Critic views of films starring the women of Smartasses, Asian movies, and some DVDs you may have overlooked.
Cyborg 2 / Jennifer’s Body | DVD Reviews – SA Magazine
Cyborg 2 (1993) 4/5 Stars
“For anyone who is even mildly a Jolie or Palance fan, who liked either Escape From New York, Omega Man, or both… you will enjoy this movie thoroughly. It’s certainly not a four-star movie, but it is worth four stars for it’s genre.”
Cyborg 2 DVD Review – Elias Koteas, Angelina Jolie, Jack Palance, Billy Drago. Angelina Jolie stars as a sexy cyborg, that Pinwheel Robotics (Umbrella Corp?) plans to use to stamp out it’s competition, by exploding her at its rival company’s upcoming conference. On the surface, this may sound like a bad movie, but it honestly is worth your time.
Remember that really weird, single period in the WWF (Yes, F, not E) when The Hart Foundation, Hawk & Animal, and many of the other eighties stars were moving toward the end of their grappling careers, while Stone Cold Steve Austin and Degeneration X were starting to share the squared circle with them? It was an odd amalgam of the ‘Federation’ and ‘Attitude’ eras for professional wrestling, and that’s kind of what you get with this movie.
It’s interesting alone, in seeing an 18 year old Jolie in her first real film (never mind the shorts she is credited for), crossing paths with an icon like Jack Palance (Batman, City Slickers II), and a great eighties character-actor like Billy Drago (Tremors 4, The Hills Have Eyes). At the beginning of the film you’ll want to make obvious Terminator references, but that overwhelming desire basically ends when the credits stop. After a hilariously bad ‘aerial’ shot of a clay-mation miniature city, you’re actually in for a pretty decent ninety minutes, despite the barrage of terrible reviews you might find from fellow viewers on Netflix.
From a nostalgic standpoint, it’s great seeing Jolie with a completely different look than she became known for as she reinvented herself several times during her maturation process through early adulthood. She even managed to pull of a different, and perhaps even more breathtaking version of herself in this film, when compared to her appearances in some of her other early films like Hackers or Foxfire. In fact, as Foxfire was a great precursor to what you would eventually receive from Jolie in Girl Interrupted, Cyborg 2 is a great portent to the action she had yet to perform in the Tomb Raider flicks- which makes this film almost like your own little personal time machine. One will certainly observe how her aptitude as an actress is certainly below par in Cyborg 2, when compared to what we’ve come to know, but it’s still a respectable performance. Fans will also be quick to acknowledge that her voice sounded noticeably less mature than what we are used to as well, which again, kind of makes things interesting.
Palance, always being known for his voice, is simply over the top with great lines in this movie (“You want to dine with the Devil, you need a long spoon.”) Playing the character of “Mercy’, an omniscient, unseen vigilante, Palance communicates to other do-gooders through the use of old-aged television screens zoomed in on only his mouth, and it really adds a lot of mystery, and therefore weight to his character. Drago, always the poor man’s David Bowie, truly delivers the performance of a lifetime as a crazy, yet well dressed bounty hunter who has an obsessive-compulsive fixation with the condition of his facial skin. It is only Koteas who brings questionable acting skills to the lead, but one supposes that there had to be something to solidify this as a categorical B movie.
For anyone who is even mildly a Jolie or Palance fan, who liked either Escape From New York, Omega Man, or both… you will enjoy this movie thoroughly. It’s certainly not a four-star movie, but it is worth four stars for it’s genre.
DVD Features: Region 1 Keep Case Full Frame – 1.33 Audio: Stereo 2.0 – English Subtitles – English – Closed Captioned Additional Release Material: Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer Interactive Features: Scene Selection Interactive Menus: Chapter Search Interactive Menu. – CD Universe
Jennifer’s Body (2009) 4/5 Stars
“Acting wise, say what you will about Fox, but she was so completely perfect for this role, that somewhere, ‘quintessential’ needs to be inserted into this sentence. “
Jennifer’s Body DVD Review – Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried. After a supernatural romp with a satanic band, Jennifer (Megan Fox) is transformed into a demon with an insatiable appetite for high school boys. Now, it’s up to Jennifer’s BFF, Needy (Amanda Seyfried), to protect the guys from the bloodthirsty man-eater. Penned by Diablo Cody (Juno), this one-of-a-kind horror comedy co-stars Adam Brody as the devil-worshipping band’s lead singer. Well worth your time despite anything you’ve heard.
I’m literally appalled at the amount of so-called ‘critics’ out there who reviewed this as a horror film. Anyone with a brain, especially someone who reviews movies for a living, should have been able to tell through the first seven seconds that this was a black comedy and nothing more. It’s not scary, nor suspenseful, and it’s not supposed to be. And people crying foul that this was marketed as a supernatural-thriller (See The Mummy for the scam of the century on that one), I’m forced to wonder… were we watching the same preview? If anything, beat this up for trying to reach the zenith that Heathers set, but don’t beat it up for misrepresentation- or judge it on what it is not.
Though I cannot speak from any kind of personal experience, I can at least guess that it’s most likely what can only be described as “the often complicated, contradictory emotions of high school girls” (Yes, I’m quoting), brilliantly weaved, in Diablo Cody’s typical quirky fashion, with a horror premise that is beyond ridiculous. It is this contrast, that makes the movie worthwhile and I fail to understand how this notion can escape anyone. Was it not the contrast of Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson’s casual and inane conversation about cheeseburgers, while they patiently waited to brutally assassinate someone, which made Pulp Fiction the film gem that it was? Jennifer’s Body is certainly no Pulp Fiction, but the thought process behind it is equally as ingenious at times.
Acting wise, say what you will about Fox, but she was so completely perfect for this role, that somewhere, ‘quintessential’ needs to be inserted into this sentence. People often badgered Schwarzenegger for his lack of acting ability, but no one will argue that he wasn’t perfect for the role of Conan or The Terminator, and the same can be said about Megan Fox here. All things being equal, she plays her role as the vicious, man hungry (literally) cheerleader with one hundred percent believability. But then again, if you’ve seen her in Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen, How To Lose Friends And Alienate People, or even as a tween in Holiday In The Sun… you get the feeling that this is not too much of a stretch for her. All the same, she makes the character electric and palpable, and I’d venture to guess that her performance here could bring back the memories and feelings of high school highs and lows to anyone with a pulse. She was that spot on.
As for Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls, Letters To Juliet), she brings the same, sound, acting ability to her role as Needy, that Ellen Page brought to her role for Juno. Cody is no slouch when it comes to casting.
There is a good chemistry between the two leading actresses as well, that is borderline fantastic at times, and some of the one liners will inspire a chuckle or three. Again, this is not a scarefest, even though the special effects were indeed also great.
With that said, remember, this is entirely a dark comedy that is meant to play on the eccentric, and deviant, and if you walk away smiling and appreciative, feel free to consider yourself a ‘humor-snob’ in the end, because clearly you ‘get’ what the others do not.
DVD Features: Region 1 Note: Includes both the original theatrical version and the unrated version! Audio commentary on the theatrical version with director Karyn Kusama and writer Diablo Cody Audio commentary on the unrated version with director Karyn Kusama Dual Layer Widescreen – 1.85 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 – English, French, Spanish Subtitles – Spanish. – CD Universe
Blu-ray Disc Features: Note: Disc one: Includes both the original theatrical version and the unrated version! Audio commentary on the theatrical version with director Karyn Kusama and writer Diablo Cody Audio commentary on the unrated version with director Karyn Kusama Deleted scenes Jennifer’s Body: the dead pool Cast & filmmakers’ behind-the-scenes video diaries Gag reel, Megan Fox extras Disc two: Digital copy of Jennifer’s Body for portable media players Dual Layer Widescreen – 1.85 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 – English, French, Spanish DTS HD Master Audio – English, French, Spanish Subtitles – Cantonese, Spanish, Thai. – CD Universe