return to
Cammy stefan99's News & Review Cammy return to:
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character EVER!
Everybody likes movies, right?  I like anime most of all, and I suspect that it's the same with most of you.  I actually don't watch much, but every once in a while I do, so made up this little page for reviews of movies and animation that I've seen lately.  I hope it's useful and interesting for you.
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character=



.Flags of Our Fathers

(Oct 23, 2006).

I see about 2-3 movies a year, so when I go to see a movie, I'm expecting it's gonna be really good.  However, this was one of the worst movies I've ever seen!  I'da left that 2.5 hour hell early if I wasn't there with a friend >_<


Why hate it so much?  OMG, where do I start?!  I hated it all and I could rant for pages on this BS and that BS.  But basically I think they took a simple theme and went way overboard with it.
It's the story of the 3 soldiers in the very famous picture that survived the battle for Iwo Jima and how they were paraded around as heroes to raise money for the war effort.  However, they felt that they weren't truly heroes just because they were in a good picture...
They take that and make the theme of the movie = there's no such thing as a hero.  And then they skew the whole movie so bad to make it fit that lame-ass idea.  It's based on the real story, and that fact pisses me off too because a lotta people forget that what they're watching is still to some extent a fictional movie and not exactly what happened.  It's entertainment in the end, but you know what... it wasn't even that entertaining besides all that.
Lemme tell you what.  There ARE heroes!   Heroes are people that inspire you, and these men inspired a nation that really needed it.  Not only that, every single man/boy that went to the other side of the world to and risked everything to fight against the evil Japanese empire, was a hero.  So these 3 men didn't really do anything besides re-raise a flag and happen to have their picture taken... they were there, and they could easily have died like thousands of other soldiers (including the other 3 guys in the picture).  I understand that they were used and that the public gave them too much credit without thinking of those that died, but doesn't take anything away from them.  That picture was a symbol of SO many great things!  And those 3 men were a symbol of that symbol.   That was the truth of it... not that it was all fake and BS.  They movie was so hyper-cynical, it disgusted me.
So much got left out of this movie to push the anti-hero idea.  These men simply felt guilty for getting all the credit while their friends died or kept fighting.  That's it.  I would have felt awful too.   It's not that there is no such thing as a hero.  Their story could have shown so much of the history and expanded into so many really interesting moral and historical themes, but for some reason, this movie misunderstands 1 theme and then tries to ram it down your throat.  I've read a lot about the battle and watched documentaries about the battle itself, as well as the 3 men from the picture that survived, and it frustrates me to no end how they simply spent 2.5 hours making everybody involved look bad.  It seemed like movie was a giant smear-job.
On the good side... there were a few really cool battle scenes, but not as many as you'd expect from a 2.5 hour war movie.  By far the best thing were the REAL pictures of Iwo Jima that they showed during the ending credits.  It shows you how real the movie actually looked!  As misguided as Hollywood can be, they really can create some amazing things!
PS - there's supposed to be another movie that will show the battle for Iwo Jima from the Japanese side.  After having see this disgrace, I'm literally terrified to see how they'll try to portray that...
.Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

(July 10, 2006).

LONG before there was a movie, I was a HUGE fan of the ride at Disney World!  Anyhow, for a little more info on that and the 1st movie, check out my review of the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Pirates of the Caribbean 2

So, I LOVED the 1st one!  I was really excited about this one too.  So much so that I bought tickets ahead of time and took the afternoon off on opening day so I could see it right away!
Anyhow, to get to the point... it was really disappointing.  It wasn't bad at all, but it wasn't nearly as good as the 1st one.   It's like they took everything that was great about the 1st on and just did more of it.  Kinda overdid it.  Too much silliness, too much weirdness, and too much swashbuckling.
Another thing I disliked about it was that the storyline was just too chaotic.  I never quite knew what the overall storyline was.   They focused too much on what was happening 'now', so they lost track of the feel of the overall storyline.  And what's worse, this 151 minute movie is just the 1st half of story.  They shoulda made 2 clear stories that tied into each other.   Instead, you have a really long and chaotic 1st half of something.
From just about everything I've heard, everybody agrees with me.  Like I said before, it's really not bad, but it didn't capture the magic of the 1st one.  They got kinda sloppy I think... or they just tried too hard.  It's definitely worth seeing because it's by far the coolest thing that's come out in a long long time, but it coulda and shoulda been so much better.   If you see it, you'll have fun.  I think my review is fair, but I'm kinda passionate about it.
.Underworld Evolution

(January 30, 2006).

The 1st Underworld has become one of my all-time favorite movies. Looking back at my review from 2 years ago (click here), I can't believe I only gave it 8/10.  I guess watching it a few more times made me appreciate it a little more.

underworld2-tn.jpg (13722 bytes)

Anyhow, after watching the trailer of the new movie, I wasn't too excited. It looked like a cheesy action movie. Also, although I like how the 1st movie ended, I wasn't too excited about the direction it seemed to be heading for #2.
However, I loved this movie! There was a lot of action, but it was the storyline that made the movie. It wasn't just good cuz I expected it to be bad... it really was good!
The 1st movie was so great because everything was just done SO well (minus the werewolves). The cast, the characters, the music, the sets, the costumes... all A+! I can't think of another movie that just looked so good to me. The atmosphere was perfect. Evolution didn't quite have the costumes and sets of the 1st one, but it had a great storyline that picked up right where the 1st one left off. And they fixed up the stiff, bald, and awkward werewolves LOL
If you like vampires, werewolves, and things like that, you should like Underworld Evolution!  But if you haven't seen the 1st movie, definitely check that one out 1st. And check out the awesome Underworld Evolution website too!
.Memoirs of a Geisha

(January 16, 2006).

I've read the novel, the biography of the real-life Geisha the book & movie was based on, and I've been to a real Geisha... so my expectations were very high!

mem-geisha.jpg (10959 bytes)

I saw the trailer months before the movie came out, and the very 1st thing that I thought... "WTF, why are there so many Chinese people in this movie?!"  Most of you would never know, but I can totally tell, and I thought it was extremely awkward.  And the Japanese accents were really bad too LOL
The trailer also made me thing the movie was gonna be really over-the-top 'Hollywood'.  So needless to say, I was really dreading the movie...
Despite all that, it was really OK.   Coulda been a lot better, but it wasn't as horrible as I expected it to be.   My 2 girl friends who saw it with me both really liked it.  The bottom line is that it's a great story taking place in a really fascinating place and time.
After having seen the movie, my 1 big complaint was that they focused too much on the drama of the storyline and really neglected to show what a Geisha was and did!  But like I said, it ended up being OK because it is a great storyline.  If you're not at all interested in it, you probably won't like it, but if you do have some interest, you'll probably enjoy it on some level.
.Star Wars: Episode 3

(May 5, 2005).

Although a lot of people haven't been happy with the 1st 2 movies in this new series, almost everybody still loves Star Wars!  I really disliked the 1st one, but liked the 2nd one.  This new... it was good, but it was exactly what I expected.  Exactly.

Star Wars: Episode 3

I guess it's kinda hard to surprise people when they all know what all happens before and after a movie, so I'm not gonna complain too much.   The bottom line is that it was fun.  Visually, of course it's amazing!   For years special effects always had a little room for improvement, but as movies are now, I don't think it'll ever get better than this.
What didn't I like?  It was still a bit too silly.   Robots that cough or say stuff like "stick 'em up" isn't fun... it's dumb.  The original 3 movies were very serious, but there was a certain kind of dry comedy that didn't take away from that.  And the aliens in this series was never as cool or creative as they were in the 1st 3 movies.
Anyhow, I feel kinda silly reviewing this movie now because I'm sure everybody has seen it or heard all about it.  But if you haven't gone yet, go check it out!  It won't blow you away, but I'm sure you'll have a good time for 2 1/2 hours.
BTW, I saw Constantine a few weeks ago too.   I was really looking forward to that, but it was SO 'blah' that I totally forgot about it.  If you haven't seen it, you can forget about it too.  It looked cool, but it wasn't.
.Blade Trinity

(December 13, 2004).

I own less than 10 movies on DVD, but the 1st 2 Blade movies are two of 'em!  I never wanted to see the first Blade, but I loved it, and then the 2nd one took it to another level.  So I was really excited about this one.   The guy who wrote the 1st 2 movies wrote and directed this one, so I figured that it would be another good one.

blade_trinity.jpg (2874 bytes)

Hmmm... it was OK.  It's definitely the weakest of the 3 movies.  It's not really good, but it's not at all bad either.  And I'm not judging it from the high standards set by #2... it really was just an average movie.
There are basically 2 big complaints I have about the movie.  One is that the side characters aren't at all interesting.   King and Abigail, the two on Blade's 'team' are pretty cool, but aside from a dog named "Pac-Man", there's nobody else in the movie that's the least bit interesting.  Blade 2 was especially cool because all the side characters were SO good.  The second complaint I have is that the storyline is just sloppy in that too much of it unexplained, random, and stretched.  For example, there's a computer & genetic wiz that's blind.... WTF?  Why/how?  And why does Abigail use a bow when it's SUCH a disadvantage (realistically) in these fights.  And how does Abigail hear things and have conversations if she's listening to her I-Pod when she fights?  If you don't think or pay much attention, you'll be fine, but that stuff really distracted me.
The storyline revolves around the resurrection of Dracula!  No, the the one from Transylvania... the one from Iraq.  Huh?   I dunno, but that's how it is.  It sounds really epic, but it sure didn't seem like it.  The mutated vampires in Blade 2 felt a lot more threatening.  Not only do the vampires get the big guy back, but they've been working hard to take Blade out once and for all by getting the government on Blade's back.  As much as I've complained, it really was a pretty good action movie, and if you like this kinda stuff, you'll have fun.  It's not 'great' like Blade 2, but it's fun, and I'm sure it's a lot more interesting than any of the other crap that's in theaters right now!
Check out the official website at
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character=
.Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi

(Nov 22, 2004).

I don't like J-Pop, but my favorite band is Puffy from Japan. I was over there when they released their first single in 1996, and I've been a fan ever since!  From music, to TV shows, to video games and toys, I've followed Puffy all the way.  They crossed over into the N. American market a few years ago with their music, and now they've got a new TV show on Cartoon Network.  The debut was last Friday night.

Hi Hi Puffy!

For more on the cartoon and other Puffy stuff, check out!
Anyhow, to be honest, the show just took the music and name of Puffy. It's not really Puffy.  It's one of those really American anime wannabe type things.  But as a big Puffy fan, it was still cool to see my favorite band make it over here in some form.  Each show has 3 short episodes that feature that really American loud and in-your-face 'humor'. Check it out for the awesome music if nothing else!
PS - These cartoon Puffys don't look right to me because I'm SO used to seeing Rodney Greenblat's version of Puffy.   BTW, he's the guy who also designed Parappa the Rappa.
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character=
.Van Helsing

(May 10, 2004).

I've never ever seen a movie with this much action, and so many special effects!  It's over 2 hours of constant fighting.  Sounds good, but it's actually a bit overwhelming.  While you're watching the movie you start to think you need a break after a while, and then after it's all over, it's hard to remember any details because all the chaos just blurs together.

van-helsing.jpg (4902 bytes)

I went with 2 friends... one hated it, and one thought it was okay.  I thought it was okay too.  On paper, a guy who hunts monsters sounds like the greatest movie theme of all time, but it wasn't great.  Besides the overwhelming action, the one thing that I really didn't like was the blatantly bad acting.   I think they were trying to be like the overly dramatic and cheesy old-time monster movies.  Either way, it was just plain awkward to me.
Anyhow, if you love monster movies, then I doubt you'll hate this movie.  The 2 other reviews I've heard both gave Van Helsing very high marks (one guy loved monster movies, one guy didn't).  I think pretty much everybody will come away from this movie thinking it was 'okay'.  I think it's hard to really love, but it's not that bad that you can hate it either.
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character=

(April 1, 2004).

This movie's not out until April 2, 2004, but I got to see a sneak preview a few days ahead of time.  But even if I hadn't gotten free tickets, I'd have gone to see this movie in its first week.


In case you don't know, this movie is based on the Hellboy comic by Mike Mignola.  It's directed by Guilliermo del Toro (Blade 2), and stars Ron Perlman (Blade 2).  The storyline is about a little devil-monkey that comes to earth through a dimensional portal opened by the Nazis in WW2.  The Americans get a hold of him and turn him into some kind of paranormal butt-kicker... when things go bump in the night, he's the guy they send in to bump back!
The storyline of the movie is a little hard to follow, but to be honest, I thought it was kinda nice.  In other words, there's no obvious 'climactic' Hellboy vs badguy fight that the whole movie builds up to.  It's fun just to sit back and watch all the action and other crazy stuff.
I loved it, everybody I went with loved it, and it sounded like the crowd liked it too.  Definitely go check out Hellboy, it's the best comic-based movie I've ever see.
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character=
.Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

(December 18, 2003).

How much you like this movie depends a lot on if you read the books or not.  So I tried to review the movie for the 2 different kinds of fans.   Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away!

lotr-rotk.jpg (7758 bytes)

You have NOT read the book...
If you have any imagination, you'll love it because it's such an exciting movie.  The 3+ hours go by very quick because there's always going on.  Although there are a lot of storylines getting finished up, it's all quite easy to follow everything.  If you don't know the storyline for book 3, I think you'll be in for some really exciting surprises.
The best thing about the Return of the King is that the battle scenes are absolutely amazing!  If you got excited by Helm's Deep in the Two Towers, wait until you see the battle for Minas Tirith!  The worst thing about it is that some character scenes are so exaggerated that they come off as being silly.  But like I said before, this seems to be a movie that just about anybody with an imagination and sense of adventure will love.
You HAVE read the book...
If you've read the books like I have (a few times), then you'll probably be pretty disappointed because a lot of stuff got left out.  The end of book 2 doesn't occur until 2 hours into this movie!  Nevertheless, even as long as these movies are, I can understand that some stuff had to be eliminated.  Some very big scenes didn't make it, but there's always hope that the extended DVD will include some of that stuff.   What I really didn't like is that they changed some of the details the books... things that did not need to be changed!  The first 2 movies kept to the original stories very well, but for some reason, they felt like they had to rewrite and 'improve' some stuff for the movie.  They didn't have to.  I don't think anything that was changed made the movie in any way better.  I'd love to get into details, but I'm sure none of you wanna read that now... so maybe I'll write a rant about it later.
The changes are a little bit frustrating, but getting too upset about those things just isn't worth it.  It's a great movie, and we should all appreciate it because stuff this good doesn't come around very often.
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character=
.The Last Samurai

(December 9, 2003).

I first saw the trailer for this movie over the summer, and ever since then I was really excited about it.  Normally I'd avoid a Tom Cruise movie, but this one looked too good.  You all know that I've lived in Japan and that I've got a huge interest in the culture.  On top of that, I majored in history (and Japanese) in college, so this movie was right up my alley.

last-samurai.jpg (5460 bytes)

Anyhow, the first thing I gotta say about the movie is that it's total Hollywood fiction!  This is as historically accurate as a spaghetti western.  Pretty much everything in the movie is real, but it's exaggerated and taken from many different times and situations.  So just go to this movie with the mindset of just enjoying a good storyline, lots of action, and some of the coolest costumes you've ever seen.
The story is about an American civil war and frontier hero who goes to Japan to train the new imperial army.  In the end, he discovers the way of the samurai, and they end up teaching him about war and life.   It's pretty much that simple.  I saw the 95% of the storyline unfolding from a mile away, but it was lots of fun nonetheless.  Like I said before, if you don't worry about details and just enjoy what's given to you, you should have a great time!
I'd love to talk more about some of the history involved, but I think it's best if I don't start rambling on about that.   Maybe I'll write a few Japanese Fun Facts on the topic.  But if you see the movie and enjoy it, please go out and study more about the samurai and the history of Japan.  It's very good stuff!
If you like this movie, I HIGHLY recommend watching my favorite anime series of all-time, Ruroni Kenshin!
BTW - There's a scene where Tom Cruise suddenly realizes that no matter how strange the Japanese people are (to him), there's something incredibly amazing about them.  It has a profound effect on him, and I could totally relate to that because it had the same effect on me!
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character=
.Mystery of the Batwoman

(November 10, 2003).

I was really upset when the Batman Animated Series went off the air because that was one of my all-time favorite shows.  When I happened to see this new video, I was really excited!  It's good to know that the series is not totally over yet. batman-motb-tn.jpg (4086 bytes)
Anyhow, this is a great story about a new character.   It's not Batgirl all grown up, it's an all-new super heroine.  Most of the 1 hour plus movie is about Batman trying to figure out who this new lady is.  There are a few great swerves in the storyline, and a lot of your old favorite characters make an appearance, so you should have a lot of fun.  If you liked the old TV show, then you should enjoy this new story.
BTW, the DVD has some great extras: there's a short story about Batman and Catwoman, and there are all kinds of interesting interviews and behind-the-scenes stuff.
PS - the only really bad thing about this story is that Batgirl doesn't have a part in it.  Well, she does have a very small scene, but it doesn't affect the story in any way.  It would have been really interesting to have her get involved too.
PPS - besides Cammy, is there any cartoon girl cuter than Batgirl?
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character=

(October 6, 2003).

This movie is really easy to sum up... 60% Blade + 15% Matrix + 25% Romeo & Juliet.  The movie is more or less about the ongoing war between the aristocratic vampires, and the animalistic & brutal werewolves.  underworld.jpg (5608 bytes)
The basic storyline is pretty easy to follow, but if you really try to understand all the details and nuances, you might get lost.  At the time of the movie, the werewolves are on the verge of being wiped out.  However, the main character, Selene, is a vampire death dealer (werewolf hunter) who discovers that they're not as safe as they think because the werewolves are up to something big.  Because of politics and other circumstances, she's pretty much left on her own to discover and take care of the problem.
The best thing about this movie is the overall atmosphere... the characters, the scenery, etc.  You can already see what I'm talking about just by the movie poster.  If you like that gothic look with lots of monsters and action, this should be right up your alley.  Aside from a few holes in the plot, the only problem I had with this movie was the look of the werewolves (they seemed too bulky and awkward to me).  But all that aside, I'd give Underworld 8 out of 10 stars.
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character=
.Pirates of the Caribbean

(July 14, 2003).

In case you didn't know, this movie is based on a ride at Disney Land/World.  There are few things in this world that excite me as much as Cammy, but that ride is one of 'em!  I grew up near Disney World, so I developed a love for it at a very young age.  And when I lived in Tokyo, I was very near Tokyo Disney Land, and in one year I rode the Pirates of the Caribbean over 40 times!  I LOVE the ride, and Johnny Depp is one of my favorite actors, so I was very excited for the movie. pirates-caribbean.jpg (7871 bytes)
And I'm happy to announce that the movie lived up to all my expectations.  It's just one of those movies that I think everybody will love.   The overall storyline is very cool, and it's got some absolutely amazing plotline ideas. There are also a ton of very interesting characters.   It's got a lot of comedy, but it's subtle and done very well.  The scenery and style is absolutely top-notch, and of course there's a lot action!  The only thing it's missing is a cute girl with pigtails... there is a cute girl, just not with pigtails.
Anyhow please go see this movie!   Personally, I give it a 10 out of 10 stars, but even if I judge it objectively, I'm giving it at least a 9 out of 10 stars.
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character
.28 Days Later...

(July 14, 2003).

This is a British zombie movie.  It starts out really slow, and I was starting to get annoyed, but then the storyline finally picked up.   Unfortunately, I really don't wanna tell you too much about the storyline because it's just one of those movies that'll be better if you discover everything for yourself. 28days-later.jpg (7011 bytes)
Overall, it's just another zombie movie... you know, an infection breaks out and a few random people band together and run for their lives.   There's nothing especially outstanding about it.  However, as far as zombie movies go, it's pretty good.  It's not Resident Evil (the game, not that stinkin' movie), but it's cool if you like that kinda thing.  The one thing it's not, is especially gory... depending on the person, that's not necessarily a good or bad thing.   Anyhow, I'll give this one a 6 out of 10 stars.  There was some good, and there was some bad... it was nothing special, but it was somewhat entertaining.  If you wanna see a zombie movie, check it out, but you probably don't need to go out of your way.
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character
.The Two Towers

(December 23, 2002).

Wow, the Lord of the Rings is getting almost as many dorky super-geek fans as Star Wars!  But it's still one of the greatest stories ever told.   Anyhow, I've been reading the books since I was little, and I've followed it as much as I could over the years, so I'm reviewing this as one of the more die-hard fans.
Everybody I've heard or talked to has liked The Two Towers better than The Fellowship of the Ring.  But not me.  It was a great movie, and there was nothing wrong with it, but I liked the first one better.  The first movie appealed to me more because it seemed like there was something new and exciting around every corner.  The 2nd movie is a little more cut and dry because you know where the storyline is leading.
The Two Towers is kinda slow for the first 2 hours, but that last hour showing the battles at Helm's Deep and Isenguard are amazing!  The first 2 hours basically fill in a lotta storyline information without much exciting action.  But the storyline is great, so you should enjoy it.
I re-read the book before I watched the movie, and I gotta say that they did a good job (again).  A few times I was a bit concerned that they were gonna really change things around or leave stuff out, but it was all okay in the end.   Actually, the movie ends before the books do, but there's really not all the much missing, so it's acceptable.  And it's obvious that the next movie will cover all that stuff.
In the first movie, I was dying to see what Moria would be like.  In this movie, I was looking forward to seeing Treebeard and the other Ents attacking Isenguard.  I had a hard time imagining the Ents from the book, so it was really cool to see them with my own eyes.  In the first movie, I was a bit concerned about what Gollum would be like, but I was really happy to see that he turned out okay.   The one thing I didn't like is that they changed his character... they make you believe that there really is some good in Gollum, and that he's got a split personality fighting over control.  In the books, Gollum is thoroughly evil and it only seems like he's got a split personality because he has a hard time pretending to be nice.
Anyhow, the movie was great!  Definitely check it out!  I give it a 9 out of 10 stars.
BTW - scroll down to the Dec 19, 2002 review for the first movie.
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character
.The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

(Dec 19, 2001).

I've been a big fan of JRR Tolkien's books for over 20 years!  When I was really little, I saw the cartoons, and then when I got old enough to read, I got the books.  I must have seen the cartoons a dozen times, and read the books close to 10 times.  Needless to say, I was REALLY looking forward to this movie!
I'm very, very pleased to report that it lived up to my highest expectations!  They even exceeded my expectations because some of the things in the movie were even cooler than I ever imagined.  There are only a few complaints, but even if I'd had total control of the movie, I'd have some complaints, so it's kinda dumb to even bother.  For the most part, the actors, scenes, screenplay, etc. were all great!
I' m not gonna bother explaining the storyline because I expect every one of you reading this to go and see the movie.  NO exceptions!   The movie does a wonderful job of adapting the first book and explaining the world of Middle Earth.  There are lots of little differences, but I suppose that was necessary.  There was very little left out.
Personally, I was really impressed by the Shire and Bag End.  It looked exactly as I'd imagined it.  Rivendell was also very impressive, and it was one of those things that was more amazing in the movie than in my wildest imaginations.... what I wouldn't give to visit!  But what I looked forward to most was the trip through the Mines of Moria (I always loved that part of the book).  It took almost 2 hours to get to that point (it's a 2:45 movie) but it was worth it!   Moria was awesome!!!
Anyhow, that's it... just go see the movie!  It's as perfect as it probably can be.  And I expect the next two episodes (X-Mas 2002, and X-Mas 2003) to be equally good.  I hope I can wait that long.
PS - Did you know that the Hobbit was written circa World War 1!  And the Lord of the Rings was written in the late 1930's and early 1940's.   I think they're without a doubt the most influential fantasy books ever.  I wonder how different the world would have been without them...?
News flash:  Cammy's the coolest character