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List of "V" Movies
V for Vendetta (2006) PG-13 drama
This is a highly entertaining drama that sports an unlikely combination between 1984 and The Three Musketeers. When a young media worker (Natalie Portman) is threatened by the secret police, she is rescued by a masked, swashbuckling vigilante (Hugo Weaving). She quickly learns that this man is the cause of terrorist attacks ... or is he trying to free the people from the oppresive society? This is a rewarding film that will make you think about the state of the government. It's a nicely filmed and engrossing movie thanks to the skillful direction of James McTeigue and production from the Waschowski Brothers. The performances are all quite good as well. This is certainly worth a look. Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rupert Graves, Robert Allam, Ben Miles, Sinead Cusack. Directed by: James McTeigue.
Va Savior (1999) PG-13 drama
Unless you're a snob and would just watch this movie, because it's French, then go right ahead and see this. This is probably an above average French import. But I would not recommend this movie to the average person. The story is an interesting one about a traveling actress's return to her hometown, Paris, where she is reunited with a former flame. Interesting events occur, but it's difficult to become emotionally attached to the characters, which is a major flaw in this film. Don't get me wrong, it's a very good story that is shot and acted beautifully -- I just don't expect most people would enjoy this. Starring: Jeannie Balibar, Sergio Castellitto, Marianne Basler, Jacques Bonnaffe, Helene De Fougerolles, Bruno Todeschini, Catherine Rouvel, Claude Berri. Directed by: Jacques Rivette.
Vagabond Lady (1935) NR comedy
Josephine (Evelyn Venable) was childhood friends with brothers John (Reginald Denny), a stuffy business executive, and Tony (Robert Young), a happy-go-lucky globetrotter. Josephine is engaged to John, but John frets that she isn't cultured enough for his highbrow tastes. While John is off on business, he enlists the help of Tony to try and nudge her interests into the finer things. But it turns out both of them prefer the circus to the opera. Even during the Great Depression, romantic comedies had endings you could see coming from miles away. But this one is kept perfectly diverting thanks to the quirky characters. Also I find excitement in some scenes with rather intense, over-the-top acting. Starring: Robert Young, Evelyn Venable, Reginald Denny, Frank Craven, Berton Churchill, Ferdinand Gottshalk, Forrester Harvey. Directed by: Sam Taylor.
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970) NR fantasy
An art house project, part of the Czechoslovakian new wave. It's told in nothing but allegories, but the central theme is quite simple. A 13-year-old girl grows into womanhood. We learn early on that she'd had her first menstruation. Frequent images of red liquid falling onto daisies presumably represent that. Watching this film, scene-for-scene, it's difficult to make heads or tails of it. What I can say for sure is it involves vampires, creepy priests, and a magical pair of earrings. The earrings seem to surface whenever she gets into trouble. At one point she is being burned at the stake for being a witch. The next scene, she's doing something else without a scratch on her. This is the kind of movie that makes me guess what it's about, a great puzzler. A loss of innocence I suppose. It also dared to offend me. I appreciate the imagery--sometimes shocking--as well as its leisurely pace. The pastoral soundtrack is lovely. Starring: Jaroslava Schallerova, Helena Anyzova, Petr Kopriva, Jiri Prymek, Jan Klusak, Eva Olmerova. Directed by: Jaromil Jires.
Valley Girl (1983) R comedy
I should like this movie more than I do. It's a little slice of life from early '80s southern California. It predominantly features characters speaking in that quirky lingo that developed amongst its youth. But the film misses the boat entirely when it comes to poignancy and humor. Despite the novelty of the dialect, the dialogue itself it dull and unimaginative -- perhaps reflecting some realism about the vacuous things teenagers really talk about. But characters with no depth or development who do uninteresting things hardly make worthwhile film subjects. But at least it has an excellent soundtrack, as I am a sucker for early '80s new wave music. I enjoy watching these characters dance to Modern English, The Psychedelic Furs, Sparks, and the Plimsouls (who appear on camera). Lots of other great herky-jerky hits and non-hits alike. The story is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet. Nicolas Cage is a punk from the poor side of town who crashes a rich-kid party and meets one of these storied Valley Girls, Julie (Deborah Foreman). They fall in love. Unfortunately, even the forbidden romance narrative is anemic, as I don't feel invested in these characters enough to care whether or not they make it. Nonetheless, this is a cultural artifact, and might be worth watching because of that. Starring: Nicolas Cage, Deborah Foreman, Elizabeth Daily, Michael Bowen, Cameron Dye, Heidi Holicker, Michelle Meyrink, Tina Theberge, Lee Purcell, Richard Sanders, Colleen Camp, Frederic Forrest. Directed by: Martha Coolidge.
Van Helsing (2004) PG-13 action
It's a fun gimmick to have Hugh Jackman star as legendary monster hunter Van Helsing, clad in a long brimmed hat and leather trench-coat, doing battle with such mega-villains as Mr. Hyde, Count Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and Werewolves. Kate Beckinsale also joins in the fun who not only also kicks monsters' butts, but she wears tight outfits doing so. Other than that, I find the plot mostly uninteresting. All you really need to know is Van Helsing fights these monsters by order of the Vatican. He thinks this is going to cleanse his soul. The film's focus is all action all the time, which is fine because it's all in good fun, but it makes my brain grow awfully numb. Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Shuler Hensley, Elena Anaya, Will Kemp, Kevin J. OíConnor, Alun Armstrong, Silvia Colloca. Directed by: Stephen Sommers.
The Vanished (2020) PG-13 action
I won't give away the ending, but it makes me angry. It's the kind of ending that thinks it'll get the audience to gasp collectively with the we-didn't-see-that-coming revelations. But all it makes me want to do is throw stuff at the TV. Up until then, the film is a perfectly ho-hum suspense/action film about a girl who mysteriously disappears in a campground. The parents suspect their campground neighbors might have had something to do with it. But are they going to cause even more destruction in their wake? (The Saving Private Ryan angle they could have explored more...would have made a better movie, too.) Starring: Anne Heche, Thomas Jane, Jason Patric, Alex Haydon, Peter Facinelli, Aleksei Archer, Kristopher Wente, John D. Hickman. Directed by: Peter Facinelli.
Vanity Fair (2004) PG-13 drama
This 19th Century period piece stars Reese Witherspoon as a classy though lower-class British woman who wants nothing more than to advance in society. This film is captivating in a way--the sets and costumes are utterly perfect. Nevertheless, the running time is too long and it needed more style. Really, this is just a big bore, but it's still a decent view for those who like the genre. You probably canít criticize the filmís source material (a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray) without getting ravaged by a rabid band of high school English teachers. Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Romola Garai, James Purefoy, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Rhys Ifans, Gabriel Byrne, Jim Broadbent, Bob Hoskins, Ruth Sheen, Geraldine McEwan. Directed by: Mira Nair.
The VelociPastor (2017) NR horror comedy
Be leery of bad Z-grade movies that know they're bad and make it painfully obvious that they know they're bad. Bad movies should have the guts to let the viewer decide how intentional the badness was. Nonetheless, some of the "bad" scenes do elicit laughs from me. For instance, the main character, when fondly recalling memories of his murdered parents, sees images of them doing nothing but looking at each other and laughing. There's also a "gut-busting" Vietnam War scene that depicts a woman detonating a mine and exploding into a several gallons of red juice. Not to mention, the premise of the film is quite funny--yes, the title can be taken literally. It's about a pastor who, when he gets angry, turns into a Velociraptor. Despite the occasional giggle it did get out of me, this should have been way funnier than it was. Starring: Gregory James Cohan, Alyssa Kempinski, Daniel Steere, Aurelio Voltaire, Yang Jiechang, Jesse Turtis, Fernando Pacheco, David Sokol, Kathleen Steere. Directed by: Brendan Steere.
The Verdict (1982) R drama
This is an utterly spellbinding film about an out-of-touch alcoholic lawyer (Paul Newman) who takes a doctor negligence lawsuit to trial despite opposition from his client. Furthermore, the judge hates him and the defense attorney (James Mason) is extremely unethical. This is one of screenwriter David Mametís finer scripts and Newman is at the top of his game. This is a highly recommended film even for those who donít like courtroom dramas. Starring: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo OíShea, Edward Binns, Julie Bovasso, Lindsay Crouse. Directed by: Sidney Lument.
Vertigo (1958) NR thriller
James Stewart stars in this classic Hitchcock thriller as a detective hired to follow a woman (Kim Novak) who is apparently possessed by the spirit of her great-grandmother who committed suicide a long time ago. Of course, she can't really be possessed by the spirit of her great-grandmother -- that's just silly. James Stewart attempts to figure out what's really going on. Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones, Raymond Bailey, Ellen Corby. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock.
A Very Brady Sequel (1996) PG-13 comedy
The Brady Bunch returns in this lesser sequel about Mrs. Brady's former husband coming back into her life, but turning out only to be an impostor with evil intentions. Meanwhile, Greg and Marcia Brady realize that they aren't really related and begin to fall in love. Only see this if you enjoyed the precursor -- the joke's old. Starring: Shelley Long, Gary Cole, Tim Matheson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Christine Taylor, Paul Sutera, Jennifer Elise Cox, Henriette Mantel, Olivia Hack, Jesse Lee, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rosie OíDonnell, RuPaul, Barbara Eden. Directed by: Arlene Sanford.
A Very Long Engagement (2004) R drama
A superb follow-up to director Jean-Pierre Jeunetís international hit Amelie again stars Audrey Tautou. This remarkably engaging and winning drama about a young French woman (Tautou) during World War I whose lover (Gaspard Ulliel) is reported to have died at war, but she doesnít believe it. So, she hires a private detective (Ticky Holgado) to investigate the matter. Starring: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Jean-Pierre Becker, Dominique Bettenfeld, Clovis Cornillac, Marion Gotillard, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Jodie Foster, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Albert Dupontel. Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Vice Versa (1988) PG comedy
A stuck-up dad (Judge Reinhold) and an underachieving son (Fred Savage) donít understand each other. They magically switch bodies and have a chance to walk in each other's shoes. Despite the non-originality of it, this fun movie turned out to be a gem. Savage surprisingly turns in a convincing performance as a grown-up in a childís body. This is a family film good for the kids and adults. Starring: Fred Savage, Judge Reinhold, Corinne Boher, Swoozie Kurtz, David Proval, Jake Kaczmarek, Jason Late. Directed by: Brian Gilbert.
Vicious Lips (1986) R sci-fi
I feel like I should have enjoyed this cheapie sci-fi film, but I ended up just hating it. It's about an all-girl pop band traveling to a distant planet to play a gig that's supposed make them famous, but their plans get thwarted by monsters. This had the makings of what should have been a silly, gleeful cult film, but I got mind-numbingly bored that even the nostalgia factor that should have come out of the '80s costumes, set design and music did nothing for me. Starring: Dra-Anne Perry, Gina Calabrese, Linda Kerridge, Shayne Farris, Anthony Kentz, Christian Andrews. Directed by: Albert Pyun.
Videodrome (1982) R horror
Shocking and an essential film for anyone who wants to be a faithful student of cinema. James Woods gives an electrifying performance as Max Renn, head of a television station that specializes in exploitation films. He is searching for something new and exciting. An acquaintance of his finds an underground television station of unknown origin called Videodrome. Renn subsequently becomes obsessed with finding the origins of this channel . . . and he becomes unhinged and hallucinates. The hypnotizing flow of this film is bizarre, oftentimes grotesque, and sharp subtexts are presented about people becoming addicted to technology--points I'd imagine is more relevant today than when it was made. Starring: James Woods, Sonja Smits, Deborah Harry, Peter Dvorsky, Les Carlson, Jack Creley, Lynn Gorman. Directed by: David Cronenberg.
The Village (2004) PG-13 thriller
This is a generally well done, suspenseful film thatíll have you on the edge of your seat through much of it. A simple town of the 19th Century is at the mercy of red-cloaked beasts that lie in the woods on the perimeter. Ö Like M. Night Shyamalan's earlier film, The Sixth Sense, it has a special twist. There was a huge build up to the twist, naturally, but it's a silly one, and predictable as well. Nevertheless, itís entertaining, but it could easily have been better. A pivotal secret was revealed a little too prematurely. Itís got a wonderful cast, though! Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson, Cherry Jones, Jayne Atkinson, Judy Greer, Fran Kranz, Michael Pitt, Celia Weston, John Jones, Frank Collison, Jesse Eisenberg. Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan.
Virtual Combat (1995) R thriller
A dead dull rip-off of Mortal Kombat released the same year, except the filmmakers tried to make it be about something. Well funded scientists figure out how to bring evil characters from the video game world into reality. The result: everybody was kung fu fighting. Starring: Don Wilson, Michael Bernardo, Ken McLeod, Dawn Ann Billings, Michael Dorn, Larry Poindexter. Directed by: Andrew Stevens.
Viva Villa! (1934) NR war
This surprisingly entertaining biography of the life of Pancho Villa, a Mexican Revolutionary leader who fought to bring democracy and freedom to Mexico's poor. Pancho Villa goes through well-shot battle scenes, and his interesting character is quite colorful. Even though this film is laced with stereotypes and slapstick, it's highly enjoyable. Starring: Wallace Berry, Leo Carrillo, Fay Wray, Donald Cook, Stuart Erwin, George E. Stone, Henry B. Walthall, Joseph Schildkraut, Katherine De Mille. Directed by: Jack Conway.
Volcano (1997) PG-13 action
As far as disaster films go, this one has a fine premise. It's about a volcano that erupts in downtown Los Angeles. Imagine how much chaos that would cause. Now, erase that image from your head because this movie isn't as exciting as that. It's almost as if the volcano was on its best behavior -- flowing neatly down roads, never penetrating the concrete barriers set up along the side. Firefighters standing behind the barriers not spraying water at anything. Not sure if this was a sightseeing expedition for them -- I half expected to see one of the firefighters roasting weenies. There are a few deaths in this movie -- a dozen, maybe half dozen people get burned alive. Others get hit with flaming boulders, which even claims a firetruck or two. At one point, a bunch of windows break out of a building. Riveting. Historically, volcanoes have taken out entire towns in the blink of an eye. The one in this movie ends with a lower body count than the tornadoes in Twister had in cows. But to give the volcano some credit, those tornadoes didn't have to reckon with Tommy Lee Jones. He plays Michael Roark, the director of the Office of Emergency Management. He glares at the invading lava so intensely it's a wonder the Earth didn't just suck it back in. While this disaster film is curiously without much disaster, which in turn makes this disaster film rather disastrous, at least this movie gave me an excuse to write this sentence. Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Gaby Hoffmann, Don Cheadle, Keith David, Jacqueline Kim, John Corbett, Michael Rispoli, John Carroll Lynch. Directed by: Mick Jackson.
Volunteers (1985) R comedy
It's uneven but proves to have entertainment value. Tom Hanks stars as a rich snob who, when running away from a thug of whom he lost a bet with, boards a plane and joins the Peace Corps. There he meets geek John Candy and Rita Wilson. Together they must build an important bridge that will positively affect the village, the country -- Commies, drug lords and heaven knows what else. Maybe there's too much plot crammed into this comedy that would have been better had it just concentrated on Hanks' character development and his burgeoning romance with Wilson. Starring: Tom Hanks, John Candy, Rita Wilson, Tim Thomerson, Gedde Watanbe, George Plimpton, Ernest Harada, Shakti, Clyde Kusatsu. Directed by: Nicholas Meyer.
Voyage of the Rock Aliens (1984) PG comedy
As I must be a purveyor of movies with bad taste, here is a musical starring Pia Zadora as a wannabe rock star who meets a group of Devo-like space aliens. Together, they form a band. The story is goofy, the music beyond cheesy, and I can't tell if some of the jokes were intended to be funny. But altogether, I watched this and laughed out loud constantly. Zadora--while hardly the finest actor or singer--is adorable. A clever moment occurs when a murderous maniac with a chainsaw (played by Michael Berryman) gets power tool maintenance advice from one of his would-be victims. Starring: Pia Zadora, Craig Sheffer, Tom Nolan, Ruth Gordon, Michael Berryman, Alison La Place, Jermaine Jackson. Directed by: James Fargo.
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