X-MEN (2000)

Directed By: Bryan Singer
Story By: Tom DeSanto & Bryan Singer
Written By: David Hayter 
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel
Editor: Kevin Stitt, John Wright & Steven Rosenblum 

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Bruce Davison, Tyler Mane, Ray Park, 

In a world where mutants (evolved super-powered humans) exist and are discriminated against, two groups form for an inevitable clash: the supremacist Brotherhood, and the pacifist X-Men.


While it was one of the first Marvel movies and one of the bigger superhero series of films to come to the big screen. It seems like it is more remembered as the arrival of -actor Hugh Jackman as a leading man. As in the role he was rebellious and full of charm And swagger. Which pretty much saves the film. As he is also our guide into the world of the film. Even after being introduced ways in.

The film has plenty of special effects which are expected, but strangely feels bland not only now but even when seeing it in the theater after its opening weekend.

At first, I was a bit put off by grown adults running around in costumes. Thinking it would look silly. Sort of like a professional wrestler dressing the same In Real life and that being their personality. Luckily here it is more modern, stylish and leather. So not as bad as one might think.

Other than Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart is good in the film. The other scene stealers are Rebecca Romijn and the always excellent Ian McKellen.

As one of the first of its kind before the superhero movie boom took effect. Which this film is responsible for. It was exciting watching this film. As there are some expectations but also the feeling that the sky’s The limit. So you are ready for whatever it wants to throw. Here it is fantasy but also a harsh dose of reality. 

Anna Paquin as Rogue is at the center of the film. Though other than the opening the character and performance go more into the background. More as a damsel in distress and comes off as boring (a fate that would last throughout the franchise of the movies she appeared in) 

She Is supposed to Have this grand peer that in later films makes better characters and even here the villains are after badly. Then turn her more into an afterthought. Especially in comparison to the other films.

This is why Hugh Jackman’s character introduction into the mutant world being also the audience works better. Also as he doesn’t seem to be as ashamed of himself.

The film seems like director Bryan Singer was a little bit over his head and out of his element. As he was trying to create this fantastic world and bring it into reality but also on a certain budget. That would be doubled if not tripled in today’s film market. So the film at times feels like there is some cost cutting. When certain scenes feel like they should be more open and extravagant. This might be why the film feels like it never achieves a grandiosity you hope for, the later films filled in and that was more what they were all about. 

Bryan Singer usually has a cold and distant directing style that is more clinical. Which doesn’t always match the material here. As it is more a comic book film comes to life. Made more for adults, but it also seems drained of much fun and humor. Not to mention cramming a lot into one film.

Look at the character of sabretooth wolverine’s nemesis in the comic books. He is dealt with and almost soon forgotten. Treated more like an ineffectual henchman.

Other than magneto and mystique goes for the rest of the villains. Who never comes across as any true threat. Just more like distractions.

The film isn’t as grand or spectacular as you would think a film of this magnitude should be.

It’s strange Director Bryan Singer when he started his career made vivid thrillers and dramas that were filled with good performances and creepy nature. That seems to have avoided those types of films. Which of anything tended to show his strengths.

Then he started more to make big budgeted special effects loaded fantasy films that while good to passable show more of his weaknesses

As a director, he brings a certain prestige to his films, and maybe as a director who is distant and ambiguous that works. Especially when your film is more about special effects than characters and acting. 

Here He seems to try and mix the two which ends up not working as elegantly as hoped for. As a director, you are required to have a much more sly hand. Which isn’t here. As he never builds the characters before the effects. Here it seems the reverse.

Not to mention all the personal controversy he has had more recently. 

GRADE: C+

JEFF OF THE CINEFILES & UNFINISHED BUSINESS: HALL OF FAME – FILE #0069 – D.A.R.Y.L. (1985)

Directed By: Simon Wincer 
Written By: David Ambrose, Allan Scott & Jeffrey Ellis 
Cinematography: Frank Watts 

Cast: Barret Oliver, Mary Beth Hurt, Michael McKean, Danny Corkill, Amy Linker, Kathryn Walker, Colleen Camp, Josef Sommer, Ron Frazier, Steve Ryan, Hardy Rawls 

A young boy is found wandering without any memory of who he is. A family takes him in and begin to look for clues to help him find his way home. In the meantime, they notice that the boy seems to have certain special abilities, not usually found in kids his age, or even fully-grown adults.


This film is a hidden gem. One that has a special place with me. It immediately takes me to a special place. Some might call it nostalgia, but some might call it a breakthrough 

I will admit this is a film I loved when I was a kid and watched quite a bit with the film CLOAK & DAGGER. I am quite glad it still holds up.

This was the film that introduced me to how great Michael McKeon is as an actor. While watching this film I admired his performance. as he reminded me of mine. 

As this film is more of a family film but it is also a science fiction film that doesn’t talk down to the audience. As it involves technology that is advanced and comes off a bit like wishful thinking or a fantasy, it still feels plausible.

Even as it seems much more aimed at a younger audience. It has a story and characters that any member of the family or any age can identify with. 

Though not an Amblin movie it feels like one as it has wish-fulfillment galore throughout including an ending where a kid flies a jet. It also doesn’t talk down to kids. It’s not goofy or stupid at all and shows children being natural having Adventures making mistakes and even being in danger. Keep in mind this was made in the 1980s so even for a family film it has some course yet innocent use of language. 

While the film is science fiction it doesn’t drag The film down into it. The film here is more about emotions and being human. All that is decent and good. Of course, the military comes off as the villains to a certain degree and the scientists slowly learn to have hearts with their inventions and discovery. 

I will admit to a small bias as this film to me is charming as hell and as it goes along with Daryl learning and getting used to his surroundings. While gathering information and forming emotions. We are kind of brought into that world and learn as he learns. Even though we already know some things.

It also gives plenty of time and scenes to the adults of the film and their reactions to him and his behavior. How it feels at times to deal with a kid who comes across as too perfect that he doesn’t even seem to need them or seems more advanced and emotionally distant from them. 

Though the film does include the usual kid hijinks and mistakes of turn of phrases and blurting out information and secrets at the wrong time. 

It also seems partially an allegory though maybe not meant. A kind of film for children who are autistic or feel that way. Also, a film That tries to dramatize what it might feel like to be a parent of one.

Grade: A

OLD (2021)

Written for the screen & Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Based on the graphic Novel “SANDCASTLE” By Pierre-Oscar Levy & Fredrik Peters
Cinematography: Michael Gioulakis
Editor: Brett M. Reed 

Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krepis, Rufus Sewell, Abbey Lee, Ken Leung, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Eliza Scanlen, Embeth Daviditz, Aaron Pierre 

A vacationing family discovers that the secluded beach where they’re relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day. 


I can admit lately M Night Shyamalan is a filmmaker who has gotten more interesting with age. I loved UNBREAKABLE but was never really hooked by any of his other films until THE VISIT came around and truly left me transfixed.

This is a movie that is good entertainment even though its story night feels far-fetched for some. Keep in mind this is a movie meant to enjoy and keep your interest. As the film goes along it manages to do that with some shocks, twists, and turns. 

The exotic locale is one of His first films set outside of Philadelphia, his hometown even if the main character’s family is from there. Even if filmed during the pandemic this is the perfect film for watching as it seems inspired by it. Even if this film is based on a graphic novel written years before.

The film is an ensemble even though we mainly follow one family: the parents and kids. How they are changing and reacting and we see others change also. Even though the title and trailers give away the major plot. This is a good film to go in and discover.

As yes there are some over-the-top elements and some do unintentional camp which seems to be something of a regular occurrence in his films. 

This film seems inspired as an either overlong TWILIGHT ZONE episode, a less technical BLACK MIRROR or inspired by LOST. The later of which really hits home with a similar cast member Ken Leung 

Abby Lee’s character seems to always have the worst fate in movies she is in. As she has the most memorable scene in this film that is done with special effects and similarly in NEON DEMON. She has scenes of grotesque violence. She is a sight to see here and comes back hard later in the film. In one of the most truly terrifying scenes. 

As an ensemble, you can already pick who is most likely to be the off-centered crazy one eventually. Just as you can usually predict who will be the victims. The only mystery is when and how. Which might be why most of the cast seems to be foreign actors as too many recognizable names and faces would only leave us to guess more. Whereas here the actors mostly come with no baggage. 

The math of aging doesn’t always seem to match up, but the actors’ performances are always believable and heartfelt. 

There are certain aspects that are easy to predict but the film does offer what seem to be what some might expect exclusively from writer/Director Shamalayan: a twist and a certain darkness. Though I must say that as dark as his material can get there is usually an uplifting ending or an element of one for the characters in the long run.

The ending offers a good explanation that could easily have been something that most could see happening. 

This movie is best viewed without any expectations. Shyamalan’s style is very smooth when it comes to framing, Camerawork, and presentation. Over the years he has maintained twists but they seem less forced and expected. They now feel more natural with the rest of the film. Not necessarily hinging on it as in the past. As his films feel more than that these days. They feel more well-rounded.

By the end this feels like a fun guilty pleasure filled with chills.

Grade: C+

STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997)

Directed By: Paul Verhoeven 
Written By: Ed Neumeier 
Based on the book by: Robert A. Heinlein 
Cinematography: Jost Vacano 
Editor: Mark Goldblatt & Caroline Ross 

Cast: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Clancy Brown, Jake Busey, Michael Ironside, Neil Patrick Harris, Seth Gilliam, Patrick Muldoon, Dean Norris, Rue McClanahan, Marshall Bell, Matt Levin, Brenda Strong, Amy Smart, Greg Travis, Dale Dye

In the distant future, high school kids are encouraged to become citizens by joining the military. What they don’t know is that they’ll soon be engaged in a full-scale war against a planet of alien insects. The fight is on to ensure the safety of humanity.


a film about and presented in parts as a war propaganda epic, but it’s also an out-and-out war film. As well as a melodrama that all feels like a video game. As it also has a science fiction element.

This is an epic war film that focuses more on the battlefield and action than anything else. It ultimately becomes a satire on war films. 

The film follows a group of high school students who sign up for military service for various reasons though the love triangle introduced at the beginning seems to show that each of them signed up to follow the other. These will be the ones we mostly stay with throughout. So that it has a coming of age and mildly romantic element. Which is the only time the film has any sweet moments.

Most of the characters come from Buenos Aires and are mostly caucasian. As the story goes along we are introduced to various characters most of them look straight out of a soap opera and are visually appealing. Which only strengthens when it comes to melodrama. It also clues you into who will most likely survive.

Even though the film does throw in plenty of surprises it also serves up plenty of cliches it manages to also throw in some ridiculous measures of subversion. Like seeing Neil Patrick Harris famous at the time mroe for playing teen doctor DOOGIE HOWSER on television. As a high-ranking military scientist and strategist prone to wearing German SS army gear as a uniform without any swastikas and when the main character of Johnny Rico is punished for insubordination, his punishment is to get whipped and he is punished when applying the whipping is an African American man. 

The film is hyper-violent and gory. Even the boot camp scenes manage to have death and plenty of violence. 

Once the battle begins we see the soldiers fight off against the deadly enemies bigs that’s right the enemy is giant insects. So that when there is violence against the enemy there is carnage but mostly goo rather than blood. Only when Humans are killed is there really bloody gore. 

When it comes to the style scenes grand and small there is so much action in battles and in casualties that is where it more feels like a video game other than in the premise. So while not based on one this is an early example of what a movie based on a video game should feel like. Before, where they feel like they could easily interchange. 

The film knows that this is pretty much a campy big-budget B-Movie that doesn’t take itself deadly seriously. It knows what it is and offers the audience thrills and chills, but knows it is there more to entertain over all else. 

It knows how far-fetched the premise is but makes you care and get involved anyway. It has breaks of propaganda where it shows news reports, commercials, and ad campaigns that are all overacted. Which not only like Director Paul Verhoven’s previous film ROBOCOP satirizes but also manages to world build and give background information of how this war is affecting all aspects of life on the battlefield.

The film is hard-edged and dark throughout. Even when it comes to its humor. 

It’s obviously a film that could only be made at the time it was. As it asks us to watch a war film that doesn’t really have any political agenda and is more born out of entertainment than being too serious and to show off special effects but not make it overbearing and what the film focuses on.

This is a film that at times is easy to forget about but feels like a film of a different time. It’s a film where you won’t forget the first time you see it and it might come off as silly at first but the more you think about it the more Impressed you are by it 

Even though most of his films have been wild and structured. This film seems to be one of the bigger films of Director Paul Verhoeven’s career where he seeks to go more full balls to the wall. Rather than trying to be too subtle or create a more intimate atmosphere. While not necessarily a classic along the lines of TOTAL RECALL or ROBOCOP which he directed. He doesn’t embarrass himself or shows any restraint even as this comes off as one of his more mainstream and crowd-pleasing films. 

As I will admit when I first saw it in theaters I felt it was ridiculous but kept me entertained. 

That seems to be more for a blockbuster audience and not so much the artistic crowd. 

Grade: B

SPECIES (1995)

Directed By: Roger Donaldson
Written By Dennis Feldman 
Cinematography: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Editor: Conrad Buff

Cast: Natasha Henstridge, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Forest Whitaker, Alfred Molina, Marg Helgenberger, Michelle Williams 

In 1993, during a search for extraterrestrial life, a transmission was received, detailing an alien DNA structure, along with instructions on how to splice it with human DNA. The result is Sil, a sensual but deadly creature who can change from a beautiful woman to an armor-plated killing machine in the blink of an eye. Government agent Xavier Fitch assembles a team of scientists and mercenaries to locate and destroy Sil before she manages to find a mate and breed.


This film is one that might take you by surprise at how enjoyable it is.

One of the few times Michael Madsen has been the good guy but also essentially playing the hero. A kind of romantic one 

This is the movie that I believe started all the police procedural such as CSI were to solve the case was seen as a team effort and we saw how much each team member’s work helps to solve the crime that the star will get full credit for as the leader. Ironically one of the stars of CSI co-Stars in this film.

We get to learn about each member of the team and they each get their chance to shine some less triumphantly. Though forest Whitaker’s character is the one who has more of a psychic link with her. Which bumps his character up as much more needed in scenes. Madsen is the leader but mostly the action hero in this scenario. 

Ben Kingsley is the boss who gets them all together but can’t be trusted as every decision seems shady for the rest of them.

Essentially making this more an ensemble movie, with a cast of well-known character actors, but majorly focused on the alien played in a glamorous debut by Natasha Henstridge. As she tries to find a mate to procreate and inhabit the earth.

So it’s like a fantasy turned nightmare scenario. Whereas most films find this plot more through horror. This film also goes the sci-for horror route but also leaves room for fantasy. As in most films it is finding a mate or person and using them but maybe getting caught or the person dies before the process can happen. Here most of the men she encounters unfortunately are not good enough or don’t have the goods for what she needs.

This film has its fair share of tension and action to keep you interested and it has an alien character designed by H.R. Giger who created the alien Look for ALIEN 

The film has its fair share of exciting action and chase scenes but also leaves room for there to also be a bit of horror throughout. This alien is like a slasher but only truly kills when she is threatened in defense. 

Followed by an inferior sequel that just changes the sex around and seems crueler and oddly like they had less money which never comes as close to fun as this film has at least for the audience. 

This is an original and enjoyable action Science fiction movie. They don’t feel like a carbon copy. One which I saw In The theaters and made a huge impression on me. The film is never boring and keeps you entertained and interested. 

Only wish Natasha Henstridge got roles just as good as this one again. Even though her character is in the end a villain. You do care about her character and root for her a bit. No matter what her actions, plus at times she comes across as innocent snd shows some kind of humanity before she becomes more of a predator. 

Grade: B

ROBOCOP (2014)

Directed By: Jose Padilha
Written By: Joshua Zetumer
Based On The Original 1987 Screenplay By: Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner Cinematography By: Lula Carvalho
Editor: Peter McNulty & Daniel Rezende

Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Michael K. Williams, Jay Baruchel, Jackie Earle Haley, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Ehle, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Aimee Garcia

In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years – and it’s meant billions for OmniCorp’s bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.


Though a sanitized version of the original. This film retains some of the original aspects of the film. While managing to care about its own identity that is somewhat noteworthy and is better at being a reboot than something like TOTAL RECALL which tried too hard to be a virtual remake with all the greatest hits they try to change it around.

The film tries to be somewhat satirical with a lot less bite. It is strangely more on point and cynical though takes the time to explain as feels more Of the time whereas the original always felt futuristic.

The film allows the director Jose Padilha (ELITE SQUAD) to keep his hand-held style of filming and guerrilla, you are their filmmaking skills.

The original ROBOCOP was more memorable as it looked accomplished for a film with such a low budget. In this film, you see the big-budget onscreen. No one essentially embarrasses themselves. The film just feels basic by the end. Nothing really to give it an identity or make it memorable. Especially when it already has so many naysayers against It just for being made as the film is still relevant and remembered. At least this film tries to be an honest reboot.

The changes really hammer home some points. The revealing scene of what is left of him is really a gripping scene aided by impressive special effects.

The film is more excessive in price and scope than the original which was more excessive In Behavior, violence, and action. Now of course the studio wants the film to appeal to broader demographics. So it is softened torn a hard R to a pg-13 rating aim end more at a younger audience.
Director Jose Padilha and actor Joel Kinnaman fought hard for an R rating, but due to the ever-expanding budget, which went from a modest $60 million budget and ballooned to a $120 million budget, studio executives were forced to deliver a PG-13 rating in hopes to recoup the budget they had spent on the film. Throughout the course of filming, studio executives kept a close eye on Padilha, making sure he was going to deliver a PG-13 rating. At least this film comes off as more questioning the ethics of the situation. Which is either modern-day or futures

This version of ROBOCOP feels more like a comic book version that would have been understandable for popularity amongst kids in the 80’s. Whereas the original first two films from the ’80s were seen by a generation who were probably too young to see the film and despite its rating still managed to become an iconic hero mostly to kids. While being so jetted I gross violence on screen. Featuring drugs and having a more graphic satirical cynical nature.

I love the original I was one of those who saw the film way too young and loved it. Though didn’t understand it 100%, not the ramifications of what I was exactly seeing. Nick Schenk and James Vanderbilt are among the few uncredited writers who have entirely rewritten Joshua Zetumer’s screenplay.

The satire tries for reaching reactions but brings up a subject we already know to showcase. Though his is all comparative and goes against the film leaving its own identity barren as it is always being compared to its original or a similar film. Like MEMENTO and THE SALTON SEA have similar storylines through different points, direction and showcases its own story and plot in different ways

The film feels more like a video game at times but is kept realistically vivid.

It’s nice when a film manages to surprise you and is much better in quality than it was suspected and I can admit when I was wrong on the first impression. Someone’s the same can be said about people…even me.

Like MINORITY REPORT it is part of the idea that this new technology is good for keeping statistics down a bit at what cost.

Watching ROBOCOP remade and marketed as a machine feels a bit like behind the scenes of how maybe the film was made itself very meta.

I found it interesting how he is seen as a club or in the original design. Though once the new design comes into play the film moves up and a new identity takes off. That the film begins to suffer. The action scenes aren’t anything special and feel basic. Losing the part of the personality a measurement the audience came specifically to see.

I can see why the well-regarded cast chooses to be in the film. Especially Michael Keaton who makes an interesting return to form.

Jackie Earl Haley hilarious in his role wish there was more of him in the film. Other than a small role and a return towards the end.

Gary Oldman has his own Doctor Frankenstein type role starts off the film innocent, but finds himself falling in line with his employers as they give him more than he can ever want and interested to see how his invention plays out and reacts. Which also informs the audience. Though it is nice to see the original film batman in scenes with the reboots Commissioner Jim Gordon

Samuel l. Jackson’s role in this film feels like a more well spoken. J. Jonah Jameson from SPIDER-MAN for this franchise.

Interesting angle as we watch Alex Murphy not only deal with his new life change but also as he pieces together his own murder. Doesn’t seem to be as grand a plan as more random.

There is also a revenge plot that is dropped then brought up and then passes to the side as simple. For bigger machinations. Though leaves no closure as to the details.

Then there is a character change that you kind of know is coming. Though still feels strange once it happens, Once the villain is revealed. A villain more of morals I guess more than actual acts, but supervised to a degree and gave the go-ahead. It gets a little false and generalized not the individual but more what he represents and his ideas.

It tries to impart thy everyone has a price, only those who are truly brave and honest don’t

While they were successful in the making of the film and can understand why the project was greenlit. It would have been great if the film just wasn’t ROBOCOP. And was just an action film under a new name and characters. Redesigning the suit to be more updated and flexible doesn’t help. Though that point is handled well in the film as both an homage and representation. After having his time goes back to the original model. The same we in the audience have known.

I can admit I wondered I they made a sequel where would it head.

GRADE: C+

TURKEY SHOOT (1982) (ESCAPE 2000) (BLOOD CAMP THATCHER)

Directed By: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Written By: Jon George & Neill Hicks 
Story By: Robert Williams, David Lawrence & George Schenck 
Cinematography: John McLean
Editor: Alan Lake

Cast: Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig, Carmen Duncan, Noel Ferrier, Lynda Stoner, Roger Ward, Michael Petrovitch, Gus Mercurio, John Ley 

In a dystopian future where deviants are held in “re-education” camps, a freedom fighter and a wrongfully-accused prisoner form an alliance to survive their decadent oppressors’ game of kill-or-be-killed – and turn the tide against them.


This is pure Ozploitation a prime example of the cinematic style and genre.

This is a B-Movie that strikes the right tone. As it is ridiculous and explosive but stays inventive and entertaining. 

Some might even watch this movie and can see it as an early version of the film THE RUNNING MAN 

This is a film that makes clear from the beginning who will not likely be the victims. 

The film seems to try to build up a sexiness for a female character but never quite follows through. Never giving her any character and is eliminated without a thought especially when it seems the female warden has a special interest in Her, more than any of the males.

Most of the wardens are actually more interesting and fun than the prisoners.

One of the evil wardens doesn’t even seem like he was really capable of doing any real hunting, physically. 

This film is one of the few times seeing Olivia Hussey in a film and as the lead. She is quite beautiful as the most innocent of the bunch. Which helps her to get the audience’s biggest sympathies throughout.

There are times when the film goes over the top in many fun ways. When it comes to the action, violence, and character but it also travels into the ridiculous. Like when it comes to the strange animal wolf-human character. 

The bald guard who aids the warden thought he was going to be a bigger adversary for the prisoners if he ends up barely being a Challenge. As the film seems to set him up at first as more of the main villain than just a right-hand man. 

This movie is never truly slow or boring. Though is continuously violent and ridiculous that you can’t help but have a fun time watching 

GRADE: B+

COWBOYS & ALIENS (2011)

Directed By: Jon Favreau 
Written By: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby 
Story By: Steve Oedekerk, Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby 
Based On The Graphic Novel By: Scott Mitchell Rosenberg 
Cinematography By: Matthew Labitque 
Editor: Dan Lebantal, Jim May 

Cast: Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Paul Dano, Adam Beach, Clancy Brown, Sam Rockwell, Abigail Spencer, Ana de la reguera, Toby Huss, David Carradine, Walton Goggins


The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde. It’s a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been 


This film you get exactly what you would expect from the title. A fun filled action extravaganza. That delivers the thrills. It is the very definition of a popcorn movie. It’s big loud and dumb and passes the time in a entertaining way. Impressive considering how much of a disaster it could have ended up being. It’s competently directed. Instead of feeling like it is based on a popular graphic novel. The film plays out instead more like a video game adaptation with familiar clichéd stories of proving yourself.


The effects certainly make the film lead that way and half the time it feels like you are playing a video game while watching it. The film feels overblown and just a genre mash-up with little other reason for its creation or to exist.

Strangely for such a big extravaganza it also oddly feels rushed.
 

This is the first time I have really seen Daniel Craig as a true lead and action star. He brings the Tall dark and quiet qualities that the led character of this film needs. He reminds you of a later day Steve McQueen. Craig is Mysterious dangerous and moral to a point.

Harrison Ford is nice to see giving a supporting performance. Rather then a lead one. It gives him a chance to play a character. Not an icon or heroic lead. It gives him more of a flavor then the vanilla he usually plays.  Olivia Wilde while very beautiful and nice to look at has a role that makes no sense.
 

Paul Dano is a good actor. Who I am starting to get annoyed with always playing the dweeb characters. Certain actors have their schtick when playing characters. As this seems to be his in particular usually in big-budget movie supporting roles. While he has an odd look, He is certainly better then the roles he plays. look at TAKING LIVES he is dangerous in. In THERE WILL BE BLOOD he holds his own against Daniel Day-Lewis of all people.  

Wait for Cable

 
 GRADE: C

THE ONE (2001)

Directed By: James Wong 
Written By: James Wong &Glen Morgan 
Cinematography By: Robert McLachlan 
Editor: James Coblentz 


Cast: Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo, Jason Statham, Dylan Bruno, James Morrisson, Dean Norris 


This movie postulates what if there is more than one universe. And that all of these universes are held together by one single stream of energy and that energy is equally distributed to every living in each universe and if one of these beings die, that energy is reallocated equally to each other surviving member. And with each allocation, a person becomes stronger. Now one universe has master the ability of crossing into another universe, and a man named Shulaw who believes that if he can kill all of his counterparts, he will become invincible, but there are those who believe that it might have detrimental effects, so try and stop him. Unfortunately, he just has one more person to kill, Gabe Law, but the officers follow Shulaw but Shulaw has committed some crimes and Gabe is accused and is wanted. But Gabe discovers that he has changed and only wants to kill Shulaw not realizing what could happen.

Even for experienced writer-directors James Wong and Glenn Morgan who were also showrunners for THE X-FILES, this film feels especially weak for a science-fiction tale though I realize it is more action. That element could have been played up more. I am not even blaming the lackluster effects. It’s just that everything about this film feels uninspired.
This is a film I have seen beige and pretty much forgotten about until I re-watched it recently and all the old feelings and impressions came rushing back.

It feels uninspired though it takes elements from a bunch of different sci-fi films it never settles to use any of those inspirations to come up with spent anything different and original. I can accept that.

It also seems like a film where the directors were either fans or in awe of the star of the film Jet-Li and seem to just hang back on film ad let him do what he does best. Which would be fine of hey a least set him up with scenes that were somewhat Interesting and set up the action so that we can be amazed by his skills.

For the martial arts aficionados: Jet Li uses two distinct kung fu styles when portraying Gabe and Yulaw. The evil Yulaw uses Xingyi Quan, or “Mind-Form Fist” (loosely translated). As can be seen, when he is training, it is a very linear, offensive style. Gabe on the other hand practices Bagua Zhang, or the “Eight Trigrams Palm”. It is characterized by open palm fighting, with circular footwork. Both styles are two of the three main “internal” styles of Chinese kung fu – the third being Taiji Quan (Tai Chi).

The film LETHAL WEAPON 4 did it and look at how. Underwhelming that film was. He only played a supporting part and amazed audiences with his martial arts skills so much that soon after he was making film after film in the United States though he Barry spoke any English and most of those films while disappointing at least knew how to use him to his advantage and have at least one memorable scene with him.

This is a shame as Jet-li never really found his niche in America sure he starred In many American films though he never found a project that really defined him nor pinpointed his skills. None were truly showcases or even highlights. They all looked kind of like bargain-basement productions and paired him with a musician of some kind. They also seemed more to advertise him to more of an urban audience. (CRADLE TO THE GRAVE, ROMEO MUST DIE) Though usually, the films were multiracial. Though the films he made just as always from overseas were usually excellent to passable (HERO, FEARLESS)

This film feels like it could have been written for any action star. To use their skills in the role only here it happened to be martial arts. Truly this could have started anyone that is how much the lead character and the villain have no real personality or general-purpose other than to fill out their roles and work within the mechanics of the film.

When Dwayne Johnson’s’ The Rock’ was attached to a star, this film was known as The Rock Movie. When he left to work on THE MUMMY RETURNS, it was listed for a short while as Untitled Sci-Fi Project, and when Jet Li came aboard, it became The One. Now I will admit I can be a snob and at times hard on the action, that might be because growing up with action films I grew used to them and I just can’t take the run of the mill. There must be something special or some kind of passion about the film for me I appreciate it. Even of the film is lackluster there must be something in it even iconic that might bring me memories of yesteryear ones. This one though truly feels like a waste of time and talent. That seemed doomed from the beginning.

Skip it

 Grade: F

THE UNTAMED (2016)

Directed By: Amat Escalante 
Written By: Amat Escalante & Gibran Portela 
Cinematography: Manuel Alberto Claro
Editor: Fernanda De La Peza & Jacob Secger Schulsinger 

Cast: Ruth Ramos, Simone Bucio, Jesus Meza, Eden Villavicencio, Oscar Escalante, Bernarda Trueba 


It’s a film that has to be seen to be believed. Though you are impressed with what it pulls off.

The film is told more visually than through dialogue. Letting the images tell the story, makes it feel not only more cinematic but makes the material feel more enriched and an experience for the audience.

A story of connection and a kind of love rectangle.  As separate stories eventually converge. That is simple in its own way. Only enhances with a fantasy element.

That involves a dysfunctional family drama element. 

The film is highly erotic and very sexual. So much so that there is even a brief scene of an animal orgy (with other animals, no Beastiality) 

For instance, The opening scene is a sex scene that sets off the tale abs looks like it could have come from. Numerous hentai anime. As the film itself could be lazily described as live-action hentai porn with a plot. This film focuses more on characters in a domestic drama and the stories of how they end up meeting this monster more graphically.

As every character here has a secret though it comes across more like a fantasy, with the monster lurking inside that brings pleasure and pain. But don’t tell anyone about never revealing true selves. As the monster could easily be a physical manifestation of their secrets that are eating them up inside but brings momentary happiness but ultimately is destructive. Though at least by the end they all find and show their real selves. 

Some get by in life, some are a slave to their addictions and end up victims. Some of their strength at times of tragedy. 

It’s a little bizarre that there is not much of the monster. So if you come to this movie expecting that you will be disappointed. This is more like a science fiction novel where the stories come first. Usually are a parable that uses the science fiction element to make it grander. This is ultimately an empowerment story with a final girl of sorts. 

This isn’t a film you will easily forget. 

Grade: B