Inchon

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Inchon

 

Release Date: September 17, 1982
Runtime: 140 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: MGM/UA
Director: Terence Young
Cast: Laurence Olivier; Ben Gazzara; Jacqueline Bisset; Richard Roundtree; Toshiro Mifune

Hooooo-boy!! This is the infamous 1981 money-loser, partly financed by the Unification Church and its founder, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, which, to this day, continues to hold a place on ‘Most Expensive Box-Office Bombs’ lists. Pretty much everything that could go wrong on a movie shoot went wrong on this one: unusable footage, inclement weather, budget overruns, you name it. The only thing that emerges with its dignity intact from this waterlogged mess is Jacqueline Bisset’s cleavage. Continue reading

Lost Horizon (1973)

Lost-Horizon

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Release Date: March 17, 1973
Runtime: 150 minutes (feels like it!)
Rating: G
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Charles Jarrott
Cast: Peter Finch; Liv Ullmann; John Gielgud; Sally Kellerman; George Kennedy; Michael York; Olivia Hussey; Bobby Van; James Shigeta; Charles Boyer

Hoo-boy!  Where to start with this one?

This is Ross Hunter’s infamous musical version of James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon.”  Essentially laughed off the screen in 1973, Columbia Pictures was so ashamed of this movie that they never released it on home video (until they recently decided ‘What the hell!’ and released it on DVD on October 6, 2011 – available at Amazon), even though it clearly cost a bunch of money and had some big name (for the time) stars in it.  In fact, in film circles, this cinematic dung heap is known as ‘Lost Investment.’  Ouch!! Continue reading

Romancing the Stone

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Release Date: March 30, 1984
Runtime: 106 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Michael Douglas; Kathleen Turner; Danny DeVito; Alfonso Arau; Zack Norman

Another faaaaaaaantastic movie!

They just don’t make movies like this anymore…a good old-fashioned, 80’s action adventure pic.  “Romancing the Stone” is a super-fun ride which leaves the audience smiling and, if you’re like me having seen this in the theater, nostalgic for a simpler, younger time. Continue reading

House of Wax

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Release Date: May 6, 2005
Runtime: 113 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Elisha Cuthbert; Chad Michael Murray; Brian Van Holt; Paris Hilton; Jared Padalecki

[SPOILER ALERT!]

Not as bad as one might expect. Sure, there is some hilariously awful dialogue, typical horror­ movie stupidity, and performances that seem as though they were made of wax. But there are also some ultra-creepy scenes and some inventive, gruesome deaths. I don’t want to compare this to the older, Vincent Price movie upon which this is based because I haven’t seen it (and neither will have the majority of the target audience), but taken on its own terms, I enjoyed it…in a guilty pleasure kind of way. Continue reading

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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Release Date: November 13, 1992
Runtime: 128 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Columbia Pictures/American Zoetrope
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Gary Oldman; Winona Ryder; Anthony Hopkins; Sadie Frost; Richard E. Grant; Tom Waits; Cary Elwes

This is a faaaaaaantastic movie!

Francis Ford Coppola’s opulent 1992 take on the Dracula story is a sumptuous film, oozing with rich colors and eloquent language…a real work of art.  Gary Oldman assumes his place alongside Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee as one of cinema’s most-identifiable Counts. Continue reading

Gigli

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Release Date: August 1, 2003
Runtime: 121 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Martin Brest
Cast: Ben Affleck; Jennifer Lopez; Justin Bartha; Missy Crider; Al Pacino; Christopher Walken

I admit, I went to this film out of morbid curiosity; to see what all the bad buzz was about. Maybe I would see something that the rest of the world did not, something that may redeem this feature, at least in my eyes. Alas, I did not. This has to be one of the worst pieces of celluloid crap ever inflicted upon the mainstream movie-going public. I was actually groaning as I left the theater. Continue reading

Where The Truth Lies

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Release Date: October 7, 2005
Runtime: 107 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: THINKFilm
Director: Atom Egoyan
Cast: Colin Firth; Kevin Bacon; Alison Lohman; Rachel Blanchard; David Hayman

This is an interesting little noir.  Not as tight as it could probably be, but still a twisty diversion.

Vince Collins (Colin Firth) and Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) are a Martin and Lewis style nightclub act in the late 1950s.  Telethons, hotel openings, and the like.  They are rock star famous and live their lives as such, with hookers, pills, booze…you know the drill.  One day in their New Jersey hotel suite, a chambermaid is found dead in a bathtub.  How did she get there?  How and why did she die?  Who is responsible?  Both Collins and Morris have airtight alibis, yet she was found in the bathtub in their hotel room.  Not long afterwards, their winning relationship falters and the duo breaks up. Continue reading

Christmas with the Kranks

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Release Date: November 24, 2004
Runtime: 99 minutes
Rating:
PG
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Joe Roth
Cast: Tim Allen; Jamie Lee Curtis; Dan Aykroyd; Cheech Marin; Jake Busey

This is a stunningly awful film.  I’ll admit, I came late, about 15-20 minutes, into this movie, but, quite honestly, I’m glad that I did.  For I’d rather jump off of a cliff than listen to one second more of the ear-splitting shrieking and inane dialogue that run rampant in this film.  I didn’t care about any of the characters; in fact, I disliked most of them.  Most of all, I didn’t like the two main characters, Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) Krank. They are stupid people, and I have no tolerance for stupid people, real or fictional. They are not even logical and seem devoid of rational thought. Continue reading

Contagion

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Release Date: September 9, 2011
Runtime: 106 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Matt Damon; Kate Winslet; Jude Law; Marion Cotillard; Gwyneth Paltrow; Laurence Fishburne

“Outbreak” for the new millennium.  Steven Soderbergh’s mysterious virus-that-decimates-the-population movie has a great first hour, when people mysteriously begin coughing and having headaches, but then plateaus in the second half once research and politics begin to take over. Continue reading

The Da Vinci Code

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Release Date: May 19, 2006
Runtime: 149 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Tom Hanks; Audrey Tautou; Ian McKellen; Jean Reno; Paul Bettany; Alfred Molina

OK, I read “The Da Vinci Code” a long time ago, so the details of the story are not fresh in my head. I remember it being about Prof. Robert Langdon and his teaming up with a crafty French cop to solve a murder that seems to be connected with a conspiracy to hide the secret of the Holy Grail. Along the way, they have to deal with the Vatican, the myth of the Priory of Sion, the Knights Templar and Opus Dei, a strict Christian sect. Continue reading