Sunday, August 28, 2005


Yes, it's time, time for another trip through DVD-land, time for...
Tales From Netflix!!!
DVD reviews, where I tell you exactly where you should put a disc in your Netflix rental queue - placing it at the top, burying it at the bottom, or not even bothering in the first place.

We've got quite a line-up this week, so let's start it off with...

We likely would've never come across Frog-g-g had it not been for "Frog-g-g's" presence at the San Diego Comic-Con, and I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Frog-g-g was as you'd suspect, a b-movie at best, and a shade campy, but it didn't really flourish in any capacity, cheese or otherwise. So what you're left with is just a bad movie all around, with some all-to-brief hilarious scenes with Frog-g-g (I suspect if you summed up the latex creatures screen time you'd come up to under five minutes). The scenes with Frog-g-g in them are mostly funny cause this is one creature that behaves out of the norm, you see, he's a mutated species that must mate with human females, and fast, and a lot. There's only ever really one sex scene with Frog-g-g though, but it's a treasure.

I'd like to say don't bother, but I'm going to go ahead and mildly recommend you put Frog-g-g at the bottom of your QUEUE

and no, I'm not biased...

This has been a great year for movies, already with at least two added to my all time favorites list - Sin City, and Life Aquatic. Kung Fu Hustle may just be another.

Hustle is filled to the brim with energy, wit, and style. It zips along and crafts one amazing scene, or sequence after the next. As with the aforementioned Sin City, it's a lot like a comic book come to life. A merging of live action directing, with CG effects that's nearly seamless, and makes the impossible come to life. However, this film is not based on a comic book, but writer/producer/director/star (yes, really) Steven Chow (he wears more hats than even Rodriguez) would make a fantastic choice for such a film (but then, Ang Lee didn't exactly succeed in that department...).

Hustle has a lot in common with Crouching Tiger, Hero, and the Eastern wire work films, but where those are mostly emotional, or deeply spiritual, Hustle is pure fun and spectacle. It simply must be seen.

Make sure Kung Fu Hustle is at the top, number one spot on your QUEUE

Just like the title suggests, Layer Cake is dense - as in heavy on plot. It's also one of the best films of the year, and an impressive directorial debut for Matthew Vaughn (no wonder he was tapped to direct X-men 3 initially).

The directing here is what you'd expect or hope for from this type of underworld UK character/caper piece, very stylish, and very cool. It's also filled with great performances from an ensemble cast. The only thing I found too challenging was that the dialects and sound at times were hard to hear or follow, and the plot was very intricate. There is simply a ton of angles being played in this film, and it's hard to tell if it's good ol American laziness that makes it too much, and warranting repeated views, or if those repeated views would start to shine holes in the plot/story.

Layer Cake belongs up there with the other landmark, quality British films of similar ilk, like Trainspotting, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch. It may even score better than some of those. The soundtrack is also very good, and very well suited, just as with Trainspotting.

Be sure and put Layer Cake at the top of your QUEUE, push play and enjoy.

Hey Vin Diesel in a Disney-flick is genius. Undoubtedly the film is not.

The Pacifier does come close to succeeding, really only stumbling towards the middle (and when things fizzle in the middle of short, 90 minute movie, you know you're in trouble), and making what would've been a high recommendation, a mild one.

Had they trimmed a few minutes in the middle, or reworked it a touch this would've been a top queue, but instead I'll go with a middle QUEUE for Pacifier.

Okay, so Steamboy is the long in production, hopeful anime masterpiece, with some of the creators from Akira, and maybe other landmark animes. Thing is, most of the movie animes, that see a domestic release, are all hyped as being from one of the creators of Akira, whether it's the director, editor, writer, I don't know, they make it kind of hard to care at this point.

As I'd heard, Steamboy is a visual accomplishment, it's one of the strongest works of animation put to film. It's not all that vibrant, or imaginative, but it's full of technical renderings done to perfection. The character designs aren't particularly striking either, but also still very solid.

This is a good movie though. It's a solid story, with some incredible visuals. You just don't ever get too swept up in it, or grow to really care for any of the characters, except for the perfectly magical chihuahua that gets introduced and then disappears... (it's the kind of character Miyazaki, another legendary anime director, is renowned for, and part of why his films, don't often miss the mark)

I still say Steamboy belongs at the top of your QUEUE

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