Gangs of New York

Gangs of New York
GANGS OF NEW YORK,'' Martin Scorsese's brutal, flawed and indelible epic of 19th-century urban criminality, begins in a mud-walled, torchlighted cavern, where a group of warriors prepare for battle, arming themselves with clubs and blades and armoring themselves in motley leather and cloth. Though this is Lower Manhattan in 1846, it might as well be the Middle Ages or the time of Gilgamesh: these warlike rituals have an archaic, archetypal feeling.

And the participants are aware of this. As the members of various colorfully named Irish gangs emerge into the winter daylight of Paradise Square (a place long since given over to high-rises and resurrected here on the grounds of the vast Cinecittà studio complex in Rome), their native-born Protestant enemies greet them with an invocation of ''the ancient laws of combat.'' The ensuing melee turns the new-fallen snow pink with blood and claims the life of Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson), an Irish gang chieftain whose young son witnesses the carnage.

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The Game

The Game
Nicholas Van Orton is a very wealthy San Francisco banker, but he is an absolute loner, even spending his birthday alone. In the year of his 48th birthday (the age his father committed suicide) his brother Conrad, who has gone long ago and surrendered to addictions of all kinds, suddenly returns and gives Nicholas a card giving him entry to unusual entertainment provided by something called Consumer Recreation Services (CRS). Giving up to curiosity, Nicholas visits CRS and all kinds of weird and bad things start to happen to him.

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Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist
You know there's a problem when the most interesting character in a film called Oliver Twist is a supporting woman named Nancy. Technically sound and surprisingly faithful to its source material, Roman Polanski's version of Oliver Twist comes across as uninspired and flat. Only two performances - that of Leanne Rowe as Nancy Sikes and Jamie Foreman as Bill Sikes - have energy. The biggest deficiency is Barney Clark, whose performance as the title character vacillates between befuddlement and artificial weepiness (rarely have I seen more crocodile tears). For the story to work, sympathy with Oliver is mandatory, but Clark's acting and Polanski's direction keep the character at arm's length. I cared about Nancy and wanted Bill to get his comeuppance, but Oliver seems inconsequential.

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Moolaadé

Moolaadé
81-year old Ousmane Sembene has been called "the most important cinematic voice ever to come out of Africa," yet because of the quirks of the distribution system and the American movie-goer's acknowledged distaste for anything unfamiliar, none of the director's previous eleven films have been shown outside of festivals and specialty venues in North America. Moolaadé marks a breakthrough of sorts. Although tiny New Yorker Films lacks the muscle to get the movie into every major U.S. art-house, they are giving Moolaadé some exposure, hoping that it gains legs of its own.

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Abyss
James Cameron is widely viewed as being one of the most difficult and demanding directors, due in large part to the powerful streak of perfectionism that defines his filmmaking. Cameron's most difficult and contentious shoot to date has been The Abyss - a logistically nightmarish experience that frayed the nerves and tempers of cast and crew alike. Cameron completed The Abyss behind schedule and over budget, and the theatrical version is generally regarded as the weakest and most disappointing of the director's six major efforts (the other five: The Terminator, Aliens, T2, True Lies, Titanic). Had the 140-minute cut released into multiplexes on August 9, 1989 been the final word, The Abyss would be a mostly forgotten footnote on Cameron's resume. However, some three years after The Abyss made its debut, the director was provided with the wherewithal to produce an Extended Edition. Incorporating about a half-hour of deleted material, the Extended Edition repaired many (although not all) of the theatrical cut's glaring problems, resulting in a greatly enhanced viewing experience. Today, although both versions are available, I don't know anyone who would choose to watch the theatrical release over the expanded home video one.

Although the neutering of the climax played a part in the movie's initial lukewarm reception, that was not the only issue. Expectations were also a factor. Cameron's two previous features, The Terminator and Aliens, had been high octane thrillers with technologically advanced villains and rousing climaxes. Although there's plenty of action in The Abyss, coupled with a fair share of tension, the "bad guy" is nothing more frightening than a psychotic Navy SEAL (played by Michael Biehn). The aliens are largely decoupled with the action and, when they make an appearance at the end, it seems to be almost an afterthought, and their introduction recalls E.T. and Close Encounters. (This is fixed in the Extended Edition, but more about that later.) The film made about $54 million - a total that was ultimately profitable but disappointing (Star Trek V, released the same summer, made just a fraction less). Compared to Batman, The Abyss was the black hole its title implies.

The Abyss begins with the kind of opening scene guaranteed to capture an audience's attention. The nuclear sub USS Montana encounters unexpected trouble while patrolling near the Cayman Trough and becomes disabled. The military, facing rising tensions with the Soviet Union, are anxious to mount a search-and-rescue mission before the U.S.S.R. can go looking. The best and quickest option is to use Deepcore, a privately owned oil platform resting on the ocean floor near the abyssal trench, as the base for the operation. This is not well received by the captain of the platform, Bud Brigman (Ed Harris), but he is overruled by management. A team of Navy SEALS, commanded by Lt. Coffey (Michael Biehn), dive down to Deepcore, accompanied by Lindsey Brigman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), the designer of the station and Bud's estranged wife.

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Phantom

Phantom
It's probably unfair to characterize The Phantom as a Batman-wannabe, since Lee Falk's comic book creation predated the Caped Crusader. Nevertheless, as far as motion picture adaptations are concerned, Michael Keaton first stepped into his suit seven years before Paramount Pictures released this movie. And, since both superheroes lack recognizable super powers and wear costumes, the connection is obvious. It should be noted, however, that while Batman's form-fitting suit looks a lot more stylish than The Phantom's cheesy purple outfit, appearance isn't everything -- this film is more fun than Tim Burton's 1989 atmosphere-soaked, empty-headed yarn.

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Once Were Warriors

Once Were Warriors
Once Were Warriors, a New Zealand export, is centered upon the touchy yet timely topic of domestic violence. It is not, however, merely another "domestic violence motion picture." With its complex cultural backdrop and its stark view of this societal cancer, Once Were Warriors attains a level where it is equally painful and potent.

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The Grudge

The Grudge
In the film, Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar) travels to Tokyo, Japan with her boyfriend Doug (Jason Behr) as a foreign exchange student. With Matthew and Susan Williams finding their mother Emma Williams a home, Matthew and his wife Jennifer move in. Days later strange occurrences happen. One afternoon the family's housemaid Yoko mysteriously disappears in the house. Karen is sent to work at the house but is exposed to Kayako's curse. With Jennifer, Matthew, and Susan Williams also mysteriously disappearing, Karen investigates the occurrences that lead her to unveil the truth behind the house and of the Saeki Family massacre years earlier. With learning the revelation Karen informs the authorities and prevents anyone from re-entering the house. As Karen tried to stop her boyfriend Doug from entering the house, Karen encounters Kayako who reveals more background information leading to the massacre.

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The Cake Eaters

The Cake Eaters
The Cake Eaters is a small-town, ensemble drama that explores the lives of two interconnected families coming to terms with love in the face of loss. Living in rural America, The Kimbrough family is an odd bunch: Easy, the patriarch and local butcher, is grieving over the recent loss of his wife, Ceci, while hiding a secret ongoing affair for years; Beagle, his youngest son who was left to care for his ailing mother, works in the local high school cafeteria by day but has a burning passion inside that manifests itself through painting street signs; and the eldest son, Guy, has been away from the family for years while pursuing his rock star dream in the big city until the day he learns of his mother's passing and that he has missed the funeral.

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100 Million BC

100 Million BC
The film centers on a group of Navy SEALs, led by American Dr. Frank Reno (Michael Gross), who once worked on the Philadelphia Experiment. The film begins in 2008, when Reno has purportedly perfected time travel technology. The SEALs use it to travel backwards to the year 70,000,000 BC (despite the movie's title) of the Cretaceous Period, in order to rescue a previous, 1949 expedition led by Reno's brother Erik (Christopher Atkins).

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City of Motherly Love

City of Motherly Love
Young overworked, underpaid, Ashley Freeman, caught in a struggle against time, faces the hardships of being a single parent to her son, Davie. In a tragic turn of events her son is killed leaving her left with nothing more then what she had previously desired most, time. But time now is filled with the torments of the abandonment of her sons father, the sudden and violent death of her only child, and a shattered past, which ultimately becomes a twisted race she must endure to rescue her own life.

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The Beast

The Beast
The film begins when a couple disappear while having a romantic night out on a yacht near the Pacific Northwest resort community, Grave's Point. The next day, local fisherman Whip Dalton (William Petersen) finds the empty lifeboat from the missing yacht and finds a large claw stuck into the boat. Whip sends the claw to a university to be analyzed and it ends up in the hands of marine biologist Dr. Herbert Talley (Ronald Guttman), who comes to Grave’s Point claiming it is from the tentacle of a Giant squid. The island harbor master Schuyler Graves (Charles Martin Smith) tries to hire Whip to kill the squid, but he refuses, so Graves sends out Lucas Coven (Larry Drake) instead. Coven succeeds in slaying the squid and the carcass is promptly sold by Graves to Sea Land Texas owner Osborne Manning (Denis Arndt).

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Days of Thunder

Days of Thunder
Cole Trickle enters the high-pressure world of Nascar racing. Hes a hot driver with a hot temper, and this attitude gets him into trouble not only with other drivers, but members of his own team as well.

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Fertile Ground

Fertile Ground
Emily and Nate Weaver leave the city for the rural comfort of Nates family home in New Hampshire. There, isolated and haunted by strange noises and horrifying visions, Emily learns shes pregnant while Nate is possessed by the homicidal spirit of his forefathers. In a house haunted by past victims, Emily learns that shes the latest target in a murderous tradition.

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Left for Dead

Left for Dead
What a beautiful little horror picture. It is a western take on a slasher film but with real believable characters. No horny teens here. It says on the cover it is like Saw, but if you hate Saw dont worry it is nothing like Saw. The acting was way above average and i am actually surprised this got no theartre release as it looks great. Go see this i was truly blown away.

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Loved Up

Loved Up
The first time Sarah tries drugs is the first time she goes out with Tim, who was a customer of hers in the Dew Drop Inn Cafe. Tom is sweet and cool and after one night, she moves in with him leaving behind her alcoholic mother and younger sister, Karen. For a while life is great and drugs are just part of the deal and most of the fun. But then things start getting complicated and shes not sure if she can handle it - theres one rave too many, a bad trip and she gets roughed up while doing a drop off for their dealer. Also, events at home mean that she cant block it out any longer her mum needs her and Karen needs her. In turn, Sarah needs Tom, but will he - or can he- be there for Sarah?

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