TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (2019)

Directed By: Tim Miller
Written By: David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes & Billy Ray
Story By: James Cameron, Charles Eglee, Josh Friedman, David S. Goyer & Justin Rhodes
Based on characters Created by: James Cameron & Gale Anne Hurd
Cinematography: Ken Seng
Editor: Julian Clarke

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Tom Hopper, Fraser Jones 

A young female Mexican worker, Dani Ramos, is hunted down by a virtually indestructible terminator from the future called a REV-9. However, she is protected by an enhanced human named Grace who is also from the future. They flee from the unstoppable terminator and, out of the blue, Sarah Connor helps them on the road. All three head to Laredo, Texas, where Grace has the coordinates of possible support and where they meet a T-800 who is living in an isolated location with his family. The group teams up to try to destroy the REV-9.


When it comes to this franchise. We are back at the well. Which once again feels I needed but does provide impressive action sequences and special effects throughout.

This film doesn’t have as much star power as the recent additions. It seems that is what the filmmakers choose to emphasize. 

Though this sequel does add some diversity. You can’t help but wonder if it more of a marketing decision. Rather than a natural addition of more people of color.

While this is a welcome return for Linda Hamilton’s character to the franchise and being more female-oriented in the middle of the action, Then in films past.

For a film that is over two hours, the film starts off the action pretty quickly. 

As this is a franchise they keep trying to continue. It reminds one of the line from MEAN GIRLS “Stop Trying to make fetch happen” especially if no one is requesting more of these movies. Instead of creating its own mythology of different timelines that makes the series feel like a choose your own adventure story. Depending on when you came into the franchise. Though the first film and T2 seem to be holy scripture for the franchise.

At least this time as usual they try a new film only after it seems special effects technology has been updated. Unlike a few of the sequels especially the last 2 and the third film. It feels like after the third film it’s the same book or tale rewritten by a different author.

This story Could easily be seen as a metaphor for an attack on women’s reproduction. Though not the government. As the main character is targeted for bringing up/birthing a child though the sides are changed with the villains wanting the child aborted.

Maybe it lasts as though it is an action film with some scientific elements. It works as a slasher film of sorts with a recurring final girl. Always on the run against an impossible assailant who will kill anything in its path. Just to terminate one person. We watch just to see how it will happen and the kills involved. Though usually see them coming. There is usually the element of surprise which also brings in an element of horror.

Especially with this fin as the body count rises with efficiency. It feels more violent as gorier as most of the deaths are by impalement.

Though at least this sequel feels less monotonous and more entertaining. Even with a lot less humor until Arnold Schwarzenegger shows up. As he always does. These films usually somehow also involving Arnold Schwartzenegger’s terminator in some form. Only one of the sequels didn’t have his total involvement.

So his appearance here is not shocking. This also relies a lot less on John Connor. As he is iconic in the role of the terminator. These films will always rise and fall with his involvement not giving credit to the lesser sequels weakens the better ones. This is the one that should have come after the second or third film.

This is where all of the budgets went as scenes outside of it come off small scale. Simple but also feels the most relatable.

The film also seems like the simplest out of all the films in the franchise. All the films feel epic in scope. Though This one seems to focus more on the action sequences. So that there already less questions about the plot and the story.

It still seems to have all the central roles. Only here they are all mostly switched to female characters. Who seem to serve the same purpose as when it was male characters.

This film Still feels like a bit much. Though at least while trying to impress you. It makes its Mark. It gives you a lot for your investment. That is its own reboot though as we are all familiar it doesn’t feel as fresh or advanced.

Grade: B-

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE (1973)

Directed by: Shun’ya ito
Written By: Hiro Matsuda & Tooru Shinohara 
Cinematography: Masao Shimizu 
Editor: Osamu Tanaka

Cast: Meiko Kaji, Mikio Narija, Reisen Ri, Yayoi Nanbara, Seiya Sato, Takashi Fujiki, Tomoko Mayama, Mitsuru Mori 

Sasori is outside the prison and on the run from the police, wanted for breaking out of prison and murder. She takes refuge with a woman who has a brother with a learning disability. The woman and her brother are also involved in an incestuous relationship. Both the police and an ex-prison mate of Sasori’s pursue her.


This sequel feel more like a closing chapter more than anything. As it feels final and with little else to go. It’s also a lot more somber than the previous films. 

Don’t get me wrong it is still outrageous but not as ridiculous. As scorpion is On the run again and it seems everyone has it in for her. So that she has to seek revenge in multiple characters. The film is inventive in how it all comes together with characters each passing into another’s story.

Though this film is much sadder than the others as throughout this film scorpion becomes a ghostly Angel of vengeance for other characters who are victims of the villains throughout. As well as haunting the villains who underestimate her at first.

The film still has many uncomfortable exploitive moments meant to add drama or provoke a reaction out of the audience. Especially when it comes to sex scenes. This film feels more scaled back when it comes to sex and nudity but does have a sympathetic character In an incestuous relationship.

By the end no one Truly wins. The character you expect to somewhat be saved or be on the road to a better life by the end is pretty much still left where she was at the beginning. Only more tortured, but at least made a connection with the scorpion.

This is the last film of the franchise directed by Shun’ya Ito, which might be why this feels more like a finale than the eventual final sequel that stars Meiko Kaji in the role of the scorpion. Before eventually producers decided to revitalize the franchise without any of the original team involved.

All the male characters are evil and deplorable. Most are disposable also as cops, henchmen, or depraved men looking for sex or to exploit women.

One of the villains in the film Katsu seems more like a villain. Suited for the more outrageous previous films especially with her wardrobe and make up. As she comes across as campy almost she is cruel but the right amount of ridiculous as the previous films. Luckily as the film Goes along her development goes from scared to haunted to absolutely crazy with guilt. That she eventually matched the paleness of the make-up on her face naturally.

The film shows that the purgatory of prison was just as bad as the outside. At least prison only took up a certain amount of space. As the harsh reality of freedom seems to make the female characters natural prey. As it is so unpredictable. Whereas in prison you knew who to trust who not to.

The film shines a light on the harsh reality for the character after the more psychedelic freestyled previous films 

GRADE: B-

THE BAYTOWN OUTLAWS (2012)

Directed By: Barry Battles
Written By: Barry Battles & Griffin Hood
Cinematography By: David MacFarland
Editor: Sean Valla

Cast: Clayne Crawford, Travis Fimmel, Daniel Cudmore, Eva Longoria, Billy Bob Thornton, Andre Braugher, Michael Rapaport, Zoe Bell, Agnes Bruckner, Natalie Martinez, Brea Grant, Paul Wesley, Julio Oscar Mechoso

After her ex-husband Carlos shoots Celeste three times in the gut, it’s time to play dirty. In the fight for her godson, Rob, she hires three outlawed and redneck brothers to bring him back to her. But nothing can be that simple in the South. What begins as a small rescue mission rises to a southern battle royale. This odd team must shoot their way through gorgeous female assassins, Native American hunters, Federal agents, and a whole lot of metal coming after them, while protecting Celeste’s innocent child.


The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2009 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.

From the start of the film. The film tried to hear to a degree that boils over to a degree, where it tries to take the audience constantly by surprise. Even though we all know what kind of film this is.

The film works as some kind of exploitive straight to DVD action comedy that seems to aspire for it’s own franchise. That I wouldn’t have a problem with. The film seems to be more mainstream exploitive that plays with the genre and ideas of southern justice. As it feels like a natural film that would have appeared on HBO Friday night original films that were usually action films or thrillers, with big name C-list casts.

The film seems to go out of it’s way to portray the character as white trash, southern rednecks who are surprisingly not racist.

The film harkens back to the take no prisoners action extravaganzas of the 80’s and 90’s. Yet using characters usually portrayed as villains. Redneck hillbillies as the anti-heroes. Who work as mercenaries. Here seeming to have some naive fatalism, but somewhat the most decent characters compared to most of the others in this film.

Billy Bob Thornton as the villain is fun especially with his wardrobe and hairdo as well as facial hair helping make the role more fitting. Even if he plays the role as it is more of a favor to someone.

The biggest name other then Billy Bob Thornton in this film is Eva Longoria in a sexy yet tough role.

The film is full of cliches like in all southern films that seem to have characters ridiculously sweaty for no reason. That is part of the charm.

Though the film seems partly inspired by THE BOONDOCK SANINTS films and the Tremor brothers of the film SMOKIN’ ACES. Who we saw glimpses of in both SMOKIN’ ACES films but never reached their full potential as characters or in action scenes. As we see them mostly in hints and glimpses of what they could do in those films. Kind of like when athletes are spokespeople for products going into the Olympics talking about their particular skill then flunk out at the tryouts for the Olympics all that promise and no follow through.

Here though it isn’t the same or related really. As this is a chance to see what it might have been like if they had gotten their own film. Action first, think second, plan last seems to be their motto. Just destroying and taking whatever stands in their way or really is in front of them.

Though violent social misfits. They are made likeable to a degree. Due to funny camaraderie and the amount of time we spend with them. As well as not appearing as racists. As you would expect.

It’s also fun that a different assassination group or gang. That have a certain similar creed only they are an all female biker gang of assassins and doing double duty of appearing as escorts. Or the gang of African-American road warriors in armored trucks they encounter. Using the south as a backdrop of tradition and unpredictable lawlessness. The film manages to create it’s own world and logic. That leaves the film strangely beautiful

The film plays like a mild western or a modern southern. In this case being that it takes place in the south. Though a western at heart and I story as well as character types. Though not too many strong silent types.

The film has the kind of spirit that and energy that reminds one of the films of Robert Rodriguez. Only not as over the top or campy and more within the realm of reality.

Though the film might be short on grand action sequences. This films spark of originality and fun is what seems to be missing from modern action films, that can get too bogged down in intellectualism or visuals. Instead if actually being entertaining and entertaining the audience. Action films don’t always need to give the audience something they have never never seen before. 

The film is unapologetic in it’s violence and brutality. It is also just generally funny in a dark way, but at least not disturbingly or downtrodden. Part of the humor comes from the cast especially Michael Rapaport In his solo scenes.

In the end the film is just a rollicking unapologetic hell of a good time. With little to no pretentiousness, That is a story of outsiders.

Grade: B

PRIVATE SCHOOL (1983)

Directed By: Noel Black 
Written By: David Greenburg & Suzanne O’Malley 
Cinematography By: Walter Lassally 
Editor: Fred Chulack 

Cast: Phoebe Cates, Matthew Modine, Betsy Russell, Kathleen Wilhoite, Michael Zorek, Fran Ryan, Ray Walston, Sylvia Kristel, Frances Bay 

Christine, a student at an exclusive all-girls private school, is in love with Jim, who attends an academy for boys nearby. Christine’s arch rival Jordan also has her eye on Jim, and she is willing to do whatever she can to steal him away. Jim’s uber-slob buddy Bubba is going with Betsy, Christine’s cynical friend, though he would probably be unfaithful if any other woman were willing to get near him. Bubba and his pals sneak into the girls’ school dressed in drag in hopes of reaching the Promised Land (better known as the women’s shower room), while Christine and Jim run away together for the weekend, though their escapade isn’t as romantic as they had hoped.


While I can celebrate this film as a milestone as a teen sex comedy I watched often when I was growing up. It will always hit a certain special chord with me. Though I can also say it’s not really a good film. It’s one that has stayed in my memories over the years for many reasons.

One of them being Phoebe Cates in one of her few I fortunately memorable starring roles and also for introducing Betsy Russell an actress I remember from many 80’s movie and who I had a huge crush on at the time (she was most recently in the SAW movies. Still looking beautiful) I believe why she made such an impact on me was at the time. She not only was an actress I had a crush on, but also the first crush I ever saw topless on screen. Which was as good as nice for me at the time.

You also must keep in mind d to me at that age not only was this erotic and exotic material. It was practically porn so it was sacred and felt like it was contraband almost illegal material or at least material I wasn’t supposed to have access to. Which brought an extra joy to watching it

This film was often compared with FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. When I was young even though that film depicted teen sex with a little more authority and realistic elements in a truthful but humorous way. That seemed to show a heart and decency. Plus it was a good movie. The only reason I can think of the comparison is because both feature Phoebe Cates only here in more a starring role,

I can’t say this is a good movie. As the central plot is simple and dumb but identifiable. The film is more episodic in nature and has to deal with life at an all boys and all girls academy in close vicinity. There is a popular couple who haven’t done it yet, but are planning to once all the obstacles get out of their way. There is a rich girl who wants the popular guy and tempts him often. There is also the overweight hot tea best friend who somehow has a cool girlfriend but is always not only horny it the genius who has all these plans that will go wrong.

The only true noteworthy aspect about this movie is that it lives up to it’s promise when it comes to gratuitous nudity, that Fast times promised and gave more of a snippet of. Here there is nudity a plenty usually provided by miss Betsy Russell a veteran of T & A 80’s movies such as TOMBOY.

Even though theoretically she is the villain. She is always shot lovingly and iconically like a bombshell. She totally steals the movie abs is ken fo the more memorable characters and elements. Even as phoebe cates is mroe representative of love, romance abd a certain innocence. Russell’s character is the movies sex appeal, the vixen truly the bombshell and represents lust. Where even though most male characters drool over her. She spends most of the movie trying to entice Matthew modine away from his girlfriend.

I really wonder were these the only films around and offered for young actors or did they figure they would work their way up the Hollywood ladder by getting their foot on the door with these movies or since it was their first movies did they take it and the material seriously? Did anyone become method like Sean Penn and his character in fast times?

I would advise only Watching this for the nostalgic value and vintage 80’s style and nudity. Other then that it doesn’t have too much to offer. Unless you love lowbrow humor and stupid jokes and bad cross dressing.

Sometimes you have to sit and wonder what was wrong with you that you might have thought these movies were great as kids. I think it was the nudity that made me think that this was a masterpiece in my youth. I have the same weakness now, only in life. As nudity make me one weak.

Debut movie as a choreographer of Paula Abdul who choreographed the women’s aerobic workout. And appears as a cheerleader.

Actress Phoebe Cates not only was the top-billed actor but was a performer for the film’s soundtrack singing two songs “How Do I Let You Know” and “Just One Touch” the latter in a duet with Bill Wray. That just helps give the film that 1980’s cinematic cultural sheen.

My uncle as always Introduced this movie to me. Where it was on cable constantly. He had a crush on Phoebe Cates at the time. Especially in the censored version that played on USA cable channels all the time before they had any original programming really.

This was a film that was necessary in my youth. As it was a film I was probably way too young to watch at the time. Yet it was costantly on cable on HBO in the more R Rated nature it was meant to be shown, but then on USA and Wood channel 11 in New York in the more censored form. Either way it has always had a hint of danger for me. As it was always a film that seemed forbidden.

Watching it later in life it hardly comes anywhere near the danger that I felt, but it will always stand as a film that was one of my introductions into more T & A material and definitely a movie that was more gold standard maturing knot puberty.

GRADE: B-

THE SEDUCTION OF MIMI (1972)

Written & Directed By: Lina Wertmuller
Cinematography: Daria DiPalma
Editor: Franco Fraticelli 

Cast: Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato, Agostina Belli, Luigi Diberti, Elena Fiore 

After voting against the powerful Mafia candidate in Sicily, in what seemed like a secret ballot, impecunious Mimì finds himself with his back to the wall. Desperate, and having no one to turn to, Mimì abandons his wife, Rosalia, and relocates to the bustling city of Turin, only to fall for the beautiful Trotskyist, Fiore. One child later, and as one thing leads to another, Mimì gradually realizes that he is not ready to accept the new social morals that prevail in the industrialized north, catching, once more, the Mafia’s attention. Now, political beliefs, loyalty, infidelity, and revenge become inextricably intertwined, and once again, Mimì is left with nothing, having no other choice but to return to Sicily. But, can he keep his life in Turin secret?


This film has the set-up of a comedy with a cowardly protagonist who it’s hard to feel sorry for as he keeps getting himself in trouble out of machismo, Revenge, and sex. Where somehow he usually fails up. Getting promotions and more money. Though supposedly anti-government.

Once he finds true love he works for it. But continues to fail. As he can’t even be loyal to a political party, but that is More due to pressure and assassination attempts. So that is understandable. This is truly the tale of a man who stands for nothing and pays the price for it.

I was introduced to the tale years ago watching it’s American remake “WHICH WAY IS UP?” Starring Richard Pryor abs tailor-made for his talents. Dipped into the politics at the time as background. The only difference is that Pryor played different characters In his version. 

This film is also dipped into politics. We watch as the main character gets what he wants but keeps messing. It up due to hubris and when threatened quickly shows how cowardly he is. Along the way, he is never truly satisfied.

The third act at first makes no sense but as you learn more about it, it feels ridiculous though also, in the end, feels like a punchline. As it is all about foolish pride. Which truly becomes his undoing and exposes his character losing all he has.

Mariangela Melato again is a screen goddess. Still as amazing and fiery as in SWEPT AWAY co-Starring with Giancarlo Giannini again. 

you can understand and see why he gets obsessed and tries to seduce her. Why he is willing to risk it all for her. Even as she makes her rules clear though amazed she stick by him. So thoroughly throughout and why she leaves after such a minor betrayal compared to his many others that She can forgive. He has no loyalty to anyone, including his family 

Some scenes seem there to just add to the artistic surreal quality of the film and while there are build-up and reasons for these scenes. They also feel like episodic escapes. 

The film is lively and ridiculous, but so artistic that it feels naturalistic and beautiful constantly and comes across deeper than it actually ends up being. Though it is heartbreaking. It is a comedy at heart, though so sad.

One of my favorite classic iconic directors to keep discovering her movies. Who might happen to be one of my favorite directors, who happens to be female (at least next to Nicole Holofcener) she has truly outdone herself here. 

In the end, the film plays off like a grand comedy of morals and cowardness. That feels gross and political all at the same time.

Grade: B-

CANDY (1968)

Directed by: Christian Marquand 
Written by: Buck Henry 
Based on the Novel Written by: Terry Southern & Mason Offenberg 
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno 
Editor: Giancarlo Cappelli 

Cast: Ewa Aulin, John Astin, James Coburn, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, John Huston, Walter Matthau, Sugar Ray Robinson, Charles Aznavour, Ringo Starr, Anita Pallenberg, Elsa Martinelli, Lea Pedoucni, Judith Malina 

Governed by a mysterious and utterly delicious fate, the innocent high-school student, Candy, summons up the courage to embark on a life-changing journey of enlightenment, eager to discover the elusive meaning of life in the four corners of the world. Little by little, the open-minded girl unlocks the secrets of the world, as a seemingly endless parade of unusual characters–including an eccentric drunkard poet; a Mexican gardener; a chaste U.S. Army general; an overzealous surgeon from hell; a filmmaker, and a smug, all-knowing wandering guru–are more than willing to lend a hand. Will Candy’s scandalous journey of sexual awakening bear fruit? Is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?


This film has gained cult status over the years as an adaptation of a controversial Terry Southern novel. That has buck Henry as the screenwriter but even he was challenged by this film.  The film went into production before he could finish the script. Had to keep adapting to avoid problems. 

Will admit never read the books. One can understand the allure of the film. It’s all-star cast making a comedy as most were more dramatic actors. Not to mention making a sex comedy of the new generation in 1968. But as usual when studios get ahold of something challenging and youthful. It seems they take all the cool factor out of it in trying to market it and figure it out and by the time they do make it. It all feels too late and like they are just off 

As exploration satire with little to no sex or nudity. Just implications of it and once there is sloppily edited so that you can barely tell what if anything happened.

The film is an all’s tar extravaganza which is truly it’s Calling card and the only reason why anyone would be interested In watching it. Even though Marlon Brando’s involvement in it as a favor to the director is what got the funding and other stars interested in the first place. Even as most would fully admit it was the worst film they made or appeared in.

The film is stylish and creatively filmed. It’s nice to look at.

The lead played by Ewa Aulin is given nothing to do but look attractive but it comes off as not understandable why she is so desired by all. As she seems to have the intelligence of a 10-year old in which the film seems to want to show innocence. So that throughout the film Offers so any other characters to be more interested in which might be by design. It might also offer how many evils there are in the world out to victimize those trusting innocents and how easy youth was at the time to influences without much research. How they discover just how corrupt and empty those influences are in the end and those who seem to be heroic icons are easily susceptible.

It also works against what the story might be trying to say by making the men who are powerful and yet misogynistic. It shows them as driven only by list as she offers nothing else but beauty to really keep them interested and short changes her as that seems to be the only quality she has even though she is kind of our hero.  

James Coburn gives one of the better performances. As well as John Astin In a dual role it’s obvious he is having fun and relishing the role. Richard Burton has the most entertaining scenes as his character has a constant air about him. As wind seems to always be blowing his hair and clothes like he has a personal wind machine.

The film ends up being Boring and dull as we watch respected actors embarrass themselves 

Personally felt more interested in some of the side characters who were more entertaining played by Anita Pallenberg and Elsa Martinelli. 

The whole motivation of the film was to show how powerful influential men. Who act above it all and are enlightened,  who have the same misogynistic attitude behind closed doors. Only one thing in mind that leads them to ruin or that she is that desirable that she makes men weak and lose it. As they know this certain woman has that power over them so they must conquer.

The material might have been shocking at the time. It’s rather tame now. Though definitely, a time capsule of it’s time. When Hollywood allowed psychedelic free-thinking movies made of climate and culture which was more freewheeling but shows Hollywood in trying to exploit didn’t quite get it and this film feels over the top and indulgent in it’s thinking. Like a bunch of older people trying to look hip. As the film tries to be profound but feels embarrassing and funny in an unintentional way. 

Remember when the film was released on DVD. As it seemed to be a film That was lost, again more a film that seems better remembered for some than experienced it better In Theory and legend rather than once you see it.

It seeks to be artistic and smart it what passed for it at the time. Though comes off as juvenile. 

What is more disturbing is that some of the actors are doing brown face and being culturally inappropriate that certainly is distasteful and raises eyebrows under a current lens. Where Ringo Starr plays a Mexican character and Marlon Brando plays middle eastern not in any way tasteful.

This feels like a case of catching a bunch of well-known actors with their pants down. Choosing to be I in this film for whatever reason, be it a paycheck, a chance to act amongst other big names, trying to appeal to youth, attracted to the star of the film, Whatever. Only here it’s not as funny or entertaining as you hoped, instead it’s just embarrassing.

The film ends like a Fellini film. As all characters come back for a surreal scene and a kid. If reveal that this is all a production 

GRADE: D

2 OR 3 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER (1967)

Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard
Written by Jean-Luc Godard & Catherine Vimenet
Cinematography: Raoul Coutard
Editor: Francoise Collin & Chantal Delattre

Cast: Marina Vlady, Anne Duperey, Roger Montsorat, Raoul levy, Jean Narboni 

In this film, ‘Her’ refers to both Paris, the character of Juliette Janson, and the actress playing her, Marina Vlady. The film is a kind of dramatized documentary, illustrating and exaggerating the emotionless lives of characters in the new Paris of the 60s, where commercialism mocks families getting by on small incomes, where prostitution is a moneyspinning option, and where people are coldly resigned and immune to the human nightmares of Vietnam, and impending Atomic war.


When it comes to the films of Writer-Director Jean Luc Godard you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes you get absolute masterpieces at other times you get films you respect but might not love and then you get his more experimental films that can go either way. Sort of what it seems like Modern director Steven Soderbergh attempts.

Though both of their films can be off-putting for certain audiences. It might feel like most of those cinema comes off as pretentious.

This is one of the later films. Where he fills the film with beautiful women who keep your interest especially in close-ups but then the rest of the film is pretty much philosophical notions and existential discussions that become quite boring and superficial.

Where the genius lies is that he puts all of these speeches and interviews. While following certain characters. So that we examine their day-to-day experiences and living conditions. Then inserts the interviews and discussion. As well as his own whispered narrations asking us to question what we see and ponder them in different ways.

This is pretty much an experimental film all around. At times we see the characters off the wall characteristics. Like reading randomly from a stack of books while a friend writes down what they are quoting. Or a photojournalist dressed in an American flag t-shirt interviewing two women he has paid to undress in front of him while he asks questions and boats of his adventures. 

All of this is indebted to the politics at the time. Which instantly dates the film and radicalizes it to a degree. While trying to add cinematic tricks and observation. That it comes off more like a lesson than an experience.

As even at times the director seems to interview people off the street who we never see. Where the footage becomes a scattershot. Other than showing constant construction.

Which we never see what came before or after.

It/‘a a film that is full of ideas and its heart seeks to be in the right place but to a degree feels empty. Where emotions should be.

The film seems to try and show it’s Characters are used to their lives. So they have no reason to emote or seem like they are seeking to strive or escape. They just deal with the everyday. 

Even with a title that seems like the film will focus on the lead female.  As we try to get to know her and become obsessed with her. Showing her in all her glory. Instead, she is just part of the overall who we occasionally see. Though she is the most constant. 

The film or filmmaker wants us to know certain things about her but also expose her to the audience in all aspects. So that while we might fall for her we also know her. So that here is some kind of relatability but the end. Even if it just feels like a movie of expression wanting to say something yet cramming as much different stuff that connects into the tale and trying to decipher it all. 

Grade: C+

SPUN (2002)

Directed & Edited By: Jonas Akerlund 
Written By: Will De La Santos & Creighton Vero 
Cinematography By: Eric Broms


Cast: Jason Schwartzmen, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Josh Peck, Patrick Fugit, Debbie Harry, China Chow, Charlotte Ayana, Julia Mendoza, Eric Roberts, Nicholas Gonzalez, Larry Drake, Rob Halford, Tony Kaye, Ron Jeremy, Billy Corgan 

A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a ‘speed freak’, to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues.


This film is just a dirty as the characters it portrays it seems to be trying to send the message of drawing you in with the visuals and showing you the life of a tweaker so you can see how pathetic and disgusting the life is but at times it seems to also make some characters mythically cool like the character of the cook played by Mickey Rourke.. 


Worse all the bad things seem to be played more for comedy than anything else like telling a story. I wanted to like the film but only found a few things noteworthy or fascinating.


Like most movies that involve drugs as central to the plot and addicts as most of the main characters, there is a lot of misadventures that you think are going to add up to something like a plot but it ends up the movie doesn’t really have anything to say. 


Sure visually it is great and the cast is likable but they need better material they inhabit the characters but if the characters are just there with nothing to do then it’s just like the life of tweakers a waste.

The movie is directed by Jonas Akerlund who has directed videos for Madonna, He certainly has an eye for visuals but he needs to find material that matches his eye here he doesn’t find it. There seems to be an epidemic with foreign directors when they make American movies they seem to like to direct stories that focus on the underground and the downtrodden there are little joy’s and mostly bleak existences which is there right to do but at least make it dramatic or interesting that would be nice instead of making it seem like a photoshoot with a theme no substance and all deteriorating gloss. 


 There are some really gross scenes like Mena Suvari having a bowel movement or John Leguizamo’s constant masturbating or the castration of Patrick fugit I can understand the need to be shocking with your dark comedy to be noticed and make a statement.

A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a ‘speed freak’, to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues.


it’s just a wasted endeavor here, in fact, the most interesting character is in the movie but really doesn’t do too much and that is Mickey Rourke the movie isn’t all bad it‘s worth a watch but it’s not as good or revolutionary as it thinks it is. 


You get to see The strippers, The dealers, Porn shops, and all the usual taboo material. But for some reason it seems rather tame and not cutting edge. 

The film has a certain hyper stylization in a kind of trash culture. Trying to glamorize it. It’s distracting though while the film tries to offer characterizations to give us in the audience, people to care about and follow. It also uses then and their pathetic was as folly for humor more than anything else.

It also was the beginning of what seems to be Brittany Murphy’s third act where she seemed to play floozies, addicts and simpletons. Ladies who just seemed off. As she is attractive but seems so out of it that you wonder if it is method acting.

As depending when you were introduced to her as an actress. At first she was a child star then she grew up and played supporting characters and then leads that were more romantic comedic or comedic then she changed her look a bit and became more dramatic. Then the third act of her career came in films like THE DEAD GIRL and SIN CITY. If you watched her grow from a Child actress to here. You wondered if this was a new phase in her career or developing a type to play. As she went fro. Cute to sexy to skanky. Though still walking to the best fi her own drummer.


The film was originally intended to be a documentary on Meth Cooks. Instead, they just took the story of a meth addict (Co-Writer Will De La Santos) and his experiences chauffering a meth cook around town in Eugene, Oregan for three days. They just embellished the stories to be more cinematic. 


 GRADE: C-

THE RECRUIT (2003)

Directed By: Roger Donaldson
Written By: Robert Towne, Mitch Glazer & Kurt Wimmer
Cinematography By: Stuart Dryburgh
Editor: David Rosenbloom 

Cast: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Ron Lea, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht

In an era when the country’s first line of defense, intelligence, is more important than ever, this story opens the CIA’s infamous closed doors and gives an insider’s view into the Agency: how trainees are recruited, how they are prepared for the spy game, and what they learn to survive. James Clayton might not have the attitude of a typical recruit, but he is one of the smartest graduating seniors in the country – and he’s just the person that Walter Burke wants in the Agency. James regards the CIA’s mission as an intriguing alternative to an ordinary life, but before he becomes an Ops Officer, James has to survive the Agency’s secret training ground, where green recruits are molded into seasoned veterans. As Burke teaches him the ropes and the rules of the game, James quickly rises through the ranks and falls for Layla, one of his fellow recruits. But just when James starts to question his role and his cat-and-mouse relationship with his mentor… 


The film could have been a good espionage spy film. If it had made any sense. This is one of those films that starts off well then wants to be different than the rest of these types. So that it induces a twist into the plot then another one, Then another one. Soon there are so many double-crosses that you forget who is on whose side. There is no reason to justify any of the double-crosses.

When the film ends it tries to tie everything together in a neat little bow. Hoping you forget all the nonsense that went on before it and just say the plot was all a conspiracy. If the point of all of the confusion was to make the film and characters’ paranoia seem truthful and make the audience question everything then it had achieved what it set out to be. 

Though it is not exciting at all with Basic runoff the mill action sequences. The shameful this is that this movie could have been good. You have a director Roger Donaldson who hasn’t had any luck with Hollywood films (The Getaway) but is actually a skilled director (The Bank Job). 

He shows a great deal of talent with his projects that are independently funded, but here he just makes things look sharp and nice but with no real input. It has the feel of an espionage film and the look. The film just falls short so that you stop caring due to confusion and what ends up not making any sense. 

At first, what is interesting in the film becomes tedious as the movie goes on. Colin Farrell is what I consider his blue period where he made a bunch of Hollywood projects in roles that any actor could have played. He was a struggling actor who was thrust into the limelight and was taking any lead that was offered to him. He has tremendous talent, yet he brings nothing really to the film or role. He is just going through the motions. 

Strangely this film feels outdated watching it now. As it seems to be trying to stay in step with what was cutting edge at the time.

This is especially strange when watching a film meant to be an espionage tale. As usually they are more sharp. Understandably they wanted to fit in with the current trends and technology but in the long run hurt the films future and legacy. Truly making this movie feel all the more disposable.


The shocking thing is that the script was written (And I suspect heavily rewritten) By 3 Highly talented Screenwriters and script doctors. I don’t know what went wrong exactly but other than the clever Kurt Vonnegut references the film is heavily disappointing. 

Al Pacino is clearly having fun as Colin’s Machiavellian mentor who is chewing the scenery left and right with his overacting. Al Pacino has been doing this overacting schtick. So long he has turned it into his own art form. That only he can do. It’s like a one-man show. It used to be just his acting now his hair and all of its different outrageous styles and size are just as distracting. I respect him he is still a good actor who shows the talent we all know he has once in a while.

I guess as he gets older if he knows the project is beneath him or is just really a paycheck. He doesn’t really bother giving it his all he just has fun with it. It just seems like he is damaging his brand, His career is legendary and once you could always give a movie the benefit of the doubt if the film was bad you could rely on his performance being good. Now it is all a wild card. 

 Skip it 

 GRADE: D

THE GHOST WHO WALKS (2019)

Directed By: Cody Stokes
Written By: Cody Stokes & Ben Bostick
Cinematography: Michael Lockridge 

Cast: Garland Scott, Frank Mosley, Alexia Rasmussen, Gil Darnell, Dasha Nekrasova, Nattalyee Randall, Peter Mayer 

After five years in prison, guards lead Nolan to his freedom. But Nolan’s ticket out came courtesy of ratting on his former boss. A death sentence for any man. His goal: find Lena and Amy-his ex and their five-year-old daughter he’s never met-and get them out of the city, to a new life together, before the ghosts of his past can track him down and kill him.


I Hadn’t heard anything about this film and decided to take a chance Was pleasantly surprised. 

This film doesn’t have a cast of well-known actors. Which leaves the audience not necessarily having any expectations. It’s nice to go into certain films blind from time to time. Though makes it more thrilling than anything goes. There are no rules. No one is safe. 

The film is a done and dirty pulp tale of love, escape and revenge. While it doesn’t offer much you haven’t seen before it does hold your interest and wishing the lead character the best.

The film feels like a film that was adapted from a short story or a graphic novel. As there seems to be much more left unsaid or hinted at than shown at times. That gives the audience a hint that the material is deeper than what we are presented with. 

Everyone the main character comes across or comes into contact with and actually helps him. Seems to pay their own price.

The action scenes feel realistic and not too glamorous or showing off. Though oddly they do contain a bit of humor. The only time the film seems to show any.

The film, like the main character, gives it a try and is successful more times than not. Even as the villains feel familiar and one-note, but you can understand most of the character’s points of view and motivations.

The film is impressively done with a more limited budget. What is achieved is good even in the middle of the film’s Limitations and of him, bonding with others helps the film feel more earnest at times. As it takes time to build moments and characters. 

Though familiar the film never feels monotonous. Though it is a dark and bleak tale as by the end it truly shows itself to be a tragedy. 

Grade: C+