Tag Archives: Val Kilmer

Brian’s Review – “Wonderland” (2003)

In the police investigation of a brutal crime scene, one man was at the center of it all: legendary porn star John Holmes.

Brian –

Rating – 3 out of 10

Here’s a case of a film being made with an awful lot of style, a gritty and realistic tone, and a breakneck pace that couldn’t be more boring. Why? It’s not possible to care less about any of these characters. Every single one of them is completely single-minded or worthless. It’s a shame too because there’s some good actors in this. Val Kilmer has shown he is extremely capable(watch the Doors), Josh Lucas can play over the top better than most, and Kate Bosworth has been solid when she’s not playing Lois Lane.


The film chooses to focus on the aftermath of John Holmes (renowned 70’s pornstar) well after his career in adult films is over. He’s a loser druggie whose sole motivation is his next high. His girlfriend’s (Kate Bosworth) sole motivation is loving John Holmes. His druggie friends’ sole motivation is getting more money and drugs. You see where I’m going with this?


It’s hard to give half a shit about the characters when are so one dimensional. We are never given any back story on any of them. As the film opens, we know there was a series of murders involving a lot of money and drugs. We then spend the rest of the time watching investigators pore over exactly what happened and why. The problem with that scenario is: who cares? It’s not like we’re watching “In Cold Blood” here where innocent people are put at risk or Boogie Nights where we have seen an evolution of the characters. It’s loser druggies killing loser druggies without any back story.


The only side plot away from that is a very odd one in which John Holmes wife (played by Lisa Kudrow who acts like she’s sleepwalking) has a devotion to a man who fucks teenage girls and men behind her back, takes all her money for drugs, and has her help him get away with accessory to murder. Well……WHY??? The movie never explains what her motivations are and at that point I was too fucking bored to try to figure it out for myself. It’s incredibly lazy to slop down a factual event involving murders onto a screenplay simply because one of the people involved was a semi-famous pornstar and expect that anyone watching would care without any character history. There’s just too many quality films out there for anyone to waste 1 hour and 45 minutes watching this mess go nowhere.

Films that define us

All of us have particular movies we’ve seen, whether as an adult or child, that stay with us in a way others hadn’t before. They’re special experiences we hold onto, whether it was because you saw them with a close friend or the film connected with your life in a personal way. These are movies that define us, and we’re breaking down each by genre. Each week, one of our contributors will list the movies that defined them.


Comedy: As I am back to school now, I can’t help but think about Real Genius. This is one of the movies I grew up watching and always laughed at Val Kilmer’s performance as the brilliant goofball Chris Knight. As I got older, though, I began to take away some of the philosophy presented by Chris. His character taught me that if you take some things in life like education or your career too seriously, it could consume you.

Action/Adventure: “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” Ahhhh man, such dialogue! Predator is the one movie I’m glad my dad made me watch over and over with him when I was little. I’m not a huge action movie lover but there is something about this film that tickles my fancy. I think it might be the idea of how a group of professionally trained and experienced soldiers react to being hunted, much less the fact that an alien is hunting them. I don’t think there’s anything more manly in a film than seeing a montage of a soldier using basic survival and defense skills to defeat an adversary.

Science Fiction: The Matrix came out when I was in the sixth grade; I thought it was my favorite science fiction film ever… until I saw Equilibrium. Personally, I thought the plot was more appealing, particularly how the society’s hand-to-hand and defense and shooting offense is all based on physics and statistics. Also, this film was the first taste of (grown-up) Christian Bale’s acting capabilities.  

Drama: Without a doubt, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is, and always will be, my favorite film from the drama genre. What digs down deep inside me is how realistic Jim Carrey’s and Kate Winslet’s relationship is portrayed; how we all start out giddy and very interested in your partner and how it can decay into just two people who live and bicker with one other constantly. The visuals were also very unique; using simple, yet effective techniques and some forced perspective shots. The climax is definitely a tearjerker for me.  

Horror: Since my dad introduced me to the action film that defines me, my mother definitely introduced me to this horror film that defines me. Halloween was the first horror film that I watched that scared me psychologically, but without using gore. Halloween has a blend of mystery, suspense, musical score and photography that fit so beautifully together to make a great horror film.


Family/Children: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was and is my absolute favorite children’s film when I was a child. I loved watching this movie and never got sick of it. I loved it so much that I would constantly make the infamous shrinking machine using my tinker toys and Legos. Aside from the idea a machine that could make things bigger or smaller, the idea of going on a dangerous adventure in my own backyard excited me. Sliding down a leaf of grass, eating a gigantic oatmeal cookie or riding on an ant didn’t seem impossible to do… when you’re five at least.

Double Identity

In Chechnya, an American doctor (Val Kilmer) takes a detour in life when he helps a mysterious woman (Izabella Miko) escape from her would-be assailant. He gets caught in the middle of a diamond smuggling, mafia ring when his identity is mixed with another man and he ends up going through a dangerous series ov events as he tries to escape criminals, spies, double spies, and the country. Directed by Dennis Dimmster (Cold Heart).

Rating: 4 out of 10

It’s a shame when a good cast is wasted. This movie was full of solid, not spectacular, but good performances. Each cast member, from Kilmer to the stunning Miko, down to side villains, were believable in a world that was sharp with a nice foreign backdrop for a spy/thriller film.

However, this movie went nowhere. Kilmer and Miko meet on the street when Miko, a spy, is spotted taking pictures of criminals. To escape, she approaches Kilmer, a doctor, and kisses him and he gives her a ride to help her escape. After that, their paths cross again, accept Kilmer’s identity is switched and the villains chasing Kilmer are the same Miko is after. There is no character or relationship development between the two, other than they kiss every time they see each other.

In the end, we’re given some typical chases, gun fights, kidnappings, double agents, and lots and lots and lots of characters that add little to the film. This was a confusing script that didn’t really go anywhere. Our good actors, settings and decent dialogue are squashed under the weight of bad direction that goes nowhere leaving the viewer with little to care about in its characters or plot.