Sunday, August 31, 2003


A Film Review of "S.W.A.T."

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

"S.W.A.T." was originally a spin-off of the ABC TV series "The Rookies" that ran for a season in the mid 1970s. It's not exactly prime mining material for a major theatrical release and yet somehow this got made.

Everyone in the cast are professionals who must have been blackmailed to be in this mess. I've lost a degree of respect for Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell and L.L. Cool J for their participation in S.W.A.T. but I suppose they must have gambling debts or alimony that begs to be paid.

One cast member who hasn't made the best decisions in the past with Blue Crush and Resident Evil is Michelle Rodriguez. She is an actress to watch even though she was in this mess. If you want to see her really act check out Girlfight. Despite bad script choosing she's good.

Others who must need work include cast members of the original TV series who make cameos. Rod Terry plays the father of Deke who he played on the show. TV veteran Steve Forrest plays the same character he played on the show even though Samuel L. Jackson plays him in the movie. Have I mentioned how bad the script is?

The stupidity of the script by Ron Mita is outlandish. I figure the only people who enjoyed this movie were drunks who wandered into the theatre halfway through and then passed out. There are so many bulletholes in the plot you could drive a T3 crane through it. Don't even get me started on there being five thousand manholes in a five block area in Los Angeles or that you can land a Learjet on a car bridge. Did anyone read this script before making it?

The director responsible for this dreck is Clark Johnson. Although he is a veteran of TV cop shows he apparently has no sense of the action film genre. His use of digital video was annoying and served no purpose. Maybe he thought this was a sequel to Blair Witch. How did he get this job? How did he get any job?

The previews show a movie that is highly watchable, very entertaining and action-packed. Apparently this movie advertised is only about as long as said preview. Avoid S.W.A.T. at all costs.

Saturday, August 30, 2003


A Video Review of "K-Pax"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (1984, to be precise) we've seen this before. It was called Starman and coincidentally starred Jeff Bridges and in one of his better performances too. It was also in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and in any Morgan Freeman detective thriller from the 1990s. There's hardly anything original in this flick except for some flat deadpan alien acting from Kevin Spacey.

We've got the alien on Earth with his childlike wonder and simple solutions to problems. We've got the cast of crazy characters that inhabit the mental hospital. And when things get heavy we've got a mystery on our hands. Three different movies all in one bundle. It would have been much better as one flick.

If you have two hours on your hands and don't mind a flick that can't decide what it wants to be this is the movie for you. The ride is bumpy but enjoyable.

The above previously appeared at Project: Popcorn

For more of my movie reviews check out:
Comic Widows at
or the Internet Movie Database at
or Yahoo! Movies at

Friday, August 29, 2003


A Film Review of "Crocodile Hunter Collision Course"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

I have to admit up front I have a soft spot for Steve Irwin. Any guy who picks up one of the world's deadliest snakes by the tail and its head is trying desperately to latch onto his groin and the guy has the balls to say, "Kids, don't try this at home!" This guy has my respect.

The story is pretty simple. A satellite containing top secret surveillance info crashlands in the outback where Steve, wife Terri (who has the patience of a saint) and dog are filming wildlife segments for their Animal Planet program. Croc eats satellite, Steve relocates croc, C.I.A. follows, hilarity ensues.

The great thing is nowhere does Steve break character from his tv show, he's constantly talking to the audience the entire time. It's charming, it's different and vastly entertaining. Lotsa deadly animals, lotsa close calls and lotsa laughs, don't miss this - I think, the best family flick of the summer so far.

Thursday, August 28, 2003


A Review of "H.P. Lovecraft's Dagon"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Just when you think only Stephen King gets the short end of the stick when they adapt the written work for the big screen along comes another Lovecraft movie, this one based on a story just a few pages long. How do ya mess that up? It's easy, watch.

Remember that guy, that annoying guy, who always gets horribly killed right away in old 1980s slasher flicks? The guy you know deserves it? The guy you really wanted to see get evicerated by Freddy or Jason anyway? The arrogant pain-in-the-ass guy with the bullseye drawn on his chest?

That guy is the star of Dagon. He's the main character. I don't think I've wanted someone to die so much in a movie outside of a Tom Hanks or Robin Williams flick in a long time. I was rooting for the fishy monsters and their aquatic Lovecraftian god from about ten minutes in. I'm yelling at the screen "Get him!" That's how obnoxious and annoying this guy was.

Other than that, it's not bad, good 1960s type horror story, not too horribly dubbed from the Italian and nice adequate special effects. Worth a rental for the workout your lungs will get yelling at the screen.

The above previously appeared at Project Popcorn a defunct cinema website by the folks at Jersey Diner Arts

Wednesday, August 27, 2003


A Video Review of "Planet of the Apes" (2001)

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Here's what you have to do to enjoy this movie: forget the original movie from 1968. In the words of Tim Burton, "This is a revisiting not a remake." As pompous as that sounds and as much as I hate Tim Burton as a person (he has great vision and has made a few wonderful films but in my opinion the man is an asshole), it is sound advice.

Re-imagining equals same concept but a different story. Mark Wahlberg working with experimental primates at a deep space station follows one of his test chimpanzees through a cosmic storm and ends up on a world where apes dominate and humans serve.

The make-up in the 2001 film is as advanced and sophisticated for today as 1968's was for its day. So real and flexible are the 'masks' that the acting of Helena Bonham Carter and Paul Giamotti is positively phenomenal. Emotion and performance come through as if it were their real skin. Every actor is completely unhindered by the apelike visage.

The same can be said of the rest of the apes' physical appearance from reactions to simple things like walking and running. The battle scenes are marked by the apes' ability to leap and run on all four limbs. In many ways this is an amazing film.

Tim Roth and Michael Clarke Duncan do excellent turns as villains to Mark Wahlberg's usual hesitant hero. I wish he would choose a heroic role that's a definite hero for a change. I know he can pull it off, you know it, I just don't think Mr. Wahlberg does.

We are also treated to few bonuses that stand out. In a cameo appearance as an ape, Charlton Heston, star of the original Planet of the Apes, recites one of his famous lines in a sly bit of irony. Also impressive is the concept of 'humans' rights' in a sarcastic nod to P.E.T.A.


The ending. Good God. Let's talk about the ending. Forget the last five minutes of this film. It's crap and ruins every other logical minute of the film.

In the end Marky Mark leaves the planet of the apes and by all rights and story logic should have returned to his space station in own time. The movie should have ended when his ship blasts off. But it doesn't much to my dismay.

He lands on what appears to be Earth, Washington D.C. to be precise, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial which of course is a monument to General Thade. He is promptly assailed by ape police officers and then we go to fade and credits.

A scene very similar to this appeared in a "Jay and Silent Bob" comic book by the genius Kevin Smith quite some time before this movie started production. When pressed by reporters Burton stated that he had never read a comic book, especially one by Kevin Smith, maintaining the bad blood between the directors since Burton rejection of Smith's brilliant script for the Superman Lives film project.

Kevin Smith's perfect response to Burton's statement? "Well, that explains Batman." God bless Kevin Smith.

Back to the movie. Good special effects, better story logic than the original and some excellent action sequences. That said, 2001's Planet of the Apes is a great flick, excepting the last five minutes. It's probably not going to birth a bevy of sequels like the original though.

Rating: ***1/2

***** Must see
**** Worth seeing
*** So you have eight dollars you want to throw away…
** Is Adam Sandler in this mess?
* A bullet would be quicker.

The above previously appeared in a much shorter and much less interesting form at the late lamented Project Popcorn website at:

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


A Video Review of "Lisa Picard Is Famous" also known as "Famous"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

This mockumentary about a young actress on the brink of breaking through to stardom has a lot of wit and a lot of promise. Unfortunately it never lives up to its promise and the wit gets old real quick. It would have made a really great twenty-minute film.

Seeing as it was written by Nat DeWolf who also acts in the film and directed by Griffin Dunne also an actor one has to wonder what the point of it all is. It seems to be an actor-bashing piece about how vapid and stupid actors are. Maybe this is why Dunne doesn't act all that much anymore.

As far as the film's intended interpretation of actors goes Laura Kirk as up and coming Lisa Picard is dead on as are the rest of the cast. There are some interesting cameos by real actors who I don't think knew what this movie was up to. Lisa Picard Is Famous hates actors as much as This Is Spinal Tap hates heavy metal. The only problem is this flick isn't very funny.

It also seems to have an axe to grind about independent filmmakers. The point I got was that indie filmmakers are as vapid and stupid as wannabe actors. This is a really depressing film for those who want to be those things. For everyone else it's mildly amusing.

Monday, August 25, 2003


A Video Review of "Batman and Robin" (1997)

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

I sincerely hope to someday read Joel Schumacher's obituary and somewhere in that obit I hope to read the words "beaten to death by Batman fans." Joel Schumacher is single-handedly responsible for the death of the Batman franchise for Warner Brothers and yet he still works there. Will wonders never cease?

Mister Freeze. He is a formidable criminal genius whose comics history stretches back to the 1950s, his origins only recently being uncovered as science gone mad in an attempt to cure his true love from a frozen tomb.

Poison Ivy. She is the nihilistic beauty whose kiss kills and controls deadly plants.

Bane. He is the designer drug induced superman who in the comics broke Batman's back and sent him into hiding.

Any one of the above would supply appropriate angst and plot to power any one Bat-movie. We get however all three in watered down form. We also get watered down subplots in Batman and Robin's constant bickering, the introduction of the new Batgirl (a character that bears no resemblance to any DC Comics character by that name) and Alfred's fatal illness. Why couldn't this film just be about one thing?

George Clooney is okay as the caped crusader. He's really just doing himself in a batsuit though. You can tell he and Chris O'Donnell were all about signing the checks this time around.

On the villain side Uma Thurman actually makes an interesting Poison Ivy even when bending the camp-o-meter with her puns and bad Robert Smith imitation. Arnold Schwarzeneggar as Mister Freeze, for lack of a better phrase, runs hot and cold for me. At times his menace is perfectly brought across and the rest of the time he is belittled by his cold-related taglines. Icy doom, indeed!

The worst, the absolute worst, is Alicia Silverstone. As the both perky and pudgy Batgirl she delivers her lines with all the skills of Jan Brady trying to be Marcia Brady. Ick!

Besides the non-acting, the aimless plots and the exceeding camp we have Joel Schumacher's trademark that he has left on the Batman franchise: homoeroticism. There's no such thing as a bat-codpiece and the batsuit does not have nipples!

Damn you, Joel Schumacher!

Sunday, August 24, 2003


A Video Review of "Big Daddy"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Over time I have developed a reputation for hating Adam Sandler. This is not necessarily so. Having perused the Adam Sandler video library (Oh my God, there is an Adam Sandler video library) I have discovered one or two films that don't make me retch.

Big Daddy is one of these - it's not that bad. First of all it features Adam Sandler's real voice instead of one of his 'funny' ones. This has a lot to do with it. I mean, I'm sure crap like The Waterboy (with one of his 'funny' voices) is playing on a loop in Hell.

The presence of Joey Adams helps here as does the chemistry between Sandler and five year old Cole (and Dylan) Sprouse although I've always suspected he related better to five year olds. Even though there are scenes played completely for your average Sandler toilet humor there is a genuine bond between the two and it makes you actually start to root for the hapless Sandler.

It's standable if your legs are broken and the TV remote is lost - but only if it's not followed by The Waterboy.

Saturday, August 23, 2003


A Video Review of "Freddy Got Fingered"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Tom Green. Hmmmmm. Adam Sandler is actually watchable in comparison. I liked Road Trip and I loved Charlie's Angels. I could stand Tom Green in those flicks. This made me want to puke.

Drew Barrymore (I love you Drew but how did you stand being married to this mutant??) had to be in it because she was married to this freak at the time. Anthony Michael Hall, Harland Williams and Julie Haggarty have never really been known for their film choices. But what the hell is Rip Torn doing here??? I can only guess he has some sick twisted dark secret that Tom Green has photographic proof of.

Marisa Coughlan may be going places, she shines as the girlfriend but her career (if she has one) will always be scarred by this role. She has the funniest line, but unfortunately the most self-debilitating and tasteless.

Think. Imagine the most tasteless things that can be filmed in an R-rated movie. It's here. And it will make you sick or angry. If you see this on sale at you local video store, buy it immediately, it will make an excellent tape to record "Friends" and "The West Wing" on when you're not home. Rating: *

***** Must see
**** Worth seeing
*** So you have eight dollars you want to throw away…
** Is Adam Sandler in this mess?
* A bullet would be quicker.

The above previously published at
Project: Popcorn

For more of my movie reviews check out:
Comic Widows at
or the Internet Movie Database at
or Yahoo! Movies at

Contact me at

Friday, August 22, 2003


A Video Review of "John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

John Carpenter rarely disappoints when it comes to the action genre but sometimes it's stuff we've seen before. This time though it's a little more obvious than usual. John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars is a reworking of Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 just on Mars. It never denies what it is - a straight ahead action suspense flick - and at that game it is phenomenal.

In the future cops and criminals trapped in seemingly deserted Mars settlement are stalked and hunted by barbaric humans possessed by the spirits of evil maniacal ultraviolent Martians. They fight their way out. Chaos ensues. The story is simple and the action and suspense never lets up long enough to allow you to think about how cliched or nonsensical it is. This is a good thing. Other than we've seen it before the plot suffers from one major flaw. It is told in flashback so before it happens we know how it ends. That in itself is disappointing.

Natasha Henstridge is an adequate action heroine but it's a real joy to see Pam Grier back in that saddle. Natasha suffers in the shadow of the real action mistress. The men involved are no slouches either. The Transporter's Jason Statham is an excellent counterpoint and interesting sidekick to Henstridge and rapper Ice Cube is dangerous but heroic and sympathetic criminal Desolation Jones.

As usual Carpenter does the electronic score. Perfectly reflecting the pace and energy of the film I think this is one of his best since They Live or The Fog. Like the action the music never lets up. The make-up is a top notch nightmare of the pierced generation as the humans once possessed have a penchant for 'interesting' body adornment.

There are little details that make the story enjoyable like the fact that Mars is ruled by a matriarchy. The intricacies of this are never fully explored but there's not much time for philosophy in this flick. We never really do find out why the bad guys are bad but that's okay. I kind of like the whole mystery of an undecipherable alien race.

See it for the action and forget that it seems so damned familiar.

Rating ****

***** Must see
**** Worth seeing
*** So you have eight dollars you want to throw away…
** Is Adam Sandler in this mess?
* A bullet would be quicker.

The above previously appeared in a slightly different form at
Project Popcorn

Thursday, August 21, 2003


A Video Review of "Two Seconds"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

According to the opening of this 1932 classic after a man is zapped in the electric chair the brain still functions for a full two seconds - long enough for a man's life to flash before his eyes. That's the premise here as we see riveter Edward G. Robinson's descent into darkness in his last two seconds.

It begins with roommates Edward G. and Preston Foster whose camaraderie would make any 1980s buddy movie jealous. They spend their days working on skyscrapers and their nights double-dating and betting on the horses. When Foster blows off a date Edward G. ends up in the clutches of dime-a-dance girl Vivienne Osborne and eventually marries her in a drunken night on the town. Later arguing over Osborne at work Robinson accidentally knocks Foster off the building in a scene deserving of Vertigo. The following depression finally leads to murder.

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy and based on the Elliott Lester play this cliched story is elevated by the brilliant performances of the cast. Everyone even Edward G. Robinson who seems over the top at points is amazing here. This film is a nice time capsule into the 1930s and full of great acting. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


A Video Review of "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

The third of Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad movies is the most formulaic and the weakest yet just as exciting as the others.

This time Sinbad is the pretty boy son of the Duke, Patrick Wayne. He is flanked by former Bond girl and not yet medicine woman Jane Seymour as well as former "Doctor Who" Patrick Troughton. Sinbad is again stalked at sea while on a quest and is searching this time to cure a prince of being a baboon. The climax is in the frozen north - a great place for Arabs.

Again the true stars are Ray Harryhausen's "Dynamation" creations. This time we are treated to demons early on, Minaton, a giant walrus and a saber tooth tiger. A weak outing for Harryhausen.

Besides, Arabs on the ice is a joke worthy of Mel Brooks, not a fantasy film.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003


A Video Review of "Panic Room"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

David Fincher is one of my favorite directors. His trail so far is red hot. Fight Club, The Game and especially Se7en were some of the best designed movies of the last decade and Mr. Fincher was responsible. I was excited to see his latest project Panic Room.

My excitement doubled when I found out the flick was written by David Koepp, the master who brought us The Shadow, Jurassic Park, Stir of Echoes and Spider-Man. The short list above doesn't include the numerous films he's 'fixed' uncredited. His skill with a script is unparalleled.

The story is pretty straightforward. Mother and daughter move into a townhouse that includes a 'panic room' that was previously owned by an eccentric millionaire whose money has yet to be found. Burglars come looking for the cash and mom and daughter hide in the panic room. You know it's coming for the first twenty minutes of the film but from there all bets are off - predictability is over.

Jodie Foster as mom is brilliant as she is in everything even stuff I despise like Contact. The daughter Kristen Stewart is adequate in what little she has to do. The real stars are the criminals. Forest Whitaker is so good you actually start to root for him after a while. Jared Leto does his best Colin Farrell imitation, sometimes even better than the real thing. Country singer/actor Dwight Yoakam is positively frightening as masked Raoul. Also look quickly for screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker as the sleepy neighbor.

Director David Fincher does not fail to impress even in this film with very few twists in contrast to his previous work. The sweeping camera angles across and over the entire townhouse are as dizzying as the frantic visual runs through pipes, vents and wires. It only serves to increase the suspense.

This is a highly underrated film by a highly underrated director, check it out.

Monday, August 18, 2003


A Video Review of "Mighty Joe Young" (1949)

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

You can look at this two different ways. This is a great new original movie made with the skilled special effects of newcomer Ray Harryhausen or it's the second second rate sequel to Willis O'Brien's King Kong.

Harryhausen approached O'Brien to teach him the stop motion animation skills he had developed and Harryhausen mastered the art. Mighty Joe Young is the film where this took place, the changing of the guard, the passing of the torch from the old to the new.

While it's true that O'Brien tried to milk the Kong idea until his death, becoming partially responsible for the immediate sequel Son of Kong and the much later and unofficial King Kong Vs. Godzilla. Up until Mighty Joe Young of course he never again reproduced that same magic.

It is the little things that make Joe charming. Unlike his other primate predecessors he's not a bad gorilla. As a matter of fact there is no real villain which makes for a nicer story. Which by the way the story is girl meets monkey, girl meets cowboy, girl goes to Hollywood. Monkey gets drunk, rampages then redeems himself. Girl, cowboy and monkey live happily ever after.

Not to be missed are the show at the club featuring a tug-of-war with the strongest men of the day (sorely missed in the Disney remake) and the electrifying climax at the children's hospital with the special red tinting. Wonderful highlights that with Harryhausen's nearly human Joe make this film the classic it is.

Sunday, August 17, 2003


A Video Review of "Planet of the Apes" (1968)

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

The original Planet of the Apes is considered a science fiction classic. After seeing it again recently I'd have to say the people doing the considering haven't seen it as recently as I have.

Memories of this flick are better than the movie itself. Everyone remembers the shock ending. What you forget is that the first half of the flick has next to nothing to do with what everyone remembers Planet of the Apes for - the apes. They don't show up until the middle of the film. First we are treated an endless walk through the desert highlighted by Charlton Heston philosophizing on how mankind sucks and is eventually doomed. Ironically he doesn't know how right he is.

Heston again plays the manly man hero as in other 1970s sci-fi flicks like Soylent Green and The Omega Man. Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter satisfactorily portray the primate roles they would repeat in sequels. Maurice Evans plays Dr. Zaius, a part more famous than he himself. One still has to wonder how the originally cast Edward G. Robinson would have done it.

The music is post-modern ambient space crap. Eerie, creepy, experimental and off the wall, it's hard to believe the soundtrack to Planet of the Apes is the early work of Jerry Goldsmith. In its day however this music was considered quite revolutionary. I don't get it.

It's still classic sci-fi and the ending is still a shocker despite the fact everybody now knows how it ends. It is still however one of writer Rod Serling's best twist endings. Planet of the Apes was followed by several sequels and a TV series and cartoon, even a 're-imagining' by Tim Burton, but the first is still the best.

Rating: ****

***** Must see
**** Worth seeing
*** So you have eight dollars you want to throw away…
** Is Adam Sandler in this mess?
* A bullet would be quicker.

The above originally appeared in a slightly different form at
Project Popcorn

Saturday, August 16, 2003


A Video Review of "Goldfinger"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

You always remember the first James Bond flick you see. Even if it's something dreadful like Moonraker you always remember your first as the best. Lucky for me the first one I ever saw was Goldfinger.

Upon my latest viewing it does appear a bit dated and maybe a tad more sexist for my 21st century sensibilities but it is still the best of the Sean Connery Bond flicks and much better than most of those who followed. Despite the fashion and chauvinistic diversions it has everything that makes Bond Bond; beautiful women, fast cars, the Moneypenny flirtation, the evil villain, witty remarks, clever plotting, Q's cool gadgets and the best action the cinema can offer. All this and Pussy Galore too.

Auric Goldfinger and his henchman Oddjob are among the most ruthless non-spy villains Bond has faced and his plot to rob Fort Knox is ingenius. More than this the interplay between hero and villain here is priceless, more of what makes Bond Bond. How often do you see the good guy play golf with the bad guy and it's exciting and suspenseful?

Not that I have been particularly displeased with Pierce Brosnan, quite the opposite actually, but I think a look back at the old Connery days would do the latest producers a world of good.

Friday, August 15, 2003



A Film Review of "Hulk"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

The Exercise. This is what every comic book reader, fan and geek has to do every time they see a movie based on a comic book. Or at least, that's what they have to do if they want to try and enjoy the movie.

You get as excited about the movie as much as you want. You get to the theatre early, get popcorn and candy, tell your neighbors to shush and sit through the commercials and previews - then it begins. You take a deep breath. You close your eyes and forget everything you know about the source material. Everything. Then open your eyes and watch the film. The Exercise. Otherwise you'll hate it. You know you will.

The exercise is necessary for Hulk. Forget the Marvel comic book. Forget the bad 1970s TV show. Watch with a clean slate. You'll be mesmerized.

Ang Lee has created a deep psychological drama on the landscape of a comic book legend. Hulk works on both levels. This film will ever so pleasantly surprise the geek who has followed the instructions of 'the exercise.'

The Hulk looks like the Hulk of the comics. Many critics have complained about the totally CGI Hulk. Obviously they've never seen an "Incredible Hulk" comic book in their sheltered lives. Size, proportion and hue are perfect as well as the purple pants. The beast's voice although principally growls is also perfect especially when he speaks in a dream sequence. I would have loved a "Hulk smash!" thrown in but perhaps that's too much to ask for.

Surviving through from the comics is the original cast still intact sans Rick Jones (who could have easily a similar character here but that's a minor quibble). We still have meek Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) correctly named although homage is given to the incorrect TV series by naming his father David, played by the intense and looking very much like his mugshot Nick Nolte. We have the beautiful Oscar-winning Jennifer Connolly as Betty Ross the romantic interest and her father General 'Thunderbolt' Ross is perfectly cast in the being of Sam Elliott. Rounding out the original comics cast is Josh Lucas as Glenn Talbot who as in the comics wants in Betty's pants but is this time corporate rather than military. Also, don't blink or you'll miss Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno as security guards.

There is nothing wrong with the acting, it is as stainless as the special effects. There are incredible scenes of the Hulk versus the military that could have been stolen from the pages of any 1960s Stan Lee greenskin book. We even see the Hulk withstand outer space in one sequence. It's all very breathtaking especially when the final villain is revealed. You know when there are comic book fans in the theatre because they will all whisper at that same point "Oh my god, his father is the Absorbing Man!"

Hulk is a masterpiece that should thrill fans of the comics and folks who know next to nothing about the characters. The only people who will not like this are those who think that bad 1970s rip-off of "The Fugitive" TV series is what the Hulk is really like. Sorry, you guys are wrong and sadly in the minority. Ang Lee's Hulk rocks.

Thursday, August 14, 2003


A Video Review of "The Good Earth"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

This 1937 classic based on the Pearl S. Buck novel is probably one of the greatest films ever made and by any means is a definitive epic.

The Good Earth is the story of Wang Lung a Chinese farmer and his freed slave wife O-Lan. They leave their homeland during a famine to face revolution in the city only to return with a fortune that they use to rehabilitate their home and family amongst other strife.

The director had originally wanted an all Chinese cast but eventually settled on Paul Muni as Wang Lung and Oscar winner Luise Rainer as O-Lan. She is excellent as a strong woman in a time when women traditionally weren't. Walter Connolly is also excellent.

If you haven't seen this classic let me heartily recommend it. The Good Earth is one of the best.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


A Film Review of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

My favorite part of Disney World is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It's not that scary. It doesn't have a lot of drops. It's amusing and astounding. It's air-conditioned, and if you've ever been to Disney World you know just how important that can be. The ride is pleasant, it's just right. The movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is all that and more.

It has updated the pirate movie genre for the 21st century. It's got everything a swashbuckler fan could want; action, adventure, romance, humor, horror and suspense. While it must be said this is as much a horror film as a pirate film with special effects elevating CGI undead to a new level (the scenes where the pirates pass through moonlight and cross from life to death are spellbinding) this is also one of the best adventure flicks I've seen in a long time.

All the little in-jokes referencing the Disney amusement ride including the song "(Yo Ho Yo Ho) A Pirate's Life for Me" and the Mickey Mouse in the clouds at the climax are great fun and a cute wink for Disney fans.

Johnny Depp is brilliant as Captain Jack Sparrow who he said was patterned after Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew but to me looks more like a cross between a drunken pirate and a drag queen. Geoffrey Rush continues a winning streak of playing villains as the terrifying undead pirate leader Barbossa. Orlando Bloom of the Lord of the Rings films and Kiera Knightley of Bend It Like Beckham also do admirable work in their roles.

The one at Disney World is good but Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a better ride.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003


A Video Review of "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

The way most Ray Harryhausen movies work is you get at least one cool "Dynarama" stop motion trick every ten to fifteen minutes so you don't get hopelessly bored by the mostly non-existent human story.

1974's Golden Voyage doesn't abide the formula. Even though we have the heroic John Philip Law (Diabolik, Ghost Dog) as Sinbad along with the witless villainy of the BBC's fourth "Doctor Who" Tom Baker and the unmatchable beauty of scream queen caroline Munro with the eternally glistening mid-drift and cleavage you still find yourself itching for monsters.

The monsters don't disappoint when they do decide to show up. The six armed Kali is a masterpiece. Still you ache for more. This could have been so much better.

The cast is admittedly more interesting than before of after this entry and the story more compelling but still the lack of monsters takes away sadly.

Monday, August 11, 2003


A Video Review of "Mule Skinner Blues"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Mule Skinner Blues is the story of Beanie Andrew and his quest to make a horror movie in his Florida hometown using the talent pool of his neighbors to put it all together. His efforts are documented by director Stephen Earnhart.

Inspired by a film crew that came to his town to shoot a music video Beanie found an old video camera and became a self-taught movie director. Together with peculiar hometown writer Larry Parrot he comes up with "Turnabout is Fairplay" in which Beanie gets to live out his fantasy of crawling through the mud in a gorilla costume. I'm not making any of this up.

The cast is rounded out by Miss Jeannie who is a aspiring yodelling country singer and two rival guitarists Steve Walker and Ricky Lix. Mule Skinner Blues takes us inside their lives and those of many more trailer park residents as the horror film comes together. Most of them seem like they have sprung live from the heads of either John Waters or Richard Linklater but believe it or not they are real.

The movie travels the road from amusement to sadness to triumph as we follow these folks over a few years and finally see the debut of "Turnabout is Fairplay." This must be seen to be believed and it's pretty entertaining too. Proof positive that anyone can make a movie.

Sunday, August 10, 2003


A Video Review of "Somebody Up There Likes Me"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

If you've never seen The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and have no idea just how amazing Paul Newman really is or was this 1956 film is a terrific place to start. It's early Paul Newman and it's near perfect.

Paul Newman plays prizefighter Rocky Graziano on his rise to the top from the slums to the boxing ring. Somebody Up There Likes Me is based on Graziano's own autobiography and directed by the masterful Robert Wise.

Newman does a decent James Dean imitation early on until that winning smile makes the performance his own. Harold Stone is also remarkable as Graziano's dad.

This film makes Sylvester Stallone's Rocky pale in comparison. Check out a real champ that should definitely be seen more.

Saturday, August 09, 2003


A Video Review of "Mr. Deeds"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Right up front, I have not seen this movie. I will not see this movie. I will never see this movie. It's got that warning label on it. The one that says "starring Adam Sandler."

In the past month I was diagnosed with renal failure, chronic heart failure, anemia, arrhythmia, parathyroidosis and several other things I can neither pronounce nor spell. I now have a pacemaker and a defibrillator and have to go to dialysis three times a week. I've have had more invasive and painful tests and procedures than I can count. In short, I think I know something about pain and suffering.

For that reason I am not seeing Mr. Deeds. Life is too short for that kind of pain and suffering.

Rent the original Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and see a real movie. No pain. Guaranteed.


The above was my original review of Mr. Deeds. In hindsight I felt a review of a movie I had not seen seemed unfair so I finally watched it. Maybe I'm a masochist because I am hard pressed to think of something else I've regretted more.

I hate him. I hate Adam Sandler. Most of all I hate when he does his stupid voices. The ones he used in The Waterboy and Little Nicky are enough to make me want to take my own life. When characters in a Stephen King movie affect a New England accent it brings a sense of place. When Adam Sandler affects his New England accent in Mr. Deeds it brings bile into my throat.

The premise is a pizzeria owner inherits $40 billion dollars and hilarity ensues. In the hands of a talented comedian or even your moderately amusing cousin this would be a laugh riot. In Sandler's hands this is something to show prisoners on death row as punishment.

The rest of the cast should be ashamed of themselves. Peter Gallagher's performance is as bad as his moustache. Steve Buscemi is embarrassing as always in Adam Sandler films. I love the guy but I think he might owe Sandler money. Winona Ryder is tragically bad. No wonder she turned to shoplifting.

Mr. Deeds is a film that would make Gary Cooper, star of the original Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, spin in his grave. It is also a film that makes heart failure look good.

The above review originally appeared in a slightly different form at the Project Popcorn website at:

Friday, August 08, 2003


A Video Review of "Underwater!"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

This entry from 1955 is an embarrassment. How this got made is a quandary to me. Even the sexy 1950s beauty of Jane Russell couldn't save this one.

While Jane Russell is of course the highlight of this mess she is not without error herself. Her supposed Latin accent flows in and out with the tide.

Underwater! (exclamation point theirs, not mine) is the story (barely) of a sea expedition that finds a lost Spanish galleon. The problem is the bad narration makes it seem like a documentary and the lack of music and dialogue during the underwater scenes make them drag even more so.

I think the director has seen way too much "Sea Hunt" which is vastly superior to this dreck.

Thursday, August 07, 2003


A Video Review of "True Grit" (1969)

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

John Wayne got an Oscar for this one but it was obviously for body of work and not for this particular performance. True Grit is not the Duke's best but it's not his worst either. Wayne plays a cartoon essentially as U.S. Marshal and bounty hunter Rooster Cogburn. He's the grizzled old gunfighter who knows his stuff and bothered no end by these young 'uns who think they know better.

The guns in each hand and reins in his teeth scene is phenomenal and one of Hollywood's most amazing images. To me it defines the John Wayne tough guy never give up policy. Also amazing is the fact that Wayne against the wishes of the director did his own stunts.

Glen Campbell as the Texas Ranger is saccharine sweet to the end. Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall as some of the bad guys are good as well but that damned Kim Darby, oh boy. I can't think of how many movies she's ruined for me but her whining here is a triumph of character. If that's her best quality no wonder so many people rooted for the gremlins to kill her in the made for TV Don't be Afraid of the Dark.

This is truly a classic not to be missed.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003


A Film Review of "Swimming Pool"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Being a writer I was naturally interested in Swimming Pool. The previews touted it as a thriller. A middle-aged mystery writer goes on vacation and becomes embroiled in a real murder mystery. If only this were so.

It's a shame that such good actors as Charlotte Rampling and Charles Dance became embroiled in this film. It's a monotonous chore to sit through. Sorely lacking in background music scenes of shopping, walking, and checking out what's in the refrigerator become so devastating that the hot and steamy nudity that comes later on can not even save this mess.

By the time the sexy Ludivine Sagnier shows up to spice things up we are no longer spiceable. The boredom this film breeds is so complete that the beautiful and erotic Sagnier is like sucking on a communion wafer after chewing cardboard.

The brief references to the writing life are nice but not enough to merit even a discount matinee ticket price. This movie isn't long but so slow you'll want to see if there's a Jim Carrey film playing in the next theatre. I hated Swimming Pool from its molasses beginning to its "Dallas" ending. Avoid it like the West Nile Virus.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


A Video Review of "The Out-of-Towners" (1970)

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

This Neil Simon work was originally intended to be part of Plaza Suite but luckily for us found its way to the screen on its own. The story is that of a man and his wife on a trip to New York City for a job interview where anything bad that can happen does.

Jack Lemmon in his prime was the master of the mad rant. Witness The Great Race and The Odd Couple as preliminary evidence but The Out-of-Towners is the prime example. Here he is the king. In the 1990s remake Steve Martin doesn't even come close to Lemmon's mastery. Nobody can rant like Jack. He makes this film with his outrage and histrionics.

Sandy Dennis is, well, Sandy Dennis. This is the same role she plays in every film, the whiny naggy Sandy Dennis. This is not a bad thing. Her skill as this character was marvelous here and in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? and in Up the Down Staircase.

The rest of the cast is evened out with many of the brilliant character actors of the day. Look for Billy Dee Williams with a wild 1970s afro.

Monday, August 04, 2003


A Film Review of "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

The first film Lara Croft Tomb Raider wasn't that bad. It wasn't terribly good either. Based on that I wasn't expecting much with its sequel. Despite an irritating similarity to Raiders of the Lost Ark (which is not necessarily a bad thing) The Cradle of Life exceeds expectations.

Helmed by experienced action director Jan de Bont, whose previous work includes the Speed films, Twister and the 1999 remake of The Haunting, this actioner rolls nonstop across the screen like a rampaging bull. It doesn't slow down for more than a minute. Every scene, every detail is relevant and moves the story along. Yeah, story, unlike the first movie, this one has a story, not just pretty images to look at.

This is not to say this one isn't pretty to look at. Its special effects and visuals are stunning. The early scenes in the underwater temple are the stuff of Spielberg. Like its predecessor we see lots of action and lots of exotic places but this time linked by an actual plot, a nice change for a movie based on a video game. Usually having a video game or a comic book as source material is the kiss of death. Not here.

Angelina Jolie seems at ease with her part now as a standard of female empowerment and her breasts stay the same size throughout this installment. Although the movie version of Lara is as far from the video game version as Spider-Man and Daredevil are from their source material there are times where Jolie strikes poses straight out of your computer. She is as sexy and dangerous as ever.

Lady Croft is joined this time by romantic interest and mercenary Terry Sheridan. He is played by Irishman Gerald Butler who currently teeters on the brink of stardom. Butler will soon appear in Michael Crichton's Timeline and will play the title role in the screen version of Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera. Now as I don't mind Lara Croft having a love interest it bothers me no end that he has to save her at one point. Not to be sexist but the Lara Croft I know can take care of herself and it also undermines the character's theme of female empowerment.

Christopher Barrie of "Red Dwarf" fame also returns as Croft's butler/second-in-command although he lacks the room to display his subtle humor and devotion to Lara. Shame, he's very good. So, when is "Red Dwarf" coming back anyway?

All in all this is a great action adventure flick with lots going for it. It's a sequel that bears little resemblance to the first movie - and that's a good thing. See Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. It's worth it.

Sunday, August 03, 2003


A Video Review of "Hannibal"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

One has to wonder if Thomas Harris had been pressured to write "Hannibal" by the success of the film The Silence of the Lambs. The book, the film sequel, even the title seem too deliberate. Neither of the first two books "Red Dragon" or "Silence" were just about Lector. There were other elements of story and plot, other characters. He alone as protagonist has me unsure of this before even going in.

The ending of The Silence of the Lambs leaves it obvious for a sequel and it would definitely involve the characters of Hannibal Lector and Clarice Starling. It is a damn shame they couldn't get Jodie Foster to reprise her role. Julianne Moore is an excellent actress, an Oscar nominee and winner, a consummate professional - but she is no Jodie Foster.

Hannibal is an all around disaster, from the disappointing screenplay by David Mamet to the shock value scenes designed to compete with its predecessors. I was bored incessantly by the whole Italy subplot and thought Ray Liotta and Gary Oldman were wasted as horrid cliches that only exist to make Lector's character more gruesome. Hannibal Lector's evil works best subtle and this film is anything but subtle.

I think we would have been better off without this sequel.

Saturday, August 02, 2003


A Film Review of "28 Days Later…"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

You have a bike accident and slip into a coma. When you wake up there's nobody there. There's nobody anywhere. You wander the deserted city dazed and confused until… you find out what happened.

Mankind has been taken out -in twenty days, hence the title- by a highly contagious quick acting disease that causes uncontrollable rage and an aversion to sunlight. Sounds a bit like The Omega Man, doesn't it?

Coma-boy Jim, played by Cillian Murphy, runs afoul of 'the infected' and is saved by survivors who know how to fight them. It's sounding a bit like Night of the Living Dead, now isn't it? Well, that's what this is. It's The Omega Man meets Night of the Living Dead.

This pseudo-zombie flick is directed by Danny Boyle who is best known for his filmography work on Trainspotting and A Life Less Ordinary with an almost Dario Argento flair. His use of digital video for the movement of 'the infected' is inspired and doesn't get tired.

Also impressive is the offbeat and properly suspenseful music track by Brian Eno and John Murphy. This is a good horror flick and has some genuine scares in it. Be warned however, there is an alternate ending tagged on after the credits. If you don't want to leave the theatre hating what is really a good film - leave when the credits start.

Friday, August 01, 2003


A Video Review of "Center Stage"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

What can one say about this Fame wannabe? It's another niche movie like Drumline or Bring It On. It may be entertaining to all but it's really set up for a particular audience, in this case, the ballet crowd.

The musical numbers and dance productions are exquisite. The talent in this cast is unparalleled, although I have to wonder if we'll ever see them again. The nameless and faceless (at least to me) students often get lost in the drama to get in the school.

Broken down to the bare bones however Center Stage is really just a remake of Fame in a ballet school as twelve students try to get into the prestigious American Ballet. It's Fame with MTV sensibilities. Worth seeing.