cry_wolfrating-1.5(Or for yourself.)

I've just completed an almost unintended viewing of Cry_Wolf and, I have to say, it's not very good.

Sure, it's not The Skulls, Valentine, or Urban Legends: Final Cut. Those were all movies trying to tap into the "mysterious slasher of teens" horror subgenre with pure ineptitude and callous disregard for enjoyability. Though it is in their same mindfuck mystery in the cracks of the plot, it doesn't come off as much more than a limp version of those aforementioned films with a bit more plot to chew on.

Fortunately it does attempt to bring an aire of paranoia and suspicion to what would otherwise be another very dry teen slasher film and its "twist" ending (or multiple twists), though somewhat obvious and unsatisfactory, doesn't leave the bad taste in your mouth that the average slasher film does, with it's tired "the killer was taken care of, but - surprise! - he's still alive/free/something!" It's rote in the mind of the viewers and virtually constructed, beat for beat, by a not-terriblyelaborate formula.

I suppose one could do worse for some time-killing, free entertainment. Though I would never recommend buying this. Or necessarily even paying a few dollars to rent it or watch it on PPV. I guess maybe if you're one of those Netflix whores, then you could maybe justify it. But maybe not. Though at least the female lead is really cute.

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kontrollrating-4.0I accidentally came across the lauded but virtually unheard of Hungarian movie Kontroll on Showtime the other afternoon. It's hard to describe, having elements of a mystery, thriller, and, most prominently, a very dark comedy. And, while it does wander towards the end in a delirious, dreamy haze and lose some focus, the characters and events are a strange and interesting look into the sad life of the Hungarian subway worker. Surely, much of it is a comedic exaggeration, but as a foreigner much of alien interest is to be found in the exploits of the ticket-checkers and thier rowdy goings-on.

The Hungarian lead is a hell of an actor and I'd love to see him in more movies and the plot provides plenty of use for the array of bizarre characters to get in fights, get the shit beaten out of them, be disparaged by the populace for their lowly and hated position, and chatter away in some excellent and amusing dialogue. And, all this, with the backdrop of a strange and mysterious killer pushing people in front of subway trains.

The DVD is something of an expense, but I'll definitely be picking it up, if for nothing more than the sleek, stylish and dirty look of the movie. It's definitely an unusual and fresh film for those looking for something different than the norm.

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restorationrating-3.0One might refer to this as the "what the fuck is Meg Ryan doing in here?" movie.

What would normally be an entirely servicable and fairly interesting period piece of debauchery and drama is somewhat sullied by the appearance of the romantic comedy-meister herself in the midst of it all.

One is left to question who made the decision that what this story lacked was a When Harry Met Sally edge, where the crazy person was to be played by an actress whose best work was in films like Innerspace and a dual role in the thrilling Joe vs. The Volcano.

Meg Ryan is to acting what The Black Plague is to city planning.

Fine acting, otherwise, though.

No great plot points or development, though. Just a reasonably interesting trifle.

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eddierating-2.0I have never been a fan of sports. Possibly it was being born the son of a basketball/football coach, but I've always loathed sports. Perhaps "loathe" isn't the appropriate term... Fucking despise and hate with blinding passion and questioning the intelligence and worthiness to live of those who enjoy sports.

That being said, I've always found movies based around the "underdog" premise of a beleaguered sports team, barely able to maintain their existance, coming back from behind for the big win (typically to heartwarming comic effect), or the occassional serious tale of those douchebags taking the game too seriously (like the not-terribly fun Friday Night Lights or the intriguing Hoosiers) to be somewhat enjoyable. Nothing I'd add to my collection, but well worth a watch or two. (Or six or seven if Major League is all that's on in the middle of the night again.)

Given those credentials, I wasn't sure if I was the right or wrong person to watch Eddie.

Realistically it sticks to that same forumla and isn't a bad film. It's the type of thing one can gladly watch when nothing else is on in the middle of the night. There's nothing really wrong with it, per se, though it's no award-winner and no classic. But it won't hurt you. (Unless you have a Whoopi Goldberg allergy. In which case, you're on your own.)

It would be nice to see Whoopi whip them into shape in amusing scenarios, but the movie plays out in a much more slow, mundane way, as Eddie wins the trust of the players, makes a few minor changes, and doesn't particularly rock the boat, bench people, or fine people, like any sane person would have.

But it follows the typical "comeback" path and they, of course, have enough wins under their belt to make it to the championships, but the manipulative new team owner just want to move the Knicks to St. Louis. So, Eddie is left to question whether she quits or leads the team to impending movement. So Whoopi throws together a small act of civil disobedience, mid-court, and the owner "promises" not to move them. So they win the game and it's off to the playoffs!

Though I wonder what happened after those end credits rolled... More likely than not, Whoopi got her ass canned and the team was moved to St. Louis. But why get realistic in a movie like this?

Eddie never attempts to break the mold, or even to push any element of it, but its safety makes it a palatable, if not impressive, gruel. It goes down quickly and quietly and is over.

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Emperor Of The North Pole

emperor_northrating-3.5Where else can you find a movie where Ernest Borgnine kills hobos with a hammer? (And who doesn't want to see that, I ask you?) For that and the opening title song alone, one must watch Emperor Of The North Pole (often seen without the "Pole" part of the title).

The rest of the film shows off the acting talents of Borgnine and our hero, Lee Marvin, giving the younger of us a reason to appreciate his acting (since Delta Force obviously isn't going to do that for us). Keith Carradine also appears, showing his dirty bastard side in an early role.

This film treats the viewers to the trials and trevails of being a hobo in the midst of the Great Depression. Surely that's a concept that everyone finds riveting... But the pacing and content of the movie really does serve to entertain, as Marvin and tagalong Carradine attempt to evade the aforementioned hammer of Borgnine as they ride his train, a feat we're told that no other would dare, due to Borgnine's murderous reputation when faced with hobo stowaways.

The film is something of a relic, but manages to be fun, despite its age, and avoids the tediousness of many other films of the period, possibly because of the skill of its director, Robert Aldrich, who is better known for The Longest Yard, The Dirty Dozen, and What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? It's well worth the watch, if one can stomach a few hours of trains and the occassional hobo murder. (And who can't?)

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