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spegg's reviews view profile

Cheap and crappy (like a WalMart product)  
on December 20, 2005 - 3:40 PM PST
  of Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005)
2 out of 7 members found this review helpful

This documentary was a complete disappointment. While it has the raw footage needed to make its point (which is clear from just the cover image), it lacks any sort of cohesive narrative. The production values are low and the message this film tries to deliver is poorly represented by something so obviously slapped together by the "C" student in film school. At the end of this film I wanted to go shop at Wal-Mart just to piss off the film's producers.

The effect of Wal-Mart on America and the world is a wider subject than any one film is going to be able to describe. A good start would be the Frontline episode entitled "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?". It's available for free online.
Origins of the "game".  
on August 26, 2004 - 11:34 AM PDT
  of Midnight Madness (1980)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

This film isn't going to make anyone's top 10 movies of all time list, but it's definitely got some historical significance. Turns out that the scavenger hunt in this movie became the template for similar, real life puzzle hunts (often referred to simply as "the game"). These are 24+ hour events run by an underground community--see for more information.

As another fun trivia note, there's a couple of scenes in this film where Michael J. Fox is arguing with David Naughton. One could see this as a werewolf foreshadowing, as Naughton would soon star in "An American Werewolf in London", while Fox would star in "Teen Wolf" (both actors as reluctant werewolves).

I wouldn't recommend renting this film for pure entertainment (although it does have its moments), but rather as a fun bit of history.
Another shot-on-video misfortune  
on July 4, 2004 - 11:13 AM PDT
  of Vampires vs. Zombies (2004)
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful

There are certain hallmarks of movies such as this one:

* Nearly every shot is too close (likely done to avoid showing that there's virtually no set due to budget constraints).

* Nearly every shot is done with a hand-held camera, so there's a lot of unneeded shaking of the frame.

* The cameras have a huge depth of field, so that almost everything in a shot is in focus. This leads to a really "flat" feel to the picture.

* The colors are extremely washed out and the sharpness is usually poor.

* The resolution is often lower than with film, which looks pretty crappy when projected.

While there are high-end video cameras that can help with these issues, this (and many other movies on DVD now) is so low-budget that they clearly couldn't afford to use anything but cheap off-the-shelf home video cameras.

Never mind that the acting is horrible (so is the writing), and that the makeup and effects lack enough budget to look anything but pathetic. Greencine would do a service to its patrons by putting a "shot on video" warning in the description of these films.

It's a musical?  
on June 23, 2004 - 1:02 AM PDT
  of The Wicker Man (Theatrical Version) (1974)
5 out of 13 members found this review helpful

The description on the CD sleeve said nothing about this film being a musical, yet there were a couple of musical numbers, including the nude ass-slapping one mentioned by the previous reviewer. Definitely good for a laugh.

The film itself starts a bit slow, and is predictable at times, but fans of early 70's cinema, especially some of the more bizarre films, will certainly appreciate this movie. And of course the final scene gives provides an interesting perspective on the climax of the annual Burning Man festival.
Mind the (logic) gap!  
on June 14, 2004 - 9:58 AM PDT
  of Gothika (2003)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

The review by Misshaped correctly points out that there are some serious logical problems with this film, which really prevent it from being anything but an experiment in Hollywood's efforts to make stylish horror films. I personally consider the experiment a failure, as the color and lighting are overdone (perhaps the grayest movie not shot in B&W) and the ghosts are not presented in any original manner. The prison is especially laughable, as none of the cells contain toilets--a logic gap that made my friends and I laugh at the film more often than we were surprised or scared.

This film is probably worth renting as a stage in the decline of Halle Barry from Oscar winner to Razzie winner (I'm sure she's already nominated for "Catwoman").
Don't be fooled by the cover art.  
on February 27, 2004 - 3:29 PM PST
  of S.I.C.K. (2003)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

I rented this film to show to watch with a friend who has coulrophobia (fear of clowns), but we were sadly disappointed. The clown aspect, like all parts of this film, was poorly implemented, cheap, and not scary in the least.

The shot-on-video nature really emphasized the feeling that this is a student film. Unfortunately it's the film from the "C" student in film class. The acting, props, pacing, shot framing, dialogue, and plot are all terrible. So bad, in fact, that there were numerous times when we thought a scene would devolve into cheap hardcore porn--it has the same production qualities and cinematic feel, just without the sex. Or even a decent killer clown.

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