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(Written 1999-2000)
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Movie Reviews

21 Grams
Rating: 3.5/4
Want to be an Oscar nominee?  Here's a tip: make a heart-wrenching movie where one horrible thing after another happens to the characters.  21 Grams is a very good film, just not a particularly fun one to watch.  Great acting all around I must say.  Benicio Del Toro looks more disheveled here than he's ever looked before, which is an achievement in itself.

50 First Dates
Rating: 3/4
It's becoming apparent that Sandler will never again try for the absurd, anything-for-a-laugh comedy of Billy Madison again.  But among his recent efforts, this might be the best.  Sandler re-teams with Drew Barrymore, who has broken her brain in an accident and has no short-term memory.  Disappointingly, Rob Schneider fails to say "You can do it!" at any point in the film, so I had to knock off half a point.

The Blair Witch Project
Rating: 3.5/4
This film, which once sat on IMDB's top 250, now has an average user rating of 6.1.  That's backlash for you, people just love to build things up and knock them down for no good reason.  These people are called "dumbasses who are just trying to be hip".  Years after its release, Blair Witch remains a very effective piece of work.  It's got creepy atmosphere, a chilling ending, and I found it really interesting to watch the characters descend into near-madness after being lost in the woods for days.  The internet marketing campaign was genius-- to this day, people still believe the events of the movie are real.

Broken Lizard's Club Dread
Rating: 1.5/4
I have to get this off my chest: Broken Lizard sucks.  Super Troopers was one of the most painful comedies I've ever seen.  But, I decided to give them another chance by watching their latest opus, Club Dread.  Good god, what the hell were they thinking?  It's not a straight parody of horror films like Scary Movie, nor is it a scary satire like Scream.  It's a terrible horror movie that happens to have a lot of jokes.  And most of them are terrible.  A few laughs to be had, but that's it.  Thankfully, judging from the film's pathetic box office take, there's a good chance the wonderful talents from Broken Lizard will never be allowed to make a film again.

Cool World
Rating: 2/4
I thought live-action/animated films couldn't get any more incoherent than Monkeybone.  Then I saw this "edgy" masterpiece.  Oh heavens, the animated characters acting dirty?  Whoa there, you're really shocking me, director Ralph Bakshi!  Kim Basinger plays an animated character who has sex with Gabriel Byrne and becomes real.  Why does this happen?  For no reason whatsoever, like everything else in this movie.

Cheaper by the Dozen
Rating: 2/4
Cliches, cliches, cliches... cliches.  Not too many laughs either.  But overall it's kinda heartwarming.  Steve Martin takes on twelve kids, the mom from Beethoven, and Ashton Kutcher.  Chaos ensues!  Whoa!  Steve goes nuts, Hilary Duff whines about fashion, and Piper Perabo wonders where she's been since Coyote Ugly.

Rating: 1.5/4
I like musicals.  But only good ones.  Chicago does not fall into this category, primarily because the whole thing is so obnoxious.  Everything from the music to the costumes to the acting just screamed "smug".  I think it's a tragedy that Catherine Zeta-Jones won a best supporting actress Oscar for this.  There's a difference between stage acting and movie acting, and what she did was stage acting.  Though it fit the movie well, I can't imagine stage acting being a huge challenge in front of a film camera as opposed to actually being on-stage.  Renee Zellweger, who I usually find adorable, looked like crap.  Richard Gere was completely miscast, as the role did not call for the character to stick gerbils up his ass.  And the music lacked any sort of catchiness.  In short, Chicago is Shitcago.

Rating: 2.5/4
Oh, that Danny DeVito is such a scamp!  In his second movie about killing an old woman, Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore (who for the first time ever looks like an actual adult) move into a duplex apartment with an annoying tenant upstairs.  Sounds like a good opportunity for Ben Stiller to act neurotic!  This film is surprisingly funny for a black comedy, but that's not saying a lot.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Rating: 3/4
Between this and 28 Days Later, it seems we're experiencing a zombie movie renaissance.  Fantastic remake.  Though it lacks the social commentary of the original, it makes up for it with lots of frigging scares, great effects, and RUNNING ZOMBIES!  This is as competent a modern horror movie as you could ask for.

Rating: 3/4
This indie film takes a look at the events leading up to a Columbine-like school massacre by examining all walks of kids in their day-to-day activities.  Interesting and chillingly real all the way through to the bloody conclusion.  A great date movie!

From Justin to Kelly
Rating: 1/4
I came into this expecting some campy fun, but what I got was a musical that's actually worse than Chicago, which I thought was impossible.  The film portrays American Idol superstar Kelly Clarkson and some other guy as they meet and fall in love over the downright cleanest spring break you've ever witnessed.  The musical numbers fall into two categories: Justin or Kelly lip-synching for the camera while doing very little else, and dance numbers with terrible choreography.  The music is bad enough that the studio didn't even release a companion soundtrack album.  As for the acting, well, let's just say Kelly should stick to singing, and Justin should stick to... uhh... Justin sucks.

Frosh: The Movie
Rating: 3.5/4
A daring take on college life, from a director who's never actually been to college, no less!  Despite an ending that wraps absolutely nothing up, the majority of this film is entertaining thanks to an all-star cast whose comedic skills are only matched by legendary comedians like Eddie Murphy and Bob Saget.

Rating: 3.5/4
A fantastically entertaining set of three stories that revolve around drugs and night life.  Almost made me want to go out and take ecstasy.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Rating: 4/4
Quentin Tarantino uses gobs and gobs of tricks old and new to entertain his audience.  Vol. 1 has action, comedy, and drama all wrapped up in a ridiculously unique package.  There's really nothing else like it.  Uma Thurman plays the beautiful best friend who's pretending to be Janeane Garofolo because Janeane is embarrassed that the guy she fell in love with over the phone won't think she's pretty in person.  In the end, Janeane realizes that true beauty is on the inside.  At least I think I was watching Kill Bill.

Kill Bill Vol. 2
Rating: 3.5/4
The general consensus is that this is a better film than Vol. 1, and though I liked it a lot, it didn't have the the same level of flashiness, action, or fantastic music of its predecessor.  Vol. 2 is much heavier on dialogue and character development.  If these films had been combined into a 3-3.5 hour epic like Tarantino had originally planned (hopefully this will happen in a DVD release), Kill Bill would have really been one for the ages.

The Last Samurai
Rating: 2/4
When I'm bored in class, I often tune out completely.  That rarely happens to me during movies, but it happened during this one.  Admittedly, the whole 1800s warring Japan thing is completely uninteresting to me, which had a lot to do with why I disliked this movie.  This seemed like your standard "roaring epic war movie", though that means it has with those standard huge bloody battle sequences we all love.  Man, every role Tom Cruise plays, I'm constantly reminded that he is Tom Cruise.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action
Rating: 3/4
Brendan Fraser is the only actor in history to hold the distinction of being in two live-action/animated flops.  This one was actually good, though.  It's everything you'd expect from a full-length Looney Tunes movie that takes place in the real world.  My only problem was too much Bugs Bunny.  That rabbit needs get a reality check or something-- thinks he's god's gift to comedy, but without Elmer Fudd, he's dull as dirt.

Mikey: The Movie
Rating: 2/4
A near-catastrophic mess of random odd comedy bits that do little but disrespect the legend of Mikey.  His search for a "future girlfriend" is highlighted by encounters with bullies, bouts with awkwardness, and embarrassment by way of his sickly parents.  Funny at times, but Mikey deserves better.  No, wait, he doesn't.

Rating: 2.5/4
What's the fastest way for actresses to gain credibility these days?  That's right, they have to ugly themselves up!  But, looks aside, Charlize Theron gives a great performance.  Watch this film and you'll get exactly what you expect, no surprises here at all.  A good film, but not a terribly fun one to watch.  Unless you're turned on by ugly Charlize and Christina Ricci making out.

Rating: 2.5/4
There are a lot of cool ideas in this movie, but from what I've heard, Fox screwed with the script and cut the budget, so it turned out kinda cheap-looking and incoherent.  One of those movies where just watching, it's painfully obvious that loads of stuff was cut.  And look what this tampering got you, Fox!  A $75 million film that grossed $5 million!  Way to go, douchebags.  Still fun to watch, though.

Party Monster
Rating: 2.5/4
Macaulay Culkin is back!  Yes, after a 9-year hiatus from the movie biz which he spent arguing with his parents over earnings and getting married/divorced, Kevin McCallister returns in the true story of a club kid from the '80s who kills his drug dealer.  Culkin spends the entire the movie acting like a Michael Jackson-esque boy who's never quite grown up, which is pretty amusing to watch.  But, the plot's been done before, and better, 1000 times.

The Passion of the Christ
Rating: 1.5/4
Mel Gibson really wants everyone to know the torture that Jesus had to endure.  He accomplishes this by torturing his audience for two hours.  Who needs any kind plot when we have Jesus getting the crap kicked out of him?   That kind of footage is so shocking that it's enough to justify an entire two-hour film... right?  WRONG.  The movie was so ill-conceived that God actually struck Jim Caviezel with lightning during the shoot, apparently to try and prevent the film from being finished.

The Ring
Rating: 4/4
Frigging great horror film that deserved the scads of money it made.  See a videotape, and you'll die seven days later!  Whaaaaaa?  It sounds kind of odd, but the whole film just comes together.  MUCH better than the similarly themed "feardotCom" in which a website kills you.  The Ring was based on a 1998 Japanese film, Ringu.  Many would have you believe that Ringu is superior, but these people are dumbasses who are just trying to be hip.  Stop it, now.  The Ring is full of horror and suspense, while Ringu is full of BORING.

Secondhand Lions
Rating: 2.5/4
A young boy visits his uncles for the summer, learns about their amazing past, gets into odd situations, and also learns a thing or two about life, or something like that.  Unfortunately, the "young boy" in question is Haley Joel Osment, who was clearly suffering the ravages of puberty during filming.  Watching this poor man-boy's voice crack on every line was a truly odd filmgoing experience.  But overall the film was pretty good, kind of reminded me of Big Fish.  Haley, you'll grow out of it, but I recommend staying out of films until then or face further ridicule by me.

Siavesh: The Movie
Rating: 4/4
A vivid and honest portrayal of one of the greatest sagas of our time.  Offers a deep look into the deranged mind of the psychotic Siavesh.  His actions shock us while simultaneously drawing us in, as the charismatic Matt Dabrowski gives the performance of a lifetime.  Truly one for the ages.

Siavesh 2: Electric Boogaloo
Rating: 2.5/4
Essentially more of the same, Siavesh 2 fails to have the same impact as the mind-blowing original.  We can see Dabrowski beginning to lose his grip on the character who made him a star, and the rest of the cast seems to be phoning it in.

Siavesh 3: The Revenge
Rating: 3/4
This spellbinding documentary gives us a glimpse as to what went on behind the scenes of the Siavesh films.  What we see is perhaps more shocking than anything in the films themselves.  Between the horrific cast member beatings and Eric Friedman's dangerously high level of alcohol abuse, Siavesh 3 is a terrifying must-see.

Sorority Boys
Rating: 2/4
This is about as cliched a gender-bending movie as you can get.  The guys are dolled up in the worst drag I've ever seen.  They don't even begin to resemble females.  This wouldn't matter if the movie was hilarious, but it isn't.  There is one saving grace, however: Harland Williams.  Every time he's on-screen, the movie gets ten times funnier.  He is to this movie what Will Ferrell was to Old School.  Between this and Half-Baked, I can safely call this man a national treasure.

Starsky & Hutch
Rating: 3/4
The duo of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson work beautifully here, which isn't surprising, since this is the 29th film they've made together.  The writer/director of Old School and Road Trip gives us more of the funny.  More of a comedy-comedy than an action-comedy, which is a good thing.  And, playing against type, Wilson is laid-back and Stiller is neurotic.  Whoa, didn't see that coming!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Rating: 3.5/4
Before gaining superstar status with the Super Mario Bros. movie, Bob Hoskins played opposite a cartoon rabbit and the dirty guy from Taxi.  If there's one thing I learned from this movie, it's that it's okay for humans to beat the hell out of cartoon characters.  The sort of punishment that Roger receives, much of which is at the hands of the raging Hoskins, would put a normal rabbit into a serious coma.  Bob Hoskins loses all the respect that I gained for him after watching Super Mario Bros.