Tuesday, September 30, 2003


A Video Review of "Godzilla vs. Megaguirus" also known as "Gojira X Megagirasu" or "Gojira tai Megagirasu: Jii Shometsu Sahusen" or "Godzilla vs. Megaguirus: The G Annihilation Stragedy"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Coming after Godzilla 2000 one should hope Godzilla vs. Megagirus would be better. It is, it’s a breath of fresh air. There is hope for the Godzilla franchise after all.

The Godzilla suit used is the same one from the previous movie which of course was a big departure from tradition. He was green which contrary to popular belief was the first time Godzilla had ever been that color. He was always a bluish charcoal gray. The new look is also more reptilian and snaggle-toothed in the face and his back spikes are more jagged than usual and prismatic in color. It’s a different look but at least it’s better than the American version from 1998.

The opening sequence is both brilliant and bothersome. This new G is refilmed into scenes from 1954’s Gojira. The black and white scratchy film is a nice touch. Director Masaaki Tezuka seems to be aping many classic shots Godzilla destruction from previous films in this opening.

Japanese defense forces create a super weapon called the Dimension Tide to use against Godzilla. It creates a black hole from which nothing can escape. Unfortunately while testing the weapon they mutate a giant dragonfly thought extinct. How’s that for dumb luck?

It begins to multiply. These bugs -the meganula- flood the city in order to multiply more. They begin to swarm over Godzilla and feed on his radioactivity which they return to their queen. The queen further mutates into a super giant meganula, a monster called Megaguirus. The new monster seeks out its radioactive food supply on its own, hilarity ensues.

The monster battle is hampered by frequent slow motion interrupting the flow and bugging (pun intended) the heck out of me. It was however an unexpected treat to see Godzilla against a different type of opponent. Megaguirus moves very fast and uses its stinger to attack and feed. G on the other hand has a few new tricks in his repertoire as well. He grabs the big dragonfly with his tail and also uses his back spines to slice a limb off the bug.

Other highlights include one particularly cool scene has humans sneaking up on a swimming Godzilla in order to plant a transmitter on his enormous back. Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is much better than I would have thought and much much better than Godzilla 2000.

Monday, September 29, 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 story has city girl Mattie Ross hiring Cogburn and a Texas Ranger to hunt down the men who killed her father in dangerous Indian country. This was based on the Charlie Portis novel and directed by Henry Hathaway a pro of various genres who had been working since the silents.

Glen Campbell as Texas Ranger Le Boeuf is saccharine sweet ‘til the end where we get to see his true colors in a frightening sequence in a rattlesnake infested cave. Dennis Hopper, Jeff Corey and Robert Duvall as some of the bad guys are good (or is that bad?) as well. Blink and you’ll miss Jay (Tonto) Silverheels as the hanged man.

That damned Kim Darby, oh boy. She’s near perfect as Mattie Ross. But I can't think of how many movies she's ruined for me but her whining here is a triumph of character. If the whining is 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.

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. Other trivia abounds in True Grit. Supposedly Wayne chased ‘that damned hippie’ Hopper around the lot with a loaded gun.

The film features one of Elmer Bernstein’s finest scores. That and the sweeping western landscapes deserve equal billing. The majestic scenery aided by Lucien Ballard’s cinematography is breathtaking.

This truly a classic not to be missed. Give a pass to both its sequel ‘Rooster’ Cogburn and its 1978 TV remake but definitely don’t miss the original. True Grit is probably one of the best westerns ever made.

This is a revised version of a review that appeared earlier elsewhere.

Sunday, September 28, 2003


A Video Review of "Shrek"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Remember the old Warner Brothers cartoons? When you were a kid you'd laugh at the antics of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig and then as an adult you'd laugh for wholly different reasons. They worked on two different levels. This is what Shrek is like.

Shrek was one of the first projects from DreamWorks which included the former CEO of Disney. This might be the reason for all the shots at Disney classics in this flick. The whole film is one big nasty twist on fairy tales, Disney’s stock in trade. For any hardcore Disney fans the in-jokes will either piss you off or be utterly hilarious. You decide.

This story of an ogre blackmailed into rescuing and delivering a princess to a corrupt ruler is nearly secondary to the touching love story. It’s all quite unbelievable when you consider none of it is real. I’ve seen more than my share of animation, computer or not, and it’s rare that you can care for the characters. Hell, it’s rare in regular movies.

The voice cast is excellent against all odds. Michael Myers’ ‘humor’ runs hot and cold with me and here using his Fat Bastard/ Scotch Tape store Scottish voice he’s actually entertaining. John Lithgow who I haven’t liked since he took on comedy is also good. Speaking of comedy I have to say Eddie Murphy is funnier as a computer animated donkey that he’s been in real life for over a decade.

I really enjoyed Shrek and was looking forward to the sequel. It's a shame that from all indications Shrek 2 is going to be a rift on the horrible Meet the Parents. Regardless Shrek is a classic.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

How Ron Howard Stole My Christmas

A Video Review of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

In the immortal words of the Pet Shop Boys, "What have I done, what have I done, what have I done to deserve this?" What sick twisted demon from hell possessed Ron Howard and made him create this big budget major motion picture based on the wonderful Dr. Seuss work? Surely this could only be the work of the devil.

The 1966 half-hour cartoon by Chuck Jones narrated by Boris Karloff with that song by Thul (Tony the Tiger) Ravenscroft is perfect. Why was there a need to do this?

Jim Carrey in his hideous make-up as the Grinch is nowhere near as scary as the citizens of Whoville who all resemble the monsters from "The Twilight Zone" episode Eye of the Beholder. Ron Howard made this for his kids? Why haven't the authorities taken those kids away for cruel and unusual treatment?

The real story has very few characters but apparently the writers felt this had to be fleshed out and added a dozen or so irrelevant characters including the Grinch's old girlfriend (hello?). Screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (who also had a hand in destroying the big budget motion picture version of the brilliant Wild Wild West) should have their pencils broken, their typewriters smashed and their word processors melted down.

The ending is horrendous. Apparently Christmas doesn't come in a box, it's not about giving at all. It's all about money money money, materialism and greed, gimme gimme gimme. I hate Jim Carrey. Damn you, Ron Howard. This is easily one of the worst three movies ever made.

And take off the frigging hat.

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 at Project Popcorn.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Satan Met a Lady


A Video Review of Satan Met a Lady also known as The Man in the Black Hat

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

This was the second try at making a film version of Dashiell Hammett’s classic The Maltese Falcon. The first attempt was the wonderful Dangerous Female from 1931. This 1936 version features a young Bette Davis in a story where the names and plot devices have been changed to prevent any confusion with a really good film.

At first glance Satan Met a Lady is a lark. It’s almost a tongue-in-cheek parody of the genre. It is a lot of fun, yes, but more than meets the eye in some places. Perhaps the best way to describe this one is The Maltese Falcon meets Bringing Up Baby. And if that sounds good to you, you’re expecting too much.

The story, which might sound slightly familiar, has private investigator Ted Shayne hired by a Valerie Purvis to follow a Madam Barabbas who in turn hires him to locate a jeweled ram’s horn. Substitute some names and stuff and you got The Maltese Falcon. Hammett even got a credit as in ‘based on a book by.’

William Warren as Shayne is no Humphrey Bogart and he definitely ain’t no Sam Spade. He is highly entertaining however with an almost Clark Gable-esque slickness. Warren was renowned as one of the best villain actors of the 1930s. Bette Davis is adequate but not doing her Bette Davis best. Blink and you’ll miss Arthur Treacher also collecting a check just like Miss Davis.

The highlight of Satan is Marie Wilson as Shayne’s secretary Miss Murgatroyd. She is an absolute delight. Marie is such the perfect ditsy blonde that she puts rank amateurs like Marilyn Monroe and Suzanne Somers to shame.

Satan Met a Lady lives up to its literary origins in a few places but not many. This is only worth watching for its novelty value and of course Marie Wilson.

Thursday, September 25, 2003


A Video Review of "Blade"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Blade is a minor character (or at least was) created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan back in the 1970s during Marvel Comics' 'horror boom.' The Comics Code Authority had loosened up on the restraints they had placed on the EC horror comics back in the 1950s and Marvel was taking advantage of it. They began publishing a multitude of horror books with vampires, zombies, werewolves, Frankensteins - everything they'd previously been prohibited. Out of this time came Blade the vampire slayer.

On the screen Blade is brought to life by noted comic book fan Wesley Snipes (Rising Sun, Demolition Man, Passenger 57) and written by comics and screen writer David Goyer (Dark City, The Crow: City of Angels, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the highly acclaimed JSA comic book). Blade, as the product of both human and vampire heritage, has the best abilities of both parents and uses them to rid the earth of its demonic vampire scum.

The villain, Frost, is played with evil glee by Stephen Dorff, formerly the voice of Child's Play's Chucky. He is the perfect counterpoint to Blade, believing mankind is vampirekind's food and should be ruled and rationed. Kris Kristofferson (A Star Is Born, Convoy) and N'Bushe Wright (Dead Presidents, "I'll Fly Away") are also very good as Blade's companions. A highlight is the evil turn by Donal Logue from Comic Book Villains and The Tao of Steve.

The action scenes are some of the best done for the American screen and obviously influenced by the Hong Kong cinema of which Snipes is also a big fan. These fight sequences are Hong Kong perfection. Especially compelling (and gruesome) is the opening sequence of a vampire blood rave featuring Traci Lords which is raided by Blade.

The DVD of Blade is well worth checking out. The audio commentaries by Snipes and Goyer are enlightening. If you're a fan of the comics or just action or vampire flicks in general this is a not miss.

The above review also appears at the comic book review website
Comic Widows at

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Dangerous Female


A Video Review of "Dangerous Female" also known as "The Maltese Falcon" (1931)

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Really no one but film buffs know that Dashiell Hammett’s "The Maltese Falcon" was made into a motion picture twice before the famous 1941 classic starring Humphrey Bogart. Bette Davis starred in Satan Met a Lady in 1936 but Dangerous Female was the original.

The story sticks pretty close to the Hammett novel. Private investigator Sam Spade seeks both a rare jeweled statuette and the murderer of his partner unaware the cases are related. Dangerous Female is classic film noir from Hammett, the original master of the literary genre.

The cast for the time is phenomenal. As Sam Spade is Ricardo Cortez who was originally considered to be Rudolph Valentino’s successor. While this is an interesting turn from his usual smirking Latin lover routine he makes for an entertaining if most un-Bogart-like Spade. It is harder to get past his bizarre cigarette gestures than the idea of a Hispanic Sam Spade. This is however ironic because Cortez is actually Austrian. That’s right, he’s more Arnold Schwartzenegger than Jennifer Lopez.

Bebe Daniels who plays Ruth Wonderly worked with Harold Lloyd as a teenager but is probably better known for her parts in classic musicals like Rio Rita and 42nd Street. Otto Matieson as Cairo proves he is no Peter Lorre here in a bad bit of casting. Dwight Frye, most infamous as Renfield in the 1931 horror classic Dracula, shines as the baby-faced but menacing Wilmer Cook. Longtime character actress Una Merkel plays a nice counter to Cortez’ Spade as secretary Effie. She’s a treat in any role.

As Iva Archer, the widow of Spade’s dead partner, is the beautiful Thelma Todd. This blonde bombshell also known as ‘Hot Toddy’ is a Hollywood legend. At the peak of her success she was also a businesswoman and one of Tinseltown’s brightest stars. She did however have a tendency toward bad boys. It is believed her relationship with mobster Lucky Luciano led to her being found dead at the wheel of her car in her own garage. As you can see from this role it was quite a loss.

Despite the cast Dangerous Female is stagy in places and seriously lacks a proper soundtrack although soundtracks were rare at the time. Other than the 1941 Bogart classic this is the best version of "The Maltese Falcon." If you can find it definitely check it out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


A Video Review of "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

I must have seen Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein from 1948 dozens of times when I was a kid back in the 1970s. It was a Sunday afternoon tradition around my house. We’d get home from church just before noon and that was when the now defunct channel 48 out of Philadelphia would broadcast the Abbott and Costello movies. They showed them all from Buck Privates to The World of Abbott & Costello, maybe four or five times each. When they replaced them with the considerably less entertaining Ma and Pa Kettle movies viewer complaints got the A&C films back on. Those were good times and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein was one of the best.

Lou Costello (who for those not in the know was not the idiot portrayed in the movies but in reality the brains of the pair) originally didn’t want to make ‘that crap’ regarding the film. He said his baby daughter could write a better script. Costello caved when his partner Bud Abbott and director Charles T. Barton (who directed some of the best of the A&C movies as well as coincidentally the "Munsters" TV series) had already signed on. The $50,000 advance didn’t hurt either.

The trivia involved in this picture is almost mind-boggling. According to Universal Studios Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein is the official sequel to 1945’s House of Dracula and the next in their Universal monsters continuity. Bela Lugosi almost didn’t get to play Count Dracula in this one because the studio thought he was dead. Walt Lantz of Woody Woodpecker fame did the animation on the opening credit sequence as well as Dracula’s bat transformations.

The casting is Universal monster classic. As mentioned Bela was Dracula who along with Lon Chaney Jr. reprising his Larry Talbot role including one of the more convincing Wolfman transformations and Glenn Strange doing his Frankenstein’s monster round out the trio of fiends. Foreign beauty Lenore Aubert is serviceable as the nefarious Dr. Mornay and watch out for the Invisible Man at the end voiced by Vincent Price.

The simple story of freight movers stumbling into Dracula’s plans to find a suitable brain for Frankenstein’s monster moves along well. The madcap Bud and Lou meld seamlessly into the world of Universal horror. What really makes this work is that the monsters all play it straight. The horror actors are all deadly serious. It’s a good contrast to the capers of A&C.

This one also contains one of the best Lou Costello lines. When Wolfman Larry Talbot says "You don’t understand. Every night when the moon is full, I turn into a wolf."

Lou replies "You and twenty million other guys!"

See Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. It’s one of the best.

Monday, September 22, 2003


A Video Review of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Although I am a veteran of fantasy role-playing games I have to admit to having never getting through J.R.R. Tolkien’s "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. In high school I read the first book (on which this film is based but is very fuzzy in my memory so you won’t find any book-to-film comparisons in this review) and struggled to start "The Two Towers" and failed during my college days. Tolkien is unfortunately very dense (at least to me). I file him along with H.P. Lovecraft. They are both amazing concept men but as writers they are dreary and nearly incomprehensible (to me at least - if only to avoid the slings and arrows of smarter people).

Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is completely accessible which I think surprised everyone especially the casual moviegoer and those evil Hollywood critics who both shun fantasies at every turn. Perhaps there is hope for this sad sad world yet if concepts like good against evil, responsibility and friendship still resound in people’s hearts.

The story revolves around a powerful ring of great evil in a long ago fantasy land. A conglomeration of different races elects a band to take the ring to be destroyed in the place it was forged. Hilarity ensues, as they say.

It all begins with hobbit Bilbo Baggins skillfully played by Ian Holm (Alien, The Fifth Element) and his birthday party in Hobbiton. It’s a happy bright occasion that slowly devolves into darkness. The conversion is handled well and the viewer is easily led to understand the peril encompassing all of Middle-Earth. It is this subtlety that makes TLOTR so accessible to the mainstream. The show rather than tell is the key.

The cursed ring is put into the hands of Bilbo’s nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood of The Good Son and The Faculty) and along with friend Samwise (Sean Astin of Rudy) and wizard Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) they set off the have the ring destroyed. This is probably one of McKellen’s best roles and performances and that’s saying a lot. He is one of the world’s finest actors. In Gandalf he reflects many facets and emotions from leadership and bravery to fear and mystery. He’s not your average everyday wizard.

The rest of the cast is remarkable as well. Christopher Lee is back doing what he did so well in years past - playing believably evil villains. His Saruman is both motivated and emotionally impenetrable. The battle between him and Gandalf is stunning and powerful. Speaking of evil, Cate Blanchett brief evil turn as Galadriel tempted by the ring is spellbinding.

Young cocky boys that they are, Viggo Mortensen as Strider and Orlando Bloom as Legolas insisted on performing their own stunts that resulted in broken ribs and teeth. They’re also pretty good as actors too. The all too brief moment shared by Strider and Arwen (played with remarkable and unexpected skill by Liv Tyler) shows a chemistry and electricity I would have liked to have seen more of, if not in the TLOTR trilogy than in any other film.

Of course the real star of the film is the special effects. From the minor forced perspective shots to make full-sized actors into three and four feet tall hobbits and dwarves (John Rhys-Davies is a particularly difficult trick into the dwarf Gimli) to the fiery Balrog to the stunning matte paintings and CGI armies the special effects in Fellowship are truly among the best ever done.

The New Zealand locales, especially Hobbiton which was built a full year before shooting began so that it would look old and lived in, are amazing. This is due in part to the unparalleled skill of cinematographer Andrew Lesnie but mostly to the breathtaking landscapes of the region itself. The original music score of Howard Shore only enhances the sheer majesty of the film itself.

Unlike myself writer director Peter Jackson has read the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. He knows what it’s about, and he has nothing but love and respect for the work and its creator. The project for Jackson began as a pitch to make "The Hobbit." After seeing his superior accomplishments with this film I can’t wait for the next two and hope he gets to do the original one. See The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. It’s truly one of the best films ever made.

Sunday, September 21, 2003


A Video Review of "Like Mike"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Just click your heels together three times and say, "There's no place like home." Oh, the beauty of magic footwear. That's what Like Mike is all about. A orphaned kid gets electrocuted trying to get Michael Jordan's old sneakers from a telephone wire and guess what? He is imbued with Michael Jordan's super powers, I mean, his athletic ability at basketball while wearing them. Lame as it sounds it's really quite good.

Lil’ Bow Wow, while not one of my favorite pre-teen rappers (I’m more of an Aaron Carter man myself), he has quite a movie career ahead of him should he choose that path. The boy just oozes charisma as Calvin Cambridge. Morris Chestnut is great as Tracy Reynolds the pro basketball player who is saddled with mentoring lil’ Calvin when he is drafted into the NBA.

The chemistry between the two of them is better than most buddy cop movies of the last decade. Lil’ Bow Wow and Morris Chestnut are absolutely magic in the scenes where Tracy teaches Calvin to rap like DMX and explains room service and triangle geometry. Not necessarily a sequel but I would love to see them work again some time.

Always creepy Crispin Glover is our villain this time around. How about that? Crispin Glover playing a creepy villain, whodathunkit? He is the evil owner of the orphanage that exploits the kids even before he realizes what a goldmine he has in young Calvin. He continues to exploit Calvin when he becomes an NBA star. When adoption may take his little moneymaker away Glover steals the sneaks and bets against Calvin’s team. As one might expect, hilarity ensues.

This is a terrific movie. It’s not complicated so don’t think too much. Yes, it does carry the nostalgic stench of The Bad News Bears and Angels in the Outfield but that’s a good thing; they were both good films too. Don’t miss Like Mike.

Saturday, September 20, 2003


A Video Review of "Kate and Leopold"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Yeah, it’s a chick movie, and yeah, it wants nothing more than to be half the success Somewhere in Time was, but to Hugh Jackman it was a way out. A way out of the typecasting hole, the one that William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and Adam West and Lynda Carter had all fallen into. Hugh Jackman doesn’t want to be Wolverine forever.

As the popular savage member of the motion picture X-Men Jackman has already been marked in the minds of millions of comics fanboys as Wolverine. This was his chance to show he had chops as an actor on his own.

First it should be noted, he’s tall as opposed to the illusion put forth by the X-Men movie and comics that Wolverine is only five foot tall. He also can act and is excellent playing off Meg Ryan as the romantic lead. He’s believable.

It’s a nice little romance about soulmates separated by the sands of time and Meg Ryan is equally believable. The problem arises in her typecasting however. In the end everyone in the movie and watching the movie knows the truth, she really doesn’t belong with Hugh Jackman after all, but Tom Hanks.

The horrible truth being Meg has also been typecast, as Meg Ryan.

Friday, September 19, 2003


A Video Review of "Rebirth of Mothra III" also known as "Mosura 3" or "Mothra 3: King Ghidora Attacks"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Thanks to Steven Spielberg and his Jurassic Park movie series, dinosaurs are hot. This is a fact that Toho was very aware of when they were putting the third Mothra film together. So of course at one point Mothra must travel through time to battle King Ghidora in prehistoric times surrounded by dinosaurs.

The Elias sisters’ relationship is thrown into chaos by the coming of the king of terror - King Ghodora. Their arguing over a trio of swords that form the Elias Triangle which may be the weapon to stop the evil monster. Convoluted subplots like this abound, almost like the holes in the main plot. Don’t get me started on time travel theory and paradoxes.

There is still the kid content. Mothra has become the Gamera of the 1990s. King Ghidora kidnaps all the children (in the city? the country? the world? It is never made clear) and deposits them in an impenetrable bubble in the forest to kill them - exterminating the human race as he had the dinosaurs millions of years before.

We also get to see quite a few different versions of Mothra, probably ordered by the marketing and merchandising departments at Toho. There is the Time Travel Mothra, the Prehistoric Mothra Larvae and of course the final Armored Mothra.

While the monster battles are much too short in any case, the one in prehistoric times is definitely the best. The Toho rendering of Spielbergian dinosaurs is impressive. And this newest rendition of King Ghidora is the best I’ve seen in years.

Rebirth of Mothra III is easily the best of the trilogy despite the contrived plot. It is the least eco-preachy, has the best special effects and primo monster battles.

Thursday, September 18, 2003


A Video Review of "Rebirth of Mothra II" also known as "Mosura 2" or "Mothra 2: The Undersea Battle"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Well, it looks like since "Captain Planet" has been cancelled Mothra has been elected to take on that ecological protector torch. She is now hued in green to show her allegiance to her power source, the earth. Mothra now fights for the survival of Mother Nature and Earth.

Again a trio of pesky Gamera-caliber kids get mixed up in the plot bowl. Circumstances involve Ghogo, a strange little furry creature raising the legendary underwater city of Nilai-Kanai from the depths which contains a magical treasure. All this mess also releases a particularly nasty monster called Dagahra whose bizarre eating habits spell ecological doom for the human race and the earth. It’s Mothra to the rescue.

Inside the ancient city good kids and bad adults fight to escape during the battle raging above between Mothra and Dagahra. With the help of the Elias Twins Moll and Lora and their evil sister Belvera the humans make it out alive. These scenes are very well done and almost an homage to similar scenes from Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Eventually Ghogo is revealed to be a water spirit who energizes Mothra enough to take on Dagahra. This ‘power up’ allows for the giant moth to transform into a moth-like, fish-like Aqua-Mothra and they take the battle underwater. Also the tiny Mothras inside Dagahra had some cool CGI effects in a Fantastic Voyage way. Yes, this is way silly, but it’s one hell of a monster battle. It’s not the one I wanted to see but interesting nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003


A Video Review of "Rebirth of Mothra" also known as "Mosura" (1996) or "Mothra" (1996)

This was the first in a series of Mothra films in the 1990s aimed at children with an ecological bent. That doesn’t mean it’s not infinitely watchable. It’s just not a Godzilla movie. It’s almost like Mothra has been rebooted as a chick flick.

The Godzilla franchise and cast of kaiju eiga characters are an important part of Toho’s financial success. When the time came to spin off one of their kaiju into a new series of movies they turned to the next most popular after the big G; Mothra and King Ghidorah.

Fans of the genre know the rap on Mothra. She’s the ‘god/goddess’ of an island people whose home, Infant Island, was ravaged by A-bomb tests. Her priestesses and representatives were twins, only about a half-meter tall who were telepathic and sang beautifully when they called to their goddess.

Did I mention Mothra is a giant moth? Don’t laugh. Remember she’s a giant moth. Her wings can simulate hurricane winds and her pollen is a deadly poison. And she’s whupped Godzilla’s ass.

She had fought Godzilla on several occasions to save the outside world much to the chagrin of her people who still held a grudge for that bomb thing. Mothra, it should be noted, is one of the big lizard’s only opponents to have beaten him.

The New Age Mothra has more than a few spins on her story. The twins, also known as the Fairies or the Cosmos or the Elias now have names; Mol and Lora. They also ride a Fairy Mothra and have an evil older sister Belvera who rides a fairy dragon named Desgaru.

There is also the kid factor. Mothra has been redesigned to be the new Gamera. There are children everywhere. The audience Toho is aiming for here is the "Pokemon" "Sailor Moon" generation and hoping they don’t alienate their old kaiju eiga fans. This may have been a miscalculation. Mothra is now considered children’s fair and adults don’t usually go see these flicks.

Mean old Belvera calls upon the ancient evil of Desughidora or Death Ghidorah to destroy the earth. Despite the name this is not the Ghidorah all us kaiju fans know and love. If anything, Desughidora is a meaner wingless cousin to our King Ghidorah.

Mothra battles Desughidora in both its larva and imago forms which is actually a treat. An homage to the death scene from the original 1964 Mothra vs. Godzilla falls flat but still works in the story. It’s a good battle, worth seeing for any kaiju fan. All in all, a good monster battle flick.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


A Film Review of "The Good Girl"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly says "A comedy of winning delicacy and heart." Andrew Johnston of Us Weekly says "A fantastic performance from Jennifer Anniston with range and depth." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says "Sly, comic and touching." All I want to know is… WHAT MOVIE DID THEY SEE????

All I have to say is screenwriter Mike White is a genius. He managed to screw me out of eight dollars, get me into a theatre playing a Jennifer Anniston movie and make me sit there for 93 agonizing minutes. This is easily the worst movie I have seen this year. It almost makes Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace palatable. Ten minutes in I was screaming "Good God, will it ever end?!"

The multi-talented (Can you smell what the Rock is cooking? Yes! That's right, it's sarcasm!) Jennifer Anniston plays a white trash retail cashier who cheats on her no good pothead husband (John C. Reilly of Gangs of New York and The Perfect Storm) with a sociopathic young writer (Jake Gyllenhaal of Donnie Darko and the equally brilliant Bubble Boy) who also works with her.

Jennifer Anniston's idea of depth is staring off into space for moments at a time. Who said being married to Brad Pitt hasn't taught her anything about acting. I would say Jake Gyllenhaal was good if he didn't play the same character in every movie he's in. The one or two actual funny lines that Zooey Deschanel utters over the store loudspeakers are not worth the hell of sitting through this piece of crap but she has the charisma to maybe make something of herself.

Toward the end of this merciless marathon I prayed for someone to come out of the darkness with an axe a la Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl and kill them all. Probably the only good thing about this experience was that I didn't have to sit through previews of Blue Crush and Swimfan. Now, wait a minute… that might have been an improvement.

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 at the now defunct and sadly missed Project Popcorn which was brought to you by the fine folks now at Jersey Diner Arts (see link at right).

Monday, September 15, 2003


A Video Review of "They Won’t Forget"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

At first glance this film seems to want very badly to be Inherit the Wind or To Kill a Mockingbird even though it predates both of them. Although it appears very cliched by today’s standards They Won’t Forget may well have served as the template for those classic southern court dramas.

Under the always brilliant direction of Mervyn LeRoy They Won’t Forget is based on the Ward Greene novel "Death in the Deep South" which in turn is based on a real life 1915 case that had more sinister anti-Semitic overtones.

The story concerns a northern teacher in a southern town played by Edward Norris accused of killing one of his teenaged students played by a young Lana Turner in her screen debut. Claude Rains is the power hungry district attorney working with reporter Allyn Joslyn to convict Norris. There are impressive performances from the entire cast especially Gloria Dickson as the teacher’s wife.

If you get the chance definitely check this one out, you won’t forget They Won’t Forget.

Sunday, September 14, 2003


A Film Review of "Queen of the Damned"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

I used to work in a video store and one of my favorite times were those when lazy kids would come in to rent The Scarlet Letter, Lord of the Flies or The Crucible for book reports. Used to be these same kids would go to the bookstore and buy the Cliff’s Notes, now they rent the movie. Helpful clerk that I am, I would dutifully ask, "Which version?" to which they would always answer ‘the one closest to the book.’ I would happily recommend the Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter saying I thought it was pretty close but the car chase was a bit over the top. They always stared blindly and paid for the rental. If they were especially rude I always added that I enjoyed the scene with the dinosaurs, "it was just like in the book."

Queen of the Damned is like that. Not like the book. Anne Rice falls into the same category as Stephen King in that her words hardly ever make the complete transfer to film. What on paper is a gothic romance that dances with evil turns into a flashy MTV rock opera on celluloid. Pity. "Interview With the Vampire" didn’t translate well either, not unscarred at least and let’s not even mention that Dan Ackroyd/Rosie O’Donnell mess from a few years back.

Queen of the Damned is good at what it does when it does it – what it doesn’t do is the source material. The names and situations have been changed to protect the innocent. It reminds me of the "Smallville" TV series on the WB – It’s a cross between "Dawson’s Creek" and "X-Files" but the weird coincidence some of the characters have the same names as folks from the old Superboy comics. Whodathunkit?

Aliyah is perfect here, frozen in time and joining the ranks of James Dean and Brandon Lee. She is just eye candy, mind you, yet you can still feel the charisma and know she could be so much more. Stuart Townsend is adequate as Lestat. Don’t get me wrong, he’s hot, creepy and quite the actor but the part is beyond him to portray. Lestat is one of the most evil beings in contemporary literature and Townsend is a poor choice, as was Cruise before him in Interview.

Fair warning to those who enjoy the soundtrack, wait for the VHS or DVD to come out, you won’t find Jonathan Davis of Korn (the singing voice of Lestat) on the soundtrack. Contractual difficulties disallow Davis from appearing on the Warner Brothers label. He does however handpick his replacements for the soundtrack but it’s not the same.

Okay, then, in this order: read the book, see the movie, hear the soundtrack. And never trust video store clerks.

Saturday, September 13, 2003


A Video Review of "It's Pat"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

There have been literally dozens of movies based on skits from "Saturday Night Live" and only a few have actually been successful (read as funny), The Blues Brothers and Wayne's World probably being the good ones. They invariably fail miserably and go on to be played on an endless loop in a special room in Hell reserved for folks like Hitler, Caligula and Adam Sandler. It's Pat is no exception.

The "It's Pat" segment was a skit on "SNL" in the late 1980s involving an androgynous person named Pat, played by Julia Sweeney, whose mystery gender was the focus of the joke. That's right, the joke. They based a movie on one freaking joke. It may work for two to three minutes on late night television but not for seventy-seven big screen minutes!

Julia Sweeney is an intelligent and yes, funny performer. If you haven't seen God Says 'Ha!', see it now. It's just a damn shame she has become known only for the Pat character. It's tragic that other able folks like Kathy Griffin and Kathy Najimy got dragged into this mess. One would expect it of Charles Rocket or David Foley (who plays the same drag character he played every week on "Kids in the Hall" as Pat's mate, Chris) but not the Kathys.

There is exactly one five second funny bit in this entire movie. It happens when David Foley tries to close a suitcase on a water bed. If only they had made a movie of that.

Friday, September 12, 2003


A Film Review of "The Country Bears"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

What is so obviously a publicity stunt to drum up interest in a tired attraction (the Country Bear Jamboree; animatronics of hillbilly bears doing a mini Grand Ole Opry bit) at the various Disney parks is a pleasant surprise. I never would have guessed it but this is great stuff.

Imagine a world where bears co-exist with mankind. Literally. They wear pants, they pump gas, they wait tables and they form has-been 1970s rock bands. The story involves Beary (voiced by Haley Joel Osment), a young bear adopted by a human family, who sets out to reunite his favorite band and save their original venue with a reunion concert. The Country Bears are a grizzly equivalent of the Allman Brothers in sound and lead-sung with the voice of John Hiatt.

As the little bear goes about 'getting the band back together,' there is a deliberate parallel to The Blues Brothers. In a diner scene one almost expects a bear to start asking patrons, "How much for the little girl? Your women, we want to buy your women." As with The Blues Brothers, with each stop along the journey a musical number with special guest stars ensues.

The guest stars are the highlight of the film whether it's as a performer or as an interviewee. The best among them are Disney creation Krystal, Brian Setzer, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Paige, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt (who also lends her singing voice to a bear), Wyclef Jean and Xzibit.

This is a delight, don't miss.

Thursday, September 11, 2003


A Video Review of "Tron"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Decades before The Matrix cyberspace first appeared on the big screen in Tron. Hackers get sucked into a computer to come face to face with the video games they designed. A cyberpunk nightmare years before it became hip to make movies about it.

1982's Tron the film and the video games based on it are still fondly remembered among myself and my age group. I fully expected though that it wouldn't age well when I saw it again recently. I was wrong.

Flynn played by Jeff Bridges is our hacker whose video game designs have been stolen by an evil corporation (aren't they all?) whose computer system has gained sentience. Once transported into the computer Flynn and a renegade program Tron battle for freedom against the evil Master Control. I won't even get into the folks who believe Tron is a Christ figure in the 'program world.' It's a little bit much.

The scenes in the 'real world' are rather pedestrian except for bad guy's Dillenger's cool desk with the computer keyboard and monitor built into it. Do we have those yet? If so, I want one. When we switch to the other side of the computer screen to the world of the programs it's a whole other story.

In the dark prehistoric days before CGI the effects for Tron were done quite simply. The 'program world' footage was all done with black and white film then colored in later. The colors were sparse but bright and effective, blue for good and red for evil for the most part. The actual computer effects were done frame by frame and took a hell of a lot longer than it does today. On an interesting side note, the Academy Awards passed over Tron for the Visual Effects Oscar because they felt using a computer was 'cheating.'

On the music front, while Journey's "Only Solutions" is one of their finer compositions the real star here is synthesizer impresario Wendy Carlos. Her electronic score is one of the finest ever produced and is outstanding in the field even today. Until its recent release it was one of the most sought after movie soundtracks in history.

Even twenty-odd years later Tron holds up surprisingly well. I think it rivals even The Matrix in style and originality. It's a great cyberpunk movie years before its time. See it again or for the first time. It's worth it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003


A Film Review of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

It's been quite awhile since I've seen a movie filled with such joy, maybe since Amelie. Throughout My Big Fat Greek Wedding several times you can turn around and see an audience with big grins on their faces. It's more than fun or funny it just makes you feel good.

We get to watch a frumpy thirty-year old woman transform herself into someone independent of her strict ethno-centric parents and meet and fall in love with a non-Greek teacher. We see the extraordinary transformation of writer and star Nia Vardalos via make-up and contact lenses that would make Rick Baker and Clark Kent blush.

We also get to see that John Corbett hasn't just been doing Burger King commercials and ruining "Route 66" since "Northern Exposure" went off the air. He's quite the catch here as the boyfriend caught up in the whirlwind of Greek culture of his girlfriend's family.

Also notable are Michael Costantine ("Room 222") and Lanie Kazan (always excellent) as the Greek parents and Andrea Martin who delivers some of the film's best lines. Look quickly for 'Nsync's Joey Fatone as one of the cousins.

All in all My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a great chance to enjoy two hours at the movies, learn a little bit about Greek culture and celebrate diversity.

The above previously appeared at Project Popcorn.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003


A Video Review of "Jurassic Park III"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

After the first movie, number three seems like just another installment in the same story when it should really be an event and a major happening. Jurassic Park III is however quite good. It's better than number two and much more of a sequel to the original than the second movie.

Sam Neill returns to the islands of the genetically engineered dinosaurs to help parents William H. Macy and Tea Leoni retrieve their shipwrecked son. The catch this time is what archeologist Neill has suspected that the most dangerous of the dinos, the Velociraptors, have evolved into thinking, communicating predators. Simple plot, good characters and excellent actors, for once, equal a good movie.

The dinosaurs are terrific in this one especially the featured Spinosaurus. Finally the wonder of the Japanese kaiju eiga films has been brought to the States. The magic of CGI is much more convincing than suitmation. The battle between the Spinosaurus and the Tyranosaurus Rex is the best part of the flick so reminiscent of those great Godzilla flicks.

Dinosaurs aside Jurassic Park III is filled with legitimate scares, thrills and shocks. Unlike the Japanese monster movies that I love the human story here is every bit as good as the monster story. I loved Macy and Leoni's bickering almost as much as Neill's realism and resourcefulness.

Even though it seems like just episode three in a much bigger movie it's still very good. Don't be put out by the first sequel, number three is well worth it.

Monday, September 08, 2003


A Film Review of "The Bourne Identity"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

There are a literal crapload of James Bond wannabes out there this summer. XXX, Spy Kids 2, the new Austin Powers, Undercover Brother, Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan in The Sum of All Fears and of course the real thing comes in November in Die Another Day. Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity comes the closest to what James Bond (and any secret agent movie for that matter) should be about.

Matt Damon makes the transition easily from drama and comedy to action thriller in this slick remake of the BBC miniseries that starred Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. He's an amnesiac assassin on the run from his former employers who involves the amazing Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) in his quest for his true identity.

Great action sequences and compelling locations (Paris, Marseilles, Switzerland) highlight the production and the acting is top notch with the notable exception of Julia Stiles (O, Save the Last Dance, 10 Things I Hate About You) who is completely wasted here; the film's only disappointment.

So if you can't wait for the next James Bond installment here's the next best thing, check it out.

The above previously appeared at Project Popcorn.

Sunday, September 07, 2003


A Video Review of "Godzilla vs. Megalon" also known as "Gojira tai Megaro"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

For serious fans of Godzilla, 1973’s Godzilla vs. Megalon is the cheesiest and most hated of all Godzilla films, hated even more than the accursed 1998 American remake by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin.

This could have been the first G flick I saw in the theatres. It ended up being Godzilla 1985 nearly a decade later. I remember the newspaper ads of Godzilla and Megalon squaring off atop the World Trade Center a la the 1976 remake of King Kong. To no avail I begged my parents to take me to see it. It was probably a good thing. Had I seen this movie at that time my bet is I wouldn’t be a Godzilla fan now. It’s that bad.

At this point in the Godzilla series writer/director Jun Fukuda broke down and relented to current trends in popular Japanese television of the time. This is a shame because he’s quite good and didn’t need to resort to such cheap tactics. Fukuda was responsible for what was known as the South Seas entries to the series; Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla.

Fukuda brought in a giant robot superhero, Jet Jaguar, to help Godzilla. Holes in this robot’s back story are pesky. If we must put up with his existence, at least explain him! Why does he gain intelligence? How does he grow to giant size? What is with that stupid grin? And, yes, he does suck as much as the folks on "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" would have you believe.

This bad Giant Robo/Spectreman knockoff aids Godzilla against Megalon, a giant cockroach, and Gigan, a cyborg killer monster the big G had beaten the snot out of previously in (what else?) Godzilla vs. Gigan. Gigan is pretty nasty what with that buzzsaw in his chest but the big G has beaten him before. And Megalon? He’s a big cockroach with no hands. Why does Godzilla need help with these two losers? He certainly doesn’t need help from something called Jet Jaguar.

The Godzilla suit used for Megalon is quite possibly the worst one ever used. The more human eyes and the dopey friendly grin along with his usual blue gray coloring make him look like a reptilian Grover from "Sesame Street." I find it very hard to root for this Godzilla.

The story involving the human actors is pretty inane this time and there is too damned much of it. Play to your strengths - this is a Godzilla movie, let’s see some monsters fight! What plot there is revolves around the undersea nation of Seatopia launching an attack on the rest of the earth. They of course use monsters to do their bidding. Emperor Antonio, the leader of Seatopia is played by late veteran actor Robert Dunham whose other Toho credits include Mothra (1961) and Dogora the Space Monster.

You really want to kill the annoying kid who is the main character. Trust me, it’s not just the voice of the dubbing actor that is so irritating. I’ve seen the Japanese version and he is just as obnoxious. As an interesting sidenote, Hiroyuki Kawase was also the annoying kid in Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster. This is just another concession to popular trends. Rival kaiju eiga studio Daiei’s Gamera played to and about children as well.

The monster fights are staged like WWF (WWE? Hmmm, I'll never get used to that.) bouts and embarrassing ones at that. This stuff would make Hulk Hogan hang his head in shame. Let’s not even talk about the karate jumps and the visible wires.

The miniatures are sad and pathetic. It looks like next to no effort was put into this production. Not only are the scenes of city destruction lifted directly from previous movies they’re actually pretty lame scenes that don’t even match up with the new action.

This is a low budget low brow entry in the series that rightly deserves its reputation. Completists like me will have to have it in their collection but they’ll never actually watch it. This is an embarrassment. When I tell people I love Godzilla movies this is the one I pray they haven’t seen.

Take it away, MSTies.

The above originally appeared at the now defunct cinema website Project Popcorn in a slightly different, much shorter and much less interesting form.

Saturday, September 06, 2003


A Film Review of "Austin Powers in Goldmember"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Spoilers up front because it's nearly impossible to discuss the flick without giving stuff away.

As with the first two Austin Powers movies Dr. Evil is undisputed star but Michael Myers' new character Goldmember and Rat Bastard from the last one both fall flat this time around. As a matter of fact all the characters except for Dr. Evil and perhaps Mini Me are rather cardboard this time.

Goldmember's real charm and humor lies in the unexpected guest stars. The opening which is a mock preview for an Austin Powers film called 'Austinpussy' starring Tom Cruise, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and is directed by Steven Spielberg. There's also the dance/duel/rumble with Britney Spears and her dancers.

The biggest laugh from the audience when I saw it was the Osbournes complaining about the same joke being beaten into the ground although I'm sure Ozzy and family weren't the only ones complaining about that. Like I said, the guest stars were much more entertaining than anything Michael Caine or Beyonce Knowles were doing.

Speaking of Miss Knowles, based on this performance I can heartily recommend she stay in the music business. Hmmm, I wonder if Michael Caine can sing… Unlike the first two films Seth Green is wasted here, he has perhaps a bigger role but the charisma and fun he shared with Myers' Dr. Evil is lost.

If you liked the first two, you'll love this potty humor laugh fest, it's more of the same.

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, September 05, 2003


A Video Review of "Event Horizon"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Event Horizon is a good example of the mixed genre movie. Much like Outland was a science fiction version of the western classic High Noon, this film is just the same old haunted ship story set in outer space.

Sam Neill and Lawrence Fishburne lead a rescue team on board the Event Horizon, a deep space prototype ship that has reappeared after seven years to find out what happened. Supernatural spookiness ensues.

Admittedly there are a lot of cool special effects but it is after all nothing we haven't seen before. There is nothing here we haven't seen before in, say, The Haunting or Poltergeist. It's a good rental if you've got money to blow and time to waste. Nothing special but nothing offensive either.

Thursday, September 04, 2003


A Film Review of "Reign of Fire"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Yep, CC stands for Closed-Captioning. That's the reason I can't wait for the video release of Reign of Fire because then I will finally know what these idiots are saying. The dialogue here is unintelligible, whether it's Christian Bale and all the extras speaking in a thick thick English accent or Matthew McConaughey mumbling incoherently there's no way to understand anything being said.

There are massive sequences of the film where the soundtrack (which is quite good, by the way, by Ed Shearmur) overwhelms the dialogue and where there is no music the players almost always speak over each other as if they're on "Jerry Springer" or "Maury Povich." The only person on screen you can understand is Izabella Scorupco who switches back and forth between an English accent and an American accent. Sheeesh.

Let's not even talk about the holes in the plot that you can drive an eighteen wheeler through or how the characters are so unlikable or how frigging dark (not dark in content, dark as in can't you losers afford spotlights?) the entire flick is. Let's talk about dragons. In a movie about dragons one should actually see some goddamn dragons! I don't care if you ran out of money for the CGI, use Muppets or animation or something! A movie about dragons should have dragons in it! I think we see more dragons in the TV ads than we do in the whole suffering hour and a half I was imprisoned in the theatre.

Don't see, don't see, don't see. Rent Dragonslayer if you want to see a good dragon flick. This Reign of Fire crap is enough to put me off going to the movies.

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 at the defunct cinema site Project Popcorn.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003


A Video Review of "A Study in Terror"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper. Although made in 1965 it's a concept worthy of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and this should have been much better.

A Study in Terror wants very badly to be a Hammer film and that's only part of its minor charm. The song in the Whitechapel pub by streetwalker played by Georgia Brown is a nice touch. Whitechapel and its inhabitants are however much too clean to be believable. And despite the title there is not much terror portrayed. Some scary music and a lurking figure in the darkness are all the terror we get from this mid-sixties Jack the Ripper.

It is the completely misunderstanding of the character of Sherlock Holmes that helps bring this one down. The choice of John Neville (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) is not a believable one in my eyes. He is serviceable in the role but lacks the attitude and confidence to pull it off. He and Donald Houston who plays Dr. Watson do little more than ape the classic team of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Robert Morley however is inspired casting as Mycroft Holmes. Blink and you'll miss Judi Dench.

The odd camp feeling can be traced not to the time period completely but perhaps to the director. James Hill made his bread and butter directing the British cult series "The Avengers" before tackling this version of Holmes. This explains a lot.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003


A Film Review of "Halloween Resurrection"

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

This is the eighth installment in the Halloween series and it's starting to show its age. The Michael Myers bits are boring and predictable, it could've been any slasher icon in this part, the plot could have featured Freddy or Jason just as easily and it shouldn't work that way.

This one, like the last one and the first two, stars Jamie Lee Curtis who obviously doesn't know what the Fonzirelli Maneuver is. Henry Winkler played Fonzie on "Happy Days" in the 1970s and 1980s. Unlike other sitcom actors whose shows become successful and feel the need to move on to 'better things,' Winkler stayed with that show 'til the very end. He rode that horse until it died beneath him.

Jamie doesn't know about this maneuver. If Jamie Lee Curtis had had any sense she would have been in all eight Halloween movies and she wouldn't be trying to eliminate her own character or the lead protagonist. Can't wait to see her next big career move… maybe another guest spot on "Buck Rogers?"

After a great resolution to the questions left from the end of the last movie we hit a dead boring streak where this flick's plot is set up. It's a live internet reality show where kids spend Halloween night in Michael Myers' boyhood home. It's typical slasher flick fare after that. If you do drugs, you die, if you have sex, you die, and so on like clockwork. The suspense doesn't kick in until the heroine pulls out her palm pilot to get instant messaged on the live broadcast she's part of.

The cast of kids is adequate, name actor Sean Patrick Harris merely sits and collects a paycheck while rapper Busta Rhymes displays unique charisma as the internet con man with delusions of martial arts grandeur. Rhymes has got a career in Hollywood if he wants it. And once again, with her acting performance here Tyra Banks proves what a great model she is.

It's typical, but worth a look for fans of the genre, a nice morsel to keep us satisfied until Jason vs. Freddy…

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

Monday, September 01, 2003


A Video Review of "John Carpenter's Escape From L.A."

No matter what you say about him you can't deny that John Carpenter has fun. Everything he does smacks of 'wouldn't-it-be-cool-if.' He loves to score his own films with soundtracks that sound like Ennio Morricone with an electric guitar. Like I said he has fun.

Most of his films, with the exception of his horror work, are just non-stop action roller coasters. The wink wink seed of They Live, the endless movie serial ride of Big Trouble in Little China, the apathetic humor of Dark Star and of course the utter coolness of this film's prequel Escape From New York are all examples of Carpenter having way too much fun making action movies.

The character of Snake Plisskin is proof positive of Carpenter's love of movie serials. He is the reluctant hero, the anti-hero, the one we root for against all odds, the one who always wins but on his own terms. Deftly played by Carpenter's old friend and collaborator Kurt Russell, Snake Plisskin is a force to be reckoned with.

The premise of Escape From L.A. is very similar to that of its predecessor, almost in a satire or parody mode. Again, Carpenter's having fun winking at the audience. Again a time limit on a mission against Snake's will and again we see the government portrayed as stupid, corrupt and evil. It's almost like real life. Another wink from Carpenter.

After a while the concept of everything in future Los Angeles having some bizarre California-ism to it gets old pretty quick but it's still cool. Highlights of this ilk include Steve Buscemi as a walking tourist trap selling 'maps of the stars,' Pam Grier as a transsexual gang leader and Peter Fonda as an aging surfer. The always amazing Bruce Campbell is hilarious as the Surgeon General of Los Angeles. Did I mention how much fun John Carpenter has?

The ending leaves the need for a sequel. Hopefully it won't be as long a wait between the next sequel Escape From Earth as it was for the second one.