Friday, September 22, 2006

Clockers... directed by Spike Lee.

Spike Lee's urban drama about a drugpusher who the police become suspicious towards after a man is found with 4 bullets in him in their neighborhood. This is a good early film from Spike Lee, he later built on this film's theme with much better films in He Got Game and The 25th Hour. But this one was also solid, with some very good performances and certain very good scenes. The screenplay was pretty good, based on Price's own book, and i liked Phifer, Turturro and Keitel a lot in this. Good cinematography from Malik Hassan Sayeed and editing from Smuael D. Pollard. Terence Blanchard's score is also not bad. overall a solid mid 90s film from Spike Lee.--- IMDb Rating: 6.8, my rating: 8/10

The China Syndrome (79)-- directed by James Bridges.

Bridges's drama about a reporter who discovers some flaws in the safety precautions taken at a nuclear powerplant is directed well and a pretty interesting film from the late 70s. Its not amazing, but its solid, the acting is pretty good especially Jack lemmon, but Douglas and Fonda were good too. It was a pretty good screenplay and Bridges's direction was solid and suitable. This is definitely not one of the best films of the 70s, but its one of the better ones. A good early Michael Douglas film and Lemmon in his prime.--- IMDb Rating: 7.2, my rating:, so in simple words, solid but not amazing... thats what this film is, solid but not amazing 8/10

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Deal

This political thriller about illegal oil trading, the Russian mafia, and government conspiracy is well done, and deserves a much better rating and credit than people give it. It is not amazing by any means, but its solidy acted, written well, reaches some very important moral and political ideas without being completely illogical and unrealistic (of course its not real, but it very well could be). Slater was good as tom hanson and i liked Robert Loggia in the supporting role as Jared TOlson, the film has good cinematography from Adam Sliwinski and editing by Richard Schwadel. Overall good effort from harvey Kahn, better than alot of high budget films, amazing how this film probably cost a couple million to make max (perhaps 5-10 mil after slater gets his cash)...--- IMDB rating: 5.1, my rating: 8/10

Wicker Park

McGuigan's romance/thriller about a young Chicago advertising executive who believes a woman he spots in a cafe is his long-lost love. Hartnett is decent in the role, a bit better than his other work, but nothing special, i still have not too much good to say about this actor. Meanwhile Lillard was decent here, though he does overact and tend to get annoying, though Diane Kruger was very good, an underrated actress. The film was done decently, the direction was not bad, but it appeared confusing at times, with the cluttered script, thus the atmosphere was not anything special, though it should have been. The film could have been much better, but ended up just being so-so.--- IMDB Rating: 6.6, my rating: 7/10

Monday, August 28, 2006

Carnal Knowledge (Mike Nichols)--- 8/10

This is a good early drama from Mike Nichols starring Jack Nicholson. A good early performance from Nicholson as a college student who along with roommate Sandy (Garfunkel) experience a lot of new boundaries in their sex lives. Both are good in the film while Candice Bergen and Ann-Margret were also good in their roles. The film isnt extremely deep, or amazing from a film aspect, but its an interesting early story about relationships, a definite must see for big time Nicholson or Mike Nichols fans. Good cinematography from Giuseppe Rotunno.--- IMDB Rating: 6.8, my rating: 8/10

Monday, August 21, 2006

Skip It-- The Crow: City of Angels

Tim pope's sequel to an amazing original, is just a failure. Everything from the lead to Mia Kirshner, to the horrible screenplay, atmosphere and film in general was just too much. In the first one, there was good hard rock music, a genre i dont like myself but enjoyed in the first one, in this film there is ANNOYING waste of time music that should not even be called music, it is pathetic. The idea to come out with this movie was a mistake from the beginning, thus it became a financial problem as well(cost 13m to make, made 17m in us theatres, not a great stat). The supporting performances were okay i guess from jane and Brooks but this film was just dissapointing and not even a an entertaining action flick. IMDB rating: 3.7, my rating: 6/10

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Benchwarmers

The Benchwarmers directed by Dennis Dugan, written by Allen Covert and Nick Swardson. Starring Rob Schneider, David Spade, John Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn, Molly Sims, Tim Meadows, Erinn Bartlett, Matt Weinberg, John Farley

Dennis Dugan's slapstick comedy, The Benchwarmers is decent, but not the directors best work (Happy Gilmore was much better, Big Daddy was a bit funnier too). But the film is not a total failure, it features Heder in another funny geeky role which is pretty much along the lines of his breakthrough in Napoleon Dynamite. Some of the jokes and plotlines are predictable though i actually liked Schneider here much more than his deuce bigalow flicks. David Spade is wasted in my opinion although he has some funny scenes, overall this is a decent comedy, good for some laughs, but not the best or most original idea.---IMDB Rating: 5.3, my rating: 7/10

Broadcast News

James L. Brooks' film about two rival reporters(Hurt and Brooks) who battle to impress their new female producer (Hunter). The film is pretty clever, funny at times, but long and a bit boring and bland at others. Its a good film, pays off, has a good screenplay from Brooks, direction could have been better but the performances make it work. I liked Hunter and Hurt here alot and Brooks was good as well. Joan Cusack is an underrated actress while Jack Nicholson's cameo-like performance was impressive. The film is not amazing by any means, i thought it would be like a Wall Street, but it wasnt as good as Stone's flick about capitalism. Still a good film though.--IMDB Rating: 7.0, my rating: 8/10

Bullets Over Broadway

Woody Allen's interesting film set in the 1920s in New York City as a playwright David Shayne(Cusack) struggles to fund a play and has to cast a mobster's girlfriend in a supporting role, while falling for the lead actress(West) in the meantime. I actually thought the Cusack-Allen connection worked, Cuasck can play those perfect characters that woody plays himself and writes for the screen. Chazz Palminteri also did very good in this movie, one of his best performances, while Jennifer Tilly though annoying was good (the role needed an annoying performance). Meanwhile the rest of the cast, especially Broadbent and Dianne Wiest were pretty good too. The only problem i had with this one was at times the dialogues got a bit silly, which happened to a greater extent in the worse film called Small Time Crooks with annoying Bette Midler. However this one was not that annoying, a good film, not great though. Woody has done better.--- IMDB Rating: 7.4, my rating: 8/10

Chasing Ghosts

Chasing Ghosts directed by Kyle Dean Jackson, written by Alan Pao. Starring Michael Madsen, Corey Large, Shannyn Sossamon, Meat Loaf, Garey Busey, Sean Whalen, Tom Wright, Michael Rookey, Danny Trejo

I actually found this film which is rated pretty low on IMDB and seen by very few (only 337 votes) to be pretty effective. I mean it wasnt amazing suspense film, but it definetely wasn't what some described as "no better than a TV movie". It was much better, Michael Madsen did very well and the supporting cast was decent too, the direction was kinda average but the screenplay and plot made sense and actually executed pretty well and wasnt predictable. I liked the cinematography from Andrew Heubscher and dark score from Scott Glasgow. I also liked the editing in this film done by the director Kyle Dean Jackson, perhaps thats his main talent. Overall it was a movie worth renting, i was satisfied, nothign amazing, but a solid suspsense film. ---IMDB Rating: 5.3, my rating: 8/10

Grilled (straight to video)

Ensler's straight-to-video dark comedy starring tv stars Ray Romano and Kevin James is a good effort, but just doesnt have the complete overall atmosphere or perforamnces to make it a good movie. It had plot holes at times, some horrible scenes, but at times was pretty funny and the two leads were pretty good in bringing their tv personalities onto the big screen. The supporting performances were decent, but it had a B-movie feel throughout the film. At times Romano seems to fall out of character, James was a bit better, but overall Ensler's film just fails to click as a good comedy or a worthy criminal flick. The editing was odd, the cinematography was decent but the score seemed to not be there, in general, the film lacked quality and thus is just an average effort, still its good i guess for a straight-to-video film, its a bit better than The Confessor which i saw recently starring Christian Slater. -- IMDB Rating: 5.6, my rating: 7/10

Angel Heart

This atmospheric dark thriller from Alan Parker just didn't work to well for me. It was well-acted, the screenplay was decent, but i didn't think the violence was well done, the overall flow of the film just felt weird. I thought it was edited very oddly, and just didn't scare me or impress me at all. De Niro was pretty creepy a good performance here, much unlike the rest of his work. I liked some aspects of the film, but it just didn't work for me as it did for others, it neither terrified me or impressed me. The cinematography and score were very average, thus atmosphere was not created, the direction was misguided by Alan Parker. This is one Robert DeNiro film i just dont recommend too much.--- IMDB Rating: 7.1, my rating: 7/10

Friday, August 11, 2006

Blow Out

DePalma's hitchcock-esque thriller about a movie soundman who accidentally records an accident and his tape holds a secret which entangles him in a web of trouble. John Travolta plays the role very well, while Nancy Allen was only mediocre in the female lead. Litghow and Franz were good in supporting roles, while DePalma's screenplay was pretty good, but i hated how alot of directorial creativity was not there and there were alot of hitchcock impressions in my opionion. This is where i fault both DePalma and cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (i although i presume that its more depalmas fault and zsigmond's other pictures dont contain this much unoriginality as far as his angles and filming), also the musical score was only decent from Pino Donaggio, again too similar to hitchcock classics in my eyes. Although DePalma has done some great work (Carlito's Way and Untouchables), alot of his thrillers lack orginality as far as im concerned. Still a good entertaining film though. ---IMDB rating: 7.0, my rating: 8/10

HORRIBLE FILM--- Hotel directed by Mike Figgis

Everything you have heard about this film is true. It is horrible, it
is an experiment that went terribly bad. I think Mike Figgis has
perhaps lost his mind. What motivataed him to put such CRAP on film.
Seriously, and to pay some actors who are not too bad in their own
right, to play in it. The screenplay is irrelevant, because the
horrible amateur hand-held cameras similar to blair-witch but even more
annoying, and the horrible editing already make the film fall under a
5/10, then on top of that, the wasting of actors, the horrible
dialogues, annoyingly boring script, and nonexistent directional voice
just cause me to give perhaps the worst review i have ever gave of a
film. I mean hated crap like Bad Company, when a stranger calls, etc..
but this is far outclasses those films in regards to how extremely bad
it is...--- IMDb Rating: 4.5, my rating: 3/10

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

King Kong

Jacksons epic remake of King kong would hav been great, had it been only 2 and a half hours. However stretching 20 minutes longer than 3 hours caused it to have a negative affect on me and deprived me of some well neeeded sleep. Okay jokes aside, this film was great from a visual perspective, although at times i did notice a bit of unrealistic scenes with Watts and the gorilla, however most scenes were pretty amazing from a visual standpoint. The screenplay was nothing special as for this type of epic screenplays come like last in priority, however it was mediocre. The direction was pretty good although i would like to hang the editor or whoever wanted to make it that long. I don't want to give spoilers so i wont say where i thought they should have ended it. The performances were pretty good i thought Watts and Brody were both impressive and Jack Blacks portrayal of a crazy movie director who is close to losing his fame and place in Hollywood was also great. The performances and impressive visual effects saved the picture for me. 8/10

Kill BIll Vol. 1

Tarantino's brutally violent homage to kung-fu and samurai films is a bit overrated in my eyes. When i told my friend who is in love with this film that i enjoyed it but not to the point of worship like him, he got mad. Well I thought this film was powerful, sure was entertaining, and had very good writing and acting. Now to the bad parts, thought it was too violent, a bit redundant with battle scenes, got bored actually at times. I thought Uma Thurman did a hell of a job, very good acting, as did Madsen in his small role. I'm not a big fan of Lucy Liu, but I thought Vivica A. Fox was decent. The main reason I probably didn't like this film is because I don't like kung-fu movies for the msot part, or most karate fighting films with Jet Li/Jackie Chan, etc... However I thought Zwick's The Last Samurai was much more engaging than this, maybe thats just my style. Anyhow it was entertaining, and had some good acting and Tarantino's writing was evident. 8/10

Just Like Heaven

Waters' romantic comedy about a man(Ruffalo) who falls in love with a dead doctor(Witherspoon) who used to live in his apartment. Although i don't mind the leads as actors, just like heaven just lacked something that could make it an enjoyable movie throughout. It was sweet at times, but the screenplay isn't consistent, not nearly funny enough and the plot is a bit far-fetched. I liked the use of music, and the cast, although i thought this film could have been a lot better had it been more real and less fairy-tale like. Waters' just like heaven is just another avearage romantic comedy, and nothing special for that matter. IMDb Rating: 6.9, my rating: 7/10


*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

Juice(Ernest Dickerson)- Omar Epps, Tupac Shakur, Jermaine Hopkins, Khalil Kain, Cindy Herron, Vincent Larasca, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah

Ernest Dickerson's gritty street drama about four friends who grew up together in Harlem is emotional, convincing, yet not complete. Epps is great and the highlight of the film as `Q' the man in the crew which is skeptical about robbing a grocery store. Shakur gives a convincing over-the-top performance as `Bishop' the instigator and heart of the group, although Shakur has done better in films such as `Gridlock'd' and `Above the Rim'. Jermaine Hopkins and Khalil Kain were also good as the other two members of the crew. Samuel L. Jackson also gives a very cool performance as trip a local bar owner. Overall a good film, with some not so realistic plot turns, but still great message and characters. Also good debut from Shakur, although overacted at times was still very powerful and overall strong acting, although Epps outshined the cast. 8/10

P.S. didn't want to contain spoilers in this review, if anyone wants to know why i thought this film was not all that great as far as logic goes, email me (