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An American Original
14 June 2005
After some constant nagging by a friend to see The American Astronaut, I finally sat down and screened the DVD.

Initially, I wasn't sure if I liked it. I thought... LAME... sorta. I then ran the Director's Commentary on the DVD and began to grow a slow appreciation for the film. I thought about its unique style and the many challenges of producing a low-budget film (I should know). I then replayed the movie, taking into consideration what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish, and low and behold... IT WORKED!

It works on many levels, including originality, and was made the way the filmmakers intended, without compromise to their original vision. To me it was like watching Eraserhead in Outer Space -- and that's a good thing!

If you love independent film and are not quite sure about this one, watch the Director's Commentary on the DVD and then give the movie a second chance. You may be pleasantly surprised because the more you see it, the more it grows on you.

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Destined to become forgotten
24 October 2004
I had such high expectations for TEAM America; I rushed to see the sneak preview last week. I thought, what a fun concept, a big budget lampoon of the classic Thunderbirds TV series with all the trimmings. I guess I was hoping for an homage, which to some degree it was, but all I wound up with was a mildly funny product for its time.

I'm certainly no prude when it comes to this kind of humor, and I did laugh at many of the jokes, but I felt kind of guilty for doing so. The movie automatically limits a greater portion of its potential audience since it's inaccessible to children. Some parents may cave in and actually take their kids to see this vulgar film -- a so-called "adult" comedy which ironically uses R-Rated prepubescent toilet humor on a massive scale.

I can honestly say that the movie itself was pretty to look at and quite ambitious, but the guys behind it seemed to lack some real understanding of how to make a timeless motion picture. Instead, they made a movie destined to become forgotten. If only they used their brilliant imaginations to create a timeless comedy -- a movie with heart. Oh well.

One thing is for sure: they're laughing all right... all the way to the bank!
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Imaginative dark-comedy!
28 April 2004
Susan Emshwiller did a wonderful job with this, her directorial debut! I was lucky to catch this at the Newport Beach Film Festival for the world premiere. I thought the concept was original, bizarre, and well-executed considering the small budget. The music score by Ego Plum was also a hit with the crowd. It's the kind of film David Lynch might have made in his early days of avant-garde cinema. I saw a 35mm print which was made from a super 16mm negative, so there was a very small amount of grain, but overall it looked great. Let's hope this film gets a dvd release so many more can discover it. Highly recommended for fans of bizarre comedies -- without the exploitation, thank goodness!
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A beautiful film with a beautiful message
25 February 2004
Mr. Gibson should be rewarded for making such a bold and beautiful film about the passion of Jesus Christ. I wasn't sure what I would think of this film -- I heard so much about the violent scenes. True, the scenes of Christ's tortures are intense, but to good purpose.

I would recommend this film to everyone -- believers and non-believers alike. For there is not only the message here that Christ died for the sins of the world, but that we should all love one another and pray for our enemies. So many truths!

Beautiful cinematography and music score to boot!

Thank you, Mr. Gibson, for the passion of your beautiful film with a beautiful message!
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A SKELETON out of the closet!
9 May 2003
I just had the good fortune to screen THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA and I was pleasantly surprised! Everything about this production is fun and nostalgic. The video-maker's love for 1950's "B" Sci-Fi movies shines through in this highly entertaining homage/parody.

I understand that this production, originally shot on digital video tape with a Canon XL-1 camera, is getting a small theatrical release this September (2003). Way to go, skeletons! My hat's off to Michael Schlesinger for discovering this diamond-in-the-rough and for convincing Columbia to take a chance.

I encourage all fans of the genre to keep your eyes peeled for this production, coming out of the closet to reveal itself in a theatre or DVD player near you!

Break a ray-gun!
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Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
One helluva Ho-teppin' time!
28 February 2003
I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have finally seen Don Coscarelli's latest independent motion picture, BUBBA HO-TEP at the beautifully apropos Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California. And judging by the two sold out advance screenings, there should be little reason to doubt that BUBBA will keep audiences rolling in the aisles (or sofas) when it eventually makes its way to a theatre or DVD player near you.

By now you all know the premise: "The King of Rock vs. The King of the Dead." But what you may not know is that this film also delivers some wonderful drama, bordering on the absurd.

This is a definite must-see for fans of the horror-comedy genre and especially for fans of director Don Coscarelli. And for you PHANTASM "phans," Reggie Bannister does have a brief but memorable role in the picture.

One helluva Ho-teppin' time!
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Beau Hunks (1931)
Hal Roach's personal favorite
28 August 2002
In 1980 I had the good fortune to be invited to the home of legendary motion picture producer HAL E. ROACH. I was there to show him a few films I made, hoping for some good advice. We talked about many things, including Laurel & Hardy.

I then asked Mr. Roach what his all-time favorite Laurel & Hardy film was. After a thoughtful pause, he replied: "BEAU HUNKS."

In 1939 BEAU HUNKS was remade as FLYING DEUCES (not by Roach) during a temporary lapse in the boys' contracts. The story must have been a favorite of theirs as well.

BEAU HUNKS is an odd length (37 minutes), not too long and not too short. A classic which stands alone as one of Laurel & Hardy's most inspired films. No spoilers in this review, but if you are an L&H fan, seek out Hal Roach's personal favorite and you'll be glad you did!
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