Chris' Message Wall

Latest Submissions

No Recent Submissions

Chris' Ratings

  • Easy Money

    Easy Money (1983)

    February 12, 2013

    Rodney Dangerfield hit his stride with Caddyshack and cruised into this movie about a slovenly, drunken gambler of a baby photographer that married the heiress of a $10 million fortune, the only provision being that Rodney has to clean up his act in one year. Hilarity ensues.

    Watching this film after all these years I've realized that it isn't the greatest, kind of like D.C. Cab and a few others I could mention. The whole joke gets so worn out by the last half hour you're actually excited when he gets shot in the ass. It's still an ok piece of nostalgia, but it doesn't hold up to Caddyshack or Back to School. It's one of those blah movies that you re-visit once a decade and leave it lingering in the back of your mind until the next time you stumble upon it. See you in the 2020's.

  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes

    Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

    August 13, 2011

    Let's be honest with ourselves. This summer has not been the greatest movie wise. It's been kind of weak actually, with the lackluster Green Lantern opening it up and things have gone down hill from there. Then I heard of another Planet of the Apes movie, which after the last one seemed like a horrible idea. Let it die, I said. It's a franchise pushing fifty and Tim Burton's remake fest did nothing to help the cause of re-introducing damn dirty apes to the public.

    Planet of the Apes was one of the staples growing up, along with Star Wars. There is still a Planet of the Apes trash can sitting at my moms house as I write this (any offers?). I was cautious about this film, with its predecessor and the fact it was getting the August end of summer release date which usually isn't a good sign. Shockingly, I will admit how wrong I was about the Apes for a new generation.

    Rise is pure prequel that follows Will Rodman (James Franco) in his quest to cure Alzheimer's with a drug that repairs lost brain cells. After a catastrophic event that sets his research back by a decade he ends up caring for a baby chimp named Caesar (Andy Serkis) that has inherited that enhanced IQ of his mother and develops even faster than a human child. Caesar is raised as a human, yet doesn't fit in. He doesn't know where he falls in the ways of the world, being shunned by humans and apes. Eventually he makes a choice after seeing the suffering and indignities laid upon his fellow travelers.

    The key to Rise of the Planet of the Apes are the performances, mainly by the CGI enhanced apes themselves. There's more feeling and emotion from the faux primates than their human counterparts, yet it's not over the top, cartoony emotion. It's buried underneath the face of the wild. It's subtle, yet it's not. This is very difficult to explain. By the second half of the film they steal the show. Once again an Apes film delivers state of the art special effects, although they are comparable to the invention of a stone wheel and a Corvette. That's progress.

    Apes is the best movie I've seen this summer and probably this year. It could be accused of being a little slow in the beginning, but it keeps you interested and that's they key to the movie. I don't care how much stuff you blow up in the second half, if you fail to keep people interested with a good story all will be lost. The length doesn't bludgeon the film as we've seen in the last few years and it succeeds from it. A great flick to end the summer with.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (2011)

    July 26, 2011

    Harry Potter 7.5 begins where the last film left off. Harry (Daniel Radliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) continue to scour Britain for the remaining horcruxes containing the soul of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). The film comes to a climax at Hogwarts where the forces of good and evil face off.

    To start I have to say that I didn't care for the first half of Deathly Hallows. The film was a slow, dull journey about camping in the woods. It's like the British version of Deliverance. This second half makes up for all of that, leaving one to wonder if splitting the book up was actually to fit everything in or to get movie goers to pay to admissions. This is a high spirited film with more to offer than last time. Instead of dragging 7.5 flew by to it's ultimate climax between Harry and Voldemort. A fitting ending for the series.

    Phenomenons like Harry Potter are rare things. This has been a film series that an entire generation has grown up with. I never understood the obsession, but it's not for my generation of fuddy duddy's. We had Star Wars. It's a universal amazement by a piece of fiction that will transcend ages.

  • Arthur

    Arthur (2011)

    July 19, 2011

    Arthur (2011) is another example of why remakes suck. It's like a bolt of lightning if a remake is actually any good and this film has no spark in it at all. The basic story is the same as the original: rich Arthur (Russell Brand), arranged marriage with Susan (Jennifer Garner), falls in love with Linda-eh-Naomi (Greta Gerwig) Hobson (Helen Mirren) even had a sex change in this one.

    The problem with this remake is that where the original shied away from using cliches, this one is chock full of cliches from the wonderful world of film. There's the sadistic future father in law meeting. There's the "I've got another woman hidden in my house." We get them all. The sad part of this film is when it tries to resurrect scenes from the original, which instead of giving nostalgia, just seem uncomfortable for the actors and the viewer watching it. Maybe it's because I watched the original a few nights before. I don't know.

    There are some funny parts and it's almost an even film. It would be quite forgettable if it wasn't the remake of a good film.

  • Arthur

    Arthur (1981)

    July 19, 2011

    Arthur is the story of a lovable drunk. A rich lovable drunk. Lovable drunks only appear in movies because most drunks break your stuff and urinate everywhere except the toilet. Arthur (Dudley Moore) doesn't work, just spends money with his faithful butler Hobson (John Gielgud) shaking his head in disgust. Arthur has been given an ultimatum: be the groom in an arranged marriage or be cut off. Dependence on money leads Arthur to reluctantly propose, but he ends up meeting his true love Linda (Liza Minnelli), a shoplifter from Queens. What everything boils down to is will Arthur decide to be rich and miserable or poor and happy.

    Arthur has a dated feel that all early '80's comedies have. It's hard to describe, it just has that vibe of life just before CD's and such. It could have easily become another one of the cliched films that cam from this era thirty years ago, but the story isn't a cliche. It's very basic and develops into something more than it would have been. Of course the combined efforts of Dudley Moore as Arthur, spouting drunken jokes as he stumbles through life and the dead pan wisecracking of Gielgud as Hobson push this film beyond standard date night celluloid. Gielgud rightly deserved the Oscar for this one.

    Dated? Yes. Still entertaining? Sure. It's like a time capsule film. Sure, it's dated, but its worth digging up every couple of years.

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

    July 02, 2011

    Everything Sergio Leone did before 1966 built up to The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. A Fistful Of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More steadily increased the epic western that Leone envisioned until he released what is probably his greatest creation and the film that sealed Clint Eastwood's star power.

    As gritty as its predecessors, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is set during the Civil War as the title trio goes on the hunt for $200,000 dollars in stolen gold. The Good is Blondie, played by Eastwood as he reprises his Man With No Name character. The Bad is Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), a cold blooded killer who happens upon the gold story while working for another man. The Ugly is Tuco (Eli Wallach), a degenerate criminal hell bent on getting vengeance on Blondie, but is forced to change his tune when Blondie gains the key information to the hidden gold. The quest for gold begins in front of the back drop of the Civil War as battles impede the movement toward the buried coins and the gritty, bombed out towns serve as a refuge to the treasure hunters.

    This is the third and final film in the Dollars trilogy and shows how popular and profitable Leone's vision had become. Given a larger budget for TGTBATU, Leone builds a larger world than in any previous dollars film. As in the others the west is a dirty place where there are no cowboys in black and white, just everyone wearing a shade of gray. The Good really isn't very good, he's just a man in his element.

    Of course all of the Leone trademarks are present; the close ups and the grand vistas borrowed from John Ford. It's a drastic change from the almost crystal clean westerns of decades before. Is it realistic? Probably not, but life appears a lot closer to real human nature than other westerns. Survival of the fittest is the main theme in these films.

    When looking at the cast the three leads are perfect. Eastwood's character is obviously a very good rehash from the previous dollars films, but Eli Wallach's Tuco is a sight to be believed. He appears to be bungling, but is actually way ahead when you really delve deeper into his character. "If you're going to shoot, shoot. Don't talk." The real switch is Lee Van Cleef, who played the fatherly Mortimer in For A Few Dollars More. In TGTBATU he is one of cinemas first natural born killers. A professional at what he does in every sense of the word.

    The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly has a legacy that has followed it since its release almost two generations ago. The west got harsher. The line between good and bad became blurred, bringing on a decade of the anti-hero. This film still influences directors and writers throughout the world. It is a masterpiece of film making with a story that is epic. Not only one of the greatest westerns ever made, one of the greatest films ever made.

  • Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre, the Wrath of God)

    Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre, the Wrath ... (1972)

    April 26, 2011

    Deep in South American jungle there's something afoot. A splinter group from Pizzaro's expedition is sent to find El Dorado, the legendary city of gold. This group is steeped in Christianity as they spread it throughout the new land and the natives that inhabit it. It's like a trade in a way: We'll give you Christ if you give us the gold. As the film progresses and the group heads further into the jungle everything begins to fall apart as the natives become more and more restless and Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) develops the obsession of being the next Cortez.

    Aguirre lends itself to so many films that came after it, particularly Apocalypse Now. The basic premise between the two films is the same. A mission on a boat slowly falls into total chaos. Just like the characters on screen, we have no idea what's around the bend in the river ahead. With Aguirre, there are two things that make it such a great movie. The first is Werner Herzog's direction. All great directors use the environment and the background as another character in their film. Herzog accomplishes this by making shots seem so beautiful and so sinister at the same time. What lies in the trees over there? Herzog gets into the soul of the jungle right along with the souls of the characters.

    Of course when we talk about characters we have to discuss the second part of the Aguirre equation and that is Klaus Kinski. He is that desire, that rage, that cut throat individual that will advance to his goal no matter what the cost. He surveys the land like a god looking over his domain. He will start is own empire, even when things are at their darkest. In a way Aguirre and Kinski are bound by their identities. They're the same person in the end.

    Aguirre is one of those films that people stumble upon. A story that doesn't sound like much on the surface becomes an imaginative journey into the unknown. A story that is universal in nature, Aguirre is a great piece of German cinema.

  • Black Swan

    Black Swan (2010)

    April 12, 2011

    Black Swan is about a dancer named Nina (Natalie Portman) who has already cracked under pressure. We don't know when and we don't know where she finally snapped, but the damage had long been accomplished by the time the movie starts. Nina's whole life is ballet. She is the object of perfection, almost like a Snow White complex. Nina is up for the lead in Swan Lake, where the dual roles of perfect, virginal angel, and the black clad seductress are the headlining attractions. Nina is made for the White Swan, but can she let herself going playing the Black Swan, a complete different character and psyche. It's this metamorphisis that brings to mind the old adage "life imitating art".

    As I said in the beginning, Nina was already unstable as she deals with psychological issues and being full of paranoia throughout the film. What Black Swan represents is the aftermath after breaking, the abyss in which people swim when they hit the bottom. Here fate was sealed before the studio moniker comes up. That's what is so sad about it.

    Natalie Portman deserved her Oscar for this film, hands down. A mesmerizing performance that takes us into Nina's world of trying to balance the two personalities that she must become to be a success. Portman is the key ingredient in this film.

    While watching this I was struck by how similar the story compares to Darren Aronofsky's other masterpiece The Wrestler. Both feature two people on the verge in their careers, although when is at the end while the other is at the beginning and the idea that they are willing to self destruct to reach their goals. Aronofsky has created another great film that explores the yearning of the soul and the lengths one will go to succeed in their life.

  • The Last House on the Left

    The Last House on the Left (1972)

    March 30, 2011

    Last House On The Left is an example of early 1970's exploitation cinema that deals with Mari (Sandra Cassell) and her friend Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) as they indulge on the eve of Mari becoming a woman ie. turning seventeen years old. They go to a concert in the big, bad city and wind up in the hands of Krug (David Hess) and his gang of fugitives. In the process of heading for Canada both girls are tortured, raped, and eventually killed. Ironically, their car breaks down in front of the home of Mari's parents (Gaylord St. James and Cynthia Carr). The group spends the night at their house posing as traveling insurance salesmen, but what happens when Mari's parents find out who they really are and what they did.

    So what is Last House On The Left? Is it an early work of genius from Wes Craven? A masterpiece that showed a man that was well on his way to create films like The Hills Have Eyes and Nightmare On Elm Street? Is this effect doubled because it was produced by Sean "Friday The 13th" Cunningham? This is why the legend of this movie has grown as much as it has- because of the folks involved in it. This film is no different than the hundreds of other drive-in exploitation films that were being pumped out of various producers garages in the early 1970's. It's no better and no worse. A bad script, bad acting, a lack of money, and an inexperienced director makes this film almost laughable if it wasn't for the violence on the screen. That's the key to a film like this and I Spit On Your Grave. A quote comes to mind when thinking about these two films. One comes from Roger Ebert's original review of Spit in which he discusses a fellow patron at the theater he was watching the film at saying "that was a good one" at the end of one of the numerous rapes scenes in that film. There's an audiences for stuff like this. It's like porn. Screw the plot, as long as it has that stuff and an unsatisfying conclusion.

    Just look at this like a rough draft for some of the films that Wes Craven would make later. It's his first one so we can't be to hard on the guy. it was the genre in 1972. But a classic of horror cinema? If that's the case then you can call a used piece of toilet paper a classic too.

  • Beauty Shop

    Beauty Shop (2005)

    March 30, 2011

    OK, so what's the plot? A hair stylist (Queen Latifah) walks out on her boss (Kevin Bacon). Boss doesn't think she'll make it. She makes it while stealing all of his customers in a comedic process. Meets hot guy (Dimon Hounsou). Boss tries to get revenge.

    Yes, you have seen this movie before.

    It has a few funny moments, some of them not intentional, but Beauty Shop really is your standard, predictable, recycled film. File this one under "Been there, done that".

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile