Willing Suspension of Disbelief

Movie reviews from someone who loves movies

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Spy Who Loved Me

Plot


James Bond infiltrates the headquarters of the bad guy and wins.

The Good


Watchability


This is a watchable movie. (+1) Many parts of it are exciting enough to not want to stop the movie in midstream. (+1) The movie, the actors, and the special effects were all done very competently (albeit a bit dated now). (+1)

Story Line


The story line makes sense once you accept the premise of a near-super secret agent. There is a mad scientist who wants the US and the USSR to go to war with each other in order to destroy human society, so, he kidnaps both countries’ nuclear submarines and points the nukes at each others’ major cities. (+1)

Acting


The actors in this are good. Roger Moore does a passable job as 007. He is less mean, and more humorous. Barbara Bach is pretty, but seems out of place as a secret agent. Curd Jurgens just walks through the set, and he can phone in his lines, and he appears to act more than anyone else. (+1) In addition, again much of the scenery is just splendid. The Bond director got a lot of the humor just right. It offsets the violence and tension. (+1)

The Bad


All of the sex in this movie is gratuitous. I know that we’ve come to expect Bond to have sex with every girl that breathes, but, there is no reason to show anything but the after affects. (-1)
There is a fair amount of violence in this movie. Anything truly gory happens offscreen, but there are many fights and chase scenes, some of which don’t move the story along. (-1)

The Ugly


4: Time Well Spent.

You Only Live Twice

Plot


James Bond infiltrates the headquarters of the bad guy and wins.

The Good


Watchability


This is a watchable movie. (+1) Many parts of it are exciting enough to not want to stop the movie in midstream. (+1) The movie, the actors, and the special effects were all done very competently (albeit a bit dated now). (+1)

Story Line


The story line makes sense once you accept the premise of a near-super secret agent. There is a mad scientist who wants the US and the USSR to go to war with each other, so, he kidnaps both countries’ space craft. (+1)

Acting


The actors in this are just terrific. Sean Connery and Donald Pleasence head the cast, and other than the girls who all they need do is look sexy, each of the others makes an effort. (+1) In addition, again much of the scenery is just splendid.

The Bad


All of the sex in this movie is gratuitous. I know that we’ve come to expect Bond to have sex with every girl that breathes, but, there is no reason to show anything but the after affects. (-1)
There is a fair amount of violence in this movie. Anything truly gory happens offscreen, but there are many fights and chase scenes, some of which don’t move the story along. (-1)

The Ugly


3: If you've nothing better to do.

Live Feed

Plot


Young adults have sex, get killed.

The Good


Watchability


This is a barely watchable movie (+0). It was actually difficult to sit through the whole thing. If you are into gratuitous gore and sex, it is watchable, otherwise, rent something else. The director used no CGI for the gore effects, but did everything old-school, and it looks like it. Ridiculous fountains of blood and obviously choreographed fights.

Story Line


The story line makes no sense at all. College kids are in an oriental area. Four have serious personality flaws, and one does not. After seeing some gory butchering of a dog (for food), they go into a porno theater. A random asian fellow befriends them. It turns out he is the brother of a policeman killed by the owner of the porno theater. Everyone gets killed off except for the good girl, her bad boyfriend, and the brother of the cop. Way too many coincidences for any kind of story line.

Acting


The actors in this look too much like high-school actors. Over-emoting lines, but showing no true emotion. Oh well, it’s a bloodfest, not theater.

The Bad


All of the sex in this movie is gratuitous. There is no reason for a stripper, no reason for it being in a porno theater, no reason for sex between partners, and no reason for sex between non-partners. (-1)
There is a tremendous amount of violence. The violence occurs onscreen, but does not move the plot along at all, except for the beating of the cop. All the rest is pointless and only there to show off the expertise of the special effects person. (-1)

The Ugly


-2: Don’t Waste Your Time.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Slayer

Plot


South American vampire tribe is destroyed by American GI

The Good


Watchability


This is a relatively watchable movie (+1). After watching UKM: Ultimate Killing Machine, this one looks good, in comparison. There are no obvious technical gaffes, although the vampiric teeth look odd. (+1)

Story Line


The story line makes no sense. Let's see. An American GI fights vampires. Comes back to the states and is rehabilitated for seeing... Vampires. His commanding officer is the aunt of his ex-wife. Who happens to be doing some research on the biodiversity of the South American area where the vampires are. Huh! Don't pile on too many coincidences. Who cares about the head vampire? Or, his daughter? Or, any one in this film? The only originality in this is that most of the myths about vampires (allergic to crosses and garlic, can't come out in the day, etc.) are wrong. But, they can't be killed except by beheading or a wood wound in the heart. Yeah, right. It's obvious they just didn't want to film a dark movie, since this is a made for TV film.

Acting


It would have been nice for the viewer, if they had hired some actors. Oh, they've got Lynda Carter (TV's Wonder Woman), and a big, black dude with a tremendously deep voice, who snarls appropriately in order to show off his vampire teeth prostetics. But, otherwise, you would never know they had actually paid people to read these lines.

The Bad


There is more than enough fight scenes, and some vampire-biting-neck blood, but no real violence.

The Ugly


+2: If you've got nothing better to do.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

UKM: The Ultimate Killing Machine

Plot


Mad scientist does illegal experiments for military on unsuspecting army recruits.

The Good


Watchability


This is a barely watchable movie (+0). The viewer has a choice. Watch this mess til the end, or give up. Trust me, give up. The military acts like no military anywhere. The military facility is unlike any anywhere. It is just bad.

Story Line


The story line might, almost make sense. Some major (!) in the military is running a rogue experimental site where they are doing human experiments. All of his support staff are privates. What!?!? They keep around a failed experiment. But, there is a failsafe to destroy the building. Oh, the experiment enhances the adrenalin levels of the test subjects – and it makes them horny. There is some intentional humor, and Michael Madsen deadpans some of the better throwaway lines. (+1/2)

Acting


Michael Madsen is the best-known actor in this movie. If he could act, then he might have been willing to try to breathe some life into this movie. But, he cannot. He was perfect for Kill Bill, Vol 2. But, that is the only character he, apparently, has the ability to portray.

The rest of the cast goes through the motions on this one. In particular, Erin Mackinnon, as Carrie, does a good job of changing from a shy runaway to a vicious predator. (+1/2)

The Bad


Is there some book that helps directors find bad plots. In this movie, the military comes off as incompetent, immoral, illegal, and otherwise stupid. (-1)

There is a fair amount of violence. The actual violence occurs offscreen, but there is plenty of blood splatterage and special effects dead bodies (including a headless body and its head and a faceless body and its face.) Most of the violence is just there to lend credence to the monster being a threat. But, the monster is not scary. So, the only way to make him a threat is to have him leave a gross mess in the hallway. (-1/2)

There is one scene where sex is used to promote the story line. Thankfully, most of the graphic part is edited out. The viewer knows sex occurred. But, the only reason to make the four experimental subjects strip to their underwear is to tease the viewer. (-1/2)

The Ugly


-1: Don’t Waste Your Time.

Mission: Impossible III

Plot


Spy tracks down bad guy. Bad guy kidnaps spy’s wife to make spy do something.

The Good


Watchability


This is a very watchable movie (+1). It is exciting and that makes it difficult to stop the movie in the middle. (+1) The movie and its continuity is very well done. There is nothing standing in the way of believability. (+1)

There is some intentional humor. (+1) There are also some throwaway lines that are just priceless
”Don’t interrupt me when I’m asking rhetorical questions.”
(+1/2)

Story Line


The story line is marginally believable. Once the viewer has accepted the premise of an Impossible Missions Force that breaks all the rules for the good of the country, then much of what comes later is believable. (+1) The viewer is sucked in to the story line right from the beginning. The director made a great decision to have the “countdown” scene at the beginning in order to get the viewer engaged in trying to figure out what was happening. In addition, there were really two movies here. The first is getting the bad guy and the second is saving the spy’s wife. This is a very effective method in an action movie. (+1)

There is not much original here. In fact, the viewer will be reminded of the movie True Lies. From the spy’s wife who is kidnapped to the attack on the bridge.

Acting


The acting is fairly decent. Tom Cruise is best at smiling. His grimacing leaves much to be desired. But, there are times where he comes out of his shell a bit and at least looks like he is thinking. The bad guy doesn’t act at all, and everyone else gives it a try. Nobody looks totally talentless, but a few appear to have a go at it. (+1/2)

The stunt work was very good. From the background of the movie, it appears that Cruise did most of his own stunts, including being slammed into a car sideways. The stunt looks so good that it appeared to be CGI’ed instead. It’s good to know that real stunts can look so good. (+1)

The Bad


There was no reason to use the gimmick of “gung-ho middle management type wants to deal with the enemy in order to get WMD into the hands of an Arab country in order to have America attack said country for the furtherance of Democracy.” The political leanings of the writers are too well projected here. (-1)

There is a little violence. More of it is (as the rating shows) “frenetic action.” Most of the gratuitous violence hit the cutting room floor.

There is little overt sex in the movie. After the wedding, there is a scene where his shirt is taken off in a hallway. It is left up to the readers’ imagination what happened next.

The Ugly


+7: Time well spent.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Detonator (2006)

Plot


Homeland security agent in Romania for a gun sting must accompany a witness/accomplice/suspect back to the USA. He is caught in a web of CIA and terrorist plot against the USA.

The Good


Watchability


This is a watchable movie (+1). Right at the beginning there is a terrible mistake. There is a sign “Soviet Military Arsenal” in Cyrillic looking English letters. In the Soviet Union. WTF! It should have had the sign in Russian, and an onscreen note to the viewer as to what it was. Thus, from the beginning of the movie, the trust relationship between the viewer and the director was lost.
There is some intentional humor. (+1) The characterizations are meager, at best. No one in the movie makes us care about them, and, early on it is obvious who the internal bad-guy is.

Story Line


The story line is marginally believable. (+1) Though, the two bad guys don’t even have throw-away lines to describe why they have become bad.
This movie appears to be a vehicle for Wesley Snipes to become the next Steven Seagal. Will Wesley continue to make action movies even when he is old and fat? Besides, it is a turned-on-its-head remake of the movie Detonator (from 2003). The viewer won’t care about the characters, or the situations they find themselves in.

Acting


It appears that most of the actors were just going through the motions here. Snipes is at his best when sardonic and ironic or completely action-oriented. There are some scenes that deliver this, but they are few and far between. Every other actor appears frozen except when cowering. The best acting we get is when the characters are unconscious.

The Bad


Russians don’t use signs in English (see above) (-1)
There is plenty of violence. Most of it is designed to tell us about the characters or to mark off another plot device.
The sex in the movie is off camera, and is designed to show an emotional attachment. But, the lead actresses costumes are designed for the sole purpose of showing off her plastic cleavage. (-1/2)

The Ugly


+1 to +2: Watch this if you have nothing better to do.