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Reviews Written by
BD Ashley "vidiot_y2k" (Otago, New Zealand)
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Closet [VHS] [Import]
Closet [VHS] [Import]

3.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent and amusing French comedy, Feb. 20 2003
This review is from: Closet [VHS] [Import] (VHS Tape)
Francoix Pignon (Daniel Auteuil) is fired from his job at a condom factory after 20 years, but at the suggestion of his new neighbour, Pignon pretends to be gay in order to sue the company for prejudice. So they send doctered photos of Pignon expoing his derriere in a gay bar to his workplace. But instead of backfiring the plan works far better than anticipated: with Pignon gaining promotions at work, earning him the attention of a female co-worker (who is attracted to gay men) and helping to reconcile Pignon's relationship with his estranged son. All this leads his homophobic colleague Felix Santini (Gerard Depardieu) to befriend him in order to keep HIS job.
THE CLOSET is a low-key movie, lightweight yet amusing, intelligent and emotive as well, with great performances from Auteuil and Depardieu; especially during their "shower" conversation, which is a real classic. Well worth seeing, but not as good as writer/director Francis Veber's earlier fim THE DINNER GAME.

24 Hour Party People
24 Hour Party People
VHS
2 used & new from CDN$ 22.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Flashy and energetic Brit film with style to burn, Feb. 17 2003
This review is from: 24 Hour Party People (VHS Tape)
24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE is ANOTHER movie David ... ranted about in one of his daft press releases. Thankfully, the press seems to be clicking on to the fact that the SPCS are ignorant fools and ignoring them. (Really, you're better off asking for MY opinion, "jackbooted liberal" that I am. Ain't it so,Davey and Gordon?) Steve Coogan is in fine form as Tony Wilson, a British music show presenter. This stylish docu-dramatic movie recounts his experiences as he is caught in the changing climate of the Manchester music scene. From the late 70s punk of the Sex Pistols and Siouxie And The Banshees to the 80s New Wave poppycock of Joy Division, who later had to change their name to New Order because their previous band name had links to Nazi Germany. Among the predictable sex and drugs malarkey are some humorous scenes; notably a little person ...I mean MIDGET, cleaning elephants at a zoo as well as a cute scene of a duck herding sheep. Of course being a movie about music, sex and drugs are obligatory. A rock movie wouldn't be the same without it, unless it's a bio of The Osmonds or The Partridge Family. 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE is a clever, humorous film well worth seeing.
...

Sisters
Sisters
5 used & new from CDN$ 13.63

4.0 out of 5 stars De Palma's first Hitchcockian thriller, Feb. 14 2003
This review is from: Sisters (VHS Tape)
SISTERS was director Brian De Palma's first venture into Hitchcock territory, borrowing from REAR WINDOW (a movie he was to later revisit in BODY DOUBLE- De Palma's last great film).
The movie centres around Danielle and Dominique Blanchion, siamese twins separated at birth (both played by Margot Kidder). The pair are like Jekyll and Hyde; Danielle sweet, kind and pretty; Dominique a raving psychopathic lunatic.
Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) is a newspaper reporter who witnesses Dominique (or is it Danielle?) brutally murder a male visitor by repeatedly stabbing him, he manages to write HELP on the window in his own blood before he expires, one of DePalma's scariest scenes next to CARRIE's final shot and SCARFACE's chainsaw torture sequence. Part murder mystery and part psychological horror, this movie will keep you guessing from beginning to end and is almost unbearably intense. SISTERS features one of composer Bernard Hermann's finest scores since PSYCHO. SISTERS is one of the last movies he worked on before his death. Highly recommended, especially for those who only remember Kidder from the SUPERMAN movies. Plenty of twists and chills. I may even be messing with the heads of people who read this review. Heh heh heh.

Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko
VHS
4 used & new from CDN$ 35.00

4.0 out of 5 stars The most original dark fantasy film in recent memory, Feb. 12 2003
This review is from: Donnie Darko (VHS Tape)
Sometimes before I write a review I read through other viewers ones to help jog my memory, I especially like reading all the one-star reviews; but I was a bit bewildered by some one star reviews of this as DONNIE DARKO is one of THE most original films I have seen in the past year.
Jake Gyllenhaal gives a mesmirising performance as the title character (yes, that is his real name), a teenager blessed with intelligence and a vivid imagination; but who is seen by his peers and teachers as a bit strange. Things get more bizzare when Donnie's bedroom is destoyed by an airplane engine, his delusions make him believe this is a sign that the world will end in 28 days. Over this period while he is waiting, Donnie's behaviour starts getting more eccentric... and he's stopped taking his medication.
That's about as much as I will say about DONNIE DARKO, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. The recipient of numerous awards, the movie is a triumph for all involved, especially Drew Barrymore who co-produced the film through her company Flower Films, who also has a small part as a teacher. Patrick Swayze is surprisingly good as a motivational speaker who incurs Donnie's wrath. Keep your ears open for the "Smurfs" conversation. A must see.

In Crowd, the
In Crowd, the
VHS
6 used & new from CDN$ 14.87

1.0 out of 5 stars A must-see for morons, Feb. 9 2003
This review is from: In Crowd, the (VHS Tape)
Despite being rated PG-13 in the US, this is R16 in NZ for some daft reason. Maybe NZ's censors thought viewers under 16 risked dying of boredom if they watched this. Unfortunately even those over 16 will be bored too.
Director Mary Lambert, best known for PET SEMATARY and its lame sequel strikes out again with this lousy waste of celluloid which could be described as [Insert title of any low grade teen slasher] crossed with [Insert title of any lousy Aaron Spelling soap]. This time around the hijinks are set at a Country Club catering to the rich and vacant, populated by attractive women with personality minus and permanent PMS, and dumb guys with their brains located somewhere in their swimming trunks. Of course, one of them is a former mental patient so it doesn't take a genius to guess what happens next. [play PSYCHO theme]
TH IN CROWD did have the potential to be an enjoyably trashy movie, but it severely misses the mark. There's only one lousy murder in the first 20 minutes and given the sizable cast of moronic characters, this basically keeps the mayhem quotient low. Dreadful in all departments. It doesn't even rate high enough for me to include some sarcasm and sexual references. Avoid it.

Pecker [Import]
Pecker [Import]
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 14.87

3.0 out of 5 stars An amusing comedy with heart (and a few gross outs), Feb. 8 2003
This review is from: Pecker [Import] (VHS Tape)
John Waters returns with this amusingly wacky, cheerful semi-autobiograpical comedy with a heart. Edward Furlong has one of his best roles as the title character (so named by his eccentric grandmother because he "pecks" at his food) who always carries a camera with him to photograph life as he sees it. Though at first this appears to be an almost obsessive-compulsive fixation he has, Pecker gradually mounts his own photo exhibition and is soon discovered by a prominent NY art dealer and finds himself on his way to fame and fortune, but this has its downside as some of his "subjects" (including his girlfriend, played by Christina Ricci) are offended by Pecker's work and predictably want their cut of his royalties.
As expected Waters has created some wonderfully kooky characters; among them his grandmother who does a lame ventriloquist's act with a statue of the Virgin Mary, actually believing she is communicating with her; as well as his sister's (or is it brother's?) gay bar and the male strippers who work there. While the movie is far from being a masterpiece it is always entertaining. Waters still manages to add his offensive touches, but they are a long way from matching his brilliant classic PINK FLAMINGOS. Anybody curious in learning about "tea-bagging" or "Dutch ovens" should check this out. Well worth a look.

American Outlaws
American Outlaws
VHS
10 used & new from CDN$ 3.88

1.0 out of 5 stars Movies this bad should be outlawed, Feb. 8 2003
This review is from: American Outlaws (VHS Tape)
The tale of infamous outlaws Jesse and Frank James receives a severe dumbing-down by Hollywood in a lame attempt to create a new millenium YOUNG GUNS. AMERICAN OUTLAWS will appeal only to braindead youths in the 11-14 aged bracket (I know. I used to be one). It's sad to see Kathy Bates reduced to acting in this (She's good, as usual). The real American Outlaws here are the film makers. Someone ought to tar and feather those yellow-bellied freeloaders. The dialogue is terrible ("Sadie was a beautiful woman, Sadie was not a man". "She had a mustache. A nice mustache") and the movie is not worth the price of the videotape its printed on.
The back of the video (in Aus/NZ at least) says: "This is one wild ride where the young guns rock the establishment with originality and attitude". If you thought ON DEADLY GROUND was a wild ride full of originality and attitude, then AMERICAN OUTLAWS is probably your type of movie. Others will probably want to re-view THE SEARCHERS or THE WILD BUNCH and be reminded of how westerns SHOULD be.

Soulkeeper
Soulkeeper
VHS

3.0 out of 5 stars Horror fans will have fun with this, Jan. 28 2003
This review is from: Soulkeeper (VHS Tape)
SOULKEEPER opens with a scene that rips off the cllmax of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, then moves to the present day as two thieves impersonating Abe Lincoln scam a Civil War enactment at a museum, which results in an amusing impromptu performance in order to save their skins.
But although the heist is a success they get dumped by their boss "Mr M", who addresses them via intercom a la CHARLIE'S ANGELS. To cheer up they head to a bar where they meet two foxy ladies who are a bit odd to say the least. They lead them to a strange man, who has the worst French accent on the planet; who offers the guys a large sum of money to go on a quest to find the Ark Of Lazarus. Just like that. This leads the duo on a journey through their wildest fantasies and worst nightmares...
SOULKEEPER is surprisingly fun; with cheesy FX and set pieces (especially the graveyard), tongue in cheek humor, some good gore scenes and lesbian sex, this one's pretty good. My only quibble is that director/ screenwriter Darin James Ferriola seems to be making everything up as he goes,but despite that SOULKEEPER is worth watching.

Hannie Caulder
Hannie Caulder
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 33.77

2.0 out of 5 stars Meat and potatoes revenge western, Jan. 27 2003
This review is from: Hannie Caulder (VHS Tape)
Revenge western starring Raquel Welch as the title character, victim of a vicious assault by outlaws led by Ernest Borgnine. All credibilty goes out the window five minutes into the movie when it becomes clear the bad guys are comic relief villains. The "rape" sequence, meant to set up the story plays like a rejected scene from an old sitcom, thus the viewer is not given the opportunity to have any emotional involement with Hannie.
For those of you who are still interested, Robert Culp mentors Welch so she can get revenge; and Christopher Lee shows up in yet another movie which wastes his talents. Pretty routine stuff, but at least its better than Welch's MYRA BRECKINRIDGE. (Is it possible for movies to get any WORSE than that?) Welch should have just shot the varmits at the start and mosied off into the sunset. Doesn't evoke fond memories of THE WILD BUNCH or Leone's DOLLARS trilogy.

Carrie
Carrie
VHS
Offered by Great Deals 4 U
Price: CDN$ 18.88

3.0 out of 5 stars Classic example of 70s horror, if somewhat dated, Jan. 27 2003
This review is from: Carrie (VHS Tape)
Although widely regarded as one of the classic horror films of the 70s CARRIE is one of those movies that has moments you love AND hate for a variety of reasons. The first adaptation of a Stephen King novel, CARRIE is notable for jump starting the careers of many involved.Carrie White is a high school misfit who lives in a rundown house with her fanatically religious mother.
The film opens with Carrie having her first period in the girls shower room. Ignorant because of her mothers religious beliefs, Carrie thinks she is dying, but when she turns to the other girls for help the other girls pelt her with tampons and chant "Plug it up!". When one of the teachers intervenes to help Carrie the lights in the locker room mysteriously explode.Carrie is sent home to her religious fanatic mother (Piper Laurie, returning to film after a lengthy hiatus) One of the girls who joined in the hazing, Susan Snell (Irving) feels ashamed and asks her boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt) to take Carrie to the prom as a special favor. However her nemesis, Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) is not so sympathetic and having been barred from attending the prom, when she hears Carrie is going she gets her boyfriend Billy Nolan (John Travolta) and his friends to kill a pig so they can dump the blood on her at the prom. Amazing that even dimwits like them can see the symbolism in the shower of blood. But come the night of the prom, predictably all hell breaks loose...
For those of you who haven't seen the movie to go any further would be to spoil it, but there have been some changes from King's novel,especially the classic final 20 minutes. The movie is lighter than the book, and De Palma does a good job on a limited budget. But the film is almost embarressingly dated in places (William Katt's hair for starters) and I hope the TV remake airs in NZ. That said, CARRIE remains one of the best adaptations of Stephen King to film, and is still fun Halloween viewing more than 25 years later.

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