Release Date: March 27th, 2000 (Westwood premiere) Directed by: Rob Cohen Written by: John Pogue Music by: Randy Edelman Cast: Joshua Jackson, Paul Walker, Hill Harper, Leslie Bibb, Christopher McDonald, Steve Harris, William Petersen, Craig T. Nelson
Original Film, Newmarket Capital Group, Universal Pictures, 106 Minutes
“Our rules supercede those of the outside world.” – Senator Ames Levritt
Twenty-one years later, I finally got around to seeing this movie.
I never had much urge to see it but I figured I’d give it a shot because it popped up on one of my streaming services and I had recently read a book about the Skull & Bones.
So, I probably shouldn’t have clicked “play” because this was just as pointless, terrible and mind-numbingly stupid as I had assumed it would be.
This film has no redeeming qualities, if I’m being honest.
The acting is below the capabilities of the decent actors in this, the direction is bad, the story is moronic, the cinematography looks like a ’90s music video, the score is fucking atrocious and there isn’t a single likable character in this apart from Leslie Bibb, who is the only moral character that doesn’t suck the fluid out of my brain.
Well, I guess that pretty quickly summed up this wet turd. There’s honestly not much else to say other than I wish this movie would’ve been as short as this review.
“Rosie… They won’t know me. I’m invisible. I’ve always been invisible.” – Henry Creedlow
I remember seeing marketing for this film back in the day and thought it had a cool look to it and a character with a cool, unique mask. However, I didn’t know anything about the plot. I guess I just assumed he was some sort of cool hitman or slasher with a gun. Nah, this film is a lot weirder (and duller) than that.
The film follows this guy that’s a loser and pretty much invisible to everyone in his life. He’s got a shitty job, even if it is prestigious, and he’s got a shitty marriage, even if she’s hot and they have a pretty incredible mansion.
Crazy shit happens and then the loser wakes up with a mask attached to his face that he can’t remove but it figuratively makes him even more invisible to those around him. With that he gets a bit crazy and starts getting revenge on the shitty people in his life.
The plot is a bit hard to explain as I had a hard time trying to make sense out of it. The main character’s motivations to kill were clear but his decisions still didn’t make a lot of sense. Well, unless you can watch a movie and not think about things like logic and relying on what you’re shown of the character while the foundation for the plot is still being established.
Point being, the main character doesn’t seem like someone capable of these acts but waking up with a weird mask on I guess makes one into a heartless killer.
I think that the lead actor is the problem, though, and not just the script. He just isn’t convincing and since I’ve never noticed him in anything before, I don’t know if its his fault or director, George A. Romero’s.
That being said, Romero, by this point, was a solid horror director for decades but maybe by this point he just wasn’t as passionate and had lost some mojo. Honestly, nothing he made from this point in his career, going forward, was any good. And I guess that’s unfortunate, considering he was instrumental in giving birth to what became the zombie subgenre of horror.
Bruiser is a really weak, very dull film. It tries to go for the gusto in its big finale but it falls flat.
In the end, at least I got to spend some quality time with Tom Atkins.
Rating: 3.5/10 Pairs well with: George A. Romero’s films that don’t involve zombies.
Also known as: Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie (UK promotional title) Release Date: December 8th, 2000 Directed by: Courtney Solomon Written by: Carroll Cartwright, Topper Lilien Based on:Dungeons & Dragons by TSR Music by: Justin Caine Burnett Cast: Justin Whalin, Marlon Wayans, Thora Birch, Zoe McLellan, Kristen Wilson, Lee Arenberg, Bruce Payne, Jeremy Irons, Tom Baker
Silver Pictures, Sweetpea Entertainment, New Line Cinema, 107 Minutes
“I got a new name for “dumb”: “Ridley”! This is the Ridleyest thing I’ve ever heard!” – Snails
I never wanted to see this. When I saw the trailer over twenty years ago, I knew for a fact that this would bomb, be an embarrassment and that we’d possibly never get another Dungeons & Dragons film because of its shittiness.
Let me be clear, I wasn’t cheering for its failure because I’d definitely love a good D&D movie that features some of the most famous monsters and better represents the game but I knew this movie wasn’t that.
Granted, it does form a team of heroes that are all different with unique skills. So it at least tried to create a good party of diverse character types. However, other than that, it failed in just about every other way. Also, the party didn’t really get used in the story correctly or all that effectively.
The worst thing about this movie is the special effects. The CGI is some of the worst I’ve ever seen from this era. It’s worse than Sci-Fi Channel TV movies and considering that New Line Cinema, the same studio, released the first Lord of the Rings movie just a year later, makes this picture a complete embarrassment.
Even if smaller indie studios made this and New Line just distributed it, it’s still baffling to me. If their thought was to use this to whet the public’s palate for the upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy, that was an awful decision.
Beyond the atrocious CGI, the acting in this is also terrible. There are fairly talented people in the movie but none of them really tried except for Jeremy Irons, who was the best thing in this movie, as far as acting goes.
Some of the sets were actually cool. I liked the labyrinth that Justin Whalin’s character had to try and survive. It was about the only enjoyable sequence in the entire film, though.
Dungeons & Dragons was just a fucking mess. It had annoying, unlikable characters. As well as, an overabundance of unnecessary silliness that helped make it miss its mark completely.
Rating: 2.75/10 Pairs well with: really bad video game film adaptations.
Release Date: January 21st, 2000 (Sundance) Directed by: Mary Harron Written by: Mary Harron, Guinevere Turner Based on:American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis Music by: John Cale Cast: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Bill Sage, Chloe Sevigny, Cara Seymour, Justin Theroux, Guinevere Turner, Reg E. Cathey, Reese Witherspoon, Krista Sutton
Am Psycho Productions, Edward R. Pressman Film, Lions Gate Films, 101 Minutes
“I like to dissect girls. Did you know I’m utterly insane?” – Patrick Bateman
I used to dig the hell out of this movie back when it was still fairly new. But I was also in my early twenties and just coming out of the edgy boi ’90s. Also, I hadn’t read the book before I saw the film.
Having now read the book, this motion picture adaptation is a real disappointment. I guess the book was so edgy and gruesome that a lot of it had to be left out but honestly, why make the movie at all then?
Now I am a fan of the acting in this, which is really solid from top-to-bottom, and this helped solidify Christian Bale as one of my favorite actors of the ’00s. I especially liked Willem Dafoe in this, as he worked well being only one of two characters grounded in any sort of reality.
While this movie is bizarre and I imagine still entertaining on a first viewing, for me, it doesn’t hold up tremendously well. It kind of reminds me of David Lynch’s adaptation of Dune, in that it’s a collection of scenes from bigger, richer source material. Source material that needs to be read and understood to actually get the full effect of the story.
However, I guess, if one hasn’t read the book, they don’t really know what they’re missing, as was the case with myself back in 2000. And at least this is less complex than Dune.
The overall narrative of the film seems like it’s spotty and full of holes, though. You never really get to know anyone in the film but since they’re all superficial and inauthentic, seen through the eyes of an unreliable narrator, I guess it doesn’t break the picture. This really just feels like random scenes strung together and since it’s not clear what’s reality and what’s not, it works in its own weird way. The problem I have with it, though, is that it could’ve worked much better, as it did in the original novel.
It’s been years since I’ve seen this and it sucks that it didn’t live up to my memories of it but the bits I really like are still great when you cut them out of the larger body of work and just see them as scenes.
Rating: 7.25/10 Pairs well with: other movies based on Bret Easton Ellis novels: The Rules of Attraction and Less Than Zero.
Release Date: January 30th, 2000 (Sundance) Directed by: Ben Younger Written by: Ben Younger Music by: The Angel Cast: Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long, Nicky Katt, Scott Caan, Ben Affleck, Ron Rifkin, Jamie Kennedy, Taylor Nichols, Bill Sage, Tom Everett Scott, Anson Mount, Kirk Acevado, Desmond Harrington (uncredited)
Team Todd, New Line Cinema, 120 Minutes
“[to the new recruits] And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him? Now be relentless, that’s it, I’m done.” – Jim Young
For years, until there was actually a second Wall Street movie, I saw this as that film’s spiritual successor. Which is also sort of fitting as the characters in this movie worship the Gordon Gekko character from Wall Street.
I actually still view this as a spiritual sequel, however, as it’s very apparent that it was strongly influenced by Wall Street and also because it is a motion picture of quality. While it might not live up to Wall Street or Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, it’s still damn good and at least in the same orbit as those movies.
The plot of the film is intriguing and it sucks you in from the get go. It’s about a smart, savvy college dropout who goes from running an illegal casino in his house to being one of the top brokers at a really young, lucrative and questionable brokerage firm.
Over the course of the movie, we see Giovanni Ribisi’s Seth Davis go from being a slightly timid rookie to a confident and smart salesman to being swarmed with immense guilt when he realizes that he has completely fucking people out of their life savings to reluctant antihero that tried to fix some of the damage he caused while taking the firm down.
I can’t quite call Seth Davis a hero, as it took his father disowning him and the FBI pinching him to get him to actually change his tune. It’s hard to tell if he would’ve arrived to a better place on his own but, at least he tried to undo some of his wreckage.
Beyond Ribisi, this is a film that is loaded with a lot of the up and coming male talent of the day. Vin Diesel and Nicky Katt really stick out and Ben Affleck’s performance is great, even if his scenes are few and his role feels more like a beefed up cameo.
I really loved the music in this film, as it’s full of east coast hip-hop of the early to mid-’90s, which has always been my favorite kind of hip-hop. It may be slightly dated for this 2000 film but it worked for me, as I started to ignore more mainstream rap music around 1998.
Anyway, this is a superb finance thriller. It has stood up to the test of time in the same way that Wall Street has. If you like these sort of movies but have slept on Boiler Room the last two decades, you should check it out.
Rating: 7.75/10 Pairs well with: other finance industry thrillers like Wall Street, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Big Short, Rogue Trader, etc.
Also known as: Leprechaun 5: In the Hood (alternative title) Release Date: March 28th, 2000 Directed by: Rob Spera Written by: Doug Hall, Jon Huffman, William Wells, Alan Reynolds, Rob Spera Based on: characters by Mark Jones Music by: Nicholas Rivera Cast: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Coolio (cameo)
Trimark Pictures, 90 Minutes
“A friend with weed is a friend indeed, but a friend with gold is the best I’m told.” – Leprechaun
While the fourth film is where the series starts to really drop off in quality, this fifth film is where it turns into a total piece of shit.
This completely ignores the events of the fourth film, which was set in the future in outer space. Or maybe, chronologically that one is the final movie. But then again, I guess it doesn’t matter, as none of these movies really seemed tied to previous installments.
Anyway, the idea of having the Leprechaun go against Ice-T is kind of intriguing but when the script and the direction are quite deplorable, you get a stupid, mundane picture that might be a turd but can’t even stay afloat.
There is actually one amusing scene where the owner of a pawn shop makes fun of the film’s three protagonists but that’s about it. Even the Leprechaun’s one-liners seem tired by this point and even though the series needed to sort of reinvent itself, this was a massive misstep.
I can’t fault Warwick Davis, he seems to love playing this character and getting a paycheck in the process but five movies deep, even he can’t keep this franchise going.
The main characters in this story are rappers and they draw the ire of an evil rap producer/gangster. Just think Suge Knight, as played by Ice-T.
The music is absolute crap. This film came out in 2000 but these rappers sound like a group from a West Coast gangsta rap demo that got rejected in 1991.
In the end, the Leprechaun raps poorly too but he’s at least better than the actual rappers. This is only worth checking out for that scene and you can just watch it on YouTube, anyway.
Rating: 2.25/10 Pairs well with: the other Leprechaun movies starring Warwick Davis.
Also known as: Burned to Light (working title) Release Date: May 15th, 2000 (Cannes) Directed by: E. Elias Merhige Written by: Steven Katz Music by: Dan Jones Cast: John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Cary Elwes, John Aden Gillet, Eddie Izzard, Udo Kier, Catherine McCormack, Ronan Vibert
Saturn Films, Long Shot Pictures, BBC Films, 92 Minutes
“Death of centuries! Moonchaser! Blasphemer! Monkey! Vase of prehistory. Finally to Earth, and finally born.” – F. W. Murnau
I don’t know what it is about Nosferatu but every film within its grasp is great, whether that’s the original 1922 silent film, the 1979 remake or this, a movie that appears to be a biopic about F. W. Murnau and the production of the original Nosferatu but is actually a fictional reimagining that makes Murnau a vicious tyrant behind the camera and his star a real vampire.
Obviously, this isn’t the true story of the making of Nosferatu but it is one hell of a fun ride through an alternate dimension. It’s also well written, stupendously acted and features incredible makeup, great set recreations, as well as several tropes and techniques from the silent era reworked with great care into this modern picture.
I love this film and from the moment I saw it in 2001 or so, it quickly became one of my all-time favorite vampire pictures. It also solidified my love and respect for the talents of John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe. In fact, Dafoe would get an Academy Award nomination for this role. The film was also nominated for makeup.
Beyond those two, the rest of the cast is also superb. I especially liked Udo Kier in this and it’s one of my favorite roles he’s played over his very long and storied career. Additionally, Eddie Izzard, Catherine McCormack, Cary Elwes and Aden Gillet all put in memorable performances, each adding so much complexity and nuance to the overall production.
The director, E. Elias Merhige, hasn’t done a whole lot over the years and the only other film of his I’ve seen is Suspect Zero. I remember enjoying it at the time but this movie is certainly his magnum opus. I’m not sure why he doesn’t make more movies but as great as this one is, his lack of motion pictures feels like a great loss for cinema.
Shadow of the Vampire is pretty close to perfect from top-to-bottom and it’s just a neat, clever story featuring one of the best monsters that has ever graced the silver screen. Dafoe actually is perfect and the brightest spot in this already bright film. Malkovich is damn good, as well, and the two have incredible chemistry. They’re both villainous and it’s just interesting watching this play out, trying to see which one is the greater villain, overall.
In real life, however, Murnau was said to be great to work for and a very sensitive artist. Also, Max Schreck wasn’t a blood sucking murderer, as he’d go on to live a married life while enjoying success in many films outside of just Nosferatu.
Despite this not being real, it makes me wish that there were more movies like this. Films that would take something really cool from history and just do something bonkers but respectable with it.
Although, I guess that’s what makes this motion picture so unique and so special. It truly feels like one of a kind and it was crafted with a genuine love of the original film it tapped into.
Rating: 9.5/10 Pairs well with: the two Nosferatu movies, as well as Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Also known as: M:I-2 (alternative title), Mission: Impossible 2 (alternative spelling) Release Date: May 18th, 2000 (Los Angeles premiere) Directed by: John Woo Written by: Robert Towne, Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga Based on:Mission: Impossible by Bruce Geller Music by: Hans Zimmer Cast: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, Ving Rhames, Dominic Purcell, Anthony Hopkins (uncredited)
“[briefing his men] If you look at Hunt’s operational history, and I have, you’ll notice that he invariably favors misdirection over confrontation.” – Sean Ambrose
While I wasn’t a big fan of the first movie in this franchise, I have a much better opinion of it now. This film, however, is where I jumped off because it was terrible on just about every level. But recently I thought, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this one will seem better to me now, all these years later, as it’s predecessor did.
Nope. This is still shit. And even though I haven’t seen a Mission: Impossible movie after this one, it’s hard to imagine the well-received sequels that followed being as bad or worse than this. Luckily, this one is checked off the list and I can move on from it.
But for now, I guess I still have to review it.
Tom Cruise is fine in this. In fact, he’s about the only thing that’s fine in it. I mean, I liked Anthony Hopkins, but he’s barely in it and Thandie Newton was okay but even with some talent in this picture, it isn’t all that well acted or treated like a movie worthy of anyone’s time or effort.
The plot is pretty fucking boring and derivative as hell. Honestly, this plays like a mediocre Pierce Brosnan era James Bond film and then just slightly worse. Granted, it isn’t as bad as Die Another Die, which just went to an absurd level of crazy. This is almost that bad, though.
The action is goofy and implausible, even more so than the first Mission: Impossible, which nearly jumped the shark a few times.
Additionally, this film was expensive but somehow it looks like a mid-’90s action movie with a moderate budget. While I like John Woo, generally speaking, this tapped into his frugalness too much. It felt like it was well beneath Face/Off, which came out three years prior. Yet, this film had a budget of $125M where Face/Off‘s budget was $80M.
Everything comes to a head in the shitty motorcycle chase finale that defies physics to the point where it broke my brain. I don’t care about it being directed by a Hong Kong action director, the regular Joe in the theater has no idea what that should entail and frankly, it’s not a style that works for this franchise, which is probably why it was abandoned after this movie.
M:I-2 is honestly just a stinky fart in the wind. Luckily, it didn’t completely derail the franchise and we got sequels, that I’ve been led to believe, are far superior to this one. I’ll probably start checking those out soon.
Rating: 4.5/10 Pairs well with: the other Mission: Impossible films, the Pierce Brosnan James Bond era, the Bourne film series and the Kingsman movies.
Also known as: Shaft Returns (working title) Release Date: June 16th, 2000 Directed by: John Singleton Written by: John Singleton, Shane Salerno, Richard Price Based on:Shaft by Ernest Tidyman Music by: David Arnold Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Dan Hedaya, Busta Rhymes, Toni Collette, Richard Roundtree, Lynne Thigpen, Pat Hingle, Mekhi Phifer, Elizabeth Banks, Gordon Parks, Andre Royo, Daniel von Bargen, Issac Hayes (uncredited), Lawrence Taylor (cameo)
Scott Rudin Productions, New Deal Productions, Paramount Pictures, 99 Minutes
“Golf is phat… Tiger Wooo, Tiger Wooo, I like him.” – Peoples Hernandez
While I did dig this when it came out in 2000, I hadn’t seen it since then. I’ve gotta say, it hasn’t aged well at all.
This film feels like a relic and it feels like it is about five years older than it is. It had more cheesy, ’90s action flavor than it did the ’70s blaxploitation aesthetic it was trying to recapture and homage.
Shaft, the 2000 version, is just a mundane, boring movie that surprisingly had a good director and an incredible cast that couldn’t keep this ship afloat. It’s a sinker and a stinker.
I guess, despite initially enjoying it, there just wasn’t enough beyond one viewing that ever really made me want to revisit this. And I only did so now because I haven’t reviewed it and also because I wanted to revisit it to re-familiarize myself with Sam Jackson’s incarnation of Shaft before watching the 2019 version, which is now streaming on HBO.
Overall, Jackson was the perfect choice for a modern Shaft. I also liked seeing Jeffrey Wright and Christian Bale in this, as the villains. However, despite the awesomeness that was Wright’s Dominican accent, everything just feels pedestrian and dry.
There are no real surprises in the film and it plays out quite sloppily. It’s a clunky story with a few subplots that all seem forced and unnecessary. In fact, the movie is overly complicated and it feels like it is more into showcasing yuppie racism than it is at telling a good plot or making you care about any of the characters in any way that is deeper than just surface level. It certainly needs more character development than plot layers. The movie gets lost within itself and if you don’t care about anyone, what’s the point?
It’s not a poorly acted film but it is poorly written and directed. John Singleton has proved, specifically before this, that he is capable of so much more.
I guess this is okay if you go into it as just a mindless 99 minute action romp but it’s nowhere near as cool as it thinks it is and it pales in comparison to the original film it wanted so hard to be.
Rating: 5.25/10 Pairs well with: the other films in the Shaft franchise, as well as late ’90s/’00s Samuel Jackson action movies.
Also known as: X-Men: The Movie (working title), X-Men 1.5 (longer cut) Release Date: July 12th, 2000 (Ellis Island premiere) Directed by: Bryan Singer Written by: David Hayter, Tom DeSanto, Bryan Singer Based on:X-Men by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby Music by: Michael Kamen Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ray Park, Tyler Mane, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore
Marvel Enterprises, Donners’ Company, Twentieth Century Fox, 104 Minutes
“[to Senator Kelly] You know, people like you are the reason I was afraid to go to school as a child.” – Mystique
This was the movie that really got modern superhero films off the ground. It became the launching pad for several sequels, spin offs and what eventually became the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It’s been a really long time since I’ve sat down and watched this one though. Compared to what is the norm today, twenty years later, this one feels really small and you can immediately tell that it had a smaller budget than what similar films today have.
That’s because this movie was a big risk in 1999 when it was filmed. Comic book movies other than the two Tim Burton Batman films and the first two Christopher Reeve starring Superman pictures just didn’t have a great track record and most of them were made deliberately cheesy and campy. The sequels to the films I just mentioned also fell victim to this creative misstep.
X-Men, however, took itself seriously and it succeeded because of that.
Granted, it’s a pretty flawed film with a lot of creative choices I wasn’t a fan of. These choices would actually go on to hinder the rest of the X-Men movies that Fox made but I think it was probably hard to see anything beyond just this movie when it was being made.
The acting is pretty solid for the most part but the heavy lifting in this chapter is primarily done by Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Anna Paquin. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t bad dialogue and bad acting, there is, but the high points greatly outshine the low ones.
Still, this is a weak adaptation. It chose a strange mix of characters to start with and by choosing these characters, the series sort of fucked itself going forward. It also altered the origins of most of the characters pretty drastically and it set some things in stone that would later lead to the film series’ continuity getting really screwed up. Some of these problems became even more clear after revisiting this.
The general plot is also wonky and weird and I’m not a big fan of it. The whole MacGuffin machine that Magneto wants to use to turn people into mutants was goofy as hell and it sabotaged the initial realism that this picture seemed to have. Well, it was as realistic as a film about superhero mutants could be before we got a hokey old timey comic book superweapon introduced.
From memory, but I’ll find out in a week or so, the sequel was much better. It delved deeper into the lore and tried to get past some of the missteps here.
In the end, this isn’t bad, by any means, it just isn’t as great as I felt that it was in 2000. Sure, it has issues but it also opened the floodgates for the superhero genre to enter the cinematic medium in a more serious way.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with: the other films in the original X-Men trilogy.