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A Nightmare Come True (1997 TV Movie)
Interesting but predictable.
22 May 2005
After her apartment is damaged by fire, Sarah, a young nurse, moves back in with her folks. Shortly thereafter, her mother disappears and much to her frustration, she receives little help from the police, her family or boyfriend.

She experiences a set of disturbing nightmares about her mother and fears her life may be in danger. Sarah sets out to solve the mystery on her lonesome and what she discovers along the way causes her much grief, anger and fear. Katy Boyer is excellent as the traumatised Sarah and is supported by a fine cast including Gerald McRaney and Jeremy Renner.

There's plenty of twists, turns and red herrings to keep you interested, even if you do figure it out well before half-time.

Based on a true story!
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Stupid funny! I love it!
20 May 2005
Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I think this movie's great. There's lots of hilarious (and clean) sight gags, slapstick and laugh-out-loud situations.

Dudley Moore, obviously the far more superior comedian, is fantastic as a teenager stuck in an adult's body. He has many funny scenes and milks them for all they're worth, my favourite being the chewing gum/cigarette incident. The looks on his co-stars' faces is priceless. Watch also for Moore's date with Margaret Colin (that goes really badly) and when he does the rounds at the hospital.

Unfortunately, there are a few flaws. There's a bit of swearing and sexual reference (which would make it an otherwise very suitable film for kids). It wastes the talent of Catherine Hicks in a surprisingly pointless and unnecessary role and Sean Astin is super-annoying (as always) as the "wacky" best friend/sidekick. The film also resorts to schmaltz at the end when it goes for a warm and fuzzy finale.

Otherwise, a great film that's lots and lots of fun. Funky soundtrack and wonderful flashback to the delightfully tacky fashions and hairstyles of the '80s.
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Messages and mega-stars!
14 May 2005
Sad, strange little movie stars Claire Danes as Daisy; a shy, bookish girl attending an elite private school in New York. When she's not gushing over the delectable Ethan (Jude Law), she's spending time with her Nana in the countryside reading books and listening to Nana's tales of her survival of the holocaust.

The movie tries to intertwine the themes of post and modern day anti-semitism via Nana's stories and flashback sequences with Daisy's trials and tribulations at school when knowledge of her Jewish heritage is made public.

Unfortunately, as hard as this movie tries, it never quite hits the mark. The performances from Danes and Moreau though are heartfelt, and the message is there for those who want to see it. This movie means well and attempts to educate us on one of the all time greatest blights on mankind - prejudice.

Worth a look for early performances from Jude Law, James Van Der Beek and Julia Stiles before they hit the big time.
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Excellent performances bring true story to the screen.
5 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Powerful film, inspired by true events, takes us through a school hostage situation step by agonizing step.

Deeply troubled Jason Copeland decides to go on a rampage at his former high school out of revenge for failing to be awarded his high school diploma. His life has been a mess ever since then and he blames one teacher in particular, Mr Kroft, whose classroom he enters first.

The situation escalates and Jason winds up with 60 hostages and several casualties in his wake. Rick Schroder plays the part of Jason brilliantly as we witness his transition from crazed, gun-toting lunatic to a defeated and broken man. What happens in between is fascinating.

Henry Winkler turns in a great performance as a dedicated (yet inexperienced) cop who finds himself thrust into the unenviable position of negotiating with Jason.

Rick Schroder (who seems to have effortlessly made the transition from cute child star to credible adult actor), Freddie Prinze Jr (in one of his earlier roles) and the lovely, luminous and under-used actress Katie Wright all give fine performances they should be proud of.
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Stolen Innocence (1995 TV Movie)
Ruined by bad acting & script
22 November 2004
In contrast to the other two posts, I'm sorry but I thought this movie was terrible. The acting was dreadful, especially from the two leads (Gold & Calabro). I've never thought of Tracey Gold as that great an actress anyway and she did nothing to change my opinion here.

I couldn't sympathise with her character one bit and Thomas Calabro was just ridiculous. I cringed so many times during this movie, and the real tragedy is, it could've been so darn good -- especially as it was based on a true story.

The only saving grace is Matt Letscher as Rick's "friend" Eddie. He acted well and was far more believable than the other two. Rick was a psycho, Stacy was just plain stupid. Eddie made you feel SOMETHING at least, especially when Rick turns on him and treats him like dirt. Eddie also seems to have a genuine fondness for Stacy and fear of Rick, and portrays this well in the movie.

Final verdict: a woeful account of what was obviously a very serious incident that was turned into something laughable and unbelievable thanks to bad acting and a corny script.
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Harmless fun.
15 November 2004
Right from the opening credits, you know exactly what sort of movie this is going to be. A teen "comedy/romance/drama" featuring a nerdy girl as the main character (screaming for a makeover) in lust with the cutest guy in school. We all know she's gonna make it in the end but ... how??? Stay tuned and all will be revealed. This movie isn't fantastic but it's innocuous and simple. Young teenage girls will love it - the fantasy of trading places, Justin Timberlake, cute guys (well, one, Eric), high school histrionics, school dances, nice clothes, pesky little brothers etc etc. It's a Disney movie -- what more can I say. Don't expect Oscar-winning stuff, it's light-hearted fluff. Don't think, just watch. It's really not that bad. 6/10
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Unforgivable (1996 TV Movie)
A different type of domestic violence movie ...
14 August 2004
Paul (John Ritter -- R.I.P.) is a nasty, cheating wife-beater who struggles to control his anger at home and at work. I won't re-cap the plot, instead I'll simply say this is an excellent TVM about domestic violence. It explores the reasons WHY men beat their wives/girlfriends and what can be done about it.

In a jaded, cynical world, this movie gives hope that some people CAN change and there's help out there if you need it -- all you have to do is ask.

The cast do a magnificent job in their respective roles and being a true story, there's a little epilogue at the end. I believe it was very courageous for the real life Paul Hegstrom to put himself out there and tell the world what he'd done. We all make mistakes, not many of us can admit it. A must see!
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Every Breath (1994)
Horrible little film with no redeeming features.
8 August 2004
This movie has no redeeming features whatsoever. Basically, there's this rich, sick bastard who gets his kicks from watching his wife have sex with other men (he's impotent) and burying people alive (hence the title "Every Breath" ???) which is meant to be some deep metaphor for how he feels in life -- suffocated. The whole premise is nasty. Richard & Lauren prey on people and engage them in erotic games for their own pleasure. I think we're meant to feel sorry for Lauren or something but she's just a messed up bitch. Meanwhile, what the hell is Judd's character DOING? He has a lovely doting girlfriend and he ditches her for these weirdos. This is not only a sick movie but a bad one too. The subject matter is distasteful and the acting atrocious. Avoid at all costs. A complete waste of time. Utter, utter CRAP.
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Face of Evil (1996 TV Movie)
Gold's bad acting doesn't ruin movie!!!
7 August 2004
I don't think Tracy Gold is really that great an actress. Her performance in this movie didn't change my opinion. She overacts and her portrayal of a deeply disturbed sociopath is just downright campy at times. Luckily, the storyline and supporting cast are excellent and we're all just waiting for "Brianne/Darcy/whatever her name is" to get her just desserts -- does she? You'll just have to watch and find out! Tracy looks very skinny in this movie, evidence no doubt of her battle with anorexia. They needed a voluptuous blonde vixen for this role. It's a bit hard to swallow Carol Seaver substituting sulfuric acid for eye drops. Shawnee Smith sports a super-short hair-do which I didn't really like. If you're a Shawnee fan, she undoubtedly looks her best on "Becker". Great actress!
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Original Sin (2001)
What was all the fuss about???
17 May 2004
I remembered this movie when it first came out because there was all this "drama & controversy" about some explicit sex scenes between Antonio & Angelina. When I saw it at the video store, I thought, "Hey, let's see what all the fuss was about". Well, instead, I became immediately intrigued with this dark, mysterious little movie with plenty of twists and turns. Yes, there's some sex scenes. So what? Nothing you haven't seen before.

Angelina undeniably has a great body and is just gorgeous. She never puts a foot wrong, although this is an unusual movie choice for her. The costumes are *fantastic* and the acting's really not too bad.

I found it confusing in parts and sometimes hard to follow, especially where Thomas Jane's character is concerned. Maybe I'm just dumb.

3.5 stars for atmosphere, great sets & costumes and Angelina Jolie alone. She's a great actress and even when she's not that good, she's still great.
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So bad it's good!
15 May 2004
This really is quite a tacky movie but it can be forgiven its foibles thanks to a few redeeming features. Justine Priestley is beautiful so all the boys will love seeing her strut around in next to nothing. And hey girls, need hairstyle ideas for your prom? Look no further. The hairstylist on this movie had a field day; Amanda sports an elaborate new hair-do in practically every scene. Amanda is also quite an ingenious little thing. She gives MacGyver a run for his money with a bit of break & enter followed by the installation of fibre optics in a roof. She has gadgets galore (scanner, model dressed like her attached to a light timer, TV hooked up to David's house watching his every move) and a great line she shoots at Buzz when he complains about second-hand smoke: "It's not the smoke that kills you, it's the smoker". Ah Buzz, second-hand smoke is the LEAST of your worries! This was never gonna be an Oscar winner. It's a cheap little "thriller" with a few (unintentional) laughs and Justine is fantastic as the evil bitch posing as the All-American girl-next-door. What guy could say "No" to this babe? David certainly couldn't and ... well, you can guess the rest. 2/5 stars (for effort).
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Soft porn masquerading as a movie
15 May 2004
This movie is bloody awful. There's a lesbian sex scene within the first 10 minutes (gurreat...), the acting's atrocious, all of the characters are boring and it's hard to like any of them; however "cowboy Kyle" is quite good-looking. This film has so many parallels with Zalman King's far superior Two Moon Junction: mysterious drifter with a dog captures heart of "Southern" princess who's already betrothed to someone else, lesbians, alcohol abuse, girls kissing, sex scenes (King is obviously a fan of "girl on top"), secrets within a proud, rich family and a couple of weirdos thrown in for good measure (in this case the "sheriff" and the two lesbians who are all really quite creepy). There's also a completely irrelevant section where the main character and her friend go to New Orleans and meet some washed up ex-footballer. Just an excuse for more sex scenes. Don't waste your time with this trash. I found this movie in the "Thriller" section. Yeah right, the only "thrilling" part of this movie was when the credits rolled. B-A-D in every way.
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Boys (1996)
Disappointing for Winona fans. =(
29 March 2004
Let me begin by saying, I love Winona. I think she's great. This movie is just terrible though. It's boring, slow and forgettable. Her performance is really bad. She looks tired, bored, fed up - her heart just wasn't in this one. Compared to her *fantastic* efforts in Heathers, Mermaids, Reality Bites, Little Women et al, this is just tripe. The "romance" between her and Lukas Haas is unbelievable and awkward and there's zero chemistry, the scenes in the dormitory are boring, I just can't name any redeeming features except for the beautiful Maryland scenery. And there's a scene where there's all this Spanish being spoken and NO sub-titles. Ridiculous. I know some people enjoyed this movie and I respect that, but if you decided to see this thinking it'd be another Winona classic, forget it. Oh, and as for the "mystery" of "What's up with Patty?", well, by the time we find out, I really didn't care anymore. Sorry Winona, you CAN and HAVE done MUCH better than this. 1.5 stars (for the scenery). May be of interest to some to see Christopher Pettiet in one of his final roles before his untimely death.
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The Pool (2001)
Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.
15 March 2004
As long as you don't go into this expecting too much you shouldn't be disappointed. Yes, it's a stock-standard, generic, clichéd B-grade slasher flick. The cast is pretty unlikeable which makes it hard to even care who lives or dies. The "teenagers" all look in their mid to late 20's (expect for Isla Fisher, who really is a very talented Aussie actress, but maybe I'm biased).

A lot of the characters have obscure accents which can make it a little hard to understand what the hell they are saying at times. The killer does kinda look like the killer/s out of "Scream" but I guess they're starting to run out of costume ideas. The machete was a strange weapon of choice, not exactly easy to conceal.

Oh look, I could go on and on about this movie's flaws but instead I'll just say this: if you're looking for half-naked chicks, horny, drunk guys and a few brutal, bloody murders then look no further!

I will commend the person who thought up the water slide scene though. It should be inducted into "The Most Original Way to Die in a Movie" hall of fame. As a female all I can say is "That's GOTTA hurt!!!".

The pool complex itself is beautiful, modern and luxurious but we don't even get to see it until about 40 minutes into the movie. Wish the pool I worked at was half as groovy! 6/10 for effort. At least they tried...
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Blue Car (2002)
Not exactly a feel-good movie
5 March 2004
I hired this movie expecting a quirky, fun, romantic comedy. Nuh! (The cover is deceptive). That's not to say I didn't enjoy it immensely, it just leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth. Agnes Bruckner is fantastic as the disenchanted, troubled teenage kleptomaniac-cum-poet struggling to find meaning in her life. This sense of meaning and purpose comes in the form of her English teacher, Mr Auster, who helps forge her love of poetry with encouragement on a personal and professional level. There are so many sad, depressing, uncomfortable moments in this movie yet it is acted so well and is so thought-provoking you can forgive it's few foibles. On the DVD, Karen Moncrieff gives a fascinating feature commentary that's well worth listening too, especially for aspiring film makers. Highly recommended, but be warned, if you're feeling down or depressed - avoid at all costs! Watch it when in a reflective mood or you are looking for inspiration if you are a writer/poet/film buff etc. 6.5 out of 10.
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Skeletons (1997 TV Movie)
Starts off good, dwindles at the end ...
20 February 2004
From the moment Peter, Heather and their son Zack move to the Stepford Wives-esque town of Saugatuck in New England you just know something isn't right. All the women have perfect hair and make-up and bake like there's no tomorrow. All the men are rednecks and there's no-one even vaguely ethnic in sight, as observed by Peter's wife Heather. There's just something downright creepy about this place. Unfortunately for Peter and his family, the audience figures that out well before he does.

What begins as an intriguing investigation by journalist Peter into a mysterious local murder eventually ends with a most disappointing, scattered ending. I don't know how else they could have ended it but I was let down because I thought, "Wow, this is a really good movie. I'm into it and I want to know what happens!" Well, when the truth eventually comes out it's all too late etc. etc. and you're left thinking, "Well, that was a bit crap!"

Ron Silver is in top form as usual though with his little one-liners and quips. Kyle Howard as Zack Crane is good too for a youngster. One to watch!

I'd recommend seeing "Skeletons" because it is a mystery, but unfortunately the mystery doesn't last long enough and when the "twist" comes, we've already figured it out.

I couldn't work out why people of a New England town would have Southern accents either ...
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The Killing Secret (1997 TV Movie)
Well acted by a great cast ...
25 January 2004
This is a fantastic little TVM that I just saw for the first time the other day. It's well acted by a cast of virtual unknowns, apart of course from Tess Harper & Soleil "Punky Brewster" Moon Frye. Ari Meyers is great as the rich girl with a conscience and is very convincing in her role as she builds a friendship with the mother of the missing & subsequently deceased Emily (Soleil). It has you on the edge of your seat right til the very end. You really don't know which way it's going to go. It is inspired by a true story which makes it all the more sad and interesting. If you like true stories that make you think, get you frustrated and make you want to cheer for the goodies & boo the baddies then this is for you!
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