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Great job Monkey
Three days till migration
A0Zs Movie Reviews Recently Watched Lost Boys: 3/5

Mother! Oh, God! Mother! Blood!
Thanks for the Kill Bill reviews. It's time I watched them back-to-back like you suggest!
NEW (as of 1/24/05): Quick Reviews #10

Thanks Monkeyboy great reviews of Kill Bill 1 & 2
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

I'm not old, you're just 12.
Collateral(directed by Michael Mann)

3 out of Five stars

Michael Mann's latest, Collateral, is an exercise in wasted potential. The cast is excellent, the plot intriguing, the dialogue is funny, the film's visual style is a knockout, and yet it falls apart short of the finish line.

There is a lot to like, however. Jamie Foxx (in what really could have been a career making performance in a different film) plays Max, a cab driver who dreams of one day starting his own limo service, and who picks up a fare that literally changes his life in an instant. Vincent, a well-dressed man in what appears to be his mid fifties (played with a lot of sinister charm by Tom Cruise), pays Max six hundred dollars to drive him around Los Angeles and make five stops to visit some friends on the way to the airport. sounds simple enough, but at the very first stop, one of Vincent's "friends" falls dead out of a window onto the hood of the cab. Vincent is a hired hitman, given a list of people he has to kill, and he is going to force Max to get him where he wants to go. This is an interesting set up, and for the first 2/3rds of the film, the director and screenwriter really have fun mining black comedy, and some truly brutal moments out of it. You like Max and his flustered humanity, and you like Vincent, even as he is commiting unspeakable acts of violence, he's a charming bastard. Then around the final act, something changes. The film runs out of steam and it is instantly noticeable. The characters, formerly talkative and clever, stop speaking and they start acting like action heroes, rotely walking through the "Ticking Clock" scenario that is used in so many hollywood films, chasing each other through an ending that even a child could see coming. It is sad, really because the film could have been so much better than it ended up. The actors underplayed their roles, no scenery chewing here untill the end, Mann's discomforting "you are there" direction is riveting, the dialogue is some of the best in any movie this year, and even the music is well chosen. By the time Tom Cruise's middle aged sociopath jumps onto the back of a moving subway car, you can't help but wonder if this is the ending to a different film you're watching, or if thery replaced the director for the last act, or if Mann just can't resist returning to his "Miami Vice" days of predictable action drivel....

I really really loved the first half or Collateral. It was an antidote to bad action buddy movies. too bad it crashed and burned at the end. I am just barely recommending it for Foxx and Cruise's stellar performances...
"You, me, everyone...we are all made of star stuff." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

These reviews are great! Best ones I've read so far. You give just enough of a synopsis to give a general impression of what the movie's about, and do an outstanding job of explaining why you did or didn't like the film.

(By the way, you mentioned the profanity in From Dusk 'Til Dawn. Did you know the script was written by QT? That explains a lot. )

I'm not old, you're just 12.
Team America: World Police (directed by trey parker)

One out of Five Stars....and thats being generous.

"Team America: World Police" is an idea that had a LOT of promise, but the execution of said idea left a LOT to be desired.

The premise: A gung ho collection of action movie stock characters gleefully lay waste to various countries in an attempt to rid the world of terrorism. Oh, and they're played by marionettes, like the famed 60's TV show, The Thunderbirds. And the whole thing was written by Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park, Cannibal The Musical). Honestly, I wanted to like it, especially being a South Park fan, but the film feels like it was written by an exceptionally stupid 13 year old boy.

I will say that for the first half hour, it works. It's genuinely funny to see puppets trying to have fight scenes and the dialogue is hilariously cliched and...if you'll excuse the pun...wooden. But once you get past the fact that you're watching puppets, it all seems less funny. Unfortunately, Parker and Stone never get over it, and almost a good 60% of the film's jokes boil down to "hahaha, they're puppets!" (yes, there is a puppet sex scene. If i was 12, i'd have found it hilarious, but I'm not, and I found it stupid.) The rest of the film's "Humor" comes from using swear words, d*ck jokes that most of us have grown out of finding funny by the 8th grade, and truly CLUELESS parodies of famous actors. Yes, Team America never fails to miss the mark, offering infantile insults, and crude "shock" humor as an alternative to actual satire at every chance. A lot of the film is recyled from the filmmakers' early, and better, work. Main villain Kim Jong Il is really just a "Yellow Peril" stereotype version of Eric Cartman (Hope you love jokes about how Asians mispronounce "R" and "L" cause you are gonna get more than any rational person could ever find funny.), and even the song "We Need A Montage" was stolen straight out of a South Park episode....

It is very hard to belive that this was made by the same people who made the savage satire of censorship and warmongering that was "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut." Yes, that film had its share of shock and scatalogical humor, but it was also sharp and funny. Team America had the chance to be cutting and timely, but it squanders all of its potential.

Don't go see this. You'll just be wasting your money.

I'm not old, you're just 12.
Ed Wood (directed by Tim Burton)

Five out of Five Stars

Tim Burton's best, most accomplished film, Ed Wood, is finally available on DVD. I took the chance to rewatch it recently, and had to write this review.

Ed Wood is the story of real life exploitation film "auteur" Edward D. Wood Jr. and his merry band of "misfits and drug addicts" who helped him get his skewed vision onto movie screens everywhere. Johnny Depp (Pirates of The carribean, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) plays Wood, a wide eyed optimist who has a gift for charming people and absolutely no talent for film. He surrounds himself with a motley crew of hucksters, petty criminals, and misfits who do nothing but feed his ego and encourage him deeper into delusions of grandeur. As the film opens, Ed and his girlfriend Dolores Fuller (Sarah Jessica Parker in a funny supporting role) are struggling wannabe's on the very fringes of Hollywood. Ed is a womanizing transvestite who writes (really bad) plays and worships Orson Welles, and Dolores is an untalented actress who's hitched her wagon to Ed, hoping he will be her ticket to the big time. Ed gets his chance to make a film about the first ever sex change for a sleazy movie producer (a HILARIOUS Mike Starr), and starts an unconventional friendship with aging b-movie legend turned heroin addict, Bela Lugosi.

The heart of the film is Ed's friendship with Lugosi, played by Martin Landau, who won an oscar for his amazing and poignant performance. Lugosi is at times a hilarious old crank, a pathetic, drug addicted has-been, and a proud man trying to regain his sense of dignity. The film never makes fun of or ridicules it's outlandish subjects, it gives them a dignity that they never had in life, and treats them with affection. Look for great supporting performances by Bill Murray as a Transexual con artist, Jeffrey Jones as a phony psychic, and wrestler George "the Animal" Steele as happy go lucky oaf and b-movie icon, Tor Johnson.

Ed Wood is a film for anyone who has ever had a dream that was just out of their reach. Wood was a monumental failure in his day, but he's now something of a legend, a cult icon revered by many to this day. The film Ed Wood was something of a mild disappoitment at the box office, but now also has a cult following. It's a must see.

R.I.P. Dimebag Darrell Abbott 66-04
w00t! Great job Monkey!

Great reviews MP... thanks...
You never know what is enough, until you know what is more than enough.
~William Blake ~

AiSv Nv wa do hi ya do...
(Walk in Peace)

A system of cells interlinked
I see monkey is also back at it with the reviewing....
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP

I'm not old, you're just 12.
Grand Theft Parsons (directed by David Caffrey)

Four out of Five stars

In 1973, Country singer Graham Parsons (the Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers) died of an overdose of morphine and tequila in a run down motel room. His road manager, Phil Kaufman, in keeping with a promise he'd made, stole his body and drove it out to Joshua Tree in order to "set him free." This story has become a legend in its own right, and now it has been immortalized in director David Caffrey's film, Grand Theft Parsons.

Johnny Knoxville (Jackass, Men in Black 2) plays Kaufman, Parson's motorcycle riding, hard drinking road manager and best friend. Feeling guilty that Parsons died while he was supposed to be watching over him, Kaufman enlists the aid of a stoner (Michael Shannon) and his beat up, yellow flowered hearse to steal Parsons' body from LAX and drive it to the desert to be cremated. The two body theives are pursued by Parsons' gold digging and delusional ex girlfriend (Christina Applegate), his father Stanley (Robert Forster) and of course, the police.

The cast does a uniformly good job in acting out their parts. Christina Applegate shows off her comedy skills yet again, Robert Forster does a good job in his role as a grieving father, and Michael Shannon adds much comedy relief to the grim story. The revelation here is Johnny Knoxville. Knoxville is amazing as the film's protagonist, a man trying to keep a promise, even if it means he's going to wind up in prison. Knoxville gives a very understated, withdrawn performance. Outside, his character is all swagger and bluster, but inside, he's a man driven by guilt and devotion to his friend. Knoxville is the reason to see this film, he is an actor to watch, should he follow up on this with another good movie. He's remnicent of George Clooney, in a way.

Grand Theft Parsons has it's problems, mainly being that it is too short. The film is only 88 minutes. Other than that, it is definitely worth seeing.

I'm not old, you're just 12.
The Incredibles (directed by Brad Bird)

5 out of 5 stars

There has never been an American animated film like Pixar's newest offering, The Incredibles. It truly advances the art of animated film-making, not just in terms of animation quality, but also in storytelling and subject matter. The Incredibles is just amazing in every possible way.

Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson) is a depressed, listless suburban father who works as an insurance claims specialist. His wife Helen (Holly Hunter) is a stay at home mom raising three children. What nobody knows is that this seemingly normal couple used to be super-heroes, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl. After a series of lawsuits from an ungrateful public, they were forced into hiding as part of a government relocation program. Superheroes are considered threatening to the idea that "everyone is special," so they're relegated to the scrapheap of history. Bob, along with his best friend, Lucius, formerly known as Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), long for the days when they were heroes, Helen has her hands full with her children, who also have powers but don't understand why they aren't allowed to use them. Fourth grader Dash (Spencer Fox), who's power is super speed, copes by lashing out at authority figures, and Violet (Sarah Vowell) a mopey teenage goth girl who can make herself invisible and create force fields, is painfully withdrawn and alienated from the other children. The only normal member of this family is Jack-Jack, a happy infant who's only problem is not knowing how to use the toilet. When Bob is called back to action by a mysterious (and deeply unhinged) benefactor (Jason Lee), he finds his passion for super-heroics rekindled and his quality of life improves. But when he is betrayed, Helen is forced out of retirement to save him, and the children must become the heroes they were born to be.

The Incredibles is a brilliant film. It creates it's own fully realized world and makes you care deeply about the characters. It works on so many levels, everyone will find something to like about it. Kids will enjoy the super-hero action and especially the exuberance of pre-teen super hero Dash. Adults will appreciate the wicked satire, sharp humour, and mature storytelling offered by Brad Bird's astounding screenplay. If ever an animated film deserved a Best Picture nomination, The Incredibles would be it. There are no cute talking animals, no wacky side-kicks, no songs to fill up the film's two hour running time, and they aren't needed. It is a huge step forward for the art of animation, and one that I can only hope others will follow. (sadly, Pixar's next film, "Cars," looks like about six steps backwards from this triumph.)

The Incredibles is the best film this year, and rivals Spider-Man 2 for the title of "Best Super-hero Movie Ever." Go see it now.

I'm not old, you're just 12.
Daredevil: The Director's Cut (directed by Mark Stephen Johnson)

4 out of 5 stars

The version of Daredevil that hit theaters back in 2003 was a truly flawed film, it traded plot and character for action, it seemed to be shoe-horning a much darker story into the PG-13 "Spider-Man" mold. In short, it deserved it's failure. It was a victim of marketing. The director was told to edit what he had filmed into a 90 minute summer movie that kids can see, and he did, but that wasn't the film he made.

The director's cut follows the same basic story of Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck), a blind lawyer who takes the law in his own hands as Daredevil when the system fails. He meets and falls in love with Elektra Natchios(Jennifer Garner), the daughter of a billionaire with ties to a shadowy organized crime boss, Wilson Fisk, A.K.A. "The Kingpin." (Michael Clarke Duncan). When Fisk has Elektra's father killed, she swears revenge, not on Bullseye (Collin Farrel), the sociopathic hitman who killed him, but on Daredevil, whom she thinks is responsible. That was basically all there was to the first version. a few poorly edited fight scenes, some obnoxious music video style montages, and no real plot.

In the director's cut, there is a LOT of story put back in. Matt Murdock and his law partner Franklin Nelson are asked to defend a gang member (Coolio) who allegedly killed a prostitute with ties to the Kingpin, but was framed. The film becomes not just a "you killed my girlfriend" revenge tale, like it was before, it adds a mystery, some brutal realism, and a sense of brooding that was missing in the theatrical cut. Its a more mature film, closer in tone to The Crow. It skews a LOT closer to its source material, the heavy Catholic subtext of the comics is put back in place. Daredevil is a character who is driven by anger, emotion, and yes, quite a bit of Catholic guilt, and the new version plays on this. I guess I understand why this was taken out of the film by executives looking for the next Spider-Man, but, you know? Daredevil was NEVER going to be it. They should have let the film establish it's own identity. Also new to the film are more scenes of Jon Favreau, who adds a little comic relief to the proceedings, as well as more of Joe Pantoliano's reporter, Ben Urich, who is roughly in the same basic mold as Robert Wuhl's character in the original Batman, but wisely doesn't play it for laughs. We get more of Colin Farrel, too, although he still remains a personality-less [email protected] The best addition is more Michael Clarke Duncan. For once, the film actually shows why we should be afraid of him. He's a brutal killer in a business suit, casually bashing the skulls and snapping the necks of people who cross him, and his final fight with Daredevil is painful looking. Throw in about a gallon of fake blood and it would have fit into Kill Bill fairly well. All the fight scenes get re-edited to their original length, and all the choppiness of the editing has been fixed, we can actually tell what's going on now. (That is my one major complaint about action movies today, nobody, except maybe Tarantino, can direct fight scenes. they look like they threw the footage in a salad shooter then taped it back together, ruining the flow of the fight and making it impossible to follow.)

Daredevil is still a flawed film. Ben Affleck was NOT ideal casting (Matt Damon or Guy Pierce would have been), there's too much CGI, and let's face it, Daredevil's costume makes him look kind of like an S&M loving biker or something, but the director's cut version makes it better, and worth another look, even for people who didn't like the original.

Standing in the Sunlight, Laughing
Originally Posted by Monkeypunch
...(That is my one major complaint about action movies today, nobody, except maybe Tarantino, can direct fight scenes. they look like they threw the footage in a salad shooter then taped it back together, ruining the flow of the fight and making it impossible to follow.)...
Truer words were never spoken!

I had NO interest in this when it saw theatrical release, but you've made the DC sound like a fun trip. I'll queue it. Thanks for your thoughts!

I'm not old, you're just 12.
The Craft (directed by Andrew Fleming)

4 out of 5 stars

The Craft is a movie that is so much better than it really has any right being. As such, it has been a favourite of mine for many years.

Sarah (Robin Tunney) is the new girl at a Catholic high school, a depressed and suicidal loner who has trouble making friends. She finds herself falling in with a trio of misfits almost instantly. The four girls bond over their mutual tragedies in life. Bonnie (Neve Campbell)was in a fire and has burn scars all over her body, Rochelle (Rachel True) is singled out and humiliated by the other students because she is black in a predominantly white school, and Nancy (Fairuza Balk) comes from a broken home and is a victim of date rape by Chris (Skeet Ulrich), a popular football player at the school. The four are also witches. They decide to use magic to improve their lots in life, and get revenge on those who have hurt them. Sarah puts a love spell on chris, reducing him from a cocky, obnoxious player into a lovesick puppy dog with no thoughts except to make her happy. Rochelle gets revenge on a racist classmate (Christine Taylor), Bonnie erases her burn scars and gains the confidence she never had, and Nancy causes the death of her abusive stepfather, resulting in a financial windfall that improves her life. But as the coven's magic use gets out of hand and the repercussions of their selfishness come back to them painfully, Sarah has a change of heart. The trio turns on her, and a war of wills tears them all apart.

The Craft is extremely dark, cruel, and at times disturbing. The main characters are very damaged young women using the dark arts to lash out at the world that has hurt them. my one complaint is that Sarah, while being the main character, is also not as fleshed out as the other characters. She's depressed, suicidal, and she often halucinates and disassociates with the world around her, dwelling on the past, her mother's death, and her own lonliness. a lot more could have been done with her character, I think, but the film doesn't seem to have time for character study. Like most Hollywood product, it focuses on story momentum over character development, as if the two can't be equally as important. This is a minor complaint, because the film is still a good bit of mean spirited fun. Fairuza Balk gives an over the top, almost feral performance as the coven's self proclaimed leader. She is a joy to watch, her predatory smile being the most frightening thing in the film. She looks as if, at any moment, she might rip your throat out with just her teeth. The director seems to LOVE Fairuza Balk, and she gets many of the best scenes (and lines) in the film. Neve Campbell and Rachel True are also good, and Robin Tunney is likeable as the film's heroine and shaky moral center. Skeet Ulrich adds very little, other than that he looks like Johnny Depp.

The screenplay by Peter Filardi and Andrew Fleming is better than it could have easily been, it makes you care just enough for the characters to get you involved with how it turns out in the end, and gives a few fun jolts along the way.

I reccomend The Craft for what it is, an above average scary teen movie that doesn't speak down to its audience and doesn't pull its punches. And it has a great soundtrack, as well.