Ring 2, a review by Jon
2 out of 5
Rachel and her son have survived their first encounter with Samara, but not without a price. She's trying to rebuild her life in a sleepy town when a local boy is found dead, in worryingly familiar circumstances. It soon becomes clear that Samara is now coming for the two of them, but why?
I always judge remakes -especially of foreign films- on how they stand up if the original didn't exist. Remakes are rarely better, but every now and then you drop across one that certainly did nothing wrong and was a watchable version. I thought the American Ring was like that. It was loud, brash and overdone, but the intricate storyline was intact and still powerful. Unfortunately this sequel to the remake is a missed opportunity, especially when directed by Hideo Nakata, director of the first Ringu.
Japanese horror films seem to generate a lot of impact by being made as simple dramas; no unnecessary editing or music and the actors play it straight. Howard Hawks once said, "no action without danger" and it makes a lot of sense. I get the impression Hideo is trying that here, but the score and cast are still being played like there is a ghost around every damn corner. Nothing can be accepted for what it is, it's overflowing with unresolved innuendo and furtive glances. It doesn't help that most of the cast are wooden or half-developed characters.
Naomi Watts is gorgeous as usual and does nothing particularly wrong and David Dorfman still impresses as Aidan coming across much older than his years, although I think he's being stretched in the last act. They're let down though by a murky, unfocused script and poor supporting characters. It tells you something when the most memorable is the ever reliable Gary Cole who is on screen for about 30 seconds. He gives the film a much needed slap in the face, but then goes away again.
Overall I quite liked the premise. Fitted in well with the mythology, as you'd expect. It just needed some... oomph! There's a scene toward the end in Samara's well that was great.
It needed lots more of that while letting the drama scenes lighten up and simmer down.
(click to show/hide)
"I'm not your fucking mommy!"
All in all, this is a Asian-American fusion that has failed completely, taking the worst of both sides.
Note: there is an extra on the DVD, a short film acting as a sort of prelude to the first victim, that while being weak nevertheless makes me think it could have been a decent storyline for a sequel on its own. All the Rings start off with kids finding tapes and showing them to each other, scaring themselves shitless. Here they go one typical teen step further by forming a cult that records everything that happens after viewing the tape and seeing how close they can get to the 7 day deadline before showing it to the next person, a pre-appointed "tail". I liked the idea of them trying to play Samara at her own game for thrills.
(From Jon's Random Reviews on February 2nd, 2009)
The Missiles of October, a review by Antares
The Missiles of October
Film Studio: Viacom Enterprises
Genre: Drama, Television
Length: 156 Min.
Anthony Page (1935)
Stanley R. Greenberg (1927)...Writer
Robert F. Kennedy (1925)...Author - Thirteen Days
Robert Berger (1934)
Herbert Brodkin (1912)
Laurence Rosenthal (1926)...Composer
William Devane (1939) as President John F. Kennedy
Ralph Bellamy (1904) as U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson
Howard Da Silva (1909) as Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
James Hong (1929) as U.N. Secretary-General U Thant
Martin Sheen (1940) as Att. Gen. Robert F. Kennedy
James T. Callahan (1930) as David Powers, Special Assistant to the P
Peter Canon as Admiral's Aide
Keene Curtis (1923) as John McCone, Director CIA
Long before the advent of HBO, cable television and satellite disks on our roofs, the big 3 networks would vie for the viewer ship of the general public by producing their own movies. One successful offering was the Emmy nominated made-for-TV drama The Missiles of October, which recounted the thirteen days in which the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war just over a decade earlier. This docudrama took the viewer not only inside the Oval Office, but inside the Kremlin too, as we lay witness to the unfolding events that almost lead to the extinction of our species. At the time, a general feeling of mistrust coincided between the populations of the two super powers, and both nations lived in an uneasy state of fear under the ‘mutual assured destruction’ principle.
For those who were too young to remember or maybe slept through History 101, here’s the story in a nutshell. After the failed invasion at the ‘Bay of Pigs’ in 1961, President Kennedy’s (William Devane) fledgling administration appeared awkward and indecisive. Seizing upon this, Nikita Khrushchev (Howard DaSilva) decided to make a power play against what he deemed as a young and inexperienced adversary. By placing strategic nuclear weapons in Cuba, he hoped to broker an accord whereby the United States would remove their troops from West Berlin, leaving Europe at the mercy of the ever-hungry communists. Much to Khrushchev’s surprise, Kennedy steadfastly stood his ground and mobilized the full weight of the American military to resist this move and established a blockade of the tiny island nation. As the two opponents stared each other in the eye, waiting for the other to blink first, the rest of the world watched in restless agony.
The production values for this film appear to be very limited, but the tautness of the screenplay more than generously makes up for any shortcomings in the appearance of the sets or the quality of the sound recording. The cast is well rounded with equal amounts of veteran actors and unknowns and their performances are all first rate, with the exception of Martin Sheen. Sheen portrays Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and it appears he is trying a little too hard to do a real life impersonation of Kennedy’s voice and mannerisms, leaving his performance appearing a bit overstated. That aside, this is a film that any lover of history will appreciate and it is a much better representation of the events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis than the overblown and historically inaccurate foray into this subject done by Kevin Costner in Thirteen Days.
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
(From The Missiles of October (1974) on April 23rd, 2010)
"Due South" marathon, a review by Tom
1.07 Chicago Holiday - Part 1 (1994-11-10)
Writer: Paul Haggis (Created By), Jeff King (Writer), Paul Haggis (Writer)
Director: Paul Lynch
Cast: Paul Gross (Constable Benton Fraser), David Marciano (Detective Ray Vecchio), Beau Starr (Lt. Harding Welsh), Daniel Kash (Detective Louis Gardino), Tony Craig (Detective Jack Huey), Catherine Bruhier (Elaine), Lisa Jakub (Christina Nichols), Stacy Haiduk (Janice DeLuca), Ron Lea (Mr. Nichols), Deborah Rannard (Medical Examiner), Peter Williams (Gerome), Stephen Shellen (Eddie Beets), Jonathan Shapiro (Teenager), Daniel DeSanto (Jerry), Kelly Proctor (Janus), David Rosser (Quigly), Beth Amos (Housekeeper), Kevin Rushton (Henry)
Another good episode. Nice gag with naming the housekeeper "Mrs. McGuffin"
This is the episode Kathy didn't like. I haven't watched the second part yet this time around, but at least in the first part, the diplomat's daughter doesn't know yet, that she has killers after her (except if I had missed something). She just runs away again and again, because she doesn't want to be babysit and rather go out partying. For now the two storylines with Ray searching for the killer and Ben escorting the daughter are separate as far the characters is concerned.
(From "Due South" marathon on July 5th, 2009)