Casey Siemaszko

Casey Siemaszko

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Back To The Future Part II Review


Excellent
Back to the Future takes a darker turn with this first of two sequels (which were shot together, perhaps for the first time in film history that more than one film was made simultaneously for a staggered release), in which the relatively quaint and simple time travel arc from BTTF gets far more confusing and, in some ways, more fulfilling. The setup from the first film -- Marty's son is in trouble in 2015 -- turns out to be a MacGuffin and of little consequence. The real point is to get Marty into the future and to get a now aged Biff into the Delorean and back to 1955, where he gives his younger self a sports almanac that lets him instantly become a millionaire through sports betting. This sends Marty back again to 1955, where he has to get the almanac away from Biff while avoiding his other self, who's busy dealing with mom and dad. Time travel starts to get a little mindbending here, and along with its convolutions and ominous tone (Hill Valley is now a dangerous slum), it's not nearly as popular as parts 1 and 3. Still, it's a good film and rewards an attentive viewer with tons of inside jokes and kooky predictions about the future (look at how many fax machines everyone was supposed to have!).

Young Guns Review


Terrible
Remember the Alamo, and remember the '80s. Young Guns supposedly takes place in the old west, but it actually takes place in front of the cameras. If you use your imagination, behind the impeccably coiffed brat pack (Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Philips, Charlie Sheen), you can almost see their hairdressers, lint removers, personal assistants, entourages, and playmates. Young Guns doesn't have a good reason to exist besides an excuse for these hot young Turks to look good onscreen, pop off their guns, then mosey off the set and indulge in stardom. It might seem unfair to judge the movie this way, but damn if that isn't the way it feels -- an excuse for preening.

Fifteen years later (as the film is reissued on an indulgent Special Edition DVD set, complete with commentary track from three of the less-busy stars), everything in Young Guns feels wrong. The cheap sawdust sets, the dust-free costumes (except for tobacco chompin' Dermot Mulroney, who is "Pigpen" to the rest of the Peanuts Gang cast), the barely awake performances by Yoda-like mentor Terence Stamp and bad guy Jack Palance, and the flat-out arrogance of some of the cast members. At the time, they may have been the masters of the universe -- emblematic success stories of the Reagan era. Now, Emilio Estevez's Billy the Kid is a cute nihilist, a maniac winking at the camera to let us know deep down, he's really svelte Emilio.

Continue reading: Young Guns Review

Limbo Review


Excellent

Right now I'm as excited about the medium of film as I was during my first film lit class in high school.

I've just seen John Sayles' "Limbo," a 200-proof character study so engrossing, intelligent and intellectually rewarding that by 60 minutes into the movie I was already antsy to see it a second time.

The story revolves around three people -- a mother, her daughter and her lover -- who become stranded on a remote Alaskan island during a sailboat outing that turns violent when double-crossed drug traffickers come calling for another passenger.

Continue reading: Limbo Review

Casey Siemaszko

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