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Ghost In The Shell Review

Very Good

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as The Matrix or Blade Runner, two films it resembles in various ways, even if it lacks their resonance. Director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) pulls out all the stops, expertly deploying an eclectic cast and a continual stream of eye-popping visual effects. This helps make up for the surprisingly thin approach to the story's deeper themes.

It's set in near-future Japan, where Major (Scarlett Johansson) has her brain transplanted into a robotic body after an accident. Weaponised by the Hanka corporate boss Cutter (Peter Ferdinando), she is assigned to work undercover with local police chief Aramaki ('Beat' Takeshi Kitano) and a team that includes muscly sidekick Batou (Pilou Asbaek) and reparative Dr Ouelet (Juliette Binoche). Major's current case has her on a collision course with a mastermind terrorist named Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt), who is attacking Hanka executives one by one. As she tracks him down, she is noticing strange glitches in her programming, little visions of what might be her past. But these are oddly unrelated to her memories, which makes her wonder who she really was before she became a machine.

The script makes it painfully clear that the title refers to Major's soul in her mechanical body, as if it needed explaining. And there are other elements of the dialog that seem dumbed down for the mainstream, including the way the film sidesteps the big questions it raises about free will, militarised culture and corporate greed. By neglecting these elements of the story, the film wows our eyes and tantalises our emotions, but never gets under our skin. Johansson is terrific at these sort of roles (see also Lucy), and her expressive eyes bring some moving subtext to her scenes with Binoche and Pitt. Meanwhile, Kitano nearly steals the show as the cool old-school master.

Continue reading: Ghost In The Shell Review

Chaske Spencer, Kiowa Gordon and Steven Paul - Chaske Spencer, Spencer Battiest, Genevieve Jackson, Kiowa Gordon, Beanca Battiest, Zachary Doc Battiest and Steven Paul Judd Hollywood, Florida - The Battiest Brothers debut 'The Storm' music video, a tribute to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and celebrate the launch of Unconquered Media at the Paradise Live in Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Saturday 17th September 2011

Chaske Spencer, Kiowa Gordon and Steven Paul
Chaske Spencer
Chaske Spencer, Kiowa Gordon and Steven Paul
Chaske Spencer
Steven Paul and Chaske Spencer
Chaske Spencer, Kiowa Gordon and Steven Paul

Doomsday Review


Bad
Step aside, zombie films -- there's a new derivative genre in town. The post-apocalyptic thriller is out to trump your ongoing redundancy. Instead of bringing something new to the dystopian brave new world, writer/director Neil Marshall's Doomsday has simply decided to reference each and every offering in the oeuvre. A substantial slip from his championed efforts (Dog Soldiers and The Descent), this Escape from Newcastle calamity is like watching George Miller channel John Carpenter. Toss in a little Aliens, a few medieval riffs, and enough Mad Max references to choke Mel Gibson's ego and you've got a disaster pretending to be profound.

When the Reaper virus devastates Glasgow, the British government quarantines all of Scotland. A few survivors make it out. The rest are locked behind heavy steel walls and guarded gates. Nearly three decades later, the plague reappears, this time in downtown London. Desperate to find a cure, Cabinet Minister Caranis (David O'Hara) gets Police Chief Nelson (Bob Hoskins) to send his top officer back into the hot zone. He chooses lady loose cannon Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra). Her goal? Lead a group of soldiers to Kane (Malcolm McDowell), a doctor who was once in charge of Reaper research. Seems the satellites have been picking up images of humans in the supposedly uninhabitable realm, and if Kane has found a cure, they may be able to stop the insidious disease.

Continue reading: Doomsday Review

Ghost Rider Review


OK
It's gotten to the point where almost any movie with a narrated prologue is suspect. But the opening section of the comic-book adaptation Ghost Rider starts with a particularly troubling apocalyptic rumble of exposition. See, there was this guy a bunch of years ago who made a deal with the devil, to act as a bounty hunter for wayward souls. But in collecting souls from one dusty town, he saw things so horrifying that he defied the devil and absconded with the contract (I'm not being careful about spoilers; the movie really is that vague). The narration, which you may recognize in vocal tone if not wittiness from The Big Lebowski's Sam Elliott, says that this figure -- this first Ghost Rider -- "outran" the devil (Peter Fonda, by the way), but it looks more like Ghost Rider rode a horse into the sunset while the devil watched, perhaps as confused as those in the audience.

Now then: What does this have to do with Johnny Blaze, superstar motorcycle daredevil? Well, writer-director Mark Steven Johnson will tell you, in a second prologue, after the opening credits, showing Blaze, as a teenager, making one of those unfortunate and confusing satanic contracts in an attempt to save his father's life. Johnson is apparently under the impression that this 20-minute backstory technique worked so well in his Daredevil that he can't afford to, say, skip it and get right to Nicolas Cage, who eventually shows up as the adult Johnny, about to be confronted by the consequences of said contract. Young Johnny's deal is so inadvertent and, again, vague, that the situation lacks considerable drama, but the show must go on.

Continue reading: Ghost Rider Review

SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 Review


Terrible
There's already talk about SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 being one of the worst movies of all time. I can't make that claim, but it is one of the saddest movies I've ever seen. The concept of dressing up toddlers and tykes in super hero costumes, dubbing their voices, moving their lips to talk, and having them beating up bad guys... well, the whole affair made me feel like I was privy to some fetishist's fantasy sprung to life. The movie is creepy, unoriginal (remember Look Who's Talking?), and bare of any real human emotion, so the prior thought seems even more valid.

I felt sorry for the kids onscreen, who one day will be hiding this film among those dark secrets of the soul that we read about in great novels. And I felt really sorry for Jon Voight. He was one of the 1960s and 1970s signature actors, and in 2004 he's getting repeatedly kicked in the face by a seven-year-old. Does he need money? If you or I wrote a movie, could we get Voight to participate for $100 and unlimited runs to the craft services table? Someone should write him a letter or send him flowers. He's a good actor and he's starring in the sequel to Baby Geniuses with Chachi? Something is very, very wrong here.

Continue reading: SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 Review

Baby Geniuses Review


Terrible
Is it possible for a movie to be insulting from beginning to end, without pause at all along the way? As it turns out, yes indeed! Baby Geniuses, widely hailed as one of the worst movies of the 1990s, if not one of the worst of all time, would be completely forgettable if it weren't so deeply disturbing. Medical experimentation on human babies, now there's a movie idea for ya! And adopting Babe-like morphing to make these babies appear to speak is just plain wrong.

Continue reading: Baby Geniuses Review

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Steven Paul Movies

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Doomsday Movie Review

Doomsday Movie Review

Step aside, zombie films -- there's a new derivative genre in town. The post-apocalyptic thriller...

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Ghost Rider Movie Review

Ghost Rider Movie Review

It's gotten to the point where almost any movie with a narrated prologue is suspect....

SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 Movie Review

SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 Movie Review

There's already talk about SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 being one of the worst movies of...

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