Tag Archives: 1995 movies

Judge Dredd (1995) Review

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd
Armand Assante as Rico Dredd
Rob Schneider as Fergee
Diane Lane as Judge Hershey
Jürgen Prochnow as Judge Griffin
Max von Sydow as Chief Justice Fargo
Director: Danny Cannon

In a dystopic future, where urban areas have grown into Mega-Cities that cover entire coastal regions, the justice system has evolved to a single person invested with the power of police, judge, jury and executioner: the Judge. Among the Judges of Mega-City One, Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) is one of the best, and a particular favorite of the Head of the Council, Chief Justice Fargo (Max von Sydow). But there are evil forces at work in the Justice Department: block riots and the escape of Rico (Armand Assante), a homicidal maniac, are only steps in a plan that ultimately lead to the sentencing of Dredd for a murder he did not commit. And Dredd must discover the secrets of his own past and survive to stop the evildoers.

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Before the underrated 2012 film there was an attempt at making a Judge Dredd movie in the 1990s. The end product wasn’t very good. It is however an incredibly entertaining movie, it was cheesy from the over the top acting, to the cliché dialogue, it’s an enjoyable movie for how silly it is. But I really wouldn’t call it a Judge Dredd movie.

Judge Dredd feels like a typical sci-fi, dystopian action movie from the 1990s. The first 10 minutes felt somewhat like a Judge Dredd film but any of those elements is gone after that point. The Sci-Fi world that we are introduced to has been made a million times over, so it just feels rather generic and not very unique. On top of that, for a lot of the movie we aren’t even exploring that world, we are just going from random location to random location, and these locations aren’t really intersting. So to recap, the sci-fi world isn’t that unique and we are stuck in locations that are even less interesting. As for the plot, I’m not a Judge Dredd fan really but I don’t think this plot was right for Dredd. Dredd being falsely accused of murder and going from one place to another to further the plot really doesn’t feel like a story for him, it’s more of a plot for another Stallone character. This movie is also very goofy. The dialogue is very cheesy and over the top. Seriously, count how many times Stallone is talking about ‘The Law’, often in an over the top way, or asks people “How do you plead?” before responding to their replies with “I knew you’d say that”. In that sense it is very fun to watch, because of how silly it is. I was entertained throughout, there wasn’t a dull moment when viewing this as a silly Stallone flick (except for when Rob Schneider was on screen).

Sylvester Stallone is trying to play Judge Dredd and the character is barely Judge Dredd. It feels like the whole movie was trying to be a Stallone movie, just him with the name of Judge Dredd. If you want any proof, Stallone barely wears the mask, (and Stallone himself insisted having it on all the time but to no avail). The cheesy dialogue doesn’t help much, as I said Dredd in this movie comes across like a Sylvester Stallone character rather than actually Judge Dredd. Despite all that, he is very entertaining. Armand Assante is the villain and he is incredibly over the top. He’s not that great as a villain but he is entertaining and is super into his role, so I do appreciate it. Supporting actors like Max von Sydow are fine. In terms of bad acting, we’ve got the comedic relief by none other but Rob Schneider. Yes, that Rob Schneider. Honestly while the role was written to be an annoying comic relief, any actors could play that role and be passable in the role. Schneider however turns a mildly annoying role into an insufferable role. He just had no reason to exist, he wasn’t funny, nor did he serve to really help Dredd or the other characters. He was completely useless, and it made me wonder why Dredd kept bringing him along with him.

The action is typical over the top 80s/90s sci-fi action. It doesn’t feel particularly gritty (something that the new movie thankfully changed), it is entertaining however. I might even say that for the most part the action is done well. There is a space bike chase with some obvious green screen, then again this is typical for this type of movie in the 90s. The costumes are over the top and honestly kind of cheap. Even when Stallone is in the helmet, he just looks silly, and it’s not Sylvester Stallone, it’s the helmet surprisingly.

Judge Dredd is not a very good movie, it’s silly, it’s cheesy and its completely over the top. However it is endlessly entertaining for those same reasons, intentional or not. It’s a guilty pleasure for me, however it isn’t the movie that Judge Dredd deserves. If you want an entertaining and silly Stallone flick, you’ll like this movie. But if you would prefer a proper Judge Dredd movie I highly recommend the 2012 film with Karl Urban.

Batman Forever (1995) Review

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Batman Forever

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/Two-Face
Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma/The Riddler
Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian
Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Pat Hingle as James Gordon
Director Joel Schumacher

Batman (Val Kilmer) is back. This time he faces several challenges. Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones) who had acid thrown on his face, Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) who has invented a device that manipulates human brainwaves and transfers them into his own head, Dr. Chase Maridian (Nicole Kidman), who has a major crush on him and Dick Grayson (Chris O’Dowd), who lost his family at the hands of Two-Face and is taken in by Wayne. Batman now must train Dick Grayson and confront both Two-Face and The Riddler to save Gotham City.

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Batman Returns wasn’t loved by everyone, mostly due to its even darker tone, as a result, Warner Bros decided to replace Tim Burton with Joel Schumacher in order to have a lighter tone, and they certainly got what they wanted. Batman Forever however isn’t a good film, it’s not without its entertaining moments but it’s not a good movie overall and its style just doesn’t fit Batman.

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As I said previously, the tone in this movie is much more light-hearted than Burton’s films. First of all there are some pretty cheesy lines in this movie (“Chicks dig the car”). I’ll admit that some of them are enjoyable in a guilty pleasure sort of way but a lot of the time it can get ridiculous. There are also some over the top stuff, for example in order to stop Batman and Robin from coming to their hideout, Two Face and The Riddler play a game of Battleship. I didn’t really buy Edward Nygma’s transformation into The Riddler, as he seems to become The Riddler in his first scene, which doesn’t lead to him being developed at all. I will say that the film surprisingly handled Robin’s story okay, it wasn’t great but it worked for the movie. Overall if you are planning to watch this movie, don’t go in for the story, it’s not a very good one and you can have more fun with how stupid it is.

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Val Kilmer makes for a decent Bruce Wayne, I could buy him as this character but he was a pretty forgettable but okay Batman. Chris O’Donnell was okay, as Robin but he wasn’t very memorable. I really don’t understand why Nicole Kidman was in this movie and something about her performance actually annoyed me a little. Maybe it’s because the ‘romance’ between her and Batman is not plausible in the slightest. The villains are very over the top that’s the problem with Schumacher’s Batman villains. They are all crazy and nothing else. Jim Carrey is playing Jim Carrey in this movie but I can at least give him credit that The Riddler is meant to be kind of nuts, even if this isn’t a good portrayal. The same can’t be said for Tommy Lee Jones, who is so incredibly over the top as Two Face, I’m convinced that he thinks he’s playing the Joker with half his face burnt.

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As the tone changed with Schumacher’s direction, so did the style, you can see if everywhere from the countless neon lights in this movie to the annoying amounts of Dutch angle shots. The costumes are pretty bad too, and I’m not just talking about the Batman nipples, for example The Riddler looks like he’s wearing Riddler pyjamas, something that a Riddler fan would wear, not the Riddler himself. I guess the only suit that looks okay is the Robin suit, probably because they actually made it look not laughable. The soundtrack is nice but it’s not really the most suitable soundtrack for Batman.

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Batman Forever isn’t the worst batman movie but it’s not a good one either. The villain performances were over the top and the style wasn’t really the best for Batman. But still there are some enjoyable scenes, and a lot of the movie can be considered guilty pleasure material. It is by no means however a good movie, it was still better than Batman and Robin though.

Se7en (1995)

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Se7en

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence, sexual themes and content that may disturb
Cast:
Brad Pitt as David Mills
Morgan Freeman as William Somerset
Gwyneth Paltrow as Tracy Mills
Director: David Fincher

Two homicide detectives are tracking down a sadistic serial killer who chooses his victims according to the seven deadly sins. Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) is a hopeful but naive rookie who finds himself partnered with veteran Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman). Together they trace the killers every step, witnessing the aftermath of his horrific crimes one by one as the victims pile up in rapid succession, all the while moving closer to a gruesome fate neither of them could have predicted.

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David Fincher is an outstanding filmmaker and really establishes it here after the Alien 3 debacle. He isn’t a stranger to dark movies and none of his others are as dark as this one. Its dark feel captivates and holds the attention of the audience. From start to finish, Se7en is a brilliant, thrilling, horrifying, fascinating and well made movie that contains of the best aspects that Fincher has as a filmmaker.

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The tone of this movie seems to always be dark and that tone is established with its opening credit sequence. The film is captivating from start to finish as we see these two detectives try to solve the murders. The murders that they investigate happen before they appear at the crime scene, so you don’t see the murder in process. Fincher also doesn’t show the murder scenes gratuitously, just as much necessary for the audience to see; we also learn more about how the victims died through discussions afterwards and the rest of it is left to the audience’s imagination. Nonetheless, some of the deaths are particularly gruesome, meaning that this movie is probably not for everyone, particularly the faint of heart. Se7en also has one of the best endings however without spoiling it; it’s not pleasant at all. It is haunting, depressing and a bit disturbing however I think that the ending was perfect for this movie.

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The acting by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt were very good. The idea of a retiring detective being paired with a rookie cop at first sounds like some buddy cop movies, but it is handled very well as both Freeman and Pitt play their roles with realism. Most of the best scenes in the movie is when it’s just them talking; investigating all those murders gets them talking about things that are just very interesting to watch. The rest of the cast are also really good like Gwyneth Paltrow who makes quite an impact, despite not having as much screen time. I won’t reveal who the killer is played by, but the actor did such a good job playing him and was on the level of Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as the best performances in the whole movie. Simply put, the killer embodies evil in all its forms, and it is rare to find many performances that does this successfully.

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The film has a bleak dark feeling, which would be later used in a lot of other David Fincher movies. I’ve also noticed that the sun never shines during the movie, it rains a lot and it was often gloomy, which really added to the dark tone. Everything from the lighting, editing and cinematography is so well used to its fullest potential. The soundtrack by Howard Shore is also quite good, adding to the atmosphere.

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David Fincher has successfully created a dark, disturbing film with a lot of atmosphere. Although the deaths didn’t really disturb me, I will say that this film is not for the faint of heart. It is one of Fincher’s best and as long as you know what you are going into before you watch it, it is a brilliant movie.

Casino (1995)

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Casino

Time: 178 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence
Cast:
Robert De Niro as Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein
Sharon Stone as Ginger McKenna
Joe Pesci as Nicky Sontoro
James Woods as Lester Diamond
Don Rickles as Billy Sherbert
Director: Martin Scorsese

Ace Rothstein (Robert De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) are mobsters, who move to Las Vegas to make their mark, live and work in this paradoxical world. Seen through their eyes, each as a foil to the other, the details of mob involvement in the casinos of the 1970’s and ’80’s are revealed. Ace is the operator of the Tangiers casino, while Nicky is his boyhood friend and tough strongman, robbing and shaking down the locals. However, they each have a tragic flaw-Ace falls in love with a hustler, Ginger (Sharon Stone), and Nicky falls into an ever-deepening spiral of drugs and violence. This movie is based on some true events.

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A lot of movie buffs have movies that changed their viewpoint of film just being entertainment, to the idea that film is an art form. In my case, Casino is that film. It is wonderfully shot, brilliantly acted and has a style that really gets me interested in the type of world the characters are in. It unfortunately often gets overshadowed by the more well-known Goodfellas, a film that it is very similar to. Once again, Martin Scorsese has again created a masterpiece that has made a significant impact on me and many others as Casino presents the best that film has to offer.

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From the start, Casino had my attention and I couldn’t stop watching despite the movie being nearly 3 hours long. The narration is mostly done by Ace and Nicky and we really learn about how they thought, what they thought of and how things in Las Vegas worked. Regarding the characters in this movie, I didn’t feel any empathy or any kind connection to them, where as some people may be able to feel that in Goodfellas to some of the characters (even when they aren’t glorified) – this isn’t a negative; it is just something I have noticed. What is a positive is; is that by the end I felt that I learnt more about the characters in this movie more than Goodfellas. The film actually felt darker than Goodfellas, especially with the violence. Casino’s violence was much more brutal and unflinching than Goodfellas’s, especially a scene near the end that involves baseball bats in a cornfield. Overall, it doesn’t matter what movie you see first; they are both brilliant films in their own right.

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Robert De Niro is really good as always, and really fills his role here as Ace Rothstein, who is in a high position, running the casino. Joe Pesci is good here, playing someone who is quite a lot like his character in Goodfellas, a short tempered and violent person; however I actually feel that his performance here has more depth. It would be a crime to overlook Sharon Stone’s performance which would lead to the film’s only Oscar nomination. She plays her role extremely well and is on par with De Niro and Pesci. Other actors like James Woods and Don Rickles are good as well. Everyone in this movie is great but those three main actors stole every scene they were in.

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This being a Scorsese movie, is filled with a lot of energy, as most of his films are; the style was the icing on the cake that drew me into the story more, which was very similar to Goodfellas. The cinematography is great as always and has great music that fits in with the time period and the location of Las Vegas.

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Maybe it was the fact that I saw Casino before Goodfellas but this movie has made a bigger impact on me. Whatever you feel about how it holds up against Goodfellas, Casino deserves to be judged on its own. It certainly isn’t for everyone (An example being the cornfield scene) but overall, this is one of my favourite movies of all time and I owe a lot to it.