6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A - Multiple Viewing Possibilities
B - Deserves Another Look
C - Once Should Suffice


JACK (in Afrikaans)
Met Robin Williams, Diane Lane
Regisseur: Francis Ford Coppola
Jack is 'n 10 jaar oue seun wie se genetiese afwyking veroorsaak dat sy liggaam vier keer so vinnig ontwikkel. Wanneer sy ouers hom skool toe stuur om met ander kinders van sy ouderdom te wees, hoop hulle vir die beste. Na 'n uitgaande negatiewe reaksie van die kinders, word hy aanvaar en voel waarlik soos 'n kind, al lyk hy soos 'n 40 jarige man. Dit is ver van Coppola se Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Dracula temas af; maar met minimum uiterlike of kosmetiese afleidings, skep hy 'n minimalistiese prent wat op die spel vertrou, veral die van Williams. Die jong kind in 'n volwassene se liggaam is al baie op film vasgele : Freaky Friday (met Jodie Foster), Big (met Tom Hanks), Like Father Like Son (met Dudley Moore), Vice Versa (met Judge Reinold) ens. Wat wel onderlangs borrel is die feit dat 'n mens besef dat hy nie deur sy 20's sal leef nie, wat nogal hartseer is.
3 / B
- PB

With Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Dave England, Ryan Dunn, Jason "wee man" Acuña, Preston Lacy, Ehren McGehehey
Directed by Jeff Tremaine
The MTV Jackass show's next logical move was inevitable: compile a feature length movie of footage that may have been a bit too much for television broadcast and slap it on the big screen in all its gory glory. Alternative entertainment doesn't get more leftfield than this. Is this the digital future? The names Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Ryan Dunn, Wee-Man and Bam Margera have become synonymous with pop icons (or should that be anti-pop demons?). The skateboard generation of anarchy and heavy music has met its media match in the performances of the Jackass crew. Admittedly dumb and dangerous, it remains one hell of a laugh, mostly because of its dumb and dangerous nature. They do things we'd never dream of, but find gross or laughable. Whether it's snorting wasabi mustard, connecting electrodes to their testicles, getting shot by a riot gun, smashing up a rental car, ramping a golf cart or crapping in a hardware store display toilet, however nuts it seems, you sometimes wonder how they come up with the shit - oh yeah, they probably sit around and brainstorm over a couple of joints. Get high, videotape your buddies doing stupid things and get paid for it - an ideal job prospect for some 15-25 year olds. The off-center antics of these illegitimate stunt men can get downright dangerous and sometimes more shocking than funny, but hey, as long as it's their own necks, can we really complain? The end credits are a blast - the Jackass guys are all prosthetically aged and blown up one by one, a great companion piece for the opening giant shopping cart sequence. Jackass has a love-hate viewer relationship - many love to watch it, others hate it, while they can't pull their eyes from the screen! Extra DVD features pack a knee in the groin feast of material. There's a Making-Of, outtakes, additional footage, two music videos (by Alan wade and Michael W.K.), promo spots and trailers, biographies and commentary tracks making it an extra feature length worth of mayhem. One of the additional pieces include the elaborate Failed Ending which they had initially planned - hilarious in its multiple malfunctions.
5 / A
- PB

JACKASS - Not The Movie
With Steve-O
Directed by Nick Dunlap
Idiotic. Irresponsible. Dangerous. Immature. Disgusting. Moronic. Nauseating. Unacceptable. Immoral. Stupid.
Whatever you want to call it, the
Jackass phenomenon has become a modern counter cultural vessel of alternative, low budget entertainment that will probably still lead to a fatality - more than likely via imitating fans (god forbid). Extreme Funniest Home Videos would be the easiest way to describe it to those who hadn't seen the MTV Jackass show or the big screen movie version. If we laugh at someone falling, isn't it more funny when they fall further and much harder? Where do you draw the line? With Jackass there are very few lines left to cross. I happen to be one of those individuals who can appreciate works of fine art and literature, classical music and the theatre. Then there is a part that finds a bunch of guys maiming themselves and each other in a variety of creative and dangerous ways absolutely hilarious. Jackass The Movie contained scenes and stunts that wasn't exactly fit for TV. If you thought that was bad, try Jackass Not The Movie on for size! Where Johnny Knoxville has become the Jackass posterboy, Steve-O, the most hectic of the bunch get the spotlight here. The video cameras follow Steve-O, offering up unscreenable TV footage of his ridiculous efforts to amuse. Whether it's setting his hair alight, displaying various bodily graphic functions, performing dangerous dives and having fireworks or darts hurled at his naked butt, it's all here. Sure, not everyone will find it funny to see him staple-gun his scrotum to his thighs…At one end of town this would be seen as comedic stunts & pranks; at another it will be viewed as performance art; and then there would be a majority that will call it total filth and acts of unstable minds. At least in a few spots the chaos gets alleviated by some skateboard action. These acts are like freak sideshows or a car crash, something you don't want to enter into but have a compulsion to stare at in disbelief, the only result being to wince, laugh or throw up. The production values are limited to hand held video cameras and nothing is sacred. Whether they suffer from sado-masochistic tendencies, psychotic dysfunction or are merely high pain threshold extroverts with no more talent than exposing themselves in various ways, Steve-O does some it up for his case - he has very little regard for his own wellbeing and he doesn't want to study or hold down a regular job. The public is prepared to pay to see these guys damage themselves, so it's supply & demand. And these guys have gained rock star status, even putting on sold out road tours of live performances. In the future these recordings will be studied in anthropological classes as the devolution of the human species - but I'm sure a few students will find it hard to hold in their laughter.
5 / B
- PB

With Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly Lynch
Directed by John Maybury
Oscar winner Brody stars in this psychological trip (which has a string of producers including George Clooney). Jack, a Gulf War casualty ends up back in civilization after treatment. On the road in the snowy weather he meets a young girl and her drunk mother. He fixes their car and they head off. After this he hitches a ride, and then…he's up for murdering a cop. Sent to an institution for the criminally insane, he believes he's innocent. The doctor at this asylum has unconventional methods to treat his patients - tying them in a straight jacket, pumping them full of drugs and shoving them into a drawer for prolonged periods of time. But while in there, Jack seems to be flicking forward into time. Here he meets up with the little girl he saw by the roadside - 14 years later! Grown up, she's followed her mother's bad ways. She doesn't believe it's him - since he died in 1993… Soon he welcomes going back into the jacket, to try and find out what happened/happens to him. Brody is good and the film hinges on his shoulders. Knightly is annoying, especially with her idea of acting morose and strung out being half-mast eyelids and a slack jaw with her little mouth constantly hanging open. A small thing maybe, but enough to disconnect me from her character. If you liked
Jacob's Ladder and Butterfly Effect though, to a certain extent this'll work for you.
4 / C
- PB

JACK JOHNSON & FRIENDS - A Weekend At The Greek
Directed by Emmett & Brendan Maloy, the Brushfire clan has now fully entered the film realm with this concert movie. Mr. Chill and his pals give their fans a DVD packed with live tracks and interview clips. The double disc features the live performances on the 19th & 20th August 2005 at The Hearst Greek Theatre, in Berkeley, California, as well as Live In Japan. The first show features over two dozen pieces - there's Never Know, Gone, From Cuba To Tribe,
an In Between Dreams Medley, Sitting Waiting Wishing, Flake, Breakdown, Sad To Know You're Wasting My Time, Staple It Together, If I Could, Inaudible Melodies, Rodeo Clown, Mudfootball, Plastic Jesus / Fall Line / Spring Wind, No Other Way, and Girl I Wanna Lay You Down. The extra section includes Constellations, and bits with the opening acts
Matt Costa and ALO (Animal Liberation Organization). Guests include the abovementioned acts as well as Dan Lebowitz, G.Love, and Money Mike. The Live In Japan disc covers live tunes like Group Therapy, Show Me The Money, Too Much Information and The Times They Are Like These. Also includes footage of some Japanese sights, surfing, off-stage jams and the making of In Between Dreams. On the Japanese touring leg, the opening guest was Brushfire label-mate Donovan Frankenreiter. Johnson is a very good songwriter and with his band brings heartfelt life to them. If you're a bit more hyper, this super-mellow acoustic experience will either start to gnaw at you, or chill you out.
4 / B
- PB

JANET JACKSON - Design of a Decade 86/96
Younger sister to Michael, Jermaine, Tito and the other lesser known
Jackson Five boys, Janet has grown into more than a shadow of her brothers' success, making her own mark, building a huge fan base and making far less of a spectacle of herself than sister Latoyah (eek!). From the more pudgy What Have You Done For Me Lately to the trimmed down Runaway of the mid-90s, the 16 music videos illustrate an interesting decade cross-over from the 80s to the 90s (including the Jackson addiction to plastic surgery…). To be expected (this being a member of the Jackson family) every video will feature dancing, dancing, and then some. No matter what the location or flimsy video plot, it's always good enough to burst into dance! A gem for Janet fans everywhere, the disc only contains material up until '96 (as the title suggests), so more recent songs will be missed. A second decade release is probably planned from mid '97 - '07 (so that'll leave a couple more years' wait). While this is strictly music video collection territory, at least the DVD contains a little making of Runaway.
3 / C
- PB

French electronic music legend and son of film soundtrack veteran Maurice, Jean Michel Jarre has always taken his shows to special locations turning it into an audio-visual event, from downtown Dallas to Sun City. Here he treats the crowd to his catchy tunes with Beijing's Forbidden City as backdrop. Together with 260 musicians (including the Beijing Symphony Orchestra and Opera Chorus) the night is lit up with gigantic projections and a wide variety of instruments and sounds. Songs from across his repertoire include Oxygene 2 & 4, Equinoxe 4, Chronology 6, Zoolookologie, Aerozone, and Rendez-Vous 2 & 4. The show gets a commentary track from Jarre in French and English. This is the first THX certified concert shot in High Definition, and was broadcast live to one billion Chinese viewers. Extracts from the Tian'Anmen Square show include Aerology, La Foule, Tian'Anmen and Oxygene 13. The second disc contains the full show performed on Tian'Anmen Square (also with commentary), as well as a documentary, photo gallery and Freedom Of Speech piece. Besides the double DVD, an audio CD of the concert is also included.
5 / B
- PB

With Justin Long, Gina Phillips, Patricia Belcher, Jonathan Breck, brandon Smith, Eileen Brennan
Directed by Victor Salva
While film-makers are slowly but surely putting the nail in the resurgent (or rather re-hashed) slasher genre that flared up in the late-'90s, occasionally a good one slips through. In this case however, the traditional scenario of a brother and sister travelling home from college along country roads get handled in such a way that it seems fresh and exciting. With a rumoured tale of some people dying and/or disappearing from that road, the expected cherry gets popped when they get terrorized by a beat up old van. When they spot the driver of this van (which sped past them) dumping what looks like bodies down a drain pipe, things get creepy. He pursues them no end, but they lose him. Deciding to go back and see what he discarded, things get even more freaky. Our villain is hardly what he seems and the fight for survival becomes a desperate one as the horror follows them. The lack of music for most of the first part, which is mainly character development, adds to the realism within this gruesome unreal situation into which the director sucks you - anticipating, but yet unexpectedly so. This one can actually get close to calling itself scary as opposed all the other boring shock tactic honkers that keep popping up. While it follows many familiar recipes, at least the style, tension building and awesome villain is approached in a invigorating way.
PS. You'll notice
Francis Ford Coppola's name in the production credits…a result of its more classy approach, or was the project better than others that came across his desk or was he attracted to something fun and creepy?
5 / B
- PB

With Ray Wise, Jonathan Beck
Directed by Victor Salva
Surprisingly from the creator and director of the impressive first installment, Salva returns with an inferior, useless sequel. Continuing within the same month as the first film, the Creeper is still at large - his deal is this: every 23 years in Spring, the demon rises to feed for 23 days. It is the 22nd day and a young farm boy is snatched up by the winged freak. The following day a bus with a bunch of annoying basketball players and cheerleaders breaks down on the E9 rural road. Darkness falls and our monster has his pick of the bunch, but the father of the kid rigs up his truck to get the beast. Running, screaming, a bit of a racial angle but very little substance in everything from horror and scares to performances and inspired originality. It reminds me of the brilliant original Phantasm whose director Don Coscarelli ended up making sequels merely parodying his own creation. Again executive produced by F.F. Coppola, I wonder if he even looked at the flimsy script?
1 / C
- PB

JENNIFER LOPEZ - Feelin' So Good
From Fly Girl dancer on TV's
In Living Colour to actress in movies like U-Turn, Out Of Sight and Anaconda - but when the Latino lass turned to music her career took off like a missile. This DVD focuses on this singing career eruption in 1999. The music videos include If You Had My Love (2 versions), Waiting For Tonight (various versions), No Me Ames with Marc Anthony, Baila and Feelin' So Good. The "live" shows from the VH1 Fashion Awards & Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Billboard Music Awards and Women's World Cup Finals are more than often a bit too Britney, if you know what I mean. There's a biog and photo gallery and EPK (electronic press kit) and a look behind the scenes of one of her photo shoots. Somehow somewhere I lost my Lopez appeal - loved her in some movie roles, but since her singing took off I find her very bland - and really don't see the hype about her butt - but that's just me, a million men may beg to differ.
3 / C
- PB

With Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, George Carlin, Raquel Castro, Jennifer Lopez
Directed by Kevin Smith
After Affleck and Lopez's diasasterous team-up with Gigli, apparently her part was cut down in this heartwarming film about a man who becomes a new father and widower all at once - losing his job on top of it. Smith fans (who loved his Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) may think he's gone a bit soft. Still, he can't keep rotating the same old joint and sexual jokes can he? Affleck plays a hardass New York publicist whose career is ruined and moves back in with his dad - not taking fatherly responsibilities for his newborn. But, he comes back to earth. After years he meets a video shop clerk and it seems as if his romantic life may not be as dead as it has been for years after his wife departed. There's joy and sorrow, silliness and seriousness, a few tear jerking moments but never too sentimental. Newcomer Castro is a great little actress. Besides another old buddy (Matt Damon) zipping in for a quick one-scener, there's a nice Will Smith cameo bringing the story full circle.
Extras include a frank interview with Smith and Affleck talking about the director's career and Affleck's frequent presence in his films, the two almost never serious. You also get a commentary track and a few of the funny Roadside Attractions aired on The Tonight Show which has Smith going around weird roadside stop-over across America, constantly taking the piss.
5 / C
- PB

JIMI HENDRIX: Blue Wild Angel - Live At The Isle Of Wight
Woodstock is hailed as the festivals of festivals, historically setting the trend and benchmark ever since. A year later in 1970, however the Isle Of Wight music festival brought fans (by the boatloads) to its quiet shores to stir it up with the likes of rock legends The Doors, The Who and yes, Mr. Jimi Hendrix. The attendance of over half a million people doubled that of Woodstock. If you've seen the in-depth Murray Lerner film on the event with all of its trials, tribulations, crises and triumphs, you'll know what an incredible historic moment it was. What makes this more unique is that it was one of the last extensive moments of coverage to feature Jimi Hendrix before his untimely death. Here you'll find the entire set from before Hendrix, Cox & Mitchell go on stage to the roadie switching off the amps, no gaps or cuts. In sequence and in its entirety. The tracks include his rendition of God Save The Queen (echoing his Star Spangled Banner version at Woodstock), The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Dylan's All Along The Watchtower (most people only knowing Hendrix's version), Lover Man, Freedom, Ezy Ryder, Purple Haze, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and In From The Storm. Captured by about 6 different cameras, the DVD features multi-angle option for Spanish Castle Magic, Machine Gun, Red House and Foxey Lady. The disc also includes a behind-the-scenes look with director Lerner, interviews and reflections of band mates and managers, an extensive Hendrix biography and memorabilia posters, tickets, scribbling and maps from the festival. While his talent and persona is still sorely missed, at least we have historic documentation like this to fall back on at any time, merely to enjoy as consistent works of genius - or if the saturated pop driven music industry drives us batty - that would be every second day then, I guess...
6 / A
- PB

With David Spade, Dennis Miller, Brittany Daniel, Christopher Walken, Rosanna Arquette, Kid Rock, Fred Ward
Directed by Dennie Gordon
With the help of his comedy pal Adam Sandler, Spade got this silly slice of American culture off the ground.
Joe Dirt is a white trash mullet-haired trailer park idiot with a mission. He wants to find his parents who ditched him at the Grand Canyon as a kid. His ludicrous hairdo was the result of being born with a huge crack in his skull. His mom put a wig on to cover the gross bits but when the bone grew back together the wig got caught there (!). Joe works as a cleaner and while he's mopping an LA radio station, a program producer "discovers" his unique backwater sad-ass white trash character, finding it too irresistible and shoves him on the wise-ass DJ chat show. The DJ is played by "comedian" Dennis Miller. I put comedian in inverted commas because never in my life had he succeeded in pasting a smile or even the slightest trace of a grin on my face with his trysts of humour and everyday life. In fact, the asshole's annoying, God knows how he wormed himself into "prime gigs" like music awards MC or Football halftime chatterer - not to mention crappy bit parts in movies. This time round he lives up to his record. He didn't make me laugh and he still annoyed me (and this is the most I'm likely to ever write about him). Joe becomes a daily guest on the talk show, telling his life story, trailing through his trials & tribulations, the people and situations he encountered on his travels in search of his parents. They include a hot newcomer (Brittany Daniel), a white trash tosser after the hot girl (rap-rocker Kid Rock), an ex-mob guy (Christopher Walker with loopy hair), an alligator farm owner (Rosanna Arquette), and an Indian fireworks salesman. They're tied around a couple of funny-, plenty of stupid- and numerous below the belt gags (from a dog with his nuts frozen to the porch to a septic tank belching all over Joe). Spade's act (as in the sitcom Just Shoot Me) is an enjoyable one - the vertically challenged geek who thinks he's cool. The cheesy sympathy can be overlooked here as you wait for another stupid joke, but it is primarily a "somewhat" funny look at a white trash part of America that'll get poked at for quite some time, even if it's via this unlikely hero named Joe Dirt.
2 / C
- PB

With Tim Allen, Julie Bowen, Kelly Lynch, Jim Belushi
Directed by John Pasquin
An average Joe (conveniently going by that name) seems to blend into the grey cubicle walls of the pharmaceutical company where he's been employed for a decade. He's divorced and didn't get the promotion he was hoping for. When a parking incident with a co-worker leaves him bitch slapped in front of his kid, he takes a good hard look at his life. This is sparked after his despondent spirits are lifted by a work counselor (yes, a pretty one). But, his decision is not what she expected - he decides to challenge the bully to a rematch. Suddenly he's the man at work. Yes, we do have to go through the "getting ready" period (with the help of a washed out kung-fu trainer), but thankfully it's not one of those lame
Rocky trips. If you wanted to, you could read all sorts of life lessons like dignity retention, work stress handling and being the better man and father into it, but this is essentially your typical feel-good comedy with a romantic slant. Throw in the daughter, the ex and you've got enough avenues to sustain the running time. The corporate environment is depicted as the shallow place it usually is - so, no big surprises there. While well known for his Home Improvement TV sitcom, Allen's big screen triumphs have been limited to questionable titles like Jungle To Jungle, The Santa Clause and the moderately more enjoyable Galaxy Quest. His agent was looking out a bit more for him on this one, hopefully preventing Tim Allen from turning into a Tom Arnold. But, while there's nothing wrong with light family entertainment and we can't assume that all actors want to expand their range beyond that, it would be good to at least see him try.
3 / C
- PB

With Rowan Atkinson, John Malkovich, Natalie Imbruglia, Ben Miller
Directed by Peter Howitt
...Bean meets Bond...
2 / C
- PB

The Work Of Director JONATHAN GLAZER
Jonathan Glazer has made a variety of music videos, commercials, as well as films (Sexy Beast, Birth). The musicians and bands he's worked with include mainly British acts like
Radiohead (a few including the fantastic Karma Police), Blur (Clockwork Orange rip), UNKLE with Thom Yorke of Radiohead (an absolutely incredible video), Richard Ashcroft, Jamiroquai, Massive Attack as well as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. The different segments of the DVD have these wacky inbetweeners while the menu has hilarious cheesy radio voiced commentaries each time you shift to a new clip. His adverts include the amazing surfing one for Guinness, plus a wild Levi's clip, and funny a one for Stella Artois. He's even made ads for VW. Interviews, and commentary tracks can be accessed for more details behind the videos. As with all of these Directors Label selections, the music videos are extremely memorable cinematic moments worth re-viewing as opposed to the fleeting so-what videos on daily rotation. The menus are also slick and individual to each director.
5 / A
- PB

With Barbara Barrie, Bob Dishy, Edie Falco, Carlin Glynn, Aaron Harnick, Madeline Kahn, Julie Kavner
Directed by Eric Mendelsohn
The New York suburb of Babylon is a quiet, uneventful place. Set in a single day we encounter some of the varied characters associated in one way or another. Judy wants to become an actress and is flying to California that night. Her mother is a teacher at the primary school where a possible affair with the principal is looming. The principal’s son, David, is 30 with no ambition, just hanging around at home after a failed shot at making movies in Hollywood. His housewife mother doesn’t want to get old. David finally leaves the house and happens to bump into Judy who was at school with him. They spend the day together that seems to change everyone’s lives in one way or another. An uncommonly long solar eclipse might be the catalyst for all of this. Shot in black & white, the film texture adds to the almost surreal feeling of the eclipse and the cold winter feeling of the dull town. Judy Berlin is quite a slow film with a very natural feel to it - no heavy out of the ordinary scenes, just a plain, normal day in a plain, normal town, life taking its course (for better or worse). Mendelsohn’s debut earned him a Best Director award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. Having been a costume designer’s assistant on many Woody Allen films, it shows where he learned his craft. Awards or not, the film feels a little too normal and tedious.
3 / C
- PB

JUDY BERLIN (in Afrikaans)
Met Barbara Barrie, Bob Dishy, Edie Falco, Carlin Glynn, Aaron Harnick, Madeline Kahn, Julie Kavner
Regisseur: Eric Mendelsohn
In die stil, amper vervelige New York voorstad van Babylon gebeur daar amper niks nie. Die kyker word deur ‘n dag in hierdie dorp gelei met ‘n aantal gewone, alledaagse mense en hul eenvoudige doen en late. Maar hul lewens neem verskeie wendinge wanneer ‘n eklips ‘n eienaardige lang donkerte oor die aarde werp. Judy wil aktrise word en sy vlieg die aand Kalifornie” toe om haar kans te gaan vat. Haar ma is onderwyseres by die kleuterskool wat op die grens is om ‘n verhouding te he^ met die skoolhoof. Die skoolhoof se seun, die 30-jarige David is terug by sy ouerhuis en sit heeldag lank by die venster en uitstaar sonder ambisie na sy poging as Hollywood rolprentmaker gevaal het. Sy huisvrou ma (wat die ouderdom vrees) moedig hom aan om net ‘n bietjie uit die huis te kom. Hy loop per ongeluk vir Judy raak (wat saam met hom op skool was) en die twee spandeer die dag saam. Hy val vir haar. Of die eklips die verskeie gebeure in almal se doodgewone lewens veroorsaak het of bloot ‘n nuwe perspektief tot gevolg het is irrelevant, aangesien hulle dit nodig het tussen die onveranderende dag tot dag rotines wat voel of dit ne^rens gaan nie. Hoewel Judy se akteursvernuf heel waarskynlik nie goed genoeg is om te kompeteer nie, het sy wel die moed (nes David gehad het) om wel haar droom te volg, al probeer hy haar ontmoedig. Dat regisseur Mendelsohn op heelwat Woody Allen rolprente as kostuum ontwerpers assistant gewerk het is merkbaar met die natuurlike gevoel wat die akteurs weerspiee”l, tesame met die swart en wit film wat die doodgewoonheid van Babylon nog meer uitgewas, maar ook poe”ties laat lyk. Mendelsohn se debuut het hom ook laas jaar die beste regisseur toekenning by die Sundance rolprent fees laat losslaan.
3 / C
- PB

With the voices of John Goodman, Haley Joel Osment, Mae Whitman, Connor Funk, Phil Collins
Directed by Steve Trenbirth
The classic Kipling tale (which in turn became a Disney classic) was inevitably going to get an additional episode. Where most Disney animated sequels are straight to video fare, the
Jungle Book 2 did get a big screen release, and with it, more effort than the lower budget, less detailed 2nd time around cash-ins. Sure, the kids won't necessarily notice the difference, but the accompanying adults will - and they're the ones forking over the same amount as they would for a high quality product. As mentioned, this one doesn't go the cheap route, not only in the animation, but also the voice choices, including burly John Goodman and the Sixth Sense & A.I. kid, Haley Joel Osment. Our man-cub is now living in the human village (pretty much picking up where the first one ended), but the wild in him is calling. Back in the jungle his bear buddy Baloo is missing him terribly. The children are not allowed to cross the river into the jungle. The hungry tiger Sher Kahn is drooling for revenge and when Mowgli heads back into the jungle, the fun (and danger) picks up again with songs like the bear necessities re-animated. While this tale did not warrant another episode, youngsters who loved the first one will surely enjoy this pick-up (made over 3 decades after the first animated version). In 1942 Zoltan Kardu made a live action adaptation of the same Kipling story and Jason Scott Lee starred in a '90s version.
3 / B
- PB

With Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Made back to back with Spielberg’s least commercial film, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park settles at the exact opposite end of that continuum. A wealthy scientist wants to open up a string of theme park franchises with the main attraction being actual dinosaurs genetically engineered from blood found in a mosquito trapped in amber. Assembling a group of experts in many fields to approve (or disprove) the trial park, things get hectic when a power failure causes havoc in the park, turning the humans into prey for the assorted dinosaurs. Breathtaking, nail-biting scenes of action packed excitement and tension has one look past the relatively annoying kid element thrown in. The breakthrough digital FX is still amazing even after it’s been done to death.
5 / A
- PB

With Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Great sequel to the original Jurassic Park. Another test island was set up by a sickly Attenborough at the same time as the one that turned into chaos. Goldblum’s ex-wife and a bunch of researchers need to be located on this remote island while a bunch of gung-ho trappers/hunters are also on the island. Dino-mania and mayhem is the result with great FX and pace but little story.
4 / A
- PB

With Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni
Directed by Joe Johnston
Directed by who? Sure, you needn't be a seasoned household name director to deliver a great movie, but in this case the guy is as much a mystery to me as the whole point of this disgraceful attempt at raking in the franchise dosh. Sam Neill's palaeontologist character Dr. Alan Grant returns from the first hit (Jeff Goldblum the recurring star for the pretty cool
Lost World sequel), to run through a whole lot of the same old same-old... In order to fund his research, Grant reluctantly agrees to be a sight-seeing guide for a couple who wants to fly over one of InGen's former breeding islands, Isla Sorna, where genetically created dinosaurs still roam freely. They land - their true intention to find their kid who got lost there while para-sailing past the island coming to the fore. The digital FX are far beyond passe and neither scary nor awe-inspiring. The cardboard performances, even from Neill, sucks infinitely - case in point, with the constant stupid smile on his face, he fills them in, "We probably won't get off this island alive". Oh, gimme' a break! And Leoni - you were fine in Deep Impact and Family Man, but perhaps you should stick to TV, baby. Stan Winston is a phenomenal creature FX artist, but we're so used the fluid animatronics and puppets that its effect glazes over, like our eyes while watching this tedium. An attempt to go one better, they try to throw in a new dinosaur, bigger and meaner than the T-Rex. Big deal. The disorganized search party turns into a survival run. Boring. The gung-ho factor abounds hand in hand with the pathetic helpless panic reactions. So what? The holiday fodder may impress the under 13's, but I'm not too sure about that either. A very, very disappointing bookend for what could've been a great trilogy. Original director Spielberg only acts as Executive Producer - no wonder, with a script like this he'd have embarrassed himself.
PS. Joe Johnston directed the feel-good flick,
October Sky with Laura Dern (who pops in for a little flashback from the original).
2 / C
- PB

JUST JINGER - live, unplugged, backstage
One of the leaders in SA pop now also have their own video for their adoring fans' purchase. Good live sound recordings include their favourite hits and an unplugged session with piano might please many of their disciples. The "backstage" of the title is a little misleading as it's non existent. There are interview clips, though, including background details. In this video a bit more is revealed about the members and what kind of people they are. (I wonder if they'll refuse signing this video for me...that's if I wanted it...)
3 / C
- PB

© 2006 Flamedrop Productions