The Maniac On Wheels's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Lawless Frontier

"John Tobin" (John Wayne) is on the hunt of the killer of his father (Earl Dwire), who kidnaps a young woman (Sheila Terry). Now, John has to save the young woman, while trying to prove he is not a member of the outlaw's gang to the bumbling sheriff, who also accuses him for killing the girl's father.

This is one of the worst 1930's movies I've seen. I spent more time looking away from my computer screen than watching the actual movie.

The first problem is the length of the film. It completely rushed the story, which was hard to follow at times. It also gave no chance of the characters to develop.

Everybody in the cast seemed to have been forced together, and did not get the chance to develop any chemistry.

A good chunk of this movie deals with "Tobin" chasing the villain. In fact, a good chunk of the entire 50 minutes was a horse chase. The villain was horrible, and I did not feel any hate toward him. I didn't even believe his accent.

Surprisingly, Wayne was not good in this movie. I believe this was early in his career, and it showed. He was not leading man material in this one. He didn't even have chemistry with any of the other performers.

Due to the age of this film, the audio was not great. It made the dialog nearly impossible to hear at times. There were times that you couldn't understand anything that was said. You also had the source of the sound go to almost a whisper as it moved away from the microphone.

If you are a John Wayne fan, check this out if you see it on the Westerns channel, but only if there is nothing else on.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (Gojira tai Mekagojira)

The government of Japan has created the ultimate weapon against "Godzilla" (Tsutomu Kitagawa), a cyborg built using advanced DNA technology, with the remains of the original "Godzilla" killed after its attack in 1954 (a reference to the original movie) found on the Pacific Ocean floor. The cyborg, called "Kiryu" (Hirofumi Ishigaki), had missles, and a ray that froze whatever it struck.

Like most movies in the series, this one has strengths and weaknesses.

The special effects are pretty much a plus in this movie. Despite the movie being 11 years old now, the special effects have pretty much held up. Green screen effects don't stand out that bad for most of the time, but it does briefly a few times. The arsenal of "Kiryu" are pretty believeable special effects, including the launching sequence of the "absolute zero" ray. "Godzilla" itself looks a lot bulkier than previous versions, but pretty realistic.

The score of the movie is pretty good, but not really memorable. It helped enhance the fight scenes pretty well, without overwhelming them.

One big problem with the story was, as usual for a "Godzilla" movie, the human cast plotlines. We get to see no more than motive to destroy the beast, but not much else when it comes to character development. Their interaction with each other is pretty good though, but their relationships aren't really expanded on.

"Godzilla" itself never really appeared as a threat to the Japanese population, which was nothing more than collateral damage. "Godzilla" was much more focused on his enemy, "Kiryu" than the people whose nuclear advancedments created it. "Godzilla" basically ignored any part of Japan it stomped through. It also barely put up a fight against "Kiryu", and appeared fairly weak for the one with top billing.

Overall, this is not a great "Godzilla" film, but fans of the series will find it no more than acceptable. If you never seen one of the movies, don't start with this one.

Godzilla 2000

"Godzilla" (Tsutomu Kitagawa) is back, and this time he has to save Japan from an alien invasion which targets the nuclear-powered dinosaur for motives believed to be cloning Japan's King of Monsters.

I just watched this movie through Crackle via YouTube (Free movie section), and I was pretty impressed. Then again, I was a fan when I discovered the older movies on Saturday morning television.

The movie is well paced, with a few flaws in the plot. The dubbing seemed to me to be nearly perfect, and didn't over run the movement of the actors. In other words, when the actors on-screen stopped, talking, the dub stopped. I remember earlier movies in the series where the English voiceover was still talking for only a few words when the actor obviously stopped talking.

The special effects in the movie were pretty good if you ask me, with a few minor glitches with green-screen effects or CGI. The two monsters, "Godzilla" and "Orga" (Makato Ito), which reminded me of the "Rancor" from one of the "Star Wars" movies, were amazing, especially the remade "Godzilla" with the larger back plates (which kinda looked odd to me since they were not like the ones I remember when I was younger), and prominant ears. The sound effects of the creatures voices were fantastic ("Godzilla") to fair ("Orga").

The acting, from the visual to the dubbing, was really good. Performances from the dubbing actors helped make the visual believeable. The majority of the cast was likeable.

The music was typical for a "Godzilla" movie, and helped enhance the film at times. I can't say I could identify any piece of music though by itself.

Overall, I would have to say that this is a pretty good additon to the franchise.

Angels & Demons

"Robert Langdon" (Tom Hanks) is back, and he has only a few hours to solve a mystery to save thousands of Catholic faithful, and top candidates for role of pope, before an incident which will kill them all as they await the annoucement of who the new leader of the church will be.

Now, "Langdon", along with a woman who helped create antimatter in a lab, must figure out the clues and save the faithful of the world's largest church.

Let me say first that this is much better than the original movie, which I barely remember seeing. You really don't need to read the novel that the movie is based upon to enjoy it.

There are some really good performances in this film, especially from Hanks, who proved himself as a solid leading man many times. Here, he really shines as a leading man.

There is some serious problems with character development with supporting characters, especially "Dr. Vittoria Vetra" (Ayelet Zurer), whose antimatter is being used as a weapon, and "Camerlengo Patrick McKenna" (Ewan McGregor), who turns an interesting plot twist that I never expected at the end, but isn't seen as much as I would like.

Another problem with this movie is that it is obvious that they opted for green screen for many scenes depicting Roman Catholic churches within Rome's city limits (the church refused to allow the movie to be filmed at the locations since the church declared the book offesive to the church). A barely trained eye (which I have since I learned TV production back in high school) could see the actors were in front of a green screen. These effects will become noticeable to the untrained eye as the film ages, and special effects advance.

One thing this movie does pretty well is that it gives very little time for the audience to breathe between action and plot advancing scenes. You get excited as "Langdon" and "Vetra" get closer to the murderer(s) as they discover new clues.

Despite not being able to shoot on location, and the threat of a strike at the time, Ron Howard did a great job in the director's chair as usual. He was able to use interesting camera angles to help tell the story nicely.

I can't really say I noticed the soundtrack of the movie, since I barely pay attention to instrumentals since that's not my style I listen to. I do notice that it helped the scenes, and in this movie it did.

If you see this on any of the movie channels like HBO, or on Netflix, check this one out.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

"Gorge Cassidy" (Paul Newman), a.k.a. "Butch Cassidy", and "Lonny Longbaugh" (Robert Redoford), a.k.a. "The Sundance Kid, are two of the greatest robbers in the history of the Old West. They pulled jobs on banks and trains with an expertise that made them famous from coast to coast.

Now, years after being out of the business for about two decades, they decide to pull one last bank heist in Bolivia, with the help of a school teacher (Katharine Ross) with romantic ties to both men.

I have to say that I am pretty disappointed in this film. I found it to be slow, with not enough action considering the topic of the movie. It dragged so much that I noticed spending more attention to my computer than watching the movie itself on cable television.

One thing that stood out was the on-screen relationship between Newman and Redford. This is what carries the movie I believe, and most likely why this movie is called a classic now. You feel as if the two are not just partners in crime, but friends with the ribbing that they give one another.

Another problem with this movie is the soundtrack. The only piece of music that is memorable is Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head by BJ Thomas, and that was a weird tune for a Western set in the Old West. If you ask me, the song was just an odd choice.

I also barely enjoyed Ross as "Etta Place". Her character was barely developed if you asked me. It appeared that she was there as a romantic interest, and to help teach "Butch" and "Sundance" Spanish for their attempt at robbing the Bolivian bank.

If you expect a lot of gunfights, you are mistaken on this one. Of what there is in the movie, they are short and well placed.

The cinematography is hard for me to judge since Encore Westerns used a pan-and-scan format. I had to deal with only half of a scene when two people were talking to one another. But, from wide shots, I could see some spectacular scenery, including the famous scene when the title characters jump from a cliff into the water.

Because it was declared a classic, I've been wanting to see this movie. I am highly disappointed in it.

Cobra
Cobra(1986)

"Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti" (Sylvester Stallone) is a cop who is not afraid to risk his life to get the bad guy, and comes in as a last resort. He patrols a city with a high crime rate that is in the grip of a serial killer the media has nicknamed the "Night Slasher."

Those involved in the investigation to catch the killer are going nowhere, and "Cobretti" gets involved when he is assigned to protect the only surviving witness (Brigitte Nielsen) to one of the killer's murder. Using his police skills, "Cobretti" is one step ahead of the others, and figures out some points of the case before the others. However, his suggestions are pushed to the side by certain members of the team who do not like the way he handles things.

Now, "Cobretti" and his partner (Reni Santoni) must protect the witness, with little help from a female officer who, in fact, is connected to the killer on a personal level.

This movie is fairly good, but is pretty toned down after the scene that "Cobretti" is introduced in. There is some good action scenes though, but they are spaced out from each other to give the audience a pretty good breather. However, these scenes between the action failed at giving the characters some character development.

I was not sure if "Gonzales" (Santoni) was "Cobretti's" partner before "Cobretti" was called in to protect the witness or not. It was pretty obvious that they respected each other more than "Cobretti" respected others on the force who always confronted him on his ways in doing his job, especially one vocal one in particular. There was also very little character development with the villains, who the police believe is only one person due to one using a very distinct weapon to slash victims.

One character that should have been developed more, not to mentioned had a bigger role than she did, was the mole. This character had the least amount of lines, and never interacted with the witness, "Cobretti" or "Gonzales" after being assigned to help protect the witness. I would have liked to have seen this character more developed, and attempting to steer the others away from her as a suspect when "Cobretti" figured out there is a mole in the department.

The action scenes are pretty well done. With only two that are real graphic in comparison with the others. We get a good car chase, with gunplay on the highway, the lead villain visiting the witness in the hospital with intent to kill her, and a final confrontation between the villain and "Cobretti" near the end of the film. That final scene between our hero and the villain is the only time the two have any interaction since the general public is unaware of "Cobretti" protecting the witness. I would have liked to have seen some scenes where they meet eye-to-eye, with the villain having a "cat me if you can" attitude before escaping.

The acting is surprisingly good in this movie. Stallone portayed his character as a jerk only when needed, and allowed his softer side to show. I liked the interaction between "Cobretti" and "Gonzales", who would tease each other as if they knew one another for awhile. The interaction between Stallone and Nielsen, who married some time after this film, was also good, but not great thanks to the script not being that great.

I personally would have liked to have seen more of a love subplot between "Cobretti" and the witness. You didn't really seeing them glancing at each other until the two ended up in bed before the climatic final battle. I also would have liked to seen more from the villains and supporting cast that worked with "Cobretti" and "Gonzales".

The motive for the killings are never investigated by "Cobretti" or "Gonzales". In fact, I don't think any of those involved in the investigation came up with a probable motive that was proven pretty much wrong by one of the lead characters as their investigation slowly lead them to the villains. It takes the lead villain's dialogue in his final confrontation with "Cobretti" to explain their motive. Not once is the audience given even a hit as to the motive for the killings anywhere in the movie.

One thing that sticks out is product placement. I have no problem with product placement, but they made it pretty obvious when you see the Coca-Cola and Pepsi logos all over the place, or when a character is drinking a beer or soda with the logo facing the camera. You even had "Cobretti" turning on a TV in his apartment just as a Toys 'R' Us Christmas commercial is starting as if the TV was programed to play it as the set switched on. Good product placement should make it less obvious than this movie made them. Heck, even products that were in the grocery store at the begining of the movie happened to fall to the floor with logos facing the camera.

Another thing that is seen a lot of is the cliche of the hero spouting one-liners. Stallone had some good one-liners through the entire movie, but none have gone down as memorable lines in movie history.

With some good performances from the main cast, this movie is pretty watchable. I would not put it on your Must See List though. If you like good action films, this one should go on your To See List, but don't put it high on your list considering action scenes are spead out a bit too much if you ask me. The movie gave too much of a breather for the audience between action scenes in my opinion.

I would have to give this movie a B-minus overall. Catch it on TV, or the On Demand section of your local cable company. I personally watched it on my cable company's website, which has movies and TV shows much like Hulu does.

Robin Hood
Robin Hood(2010)

From what I saw in the trailers for this film, I was expecting a fast-paced action flick. Sadly, the movie is far from it.

Following the death of "King Richard the Lionhearted" (Danny Huston) during the Crusades, "Robin Longstride" (Russell Crowe) and four men come upon the aftermath of an ambush, and find a dying British knight who tells "Longstride" of a plot between France and a British collaborator -- a British knight.

"Longstride" promises the dying knight that he will return the knight's sword to his father. But, when he returns to his homeland, he poses as the knight, and helps those in need.

Based on centuries old legends from Great Britian, Robin Hood is far from the typical depictions we have seen over the years in popular media. In other depections, including a popular BBC television series in 2006, "Hood" is either arriving from his journey home from the Holy Land or he has been back for some time, and already declared an outlaw. This movie is focused more on the events leading to the title character becoming the legendary "Robin Hood". But, unlike other depictions I've seen, this one is not a strong representation of the legendary outlaw.

The first 75% of the film is unbearably slow I thought, and I noticed I was paying more attention to my computer (I watched it on HBO this afternoon) than the television. To me, the scenes between any fight scenes just lagged and had poor development for the characters.

It appears that those behind the scenes relied on the audience already knowing the characters, and gave them little to no development. They introduced some new twists with the characters, which worked fairly well, but they were just not presented in an interesting way I thought.

I felt little to no chemistry between the characters, especially between "Marion" (Cate Blanchett) and "Longstride". All the main players are there, but they were one-dimensional in my opinion. None of them stood out.

One thing I noticed is that non-British actors had a terrible time with the British accent. Sometimes they sounded British, while other times, their accents sounded Irish or even Scottish. It was very obvious that the dialect coach hired to help the non-British cast members failed in his or her job. It got quite confusing at times when I heard the wrong accent.

Probably because they were working with a well known story, the movie is pretty predictable. The actors in this movie failed at attempting to make their lines believeable, which didn't get them out of the one-dimensional feel I was getting from them. The worse of the characters had to be "King John" (Oscar Isaac), who was absolutely horrible. Isaac's performance was uneven, and came off as trying to be comical when he most likely wasn't trying to be that way.

Cinematorgraphy wasn't that great either, but was slightly better during wide angle scenes during battles. There were no bright colors in the scenery, nor wardrobe. It was a pretty bland looking movie, which went along with the bland performances.

One thing you need to know is that this movie is fairly violent. I would not suggest this for a young audience that the Disney version of this story targets. You will see a lot of gruesome wounds like an arrow through a hand or chest. It looked as if they did a fair job at focusing at main cast members in close-up shots during large battles, but those close-ups were rushed and just did not work out if you ask me.

If you are a fan of the legend, this is going to disappoint you. If you are new to the legend, I would suggest the superior BBC television series that ended about a year before this movie came out, and all three seasons of that version would be a better addition to your Netflix queue or your personal DVD/Blu-Ray collection. The BBC series has more interesting depictions of the main cast of characters, and is more family-friendly.

Oh, God!
Oh, God!(1977)

"Jerry Landers" (John Denver) is a family man with a steady job at a grocery store. One day, he gets a weird letter telling him to go to a building for a meeting with "God" (George Burns in one of his most famous roles). "God" asks him to get His message out to the world.

"Landers", who is skeptical of the kindly old man who asks for his help, and a non-believer in God, tries to get out the message by any means. He eventually gets on national television, and in front of a panel of religious leaders, who ask him to have "God" answer a list of questions, written in an ancient and extinct language.

Now, "Landers" has to prove to the court of the existance of "God", while trying to defend himself in a slander suit filed against him by a televangelist over comments "Landers" credits to "God", who claims the televangelist is a fraud.

Let me say that, when I first saw this, I thought it was funnier. Having seen it all these years later, the jokes fell flat in my opinion. However, I was not once offended by any joke in the film. The humor targets a lot of questions believers and non-believers of the Almighty ask when questioning their beliefs, but not once is offensive. If you ask me now, the jokes are worth a couple of chuckles.

For anybody who is a hardcore believer, who will walk up to a stranger to give his or her testimony and try to convert the person, I can guarantee you that you will not be offended with this movie at all. The subject matter is handled with extreme care, and is handled perfectly by Denver, and especially Burns.

The performances in this movie are pretty good if you ask me. Terri Garr, who portrays Denver's wife, plays her character as a woman who is skeptical of her husband's believe that he was visited by God, but supports him no matter what. Denver was pretty good in his role, never missing a beat as Burns straight man, and handled his character's transformation in the film nicely.

Burns though is easily the star of this film, and made "God" one of his most memorable roles in his career. Anybody who has seen this movie, or its two sequels have never forgotten Burns in this role. To his fans, this and his role with the love of his life, Gracie Allen, is fondly remembered.

This film is perfect for families, as their is no violence or swearing. Younger children may not understand the message of the film, but might enjoy some of the jokes. Older kids will understand the message, and may have questions about their own faith.

The supporting cast is not well developed in this film, especially the televangelist, who was the most vocal in the counsel that asked "Landers" to have "God" answer the questions they gave him. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the televangelist go to his flock and the media to try to discredit "Landers" in his believe he saw "God". Just having "God" tell "Landers" to call the guy a fraud to help set up the court scene was a bit weak in my opinion.

There is some special effects in this film, but you can tell they were all done by editing. They just don't hold up after all these years. The soundtrack was completely forgettable as well.

In my opinion, this movie is not bad. I would suggest to watch it on television if there is nothing else on.

Winds of the Wasteland

An end of the era is coming. The Pony Express is nearing an end as the telegraph line is about to be put up, making the way the mail was delivered for years obsolete.

Two Pony Express riders (John Wayne, Lane Chandler) decide to go into the stagecoach business, with the Pony Express horses that were given to them and other riders as a gift of thanks for their service. The two ask the owner of the local stagecoach service (Douglas Cosgrove) if they could purchase one of his older stagecoaches. However, he offers them their own franchise to a city almost an hour away, Crescent City.

The two travel to the small city, only to realize they were tricked. Turns out that the city is rundown, and has only two residents.

"John Blair" (Wayne) decides it's not worth accepting the offer for the franchise, but the mayor of the city (Lew Kelly), who has a lot of other jobs in the city, informs him that the United States government is offering a contract to deliver the mail in the area via stage coach. As long as they win a race with other stage coach services in the area.

At one point, "Blair" comes across the team putting up the telegraph wires for the area, and gets them to agree to bring the telegraph to Crescent City, and a much needed boost to the population.

Word gets to "Cal Drake" (Cosgrove), who makes plans to sabotage the Crescent City line's chances in winning that contract.

Now, "Blair" has to win the contract -- and try to keep the new residence of Crescent City there.

The first problem with this movie is the length. It's almost 56 minutes long, and doesn't feel like a movie at all. However, it's got some pretty good performances that make it interesting enough to keep your attention.

I can't remember how many early Wayne movies I've seen lately, but, as with all the previous ones, I think Wayne has the strongest performance in the film. The others are pretty memorable as well, with Phyllis Fraser with the weakest performance as the daughter of one of the original two Crescent City residents.


One of the biggest problems this movie has, most likely due to the length of it, is character development. Many supporting characters had very little development. You get to meet them, and how they play in the story, but not much more. The movie basically focuses on Wayne's character, which doesn't give the supporting cast any screen time to advance any subplots they are a part of.

One of those subplots that was completely missed was the romantic subplot between "Barbara Forsythe" (Fraser) and both of the lead actors. There is no story that describes how she appears to go after one of them, but ends up with the other.


The soundtrack to the movie sounded to me like a early TV Western. Nothing when it came to music stood out at all. Even the music during the only fist fight in the entire film was pretty bad. This soundtrack will not go down as one of the greatest scores in movie history.


Due to the time this film was made, the special effects are not done by a computer, and are, at best, OK. In scenes where the two characters are riding on the stagecoach, it is obvious that they are in front of a movie screen. But, this simplistic effect works real well.


The movie is mainly shot outdoors. But, none of the scenes are memorable. There are a few horse chases, and the stage coach race that are shot fairly nicely. And the shots during the race where they go from the race to close-ups on stagecoach mock ups in front of a movie screen are edited together smoothly.

Despite the flaws of this movie, this is not a bad movie. I would not put it in your must-see list, but you should check it out if you see it on Encore Westerns, and there is nothing better to do. In fact, it's currently on Hulu right now, which is how I watched it.

I would also check it out if you are a fan of John Wayne. It will show you that he was destined for his legendary status in Hollywood.

Campfire Tales
½

Four teens are on a lonely road following a movie. The one that's driving begins to goof off until the car has to miss an on coming car and crashes.

The four leave the scene of the accident, leaving flares on the road. They end up in the ruins of a 200-year-old-plus church and build a campfire. They then begin to pass the time telling ghost stories.

The movie then plays out each of the stories. Out of each of the stories, only one, titled "The Hook", is a famous Urban Legend of a 1950's couple at Lover's Lane where the woman wants to go home, as she is scared of an escaped mental patient with a hook for a hand is watching them as they make out in the back seat of the car. Later in the night, the hook of the patient is discovered embedded in the passenger side door. The other stories could also be known Urban Legends, but I didn't recognize them.

In one of the stories, titled "The Locket," some people may think they know the lead actress in this segment. If you have watched "MTV's The Real World" you do know her. She is Jacinda Barrett from "The Real World: London" cast. She did a good job as a mute woman who hooks up with the young man whose motorcycle breaks down in front of her house that turns out to be haunted. In fact, there are some good performances through out the entire film. The only problem is that the movie is barely scary.

All the scares, in my opinion, were set up like other horror movies. I barely jumped at something that was suppose to break the tension -- as it was designed to do. With at least two of the stories, I knew within seconds how they were going to conclude, although one ("The Locket") didn't end exactly as I thought it would.

The blood spillage is at a minimum in this film. As is the on-screen violence. We mostly hear the violent acts against the principal characters in each story, with flashes of the action that is not really revealing.

I would have to say that this movie is not really worth renting if you are a horror fan. Check this one if you catch it on television or when you see it in the Free Movies section of your cable provider's On Demand section if there is nothing else on.

Angel and the Badman

A wounded "Quirt Evans" (John Wayne) is injured even more as his horse collapses near the house of a Quaker family, who take him in and treat him.

He catches the eye of the daughter in the family (Gail Russell), and he is obviously attracted to her. But, he just can't shake his past as outlaws and the law alike try to get them for whatever reason.

Now he has to look at himself and try to figure out what to do with his life.

I have been watching a lot of movies starring John Wayne lately on Hulu, and this is easily the longest one so far. It is also one of the best ones on the site.

For the first time in his career, Wayne is pulling double duty in this film. First, he is the leading man, as well as a first-time producer. Since I have no clue as to a producer's job, all I can do is judge him on his performance in front of the camera. And I have to say he does a pretty good job.

What makes this Western unique is that it focuses on the personal conflict of "Evans," while throwing everything familiar to Westerns in. The focus is on "Evan's" personal struggle more than the typical plot of a Western.

Violence in this movie is fairly tame in this movie, even by the standards of the time of its release. You get some shooting, and one fist fight (which mostly remains off-screen), and one attack from behind with an object from their surroundings. The violence is tame most likely because of the morality of the plot.

I was not impressed with the romance subplot. Actually, not the way it was handled. I found it to be pretty weak, and not given the screen time it should have had. I think that the two involved were rushed in the storyline, and not given time to develop the on-screen relationship.

I was also not impressed with the chemistry between Wayne and Russell. They had some chemistry together, but nothing impressive. In fact, I wasn't impressed with much of the chemistry between many cast members.

I did not like many of the supporting cast, many of which didn't have time to develop. The child actor in this movie was pretty annoying, and seemed to be there just to throw out some complaints as some poor comic relief that, for me, didn't even produce a chuckle.

Unlike other recent movies I've watched starring Wayne, I didn't hear any problems with audio. I did have a problem with the picture going fuzzy at times. It appears that Hulu got a bad print to upload. Also, unlike the other movies I've seen in the last couple of weeks, it appeared there was more music in the film. I didn't find any of the music helping in enhansing scenes, and can't remember any particular piece of music except a song being performed on stage in a bar scene.

Parents need not worry about the violence in this film. It's pretty mild. You can watch this movie with no problem. In fact, parents will like the moral of this story.

Guns Along the Trail

A government agent (John Wayne) goes undercover as part of a traveling medicne show to stop a counterfeiting operation. For awhile, he believes the head of the show, "Doc Carter" (Earl Hodgins), is the head of the operation. His belief is backed up with the fact that "Carter" spent the last decade in jail.

Now, he has to go after the real criminals into Mexico and bring them to justice.

I have seen some John Wayne movies via Hulu in the last couple of weeks, and this is easily one of the better ones the site currently has.

The acting in this movie is very decent, and pretty believable all around. Not one performance was weak in fact. You had good chemistry between the main players, and none of them looked as if they were just there to get paid.

Wayne stands out as the leading man in this film. His presence is one of the strongest in the film. This was his last movie for Monogram Pictures, and it's a very good send-off for "The Duke." As for other performers, they all did pretty good performances for the amount of screen time they had.

Some of the supporting cast were poorly written in this movie. There are two members of the traveling medicine show who basically were there to perform a couple of songs, and deliver a few lines. They were there mostly for show, and not much else.

There is quite a few action scenes in this movie, but nothing too spectacular. You get one horse chase, and some gunfighting, but nothing memorable.

One thing that limits this movie is the length of it. This makes some subplots rushed. There is a taste of a romance between Wayne and Marion Burns, who plays "Carter's" daughter and performer in the medicine show. It didn't have time to blossom because the main plot had to be advanced.

When the story moves over the border into Mexico, I felt the characters introduced at that point were not used well. They added little, if anything, to the plot.

One big problem was the audio. Due to the movie being 75 years old, the audio just didn't hold up. The audio makes it hard to understand what is being said at times. At some points, the people were pretty muffled for a few seconds. You could understand what was being said, but you had to strain to hear what they were saying.

I would say that this could be something to watch if you can catch it online on sites like Hulu, or on television. Only rent the movie if you are a diehard John Wayne fan.

Jakob the Liar
½

"Jakob" (Robin Williams) is a Jew living in a Nazi-occupied Polish ghetto where the residents have lost all hope. One night, he is ordered to report to the officer in charge after being caught outside, allegedly after curfew. While he was in the office, waiting to be repremanded, he overhears a radio report about the advancing Russian troops.

When he returns to the neighborhood, he informs his friends what he had heard. However, as the news spread, his story transformed into something else. People began to believe he had a radio hidden in his home as his story began traveling through the grapevine.

This is simply a story of hope for those oppressed such as the Jews during the Nazi occupation so many decades ago. And it is done very well.

Let me say that this movie is not a happy story. Even the ending is shadowed by sadness, though it does have a touch of happiness.

Williams is very good in this film. He made his character compassionate to those in his neighborhood. As he told the stories, which were just stories to keep the Jews hopes up, you began to believe them just as much as those forced into the same situation as he was in the story. He was very believeable as he told his fictional news.

In fact, there were many good performances from the rest of the cast. You could actually feel the emotion from the entire cast. It was one of the most believeable performances from an entire cast that I've seen in a long time.

One thing you will notice is the lack of light, and color. You get lots of gray, black and white in clothing, as well as the walls (interior and exterior). This helps set the mood perfectly if you ask me. The only time I can recall any color was a shot of the Nazi flag.

There is also a lack of happy music in the film. There is one scene between Williams and the young girl (Hannah Taylor Gordon) that is short, but it is a happy scene with fun music.

Wardrobes are very accurate in this film. The Jews clothing look worn, and very dirty. They look as if they didn't wash their clothing in some time. The Nazi uniforms are also quite accurate in their appearance.

The violence is fairly mild in this film. There is a little blood, far less than you would expect. The Nazi soldiers use machine guns against the Jews, but there is little to no blood splatter as they are apparently struck.

There is also little to no action. Many of the scenes drag on, but many drag at an appropriate pace that works well.

To parents, I would suggest that you avoid this one if you have young children. If you have kids who are able to understand the plot, then watch it with them.

Time Rider
Time Rider(1983)

Star motorcycle racer, "Lyle Swan" (Fred Ward) goes missing as he is in the middle to a race. At least that's what his friends think. In reality, he stumbles upon a secret government time travel experiment, and is sent to the late 1800's.

While in the past, he comes across a band of outlaws, who become obsessed with his "machine." He also meets the residents of a small town, who believe him to be the devil, as well as a woman (Belinda Bauer) and the local padre (Ed Lauter).

The entire time, "Swan" is unaware that he is in the past. He eventually falls for the woman, and desperately tries to get away from the villains.

There are some problems with the movie. First of all, this movie gave no time to the romantic subplot. It was like they met, and jumped into bed as soon as possible. There was no development into the storyline at all.

Another problem is that the movie didn't spend enough time in the present to show the search for the racer. You got a couple of scenes where the friend tries to contact "Swan" over a CB radio, and that's it.

I could not connect with any of the charcters. "Swan" seemed to settle into his situation a little too easily if you ask me. I also didn't like that he never really realized that he was in the past. Not once did you see anything that would hint at it until he found something with the date on it.

There are some fairly good performances in this movie. There are also some lackluster ones as well. Ward and Baur were easily the best, although their romantic subplot seriously lacked. On a romantic level, the chemistry between the two was just not there. I also think that the outlaws were not evil enough. You just could not hate them

There was some fairly good action in this movie. It wasn't perfect though. You got a lot of chases, especially when "Swan" came across the outlaws for the first time. You also get some gunfights, but nothing spectacular.

Music for this movie was written by Michael Nesbith, best known as a member of the 1960's band, The Monkees. The music he composed certainly had an 1980's feel to it. The music was not memorable though, and did not sound like anything the Monkees would have done.

The only thing when it comes to wardrobe is the protective suit worn by "Swan." Because it's an all-red, leather outfit surrounded by 1870's costumes. Other than that, nothing stands out.

Overall, it's not a bad movie. It is good enough for a time-waster. Just don't expect a blockbuster motion picture.

West of the Divide
½

"Ted Hayden" (John Wayne) joins an outlaw gang under the guise of a man he found dying to find the one or ones responsible for his father's death. Only to discover the gang leader's is the one responsible, but love and previously unknown family.

This is not a bad movie, but may not be for all. First of all, there are a lot of audio problems throughout the film, which is fairly short by today's standards. There are times that you have to strain to hear some performers with weaker voices. I noticed, in a scene at the end of the film, a sound from the microphone when they switched to close-ups of the actors in scene possibly due to changes in the audio.

John Wayne is possibly the best performer in this film. He is easily the easiest for the audience to connect with. His sidekick (George "Gabby" Hayes) is, in my opinion, completely forgettable only due to not being on screen much. I also found Virginia Brown Faire, who played Wayne's love interest, to be pretty poor in her performance. I just could not believe her as she said many of her lines.

A big problem with this movie is that, due to the short length of the movie (under an hour), there was just not enough time to develop the characters or any subplot. If you ask me, the romantic subplot was really rushed. There was just no time to expand any of the main plot as well.

The chemistry between performers was pretty good. I would have liked to have seen more between Wayne and Hayes, as well as Wayne and the young boy who Wayne's character befriends. Due to Faire's lackluster performance, it was hard to believe the relationship between her and Wayne at times.

Like the audio, the sound effects were pretty bad. There were more fist fights than gun fights in this movie. While you could hear gun shots in this film, it was nearly impossible to hear punches "connect." You have to really strain to hear the smack of the punches apparently connecting during fights, especially when they were fairly distant from the microphone on set.

As for wardrobes, they were all pretty nice. However, none of the clothing appeared to have been worn for some time by the people, it looked pretty much new. All the clothing looked really nice though, and fit the classic Old West stereotype created by Hollywood.

There was absolutely no music in this film. Music could have helped enhance the mood of some scenes, but because the movie was from the early days of Hollywood, it wasn't needed.

There is an extremely little amount of violence in this movie. Due to the time it was made, there is absolutely no blood. The most violent thing in the entire film is a fist fight. Parents, young children could watch this without you worrying about an excessive amount of blood.

This movie wasn't bad, but it's far from perfect. Fans of "The Duke" will probably like this a lot more than others. However, his fans will most likely enjoy it more.

The Missouri Breaks
½

A group of outlaws, lead by "Tom Logan" (Jack Nicholson), settles into a Missouri ranch to hideout from the law. However, a powerful rancher hires a man (Marlon Brando) to run them out.

The "regulator" (Brando) wipes out the entire band of outlaws, but "Tom," who decides to go straight in his pursuit of a local woman (Kathleen Lloyd).

Now, the two are heading to a face-off that may be each other's last day on Earth.

This is not the best movie I've seen. In fact, I noticed myself looking away from my computer screen (I watched it on Hulu) many times.

I found the characters poorly written, although they were pretty well performed by the actors. They were all pretty one-dimensional, and they just didn't seem to connect with each other.

The relationships between the characters just didn't work. I could not feel anything in the romantic subplot at all. In fact, I couldn't feel any chemistry between Nicholson and Lloyd at all.

There was a little chemistry between Nicholson and Brando. But, because of the poor writing, they really had little to work with for their on-screen relationship.

Surprisingly, the gunplay was minimal. Even when you expected a good amount of shooting, it wasn't there. There is some violence, though it's fairly mild. In the first minute of the movie, there is a fairly graphic hanging that was probably placed that early in the film for shock value.

The scenery was used pretty well in this movie. It certainly wasn't overplayed. There were some scenes where the scenery was used quite well with camera angles and such.

John Williams did, in my opinion, a poor job in writing the music for this film. To me, the music was more modern instrumental work, and just didn't work. In fact, despite being composed by a Hollywood legend like Williams, the soundtrack is completely forgettable.

Wardrobe appeared to be authentic in this film, except the outfit Brando wore through much of the film. His outfit was a little over-the-top, but not too much to be distracting.

I would have to say that if you find it online on sites like Hulu, check it out if you have nothing better to do. Other than that, don't waste your money.

The Great Train Robbery
½

Based on the movie's director Michael Criton's book about the real life events surrounding the world's first train robbery on May 15, 1855, where thousands of dollars worth of gold was stolen.

"Edward Pierce" (Sean Connery), along with his sidekick, "Robert Agar" (Donald Sutherland) and "Pierce's" lover (Lesley-Ann Down), plan to heist a moving train of gold meant to finance a war. First, the three must gain four keys, which have been separated for safety.

Now, the three have to get the keys, and get on board the moving train to get their prize.

The first thing you'll notice is the costumes worn by everybody on screen. They appear to be quite accurate, and some outfits appear to be thick and heavy. The outfits also appeared to me to be brand new on everybody. Not one outfit had that worn look.

The performances from the main cast is pretty good, as is the chemistry between the cast members. Connery is near perfect as the lead scoundrel who charms every one who comes across him, not knowing his true intentions. Sutherland is fairly laid back in his role, and can come across as boring at times.

The pace of the movie is real slow and deliberate. For many, it might be a bit too slow. I found it to be a nice, steady pace. It only picked up a little bit when the heist goes down.

If you are looking for a lot of action, there really isn't much in this film. The action kicks in a bit as the heist goes down, and you are rooting for the villains in this film.

Overall, this is not a bad movie. However, I wouldn't go out and rent it. Check it out if you come across it on television, or on Hulu.com.

Chino
Chino(1977)

A horse trainer (the late Charles Bronson) lives with a runaway just outside an Old West town where he has a rough reputation.

His rough exterior is challenged when a woman (Bronson's real life late wife, Jill Ireland) comes into his life.

From what I remember of Bronson's movies, there is always a good amount of violence. There is barely any in here. There is at least one fist fight, which lasts seconds, and not much gun play.

The pace of the movie is painfully slow and deliberate. Sometimes the action on the screen was so slow, my eyes began to wander away from the screen. I found myself getting bored frequently.

This was not one of the best acted movies I've seen lately. I did not feel chemistry between most of the cast. I did feel some between the boy and Bronson.

The story was choppy at best. In fact, it was so weak that it hurt the storyline. The supporting cast was there to slightly advance Bronson's background story, and that's mostly it.

The music was purely Country and Western, and not memorable at all in this movie. I couldn't even recognize any singer on the soundtrack.

Some of the scenery was pretty good. However, there were no spectacular shots. In fact, the scenery was kind of boring. The town, and the horse trainer's property was placed in a sandy area without any color. Wardrobes were just as boring.

This one you can pass on.

Trekkies 2
Trekkies 2(2004)
½

I admit it. I am a professional wrestling fan (who hates the "Wrestling is fake" debate) and, believe it or not, I am a Trekkie. I am what the mainstream considers a nerd who, unfortunately, lives with his parents (only because I am physically disabled and uses a wheelchair.)

Trekkies 2 is a continuation of the 1996 documentary, Trekkies. It is hosted by Denise Crosby, who portrayed "Lt. Natasha 'Tasha' Yar" on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the granddaughter of Hollywood legend, Bing Crosby.

This film has a somewhat bigger budget. As the movie goes overseas to visit with European fans of one of the most beloved franchises in entertainment. In the original, they stayed in the United States.

It visits with some hardcore fans overseas and in the USA who live the life of a person obsessed with the franchise which began in 1966. One of those redesigned his apartment to somewhat look like it could be in the TNG (The Next Generation) era to the point where he built a "Transporter console", which he credits from preventing him going down a dark path when he wife divorced him.

You also get some interviews of people the crew came across at European and US fan conventions where people meet other fans, trade, sell and purchase merchandise, and embrace with world created by the late Gene Roddenberry.

You get to see how Star Trek is celebrated around the world. Although they are in the same fandom, each country featured in this film celebrates the franchise differently.

The producers were very respectful to fans who do not speak English. Instead of having Crosby do a voiceover explaining what the fan was saying, we get the text in subtitles in the now-famous Star Trek font.

In the film, they talk about the hard core fans who live and breathe Star Trek to the point that they seem to believe that they are in the Star Trek Universe. One of which is Barbara Adams, one of the fans featured in the original movie.

Adams made a name for herself when she wore her Starfleet uniform to court as an alternate juror in the Whitewater trial, which had former US President Bill Clinton and current US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as defendants. In the first movie, she claimed that her costume was a legitimate uniform and she had the right to wear it anywhere she wanted. The judge dismissed her because her wearing the costume became a distraction to the point that she was interviewed outside the court about it. She was under strict orders not to talk to media during the trial.

In this movie, she is part of a group discussing the hard core fans who seem to be out of touch with reality. One person brought her up, without knowing who she was at first, and said that she shouldn't have worn the costume to court out of respect and seriousness of the trial. She eventually asked another person in the discussion what's the difference between her uniform and the uniform of a soldier in the military. I would have loved to had the opportunity to respond to that question.

I was not too impressed with Crosby's performance as host. When she was talking with fans, she was quite comfortable as much as the fans were. But, when she read from the script it was painfully obvious.

I liked her interaction with the fans interviewed in this film. The fans probably did some hero worship when she came into the room when the cameras were off, but were very comfortable when the cameras were on them. You could see the passion they have for the franchise, and how comfortable they are with discussing it.

The fans who were interviewed were fantastic in this film. The majority proved that Star Trek fans are not nerds who live in their parent's basement at 34 years old. They discussed why they are fans, what Star Trek means to them and had some fun with showing their collections and costumes. Those who were featured in the film were quite interesting in fact.

One interesting segment is when the movie visits with people featured in the first film, and discussing their reaction to not only the first film, but how it was recieved. One, who now creates CGI effects for a living, discusses how the first movie created a sort of catchphrase for him, which he jokes about. He also talks about how a movie reviewer said in his review of the first movie how he (the fan) will never have sex. The punchline is that the woman who is now his wife is sitting next to him as his discusses what the reviewer mentioned. He even joked about how some people questioned his sexuality.

The music is completely original, and provided by a group of fans featured in the film. The majority of the tunes are only memorable due to the Trek-themed lyrics, which are filled with references from various shows in the franchise. If you are a fan of the franchise, you might just find yourself singing the tunes. However, if you aren't a fan, you will just think how nerdy these people are and just laugh at them.

This is not a high budget movie, so don't expect spectacular special effects. The most spectacular special effects are shown in clips from various fan-produced films, which can be viewed online. I have links on my computer to dozens of these fan-produced shows, and many have special effects which are surprisingly impressive. In one of these clips, it is obvious that the sets are actually green screen efects edited in in post-production, and it's obvious that they are computer generated.

If you think that people who go to fan conventions dressed up as a blue alien with white hair and blue antenna are virgins who live in their parents' basement, then you must see this movie to have your eyes opened up. This film, as well as the first one in this series, will prove to you that Star Trek fans are from all walks of life. They are parents, executives at major corporations, dentists, college students and even politicians.

Trekkies, some of which call themself Trekkers, are just like you. The only difference is that they are part of a unique fandom that has been around for almost 45 years. A fandom which believes in a peaceful future where there is, as said in the Star Trek Universe, universal diversity in infinate combinations. The world of a Trekkie is one where people of all races, creeds and sexual orientation are accepted, and hope that one day the mainstream will be the same.

Put this movie, and the original, quite high on your To See list if you are not a fan of the franchise. If you are a fan, then place this one in your Must See list.

Pistol Opera
Pistol Opera(2001)

This is easily the worst, most confusing movie I've seen in quite some time.

"Miyuki Minazuki" (Makiko Esumi), known professionally as "Stray Cat", is part of the Assassin's Guild, and ranked #3 in it.

She is given the job to kill the top assassin in the guild, known as "Hundred Eyes", and takes it.

This movie is very hard to follow, especially if you must use subtitles if you can't find a dubbed version.

The acting is horrible. Many times, the actors are overly dramatic, and act as if they should be on stage. There is a lot of rambling monologues that are quite confusing. None of the actors had any chemistry and appeared to be forced to work together on screen.

As for the camera work, it's not perfect. There are some shots with pans that are too dramatic and make no sense. Other shots are real good, and help with the story on a visual level.

For the subject of the story, there is very little violence and no blood in this movie. There is even little gun play in the film. Violence is kept to a minimum as well.

The soundtrack is forgettable. It reminded me of music heard in movies from the 1970's. I didn't feel that the music helped enhance the scenes at all.

There are some interesting visuals in this movie. At times I felt as if I was watching a stage play. A few times, the camera work helped enhance the scenes, but most of the time the shots were real typical.

This movie lacked the ability to keep my attention through out. I caught myself looking away from my computer screen numerous times because I was completely bored with the movie. I watched this movie on Hulu, and got even more confused when my screen saver popped up.

It was a hard movie to follow, especially since I had to read English subtitles. I really had a hard time following what was going on in this movie because my attention was focused on the bottom of the screen. It may have been the translation, but the dialog was pretty confusing at times, and I couldn't understand what was going on.

Unless you are into this type of movie, I have to say skip it. It isn't for every one.

Of Mice and Men

Two men, one mentally disabled (John Malkovich), the other (Gary Sinise, who also directed the movie) who swears to take care of the simple, but physically powerful man.

The two begin working on a farm, where "Lenny" (Malkovich) struggles to behave, as well as to try to remember that he has to be gentle as to not hurt anybody or anything since he is more physically gifted than mentally. All the while, "George" (Sinise) tries to put himself between "Lenny" and those around him to protect his traveling companion.

Based on the John Steinbeck book, of which I did not read, this is actually a pretty good movie with some pretty strong performances.

In fact, the performances are the only reason to watch this movie. The entire cast is near perfect. Malkovich and Sinise has pretty good chemistry as the two lead characters. Personally, I liked Sinise better than Malkovich, neither of which are my favorite actors.

There are also some strong performances from various members of the supporting cast. However, it appears that many of them were not given a lot to work with.

If you have not read the book, you may not think that the supporting cast was given much. I didn't think so either since I've never read the book. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a few of the supporting characters more.

There is some good chemistry with this cast, some better than others. You can really see where the chemistry was best by the scenes with the strongest performances.

The soundtrack is completely lacking in this film. In fact, I think I remember only one piece of music near the end of this film. And it sounded like they turned the volume down on that little piece of music that is completely forgettable.

The wardrobes, and other period pieces seen in this film, looks very authentic. It didn't appear that they tried to make it look like period clothing, it looked pretty authentic. They even went as far as making the clothing look like they were worn for some time, with little washing.

There is no spectacular camera work in this film. There are a couple of foot chases in here with some quick editing. The lighting is used well, and the angles are done nicely. There's just nothing memorable in any of the shots.

If you are looking for action, there isn't any worth looking for. This is pure drama, with no explosions or gun play.

Maybe because I never read the book, I kept looking away from my computer screen (I watched it on Hulu) because I was getting bored. If you haven't read the book, the only reason to see this is for the performances.

There is no reason to see this movie except for the peformances. In fact, I didn't even know it existed until it came up on my Hulu recommendations list. I am more familiar with the Lon Chaney, Jr./Bergess Merrideth version. This movie is only worth seeing once.

I do suggest that you read the book so you know what is going on. In fact, you may like it better if you familiarize yourself with the source material first.

Saints and Soldiers

Survivors of a military massacre during World War II are in the worse case scenario; no rations, behind enemy lines, exhausted and starved.

The four (Corbin Allred, Peter Asle Holden, Larry Bagby and Alexander Polinsky) come close to being captured many times while trying to get into allied territory. They finally arrive at a home where the owner lets them have some refuge, after coming across a British soldier (Kirby Hayborne). She also allows a German soldier, who happened to have met one of the Americans before the war.

Now the soldiers, one of which is carrying vital information, have to get back to allied territory or die.

This is not your typical war movie. Mostly because the story focuses on the relationships between the soldiers. There are battle scenes in this movie, but they're spread out through out the movie.

The battle scenes are pretty authentic. Loud, with lots of action. The blood shed is fairly tame, and there's nothing gory. One of the main characters is a medic, and has to deal with some bad wounds. However, the wounds are not graphic.

The strongest aspect of this movie is the performances of the main cast. The main cast is simply fantastic. You actually feel as if you are looking at people who have bonded after a long time, under intense circumstances. Their on-screen chemistry is one of the best I've seen recently. I can't say that one of the actors stood out from the rest, only because they are all great in their roles. Not one of them were unbelieveable.

The clothing was very authentic looking. In fact, the clothing, as well as weaponry and vehicles were provided by WWII collectors. Also, re-enactors were used in many battle scenes.

Music in this movie is used nicely. Many musical pieces are used nicely to enhance the scene. I can't remember any musical pieces though.

Some people may have a problem with the cast being a group of unknowns. This movie is a low-budget independent film, so a big name star was unatainable. However, this cast is fantastic in this film, and you quickly forget that you don't know these actors.

I would suggest that parents not allow younger children see this movie. There is some violence, and one character is suffering from battle fatigue which kids may not comprehend. There is no swearing in this film, with the exception of an era racial slur against Germans.

I watched this movie over on Hulu, where you could check it out on as well. However, if your connection is too slow to stream video, and happen across this film, check it out -- if your first couple of choices are not available. I wouldn't Netflix this, only because of the wait if you already have a long list for the company to choose from.

The Secret of NIMH

A widowed field mouse (voiced by the late Elizabeth Hartman) has a sick child (voiced by Ian Fried) and two other children. They live in the garden of a farm where other animals live and feed.

They all need to move when it comes time for the farmer (voiced by Tom Hatten) begins to plow the field to prepare it for gardening. However, due to the sick child, "Mrs. Brisby" (Hartman) is reluctant to move.

She, with the help of of bumbling crow (voiced by the late Dom DeLuise), she seeks out the advice of a mysterious, but wise old owl (voiced by the late John Carradine). The "Great Owl" tells her to seek the assistance of the rats.

When she finds the rats, she is amazed at what she sees. They have the ability to use electricity, stolen from the farm, which a kind rat named "Justin" (voiced by Peter Strauss) frowns upon since stealing is wrong.

She learns of the rats story, where they lived at a place called N.I.M.H., or "NIMH" (which is short for the National Institute of Mental Health, a real-life medical organization in the United States), and gained an encreased mental ability thanks to experiments performed on them. She also learned that her late husband had his hand in the rats, and other animals, escape from NIMH.

The animation is real good in this movie, and holds up almost 30 years later. Though the majority of coloring is darker colors, the scenery and characters are animated fantasticly. Lighter hues are scarce in this film. The darker hues are best used with the "Great Owl", whose shot mostly in shadows so that his orange-yellow-tinted eyes stand out.

The characters are inhanced by the performers. Hartman made "Mrs. Brisby" kindhearted while in desperate need of saving her children. DeLuise made the crow a bumbling idiot, and was simply fantastic as the comedy relief.

Even though the parts were probably recorded separately, the on-screen chemistry is really good in this movie. Sometimes, you forgot you were watching an animated movie depending on who was on screen with whom.

The only major downfall of this movie is that the subplots of this film completely miss the mark. It is told in the movie that NIMH is interested in the rat population of the farm, but they are never seen on-screen as villains trying to recapture the rats. And the lead rat villain's (voiced by the late Paul Shenar) story of trying to take over the colony is completely relegated to a such a minor subplot, it's not even worth it. Personally, I would have tried to see the villain trying to create a stir by talking to others in the rat colony to envoke an uprising at just the right moment.

Character development is fairly weak in this film. Although there is some pretty good development in the main characters, the supporting characters are a miss. I didn't understand what many of the minor characters had to do with the plot, as they were really under developed. I really couldn't tell who was needed for more than just plot advancement, and who was not needed.

The music is pretty boring. I didn't even think it helped enhanse the action of the scenes. I remember at the end, just as the credits begin, there is one song with lyrics. This song would never be a Top 10 smash, or a Hollywood classic. In fact, it's pretty forgettable.

There is some mild violence, and one bad word in the entire movie. I might keep the Sesame Street crowd away from this movie because of these, and that the movie is not anything like a Disney movie.

I can just barely recommend this movie. It's almost a couple of notches above being skipable. Personally, I would check it on Hulu if there is nothing else to do.

The Little Princess
½

A soldier's daughter (Shirley Temple) is placed into an all-girls boarding school by her father (Ian Hunter), who is off to war.

Because of her father's wealth, and her charm, she is immediately sent to the head of her class and treated like gold by the majority of those in the school. However, things turn for the worse months later when her father is reported killed in action.

Now, the young miss refuses to believe that her beloved father was killed. She tries to keep all hope that her father is alive as those treat her wrong believing that she has lost all the money that supported her for most of her life.

Let me say first, that this movie is not my usual cup of tea. Shirley Temple movies are usually for young girls, which I am obviously not. I will say right off the top that this is a B movie.

Temple, in my opinion, is a legend in Hollywood, as she should be. However, she was not the perfect actress. She did a much better job than I expected her to have done in this film, but it did appear to me that she did have trouble saying a few lines. I don't know what it is, but sometimes it appears to me that struggles with a few lines. She sometimes appears to struggle getting her lines out, and the strain on her face to get the words to form is pretty evident.

As for the rest of the cast, their performances were pretty good given what they were. For the most part, the supporting characters are not developed well at all. This is most evident with the older student who belittles "Sarah" (Temple). For the most part, she was used to throw insults at "Sarah", and talk behind her back. She is basically there for little to no reason except to annoy "Sarah." For the most part, she, as well as the other girls, are mainly there as background performers used to fill the scenes.

We do get to see other characters a little bit more. But they are mostly used to advance the story -- some better than others.

There is a subplot where two of the teachers have a romantic relationship. This is under developed due to the two characters being taken out of the story for a good chunk of the movie.

The story itself drags along at a slow, boring pace for much of the movie. In these scenes, I thought the acting was very poor and boring.

The wardrobes looked pretty authentic, but was nothing special for an early Technicolor movie. For the most part, clothing and sets were of darker hues. The main colors being grey and black. Temple's perky performance, which was a trademark of her in her movies, was basically the only thing bright.

Shirley Temple movies were/are known to have some musical performances. In fact, she is known for tunes like "Animal Crackers in My Soup" and "The Good Ship Lolipop." Here we get two songs where are completely forgettable. And one of these songs gets an equally forgettable dance number.

The only reason to see this is if you are a Temple fan -- and female. There was little to nothing for the male audience. We do get a tiny police chase on foot near the climax of the movie, but it's nothing like you would see in a movie now.

However, believe it or not, I will recommend it. Providing you are renting it for your young, female child. If you have a young son, skip it.

Sunset Pass
Sunset Pass(1946)

A young outlaw (Robert Clarke) is accused of a murder he did not commit.

Now, an express company detective (James Warren), who is sent to the area to solve a bank robbery, is determined to find out the truth as payback when the outlaw saves his life.

Let me say right at the top that this movie is way too short. Lasting only 64 minutes, they had to rush the story.

Due to the movie's length, there was no chance for the story to develop as it should have. There was also many problems with the plot and various subplots.

The main plot does not show until the last part of the movie. We do see some development on the romantic level, as well as relationships between the main characters.

There were some impressive performances in this film. Warren was fantastic in one of the main leads. I also enjoyed Nan Leslie in the leading actress role.

As for the supporting cast, there were some good performances, and some bad. Only a small group of the supporting cast appeared to have just stood there as they said their lines, and were unbelievable.

Character development is completely horrible in this movie. The characters' individual stories were completely rushed, and I found it confusing trying to remember who was who, and how they were related to each other.

I was also not impressed with the soundtrack in this movie. You have two on-screen performances of a couple of short, boring songs. You also have some music during some horse chase scenes. Every piece of music is completely forgettable. In fact, even the two performances is as well. The songs which are performed on screen are slow, and the singer is completely boring.

As for action, there is only one real good gun fight at the climax of the movie. It too felt rushed though. You get some other gun battles, but they are tame in comparison to the one near the end of the movie.

The gun battles are not violent, due to the movie being produced in 1946. You don't get any blood at all to show gunshot wounds. All you get are the actors grabbing where they were hit after falling to the ground. In comparison to today's movies, the violence is extremely tame in this movie.

If you like Westerns, or Zane Grey, who wrote the novel this movie is based on, then I suggest you check this out. However, thanks to the length of this film, it's not the best. For the rest of you, this one is one you can skip.

I can only suggest this to the audience not into Westers only for the pretty strong performaces from the main cast.

The Last Man on Earth

For three years, "Robert Morgan" (Vincent Price) has been trying to survive against those infected with a plague which has turned them into vampire-like zombies. It appears that he is somehow immune to the strange affliction.

During daylight, he goes out and kills those infected with hand-made stakes. Then, at night, he stays locked up in his house until the morning comes again as those infected try in vein to break into his home.

Once a scientist trying to find a cure for the disease, "Morgan" is now just trying to survive.

This is not the best movie I have seen recently. However, just to watch Price is worth it.

Price carries this movie for most of the film by himself. He is the focus for most of the story, and handles it well. The audience can hear his thoughts as he goes through the day, and it's done really well. Price uses his voice wonderfully in the voiceovers, and makes the movie pretty intriguing.

The big problem with this movie is that the infected are characterized as vampires. Yes, they are repulsed by the scent of garlic, and can't be in the sunlight. However, they can't stand looking at their reflection. Vampires, on the other hand, can not be seen in mirrors. They are more like zombies in my opinion.

The atmosphere is fairly creepy in this film. Many times, Price is the only person on camera. In many of these scenes they are inhanced by Price's voiceovers. You can feel how lonely his character is by not only his dialog, but how he performs on screen. With his movements, he shows a man who is desperate to survive, but is exhausted.

One problem in this film is the cast during flashback scenes. They are just not believable in these roles. A couple of the actors did not sound like they even tried to make their performances believable.

Another problem was the audio. During many scenes, the voices were obviously dubbed over.

The music and many camera angles really helped enhance the film. Sometimes the camera was limited to the space of the sets, but was used very well. The music really isn't memorable in this film, but helped enhance the scenes.

This movie is not scary at all. Just a little creepy. The violence is very mild due to the time it was produced. I would not suggest this for real young children who get creeped out easily.

It's not a perfect movie, but it is a pretty good time-waster.

Lone Wolf McQuade
½

Texas Ranger "John 'JJ" McQuade" (Chuck Norris) is a loner who bucks authority. However, he will work with some people when he knows it's needed.

During some down time from work, "McQuade" meets a beautiful widow (Barbara Carrera), who is with the mysterious martial arts expert "Rawley Wilkes" (the late David Carradine), who tries to get "McQuade", who has a reputation for using martial arts while trying to apprehend criminals he goes after. However, "McQuade" turns down the challenge.

Now, "McQuade", along with his new partner "Deputy Kayo" (Robert Beltran", slowly learns of "Wilkes" shady background and go after him. But, federal agents try to stop them. However, "McQuade" makes it personal when his daughter (Dana Kimmell) is injured when she and a boyfriend witness a murder.

Let me say first that this is not the best action movie, but it really is a pretty good movie. This is not a shoot'em up, fisticuffs film where there is only brief moments for the audience to catch their breath. It is, however an actioner where the action is needed.

I really liked Norris in this role. He played "McQuade" as a gentle man who perfered to be alone, but really loved those close to him. "McQuade" is one of those who only had to give you a look to tell you to back off, and Norris did a good job conveying it as well.

Many key supporting characters were barely developed, or not well developed. "Wilkes" and his boss (Daniel R. Frishman), a wheelchair-bound dwarf who has apparently crossed paths with "McQuade" many times in the past to the point that the Ranger knows when he tried to bluff him with an empty gold-plated pistol. The movie doesn't really tell us much about the two villains. In fact, I had to read online what "Wilkes" is as a criminal. Most of these supporting characters were just there to move the story along, and to give "McQuade" motivation.

As for action, as I said before, it's spaced out nicely through the movie. Maybe it's because this movie is almost 30 years old, the violence is pretty toned down. Of course, because of the two leads, there is martial arts fights sprinkled around more than gun fights and explosions. I would have liked to seen just a little more action than there was. However, the action scenes are handled well.

I wasn't impressed with the soundtrack in the movie, but the pieces of music is handled well and helps the scenes. I couldn't tell you any music from the movie if I heard it again, as the music is pretty forgetable.

Despite the flaws, I enjoyed this movie. I wouldn't put it in your Must See List, but I'd check it out if you catch it on television.

The Organization

While investigating a corporate break-in, San Francisco Police Detective "Virgil Tibbs" (Sidney Portier) discovers that the suspects are in reality a group of revolutionaries bent on destroying a drug cartel known as "The Organization."

Without permission from his superiors, "Tibbs" begins to work with the revolutionaries. They work their own ways, "Tibbs" working within police regulations, but still together.

This is a pretty well written movie, but with some slight flaws in performances. The pacing of the movie is slow, but well paced.

The stand out performance is easily Portier. This is the third movie where he portrays "Tibbs," of which he is probably best known for. He plays "Tibbs" two ways in the film. First, he plays the cop. You actually believe that he is a vetran on the police force. "Tibbs" passion is his work, and Portier makes you believe it. He also plays "Tibbs" as a family man who obviously loves his family. We don't get to see a lot of this side of the character since the focus is on the case he is on.

One problem with this movie is that the supporting characters is poorly presented. There is little to no development in the revolutionaries, and we don't get to see much of "The Organization" beyond the hired guns. I was also unimpressed with their on-screen chemistry with each other. Not one really stood out if you ask me. In fact, I felt that these characters would fit better in an early-1970's television series than in a major motion picture.

When it comes to the soundtrack, it's typical 1970's movie music. Not one piece is memorable. However, some pieces of music was used quite well in scenes.

The action is pretty toned down in this film, probably because of the time it was filmed. You get a lot of chases on foot, and one pretty forgetable car chase. You also get some gun play with little blood. There is little to no intesity in the action scenes. The only thing that makes these scenes intense is the music played over them.

There is a pretty good, and unexpected twist at the end of the movie, and it's handled pretty well thanks to Portier's performance. I didn't see it coming. There is also some really good transition edits in this film that I thought were done nicely.

Though not a perfect movie, it is enjoyable, mostly thanks to Portier's performance.

If you ever catch this on HBO or the free section of your On Demand service, check it out if your regular show is either not on for alternative programming or in a rerun. I actually watched it on Hulu, and only had to deal with about two minutes of commercials, which were sometimes oddly placed.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
½

Four siblings (William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley) are whisked back in time to the magical land of "Narnia" when the four are waiting for a train.

They find the land, in which they were declared royalty hundreds of "Narnia's" years before, in ruins.

They eventually learn that the prince (Ben Barnes) of the neighboring "Telmar" summond them with a magical horn, and decide to help him get to the throne as he was destined.

However, the uncle (Sergio Castellitto) of the prince, who is king of "Telmar", wants the prince dead. But, the siblings and the prince rally the "Narnians" into battle.

Let me say this first that this, and the last one in the series I watched (I think it was the first movie in the series, but that was long ago) is not making me want to read the books they are based on. I usually lean more toward science-fiction than fantasy, so that could be the reason as to why I don't want to read the source material.

I found the story long, and dragged on fairly slow. However, it never slowed to a crawl. In fact, though the pace was pretty slow, it was just fast enough to keep you from getting too bored. The begining of the movie was really slow, and made me want to turn it off. However, once the siblings got to "Narnia," the movie's pace picked up to something more bareable.

I wasn't really impressed with the performances in the movie, but the actors did a fine job. I did like how the chemistry between the actors worked out, especially those who were in the previous film.

One thing that must have looked amazing on the big screen was the scenery and special effects. From what I have read about this film, a good majority of the film's budget went to the special effects -- of which there is alot. In fact, this film heavily relies on special effects.

In this film, you get scenery that would be impossible, if not too expensive to make. You also get at least 99% of the cast as CGI characters.

I usually hate characters made entirely by a computer, but the ones in this film are simply the best I've seen. Usually, human actors aren't looking into the CGI characters' eyes when they are together on screen. However, it appeared to me that the CGI characters are lined up perfectly.

The only downside of the CGI characters is that hair and fur do not look realistic ever. Look at the animals in this film on close-ups, and you will see what I mean. This is especially evident with the lion "Aslan" (voiced by Liam Neeson). In close-ups, the fur on his body, not to mention his eyes, don't look realistic. However, the animation is amazing with all these characters.

The voice actors worked very well, including scenes with real people. Many times, I forgot that I was looking at a talking lion or mouse. I have to give props to the human actors who had to perform with the CGI characters. Their performances helped bring the CGI characters into reality really well.

I wasn't really impressed with character development with new characters in this film. The lead villain had only enough screen time to explain to the audience why he does what he does, but he doesn't get enough time on-screen to develop in a way to where you would not like him the instant he returns to the screen.

If I remember correctly, the actors portraying the siblings were pretty bad in the first film. There was some big improvement, especially with the youngest actors. If you ask me, the human actors really didn't stand out from each other.

Wardrobes in this film were great in this film. Human clothing mainly consisted of darker tones. There were no brightly colored outfits that stood out like a sore thumb. The clothing seemed to be really accurate for the time period.

The action was spread out through the entire film. None of which built to the battle between the forces of good and evil. There was one major battle, followed by a sword fight that was really hurt by it being placed right after the battle.

Because the world of "Narnia" is over a thousand years ago, you deal with weaponry that does produce blood. However, there is no blood where there should be. Parents will not have to worry about any serious amounts of blood, nor will they worry about any foul language.

Except for one particular piece of music, I really don't remember the soundtrack in this film. I do remember one song near the end of the movie because it's the only one I noticed with singing. Most of the music is just insrumentals that did help enhance the scenes. It was nothing memorable though.

Catch this on HBO if there is nothing else on. This movie, in my opinion, is not good enough to skip a favorite television program over. It almost comes close though.

Dude, Where's My Car?

"Jesse" (Ashton Kutcher) and "Chester" (Seann William Scott) wake up after a night of partying so hard they don't remember anything. They can't even remember where "Jesse" put his car.

Eventually, they discover that their adventures including taking a large sum of money from a transvestite stripper and trying to find extra-terrestrial technology. All the while, trying to get their twin girlfriends (Jennifer Garner, Marla Sokoloff) anniversary presents.

Let me say first that this is a really stupid, predictable movie. However, there are a lot of chuckle-worthy gags throughout the movie.

About 99% of the jokes, sight gags and oral, is completely predictable. They were mostly horribly set-up to the point that you see the joke coming seconds before it happens. The other 1% only produced a fairly good chuckle.

Character development, for the most part, is poor. All the characters are one-dimensional. However, the development of "Jesse" and "Chester" were uniquely laid out as we get to learn about them through the film.

The performances from the majority of the cast were pretty weak, mostly due to what they were given to work with in the script. I think that they knew they were given a horrible script and didn't put their all into it. It sounded to me like they were just repeating what was on the pages they were handed. If you ask me, Kutcher and Scott were the only ones that were believable in their roles.

The supporting cast was one of the weakest I've ever seen. These characters were very cliche, and were pretty forgetable. There was no substance in them at all. They were either just there, or used to poorly advance the plot.

Then there is the special effects. There are a few, and they aren't edited into scenes well at all. In fact, even though this movie is nearly a decade old, the special effects in the climax look as if they were two decades old, and didn't age well.

The soundtrack is pretty forgetable as well. I don't remember any piece of music in the entire movie. Nor do I remember if any songs in the movie were either classic tunes or covers of popular songs.

I would suggest that you skip this movie. Only see this on television if there is nothing else on and you are bored.

Tarzan
Tarzan(1999)
½

Based on the famous series of novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 ? March 19, 1950), Disney has come up with a pretty entertaining adaptation of the beloved literary character.

The first thing I must talk about is the animation. Disney has perfectly blended classic animation with computer animation. The computer animation enhances the classic animation with movement drawings couldn't do. In many scenes, "Tarzan" (child voiced by Alex D. Lintz; adult voiced by Tony Goldwyn) is sliding on large tree branches rapidly. In the classic animation style, they would not have been successful in "following" "Tarzan" through the trees as well as they could with computer animation due to the rapid movement.

There are very few dark colors in the scenery. In fact, the only dark colors were used for the gorillas, shadowing and human hair. Most of the colors are light gray, lots of green (it is in a jungle) and other brighter colors.

There are some pretty good performances in this film. However, none really stood out in my opinion. I was not that impressed with some supporting characters, as they had little screen time and thus had no time to develop. Rosie O'Donnell was a delight as "Terk," who was "Tarzan's" best gorilla friend.

If you ask me, they really missed the mark to make a memorable villain in this film. They had two chances, but killed one, and just did a horrible job making a human villain.

As for music, which Disney is known for, there isn't a lot performed on screen by characters like in previous movies. In fact, characters burst into two songs. The rest of the soundtrack is done mainly by Grammy and Academy Award-winning Phil Collins. The songs by Collins is easily alot more memorable than the rest of the musical score. In fact, all I really can remember is Collins songs. However, the Collins songs, which he wrote and performed, is not as memorable as some of the classic songs Disney is known for. Therefore, if you hear the songs by Collins, you won't be catching yourself singing these tunes, nor will you think of the movie when you hear the songs. The songs did fit well into scenes though.

The movie is well paced, however I did think the story was really rushed due to the 89 minute length of the film. They really rushed the part where "Jane" (voiced by Minnie Driver) and the team she was with tried to bring "Tarzan" back to civilization with some of the animal characters as prizes. They also did a pretty good job with the famed relationship between "Jane" and Tarzan. If this movie was a little longer, they really could have worked on many scenes, character development and the relationships between the characters. After seeing this movie, I am almost certain they made the animated television series based on this movie to better explore the relationships in the movie.

If you ask me, this is almost a Disney classic. But, in my opinion, it barely misses the mark to be up there with "Snow White" and others touched by Disney's magic.

Street Kings
Street Kings(2008)
½

LAPD "Det. Tom Ludlow" (Keanu Reeves) is spiraling out of control. He has lost his wife to another man, and has taken to the bottle. He also rarely follows regulations, and has been known to beat information out of suspects.

In fact, his unit is known for covering up for all their wrong-doings, including the unit's commander (Forest Whitaker), who has taken "Ludlow" under his wing.

After saving two girls from kidnappers, and covering up what really happened, "Ludlow's" former partner (Terry Crews) goes to internal affairs, which opens an investigation on "Ludlow."

When he hears about the investigation, "Ludlow" goes to confront his former partner in a corner store, only to get involved in an apparent robbery, but witnesses the two suspects hunting down the whistle-blower, and shooting him to death.

Eventually, "Ludlow" becomes a suspect in a shooting, and has to clear his name.

Yet another B movie recommended by Yahoo Movies. There is lots of action, a lot of violence and blood and mideocre character development.

Reeves performance is not the best. In fact, I would have to say that it's an 80 out of 100%. He seems uncomfortable at times in some scenes, and it effects his performance.

I was not impressed with the supporting cast. Many of which was poorly written. Whitaker does an excellent job as a guy who thinks he can put anybody in his pocket -- including superior officers to him.

There is a whole lot of plot twists, which are not spaced out well if you ask me. They come a bit too close to each other at times. In fact, they come so close together at times that it gets a bit confusing as to where the film is going.

If you are into action, this movie will make you happy. You get a whole lot of gunplay. However, a word of warning, there is a lot of blood. And when I mean a lot of blood, you get to see the results of a bullet strike on the body of it's target. The blood flows a lot in this one.

The soundtrack is completely forgetable in this movie. With all the action, I don't remember hearing any songs or instumentals at all as the movie progressed.

If you are desperate to see a movie, wait until you find this on HBO or on the Free Movies section of your On Demand service.

Shrek
Shrek(2001)
½

"Shrek" (voiced by Mike Myers) is an ogre who loves the solitude of the swamp in which he lives. However, that solitude is disrupted when the fairy tale creatures in the area are forced into the swamp by "Lord Farquaad" (voiced by John Lithgow), ruler of the nearby "Duloc."

"Shrek," along with a talking donkey named "Donkey" (voiced by Eddie Murphy), goes to complain to "Faarquaad", who sends the two on a quest to save "Princess Fiona" (voiced by Cameron Diaz; singing voice by Renee Sandstrom) lava-protected castle where she is being held against her will by a dragon.

Eventually, the three escape, and it becomes obvious that "Princess Fiona" and "Shrek" are ment to be together. However, "Shrek" wants to live a life of solitude, and "Fiona" is hiding a secret that she is ashamed of.

Now, the two have to learn what destiny has in store for the two, or they will live lives that weren't ment to be.

Let me say first that this movie is far from perfect. First of all, the story presented is pretty weak and rushed. We don't really get to see when "Shrek" and "Donkey" really get to trust one another. It appeared to me that the two became friendly somewhere between a couple of scenes. I also think that there were just too many characters in the supporting cast.

I did like how the performances were handled in this movie. The actors really brought the characters to life. Sometimes, I forgot that the actors were not on camera, and I don't believe that they were in the same room when they recorded their dialogue.

The movie is enhanced by the wonderful animation. In fact, the animation is simply amazing. Personally, I think the animation was even better on the silver screen than it was on television. The colors of the animation is simply beautiful, and the scenery really looked three-dimensional. The use of colors was perfect through the entire movie.

Realism, in my opinion, is the only downfall in computer animation. Human skin looks more like rubber than actual skin. And when it comes to realistic looking hair or fur, it misses the mark. "Donkey's" hair just doesn't look real to me.

Another downfall is that much of the humor is not for young children. In fact, there is some language that isn't for children in this movie either. If I remember correctly, the movie was marketed as a family movie. It really isn't thanks to some jokes and language. These jokes would go over younger children's heads, and would make older children laugh when it comes to bodily function jokes. But, some references are certainly targeted to the adults in the audience.

Another fun aspect of this movie is the references to other movies, and numerous fairy tales. Some movie references I didn't notice, but did notice a particular special effect that everybody has seen from a certain sci-fi franchise starring Keanu Reeves.

As for the soundtrack, I can't recall one original song or musical piece in this movie. All the songs are ones you heard before, including a really good cover of a classic Monkees song. I'm not really sure if the songs fit into the scenes, but it was fun hearing them.

I can only say that you should watch this on HBO on a rainy day. It's cute, but not that cute.

The Dark Knight
½

A madman has brought his wrath to "Gotham City" (Chicago, Illinois) which is finally cleaning out the criminal element. That man is known to authorities as "The Joker" (Heath Ledger). And there is only one man who can stop him -- a masked vigilante known as "The Batman" (Christian Bale).

However, another man is trying to do, legally, what the "Caped Crusader" has been doing. That man is the District Attorney "Harvey Dent" (Aaron Eckhart), who eventually becomes what "Bruce Wayne" (Bale) fights to become in his dark alter-ego.

The two men who are trying to get "The Clown Prince of Crime" each have the same partner -- "Lt. James Gordon" (Gary Oldman), who is one of the only uncorrupt cops on the force. But, "Batman" has two more partners in his battle against evil -- "Alfred" (Sir Michael Caine), the "Wayne" family butler and "Bruce's" life-long confidant. "Batman's" other partner is the CEO of "Wayne Enterprises", "Lucius Fox" (Morgan Freeman), who is the man behind all of "Batman's" weaponry.

First of all, let me say that this movie is, in my opinion, as close to perfect as you can come. Especially compared to movies I've seen recently. There are way more pros than cons if you ask me.

First of all, most of the movie is just a little too bright for the world of "Batman." The scenes set during sunlight were just not dark enough to set the right mood for this world origincally created in DC Comics. Personally, I would have liked to have seen dimmer lighting in many day scenes where the lighting could be controlled.

Like in the last film, I really had a problem with the "Batmobile." It looked more like a military vehicle, and not something "Batman" should be behind the wheel of. Yes, it's painted black, but every version of the famed vehicle always reminded you of a bat in some way.

I also had a problem with how some of the characters were used. First of all, this movie, like all in the genre, expects the audience to know the background of the main characters for the most part. I still have a problem with Caine, an Academy Award winner, as "Alfred." I just can't picture him as a butler, and he was barely used in this film. Personally, I wish he and Morgan were in the film a little bit more -- especially Caine since Morgan was in the film a bit more often.

Despite the weak writing of the characters, I found the performances pretty strong. Heath Ledger, who died shortly after filming this movie, is almost perfect as "Joker". He captures the insane tone of the character very well, and completely brings you into the performance. Bale is really good as "Batman," although I thought his voice for the character was a bit much. He really did a good job as "Wayne" though.

Caine and Morgan, though under used in my opinion, did a great job with what they were given. You really felt that "Fox" knew why "Wayne" wanted the equipment, but knew not to ask. I also thought Caine made "Alfred" more a father-figure than a butler. In fact, I can't even remember one time when he acted more like a butler.

I was almost impressed with Eckhart until he became his evil alter-ego, "Two-Face." It wasn't until his change that he really picked up his performance.

If you ask me, Maggie Gyllenhaal had no chance at making "Rachel Dawes" her own. She had to fill the role created by Katie Holmes in "Batman Begins", and really didn't do anything that made you forget Holmes in the first movie. In fact, she just didn't make me feel for her when she met her fate in the film that was used as part of "Dent's" dive into madness. They tried to make her look like Holmes, but only made her look like a younger sister to her.

Of course, there is a lot of action in this film. These scenes are fast-paced, and done perfectly. These scenes are edited very well, and get the job done. Another special effect which stands out is the "Two-Face" make-up, which is actually CGI edited over Eckhart's face in post-production. It wasn't until I saw some production stills online that I thought it was some very elaborate makeup.

The music was done really well in this movie. Although I couldn't tell you any pieces of music used if I heard it again, the music really enhanced scenes. Like the soundtrack should, the music was used perfectly.

I wouldn't put this in the top five of your "Must See" list, but I would suggest that you check this one out the next time you find it on HBO, or even the next time you visit your local rental store or Netflix.

Fly Me to the Moon
½

"Nat" (voiced by Trevor Gagnon), along with his brainiac friend "IQ" (voiced by Philip Bolden) and the always hungry "Scooter" (David Gore) are kids with big dreams. They want to be the first flies in space. And what encourages their dreams is the first spacecraft to land on the moon, the Apollo 11, is waiting for its historic trip on the launch pad near where the three hang out.

The first thing you notice is the animation of the film. I found it done very well done. The scenery had depth to it, as things in the distance actually looked like they were behind the focus of the scenes. I didn't see the movie in 3-D, as it was broadcast on HBO. However, I could see that there really wasn't any scenes which took advantage of the 3-D effects except a fight between characters near the end. I also wasn't really impressed with the design of the characters. To me, they didn't look like anything resembling a fly, especially in the coloring. The flies were an unusual blue-gray that was kind of distracting to me.

The performances from the cast was not bad, but it wasn't good either. There were many times I focused more on my computer than the story. The writing was certainly written for a younger audience, with comedic moments that will make younger kids laugh. I saw nothing for adults, like jokes that they'll get the punchline for the adults to understand the meaning.

History was not followed in this film. In fact, I think it was completely ignored, as the main focus was the flies. I also hated when a well known astronaut popped up on the screen and explained that the stories about the flies in the film was a work of fiction, and no flies were on Apollo 11. I did like how he thanked the men and women who sacrificed their lives for space exploration though.

If you are an adult, this is not for you. It was not made for the entire family. This is certainly just for kids. But, save this one for a rainy day.

The Last of the Mohicans
½

Based upon the one of the most popular novels of all time, written by James Fenimore Cooper, this story follows the battle between the colonists, the French, who have teamed with the Indians through the eyes of a white man raised by Indians (Randolf Scott) who now consider him one of their own.

This movie is certainly not an epic classic. However, it's a fairly good time-waster.

First of all, due to 1936 technology, it is sometimes hard to hear the actors when they are not near the microphone, or when they are facing away from the position of the microphone. Another problem was that it was painfully obvious that the majority of the outdoor scenes were obviously done on a soundstage.

I was also not impressed with the majority of the cast. First of all, I felt little, if any, chemistry between all the major players. I also found many supporting cast members, as well as a few of the main cast, were just receiting their lines to each other. I just couldn't find most of the cast believable in their roles.

There is very mild violence, with absolutely no blood. You get people shot on-screen, or struck with a tomahawk, but there was no amount of blood at all. However, this is because of the censors at the time. There is also no strong language. Parents should be aware that there is absolutely nothing in this film that is inapropriate for children. The closest thing they come to anything pretty violent is one fist fight, where they speed the film up for a second.

The wardrobe is one of the few things that I liked in this movie. The costumes appeared to be authentic, from the period miltary uniforms to even the Indian clothing.

As for the soundtrack, there really isn't one. You get music during the opening and closing credits, music during a party scene and an American classic sung by extras. However, I have seen other movies from this era, and they are similar with music.

Even editing is poor in this film. Close-ups are poorly placed in scenes, and they are obvious.

I really couldn't get into this movie, and I doubt you could too. Check it out on television only if there is absolutely nothing else on.

Point Break
Point Break(1991)
½

Rookie FBI agent, "Johnny Utah" (Keanu Reeves) has been assigned to the Los Angeles in to the Bank Robbery Division fresh out of training. He is a bit gung-ho, and is partnered up with a veteran (Gary Busey) who is fairly similar to him.

"Agent Angelo Pappas" (Busey) has been hunting a gang of professional bank robbers, each wearing a mask in the resemblance of former US Presidents which caused the authorities to nickname them "The Ex-Presidents."

"Pappas" has a theory that the bank robbers are, in fact, surfers financing their travels in search of the best wave. However, not even the head of the division believes his theory, which is based on evidence.

The two, with "Utah" going undercover, go to the local beaches to find possible suspects, as the robberies continue.

Now, the two go in search of the bank robbers to bring them to justice.

Let me say first, this is not the best movie I've seen as of late. There are more problems with this movie than entertainment.

First of all, the acting is uneven. Although certain people have chemistry when together, their performances as a whole lack. I did not like the chemistry between Reeves and Lori Petty, who potrayed "Utah's" love intrest while undercover. The biggest problem with their on-screen relationship is that Petty is not on screen enough. You feel nothing when something happens to her which gives a predictable twist in the plot. You couldn't even feel the emotion from Reeves.

Reeves is easily one of the worst performances. His delivery of his lines was very uneven, especially near the start of the film. If you listen carefully, he brings back his "Bill and Ted" voice in a brief moment in one scene which, if you notice it, gives the audience a chuckle. On the other hand, Swayze, who plays the lead robber, had a better performance. However, if you ask me, Swayze was not really into the script, and his performance showed that.

As for the script itself. It's not very good at all. I was not impressed with the dialogue, nor a good chunk of the scenes. There were some good action scenes, with one fantastic foot chase through the streets, and at least one private residence, that had some real good editing, which was also uneven.

Then there are the surf scenes. These were horribly produced. None of them were exciting or edited in a way that made you want to watch the scenes. I wasn't even impressed with the music laid over these shots.

The soundtrack was completely forgettable. I can't even name one song that was in this movie. In fact, if I happen to hear the soundtrack in passing, I wouldn't recognize it as this movie's soundtrack.

The director did a horrible job putting this movie together. Poor script, uneven performances, big plot holes. I can only recommend that, if there is nothing better to do, check this movie out on HBO.

Rocky III
Rocky III(1982)

"Rocky Balboa" (Sylvester Stallone, who also wrote and directed the movie), the Professional Boxing World Heavyweight Champion, is living the life he sought. He lives in a huge house with his family, has been on the cover of various magazines and has numerous endorsment deals. However, unknown to him, he has gotten soft inside the ring to the point where his manager, "Mickey" (Burgess Meredith) booked him in bouts with inferior fighters. Even getting in the ring with the cocky professional wrestling star, "Thunderlips" (Hulk Hogan in his acting debut).

He lost his edge, and "Mickey" knew it. However, the champ wouldn't believe it. He even went against "Mickey's" orders, and accepted the challenge of "Clubber Lang" (Mr. T in one of his most famous roles), a tough, bad attitude boxer who rapidly reached the Number One Contendership by himself with no trainer helping him out.

"Mickey" warned "Balboa" not to accept "Lang's challenge, but the mohawked fighter verbally went after the champ's wife (Talia Shire) at a public appearance. He immediately accepted the challenge. However, "Mickey" was proven right, and "Balboa" lost the title to "Lang." And, to make things worse, "Mickey" suffers a heart attack backstage during a confrontation between "Balboa" and "Lang", and dies in the dressing room as "Lang" easily defeats the champion for the title.

Now, "Balboa" has to regain what he once had. And he gets help from an old rival (Carl Weathers). A rival who once saw the "Eye of the Tiger" when he fought "The Italian Stallion" himself for the title.

This is one slow moving movie, especially about half-way through the film. I saw myself looking at websites around that time more than watching the film on On Demand. It does pick up leading up to the rematch between the two boxing rivals around the time "Apollo Creed" shows up.

The acting is near perfect all around. You knew almost immediately when "Balboa" admits that he lost his edge, by Stallone's performance in the scene, that the death of "Mickey" affected him deeply. Certain cast members were performing characters who were more important in the previous two movies. I felt that they were there because they somewhat advanced the storyline, or were just there because they have been part of the series since the first movie in the franchise.

I liked the chemistry between Stallone and Weathers in this film. In previous films, they were rivals, and now they are on the same side. They acted like two professionals in one of the toughest sports on the planet, one now acting more like a teacher more than a rival who was still annoyed at once losing the title to his now-student. Weathers really shined in this role, making the audience forget how arrogant he was six years before in the first movie.

Another breakout performance was that of Mr. T. Surprisingly, as "Balboa" is getting back his edge, "Lang" is almost forgotten. The film focuses more on "Balboa" training for the rematch more than "Lang" living the life of the defending champion. You almost completely forget he was in the movie until he comes back into the story for the rematch. Personally, I would have liked to have seen some references to "Lang" as "Balboa" is in training. This was the role that gave Mr. T his tough guy image. He was the bad guy you wanted to see destroyed.

This film is predictable. You know who will win at the end. Personally, I would have liked to have seen some plot twists that would have made the end a little less preditable.

Another problem with this film is the soundtrack. I can only remember two songs in the film -- the "Rocky Theme" piece that is so recognizable now you know immediately where it came from, and "Eye of the Tiger" by the one-hit-wonder (this song) Survivor.

Another problem with this film is, at times, it is hard to understand Stallone's speaking. At times, I had to rely on what others in the scene were saying in response to understand what was going on.

Unless you already own the other movies, I say get this film on VHS/DVD to complete the series. I also think that this would be a pretty good third choice to rent.

College Road Trip

"Melanie Porter" (Raven-Symone) has finally come to lock horns with her father (Martin Lawrence) after growing up as "Daddy's Little Girl." She wants to go to Georgetown University, but he is way too over-protective, and demands that she Northwestern University, which is less than 30-minutes from the family home.

She plans a college road trip with two friends (Brenda Song and Margo Harshman), but good old daddy has plans for him to take her on the trip himself.

Everything goes wrong for "Melanie" on the trip, which includes her father recruiting fellow police officers to stage an outrageous scene to get her to go to Northwestern to her brainiac brother (Eshaya Draper), stowing away with the family pig in their father's police vehicle.

Now, the foursome have to get to Georgetown before "Melanie's" dreams come crashing to the ground.

I have to say this is one of the most predictable movies I've seen in some time. You knew during the opening credits that there was going to be comedic bumps in the proverbial road, with the two main characters fighting all the way until they bond again at the end of the film.

I wasn't too impressed with the humor. Again, due to the predictability of the movie. I probably laughed six times the entire movie. Most of the jokes you've seen in other movies, and are done better in those movies. The gags were not set up well if you ask me, and you knew the punchline was coming just as the comedic scenes were starting.

I also did not like the performances of Donny Osmond and his on-screen daughter played by Molly Ephraim. There is such a thing as being too over-the-top, and they were. Personally, I don't think either were happy with thier roles, as, to me, they seemed to have forced their performances a bit too much.

On the other hand, Martin and Raven-Symone were pretty good together, and did a fairly good job at being a comedy team -- with her being the "straight man" to Martin as the comic. I've flipped passed Raven-Symone's TV series when they are in the middle of a comedic moment. In the show, she seems to be forcing herself at the comedy. Here, she was more comfortable.

The supporting cast was completely under used. It seemed to me that characters showed up when needed in the script. There was very little character development in these characters beyond of being told who they were, and how they related to the main characters. Mostly, the supporting cast were either used in comedic scenes, or to set up plot twists.

As for the soundtrack, it's mostly well-known tunes heard for decades, sometimes in other movies and television shows. There isn't any of the major names from Disney like the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus on the soundtrack. It's the original artists you hear like the Jackson 5. You also only get one original song in the movie, sung on-screen by Raven-Symone in a funny moment on a tour bus filled with karaoke-singing Japanese tourists. The song itself was upbeat, and is easy to dance to, but you won't be singing it for weeks after.

I couldn't really get into this movie, thanks to it being so predictable. However, there are a few good laughs and pretty good performances from Raven-Symone and Martin which barely carry the movie. I would have to say save this one for a rainy day when there is nothing else on.

Grease 2
Grease 2(1982)
½

In 1961, two years after "Sandy", "Danny" and the gang from Rydell High School graduated and went on with their lives, we return to the school on the first day of the school year with a new group of students, along with some familiar faces.

"Michael" (Maxwell Caulfield), the British cousin of "Sandy", arrives on the first day as students are dancing and singing. He is met by "Frenchy" (Didi Conn), the "Beauty School Dropout" who is returning to start her career in cosmetology by learning high school chemistry.

Soon after arriving, he bumps into the beautiful "Stephanie" (Michelle Pfeiffer, in her first starring role), who is the leader of the girls gang the "Pink Ladies," and the latest girl of "Johnny" (Adrian Zmed), the leader of the "T-Birds", a gang once lead by "Danny" in the original movie.

It is love at first sight for the well-mannered young man, but he quickly learns that he has to be a "T-Bird" to date her. But, he will do anything to get close to her.

Now, "Michael" pursues his crush by turning into what "Stephanie" wants -- a "cool rider" who will sweep her off her feet.

Let me say right off the bat, this is a very weak followup to one of the greatest musicals of all time. It just completely lacks the magic of the original film.

First of all, there is the music. If you ask me, only two of the 13 songs are memorable. The rest, though having the sound of early-60's music, is just terrible and uninspired. To me, most of the tunes sounded as if they were just thrown together just before production starts. As for the choreography in these scenes, it's hit or miss. In the original, we get an energetic dance number in the school gym, which is one of the most memorable moments in the movie. In [i]Grease 2[/i], we get an out-of-nowhere number in the local bowling alley that the cast appeared to enjoy doing. However, I would not want to go back to learn these steps (and I am in a wheelchair). I also felt, with some exceptions, that the cast was taught the choreography the day before filming the dance scenes.

One of the biggest problems is character development. To me, the characters seemed to have been written as if we are expected to know the new faces. Most of the main characters appear to be loosely based on specific characters from the first film (most notably "Michael," a male version of "Sandy" with a bit of "Danny" thrown in, and "Stephanie", a female version of "Danny" with a bit of "Sandy" thrown in). There are also many supporting characters with their own, minor story lines which barely moves the story along. We get only minor basics of these characters, and the audience mostly ignores them due to not being presented well.

As for performances from the main cast, they are fairly good, but not perfect. Pfeiffer is near perfect in her first major role on the silver screen, and carries the weaker members of the cast fairly well in their scenes together -- and she can actually carry a tune pretty well (especially in "Cool Rider," one of the only two songs you will most likely remember after the closing credits end. Caulfield was pretty good as "Michael", even in his invented alter-ego to swoon "Stephanie". However, there was something lacking in their romantic chemistry most of the time.

The supporting cast, all around, is quite weak. Like I said, these characters are horribly written. We only get the most basic information. The "T-Birds" lacked the feel of being a unit, as did the "Pink Ladies." We even get some of the original cast in this film, but they are only on-screen to deliver a line or two as the movie progresses.

As for the wardrobes, nothing real special here. The gym shirts the men wear in one scene appear to have the school name ironed onto it, and not in a quality a school district would spend the money on. I found the wardrobe pretty boring actually. The "Pink Ladies" and "T-Birds" iconic jackets don't look that great on the cast members wearing them. And, especially with certain male members of the cast, the hairdos look too much teased. It looked as if they cut some corners on the wardrobes and hairdos to me.

The story just feels rushed, especially the part where "Michael" creates his alter-ego. It appears that he became an expert in riding rather quickly, as there was no way to tell how much time had past.

I really can't recommend this one. If you already own the first movie, I would suggest that you get this film just so you can have both movies. And that's the only reason to purchase it. It's just not able to live up to the icon that is the original.

A League of Their Own

As the boys went off to to fight in the second World War, "Harvey Candy Bar" owner "Walter Harvey" (Garry Marshall) decides to create an all-women baseball league.

Two players recruited are two farm girls, sisters from Iowa who are in the middle of a sibling rivalry. You have "Dottie Hinson" (Geena Davis), who the movie centers around as the movie is shown as a flashback of her memories of the days playing in the league, and her younger sister, "Kit Keller" (Lori Petty), who is unmarried and is overshadowed by her sister in the local softball league.

The two are signed to the Rockford Peaches, which is lead by a down-and-out former Major Leaguer (Tom Hanks), whose drinking problem not only destroyed his career, but his knee as well when he jumped from a hotel window to escape a fire he accidentally started in a drinking binge.

Despite the problems with the manager, and the initial negative comments from the league's critics and fans who mocked the ladies, the Peaches and the three other teams quickly gained their supporters. They also became another family for each other, giving each other support not only on the field, but in their personal lives like when one of the Peaches got the word from the government that her husband was killed in action.

However, that sibling rivalry comes back to haunt "Dottie," who the media has flocked around. Especially when, thanks to a miscommunication between team owners and her sister, "Kit" is traded to the Racine Belles.

This movie is a fictionalized story on the creation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), which was created in 1943 by Phil Wrigley, the man behind many popular gum brands and the Chicago Cubs baseball team. It uses the names of the original four teams of the league, but plays with the history of the league's first season.

The movie begins by focusing on "Dottie", who is preparing for the league's induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. When the movie flashes back, it focuses on the Peaches from her point of view. And this is done pretty well.

We get to meet some interesting cast of characters on the Peaches, including manager Jimmy Dugan (Hanks), former strip club bouncer (her father owned the club) "Doris Murphy" (Rosie O'Donnell) and "All-the-Way" Mae Mordabito" (Madonna). Now, the only problem with having so many characters is that we never get them fully developed. You get to know a little background on these characters, and see their personalities. But, in my opinion, focusing on everybody was just a little too much. I could not connect with any of the girls, which was needed to feel for one when her life is changed by the war forever.

What this movie does right is put together a really good cast. Davis and Petty really made you feel as if they were having a sibling competition with one being athletically superior to the other. Hanks was wonderful as the down-and-out manager who eventually realizes that these girls want what he couldn't have thanks to his drinking problem -- a championship. In fact, the entire fictional Peaches team were all good in their own way.

There were three pairings of actors that I loved to watch when they were on screen together. Like I said earlier, Petty and Davis were great as sibling rivals. Davis was also great when paired up against Hanks, and have one of the best comedic scenes when the two have a battle of signals to the batter. Then there was O'Donnell and Madonna, who I wish who had more scenes together. If you ask me those two were the best comedic duo in the cast.

Another thing that this film does great is the game action. From a production point of view, many of the plays were staged so they could get the shot. What else made these scenes wonderful was that the majority of the cast (one person had an on-field double) was actually playing. There is one scene where one of the Peaches is having her thigh iced. This particular scene was pretty much unscripted as that injury was legitimate (and one of the nastiest bruises I've seen).

The wardrobes for everybody is done very well in this movie. In fact, they appear to be authentic right down to the tiniest stitch.

Penny Marshall, who hired not only her brother as the founder of the league, but other cast members from her popular television series "Laverne and Shirley" (at least two regular cast members from the series appear in the movie), did a good job in the director's seat. She set up every shot nicely, especially the ones during games.

One thing that I wasn't really into was the music. I usually don't pay direct attention to the music, although I subconsciously notice it when used to enhance the scene. In this movie, I couldn't tell you any scene where the music helped the mood. In fact, the only piece of music I clearly recall is the song sung by Madonna that was played as the closing credits began to roll.

I can't say that this movie hit a Grand Slam home run, but it wasn't a balk or strikeout either. It's a good movie to add to your "To Rent" list if you ask me.

Rush Hour 2
Rush Hour 2(2001)
½

"Hong Kong Police Inspector Lee" (Jackie Chan) and "LAPD Detective James Carter" (Chris Tucker) are in a much needed vacation in "Lee's" homeland. However, their plans change when a bomb explodes at the United States Embassy which kills two customs agents who were investigating a counterfeiting ring.

Hong Kong police assaign "Lee" to the case. It is believed that the man behind the bombing was a man who not only turned to a life of crime after a career in law enforcement, but the man who was not only the partner of "Lee's" father on the force, but the person directly involved in the cause of his death as well.

Now, the two unlikely buddies have to join forces once again to bring those responsible to justice.

Let me say right off the top, the reason to see this movie is Tucker and Chan as an on-screen duo. Their comedic timing together is nearly flawless. If you ask me, it is nearly impossible to say who is funnier when the script warrants. Both have great comedic timing when they are by themselves. But, when they are together -- priceless.

One thing I noticed is that some jokes, like one-liners specific to either "Lee" or "Carter" has snuck into this move. The good thing about this is that they don't go over the top with the jokes that carry over from the previous movie. They also don't really set up these jokes in an exact copy of the original scene.

Another reason to see this movie is the fight scenes, and the stunts by Chan and his stunt crew. If you've seen other Chan movies, you will already know that the movies he's in are known for their stunts and fight scenes. Chan goes for spectacular, and memorable stunts, always leaving some of the biggest for the movie climax. And Chan, as well as his stunt crew, don't fail to amaze. There are some great stunts, which, in fact, have minimal safety percautions. And the fight scenes, which are amazing to just sit back and watch, are fast paced, and wonderfully choreographed. It is hard to believe that people can move that quickly. Some of the best comedic moments between Tucker and Chan come during the fight scenes, which even Tucker gets involved with.

I was not too impressed with the supporting cast. Then again, I missed a lot of the movie due to commercials from TBS On Demand, which I watched this on. From what I did see, Roselyn Sanchez, who is one of the hottest women I've seen in a movie recently, played her character nicely. I just wasn't too impressed with the performances, including hers. She could just stand there as far as I am concerned though.

The story itself is pretty good, but I would suggest that you watch an unedited version. I noticed that I paid more attention to some websites I joined while watching the movies, more than the movie itself.

Unlike Chan and his stunt crew, this movie doesn't take advantage of their locations. I would have liked to have seen some scenery shots to set up the scene. I don't remember any in this movie.

Also, now here is a must for this film, watch through the closing credits for the outtakes. If you think Tucker and Chan are hilarious when they get things right, then you have to see when they screw things up. Easily some of the best laughs are from the outtakes.

I also recommend that you watch the previous film, as "Cutter" and "Lee" are well established already when they make their first appearance in this film. It will explain their relationship better to those who have yet to see the first film in the series.

I have to give this film 5 out of 10.

Surf's Up
Surf's Up(2007)

[font=Arial]The cameras of the "Sports Penguin Entertainment Network (SPEN)" follow "Cody Maverick" (voiced by Shia LaBeouf), a rockhopper penguin from "Shiverpool, Antarctica," to "Pen Gu Island" for the annual "Big Z Memorial Surf Contest," which is a tribute to "Maverick's" childhood hero, an Emperor penguin named "Ezekiel ?Big Z? Topanga" (voiced by Jeff Bridges).

After almost missing the boat to the island, which is actually a whale, "Maverick" and his new friend, "Chicken Joe" (voiced by Jon Heder), a surfer dude chicken from Wisconsin, finally gets to see their competition -- which includes the defending nine-time champion, "Tank 'The Shredder' Evans" (voiced by Diedrich Bader).

Now, the young penguin must prepare for the contest of his life, and defeat the defending champion, who has been bullying him and others.

For most of the movie, you see the action through the "SPEN" cameras. This is one of the most creative parts of the movie. You have many of the main characters being interviewed on-camera by an off-camera interviewer (voiced by Sal Masekela). The characters talk to the audience this way to tell of their feelings and everything they are doing for the surfing contest. If you ask me, this is the most creative part of the movie.

Another thing that stands out is the animation. If I am not mistaken, they animated actual champion surfers on the waves to give accurate movement. The animators did a great job at detail. When the penguins are close to the "cameras", you can actually see each individual piece of fur, especially in the black fur. And the water has ripples in it as it becomes a surfable wave. However, like all computer animation, it is not completely realistic looking. If you ask me, some of the scenery looked pretty fake, as did "Chicken Joe's" comb, which appeared to be reflective at times.

Character development is only fair in this movie. Possibly because of the young target audience, which really doesn't care about the development of the characters in a movie. They are, however, well written, and the chemistry between the characters are pretty good.

What makes the chemistry between characters work is that many of the actors recorded scenes together, which is unusual for an animated movie. Normally, the actors record their lines separately, and they are edited into the scenes during post-production. The actors who recorded lines together even had a chance to ad lib some lines when the time was right.

As for comedy, the kids will probably laugh a lot more than adults. I really didn't laugh, but chuckled a few times.

Many of the songs used in this film were beach tunes from the 1950's and 1960's. These tunes just enhanced the feel of the movie. The original score also worked pretty well.

There are a few laughs for adults, including some that only adults will understand. However, this is a kids movie, and they will be the ones who will really enjoy it. I can only recommend it for kids.[/font]

Bull Durham
Bull Durham(1988)
½

In Durham, North Carolina, the minor league baseball team, the Durham Bulls, are having a horrible season. However, things may be looking up for the team as they have signed a promising rookie pitcher, "Ebby Calvin LaLoosh (Tim Robbins).

The team hires a catcher by the name of "Crash Davis" (Kevin Costner), who is nearing the end of his professional baseball career in the minors in a career that included three weeks in the major leagues (or "the show", as it is known in the minors), to teach the rookie. "LaLoosh" also gets some coaching by well-known groupie, "Annie Savoy" (Susan Sarandon), who hooks up with a player for the season, which many consider a good thing due to her unusual coaching ways in the sport she legitimately loves.

Although "Annie" has picked "LaLoosh", whom she gives the nickname "Nuke" to, it is getting quite obvious that she is falling for "Crash", who is pretty much her intellectual equal.

Now, the two have to battle over the same player, as they try not to act on their attraction for one another.

This is suppose to be a comedy right? Well, where were the laughs? I didn't laugh at all, at any of the jokes. I probably only slightly chuckled at a couple of jokes through the entire movie. The jokes fell completely flat in this movie.

Another thing I noticed in this movie is that it lagged the entire length of the film. The movie is very slow, and pretty boring. Part of the bordom is thanks to the supporting cast.

The supporting cast is completely boring. Not one advance the story, nor do they add to the movie. In fact, the supporting cast subplots do not go anywhere at all. They aren't even developed as much as the three main characters ("Nuke," "Annie" and "Crash").

In fact, the main characters chemistry wasn't that great. Although the performers were good in their roles, there was very little spark between them. I also thought that they had their moments together.

If I'm not mistaken, this is the movie where Sarandon and Robbins became an item. I felt that their on-screen chemistry was a bit weak, especially when she started going after "Crash." And I felt no romantic spark between "Annie" and "Crash."

I also found the music was pretty boring. Most of the songs were a little old, to the point that the youngest members of the (adult) audience would not know them. I found that the music didn't really enhance the scenes at all.

I was also unimpressed with the sets used in the movie. "Annie's" home was filled with junk, and had way too much of it. I was also disappointed in the baseball scenes.

The scenes on the diamond were just OK. Some had "Crash" teach "Nuke" some lessons, while some were just game play. I was not impressed with the game play scenes. None of the plays were too exciting, and just didn't do anything to the movie except remind you that this is a movie surrounding a minor league baseball season.

This movie is not for children, especially young ones. There is a lot of sexually-oriented language and some sexual situations. There is some sexual innuendo as well.

I've read that this movie is one of the greatest sports movies of all time. However, it appeared that baseball was not that major in the story itself.

Even the wardrobes were pretty boring. I really could not tell when this movie was suppose to take place. "Annie's" outfits looked to be about 30 years older than the rest of the cast's outfits.

In my opinion, this is certainly not the classic sports movie that people say it is. I found it boring, and suggest that you see it on regular TV where it is edited for content and time aloud. You won't miss too much.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End
½

"Lord Cutler Beckett" (Tom Hollander), who has declared war on piracy to the point that he will order the hanging of a child who is remotely associated with pirates, is in the possession of "Davy Jones'" (Bill Nighy) heart. Since he has the heart, "Jones" has no choice but to do his bidding, and goes after every pirate ship to destroy it.

However, the great pirate, "Captain Jack Sparrow" (Johnny Depp) is trapped in Davy Jones' Locker, and has to be released by the crew of his ship, which are being led by "Will Turner" (Orlando Bloom) and his love, "Elizabeth Swann" (Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley).

Let me say first that some of the scenes are hard to see on television. This is due to the shadowing and dark colors used in these scenes. I noticed that I was paying more attention to my computer than the movie during these scenes.

The performances, on the other hand, are as good as the last movie in the series I've seen (I have not seen the entire series, and do not recall which one was the last one I watched). Knightley is wonderful as the leading lady who seems to get in some trouble at times, but can fight back when needed. Bloom is nearly perfect as the charmer. Nighy is real good, but the animation effects on the tenticals off the character's face may be a little distracting to pay attention. And Depp is absolutely fun in what may be the role he will be remembered for when his time has come.

Another thing you can't help but notice is the wardrobes and special effects. The pirates outfits appear to have not been washed in about eight months, while the military uniforms appear to be authentic. As for the special effects, they are absolutely fabulous -- especially make-up effects. You can actually believe the actors faces are real and not prostetics.

As for action, I wasn't too impressed. Because of when the movie is set, you get cannon fire and a lot of sword play. If you ask me, there is just a little too much going on with swordfights involving most of the cast. In one scene, a ceremony takes place during one of these swordfights. The fighting around the ceremony, which briefly stopped when one of the others came in to fight those involved, was pretty distracting. However, this scene got some funny moments, as intended.

I didn't think that the actors chemistry was not that great in this film. When Knightley, Bloom reconnect on-screen with Depp, it just didn't work that well if you ask me. I also found that there was little chemistry with the new cast memebrs and the ones already established in the franchise.

Another thing I was not really impressed with was the soundtrack. Although the music enhanced many scenes, I just can't remember any of the music except the excerpt of "A Pirate's Life" sung by "Sparrow" to himself at the end of the movie just prior to the closing credits. Most of the tunes are instrumentals, and are done well. However, none are really memorable.

The script itself was kind of weak as well. I think the writers slacked off after the success of the first movie. The story is pretty good, though far-fetched with the stiry with the heart.

If you are a fan of the franchise, check this movie out. However, if you have not seen this movie, I strongly suggest that you watch the entire series due to the majority of the characters are well established in this film. I think only one or two characters had some character development in this film, and we learned some background on them. While other characters had little to no new development of any kind.

I would rent this one, and only add it if you have the other movies in the series in your video library.

Back to the Future Part II
½

"Dr. Emmett 'Doc' Brown" (Christopher Lloyd) arrives from the future seconds after coming back from the past to find "Marty McFly" (Michael J. Fox) and his girlfriend "Jennifer Parker" (Elisabeth Shue, who has taken over the role from Claudia Wells starting in this movie). "Brown" informs them that there is a problem with their children in the future, and insists that they come with him.

In the future, after "Doc" renders "Jennifer" unconscience when she begins to ask way too many questions in the excitement of being in the future, "Doc" and "Marty" find "Marty Jr." (Fox), who is a complete nerd, being harassed by "Griff Tannen" (Thomas F. Wilson), the future grandson of "Biff Tannen" (Wilson), who is the high school archrival of "Marty's" father, "George" (Jeffrey Weissman and, in footage from the original movie to show the original actor's face, Crispin Glover). After "Marty" helps his nerdy, but look-alike son, with "Griff" and his gang, he comes across an antiques store and purchases a magazine that lists sports results from 1950 to 2000.

Eventually, the future version of "Biff" gets his hand on the magazine and steals the magazine, and steals the DeLorean time machine to go back to visit his younger self in 1955.

Now, "Doc" and "Marty" have to go back to 1955 again, get the magazine and avoid their other selves that are already there (from the first movie).

This is one of the most original sequels ever made, as it perfectly inserts many scenes from the original -- many of which were reshot at different angles. It is also one of the few where multiple actors are playing more than one character, even if the character is the same person. You get to see many versions of the same person in other words.

The performances are pretty fun, especially when the movie is in the scenes set in the future. Not only are we introduced to new characters, we see the same actors playing these comical characters -- especially Fox, who plays two characters in the future -- "Marty Jr." and his sister, "Marlene" (who gets very little screen time compared to "Marty Jr.). It must have been difficult for the cast to create variations of the character they originated in the first movie.

The special effects in this film are not very original, but still hold up for the most part. While watching, I only saw a few instances where the special effects have weaken over the years, and it was obvious that they were inserted during post-production.

I was pretty disappointed in the future "Hill Valley" for the most part. None of the vehicles looked authentic to me, and the clothing was fairly laughable with the choice of colors and design. There was some originality in the future -- the "Jaws 19" marquee, the self-tying sneakers (with light-up Nike logos) and the famed "Mattel Hoverboard."

The comedy is only worth some chuckles through out the entire movie. Some jokes are just rehash from the previous film, and are not set up well to the point that you don't expect it. However, at least one scene in the future is a nice rework of one of the more memorable scenes of the first movie.

Make-up effects are not up to par in this movie. You get simple make-up effects to only fairly elaborate make-up effects. The "aged" effects are not good in my opinion. It is obvious that the future version of "Biff". as well as the future version of "Jennifer's" cleavage, are prostetics (especially the cleavage, which looks more like rubber more than it does skin). Some performers even looked as if they had obvious hair dye jobs, instead of wigs.

A lot of the music came from the original movie, with some new songs add in. I think only one song was used really well to set the tone of the scene, the rest were just there if you ask me.

One thing that worked well, although it was a bit odd, was the scenes from the original movie reshot from the point of view of "Marty" and "Doc." If you notice, "Marty's" father, "George" is seen not looking at the camera, or his face is blurry due to being in the background of the scene where the pricipal characters are being shot. You are seeing a different actor in the role since Crispin Glover did not sign on to be in this movie, but you hear his voice from clips taken from the first movie.

This film can get a bit confusing at times, due to the time paradox that "Doc" explains to "Marty." Sometimes, you forget which version of the characters you are watching -- especially when another version is in the scene.

This is a good movie for the entire family. The language, and violence is pretty mild, and the comedy is never crude or adult-oriented. The only thing I would suggest is that you watch the movies back-to-back.

Hot Shots!
Hot Shots!(1991)

Former US Navy fighter pilot "Topper Harley" (Charlie Sheen) is called back to duty, and he reluctantly agrees despite personal demons he has suffered since a freak accident that killed his father, "Buzz Harley" (Bill Irwin).

While preparing for his mission, "Harley" meets a lovely psychiatrist named "Ramada" (Valeria Golino), and begins to pursue her. The two eventually get together, despite her being involved with "Harley's" fellow squadron member, "Lt. Kent Gregory" (Cary Elwes), who lost his father in the same incident that "Harley" lost his.

As the squadron prepares for their mission, the mission is being sabotaged by an aerospace firm's representitves who are there to allegedly supervise the mission.

Let me say first that, in my opinion, the second movie in this franchise is a lot funnier. Like the second movie, this one is full of jokes that just keep flying at you, but I noticed that I wasn't laughing at much as I was when I saw the second one awhile ago.

I really didn't feel great chemistry between the cast, and only a little chemistry between the focus of the movie, Golino and Sheen. I felt that the focus was put on the various jokes more than anything else.

Like I said earlier, this movie is packed full of sight gags, jokes and just about any other kind of joke there is. However, unlike the second movie, I only had some chuckles and mild laughing outbursts. I don't know if it was because I was still waking up since I watched this movie at 7:30 in the morning, or the jokes weren't all good to produce a good laugh.

The special effects in this film was only slightly fair. It was quite obvious that models were used in the air battles. Even sounds added in for comedic effect were obviously added in during post production.

The cast itself, despite what little chemistry there was between them, was really good when it came to the comedy. How anybody could act so serious when the jokes are happening around is beyond me. I would get so distracted when I start to see something ment as a joke, I would start cracking up.

One standout performance was from the late Lloyd Bridges, who has done similar movies in his career. He easily has one of the wackiest characters in the entire movie, but his performance is done so seriously that it's easily one of the most memorable in this movie.

I was not too impressed with the soundtrack. A couple of songs were used for comedic purposes that produced a chuckle, but I can't really recall more than one song in the the entire movie.

One thing the writers forgot was the subplot of the aerospace firm that wants to replace the current jet fighters with German-made ones. Yes, there are a few scenes to advance the plot, but not enough for it to mean anything at its climax. In fact, it is put so far on the backburner as the "Harley"/"Ramada" love story is being developed, I completely forgot about it.

I would say that you should wait until you find this one on television, or the Free Movies section of your On Demand service. I can only recommend this one if there is nothing else on television.

Meteor
Meteor(1979)

On a Monday, ex-NASA scientist "Dr. Paul Bradley" is in the middle of captaining a boat in a race when a US Coast Guard cutter comes up along side. Somebody on the Coast Guard boat informs him that they have orders to find him, and they will block their path if he does not comply. He is then whisked away to Washington, DC.

When he arrives to where he is wanted, he is not happy. However, he quickly learns that a manned space probe was destroyed by a large asteroid fragment after the larger one from which it came was struck by a recently discovered comet. Those he meet with inform him that they need him to come up with a way in using "Goliath," a Top Secret nuclear missile platform "Dr. Bradley" created for just such an emergency, but was turned into a defensive weapon now in orbit over Russia, to destroy a five mile wide asteroid fragment now hurling toward Earth at 35,000 MPH (which, in reality, is too slow for it to move toward Earth in a week). Eventually, he figures out that "Goliath" does not have the fire power to destroy the enormous fragment, which is being lead by smaller fragments that also place our planet in danger.

Then, during a meeting with the US "President" (Henry Fonda), he learns that the US is aware of a Soviet version of his creation, which is called "Peter the Great." It is then requested that the "President" contacts the Soviet government to try to get them join forces. However, a military official (Martin Landau) is very vocal about being against the plan since he does not trust the Soviets.

Eventually, the Soviets agree to send Russian scientist "Dr. Alexi Dubov" (Brian Keith) upon "Dr. Bradley's" request to Washington. He is accompanied by his lovely translator, "Tatiana Nikolaevna Donskaya" (Natalie Wood), who learned English at a young age.

Now, the Cold War enemies must come together, put aside their differences, and figure out a way to save mankind, and the planet from a devistating threat from outer space.

There are many problems with this movie. First, there are a lot of scientific mistakes. For example, the meteor (actually an asteroid due to its size) is moving at 35,000 MPH. In reality, at that speed, the rock would not reach Earth for about six months. Another mistake is that Mission Control talk with the crew of the space probe (actually a model of Skylab) in real time. In reality, there would be a big lag in time for both sides to receive the other's transmission due to the probe being millions of miles from Earth. Also, the tale of the comet is seen behind the comet. In reality, this can't happen because the tail is always away from the sun. Therefore, the tail should be to the comet's left (away from the sun), not behind it.

There are some good performances in this movie. I personally liked the friction between "Dr. Bradley" and NASA official "Harry Sherwood" (Karl Malden). One performance that stands out, but he's really not in the movie enough, is Landau as the anti-Soviet US military officer who is totally against the partnership -- especially when, in his eyes, the danger was not as bad as it was being reported to him. You really think that he was thinking about either walking out of the room when he learned of the plan to talk with the Soviets, or jump over the table and strangle those suggesting the partnership. I also enjoyed Keith, who was used to sometimes lighten up the mood with some humorous moments -- one of which is where he speaks a three-word sentence in English (the rest of the time, he is speaking Russian).
One big problem is character development. Some major players are not on screen enough to developed, while some of the on-screen relationships are barely expanded. In the movie, it is noticeable that "Dr. Bradley," who is separated from his wife (Bibi Besch, in a cameo), is attracted to "Donskaya." However, they only get one scene together where they get to know each other. The rest of the time, she is either translating for "Dr. Dubov" or tanslating for the Americans.

Now, remember, this movie was made and released in 1979. There is no CGI in this movie. Therefore, we are stuck with models against a green screen. In a few scenes, it is pretty obvious that there is a green screen. In fact, I remember seeing one of the asteroid fragments with an odd green outline. In this particular scene, the film itself seemed to have been a bit grainy. It is also pretty obvious that the ships and asteroid fragments are models.

As the asteroid fragments start to enter Earth's gravitational pull, the action really begins. However, there really is no wow factor, and the resulting affects are pretty predictable. You also get more big-scale models and some green screen effects for these scenes.

One of these scenes in particular is something I feel I need to mention, especially if you were seriously affected by the events of September 11. One particularly large fragment strikes pre-9/11 New York City. In many skyline scenes is, obviously, the World Trade Center Twin Towers (in one skyline scene, it seemed that the towers were larger than they should have been for some reason). The first thing this particular fragment strikes is the Twin Towers, and they show a close-up of them collapsing upon impact. I would suggest you skip over this particular, though brief scene if you still have a problem remembering the attacks on the buildings.

There are many times in this movie which seem to drag. Some of these scenes are immediately following the affects of the asteroid fragments striking the planet. These, however, are pretty brief.

I read online that John Williams was originally signed on to produce the soundtrack of the movie, but pulled out and was replaced. Though pretty good, the music is a few notches below what Williams could have done for this movie. None of the instrumentals are all that memorable if you ask me.
Despite the flaws, this one could be a good one to check out when you come across it on HBO or on your cable service's On Demand feature (Comcast had it in their On Demand Free Movies section when I saw it and wrote this review). I would not change your schedule around so you can see it though.

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
½

Three unlikely friends, "Sid the Land Sloth" (voiced by John Leguizamo), "Manford 'Manny' the Wolly Mamoth" (voiced by Ray Ramono) and "Diego the Saber-tooth Tiger" (voiced by Dennis Leary) have discovered that the ice damn keeping the area they and other species live dry is melting. There claims are confirmed by a vulture.

The residents of this area go on a journey to a natural boat made out of a large tree for safety. Along the way, they meet "Ellie" (voiced by Queen Latifah), a female Wolly Mamoth who believes she is a possum, and her two "brothers", and actual possums, "Eddie" (voiced by Josh Peck) and "Crash" (voiced by Seann William Scott).

The group then go on an adventure to the boat, while trying to dodge predators that are following them.

Let me say first that this movie is very much a kids movie. There are a lot of things that kids will like, but the adults will find pretty boring.

A lot of times, this movie seems to drag and drag. I found myself looking more at my computer than paying attention as to what was going on on my television.

When it comes to humor, I can't say that it's a great comedy movie. In fact, the jokes either produced nothing or a mild chuckle. There was a pretty good laugh near the end of the movie, and some pretty good laughs with "Scrat the Saber-tooth Squirrel" (voiced by Chris Wedge). I just wasn't real amused with the movie's humor.

Another thing I was not impressed with was the music. I can barely remember two tunes, but none of the lyrics, except a little bit that was sung by one of the characters after the scene, because he found it catchy.

One thing I was pretty impressed with was the animation. Although the creatures were cartoonish looking, which was by design, they were well done. The detailing is not that great though, you only see any sense of movement of muscles with the mammoths. But, because this movie is target to kids, the didn't bring out the details that other movies have had.

I also think that the story itself was only fair -- maximum. There are numerous times where the movie begins to move at a slow snail's pace. During these scenes, like I said earlier, I found myself paying attention more to my computer. Kids really don't care about a story except for one that can keep their attention. I honestly can't give you an age limit on an audience for this movie. But, if you are in your tweens or above, I would say skip this movie.

Happy Feet
Happy Feet(2006)

In Antarctica, a colony of Emperor Penguins are living peacefully. A female penguin named "Norma Jean" (voiced by Nicole Kidman) finds a mate named "Memphis" (voiced by Hugh Jackman) by singing a "heartsong" ("Kiss" by Prince), to which "Memphis" responds with his own "heartsong ("Heartbreak Hotel" by "The King of Rock 'n' Roll" Elvis Presley). The two hatch a child named "Mumbles" (voiced by EG Daily).


"Mumbles" is not your typical penguin, as he is unable to carry a "heartsong" if it had handles on it. He becomes an outcast, but a female named "Gloria" (voiced by Alyssa Shafer) becomes the only penguin who shows him a shred of respect. It is also obvious that "Mumbles" has feeling for the female penguin.

Years later, the fish population the penguins live off of is dying out. And "Mumbles" goes on an adventure to find out just exactly what is happening with their food.

But, what he finds not only affects his colony, but other species he comes across on his adventure and what he learns are "aliens" (humans).
The first thing I have to say is that the animation is pretty good. The characters move realistically, and they do get the smallest detail in the look of the character. The problem is that, thanks to the location the movie takes place, there is just too much white. You get a few shades of blue, some blacks and grays, and a little yellow and brown. But, there is just too much white, and the scenery is pretty boring.


Like I said, the characters are designed nicely. The actors enhance the characters with their performances. Fortunately, some actors were able to provide multiple voices for different characters. One that stands out is Robin Williams, who provides a voice for about three characters -- including the narrator, which is not in the movie that much.

For the majority of the movie, you get some popular tunes from the last 40 years. Many of the songs are used fairly well to set up scenes. Those who sing the songs do a pretty good job with the covers. However, Prince, who provides at least one original tune, should have been used to perform his hit "Kiss", which "Norma Jean" uses as her "heartsong". Unlike recent movies I've seen, the soundtrack is memorable thanks to the use of many well known songs. I would have liked to have seen a few more original songs to help advance the mood of movie.

And speaking of the movie's mood, it changes when the environmental message comes into light. This is when the movie completely falls apart. In my opinion, the movie makers completely forgot to develop characters and storylines that were presented earlier in the film. For example, instead of "Gloria" going with "Mumbles," she stays with the colony. They completely missed a chance to advance the blossoming romance between the two. Other characters, who are introduced as the environmental message begins to appear, have no chance of development at all.

Another thing that is wrong with this movie is that this really isn't for a young audience. You get some adult humor that should slip past children, and some larger species of Antarctic animals chasing and almost killing a main character.

As for my recommendation, I am somewhere between Yes and No. Prior to the enviornmental message, I would say yes, but only for a rainy day movie. After the environmental message appears, I can't recommend it.

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

"JB" (Jack Black) runs away from home after being spanked by his father (Meat Loaf). Years later, he finally makes it to Hollywood and comes across the greatest guitar player he has ever heard, "KG" (Kyle Glass).

After a little squabble, the two decide join forces and perform at an Open Mic Night at what appears to be a less than popular bar. To their shock, they don't do that good.

Back at their less than spectacular apartment, the two are trying to figure out what the legends of rock have that they don't while looking at some old magazines. It's only then that they realize that the guitarists on the covers have the same guitar pick.

While trying to look for a similar pick, an employee of the music shop (Ben Stiller, who is also the film's Executive Producer) tells him the ancient story of the "Pick of Destiny", of which they seek. This employee, who has long gray hair and thick glasses, also tells them that the pick, which was made from Satan's tooth, is in a history of rock museum.

Now the two pot-smoking losers with delusions of granduer goes on a music-filled adventure to steal the pick.

Let me say this up front, if you are not a fan of Tenacious D, which gave us the comedy actor Jack Black, then you should skip this one. I am not a fan of these two, and only watched it because it was suggested by Flixter.com.

The jokes, for the most part, produce silence more than anything. I laughed at maybe three of the jokes, and chuckled at a few others. Tenacious D is only for a certain audience, of which I am not.

This movie lags in numerous places, and this is where the worst jokes appear. And let me say that, when Black and Glass are not working off one another, they are completely lost on screen.

All the songs in this movie is by and performed by Tenacious D. Many of the songs perfectly advance the storyline by describing their adventures at the time in the film. However, I felt that the songs sounded too similar to be told apart.

Another problem with this film is that the language will turn off a lot of people. There are a lot of four-letter words in this film. There are also some drug references. I would not recommend this for children.

Part of Tenacious D's schtick is that Black is in your face, and Glass stays in his shadows for the most part. This is how they are in this movie, and it doesn't really work. Now, this may have been part of the act, but I felt that Glass just didn't want to be there. In one scene, he performs his (background) lyrics at a party and he just can't work alone.

Tenacious D are supposedly rock fans in real life, and have maybe two rock legends in the movie, I lost count because I was so bored with this film. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more rock legends and icons in the film. However, we don't get that.

What we do get is a movie filled with completely lame jokes, lots of foul language, a lackluster script. You also get horrible acting, and an unoriginal story. However, you get some pretty good songs that pretty much sound the same.

The story could have been promising, but many of the scenes appeared to have been added into the film at the last second. This is somewhat similar to The Blues Brothers movie many years ago, but the Blues Brothers had a much bigger following -- and two songs on the Billboard music charts. Tenacious D only has a small following, with a few HBO specials under their belt. And, unlike The Blues Brothers, the comedy is not well thought out at all.

If you are a hard core fan of Tenacious D, then I suggest you check it out. However, like most of the movie audience when this film was released to theaters, I would say avoid this one. Save your money on this one, folks.

Starship Troopers

"Arachnids" and humans are at war, and "Johnny Rico" (Casper Vab Dein) has decided to join the military to fight the "bugs." Even though his parents, especially his father (Christopher Curry), object it and order him to go on vacation. He refuses, and joins the military.

He joins his beautiful girlfriend (Denise Richards), in military training. However, after taking an exam, he is assigned to Mobile Infantry, while she is assigned to Flight School. He is also joined by his best friend (Neil Patrick Harris, and his female football team mate, "Dizzy" (Dina Meyers), who tries to make him forget "Carmen" (Richards).

Now, after not being the best soldier-in-training and making a huge mistake resulting in the death of a fellow soldier, "Rico" decides to stick with the service as things begins to heat up in the war.

This movie reminds me a little of the "RoboCop" films with the fiction television broadcasts and TV commercials in the start of the movie. It then goes to straight out action movie.

One thing you will notice immediately is the special effects. They are perfect if you ask me. The starships look very realistic, and the "Arachnids" are amazing.

The "Bugs", as they are nicknamed for obvious reasons, look incredibly realistic. Their skin and movements really make them look like the real thing. And they are perfectly blended into the scenes. In fact, the special effects still hold up about 11 years later.

I thought the cast was really good. Even when the lines were a little poor. Many had really good chemistry together, especially the main performers. But, I think Harris was trying too hard to act "military" when he rejoins the story near the end.

Another thing you can't help but notice is the costumes. I can see many of the outfits in the battlefield. However, Richards looked horrible in what I think was a dress uniform she wore in one scene. The jacket looked too big on her, which was by design in the shoulders. Even the hat looked horrible on her.

There is a lot of action in this movie. Lots of explosions and gun play. However, despite the "Bugs" being explained in the movie as intelligent creatures, I just did not see any intelligence in their attacks, if any. To me, the "Arachnids" appeared to be defending their homeworld from invaders that had no reason for their attack.

I don't think that the movie did a clear explanation as to why the "Arachnids" are attacking the humans. It felt to me that the audience was left to assume the reason for their attack.

I also found some weak character development in this movie. We get people who are introduced to the audience, but their relationships with main characters are not really explored. We do get how they are connected with the main players, but we get no depth into their relationships.

One thing that parents of young children should be aware of is that this movie is pretty violent. If your child is of an age that can not understand that the "Arachnids" are not real, then you probably might not want to have them see this movie. Also, some of the things seen are pretty graphic, and should not be viewed by really young children due to how graphic some things are.

For some reason, the majority of the blood comes from the "Arachnids." You will see some major injuries, but the amount of blood that pours out is not as much as you would expect -- especially when an artery is sliced.

This movie is not for people who don't like gore, even though this is pretty mild. I also would not allow younger kids to watch this one.

Despite the minor problems, I would put this in your top three selections to rent if your first one is unavailable. Or check it on On Demand like I did.

The Marine
The Marine(2006)

I am a huge professional wrestling fan, and usually have a mild interest in seeing a movie featuring somebody in wrestling, depending on the type of movie it is. I have seen many movies where wrestling stars have been in minor, supporting roles to major roles. I wanted to see this one when it was in theaters, but something stopped me when the reviews began coming in, and the WWE spin doctors kept touting its fair success (debuting at #3 in the US) when the movie's star, John Cena was in the ring.

The WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) heavily promoted "The Marine" as the movie was about to be released by their then new motion picture division, WWE Films (recently renamed WWE Studios). They gave us behind-the-scenes segments on all their TV programming. Then, when the movie came out, the movie's star would come to the ring wearing a military-style cap, and would salute as he entered the arena. To explain his absence while filming the movie, the WWE explained that Cena was attacked by another WWE star at a club after one of the shows.

What this movie re-enforces is that Vince McMahon, the chairman of the WWE and co-producer of this film, should stick to professional wrestling (which he renamed "sports-entertainment" in the 1990's). He has tried branching out into other forms of entertainment with things like the World Bodybuilding Federation and the NBC-backed XFL professional football league, and they failed.

However, despite getting bad reviews and peaking at #3 at the US Box Office, a sequel is reportedly in the works.

"John Triton" (Cena) loved being a US Marine. After a big mistake in Iraq during a mission to save some fellow soldiers, he is dishonorably discharged. Now, he's back home, living with his beautiful wife, "Kate" (Kelly Carlson) and working as security in a high-rise in an unnamed city (Queensland, Australia in reality) until he loses that job when a TV crew films an incident resulting him throwing a jilted lover of one of the building's employees out of the building -- through a window.

Some time later, the "Tritons" are on a road trip and stop for gas. What they don't know is that a group of diamond thieves are also in the gas station/convenience store, who robbed a bank the other day. When one of the thieves kills a cop who stopped for gas, they jump into the "Triton's" car and take "Kate" with them.

Now, the former "Marine" goes after those who took his wife.

The first thing you notice in this movie is that the actors are given uneven dialogue. Throughout the entire movie, the cast has some weakly written dialogue that sometimes makes you wonder if the person who wrote it knew what they were doing. There was just way too much bad lines in this movie if you ask me.

Despite the bad lines, there is some pretty good performances in this film. One that certainly stands out is that of Cena, who makes his acting debut in this film. I found him very comfortable delivering his lines and he had some pretty good chemistry with just about everybody he was on screen with. I liked the chemistry between him and Carlson, and wish that they had more scenes together to develop their on-screen relationship more before the kidnapping. I also liked lead villain, "Rome" (Robert Patrick), but his character wasn't well written like the rest of the cast of characters

In fact this movie has poor character development all around. We get that the villains are, until a certain point in the movie, working for somebody who contacts them via cell phone. But, we never get their or their employer's motive as to why they want the diamonds. You also get "John's" co-worker who was barely used as comedic relief.

Even the hand-to-hand fight scenes were not done well. In one scene, "John" gets smashed over the head with something that would have knocked out any other action star to allow the villains to get away for the time being, but he just shrugs it off. In another scene, and I have seen this in other movies featuring professional wrestlers who are involved in a movie fight, he takes out an opponent with a move used in wrestling.

Visually, this movie is pretty bland. They barely use the scenery, except for establishing shots. We also get basic day and night shots with no flash.

The action is also poorly handled in this movie. I found the action sequences too short to be interesting. Yes, we get some fair gun play, with little to no blood, and one really impressive explosion in the film. I just found these sequences poorly edited together and not interesting.

The people behind the movie obviously didn't do their homework while this movie was still in development. For example, look at the hat "John" wears when he is given his discharge orders. It's a US Army hat. A Marine would not be issued another military branch's clothing. Also, the chopper that is seen in the opening scene is the wrong kind for that particular mission. You get other mistakes through the entire movie, and I could go on, but I have a limited space.

I can't recommend this as an addition to your DVD collection unless you are a fan of wrestling or a fan of Cena in the wrestling world. As a rental, I can only recommend this if your first eight picks are unavailable. Don't put this high on your Must See List. In fact, check this one out on HBO when there really is nothing else on.

Mafia!
Mafia!(1998)

Korean War veteran "Tony" (Jay Mohr), the son of Mafia boss "Vincenzo Armani Windbreaker Cortino" (Lloyd Bridges, in his final role before his death), is hand-picked by his retiring father to take over the family "business." However, this causes a rift between him and his Protestant, peace-loving girlfriend, "Diane" (Christina Applegate), who leaves him when it's obvious that the man she loves is not really what she thought him to be.

Now, "Tony" lives the life of a mafioso, while trying to find a long-time family enemy who lost his thumb in a bizarre incident.

If you are a Lloyd Bridges fan, then you have to see this only because this was his final role before his death. This film is in the same vein as the "Hot Shots" movies, which also starred him, but you will not laugh as much as you would with those films. He was a lot funnier in the "Hot Shots" movies, but does bring some pretty good laughs in this film.

Surprisingly, Mohr is pretty good in his role. He is pretty much the straight man for the rest of the cast and the visual jokes (like a Vegas version of Candy Land). If you ask me, he played "Tony" somewhere between a comedic role and a more dramatic role, and did it nicely. He also did a pretty good narration, but it wasn't perfect.

You get a pretty even amount of physical comedy with some comical lines all through the film -- all the way through the end of the closing credits in fact. And I suggest you actually watch the closing credits because they slipped some jokes into them. However, I felt that many of the jokes just didn't work, and found myself not laughing at them.

The plot somewhat follows the one seen in "The Godfather" and relies heavily on that, and other Mafia movies. However, "The Godfather" series is the obvious inspiration for this film. However, they do slip in some jokes poking fun at more modern things like HMOs, popular children's games like Chutes and Ladders and President Bill Clinton's denial of not having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinski.

There is character development in this film, but not a whole lot. I thought a few characters could have been developed more, especially if they helped in the plot twists. Even some of the major players in this film was not greatly developed.

Because the cast is mainly Italian, a lot of jokes target the Italian life. Many people may find these jokes offensive. If you ask me, these jokes are fairly tame though.

This movie is not for everybody. In fact, if you haven't seen some of the greatest Mafia movies, especially the "Godfather" trilogy, you might not like this movie. Like I said earlier, there are some jokes referencing things and events we've all experienced in out lives, but this movie is for fans of the Mafia movie genre more than any other audience.

Believe it or not, there is no blood in this movie despite the subject. Yes, there is some violence, but it's played for comedy. At one point in the movie, "Don Cortino" (Bridges) is riddled with bullets, but no blood comes from the wounds and the witnesses, including the band playing during the scene, thinks he is doing various dances including the Macarena. You even get a death by flowers (where we are lead into by a reference to "Forrest Gump").

If you are looking for Oscar-worthy performances, this movie is absolutely not for you. Except for Mohr, you mainly get over-the-top performances from the cast. Mohr, who plays his role straight compared to the rest of the cast, and Bridges are easily the two best performances. However, Olympia Dukakis, who plays Bridges mother (she was actually 20 years younger than him at the time this film was made) stands from of the supporting cast. Other major performers were given weakly written characters, and their performances reflect that.

Unlike the "Godfather" trilogy, the score here is not really memorable. You get some current music, from the time of its making and release, but nothing too spectacular worth noting by way of original music.

This movie got destroyed by critics when it was finally released. But, like most movies, it's not as bad as they say. If you like the "Airplane!" and "Hot Shots" movies, you may like this one. However, I find that this one can't live up to the comic genius of those previous movies.

If you ask me, I can't recommend this as a "Must See" movie, but check it out on HBO for some good laughs and because it's Bridges' final performance.

The Chateau
The Chateau(2002)

Graham" (Paul Rudd) and his adopted, African-American brother (Romany Malco) go to France to claim a chateau they have inherited from an uncle they don't know.

The two meet the staff of the place, and there is an immediate language barrier and culture clash.

Now, the two have to figure out what to do with the place.

The first thing you can't help notice is that the film itself is very grainy. In fact, at times, I felt like I was watching video transferred to film. At other times, I felt as if the footage was a lot older than it is.

However, there are some good performances in this film. But, some interaction was hard to believe. There was probably some problems in the writing of the scenes, because this script was far from perfect. The two leads did a pretty good job,and many times appeared to be more friends than adoptive brothers.

If I am not mistaken, this movie is suppose to be a comedy. When you have people speaking two different languages with no way of being able to understand one another, it can be funny -- if the script is done properly. This movie missed many times to take advantage of this problem. If the two lead Americans were more comical, then they could have made the scenes a lot more funny. They completely missed making them understandable to the French funnier.

Another problem was the weakly written romantic subplot. I felt little to no chemistry between the ones involved in this plot device.

Another problem with this film is that it mostly takes place in the chateau and its grounds. We get a couple of scenes on a train and at a train station, but we never get to meet anybody who lives near the place. They never even go to a nearby village where the two Americans could have gone to for whatever reason, lose their French-English dictionary and tried to ask for directions back. I just could not laugh at anything in this film.

The soundtrack is completely forgettable. I can only recall two or three songs in the entire movie, and most were during the closing credits.

The only thing interesting in this movie is when a particular character reveals himself to the Americans. However, with the poor writing of the film, they barely go anywhere with this plot twist.

I just can not recommend this movie. But, check it out when it is on HBO -- when you're really desperate to see a movie.

The One
The One(2001)
½

"Yulaw" (Jet Li) is a former "MultiVerse Authority (MVA)" officer who became drunk with power when he realized that when one of his parallel counterparts in alternate universes, their energy is distributed to thier counterparts in the parallel universes. Because of this discovery, he has become a mass murderer with super strength and agility. His victims are his parallel counterparts, each living a variation of his life.

After being sentenced to life in the "Hades Universe" for murdering 123 of 124 parallel universe counterparts, he escapes and uses the technology the "MVA" uses to send prisoners to the "Hades Universe" to hunt down his surviving parallel counterpart, a Los Angeles County Sheriff named "George Law" (also played by Li).

Now, "Law" has to clear his name when "Yulaw" leads "Law's" friends/co-workers, and wife (Carla Gugino) to believe that the one they know is suffering from injuries sustained in the counterparts' first encounter that caused him to act out of character. He also has to help an agent of the "MVA" to capture "Yulaw" before he kills "Law" with catastrophic circumstances.

Parallel universes is a plot device used in science-fiction for as long as I have been a fan of the genre, and before I was born. This movie does a fair attempt at showing us the differences between the different universes. It is obvious that the parallel universes that at least "Law" is not from out universe because a news broadcast shown on a television that President George W. Bush is unveiling a plan for Universal Health Care. When we first meet "Yulaw", he goes after a counterpart who is a prisoner in jail in a parallel universe where Al Gore is the US President. This counterpart, also played by Li, is named "Lawless."

There really isn't a lot of sci-fi in this movie when "Law" gets into the picture. Those who go after "Yulaw" carry a high tech pistol and some unique technology, but that's about it. You also get some really wild special effects.

Because of the special effects, this movie has been compared to the much more popular "Matrix" trilogy. You get a couple of effects in this movie that is alot like the ones seen in "The Matrix" movies. One that you will instantly recognize is where "Yulaw" dodges bullets in slow-motion, just like the characters in "The Matrix" movies. However, that is really where the comparisons end.

The fight scenes are fast paced and choreographed nicely. We get a little green screen effect when "Yulaw" and "Law" are fighting where Li's face is placed over the face of a fight double, whose face was painted green for the effect. Speaking of the fight scenes, one way to tell the differences between "Law" and "Yulaw" is their martial arts techniques. Li uses a different martial art for each character.

When it comes to wardrobes, the "MVA" agents are the only ones who have unique clothing. Their body armor is pretty futuristic looking, yet look like what we see police wear when the news covers what they do.

There are some good performances in this film. Li easily stands out due to being two different, yet similar characters. However, I think Li was a lot better as "Yulaw" than he was playing "Law." Supporting characters are pretty good as well, but aren't really developed.

Another thing that wasn't developed well was the relationship between "TK" (Gugino) and "Law." I felt their relationship was more boyfriend-girlfriend than a married couple, which is evident when "Law" is asked to take off his wedding ring in the hospital when he is preparing for an MRI test. In fact, the entire supporting cast is under developed. I also didn't really like how the majority of the hunt for "Yulaw" was done by "Law" and one of the "MVA" agents (Delroy Lindo) would randomly show up to aid "Law" to get out of trouble.

The soundtrack is pretty good in this movie. Most of the songs are popular rock and heavy metal tunes of the time. But, in a pretty humorous scene where "Yulaw" is trying to find something to listen to on the radio in the vehicle he stole to get away, there are some classic tunes by Tony Orlando and Dawn and other 1950's -- 1960's songs.

I would probably recommend this as a rental if your first few choices are unavailable. Or, if you got some time to waste, check this out on HBO or another premium channel.

The Frighteners
½

In 1990, "Frank Bannister" (Michael J. Fox) and his wife (Angela Bloomfield) are in a horrific car accident which takes her life. "Frank" is found dazed miles away, and unable to recall what happened. He also couldn't account for a missing pocket knife that was inside the trunk, or why the number 13 was carved into his wife's forehead.

A few years later, "Frank" becomes a paranormal con artist, who gets help from three ghosts: the nerdy "Stuart" (Jim Fyfe), a 1970's African-American (Chi McBride) and an Old West lawman (John Astin). The three ghosts cause hauntings for "Frank" to investigate, when in reality, he is just trying to make a buck. And the funniest part, the ghosts leave "Frank's" business card for people to find to call him.

To anybody who is paying attention, it is obvious that "Frank" is a fraud. However, when bodies begin turning up in a similar fashion to that of his wife years ago with a number carved into their foreheads, "Frank" must use his powers to find the evil entity that is killing the people.

OK, first of all, I have to ask one question -- why the heck is this movie Rated R? There is absolutely no extreme gore, nor is there any real strong language to even warrant an R. When the movie first came out, the people behind it were targeting a PG-13 rating and were seriously perplexed as to why the Motion Picture Association of America gave the movie an R. And I have to agree with them. This movie really should have been PG-13.

One thing you can't help but notice is the ghosts. It is pretty obvious that they had a big problem trying to align the ghosts and the humans when they talked with each other. I find that, when a character is added into a scene during post-production, it is impossible to make the people in the scene to look directly at the ones inserted into the scene. You can really see what I am talking about if you pay attention to where the people in the scene is looking. Add to that when the special effects become dated, like in this film, and it really shows.

One big problem with this movie is character development. The audience is told very little about the three ghosts, who really aren't in the movie a lot with exception of the beginning of the movie.

You also have a problem with the blossoming romance in the movie between two main characters. In fact, there isn't even a hint in the entire movie that they are getting together until the end of the movie.

This movie is a mix between comedy and horror, and does a pretty good job at mixing the two. Like I said earlier, there is very little gore in this movie to warrant the R rating this movie received. The worst that we get is some pretty graphic looking wounds in the victims' foreheads. When the poltergeist which is killing its victims, you get it reaching into its victims bodies and the attacks look really tame for a R rated movie.

Most of the comedy comes from the three ghosts which team up with "Frank". However, when they disappear from the story, the movie becomes a tame horror flick with no real scares.

I also found the paranormal villain (Jake Bussy) not scary at all. In fact, he came off as more comical than anything.

When it comes to the movie's score, I don't remember any music or song that happened at all. I can't even tell you what the songs were that played over the closing credits.

I think that if there is nothing else on, you should check this movie out when it comes to HBO. I just can't recommend renting it.

Miami Vice
Miami Vice(2006)

Based upon the one of the most influential US television shows of all time that brought us brightly colored pastel suits, New Wave music and 1980's icon Don Johnson. However, fans of the series will see a darker, less influential movie that doesn't come close to the original.

Miami-Date Police Detectives "James 'Sonny' Crockett" (Colin Farrell) and "Ricardo 'Rico' Tubbs" (Jamie Foxx) have lost a former informant (John Hawks), when he commits suicide right in front of him after learning that his wife was killed by a necklace implanted with C-4 by a Columbian cartel that discovered that he was working for the FBI.

The two then join the investigation, and go to Columbia undercover looking for the souped-up boats delivering the narcotics. They then go after the cartel itself, focusing on its North American contact, "Jose Yero" (John Ortiz).

The two then meet the cartel's leader (Luis Tosar), and slowly learn that they are bringing the drugs into the US with the help of some Neo-Nazis.

Now, the two police detectives have to bring down the organization, and take the drugs into custody before they are discovered.

Let me say first, if you were around during the TV show's original run on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) from 1984 thru 1989, you will be highly disappointed with this movie. This retelling is up-to-date and lacks the music, sense of fashion and just about everything else the classic crime drama had.

Instead of the flash the TV series had, this retelling is much darker. "Sonny" and "Tubbs" aren't really dressed up in this version, and don't have the fashion sense the characters had in the original TV series.

For about the first half of the movie, I felt little to no chemistry between Farrell and Foxx. It wasn't until the second half of the movie that the chemistry between any of the main players until the path to the climax became clearer.

The main problem of the movie is the script. It's pretty weak. You also would expect more gun play and all around action. But it's not here until the climax of the movie.

In the original TV series, Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas had great on-screen chemistry and presence. Neither Foxx or Farrell have this, and it shows -- especially in the first half of the movie.

The love story subplot between "Crockett" and the cartel's financial advisor, "Isabella" (Long Li) was horribly handled in my opinion. I felt no chemistry between Farrell and Li, however, during their love scenes, which appeared to be a little short to me, there was some heat.

One thing that the TV series was known for, other than the fashion, was the music. Except for a cover of a song that appeared in the first episode of the TV show, this soundtrack is forgettable. The TV show was a way for artists to showcase their music, and were handled in a wonderful way. However, the music here was basically background noise, and didn't help enhance the story like the producers of the TV show was able to do.

Just like other big screen remakes of classic television shows, this is just a poor attempt at not only trying to bring the source material's magic to the silver screen, it's an all around poor attempt at rewriting what the fans of the classic TV show love.

Catch this one on television, or rent this if the first few picks are unavailable. I would not put this one on your Must See list.

Ratatouille
Ratatouille(2007)

"Remy" (voiced by Patton Oswalt) is not your typical rat living in France. He literally has the nose of a great chef. He is able to determine what is in a dish, and is able to tell that a dish needs something to improve it just by the scent.

His family doesn't understand because, let's face it, they're rats. He gets inspiration from a popular human chef (voiced by Brad Garrett) who believes that anybody can cook. and looks for a way to show off his talent.

He finds a garbage boy (voiced by Lou Romano), and uses his hands (by literally controlling the human's arms by pulling his hair as if they were connected) to create his creations that brings "Gusteau", the restaurant named after and once owned by the late master chef the rat idolizes, back to the popularity it once had.

Now, the two have to keep their work together a secret and join forces when the master chef that took over the restaurant when "Gusteau" died wants to use "Gusteau's" name for financial gain with inferior frozen food products leaning to international dishes.

Well, Pixar has done it again. They have produced a visually amazing world right down to the littlest detail. They nailed it when they animated the rats' movements right down to the movement of the hair over the muscles. The humans however lean toward a more cartoonish look, and look like they're made out of plastic and much of their movement is more cartoonish than realistic looking.

There are strong performances from the actors in this film. However, there was a problem with the French accents. The characters who were suppose to be French had obviously fake accents to no accent at all.

Another problem with this movie was that there was very little laughs in this movie. Of the laughs that are in the movie, it comes from physical comedy more than anything else.

I also didn't like the storyline surrounding "Skinner", the master chef of the restaurant who wants to turn the name "Gusteau" into an inferior product, after "Remy" helps the now-former garbage boy, "Alfredo Linguini" become the head chef of the restaurant, thus kicking "Skinner" to the curb. I thought "Skinner" trying to prove "Linguini" to be a fraud was just done poorly.

Another poorly done subplot was the love story between two characters. I personally can't stand when one-hald of the love story doesn't realize they are attracted to the other side of the plotline until something happens that makes them realize they are in love.

The soundtrack was pretty forgettable in this movie. None of the music was memorable like in what is possibly the most popular movie in Pixar and Disney's history, "Toy Story".

I really can't recommend this one for adults. However, it's a good time-waster for the kids.

Murder at 1600

After stopping a former government worker from committing suicide on a public street, Washington, DC police detective "Regis" (Wesley Snipes) and his partner, "Detective Stengel" (Dennis Miller) are relaxing at a local bar when "Regis" gets a call on his cell phone to have him report to the White House, where a gorgeous woman (Mary Moore) was found stabbed to death in a public bathroom.

"Detctive Regis" is paired up by Secret Service agent, and Olympic Sharpshooting Gold Medalist "Nina Chance" (Dianne Lane).

Eventually, with the evidence they uncover, the two believe that the murder is a small part of a bigger picture surrounding American hostages in North Korea. They are also believe that a member of the First Family itself is the prime suspect until new evidence is uncovered that shows that the family member is just a pawn in the much bigger picture.

Now wanted by Federal authorities themself, "Regis" and "Chance" have to go after the real murderer and stop "President Jack Neil" (Ronny Cox) from resigning.

Let me start off by saying there is a major mistake in this movie. As you know, the White House is Federal property. Because of this fact, the investigation would automatically go to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Washington, DC Police Department would never be part of the investigation.

There are some pretty good performances in this movie. I personally thought the strongest performances were from Snipes, Lane (who I honestly thought was Ashley Judd because I didn't pay attention to the opening credits) and especially Alda. Other actors in the movie had to deal with weakly written characters.

In fact, the entire script was pretty weak. However, there are some really good twists in the story that keeps your attention. The only problem with the twists is that they don't allow the audience to keep guessing til the end. Instead, they start giving you the truth without it being revealed by "Regis" and "Agent Chance" to the audience. Actually, some of the truth is revealed by them. Then, we see those behind the conspiracy doing what they have to to stop the two.

You'd expect a lot of gun play in this movie, considering who is involved. However, there really isn't until the two leads are considered suspects. Only then do we have bullets flying. In fact, there is more hand-to-hand action than gun action.

One thing that isn't quite clear is why the conspirators are doing what they are doing. It is pretty obvious that they want to bring the hostages home, but trying to destroy a Presidency in the way they try is not all that clear.

There is a lot of implausible things in this movie. For example, the FBI being used to cover-up the truth is a little hard to believe. And using local police in an investigation on Federal property is a big mistake that somebody, possibly the author of the novel of which this movie is based upon, made. However, despite these flaws, it would still be a pretty good rental. Or, you can I suggest you check this out when you catch the movie on television.

James and the Giant Peach

Based on the popular, yet sometimes controversial children's book by James Dahl, we follow "James" (Paul Terry) from his menial life with his mean aunts, the oddly named "Spiker" (Joanna Lumley) and her sister "Sponge" (Miriam Margoyles, who lends her voice to "Glowworm" in the animated segment).

The young boy dreams of one day going to New York City to see the biggest building in the world, the Empire State Building. However, his aunts want to keep him in their home as nothing more than a maid.

One day, "James" meets an old man (Pete Postlethwaite) who offers him a bag of what he calls "aligator tongues". These strange glowing, green animated things changes a peach in his aunts' garden, and causes it to grow to unbelievable proportions. Another one enters "James'" mouth, and changes him (into the animated version of the character) as well.

"James" climbs into the now giant peach and meets a group of insects which live inside it. One of these insects, "Miss Spider" (voiced by Susan Sarandon), "James" saved from extermination when his aunts found her and her web inside the house.

The young boy and his new friends free the peach from the garden, sending it rolling through the town and, eventually, into the ocean. They determine, in an unrealistic way, that the peach is on a direct route to New York City, but the trip is far from easy.

If you ask me, adults will lose interest while watching this film. There really is nothing for adults in this movie. The jokes are childish, and just about everything is forgettable in this movie. While watching this film, I noticed that I was starting more attention to my computer than the film as it progressed.

The one thing that adults might enjoy is the unusual look of the film. From the wardrobes of some of the major characters, to the animation, everything is pretty unique.

It is painfully obvious that the entire movie was filmed on soundstages. I don't even remember seeing any shots of the actual New York City to establish that they have reached their destination. However, the fabricated scenery lends greatly to the unique look of the film. However, I would have liked to have seen the movie end up in the actual "Big Apple" for at least a few scenes.

Another thing that is completely forgettable in this film is the movie's soundtrack. The songs, many of which are performed by characters in what appears to be random times, are so forgettable in fact, that I couldn't tell you one lyric in any of the songs.

The performances in this movie is pretty weak as well. Just about every actor in the live-action segments seems to try to go over-the-top, but fail. Not one of the performances really stand out.

What adults might like in this movie is the animation, which is done by the time-consuming stop-animation style. The movements of the animated characters is absolutely flawless and smooth. Also the style of the characters is reminiscent of "Tim Burton's The Nightmare before Christmas", which was made by the same people behind this film. In fact, there is a bit of a tribute to "Nightmare" in an underwater scene where a character wrongly references skeletons as "skellington", a reference to the lead character in "Nightmare." In fact, the ghostly remains of a pirate in this scene is actually "Jack Skellington" from "Nightmare".

The voice cast does a pretty good job at bringing the animated characters to life. Each character has a fun personality. Even though their performances are not strong, the voice cast does a better job in performing than the ones in the live-action segments.

For someone who has become an uncle since this movie was released to theaters, I can not see me spending the money for the DVD for my nieces. Also, based on what I saw in this movie, I can't see me purchasing the source material, the original novel, for them either.

The Simpsons Movie
½

Based on the longest running animated series in the history of US television, we get to see the famed residents of "Springfield, USA" say and do things that they can't do because of FCC regulations which govern US television.

"Marge Simpson" (voiced by Julie Kavner) becomes worried that the end of the world is near when her senile father-in-law, "Grampa Simpson" (Dan Castellaneta) recites a cryptic message during the church service they attended.

After her dim-witted husband, "Homer" (voiced by Castellaneta) brings home a pig, which he saved from slaughter after it was used in a "Krusty Burger" restaurant commercial, it appears that the prediction "Grampa" spouted in his "senior moment," as "Homer" coined it, was coming true.

In typical "Homer" fashion, he contaminates "Springfield Lake" instead of getting rid of the pig waste container he haphazardly built properly. But, can you blame him for not wanting a free donut?

The Environmental Protection Agency, under orders of "President Schwarzenegger" (voiced by Castellaneta), places a glass dome over the town without a state (which is a long-running joke in the TV series), and basically wipes "Springfield" off the map. However, the residents of the town have to fend for themselves as the town resources rapidly dwindle. Leaving the town in more chaos than one of "Homer's" schemes.

This movie has the feel of a 90-minute movie of the TV series, with some subtle differences. First, we get a modified opening sequence which features more than just the "Simpson" family. In the opening sequence, we only get one joke that appears in every episode's opening -- "Bart" (voiced by Nancy Cartwight) writing on his classroom's chalk board a funny line ("I WILL NOT ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD THIS MOVIE" in this case). We also get some unique animation not seen in the TV show. Here, we get some shadows cast by the characters. We also get some computer-generated scenes inserted into traditional scenes for some camera pans that couldn't be done with the traditional animation the show uses.

Because this is a movie for the silver screen, this movie gets away with a lot more thing that they wouldn't on television. One thing this movie has is frontal male nudity briefly during an incident with "Bart". You also get swearing by one of the major characters, which you never hear in the series (something interrupts the swearing on the TV series).

One thing this movie absolutely fails to do is keep the laughs going. In 90-minutes, I laughed at least five times. Out of all those laughs, I probably laughed out loud maybe three times. A lot of fans and critics have said that the show, as of late, has declined in quality. If you ask me, the show's poor quality lately really shows in the movie. They tried too hard to produce a laugh from the audience, and it seriously shows.

Another problem with this movie is that they tried to give 320 characters seen in the show some on-camera time. And less than 2% of those characters get any lines. To make things worse, they shoehorned the majority of the 320 characters into an angry mob scene.

The movie's musical score is completely forgettable. All I can recall hearing is music heard in the TV series. They even had the popular punk rock group, Green Day appear in the movie. However, we don't hear them perform one of their songs, we get them performing their version of the lyric-less "Simpsons" theme music.

This movie is targeted to the fans of the show. They do not attempt to bring in a new audience at all. I've seen some episodes of the series, but none of the episodes aired just prior to and immediately after the movie's release. If they tried to keep the movie in continuity to the show, I have no clue.

I can not recommend this movie unless you are a die-hard fan of the series.

Escape from New York
½

In 1988, the United States crime rate has risen to an unbelievable rate. To battle the resulting prison population, New York City (partially played by East St. Louis, Missouri) has been turned into a maximum security prison where the prisoners rule the streets.

The prison guards, based out of Liberty Island in New York Harbor, are only there to keep the prison population, all of which are serving life sentences, in the city. Once in the city, you do not come out alive.

Nine years later, Air Force One, en route to a summit, is hijacked and shot down. The "President of the United States" (the late Donald Pleasence) escapes in a life pod by the head of his personal security, and he lands within New York's city limits, where he is taken prisoner by the self-proclaimed leader of the city (music legend Isaac Hayes), who calls himself "The Duke of New York City".

In response to the threat "The Duke" has issued against the "President's" life, prisoner and military hero "Robert 'Snake' Plissken" (Kurt Russell, in one of his most famous roles) is picked to go into the city, where he is already well known, and get the "President" out in 24-hours so he can attend the summit. If he is able to bring the "President" out alive, he regains his freedom. But, he has no choice in doing the mission as he is injected with a microscoptic explosive which will rupture his carotid artery when the time limit is up.

First off, this movie is wrongly identified as science-fiction. The movie is in the near future, which makes it fall into the genre somewhat, and has computer graphics, which look cheap compared to today's standards. In fact, the computer graphics really don't hold up after all these years, and look like very cheap computer animation. It also falls in the action genre, but isn't heavy on the action. In fact, the action is pretty mild.

Another problem with this movie is character development. We are given the characters and their reason for being in the story, but we are barely given a backstory on these characters. As for the prisoners "Plissken" meets in the "Big Apple Poky" (I just made up that nickname), all we really know is that they are lifers, and never given why they are in the prison.

I felt that the action fails in this movie. There really is no suspense in these scenes I feel. The action is pretty good at best, but I have seen action handled better in other movies. Action should be fast-paced, and should put the audience on the edge of their seats. This movie, in my opinion, only has mild action.

I also believe that there was no chemistry in the cast. Russell played "Plissken" with a bad attitude and seemed to talk with his teeth clinched at all times. "Plissken" had no real personality except a bad one.

Don't get me wrong, the plot is pretty creative. I can't recall any other movie that either uses or mentions a well known city in such a way. This is a pretty original story here.

There is some violence in this movie, but it's not too gory. You don't get bodies of people with huge gunshot wounds on their body at all. You just get "dead" bodies with stage blood obviously poured strategically over them.

Strong language is also kept at a minimum I feel. In fact, I don't recall any really strong language in this movie.

Visually, the scenery is pretty interesting. I don't recall, after "Plissken" enters the city, and of the scenes being shot during the day. They made New York, actually East St. Louis, Missouri, look like a slum-meets-war zone. You would expect, being in a maximum security prison, the prisoners would have been wearing orange prison jumpsuits. You don't get that here. What you do get are clothes that appear to be worn in for a long time as if they were sent into the prison wearing only what they had on.

Inside the city, they are in a world of their own. And that is done with perfection here. You really get the feel that there is no rules in the city. People are there to do whatever is needed to survive.

Out of the entire cast, Russell is the only one I liked. However, I have to give Ernest Borgnine an honorable mention for making "Cabbie" an annoyingly talkative character, making him pretty memorable. Lee Van Cleff as "Hauk" was good at creating friction between he and Russell in their scenes together, but we really don't get this expanded upon. I also felt that Donald Pleasance was completely wrong for this role, or his character was horribly written.

I can't recommend this for a "Must See" list. I can only recommend that people see this movie because of its cult status that it has achieved over the years since it was released.

The Dead Zone

Teacher "Johnny Smith's" (Christopher Walken) life is perfect. He loves his job, and loves his co-worker/girlfriend "Sarah" (Brooke Adams). However, he gets involved in an accident which puts him in a coma.

Five years later, "Smith" wakes in the hospital, and his life has changed. "Sarah" moved on, got married and is a full-time mom. And, "Smith" himself has gained psychic abilities which require him to touch the person he is reading.

On the road to recovery from the coma, "Smith" gains some local fame. Like other psychics, the local sheriff (Tom Skerritt) comes to him for any leads in a serial killer case that he can find with his ability. He also has other predictions, and helps save those involved.

However, things change when he crosses paths with a corrupt politician (Martin Sheen), and makes a decision to change his premonition about this man, who he sees in the Oval Office in one of his visions.

First of all, I have to say that I was surprised at how tame this movie is compared to other movies based upon horror legend, Steven King (isn't there a tradition where he makes a cameo in his movies? I didn't see him in this one, unless I wasn't paying attention to that scene he was in) novels. There is little to no violence, not much gore or anything jumping out scaring the audience and the character on screen. For a King story, this one is tame compared to the adaptations of "Cujo" and "Carrie". I do not read Steven King books, so I don't know how many of his stories are pretty tame for the horror genre compared to others.

There are basically three major stories in this movie revolving on "Smith's" visions. And, if you ask me, they are pretty much glanced over. The serial killer case, which easily could have been used for the plot where "Smith" goes after the killer himself, was wrapped up way too quickly in my opinion. The second one, which saves a child from an accident on a pond where he was to play a hockey game, was not barely expanded upon. And then there's the one with the politician, which gives a boost to the movie if you ask me.

Out of the entire movie, "Smith" was the best written, with "Sarah" a close second. "Sarah" does disappear a couple of times in this movie, but fate keeps her coming back into her former lover's life. I felt that all the others in the movie were not written well at all, and barely move the movie along.

Don't get me wrong, there is some blood in this movie, but it's really not a lot. There is some blood due to gun shot wounds. There is one scene, where the serial killer is found dead as he is cornered after "Smith" IDs him in a vision, which has the most blood in the entire movie.

I felt little to no chemistry between the cast in this movie. I also felt that the actors were given weak dialogue, and they weren't really believable in their roles. I felt the strongest performance came from Walken, who delivers his lines the same way in every movie.

I felt no suspense in this movie. Some of the visions "Smith" has are a bit hard to understand, and he has to explain to the audience (via his conversations with those he touches to see them) what they mean. Most of the problem in this movie was that the results of "Smith's" visions were rushed to an ending too fast, and had no time given them to be expanded upon.

The score was pretty forgettable in this movie. It wasn't used to enhance the pretty mild scares at all. I can't even remember when it was used to enhance any scare in this movie.

I would have to say that this movie should only be seen when you find it on HBO or another movie network only when there is nothing else on.

Ready to Rumble

I have been a professional wrestling fan for 24 years, have been to numerous shows (mostly WWF/WWE), met many top stars of the business and was the Grand Prize winner of a WWE SummerSlam sweepstakes back in 2006. I have seen a lot of shows and movies which are based in the world of professional wrestling where wrestling is treated as a legitimate (when those in the business were publicly saying that professional wrestling is real, not fake). This movie tries, and fails, to mix that with the true reality of the business.

"Gordie Boggs" (David Arquette, who was given the WCW World Heavyweight Championship during this movie's promotion when it hit theaters) and "Sean Dawkins" (Scott Caan) are professional wrestling fanatics who deal with people that tease them about their favorite form of entertainment. They even have to deal with the ones who bring up the one word that fans and those in professional wrestling have been trying to erase when talking about professional wrestling -- fake (staged is a more accurate term for what you see in the ring. There are just too many injuries that wrestlers have to deal with on a daily basis for it to be fake).

The two idolize the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion "Jimmy King" (Oliver Platt) and know everything about the man. And the two can't stop talking about getting to see their hero in person when the two attend a live televised event featuring "King" defending the championship against top contender "DDP" Diamond Dallas Page (the real-life WCW World Heavyweight Champion at the time).

When King loses the title to and banned for life from the company by head WCW promoter "Titus Sinclair" (Joe Pantoliano wearing an obvious bad, long-haired wig), who orchestrated the screw-job against the man he discovered about 14 years ago, the two friends go on a search to find their idol, and quickly find out that what they believe to be the truth about him is far from it. However, they still help him get back up on his feet and prepare to regain the title he lost.

I have to say that, even though I am in the target audience of this film, I am highly disappointed in it.

The first problem, which is evident within the first 45 seconds of the movie, is the writing. The dialogue is pretty horrible. The performances aren't that great either.

Another major problem with this movie is that the character development is horrible. We have a total of six fictional characters in the cast, with a good chunk of the WCW roster rounding out the cast. The fictional characters are barely to somewhat developed and are poorly written.

You also get one of the worst acted movies I've ever seen. The wrestlers are given little to no dialogue for the most part, and are just there. The scenes where wrestlers are given lines are extremely brief, and their lines are even briefer. If you ask me, the people behind the movie insulted the wrestlers with the way they were written into the movie.

I felt that there was no chemistry between "Sasha", a WCW Nitro Girl, and "Boggs". Their relationship was forced, and poorly expanded.

Platt was a joke as a professional wrestler in my opinion. If you ask me, if "King" were a real wrestler, he would never make it past mid-card status. And if he was given a title in reality, it would be a lower title like the United States Heavyweight Championship or a short reign with the World Tag Team Championship. Even his in-ring gear was pathetic looking. "Sinclair" was only slightly better, but, as a wrestling character, would have fit better in the wrestling minor leagues called independents, which perform only around whatever city or town they are based out of and are a lot more lower in budget than WCW was.

To give the movie some authenticity, we get to see some matches that are supposedly taking place on basic cable and Pay-Per-View television. For some reason, it appeared that the "TV shows" were taking place in smaller venues than we are lead to believe. The arena crowd didn't have a realistic feel, and felt like they were just following directions. The matches shown were chopped up and edited together horribly if you ask me. In fact, the entire movie wasn't edited together nicely. Another problem, to add to the authenticity of the TV shows, real-life WCW commentators Tony Schiavone and "The Professor" "Iron" Mike Tenay were shown calling the action like they did in WCW (Schiavone has gone back to sports radio since WCW was purchased and eventually shut down by World Wrestling Entertainment, and Tenay now works for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling). Schiavone and Tenay appeared very stiff during their brief moments on screen, and their words appeared to be more scripted than they would on a real broadcast.

When it comes to special effects, this movie was very average. The sounds of bodies slamming on the ring mat and punches and slaps hitting their targets didn't sound anything like what they actually do. I specifically remember during one match, one of the wrestlers is sent hard to the mat, and it was more than obvious that the sound of his body landing was edited in.

One thing that worked was the soundtrack. All the songs were big hits by big stars in the music world in 2000. One song, which was used as Arquette's theme music when he promoted the movie during WCW telecasts, was a remake of a classic Twisted Sister song from the late 1980's that was only heard during the closing credits.

To my fellow wrestling fans, I would say, if you come across it on the HBO channels, check out "Bodyslam" if you want a good wrestling movie. This one is passable.

The Net
The Net(1995)
½

"Angela" (Sandra Bullock) is a computer geek. She works and plays with computers on a daily basis.

One day, she comes across a computer program that proves the recent suicide of a high ranking official (Ken Howard) in the Pentagon was actually a set up to kill him. The man who sent her the program, which acted like a computer virus, is killed in an airplane crash, and her life is turned upside down.

On vacation to Mexico, she loses everything that identifies her and quickly learns that all public accessible records on her have been changed to a new identity.

Now, she has to run from the people who are trying to killer her and get back the information she has that proves the conspiracy. Only close friends can help her, but they pay the ultimate price as she tries to regain her life.

I remember how bad the critics blasted this movie. While some of it did deserve it, I don't think it was that bad of a movie.

First, Bullock did a pretty good job as a woman who was having her life change without her consent. She also did a pretty good job as a person who was trying to solve a mystery without the assistance of people she could really trust.

I found the supporting cast hard to believe. First, we have a former lover (Dennis Miller) who delivers his lines the same way in every scripted scene he's ever done without the help of cue cards like his days on SNL. Then there was "Angela's" mother, a victim of Alzheimer's, who was used as a pawn by those chasing her. We only got to see the mother only a couple of times, but with that horrible disease it was hard for the actress to do much.

The villains were pretty pathetic. First, we have the guy who tried to gain "Angela's" heart to gain her trust. He was just not believable, especially when he tells "Angela" that he is attracted to her. Then there was the woman who takes over "Angela's" life. You would think that somebody who worked at the same place would realize that she is not who she claims to be. It was really pathetic that somebody wouldn't say something.

The special effects were pretty dated. They were nothing fancy for a big budget movie. The computer graphics looked like they were from a time earlier than when this film was released. To me, the graphics looked like something from the late 1980's.

Character development is not great, especially in the supporting cast. Some of the relationships "Angela" has is barely defined. I also found little to no chemistry between Bullock and just about every person she comes across with in this film. I felt no chemistry between Bullock and Miller at all. They were easily the worst on screen couple in this movie if you ask me.

The only thing that was done right in this movie was the mystery surrounding who stole "Angela's" life. And that's the only thing that makes the movie worth seeing when you come across it on television or on On Demand. I also liked how the people tried to get "Angela" to believe that her life was not what she knew it was.

Sniper
Sniper(1993)

A Marine (Tom Berenger), who just lost his partner, and an expert shot from the National Security Council (Billy Zane) are sent into the Panama jungle to hunt down and assassinate a candidate in some sort of Panamanian election. However, they have to battle one another when it comes clear almost immediately that the two are like oil and water.

For the most part, there are only two cast members -- Zane and Berenger. They have some pretty good chemistry together as polar opposites. A lot of time, they are just standing their, weapons at the ready, and delivering their lines. If you ask me, there was a lot more time for the two to talk than get into some action. I personally thought Berenger was a bit stronger in his role than Zane was.

The action scenes are pretty quick, and aren't too explosive. If you ask me, the movie leaned more toward the relationship between the Marine and the NCS man more than focused on action. As for blood, it's not a lot, but the gun fights are pretty graphic. You get to see the bullets intended targets get hit, with some pretty good blood splattering from the impact.

The special effects are pretty average in this movie. You get the sound of gun fire, some fairly big explosions and some good blood splattering.

One of the most unique things in this movie is that we get to see the paths of bullets fired. Sometimes, the camera is showing the audience the path of the bullet as if the camera was mounted on it. Other times, the camera appears to be traveling next to the bullets as they fly through the air. And, at least twice, we get to see the bullets from the point of their intended target. I can't recall any other movie that uses this effect, but it was pretty interesting visually.

The villains are not really developed in this movie. You get a little background through the conversations of the two main characters, which doesn't tell much with a few of the intended sniper targets. You get one main villain, but he is mostly seen through eye pieces, and doesn't get a lot of screen time.

I would suggest that you don't rent this one. Maybe check it on HBO or on On Demand.

Silverado
Silverado(1985)

Four cowboys come together from different walks of life, and ends up in the town of "Silverado", where come together to battle a corrupt sheriff (Brian Dennehy) and an equally corrupt rancher who takes over the family land of one of them.

If you are a fan of the old Westerns, you will notice that just about everything seen in them is in this movie. You get the corrupt sheriff, about two jail breaks, a few bar room brawls, shootouts, ambushes and just about every other cliche you can think of.

I would suggest that, if at all possible, you watch this movie in letterbox format. There is a lot of scenery in this film that looks pretty good full-screen (the version I saw was formatted to fit the screen), but would look even better if you can see the whole picture.

This is a real star-studded movie. This film tries to give camera time to every major actor in this, but many are not in major roles and aren't seen much. Many of the stars should have been in the film more if you ask me.

Another problem with this movie is that it's slow. If you ask me, there was a lot of scenes that seemed to drag on a bit too long. I, at times, started to only listen to the movie while looking at my computer.

I also found that many of the performances were a bit weak, as was the script. Many times, the performances appeared to me to be a little weak. I also found that many of the characters weren't well developed as they could have.

One thing I liked was the look of the Old West towns, and the wardrobes. A lot of the clothing worn by the men looks like it's collected a lot of dust. The clothing on the women also looks pretty authentic for the time the movie takes place in.

There is a lot of gun play in this movie, which you would expect. But the blood is kept pretty much to a minimum. You won't see any blood exploding from a gunshot wound anywhere in this movie. If somebody is a victim of a gunshot to the head, you won't see any blood flying from the wound. But, you will see blood coming from chest wounds, but it mostly stains the shirt the person shot is wearing. A knife comes into play at one point or another, but they seemed to have forgotten that these wounds also cause blood to come from the body.

There is some mild language in this film. The worst being the N-word, which is only heard once in the entire movie despite a couple of African-Americans being the victim in this film.

This movie is worth seeing only once, if you ask me. I can't say that you should put this on your "Must See" list. However, it is worth a look at if you come across this on television.

Hoosiers
Hoosiers(1986)
½

Hickory, Indiana, is a small town with a fair team. New coach, "Norman Dale" (Gene Hackman) comes in and begins to ruffle feathers with everybody, including the team, with his style of coaching immediately. It is obvious that he is an outsider.

He ruffles even more feathers with teacher, and acting principal, "Myra Fleener" (Barbara Hershey), who is taking care of the school's former star player (Maris Valainis). He also hires the town drunk (Dennis Hopper), whose son is on the team and, himself, is a student of the game.

Despite all the problems he has brought to the team and town, he somehow gets what the team, and the town's residents, what they have been wishing for for a long time.

Ok, the first thing I have to say is that it is very obvious how this movie ends as the movie is literally in its first five seconds. How they get there is interesting, but the performances are not that great for the most part.

If you ask me, the script is not that strong. To me, the movie was pretty slow in many parts. There was also some character development problems, especially with the members of the team, and the romance subplot between the coach and the teacher/acting principal was horribly written.

The only time we see the team is on the court in games and in practice. We get only a little taste of their on-screen personalities, but nothing more. We only get a couple of scenes of them off court, but those scenes add nothing to the characters, and barely helps any subplot.

The only performances that are worth seeing are those of Hackman and Hopper. Hackman is nearly perfect as the couch who gets in trouble with the people of the town. Hooper, even though he's not in movie too much, is good as a guy who know just about everything about basketball, but fighting a deadly addiction to alcohol.

I felt no chemistry between Hackman and Hershey on the romantic level. That is probably because the romance subplot is horribly written. When they finally have their on-screen kiss, I felt as if they were uncomfortable even doing the scene.

As you can see, the writing is the biggest problem with this movie. "Hoosiera" can be a memorable "small town team goes to the state title" movie, but it really isn't in my opinion.

Even the games shown in the film I found uninteresting. You just know the team is going to make mistakes, and slowly improve as the movie moves on. I also think that the games were not edited that great, and were pretty much an editing mess. A lot of the focus in these particular scenes are on the team's bench, but the result of the team's discussion on the bench are not presented in a nice way.

I would not recommend this as a rental on Saturday night. If you see this on television, and you have nothing else to do, check it out. Just don't expect a Oscar-winning movie.

Groundhog Day
½

"Phil" (Bill Murray) is a Pittsburgh TV weatherman with a bad attitude. On Groundhog Day, he has to go to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the Punxsutawney Phil ceremony.

However, this Groundhog Day is unlike any other. And it gives "Phil" a chance to change his ways.

Let me say first, even though there are slight differences each time, the repetitiveness of the scenes gets boring real quick. Only Murray's sense of humor saves these scenes, especially when they are shown back-to-back.

Out of the entire cast, Murray is the best. When we first meet "Phil," Murray makes him arrogant but pretty comical with some quick wit. He has some pretty good chemistry with Andie MacDowell, especially when her character starts to fall for "Phil" (each time he experiences the day).

The supporting cast had very little development in this movie. The only time they had any development was when "Phil" was memorizing what they told him. A lot of the development is mostly repeated when "Phil" interacts with them each time he replays the day.

The comedy mainly relies on Murray, who is his typical self. There is nothing too over the top, and doesn't produce a gut-busting laugh. The most this movie will produce is some pretty good chuckles.

The biggest problem this movie has is the repeating scenes. Although "Phil" experiences them differently after he begins to realize what is going on, they are pretty limited in what they can do while playing the scenes pretty much the same each time.

I would not put this on your "Must See" list. But if you see this on television, and there really isn't anything else on, then check this out. You won't be too disappointed.

Gotcha!
Gotcha!(1985)

"Jonathan" (Anthony Edwards) is a college student with an unusual hobby. He plays an unusual game with classmates where they hunt each other down around campus, and shoot their target with paintball guns.

It's time for vacation, and he and his friend, the womanizing "Manolo" (Nick Corri), go to France for a trip. While there, "Anthony" meets a very beautiful, older woman named "Sasha" (Linda Fiorentino) at a French cafe.

The two become a couple, after she easily seduces the inexperienced college student. After a few days, she takes him to East Berlin after he cancels the rest of his planned trip with "Manolo".

"Sasha" finally tells him that she is a courier who has to take a package to communist Berlin. However, something goes wrong with the delivery and "Jonathan" goes back to East Berlin by himself.

Eventually, "Anthony" learns that things in "Sasha's" job is a heck of a lot more complicated when a group of Russians begin to follow him and even try to kill him in attempt to get an item he has no clue that he is carrying what they want.

Now, he has to ditch the Russians, get the item to the proper authorities, in this case, the CIA, and find out the truth behind "Sasha" and her disappearance.

OK, let me say first that "Anthony" is no "James Bond," and this is certainly not a "Bond" movie. It has a little suspense, some gun action, no car chases and no impressive explosions.

I only felt fair chemistry between Edwards and Fiorentino. They aren't great as an on screen couple before and after you learn that "Sasha" is only using "Anthony" for a reason that isn't too clearly defined unless you see her slip something into his always present backpack. Another thing that isn't really defined well is tho the Russians work for, but "Anthony" believes they are KGB.

The supporting cast is a little weak. "Anthony's" parents are typical 1980's movie parents who always worry that their child has gotten into drugs. And "Marcolo" is only there to pick up a beautiful blond in France, and show up to help his friend when the Russians find him back home in Los Angeles.

For a spy movie movie, the action is quite weak. "Sasha" is never seen with any kind of weapon, which you would think she would have considering her apparent job. The Russians are always one step behind "Anthony", who never gets a chance to even save the woman he thinks he loves from them because she goes missing when they target him for the item he doesn't even know he has. There are no big explosions, no action-packed escapes from the villains and no amazing gun battles. We also never get to find out what information is on the item "Anthony" is carrying.

Even if they only have fair chemistry together, Edwards and Fiorentino are pretty good in their roles. Edwards plays "Anthony" as naive due to his young age, while Fiorentino plays "Sasha," which turns out to a role itself, with mystery -- even when she is meeting with her contacts. Other characters are either not on camera too long to even worth mentioning or are typical villains looking for their item.

I can only recommend this when you see it on television and there really isn't anything else on. It's not perfect, but it's not a disaster either.

Ghostbusters 2
½

Five years ago, New York City was saved by the worst paranormal incident the world has ever seen up to that point by a group of "Ghostbusters" (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson). However, things went down hill for the group after just about every department in the city government sued them and put them out of business. The team splits up thanks to a judicial restraining order, but still keep in touch.

The crew gets back together to investigate some strange happenings which seems to be centered around "Oscar" (William and Henry Deutschendorf in their only movie role), the infant son of "Dana Barrett" (Sigourney Weaver), who broke up with "Dr. Peter Venkmen" (Murray) sometime between this and the original movie.

What they find is a very large ammount of a kind of ectoplasm under the city that they eventually discover, during a trial against them, that this slime reacts to strong emotions.

And to make things worse, a portrait at the museum "Dana", who now restores paintings in the museum for the living, holds the evil spirit of "Vigo the Carpathian" (the late Wilhelm von Homburg), who needs a child so that he might live again. "Vigo" seduces "Dana's" highly annoying boss, "Dr. Janosz Poha" (Peter MacNicol) with paranormal powers to find a child. "Dr. Poha" targets "Oscar".

Now, the reinstated "Ghostbusters" have to battle the slime and "Vigo", which may have a connection with one another.

First of all, the story is only slightly weaker than the original. However, the cast is still good and have not missed a beat. The chemistry between the "Ghostbusters" is close to perfect as they can get. We also get to see a bit more of "Louis" (Rick Moranis) and the "Ghostbuster's" secretary "Janine" (Annie Potts), who get together in this film while the two babysit "Oscar" as "Dr. Venkmen" tries to rekindle his romance with "Dana".

If you ask me, "Vigo" is a limited character. For a good chunk of the movie, he is stuck within the portrait. von Homburg is pretty evil in this role, but he must rely on special effects to help expand his character.

Other characters, including two new characters introduced in this movie, is not really developed in this role. We get some development with "Janine", who is in a slightly larger role in this film, and "Louis", who has become a lawyer. One character we get to see more of, who probably was added in due to the success of the syndicated cartoon television series "The Real Ghostbusters", is "Slimer". "Slimer" is only seen in only a few scenes and is not on camera very long. And, the only interaction he has with the main cast is when he picks up "Louis" while driving a public bus.

There are some good laughs in this film. Yet, there seems to be more chuckles than laughs. Most of the best laughs comes from Murray, who carried a good chunk of the laughs in the first movie as well. One of the best comedic scenes is when "Dr. Venkman" first meets "Oscar" and has some quality time with the infant, while trying to avoid getting a stool sample from the boy for "Dr. Egon Spengler" (Ramis) to study.

For the most part, the special effects have held up all these years pretty well. It's pretty obvious that the Statue of Liberty, which the "Ghostbusters" soak with the slime in an attempt to save New York City from Vigo.

In the language department, I don't recall hearing anything too strong unlike the first film. So, parents will probably not have to worry about that.

Coneheads
Coneheads(1993)

Sent to the planet Earth to evaluate the Earth for a planned invasion, "Beldar" (Dan Aykroyd, who also co-wrote the screenplay) and his mate "Prymaat" (Jane Curtain) crash land on the planet in New York City. They do a pretty good job at blending into the everyday life, with "Beldar" getting a job.

They eventually learn that a rescue vessel will pick them up in what turns out to be a number of years, and go on with their life, eventually becoming parents to "Connie" (Michelle Rene Thomas), who grows up knowing that she is not from the planet inhabited by "blunt-skulls" (humans).

What they don't know is that an immigration agent (Michael McKeon) has learned of them, and decides to bring them in instead of informing the military, as he should have done as his butt-kissing, and highly annoying assistant (David Spade) suggested.

Now, the renamed "Conehead" family have to try to avoid a unique deportation (since they aren't from France as they claim) while awaiting rescue.

This is one of the many movies based on sketches from the long-running sketch-comedy National Broadcasting Company series, "Saturday Night Live" -- and happens to be one of the very few good adaptations. It is based on the "Coneheads" sketches from SNL back in the 1970's which featured Ayckroyd and Curtain as two aliens with heads shaped like a cones stranded on Earth trying to blend into life on the planet far from their home. This movie does a pretty good job expanding upon the universe created in the popular sketches from the show's hey day.

One joke that was in the sketches really wasn't used in this film. In the sketches, the "blunt-skulls" try to act as if the "Coneheads" were regular people. In the movie however, the "blunt-skulls" act as if the "Coneheads" are human and dont give each other a look when "Beldar" or "Prymaat" say something that only others from "Remulak" would understand. But, their responses are completely natural as if they have come to accept the "Coneheads" weird ways. I would have liked to have seen more scenes with people who have never met the "Coneheads".

One thing that is totally different from the sketches is that "Connie" acts more human. In the original sketches, she acted more like "Beldar" and "Prymaat". However, Thomas does a great job acting like a typical teen girl and is pretty fun to watch, especially when she is with Chris Farley, who plays her boyfriend.

There are a lot of jokes, mostly one-liners and visual jokes. Some are enhanced by special effects which really have not aged well (look at the Subway sandwich that "Connie" scoffs down for example. It's obviously CGI). Some of the jokes will make you laugh, but most will make you either chuckle or groan.

One thing you will notice is that there are a lot of then-current and former members of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players (the name given to the original SNL cast). There are at least two from the original SNL cast who actually were in the "Coneheads" sketches at one time of another. Other more recent cast members also make appearances in either supporting or cameo roles. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more from the original SNL cast in the movie.

Like I said earlier, there are some special effects in this movie. I could tell two things that were added in during post-production when they showed up. However, the make-up effects are still wonderful, as it actually looks as if the "Coneheads" uniquely shaped skulls could be realistic. You couldn't see one seam that showed you where the performers real skin ended, and the cone began.

This is definitely a comedy for families. There is some sexual references, but they are very mild. I also think that that most of the bad language were in the "Remulak" language, which made you fill in you own cuss word.

Sadly, the majority of the supporting cast was not well developed. I would have liked to seen more of "Beldar's" bosses from his first two jobs in the movie, who were there for the bizarre birth of "Connie". Even more major supporting cast members were pretty much under used.

I would have to say that if you want some pretty good laughs, put this in your first four choices if your first choice is not available at your local video rental store.

Cherry 2000
Cherry 2000(1988)

In the year 2017, "Sam" (David Andrews) is in love with the perfect woman -- who happens to be a "Cherry 2000" (Pamela Gidley) model android. She cooks for him, cleans for him and is a life-size, interactive blow-up doll for him.

One night, things get hot and heavy, and they don't notice that water is spilling onto the floor in the kitchen. The water causes a short circuit, ultimately destroying the android's internal systems.

"Sam" decides that he will get a replacement of the same model, but soon learns that getting it is not easy. He has to go into some badlands, known as "Zone 7," to find a rumored android graveyard since the "Cherry 2000" model is outdated.

"Sam" eventually finds a crimson-haired tracker known as "E Johnson" (Melanie Griffith), and she agrees to take the job as long as he goes with her.

However, they cross paths with a group that live in the Zone, and get on their bad side.

Now, the two have even more problems to handle.

I have to say this first, this is a pretty lame movie. There is little adventure, lame comedy, very little action and poor chemistry between the characters.

Griffith is too cute for this role. "Johnson" can handle a weapon, but she is not a toughie at all. She hovers too close to being a good girl than a tough girl.

Andrews is completely boring. According to Yahoo Movies, this was the third movie in his career, and his inexperience clearly shows. In fact, it sounded to me as if his voice was dubbed over by another actor. Or, possibly, they had a major audio problem with him and had to do a voiceover for him in the entire movie.

One thing that makes this worth watching is Tim Thomerson, who plays the leader of the villains. He is as close to perfect as a man who is clearly more than a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Unlike Griffith, he is able to go back and forth with his character "Lester." At times, he is pretty sane, but most of the time he's nuts. Thomerson should have shown Griffith how to split her character's personality like he did.

Another problem is with character development. The worse development is that of "Cherry". For most of the movie, we only hear her voice coming from a little black box that was taken out of the first android and will be placed into the new one. It is obviously suppose to be a recording, but does nothing for the title character. Other characters have very little development as well.

There is also only fair chemistry between Griffith and Andrews. The script did a horrible job with their relationship. In fact, about 2 minutes after "Sam" and "Johnson" meet, I figured out that they would get together at the end of the movie.

The action scenes are not that great either. There are explosions and gun play, but none of it is spectacular. You can really tell that the budget in the special effects, not to mention the whole movie, is really low.

This movie is not one of the best movies you can see. I would suggest that you catch this on HBO or on On Demand when it's in the Free Movie section. It's one to forget.

Akira
Akira(2020)

In July, 1988, the city of Tokyo, Japan, was destroyed by a nuclear explosion. The blast leads to World War III a few hours after.

31 years later, gangs are terrorizing Neo-Tokyo, a city on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay near the old city of Tokyo. Troubled youths are placed into a foster system where the adults in charge are a bit rough with them.

One of these children, "Tetsuo" (voiced by Joshua Seth) is taken to a secret location where he is subject to experiments studying his awakening ESP powers.

"Tetsuo's" powers grow as the movie progresses. He is slowly uncontrollable, and there may be only one thing that can stop him -- the one known as "Akira."

Considered by many critics as one of the greatest animated movies of all time. It helped the sudden boom of popularity of Japanese Anime (aka Japanimation) the genre had in the Western hemisphere back in the 1990's.

The animation is absolutely beautiful. The use of mostly darker colors sets a mood wonderfully. Like most Anime, the characters appear to be from the West instead of Japanese and are drawn nicely. The movement of the characters, at times, makes you forget that they are cartoons. Also, the characters' mouths seem to be in perfect synch with the English voices, but it is obvious that their animated for the original Japanese dialogue.

A note to parents: this is not Pokemon. There is strong language, violence and a lot of blood. I would suggest that you only allow older children who are pretty well out of the Pokemon phase before you allow them to see this. It is not for the Pokemon crowd.

I am personally not an hard core Anime fan. However, I am a science-fiction fan, and this is pretty much a sci-fi movie. However, there really isn't a lot of science-fiction elements like futuristic weapons or futuristic technology. We do get a futuristic science though, which is a major plot device that works well.

Somehow, the actors have some good on-screen chemistry and make the characters pretty believable. You can actually believe that they are on screen together through out the movie.

Personally, I wouldn't put it on my "Must See" list. But, if you can catch it on HBO or even on On Demand like I did, you might not be disappointed.

Carlito's Way
½

"Carlito Brigante" (Al Pacino) was just saved from a 30 year prison sentence when it is learned that evidence was illegally collected. Now, "Brigante" is determined to stay out of prison by trying to go straight -- but things keep bringing him back to his old life.

This is a pretty good telling of a man who tries to turn his life around. He reconnects with an old love (Penelope Ann Miller), and takes over a night club to try to make money legitimately. However, the D.A.'s office doesn't believe that he is trying to go straight, and tries to catch him in illegal dealings -- even convincing a friend or two to wear a wire.

Another problem is an up-and-coming punk named "Benny Blanco (aka Benny Blanco from the Bronx)", who is determined to take over "Brigante's" business by any means necessary.

However, his biggest problem is his lawyer, "David Kleinfeld" (Sean Penn). While trying to get "Brigante" out of prison, where he has been for five years, he has gotten involved with cocaine and an incarcerated Mob boss who forces "Kleinfeld" to aid in his escape from prison.

If you ask me, the two performances which carry this movie are those of Pacino and Penn. Thanks to make-up and the accent he picked for "Kleinfeld", you will not recognize Penn. Pacino, who is known for similar roles, makes the title character very interesting as he is tempted to go back to his old ways. In fact, "Brigante" is seen going back to those old ways when he needed to. Pacino brings "Brigante" to the edge of going back to the world of crime perfectly, then brings him back with equal ease.

Penn's performance is good too. However, I felt that his performance was very slightly below that of Pacino's. If we got to see "Kleinfeld" just a little more, then his performance would be absolutely perfect. He just wasn't allowed to shine, but nearly steals many of the scenes he is in.

One performance that was lacking was that of Miller. She really wasn't given much to play with. If you ask me, she was really weak in the delivery of her lines in many scenes. Her chemistry with Pacino is pretty good, but she sounded a lot like an airhead many times and not believable.

Surprisingly, there isn't a lot of violence in this movie. You would think, especially after the "Godfather" Trilogy, that the body count would have hit double digits by the time of the closing credits. However, we get less than five deaths in the entire movie. Blood is also kept to a minimum.

If you ask me, this movie is a pretty strong second choice the next time you go to your local video store if your first choice isn't available.

The Bounty
The Bounty(1984)

This is an adaptation of "Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian" by Richard Hough. It is an adaptation that made me not want to read the novel of which it is based.

The movie is filled with little action and pretty weak performances from much of the main cast. At times, however, Anthony Hopkins had some good scenes compared to other cast members.

Another problem with this movie is the writing. None of the characters are written well in this adaptation. I also found much of the dialogue real weak, which made the performances suffer.

Mel Gibson is given very little to do, and little dialogue in the first quarter of the movie. At times, he seemed bored. I also think that much of the cast appeared bored -- especially in the scenes on the ship.

The scenes on the ship was another problem. Because of its size, the cameras were limited as to how they could be set up. None of the shots on board were interesting, as the angles that scenes could be shot were limited.

One thing that was done pretty well was the cast wardrobes. They looked accurate, and, as the movie goes on, it appears that the clothing was worn for a overly long period of time. The "Tahitian" wardrobe, which wasn't a lot since there was a lot of skin (especially the women), looked like a typical islander clothing seen in other movies and were nothing special. At one point in the movie, we see a couple of "Tahitian" men wearing these tall hat-like things that are so tall, one of the men has to grab his when a gust of wind comes up.

One thing this movie lacks is action and adventure. When the mutiny finally happens, there is no sword or gun play between the mutineers and those who remain loyal to "Bligh" (Hopkins). We don't even get one battle between the "Bounty" or another ship.

The scenery was also bland. A lot of the movie takes place on the water, where there is literally nothing to look at -- except water. And with the cramped space of the boat, the scenes were limited in angles.

There was very little chemistry between the cast. They had little to work with, which diminished their interaction with one another. I felt that the mutineers needed to do something to kill the boredom, so they decided to mutiny. Even though we are shown why they mutiny, they just didn't have their heart into it if you ask me. I also felt zero chemistry between "Fletcher Christian" (Mel Gibson) and the native girl he falls in love with had no chemistry, and did nothing to make it seem that they were falling for each other. In fact, I felt like it was more a one-night-stand more than anything else.

In my opinion, this is not a movie that you should rent on DVD. If you ask me, see it on HBO or another movie cable network (I saw it on On Demand. It was in the Free Movies section) if there is nothing else on. It's just not a good movie in my opinion.

3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain
½

The Three Ninjas (now played by Mathew Botuchis, Michael O'Laskey II and JP Roeske II) are back, and are celebrating "Tum Tum's" (Roeske) birthday at Mega Mountain Amusement Park (Elitch Gardens in Denver, Colorado) with the new neighborhood girl, "Amanda" (Chelsey Earlywine), who is a computer genius and a klutz at times.

"Tum Tum" is anxious to meet his TV hero, "Dave Dragon" ("Hollywood" Hulk Hogan), who is making a personal appearance at the amusement park after it is announced that his "Power Rangers" type television series was cancelled by the unnamed network airing it.

What the kids and the actor don't expect is that an insane woman known to authorities as "Medusa" (Loni Anderson), along with her right-hand man "Lothar Zogg" (Jim Varney) and a group of thugs which include her inept nephews are planning to take over the park and hold all the guests and employees hostage for $10-million.

Now, the "Three Ninjas", a computer geek and a soon-to-be out of work actor have to join forces to save the park and the people from "Medusa's" evil plan.

This movie is almost as good for adults as it is for kids. There is some good martial arts fights, and some comedy that could give the adults watching a pretty good chuckle. However, the adults will realize that there is some bad performances in this movie.

Anderson is just out of place as the lead villainess, and she really doesn't make her performance believable in my opinion. She delivers her lines with no effort in making people believe that she is insanely evil as she could have. Varney was better as a villain, in a comedic way that he was known for, however he didn't have that much screen time or lines.

Hogan, who was the top villain in the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling at the time of this movie's production and release, was only fair as the martial arts actor who didn't really see much physical action as the lead actors did. The most physical action he did was throwing some punches and some simple moves he uses in professional wrestling that were suppose to be intentionally set up (he was on stage when we meet him, fighting with some stunt performers). It is also hard to believe that an actor would try to take on a group of thugs by himself when he tells the kids, whom he doesn't know has martial arts training from their grandfather (Victor Wong, who is the only actor to appear in every movie in the "3 Ninjas" franchise and in his final movie before health issues forced him into retirement around the time of the movie's release).

Another thing that is hard to believe is that four kids are able to thwart the efforts of villains. Especially ones who are seriously out-numbered by a group of bad guys with machine guns, which they use but never hit their intended target EVER.

The biggest problem with this movie is that the new characters we are introduced to in this movie are barely developed. We get the villains' motivation for taking over the amusement park, but that's it. We also get that "Dragon" is not really the hero like his television persona portrays him to be, and that he tries to be the hero that the children who watched his show have looked up to (as evident by a child who comes up to him and asks him, as he is laying on the ground, if he is a hero or the fraud his father says he is).

Like in previous movies in the series, only one of which I have actually seen, there is some good martial arts stunts in this movie. The kids are pretty quick with their moves, and are pretty good in the fight scenes. However, many times when Roeske is featured in the fight scenes, it is pretty obvious that the people he is paired up with are setting themselves up for his next move as they are positioning themselves so that he can hit them in the right spot.

When it comes to the four lead actors, they work pretty well together. Sometimes, they don't deliver their lines perfectly or have expressions on their face that doesn't look believable.

This movie, like the entire series, is pretty much for the kids. Adults won't like everything, but there is some things they might like -- as long as they can get past the poor performances and writing.

Simon Sez
Simon Sez(1999)
½

Former CIA agent "Simon" ("The Worm" Dennis Rodman) is living in France minding his own business when a guy claiming to be a former classmate in a CIA training class shows up. "Simon" doesn't recall who this guy named "Nick Maranda" (Dane Cook) is.

"Miranda" is there to deliver a $2-million ransom for the kidnapped daughter of a businessman (Clayton Day). But the deal explodes in his face, and "Simon" has to use his hand-to-hand battle skills to get them out of there. After escaping, they run into a beautiful blond (Emma Sjoberg) with martial arts skills that are pretty much equal to "Simon's". She also wants the suitcase, and it is pretty obvious that she and "Simon" has a past together.

Back at "Simon's" place, he and "Miranda" discover that the suitcase is actually filled with two heavy metal bricks and a computer disc. The two take the disc to "Simon's" secret base under a French monastery where two computer experts disguised as monks (John Pinette, Ricky Harris) try to decode the encripted program on the disc.

"Simon" and "Miranda" then go after the daughter (Natalia Cigliuti), who is in love with the son of the kidnapper. And she doesn't even know that she is being held for ransom.

Now, "Simon", "Miranda" and at least one unlikely ally join forces to get the girl back.

Let me tell you something that will be painfully obvious with the first few minutes of the movie -- Rodman is the best actor in the entire cast, except for maybe Sjoberg. The problem is that the supporting cast just tries too hard to get a laugh from the audience, and their jokes just bomb. The lead villain is completely insane -- and not in a good way. He is over-the-top and not a good villain. And the reason he wants the disc is really lame -- he wants to destroy a famed French landmark because he is sick of looking at it.

The other thing that makes this movie pretty watchable is the martial arts fights. The fights are nicely choreographed, and are at a good pace. However, you can tell when the cast is replaced by stunt people in these scenes thanks to how they move when they are obviously wearing a harness and their faces are being hidden by the distance of the camera, a body part or a prop they are holding.

The writing is not that good in this movie. The plot twists are poorly done in this movie, and they come across as confusing. Some of the characters who appear to be a villains turn out to be the good guys, and their turn completely escapes you.

Another problem with this movie is that there is very little chemistry between the cast. Cook is obviously being carried by Rodman on-screen, and he is obviously trying too hard to be the comic relief. On the other hand, Sjoberg and Rodman are a bit better on-screen, but I had a little problem believing that they were a couple prior to when the film takes place because there was no spark between them. It only became obvious that the two were attracted to another when they jumped into bed while having another martial arts fight.

Special effects in this movie is fairly typical. However, they really were cheap with the computer graphics in the villain's super computer screen. This movie was released in 1999, but it appeared that the super computer graphics were done earlier in the decade.

I would suggest that you only see it for the fight scenes and, shockingly, Rodman.

Bugsy
Bugsy(1991)

Infamous 1940's gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (Warren Beatty) has been in and out of trouble with cops and his family over the years. Now, he has left them for a woman named Virginia Hill (Annette Benning).

"Hill" slowly warms up to the mobster, who decides to move to California to pursue her and dreams of becoming an actor. Even though he is trying to improve his life, he is still an ill-tempered mobster who wants to use his new connections to assassinate Mousilini. However, when the dictator is killed, he eventually sets his eyes on a piece of Nevada desert to build a casino.

The movie focuses mainly on the fairly rocky relationship between Seigel and Hill. However, sprinkled through the movie are scenes which remind us of Seigel's criminal nature. We see Seigel go from a romantic trying to woo a beautiful woman to a guy who will kick a man when he is down. Beatty does a pretty good job changing between these personality traits with fairly good easy.

The chemistry between Beatty and Benning is not perfect. The script is a bit weak at times, and I noticed that I was paying more attention to my computer many times. I also felt that the supporting cast did nothing for the movie except move the story along -- usually slowly.

Of course there is some blood in a movie about a mobster. However, there isn't that much as you would expect. Seigel, who frequently states his dislike for the "Bugsy" nickname, is shown shooting a guy once, and beating up people. One murder he does is off camera, between scene transitions and we never get to see exactly how he did the crime, which he is arrested for later on in the movie.

The wardrobes, cars, buildings and everything else seen in this movie appear to be pretty authentic. However, the wardrobes are too perfect and too fresh as if they were being worn for the first time ever. The clothing, if you ask me appears to be too new. No clothing looks as if they have been worn a few times.

The music is pretty nice. You get instrumentals mixed with well known tunes sung on camera in night club scenes. The songs from the 1940's helped make you believe that you were actually in that time period.

I don't know what it was about the script, but I noticed that I was looking more at my computer numerous times. I felt that there were many scenes that were fairly weak and lagged. Many of the performances, especially the supporting cast, were not good at times while pretty good at other times. I feel that the supporting cast was barely developed, and were there to try to help move the film along. I also felt that those in supporting roles

I can't say that this should be added to your "Must See" List. I can't even say that this movie should be on the Top 10 of your "To See" List.

Monster House
½

"DJ" (voiced by Mitchell Musso) has been noticing some strange goings-on at the house across the street owned by the mean, old "Nebbercracker" (Steve Buscemi). He has been spying on the house and "Nebbercracker", even though he has been told by his parents (voiced by Fred Willard and Cathrine O'Hara in cameo roles) not to.

"Nebbercracker" is known to take anything from children which lands on his property, including the basketball of "DJ's" friend "Chowder" (voiced by Sam Lemer).

"DJ" tries to tell adults that there is something up, but they won't listen. So he, "Chowder" and a neighborhood girl named "Jenny" (voiced by Spencer Locke) investigate the house after "Nebbercracker" has an apparent heart attack while yelling at "DJ" amd "Chowder" and rushed to the hospital.

What they find is a house that seems to be alive, and try to kill it themselves based on the advice of a video game junkie (voiced by Jon Heder).

But, they eventually find out the truth the the house and gain an unexpected ally in their battle with the house.

The first thing you will notice is that the animation is spectacular. It has an almost realistic 3-D look with the depth of the scenery. It actually looks more like a 3-D model than a 2-D computer animated movie since it really looks as if you are looking into the distance in some scenes. And the detail is amazing in this animation. In one scene you are looking at the house, with "DJ" blocking most of the camera shot. If you look closely at his shirt in this particular scene, you actually see the stitching of the sweater. Even the inanimate things seen in this film (buildings, trees, fences) look like they are not computer animated. Heck, you could even see the individual blades of grass.

There are some great performances in this film. At times I had to remind myself that these are animated characters. The delivery of lines were very believable and helped bring the characters to life. I'd go as far as saying that the chemistry between the performers was excellent. Not one person who lent their voice to this film appeared to be reading from a script, which is common practice when doing the voiceovers for animation.

This is a very gentle horror movie. You will not see any blood in this film at all. Very young kids might scream, but older kids and adults will take the scary moments as comical more than scary. I do not believe this movie will cause nightmares.

For me, the comedy was more chuckle-worthy more than anything else. I didn't chuckle or laugh at many jokes, but I did at a small chunk of the comedic moments. Kids will definitely laugh at these moments if you ask me. There is even some jokes targeted to adults.

The music in this movie is OK, but nothing really stands out. You mostly have instrumentals in the entire movie.

This movie is not perfect. But it is pretty fun. I would check it out if you catch it on HBO or another movie network. It might even be a pretty good rental for your kids.

Armstrong
Armstrong(1998)

Former Navy SEAL "Rod Armstrong" (Frank Zagarino) is now a freelance military trainer living in Moscow, Russia, who is unexpectently visited by the man (Charles Napier) who trained him as a SEAL. "Bob" (Napier) is accompanied to Moscow by his wife (Kimberly Kates), whom he also trained as a SEAL, for a vacation. However, "Bob" is there to recruit "Armstrong" to help in with a Special Ops mission from the President himself.

"Bob" has brought a video tape with him which shows a Russian military base housing missiles with nuclear warheads that are being purchased on the Black Market.

However, when "Bob" gets murdered, it's up to "Armstrong", "Susan" and a Russian soldier to bring those responsible to justice.

This is a pretty disappointing from the action standpoint. Yes, it has gunplay. But there really is nothing spectacular. There are also some fist fights, short car chases and chases on foot.

The acting is a little better, but is hindered by a fairly weak script. Napier should have been one of the villains in this movie due to making a name for himself for playing tough guys. He also could have done better as one of the lead Russian villains.

There is little character development in this movie. You are told, through dialogue, some background information on characters, but not much. There is also little chemistry between the characters.

I felt that the muscle behind one of the villains were really weak. I am surprised that "Susan" (Kates) ran away from these guys, they were that menacing.

Another thing I didn't like was that Moscow was not used properly. Probably because this movie was low budget, they avoided filming at well known locations in the city, and used rather boring local locations from off the beaten path.

The performances are pretty weak all around, probably due to a weak script. Zagarino is a weak leading action star, and his performance went up and down during the entire movie. Sometimes it looked as if he was looking off camera to a cue card to read his lines. Both lead villains, one of which wasn't on screen much, were not menacing -- especially the one who went after "Susan" and "Armstrong" for the tape. If you ask me, it appears that they forgot that "Bob" said early on that he trained "Susan" and made her the damsel in distress typical of these movies. But, because there was no personal relationship between she and "Armstrong", his pursuit to save her from the villains was really empty.

Because of the budget, the sets really lacked in this movie. Some places looked as if they were just spruced up by the set designers to make them look like what they were suppose to be. Many of the interiors were pretty boring in fact.

I can understand why Comcast placed this in the Free Movies section of On Demand. Nobody would buy this, but might check it out if it's on HBO and there is nothing else is on.

Kid's World
Kid's World(2001)

"Ryan Mitchell" (Blake Foster) is your typical 12-year old. He has a bully of a brother. his parents don't understand him. He is part of a small clique of friends called "The Cool Cats Club" and has a crush on the girl next door, who is a year older. He even has to deal with a taller bully (Todd Emerson).

One day, while running away from "Detloff" (Emerson) and his gang, the "Cool Cats" fall into an underground cave and find a mystical light that grants wishes. After being grounded for not wearing his bike helmet, "Ryan" sneaks out of the house and goes back to the cave and wishes that the adults, as well as the teens, would disappear.

The next day, the children are on their own. The adults and the teens, except for "Detloff", who has lied about his age because of his height. However, the strange man in the neighborhood (Christopher Lloyd) the majority of the children either are afraid or make fun of hasn't disappeared because he has the mental capacity of a third grader.

Now, "Ryan" has to take responsibility in taking care of his younger sister (Olivia Tennet) while helping out "Leo" (Lloyd), who can't take care of himself, while being a kid running amok in a world without adults.

This is absolutely a kids movie, and the comedy in it reflects it. I think I groaned at some of the jokes in this movie more than anything else. Adults might get pretty bored with this film because there is nothing that adults will understand more than the kids. All the jokes are for kids, and will probably make them laugh.

There is some good performances in this film. A lot of scenes when the kids are running amok after those over 13 disappear seem to be ad lib, as they seem to be authentically having fun. One performance that wasn't that great, probably because of the character's limitations, was that of Lloyd. He was pretty believable, but he really couldn't shine in this role.

The special effects, like the whole movie, are pretty low budget. For a movie that is only about seven years old, the special effects appear to be older. It was pretty obvious that the special effects for the strange things that come from the "Wishing Light" are obviously added in during post-production and are not blended into the scenes very well. It was also pretty obvious that there was a light bulb in the thing, and the "crystal" part is made out of some sort of plastic.

Cinematography is not that great in this movie. Many times it was obvious that they were using a handheld camera to capture the action. The camera angles were pretty average through the entire movie.

The music in this movie was pretty forgettable. There was no use of well-known songs in it. In fact, there was not one song performed by a well-known music artist.

Sorry adults, this one is passable for you. But, if there really isn't anything else at your local video store, this could be a fair rental for kids.

Bewitched
Bewitched(2005)

Movie actor "Jack Wyatt" (Will Ferrell) has come up with what he thinks is a brilliant idea to salvage his career after his last three movies bombed at the Box Office. He wants to remake the classic American Broadcasting Company's (ABC) television series "Bewitched" with him as "Darrin" and an unknown in the role of "Samantha" so that he might steal the spotlight from her.

One day, he sees a very pretty woman (Nicole Kidman) who looks much like the late "Bewitched" star, Elizabeth Montgomery and convinces her to join the cast of the new version of the television series.

The woman, "Isabel Bigelow" (Kidman), has a secret however. She is a real-life witch who wants to live the life of a mortal, much like "Samantha" did in the original television series. Her father (Michael Caine), who absolutely adores his daughter, tries to convince her that living the life of a mortal is the wrong idea. Her life even has others people in it who mirror not only mirrors the characters from the television series.

There are a lot of references to the original series. Many of the most memorable characters appear. Caine is near perfect as "Bigelow's" father and you can sense that he has made the father adore his daughter, much like the same character in the movie. Though she is not playing the same character, McClaine is pretty good as actress "Iris Smython" who plays the TV show's character "Endora". McClaine is pretty much a mirror image of the late Agnes Moorehead, who portrayed "Endora" in the television series. She has the hair color and the flamboyant clothing as "Endora", but she didn't really have the same personality. She was more like "Wyatt" in that she liked to be in the spotlight, as evident in her response to applause while filming an episode.

One performance I really was not impressed with for a character from the original television series was Steve Carell as "Uncle Arthur". This performance, more than others, was an impersonation of the original actor. Carell copied Paul Lynde (who played the character in the TV series) almost to the letter. He did a poor attempt at copying Lynde's facial mannerisms, but did a pretty good impersonation of Lynde. One that really stood out was

When it comes to jokes, many are in homage to the original television series (some are better hidden than others that fans of the series should be able to pick up). For the most part, the laughs were stuck at the beginning of the movie and died out near the middle. I didn't laugh during the final half of the film. One problem was Ferrell when he tries to be over-the-top. I feel as if he tries to hard when he has to be over-the-top, and fails to bring in the laughs. Carell also failed to bring in the laughs to me, only because I felt he was trying to do a Paul Lynde impersonation. Like I said earlier, many of the jokes will only make sense if you have seen some episodes of the television series.

I would say that if you happen upon it when it airs on HBO or another movie network, I would say check it out if nothing else is on. I just can't say it would be a good rental.

Kidman and Ferrell are a pretty good on-screen duo. Kidman, who appears to be a little bit an airhead, does a pretty good job as the straight woman to the comedic Ferrell. Kidman was real good when she allowed her character to be her witchy self as that is the true nature of the character's personality. Even though I do not like Ferrell when he tries to be over-the-top to get some laughs, he was pretty good as the ego-maniac "Wyatt".

Like in other movies I have seen as of late, supporting characters were not developed well in my opinion. The ones who came from the television series aren't developed at all because they should be known by the audience already.

Company Business

A former agent of the Central intelligence Agency (Gene Hackman) is called back to duty for a prisoner exchange in Berlin, Germany, when he is told to escort a former KGB agent (Russian ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov) for the exchange. Part of the exchange includes $2-million in drug money.

At the exchange, which takes place in an abandoned, blocked off subway tunnel, something is wrong and gunfire is exchanged.

Now, the two aged agents must go on an international search to find the truth of who was behind the assassination attempt, which may involve a combined effort of the CIA and KGB.

This is a disappointing adventure film. The drama is pretty weak, and there is very weak adventure. There are even weak plot twists that are not too surprising.

I also felt that there was little to no chemistry between Hackman and Baryshnikov. Out of the two lead actors, I felt that Baryshnikov gave the weakest performance. Baryshnikov was not believable as a former KGB agent, and he was just plain weak all around in the movie. Hackman's performance was not his best either. His performance, though slightly better than Baryshnikov's, was one-dimensional as was his character.

In fact, the character development in this film was real weak in this film. I felt that there was no development with either lead character that made them interesting, and there was no development in those trying to stop them from finding out the truth.

Another problem with this film is that it's dated. Because it takes place near the end of the Cold War, we get dated references to that time. Unless you are old enough to remember that time, you would be completely oblivious to any of the references mentioned in this film.

There was nothing special with those trying to stop them in fact. And their performances lacked in just about everything to make them interesting. I really didn't care about who they were and why they were after the two leads.

I also felt that the surprise plot twists pretty much flopped, and many things were pretty predictable. In one scene, when Baryshnikov's character finds Hackman's character at the Safe House in Berlin, they go across the street and Baryshnikov begins to shoot the doorbell, missing the first two times he fires. The third time's the charm, and the building explodes. You pretty much knew what was going to happen when Baryshnikov asks Hackman for his gun. And there is a little joke in their conversation where Hackman gives Baryshnikov his silencer so that the neighbors aren't woken up as the weapon is fired.

That little silencer bit is the only little bit of humor I honestly can remember in the entire movie. If there were any zingers from anybody in this movie that was meant as a joke, I completely missed it.

The music was pretty forgettable in the film. I think that there were only instrumentals in the entire film in fact. And we never see a hint of Baryshnikov's dancing background in this movie, which could have been used for a quick-witted one-liner from Hackman.

According to some sites I read, Baryshnikov simply hated the finished product and refused to participate in the promotion of this movie. And I can't blame him. The movie is a weak effort on the part of the script writers and just about everybody else involved.

If you want to waste time, then check this movie out on HBO or another movie channel on a rainy day when there is nothing better to do. But don't expect a good movie, because this one simply is not one.

Code Name: The Cleaner
½

"Jake" (Cedric the Entertainer) is having one of the weirdest days in his life. He wakes up in a hotel room, discovers a briefcase with $250,000 (US) and a dead man laying on the bed next to him who is carrying FBI credentials. As he is looking in the room's bathroom mirror trying to not only figure out who he is, he tries to figure out why there is a dead FBI agent in the room with him.

As he tries to slip out of the hotel, he bumps into a beautiful blond woman (Nicolette Sheridan) who helps him. While making their getaway, she tells him that she is his wife and is named "Diane" and takes him to what she claims is their home -- a mansion complete with a butler (Robert Clarke). She calls a doctor (Kevin McNulty), who determines "Jake" is suffering from amnesia.

It is obvious the woman wants something "Jake" knows, and tries to seduce it out of him. However, flashes of something he believes is from his past makes him leave the house and head to a computer chip manufacture.

While sitting in a diner across the street from this computer chip place, a waitress named "Gina" (Lucy Liu) of the diner claims to be his girlfriend and tells him that he is a janitor at the business he thinks he is an executive of. This claim is pretty much confirmed when a couple of janitors come into the diner and sits down to talk with him.

"Gina" then agrees to help him regain his memory and takes his home. Eventually, he learns that he's more than just a janitor, and knows something about a computer chip that may just be vital to national security.

Despite Cedric the Entertainer being part of this movie in the leading man role, this is not even close to a comedy. There are very few chuckles, but nothing more. This is more an adventure more than a comedy. A lot of comedic moments center around "Jake" remembering something about what he thinks is his past that turns out to be something totally different. Some of his reactions as he slowly learns the truth are barely chuckle worthy.

There are some good performances in this movie, but there is barely enough character development with many of the characters, especially central figures trying to capture "Jake".

There is some good performances in this movie. Liu and Cedric make a fair on-screen duo, but they have just a little chemistry. One I wish had a bigger role, which could have helped the plot a bit, was Mark Dacascos (who is probably best known for his role as "The Chairman" on the Food Network's cooking competition show "Iron Chef America"). Dacascos is pretty good as a villain, but he is not on screen long enough for him to expand the character. He does get to show his martial arts skills, which we catch a glimpse of on "Iron Chef America's" opening and an occasional profile of his "Chairman" character. Out of the entire cast, Liu and Cedric's characters are probably the best developed, even if they only had fair on-screen chemistry.

The action scenes are not that great either. In fact, they are pretty average. We get some gunplay, and some fist fights with some martial arts thrown in, but nothing spectacular. We don't even get our leads in a scenario where they are captured and put in danger by the villains.

The soundtrack is not really memorable either. There are some hip hop tunes, but since I listen to Pop and Classic Rock, I didn't recognize the performers.

The movie is still pretty watchable, but lower your expectations if you saw the promos for this movie on TV, another DVD or online. Check this one out on HBO when nothing else is on.

Club Fed
Club Fed(1990)

FBI agent "Howard Polk" (Lance Kinsley) is on surveillance when he sees the beautiful girlfriend (Judy Landers) of the one the gangster he has been tailing. While he is watching them, the man's ex-wife (former roller derby and professional wrestling star Queen Kong) is literally directly under him trying to shoot both her ex-husband and his girlfriend, and he is completely oblivious that she is just about two feet below him as he watches the ex-wife miss her intended targets with rifle shots.

When the two leave the view of the window which "Polk" is watching them through, the man dies in a moment of passion.

"Polk" then goes after other white collar criminals as the FBI Director, "Vince Hooligan" (Joseph Campenella) is angry that funds are being made available for an extremely minimum security prison for white collar criminals. He will do anything to stop this experimental project named "Club Fed" that he makes plans with the warden (Burt Young) to get it closed.

Meanwhile, "Angelica" (Landers) is convicted for the murder of her boyfriend and is sentenced to "Club Fed". And "Hooligan" sends "Polk" in to watch her because, as he tells "Polk", she is embezezling funds from the prison.

As "Angelica" reports to the prison, which is run and looks like a five-star hotel, we meet other inmates, all of which are over-the-top.

While undercover in the prison, he gets to know "Angelica". who he instantly fell for when he saw her through the window. She is beautiful and sweet, but a complete airhead and is blind as a bat unless she wears her horn-rim glasses. He quickly learns that she is not the criminal the courts branded her to be, and the target of the ex-wife of the bumbling ex-wife of "Angleica's" late boyfriend.

Now "Polk" looks for the real criminals, while learning first-hand of the rehabilitation methods of "Club Fed".

This movie is in the same vein as the "Airplane!" and "Hot Shots!" movies, but has a lot of time to catch your breath between jokes. Unlike those other movies, "Club Fed" is filled more with funny lines more than funny bits happening behind the performers in the scene. You will also get some funny physical comedy with Landers' character when she is not wearing her glasses, and some amusing moments with Queen Kong, who is known to professional wrestling fans of the 1980's when she was known as Matilda the Hun of Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling (GLOW). When it comes to the jokes, you will have some good laughs and chuckles.

The characters are not completely developed, but the performances. Many of the actors are near perfect in their roles. Kinsley, who is best known as "Procter" in the "Police Academy" movies, was a little more toned down in this movie, and was surprisingly good as a lead actor. Landers, best known as one-half of the Landers Sisters with her sister, Audrey, is playing her typical airhead shtick in this film, and is pretty funny. One person who almost completely steals his scenes is "George Jefferson" himself, Sherman Helmsley as a greedy former televangelist serving his sentence in the swanky prison.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen more of "Hooligan" in this movie to help advance the storyline of him trying to close down the prison.

When it comes to the movie's soundtrack, they used complete No Bodies to record the tracks. In fact, in many scenes, you could tell that this was a low budget movie. Many scenes, like the courtroom scene where "Angelica" is finding out her sentence from an off-camera game show announcer, are filmed in very simple rooms of a building and do not look like they should be.

This movie is far from being an Academy Award winner, but it's plain fun to watch. I wouldn't put on a "Must See" list, but I would check it out if you find it on On Demand or on HBO.

The Woman in Red

"Theeodore Pierce" (Gene Wilder, who also wrote the screenplay and served as the movie's director) is a happily married man who is entering his mid-life crisis. He begins of thinking of having an affair, especially after seeing a beautiful woman (Kelly LeBrock) dressed from head to toe in red.

He begins to pursue this mysterious woman, who eventually begins to work for the company he is employed by for an advertising campaign. However, while trying to avoid a secretary (Gilda Radner) who he accidentally makes a date with.

Believe it or not, this was the first ever movie rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Associated of America. However, the rating couldn't help this one.

I felt little to no chemistry between any of the cast. Wilder and Judith Ivey, who played his wife, had no chemistry that made it feel as if they were not just happily married, but married for a long time. I also felt that there was very little chemistry between Wilder and those who played his group of friends.

Sadly, Wilder and LeBrock only had a little chemistry. If you ask me, the weakness in the lead roles scenes together was Wilder. LeBrock, who appears in one of her two most famous movie roles in this movie, appears to be more relaxed than Wilder did. It was obvious that he played the character to be somewhat uncomfortable when around her, but it just didn't feel right to me for some reason.

Also, Radner was completely wrong for her role. She was a good comic, especially during her time in "Saturday Night Live", but she just was not that funny in this role. She couldn't even help set up jokes correctly.

I also felt the jokes were forced. During the "Blind Man" bit, you just knew what was going to happen just as the scene opens. There are other scenes where the jokes just fell flat.

One thing that was wonderful was the music, mainly performed by music legend Stevie Wonder. I remember two songs from the soundtrack, "Don't Drive Drunk", which was oddly placed in the movie since the scene had no drunk driving, and the Academy Award winner, "I Just Called to Say I Love You", which is still a great romantic song. If you ask me, the soundtrack is better than jokes.

You would think that there would be adventure in pursing an extra-marital affair that could have brought some laughs to this movie. However, that doesn't happen here.

I would say that the next time you go to the local video rental shop and can't find anything to watch, you could rent this one. But, I wouldn't put this on a "Must See" list.

Commando
Commando(1985)

"John Matrix" (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a retired colonel in an elite special military unit, now lives in a secluded mountain home with his young daughter (Alyssa Milano). They have a great relationship and are living peacefully -- until a military helicopter lands on their property.

On board the chopper, along with some armed soldiers, is "Matrix's" former commander, "General Kirby" (James Olsen), who informs him that the members of "Matrix's" former unit are being killed. He leaves "Matrix" and his daughter with the two armed soldiers, and, as he and his daughter are about to go back into their home, he notices some branches in a bush move. Seconds later, a man pops out of the bush and begins shooting, killing one of the soldiers and wounding the other in the shoulder.

After an exchange of gunfire, "Matrix" is captured by the attackers, and learns that they have taken his daughter. He is then taken to see the ones who planned the kidnapping, the former dictator of an unnamed country (Dan Hedaya) and a former member of "Matrix's" old squad named "Bennett" (Vernon Wells), who informs "Matrix" that if he doesn't do as he is told, his daughter is dead.

Along with two goons, "Matrix" is sent on his mission to kill the one who is leading the country the former dictator once lead, and is accompanied by one onto the airplane to that country. But, after killing the thug, he escapes just as the airplane leaves the ground and returns to the airport only to find the other thug hitting on a stewardess (Rae Dawn Chong).

"Matrix" then forces the stewardess to follow the second thug, who eventually sees him. She, who identifies herself as "Cindy", at first thinks "Matrix" is insane and tries escape from him. But, as it becomes more and more obvious that he is telling her the truth, she begins to help him follow the clues which will, hopefully, to his daughter.

There is some good action in this movie, but nothing really spectacular. Even though there is a lot of breathers between the action scenes, I think there could have been a little more action. The breathers are a bit too long for a Schwarzenegger movie if you ask me, not to mention I felt that there was not enough suspense either. But, as typical of a Schwarzenegger action movie, there are a lot of good explosions -- especially in the final battle where "Matrix" is attempting to

Character development in this movie was pretty good. Most of the villains were not developed past knowing their motives. After their motives are known, they are not seen much on screen. The one with the least amount of development is "Jenny" (Milano), who, after her on-screen father goes on his mission to save her, spends most of the movie alone in a room as a prisoner. I guess Milano didn't have a lot of experience acting to have a fully developed character in this movie. In fact, she had the least amount of lines in the whole movie out of the main characters.

When it comes to the music, nothing really stands out. In fact, I really didn't notice the music until the closing credits began to run.

This movie is far from perfect, but it might be a good rental. However, I wouldn't put it on your "Must See" list.

The Lost Boys

A recently divorced mother (Diane Weist) and her two sons (Jason Patric and Corey Haim) move to "Santa Clara, California" (Santa Cruz, California, which is where the movie was filmed) to live with her father (Barnard Hughes). Unknown to them, "Santa Clara" is having a rash of missing children.

Shortly after they settle in, the elder son, "Michael" (Patric), attends an outdoor concert and sees a beautiful girl (Jami Gertz) elsewhere in the audience and they momentarily lock eyes and show signs of attraction to each other. Later on, they bump into each other on the unnamed local boardwalk amusement park (Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in reality) where she introduces herself as "Star". He then runs into her boyfriend, "David" (Kiefer Sutherland), who leads a trouble-making motorcycle gang in the town.

After a night of dangerous dares with the gang, "Michael" begins to change. He sleeps until sundown, and begins to wear sunglasses when he had to be outside during the day.

Meanwhile, at the local comic book shop, the younger son, named "Sam" (Haim), meet two weird teens (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) who tell him to read horror comics, which he personal hates, because they believe that there are vampires in town. Of course, "Sam" doesn't believe them and just plays along with them.

Shortly after, "Sam" starts to see signs of vampirism in his brother. Then realizes what those two guys in the comic book shop said is true when he and his brother see "Michael's" faded image in a mirror in their grandfather's house.

While this is happening, their mother begins dating a video store owner (Edward Herrmann). Of course, she doesn't believe her younger son's stories that "Michael" has been turned into a vampire.

If you ask me, the performance are not perfect. There were times that they appeared pretty week, especially from the youngest members of the main cast. I felt that Feldman was not really into his character and it pretty much showed, and I could not believe him in this role. Haim was also unbelievable when he had to act scared and had scream his head off. On the other hand, Sutherland was good as "David". He acted the role as mysterious and used a tone of voice through out the film that made you just wonder if he was the leader of the vampires. Out of the two on-screen brothers, Patric's performance was a bit better and was a fair rival to "David".

I believe that the relationship between "Star" and "Michael" was not explored enough. I would have liked to have seen his pursuit of her expanded a bit more. I would have also liked to have seen "David" show that he too was more attracted to "Star" then he let on to give them even more reason to not like each other when "Michael" began to resist "David" in his attempt to bring "Michael" into the fold.

As for the scares, I was pretty disappointed. In fact, I pretty much knew when a vampire was going to attack -- and I didn't listen to the music, which is always a cue as to when something is going to jump out and scare the ones on screen. Also, the blood is minimal in this movie. In fact, I don't think it even deserved the R rating that it got. Violence is also pretty tame in the film.

Of course there is special effects in this film, but none of them stand out. The vampire make-up effects are pretty typical of modern vampire movies as well and, even though they look good, they aren't that impressive.

The music is not great, and does not help build the much needed tension for a vampire movie. There are some other songs that are either the original, or covers of popular classic rock songs. I just couldn't get into the music, except for the classic rock tunes I recognized.

As for the comedic part of the movie, the jokes pretty much flop. I chuckled at a few, and rolled my eyes at others because they weren't delivered properly.

Many of the characters are poorly developed in this movie, as is key relationships. I felt that Feldman and Newlander were a little out of place, and were plot device that failed a bit. I also didn't like how "Grandpa" (Hughes) was used in this film. He was barely in the film, and didn't help advance the story much. I also felt that the motorcycle gang members were not developed at all.

This is one I would not rent, but would probably watch it on HBO or another movie channel. Even though I did like it, I can't say spend some money on this one. Even though I can recommend it, I would have to say it's not one that is worthy of being on a "Must See" list.

Stargate
Stargate(1994)

In 1928, a strange object was uncovered in the sands of Egypt with never before seen hieroglyphics engraved on it.

Fast forward almost 70 years later. "Dr. Daniel Jackson" (James Spader), who believes that there is a connection between life on Earth and life from outer space, has been asked to join a Top Secret government project which revolves the object discovered in Egypt.

"Dr. Jackson" is joined by "Col. Jack O'Neil" (Kurt Russell) on the military side of the project. "O'Neil", who has been depressed since the accidental shooting death of his son, was recalled to duty to head up the project.

After "Dr. Jackson" figures out the hieroglyphs, the "StarGate" is activated and a probe is sent through. The on-board tracking system tracks the probe traveling to a distant side of the known galaxy and it sends back a video of another "StarGate" with different markings.

Now, a group of soldiers, lead by "Col. O'Neil" and "Dr. Jackson" go through the "StarGate" to learn about the other "StarGate" and the strange, but familiar world.

This is a pretty interesting movie, but it can get slow at times. However, I found the slow parts pretty interesting when they were exploring what was on the other side of the "StarGate".

The world on the other side can look pretty boring. I watched the movie in full-screen format, so I didn't get the full effect of the alien world. The alien world is a desert, and has very little to look at. Some things were added via CGI, like the planet's three moons. But the scenery is a desert wasteland, and is pretty boring.

The costumes are pretty average until we meet the aliens on the alien planet. Their costumes are obviously designed after ancient Egyptian clothing. With the help of modern technology, these costumes appear more futuristic as if they had advanced since ancient Egypt on our world.

There are some good performances in this film, but a good amount are not developed well. Spader and Russell are good together, and I felt that they brought some good tension between their respective characters? And, although Spader's character was a bit better developed, I thought Russell had a pretty stronger performance.

14 years ago, which was when this movie hit theaters and began a still on-going franchise, the special effects were unique and pretty spectacular. However, now it seems that they are fairly average in appearance.

Even though I wanted to check out "StarGate SG-1" and "StarGate: Atlantis" when they debuted, which I never did, this movie doesn't really make me want to continue following the franchise. It's still worth taking a look at, but I wouldn't put it on your "Must See" list.

Moon over Parador

Actor "Jack Noah" (Richard Dreyfuss) is finally home, and bumps into a couple of friends. He tells him an unbelievable story where he was basically forced into taking the place of the "Parador" (played by various cities in Brazil) dictator, "President Alphonse Simms" (also played by Dreyfuss at the start of the movie), who had died of a heart attack.

He discusses how he was taught the mannerisms and other important information by the President's right-hand man, "Roberto Strausmann" (Raul Julia), who is secretly undermining the President.

With help from the dead "President's" mistress "Madonna Mendez" (Sonia Braga), he begins to change the dictator's public image slowly, which pretty much upsets "Strausman".

I have to day that this movie has some good chuckles, but not full of gut-busting laughs. A lot of the laughs are one-liners as "Noah" is trying to keep the fact that he is not the president from the good people of "Parador", who live in poverty the likes he has never seen. There were some missed opportunities though.

In one scene, the kitchen staff has a sneaking suspicions that "Noah" is not the president. This is the only time in the entire movie that we see them talk about this. We don't see any other sign of them trying to prove their suspicions, even if it's just for themselves. I would also liked to have seen more scenes with Charro, who plays the president's maid. She could have provided some fair laughs with her trademark energy which causes her to talk at a fast rate making her almost completely incomprehensible because of her accent. Her energy could have also brought some laughs with any of the performers who could have kept up with her.

Julia does a pretty good job as the villain, but I think that his true intentions should have been explored a bit more. It is pretty obvious that he is the true dictator with the late president as window dressing for him.

Two other cast members which were under used was Jonathan Winters and Sammy Davis, Jr., who plays himself in a couple of scenes. Both have played comedic roles and could have done a good job if their roles were expanded. Winters was one of the few actors who could keep up with Robin Williams (both worked as father and son on the US television series "Mork and Mindy", with the younger Williams as the father). If Winters was allowed to go for it, he would have been pretty funny in his scenes.

Dreyfuss and Braga had some fair on-screen chemistry in their scenes, but I felt that they could have been a bit better. Their on-screen romance wasn't really launched correctly in my opinion either. We hear "Noah", in voiceover telling the story to his friends, explain that he was falling for "Mendez", but we never really see it in the particular scene that was playing out under the voiceover.

The music was pretty boring in this film. We hear some local Brazilian music, which is fair, but the "Parador" National Anthem is not great, especially when Davis sings it.

If you are looking for a movie that is filled with laughs, I can't suggest this one. However, it's not that bad, with some fairly good laughs and a pretty good cast. I probably would say that you should catch this on HBO or another movie channel and save your money for something you want to rent.

United 93
United 93(2006)
½

We all know what happened that Tuesday morning now forever known as 9/11, and this movie tries to depict the events of that morning from the viewpoint of those on the ground working on that day.

When I first saw the commercials for this movie before its release, I suspected that this was going to be speculative on what happened on the plane with what is known from those on the plane who called families as the events were unfolding and the cockpit tapes. However, this movie mainly focuses on military and FAA responses as the hijackings and attacks happen.

The other planes which were taken over by hijackers are just referenced in this movie and a barely touched. We do see the results of the two planes which struck the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City through actual news footage provided by the Cable News Network (better known as CNN). Some people may have to turn away when those news clips are shown when watching this movie, especially when they cut to a clip, filmed on video unlike the rest of the movie which is on film.

A lot of the scenes which takes place on "United 93" were, for the most part, improvised by the actors on set. This pretty much helped out in trying to depict what was going on the flight that was not known. The actors who portrayed the victims on the plane, did a good job in their performances, but I can not say any of them stood out in my opinion.

I also felt that those playing the terrorists were not depicted or portrayed well. Personally, I would have liked to have seen them interact with the rest of the cast they were working with a bit more. Yes, I understand that the focus was on the passengers, but, if you ask me, they stayed too much in the background. The performers who portrayed them were given way too few scenes where they were key figures in the scene if you ask me. I also doubt that they would have stood back as certain victims ran to the back galley to find some weapons to use against them.

There is some unique cinematography in this film during the scenes on board the plane. Instead of the massive movie cameras, they opted for smaller, handheld cameras. This certainly helped in the scenes which needed a lot of tension.

I also liked how certain people who were actually involved in the events depicted themselves in various scenes on the ground. I don't know how they did it, but they did an amazing job in their performances. I don't know how much of their scenes, if at all, were scripted, but they did a fabulous job. I am surprised at how well they did on camera. It was as if they had been acting for some time.

One thing that will be extremely hard for people to watch are the final moments of the movie before it fades to black. I even said something like a long "Geeeezzzzeeee" or something like that when it was on my television screen.

If you ask me, this movie is one of the slowest movies I have ever seen. The first quarter of the movie is extremely slow, and I almost turned the channel. It picked up a bit when they began to depict the start of the attack, but not by much.

I remember a few incidents of hearing some music in this movie, but none of the songs stand out in my mind. Because of what was going on in the movie, I basically ignored the soundtrack. Nothing really stood out from the soundtrack to me.

As a movie, I really can't recommend this one. But, for it's historical significance, I would suggest checking this one out only if nothing else is on television or you can't find what you are looking for the next time you are looking for something to rent.

The Cowboy Way
½

"Sonny Gilstrap" (Keifer Sutherland) and "Pepper Lewis" (Woody Harrelson) are longtime rodeo cowboys out of New Mexico. They have been friends since they rode bucking sheep at rodeos when they were children.

"Pepper" frequently gets in trouble, and "Sonny" always gets him out of trouble. But not after "Pepper" deserts "Sonny", who loses a chance at at winning some muxh needed money.

Some time later, "Sonny" comes to "Pepper's" house to ask for a loan to go search for his missing friend "Nacho" (Joaquin Martinez) in New York City. "Nacho" had gone to the "Big Apple" to meet up with his daughter, "Theresa" (Cara Buono), who was smuggled into the country by a man (Dylan McDermott), who demanded more money from him or he won't see his daughter, who had been working in a sweat shop.

"Pepper" lends "Sonny" the money, on the condition that he goes with him after being informed that "Sonny" hadn't heard from "Nacho" in some time.

Now, the two go to NYC to find their friend and his daughter while trying to fit into the big city.

There are some fairly good laughs in this film, but they are not through out the entire film. Harrelson with Sutherland as the straight man make a fairly good comedic duo, but they don't get enough laughs with what they were handed in the script. One running joke, which I think is the only running joke in the entire movie, is that "Pepper" is a bit dim-witted. Many of the jokes about "Pepper" will make you laugh, but you won't bust a gut on them. Other jokes are either chuckle worthy or fall flat.

One thing that you have to do with this movie is suspend disbelief. Even though they do come across a NYPD mounted officer (Ernie Hudson), who has visions of becoming a cowboy himself, they take the law into their own hands to save "Theresa" and the cop does little to stop them.

I also thought that the supporting characters in the movie were not really developed. We basically know what the lead villain "Stark" (McDermott) is about, but we are left hanging as to why he smuggles illegals into the country. We can only assume that he does it only for the money. We also aren't shown much of the relationship between "Nacho" and "Sonny" before "Nacho" goes to NYC to pay for his daughter's trip. We are left with dialogue to explain their relationship.

Harrelson is easily the comic here and has some funny scenes and lines, but he can't carry the laughs in this movie. Like I said earlier, many of the jokes produce some laughs or light chuckles, but many I didn't laugh at. I can't remember specific jokes, but the ones I did laugh at seemed to have been grouped together in the middle of the movie.

There are also some pretty good action scenes, and at least one car vs. horse chase in the busy streets. You can also tell that there are some stunt riders thanks to distant camera shots and the stunt doubles trying to hide their faces from the camera.

If you like Country music, then you will like the soundtrack to this film. A lot of songs are modern Country, with Travis Tritt, who does a cameo early in the movie, providing one song in the film.

Despite the fact that the laughs are few, Sutherland and Harrelson make a pretty good on screen duo and is one of the few things that make this movie watchable.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
½

"Sean Boswell" (Lucas Black) is a troubled teen with a long record that consist of numerous tickets -- one of which he admits getting the day he got his license.

After another arrest following a drag race with a high school football player (Zachery Ty Bryant) over the football player's pretty girlfriend (Nikki Grifin) where "Boswell" wrecks his car, his mother (Lynda Boyd) ships him off to his father (Brian Goodman), a United States Marine who lives in Tokyo, Japan.

He is instantly a fish out of water, but instantly bonds with Army Brat "Twinkee" (rapper Bow Wow). He also meets an absolutely beautiful classmate named "Neela" (the beautiful Nathalie Kelley), who is checking him out when he finally arrives to class after getting on the wrong train.

Once getting to know "Twinkee", they discover that they have a common interest in souped-up cars. "Twinkee" takes him to a party in a garage where others with the same interest meet -- and drag race in a way "Boswell" has never seen before called Drifting.

At the party, "Boswell" bumps into "Neela", who looks even more amazing in her non-school clothes. He also meets her boyfriend "DK" (Brian Tee), who instantly dislikes "Boswell". The two instantly get into a drag race, which "Boswell" loses thanks to not knowing the Drifting style.

And, to complicate things, "DK" is in a dirty business and the nephew of a member of the Yakuza (Sonny Chiba).

Eventually, "Boswell" learns how to drift, and gets into a car chase which kills "DK." "Boswell" then goes to "DK's" uncle to offer a way to get him the money owed to him.

If you are into souped-up cars, then this movie is certainly for you. The plot takes a big backseat to the cars and drag racing. There are obvious problems with "Boswell" and his father, but it's not explored at all. In fact, "Major Boswell" is not in it enough to establish his apparently strained relationship with his son.

We also don't see the relationship between "Boswell" and "Neela" blossom. We see them run into each other a few times and have some flirtatious moments until they get together after "DK's" death.

In fact, not much is done to develop any of the characters. All they really do is either establish main character's backgrounds or advance the flimsy plot.

I did think that, despite working with a weak lot, there were some good performances in the movie. Black and Kelley had some chemistry together, but their on-screen relationship was not explored well at all.

There are some interesting looks for a good amount of the cast, mostly the extras. Wardrobes and hairdos appeared to me to be the punk-styles with extreme hairdos and funky clothing. The American characters wore the clothing that is pretty much in style here in the States. However, out of the entire cast, Kelley looked absolutely beautiful in just about everything she had on -- except for one jacket which I personally thought was ugly.

There are some pretty good songs played in this movie, many of which did not appear on the soundtrack. A lot of the songs used were good choices to accompany the drag race scenes.

There are a lot of car races in this movie. All of them are fast-paced and full of action. The camera angles are pretty typical in these scenes, and don't help them stand out.

If you ask me, the drag races and to oogle the absolutely stunning Kelley are the only reasons to see this movie. The plot is pretty flat compared to the drag races.

Romancing the Stone
½

Romance novelist "Joan Wilder" (Kathleen Turner) has received a map in the mail wrapped up in plastic. Later in the day, after finding her beloved cat in her ransacked apartment, she gets a nervous phone call from her sister (Mary Ellen Trainor) who says that she must bring the map to Columbia or "they" (who are listening in) will kill her.

She heads to Columbia (played by Mexico due to real-life threats of kidnapping in Columbia) and gets on the wrong bus thanks to a mysterious man who follows her. When that mysterious man pulls a gun on her following the bus crashing into an abandoned car in the middle of the road, she is saved by a stranger in a scene similar to the opening of the movie which depicts the closing scene of "Wilder's" latest manuscript.

The man eventually identifies himself as "Jack T. Colton" (Michael Douglas, who also serves as producer), an American who has been living in the area so long that he never heard the break-up of the Doobie Brothers until he reads an old newspaper found in a downed plane they seek refuge in.

The two then go on an adventure surrounding the map, and its treasure, as they are chased by the head of the local secret police "Zolo" (Manuel Ojeda) and the cousin of the one who has kidnapped "Wilder's" sister (Danny DeVito).

There is some pretty good chemistry between Douglas and Turner. However, I don't think that the romance that blooms between their characters was done well. To me, there should have been an instant attraction, but there wasn't. "Colton" begins his attraction as they are sitting in the shadow of a key location on the map.

There are some really good performances, especially from Douglas, and to a very minor degree lower, Turner. DeVito was some pretty good comic relief, but I would have liked to have seen him more with more interaction between Turner and Douglas.

I liked how "Colton" slowly transformed in the movie. At the start, he was very gruff and pretty much a sleaze. At the end, he has cleaned-up, shaved and bought new clothes to impress "Wilder" even more.

Ojeda is near perfect in his role, and looks like a villain more than DeVito. However, like Devito's character, I didn't think his character was well developed.

Trainor was not used much except to set up the plot at the start of the movie, and for some amusing comedic bits when she and her "sister" are trying to escape the villains. At one point, she crosses her eyes and faints.

I also like how some of the scenes in the opening segment, where we see the end of "Wilder's" latest novel as she reads it to herself (we hear her in voice over) are referenced in the rest of the movie. In the opening scenes, the heroine (whose face is in shadow) uses a knife to kill her would-be attacker. In the climax of the scene, "Wilder" tries a similar tactic when she and her "sister" are trying to escape the villains, but fails.

There is some good action scenes sprinkled here and there through out the movie, but nothing real spectacular.

As for the music, it's OK, but not really spectacular.

Despite the minor flaws in the movie, I would say put this movie on the lower half of your Top 10 "To See" list in case your first choice is not available.

The Opposite of Sex

I did this review months ago, and apparently didn't post it here.
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"Dedee Truitt" (Christina Ricci) is a manipulative 16-year-old who is pregnant. She takes us, through narration, on how she has manipulated men, including the gay lover (Ivan Sergei) of her half-brother (Martin Donovan), to get what she wants.

She convinces her half-brother's boyfriend that he is the father of the child, even though he really isn't. And the two runaway with each other, with the ashes of the half-brother's former lover who died of AIDS, which is the butt of some jokes from Ricci's character that didn't produce a laugh from me. They take the ashes in an attempt to extort some much needed money.

Now, "Bill", along with the uptight sister of his late lover, "Lucia" (Lisa Kudrow), follow the two to try to convince them to at least give them back the ashes if not come home.

Well, Yahoo Movies predicts that I would like yet another black comedy. And, even though I laughed one time during the entire film, I thought this one wasn't all that bad. However, I didn't think it was all that funny.

What I liked about the movie was the performances from the entire cast, Ricci, out of the entire cast, stands out more than any other person in the movie. However, Kudrow is a real close second when it comes to standing out. Both actresses move away from roles they were known for at the time and do it wonderfully.

The movie is well paced and isn't really confusing. The jokes, like other black comedies I've seen, aren't all that funny and are pretty insulting at times.

There is some action, but they are very brief. The violence, for what there is, is mostly kept off-screen. Minor things like one person punching another is seen though.

The most major members of the supporting cast are developed pretty well and actually help move the story along nicely with some subplots involving them.

There are a few gay characters in this movie. One of them could be a comedic sterotype, but it's not too over-the-top. In fact, the depiction of the gay characters is not sterotypical and is done with taste.

If you ask me, this would be something pretty good to watch if it's on HBO or one of the other movie networks. As for a rental, I wouldn't make it a first choice. Probably a little lower -- say sixth or seventh choice if your first one is not available.

I would also recommend that parents not really show this movie to young children due to some of the themes in the film. Like all black comedies, this one isn't for everybody. Some may find this one of the funniest movies they have ever seen, while others may see this as something not funny at all.

Blast!
Blast!(2005)
½

"Lamont Dixon" (Eddie Griffin) is a former firefighter now taking care of a fallen comrade's son (Nicky Andrews) and now works as a tugboat captain.

It's Christmas, and "Dixon" has been assigned to push an oil rig into place. For safety, the rig has to be pushed very slowly to the point that it will take 20 hours until they reach the spot that is planned for the rig. However, a group of environmental activists are at the dock where the rig is to launch, headed by a vocal man (Vinnie Jones).

As a group of activists try to block the tugboat and rig with their own boat, a fire breaks out and the tugboat crew scrambles to help.

When on board, the group of activists turn out to be something more sinister -- a group of terrorists lead by a known British terrorist (Jones).

Now, "Dixon", along with a computer expert (Brekin Meyer) working undercover for the Feds as a snitch, has to try to stop the the terrorists to complete their mission -- to detonate an electromagnetic bomb over California.

Griffin is best known for his comedic roles that he has done in movies and on television. In this movie, he proves that he is actually a pretty good actor in a non-comedic role. He does crack a few one-liners throughout the movie, none of which is as memorable as in the fairly similar first "Die Hard".

Another good performance is by Vivica A. Fox as FBI agent "Reed". Sadly, her interaction with those trying to stop the terrorists is extremely limited so there really isn't a shot of any attraction between her and either lead actor on board the rig.

Meyer and Griffin are only OK as the on-screen duo trying to stop the villains. They had some chemistry, but not too much. When they were the only two in the scene, I didn't feel as if they really worked well together.

Like other movies I've seen with a group of villains, a few of them are focused on. And, just like the other movies, their characters are not developed a lot. In fact, the lead villain has the most development, but not by much really.

There is some good gunplay in this movie. The blood is kept to a minimum though. There is also some good explosions, but nothing spectacular.

Some of the things presented are pretty predictable. I could pretty much predict who would be "dead" by the end of the movie. I also pretty much knew who would make it to the final scene.

This could be a pretty good rental, but I wouldn't make it a first choice. I would even say check it out when you come across it on HBO or another movie network.

Lost in Space

This is yet another major motion picture based on a classic television show which rewrites the plot of the story.

A world government-run space organization is in the process of creating a sort of space gate that will transport the world's population to a recently discovered planet that could sustain humans. The "Robinsons" (William Hurt as "Professor John Robinson", Mimi Rogers as "Professor Maureen Robinson", Heather Graham as "Dr. Judy Robinson", Lacey Chabert as "Penny Robinson" and Jack Johnson as "Will Robinson"), along with "Major Don West" (Matt LeBlanc) a "Robot" (voiced by Dick Tufeld, who voiced the same character in the original TV series) and the stowaway "Dr. Smith" (Gary Oldman) who sabotages the ship and "Robot".

Now, light years from home, the crew of the "Jupiter 2" have discovered an spaceship from an unknown species with alien plant life, strange spider-like creatures and a friendly creature (voiced by Gary A. Hecker) which changes its skin color to match its mood. They also discover that the planet they have crash landed on is being subject to rips in time.

Until the time traveling storyline appears, this is a fairly good movie. The movie starts off with a pretty good space battle where we meet "West" for the first time. One thing that this movie inaccurately depicts, as does the majority of space-based science-fiction is sound in outer space. In reality, you would not hear rockets firing or explosions due to lack of oxygen, which is needed for sound to travel.

The action scenes are fast-paced and are filled with action in fact. However, there really isn't a lot of action in this movie. The opening battle scene is probably the best action sequence in the entire movie.

The special effects are pretty good in this movie. CGI space crafts look pretty much more realistic than computer-generated. The spaceships look pretty good. The single-seat fighters we see at the beginning of the movie has to be the most original looking spaceships in some time. Other special effects appear to be variants of holographic images in the movie, one of which is used as a sort of an X-Ray Machine.

The performances are not that great. I didn't feel much chemistry between the two couples, one of which was a budding relationship between Graham and LeBlanc. I also could not stand Lacey Chabert and her annoying natural voice.

One problem in this film is character development. I've seen episodes of the original television series, and thought that the script writers took certain liberties with the plot of the TV series and the iconic characters. "Robot" has a new body with the famous "head" piece, and the children are a lot smarter than the ones on the television series. One of the kids is now a doctor in charge of the cryo-sleep pods, and "Will" is a computer expert much like a hacker is today.

Fans of the original series will like the cameos of the majority of television series. June Lockhart is mostly used for a few chuckles as "Will's" teacher who has called "Maureen" to discuss "Will's" behavior at school. "Will" hacks into the holographic system to change her body as she talks. Mark Goddard (the original "Major West"), Angela Cartwight (the original "Penny") and Marta Kristen (the original "Judy") all have cameos near the beginning of the movie. Out of all the original cast who appear in the film, Tufeld has the most time in the film as the voice of the "Robot" (and he does utter the most iconic line in the television series).

As for the music, it's mostly instrumentals. The music during the closing credits are pretty boring, especially the one song as the credits begin to role which has various lines from the movie mixed into it. And, as I think of it, I don't think an updated version of the original TV show theme even appears in this film.

Fans of the original television series will be pretty disappointed with the obvious changes in the film. Sci-Fi fans might like it if they can follow the time travel storyline, which was pretty confusing. I can't really recommend this as a "Must See" movie, but it could be a fair piece of entertainment when you come across it on HBO or on On Demand.

Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider(2007)

When I was a kid, I never read the "Ghost Rider" comic books published by Marvel Comics Group. I am only familiar with the character when he made a guest appearance in one of the titles I did read. So, since I had heard of the character, I was pretty interested when I saw that a live-action adaptation was coming to theaters even if they cast one of my least favorite actors in the lead role.

The teenage "Johnny Blaze" (Matt Long) is following his father (Brett Cullen) into a life of being a motorcycle stunt rider at a circus. To complicate things, his girlfriend, "Roxanne Simpson" (Raquel Alessi) is moving away under orders of her father. To complicate things either further, his father is dying of cancer.

Just as he is preparing to leave his father and the circus behind to go after "Roxanne", a man with a cane (Peter Fonda) comes up to him and offers to cure his father's deal for the young man's soul. "Blaze" signs the contract, and the next morning, his father is completely healthy. However, the young man soon finds out that when you make a deal with the devil, you will pay in spades.

Now, years later, "Johnny" (Nicolas Cage) is a famous motorcycle stuntman who puts his life on the line in bigger venues than his father ever did. However, he is not happy with the fame and fortune he has now and is looking for a sign for a second chance at the life he believes he was destined for. And the sign apparently shows itself when "Roxanne" (Eva Mendes) walks back into his life as a television news reporter assigned to cover his jump that he has scheduled for the anniversary of his father's death shortly after she moved away.

However, a demon known as "Blackheart" (Wes Bently) wants to bring the End of Days to the world so he might inherit it. So, because of this, the man with the cane re-enters "Johnny's" life to cash in on his debt. He transforms "Johnny" into his bounty hunter known as the "Ghost Rider" who is bent on returning and sending evil souls to Hell.

Now, "Blaze", with the help of a mysterious cemetery "Caretaker" (Sam Elliott), must stop "Blackheart" and his evil minions while trying to save his own soul.

Like I said earlier, I never read the "Ghost Rider" comics. So I will say right off that those who do will probably like this a lot more than the average audience member who probably never read it. And, unlike those who never picked up a copy of either version of "Ghost Rider" (one of which has since been renamed the "Phantom Rider"), they will be able to pick up on the major differences in the original comic book version and this movie. And, after some web surfing, I have learned that there are some major differences between the comic book storyline and the movie's storyline that only the fans of the comic book will know.

First off, the movie tends to drag in many places. It's not really the fast-pace that it should be. The action is also pretty slow. You would think that with all the special effects used for the supernatural powers of the villains and "Ghost Rider" you would think that they could have made the characters move at a superhuman-like speed at times. For the most part, the supernatural-powered characters move as if they are just average humans.

The acting pretty much suffers due to a weak script. Many times, it seemed as if the actors were repeating the lines being relayed to them by somebody off-camera. There was little chemistry between the entire cast. I felt no chemistry between Cage and Mendes.

I also felt that Cage was miscast as "Johnny Blaze"/"Ghost Rider". If my memory serves, the comic book character I remember was younger than Cage. I also felt that he was holding back in his performance. Mendes was also underused, as were other major supporting characters.

If you ask me, the absolutely gorgeous Mendes was there more for eye candy than her acting. When "Roxanne" re-enters "Johnny's" life, we see her standing in profile in a tight fighting dress that would not be seen worn by real news reporters. And, in a later scene, she is showing off just a little too much cleavage for the working environment.

I think that the only perfectly cast actor was Elliott as "The Caretaker". With his deep voice, he made the character very mysterious as he tried to give "Johnny" tips on his battle. You also never really realize his true nature until it appears in the story, but with "Caretaker's" knowledge of "Ghost Rider's" mission will make you wonder. One bad thing about "Caretaker" is that when his true nature is revealed, it's the wrong look. Over the years in the comic book history, there have been three characters known as "Ghost Rider". I only know of the first one and the "Johnny Blaze" one, and knew instantly that when the "Caretaker's" true nature was finally revealed that it was in reference to the first character with the name. I also knew instantly that it was nothing like the first comic book character.

The music is pretty good in this movie. There is a mix between songs by well-known artists and instrumentals. There is no real current stars on the soundtrack, but there are well-known artists performing big hits from their careers.

Of course, there is a lot of special effects in this movie. There is a lot of morphing effects that are nicely edited together. I also liked the look of "Ghost Rider," but it was pretty obvious that the "bone" that we see of his skeletal body was made with CGI. The "flames" that come from his body is much better looking than the "bones" if you ask me. The "flames" are multi-colored much like real flames and have a natural movement. One thing that I wasn't too fond of was the digitally-enhanced voice used for "Ghost Rider" because, at times, it was hard to understand what he was saying.

If you are a fan of the comic book, I would say rent this. However, if you are not a reader of the comic book, then I would say watch this on television when nothing else is on.

The Blues Brothers
½

[color=cyan]"'Joliet' Jake Blues" (the late John Belushi) has been released from prison after a five-year sentence. His brother, "Elwood" (Dan Ackroyd) picks him up in a former black-and-white (police car) which he had bought at auction after trading the Bluesmobile for a microphone.[/color]
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[color=cyan]The first thing they do, against "Jake's" wishes, is to visit "Sister Mary Stigmata" (the late Kathleen Freeman), whom they have nicknamed "The Penguin" because of her nun outfit. She informs them that the orphanage she runs, and that they were raised in, is going to be shut down by the state of Illinois unless they raise $5,000 -- and their time limit is almost up.[/color]
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[color=cyan]After offering to get the money illegally, they go to a church suggested by "Curtis" (the late music legend "The Hi De Ho Man" Cab Calloway) to hear the "Reverend Cleophus James" (the late "Godfather of Soul" James Brown). During the sermon, "Jake" gets an inspiration as the Reverend is repeating "Can you see the light?" while a strange, blueish light envelops "Jake." "Jake" then informs his brother that they have to put The Blues Brothers Band back together to raise the money "The Penguin" needs to keep the orphanage open.[/color]
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[color=cyan]So, the "Blues Brothers" goes around the area to find their former bandmates and try to convince them that their "Mission from God" is not a scam while making some enemies along the way -- including a jilted lover of "Jake's" (Carrie Fisher) who will do anything to kill him.[/color]
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[color=cyan]The first thing you have to ask is "is this a musical or is it a comedy?" Some of the audience may see it as a comedy with lots of great music. While others will see it as a musical with some comedy, and a little action thrown in.[/color]
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[color=cyan]The soundtrack is absolutely wonderful in this movie. You even get to see and hear some R&B legends like Ray Charles, Brown and "The Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin. What makes the on-screen performances interesting is that not all are playback with the performer lip-syncing. Some, like Brown's and Johnny Lee Hooker's performances, were recorded live as they happened. If you ask me, this helps those scenes a bit.[/color]
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[color=cyan]There is a lot of funny stuff in this movie. Many of the jokes are physical bits, while others are some funny lines. Many of the R&B stars take part in the comedy. Some of the most memorable are either said or done by these people who are not known for their acting.[/color]
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[color=cyan]Some things that are shot well, and are some of the most memorable moments in this film, are the many car chases. The most memorable that takes place next to the final one at the climax of the movie takes place in a refurbished mall that was found by the person in charge of finding the locations to film at. Not only will your adrenaline surge during this, and other car chases, but you will laugh at much of the situations and lines that happen doing them.[/color]
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[color=cyan]There are some real good performances in this movie. Out of the entire cast, I would have to say that Ackroyd and Belushi have the best on-screen chemistry. Some cast members, although the performances may have been intentional, seem to be uncomfortable acting. The R&B stars who have lines seem really comfortable performing as an actor. Two of the music legends who are near perfect as actors are Calloway and Franklin. One of the most memorable is Charles, who performs as if he is not blind.[/color]
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[color=cyan]Many of the supporting characters really don't have a lot of development. Some are there to help introduce some of the Blues Brothers Band members, while others are there to advance the story a bit or perform a song. But, there is usually something going on, so you probably will just ignore the character development. Personally, I would have liked to see more storyline for some of the ones chasing the "Blues Brothers" on their trip.[/color]
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[color=cyan]A note to parents. There is some strong language in this movie. If you have young kids who you think would like the music in this movie, I would suggest that you have them watch it when it's aired on a television network which edits movies for time allowed and especially content.[/color]
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[color=cyan]Out of all the movies I've reviewed lately (on other sites), this is one I certainly would say you should put on your Top 10 "Must See" List.[/color]