ORBzine - August 2006 Movie Reviews


My Super Ex-Girlfriend

My Super Ex-Girlfriend Ivan Reitman delivers a relationship-based Rom-Com with a SciFi twist.

Luke Wilson ( Charlie's Angels ) works in a no-sex office with Anna Farris . Though they have feelings for one another, circumstances are against them. Wilson instead dates Jenny ( Uma Thurman ), who turns out to be the alter-ego of superheroine G-Girl.

Unfortunately, Jenny's a neurotic psycho, and when Wilson dumps her she takes it badly. G-Girl's supervillain foe, Professor Bedlam (Eddie Izzard - Mystery Men ), pops up with a plan of his own.

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  • Wolf Creek

    Wolf Creek Blair Witch Project meets Crocodile Dundee.

    Three backpackers are driving across the Australian outback. Their car breaks down, but they are helped by a friendly local. However, he has plans for them ...

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  • Final Countdown

    Final Countdown In 1980, a Reporter (Martin Sheen - Dead Zone ) is transferred to an aircraft carrier commanded by Kirk Douglas ( Spartacus ). The ship steams into a strange storm ... and emerges in December 1941, between the Jap Fleet and Pearl Harbour!

    They take aboard Jap pilot Soon-Tek Oh ( 7 Days ) and annoying US Senator Charles Durning ( Dark Night of the Scarecrow ).

    Will they change history by shooting down the entire Japanese carrier force?

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  • The Wolfman

    The Wolfman Lon Chaney returns to his father's country estate after 18 years away. Bela Lugosi ( Dracula, Plan 9 From Outer Space ) lurks around, and dark omens are predicted.

    Chaney kills a wolf as it attacks his love interest, but he discovers the wolf was a man - and he was bitten by it!

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  • Code 46

    Code 46 Michael Winterbottom delivers a romantic drama set in the near future.

    Tim Robbins ( Shawshank Redemption ) is a detective who visits Singapore and interrogates Samantha Morton (still with her hair cropped short from Minority Report ). Unfortunately he falls in love with her.

    This is unfortunate because he was IVF-born and she is a clone, so their DNA is within one degree of consanguinity! Not only is this a Code 46 violation, but the Government can surgically remove peoples' memories!

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  • R-Point

    R-Point Vietnam, 1972. Strange radio messages are coming out of the jungle, so a few men are put on a boat and sent upriver to find the source. They're South Koreans, by the way, but that's not really important.

    The Apocalypse Now similarities soon end, however. The soldiers settle down in an old building from the French colonial era. Then creepy things start to happen, like in The Keep, The Bunker, Deathwatch ...

    This is basically a Korean take on the other films mentioned above. There's more shooting, SPFX and so on - it had to compete with other Asian films, of course - and the ghosts owe more to asian cinema than to Western culture. But it's a well-made film, and very watchable.

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  • Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest

    Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest The first film concentrated on Will Turner (Orlando Bloom - LOTR, Kingdom of Heaven ), while this one revolves around Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ). He's on the run from Davy Jones (Bill Nighy - Love Actually), an undead sea-creature who commands the Kraken - a gigantic CGI squid that puts 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to shame.

    Back in Port Royal, the Governor (Jonathan Pryce ) has been usurped by the East India Company. Why they're in the WEST Indies is never explained. But they send Will Turner to get Jack Sparrow's magical compass.

    The crew meet up on an island infested with Cannibals, which serves no real plot purpose but allows the first of several set-piece references to Disney amusement-park rides.

    Elizabeth Swann ( Keira Knightley ) escapes the East India Company and rejoins her friends. Most of the old faces from the original are back, including ex-Commodore Norrington - though the 2 Redcoats are mysteriously missing.

    The film's length (2 and a half hours) and structure mean that there are numerous climaxes. However, there is no real resolution. Gore Verbinski has left so many loose ends because this is the Empire Strikes Back of the Series. More like Back to the Future 2 , in fact - the 2 sequels were filmed back-to-back.

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  • Samson and Delilah (1984)

    Samson and Delilah (1984) This is a medium-budget Swords and Sandals epic, brought out in the wake of Conan the Barbarian . The star, Anthony Hamilton, is a muscular unknown - but while his success never matched Schwarzenegger's, his acting is a lot better.

    Max Von Sydow ( Flash Gordon ), who once played Jesus of Nazareth, is here cast as an evil Philistine Governor. He wants Samson dead or enslaved, but Samson always out-fights the Philistine warriors. Luckily, Samson has a soft spot of Philistine courtesan Delilah [ Belinda Bauer ].

    It's not really fair to compare this with the Conan films. It's certainly better than the old Victor Mature version. The locations are more convincing, even though it was filmed on location in Mexico. And they get a real lion for the fight scene!

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  • The Power

    The Power George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette are unbelievably attractive scientists working on human endurance experiments for the NASA moon-launch program.

    It appears that one of the team is a telekinetic, murdering the other scientists so he can keep credit for their discoveries. Our heroes have to track down the killer, before they are his next victims.

    The climax makes this seem like a late 1960s version of Scanners . The SPFX are a bit more primitive, but it's not a bad film.

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  • Carrie 2: The Rage

    Carrie 2 Emily Bergl is the new-look Carrie. She's no outcast, though - she's a goth who hangs out with Mena Suvari

    The High School football team, who all look in their mid-20s, have sex with girls. Eeeevil indeed! But horror movies have traditionally enforced rigid moral rules - look at Hallowe'en!

    Token nice-guy jock Jason London [ Mallrats ] falls for Carrie. Disaster is just round the corner.

    Amy Irving , the only survivor from the original film, is now Head Teacher. She suspects that something bad will happen - but if you haven't seen the trailers, the climax might shock you. It's straight out of Hellraiser 3 - really, she should have been a Cenobite!

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  • Re-Animator

    Re-Animator This is Brian Yuzna 's cult b-movie horror flick, though the credits posthumously accuse H.P. Lovecraft of some involvement.

    Jeffrey Cooms [ ST: DS9 ] is a doctor who believes that, not unike a certain Dr Frankenstein, he can reanimate dead bodies. He develops a serum that can revive corpses ... or parts of them!

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  • FilmFour's "Studio Ghibli" Season

    Castle of Cagliostro

    Castle of Cagliostro A gentleman thief named Wolf goes to a tiny European country. He has to save a princess from a castle, overthrow a dictatorship - and evade Interpol at the same time!

    This was made in 1979. The animation isn't quite up to more recent standards, more comparable to Battle of the Planets . Also, for some reason the English-dubbed version still uses Japanese-sounding names for very caucasian-loking charactors!

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  • Princess Mononoke

    Princess Mononoke A young warrior kills a demon, but is cursed. To remove the curse he must journey to the place the demon came from.

    He journeys to Irontown, where an Industrial Revolution is being overseen by Minnie Driver . This is violently opposed by the huge wolf forest-spirit [ Gillian Anderson ] and the human girl she has adopted as her daughter [ Anna Paquin ].

    The theme is basically magic versus industrialisation, which has also been addressed in Lord of the Rings . That was Tolkien's diatribe, of course - this is more even-handed.

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  • Laputa: Castle in the Sky

    Laputa: Castle in the Sky In a word where Zeppelins are the main form of transport, a gang of Sky-pirates attempt to kidnap a young girl held prisoner by MIBs. She escapes, and befriends a young boy who works in a mining colony.

    The girl knows the location of Laputa, the flying island from Gulliver's Travels . Here it's like a flying Atlantis, a lost city full of hi-tech gadgetry.

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  • My Friend Totoro

    My Friend Totoro A very caucasian-looking father and his two young daughters move to an old wooden house in rural Japan. The girls discover their new [old] house has soot-sprites in it, and there are friendly forest-spirits in the nearby woods.

    The youngest girl goes missing, which leads to genuine drama. Luckily her sister and Totoro [a fat, furry frozen-faced blob] get help from a cat-bus, which is a cat that is also a bus.

    No, didn't make sense to me either. But the theme tune's kinds catchy. Maybe the kiddies would enjoy this film more than adults would.

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