Archive for May, 2002

Thirteen ghosts

Poor William Castle. The gimmick filmmaker may be dead, but his spirit sort of lives on in this gory remake of his classic black and white chiller about a family trapped inside a house with a spirited baker’s dozen. What was once a simple but effective idea has been turned into a larger-than-life but ultimately less satisfying fun house attraction. Director Steve Beck does manages to wrangle a modicum of thrills from the premise, and the cast seems up to the challenge, but the plot relies more on gore than chills to make its point.
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The Corruptor

As much as I admire Hong Kong action star Chow Yun-Fat and director James Foley (“Glengarry Glen Ross”), I purposely avoided seeing “The Corruptor” in theaters. I even admire Mark Wahlberg after his turn in “Boogie Nights,” which proved he’s much more than an underwear model. Read the rest of this entry »

Altered States

New Year’s Eve. 1980. Westwood Village, two blocks north of the University of California, Los Angeles. Go Bruins. Five friends and myself are crammed into the back of my sports van in a parking lot next door to the Village Theater. We have just had dinner, and were preparing to see a midnight showing of “Altered States.” What a way to ring in the New Year. As my friends downed pints of Peppermint Schnapps, I took a couple of swills and then munched on some magic mushrooms my roommate gave me for Christmas. Read the rest of this entry »

Films Review May


I like when director Steven Spielberg is in a frisky mood, and “Catch Me If You Can” is as frisky as they come. After pummeling us with the high octane “Minority Report,” Spielberg returns with this fanciful period piece starring Leonardo DiCaprio as infamous con man Frank Abagnale Jr., a cocky 16-year-old who impersonated a pilot, doctor, high school teacher and assistant attorney general while on the run from FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). Read the rest of this entry »


It looks like it’s going to be a bad summer for New York. First the city finds itself inundated by a giant tidal wave in “Deep Impact.” In July, splinters of a comet smack into Manhattan in “Armageddon,” making the afternoon commute even more horrendous. Then there’s that giant green lizard. Born from ground zero of French nuclear testing in the Pacific, the lizard has a couple of days to kill before nesting, so why not take a bite out of the big apple. “Godzilla” is back, and if this is news to you, welcome back to Earth. Read the rest of this entry »

Bulletproof Monk

Like “Old School” and “Deep Throat: The High School Years,” “Bulletproof Monk” is the latest attempt by Hollywood to bridge the generation gap, bringing together an older star and a younger star in the hopes expanding box office appeal. The strategy backfires, as the only appealing thing about “Bulletproof Monk” was that projectionist managed to keep the film is focus for a torturous hour and forty-four minutes. Read the rest of this entry »


Before Ron Howard ignited the screen with “Backdraft,” veteran action director Andrew V. McLaglen (“McClintock“) and star John Wayne scorched the screen with “Hellfighters.” Despite it’s dated look, “Hellfighters” is still whopping entertainment, a perfect blend of melodrama and spectacle. Read the rest of this entry »

Top Ten 2002

A guy walks into a doctor’s office and complains that every time he hits himself on the head with a board, it hurt. The doctor countered "then why do you keep hitting yourself on the head with the board." To which the man replied, "To make sure it still hurt."
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Oh no, there’s trouble in Gotham, I mean, New York City, again. A war between good and evil mutants is raging on, and only one person can stop them. No, not Hillary Clinton. Professor Charles Xavier, a good mutant who just wants what everybody else wants: he wants to be loved. Read the rest of this entry »

The North Avenue Irregulars

Walt Disney’s “The North Avenue Irregulars” is what I like to call a goof. Not “goof” as in a mistake, but “a goof” as in something light and frivolous. Walt Disney Pictures liked to call them programmers, films that would fill a slot in theaters (but more often than not the second half of a Disney drive-in bill) and then land on the Disney television program. Read the rest of this entry »