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  1. Cloak & Dagger Universal Pictures, 1984 Directed by Richard Franklin (1948-2007) (Roadgames, Psycho II) Based on the 1949 film The Window Running Time: 101 minutes Rated PG for violence and mature situations. Cast Henry Thomas (Elliott in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Samuel in Legends of the Fall) as Davey Osborne Dabney Coleman (Dr. McKittrick in WarGames) as Hal Osborne and Jack Flack Christina Nigra as Kim Gardener William Forsythe (Flattop in Dick Tracy) as Morris John McIntire (1907-1991) as George MacCready Jeanette Nolan (1911-1998) as Eunice MacCready Synopsis Davey Osborne is a kid trying to cope with his mother's death while his father Hal is too occupied in his job in military air traffic. This leaves Davey immersing himself into an espionage role-playing game called Cloak & Dagger, fantasizing himself living in an adventure with the game's hero Jack Flack. One day, while running an errand for his friend's video game store, Davey witnesses the murder of a scientist, who hands him an Atari 5200 cartridge of the Cloak & Dagger game. Inside the cartridge are top-secret documents pertaining to the SR-71 Blackbird. Davey fends for his life as spies all over town are after him, and no one believes him due to his fantasy play. Lowdown It was mentioned on a my film review thread for Flight of the Navigator that the '80s was filled with "kidsploitation" flicks that simply had kids as the main protagonists. It was also the decade where Hollywood first experimented with video game tie-ins. Cloak & Dagger was a result of Universal collaborating with Atari, when the latter company was developing a game titled Agent X. Hot off his role as Elliott in the 1982 blockbuster E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Henry Thomas does a good job playing a kid nobody would believe. Dabney Coleman plays Davey's father, but it's his role as Davey's imaginary friend Jack Flack that steals most of the show. Everybody else is rather average on their performance. The story itself is rather dark for a kid-oriented film. Very few movies of this kind directly deal with on-screen death. And because of an elderly couple that "befriends" Davey - only to reveal themselves to him as spies, many kids probably developed nightmares about old people. The Cloak & Dagger video game is somewhat misleading, as screenshots are from the arcade unit. An Atari 5200 version was never made due to the great video game crash of 1983. Overall, Cloak & Dagger is an '80s kids film that doesn't age well like The Goonies, but it still holds its own with its plot twists and Davey's interaction with Jack Flack. Makes a great rental for you and the kids to watch. "Jack Flack always escapes." Rating: B+ DVD Extras Saw it on late-night TV, so I haven't seen the DVD release yet to judge on the extras. Reference The Internet Movie Database
  2. Crying Freeman ( クライングフリーマン ) August Entertainment, 1995 Not available in the U.S. (for reasons unknown) Directed by Christophe Gans (Silent Hill, Onimusha) Based on the manga by Kazuo Koike (Lone Wolf and Cub, Lady Snowblood) and Ryoichi Ikegami (Sanctuary, Mai the Psychic Girl) Running Time: 102 minutes Not Rated (suggested R). Contains graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations and profanity. Cast Mark Dacascos (The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, The Chairman in Iron Chef America) as Yo Hinomura/Crying Freeman Julie Condra (Mark's wife) as Emu O'Hara Byron Mann (Ryu in Street Fighter: The Movie, Detective Sung in Dark Angel) as Koh Tchéky Karyo (Bob in La Femme Nikita, Jean Villeneuve in The Patriot) as Detective Netah Rae Dawn Chong (Squeak in The Color Purple, Claudia in Highlander: The Series) as Detective Forge Masaya Kato as Ryuji Hanada Yoko Shimada (Mariko in Shogun, Mieko in The Hunted) as Lady Hanada Mako (1933-2006) (Kanemitsu in RoboCop 3, Nakano in Highlander III: The Sorcerer) as Shido Shimazaki Synopsis One morning, while painting the landscape on the hills of San Francisco, CA, a Canadian woman named Emu O'Hara witnesses the murder of a Yakuza member at the hands of a man who sheds tears after each kill. He introduces himself to her as "Yo." Because of this, Emu is marked by Chinese Mafia rule as Yo's next victim. When she returns to her hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, members of the Shimazaki clan and an Interpol agent named Netah are on the scene in hopes of using Emu as bait to lure in Mr. Yo - infamously known in the crime world as "Crying Freeman." Yo's mission is further complicated when Emu reveals that she is in love with him. As a result, Yo must now protect Emu from both the Shimazaki Clan and "The Sons of the Dragons" - the Chinese Mafia that brainwashed him and trained him to be the perfect assassin. Lowdown Time and time again, it has been proven that manga and anime titles do not translate well in western cinema - especially during the manga/anime boom of the 1990s. During this time, Crying Freeman generated a cult following here in the U.S.; but in France, both the manga and anime were so popular, the people over there decided to adapt it into a live-action film. And so, with the cooperation of the city of Vancouver, BC, Canada, along with Tohokushinsha and Toei Co. Ltd., the French came up with this movie. And what a disappointment it was. First off, certain key characters had to be westernized to keep up with the limited budget while filming in Vancouver - namely Freeman's lover Emu (played by American actress Julie Condra) and the detective Nitta (now Netah, played by French actor Tchéky Karyo with a slurred American accent). Second, many of the actors delivered sub-par performances. Byron Mann, who already crippled his career in Street Fighter: The Movie, gave a really bland portrayal of Freeman's partner Koh. Julie Condra is really hot, but she just can't act. Veteran Japanese actors Yoko Shimada and Masaya Kato and the late Mako practically wasted their time on this film. As for the storyline, it's a disaster. It destroys everything Freeman is about. In the manga, Freeman is supposed to be an indispensable asset to the 108 Dragons, regardless of his mistakes. The movie, however, shows him as expendable to the Sons of the Dragons. In that case, why all the time spent on tattooing and training him in the first place? Is there at least anything good about this film? Actually, there is. The fight scenes are very well choreographed and filmed, and you get to see the potential of Mark Dacascos' martial arts skills outside Only the Strong and Only the Brave. The highlight is Freeman's final battle with the Hanada clan at his home. So overall, Crying Freeman is a disappointing adaptation, but surprisingly entertaining as a martial arts film. Rating: C- References The Internet Movie Database
  3. Jumper New Regency Productions/20th Century Fox, 2008 Directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) Based on the novel by Steven Gould Running Time: 90 minutes Rated PG-13 for violence, mature situations and strong language. Cast Hayden Christensen (the man who nearly destroyed Star Wars) as David Rice Rachel Bilson (Summer in The O.C.) as Millie Harris Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) as Griffin Samuel L. Jackson (the most overused actor today) as Roland Cox Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) as William Rice Diane Lane (Christopher Lambert's ex-wife) as Mary Rice "You think you can go on like this forever? Living like this without consequences? There's always consequences." - Roland Cox Synopsis David Rice is a Jumper - a person with the abilities to teleport anywhere from one side of a room to London, Egypt, or just about anywhere on a travel magazine. After years of using his abilities to rob banks and enjoy the great outdoors, he jumps back to his old hometown of Ann Arbor, MI, to reunite his childhood girlfriend Millie. When they travel to Rome, David finds out he's not alone when he bumps into another Jumper named Griffin. He also finds himself in the middle of a secret war with the Paladins - a group of religious fanatics who have been hunting down Jumpers for centuries. Lowdown Why is it that almost every movie year kicks off with an over-budgeted, overrated box-office stinker? This year, we have Jumper, a movie with absolutely no redeeming value. The concept is good, but like many Hollywood film adaptations, it's poorly executed. The storyline is flat and predictable, and the acting is just unbearably bad. And I haven't even talked about Hayden Christensen, who still can't act his way out of a paper bag after ruining the last two Star Wars films. Both Samuel L. Jackson and Diane Lane wasted their time on this film, as none of the characters were developed enough to peak anyone's interest in this movie. Visual effects were done by New Zealand-based Weta Workshop (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong), which are good, but wasted on this POS film. As a matter of fact, the only noticeable visual eye candy is Rachel Bilson. In short, don't even bother renting or torrenting Jumper at all. Rating: F DVD Extras: B The 2-disc Special Edition DVD includes a behind-the-scenes featurette, an alternate introduction sequence and an illustrated prequel feature (similar to the not-so-animated Transformers: Beginnings). Disc 2 is a digital copy of the film that you can transfer to your iPod or MP3 player. Links Official Jumper Homepage Reference The Internet Movie Database
  4. 10,000 BC From director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Universal Soldier) comes 10,000 BC, an adventure that takes place during the Dawn of Man. The film stars Steven Strait (Caleb in The Covenant) as D'Leh, Camilla Belle (Jill in When a Stranger Calls) as Evolet and legendary actor Omar Sharif (Dr. Zhivago) as Old Baku. 10,000 BC premieres on March 7, and will be released by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.
  5. Flash Gordon De Laurentiis Entertainment Group/Universal Pictures, 1980, 2007 Directed by Mike Hodges (The Terminal Man, Damien: Omen II) Based upon characters created by Alex Raymond (1909-1956) Running Time: 111 minutes Rated PG for sci-fi violence. Ming the Merciless: "Klytus, I'm bored. What play thing can you offer me today?" Klytus: "An obscure body in the S-K System, your majesty. The inhabitants refer to it as the planet 'Earth.'" Ming: "How peaceful it looks." (Ming flashes his ring towards the center console, setting off an earthquake on Earth.) Klytus: "Most effective, Your Majesty. Will you destroy this...'Earth?'" Ming: "Later. I like to play with things a while before annihilation." Cast Sam J. Jones (The Highwayman) as Flash Gordon Melody Anderson as Dale Arden Max von Sydow (Father Merrin in The Exorcist, Chief Justice Fargo in Judge Dredd) as Ming the Merciless Topol (Colombo in For Your Eyes Only) as Dr. Hans Zarkov Ornella Muti as Princess Aura Timothy Dalton (James Bond in The Living Daylights and License to Kill) as Prince Barin Brian Blessed (Boss Nass in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace) as Prince Vultan Peter Wyngarde as Klytus Mariangela Melato as General Kala Ming: "Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would've hidden from it in terror." Synopsis When the evil emperor Ming the Merciless discovers the planet Earth, he plays around with it by bringing forward chaos and destruction. On Earth, New York Jets' star quarterback Flash Gordon and travel agent Dale Arden survive a plane crash caused by one of Ming's disasters and meet the scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov, who has been investigating the anomalies. Together, they board Zarkov's rocket and travel to the planet Mongo. "Flash! A-Ah! Saviour of the Universe!" "Flash! A-Ah! He saved every one of us!" Upon their arrival, they are taken prisoner by Ming's forces. While Dale is taken by Ming to be his consort, Zarkov is sent away to be brainwashed and Flash is sentenced to death for his defiance. But thanks to Princess Aura, Flash is resurrected, and they promptly leave Ming's palace for the moon of Arboria. There, Flash must struggle to form an alliance with Prince Barin and the Hawkman Prince Vultan, and stop Ming from marrying Dale and destroying Earth for good. "Flash! A-Ah! He's a miracle!" "Flash! A-Ah! King of the Impossible!" Lowdown Flash Gordon - perhaps one of the biggest guilty pleasure movies among film buffs. Yes, the acting is cheesy, the script is appalling and the special effects are laughable. It also boasts the loudest costume designs on film (which is probably where all of the budget went). But those elements are what actually make the movie work. Who cares about plot or character development in a film like this? It's all about good old-fashioned, campy fun. Not to mention the sexy Italian chick Ornella Muti (who is still hot for her age!) as Princess Aura. "He's for every one of us! Stands for every one of us! He saved with a mighty hand, Every man, every woman, every child, He's the mighty Flash!" And what's a good movie without a soundtrack to go with it? I've previously mentioned on my review of Highlander that the legendary rock band Queen were capable of telling the whole story through their music. In the case of Flash Gordon, the band's soundtrack is what holds the entire film together, from the thunderous opening theme to the lively ending theme "Hero." As a matter of fact, someone should remix this film and replace all the dialogue with nothing but the sound of Queen. Prince Vultan: "Gordon's alive?!?" SciFi Channel may have a new Flash Gordon series out, but it still can't hold a candle to this classic film. Don't rent it - buy it. It's one of the greatest popcorn flicks ever made. Battle Control Room Colonel: "General Kala, Flash Gordon approaching!" General Kala: "What do you mean, 'Flash Gordon approaching?'" Colonel: "On a Hawkman rocket-cycle. Shall I inform His Majesty?" Kala: "Imbecile! The Emperor would shoot you for interrupting his wedding with this news! Fire when Gordon's in range!" Rating: B+ "Just a man, with a man's courage, You know he's nothing but a man, who could never fail, No one but the pure in heart can find the Holy Grail, Oh..." DVD Extras: B+ To coincide with SciFi Channel's new TV series, Universal Pictures has remastered Flash Gordon to its original glory. The picture quality is more vibrant than ever and the new 5.1 surround sound brings out Queen's epic soundtrack. Kala: "Dispatch War Rocket Ajax, to bring back his body!" You also get the following extras (which could've been better if the ones in the European Region 2 release were also included): - Interview with renowned comic artist Alex Ross (Marvels, Gatchaman), who was heavily inspired by this film. - Interview with Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (Batman), who wrote the film's screenplay. - "Chapter 1: Planet of Peril" - The first episode of the original 1936 serial. - "Trailer" for the new TV series. (Actually, just the logo.) All that and a killer DVD case design to boot, along with two postcards featuring Alex Ross' awesome art. On an interesting note, Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson recorded some commentary for this release, but the idea was nixed when they realized they wouldn't be paid for their opinions. Dale Arden: "Flash! Flash, I love you! But we only have 14 hours to save the Earth!" Links Flash Gordon - Saviour of the Universe Edition DVD Robot: "Long live Flash! You've saved your Earth. Have a nice day." Flash Gordon: "YEAH!" Reference The Internet Movie Database Wikipedia
  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0gj8xuc11w Flight of the Navigator Walt Disney Pictures, 1986 Directed by Randal Kleiser (Grease, Red Riding Hood) Based on a story by Mark H. Baker Running Time: 90 minutes Rated PG for mature situations and strong language. Cast Joey Cramer (Bobby in Runaway) as David Scott Freeman Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens as Trimaxion/Max (voice) Veronica Cartwright as Helen Freeman Cliff De Young as Bill Freeman Sarah Jessica Parker (like anyone here doesn't know who she is...) as Carolyn McAdams Matt Adler as Jeff Freeman (16 years old) Howard Hesseman (Charlie in Head of the Class) as Dr. Faraday Albie Whitaker as Jeff Freeman (8 years old) Synopsis David Scott Freeman is an ordinary 12-year-old boy living in Fort Lauderdale, FL, in 1978. One night, on his way to pick up his younger brother Jeff, he falls into a ravine deep in a forest and is knocked unconscious. When he comes to, he finds out that he is in the year 1986 - eight years after his parents reported him missing. Everything and everyone around him has changed over the years, except for him. Overwhelmed by the events that just happened, David passes out and is taken to a hospital, where doctors perform tests on him to find out where he's been for the past eight years. Meanwhile, NASA officials arrive at a scene where an unidentified flying object just crashed through some power lines. They take the ship to their facilities to examine it. At the same time, while David is undergoing a test, his brainwaves transmit information directly related to the spacecraft. He is promptly taken in by NASA for 48 hours, where they discover that his brain contains alien navigational data and star charts. It doesn't take long before David leaves his room in the facility and makes contact with the ship, where he realizes he is its navigator. Together, David and the ship's pilot - nicknamed "Max" - leave the NASA base and embark on a journey to fulfill Max's mission. "Compliance!" Over the past 30 years, Disney's live-action films haven't usually been the memorable type. Most of them were fun to watch when you were younger, but nowadays, you'd steer clear of them. Some of them are just plain crap, such as Flubber, National Treasure, The Pacifier and the Jackie Chan version of Around the World in 80 Days. (I personally haven't seen The Black Hole, but if you have, and thought it was crap, feel free to tell us about it.) But among the pile of rubbish are some diamonds in the rough. Of course, you have your box office blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Chronicles of Narnia, but there are those rare gems that are unbelievably good. One such product is The Rocketeer, which I believe is still the last great Disney live-action film. And then, of course, there's Flight of the Navigator - a film that came and went at the box office at warp speed, collecting a mere $18 million. Watching this movie is like going back in time. Sure, it reeks of '80s cheesiness and the acting leaves much to be desired. But what makes this movie shine is its innovation in special effects. Universal's 1984 film The Last Starfighter may have been the first to use full-time CG animation, but Navigator was the first to feature environment mapping - over a decade before it was standard on video games. Five years before Terminator 2: Judgment Day came out, Navigator first gave viewers a look at what a moving chrome-colored object would look like on film. Even after 20 years, the flying piece of chrome still looks great. The aerial shots are also breathtaking. Max: "What are you doing?" David: "Can't I have a little privacy?" Max: "Do not know privacy." It's hard to believe that Alan Silvestri (Predator, Back to the Future) composed the score for Navigator, as it's primarily synthesizer music instead of orchestral. And because of this, it does make the film seem outdated. "Navigator, I do not leak. You leak. Remember?" Paul Reubens steals much of the film as the voice of the klutzy pilot Max. He starts out serious at first, but as soon as he scans David's brain, that's when his Pee Wee Herman persona kicks in. Other than that, a young Sarah Jessica Parker also has a bit role in the film. Not that anyone around here cares for her... "Hey, blimpo! Oink Oink! Too many Twinkies!" Overall, Flight of the Navigator is surprisingly enjoyable for a family film. Definitely a great rental at most, as the DVD has no extras at all (unless you really, really like this movie). Rating: B DVD Extras: F What extras? Looks like we're gonna have to wait a lifetime for a proper DVD release. Reference The Internet Movie Database Wikipedia "See you later, Navigator! Ha ha!"
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inGUZEDJllY Titan A.E. FOX Animation Studios/20th Century Fox, 2000 Directed by Don Bluth (An American Tail, Anastasia) and Gary Goldman (The Pebble and the Penguin, Anastasia) Written by Hans Bauer (Anaconda) and Randall McCormick (Speed 2: Cruise Control) Screenplay by Ben Edlund (The Tick), John August (Big Fish, Corpse Bride) and Joss Whedon (like nobody here knows who he is...) Running Time: 94 minutes Rated PG for sci-fi violence and mild language. Cast Matt Damon (The Bourne Trilogy, Good Will Hunting) as Cale Tucker Drew Barrymore (Gertie in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Julia in The Wedding Singer) as Akima Kunimoto Bill Pullman (President Whitmore in Independence Day, Lone Starr in Spaceballs) as Capt. Joseph Korso John Leguizamo (Luigi in Super Mario Bros., Violator in Spawn) as Gune Nathan Lane (Timon in The Lion King, Albert in The Birdcage) as Preed Janeane Garofalo (The Bowler in Mystery Men, Colette in Ratatouille) as Stith Tone Loc (remember that rap song "Wild Thing"?) as Tek Ron Perlman (like nobody here knows who he is...) as Prof. Sam Tucker Synopsis In the year 3028, an alien race called the Drej invade the Solar System and destroy Earth. While they accomplish in wiping out 99% of Earth's population, they fail to eliminate the top-secret project ship Titan created by Prof. Sam Tucker, who escaped in the midst of the chaos. Fifteen years later, the surviving humans continue to live their lives as intergalactic refugees. Tucker's son Cale, who works at a salvage yard, is paid a visit by Capt. Joseph Korso and female pilot Akima. They seek help from Cale, as he holds the key to finally locate the Titan - mankind's last hope for survival. Together, they must get to the Titan before the Drej discover it and annihilate mankind for good. Story: D+ Back in 1999, while moviegoers flocked to movie theaters to see The Matrix, they caught their first glimpse of this animated sci-fi flick. It showed Earth blown to bits, which, more or less, caught a lot of attention. One year later, Titan A.E. was released. Unfortunately, Earth blowing up was practically the only exciting part of the movie. This movie had a lot of potential, but its lack of originality was its Achilles heel. Sure, hundreds of sci-fi flicks bite off from Star Wars and Star Trek, but Titan A.E. just bites off too much from them. Most noticeable is the Titan ship subplot, which is a rehash of the Genesis Project from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I'd point out some Star Wars references, but there are just too many to name. Besides, I fell asleep throughout most of the film. Even anime references are not spared from this film's lack of originality. Cale's hand map is a loose derivative of Lensman. The Valkyrie flight scene across the asteroid belt may have been a take on Macross. The characters are just not likeable at all; maybe if the Drej got rid of them, we'd probably have a better movie than the final product. And we all know that Matt Damon and Drew Barrymore can't act, but damn - their voice acting's even worse. But then again, if you read the credits, it's no wonder the story sucks. People who wrote Anaconda and Speed 2: Cruise Control were behind this tripe. Even the screenplay writers (read credits above), as talented as they are, couldn't save this train wreck of a story. Instead of making headlines, Titan A.E. was simply career suicide for Don Bluth and a number of animators. It was also an early sign of the death of American theatrical animation as we know it. Titan A.E. made only $36 million out of its $75 million budget, prompting FOX to close their animation studios. Its bad luck must have also rubbed on other animated sci-fi titles like Sony's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire (don't get me started with the Nadia ripoff debacle) and Treasure Planet - all of which tanked in the box office as well. Animation: B- Can someone please tell Don Bluth that Rotoscope animation is dead? Titan A.E.'s character designs are just as exciting as watching paint dry on a rainy day. The 3D animation is okay, but with a budget of $75 million, it should be much better. Soundtrack: C There's a reason why Star Wars and Star Trek use classical music for their soundtracks: it never goes out of style. Titan A.E. just feels so '90s with its use of alternative music from Lit, Powerman 5000 and other bands no one's even heard of. Graeme Revell (The Crow, Sin City) supplies some BGM, but it's hardly noticeable. DVD Extras: B At least the DVD is loaded with extras, such as deleted/unfinished scenes and a making-of documentary. And there's a music video of "Over My Head" by Lit, like anyone cares. The Bottom Line "Planet Bob?" Skip this movie and go rent something else. Reference The Internet Movie Database Wikipedia
  8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDtCEyWV1ic Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Collection Nelson Entertainment/Orion Pictures, 1988, 1991 MGM Home Video, 2005 Created by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon Running Time: 90 minutes per film Rated PG for some heinous violence, mature situations and egregious language, dude. Cast Keanu Reeves as Ted "Theodore" Logan Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston, ESQ. George Carlin as Rufus Amy Stock-Poynton as Missy ("I mean, mom...") Hal Landon, Jr. as Capt. Logan J. Patrick McNamara as Mr. Preston Guest Cast (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) Terry Camilleri as Napoleon Bonaparte ("The Short Dead Dude") Dan Shor as Billy the Kid Tony Steedman (1927-2001) as Socrates Rod Loomis as Dr. Sigmund Freud Al Leong as Genghis Khan Jane Wiedlin as Joan of Arc ("Noah's Wife?") Robert V. Barron (1932-2000) as Abraham Lincoln Clifford David as Ludvig Von Beethoven Diane Franklin as Princess Joanna Kimberly Kates as Princess Elizabeth Frazier Bain as Deacon Logan Guest Cast (Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey) William Sadler as Death Josh Ackland as Chuck De Nomolos Arturo Gil as Station Annette Azcuy as Elizabeth Sarah Trigger as Joanna Michael Chambers as Good Robot Bill Bruno Falcon as Good Robot Ted Bill: "I'm Bill S. Preston, Esquire!" Ted: "And I'm Ted 'Theodore' Logan!" Bill & Ted: "And together we are... Wyld Stallyns!!!" Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Directed by Stephen Herek (The Mighty Ducks, Mr. Holland's Opus) Way into the future, mankind lives in peace, all thanks to two most excellent dudes from the 20th century - Bill S. Preston, ESQ., and Ted "Theodore" Logan, collectively known as "Wyld Stallyns." But in order for this future to exist, Bill & Ted have to get an A on their history project. With the aid of a time-travelling phone booth supplied by some dude named Rufus, Bill & Ted venture to the past and pick up historical figures which will guarantee them a bodacious grade. King: "Put them in the Iron Maiden." Bill & Ted: "Iron Maiden? Excellent!" [Air guitar] King: "Execute them." Bill & Ted: "Bogus." Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Directed by Peter Hewitt (Garfield: The Movie) All is well in the future until the evil dickweed De Nomolos sends two evil robot clones of Bill & Ted to the present day as part of his non-non-non-non-heinous scheme to change history. When our heroes are killed, they must battle Death to win back their lives and prevent De Nomolos and his robots from ruining the future. "Station!" Long before Keanu Reeves had a most triumphant career in Hollywood, he and Alex Winter were two slackers playing air guitar in this two-movie collection. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure brings back memories of the '80s, when most cheesy movies were actually fun to watch, but don't really stand the test of time. Despite an egregious soundtrack and a bonehead script, the first movie is still a load of laughs. The second film has a much darker tone, as it focuses on Bill & Ted's struggle to return to the real world. While the music (featuring songs by Primus and KISS) is more excellent than the first film's, Bogus Journey just isn't as memorable. Nevertheless, it's still worth checking out. Overall, this boxed set makes an excellent rental for most movie fans. Unless you hate the '80s, you won't be totally disappointed, dudes. Rating: Non-Heinous DVD Extras: Most Excellent In addition to both films, MGM threw in a bonus DVD simply titled "Bill & Ted's Non-Bogus Disc," which includes the following extras: - The Original Bill & Ted - A conversation with creators Matheson and Solomon. - The Most Triumphant Making-of Documentary - Includes interviews with Alex Winter and the movie's directors. Keanu's not here, though. Bogus. - Score! - An interview with guitarist Steve Vai. - Air Guitar Tutorial - There are contests for this? - The Historical Personages of Bill & Ted - A mockumentary of our heroes. - One Sweet and Sour Chinese Adventure to Go - The first episode of the cartoon series. - The Linguistic Stylings of Bill & Ted - A video dictionary of the duo's favorite quotes. - From Scribble to Script - A gallery of the evolution of the film's script. - Radio Spots "Catch you later, dudes!" Reference The Internet Movie Database
  9. On June 10, Mr. & Mrs. Smith will hit theaters. But the question is this: is anyone here gonna watch it? Mr. & Mrs. Smith As for the promotional poster, I have to say that someone did some mad Photoshop work on Angelina Jolie.
  10. Siu Lam Juk Kau (少林足球) The Star Overseas Entertainment, Ltd./Universe Entertainment, 2001 Miramax Pictures, 2004 Directed by Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, God of Cookery) Running Time: 112 minutes Rated II-B (HK) for graphic violence, slight nudity and profanity. (Author's Note: This review is for the original Hong Kong version, not the butchered U.S. version.) Cast Stephen Chow (Sing in Kung Fu Hustle, himself in God of Cookery) as Sing (Mighty Steel Leg) Vicky Zhao Wei (Sun Shangxiang in Red Cliff I-II, Sue in So Close) as Mui Ng Man-tat (C.I.B. Agent in King of Comedy) as "Golden Leg" Fung Patrick Tse Yin as Hung Wong Yut-fei as Iron Head (First Big Brother) Lam Chi-chung (Bone in Kung Fu Hustle) as Weight Vest (Sixth Small Brother) Tin Kai-man (Brother Sum's adviser in Kung Fu Hustle) as Iron Shirt (Second Big Brother) Mok Mei-lam as Hooking Leg (Third Big Brother) Danny Chan Kwok-kwan (The Legend of Bruce Lee, Brother Sum in Kung Fu Hustle) as Empty Hand (Fourth Big Brother) Li Hui as some chick who slips on a banana peel Cecilia Cheung (Dawn in The Legend of Zu) as Double Handsome Dragons player #1 Karen Mok (Kong Yat-hung in So Close, General Fang in Around the World in 80 Days) as Double Handsome Dragons player #2 Synopsis Twenty years ago, star soccer player "Golden Leg" Fung missed a penalty kick, costing his team the championship and putting his career to an end when an angry mob crippled his legs in the ensuing riot. Since then, he has been looked down by his former rival Hung, who is now the manager of China's top soccer team. Then one day, while walking on the busy streets of Shanghai, Fung meets Sing, a garbage collector who is a disciple of Shaolin. For years, Sing has tried to find a way to market Shaolin kung-fu to the general public - but to no avail. Fung sees no interest in Sing's personal goal, but when he sees Sing's abilities during a fight, they both decide to form a soccer team with Sing's five Shaolin brothers. Using their extraordinary kung-fu skills, the Shaolin soccer team make a mad dash to the championship, where they must face Hung's genetically altered players. Lowdown Hong Kong cinema has some of the biggest names in film history - Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Chow Yun-Fat to name a few. And then, there's Stephen Chow. Stephen who? Stephen Chow has been in the business for over two decades, starring in and directing an array of box-office hits in Hong Kong and most of Asia. But until now, Chow has yet to make a name for himself in Hollywood. Perhaps when Miramax finally releases Shaolin Soccer - which is the highest-grossing film in Hong Kong cinema history - the American public will finally know who Chow is. At first, you'll dismiss Shaolin Soccer as a cheap kung-fu flick with no plot, there actually is a story on this one. And it doesn't focus on fighting. Instead, it blends action and comedy with the philosophy of Shaolin kung-fu and mixes them into a sports drama. Aside from the washed-out player Fung and the impoverished Sing, you have Mui, an acne-riddled bakery worker who uses Tai-chi to make some uniquely good bread. And then, there are Sing's Shaolin "brothers" - Iron Head (a night club janitor), Iron Shirt (an unsuccessful stock broker), Hooking Leg (a dish washer), Empty Hand (currently unemployed) and Weight Vest (an overweight grocery helper). Though he has a minor role, Empty Hand does a great job impersonating Bruce Lee - from the nose rub gesture to his yellow jump suit (taken from Game of Death). Weight Vest also steals some of the spotlight as the heaviest guy to hang on strings. For its relatively low budget (under US$2 million), Shaolin Soccer has some spectacular effects done by Centro Digital Pictures (Kill Bill vol. 1). Using techniques taken from The Matrix, Forrest Gump, Gladiator and Fight Club, Shaolin Soccer's special effects have you hanging on the edge of your seats - whether it's the bullet-time camera views or the flaming soccer ball that turns into a blazing puma. Overall, Shaolin Soccer is a film you can't miss, whether or not you like martial arts flicks. Many non-Chinese viewers may not get the jokes, but the rest of the film is all laughs. Forget the U.S. release (which has been moved again; this time to March 2004) - get the Hong Kong DVD instead. Rating: A DVD Extras: B+ The DVD features a documentary on the making of Shaolin Soccer, as well as a collection of special effects scenes made by Centro Digital. There are also some scenes not found in the theatrical release, but the DVD won't let you view the director's cut without having to press ENTER when the white icon flashes on the screen. Going back to the main menu is a hassle, as you have to go through the entire intro screen. Audio is in Cantonese or Mandarin (pick Cantonese, as the Mandarin dialogue is not as funny); subtitles are in Chinese (traditional or simplified) or some rather poor English. Despite the horrid grammar, you'll get the idea of the story. Links U333's Official Shaolin Soccer Homepage (Chinese) References The Internet Movie Database Wikipedia
  11. Returner ( リターナー ) Toho Films/Pony Canyon, 2002 Destination Films/Columbia Tri-Star Home Video, 2004 Directed by Takashi Yamazaki (Juvenile, Onimusha 3)Running Time: 116 minutes Rated R for extreme violence and gore, mature situations and strong language. Cast Takeshi Kaneshiro as Miyamoto Ann Suzuki (young Hatsue in Snow Falling on Cedars) as Milly Goro Kishitani as Mizoguchi Kirin Kiki as Xie Yukiko Okamoto as Dr. Yagi Synopsis A.D. 2084 - Mankind is on the verge of extinction at the hands of an advanced alien race. As the alien forces crush the Earth resistance's final stronghold in Tibet, a girl named Milly jumps into a portal that sends her back into time. October 19, 2002 - Miyamoto, a hired assassin, is in the middle of killing crime lord Mizoguchi when he shoots Milly, mistaking her for a thug. After Mizoguchi escapes, Miyamoto finds out that Milly is unhurt. She then tricks him into embarking on a dangerous mission as a means of preventing the war on her timeline from happening. Lowdown Take one part Terminator 2: Judgment Day, one part Men In Black and one part Independence Day, mix it with The Matrix and you've got one of the most explosive blockbuster films to come out of the Far East. Returner is filled with non-stop action and spectacular special effects. No stuntmen in rubber monster suits here - Returner uses a lot of computer-generated effects that look like they came from Hollywood. Many of the alien battle scenes are reminiscent of The Terminator and Independence Day. The fight scenes and gun fights have shades of The Matrix and a handful of John Woo's films. As for the story, it's actually pretty good. Unlike most of the newer sci-fi films, you can get into Returner's plot and characters. If not, at least the action makes up for it. Returner will not win any points for originality, but if you want a popcorn film that kicks major ass, look no further. Proof that Tokyo can also produce high-caliber science fiction and go head-on with Hollywood. Rating: B Sub vs. Dub Returner should be played in its original Japanese track, as it's pretty complex with the alien battle scenes in English and the Triad lord scenes in Mandarin. The English dub does away with the Mandarin dialogues, not to mention that redubbing a scene that was originally recorded in English is pointless. DVD Extras: A- Columbia Tri-Star's DVD release has a behind-the-scenes look at the movie, as well as interviews with director Yamazaki and Ann Suzuki. There's also a montage of comparisons between composite shots and clips from the final product. Links Official Returner Homepage (Japanese) Sony Pictures' Official Returner Homepage Reference The Internet Movie Database
  12. Amazon Women on the Moon Universal Pictures, 1986 Directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace), Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton (The Wonder Years, Thirtysomething), John Landis (Kentucky Fried Movie, The Blues Brothers), and Robert K. Weiss (nearly all of "Weird Al" Yankovic's videos).Running Time: 85 minutes Rated R for some violence, nudity, sexual situations and profanity. "Did you know that every seven minutes, a black man is born in this country with no soul?" - B.B. King Cast (In Order of Apperance) Lots of Other Actors Arsenio Hall as the apartment victim ("Mondo Condo") Monique Gabrielle as Taryn Steele ("Pethouse Video/Murray in Videoland") Lou Jacobi as Murray ("Murray in Videoland") Michelle Pfeiffer as Brenda ("Hospital") Peter Horton as Harry ("Hospital") Griffin Dunne as the Doctor ("Hospital") Joe Pantoliano as Sy Swerdlow ("Hairlooming") Steve Forrest as Capt. Nelson ("Amazon Women on the Moon") Robert Colbert as Blackie ("Amazon Women on the Moon") Joey Travolta as Butch ("Amazon Women on the Moon") Forrest J. Ackerman as the U.S. President ("Amazon Women on the Moon") Sybil Danning as Queen Lara ("Amazon Women on the Moon") Lana Clarkson (1962-2003) as Alpha-Beta ("Amazon Women on the Moon") David Alan Grier as Don "No Soul" Simmons ("Blacks Without Soul") B. B. King as himself ("Blacks Without Soul") William Bryant (1924-2001) as the black Republican ("Blacks Without Soul") Roxie Roker (1929-1995) as the black Republican's wife ("Blacks Without Soul") Le Tari (1946-1987) as the Volvo-driving pimp ("Blacks Without Soul") Christopher Broughton as the fan club president ("Blacks Without Soul") Rosanna Arquette as Karen ("Two I.D.'s") Steve Guttenberg as Jerry ("Two I.D.'s") Henry Silva as himself ("Bullshit or Not?") Sarah Lilly as the Jack the Ripper victim ("Bullshit or Not?") Archie Hahn as Harvey Pitnik ("Critic's Corner"/"Roast Your Loved Ones") Belinda Balaski as Bernice Pitnik ("Critic's Corner"/"Roast Your Loved Ones") T. K. Carter as the party host ("Silly Pate") Rip Taylor as himself ("Roast Your Loved Ones") Slappy White (1921-1995) as himself ("Roast Your Loved Ones") Jackie Vernon (1924-1987) as himself ("Roast Your Loved Ones") Henry Youngman (1906-1998) as himself ("Roast Your Loved Ones") Charlie Callas as himself ("Roast Your Loved Ones") Steve Allen (1921-2000) as himself ("Roast Your Loved Ones") William Marshall (1924-2003) as the pirate captain ("Video Pirates") Tino Insana as Mr. Sylvio ("Video Pirates") Ed Begley, Jr. as Griffin ("Son of the Invisible Man") John Ingle as Felix ("Art Sale") Angel Tompkins as the First Lady ("First Lady of the Evening") Matt Adler as George ("Titan Man") Kelly Preston as Violet ("Titan Man") Howard Hesseman as Rupert King ("Titan Man") Marc McClure as Ray ("Video Date") Russ Meyer as the video salesman ("Video Date") Corinne Wahl as Sharri ("Video Date") Andrew "Dice" Clay as Frankie ("Video Date") Carrie Fisher as Mary Brown ("Reckless Youth") Paul Bartel as the doctor ("Reckless Youth") Cast (Uncredited) Robert Loggia as Gen. Valentine ("The Unknown Soldier") Pirate 1: "Help yourself, mates. A chest full of video discs." Pirate 2: "No!" Pirate 3: "What good are they?" Pirate 4: "Can't record on 'em." Pirate 2: "They're not compatible with my system." Lowdown Amazon Women on the Moon is a collection of short skits that circle around a late night viewing of a cheap B-movie aptly titled "Amazon Women on the Moon". The film starts with "Mondo Condo", a skit where Arsenio Hall is just having the worst of luck when he enters his home - from getting his necktie stuck in the garbage disposal machine to getting socked in the face by an ejected videotape. As other segments poke fun at American pop culture, many of them actually pre-date life as we know it today, such as instant background checks ("Two I.D.'s" with Rosanna Arquette and Steve Guttenberg), media piracy ("Video Pirates") and virtual sex ("Video Date" with Andrew "Dice" Clay). The film even makes fun of Universal's horror film legacy with "Son of the Invisible Man", where Ed Begley, Jr. pretends to be invisible, but just walks around butt-naked. As for the "Amazon" segment itself, it directly insults the B-Movie genre with its cheesy acting, piss-poor props (you can see the Earth and the moon dangling on a wire) and intentionally bad film quality (half of it gets burned off the reel). It's obvious that Universal spent majority of the budget on the big-name actors and $0 on production value. But hey - all the laughs are worth it. One of my favorite segments is "Bullshit or Not" (a parody of Ripley's Believe It or Not?), where Jack the Ripper is revealed to be the Loch Ness Monster and the Titanic's maiden voyage is reenacted on a bathtub. Another funny segment is "Blacks With No Soul", a commercial with legendary musician B. B. King encouraging everyone to help black youths who lack the proper characteristics (i.e. black republican voters, a pimp that drives a Volvo, stand-up comedian David Alan Grier singing "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" and the Three Dog Night song "Joy to the World"). If you're looking for some good, cheap laughs, go pick up Amazon Women on the Moon. It's not Monty Python, but it's better than most recent comedy films. Rating: A- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85ODBLO1IhQ "Bullshit or Not?" - Henry Silva DVD Extras: A- The special edition DVD includes some bloopers and scenes deleted from the film. With the exception of "The Unknown Soldier", the deleted scenes are just not that funny. Reference The Internet Movie Database
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