class label
2 classes
plot : two teen couples go to a church party , drink and then drive . they get into an accident . one of the guys dies , but his girlfriend continues to see him in her life , and has nightmares . what 's the deal ? watch the movie and " sorta " find out . . . critique : a mind - fuck movie for the teen generation that touches on a very cool idea , but presents it in a very bad package . which is what makes this review an even harder one to write , since i generally applaud films which attempt to break the mold , mess with your head and such ( lost highway & memento ) , but there are good and bad ways of making all types of films , and these folks just did n't snag this one correctly . they seem to have taken this pretty neat concept , but executed it terribly . so what are the problems with the movie ? well , its main problem is that it 's simply too jumbled . it starts off " normal " but then downshifts into this " fantasy " world in which you , as an audience member , have no idea what 's going on . there are dreams , there are characters coming back from the dead , there are others who look like the dead , there are strange apparitions , there are disappearances , there are a looooot of chase scenes , there are tons of weird things that happen , and most of it is simply not explained . now i personally do n't mind trying to unravel a film every now and then , but when all it does is give me the same clue over and over again , i get kind of fed up after a while , which is this film 's biggest problem . it 's obviously got this big secret to hide , but it seems to want to hide it completely until its final five minutes . and do they make things entertaining , thrilling or even engaging , in the meantime ? not really . the sad part is that the arrow and i both dig on flicks like this , so we actually figured most of it out by the half - way point , so all of the strangeness after that did start to make a little bit of sense , but it still did n't the make the film all that more entertaining . i guess the bottom line with movies like this is that you should always make sure that the audience is " into it " even before they are given the secret password to enter your world of understanding . i mean , showing melissa sagemiller running away from visions for about 20 minutes throughout the movie is just plain lazy ! ! okay , we get it . . . there are people chasing her and we do n't know who they are . do we really need to see it over and over again ? how about giving us different scenes offering further insight into all of the strangeness going down in the movie ? apparently , the studio took this film away from its director and chopped it up themselves , and it shows . there might 've been a pretty decent teen mind - fuck movie in here somewhere , but i guess " the suits " decided that turning it into a music video with little edge , would make more sense . the actors are pretty good for the most part , although wes bentley just seemed to be playing the exact same character that he did in american beauty , only in a new neighborhood . but my biggest kudos go out to sagemiller , who holds her own throughout the entire film , and actually has you feeling her character 's unraveling . overall , the film does n't stick because it does n't entertain , it 's confusing , it rarely excites and it feels pretty redundant for most of its runtime , despite a pretty cool ending and explanation to all of the craziness that came before it . oh , and by the way , this is not a horror or teen slasher flick . . . it 's just packaged to look that way because someone is apparently assuming that the genre is still hot with the kids . it also wrapped production two years ago and has been sitting on the shelves ever since . whatever . . . skip it ! where 's joblo coming from ? a nightmare of elm street 3 ( 7/10 ) - blair witch 2 ( 7/10 ) - the crow ( 9/10 ) - the crow : salvation ( 4/10 ) - lost highway ( 10/10 ) - memento ( 10/10 ) - the others ( 9/10 ) - stir of echoes ( 8/10 )
[ "mind - fuck movie", "the sad part is", "downshifts into this \" fantasy \" world", "i get kind of fed up after a while", "pretty redundant", "it 's simply too jumbled", "have no idea what 's going on", "just did n't snag this one correctly", "do we really need to see it over and over again ?", "a very bad package", "the film does n't stick", "it does n't entertain , it 's confusing , it rarely excites", "what 's the deal ?", "executed it terribly", "not really", "skip it !" ]
the happy bastard 's quick movie review damn that y2k bug . it 's got a head start in this movie starring jamie lee curtis and another baldwin brother ( william this time ) in a story regarding a crew of a tugboat that comes across a deserted russian tech ship that has a strangeness to it when they kick the power back on . little do they know the power within . . . going for the gore and bringing on a few action sequences here and there , virus still feels very empty , like a movie going for all flash and no substance . we do n't know why the crew was really out in the middle of nowhere , we do n't know the origin of what took over the ship ( just that a big pink flashy thing hit the mir ) , and , of course , we do n't know why donald sutherland is stumbling around drunkenly throughout . here , it 's just " hey , let 's chase these people around with some robots " . the acting is below average , even from the likes of curtis . you 're more likely to get a kick out of her work in halloween h20 . sutherland is wasted and baldwin , well , he 's acting like a baldwin , of course . the real star here are stan winston 's robot design , some schnazzy cgi , and the occasional good gore shot , like picking into someone 's brain . so , if robots and body parts really turn you on , here 's your movie . otherwise , it 's pretty much a sunken ship of a movie .
[ "it 's pretty much a sunken ship", "sutherland is wasted", "still feels very empty", "the acting is below average" ]
it is movies like these that make a jaded movie viewer thankful for the invention of the timex indiglo watch . based on the late 1960 's television show by the same name , the mod squad tells the tale of three reformed criminals under the employ of the police to go undercover . however , things go wrong as evidence gets stolen and they are immediately under suspicion . of course , the ads make it seem like so much more . quick cuts , cool music , claire dane 's nice hair and cute outfits , car chases , stuff blowing up , and the like . sounds like a cool movie , does it not ? after the first fifteen minutes , it quickly becomes apparent that it is not . the mod squad is certainly a slick looking production , complete with nice hair and costumes , but that simply is n't enough . the film is best described as a cross between an hour - long cop show and a music video , both stretched out into the span of an hour and a half . and with it comes every single clich ? . it does n't really matter that the film is based on a television show , as most of the plot elements have been recycled from everything we 've already seen . the characters and acting is nothing spectacular , sometimes even bordering on wooden . claire danes and omar epps deliver their lines as if they are bored , which really transfers onto the audience . the only one to escape relatively unscathed is giovanni ribisi , who plays the resident crazy man , ultimately being the only thing worth watching . unfortunately , even he 's not enough to save this convoluted mess , as all the characters do n't do much apart from occupying screen time . with the young cast , cool clothes , nice hair , and hip soundtrack , it appears that the film is geared towards the teenage mindset . despite an american ' r ' rating ( which the content does not justify ) , the film is way too juvenile for the older mindset . information on the characters is literally spoon - fed to the audience ( would it be that hard to show us instead of telling us ? ) , dialogue is poorly written , and the plot is extremely predictable . the way the film progresses , you likely wo n't even care if the heroes are in any jeopardy , because you 'll know they are n't . basing the show on a 1960 's television show that nobody remembers is of questionable wisdom , especially when one considers the target audience and the fact that the number of memorable films based on television shows can be counted on one hand ( even one that 's missing a finger or two ) . the number of times that i checked my watch ( six ) is a clear indication that this film is not one of them . it is clear that the film is nothing more than an attempt to cash in on the teenage spending dollar , judging from the rash of really awful teen - flicks that we 've been seeing as of late . avoid this film at all costs .
[ "the characters and acting is nothing spectacular", "as if they are bored", "that simply is n't enough", "bordering on wooden", "the plot is extremely predictable", "with it comes every single clich ?", "all the characters do n't do much apart from occupying screen time", "avoid this film at all costs", "dialogue is poorly written", "nothing more than an attempt to cash in on the teenage spending dollar", "the film is way too juvenile", "even he 's not enough to save this convoluted mess", "it quickly becomes apparent that it is not" ]
" quest for camelot " is warner bros . ' first feature - length , fully - animated attempt to steal clout from disney 's cartoon empire , but the mouse has no reason to be worried . the only other recent challenger to their throne was last fall 's promising , if flawed , 20th century fox production " anastasia , " but disney 's " hercules , " with its lively cast and colorful palate , had her beat hands - down when it came time to crown 1997 's best piece of animation . this year , it 's no contest , as " quest for camelot " is pretty much dead on arrival . even the magic kingdom at its most mediocre -- that 'd be " pocahontas " for those of you keeping score -- is n't nearly as dull as this . the story revolves around the adventures of free - spirited kayley ( voiced by jessalyn gilsig ) , the early - teen daughter of a belated knight from king arthur 's round table . kayley 's only dream is to follow in her father 's footsteps , and she gets her chance when evil warlord ruber ( gary oldman ) , an ex - round table member - gone - bad , steals arthur 's magical sword excalibur and accidentally loses it in a dangerous , booby - trapped forest . with the help of hunky , blind timberland - dweller garrett ( carey elwes ) and a two - headed dragon ( eric idle and don rickles ) that 's always arguing with itself , kayley just might be able to break the medieval sexist mold and prove her worth as a fighter on arthur 's side . " quest for camelot " is missing pure showmanship , an essential element if it 's ever expected to climb to the high ranks of disney . there 's nothing here that differentiates " quest " from something you 'd see on any given saturday morning cartoon -- subpar animation , instantly forgettable songs , poorly - integrated computerized footage . ( compare kayley and garrett 's run - in with the angry ogre to herc 's battle with the hydra . i rest my case . ) even the characters stink -- none of them are remotely interesting , so much that the film becomes a race to see which one can out - bland the others . in the end , it 's a tie -- they all win . that dragon 's comedy shtick is awfully cloying , but at least it shows signs of a pulse . at least fans of the early-'90s tgif television line - up will be thrilled to find jaleel " urkel " white and bronson " balki " pinchot sharing the same footage . a few scenes are nicely realized ( though i 'm at a loss to recall enough to be specific ) , and the actors providing the voice talent are enthusiastic ( though most are paired up with singers who do n't sound a thing like them for their big musical moments -- jane seymour and celine dion ? ? ? ) . but one must strain through too much of this mess to find the good . aside from the fact that children will probably be as bored watching this as adults , " quest for camelot " 's most grievous error is its complete lack of personality . and personality , we learn from this mess , goes a very long way .
[ "dead on arrival", "the characters stink", "subpar animation , instantly forgettable songs , poorly - integrated computerized footage", "complete lack of personality", "missing pure showmanship", "will probably be as bored watching", "this mess", "one must strain through too much of this mess", "is n't nearly as dull as this" ]
synopsis : a mentally unstable man undergoing psychotherapy saves a boy from a potentially fatal accident and then falls in love with the boy 's mother , a fledgling restauranteur . unsuccessfully attempting to gain the woman 's favor , he takes pictures of her and kills a number of people in his way . comments : stalked is yet another in a seemingly endless string of spurned - psychos - getting - their - revenge type movies which are a stable category in the 1990s film industry , both theatrical and direct - to - video . their proliferation may be due in part to the fact that they 're typically inexpensive to produce ( no special effects , no big name stars ) and serve as vehicles to flash nudity ( allowing them to frequent late - night cable television ) . stalked wavers slightly from the norm in one respect : the psycho never actually has an affair ; on the contrary , he 's rejected rather quickly ( the psycho typically is an ex - lover , ex - wife , or ex - husband ) . other than that , stalked is just another redundant entry doomed to collect dust on video shelves and viewed after midnight on cable . stalked does not provide much suspense , though that is what it sets out to do . interspersed throughout the opening credits , for instance , a serious - sounding narrator spouts statistics about stalkers and ponders what may cause a man to stalk ( it 's implicitly implied that all stalkers are men ) while pictures of a boy are shown on the screen . after these credits , a snapshot of actor jay underwood appears . the narrator states that " this is the story of daryl gleason " and tells the audience that he is the stalker . of course , really , this is the story of restauranteur brooke daniels . if the movie was meant to be about daryl , then it should have been called stalker not stalked . okay . so we know who the stalker is even before the movie starts ; no guesswork required . stalked proceeds , then , as it begins : obvious , obvious , obvious . the opening sequence , contrived quite a bit , brings daryl and brooke ( the victim ) together . daryl obsesses over brooke , follows her around , and tries to woo her . ultimately rejected by her , his plans become more and more desperate and elaborate . these plans include the all - time , psycho - in - love , cliche : the murdered pet . for some reason , this genre 's films require a dead pet to be found by the victim stalked . stalked is no exception ( it 's a cat this time -- found in the shower ) . events like these lead to the inevitable showdown between stalker and stalked , where only one survives ( guess who it invariably always is and you 'll guess the conclusion to this turkey ) . stalked 's cast is uniformly adequate : not anything to write home about but also not all that bad either . jay underwood , as the stalker , turns toward melodrama a bit too much . he overdoes it , in other words , but he still manages to be creepy enough to pass as the type of stalker the story demands . maryam d'abo , about the only actor close to being a star here ( she played the bond chick in the living daylights ) , is equally adequate as the " stalked " of the title , even though she seems too ditzy at times to be a strong , independent business - owner . brooke ( d'abo ) needs to be ditzy , however , for the plot to proceed . toward the end , for example , brooke has her suspicions about daryl . to ensure he wo n't use it as another excuse to see her , brooke decides to return a toolbox he had left at her place to his house . does she just leave the toolbox at the door when no one answers ? of course not . she tries the door , opens it , and wanders around the house . when daryl returns , he enters the house , of course , so our heroine is in danger . somehow , even though her car is parked at the front of the house , right by the front door , daryl is oblivious to her presence inside . the whole episode places an incredible strain on the audience 's suspension of disbelief and questions the validity of either character 's intelligence . stalked receives two stars because , even though it is highly derivative and somewhat boring , it is not so bad that it can not be watched . rated r mostly for several murder scenes and brief nudity in a strip bar , it is not as offensive as many other thrillers in this genre are . if you 're in the mood for a good suspense film , though , stake out something else .
[ "it is highly derivative and somewhat boring", "does not provide much suspense", "just another redundant entry doomed to collect dust on video shelves and viewed after midnight on cable", "obvious , obvious , obvious", "questions the validity of either character 's intelligence", "stake out something else", "incredible strain on the audience 's suspension of disbelief", "cliche" ]
capsule : in 2176 on the planet mars police taking into custody an accused murderer face the title menace . there is a lot of fighting and not a whole lot of story otherwise . john carpenter reprises so many ideas from his previous films , especially assault on precinct 13 , that the new film comes off as his homage to himself . , 0 ( -4 to +4 ) . john carpenter apparently believes that action scenes in which people fight something horrible are the same as horror scenes . for a writer and director of horror films , supposedly an expert on horror , it is a very bad mistake to make . ghosts of mars is called a horror movie , but it is more just a drawn out fight between humans and a surprisingly low - powered alien menace . in addition if anybody but john carpenter had made ghosts of mars , carpenter would have grounds to sue . this film is just chock full of pieces taken from assault on precinct 13 , the thing , and prince of darkness . it is , in fact , surprising that carpenter managed to fit so many pieces of his previous work into this film in such an admittedly novel way . but that still does not make for a really good science fiction experience . ghosts of mars takes place in the year 2176 . mars has been mostly terraformed so that humans can walk on the surface without breathing gear ( which is good for the film 's budget ) . it is never mentioned , but the gravity on mars has been increased somehow to earth - normal , again making it easier to film . society has changed a bit by that time , but it has advanced surprisingly little . apparently the culture has changed so that women are much more in positions of control . and from carpenter 's view , women have really made a mess of things . society has stagnated under female control so that beyond some minor technological advances society has changed less in 175 years than we might expect it to change in ten . the basic plot of ghosts of mars has much in common with that of assault on precinct 13 except that precinct 9 ( yes , precinct 9 ) has been replaced by a somewhat tacky looking rundown martian mining colony . instead of having the criminal " napolean " wilson , this film has the criminal " desolation " williams . instead of facing hoodlums with automatic weapons the police face , well , ghosts of mars . because the ghosts are somewhat alien in nature they should behave in some alien manner , but they essentially behave as human savages , in another lapse of imagination . the story is told in flashback , flashback within flashback , and flashback within flashback within flashback . ghosts of mars takes place entirely at night and is filmed almost entirely in tones of red , yellow , and black . carpenter manages to give us a powerful opening scene , showing a mining train rushing through the martian night to the sound of music with a heavy beat . sadly what follows is not really up to the buildup . the terror he creates looks a little too much like fugitive wannabes from the rock band kiss . his idea of building suspense is having a bunch of sudden jump scenes that sucker the viewer into thinking something scary is happening and then prove to be just something boring . these are standard haunted house film shock effects that require no great talent to give the audience . somewhat newer but also unimpressive are the cgi digital decapitations in some of the fights . within a short stretch of time we have seen the release of mission to mars , red planet , and ghosts of mars . after mission to mars was panned by too many reviewers it looks better and better and better as time goes by . i rate ghosts of mars a 4 on the 0 to 10 scale and a 0 on the -4 to +4 scale . following the movie i showed my wife , who liked ghosts of mars moderately more than i did , carpenter 's classic assault on precinct 13 . her comment is that it was seeing the same film twice .
[ "sadly what follows is not really up to the buildup", "these are standard haunted house film shock effects", "it is a very bad mistake to make", "tacky looking rundown martian mining colony", "that still does not make for a really good science fiction experience", "also unimpressive" ]
so ask yourself what " 8 mm " ( " eight millimeter " ) is really all about . is it about a wholesome surveillance man who loses sight of his values after becoming enmeshed in the seedy , sleazy underworld of hardcore pornography ? is it about the business itself , how , bubbling just beneath the surface of big - town americana , there 's a sordid world of sick and depraved people who wo n't necessarily stop short of murder in order to satisfy their sick and twisted desires ? or is it about those who can , those who are in a position to influence the making of the kinds of films sick and demented people want to see ? i 'm not talking about snuff films , supposed " documentaries " of victims being brutalized and killed on camera . i 'm talking about films like " 8 mm " and its director , joel schumacher . with a recent run of big budget movies to his credit-- " batman & robin , " " a time to kill , " " batman forever , " " the client " --schumacher certainly has that kind of influence . is " 8 mm " something you really want to see ? probably not . the first two - thirds of " 8 mm " unwind as a fairly conventional missing persons drama , albeit with a particularly unsavory core . then , as it 's been threatening all along , the film explodes into violence . and just when you think it 's finally over , schumacher tags on a ridiculous self - righteous finale that drags the whole unpleasant experience down even further . trust me . there are better ways to waste two hours of your life . nicolas ' " snake eyes " ' cage plays private investigator tom welles who is hired by a wealthy philadelphia widow to determine whether a reel of film found in her late husband 's safe documents a young girl 's murder . welles goes about his assignment rather matter - of - factly , and the pieces of the puzzle fall into place rather neatly , almost as if you do n't need any specialized skills or training to do this . welles certainly makes it look easy . and cops , obviously , never look in toilet tanks for clues . the deeper welles digs into his investigation the more obsessed he becomes , like george c . scott in paul schrader 's " hardcore . " occasionally , a little flickering sound whirs in his head like sprockets winding through a film projector , reminding him of his unpleasant task . there are hints that this is taking its toll on his lovely wife , played by catherine keener , who is frustrated by her husband spending all of his time in cleveland rather than in their ugly split - level home in harrisburg , pa . " 8 mm " does n't condemn or condone its subject matter , it just exploits it . the irony , of course , is that schumacher and " seven " scribe andrew kevin walker 's vision of life in the snuff lane is limited by what they can show in an r - rated , first - run hollywood product . so we only see snippets of snuff , and a lot more footage of nicolas cage covering his face in horror . later it 's the turn of joaquin phoenix ( who 's quite good and by far the film 's most interesting character as adult bookstore flunky max california ) to cover his face as the horrid thing is screened over and over again . all this to get to the familiar yet offensive " revelation " that sexual deviants are not , indeed , monsters but everyday people like you and me . neither super nor standard , " 8 mm " is shocking only in its banality .
[ "probably not", "tags on a ridiculous self - righteous finale that drags the whole unpleasant experience down even further", "there are better ways to waste two hours of your life", "shocking only in its banality", "a fairly conventional missing persons drama" ]
that 's exactly how long the movie felt to me . there were n't even nine laughs in nine months . it 's a terrible mess of a movie starring a terrible mess of a man , mr . hugh grant , a huge dork . it 's not the whole oral - sex / prostitution thing ( referring to grant , not me ) that bugs me , it 's the fact that grant is annoying . not just adam sandler - annoying , we 're talking jim carrey - annoying . since when do eye flutters and nervous smiles pass for acting ? but , on the other hand , since when do really bad slapstick ( a fistfight in the delivery room culminating in grant 's head in joan cusack 's lap -- a scene he paid $ 60 to have included in the movie ) and obscene double entendres ( robin williams , the obstetrician , tells grant 's pregnant girlfriend she has " a big pussy , " referring of course to the size of the cat hairs on her coat , but nonetheless , grant paid $ 60 to have the exchange included in the movie ) pass for comedy ? nine months is a predictable cookie - cutter movie with no originality in humor or plot . hugh grant plays a successful child psychiatrist . why a child psychologist ? so the scriptwriters could inject the following unfunny exchange : kid : my dad 's an asshole . grant ( flutters eyelashes , offers a nervous smile , then responds in his annoying english accent and i - think - i - actually - have- talent attitude ) : could you possibly elaborate on that ? kid : my dad 's a _ huge _ asshole . more like a hugh asshole , but that 's beside the point , which is : nine months includes too many needlessly stupid jokes that get laughs from the ten year olds in the audience while everyone else shakes his or her head in disbelief . so , anyway , grant finds out his girlfriend is pregnant and does his usual reaction ( fluttered eyelashes , nervous smiles ) . this paves the way for every possible pregnancy / child birth gag in the book , especially since grant 's equally annoying friend 's wife is also pregnant . the annoying friend is played by tom arnold , who provides most of the cacophonous slapstick , none of which is funny , such as a scene where arnold beats up a costumed " arnie the dinosaur " ( you draw your own parallels on that one ) in a toy store . the only interesting character in the movie is played by jeff goldblum , who should have hid himself away somewhere after the dreadful hideaway , as an artist with a fear of ( and simultaneous longing for ) commitment . not even robin williams , who plays a russian doctor who has recently decided to switch from veterinary medicine to obstetrics , has much humor . his is a one - joke character-- the old foreign - guy - who - mispronounces - english stereotype ( did someone say yakov smirnov ? that 's my favorite vodka , by the way ) , hence the line " now it 's time to take a look at your volvo , " another nasty but unamusing joke , except this one goes right over the ten year olds ' heads , while the adults simultaneously groan . nine months is a complete failure , low on laughs and intelligence and high on loud , unfunny slapstick , failed jokes and other uninspired lunacy . hugh grant 's sunset boulevard arrest ( please , no caught - with - his - pants - down jokes ) may bring more people into the theaters , but they certainly wo n't leave with a smile on their faces , not after 90 minutes of grant 's nervous smiles . everything in the movie is so forced , so unauthentic that anyone with an i . q . over 80 ( sorry , hugh ) will know they wasted their money on an unfulfilled desire . but at least they did n't spend 60 bucks for it .
[ "nasty but unamusing joke", "is annoying", "they certainly wo n't leave with a smile", "eye flutters and nervous smiles", "no originality in humor or plot", "annoying english accent", "a huge dork", "low on laughs and intelligence and high on loud , unfunny slapstick", "failed jokes and other uninspired lunacy", "the annoying friend", "a predictable cookie - cutter movie", "everything in the movie is so forced , so unauthentic", "none of which is funny", "they wasted their money on an unfulfilled desire", "includes too many needlessly stupid jokes", "is a complete failure" ]
call it a road trip for the walking wounded . stellan skarsg ? rd plays such a convincingly zombified drunken loser that it 's difficult to spend nearly two hours of screen time in his smelly , boozed - out presence . yet this ever - reliable swedish actor adds depth and significance to the otherwise plodding and forgettable aberdeen , a sentimental and painfully mundane european drama . playwright august strindberg built his career on families and relationships paralyzed by secrets , unable to express their longings until the hour is far too late . that 's an accurate reflection of what aberdeen strives for , focusing on the pairing of an alcoholic father , tomas ( skarsg ? rd ) and his alienated , openly hostile yuppie daughter , kaisa ( lena headey , gossip ) . they have n't spoken in years , and would n't even be making the long trip from norway to aberdeen , scotland by automobile if it were n't for kaisa 's mother ( charlotte rampling , under the sand ) rotting away in a hospital bed from cancer . in a soap opera twist , mother has only a few days to live . ( only in the movies , right ? ) too blitzed to even step foot on a plane , tomas hits the open road with kaisa . loathing each other all the while , they make periodic stops for tomas to puke on the dashboard or pass out -- whenever he is n't muttering what a rotten kid she turned out to be . despite his sloshed viewpoint , tomas recognizes that the apple has n't fallen very far from the tree . kaisa gets nosebleeds from snorting coke , sabotages her personal relationships through indifference , and is unable to restrain her quick and vindictive temper . ai n't they a pair ? unable to find true notes of unspoken familial empathy in the one - note and repetitively bitchy dialogue , screenwriters kristin amundsen and hans petter moland fabricate a series of contrivances to propel events forward -- lost money , roving street hooligans looking for drunks to kick around , nosy cops , and flat tires all figure into the schematic and convenient narrative . by the time they reach the hospital , it 's time to unveil the secrets from a dark past that are not only simplistic devices that trivialize the father - daughter conflict , they 're also the mainstays of many a bad strindberg wannabe . this revelation exists purely for its own sake . aberdeen does n't know where else to go . weak , unimaginative casting thwarts the pivotal role of kaisa . if lena headey were a stronger actress , perhaps aberdeen could have been able to coast on the performances and moody , haunting cinematography ( rendering norway into its own pastoral ghost world -- the reference to a certain superior american indie flick intentional ) . headey 's too busy acting , using her face and furrowed brow to convey every last twitch of insouciance . if she were paying any attention to skarsg ? rd , maybe she 'd figure out that doing less can reveal so much more . it 's worthwhile to compare aberdeen to an earlier film released in 2001 , jonathan nossiter 's captivating signs & wonders . it 's not just because skarsg ? rd and rampling played disturbed parental figures in both films ( they 're not bound by ceremonial wedlock in aberdeen ) . the differences in the way their characters were presented is significant . in aberdeen , rampling is a luminous diva , preening and static in her hospital bed . despite skarsg ? rd 's solid performance as tomas , his pathetic drunk is never given much of a chance to emote anything besides catatonic sorrow . there 's genuine ferocity and sexually charged frisson during their understated confrontations in signs & wonders , allowing them to suggest a gray zone of complications that accompany torn romance and years of stifled curiosity . nossiter 's film thoroughly explores this neurotic territory in addition to delving into the americanization of greece and the use of mysticism as an illusion to deflect pain . if signs & wonders sometimes feels overloaded with ideas , at least it 's willing to stretch beyond what we 've come to expect from traditional drama . aberdeen is never half so ambitious , content to sleepwalk through the rhythms and timing of other movies . when did character driven stories stop paying attention to the complexities of real life ? the depressing answer can be found in lawrence kasdan 's trite but occasionally useful grand canyon , where steve martin 's hollywood mogul pronounces , " all of life 's riddles are answered in the movies ! " even foreign films are taking that advice to heart .
[ "a sentimental and painfully mundane european drama", "weak , unimaginative casting thwarts the pivotal role", "is never half so ambitious", "content to sleepwalk through the rhythms and timing of other movies", "stop paying attention to the complexities" ]
plot : a young french boy sees his parents killed before his eyes by tim roth , oops . . . i mean , an evil man . he vows revenge on that man and is taught the ways of the musketeer by some old dude who used to be one himself ? anyway , fourteen years go by and . . . arrgh , well , you know the rest . . . swish - swish - zzzzzzz ! critique : this is a pretty bad movie . let 's see , where should i start ? okay , first of all , the story is just plain boring . it 's not original , is entirely predictable and lacks energy . okay , what 's next ? acting , you say . hmmmm , well , the main actor , justin chambers , is basically an uncharismatic version of chris o'donnell but with less range ( think about that ! ) , and mena suvari , is just plain off . not as bad as thora birch was in dungeons & dragons , but entirely miscast , with bad deliveries , awful sequences and a piss - poor accent that comes and goes . now i 'm not sure if this was ms . suvari 's fault or the director 's , but i 've definitely seen her at a much higher level than in this film . the only semi - saving grace actor - wise is tim roth as the irrepressible " bad guy " , but once again , it 's not something that we have n't seen before . . . a thousand times . . . by the same guy ! ! tim , please . . . for the love of god , beg your agent to ask the marketplace for some modern day " american roles " for you as a " nice guy " in a romantic comedy or something . stretch , dude . . . stretch ! ! we all know that you can do much better than this gunk . alright , what else was bad in this film ? oh yeah , the score ! yikes , how 's about taking it down a few notches there , fellas ? this thing blares in your ear whenever it feels the need to accentuate a certain scene , but actually does little more than annoy . i think it 's important for the man behind the music to recognize that this film is n't a " real epic " by any stretch of the imagination . it 's a fluffy rehashed cake - walk created by some " shrewd " studio heads who decided to take advantage of the whole " kung - fu " phenomenon in films , and test it out on an old classic . dudes . . . you failed all around ! ( keep reading ) the editing is also pretty shoddy in this movie , the dialogue banal and stilted and the plot problems . . . plentiful ! ( why does the guy on top of the horse carriage just stand there when his opponent takes forever scampering his way back to the top ? why do n't they just cut the mouseketeer 's rope at the top of the tower , instead of jumping down on their own chords and fighting him while hanging ? why does n't anybody look a day older , when the sequence says " 14 years later " ? ( at least . . . change your shirt , man ! ) keep in mind that i have never strayed away from championing certain movies that are created simply for the sake of a " fun time " , but this flick just did n't cut it for me . it was boring for stretches , the acting was atrocious at times ( the " romantic " scene between suvari and chambers next to the lake reminded me of plays in high school which made you cringe ) , there was little reason to care for anyone and since when were the musketeers fat ? i will give the movie this much , and that is that its main reason for being ( its " raison - d'etre " , as the french would say ) , its fight sequences , do come through despite the lack of their numbers in the film . i was hoping that the movie would be packed with cool stuntwork as promoted in its trailer , but what you see there , are essentially the snippets from the two major ( and cool ) swashbuckling sequences from the film . the first comes right at the beginning of the movie , while the other essentially finishes the film off , hanging from the tower and juggling off ladders . the ladder sequence itself is a definite keeper but unfortunately the rest of the movie is just regurgitated crap . and can anyone please tell me how catherine deneuve got her name placed at the top of this film 's credits ? hullo ? the film is called the musketeer and stars a dude name justin chambers . deneuve is barely in this movie ! ugh , just another small thing that annoyed me about this trash . now say it together , gang : " all for one , and one for all . . . we vow to stay away from it all ! ! " thank me later . where 's joblo coming from ? a knight 's tale ( 7/10 ) - american outlaws ( 5/10 ) - crouching tiger , hidden dragon ( 7/10 ) - the matrix ( 8/10 ) - the replacement killers ( 6/10 ) - romeo must die ( 3/10 ) - shanghai noon ( 6/10 )
[ "it 's not original , is entirely predictable and lacks energy", "unfortunately the rest of the movie is just regurgitated crap", "does little more than annoy", "awful sequences and a piss - poor accent", "blares in your ear", "the editing is also pretty shoddy in this movie , the dialogue banal and stilted and the plot problems", "we vow to stay away from it all ! !", "an uncharismatic version", "it was boring for stretches", "what else was bad in this film ?", "entirely miscast", "the story is just plain boring", "is just plain off", "this is a pretty bad movie", "yikes , how 's about taking it down a few notches there , fellas ?", "you failed all around !", "the acting was atrocious at times", "bad deliveries", "another small thing that annoyed me about this trash" ]
best remembered for his understated performance as dr . hannibal lecter in michael mann 's forensics thriller , manhunter , scottish character actor brian cox brings something special to every movie he works on . usually playing a bit role in some studio schlock ( he dies halfway through the long kiss goodnight ) , he 's only occasionally given something meaty and substantial to do . if you want to see some brilliant acting , check out his work as a dogged police inspector opposite frances mcdormand in ken loach 's hidden agenda . cox plays the role of big john harrigan in the disturbing new indie flick l . i . e . , which lot 47 picked up at sundance when other distributors were scared to budge . big john feels the love that dares not speak its name , but he expresses it through seeking out adolescents and bringing them back to his pad . what bothered some audience members was the presentation of big john in an oddly empathetic light . he 's an even - tempered , funny , robust old man who actually listens to the kids ' problems ( as opposed to their parents and friends , both caught up in the high - wire act of their own confused lives . ) he 'll have sex - for - pay with them only after an elaborate courtship , charming them with temptations from the grown - up world . l . i . e . stands for long island expressway , which slices through the strip malls and middle - class homes of suburbia . filmmaker michael cuesta uses it as a ( pretty transparent ) metaphor of dangerous escape for his 15-year old protagonist , howie ( paul franklin dano ) . in his opening voice - over , howie reveals a morbid preoccupation with death on the road , citing the l . i . e . highway deaths of filmmaker alan j . pakula , songwriter harry chapin , and his own mother on exit 52 . he 's both fascinated and disturbed by the l . i . e . , and those feelings are projected onto big john ( who follows howie around in his bright red car , but never makes a move to force the boy to do something he does n't want to do . this makes him much more complex than the usual child molesters seen in movies -- he 's a beast , but ashamed of it . ) l . i . e . would have worked best as a half - hour short film about howie 's ill - advised foray into big john 's haven . there is unnecessary padding with howie 's miserable dad ( bruce altman ) in the hot seat for a white - collar crime , degenerate youngsters who get their kicks from robbing middle - class houses , and some homoerotic shenanigans with wise - ass gary terrio ( billy kay ) , a handsome artful dodger . rather than add to the themes of suburban ennui ( not that we needed another movie on that subject ) , these awkward subplots pad out the running time to adequate feature length . concurrently , the relationship between howie and big john is evenly paced and exceptionally well acted . cox , sporting a baseball cap and a faded marine tattoo , is all bluff and bluster . dano is quiet and at first glance seems so withdrawn as to be transparent . we 're so used to child actors whose dramatic choices are broad and obvious ( calling haley joel ! ) , it 's surprising to see one who actually listens throughout any given scene . the restraint is admirable . but l . i . e . 's screenplay does n't always give them the best material . when howie reads big john a walt whitman poem , the moment feels a bit too precious . director michael cuesta lingers on an ecstatic reaction shot of big john , who may as well be hearing glenn gould performing bach 's goldberg variations . it 's too much . there are also some obvious dramatic contrivances involving big john 's other boy toy ( walter masterson ) , jealous over the newbie . this plot thread predictably leads to violence . not content to be a haunting , observational portrait of teen alienation in a royally screwed up world ( like terry zwigoff 's superb ghost world ) , cuesta lacks the confidence in his own work to end on an ambivalent note . it 's typical of unimaginative cinema to wrap things up with a bullet , sparing the writers from actually having to come up with a complex , philosophical note . in this regard , l . i . e . ( and countless other indie films ) share something in common with blockbuster action films : problems are solved when the obstacle is removed . how often does real life work this way ? to extend the question : if a movie is striving for realism , do dramatic contrivances destroy the illusion ?
[ "it 's too much", "there is unnecessary padding", "these awkward subplots pad out the running time", "unimaginative cinema to wrap things up with a bullet" ]
janeane garofalo in a romantic comedy -- it was a good idea a couple years ago with the truth about cats and dogs but is almost excruciating in the matchmaker . this is a by - the - books movie that plods along on a predestined course with no surprises and very few laughs . it also jumps on the ever - popular political satire bandwagon and manages to fall flat there , too . garofalo plays a campaign aide to a massacusetts senator ( jay o . sanders ) running for reelection . denis leary plays the stereotypical strategist with no ethics who decides the only way for the scandal- plagued senator to win is to play up his irish roots and cash in on that boston roman catholic democrat contingent that 's made the kennedy family so popular . so leary orders garofalo to go to ireland and dig up some relatives to exploit . she soon learns why " easier said than done " is the mantra of movies like this . the matchmaker falls for every cliche of things that can go wrong -- garofalo has to take a tiny plane to ireland , almost misses the bus to town , ca n't get a hotel room , ends up in the smallest , trashiest one around , has a dog piss on her luggage , and so on . then comes what roger ebert calls the " meet cute . " it happens in every romance : the man and woman have to meet each other for the first time in some unconventional , cinematic way . in the matchmaker , it happens when garofalo walks into her hotel bathroom and finds a nude sean ( david o'hara ) in the bathtub , his dog sitting at his side . no points for guessing it 's the same dog that just made water on her luggage . also no points for guessing garofalo hates o'hara on sight . that 's how it works in movies like these . i know from the instant i saw that irishman in the bathtub that she 'd hate him for awhile , then succumb to his charms , live happily for a reel or so before allowing some superficial detail to throw the relationship into turmoil , after which they 'd reconcile in time for a happy irish tune to play over the end credits . i have n't mentioned the movie 's twist yet . garofalo comes to the small ireland town during the annual matchmaking festival , during which lonely folks from around the county pair off into a future of bliss . milo o'shea ( who looks like an irish tom snyder ) is the matchmaker who pops onscreen occasionally to spew his words of wisdom and bring lonely souls together . rest assured he 'll do all he can to match up garofalo and o'hara . oh , and in keeping with the matchmaker 's utter predictability , he dies toward the end . what the message here ? sometimes even the most respectable person of comedic distinction , like garofalo , will sell out with a weak script . i was excited to see garofalo and leary in the same movie , but they actually only have two or three scenes together . leary stays stateside , for the most part , yelling at garofalo over the phone and generally being an asshole . he even undoes himself with the old microphone 's still on after he 's done giving the speech cliche . both of them should have known better .
[ "plods along on a predestined course with no surprises and very few laughs", "manages to fall flat there , too", "falls for every cliche of things that can go wrong", "is almost excruciating", "both of them should have known better", "will sell out with a weak script" ]
and now the high - flying hong kong style of filmmaking has made its way down to the classics , and it is n't pretty . this time out the nod to asia goes by way of france in the excruciating bland and lukewarm production of the musketeer , a version of dumas 's the three musketeers . by bringing in popular asian actor / stunt coordinator xing xing xiong -- whose only prior american attempts at stunt choreography have been the laughable van damme vehicle double team and the dennis rodman cinematic joke simon sez -- our musketeers are thrown into the air to do their fighting . the end result is a tepid and dull action / adventure rip - off that stinks of indiana jones and bad asian kung fu . the story is so simple my grandmother could have adapted the screenplay . d'artagnan ( justin chambers ) is the vengeful son of a slain musketeer . he travels to paris to join the royal musketeers and find the man that killed his parents . in paris , he meets the cunning cardinal richelieu ( stephen rea ) , who is trying to overthrow the king , and richelieu 's man - in - black associate febre ( tim roth ) , the killer of his folks . he finds the musketeers in paris disbanded and drunk , so he rounds up aramis ( nick moran ) , athos ( jan gregor kremp ) and porthos ( steven spiers ) to free the musketeer 's wrongfully imprisoned leader treville from the king 's prison . d'artagnan and his new frisky love interest / chambermaid francesca ( mena suvari ) play footsy and coo at each other as the cardinal hunts down the musketeers until finally the queen ( catherine deneuve ) ends up being captured by the menancing febre , forcing the musketeers to regroup , with d'artagnan leading the charge , and save the day . director peter hyams ( end of days ) obviously wanted to blend eastern and western filmmaking styles , but here it 's a disaster . one problem is that , in reality , most eastern films have taken their lead from western ones . jet li 's high risk is a rip - off of die hard -- not the other way around . ironically , there is awfully little swordplay or action in the film at all -- maybe ten minutes of swashbuckling spread over five scenes . most asian action films carry the bulk of their production with 20- to 30-minute action sequences , because they know the scenes have to carry the picture . the musketeer instead weighs itself down with a predictable and monotonous screenplay by gene quintano ( sudden death ) , horrible acting by stephen rea and tim roth , and the prosaic attempt of justin chambers ( the wedding planner ) to deliver his mousy self as a leader . chambers ' d'artangnan is n't a musketeer -- he 's a mouseketeer ! and hyam 's use of candles and torches to light the grime and filth of 17th century paris are well - noted , but that 's the only standout in an overall flat production .
[ "mousy self", "the story is so simple my grandmother could have adapted the screenplay", "weighs itself down with a predictable and monotonous screenplay", "stinks", "a tepid and dull", "mouseketeer !", "the excruciating bland and lukewarm production", "horrible acting", "bad", "prosaic attempt", "an overall flat production", "rip - off" ]
a movie like mortal kombat : annihilation works ( and must be reviewed on ) multiple levels . first , there 's the rampant usage of randian subtext that pervades the entire movie . but occasionaly , almost as if making an ironic , self - depreciating remark , the movie tosses in clearly marxist imagery . no no . . . just kidding . had you going there for a moment , did n't i ? in all seriousness however , and to be fair to the movie , it * is * necessary to provide two viewpoints : that of a movie watcher unfamiliar ( or only marginally familiar ) with the whole mortal kombat phenomenon , and that of a fan of the first movie and/or a fan of the games . the first movie ( mortal kombat ( 1995 ) ) concerned itself with a martial arts tournament that would decide the fate of earth ( and it 's 5 billion inhabitants ) . the mortals won , and in theory this should have prevented the emperor shao khan from taking over the earth . unfortunately , shao khan was a poor loser , and the very final scene in mortal kombat showed him arriving anyway , ready to take over the planet , as our heroes assumed a fighting stance . the first movie was extraordinarily entertaining for those ( like myself ) who are fans of the game . i 'd even go so far as to say that many folks who did n't know about the game probably enjoyed the movie . the writers and directors knew the limitations of both their cast and of the basic story itself , and they did n't try to overachieve . there were a lot of really cool fight scenes ( with really cool accompanying music ) , intersperesed with some distracting ( but ultimately non - intrusive ) bits of fluff passing itself off as a plot . and , as we know , the movie was a smashing success at the box office . mortal kombat : annihilation picks up precisely where that movie left off , with some introductory exposition to clue in those who may not have seen the first movie . shao khan has decided that he 's going to take over the earth * anyways * , and to hell with some silly rule about mortals winning the tournament . thereafter follows approximately 85 minutes of film that alternates between being confused , being trite , being silly , and being just plain stupid . one gets the general impression that the producers of the movie thought " hey , that last movie was such a success that we can get more money and make a * real * movie now . " too bad they did n't simply stick with the formula from the first movie . i could write volumes about the things that are wrong with this picture , but here are the high points : * the acting is truly bad . sandra hess ( playing the sonya blade character ) is particularly execrable , especially in scenes where she tries to convince us that she loved johnny cage ( a character from the first movie who gets greased at the beginning of this movie ) . * in one of the worst pieces of mis - casting i think i 've * ever * seen , james remar plays raiden , the god of thunder . in the first movie , christopher lambert played raiden and played his character as though he was in on the joke : a french actor playing a japanese thunder god being revered by chinese mystics . i generally like it when actors are cast against type ( tim " tiny " lister , jr . being cast as the president of the u . s . in the fifth element , for example ) , and remar has always been one of my favorite " utility " actors but he 's so totally wrong for this part that he does n't even have the luxury of amused self - awareness . * there are too many characters that are introduced as being potentially important , but then never seen again . * there are a number of completely meaningless story sidetracks , including a muddled scene where liu kang ( robin shou ) seeks out nightwolf ( litefoot ) , has a mystical hallucination , and then wanders off with jade ( irina pantaeva ) . for these reasons ( and many others ) , i can only give the movie a 2 . . . . . . unless you 're a huge fan of the games and/or the first movie . in that case , the following critiques also apply : * sandra hess , while being an even worse actress than bridgette wilson ( who played sonya blade in the first movie ) , is much more convincing as a fighter . wilson looked like she was simply mimicing some movements taught to her by the fight choreographer . hess looks like she actually knows some martial arts , and puts together a much more believable fight scene . * in the fights , each of the characters does at least * one * thing they do in the game ( and often more ) . sonya does her " kiss of death , " jax does his " earthquake , " liu kang does his " animality , " and so on . a big bonus for those of us who were looking for similar moves in the first movie and found them only rarely . * there are n't as many fight scenes in this movie as there were in the first , because the folks making the movie mistakenly try to hang a more robust plot in between . silly , silly folks . and the lamest fight involved two of the women in what turns into a mud - wrestling match . lame and so obviously sexist even i ( politically incorrect , for the most part ) noticed and remarked upon it . * the special effects are generally better , except for the final fight scene between the emporer and liu kang in which both perform their " animalities . " motaro and sheeva are both more convincing and lifelike than goro was in the first movie . for folks like myself who loved the first movie and enjoy the games , i give this a 5 . you 'll probably like it , but not nearly as much as you liked the first one .
[ "a number of completely meaningless story sidetracks", "an even worse actress", "the lamest fight", "of the worst pieces of mis - casting", "is particularly execrable", "a muddled scene", "silly , silly folks", "lame and so obviously sexist", "the acting is truly bad", "he 's so totally wrong for this part", "i could write volumes about the things that are wrong with this picture", "being confused , being trite , being silly , and being just plain stupid", "too bad they did n't simply stick with the formula" ]
she was the femme in " la femme nikita . " he was the baldwin in " backdraft , " " sliver , " and " fair game " ( with cindy crawford ) . together , anne parillaud and william baldwin conspire to make " shattered image " the biggest piece of hooey since the stallone / stone " thriller " " the specialist . " the film poses the question " what if the life you 're living now is really a dream , and your dreams reality ? " it 's either about a woman who 's haunted by a recurring ( and recurring and recurring ) nightmare that she 's a hired assassin , or it 's about a hired assassin who 's haunted by a recurring ( and recurring and recurring ) nightmare that she 's honeymooning with william baldwin in jamaica . it does n't much matter and believe me by the time " shattered image " runs its painful and pedestrian course you wo n't care . these two lives , with parillaud looking like siouxsie sioux with a black wig , black emotionless eyes , and black leather clothing in the seattle - based assassin scenes , and moping around like karen carpenter in the jamaica scenes , play out endlessly throughout the film and the result is it 's now * twice * as boring as it might have been . it 's not that complicated plots ca n't be entertaining . of course it helps if you have interesting characters , crisp dialogue , and a modicum of style . " shattered image " is n't complex , it 's just stupid . and boring . parillaud and baldwin , who are n't exactly shakespearean material to begin with , are saddled with such leaden dialogue that their characters have zero chance of breaking free of their cardboard confines . lines like : " you do n't beg , you insist . i like that in a woman . " that 's parillaud 's character talking . . . to her cat ! and : " you 're not the reason i could n't care less about you . " huh ? and this wonderful bathroom interchange early in the film : " if you give me a couple of minutes you know i 'll charm the pants off you . " " i do n't have that kind of time . " talking of pants , parillaud has her clothes off faster than you can say " point of no return . " we have come to expect this from billy baldwin , but it might have been nice to have learned something about their characters first . but there 's nothing to learn . karen is as interesting as a cereal box , a someone's - out - to - get - me crybaby who imagines the voice at the other end of the phone , the stranger who sends her flowers , maybe even her husband himself , is her would - be killer . siouxsie is the chromium cool , tough - as - nails crack killing machine who shoots out a couple of mirrors in order to justify the film 's meaningless stock title . baldwin seems more interested in parillaud 's nest egg ( so that he can pave paradise and put up a parking lot ) than he does in her . each time graham greene shows up he gets killed . barbet schroeder ( " reversal of fortune " ) co - produced and should be ashamed of himself . every now and again it 's fun to watch a really bad movie . and every now and again , as " shattered image " makes agonizingly clear , it is n't .
[ "it 's just stupid", "zero chance of breaking free of their cardboard confines", "should be ashamed of himself", "crybaby", "play out endlessly", "there 's nothing to learn", "such leaden dialogue", "boring", "painful and pedestrian course", "huh ?", "the biggest piece of hooey", "as interesting as a cereal box", "it 's now * twice * as boring" ]
john carpenter makes b - movies . always has ( " halloween , " " escape from new york , " " the thing " ) and , by the looks of it ( " they live , " " escape from l . a . , " " vampires " ) , always will . carpenter 's latest horror opus with a science fiction bent ( or science fiction outing with a schlock horror bent ) is the aptly - titled " john carpenter 's ghosts of mars " ( in case , i suppose , you went looking for someone else 's " ghosts of mars " ) . like all those films prefixed by the very possessive " john carpenter 's , " " ghosts of mars " is an unashamed b - movie punctuated by a b - movie plot , b - movie actors , and b - movie special effects . in category one , above , we have a storyline that borders on idiotic ( and , at times , chaotic ) . dormant martians ( i . e . , swirling red gases ) awakened by meddling humans possess the souls of hapless mining colonists rendering them testy marilyn manson lookalikes . all this explained ( in flashback ) to some grand pooh - bah counsel by martian police official melanie ballard ( natasha henstridge , from the sub- " species " films ) , the only returnee on a silly - looking train . officer ballard went in to bring back incarcerated felon james " desolation " williams ; what she found was not a pretty picture . in the second category we have ms . henstridge , her blonde hair pulled back tightly and awkwardly into a ponytail , ice cube ( as the appropriately - named " desolation " ) , pam grier ( briefly , oddly -- who wanted to work with whom i wonder ? ) , and a host of extras all assuming that the story and special effects were going to carry this film and therefore they did n't need to try too hard . in category number three we have , in addition to those swirling red gases and the silly - looking train , a couple of bird's - eye - view shots of a sprawling martian metropolis ( reddish also ) . state - of - the - art special effects have never been a carpenter trademark and once again the writer / director ( who seems to have no problem finding work , however ) does n't waste any of the film 's budget in that department . " ghosts of mars " is lock , laughing stock , and barrel all your standard carpenter fare : dingy interiors , cluttered exteriors , inane dialogue , lots of leather , scarred , crazed - looking aliens , and lots and lots of weaponry . the film often and always explodes into warfare without warning -- spontaneously , stupidly . carpenter might like to think he 's made a western here but it 's a western without any real heroes , villains , or border conflicts . it 's just the shootouts minus a hissing snake plissken . i never thought i 'd miss the guy but i do . it 's not * all * the same , however . dubbed the " one - note wonder " for his minimalist music soundtracks , carpenter seems to have graduated from simplistic ( yet effective ) scoring by highlighting his action with loud , screeching guitar work . fortunately this drowns out a lot of the dialogue . the final exchange between henstridge and , er , cube though is both audible * and * priceless . mars has proven an infertile breeding ground for hollywood in the last year or so , what with the stillborn " mission to mars " and " red planet " ( with val kilmer ) . " ghosts of mars " sadly adds to those disappointing returns ( in its opening weekend it was overshadowed by a bunch of sequels , among them " american pie 2 " and " rush hour 2 " ) . the irony is that the mars in carpenter 's film feels sadly absent . there are occasional references to the red planet , of course , but the film might as well have been set in perth amboys than on earth 's closest neighbor . two things keep " john carpenter 's ghosts of mars " from getting a huge slap upside the head . 1 . henstridge keeps her top on ( miraculously ) , and 2 . the film does n't pretend to be anything it 's not . what that means , however , is that fans of superior , intelligent , grade a sci - fi / horror are singularly out of luck .
[ "stupidly", "all assuming that the story and special effects were going to carry this film and therefore they did n't need to try too hard", "unashamed b - movie punctuated by a b - movie plot , b - movie actors , and b - movie special effects", "borders on idiotic", "sadly adds to those disappointing returns", "lock , laughing stock , and barrel", "singularly out of luck", "aptly - titled", "dingy interiors , cluttered exteriors , inane dialogue", "swirling red gases and the silly - looking" ]
i 'm really starting to wonder about alicia silverstone . sure , she is one of the most beautiful creatures on god 's green earth ( second only to that movie critic at large guy ) , but when it comes to choosing what movies she stars in , she always strikes out . the crush was a slow - moving , predictable piece of fluff . hideaway was a horrific novel adaptation alicia had only a minor role in . clueless was an annoying , unfunny waste of time . and people have e - mailed me too , saying clueless is a good movie and that i 'm the only one who does n't like it . one girl said if i 'd seen the movie with " an open mind , " i would have enjoyed it . nothing could be further from the truth . i went into the theater expecting to love the movie . the preview looked good and of course i 'm crazymadinlove with alicia , but the movie was a bunch of bad jokes coming from whiny , unlikable characters . almost everyone i saw the movie with felt the same way . when we were walking out of the theater , one guy ( and it was n't me ) yelled out , " that was the worst f$&#in ' movie i 've ever seen " and the rest of us had to laugh in agreement . so last night i walked into the video store and saw alicia 's pretty face on the cover of some made - for - video thriller called the babysitter . i knew it would be bad but some inner compulsion i 'll probably never understand made me rent it anyway . what i got was 90 minutes of regret -- the worst alicia silverstone movie ever . and you already know from the last paragraph what the competition is like . where to begin in criticizing this movie ? the plot is a thin shred that moves slower than a glacier , the writing could have been done ( and for all we know it was ) by a ten year old , alicia is the star and she 's still wasted in a movie that has no appeal whatsoever . there is zero humor , zero suspense , zero drama and zero action , until the last ten minutes , when the story is needlessly and pointlessly concluded with a violent sequence . zero plus zero plus zero plus zero equals zero . so why does this movie get one star out of me ? well , alicia spends twenty minutes of the movie in the bathtub . and if it was n't bubble bath , the babysitter would have instantly joined the ranks of our other four- star features , but you settle for what you can get . alicia plays a babysitter who 's spending friday night looking after two kids whose parents are out getting drunk at a cocktail party . and of course anyone as beautiful as alicia automatically spends their friday nights at home ( at least that movie critic at large guy does ) . as the movie trods along , we discover she 's not only the mostly - silent star of the movie but also the object of every male character 's fantasies ( and probably every male viewer 's too ) . the drunken father thinks she 's just the thing to recapture his lost youth , her boyfriend lets his imagination run wild while spying on alicia from outside , even the prepubescent boy looks in on alicia through the bathroom keyhole while she 's taking her bubble bath . they even throw in the middle aged wife 's fantasies about a male counterpart at the party . not that any of us asked or ever even thought about seeing this 200 + pound woman in a black silk teddy . at least none of the sex fanatasies ever leave the realm of the pg - rated . in fact , i could imagine the babysitter becoming a cinemax late - night staple if not for the fact that there 's absolutely no nudity in it . so you ca n't call it a sex flick . i 've already pointed out that it ca n't fall under drama , comedy , thriller or action , so what do you classify the babysitter as ? bad .
[ "the movie was a bunch of bad jokes", "the worst alicia silverstone movie ever", "that was the worst f$&#in ' movie i 've ever seen", "whiny , unlikable characters", "bad", "zero humor , zero suspense , zero drama and zero action", "she always strikes out", "what i got was 90 minutes of regret" ]
so what do you get when you mix together plot elements from various successful sci - fi films such as close encounters of the third kind , 2001 : a space odyssey , apollo 13 and contact ? well , whatever it is , you 'd sure as hell hope that it would be a thousand times better than this shoddy attempt at such a melange , considering the disastrous results we 're left with here . this is a film that takes a little bit of everything , but ultimately adds up to a lot of nothing ! it 's like i said . . . this movie sucks . plot : a rescue crew of astronauts is sent down to mars in the year 2020 , after an unknown energy force leads to a loss of contact with the previous gang of space aviators to visit the red planet . critique : extremely underwhelming is the best way to describe this movie . uneven , would be another . the trailer for this movie actually showed some promise , the buzz around it had been so - so , and even the film itself starts off with a decent first twenty minutes , all leading you to believe that it 's actually going to go " somewhere " . but it is n't long before the entire movie downshifts into neutral , features more space walks than anything interesting on the cherry - colored planet , tries too hard to get us into the " pain " of some its characters and unsuccessfully tosses some romance into the mix . in a sci - fi movie ? well , i do n't know , much of it just seemed like a bunch of nerdies talking techie jargon for about an hour and a half , only to figure out some big secret in the end , a secret which practically had me yawning with excitement . ultimately , this is a movie that starts off with a decent premise , joins the crew in their " misadventures in space " for the main crux of its journey , and eventually settles down for one of the most anti - climactic endings this side of contact . mind you , if you enjoyed that film 's shrug - of - the - shoulders ending , you might just enjoy this frivolous ditty as well . of course , i do n't remember contact having such obvious and painfully distracting computer generated effects at its end of story . ugh . what a friggin ' mess . films like this generally get me wondering about the brass in hollywood again . did n't anybody recognize the crappiness in this script ? did n't they read the bad dialogue , the cheezy lines , the obvious derivative nature of the work ( mind you , with a director like depalma at the helm , that ai n't saying much ! ) . of course , you ca n't really blame the brass for the inclusion of jerry o'connell in this fine crew of thespians . 'nuff said . neither can you blame them for depalma cranking up the juice on the film 's musical score during the last fifteen minutes , presumably in order to wake the audience up ( okay , we get it brian , this scene is supposed to be powerful . . . wow . . . yawn . . . my ears hurt ! ) . so is anything salvageable in this movie ? sure . gary sinise does another great job , as does cheadle , the film does n't completely bore you as much as it just moves along slowly without anything really interesting happening , and yes , the " sand - twister " effect that you see in the commercial is well done . other than that ? i guess i could say that i admire how filmmakers have become so much more devious in their product placement strategies . . . oops , did i say " admire " , i meant " am disgusted " ! all in all , this movie delivers very little in actual substance , offers two - bit dialogue masked in a lot of sci - fi mumbo - jumbo , pretends to be deep when really it 's just sappy , and eventually just settles into an ending which , other than presenting us with a pathetic computer graphic as a part of the story , gives us little more to think about than how we might be able to get our money back for sitting through this rehashed dreck . go see the ninth gate . . . now there 's a great movie ! and on a personal note , i think it 's time for depalma to stop worrying so much about his proverbial 12-minute uninterrupted film sequences , and start worrying more about how crappy his movies are getting .
[ "two - bit dialogue", "it 's just sappy", "ugh", "rehashed dreck", "the entire movie downshifts into neutral", "had me yawning with excitement", "delivers very little in actual substance", "this movie sucks", "one of the most anti - climactic endings", "disgusted", "yawn", "how crappy his movies are getting", "uneven", "the bad dialogue", "obvious derivative nature", "the disastrous results", "extremely underwhelming", "the cheezy lines", "a friggin ' mess", "a bunch of nerdies talking techie jargon", "the crappiness in this script", "shoddy attempt", "adds up to a lot of nothing !", "mumbo - jumbo", "a pathetic computer graphic" ]
the law of crowd pleasing romantic movies states that the two leads must end up together by film 's end . if you 're not familiar with this law , then maybe you 've seen the trailer for this film which shows that the two leads are together by film 's end . now if you 're a regular reader of mine , you 've heard me say this countless times : you know how drive me crazy is going to end , but is the journey to get to that ending worth it ? no , it definitely is not . melissa joan hart ( from abc 's " sabrina , the teenage witch " ) likes a hunky stud on the basketball team . adrien grenier is her grungy neighbor who 's just broken up with his activist girlfriend . apparently he wants to make his ex - girlfriend jealous enough to take him back , and she wants someone to take her to the big year end dance . so the two pretend to date for some reason , but only after hart gives grenier a bath to turn him into a hunky stud . will grenier like his new popularity and turn on his friends ? will this crazy scheme work ? do i care ? the teen comedy resurgence of late has been surprisingly good in terms of comedy . what makes movies like ca n't hardly wait and 10 things i hate about you work ( and to a lesser extent , she 's all that and never been kissed ) is because the writers of those films seem to realize that high school is a joke and write their scripts accordingly . i do n't know what the writer 's intention was with drive me crazy . there was some smart comedy in those films to make the obvious endings worth getting to . here there 's nothing . . . just teens whining about who 's going to take them to the big dance . do me a favor kids , go get a job or something . . . just shut the hell up . in all honesty , the best part of this film is the end credits . now normally when i say that it 's followed with the joke " . . . because the movie is finally over . " in this case though the end credits really are the most entertaining part of the film . after the obligatory second playing of britney spears ' titular song , there 's a quick commercial jingle for a burger joint the kids in the film hang out in and a brief rendition of the school song for their high school . nothing great , but more entertaining than anything in the 90 minutes which preceded them . sci - fi fans take note : there are brief appearances from stephen collins ( star trek : the motion picture ) and faye grant ( the tv miniseries " v " and " v : the final battle " ) . [ pg-13 ]
[ "the best part of this film is the end credits", "do i care ?", "here there 's nothing", "no , it definitely is not", "just teens whining", "shut the hell up" ]
mighty joe young blunders about for nearly twenty minutes before we actually get to see a great big gorilla . his entrance , however , is a grand one : out from the trees he leaps , gargantuan and imposing , sporting hands big enough to crush a volkswagen bug , and a pair of feet much larger than any pro basketball player will ever have . joe bellows at the poachers before him , angry that they would like to kill him and sell him for millions of dollars . during this scene , i turned to my friend and said , " wow . that 's some ape . " joe is quite a gorilla -- a big , digital gorilla . he runs around the fields , chasing cars and people . he picks things up and stares at them pensively . he breaks things on accident , because he 's just too big to avoid clumsiness . joe , as a special effect , is an image that might hold your interest for five minutes . as a character , he does n't quite register . and the story he 's been put in is as limp as they come . the words " family entertainment " have never been a stamp of quality , but might joe young is just a silly special effects movie pretending to have a heart . the picture is a remake of the 1949 film . it 's mostly just about the big gorilla , but , strictly as a formality , the movie also has a few human characters . the main one is jill young ( poor charlize theron , forced to waste her talent ) , a lover of gorillas . as a child , she witnessed a group of poachers murder her mother ; now , she lives in the jungle to protect the wildlife . specifically , she 's out to protect joe , a giant gorilla who has been her friend since her childhood . soon , zoologist gregg o'hara ( bill paxton ) discovers joe ; he quickly realizes that poachers want to get joe and sell him to a big game hunter named strasser ( rade sherbedgia ) , who just happens to be the same guy who killed jill 's mother . so , in an effort to save joe , jill and gregg take the big gorilla to a preserve , where it is instantly clear that he is not safe from poachers . in addition , the space is way too small for him ( after all , he is a really big gorilla ) . and , to add to the complications , strasser shows up under a benevolent pretext ( he tells jill that he has a preserve big enough for joe ) , and joe recognizes strasser as the guy who killed jill 's mother . jill , of course , does n't recognize strasser , even though he did kill her mother . this is just one of the many examples of stupidity in mighty joe young , a film that fulfills every stereotype that comes with a special effects film . the movie is n't really offensive -- it has some competent actors , a few nifty sets , and a lot of scenes with a big , digitized gorilla . but the story is really dumb , there are n't any characters , and the film is n't satisfying on any level beyond its visuals . the movie also has bad dialogue . if a critic says that a film has bad dialogue , it 's only fair to quote some of it , but most of the words spoken in this picture are phrases like " joe is n't happy ! " and " joe is n't safe here ! " " we need to get joe out of here ! " " joe is way too big for that cage ! " i do n't know if these phrases are word for word , but they 're close . as i said , the characters here are only present as a formality : they do little more than state the obvious ( of * course * joe is too big for that cage ) . paxton and theron are talented performers who deserve to work on a script that provides characters for them . sadly , mighty joe young wastes them both . there are a few clever moments ( although none of them are surfacing in my memory at the moment ) , and , as i said , the digital effects held my attention for at least five minutes . it 's certainly not a bad film for kids ; i doubt joe will give them nightmares . but adults in the audience are n't likely to find much of anything interesting about the big gorilla . a big gorilla is only interesting for a little while ; after that , something needs to be done with the big gorilla . nobody ever figures out what to do with the big gorilla .
[ "he does n't quite register", "the many examples of stupidity", "forced to waste her talent", "the story is really dumb", "a silly special effects movie pretending to have a heart", "there are n't any characters", "are only present as a formality", "are n't likely to find much", "bad dialogue", "is n't satisfying on any level", "state the obvious", "as limp as they come", "sadly , mighty joe young wastes them both", "poor" ]
" spawn " features good guys , bad guys , lots of fighting , bloody violence , a leather - clad machine gun chick , gooey , self - healing bullet holes , scatological humor and a man - eating monster . it not only appears to have been tailor made for a swarm of 12- and 13-year - old boys , it appears to have been made by them . in a classic example of telling and not showing , " spawn " opens with a truckload of mumbo jumbo about forces of darkness , forces of light and how " men are the ones who create evil on earth . " so much for a message . the movie then lurches forward into the plight of al simmons ( michael jai white ) , a government assassin / operative who is murdered by diabolical boss jason wynn ( martin sheen , who plays all of his scenes like an oscar clip ) while on a top secret mission in a north korean biological weapons plant . simmons goes to hell and back , after making a deal with satan himself -- if he agrees to command the devil 's army to overtake the world , he 'll be allowed to return to earth to see his wife wanda ( underused theresa randle ) and little girl cyan ( sydni beaudoin ) . of course , seeing as how five years has passed , wanda has fallen for -- and married -- simmons ' partner ( d . b . sweeney ) . his , uh , shoulder to cry on comes in the form of clown ( john leguizamo ) , a disgustingly disproportioned minion of satan 's . clown manipulates simmons , now in superhuman spawn form , into a stand off with wynn . wynn , who thinks he is in league with the double - dealing clown , recognizes spawn as a threat and undergoes an operation where a bomb is placed on his heart -- when it stops beating , major cities around the world will detonate , causing the leak of a disease that " makes the ebola virus look like a skin rash . " phew . got all that ? it would be easy to dismiss " spawn " as just another one of those heavy - on - fx , short - on - substance action pics , but it does n't even work on that level . the computer - generated sequences are often and plenty , and the problem is that they look too computer - generated . the several scenes set in hell present a devil that looks and acts like a video game graphic -- with the movie 's healthy budget you 'd think they could have afforded to make his mouth move when he talks . other elements of the movie are so - so ; spawn 's enormous red , flowing cape is a wonderful sight , but it 's too obvious when he 's being played by a costumed actor or an image . in movies like " contact , " the special effects serve the story . in " spawn , " they are the story . and spawn himself is n't even an interesting character . the film 's reliance on razzle - dazzle would be acceptable if we were given somebody to root for , but both simmons and his funky alter - ego are completely underdeveloped . what we need is a batman , a luke skywalker . even watching the adventures of kleenex man would be more interesting than spawn . poor leguizamo . he starred in february 's " the pest , " a movie that i still think is the year 's worst so far , although this one does give it a run for its money . as clown , he overacts to the extreme , never missing an opportunity for a poor - taste punchline . leguizamo farts green mist , munches a pizza slice covered with maggots and even dons a mini - skirt and performs a cheerleader routine , all before turning into a giant grey demon . the guy was brilliant in " to wong foo , thanks for everything ! julie newmar . " what is he doing wasting his talent in this and " the pest " ? i 'm one of the few people that liked " batman & robin , " this summer 's other big - budget comic book film . yet after catching this movie and making the inevitable comparison , i can only hope people will change their minds and think of " batman " as the superior adaptation . there 's a compelling story somewhere in " spawn " -- including strong religious overtones and the debut of the first african - american superhero ever -- but it 's just not found anywhere near here . as it is , " spawn " is just awful -- it stinks worse than a dead trout .
[ "watching the adventures of kleenex man would be more interesting", "so much for a message", "not found anywhere near here", "is n't even an interesting character", "it stinks worse than a dead trout", "reliance on razzle - dazzle", "he overacts to the extreme , never missing an opportunity for a poor - taste punchline", "wasting his talent", "other elements of the movie are so - so", "it not only appears to have been tailor made for a swarm of 12- and 13-year - old boys , it appears to have been made by them", "is just awful", "a truckload of mumbo jumbo", "completely underdeveloped" ]
" in dreams " might keep you awake at night , but not because of its creepy imagery , bizarre visual style or story about a clairvoyant madman who lures young girls to their untimely deaths . no , the source of potential sleeplessness here lies within the movie 's brutally squandered potential , the least of which is an admittedly nifty premise - even by tired serial killer genre standards . the big letdown , however , comes upon the realization that this 100-minute head - scratcher was masterminded by neil jordan , the man behind " the crying game . " he 's no stranger to cinematic weirdness , but this nutty nonsense really pushes the envelope . things start out strong enough , with cinematographer darius khondji 's stunning camera work guiding viewers into the bowels of a underwater ghost town during a creepy prologue that establishes a notably grim tone right off the bat . this eerie opulence remains a dazzling display of showmanship throughout the entire film - there 's even something macabre about the way khondji photographs a rustic , seemingly innocent new england autumn - but if there ever was a film that did n't deserve so good a polish , it 's this one . do n't knock the look , but say what you will about the foolish plot , underdeveloped characters and flat dialogue . annette bening , another asset " in dreams " should n't be so lucky to boast , gives an increasingly effective performance in a role that does n't do much for her in return . she plays claire cooper , a massachusetts children 's book illustrator who 's plagued by terrifying nightmares involving kidnaped children . she thinks these visions are a warning knell for horrible , soon - to - be - committed crimes , but neither her ho - hum husband ( aidan quinn ) nor the ho - hummer police can muster up the sense to take her seriously . this being a thriller , we know that she is , in fact , on the money , and it 's a credit to bening 's acting that she delves equally into claire 's madness and compassion . but as soon as a body turns up and claire has given the authorities reason enough to believe her claims , " in dreams " trades in its nifty supernatural chills for a long series of allegedly spooky jolts that simply refuse to make sense . scenes pile up like a car wreck with little or no explanation or exposition . subplots appear and disappear . when claire finally comes face - to - face with our evil murderer ( robert downey jr . ) , it turns out his name is vivian , he 's clairvoyant and he 's got some major issues with mama , a la norman bates . " in dreams " reaches its absurdist zenith here , and the climax drags with mumbled revelations and laughable twists . some questions , then : what 's with the garbage disposal retching applesauce ? are the drawings on the wall blood or paint ? who cranked up the andrews sisters on the cd player and caused the swing to move on its own ? what about the computer ? does vivian possess the gift of telekinesis in addition to his other powers ? why would he continually endanger claire if she was necessary for his ultimate plan ? is the woman in australia integral to anything ? and the aforementioned flooded city - what function does that _ really _ serve ? sigh . at least in my own dreams , i can imagine a better movie where certain talent did n't go to waste .
[ "nutty nonsense", "the movie 's brutally squandered potential", "a long series of allegedly spooky jolts", "the big letdown", "drags with mumbled revelations and laughable twists", "sigh", "the foolish plot , underdeveloped characters and flat dialogue", "refuse to make sense", "pile up like a car wreck with little or no explanation or exposition", "go to waste", "i can imagine a better movie" ]
" knock off " is exactly that : a cheap knock off of an action movie . it 's also the worst movie i have seen thus far this year . i figured it would be at least a couple of months before i saw the worst film of 1998 , but alas , it has already been found . jean - claude van damme stars as ( i think ) a designer jeans executive who discovers his half - brother has been supplying him with cheaper goods . rob schneider plays van damme 's partner , and rochon plays . . . actually , i have no idea who rochon was supposed to be . she just sort of popped up halfway through without an explanation as to why she was there . many things are not explained in this film , but i do know that for some bizarre reason , van damme seemed to be doing a jackie chan impression throughout the flick . where chan comes off as endearing in his " normal guy " character seen in many of his films , van damme just comes off as a wimp . we 're never given any clear explanation as to the basis for many of his actions . to be more clear : i did not even know who he was supposed to be until about an hour into the movie , and even then , it was not made too clear . the film has been directed in the style of some strange film experiment gone horribly wrong . tsui hark ( who directed van damme 's last movie , the bad , but not nearly as bad as this , " double team " ) never lets the camera rest for a second , and that 's no exaggeration . we are even treated to a five second shot from the point of view of van damme 's foot entering a shoe . fabulous ! seriously , though , i have no problem with directors who want to play around with film conventions , as long as they do n't get carried away . for example , look at sam raimi . " army of darkness " , one of his best movies , features some of the most inventive camera work i have ever seen , but raimi never lets the special effects get in the way of story . that 's a concept that tsui ca n't seem to grasp . the special effects and outrageous camera angles * rule * " knock off " to the point where the audience does n't have a clue as to what 's happening any more . another problem with the film is that it looks cheap . the film stock used is of such low caliber that i thought i was watching one of those chinese films shown really late at night . and for some inexplicable reason , everyone 's voice seems to have been dubbed . even the stars . and even the special effects , seemingly the only aspect of the film the director actually cared about , are inconsistent . for example , there is a scene in which van damme drives a car out of a window . the car slams into the ground , and the left wheel is completely destroyed . seconds later , the car drives off at full speed . hey , i have no problem suspending my disbelief in an action movie , but a line must be drawn somewhere . finally , the acting . nobody gives a good performance in this film . van damme , an actor i usually like , is way off the mark playing " everyman " . and schneider , here to provide comic relief i assume , is totally unfunny and over acts his way through every scene . even the usually solid paul sorvino gives a terribly over - the - top performance as . . . once again , i have no idea who he was supposed to be . in case i have n't yet made it clear enough , " knock off " is the worst movie of van damme 's career and possibly the worst movie of the decade . and it 's not even one of those movies that 's so bad it 's funny . it 's too inept to be funny . there are no redeeming factors in " knock off " and i seriously hope that every print of this film is burned to a crisp and that somehow my memory of watching the film can be erased .
[ "nobody gives a good performance", "my memory of watching the film can be erased", "terribly over - the - top performance", "every print of this film is burned to a crisp", "the audience does n't have a clue as to what 's happening any more", "the worst movie i have seen thus far", "a cheap knock off", "there are no redeeming factors", "just comes off as a wimp", "some strange film experiment gone horribly wrong", "the worst movie", "inconsistent", "i did not even know who he was supposed to be until about an hour into the movie", "for some inexplicable reason , everyone 's voice seems to have been dubbed", "alas", "not nearly as bad as this", "too inept to be funny", "totally unfunny and over acts his way", "it looks cheap", "way off the mark", "of such low caliber", "the worst movie of the decade" ]
" snake eyes " is the most aggravating kind of movie : the kind that shows so much potential then becomes unbelievably disappointing . it 's not just because this is a brian depalma film , and since he 's a great director and one who 's films are always greeted with at least some fanfare . and it 's not even because this was a film starring nicolas cage and since he gives a brauvara performance , this film is hardly worth his talents . it 's worse than that . it 's aggravating for the sole reason that its story could be so much more , could be totally intelligent , and it opens up with absolutely no subtlety that it will be handled complexly and intensely . . . then at one point in the movie makes on wrong turn that leads it to the hall of fame of half - assedness . or more deservedly , the hall of fame of the eighth - assedness . in certain circles , " snake eyes " was being advertised as a kind of modern day version of kurosawa 's classic " rashomon , " where a crime is told from the four different ( and i mean different ) perspectives , and it looks as though it may actually be just like this with the opening , which , i might add , is superb . in one very very very long steadicam shot , we meet the protagonist , crooked atlantic city detective , rick santoro ( cage ) , and follow him before a boxing match as he talks on his cell phone with his wife , interupts a pay - per - view event on tv , chases down a gambler , enters the arena all pumped up for the fight , sits down and talks with his bud , kevin dunne ( gary sinise , who 's character should not be confused with that of actor kevin dunn , who 's also in this ) , and watches as it happens . there 's a big name in the crowd , and that 's the secretary of defense , charles kirkland ( joel fabiani ) , who 's sitting behind rick , and who gets shot a second after the heavyweight champion , lincoln tyler ( stan shaw ) , is knocked out . this all happens in the opening shot , and it creates so many red herrings and possibilities of what happened that it opens this scene up for close examination and total deconstruction . what really happened , this film asks , and it sets this film up extremely well for when rick begins to question people and get different perspectives on the scene . . . and discovers there 's a very good possibility it was a conspiracy . as we follow rick trying to learn of more information , we also meet a woman who was talking to kirkland before he was shot ( carla gugino ) , and who flees the scene in a panic , and tries to hide from the cops in the arena and the adjacent casino / hotel since the cops have blocked off the doors so they can get witness ' takes on what happened . this is all going pretty fine and dandy , and it 's extremely interesting to watch . . . then it takes one wrong step . we follow the wrong character , and we learn of the answer to the mystery too early on , and way before rick can find it out . but that 's not the worst part of it : it 's that it 's the one person you did n't think it would be because he was too obviously supposed to be the red herring , the one you did n't think did it because it would be stupid and cliched of that person to be behind it . it only gets worse : the film turns into a chase film about half way through the film , and since we already know what happened , we ca n't rely on rick 's investigation to be all that interesting . it 's as if the film ran out of the guts to be really complex and original about a third of the way in , and decided to just fall back on an easy way out , and that just happens to mean that it has to become less and less credible . events become more and more proposterous , and by the end , the film has decided to rely on the worst offender in mysteries like this : the deux ex machina . that 's where some outside intereference brings the film to a sudden conclusion and makes everything okay . this time , it 's a hurricane , an out - of - control police car , and a big round ball that adorned the arena . what went wrong ? depalma and the screenwriter , david koepp , are extremely credible people in their respective fields , and have been known for bringing life and complexity to mysteries such as this . depalma , who idolizes hitchcock to death , has done many a film like this , such as his masterpiece , " blow out , " where a movie soundman uses movie elements to uncover a conspiracy piece by piece . but granted , depalma at least makes it intriguing to watch , what with his over - the - top shot set - ups , notably the beginning and a sequence where the camera pans over top of a bunch of rooms in the hotel , forgetting anything about boundaries . at least his direction makes up partly for it . then there 's koepp , who showed such great ability at making a character 's flaws come to life like he did in depalma 's earlier " carlito 's way , " a film that dove right into the life and past of its character and examined him extremely well . he can write a flawed character , but his rick santoro seems to be just a half - assed effort . he 's flawed , and we can see redemption if the story was n't so formulaic . a scene towards the end where he has to make a fatal decision is cheapened by the fact that his answer has no emotional buildup . he may as well have said the opposite of what he says ; it would have at least gone with what the character was like . this is the most disappointing kind of film because it promises intelligence and complexity , because it promises disection of a flawed character and perhaps even redemption , then pulls the rug from under us just as we were about to be convinced it would be able to go all the way . as i was watching the first half hour , i could n't wait to see how the mystery would be unearthed , how many different perspectives he 'd be given , and perhaps he 'd have to make a choice between who 's he has to believe . now there 's a film . unfortunately , the film has two major deux ex machinas : one in the disasterous ending ; the other , about a half hour in when the film goes into autopilot and becomes a stale and recycled piece of crap we 've seen all too much before , but never from someone like depalma .
[ "ran out of the guts", "the hall of fame of half - assedness", "just a half - assed effort", "cheapened", "the most disappointing kind of film", "what went wrong ?", "no emotional buildup", "we learn of the answer to the mystery too early on", "unfortunately", "flawed", "the film turns into a chase film", "that 's not the worst part of it", "it 's aggravating", "the disasterous ending", "the hall of fame of the eighth - assedness", "it has to become less and less credible", "rely on the worst offender", "a stale and recycled piece of crap", "unbelievably disappointing", "it 's worse than that", "more and more proposterous" ]
forgive the fevered criticism but the fervor of the crucible infects . set in 1692 at salem , massachusetts , the crucible opens with a group of teenage girls passionately singing and dancing around a boiling cauldron in the middle of a forest under the glow of a full moon . they beckon the names of men as the targets of their love spells . then one of the girls lets her hair down and sheds her clothes . not to be outdone in her quest to regain the attention of john proctor ( daniel day lewis ) , abigail ( winona ryder ) suddenly seizes a chicken , beats it against the ground and smears her face and lips with the fresh blood . taking even adolescent hormone surges into account , surely this chicken - bashing bit is a bit excessive , especially for prim puritan sensibilities ? surely to the puritan eye this is as close to a coven of witches as it gets ? the crucible errs from the beginning and arthur miller 's name should be summoned for blame here for the addition of the above scene to his screen adaptation of his play . this is far from a harmless event , a bad start to an already shaky morality tale . the play describes the film 's opening scene during tense exchanges that makes one wonder about the veracity of both accusation and reply , and this adds to the play 's charged atmosphere . in the film , the opening scene becomes an unintentional pandora 's box . not only is credulity stretched but abigail 's obsession is unfortunately spotlighted . it positions the crucible more as a cautionary fable about obsessive and malevolent women than against witch hunts ; it will bring back the memory of a rabbit boiling away in a pot . not surprisingly , the nighttime forest frenzy does not go unnoticed and when two girls fail to wake the following morning , witches are invoked by those eager to blame . when the girls are questioned , their confession of guilt is accompanied with an announcement of their return to god and they are thereafter converted to immaculate witnesses , led lustfully by abigail . with alarming synchronicity our hormonally - advantaged girls zealously gesture and point accusing fingers at innocents , constant reminders that abigail 's passion sets all this into inexorable motion . abigail seizes on this opportunity to rid herself of her rival for john proctor 's love , his wife elizabeth ( joan allen ) , by including her among those accused of witchcraft . appropriately narrow - waisted and equipped with a distractingly white smile ( watch his teeth deteriorate much too quickly to a murky yellow ) , day lewis plays the dashing moral hero with an over - earnestness that longs to be watched . director nicholas hytner is guilty of encouraging day lewis ' foaming - mouth fervour with shots where we stare up at proctor as if he was mounted on a pedestal for our admiration . otherwise , hytner 's direction is unremarkable . ryder 's performance as abigail is as consistent as her mood swings . her fits of frenzy are energetic enough but the quieter moments are less successful . abigail supposedly revels in her newfound power , but ryder fails at being convincingly haughty although there is much haughtiness to spare here . paul scofield is fine as the overzealous judge danforth , but the incessant moral posturings of all the characters along with the recurrent histrionics of the young girls pricks at the nerves . probably because she is the only refuge of restraint amidst all the huffing and puffing , allen 's elizabeth comes out as the most sympathetic character . a scene near the end featuring a private conversation between the imprisoned elizabeth and john is undeniably powerful because for once we are given a reprieve from the moral bantering and the human consequences are revealed . unfortunately , when john 's audience again increases to more than one his urge to pontificate returns and the human urgency of his situation is lost . it is clear that miller meant well but i do wish he did it with more delicacy and fewer diversions . his screenplay is an imperfect creature with the distractions coming out as loud as the message . the result is a clumsy muddle - i felt like the chicken from the opening scene , head ceaselessly banged with piousness too heavy - handed to be wholly believable . when the gallows beckoned , it was sweet release indeed . far from bewitching , the crucible tests the patience .
[ "errs from the beginning", "far from bewitching", "a bad start to an already shaky", "fails", "unfortunately", "as consistent as her mood swings", "a clumsy muddle", "unremarkable", "the quieter moments are less successful", "pricks at the nerves", "an imperfect creature with the distractions coming out as loud as the message" ]
one might expect a cathartic viewing experience walking into a new jean - luc godard film . after all , he was a founding member of the highly influential french new wave . he is also an esteemed film critic , lending intelligence and historical perspective to us in much of his writing . however , his latest creation , in praise of love , is possibly the most exasperating film experience of the year . the abstract concept on which the film is based had merit , to dissect love into the following four categories : meeting , physical passion , quarrels , and reconciliation . these four universal truths would be revealed through three different couples : young , adult , and elderly . it is edgar 's ( bruno putzulu ) self - appointed task to capture these moments after a recent breakup , to define a central idea : " it 's only when things are over that they make sense . " whether this project will end up a play , film , or opera remains undecided . the thesis is simple enough that , if played right , it could really hold sympathetic value for anyone . instead what ensues is an hour and a half of repetitive vignettes , the next scene no more engaging than the last . only once does any character utter something worthwhile , but by the time it happens you 're so thoroughly bored you can easily miss it . but do n't fret , it will surface again . you could easily sleep through whole sections of the film ( as some fellow critics did ) and wake up in a scene exactly like the one you nodded off in , not having missed anything worthwhile . but you hold hope for some time . the background music keeps you in a state of urgency , and even suspense , for the first few conversations . it 's only after repeated failures to pay any of this off that you lose all hope . and with speeches like , " i am thinking of something , but i can only think of that something when i am thinking of something else , " how can you expect to hold anyone 's interest ? to godard 's credit , he certainly knows how to frame a scene . the black and white footage used for the first half of the film is starkly beautiful . watching edgar read while walking along a train track on a mountain makes you wish you had something to ponder along with him . and if this film had anything poignant to say , you would have , which makes you all the angrier at the numerous missed opportunities . the environments , be it city or country , are impeccably captured in crisp detail , but the script never complements them . unfortunately , godard also manages to pillage his photographic eye by randomly cutting to black numerous times within any given scene . sometimes these breaks are used for chapter headings , but these are even more cryptic than the spoken words . the second half is composed of nauseating hyper - color that often blurs the image . you suddenly feel like a doomed character straight out of scanners . the only scene that makes any sense is one that complains about the united states bastardizing history in the making of movies . steven spielberg is picked on in particular . while i 'll grant that this does happen , and i tend to shy away from watching such garbage , it 's still a pointless focus for a film that purports to articulate the specific qualities of couplehood . it just goes to show , an intelligent person is n't necessarily an admirable storyteller . the days of breathless are no more .
[ "unfortunately", "easily sleep through whole sections", "numerous missed opportunities", "feel like a doomed character", "randomly", "repetitive vignettes", "the most exasperating film experience of the year", "the script never complements", "pillage", "nauseating hyper - color", "blurs", "only once", "these are even more cryptic", "so thoroughly bored you can easily miss it", "no more engaging than the last" ]
america loves convenience . after all , we 're the culture that invented the cell phone , the 24-hour atm , and my most beloved , the remote control . yet perhaps this time , with ghosts of mars , we have taken our love of convenience to far . ghosts of mars stars natasha henstridge as a tough as nails , pill - poppin ' , martian cop , sent with her squadron to retrieve " demolition " williams ( ice cube ) from a remote mining town for trial back home . when she and her comrades , appropriately dubbed " the commander , " " the rookies , " and the guy with the cool accent discover the town 's residents slaughtered , they are forced to team up with williams to escape from the remaining residents ' head - chopping , alien - possessed clutches . filled with a lovely overuse of storytelling flashbacks , flashes - sideways , and viewpoint changes , ghosts of mars is a hapless mishmash of poorly constructed dialogue and ill - conceived action sequences . the only thing keeping this film from becoming an incomprehensible mess is the sheer idiotic simplicity of its story . ripped straight from the pages of a 1970s zombie movie , ghosts leaps from one convenient moment to the next , stopping only to kill the characters which are most convenient to lose . attempts at character interaction and development are rare and forced . most of these moments come off as kwik - e - mart wisdom , dispensed heartily around the slushee machine of life by the even - tempered streetwise hand of ice cube . with a gun in one hand and a dynamite cap in the other , cube reminisces about his street life , comparing the zombie - stomping fun to " me and my brother when we was kids . " apparently , crime in the bronx has gotten so bad that the residents have actually taken to ritually decapitating one another for entertainment . but , even in the film 's darkest moments , fate conveniently lends a hand , supplying heavily armored transportation and easily accessible rifles and dynamite . yes , in the future , man may travel to space and conquer mars , but nothing beats a good stick of tnt . and as we all know , every police station , past , present , or future , keeps a healthy supply on hand . characters die , heads are lopped off , but they were only supporting roles anyway , so why should we care ? as long as you have plenty of narcotics , immunity is guaranteed . eventually though , even the most well - trained zombie alien gets a bit uppity and needs to be taught a lesson . what better way than by sacrificing a few minor characters to a convenient nuclear detonation , killing anything the machine guns ca n't handle . explosions are fun . and even if the nukes do n't get them , the conveniently placed dynamite packs on the train stolen from the set of the road warrior certainly will . in the end this film defines itself when our cop 's tribunal pronounces , " is that all you have to tell us ? " for , indeed , john carpenter has run out of things to say , and has instead decided to use whatever is convenient to tell a ridiculously bad story .
[ "the sheer idiotic simplicity", "an incomprehensible mess", "kwik - e - mart wisdom", "whatever is convenient to tell a ridiculously bad story", "has run out of things to say", "rare and forced" ]
reindeer games is easily the worst of the three recent films penned by ehren kruger ( scream 3 and arlington rd are the others , each derivative in their own special way ) . the guy ca n't seem to write believable dialogue ( sample from reindeer games : " rule # 1 : never put a car thief behind the wheel " ) , create multi - faceted characters , or even engineer coherent plots but he sure knows how to pile on numerous nonsensical twists and turns ( no matter if each one deems the actual story increasingly unlikely ) . his screenplay for reindeer games turns the tables on the audience so many times that watching the film becomes something of a punishment with no reward anywhere in sight . i can just envision kruger laughing behind his keyboard , " oh you thought my movie was gon na go here , f * ck you jack ass , take that twist , decipher this mother f * cker ! " it 's almost as if the writer were angry at us for shelling out money to see his stupid movie . and why the hell would anyone want to invest time in a movie when the screenwriter keeps changing his own rules for no reason other than to congratulate himself on how damn clever he is ? auteur theory be damned ; it 's kruger 's " style " , not the director 's that winds up on screen . kruger has obviously never paid much mind to the old chestnut " sometimes less is more " . and his numerous twists ca n't even claim to be originals ; arlington rd 's ending is a direct steal from the much better alan j . pakula thriller the parallax view , and in reindeer games we get this ol' gem ; character incriminates themself by saying something they should n't know ( pronouns used to protect the gender of the " character " . . . grammar be damned ) . " how did you know that ? " the stunned protagonist asks , suddenly realizing that the character was in on the whole thing all along . . . since twist endings are currently so in vogue , and seeing as how kruger 's screenplays usually come equipped with about three twists per ending , i guess it 's no wonder why he works so frequently . he 's quickly becoming miramax 's mickey mouse ; the company has already signed him to work on several of their upcoming projects . this is appropriate considering that miramax ( which used to place their label on some of the most artistically daring films ) has quickly become a grindhouse for coddling foreign imports ( life is beautiful ) and freddie prinze jr . vehicles . their company 's current logo could be " we ride the trends " . reindeer games stars ben affleck as rudy , a supposedly hardened criminal spending his days and nights behind bars with fantasies of pecan pies dancing atop his head . although affleck is given some barbed wire tattoos to insinuate bad assness , he plays the role like steve guttenberg preciously mugging through a police academy flick . affleck is such a puppy dog that it 's impossible to believe he could survive in a harsh prison environment without becoming nearly everyone 's bitch . the role itself is so badly written ( the character only grows balls when the plot calls for it ) , the twists so outrageous , and the directing so self consciously gritty that this is about as close to self parody as i can recall a recent " serious " movie getting . it may have been wiser had the film makers simply went all the way in that direction , casting jerry seinfeld as the hardened criminal and howard stern as the sniveling bad guy ( who 's played here by gary sinise in yet another over the top villain performance ) james frain is nick , rudy 's cellmate , a manslaughterer who 's found a pen pal in the gorgeous ashley mason ( charlize theron ) . ashley is a prison groupie who sends nick many cheesecake photos of her though she 's never seen one picture of him . which works out fine since the character is killed in a near - riot , and rudy ( who was to be paroled on the same day as nick ) takes his place , which leads to a sudden and very frenzied sex scene between ashley and rudy ( so frenzied it kinda looks like rape ) and a surprise visit from ashley 's brother , gabriel ( gary sinise ) , who waltzes into their shabby hotel room flanked by his thuggish co - horts . he plans to rob an indian casino on christmas eve with the assistance of rudy who he thinks is nick who , according to what he wrote in the letters to ashley , used to work as a guard in the indian casino . though by the end , the film pulls the rug out from under us so frequently that everything i 've described might as well be irrelevant . this is what you can expect should you chose to take this reindeer on ; several scenes in which , after catching his prey , the bad guy proceeds to stall interminably until the good guy has a chance to kill his captor and crack a stupid one - liner . included : two ( 2 ) scenes of two ( 2 ) different bad guys explaining their motives to the hero when they should be killing him ( one following the other no less ) . though it 's an action film , the ending is more a talkfest where we get the whole movie explained to us by one flustered character actor after another while affleck looks on , incredulous as the audience . the flick was directed by john frankenheimer , a straightforward action director who lucked into the manchurian candidate early in his career , fell off the a - list following a string of flops and now , in his old age , is slowly climbing his way back up . it would be a success story if he were choosing better scripts but his last major film was ronin ( one of those almost but not quite movies ) which followed the island of dr . morneau ( you remember , the one with marlon brando in mime make - up and a not so flattering moo - moo ) , and now this . he films action sequences with a minimum of quick cutting which i like considering that nowadays action scenes are commonly comprised of millisecond flash cuts strung together and laid out for a brain - zapped mtv audience to pick apart . problem is these action scenes ( nearly all failed escapes ) serve no purpose in the story other than to further pad out the running time and to remind the audience that their watching an action movie rather than a filmed radio play . character problems abound ; rudy is made to shift between sweet boy next door earnestness and hard edged wiseacre , the latter of which is not ( at least at this point ) something ben affleck is capable of pulling off . the former he can do with ease and often the actor coasts on his lackadaisical charm while those around him growl and swear . but then suddenly affleck starts growling and swearing alongside them like the class clown imitating a tarantino gangster . charlize theron , an extraordinary talent , is , like affleck , playing whatever part the script requires her to play , whether it be vulnerability at one moment , anger at the next . she never has a chance to evince any charm or make much of an impression beyond her obvious physical attributes ( frankenheimer has her needlessly pop her top to further italicize this . gary sinise has played this role frequently , and here , as in snake eyes , he does the snarling bad guy thing with such over the top vitriol ( the guy must be so incredibly bored of stomping through the same paces that going out of control is the only thing that keeps him interested any more ) , that it becomes more of an annoyance ( oh there he goes again ? ? ? ) than a threat . these are talented people who made the mistake of jumping on to a script with little but stock characters and a bag of tricks that it dully springs on its audience .
[ "ca n't seem to write believable dialogue", "the role itself is so badly written", "one flustered character actor after another", "\" we ride the trends \"", "stock characters", "pad out the running time", "stupid one - liner", "it dully springs", "serve no purpose", "incredulous", "over the top vitriol", "she never has a chance", "why the hell would anyone want to invest time", "character problems abound", "something of a punishment with no reward anywhere in sight", "f * ck you jack ass", "a direct steal", "decipher this mother f * cker !", "the worst of the three recent films", "the directing so self consciously gritty", "stupid movie", "it becomes more of an annoyance" ]
a follow - up to disney 's live - action " 101 dalmatians " that 's better , more entertaining than the first ? just as unlikely . with " 102 dalmatians , " the disney studios have proven that when it comes to going to the dogs , more is definitely * not * the merrier . 1996 's " 101 dalmatians " certainly was n't the greatest movie - going experience of all time , but it did feature glenn close in an outrageous , larger - than - life performance . in addition , we had two amiable leads in the form of jeff daniels and joely richardson , and lots and lots of adorable spotted puppies . this time around there seem to be fewer puppies on the screen , and close 's facial and physical gyrations are starting to feel as old as the 53-year - old actress under that startling black and white wig of hers . but that 's only half the problem with kevin lima 's laborious film . what makes " 102 dalmatians " such a collosal bore is its embarrassing attempts at humor ( here almost single - handedly foisted on a wisecracking macaw who thinks he 's a dog , voiced by eric idle ) , its rabid plotlessness ( cruella goes after puppies again ; winds up in goo again ) and most of all , the incredibly wooden actors who plays the romantic " heroes " of the piece , a welshman named ioan gruffudd and the blander - than - bland alice evans as a parole officer named chlo ? . gruffudd is cute and harmless , perhaps , but evans ca n't even aspire to that . the dogs upstage them both , of course , but in the case of evans , even close 's split ends are more animated . bad acting , however , seems to be a requirement for this sequel , since g ? rard depardieu shows up as a french furrier with a haircut like robert de niro 's in " men of honor . " jean pierre le pelt is a flamboyant fashion designer with a penchant for fine furs and depardieu 's over - the - top antics mimic those of the campy close flail for flail , and wail for wail . france 's most popular export besides brie has long since turned into a caricature of himself , and in " 102 dalmatians " the producers milk that realization for all it 's worth -- le pelt likes to refer to the furry little critters as " poopies , " par example ( and ad nauseum ) . the finesses of the script ( attributed to four screenwriters no less , and far removed from anything dodie smith ever dreamed up ) are quickly dispensed with , since all it takes for a paroled cruella to be shaken from her years of successful aversion therapy in the slammer is the tolling of big ben ( ? ) . that done , it 's back to the mansion to roll around in her heretofore off - limits sables and minks and a plan to skin those little dahlings for the sake of a hooded designer gown . the dogs are pretty cute -- try making a puppy look otherwise -- but that 's pretty much all they are . there 's always the feeling that there 's a trainer off in the wings , coaxing the dogs to open doors , or pick up their food bowls in unison , or pop a tape into the videocasette recorder . savvy holiday goers should skip " 102 dalmatians " and pop the original 1961 animated classic into * their * vcrs instead . it 's one dalmatian less , but 101 % more satisfying .
[ "rabid plotlessness", "incredibly wooden actors", "blander - than - bland", "a collosal bore", "goers should skip", "embarrassing attempts", "bad acting" ]
one - sided " doom and gloom " documentary about the possible annihilation of the human race as foretold by the bible . orson welles narrates and appears in the film in which he , along with best - selling author hal lindsey , discusses various prophecies from the bible and relates them to recent ( well for 1976 anyway ) events . the film is dated badly , as many things that are supposed to happen in the " future " never do . for example , the planets of the solar system were supposed to line up in the year 1982 and cause chaos here on earth . we 're still here . the arms race between the soviets and america was supposed to kick - off the apocalypse . we 're still here . some of the more ludicrous moments come when it 's alluded to that people like jimmy carter and henry kissinger may actually be the antichrist ( ! ) . also , there 's ten minutes of stock footage at the end of the film meant to give us an idea of what the battle for armageddon might be like . if it 's anything like it 's depicted as here then it 's going to be incredibly boring . the late great planet earth is available on dvd from vci home video . it contains the film in standard form ( aspect ratio of 1 . 33 : 1 ) , although some moments of stock footage are letterboxed . also included are brief bios on orson welles and hal lindsey , as well as a trailer for another recent vci home video release , chariots of the gods . audio is mono dolby digital , and the video is fair to good for a film like this . i believe this is the first appearance of this film on any home video format so any condition at all is fine with me . certainly i never expected a remastered print . curiously , the menu screens on this dvd look nothing like the menu screens pictured on the back of the case . but they 're menu screens . . . so who really cares ? [ pg ]
[ "incredibly boring", "dated badly", "the more ludicrous moments" ]
play it to the bone , the newest addition to ron shelton 's sports - themed repertoire fails in numerous ways . like most of shelton 's other great films ( bull durham , white men ca n't jump ) , this dud unsuccessfully attempts to use athleticism as a method of connecting characters and creating interesting subplots . shelton 's films are not considered sports films , but they do heavily revolve around a specific game to tell a story . shelton has been so good in the past at using sports to analyze the structure of society that from his collection of films we are given an examination of different classes and races living in various different regions . play it to the bone is unsuccessful because not only is the boxing theme dull , but the side story of the two guys and a girl travelling across the country is even worse . the film has no social message like its predecessors . the relationship between the friends , two failed boxers who must face off against each other in the ring for 50 thousand dollars , is very confusing for a number of reasons . the whole film , since it is primarily a " buddy picture , " depends on the strength of the friendship the two characters have for each other . unfortunately , it is a very weak bond for the reasons listed below . 1 ) we never see how cesar ( antonio banderas ) and vince ( woody harrelson ) meet . the two are so different from each other , that a scene of how this odd friendship developed should have been mandatory . 2 ) vince and cesar argue every moment possible on their trip to las vegas . there is not one convincing moment dedicated to seeing the characters laugh together or actually agree on something . 3 ) the third character on the trip , grace ( lolita davidovich ) stands in the way . she is in nearly every scene with them , making it impossible to understand the difficulty the two male characters are going to have when they fight each other . 4 ) there are two many interfering , irrelevant side stories . vince is convinced that he sees jesus on a regular basis , cesar yells at the sky in spanish when he is angry , and grace tries to sell her inventions to hotel owner robert wagner . these boring tales only hurt the central plot . 5 ) when it comes to time for the two men to fight , they do n't even hesitate to pound each other . was n't the whole point of the road trip to show that these two are friends who could never hurt each other ? by the time the road trip part of the movie is over with , the film wants to be over . shelton , on the other hand , continues to tell his story . forty five painful minutes remain . the boxing scene between cesar and vince starts out very powerful and interestingly different from other boxing movies . however , the fight goes on for way too long and becomes very repetitive and predictable after awhile , kind of like the whole film .
[ "very repetitive and predictable", "fails in numerous ways", "has no social message", "there is not one convincing moment", "forty five painful minutes remain", "unsuccessfully attempts", "goes on for way too long", "these boring tales only hurt", "is even worse", "there are two many interfering , irrelevant side stories" ]
some movies i should just skip . my daughter and i had a really vile time at my favorite martian a few weeks back , and here comes another disney effects - filled live - action flick based on an old tv program . true , the probgram is only 15 years old this time , and it 's a cartoon . but it 's a cartoon i liked , and i was understandably reluctant to see what disney had done to it on the big screen . but my daughter really wanted to go , and how bad could it be ? turns out i was right , mostly . inspector gadget , oddly enough , follows almost exactly the same format as my favorite martian , down to the jive - talking side - kick . at first i thought it was done by the same people , but imdb informs me that ig was directed by david kellogg and written by dana olsen and kerry ehrin , where mfm was directed by donald petrie and written by sherri stoner and deanna oliver . this odd similarity between the two movies may best be explained by the studio that produced it , where " formula " is n't just business , it 's a way of life . the producers who obviously micromanaged the two projects should get prominant screen credits . in some parts you can just hear them saying " more zany ! i want more zany here -- and -- here . " " let 's have a really painful sexual reference for no reason right here -- make it really painful . i want the audience squirming in their seats . " " ok , that 's fine , but i want you to add bug guts . " " what does this scene do ? character depth ? but where 's the zaniness ? i do n't see zany here . if you ca n't make it zany , cut it ! " the latter is the only explanation i can come up with for the absence of the thoroughly charming michelle trachtenberg for most of the movie . michelle ( who plays penny , gadget 's niece ) shines in every scene she 's in , but unfortunately she only gets about nine minutes of screen time . my guess is that the rest is on the cutting room floor . dabney coleman 's comedic talents are utterly wasted as chief quimby . i kept expecting him to say or do something really funny and somehow save the film , but instead , he does the best he can with some really poor lines in a few unexceptional scenes . he is thoroughly upstaged by cheri oteri as the " gidget bitch from hell " town mayor . oteri 's overly enthusiastic and continually self - congratulatory speech patterns and mannerisms were so much like portland , oregon 's own manic mayor vera katz that i had to wonder if the studio was n't poking fun at our fair town . or , maybe all career politicians are like that . i must say , matthew broderick does not stroll through inspector gadget as he did godzilla . he appears to have some fun with the film , especially as the evil gadget . rupert everett is entertaining as the maniacle claw . joely fisher does fine as the zany scientist and even better as the zany carbon copy of herself . her performance is one of the few things worth watching in the film . d . l . hughley plays the shuckin'-and - jivin ' vehicular side - kick , in a role that firmly sets emancipation back 20 years . the dialog is . . . let 's face it , it 's pretty bad . the tag - line after a major set - piece battle is a faux pas that makes no sense in context . a lot of the lines ( especially hughley 's ) appear to be made up as they go along , by people with little gift for ad - lib . about three - quarters of the film is a somewhat unnecessary origin story for both gadget and claw . gadget then spends the latter third of the movie trying to locate claw and having various altercations ( not really " battles " ) with the evil gadget . penny does about a minute and a half of the detective work her character did every week in the cartoon . let me rage here just for a minute . michelle trachtenberg was an excellent choice for the penny character . she 's utterly charming , and has excellent experience ( harriet the spy ) for the part of the pint - size detective . why she is so underutilized in this film is a real mystery . the film loses a star for casting brilliance coupled with scripting ( or editing ) stupidity . inspector gadget is missing the long , long stretches of potty humor that ( among other things ) made my favorite martian so unbearable , but it 's a very short movie , so perhaps something was cut at the last moment . probably the best scenes in the film occur during the end credits . the " evil sidekick support group " is especially worth seeing , and has an amazing number of cameo appearances for the few seconds it 's onscreen . all in all , another bad live action film from the premere studio for bad live action films . i wonder if disney uses the revenues for it 's generally money - making cartoons to produce these losers . but if true , why ? if they 're trying for another mary poppins , they need to find a team that can produce one , and then give them a chance to do it .
[ "it 's pretty bad", "makes no sense", "unnecessary origin story", "stupidity", "unfortunately", "really poor lines", "made up as they go along", "she is so underutilized", "these losers", "a really painful sexual reference for no reason", "little gift", "utterly wasted", "another bad live action film" ]
hong kong cinema has been going through a bad spell . the last few productions have been effect laded action adventures that combine both the best and worst of american filmmaking with the same qualities of hong kong films . in a nutshell , the current crop of films from hong kong has been maddeningly convoluted and visually sumptuous . with the one time british colony reverting back to mainland ownership , a lot of hong kong 's best talents have crossed the pacific to work on u . s . productions . such talents as jackie chan ( rush hour ) , chow yun - fat ( anna & the king , the corrupter ) and yuen woo - ping ( the matrix ) have all moved into the budget bloated world of hollywood filmmaking with mixed results . now we can add two other hong kong filmmakers to the mix with star jet li and director and fight choreographer corey yuen kwai . unfortunately " romeo must die " bears all the trademarks of a typical hollywood action film and none of hong kong 's rhythms . the film opens in a nightclub as an asian couple is necking . enter a group of chinese gangsters led by kai sing ( russell wong ) . kai confronts po sing ( jon kit lee ) , the son of kai 's boss and leader of the local chinese family . a battle breaks out between the bodyguards of the club and kai , who handily kicks and punches his opponents down . it 's not until club owner silk ( rapper dmx ) , bears down on kai and his henchmen that the fight ends . the following morning po sing is found dead . suspicions escalate , as issac o'day ( delroy lindo ) is told of the murder . his concern that the war between his and the chinese family may explode and ruin his plans to move out of the business of corruption and into a legitimate venture . issac implores his chief of security , mac ( issiah washington ) to watch after his son and daughter . the scene shifts to a prison in china , where han sing ( jet li ) learns of his brothers murder . he fights with the guards and is dragged off to be disciplined . hung upside down by one foot , han recovers and battle his way out of custody in a blistering display of fight choreography and stunt work . escaping to the u . s . han sets out to find the person responsible for his brother 's death . " romeo must die " is in many ways a fun film . it is both absurd and assured . the basic plot of a gangster wanting to become legitimate echoes " the godfather " . the relationship between jet li 's han and aaliyah 's trish o'day reminds us of abel ferrera 's " china girl " , except that romeo must die 's couple never once exchange more than a loving glance towards one another . their romance is much more puritanical than any other romance in film history . the performances are adequate if not fully acceptable . li , of course has the showiest part , having to express both an innocents and steadfast determination . allayah , in her feature film debut manages to carry what little is asked of her with a certain style and grace . it 's obvious that the camera loves her and she is very photogenic . but , still the part is under written in such a way that even a poor performance would not have affected it . delro lindo as issac o'day carries himself well in the film . an unsung and under appreciated actor , mr . lindo turns out the films best performance . the other performers are all adequate in what the script asks of them except for d . b . woodside as issac 's son , colin . the performance is undirected , with the character changing his tone and demeanor in accordance with whatever location he is in . an unfocused performance that should have been reigned in and / or better written . first time director andrzej bartkowiak does a workmanlike job in handling the film . having a career as one of the industry 's best cinematographers , bartkiwiak knows how to set up his shots , and " romeo must die " does look good . but the pacing of the film is lethargic , only coming to a semblance of life during the fight scenes . the script by eric bernt and john jarrell is not focused in such a way that we can care about the characters or the situations they are in . the big gambit of buying up waterfront property to facilitate the building of a sports center for a nfl team is needlessly confusing . and of course the common practice of one character being the comic relief of the film becomes painfully obvious here as anthony anderson as allayah 's bodyguard , maurice has no comic timing whatsoever . the best things about the film are its fight scenes . jet li is a master of these intricate physical battles . one needs only to see his film " fist of legend " to understand that the man is without peer in the realm of martial art combat . here , jet is given the opportunity to show off in a way that " lethal weapon 4 " ( jet 's u . s . debut ) did n't allow . unfortunately , a lot of jet 's fights are aided with computer effects that detract from his ability and precision . also " romeo must die " must be noted as having the most singularly useless effect ever committed to film , and that is an x - ray effect that appears three times during the course of the film , showing the effect of bone crushing blows on an opponent . obviously a homage to the famed x - ray scene from sonny chiba 's " streetfighter " , the scenes here are just pointless and interfere with the pacing of the film . it 's as if the film has stopped and a video game has been inserted . one problem though about the fight scenes . those that are familiar with hong kong action know that even though the films are fantasies and are as removed from reality as any anime or cartoon . they do have an internal rhythm to them . a heartbeat , so to speak in their choreography . the fight scenes in a hong kong film breath with an emotional resonance . this is created by the performance , the direction and the editing . here in " romeo must die " , there is no staccato . every fight scene , even though technically adroit and amazing becomes boring as the editing both cuts away from battle at hand and simple follows a set pattern . the rhythm is monotonous . a hong kong film has a tempo that changes , heightening its emotional impact . ' rmd ' is limited to a standard 4/4 tempo , not allowing for any emotional content whatsoever . a fine example of this difference can be found by examining a couple of jackie chan 's films . . watch the restaurant fight from the film " rush hour " and notice that the context of the fight , while technically amazing is rather flat ( the framing and cut always do not help ) . now look at the warehouse fight from " rumble in the bronx " . there you have a heartbeat , and emotional draw that does n't let the audience catch its breath . the stops and pauses for dramatic effect work perfectly , causing the viewer to be both astounded and flabbergasted . here in ' romeo must die ' , the fight scenes have no more emotional content or character than any john wayne barroom brawl . jet li is a grand and personable screen presence . it 's a shame that his full talents were not used to full effect here . one day filmmakers here in the u . s . will stop making films by the numbers and start to embrace the style and emotion that has made hong kong action pictures such a commodity . until then , we 'll be left with emotionally hollow product like " the replacement killer " and , currently " romeo must die " .
[ "not focused", "lethargic", "it 's a shame", "unfocused performance", "unfortunately", "the performance is undirected", "needlessly confusing", "there is no staccato", "has no comic timing whatsoever", "emotionally hollow product", "the fight scenes have no more emotional content or character", "unfortunately", "are just pointless and interfere", "becomes boring", "monotonous" ]
i wish i could have been in the pitch meeting for this ridiculous notion of a sports film . i bet it was some hotshot warner brothers agent with an dark armani suit and manicured fingernails saying , " it would be a very light comedic version of any given sunday , and we could throw in the hoosiers angle with the casting of gene hackman as the tough but determined coach . throw in that hunk of a guy keanu reeves and a cast of wacky characters and poof ! we 'll have a hit on our hands ! " the replacements is a hokey mistake of a football film , a mishmash collage of one - dimensional characters , rampant stereotypes of cultures and races , cliched emotional statements of purpose , and keanu reeves wishing for the matrix sequel to start principal photography . the story is loosely based around the pro football players ' strike in 1987 and a rag - tag team of replacement football players taking up the reins of professional play for a variety of teams with names like the washington sentinels . keanu reeves stars as shane falco , a has - been football college player looking for redemption . gene hackman dons a fedora like tom landry and speaks with gusto like a certain coach in hoosiers . rounding out the cast includes swingers ' jon favreau , 7-up pitchman orlando jones , gruff owner jack warden , and cast of wacky and unknown actors who do amazing jobs of portraying perfectly stereotyped characters : the drunken welshman , the overweight sumo wrestler , the black convict , the violent cop , and the dumb , dumb cheerleaders . this bunch of nobodies try to make something of themselves by taking the team to the season playoffs with unbelievable football plays , gene hackman yelling and asking himself where the hell dennis hopper is , keanu reeves looking for his body double making him look good on the football field , and cheerleaders hired from the local strip club making the girls from coyote ugly look like waitresses from denny 's . the usual things happen like clockwork . the hero rises from the ashes of failure , the team comes together in unity , the hero falls in love with a conventional love interest , the football games are won with enough schlock value to make the most ignorant of audiences cheer and clap , and the cheerleaders make you want to go home and watch late night movies on cinemax . it 's also a shame when decent directors with good movies under their belts go to seed and become television and sequel hacks . howard deutch , who was behind the camera for two of the best films of ' 80s - pretty in pink and some kind of wonderful , has since been doing grumpier old men and caroline in the city episodes . obviously the problem is that without a good script , any director will fail in the end . sports films are strong vehicles for cinematic glory , gritty tales involving the honor of men and the valiant efforts taken for the ultimate goal of victory in the face of insurmountable odds , the rise and fall of gallant heroes , and stories of dramatic gusto painted with blood and sweat on the battlefield of life . the replacements offers none of this .
[ "without a good script", "it 's also a shame", "a hokey mistake", "fail in the end", "a mishmash collage of one - dimensional characters , rampant stereotypes", "this ridiculous notion", "cliched", "the replacements offers none of this" ]
if you 're into watching near on two hours of bored , foul - mouthed florida teens having sex , doing drugs , having sex , listening to eminem , having sex , playing video games , having sex , and killing one of their peers , then " bully " 's for you . based on jim schutze 's novelization of a true - life event , " bully " charts the story of a handful of disenchanted teenagers who , in 1993 , murdered their high school bully in cold , calculated blood . the film could have provided fascinating insights into what turned these aimless kids into premeditated killers . in the hands of controversial director larry clark ( " kids " ) , however , it has less to say about its subject matter and more to say about the filmmaker 's pornographic proclivities . in terms of the incident and what provoked it , " bully " stirs up nothing new . the high schoolers are presented as a uniformly screwed up lot -- bored with life , not much ambition , promiscuous , profane . the bully in question , bobby kent ( nick stahl ) , is certainly an unpleasant piece of work but he does n't exactly tower over his colleagues in the pathological department . he hounds and harries and humiliates his " best friend " marty ( played by brad renfro ) and marty 's girlfriend lisa ( rachel miner ) does n't care for it at all and comes up with the idea of killing bobby . simply remove him from the equation . marty and lisa and a handful of their promiscuous , profane , and stoner friends , plus a recruited hit man ( ? ) , lure bobby to a swamp one night , stab him , beat him over the head with a baseball bat , and dump him into the canal where the sand crabs and the gators , presumably , finish him off . there 's no remorse -- the next day they 're talking about it as openly as a homework assignment . they did it because they wanted to , and because they could . what 's most troubling about the film , however , is n't the unsettling subject matter and the matter - of - fact way these young people go about eliminating one of their own but the way in which clark is constantly distracted by his own material . not only is the nudity plentiful and graphic in " bully " but there 's also an uneasy , exploitative feel to it . gratuitous crotch shots abound ( one of which makes the zipper cut - away in " there 's something about mary " look like the height of subtlety ! ) . clark is so pre - occupied with his female ( predominantly ) leads that you forget , at times , what this movie is supposed to be about . the stripping bare , literally and figuratively , of these actors ( who are , after all , playing underage teenagers ) becomes harder to watch over time , as you begin to feel for them and question the motives of the man behind the camera . the conclusion of " bully " offers up literal snapshots of information about the sentences imposed on each of the protagonists for their involvement in the crime . it 's a short sequence of stills -- heather : 7 years ; ali : 40 years ; lisa : life imprisonment , for example -- but it 's infinitely more telling than the 110 minutes of rampant unpleasantness that precedes it . " bully " aims for truth , exploits it shamelessly , then bludgeons it to death .
[ "exploits it shamelessly , then bludgeons it to death", "constantly distracted by his own material", "you forget , at times , what this movie is supposed to be about", "stirs up nothing new", "it has less to say about its subject matter and more to say about the filmmaker 's pornographic proclivities" ]
sean connery stars as a harvard law professor who heads back into the courtroom , by way of the everglades , to defend a young , educated black man ( blair underwood ) . the guy is on death row for the murder of a white girl , and says that his confession was coerced from the region 's tough , black cop ( lawrence fishburne ) . watching connery and fishburne bump heads for two hours is amusing enough , but the plot 's a joke . there 's no logic at work here . tone is also an issue -- there is none . director arne glimcher never establishes exactly what his film is trying to say . is it a statement on human rights ? is it a knock - off of silence of the lambs ? glimcher never tells . instead , he forces his characters to jump through hoop after hoop , over drawbridge after drawbridge , hoping that the audience wo n't notice what 's missing . just awful .
[ "just awful", "tone is also an issue -- there is none", "never establishes", "no logic at work here", "the plot 's a joke" ]
among multitude of erotic thrillers , that had been released in the early 1990s , woman of desire is interesting only because it was directed by robert ginty , star of the b - grade action films of the previous decade . those who tend not to be nostalgic about 1980s can find very good reason in the type of movies that made ginty the star . as director , ginty did very little to improve that impression . the protagonist of the movie is jack ( played by jeff fahey ) , yacht skipper that falls madly in love with christina ford ( played by bo derek ) . however , she has relationship with rich and powerful jonathan ashby ( steven bauer ) . one stormy night , the tragedy occurs and jack is accused of rape and murder . however , his good friend walter j . hill ( robert mitchum ) happens to be very good lawyer , so jack might even prove his innocence in the end . belonging more to the genre of courtroom drama than erotic thriller , woman of desire distinguishes itself from similar films by having almost all characters behaving like total idiots . unfortunately , this film is n't comedy and any laugh is unintentional . the characters are totally antipathetic and irritating and soon we stop caring what would happen to them . the actors that play them do n't help either . that is especially the case with jeff fahey , whose jack is so stupid that even the character played by fahey in lawnmower man looks like a genius in comparison . his partner bo derek , on the other hand , shows that she did n't age enough to cease being the sex goddess , but that is small compensation for her apparent lack of acting talents . ginty , on the other hand , tries to bring some life in the movie by using many flashbacks and strange angles of shooting , but in the end it gets only irritating to the already bored and dissatisfied viewer .
[ "apparent lack of acting talents", "the actors that play them do n't help either", "this film is n't comedy and any laugh is unintentional", "it gets only irritating to the already bored and dissatisfied viewer", "behaving like total idiots", "totally antipathetic and irritating" ]
" lake placid " marks yet another entry in the series of " predator pics " that were a screen staple in the late 1970s ( post- " jaws " ) and were revived recently by the godawful " anaconda . " " placid " claims to be a " horror / comedy " -it 's directed by the same guy who did " house " -but its attempts at humor are actually less funny than deadpan seriousness of " anaconda . " paleontologist kelly scott ( bridget fonda ) is sent up to maine to examine a tooth removed from a body that had been bitten in half on the lake . discovering that the tooth belongs to a crocodile ( which should n't even be in this hemisphere ) , kelly goes croc - hunting with game warden jack wells ( bill pullman ) and sheriff hank keough ( brendan gleeson ) . they 're joined by an unwelcome guest , hector cyr ( oliver platt ) , a scholar who worships crocs and searches all over the world for them . along the way , the merry band meets mrs . delores bickerman ( betty white ) , a weird old lady who lives out on the lake . you know what to expect from this movie : lots of shots where the camera is the eyes of the predator ( croc cam ) swimming toward someone 's dangling legs while " jaws " -like music plays , one character ( hector ) who 's obsessed with the croc and stupidly endangers the rest , another character who insists that the predator ca n't possibly exist . unlike its slippery cousin " anaconda , " " lake placid " wants to present its formulaic plot tongue - in - cheek , which is self - defeating . the result is neither scary nor funny ; it 's just tedious . while director steve miner has several horror films on his resume ( including two installments of " friday the 13th " and " halloween h20 " ) , screenwriter david kelley ( best known as the creator of tv series like " ally mcbeal " and " chicago hope " ) does n't seem to have the stomach for a chomp 'em up flick . the body count is surprisingly low and does n't include any of the major characters , and most annoyingly kelly and hector insist that they capture the crocodile alive rather than killing it . ( " lake placid " manages to have it both ways - i'll let you discover how for yourself ) . the croc itself is mostly computer - generated , of course . like the snake in " anaconda , " the thirty - foot monster crocodile does n't seem real ; it moves too quickly and in ways that seem unnatural . " lake placid " also offers little explanation for why a giant crocodile is in maine . there is a lot of semi - mystical mumbo jumbo about how " we really do n't know much about crocodiles . " they would have been better off going with something like the urban myth about alligators in the sewers . a movie like this does n't have to offer much of an explanation ( radioactive mutant ? creature from outer space ? ) , but it does have to give the audience something to hang their disbelief on . pullman and fonda seem to be plodding through the movie on auto - pilot . most of the time , they 're probably thinking about killing their agents or wondering if making this movie marks the end of their careers . platt and white , on the other hand , seem to be giving their best efforts , and they manage to squeeze a few chuckles out of this sorry script .
[ "offers little explanation", "it 's just tedious", "self - defeating", "they 're probably thinking about killing their agents or wondering if making this movie marks the end of their careers", "does n't seem real", "this sorry script", "moves too quickly and in ways that seem unnatural", "its attempts at humor are actually less funny", "mumbo jumbo", "its formulaic plot" ]
capsule : where are you tonight , leni rienfenstal ? starship troopers is an expensive , hateful and unenjoyable piece of violent pornography -- and bad pornography , at that . it is not good cinema , not good storytelling , and not even stupid fun : it 's so cynically , calculatedly bone - headed that even the least demanding members of the audience i was with were alternately bored and revulsed . it 's one of the worst movies i 've seen in a long time . why am i calling this movie pornography ? pornography , in the abstract , is anything which is calculated to appeal to the baser instincts . i remember reading a review of full metal jacket which described the climact moment at the end of the movie , where private joker has to shoot the downed vc sniper , as " a near - pornographic eternity " . i did n't agree with that assessment , but i could see what was being implied : the reviewer felt as if the audience was being incited to stand up and pump their fists and shout " do ' er , man , do ' er ! " that sentiment is echoed ad nauseam throughout starship troopers . it 's * literally * like a giant recruitment film that has gone berserk . it tries frantically to enlist our emotions but it winds up only being dull or sickening . the film takes place in our future , when earth has come under attack by some alien species that does n't appear to have intelligence . to counterattack , humankind does the single stupidest thing imaginable : instead of nuke the planet from orbit , which they 're clearly capable of , they send down grunts with m-16 rifles . this is n't heinlein , it 's a bad wwii movie , one where all the most obvious points of satire are ever poked and prodded in combat scenes that are noisy , repetitive , and ultimately tiresome . ( one scene has a journalist on a battlefield , filimg soldiers being slaughtered , and ends with groaning predictability : said cameraman gets skewered , too . ) the soldiers and their commanders are consistently idiotic . they do not possess a germ of tactical intelligence or even common sense . they do n't even behave like soldiers in a bad * movie * , and therefore we do n't care about them . we hated the tom berenger character in platoon , but he * mattered * , and therefore we were curious to learn about his fate . here , we do n't even hate the bugs -- what 's there to hate ? hating them would be like cursing a hurricaine . if there 's anything really hateful there , the movie does n't know how to give it to us . the screenwriter ( ed neumeier -- perhaps a better appelation would be " screen typist " ) and director ( the increasingly talent - impaired paul verhoeven ) have not found any way to make the characters or the story serve each other . one of the subplots concerns a woman pilot who 's great at getting out of tight situations , and does it again and again and again . once or twice is fine . by the fifth or sixth time , it 's worn out its welcome . there 's never any sense that these people are really thinking their way out of anything , or really being tested to show their mettle . also , the movie is irritatingly selective with how effective the bugs are to earthling weaponry . if a bug has one of the humans screaming in its grasp , then five guys can stand around it and blast away on full auto without doing a damned thing . but if one human gets cornered , he lays waste to whole platoons of bugs with one clip . uh - huh . the very worst feature of the movie is its repulsive quasi - fascist flavor . i say " quasi- " because while the movie uses many of the trappings of fascism ot eroticize its action -- the gear , the uniforms , etc . -- the movie does n't have the nerve ( or the brains ) to be genuinely fascist , or intelligent about the subject . the bumpers between scenes , which are apparently intended to parody wartime recruitment propaganda are propaganda -- just so clumsy and oafish that they wind up making the bugs look relatively innocuous in comparison . like the rest of the movie . there 's more , i suppose , but it 's not worth it . the acting is bland , neither arsenic nor gravy ; the music disposable ; the camerawork turgid . the heartbreaking thing is that it makes independence day look like a masterpiece .
[ "bone - headed", "increasingly talent - impaired", "turgid", "bored and revulsed", "uh - huh", "it is not good cinema , not good storytelling , and not even stupid fun", "bad pornography", "irritatingly selective", "one of the worst movies", "so clumsy and oafish", "has gone berserk", "the acting is bland", "repulsive quasi - fascist flavor", "expensive , hateful and unenjoyable", "the music disposable", "the very worst feature", "have not found any way", "dull or sickening" ]
the classic story & the production which ruined it marking the centennial anniversary of the 1896 h . g . wells classic , new line cinema , armed with a stellar cast and expert make - up effects man stan winston ( alien , predator , terminator etc ) churns out yet another hollywood film based on the classic novel . of course , the production is no doubt much more superior compared to the earlier 2 movies , one of which was made back in the 1933 and the other in the 1977 , under the title the island of lost souls ( sounds like a much better title . . ) . the story begins with edward douglas ( thewlis ) , a un representative sent to oversee a peace treaty somewhere in the south pacific , who is saved from the brink of death by montgomery ( kilmer ) after his plane crashes into the sea . douglas soon learns that montgomery is working for dr . moreau , who incidently , owns the island and also a reputable geneticist who has been awarded the nobel prize . his host 's reluctance to allow him to freely move around the island becomes clear when he stumbled into moreau 's lab , when a monstrous birth was in progress . even worse , the other workers in the lab are not exactly normal " people . " douglas stumbles across yet another shocking discovery when he is led to the beast - people community , which considers dr . moreau their maker . using shock - therapy and the law , dr . moreau has long been able to keep his beast - people civilised to some extent but there are a few animal - men who are just too savage to be controlled . the island of dr . moreau questions the ability of men playing god . dr . moreau is a man obsessed with creating a race of beings which is free from hate and violence . . . but the savage within every beast is not something one can suppress for long . moreau has no doubt a very interesting premise within its grasp . even so , the production has failed to make the most out of it . there are too many characters to put your attention to and the worst thing is , the characters are not " prioritized " so when the audience is led to believe that a particular character is important , before they know it , he or she or it perishes . . . . rather ungloriously at times too . perhaps there is some redemption in the development of the beast people , especially aissa ( balk ) , the most human of moreau 's creations . the two very important characters , montgomery and dr . moreau himself receive no development at all and it is in this area that the script fails miserably . more screen time could have been used for character interaction and development . i really would have liked it better if , say , they delved more into dr . moreau 's obsession , montgomery 's purpose in the story and justification to as why the beast - people had to rebel . maybe the nature of the screenplay , which incidently , does not incorporate much action sequences in the film , forced the filmmakers to " cut a long story short " and make it more of an action film than anything else ( it 's still summer , and movies have to be " marketable " ) . the special effects too , are really nothing for anyone to shout about . at most , i would say the beast - men looked just a bit more realistic than those apes in planet of the apes . this h . g . wells classic really has potential to be a good film . unfortunately , after 2 adaptations , they still could not decide on how and what to focus their attention on to really bring out that important message which makes up the entire essence of the story . as a third outing , the island of dr . moreau accomplishes little and is nothing more than an inferior version of ` the planet of the apes ' . the flying inkpot rating system : * wait for the tv2 broadcast . * * a little creaky , but still better than staying at home with gotcha ! * * * pretty good , bring a friend . * * * * amazing , potent stuff . * * * * * perfection . see it twice .
[ "receive no development at all", "accomplishes little", "nothing for anyone to shout about", "unfortunately", "the production has failed", "ungloriously", "nothing more than an inferior version" ]
lengthy and lousy are two words to describe the boring drama the english patient . great acting , music and cinematography were nice , but too many dull sub - plots and characters made the film hard to follow . ralph fiennes ( strange days , schindler 's list ) gives a gripping performance as count laszlo almasy , a victim of amnesia and horrible burns after world war ii in italy . the story revolves around his past , in flashback form , making it even more confusing . anyway , he is taken in by hana ( juliette binoche , the horseman on the roof ) , a boring war - torn nurse . she was never really made into anything , until she met an indian towards the end , developing yet another sub - plot . count almasy begins to remember what happened to him as it is explained by a stranger ( willem dafoe , basquiat ) . his love ( kirstin scott thomas , mission impossible ) was severely injured in a plane crash , and eventually died in a cave . he returned to find her dead and was heart - broken . so he flew her dead body somewhere , but was shot down from the ground . do n't get the wrong idea , it may sound good and the trailer may be tempting , but good is the last thing this film is . maybe if it were an hour less , it may have been tolerable , but 2 hours and 40 minutes of talking is too much to handle . the only redeeming qualities about this film are the fine acting of fiennes and dafoe and the beautiful desert cinematography . other than these , the english patient is full of worthless scenes of boredom and wastes entirely too much film . ,
[ "too many dull sub - plots and characters", "lengthy and lousy are two words to describe the boring drama", "wastes entirely too much", "too much to handle", "hard to follow", "making it even more confusing", "good is the last thing this film is", "full of worthless scenes of boredom" ]
out of sight director steven sorderbergh baffles the hell out of us all in the limey , a cold , uninvolving , confusing new thriller . though the plot description may at first seem like it came from the pen of elmore leonard ( author of out of sight , as well as jackie brown , get shorty and pulp fiction ) , after you watch it , you realize that it 's not nearly good enough . in an aggressively non - linear fashion , the limey ( li * mey , noun : an english gentleman ) tells the story of wilson ( terrence stamp ) , a british ex - con just released from a 9 year stint in prison for armed robbery . he has come to the us to seek vengeance for the death of his daughter jenny . he does n't know much about the circumstances of her demise , all he has is a name : terry valentine . valentine was jenny 's former boyfriend , a wealthy and corrupt record executive . he 's played by peter fonda , in his first major role since the terrific ulee 's gold in 1997 . seeking valentine 's reclusive place of residence turns out to be no easy task for wilson . he finally finds the impressive abode high in the mountains and sneaks in just as valentine is having a big party . he winds up breaking his cover eventually , setting off valentine 's head of security and valentine himself , who decides to run for it . what a mess . i have no problem when films refuse to be constricted by the linearity of time -- pulp fiction , which twisted time every which way , was a masterpiece -- but i do take exception to movies that decide to play around with it for no reason other than to confuse the viewer . the limey does exactly that . the plot is permeated with flashbacks , flash - forwards and what can only be described as random time - travel , without any evident purpose . there is no method to this movie 's madness . it uses a fancy way to tell a story that would be better off told more conventionally and more comprehendably . the plot is n't particularly interesting in the first place : traditional , mildly hackneyed and not very involving . this is a sort of brooding film -- our protagonist does n't speak much and the action sequences are done with an annoyingly perfunctory attitude . i felt like the director was n't very interested in the proceedings himself , almost like he made this film for a paycheck . ditto for the editing , which seems to be deliberately sloppy and unpleasant . sixties icon terrence stamp manages to at least be menacing as the aging criminal . he 's not much in the way of stature but he has a surprisingly imposing physical presence that works to his advantage here . peter fonda is an unbelievably underrated actor : he 's shy , quiet but always effective . he 's adept at conveying emotions through speech rather than expression : his feelings do n't always show on his face by you can always tell what they are . this is basically a conventional thriller told in a pretentiously bizarre fashion . why soderbergh could n't just parrot down and tell a story , i do n't know , but what he does do certainly does n't work . the result is a wild cornucopia of images that amount to precisely nil -- even the action scenes do n't work . 1999 may have signified the death of the traditional act one - act two - act three storyline , but obviously some movies have not yet transcended it . shall we go back to basics ?
[ "random time - travel", "even the action scenes do n't work", "not very involving", "mildly hackneyed", "annoyingly perfunctory attitude", "the plot is n't particularly interesting", "nil", "a cold , uninvolving , confusing", "permeated with flashbacks", "what a mess", "without any evident purpose", "there is no method to this movie 's madness", "certainly does n't work", "it 's not nearly good enough", "deliberately sloppy and unpleasant", "baffles the hell out of us", "a wild cornucopia of images" ]
a pseudo - intellectual film about the pseudo - intellectual world of art magazines , high art is as wasted as its drug - addled protagonists . in the only notable part of the movie , ally sheedy and radha mitchell deliver nice performances in the two leading roles , not that lisa cholodenko 's script or direction makes you care much about either character . living in a world of heroin induced highs , they float along until they fall in love with each other . this uninviting picture , full of pretentious minor characters , has a receptionist that reads dostoevski and a woman in the restroom line who is a certified genius , having recently been awarded a prestigious mcarthur grant . 24-year - old syd ( radha mitchell ) , who has a rather bland , live - in boyfriend , was just promoted to assistant editor at the artistic photography magazine " frame . " although the receptionist is impressed , syd is mainly a gofer for her boss until she meets famous photographer lucy berliner ( ally sheedy ) . for her to do photos for " frame , " lucy demands that syd be promoted to editor and assigned to her since lucy fancies her . lucy lives with her current lover , a washed up german actress named greta , played with a frequently indecipherable series of mumbles by patricia clarkson . the two of them and their friends wile away their time snorting and shooting up dope , usually heroin . this does not happen in a single episode , but becomes more commonplace than sleeping in the picture . syd , who lives in the apartment below them , joins in on the fun and becomes a member of the zombie club . lucy seems pretty happy with her life of drugs , which apparently is funded by her mother . lucy quit working professionally 10 years ago since she thought she was being " pigeonholed , " and , since her mother has money , we can only assume that that 's how lucy supports her habit and procures her living expenses . a typical scene has the editors arguing about whether a potential photographer 's work is transcendental or merely classical . that no one has a clue as to the dogma they are spouting becomes obvious but not particularly funny . " your work has a cultural currency that is important now , " is the artist - speak that the frame 's manager uses to convince lucy to show her pictures in the magazine . when the big scene comes in which lucy puts the moves on syd , her idea of a romantic line is , " i want to get high with you . " in lucy 's world , sex and drugs come hand - in - hand . and the movie , except for the obligatory scene of someone almost overdosing , shows drug usage as being a hip and natural part of the art scene . this vacuous picture throws in a standard downer ending in an attempt to manipulate our emotions . in another movie , it might have worked , but in this one the reaction is likely to be decidedly muted . high art runs 1 : 36 . it is rated r for explicit sex , pervasive drug use and language and is not appropriate for those younger than college age .
[ "a standard downer ending", "this one the reaction is likely to be decidedly muted", "high art is as wasted" ]
" party camp , " is one of the most mindnumbingly brainless comedies i 've seen in awhile . a late rip - off of the " meatballs " series , the film follows a group of young camp counselors at camp chipmunk . that 's really about all that can be said about the " plot " because nothing much happens , except that the main character , wise - cracking jerry ( andrew ross ) , has the hots for a cute blonde ( kerry brennan ) , and there is a big contest in the climax . how fun ! since , " party camp , " has practically no screenplay and there is no talent at all involved , the least the makers could have done was make it raunchy and exploitative . it 's not that i think exploitation is necessarily a good quality , but when you are talking about a dull turkey like this , the least that could have been done would be to fill it with a lot of mindless sex . even a psychopathic slasher at the camp would have done the trick . at least , then , it would n't have been such a chore to sit through . never before have i seen so many jokes fall astoundingly flat . the comedy was easy to spot , but it was n't the least bit funny . it was groan - inducing . constantly throghout , i was asking myself if director gary graver actually thought this movie was worth anything . so what saves , " party camp , " from the dreaded zero star rating ? well , that 's simple : jewel shepard , as a flighty bimbo , was admittedly fun to watch . although nothing could have saved this film from the lowest depths of motion picture trash , at least if the film had centered on shepard , she might have been able to add a little spice to an otherwise rancid , low - budget teen comedy .
[ "no talent at all", "rancid , low - budget", "rip - off", "nothing much happens", "practically no screenplay", "so many jokes fall astoundingly flat", "groan - inducing", "the most mindnumbingly brainless", "nothing could have saved this film from the lowest depths of motion picture trash", "it was n't the least bit funny" ]
i 'm currently accepting all future names for drew barrymore characters . in _ the wedding singer _ , she was julia gulia . in _ never been kissed _ , she 's josie grossie . future db character names include : janet granite , janey grainy , and for that nc-17 project in the works , jo - jo . . . aw forget it . i 'll stick to my day job . this is a teen movie , all right , except the main characters are n't teens . drew barrymore is a copy editor at the chicago sun times who gets her big break as a reporter , only it 's very clear from the onset that she lacks the toughness and the pushy extravertedness that marks the best of reporters . the story she 's covering is not really a story , but a story in the making . she is to return to high school as a student and explain what 's really going on . the irony is that drew 's character , was such a dweeb first time around , that she is terrified at going back . when she does , she says the wrong things , wears the wrong clothes , and projects the " i know the answer " in class that popular kids ( or at least popular kids in the movies ) reject . at least she befriends nerdy aldys ( joan of arc 's leelee sobieski -- watch for her ) , who turns out to be more beautiful than those who are " supposed " to be more beautiful than her . what works : drew 's geeky old - self . after a start in films that was headline driven , and a nadir of roles that had her play the sluttish character , it 's a surprise to see her with bad hair , big glasses and braces . it 's very funny . what does n't work : drew 's geeky new - self . come on . nobody dresses as bad as she does . could n't she just go to _ the gap _ and take suggestions ? had she dressed like princess leia it would have been better . the comedy is supposed to progress when drew 's younger brother ( played with zest by david arquette ) reenlists to jump - start his baseball career . now , how in the world can somebody as nerdy ( but in a funny way ) as he can be the most popular kid in the school . . . in a day ? ! the dialogue in the film is , well , an embarrassment . her co - workers ( molly shannon , john c . reilly and gary marshall ) are in terminal hyper - drive . her teenage peers ( except sobieski ) are so inept and stupid that there 's little bite from them . could n't the filmmakers watch _ heathers _ first ? lastly , i am proud to say that i caught a significant gaffe in the film . if you see the film , you 'd know what i 'm talking about : drew walks into a bar , has her hand stamped , and over the night associates with some rastafarians with some delicious , um , cake . she goes wild , sleeps in late . when she wakes , she rushes off to school , without showering , without noticing that her head , lying on her stamped hand all night , has transferred part of the stamp 's image to her forehead , spelling " loser " . funny , eh ? . . . except that the hand would have transferred that image backwords .
[ "the dialogue in the film is , well , an embarrassment" ]
when it comes to the average teenage romantic comedy , i expect negative reviews from critics left and right . predictable , unoriginal , and forgettable will most likely be the three adjectives to haunt the down to you 's and the drive me crazy 's released by the dozens these last couple of years . what i really look for in this kind of movie is the entertainment value while i 'm sitting in the theater . am i enjoying myself ? is this a comfortable break from my week of finals ? this is why i have given films like final destination or road trip high marks ; i had a party of a time wasting my money on something i wo n't remember next week . so last week i opened up the new york times - and , no surprise , boys and girls got a negative review . daily news ? negative . reelviews ? negative . epinions . com ? negative . this was nothing new . american pie , final destination , road trip did n't get such hot reviews and i loved those guilty pleasures . same goes for she 's all that , a formulaic but enjoyable pygmalion adaptation that got unjustly pounded . since boys and girls reunites she 's all that director robert iscove and actor freddie prinze jr . , i predicted d ? j ? vu al over again . but , still curious , i asked around my school and from the one or two people who had seen it , the reactions were far from positive . i had made up my mind ; i 'll catch it on video or cable in a couple of years . but , soon after , following a series of unexpected events ( we could n't get into shaft because it is rated r ) , i found myself watching boys and girls . whoops . boys and girls is about a " nerdy , smart " boy named ryan ( prinze jr . ) and a " popular , flirt " girl named jennifer ( claire forlani ) . briefly meeting as pre - teens and now attending the same college , the two bump into each other so many times that eventually they become best friends . but in the movies , a male and a female can not be friends without having that nagging feeling of attraction for each other . with advice from their roommates ( amanda detmer , jason biggs ) , ryan and jennifer attempt to discover the true meaning of their relationship . the film definitely lives up to the dreaded three adjectives - and mindless entertainment is nowhere to be found . i could hardly sit through the 93 minute running time for several reasons . the dialogue is probably the worst i have ever seen in any movie , mainly because the whole movie depends on the boring script and the ridiculous words these characters use is what hollywood thinks kids can relate to . it is almost offensive . an example of an insightful conversation : " you 're dumb . dumb , dumb , dumb , dumb . " " no . " ( followed by a mandy moore - esque tune background ) ( well it 's not as bad as wing commander i guess ) the supporting cast is also painfully useless . detmer and biggs stand in the way for anything interesting to happen with their own boring , pointless subplots . and although this is supposed to be from both perspectives of the human sex , prinze jr 's ryan dominates the screen while forlani 's jennifer simply acts as a dilemma for him to work with . we never learn anything about jennifer which is a shame too because forlani is the only actor to bring any life into her character . teenager or not : you 'll hate this movie , i guarantee it . maybe i should rent she 's all that again . is it really as good as i think it is ?
[ "a shame", "mindless entertainment is nowhere to be found", "is probably the worst i have ever seen in any movie", "boring , pointless subplots", "ridiculous words", "the boring script", "painfully useless", "you 'll hate this movie" ]
all through its production and into the early days of its initial , aborted pre - release publicity , hard rain bore the appropriate moniker of the flood . ultimately , however , paramount pictures , nervous that this movie would be confused with 1996 's other , underperforming disaster films ( dante 's peak , volcano ) , changed the title and shifted the release date by nearly a year . but , to paraphrase the bard , swill , by any other name , would smell as rank . no number of name changes can help this picture . it 's not just about a disaster , it is a disaster . hard rain is the case of a movie that gets progressively worse with every passing minute . the best shot occurs during the opening credits , as the camera pans over the streets and byways of huntingburg , indiana as the water level slowly rises . the community , protected by an overworked dam , is being evacuated as the rain continues to pour relentlessly from the cloud - choked skies . from that moment on , it 's all downhill . whatever initial entertainment value the film possesses has long since drained away by the halfway point . it takes forever to get to the end credits -- this is one of the longest - seeming 95-minute motion pictures i have recently endured . basically , hard rain is one extended , dull chase sequence punctuated by occasional shoot - outs . there 's a lot of water , broken glass , gunfire , and explosions . it 's all very routine and uninteresting because there are n't any real characters and the plot only occasionally makes sense . the film 's conclusion is so preposterous that it 's almost worth watching for the sheer masochistic enjoyment of seeing the monumentally idiotic way that the film makers decide to resolve the myriad subplots that are floating around . action films are supposed to become progressively more invigorating as they rush towards a conclusion . graham yost , the writer of both speed and hard rain , surely understands that principle . unfortunately , neither he , nor cinematographer - turned - director mikael salomon ( a far off place ) , applies it . the action in hard rain grows tedious through repetition . we see the same kinds of things -- speedboat chases , flood damage , shoot - outs , etc . -- over and over again . the movie constantly recycles about twenty minutes worth of material to pad the running time out to an acceptable movie length . the storyline gives us a number of paper - thin characters in contrived circumstances . there 's tom ( christian slater ) , the one- dimensional action hero who works as a security guard driving an armored car full of cash . he and his partner , charlie ( edward asner , tv 's " lou grant " ) , get stuck on a street that 's rapidly turning into a river . a group of men , led by jimmy ( morgan freeman ) , arrive on the scene not as rescuers but as robbers . after charlie is killed in a shoot - out , tom hides the money , then runs . as he swims and boats his way through huntingburg 's roads , he encounters some of the locals : karen ( minnie driver ) , a would - be love interest ; a bickering old couple ( richard dysart and betty white ) , who are on hand to provide comic relief ; and the easily - corrupted sheriff ( randy quaid ) , whose seeming helpfulness hides sinister ulterior motives . there is n't any real acting in this film . christian slater utters a few lame one - liners and does a lot of mugging for the camera . tom is easily one of the most lifeless characters the actor has brought to the screen . randy quaid sneers a lot , and is totally unconvincing . morgan freeman and minnie driver both attempt to give legitimate performances , but they are defeated by the script . freeman , one of the best cinematic thespians working today , looks suitably embarrassed to be here , but i suppose everyone needs a good paycheck from time - to - time . following in the wake of twister , this is yet another natural disaster movie that does n't trust nature 's fury as the chief engine of conflict . as a result , we are saddled with an idiotic good guys / bad guys story that effectively ruins any potential that the flood tale could have had . titanic proved that there can be a wealth of drama in a movie where everything goes under water . hard rain successfully demonstrates that the opposite is equally possible . thus far this year , hollywood has already subjected us to its unique brand of moronic mayhem by fire ( firestorm ) and water ( hard rain ) . fortunately , there are only two elements left .
[ "no number of name changes can help this picture", "over and over again", "totally unconvincing", "the most lifeless characters", "grows tedious through repetition", "they are defeated by the script", "extended , dull chase", "it takes forever", "unfortunately", "paper - thin characters in contrived circumstances", "looks suitably embarrassed", "it 's all very routine and uninteresting", "constantly recycles", "moronic mayhem", "to pad the running time", "there are n't any real characters", "gets progressively worse", "it 's all downhill", "idiotic", "a few lame one - liners", "monumentally idiotic", "it is a disaster", "only occasionally makes sense", "preposterous", "effectively ruins any potential" ]
instinct is the kind of movie that inexperienced moviegoers will undoubtedly label as " powerful " or " touching " . i have a name for it myself : " gross " . this is the sort of film where somebody stands up to a bully , the bully looks at the " rebel " threateningly , about to hurt him , and then everyone else whom the bully has heretofore controlled stands up too . how that scene is still present in so many movies today appalls me : are n't present day moviegoers beyond being " inspired " by something like that ? this is one example ( there are actually some more in instinct alone ) of filmmakers insulting the audience 's intelligence . instinct 's plot is brimming with potential : world - renowned anthropologist ethan powell ( anthony hopkins ) disappeared for two years whilst doing research in the jungles of africa . he was found and is coming back to the united states a convicted killer ; he murdered to african policemen who were allegedly trying to capture him . after committing a few more brutal acts of violence in the airport , the authorities stick him in a prison 's " psychotics ward " . assigned to do an evaluation on powell is a bright ( or so we are told ) young psychiatrist theo caulder ( cuba gooding jr . ) . caulder starts out doing the evaluation merely for the purpose of furthering his career . of course ( and no mainstream filmmaker would ever have it any other way ) he starts really caring for powell and he becomes fixed on helping powell prove that he is not a psychotic and that he should not be in prison . and then there 's the inevitable " heartless meanie " character , in the form of donald sutherland who plays caulder 's mentor . he cares for caulder but does everything he can to discourage him from helping powell . let 's get one thing straight : dr . theo caulder is the most blatantly incompetent psychiatrist i have ever seen , on screen or off . any good shrink will listen to what his patient has to say no matter the subject because any good shrink will learn a great deal about his patient that way . not good old theo . no , he asks purposefully pointed questions and when powell dares to venture to another subject caulder says " we need to talk about this right now . " this is a flaw only in the sense that it detracts from instinct 's already dubious credibility ; unfortunately it 's also the least of its problems . director jon turteltaub , who made the delightful john travolta vehicle phenomenon as well as the surprisingly above - par cool runnings decided to make this movie so shamelessly sentimental that , contrary to what this movie 's promotion would have you believe , it has much more in common with patch adams than with the silence of the lambs . it 's not the kind of sentimentality that can almost bring tears to your eyes ( what dreams may come aptly demonstrated that ) but the kind that brings vomit up your esophagus ( excuse the graphic depiction ) . it aims to " inspire " rather than to touch hearts . as yoda would say , inspire it does not . it is the ultimate sign of futility when a screenwriter ( the very experienced gerald di pego ) has to resort to literally telling the audience a movie 's story . indeed , somewhere in the beginning of instinct , one of the characters actually reads aloud the film 's plot to another character . this , like the instance i mentioned in the first paragraph of this review , is a horrid insult to our intelligence . i am forced to wonder whether turteltaub and di pego did not think that we could figure out what instinct is about simply from regular conversation . i think that anthony hopkins is one of the greatest screen actors , and he chews the scenery in this movie , brilliant as ever . oscar winner cuba gooding jr . on the other hand is dreadful . his performance is at least part of what makes his character seem so incapable of being a shrink . i liked the guy in jerry maguire as well as in as good as it gets but here he fails to project any shred of credibility or real feeling . i love animals , and instinct 's prominent save the gorillas / live in harmony with nature theme is certainly something i could sympathize with . however this movie 's execution is completely unacceptable . tone down the violence and this will be a chick flick . ? 1999 eugene novikov
[ "a horrid insult to our intelligence", "the most blatantly incompetent psychiatrist i have ever seen , on screen or off", "filmmakers insulting the audience 's intelligence", "dreadful", "this movie 's execution is completely unacceptable", "brings vomit up your esophagus", "he fails to project any shred of credibility or real feeling", "the ultimate sign of futility" ]

Dataset Card for "movie_rationales"

Dataset Summary

The movie rationale dataset contains human annotated rationales for movie reviews.

Supported Tasks and Leaderboards

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Dataset Structure

Data Instances


  • Size of downloaded dataset files: 3.90 MB
  • Size of the generated dataset: 8.73 MB
  • Total amount of disk used: 12.62 MB

An example of 'validation' looks as follows.

    "evidences": ["Fun movie"],
    "label": 1,
    "review": "Fun movie\n"

Data Fields

The data fields are the same among all splits.


  • review: a string feature.
  • label: a classification label, with possible values including NEG (0), POS (1).
  • evidences: a list of string features.

Data Splits

name train validation test
default 1600 200 199

Dataset Creation

Curation Rationale

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Source Data

Initial Data Collection and Normalization

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Who are the source language producers?

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Annotation process

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Who are the annotators?

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Personal and Sensitive Information

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Considerations for Using the Data

Social Impact of Dataset

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Discussion of Biases

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Other Known Limitations

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Additional Information

Dataset Curators

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Licensing Information

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Citation Information

    title = "{ERASER}: {A} Benchmark to Evaluate Rationalized {NLP} Models",
    author = "DeYoung, Jay  and
      Jain, Sarthak  and
      Rajani, Nazneen Fatema  and
      Lehman, Eric  and
      Xiong, Caiming  and
      Socher, Richard  and
      Wallace, Byron C.",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics",
    month = jul,
    year = "2020",
    address = "Online",
    publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
    url = "",
    doi = "10.18653/v1/2020.acl-main.408",
    pages = "4443--4458",
  author    =  {Omar F. Zaidan  and  Jason Eisner  and  Christine Piatko},
  title     =  {Machine Learning with Annotator Rationales to Reduce Annotation Cost},
  booktitle =  {Proceedings of the NIPS*2008 Workshop on Cost Sensitive Learning},
  month     =  {December},
  year      =  {2008}


Thanks to @thomwolf, @patrickvonplaten, @lewtun for adding this dataset.

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Models trained or fine-tuned on movie_rationales