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Chef (2014)
A commercial for Twitter
2 June 2014
A chef starts a flame war on the internet, loses his job, and starts a new job in the food truck. It was a feel good movie all the way, there wasn't anything surprising about that. The acting was good from the all star cast.

What was surprising was the product placement for Twitter and the iPad. There is so much Twitter in the movie that it almost, but not quite, gets in the way. I have very rarely seen a case of product placement that out front; they supposedly are using social media, but Tumblr, Instagram and the other parts of social media aren't mentioned.

Anyway, as a commercial for Twitter and the Food Network, it succeeds.
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The Citizen (2012)
Good, but too much of a cliché
15 November 2013
An immigrant from Lebanon arrives here on September 10th, 2001. You can imagine what happens to him; pretty much everything you can think of.

I wanted to like this movie, but it was too much of a cliché for me. Nothing unexpected happened; the bad guys were all bad, the good guys were all good, the Lebanese immigrant didn't make a wrong step. If only life were like that.

Despite everything bad happening to him, he rises above it all and is determined to live the American dream. Nothing gets him down.

Nevertheless, I did watch the whole thing which was rare for something I had never heard of before, and I enjoyed it. It was a feel-good movie, which I also enjoyed. Sometimes I, or anyone, needs some of that.
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Open Up to Me (2013)
Open up to this movie
27 July 2013
This movie covers trans-gendered people, and the foibles they endure. The main protagonist, Marit, gets blamed for some things unfairly. She also gets blamed for some things that she does. Like most of us, she is fumbling through life, and like most of us, sometimes it comes out good and sometimes bad.

The one thing she does do is educate the people she comes into contact with. She likes to help them, we see that right away, but in helping them she doesn't always do the right thing, or doesn't always do the right thing immediately. You can't help but root for her though.

Marit doesn't have an easy time dealing with family and she doesn't have any friends. You get the feeling that she is trying to make a connection of some type, with varying degrees of success.

All in all, a good movie that makes you think, and that's a good thing.
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Elektra Luxx (2010)
Not a comedy, not a drama, not a good movie
19 April 2011
Elektra Luxx tells the story of a porn star's personal life, but fails as both a comedy and a drama. You can see the potential for laughs or serious drama, but the movie never gets there. There isn't much in the way of nudity, so the potential for exploitation is also missed.

The jokes fall flat, and the characters aren't particularly likable. The plot itself is fragmented, jumping all over the place without much exposition. The first few reviews here are glowingly positive, which makes me think the reviewers are somehow connected to the film. Don't be fooled by the name actors in the cast: this movie is a turkey.

If you're in the market for a drama about a porn star's personal life, you would be better served checking out The Girlfriend Experience.

The acting in Elektra Luxx was OK, nothing great, but not particularly bad either. It's mostly the script and direction that are lacking. The jokes probably sounded a lot better on paper than they do when the actors speak them; the plot probably looked better on the storyboard than it does on film.

You won't laugh, you won't be thrilled, you won't marvel at the drama. You will just wish you had watched something else.
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Completely Unlikable
4 March 2011
Seth Rogen plays the Green Hornet as a completely unlikable character who abuses his employees, throws a hissy fit when his coffee isn't right, and generally is unpleasant to everyone around him. His crime fighting skills are small and his ego big. I really found myself rooting for the villain.

The plot is no great shakes, and the visuals are only tolerable in today's CGI movie world. There was nothing at all likable about the movie; not the characters, the story or anything else. It seems a shame that the film was butchered so badly; now no one else will come forward to do it right for a while.
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Pornogothic (1998 Video)
Almost, but not quite
1 January 2011
Pornogothic is a detective story with elements of horror and good costumes.

I have to agree with the previous reviewer that the actors just go through the motions. It's a good story, great production, interesting sets and nice costumes; there just isn't a lot of acting going on.

The version I saw featured several hardcore sex scenes as part of the plot. For it's genre, detective-horror-porn, it's pretty good and deserving of a higher score.

The Gothic in the title mostly comes from the costumes, hairstyles and makeup. They do a good job there, with clothes much better than the average porn movie, and more suitable than anything you would see in an amateur film.

Out of the sex scenes, at least one is memorable because the actor and actress were so different. All of those scenes were fairly well done, with decent camera-work, tastefully enough that it could almost be a decent couples movie.

This one almost lives up to it's promise, but not quite.
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7 minut (2010)
Polish Suspense Thriller
7 December 2010
This movie details how one man's life comes apart after he spends 7 minutes doing something he shouldn't have.

It's basically a suspense thriller using the familiar formula of one average Joe against a group of criminals, although it doesn't have the familiar happy ending. Our hero gets into a tiff with a bunch of underworld figures, fights it out, and ends up regretting his decision to spend 7 minutes in an illicit activity. His whole life is ripped apart, from his job to his family and friends, due to that 7 minutes.

The acting is good, production values high, and the plot is OK. There are a couple scenes where the plot holes gape a bit, but all in all the movie is watchable. It's one of those I'm glad I've seen, but wouldn't watch again.
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The Horde (2009)
Fairly rockin' zombie flick
13 November 2010
A crew of cops and gangsters fight their way through a zombie apocalypse while interacting warily and sometimes violently with each other.

This is one of the best zombie movies I've seen in a while, it's surprising that I hadn't heard of it before. The zombies are the usual Romero type, although they do run instead of lurch at times. The usual zombie rules apply; shoot it in the head, and all that. The difference here is that several of the living engage in fist fights with zombies when a gun isn't handy, you don't see that very much. The fights tend to be quick, realistic and brutal. That was interesting.

The tension between cops and gangsters goes on until the very end, adding a bit of a twist to the plot. The acting is good, the production values high, and the special effects are good and gory. This isn't the backyard zombie movie your brother-in-law Cletus made with his camcorder and five drunken friends; it's a decently budgeted, well acted and somewhat original zombie movie with atmosphere.

I recommend this film to any zombie flick fan. It's in French, but there isn't that much dialog so the subtitles aren't obtrusive.
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Could be any family
12 August 2010
This film is a documentary portrait of the Mosher family from upstate New York, including their kids, relatives and a foster child. I watched it expecting something different, maybe dramatic, possibly something new.

I was disappointed, because this isn't particularly dramatic, different or new. That's not the fault of the film or the makers; they present an honest portrayal of a family that could be next door to you. The grandparents are the kind of people that everyone knows, hardworking and honest folks who are doing the best they can in troubled times.

The relatives and children are a bunch of screw ups from what I could see, just like you will find in any family. A welfare mother who can't take care of her child and won't do much about it. An Aunt who collects a disability check and thinks she's a witch. A foster child who steals everything in sight and refuses to take responsibility. Could be my family, could be yours. There is no particular conclusion reached, or point made, but they do cover the lives of the Mosher family in some depth.

So, you're not going to see anything you haven't seen before, but you will see an accurate and honest documentary about the kind of people who live near you. If that's what you're looking for, it's a watchable film with decent production values.
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Don't believe the hype
22 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This movie got a lot of hype for how bizarre, shocking and original it is. Unfortunately, the hype is wrong. The movie is a one-trick pony: once you get over the idea of connecting a bunch of people into a centipede, there is nothing else going on.

The shock comes when the evil doctor sews everyone together. That gets old after a few minutes; before and after that you get the standard horror story you've seen a million times.

I watched this because everything I heard said it was original, shocking, and different from any other horror movie out there. There is a bit of originality, but basically the movie just isn't that good. Maybe in the sequel they can keep it going.
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Rain Fall (2009)
It's Pretty Bad
22 May 2010
If you're a fan of the Barry Eisler Rain novels, do yourself a favor and don't watch this. This movie is everything the novels are not: boring, full of plot holes, seriously lame fight scenes and a story line that makes little or no sense.

The movie feels patched together, like the director filmed a bunch of scenes and then tried to make them fit. They don't. The acting is fine, all of the cast give their best, but there just isn't much to work with.

The fight scenes are all super-quick-cut editing stuff, so you can't see what is actually going on. That is probably because our martial artist protagonist isn't a martial artist. I've seen better fights on the elementary school playground.

The plot is full of holes; not just little holes, but big, gaping holes that require you to do more than just suspend your disbelief. You would have to get a quick lobotomy before watching this if you don't want to be constantly aggravated by the plot holes. Characters will say something in one scene and then say the opposite in the next scene.

The editing seems to have been done by a spastic drug addict with ADHD: the cuts between scenes are missing any semblance of art or craft. There are a few times where the director blurs part of the picture or tries some other type of artistic effect that just doesn't work. In short, the direction and editing are just plain awful.

By the time you get to the cliché ending you will be bored and thinking about maybe clipping your toenails or something equally exciting. They managed to take an exciting novel about a hit man with issues and turn it into a boring movie. Buy one of the books instead of watching this.
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Pretty good indie horror
22 May 2010
This is one of the better low budget horror movies I've seen. The plot has been covered elsewhere, I'll just mention what I liked about it. The whole film is story and character, with plenty to spare. The characters are interesting, the story is original. You can get into this movie, feel for the characters, wonder what might happen next. They obviously didn't spend a lot of money on it, but they did use some talent and it shows.

I would, and probably will, watch this again. It's good enough to play in the local theater and make some money. There are a lot of big-budget Hollywood types who should watch this and see what it does right.
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Dead Snow (2009)
Best zombie movie I've seen for quite a while
29 May 2009
A group of Norwegian college students on a mountain vacation are terrorized by Nazi zombies from WWII. Gore, brief nudity, and some decent jokes follow.

This is the best zombie movie I've seen since the last Romero extravaganza. The acting is good, production values are high, the premise is as believable as any other zombie movie, and it's just plain enjoyable to watch. The students make some of the usual mistakes you see in every horror movie, but then go on the offensive and that is one of the better parts of the film.

To summarize, this is an enjoyable zombie/horror film, with good action, gore and humor. It's not a high budget blockbuster, but is an excellent example of what can be done with a little money and a good story.
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Even worse than you think
6 March 2009
A psycho runs around killing skanky girls during the filming of amateur pornography. It's a decent idea for a horror movie, but this film just doesn't do much with it. If you're seeing a lot of good reviews that's because the director's friends and family are contributing.

If you're a fan of black and white, really bad camera work, choppy editing, and senseless plots, this movie is for you! Despite the promise of sex and horror in the title, the camera work is so bad that the movie never really delivers. Picture the Blair Witch Project with uglier people, worse camera work, in black and white with terrible editing - that's about how it goes in Amateur Porn Star Killer.

There is some fairly graphic sex; but again, the camera work and editing are so bad that you won't be able to see much.

The black and white filming really take away from the movie, too. It just points up the fact that the camera work would look even worse in color. The premise, I suppose, is that psycho killers film in black and white. I have to think that even psycho killers can afford a color camcorder these days.

The editing is so choppy that everything flashes by without any development; that is supposed to be a substitute for a decent plot, but isn't.

There are three of these movies, and they're all about the same. I watched all three because I was hoping they would capitalize on the idea and benefit from the practice to make a good horror/sleaze movie, but that didn't happen. What did happen was that the girls got even more skanky, the camera work got even worse, and the editing just went right out the window.

This same type of film was done a lot better in the August Underground series. Those are in color!
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Homo Erectus (2007)
Almost funny
25 January 2009
A caveman wants more out of life, including his brother's hot wife and leadership of the tribe.

From the number of stars some other reviewers have assigned, I have to think they were associated with the movie in some way. It's just not that funny. The idea is somewhat original, with the caveman theme, but the jokes are totally predictable: cavemen clubbing women, prehistoric animals wreaking havoc, and sight gags like cavemen wearing modern eyeglasses.

It's one of those movies you might watch if it was the only thing on TV late at night when you couldn't go out and get a rental.

The protagonist, Caveman Isbo, has a string of failed inventions and a crush on his brother's hot wife. He can't get the cave women interested in him and his inventions don't spark any interest with the tribe. He does a lot of moping around, trying to solve his problems.

It's a good idea, and almost funny enough to capture your interest, but not quite. If you're into National Lampoon humor you can probably watch it, but it won't be one you recommend to friends.
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You may limp after watching this lame movie
24 December 2008
The story of some single guys throwing a bachelor party that turns into a horror story is bad, and not in a good way.

The movie features strippers who don't strip, monsters who aren't scary and acting that would be embarrassing in a first-grade school play. There just isn't anything to like here. The title sounds good enough, but the film itself is just plain boring. It's not even bad in a way that would make it fun, it's just lame.

I generally like low-budget movies, but there was nothing that I could groove to in this one. The strippers are unattractive skanks who never strip, the bachelors are boring goofballs, and the horror just isn't there.

Some campy fun or snappy dialog would have made this a lot better. Failing that, some respectable amount of gore, special effects or naked chicks could have saved it. Too bad there wasn't any of that.
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Surprisingly good
24 December 2008
A story of four spiteful nursing home residents spending Christmas with a young hippie type of girl as their caregiver.

This overlooked holiday movie gives us some fairly memorable characters, sort of like Grumpy Old People who are stuck in a nursing home during Christmas. The young, pothead caregiver watching over them goes from apathetic to ticked off when they pull their curmudgeon routines on her.

The acting is good, atmosphere and cinematography are spot on, the whole production is as good as any large budget feature. The characters get developed during the movie, from the young girl learning to live her own life and accept some responsibility, to the old folks who learn that they can live a little while they are waiting to die.

There's a lot to like in this movie. It has some genuine holiday spirit and a decent ending. It's hard to say why more people haven't seen it because it is worth watching.
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Too soft for softcore, not funny enough for comedy
17 December 2008
Iron Babe is another of Seduction Cinema's soft core takes on popular movies, although the core is particularly soft on this one.

A collection of bimbos, none of them very attractive, make Iron Man jokes in between scenes of pseudo-sex. The sex is very pseudo, meaning they don't take off their underwear. They do take off their shirts a lot, but there is no frontal nudity or anything approaching eroticism. What they mostly do is get topless and wave their hands around each others bodies as if they can't quite touch one another, while bad music plays and the camera man misses all the good angles.

The loose Iron Man theme isn't very amusing after the first 10 minutes or so, although I did get a laugh out of the politically correct terrorists. That was the only laugh, the rest of the joke was on me and anyone else who watches this.
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Surprisingly good small budget horror
3 December 2008
A high school prom is disrupted by an influx of zombies with the usual mayhem resulting. The school nerds gather to fight the zombies and save the prom. Sort of a cross between Night of the Living Dead and Revenge of the Nerds, with better jokes.

This small budget horror film has the usual zombies with the usual lurching, slobbering, flesh-eating behavior, and an undercurrent of good humor. Various sub-plots, mostly involving unlikely romances between nerds and cheerleaders, are responsible for most of the jokes. The gore is standard-level horror fare, not especially bloody but with enough dismembered bodies for enthusiasts. If there was any nudity it must have been quick because I didn't see it.

This is an enjoyable horror film to watch with friends, there is enough humor and romance for both genders to enjoy. I'd watch it again.
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Self obsessed antics of wealthy New Yorkers
30 November 2008
Igby is a slacker born to wealth and privilege who spends all his time avoiding any kind of change to the life he hates.

This is vaguely like a J.D. Salinger story, as if the screenwriter was trying to emulate his hero almost to the point of plagiarism. Mostly it's a story of people who are so self-centered they don't even notice they are better off than they deserve, spending all their time doing drugs and boning each other. Picture the residents of a stereotypical trailer park if they had lots of money. Sadly, people from a trailer park would probably be a lot more interesting and a lot more grateful for having so much leisure time.

Igby is about as interesting as any teenage dropout; if you've seen one, you've seen Igby.
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It's as bad as they say
30 November 2008
Dracula wants to breed with Bram Stoker's girlfriend and Bram himself attempts to rescue her.

The other reviewers have trashed this movie and they're right - it's that bad. The great costumes and high production values fool you for a minute into thinking this is going to be good, but the awful acting and terrible screenplay tell the real story.

Dracula is a fat dude who looks like he spends all his time in his mother's basement, eating pizza and playing video games. The female lead is like your sexually repressed sister-in-law, only less interesting. When the two of them get together for a breeding session it's about as erotic as a visit to the dentist.

There's a serious lack of naked women in this movie, usually a staple of low budget horror, and something that could have made it worth watching. Sadly, it's an attempt by bad actors to do something serious, with predictably bad results.

As for horror, the only horrible thing about this film is that it was made. I've seen scarier things in a K-Mart on Christmas Eve.

It's not even so bad that you can have a good time making fun of it. Instead you'll be embarrassed for the actors and actresses; imagine your friends and family seeing you in this movie. There's the real horror.
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House of D (2004)
Another lame, self-indulgent story of self discovery
30 November 2008
An American boy goes to Paris after his mother commits suicide, becomes and artist and then discovers himself and returns to the States so he can make things right with his former friends.

I have to think that the people who are rating this movie so highly are all X-Files fans, even though there are no aliens or serial killers in it. Don't be fooled, this movie blows chunks.

The story is incoherent, with little or no explanation of what people are doing or why. When you do get an explanation, it doesn't fit the story that went before it. What it does is bore you. For all the acting talent in the film, it just isn't interesting. I spent the whole movie wondering when sex-addict Duchovny was going to bang someone. Maybe he was doing it behind the scenes; they should have filmed that instead.

What comes across is a story of a self-obsessed artist worrying about minor incidents in his life and wanting to make them right somehow - even though they didn't seem that wrong to begin with. There aren't any particularly interesting or shocking revelations, despite the mention of a big secret in the first few minutes. It's just a guy thinking that his life is as interesting to you as it is to him. It's not.

I saw in the trivia that Duchovny claims he wrote the script in a week, that's entirely believable. The guy can act, there's no doubt, but writing and directing are obviously beyond his talents.

Why Hollywood keeps greenlighting these self-discovery stories is beyond me. I discover myself in the shower every morning but I don't bother making a movie about it. Mine would probably be better than this one, though; at least there would be some nudity.
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Vagabond (1985)
What did these other reviewers see that I missed?
15 November 2008
Mona the vagabond lives on the fringes of French society, in a life without meaning, purpose or direction.

I watched this because of all the stellar reviews, but I'm afraid I must have missed something. The character of Mona has little or no personality while drifting through life being rude to people, getting high and contributing nothing to anyone's life. She's not interesting or exciting. She's just useless.

I've seen and known enough people like that: there is no secret meaning to what they're doing. They are just lazy bums. I wouldn't want Mona anywhere near me, as she tends to steal anything that isn't nailed down and leave her friends in the lurch. Sure she's enigmatic - because there isn't anything to her. Lots of junkies, winos and bums I've seen are enigmatic; I wouldn't want to see a film about them either.

Possibly there is something there that I totally missed. Otherwise I'm assuming that all the reviews are from people who assume anything done by a French female director is high art.
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A different kind of vampire movie
15 November 2008
A young Swedish boy with confidence issues falls in love with a mysterious girl who lives next door.

This is a vampire movie for people who want to see a little something different. Even if you don't like vampire movies, there is every possibility that you would like this one. There is no glamorization of blood suckers here, it's not played for scares and it's really about an intense love developing between young kids.

There are some elements that are a bit hard to figure out, and the answers are never really given, but that just adds to the movie. The characters are people you can sympathize with, they aren't given a lot of choices but try to do the best with what they have. Their intense loneliness is lightened when they find each other; each recognizes the defects in the other and gives their love freely anyway.

The ending is particularly good, not one I've seen anywhere else. Big props to the people who made this; it's worth watching.
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Splinter (I) (2008)
Good low budget horror
8 November 2008
A young couple and an ex-con are holed up in a gas station while strange monsters prowl outside.

This is a good example of what can be done with some good acting, a decent script and an idea for a horror film that won't cost too much to make. It's definitely watchable, even if the characters sometimes do some odd things.

There is a lot left unexplained, which seems OK within the context of the movie; the answers you don't get sort of enhance the story you watched. There is also an obvious sequel ending.

If you like horror and enjoy some good suspense, get this and watch it, you'll be glad you did. It's not awesome, but it's pretty good.
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