‘Vampire Effect’ is ‘Buffy, the Vampire Slayer’-light, but not quite as good

Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi in 'The Vampire Effect'
Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi in ‘The Vampire Effect’

[rating=2]Starring: Ekin Cheng, Charlene Choi, Gillian Chung, Jackie Chan
Director(s): Dante Lam
Writer(s): Jack Ng

Now, you must understand, I am the kind of person who preorders Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season 6 on DVD two months in advance. Having said this, it is by no means a stretch of the imagination to find that I am reviewing a film where Jackie Chan kicks vampire ass! Now you may not have heard of this film, for neither had I until I viewed the trailers on my Godzilla against Mechagodzilla DVD.

Read more‘Vampire Effect’ is ‘Buffy, the Vampire Slayer’-light, but not quite as good

‘Daddy Day Care’ ushers in family-friendly era for Eddie Murphy

Jeff Garlin and Eddie Murphy in 'Daddy Day Care'
Jeff Garlin and Eddie Murphy in ‘Daddy Day Care’

[rating=3]Starring: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Anjelica Huston, Steve Zahn, Regina
Director(s): Steve Carr
Writer(s): Screenplay by Geoff Rodkey

I grew up in the ’80s watching movies like Beverly Hills CopThe Golden Child and Coming to America. Back then, it seemed like there was no one quite as funny as Eddie Murphy thrilling us with his trademark laugh. Then he disappeared, tried to make a go at it in the music industry (big flop) and made several movies most of us didn’t see and quickly forgot if we did.

Read more‘Daddy Day Care’ ushers in family-friendly era for Eddie Murphy

‘Requiem for a Dream’ is so good, it made British girls pass out and throw up

Requiem For A Dream is the 21st Century’s answer to The Exorcist. The latter was banned in Britain from 1973 to 1998. The British Board of Film Censorship saying “the problem with The Exorcist is not that it is a bad film, it is that it is a very good film. It’s one of the most powerful films ever made.” The opposite of the popular ‘so-bad it’s good’ phenomenon, The Exorcist was so good it was bad.

Read more‘Requiem for a Dream’ is so good, it made British girls pass out and throw up

‘Aliens’ echoes the original and set the standard for movie sequels

Carrie Henn gets saved by Sigourney Weaver in 'Aliens'
Carrie Henn gets saved by Sigourney Weaver in ‘Aliens’

[rating=3]Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser, Bill Paxton
Director(s): James Cameron
Writer(s): Story by David Giler & Walter Hill and James Cameron, Screenplay by James Cameron

If Alien was considered a classic of horror, James Cameron’s Aliens was pure action and adventure. Although it still held elements of horror, Aliens offered up a action heavy film which — I believe — perfectly complimented the original and successfully expanded the story.

Read more‘Aliens’ echoes the original and set the standard for movie sequels

With ‘Alien’ Ridley Scott turned horror and science fiction on its head

Ian Holm, Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt encounter an unstoppable creature in 'Alien'
Ian Holm, Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt encounter an unstoppable creature in ‘Alien’

[rating=3]Starring: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
Director(s): Ridley Scott
Writer(s): Story by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon

I first saw Alien when I was a young child. It was on television late one night. I don’t recall being particularly scared, but I did enjoy the film. It was exciting, with cool special effects — for the time — and a great creature.

Read moreWith ‘Alien’ Ridley Scott turned horror and science fiction on its head

‘Bowling for Columbine’ speaks Michael Moore’s truth about guns in America

Michael Moore shows a victim of gun violence in 'Bowling for Columbine'
Michael Moore shows a victim of gun violence in ‘Bowling for Columbine’

[rating=4]Starring: Michael Moore
Director(s): Michael Moore
Writer(s): Michael Moore

Michael Moore, purveyor of such stirring works as Roger and Me and TV Nation, does it again giving America a hard dose of reality with his new film Bowling for Columbine. This is Mr. Moore’s investigation into America’s obsession with guns and violence.

Read more‘Bowling for Columbine’ speaks Michael Moore’s truth about guns in America

‘Miller’s Crossing: Special Edition’ is a Coen brothers film that needs to be viewed more than once

Gabriel Byrne (left) and John Turturro take a walk in the woods in 'Miller’s Crossing'
Gabriel Byrne (left) and John Turturro take a walk in the woods in ‘Miller’s Crossing’

[rating=4]Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Jon Polito, J.E. Freeman, Albert Finney
Director(s): Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Writer(s): Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

When Miller’s Crossing opened the New York Film Festival in 1990 it was going to be the film that would see the Coens hit the big time at last and simultaneously make Gabriel Byrne an international superstar. Somehow this didn’t happen, and I’m at a loss to explain why.

Read more‘Miller’s Crossing: Special Edition’ is a Coen brothers film that needs to be viewed more than once

‘Rebecca’: Alfred Hitchcock transforms seductive love story into satisfying suspense

Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson in 'Rebecca'
Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson in ‘Rebecca’

[rating=4]Starring: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson
Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
Writer(s): Screenplay by Philip MacDonald, Michael Hogan, Robert E. Sherwood, and Joan Harrison; based upon the novel by Daphne Du Maurier

To precede any one of Hitchcock’s films with “Hitchcock’s Masterpiece…” is practically redundant. It’s like calling the theory of relativity “Einstein’s Stroke of Genius” or calling David “Michelangelo’s Breathtaking Sculpture”: It simply goes without saying. So, when talking about a Hitchcock film, one should just assume a discussion of a truly great piece of filmmaking. Rebecca, currently available in a Criterion Collection double-disc set, is no exception.

Read more‘Rebecca’: Alfred Hitchcock transforms seductive love story into satisfying suspense

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ is genius science fiction

Aliens arrive in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'
Aliens arrive in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

[rating=4]Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon
Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): Steven Spielberg

When I was a wee-lad, I can remember seeing Close Encounters of the Third Kind on television. Originally released in 1977, it was in theaters a second time in 1979. However, I was still young at the time, and have no memory of seeing it in the theaters.

Read moreSteven Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ is genius science fiction