, wonderfulme music.

Review Written

Unknown

A Place in the Sun

A Place in the Sun (1951)

Rating

Director

George Stevens

Screenplay

Michael Wilson, Harry Brown (Novel: Theodore Dreiser; Play: Patrick Kearney)

Length

2h 02m

Starring

Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, Anne Revere, Keefe Brasselle, Fred Clark, Raymond Burr, Herbert Heyes, Shepperd Strudwick, Frieda Inescort, Kathryn Givney, Walter Sande, Ted de Corsia, John Ridgely, Lois Chartrand, Paul Frees

MPAA Rating

Passed (National Board of Review)

Basic Plot

Young up-and-comer George Eastman is thrust into the blue collar life of a rich friend’s family business where he’s expected to learn the ropes from the bottom up. While paying his dues Eastman becomes involved with Alice Tripp, a simple, trusting girl on the assembly line. When Eastman is finally introduced to high society he meets the gorgeous, sophisticated Angela Vickers and promptly forgets all about Alice. Only Alice won’t be gotten rid of so easily – espcially since their affair is about to result in an unexpected and (especially from Eastman) unwanted dividend.

Review

It’s a shame that this film didn’t win Best Picture, it’s fantastic. Entertaining, intriguing and surprising all at one time. Shelley Winters gives a bravura performance that I could not stop ravinng about. Add to that a masterful cinematography and you have a great motion picture.

Review Written

Unknown

Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Rating

Director

Franklin J. Schaffner

Screenplay

Michael Wilson, Rod Serling (Novel: Pierre Boulle)

Length

1h 52m

Starring

Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison, Robert Gunner, Lou Wagner, Woodrow Parfrey, Jeff Burton, Buck Kartalian, Norman Burton, Wright King, Paul Lambert

MPAA Rating

G

Basic Plot

Four scientists are sent into space for an extended period of time. They are each placed into sleep chambers that will render them unconscious for several years. When they awake they discover that one of their crewmembers did not survive the process, her support chamber had broken. They leave the ship before it sinks and set foot on this uncharted planet. The planet is not what they were expecting. The Apes are the ones talking and the men are the non-verbal subjugates.

Review

Charlton Heston isn’t as annoying in this film as he has been in the past. Heston has never been one of my favorite actors, more of a scenery chewer.

What really impresses me about the film is the ending, I won’t give that away, but it’s very well done.

Roddy McDowall probably plays my favorite character. Cornelius emboddies the softer side of the scientific mind. Very similar to the mind of scientists in the medieval times while societies were warlike and scientists were the ones trying to save humankind from destruction.

Planet of the Apes is a classic film from the late ’60s, it’s social commentary is superb and it remains topical today, even in the face of new scientific discoveries.

Review Written

Unknown

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rating

Director

Jim Sharman

Screenplay

Jim Sharman, Richard O’Brien (Play: Richard O’Brien)

Length

1h 40m

Starring

Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Little Nell, Jonathan Adams, Peter Hinwood, Meatloaf, Charles Gray

MPAA Rating

R

Basic Plot

A newly married couple is traveling one dark and rainy night. They reach a dead end and before being able to turn aroundir tire blows out. In their attempt to get to a telephone and call for helpy happen upon a bizarre mansion and its party-goers in some strange and enticing situations. It doesn’t take long before they are sucked into a morbid world of transvestite aliens.

Review

Rocky Horror is the ultimate cult film. Never before, nor since, has a film captured the cheekiness of cult films as this one. Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick lead a talented cast in this bizarre-on-bizarre film about transvestite aliens come to earth on a mission.

Review Written

Unknown

Scream 2

Scream 2 (1997)

Rating

Director

Wes Craven

Screenplay

Kevin Williamson

Length

2h 00m

Starring

Jada Pinkett, Omar Epps, Heather Graham, Roger L. Jackson, Neve Campbell, Elise Neal, Live Schreiber, Kevin Williamson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joshua Jackson, Timothy Olyphant, Jamie Kennedy, Jerry O’Connell, Courtney Cox, Duane Martin, Laurie MetCalf, Rebecca Gayheart, Portia De Rossi, David Arquette

MPAA Rating

R

Basic Plot

Is there a copycat killer on the loose? Is the real killer still alive? These are questions that the sequel to the most popular Horror Film of the ’90s must answer. Its a cast full of young starts that must solve the case of a repeat killer with the same MO as the original.

Review

The film’s intro, as with the original, centers around Casey Becker being tormented by an insane phone-calling serial killer while her popcorn burns on the stove. No, we haven’t revisited the original film, well, not totally. Gale Weathers, capitalizing on “The Woodsboro Murders” has had her book turned into a hit film, Stab. In the opening scenes, Phil and Maureen, played by Omar Epps and a wonderful Jada Pinkett stand attend the pseudo-premier. Amidst all the masks and confusion of the movie goers, lies a real killer. After a predicatble attack in a bathroom stall, Maureen is left to fend off this crazed killer in the middle of a crowded theater. With so many people there screaming and making knife motions with glow-in-the-dark plastic ones, Maureen meets her fate in a different way, in front of the world. Little does anyone realise that this is the tip of another bloody iceberg. As Randy, a survivor from the original film, and creator of those witty Horror Film rules points out, sequels are bloodier. This film certainly was, no one can escape the carnage, people are dying left and right, but not without sufficient time between to analyze the killer’s next move. In the end solution surprises, but doesn’t. I was impressed with this film and gives me hope for the in-the-works third film, Scream 3. Kevin Williamson deftly weaves his way around the horror genre with plenty of cheek and little flubs of his own. Without violating the “keep the secret” ploy, I must say that in the end film breaks a simple sequel rule. You be the judge. While there are no fresh performances, save for that of Miss Pinkett performances are of course acceptable and sometimes above par. Wes Craven adds that masters touch to Scream 2 and gives us plenty of eye candy and a great sense of showmanship. A scene taken from a play, featured prominently in the film, is a breath of fresh cinematic air. Chaotic, intense and well orchestrated by Danny Elfman. Not to say that Marco Beltrami doesn’t do a great job on the rest of the film’s score, he does, improving on the original’s greatly, but nothing compares to Elfman’s deft hand.

Awards Prospects

Horror is not a genre oft celebrated in Hollywood, so being a spoof gives this film little chance for Award attention.

Review Written

Unknown

Shock Treatment

Shock Treatment (1981)

Rating

Director

Jim Sharman

Screenplay

Richard O’Brien, Jim Sharman

Length

1h 34m

Starring

Jessica Harper, Cliff De Young, Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Charles Gray, Ruby Wax, Nell Campbell, Rik Mayall, Marry Humphries

MPAA Rating

PG

Basic Plot

Richard O’Brien brings to the screen a sort of sequel to the immensely popular and wonderful movie Rocky Horror Picture Show. This time, O’Brien as well as Patricia Quinn, Magenta, and Little Nell(now as Nell Campbell), Columbia, return to the film in new roles along with Charles Gray Criminologist. The only character to return to the film played by the same actor is Ralph Hapschatt, played by Jeremy Newson. There are one or two other actors that return, but none as famous. The characters of Brad and Janet return to the film, this time rendered by Cliff De Young and Jessica Harper, replacing Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon. The film takes place years after their hellish night at the Frankenstein Place, but really pays no mention to this fact. Asked to appear on a new game show, Brad and Janet are drawn into an elaborate ruse by Brad’s estranged brother to place Brad into Mental conditioning and a little bit of that ‘Shock Treatment.’ Lyrics and Music again written by Mr. O’Brien as well as directed again by Jim Sharman.

Review

Some poor excuses for musical composition imbue the film with a feeling of repetitiveness and moronic senility. Along with some mediocre performances, subpar to those in Rocky plot of this film gets tedious at the beginning. Towards the end of the film, you realise that the lush visuals are what we are intended to see, but it’s too late casual, non-Rocky Horror fan has lost interest and is demanding returns. After contemplating the film, I came to the relisation that it set out to achieve something and did quite well at it. The songs may have been rather poorly executed, but the situations, sets and characters that used them are quite vivid and a bit unusual, which makes for an entertaining time if you can get into that sort of thing. For a sequel to Rocky Horror film is good, but as a stand alone film it is rather redundant. I choose to look at it in a slightly more positive light because it is a sequel. Leaving out the hows and whys they got from Frankenfurter back to Denton, make the film harder to understand, but some of the catching tunes and wonderful visuals help keep the film out of the dumper.

Review Written

Unknown

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Rating

Director

William Cottrell, David Hand, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen

Screenplay

Ted Sears, Richard Creedon, Otto Englander, Dick Rickard, Earl Hurd, Merrill De Maris, Dorothy Ann Blank, Webb Smith (Fairy Tales: Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm)

Length

1h 23m

Starring

Roy Atwell, Stuart Buchanan, Adriana Caselotti, Eddie Collins, Pinto Colvig, Marion Darlington, Billy Gilbert, Otis Harlan, Lucille La Verne, James MacDonald, Scotty Mattraw, Clarence Nash, Moroni Olsen, Purv Pullen, Hary Stockwell

MPAA Rating

Approved

Basic Plot

An old fairytale is retold with Snow White, Walt Disney’s first full-length animated motion picture. Declared the most beautiful woman alive Queen viciously orders the young Snow White to be killed. The huntsman, taken aback by her beauty and charm refuses to kill her and warns her to hide deep in the forest for the Queen wishes her dead. She flees in terror and the hunter takes an animal’s heart to fool the Queen into believing Snow White is dead. Soon after Snow White has found a friendly set of dwarfs and cleans their house and takes care of them Queen discovers by using her Magic Mirror that Snow White is still alive. She must them kill Snow White herself and disguises herself as an witch to beguiles Snow White into taking a bite from a poisoned apple to only be awakened upon the kiss of a fair prince.

Review

High marks for Disney’s first full-length animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remains a classic today. With a beautiful score and a lucious animated milieu, Snow White plays into the hearts of millions and stretches the limits of film violence. While not as flawless as Fantasia or Bambi, Snow White is still a brilliant piece of art.

Review Written

Unknown

Spawn

Spawn (1997)

Rating

Director

Mark A.Z. Dippé

Screenplay

Alan McElroy, Mark A.Z. Dippé (Comic: Todd McFarlane)

Length

1h 36m

Starring

Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, Theresa Randle, Nicol Williamson, D.B. Sweeney, Melinda Clarke, Mike Hughes, Sydni Beaudoin, Michael Papajohn, Frank Welker

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Basic Plot

Through a fiendish plot by the lord of the underworld, Al Simmons is transformed into the Spawn through his own death. When he returns life he once new has been erased and he decides to exact revenge on the man who murdered him and those who have taken over his life. All the while the underworld lord’s minion, a homicidal, gross clown weaves the plot around good and evil and the destruction of the world to create more forces of evil.

Review

Industrial Light and Magic has brought us some magnificent visual effects. From the wonderful dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World to a revamped Star Wars Trilogy, ILM’s crack staff must have been really busy on other projects, because the visual effects in Spawn are second-rate computer graphics and none are terribly convincing. They are choppy and overused. Add to that mix a lot of great actors playing crappy parts with very little acting talent put into them, and you have one of the worst films of the year and the decade. The only thing that saves the film from getting an F is the performance of the ever-delightful John Leguizamo whose Drag Queen in To Wong Foo and slap-stick in The Pest give him the inspiration and the talent to carry off the part of the ambiguous clown, while not completely up to par, his performance is still far above even that of Martin Sheen who makes me wonder if he’ll ever be a great actor again. The plot is attrociously old battle of good vs. evil and the decision to do what’s right, while not adding much of a dramatic flare, nor a compassion for the characters. We find ourselves waiting for one of them to get killed so we can have some intelligent action, yet it never happens.

Review Written

Unknown

Star Trek - The Motion Picture

Star Trek – The Motion Picture (1979)

Rating

Director

Robert Wise

Screenplay

Harold Livingston, Alan Dean Foster

Length

2h 12m

Starring

William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Majel Barrett, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Persis Khabatta, Stephen Collins, Grace Lee Whitney, Mark Lenard

MPAA Rating

G

Basic Plot

The first, feature-length motion picture featuring the cast and crew of the USS Enterprise.

Review

Star Trek’s first screen voyage comes off well, but only if you are a Trek fan. If you aren’t very interested, this probably isn’t for you. There’s some bad acting, mixed in with good and a very interestin premise and loads of neat special effects.

Review Written

Unknown

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Rating

Director

Leonard Nimoy

Screenplay

Harve Bennett

Length

1h 45m

Starring

William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Robin Curtis Merritt Butrick, Phil Morris, Scott McGinnis, Robert Hooks

MPAA Rating

PG

Basic Plot

Picking up where exactly where Star Trek II left off Enterprise and crew are returning to port for some essential repairs to their ship. When they arrivey are shocked to discover the Enterprise is to be scrapped. When Dr. McCoy starts acting strangely, Kirk is forced to steal his old ship back and fly across space to a lonely planet to save a friend.

Review

With suitable acting, this third film in the Star Trek Movie Franchise follows the previous film and works well to continue the series, easily moving from film to film, Star Trek III furthers movie sequels. With an acceptable set of performances Search for Spock is an emotional roller coaster filled with loyalty and an evil villain, played wonderfully by the always talented Christohper Lloyd.

Review Written

Unknown

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

Rating

Director

John Harrison

Screenplay

Michael McDowell (Story: Arthur Conan Doyle; Story: Stephen King, George A. Romero)

Length

1h 33m

Starring

Debbie Harry, Davvid Forrester, Matthew Lawrence, Christian Slater, Robert Sedgwick, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, David Johansen, William Hickey, Alice Drummond, Dolores Sutton, Mark Margolis, James Remar, Philip Lenkowsky, Robert Klein, Rae Dawn Chong

MPAA Rating

R

Review

The in-between story, featuring former Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry is a rather boring part, but links the other shorts together. The first stars Steve Buscemi, before the Coen brothers and Christian Slater hot off his breakthrough in Heathers. Both are well-cast if not a little predictable. The violence in the story is cheap and not terribly applicable, but sometimes funny. The second story shows some of the better direction. From a cat’s point of view camera takes on more of a personality, while neither David Johansen or William Hickey’s performances are very good, but it’s made up for in direction and flashbacks. The final story is simply the worst in the entire film performances are terrible and the set up is lame only redemption is the neat twist at the end.

Review Written

Unknown

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Rating

Director

Tobe Hooper

Screenplay

Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper

Length

1h 23m

Starring

Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen

MPAA Rating

R

Basic Plot

A horror film about a group of teenagers wondering along the interestate who meet a family of crazed psychopaths intent on killing them all.

Review

The most graphic film of its time period, Chainsaw is considered by some the best granddaddy of modern horror. I will agree, but not to the fact that it’s high quality. Yes the film is gory and has some very real elements, but other than the direction film is worth very little more than the film it’s printed on.

Review Written

Unknown

The Three Caballeros

The Three Caballeros (1945)

Rating

Director

Norman Ferguson, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Harold Young

Screenplay

Homer Brightman, Ernest Terrazas, Ted Sears, Bill Peed, Ralph Wright, Elmer Plummer, Roy Williams, William Cottrell, Del Connell, James Bodrero

Length

1h 11m

Starring

Aurora Miranda, Carmen Molina, Dora Luz, Sterling Holloway, Clarence Nash, Joaquin Garay, José Oliveira, Frank Graham, Fred Shields, Nestor Amaral, Almirante, Trio Calaveras, Ascencio Del Rio Trio, Padua Hills Players

MPAA Rating

Passed (National Board of Review)

Basic Plot

Jose Carioca guides Donald Duck on a tour of South America, Latin America and Mexico as part of his birthday present.

Review

One of Disney’s least proud moments comes from this sometimes clever, often idiotic Animated motion picture. Mixing Live-Action and animated features, this film is rather neanderthalish in its approach to story telling unlike the more interesting Fun and Fancy Free and absolutely wonderful Fantasia. The film has its moments, namely in the comedic aspect and some of the music. They save the film from being too outlandish and repitious as well as from being putrid crap like modern films released to little critical support.

Review Written

Unknown

Time Bandits

Time Bandits (1981)

Rating

Director

Terry Gilliam

Screenplay

Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam

Length

1h 56m

Starring

John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker, Malcolm Dixon, Mike Edmonds, Jack Purvis

MPAA Rating

PG

Basic Plot

Kevin, an imaginative child, goes on a time-travelling adventure with a bunch of treasure-hunting dwarves, who have “borrowed” a map to the Universe’s time holes from The Supreme Being.

Review

Sometimes one wonders why the Monty Python alumns come out and try to do every film they make in a Python-esque style. This time it brings a slight illumination to an otherwise tedious story. With poor excuses for performances film has a hard time finding its footing in multiple, muddled time periods and escaping from the Supreme Being. The mystical replaces the religious and tries to paint the past and the Supreme being in radically different lights. Yet never achieves the intriguing humor of other politics-bashing institutions such as Dr. Strangelove. I remember loving this film as a child, but looking at it in a different time period film appears dated and saved by it’s fantastic costuming and delicious locales.

Review Written

Unknown

Tomorrow Never Dies

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Rating

Director

Roger Spottiswoode

Screenplay

Bruce Feirstein

Length

1h 59m

Starring

Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Ricky Jay, Götz Otto, Joe Don Baker, Vincent Schiavelli, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, Samantha Bond

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Basic Plot

James Bond is back and now he’s battling a media tycoon who wants to create his own headlines with real people’s lives. It’s up to Bond to stop him.

Review

Brosnan is easily equatable with Bond, he’s debonair, visible and still a ladies man. Q is the same old curmudgeon if not older and a little farther off his mark. Judi Dench reprises her role as M for the second time and is easily a worthy successor, she’s intelligent, brash and quite funny. Other than your standard technical effects and plot contrivances, Tomorrow Never Dies pulls in a much needed element, that effectively steals the show. No, it’s not Jonathan Pryce whose performance is acceptable, if not a little overbearing (his Peron was much better in Evita). It’s not the insipid Teri Hatcher who has shown no growth as an actress since her ill-fated series superman. However interesting the character of Stamper was, whether it was his maliciously good looks or his non-mastery of the English language, Götz Otto isn’t the best part of the film. The one element comes from Michelle Yeoh, who plays a female intelligence officer in China. Even though her presence at the beginning of the film is predictably spy material, she ads a certain penache to the film that has been missing for some time, strong female roles. Yeoh does a superb job bringing the Chinese Wai Lin to life and will hopefully remain a part of future Bond movies, if she does not, Bond’s demise could come very early.

Awards Prospects

Other than the Technical awards, Bond only has a chance at a nomination for Original Song, written by Sheryl Crow.

Review Written

Unknown

12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men (1957)

Rating

Director

Sidney Lumet

Screenplay

Reginald Rose (Play: Reginald Rose)

Length

1h 36m

Starring

Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Jack Warden, Henry Fonda, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec, Robert Webber

MPAA Rating

Approved

Basic Plot

11 for Guilty and One man stands alone against an angry group of men. Jurors in a capital murder trial must face one man’s opposition to send a man to the electric chair without at least talking over the case first. The other jurors don’t agree and he must begin a quest against them to bring ideas about the case to light that weren’t as obvious as were first conceived.

Review

At the time cast was virtually unkown, save for the likes of Henry Fonda. Today cast is among the most noted in history. This being said, some of the performances were rather low-grade for their comparisons, but others were quite superb, none of the cast turned out a poor performance, all were on the best side of good. Director Sidney Lumet, a legend of film, took on this film with great vigor and did some amazing things with closeups and long shots. Overall film is a rare gem in the realm of court dramas, one of the few to focus on the jury room instead of the courtroom.

Review Written

Unknown

Vegas Vacation

National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation (1997)

Rating

Director

Stephen Kessler

Screenplay

Elisa Bell, Bob Ducsay

Length

1h 33m

Starring

Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Ethan Embry, Marisol Nichols, Miriam Flynn, Shae D’lyn, Wallace Shawn, Sid Caesar

MPAA Rating

PG

Basic Plot

The Griswolds are on vacation again. This time they’re going to Las Vegas.

Review

In the formulaic form of the first three films, Vegas goes for gross gags and senseless humor, this time with none of the flair of the first three. At a damre is a short sequence of Dam humor, but it doesn’t go on long enough to really increase appetite and there are a few sparse events of good humor, but overall, this is the worst of the Vacation movies.

Awards Prospects:

No hope for any awards or nominations.

Review Written

Unknown

Wishmaster

Wishmaster (1997)

Rating

Director

Robert Kurtzman

Screenplay

Peter Atkins

Length

1h 30m

Starring

Tammy Lauren, Andrew Divoff, Robert Englund, Chris Lemmon, Wendy Benson, Tony Crane, Jenny O’Hara, Ricco Ross, Gretchen Palmer, Angus Scrimm, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Ted Raimi, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Reggie Bannister, Joseph Pilato, Dennis Hayden, Tom Savini

MPAA Rating

R

Basic Plot

A Magical Djinn is released from his prison. Mythecized as a Jeannie like Barbara Eden Djinn is a powerful creature who grants wishes, but twists them to suit his own evil need. Being only able to perform things when someone wishes him to Djinn waits often for someone to make a simple wish before unleashing his horrendous power.

Review

This film is one to leave in the video rental places until it’s discounted to 50 cents. While not a terrible horror film and better than some schlock of the past, this film rates very low on the film ladder. It’s worth it to see some of the interesting effects and horrors the Djinn performs, but for little else. You can stare at the scenery or the props or the actors to get some jollies, but the film itself relies to heavily on old plots and sometimes cheesy effects. The sole acting prowess in the film lies in veteran The teacher of mythology at the university, but even her performance is weak.

Awards Prospects:

Unless this film can muster a Makeup nomination, it’s lost. The only thing it might contend for is a Razzie or two.

Review Written

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