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Movie Reviews

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.

Review: Unleashed

Rating: 4 out of 5 Short version: A surprisingly dramatic martial arts film. The two sides of UnleashedSome may accuse me of being overly picky when it comes to movies, but I also know when to step back and look at something within the context of it's genre. I've read a couple of excerpts of reviews of Unleashed that use words like "ludicrous" and "preposterous" to describe the film. You want to talk picky? Go bother those guys. Me, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Of course I went in expecting to see some cool martial arts fight scenes. What I didn't expect to see was actual drama and a great performance by Jet Li. I think the issue that some people might have with Unleashed is the fact that it straddles two (or more) movie styles instead of fitting squarely into just one category of film.

Review: Ladder 49

By Brian Rentschler Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Short version: This movie took an intriguing idea and ran it straight into the ground with a weak script and lousy direction. The clichés are so pervasive that it's sometimes hard to believe this movie was meant to be taken seriously. The heroic efforts of our firefighters deserve a much better showcase than this crapfest.

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