Reader Reviews: Feb 1st-4th 2004

By Garth Franklin Wednesday February 4th 2004 11:45PM

A couple of takes today on an ice hockey flick, a kiddie spy thiller, a serial killer thriller, the next Dark Castle movie and a Scottish kung-fu action vehicle for a hobbit. "House of Wax" (script) "Since the beginning, when William Malone's House on Haunted Hillopened at number one in 1999, Dark Castle has made good on their coda to deliver Halloween party movies that offer gory good times and "Boo!" scares. Accompanied with 3-D technology, House of Waxwill prompt some cringing and a few jumps, but it'll carry with it the same old baggage that has crippled Castle's prior efforts: Forgettable characters, too many unconvincing answers to pressing questions, and some of the usual genre trappings that are about as cracked and brittle as this House of Wax..." (full review)

"Mindhunters" "The truth is Mindhunters is standard B-movie horror much like Harlin's previous outing Deep Blue Sea. It's not classic cinema by any means, but neither is it in the realms of product-placing superficial flash like many no-brainer releases. It's just run-of-the-mill. It offers nothing new or surprising but is an inoffensive way to spend 90 minutes on a dull weeknight. This only reiterates the question of why it has received such short shrift, when the very same distributor is guilty of subjecting us to much worse in recent times..." (full review)

"Catch That Kid" "I liked the film because it is about our youth stepping up in a time of crisis. Not because they have to, but because they choose to, and know it will be right for those who matter. It is about morality, yet it sends the positive and wonderfully unorthodox message that sometimes it is right to do wrong. The film is good-natured and inoffensive (although I'm pretty sure I heard a fart in there about halfway through). If a family film is meant to entertain your children while teaching them a valuable lesson, then consider Catch That Kid a worthy investment. They'll have a good time and thank you when they're older..." (full review)

"The Lion King 1.5" "As far as straight-to-video Disney sequels go, it doesn't get much better than The Lion King 1. It's not a rehash of the original, a problem that seems to plague the majority of their follow-ups (even the first sequel to The Lion King was guilty of this to a certain extent). The film remains coherent to those that haven't seen the original, though there's obviously a lot of in-jokes that only fans of the first one will be able to appreciate..." (full review)

"Miracle" "Despite a wonderful showing, there are some things to pick at. One is the use of slow motion in the film. Granted this is a sports film and this technique is expected to be used, but in certain moments in the film, it just felt a tad awkward and wasn't necessarily needed. Another is just political commentary on the use of President Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech in the film. In the context of the film, the filmmakers try to make it out to be an inspirational message, foreshadowing later events in the feature, when in reality it was Carter's blaming of the problems of the nation on the American people. Could it be inspirational in another sense? Yes, but not in the way the filmmakers were attempting to make it out to be. Miracle expresses how even in a time when a nation faces an almost uncertain future, the American people can still be proud of who they are and where they are from, in just one simple moment..." (full review)

"I felt badly for the fans that came expecting a miracle of a film. They left with comments such as, "well, it wasn't fabulous." They had the same look on their faces that Star Wars fans did after watching The Phantom Menace. This film had a hell of a lot of potential. Gavin O'Connor did a more than adequate job at directing Eric Guggenheim's script. Unfortunately, Guggenheim wasn't willing to take any chances. A coach and a team willing to take as many chances as they did deserve a film less cautious than the one they received..." (full review)

"Overall, "Miracle" is still a really good film. It's a bit different than the made-for-TV movie in 1981, and maybe lacks the action of "Slapshot," but it is better than "Mystery, Alaska" or "Youngblood." Not a lot of cussing and very little violence in the film, despite all the action, so this PG film is safe to take kids and maybe give them a sense of what America has been through over the past 30 years and show them what pride is all about..." (full review)

"The Purifiers" by 'The Hood' There is lots of footage of the Purifiers floating around, it looks adequate technically. Its difficult to judge with editing still going on but apparently the entire thing is only 1hour 20min so rumours that there are lots of cuts are possibly true. In any event the plot is wafer thin and its OK but it has a TV feel that probably won't serve it well on the big screen. I think its adequate but it won't make much impact up against any substantial competition. One friend who has seen the entire thing says it should be renamed the Tranquilisers but that is unkind. Only memorable performance is from Amber Sainsbury, everyone else is file and forget...very disappointed with Domonic Monaghan. To be honest my hopes weren't that high with Richard Jobson directing so I'm probably less harsh than others you may have heard from. Its the first Scottish kunfg fu flick and it might be the last! Action sequences are decent but not up to the standards of the Hong Kong movies it tries to emulate. But then whose are?