Sunday, June 29, 2008

Review – Aberration

As a quick taste of the sheer terribleness of this movie, consider the plight of the heroine’s cat. Ten minutes in or so, and I was silently praying that the vicious lizards infesting the woman’s cabin would go ahead and kill the poor thing so I wouldn’t have to keep wondering when it was going to happen (which of course it did). Another taste: once the vicious-lizard plotlines have been fairly well exhausted, an ex-boyfriend appears out of nowhere for no obvious reason other than keeping the story going for the requisite 90 minutes. Indeed, the only redeeming quality in the whole ugly mess was that a woman with short hair actually survived to the end of the picture. Wish I’d skipped it

Genre: Horror

Subgenre: Monster
Date reviewed: 6/29/2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Review – Archangel

The mystery set-up here is good. Daniel Craig stars as a Russian history professor who gets caught up in the search for secret documents Beria stole from Stalin on his deathbed. So instantly I was curious to know what could possibly be so horrible that a man who openly admitted to slaughtering millions of people would want to hide it? [spoiler alert] Once the mystery is unraveled, however, it turns into a Commie version of The Boys from Brazil. Overall this is a well-put-together piece. The story was entertaining, and I liked some of the location work. This isn’t the best Russian intrigue movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s far from the worst. Mildly amusing

Monday, June 16, 2008

Review – By Dawn's Early Light

If a real nuclear war was this big a cluster fuck, that’s just one more reason why it’s a good thing we never got around to having one. In this drama the whole mess gets sparked by a mysterious missile attack on a Soviet city, and things go downhill from there. Before the end of the movie, NORAD has been wiped out, the country is being run by the Secretary of the Interior, and just about every officer in the entire military has disobeyed orders in one way or another (ranging from simple incompetence to high treason). Overall this is a made-for-HBO reheat of Fail Safe that came along just in time for the Cold War to end and render the whole thing moot. See if desperate

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Review – Dudley Do-Right

George of the Jungle relocated to Canada. This one follows the formula from the previous Brendan Fraser cartoon vehicle right down to the inclusion of a Monty Python alum (Eric Idle this time, and at least he doesn’t have to voice an ape). Unfortunately, except for a few gags here and there, this one’s even dumber than the previous one. See if desperate

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Review – Body of Evidence

I’m actually sort of impressed by this. Who would have thought it was actually possible to make a movie even crappier than Basic Instinct? True, for all his ham Willem DaFoe can’t out-suck Michael Douglas. But Madonna has Sharon Stone beat hands-down. The pop singer’s wooden delivery is matched only by her willingness to strip at the slightest provocation. Other than the down-turn in talent, this might as well be the Douglas/Stone movie all over again. Sure, it has a new wrinkle or two. This bleached-blonde temptress does it for money, not for pleasure. And a lot of the drama takes place inside a none-too-convincing courtroom. But otherwise it’s strictly leftovers that didn’t microwave particularly well. See if desperate

Review – The Cult of the Suicide Bomber

The suicide bombing of the Beirut Marine Barracks appears to have left a lasting impression on former CIA operative Robert Baer. That’s understandable, of course, though his obsession comes out in odd ways here and there in this documentary. That notwithstanding, this is a solid piece of film-making tracing the problem of suicide bombing in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Israel back to its roots in the Iran-Iraq War. Baer gets access to an impressive array of interview subjects ranging from a high-placed Ayatolah to an Israeli intelligence officer to the families of terrorist-martyr youths. Though not as balanced as it could have been, it was nonetheless more balanced than I expected. Certainly worth a look for anyone who’s interested in the topic. Mildly amusing