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I did like Always, but I was pleased to see it end as I had almost suffocated in schmaltz by that time. I don't think I've seen it since the early 90's and I don't know how I'd feel about it now.
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I love Always. (It's in my top ten favorites and on my profile banner.) I agree that Brad Johnson was the weak link in the movie, but the chemistry between Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter more than make up for his weaknesses. I practically fall apart watching Pete suffer while watching her date with Ted, and I absolutely love the scene when Pete and Dorinda dance together after she ends her date with Ted.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
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Year of release
1990

Directed by
John Patrick Shanley

Written by
John Patrick Shanley

Starring
Tom Hanks
Meg Ryan
Lloyd Bridges
Robert Stack
Dan Hedaya
Abe Vigoda

Joe Versus the Volcano

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It's obviously been a really long time since I saw this film as I had forgotten just how incredibly weird it was. It really is quite a bonkers, out-there film that is just a world away from the other two efforts that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan collaborated on. Now admittedly not everything that the film tries works. But I give it great credit for trying because how often do you come across a film that is genuinely original? A film that doesn't feel like just a rehash of stuff we've seen countless times before. A film where you're really not sure where it's going from one moment to the next. Joe Versus the Volcano must have felt quite unique back in the day and remains so even now in 2014. After all, how many films are comprised of these ingredients; romantic comedy, surrealist fantasy and existentialism? Through combining those disparate elements the film comes up with some brilliant scenes and visuals. The film's opening for example is an oppressive, nightmarish sequence that makes it feel like Joe is walking into the mouth of Hell itself as opposed to just going to work.

Some of the art direction in terms of the sets is also fantastic; for example the colour palette, lighting and set design of Joe's office that creates a miserable existence. I had only spent 5 minutes in his life and already felt that if I were him I'd have killed myself long ago. Another little touch I enjoyed spotting (and I probably missed a couple) was the recurring motif of a zig-zag symbol throughout the entire film; Joe's path to work, the factory's logo, the cracks on a pavement and the walls of Joe's apartment, the lightning bolt that strikes the boat, the trail leading up to the volcano etc. I could be wrong but it certainly feels like it represents the crooked road that Joe has chosen to walk all his life. Instead of just walking the straight path he has allowed his fears to dictate and divert him from where he would really like to be in life. Oh and some of the dialogue to be found in John Patrick Stanley's script is great; really creative and original.

Tom Hanks gives a typically great showing as the eponymous Joe, very endearing as he mixes the slapstick goofiness of his 80s comedies with a darker edge. One of the reasons his performance works so well is that for much of the time he actually underplays the sheer lunacy and bizarre nature of everything that is going on around him. In an odd move Meg Ryan actually plays three separate characters across the film's running time, with each of them sort of reflecting Joe's character at that point in his life and acting as the person that he needs in his life at that point. There are also a couple of great supporting performances in the film. Dan Hedaya is absolutely brilliant as Joe's boss, as is Abe Vigoda as the tribal leader, deadpanning as only Vigoda can.

It's an insane, whimsical, corny, exciting, funny ride.



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Year of release
2012

Directed by
Stephen Saint Leger
James Mather

Written by
Stephen Saint Leger
James Mather

Starring
Guy Pearce
Maggie Grace
Vincent Regan
Joseph Gilgun
Peter Stormare

Lockout


What a massive disappointment. When I first started to hear word about this film a few years back I was greatly interested. The buzz about it seemed to place it firmly up my street; a throwback/homage to the cheesy action films of the 80s and early 90s? Described alternately as 'Die Hard on a spaceship' and 'Escape from New York in space'? Sign me up! I was so ready for this to become a cult classic. Sadly however the film did not deliver on any of that lurid promise in my eyes. I found it to be an extremely flat experience completely lacking in any creativity or sense of pulpy fun. A film such as this should have countless memorable elements. It should have a series of colourful characters, some preposterous action sequences and an unforgettably trashy death scene or two. And yet Lockout has pretty much none of those. It just doesn't bring anything new to the table whatsoever. I don't think there's a single facet of the film that didn't just evaporate from my mind as soon as the credits began rolling. I imagine that in a week's time I'll be lucky to remember a single thing about it.

It just should have been so much more fun than this but none of the action sequences ever really ignite and the CGI is just atrocious, truly some of the worst I've seen for many years. The opening motorcycle chase is especially woeful, delivering a level of graphics I don't think I've seen since a late 90s video game; just a complete eyesore. Films of this nature you want to start off with a real bang to instantly draw you into the mayhem that's about to unfold. That however was about the sourest note possible on which to build. The film's main redeeming factor is definitely to be found in Guy Pearce's performance as the film's anti-hero, Marian Snow (he wisely chooses to keep his first name a secret until the closing moments). He does his absolutely best to drag the film along, displaying no shortage of charisma and swagger in the role and managing to actually get some laughs out of the weak script. He even has some decent chemistry in his frictious relationship with Maggie Grace. However the actual character he is lumped with is severely lacking in any interest. Reduced to nothing but a tough guy with a proclivity for quips and one-liners he comes off as nothing but a shallow clone of countless other action heroes who have gone before him; Snake Plissken, John McClane, John Nada, Martin Riggs, Axel Foley, John Matrix etc. It really is a shame because Pearce's dynamic turn deserved so much more than to be stuck in this entirely forgettable venture.



1941 was one of my favorite movies as a kid, but of course I was only 8 when I first saw it at the movies. It doesn't hurt that Belushi is my favorite movie star.



I tried watching 1941 not long ago. I thought it was mostly dreadfully dull and not funny.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
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Year of release
2009

Directed by
F. Gary Gray

Written by
Kurt Wimmer

Starring
Gerard Butler
Jamie Foxx
Colm Meaney
Bruce McGill
Leslie Bibb

Law Abiding Citizen

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To say that Law Abiding Citizen is a little far-fetched would probably be the understatement of the year, and perhaps of all time. It is one of the most preposterous films I've seen in quite some time, perhaps ever. It really is just one ludicrous twist after another; absolutely farcical stuff. And yet I had an absolute blast watching it. I'm not proud of that fact, but it's just the way it is. For me personally I kind of felt that it had a bit of a 90s vibe to it; a decade that was a bit of a golden period for thrillers and action films that tended to be high-concept and low-logic. And that would definitely be an apt description here. But the fact that it's so absurd means that it's tough to predict just where the story is going to go. By throwing logic out of the window it means that the film has no limitations as to where it can take things.

Some of the developments are just laughable but in a rather brilliant way. I strangely admire a film that just says f*ck the logic! Even I had a problem with the logic of the film's conclusion however, and in addition to making no sense whatsoever it was also rather underwhelming. In terms of performances it's not exactly a true acting clinic with Foxx coming off as rather flat I felt. However, and even though I'm not a fan, I have to give some credit to Butler for quite a compulsive, volatile performance as the psychotic man on a rampage of vengeance.

In amongst all of the trash on show the film does actually have some serious issues at its heart that it touches on periodically, that of the ethics of the law and how quite often it seems that the lawyers and D.A.'s act more in a self-serving manner than for the good of the people. It highlights the lack of justice that is all too common in the legal system. Though in general the film takes these possibly serious issues and treats them at their most lurid, creating a sort of hi-tech Death Wish. If you want an idea of what this film is really like then you can probably get it with one look at the film's page on rottentomatoes. When it comes to the critics a mere 25% gave it a positive review, with an average rating of 4.3/10. As regards the audience however, 75% of those who voted liked the film with it holding an average rating of 4/5. That quite accurately sums up its vast problems which the critics can't get past, but the fun that the audience were able to find with it.

Though I'll admit that I have great doubts how well it will hold up on a repeat viewing. A vast amount of the fun was had just waiting to find out what the next ridiculous path the film would take would be. Without that you're kind of just left with all the flaws.



Might be the first positive review I have ever seen for Law Abiding Citizen. In fact, I read so many bad ones I ended up skipping it.
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Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Might be the first positive review I have ever seen for Law Abiding Citizen. In fact, I read so many bad ones I ended up skipping it.
Well it's positive in the sense of how much I enjoyed it, but I certainly don't think I would call it a good film by any stretch of the imagination. It's truly preposterous and downright stupid. It's just that on occasion that can be exactly what I want.

I said there that I had my doubts about how it would hold up to a repeat viewing. I've still not risked it yet. Also this is definitely an example of a film that would have a lower score these days

Holy Guacamole! I'll take 1941, thanks.
Fair enough. I actually wanted to ask you what you think of 1941 by the way. Like myself you're a big Spielberg fan and that's the one that seems to get the most grief. Well back in the day at least. Their seems to be quite a backlash against him these days which means a lot of his films are now trashed by people



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Hey look,

It's the #1 Mofo reviewer, JayDee!!!!
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"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
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Year of release
1992

Directed by
Phil Alden Robinson

Written by
Phil Alden Robinson
Lawrence Lasker
Walter F. Parkes

Starring
Robert Redford
Sidney Poitier
Ben Kingsley
David Strathairn
Dan Aykroyd
River Phoenix

Sneakers



While it occasionally hints that it may be heading into a darker, more paranoia-fuelled world, Sneakers is a film that remains firmly in low-key, light-hearted territory. It's light on action sequences and quite sedately paced on occasion; yet it remains a fun, clever and suspenseful diversion. Much of that is thanks to its witty and playful script that packs a scheming, twisty narrative, an assembly of quirky characters and some sharp-witted dialogue. It has a series of enjoyable interactions and dialogue exchanges between its characters, with the relationship between Sidney Poitier's ex-CIA officer and Dan Aykroyd's conspiracy-spouting nut being the stand-out.

What really lifts the material however is its cast. I mean really, look at that cast. To start with you've got three absolute heavyweights in the form of Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier and Ben Kingsley. Between them they have 7 Oscar nominations and two honorary oscars (Kingsley the only one missing from completing the set); these guys are acting legends. And then beyond that you have the not inconsiderable talents of River Phoenix, Dan Aykroyd and Mary McDonnell (with two Oscar nominations of her own), and some brief appearances from the likes of James Earl Jones and Stephen Tobolowsky. It's certainly a star-studded cast. Although on more than one occasion it's actually David Strathairn's blind soundman, Irwin 'Whistler' Emery, who threatens to steal the film out from under all those big names. However in general everyone brings the goods. With such a large cast to cater for, screentime really is at a premium. However just about everyone is given at least something to do and their own little character traits and quirks that allow them to stand out.

With Redford leading the cast, the film feels like a continuation of the conspiracy-led thrillers that he made his name with back in the 70s, now given a contemporary twist (well back in 1992 anyway). As such it comes off like Three Days of the Condor by the way of Hackers. In fact there are even a couple of Condor references thrown in for good measure. One thing that I liked about the film is that unlike most caper films it's doesn't strive to be overly slick or stylish, instead focusing more on the characters and dialogue. Oh and I really loved Sneakers' sign-off scene at its conclusion. It sees the group negotiating with James Earl Jones' NSA agent over the 'black box' (the film's MacGuffin), with the requests becoming ever more ridiculous and Jones becoming ever more incredulous.

I don't see Sneakers ever threatening my list of favourite films, or many people's lists for that matter. It's perhaps a little too lightweight and unsubstantial for that. However it's such an easy watch I'd imagine it's the kind of film I could watch a number of times on wet afternoons or on lazy Sundays, so much so that it could win a bit of a place in my heart.



"""" Hulk Smashhhh."""
Law Abiding Citizen was pretty good. I loved the first half of the movie. I thought it was very interesting and lots of fun. The second half kinda of got abit silly tho.
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Your last several musings are mostly for films I've disliked or barely remember.

2 Guns was decent fun while it lasted, due in large part to the chemistry between Denzel and Wahlberg, but the movie hasn't stuck with me. I know I've seen Man of the Year, but I can't remember a single scene from it. I must’ve dozed off during it. Even reading your write-up doesn't conjure any memories.

Larry Crowne was a bunch of nothing. Bachelor Party had a few funny moments, but I didn't enjoy it that much. I watched Joe vs. the Volcano just a couple of weeks ago and hated it. Such an irritating film, and I say that as a fan of Hanks and Meg Ryan.

About Time was okay, but ultimately too formulaic and safe to do anything interesting with the time-traveling storyline. Bernie featured some good performances, but it's probably my least favorite Linklater film. I'm willing to give Lockout another try, but my initial experience with it sounds a lot like your own. Law Abiding Citizen was terrible. I've not seen Sneakers yet, but I want to based on the strength of that cast.

1941 is a mess. Easily the worst film I've seen from Spielberg. Not seen or even heard of Always. I can't imagine liking it based on what you wrote. I don't do schmaltz.

Write about some better films so I can't stop being so negative!
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Loved Frailty! In my all time favorites!! I've watched it twice.