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Santa Fake (2019)
Bad production value = Maybe the worst Christmas movie I've ever seen
6 December 2019
You can't blame a movie's quality if there is a lack of budget. In a perfect representation of "you get what you pay for", a low budget movie will appear so.

First, the good. When you get capable actors Heather Morris, veterans Judd Nelson and John Rhys-Davies, and talented newcomer Damian McGinty, you would think there could do something worth watching, but they can only do so much with what they were given. Other than that, this movie feels like it had its heart in the right place, but there isn't much more to celebrate.

So now, the bad. Again, the production quality is hard to ignore as it becomes evident in almost every scene. That said it's hard to get pulled into the story when fast motion makes the video strobe (watch Mrs. Ortega walk in front of the tapestry), when characters look yellow when they're indoors (no white balance?), or when McGinty's great voice sounds like he's singing in a bucket.

I could even look past these production issues if the story/humour/narrative is pleasant. But strange errors, stranger decisions, and an awkward story make that an impossibility as well. I could look past the punny title of this movie. (It's in Santa Fe, get it?) I could look past 'toaster effects' to show the characters travelling cross country. I could even look past the climactic finale's "proposition" that is, well, odd. But when the FBI agent says a briefcase needs to be fingerprinted, then IMMEDIATELY hands it to his partner who is not wearing gloves, I couldn't help but yell: DID NO ONE SEE THIS?!

So, while this was a valiant effort, this movie unfortunately falters in almost all aspects. 2 out of 10.
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Let's look at the positives...
29 March 2014
This is not a great movie, but it's certainly not bad. Here's some of the good that may have been overlooked...

You immediately get the notion that there is a lot of information to relay to an audience that may not be familiar with the books (myself included), and the movie does a fine job of presenting said information in easily-digested pieces that even a guy like me can accept.

The 2 teenage girl protagonist characters are refreshing examples of teenage girls with enough depth that you actually care about them. (I can thankfully report that they are far more role model worthy than "Twilight's" Bella character.) Rose, the rebellious fighter-type, kicks ass, has a quick wit, and bends the rules without being too unrealistic. By contrast, Lissa is the (literal) princess-type who is a reluctant heir, well-mannered, and amazingly vulnerable despite being powerful in her own way. These two characters create a fine base to build the movie around.

The story itself unexpectedly turns into a mystery that, ultimately, is satisfying when all is said and done.

The cast, on the whole, does an 'okay' job, but it's lack of strong, well-known, well-established actors may have hurt this movie's quality overall. The shining star in this movie is clearly Zoey Deutch who does a amazing job at believably and perfectly portraying a girl who can kick butt, crack wise, be an honorable protector, and still be a fallible teenage girl at the end of the day. I look forward to seeing more of her.

This movie is far from perfect, but by the end of it, I didn't feel like punching someone in the face for it. (Which, I must be honest, is typical for this movie genre) I have seen thousands of movies and I know BAD movies. This is not one of them.

In the end, "Vampire Academy", while only being above average, at least presents a unique vision into an over-saturated, over-visited intersection of teen fiction and fantasy. 6 out of 10.
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Wanted (2008)
Do yourself a favour. Read the book!
4 August 2008
So a friend told me how the book was very different from the movie, and made me read the book... and boy was he right. But more about that later...

I recall seeing one of the producers say in an interview that due to all the superhero movies out, they intentionally went for a more "realistic" approach. I kept this in mind as I watched this movie. That said, I can only say that it's good, not great.

James McAvoy, who I've been a fan of since "Rory O'Shea Was Here", does an acceptable job as the movie's main character. However, I couldn't help but notice his accent seem to be just a little off here and there, which was a little distracting for me. Morgan Freeman and Angelina put in some reliable, albeit unremarkable, roles. And Common, a guy who has more on screen gravitas than most actors, is sadly underused.

The action scenes, which are vital for a film like this are very good. There are plenty of "okay, that was pretty cool" moments for adrenaline junkies out there. (Fyi: McAvoy actually did the "on the car hood" stunt with no CG. Nice job.) The story is good, but considering the original story, it would have been really hard to make a horrible movie. The special effects do a good job of making you believe in the unbelievable and some interesting camera-work and slow-mo also do well to enhance the experience.

All in all, above average, but not outstanding. 6 out of 10 BONUS COMMENTARY: The real tragedy about this movie is what it COULD have been. The original comic book wasn't about him being an assassin, you see, it was about him training to be a supervillian! That's right, in a superhero world, he's the Green Goblin, or Lex Luthor, or even the Joker! Now imagine what that movie would have been like! Additionally, they had to train him to be a cold-hearted, homicidal, remorseless bad guy. The book, which is definitely not for kids, is chock full with so much f-you, in-your-face, unapologetic violence this version of the movie would have been looking at an R rating for sure. Anyway, if you get a chance, track down the book and have a read. You can thank me later.
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The ONLY way to make this movie fun...
19 June 2008
Do the following: Get a copy of this movie and a friend. Wager the friend $10 that they can't sit through this entire movie. They cannot divert their gaze or be distracted by anything. Now watch your friend. Win or lose, you get $10 of entertainment.

It angers me to no end when people see a movie and are quick to give it 1 out of 10, or sum up their thoughts with "it sucked". (And when asked "Why?", they respond, "Just because." Arrgh.) That is why this movie exists. It's sole purpose is for me to say, "There! THIS is a horrible movie! THAT is 1 out of 10!".

This movie is absolutely appalling.

While the recent trend of movie parodies has forced them to become increasingly formulaic, this movie falls short in every single aspect. It's not funny. It's not entertaining. And for some of the parodies, it's completely inaccurate! Horrible acting. Unfunny dialogue. A witless story. Terrible "special effects". One INANE gag after another. And to make matters even worse, there isn't even gratuitous nudity to somehow make it even fleetingly worthwhile.

This movie leaps past idiotic, stumbles over stupid, and lands face first on moronic. Even I, who loves a good "check your brain at the door" movie, found myself physically agitated watching this. This movie isn't even "Hard Ticket To Hawaii" so-terrible-it's-good bad... IT'S JUST BAD.

NOTE: I actually challenged a friend to watch this as described above. Not only couldn't he make it all the way through, but he had a headache and needed a couple minutes afterward because he felt a little ill. True story.

I could not accentuate this rating any more... a resounding 1 out of 10!
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Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Finally, Dreamworks Animation has a classic.
9 June 2008
After various 3D animated movies ranging from lacklustre "star" movies ("Madagascar"), boring tripe ("Shark Tale", "Bee Movie"), and over-rated, over-hyped overkill ("Shrek"), Dreamworks can finally be proud of a truly great film. (Sidebar: I actually enjoyed "Flushed Away" and "Over The Hedge".) First, the bad. If I could complain about ANYTHING it may be a few of the voices. Besides Po, Shifu and Oogway, the rest of the cast seemed pretty 'phoned-in'. Thankfully, those characters are pretty inconsequential so they're not really missed.

Now the good... or rather great. While classic kung fu movies are poked fun at, Kung Fu Panda does an excellent job of treating the genre with great respect in a movie geared towards kids. And while it IS kid friendly, it is not dumbed down to the point where it's childish. All the classic elements of those great kung fu flicks are there, while still keeping it pleasantly G-rated.

Let me get this out of the way: this movie has some of the greatest 3D animated fight scenes. Ever. What elevates them from good to great is that while I expected the unbelievable, gravity-defying stunts that are REQUIRED of a good kung fu movie, there is an amazing amount of 'realism' to the physics in this movie. Just watch the jailbreak and you'll understand.

Speaking of animation, the cinematography, character design and backgrounds are all done very, very well. Whether it's flying through the air alongside a leaping character, the painting-like backgrounds, or the wonderful opening sequence (reminiscent of Samurai Jack), they're all beautiful. Snap zooms, slow-motion, and flying cameras are also used with great skill to further the experience.

Even the music and sound is outstanding. Asian drums rumble in the background of intense fights... stones shatter and crumble away... fight sequences rise and fall with each of the music cues, or is that the other way around? Beautiful.

What helps make this a new classic in my eyes is what it doesn't have. There are no Matrix, Spiderman, or other dated references. There are no inside jokes related to the voice actors. There isn't even any double entendre or unnecessary crude humour. Much like "Finding Nemo" or "Monsters Inc", there's just plenty of pop-culture-free goodness that is terribly entertaining.

The last great part of this movie is often the most overlooked part of a good family film... heart. This movie has oodles of it. Other movies have tried to have a lesson in the end like 'be yourself' ("Shrek"), or 'the value of friends' ("Madagascar"), or... 'be yourself' ("Shark Tale"), but "Kung Fu Panda" has genuine cinematic moments with dialogue that carries real weight. Best line: Oogway regarding yesterday, tomorrow and today.

So, finally, as a complete sucker for Pixar animation, I'm glad that another animation company can actually put proper thought and execution into a FAMILY movie. What else can I say? Congratulations Dreamworks. 10 out of 10.
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Weirdsville (2007)
Are junkies really this pleasant?
26 April 2008
WARNING: This movie is unapologetically Canadian... which, in this case, is a good thing. Especially when this film could have been set in any city, town or village in the world.

I expected a low-budget, independent attempt at art. And what starts as out tragic and dark, grows into a fun, "what can happen now" sort of adventure that is surprisingly amusing. Yes, it's goofy at times. Yes, it borders on ridiculous, too. But dammit, it's fun. It carefully dances on the fine line of gross tragedy and outright slapstick, but doesn't quite cross the line either way.

The production value is fairly high, even if the budget wasn't. (The gritty darkness really suits the adventures of two junkies, anyway.) Scott Speedman and Wes Bentley build a real chemistry that grows on you and it's really good to see Bentley in a role that is FINALLY likable. Taryn Manning also does a good job, although I fear she's going to get pigeon-holed into similar roles. She deserves better. The rest of the cast does a solid job with no obvious weak link.

Finally, people are going to draw a lot of similarities to other movies. I would like to think of this as a strange cross between "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" and "Dude, Where's My Car?", with it leaning favourably toward the Dude side. It has a couple of introspective, deep moments, but balances it out with lighter, playful moments the rest of the time.

Really, if you ever "got the joke" of "Dude, Where's My Car?" or even found some sick humour out of the head trip of "Fear And Loathing..." check out "Weirdsville". You may be pleasantly surprised. 8 out of 10.
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Why so harsh?
2 February 2007
As of this writing there were 13 votes: 10 people that rated it 8 to 10, and 3 people that rated it a 1! Overall rating: 2.1 Harsh.

Ready for some name dropping, here's the premise: four different women work on the same "Martha Stewart" type TV show and their many, little, real day-to-day issues. Now it would be EASY to lump this into a "Sex And The City meets Pop-Up Video rehash", but let's not do that. Instead, for a Canadian produced show, it's pretty good.

Acting, writing, production value and even the "tips" are all pretty good. Not "great", but hardly bad! Hell, if you happen to sit back and hold judgment until the end, you'll find that you MIGHT get a chuckle and at the VERY LEAST find at least one handy little tip. Check it out. Why not? 8 out of 10.
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Well, the costumes look pretty good...
11 June 2006's also noteworthy that it's not simply, as is usually the case, of Americans good, non-Americans bad. However, EVERYTHING else is weak.

Cliché's abound in this would-be attempt at a dose of reality: the black soldier named Jackson, the Hispanic soldier from Miami, the anonymous Southern-drawled soldier, and the sarge who everyone would give their life for, who everybody calls, well, Sarge. The bad doesn't stop at characters: some bad wound makeup, soldiers looking like they're holding a gun for the first time, and bad guys who NEVER take cover and can't hit ANYTHING with an RPG all compound the ridiculous notion that all of these poignant moments are "typical" in ONE DAY.

Every single story element has been executed hundreds of times before and BETTER. Crappy writing coupled with horrific acting really blend together to create plenty of "did they really just say that" moments.

Bottom line: if this is supposed to be army propaganda, it's too silly to capture any sense of pride of the army. And if it's supposed to be entertainment, it's laughable. 1 out of 10
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Cucumber (1972– )
Do you REALLY remember?
22 November 2005
For those that remember this gem of a show, do you remember that CUCUMBER is an anagram? This may help... WARNING: I might not have gotten the words EXACTLY right and you may experience an intense "ohmygodirememberthat" feeling :)

Come and sing a song of the forest,

Let us sing a song about animal kind,

Water, air and land throughout the forest,

Searching for some answers, seeing what we can find.

Children's Underground Club of United Moose and Beaver, for Enthusiastic Repor..orters

Children's Underground Club of United Moose and Beaver, for Enthusiastic Reporters!

A good piece of Canadiana...
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Elephant (2003)
Why is the movie rated so high???
12 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, if you like 'movies' I would say avoid this movie. If you like 'films' I would warn you that this movie is still pretty bad in my eyes.

***Spoilers Within*** It's not often a movie angers me so. However, it's not what you might think; I actually wanted this movie to get on with its inevitable climax ASAP! Now, I believe that a movie/film should have 1 of 3 things, a story, a point or a message. This film has none of them. The story crawls along and ends…well, does it end? The point could be the style(?). And a message? The irony is, being a fan of such films as 'To Die For', 'Finding Forrester' and 'Good Will Hunting' I find myself asking what was the message of this movie? To show how boring your average teenager's life is? To show how cruel a teenager can be? How messed up? How being a teen isn't easy? Or maybe a warning for those parents who just don't listen to their kids' cries for help? Please!

And if you're going to site the style of this film, I have a problem with that too. Gus Van Sant's combination of...drawn... out... achingly long camera shots and slow moving character development (if you can call it that) simultaneously bore the viewer and develop nothing.

For those of us that survived those tumultuous teen years, this movie is almost insulting in its isn't-this-tragic shock value. This movie is chock full of characters you don't care about, a predictable outcome and even a character that is completely useless (Benny). (I refuse to buy the argument that the emptiness of the characters was supposed represent "realness"?)

The fact that the talent are not actors explains a lot. The banal improvised bickering of the popular girls or the phys. ed teacher is grating on the viewer.

The only part that I did like was the overlapping of lives from one teen to another. Well choreographed and incorporated seamlessly, it seemed to be the ONLY thing that seemed realistic. (C'mon, the shooters like violent video games, are Nazi fixated AND a little homosexual? Isn't that pushing the cliché envelope past its limit?)

For all those that loved this movie I make this promise: I WILL watch this movie again, and if I see what you all gush about, I will withdraw this comment. Until then, final thoughts... This movie fails to entertain, educate or even hold interest. Style does not create substance. Two-dimensional characters. A painfully slow pace. An ending that is hardly that. Shots that are three times longer than they need to be. And a complete lack of satisfaction at the end of it other than: some stuff sure did happen to those kids, huh? Sorry, 2 out of 10.
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Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Wow. Just wow.
20 June 2005
I'm a comic book fan and film buff. Have been for years. But I NEVER rushed out to see this movie in the theatre. In fact, I waited until I could watch it on DVD. Why? Mostly because the first movie, while good, didn't really strike me as 'great'. But there I was on my day off; no wife, no talk-during-the-movie friends, and most importantly, no audience to prompt me to laugh or groan or when to say 'whoa'... and I was whoaing. A lot.

Picking up where the first movie left off, this is undoubtedly one of the greatest superhero movies ever, even surpassing the first. But despite being a great comic book movie, it is SO much more... it is a great 'FILM', comic book or otherwise. Good character development and interaction, perfect integration between live action and CG, a beautifully developed bad guy, strong performances, great cinematography and visuals, pathos and even an ending, that while leaving it open to sequels, DOESN'T make you feel cheated in the end!

I truly believe that ANYONE could watch this movie and enjoy it. Incredibly-choreographed fight scenes, an involving, realistic story, romance and a sprinkling of comedy are all balanced together nicely in an unbelievable movie. And now that you've read all this you're gonna be disappointed, right? Let me leave you with the same thought process that I had when I sat down to watch it: just remind yourself of everything that happened in the first movie and think, "Sure, anybody with superpowers has it easy, right?" 10 out of 10.
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All sizzle, nooooo steak.
20 June 2005
Having nearly no continuity or connection to the first film, Jamie Kennedy plays Tim Avery, an under-appreciated loser who desperately wants to make it as an animator. So when an unexpected bundle of joy comes along, he gets more than he bargained for... oh god. Cheesy premise, yes, but is it watchable? There are only two reasons this movie was made. One: Money. (duh.) Two: an exercise in animation techniques and physical effects. Like those straight-to-tape Disney sequels, this movie strikes me as "practise" for animators and animation techniques. That said, the different animations and computer graphics throughout the movie are very good and are amalgamated with the live action fairly well. However, besides that and the surprising heartfelt 'message' near the end of the movie, the good stuff pretty much ends there.

Jim Carrey MADE the original movie. Now Jamie Kennedy has shown his versatility behind a disguise on 'The Jamie Kennedy Experiment', yet he seemed really restricted and NON-wild in his subpar prosthetics. Sadly, even a decent performance from super talented Alan Cumming couldn't really help a script that really seems to go all over the place. Add to all this a CG animated baby that "doesn't quite look right" and you have yet another shallow attempt to cash in on a surprisingly profitable original.

Is "Son Of The Mask" worth watching for the average viewer? I don't think so. Is this harmless family viewing? Mostly. But if you're an animation buff like I am and grew up on those Tex Avery-type cartoons, you MIGHT be able to appreciate this movie for that aspect. 2 out of 10.
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If you have NEVER seen this movie, give it a chance!!!
15 June 2005
First, let me say that I never watched the cartoon, and thus, don't know about it faithfulness to the series. That said...

If you've put off this movie, I HIGHLY suggest it. Following the adventures of a rockin' trio of girls and their aspirations of hitting it big. While simple in premise, this movie is deceptively witty. Behind the goofy sight gags, girly camaraderie, and bubblegum-pop montages, there are a few social commentaries that seem to be more and more relevant in today's media. The Pussycats (Cook, Dawson and Reid) are portrayed well and the fun that the had making this movie together shines through. Parker Posey, and more importantly Alan Cumming, do a GREAT job playing Saturday morning bad guys! And the Dujour side gag is PRICELESS if you get the joke.

While clearly an underrated movie, the true tragedy is that the fantastically 'poppy' songs that are littered throughout WILL NEVER BE HEARD OF AGAIN. Produced by legendary producer Babyface, this is a GREAT soundtrack. Hardly a perfect movie, but lovably harmless, Josie is worth checking out. 8 out of 10 Rachael Leigh, call me.
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Darkness (2002)
It was almost there.
15 June 2005
Make note: if a movie is shelved for a couple of years before it's finally released, it usually means there was some sort of apprehension about it. And if there's apprehension, it probably isn't that good.

In the spirit of "The Amityville Horror", "Darkness" is a modern-day haunted house story... or is it? There is a standard "what is the mystery to be solved" aspect of the story. As well, a strange history that must be unearthed.

Overall, the imagery and technique is fairly good, the performances are good enough, and the 'scares' have style. And it is for these positives that I've given it the points it has scored.

Unfortunately, this movie's story has a strange waning, then waxing...then waning aspect. First, it seems to crawl along at a very slow pace, to develop it's story and characters. Then, the story picks up, gradually drawing you in, yet suddenly becoming interesting. However, just as this movie climaxes... it ends with a *raspberry*.

Now, don't get me wrong, I DO NOT need every movie to end with a big, pretty bow, while definitively explaining itself to all. But, while the last few moments leave room for debate and interpretation, it's terribly unfulfilling. Can a movie be ruined by an ending? In this case, if the ending had been really good, it may not have SAVED the movie, but at least it would have made the journey half worth it! 4 out of 10
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Terminal City (2005– )
Can cancer be entertaining? We'll see...
14 May 2005
I just got finished watching the first episode of this Canadian drama and so far, I like what I see. This episode took a little while for you to catch up to where the story was, but once there, it glides along nicely.

The strongest aspect of this show seems that while it would be EASY to make a tragic cryfest over the topic of cancer, it's treated here with a smirk and a bit of wit (while sneaking in a jab at reality TV). Maria del Mar does a wonderful job in the lead as the cancer-sufferer with the strange charm and it works well. The rest of the cast is good and are believable in their roles. The writing is sharp and production value ( this is a Canadian production, I braced myself...) is very good (thank god).

I can't even imagine where this mini-series is going, but I highly suggest checking it out. Tentatively, 7.5 out of 10.
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The Sandlot 2 (2005 Video)
Painful. Just plain painful.
26 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
First, let me just say that I consider the original Sandlot the ULTIMATE "boys of summer" movie. (Yes, even marginally beating out Stand By Me.) That said, I was disgusted to hear this was getting made. If you loved the first, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS ONE.

The single great thing that made the first movie a classic was the fantastic performances of all the kids. The kids in this movie are just annoying! It seems like they filmed each scene a piece at a time to allow the kids to remember EACH line! I'd blame the director, but it's the SAME one as the first!

*SPOILER*(Kind of) - What makes this movie an even more unforgivable sin is the BLATANT ripped off gags and story elements of the original: a retelling of an old story by lanternlight, a fast kid versus the beast, kids yelling for comedic value, and worst of all... they simultaneously re-use AND WASTE the line, "You play ball like a girl!" ARRRGHH!

What IS good about this movie? The only thing I can think of is: A) a different decade that added a different flavour and B) the heartbreaker-in-training Samantha Burton who was clearly cloned from the DNA of Rachel Leigh Cook and Angelina Jolie. And WHY is it Brett Kelly is still getting steady work!?

Please, I beg you, skip The Sandlot 2 and watch the original again. While you're cherishing THAT treasure and wondering if the sequel was a blatant money-grab, think about this... the end of this movie left room of another sequel. Sigh. Groan. 3 out of 10
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Ouch. But still 'borderline' watchable...
30 March 2005
First, you have to be wary of a movie that was advertised as one title ("Slap Her... She's French") and viewed by me as another ("She Gets What She Wants") That said, it would be EASY to nitpick all the bad things about this movie, but let's try not to. Instead, let's concentrate on the good.

Piper Perabo scratches the surface of her versatility in this movie with a great performance. Relative fresh face Jane McGregor does a good job in the lead performance despite her character developing as slowly as it does. (Be sure to check out her face as she delivers the line: "If these turn out good, could I order prints?" It's gold.) There are a few wonderfully witty lines that, unfortunately, get lost in the shuffle of teen goofiness and less-than-stellar faux accents.

All in all, this movie could have easily used a few more laughs and a bigger budget, but you gotta appreciate its spunk. If you're looking for a 'classic' like a 'Bring It On', 'American Pie' or 'Not Another Teen Movie', you might want to pass on this one. However, if you keep an open mind, you might just catch this movie poking fun at itself.
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As good as the budget would allow?
12 December 2004
If you've seen the first Starship Troopers, you'll know what a surprising gem it is... Big budget, lots of CG, plenty of doomed extras...

However, all these things are absent in the sequel. Instead of the stylish, 'army movie in space' epic, complete with recruiting propaganda, the sequel has been dialed down for what is nothing more than an extended episode of 'The Outer Limits'. To say that this is simply bad is unfair. As a straight-to-video, lower-budget sequel, you pretty much get what you paid for. (Unfortunately, the first movie set such high expectations.)

The standard issues arise: a 'blah' story, a few weak acting performances, and the lack of style that was captured in the first film. All these combine to make it hard to watch. Also, I found the shaky hand-held VIDEO effect annoying. Now, this may have been done as a point of style, but it didn't really work.

All in all, although there may have been a couple 'cool' moments in this movie, it doesn't save a weak attempt to add to the original movie. Not the worst I've ever seen, but definitely can't be recommended. 3 out of 10.
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Hero (2002)
What a great beginning...Spoiler (Sort of)
14 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This movie looks greaaaaat. And by that, I mean unique visuals, wonderful camera moves, a perfect amalgamation of live action and CG, and perfect one-shots of scenery. Costumes, settings, characters/actors and CG work beautifully together to weave a wonderful story. But I do have two issues with this movie...

And I feel I give nothing away by saying this... Is it just me or does Asian cinema have an almost unnatural fixation with pathos? If you've seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, you understand that for the 'drama' portion of that film there was a sad part to the ending of the movie. That happens again in this movie. [Is it so wrong if characters are actually happy in the end?] That said, ONE sad sub story almost lessens the OTHER sub story. But, that could be forgiven.

The OTHER problem I had with this movie is, that after a wonderful act one, and a fantastic progression through act two, complete with twists and turns, the pace in act three drags to a crawl! After all the wonderfully choreographed fight scenes and the twists that the story takes at times, the resolution of this entire tale seems to drag on FOREVER!

However, despite that, this movie is still worth seeing at least once. A definite 8.5 out of 10.

Final thought, is it just me, or does Donnie Yuen/Yen HAVE to get terribly underused in EVERY movie he's in? (ie. 'Blade 2' and 'Highlander: Endgame'?)
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Permalink (2003 TV Movie)
11 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
***A Spoiler Lies Within (But do you really care?)*** Y'know, the idea was there... Capitalizing on the reality show wave, this would-be horror had a handful of clever ideas that were absolutely lost in execution.

This movie is supposed to be the 'live' broadcast of the last night of a web cast that goes horribly wrong. A thin storyline, surrounded by weak acting and horribly stereotypical characters, leaves a laughable effort. Even the deaths, which by horror/suspense standards MUST contain some sort of bitter irony, falls short on what is 'just' for these stupid characters. Also, and I feel I spoil nothing in saying this, you find out who the killer is in the first 10 minutes! Even the climactic (?) impact of the girl realizing why nobody is helping is completely lost in a hardly-heard, half-hearted statement. (Here's a hint, read the title again.)

The ONLY salvageable thing in this movie is the fact that there are extremely fleeting moments of style. The static cameras that buzz and whir to try to track the action is unique, and at times offer the only moments close to realism. [Best moment: The single camera shot of the killer taking out the pothead's friend.] The other thing that I was amused at was the killer's 'costume'. Again, very unique but otherwise wasted.

Unfortunately, it's movies like this that give Canadian film a bad name. [Might I suggest you check out 'Ginger Snaps' and its sequel(s)?] Sorry guys, but style CANNOT win out over substance. 2 out of 10
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Hope Springs (2003)
Why does every post HATE this movie so much?
25 May 2004
For a romantic comedy, this movie isn't very romantic. And it also isn't terribly funny...

However, there's a certain endearing charm about it. This movie is more 'small town' romantic than 'hollywood' romantic. While there are elements that could have used a bit of work (A LOT of work if you ask many posters here), you're not left unfulfilled at the end of this film.

All I'm saying is: If you happen to be renting movies for a quiet night in with your significant other, make this a THIRD movie pick if you got the time.

It's kinda like a toddler drawing a mural on your wall in crayon... a bit of a mess, but in the end, it's still pretty cute. 7 out of 10
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Summer (2002)
For the Peter Pan syndrome in us all...
25 May 2004
Somewhere between childhood and 'growing up' is summer. (Oooo, deep.)

Seriously, this is a great little movie. There is a beautiful camaraderie between the three main characters. And of the three, there's at least one character with whom you can find a familiarity with. That is, if you ever happened to be an out-of-school but out-of-'real'-work, slightly direction less twenty-something. (Hey, we've all been there, and now more than ever, there seem to be more of us.)

The cast works as wonderfully believable slackers, especially one of my current favourites actresses, Karen Cliché. (Also, if you liked Joe Cobden in this movie, check out 'Suddenly Naked'. He's even better in that.)

Please, do yourself a favour and check out this indie gem. 9 out of 10
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Why has nobody seen this!!??
25 May 2004
At first glance, this movie looks terribly independent. In fact, you could go so far as to say that this movie is very 'Canadian'. If that's the case, than more movies should be Canadian.

The real beauty of this film is that there are several conversations that blur the line between what is scripted dialogue and what may or may not be a little bit of ad lib. I give credit to the cast who deliver said dialogue as if it were their own words.

This movie is really for those guys who have "those guy friends" and spew stupid stuff when they're together. The kind of guys that play the 'Who'd you rather?" game and annoy each other with the same s*** day in and day out. The kind of guys you want to hang out with forever, but then realize one day that you gotta grow up and take responsibility.

This movie is an indie MUST SEE. I dare say that if you enjoy Kevin Smith's dialogue-rich commentary-driven films, check this one out. 9 out of 10
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This should have been GREAT!!!
29 November 2003
I have NEVER read the comic, but have been told countless times of its brilliance. So, how do you ruin an adaptation? Make "changes" in a narrow-minded attempt to make a bigger buck!

First, let's get rid of their main adversary, Fu Manchu. (Why? Political correctness, I suppose.) And let's write out the ancestor of James, Campion Bond. (If due to copyright problems, understandable. If due to 'saving him for the sequel', stupid.)

Next, let's adapt the Invisible Man's character (due to copyright), and add the characters Dorian Gray and the utterly useless and inappropriate TOM SAWYER to AMERICANIZE the film! (How is it Shane West is STILL ACTING??!!! This portrayal is almost as bad as his faux English accent in 'Get Over It') Don't forget to give Mina Harker blatant vampire powers or she will never make a good action figure!

For those of us that are even moderately well-read, the cherry on this proverbial pile of crap is the line,"Call me Ishmael" delivered with such lack of meaning, other than a cheap chuckle, it's insulting.

If you can somehow look past all of these factors, you might have seen a half-decent effects-laden adventure a la 'The Mummy' or 'X-Men 2'. Give credit to the Jekyll/Hyde use of physical effects. From the looks of it, those were all prosthetics, people; appreciate it for what it is.

Finally, the truest tragedy of this film is that, if it had been good, MAYBE kids would have been interested in reading the original adventures of the great literary characters on which the comic was based!

Do me a favour, find the comic if you can, don't watch the movie. Yet another case of the book being better than the movie...
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This is what modern-day horrors should be...
20 September 2003
We join another hapless bunch of people who narrowly avoid certain death when the main character experiences a premonition and saves their lives. So will they be able to cheat death again? While it isn't necessary, it's probably a good idea to watch the first installment before watching this one.

For all those writers out there who are trying to write a successful scary movie, take notes. Admittedly, you might not jump out of your pants, but there's only a couple good scares in 'The Ring' and THAT worked. Be forewarned, the deaths dance on the line of gruesome and good taste, but they're executed (pun intended) perfectly. Always trying to guess what's gonna happen next, you'll find yourself half-hoping they'll cheat death, and half-hoping you've correctly guessed how the next person will buy the farm.

Now, there was the requisite malarky when it came time to ask the question, "How do we beat Death?"; but don't worry it's rather brief. The cast does a good job and you never quite get a feel of how long each character is gonna last, which is good.

Who knows? As long as they don't screw up number 3, this could be the next big horror franchise. 10 out of 10

Remember, it ain't Shakespeare.
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