Movie Reviews

Review: Poseidon

Rating: 2 out of 5

Short version: Do yourself a favor and rent the orginal version.

The cast of PoseidonBased on how Poseidon, the remake of the 1972 disaster-film classic The Poseidon Adventure is doing at the box office, I'd say that most people are going to agree with my review. I'll only touch briefly on the nausea that the creation of yet another movie remake brings to me, and here, once again with good reason.

For those of you young 'uns, The Poseidon Adventure was released way back in 1972, and it was one in a string of very successful disaster-themed movies produced by Irwin Allen. It starred Gene Hackman in his prime and a handful of other actors who were popular at the time, including Ernest Borgnine, Stella Stevens and Shelley Winters. The plot was simple: Rogue wave flips ocean liner and a small group of folks try to survive by making their way to the bottom (now top) of the ship, hoping to be rescued.

Review: United 93

Rating:5 out of 5

Short version: A gripping, realistic portrayal of the events of 9/11 centered on the passengers of United Airlines flight 93 that's hard to watch but should be seen.

Pivotal passengers in United 93Where to start with this one? A sense of anxiety would be a good place... as in the feeling I had come upon me from the very first frame of United 93, lasting all the way through to the very last frame of the film where the screen abruptly goes black.

Review: Slither

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Short version: Gory and gross, as it should be, but not as funny as it should.

Slither: I don't feel so good...I was really looking forward to watching Slither. It looked like one of those "wink at the audience" horror flicks, with the sense of humor found in Tremors and great NON-CGI special effects. Plus it starred Nathan Fillion of Serenity, and I've become a big fan of his laid back and slightly Southern acting style.

Now don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it, I just didn't love it.

Review: Underworld: Evolution

Rating: 2 out of 5

Short version: Convoluted and confusing, but with the coolest looking vampire I've ever seen on screen.

underworld-evolution-thumb.jpgAlthough the first Underworld was not a cinematic opus, it was actually kind of a fun popcorn movie. Kate Beckinsale was fairly impressive in the first film as a female action hero, and she had her moments in Underworld: Evolution as well, although here I thought she got lost in the muddle that was the script and served more as eye candy (yeah, yeah I know, that's why she was hired) than an effective heroine.

Review: Hostel

Rating: 3 out of 5
Short version: Horror, nudity and gore reminiscent of early 1980's horror films, but with a stronger story.
A paying customer in HostelBe warned: If you are not a fan of movies that splash gore, body parts and guts across the screen, Hostel is most definitely not for you. Hostel is rated "R" and for damn good reasons.
When I review movies, depending on the film, I sometimes try to judge a movie not only from a general perspective, but when applicable also as it fits into a specific genre. As a horror movie, I think Hostel achieves it's goal of, well, horrifying the audience and it gets points for going in a different direction than I expected from the trailer and commercials. On a broader scale it wasn't too bad either.

Review: King Kong (2005)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Short version: When it's good, it's very good, but when it's not, it feels really, REALLY long. King Kong and Naomi WattsWatching Peter Jackson's version of King Kong, it is abundantly clear that the man feels as strongly about the original 1933 film as he did about Tolkein's Lord of the Rings books. One can really feel how earnestly he guided this film, paying homage to the original while expanding on it more than just a little bit. Unfortunately the "expansion" is one of the problems with the movie, but I'll get to that in a bit.

Review: Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

Rating: 1 out of 5 Short version: Oh my God, this movie actually made a profit? charlies-angels.jpgOk, so I'm late to the party reviewing Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. I certainly wasn't going to pay good money to see it, and I didn't even want it to soil my Netflix queue, but when I stumbled across it in upcoming movies on my satellite box, I figured I'd Tivo it for when I was particularly bored. So where do I begin? Perhaps with a call to my lawyer so that I can sue for emotional damage incurred by having sat through the entire movie.

Review: Serenity

If you're yearning for some great sci-fi, you owe it to yourself to get to know the crew of Serenity, based on Firefly, the little sci-fi show that wouldn't die.

Review: Freaked

By Vic Holtreman Rating: 3 out of 5 Short version: Probably the wierdest movie you've never heard of, a bizarre combination of Monty Python, Mad Magazine, Freaks and Airplane!. Brooke Shields and Alex Winter get Freaked I have no doubt that 99% of the folks reading this review have probably never heard of a film called Freaked. It was shot back in 1993 with a surprisingly substantial budget ($12 million) for this type of film, but it never saw the light of day beyond one or two film festivals. I can only guess that the writers/directors managed to get it made without any studio oversight, and once the final print was screened the execs recoiled in abject horror at what their millions had given birth to and immediately buried it. However, like a zombie it has risen from the dead and was recently released on DVD. Freaked is one of those movies that puts you in a dazed and confused state until you finally settle into the rhythm of the thing. Imagine a Abraham/Zucker film (Airplane!, Kentucky Fried Movie) without the (cough) subtlety. 8) It's gross and at times cornball, but it has a spirit of reckless abandon to it that puts a grin on your face when you think of the brass it took for these guys to make this movie.

Review: Fantastic Four

By Vic Holtreman Rating: 2 out of 5 Short version: You'll forget about this terribly miscast movie (that is *almost* made bearable by Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans) as soon as you leave the theater. Jessica Alba as Susan StormIn this post about the Fantastic Four movie, I said:

It's the first one [trailer] that actually shows the tiniest bit of depth as opposed to a low cleavage, snappy dialogue, special effects bonanza of a movie.
I'm here to tell you that the "tiniest bit" is all you're going to get in Fantastic Four as far as depth of character. On the bright side, Michael Chiklis (as "The Thing"/Ben Grimm) and Chris Evans (as Johnny Storm) both do a great job individually and as an ever-arguing pair. On the other hand, when the best performance in a movie comes from the off-screen puppeteers manipulating a latex mask, you know you're in trouble. I suppose I should get to a few details about the movie...

Review: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

By Vic Holtreman Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Short version: With far more strong points than weak, the curse of Episodes I & II has been lifted at last. Anakin on his way to the dark sideRedemption. No, not for Anakin Skywalker... for George Lucas. Although not perfect, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith rises far above the awfulness of Episode I and the mediocrity of Episode II. Time will tell, but for me I think this one will fall right behind The Empire Strikes Back in terms of overall Star Wars excellence. This says a lot considering that I'm in Lucas' "over 25" group that was weaned on the original trilogy and thought I & II were pretty awful.

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