Adam's Rib, a review by Jon
4 out of 5
Assistant District Attorney Adam Bonner loves his wife Amanda, but doesn't care much for his opposing counsel in a sensational attempted-murder trial - an opponent who happens to be Amanda.
An absolutely delightful piece of fluff featuring two of the best actors of all time, essentially having a laugh with each other. Of course they were Hollywood's most enduring couple in real-life and probably perfect for each other (despite having to keep it secret). Their banter is amongst the best you'll see in any romantic comedy, especially including the current batch. It's the subtleties of their performances that make this endlessly watchable. To even describe it feels like I'm taking away some of the magic.
The story is typically light with the perfect plot idea for the genre, that pits them against each other in a courtroom with plenty of dialogue that positively zings. Listen out for Tracy's hilarious tongue-tied delivery in several scenes! Hepburn is defending the impossibly cute Judy Holliday, who is another stand out in a great cast, for shooting her wayward husband (that scene opens the film and it's very funny with Holliday reading a manual for the gun while trying to fire it!).
It boils down to a battle of the sexes plot and while it's a bit dated and predictable, it's quite clever how the screenplay compromises a difficult conclusion (they are married lawyers, so how can one accept the other's victory in a high-profile case?). Still, it can't help but feel a bit contrived.
Well, it;s hardly worth mentioning though. Who gives a damn about the plot when it's this pair on-screen? Anyone who enjoys romantic comedies should snap this up straight away.
(From DCO third annual November Alphabet Marathon - discussion/review/banter thread on November 3rd, 2009)
Event Horizon, a review by Jon
3 out of 5
The Event Horizon is a ship with a gravity drive that disappeared 7 years ago. Now it's reappeared and no-one knows where it has been. But as it can fold space and can generate black holes, that could be anywhere. The designer Dr. Weir (Sam Neill) accompanies a rescue crew headed by Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) to see what can be salvaged...
Paul W. S. Anderson is a hack and a studio whore. Bit strong, I know, but the guy needs a slap! Event Horizon, though derivative, could have been fantastic. Just like AVP and Resident Evil (except at least a bit more original), it showed promise, but pulls every punch. Apparently the result of three test screenings and a studio hoping for a PG-13 (even Anderson didn't want to go to NC-17. Why the hell not?), the only really potentially disturbing stuff is in single frames. Gorehounds, prepare to pause! There is all sorts of horrors in there. Why would any director put so much work in just to strip it back to the bone?
On paper the potential for me liking it was huge. The look of Alien, the imagery of The Shining and Hellraiser, and the heart of Solaris. It says a lot for it that I saw it on release, formed an opinion that hasn't changed, yet still came back, just in case... but it's put together so badly, it can't do anything other than fail. It's like it was made by a computer that analysed scary movies! The look of Alien, yes, but the characters were more important and these are slickly entertaining, admirably international (sort of), but lack depth. Copying The Shining is easy, but cutting the Hellraiser images to the point you only think you saw something cool is idiotic. Solaris? Forget it. The story descends into into such clichéd mess the drama of Sam Neill being haunted by his dead wife is lost. While it's all very enigmatic, there is no real substance.
It looks pretty. The ship itself is a wonderful creation, especially the gravity drive. It's outrageously Gothic yet still seems Nostromo like feasible. Some of the set-pieces are superb, especially the rescue of Justin (Jack Noseworthy) unfortunate enough to find himself outside without a suit. Others fall flat and predictable (demons like fist fights it seems. Yawn.). The cast are excellent and happily chew up the shallow limits of the script within minutes, but they make sure it's always fun. But I wanted to be thrilled and the proof is in the pudding; for all it's efforts, I didn't jump once and I never recoiled like The Fly or The Thing made me do. Nails all intact, whereas I should have gnawed them to the bone.
Event Horizon is a good example of why properly disturbing mainstream movies these days are pretty much impossible. Once you get a budget big enough to pull off the ideas, you have to start dialling it back so the sensitive teenagers can pay to watch it and think they've seen something cool, when in fact it's nothing more than Scooby Doo: Lost In Space.
(From Jon's Marathon of Horror! 2009 on October 12th, 2009)
The One Where It All Began: The Pilot Marathon, a review by DJ Doena
What's the show about?
This is a children's show from East Germany. It was the third in the "Spuk" series. In the dark ages three aliens from the planet Obskura built a vacation home in the Erzgebirge mountains and only left a robot (disguised as "grandpa" Rodenwald) to guard it. Now a family from East Berlin has moved in and starts to notice the odd things going on in it. To make matters more complicated the three aliens have returned because they have to bring back the house (they actually stole the building materials from their home planet) and a filming team has arrived to shoot a movie about the tales from the dark ages surrounding the house.
"Das alte Haus"
(lit. "The Old House")
Originally the family Habermann had only planned to have a nice, quiet vacation in the small town of Bärenbach. But soon they really feel at home and decide to move into a house that the villagers claim is haunted. The only permanent resident is the old Rodenwald, everyone else quickly moves out again. And indeed, some strange things happen in that house and Rodenwald is a person cloaked in mystery.
And for the third and last time: When I was a kid I enjoyed this nine-part show. So when it became available on DVD I bought it purely for sentimental reasons. But if you're having small children, it's still a great story.
(From The One Where It All Began: The Pilot Marathon on April 4th, 2013)