Author Topic: Jon's Random Reviews  (Read 63123 times)

Najemikon

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Rambo 3 **
« Reply #45 on: July 23, 2009, 11:03:39 PM »
Rambo 3 **
2 out of 5


As a straightforward action movie, they don't come much more fun that Rambo 3. The octane level is definitely set to high and his ruthless despatching of Rushkies is thrilling stuff. But it's all bollocks.

First Blood had a point, something to say. The sequel had more fun, was largely unnecessary, but held onto some dignity. Here, he is a full blown cartoon character. He's still beating up Russians, continuing from the previous outing, so at least there's half an idea continuing the thread and providing a link into someone else's war. It's all tenuous though and then goes completely OTT where he seemingly faces off against an entire battalion.

Good job the Taliban are there to help him.  :devil:

Yes, it's also a bit dated due to current events. It hardly matters actually, but when the movie is already not very good, it's fun to be picky! I can recommend this as a double-bill with Charlie Wilson's War...  :laugh:

Najemikon

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Rambo ***
« Reply #46 on: July 24, 2009, 10:39:02 PM »
Rambo ***
3 out of 5


I tend to be cynical about Stallone. Once again he is crapping on earlier movies, insinuating in interviews that Rambo 3 (or even 2) is not what he intended in retrospect. Well, he wrote them, they made the character an icon, and he was always capable of more realism should he have chosen to do so. Strange he manages to do that now when his career was all but over. (see also, Rocky Balboa). He could never have made this, 20 years on, if the sequels hadn't been as dumb fun as they were.

But this is being picky, because right now, we have a pretty good movie in Rambo, that feels more like the first in terms of character, and brings him full circle. It also opens up the debate on screen violence. He was going for realism, but bloody hell this is violent! Rambo for the Hostel generation?

Maybe, but it is only the same realism we've seen in Saving Private Ryan, etc. What is making critics uncomfortable, leading them to call this "offensive", is that Rambo is first and foremost entertainment. Personally, the only problem I have with it is that it may alienate an audience who would otherwise enjoy this outing, but to call it offensive is a serious case of double-standards. Stallone never treats life as a cheap commodity here. He's dialled the character back to the self-loathing monk of First Blood and it emphasises the massive body count as a tragic consequence, not a score-sheet, unlike other action films.

Also, it's easy to be critical, but in choosing Burma he is lifting the lid slightly on an horrendous situation that is relatively unknown. So if the average guy watches this, cheering on the hero has he treats endless enemy soldiers like giant water balloons filled with gore, then makes a connection while watching the news reports about Karen rebels or Aung San Suu Kyi, then that's a worthwhile first step, surely.

Back on the pure entertainment front, I haven't bothered to go on about the plot, because you already know if you have half-a-chance of liking it! Suffice to say, I have nothing against a part 5. Stallone still looks convincing even at 60+! There was an abandoned idea for this outing that could still work, just so long as he doesn't get too successful in the meantime. The successful Sly Stallone can't write for shit.

Offline goodguy

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Re: Rambo ***
« Reply #47 on: July 24, 2009, 11:01:53 PM »
Also, it's easy to be critical, but in choosing Burma he is lifting the lid slightly on an horrendous situation that is relatively unknown. So if the average guy watches this, cheering on the hero has he treats endless enemy soldiers like giant water balloons filled with gore, then makes a connection while watching the news reports about Karen rebels or Aung San Suu Kyi, then that's a worthwhile first step, surely.

Frankly, I don't get this argument. To me, the most offensive thing about this movie is the prominently used archive footage. This is pure exploitation, and it really is the worst kind.
Matthias

Najemikon

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Re: Rambo ***
« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2009, 03:02:50 AM »
Also, it's easy to be critical, but in choosing Burma he is lifting the lid slightly on an horrendous situation that is relatively unknown. So if the average guy watches this, cheering on the hero has he treats endless enemy soldiers like giant water balloons filled with gore, then makes a connection while watching the news reports about Karen rebels or Aung San Suu Kyi, then that's a worthwhile first step, surely.

Frankly, I don't get this argument. To me, the most offensive thing about this movie is the prominently used archive footage. This is pure exploitation, and it really is the worst kind.

I don't disagree with that, Matthias. The film opens with it and I thought, this is just cheap laziness of the worst kind. Just shows Stallone's naivety. The rest of the film felt more like the throwaway action junk I was expecting and the fact it was set in Burma was enough. Apparently if you are caught watching Rambo in Burma, you get 10 years inside!

Najemikon

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Halloween: Resurrection *
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2009, 03:17:32 AM »
Halloween: Resurrection
1 out of 5


I was lucky enough to catch this on TV tonight. You see, I was trying to think of something really painful and futile to do, and had just decided to stick pins in my eyes and hit myself in the balls with a mallet, when this came on. Within minutes, the masochist in me realised this was far more excruciating! Joy!

It is unbelievably awful. Busta Rhymes? Busta bloody Rhymes versus Michael Myers? The shame! The whole thing is a terrible joke. Like all truly bad films, at the heart there is something intriguing, otherwise it would just be boring. This had this slightly-not-terrible idea of having a bunch of teenagers explore the original house while feeding footage back to the Internet. Cool! Nostalgia and all that. Unfortunately, no-one at any stage from inception to execution had any idea how to actually capitalise on it.

So you have the same scene repeated endlessly. Michael looking really dumb, being really predictable and barely moving, while he half-heartedly sticks his knife into the next squeaky acting class reject. Then they'd get away... by running back into the house. Yeah, that works. Whatever. Where's my mallet?   

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2009, 03:37:19 AM »
While far from the best in the franchise... I must admit... I did still enjoy it!  :bag:

Of course right about now (24 days horror free) I could almost watch The Sorority again!  :o :surrender:
Pete

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2009, 03:52:14 AM »
I could almost watch The Sorority again!  :o :surrender:
Does it means that you will start your marathon with it? :whistle:
I was lucky enough to catch this on TV tonight.
Reading only the title my reaction was "he really scratch the bottom of the barrel here and why he own this dvd", but you were fast to correct my idea :laugh:

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2009, 03:58:59 AM »
I could almost watch The Sorority again!  :o :surrender:
Does it means that you will start your marathon with it? :whistle:

Absolutely not! Once I am able to watch my horror again I will be watching all my favorites as well as a bunch of new ones I never seen before. I so can't wait! Unfortunately I have a LONG wait ahead of me.  :stars:
Pete

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2009, 06:19:45 AM »
Come on, Pete, almost a third. You can do it!

Reading only the title my reaction was "he really scratch the bottom of the barrel here and why he own this dvd", but you were fast to correct my idea :laugh:
Sadly I found it really cheap at DeepDiscount once and bought it, thinking I wanted to have all of the Halloweens with Jame in them. Apparently Jamie was sick and tired of them herself
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Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2009, 12:53:42 PM »
Don't worry... not giving up... just feeling the pain!  :P
Pete

Najemikon

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Halloween *****
« Reply #55 on: July 31, 2009, 01:26:10 PM »
Halloween
5 out of 5


After recovering from the utter bollocks that was Halloween: Resurrection, I thought I'd have another look at the original. Peerless. One of the very best slasher movies ever made before anyone really knew what a slasher movie was.

The atmosphere is consistently foreboding, thanks to Carpenter's wide open shots and the classic theme. I love how the screen-title comes up, after the audacious start and Michael's escape from the hospital, "Haddonfield, October 31", then as it changes to the word "Halloween" the music kicks in and completely alters your peception of the quiet little town.

Scream-Queen Jamie Lee Curtis has rarely been better and Donald Pleasance has great fun hamming it up as the Dcotor who is the only one who understands the threat to the town. Much of the films atmosphere is generated before Michael is on-screen, but he has a fantastic presence once he is. The whole concept of the character is brilliantly engineered and he is the best movie serial killer of them all when compared against the almost cartoon like Freddy and Jason's. Of course, I'm not including the sequels! No need. The power of this original film has never been compromised by the unnecessary franchise.

Even part 2 was only written by Carpenter to protect the rights, but he could hardly see the point. Ok, there's the supernatural twist that shows Michael is unstoppable, but that didn't mean they had to follow it up. It just left Michael as a legend, the Boogie Man who may not have even existed.

By the way, if you get a chance to see the TV version, it's worth a look. While making part 2, Carpenter came on set and directed a couple of scenes to insert into the original as they had had to cut it for violence, but keep up the length!

Najemikon

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American Ninja ***
« Reply #56 on: August 08, 2009, 02:01:39 AM »
American Ninja
3 out of 5


Joe is a mysterious loner, forced to join the army or face a prison sentence for a recent violent past. Before then, he has no idea having suffered amnesia. But what he does know, and what everyone else is about to find out, is that he has skills to match the fabled Ninja assassins of Japan.

American Ninja is a perfect example of the cheesy action movies that defined the 80s. Lets get one thing straight; this movie is not good. It's poorly written, badly acted and has some woeful directing. The rating of a generous 3 out of 5 is on pure entertainment. Some of the martial arts is fairly well done, Steve James (as Curtis "Powerhouse" Jackson) is head and shoulders above everyone else and the script is good enough to recognise it, Dudikoff has something that could pass for screen charisma (or maybe it's trapped wind, it's hard to tell) and when all that fails, it's so bad, it's funny!

The story is basic, but does the job. Joe and Curtis uncover a plot to smuggle guns and the smuggler, posing as a respected business man with spies in the army and police, has a Ninja master as a bodyguard, leading a Ninja army for security. It's absurd, of course, but it bats along with several scraps (although it often falls into the trap of all cheap kung fu movies where bad guys wait patiently to be dispatched with the lightest of contact!) and a hefty dose of silliness provided by comedy sidekick Charlie, gung-ho Captain Hickock, but most of all Steve James. He gets some great lines and delivers them with relish and by the end he's a one man killing machine. Great fun! Duddikoff does enough to carry the film, but you'll watch it for James.

But the best thing about this movie? Ninja's are fucking cool. Nuff said.

Najemikon

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American Ninja 2: The Confrontation **
« Reply #57 on: August 08, 2009, 03:26:45 PM »
American Ninja: The Confrontation **
2 out of 5


Joe and Curtis are assigned to an island where the local Marines are being kidnapped and there had been a rumour of Ninja involvement.


The first movie had a cool idea and got by on enthusiasm, if not talent. This is so bad it's hilarious. Steve James is really struggling now to look like he belongs in this rubbish and still gets the best lines. Michael Dudikoff is doing his thing and looks the part. The choreography was never fantastic, but aside from one or two moments, feels laboured. The enemy Ninjas are now little more than sparring partners in funny pajamas. I think the notion of what a Ninja actually is has been forgotten. Still, Dudikoff has some skills and the fights are always fun.

In a franchise (snigger) like this, you expect things to get repeated. So it's still a high class business man as the villain, trying to persuade others to buy into his diabolical scheme (genetically modified Ninja this time. Why? How do I know? It's just a great idea, so why not use it! :whistle:), while using a tamed Ninja master and his army for security. The last act is verbatim from the first film: Joe goes in alone, while Curtis gets tooled up, shouts his catchphrase ("Let's kick some ass!") and him and the marines ride in. James is always worth watching with his kiss-off lines to all the Ninjas.

But what makes this film very funny is the amount of little things that get repeated, even beyond the plot; they have a comedy sidekick called Charlie, who's different to the first Charlie! And their captain is nicknamed "Wild Bill", while in the first film he was Hickock! Brilliant. The only difference here is the guy who plays the Captain is the worst actor I have ever seen. Still has a by-the-book sergeant helping or hindering him, just like the first film.

It's just lazier overall, but funnier for it. For instance, you can see Dudikoff's stunt double as much as you can see Dudikoff! He's even used in an office scene!  :hysterical: I've tried to find it on YouTube, but no dice so far.

Najemikon

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L.A. Confidential *****
« Reply #58 on: August 15, 2009, 01:26:01 PM »
L.A. Confidential *****
5 out of 5


A while ago in another thread, I suggested that Titanic was the right film to win the Best Picture award over L.A. Confidential because it was old- fashioned romantic fantasy that Hollywood was built on. That's rubbish. Since I last saw both films I've seen a lot more Film Noir and while it was always an under-valued genre, it's even more clear to me now just how superb this modern entry is. In fact, it is a gem to judge older Film Noir by and can stand alongside classics like A Touch of Evil or Double Indemnity. Titanic is excellent, but still bloated and predictable (and no, not because the boat sinks!) and while melodrama was one of the foundations of Hollywood in the 50s, no-one remembers them. This, is a proper film for proper film fans. The stories deep-rooted ties with L.A. at the height of Hollywood glamour is the icing on the cake.

It's easy to have rose-tinted spectacles and assume that modern versions of a long-forgotten staple of cinema simply can't be as good, but like Unforgiven before it, L.A. Confidential is a defining example of its genre. Much of this is thanks to the hard-bitten novel it's based on by James Ellroy, whose wonderful story is perfect Noir, especially in the Femme Fatale of never-better Kim Basinger; she is dangerous to the men around her, but vulnerable as well. It entwines beautifully with Hollywood legend (even notorious Johnny Stompanato is featured, along with Lana Turner in a very funny scene!).

Basinger is a high-class escort, who looks like Veronica Lake, and the key for the L.A.P.D. to uncover David Strathairn's sleazy business and his corrupted political friends. It comes down to three men to go above and beyond, played to perfection by Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey, and it's a joy to watch these three because none were the superstar actors they are now, so the roles are not compromised in the slightest. They're supported by James Cromwell as Captain Dudley Smith and Danny DeVito as sleazy Sid Hudgens. The cast is simply note-perfect throughout.

They're helped by the wonderful dialogue in Brian Helgeland's and Curtis Hanson's screenplay. What is it with Helgeland? He's either churning out gold like this and Payback, or guff like Sin Eater. But even harder to understand is Hanson, who also directed. Apart from the fantastic Wonder Boys, he's done nothing else of note. The earlier River Wild was fun, but Die Hard on-a-river is something anyone can do.

The film is gorgeous to look at, with the production never looking fake, and there are moments that can take the breath away, especially the climax (cinematographer Dante Spinotti coming into his own) or Bud White losing his temper and destroying an office! Like everyone else involved, Jerry Goldsmith finds his best form and produces a score to match the pacing, ever-present, but never over-powering.

L.A. Confidential is very special indeed and much of it is down to Hanson, somehow making a film that you think Scorcese could easily have done, yet I'd suggest doing it better, so utterly convincing is his picture of the sleaze and corruption behind the red carpet culture. His Goodfella's style opening doesn't feel as indulgent as that oft-overrated film and the pacing is sharper where it needs to be. I'm not saying Hanson could pull off something of Taxi Driver standards, but he proves here he can mix it with the best of them. So where is he? Apparently this was the film he dreamed of making, so perhaps he is content. And perhaps he should be, because this film is so brilliant, yet everyone involved makes it look easy. It has a style and rhythm other films can only dream of. The Academy should be deeply ashamed.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2009, 01:30:30 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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The Money Pit ***
« Reply #59 on: August 16, 2009, 12:42:54 PM »
The Money Pit ***
3 out of 5


I must have seen this film a dozen times since I was a kid. It's fundamentally a bit rubbish, but at least it's simple; Tom Hanks and Shelley Long buy a mansion on the cheap, thinking they have a good deal, but it disintegrates around them and they need an army of builders to put it back together. But the plot has bigger holes than the house!

I love it though, because it's consistently hilarious and contains a couple of the funniest things I've ever seen in a film (the stairs! The bath! :hysterical:) and it's so optimistic. It's feel-good slap-stick and should be taken for what it is.

Critics seemed to agree that this was beneath Tom Hanks, but he makes the film (I suppose that was kind of their point). He is so good at this sort of stuff, I wish he'd do more even now. The afore-mentioned bath scene is fantastic simply because how he reacts.

Ok, it's just a bunch of farcical sketches joined together by a poor attempt at a plot, but your sides will feel like they're going to burst!