Hunter has written 51 reviews for films rated ★★½ .

  • Lethal Weapon

    Lethal Weapon

    ★★½

    Shane Black does the men's paperback novel mixed with old Hollywood comedy stuff better when he actually gets to direct it. Mel Gibson's Riggs character has this Three Stooges bit going that's funny, but when Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe do the same thing with Abbott & Costello in "The Nice Guys", you really see what Black was going for here. There was a lot of stuff about "Lethal Weapon" that was irritating on this re-watch. Why does Murtaugh's house look…

  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose

    The Exorcism of Emily Rose

    ★★½

    The made-for-TV version of "The Exorcist."

    Like "The Exorcist," "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" takes themes of faith, religion, God, Satan, and the supernatural seriously, and this works to its benefit. Jennifer Carpenter is otherworldly in the titular role, Laura Linney is solid in the lead, and I'll watch Tom Wilkinson in anything. The movie has some scary moments, and the Rose family farm is a spooky setting that makes for some memorable moments.

    The problem with the film is…

  • The Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom of the Opera

    ★★½

    The problem with Hammer's "Phantom" adaptation is that it uses the 1943 Claude Rains version as its jumping off point. The problem with this is that the Rains version reduced the themes and ideas in Gaston Leroux's story to a simple revenge tale. This just makes it another monster movie, which would be fine, but the silent classic with Lon Chaney is way better in that regard. Hammer's version is lacking in the crimson shocks and monster moments in which…

  • Gamera vs. Viras

    Gamera vs. Viras

    ★★½

    "Gamera vs. Viras" is so low-budget, it makes "Gamera vs. Gyaos" look like "Clash of the Titans" by comparison. Even at a brief 72 minutes, the movie liberally recycles footage from the original "Gamera" and "Gamera Vs. Barugon", something the American cut uses even more of to pad out the runtime for TV. The movie also sets so much of its plot on the same alien spaceship set, you'll quickly get sick of looking at it. The kids they got to carry the movie do a great job, though, and Viras is a neat-looking monster with some creepy alien minions.

  • Gamera vs. Barugon

    Gamera vs. Barugon

    ★★½

    "Gamera vs. Barugon" starts strong with an exciting treasure-hunt plot full of betrayal and skullduggery, but the plot grinds to a halt when it shifts gears into people rubbing their temples over how to defeat Barugon. Gamera doesn't have enough screen time either, and this is in a movie that is way too long. Noriaki Yuasa, who directed the original "Gamera" film, is demoted to doing the special effects here, but he did a great job making the monster battles look good, and would wisely be given back the reins to the series in the next film.

  • Batman Begins

    Batman Begins

    ★★½

    "Batman Begins" felt like a fresh approach when "Batman & Robin" was still a painful memory. Today it seems like an overcorrection, the Batman film for the "Good Taste, Inc" crowd. It draws from then-untapped sources like "The Long Halloween", "Batman: Year One", and James Bond movies, which was new-ish for these movies. Christopher Nolan's mostly-analogue approach is still cool, especially as action scenes have become entirely animated at this point in movies. The problem is that no one in this…

  • The Horror of Frankenstein

    The Horror of Frankenstein

    ★★½

    "The Horror of Frankenstein" was one I had put off watching, because the idea of a Hammer Frankenstein movie without Peter Cushing in his greatest Hammer role as the titular doctor wasn't all that appealing. Yet the film is different enough to distinguish itself in the series. Ralph Bates' take on the character is much different than Cushing's. Instead of a morally unscrupulous man of science, Frankenstein here is a slave of carnal passions. He is simply interested in the…

  • Dr. Terror's House of Horrors

    Dr. Terror's House of Horrors

    ★★½

    A perfectly average anthology horror film, which is disappointing considering the tremendous pedigree of talent involved. Names like Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland, Michael Gough, and Bernard Lee show up, all under the direction of the great Freddie Francis (this not, however, a Hammer production, though it could be mistaken for one). Like all anthology films, some segments are better than others, the highlight being the one involving Christopher Lee's snob skeptic art critic facing off against a vengeful…

  • Rambo: Last Blood

    Rambo: Last Blood

    ★★½

    "Last Blood" feels more like a Wes Craven movie than a Rambo flick. As a Stallone action film, it's fine. As the farewell to John Rambo, it's lacking. It just doesn't feel like a Rambo movie, and it doesn't bring any closure to the character that the previous film didn't already provide. In "Rambo", Stallone brought the character full circle, finally bringing him back home to the American heartland. It was a good note to end on. Here, the note we end on is a Mortal Kombat fatality. It's hilarious, but not exactly dignified for Sly's second-most beloved character.

  • Help!

    Help!

    ★★½

    It seems silly to criticise a movie for not being as good as "A Hard Day's Night", it's a ridiculous standard to set. The problem with "Help" isn't that it's not as good as "A Hard Day's Night", it's that it's nowhere even close. "Help" has some funny bits and musical sequences where the magic of its predecessor gleams through, but for the most part, it feels stale. The premise of a death cult chasing Ringo for the ring he's…

  • The Hellbenders

    The Hellbenders

    ★★½

    Sergio Corbucci's "Hellbenders" is on the vanilla, low-budget end of the spaghetti western genre. The main problem is that, while I love Joseph Cotten, he's just not cut out for tough guy western roles, especially not dark roles like this one. The plot with Cotten's deranged Confederate transporting a coffin full of money to rekindle the Civil War is classic Corbucci on paper, but aside from a few good shootouts and suspense scenes, it just doesn't add up to much. The dynamic between the family of criminals and the fake widow (Norma Bengell) should have more tension, but it's mostly tepid. This one needs a remake.

  • The Andromeda Strain

    The Andromeda Strain

    ★★½

    "The Andromeda Strain" is hard, dry sci-fi, the type that is eager to show off the latest tech from the year it was made in painstaking detail. This results in a movie that is over two hours, which could be a solid ninety minutes if it wasn't so fascinated with the minutiae, but I guess that's the whole appeal for some. It's not all interesting little details, though. The film is full of the sort of dialogue where supposed top-tier…