"Inception" was simply great. I would need another viewing to really "get it". But, I will gladly see it again. Thinking man action movie.
"Twilight" was better than I expected. Neale loves the series. I will stop at the first one.
"Iron Man 2" continued the story arc and showed more of Stark's character. Much like the "Dark Knight", it showed a hero burdened by his own greatness. However, that is about it for this sequel. It lacked a brilliant villain like Ledger's Joker. The first 40 mins. were tough to sit through and Rourke's method acting seemed like the Wrestler was still present in his head. He spent time in a Russian prison to find a mumbled accent? Don Cheadle was an awkward choice for a sidekick and Paltrow was overmatched by Scarlet. Decent at best.
"The Hurt Locker" captured the fog of a modern war. Not political as the movie does not comment on the opinions of the current US wars. Rather, it showed the suspense and grind of war. Guy with the video camera threat? Soldiers make decisions about civilian or foe constantly. Jeremy Renner did a great job. Anthony MacKie was very strong in his role of working with a loose cannon.
"Paranormal Activity" accomplished its goal. There was a sense of uncertainty, fear, and dread. All but knowing the ending, the film maintained a thrill. There were bad decisions, decisions made out of love not rationality, and humor. Well timed. Having read about the alternative ending, I would have preferred that but then there would be no chance of a sequel.
"The Mist" was a pleasant surprise. I was in the mood for a scary movie but had lost interest in King's work. However, Thomas Jane was starring and I like his work. Trusting his decision, I checked out the movie. Good morality tale, convincing performances, and a twisted ending.
"Funny People" was good. Everyone loves to laugh and we all find something funny. Ellis, our dog, makes me laugh or smile everyday. Yet, many comedians are lonely people. Some you can not stand on a personal level. Some can be quite tragic as they make others happy but cannot be happy themselves. The structure of this film could have used some work. There were laugh out moments and a few I found quite touching. Worth a look.
"Public Enemies" was not Depp's best work. Good but not great.
"Star Trek" very good film. New life to the series. No Shatner...good. JJ Abrams knows his talents and audience.
"The Hangover" simply great.
"Before The Devil Knows Your Dead" is a family movie. If your family kills each other, lies, has affairs with family members, and abuses drugs. Luckily, I don't know that personally so as a drama/action it works well. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was very good as always. Ethan Hawke I could tolerate as I can only take so much of him in a lead. Well worth a viewing.
"Righteous" could not have been as bad I read and heard. I watched it. It is.
"Milk" was a brilliant film. Its hard to imagine Sean Penn was Spicoli and he does not discuss that role I believe. "Milk" was in the top five of his best performances. "At Close Range", "Causalities of War", "Colors", "Dead Man Walking", and "Mystic River" were excellent movies that really showcased his talent as well.
"The Reader" was a great movie and the first half hour could have been accidentally confused with an adult film. Is she naked in half her roles? Tough year for the Germans as the specter of Nazism makes great drama.
"Benjamin Button" was an hour too long but a great story.
"88 Minutes" was garbage. Al Pacino was in "The Godfather". What the hell happened?
"A Mighty Heart" was a great movie about a horrific but memorable event. Jolie does a great job and the supporting cast is excellent.
"The Wrestler" was a brilliant film. If Nick Cage had gotten role, it would have not been the half of what Rourke did with the role. Excellent camera work and not a wasted screen. Tomei did a great job as well. Not as dark as "Requiem" and at times it was uplifting.
"Slumdog Millionaire" was a a joy watch and a great story.
"Descent" was a decent "alone in the dark" type of horror film. Nothing really new here except the all female cast, which is a twist on the genre. Instead of the traditional gender roles between men and women, it was refreshing to see women fulfill the roles of explorers trapped in the dark.
"The Dark Knight" was a good sequel and it moved the story of the new series in a great direction. The acting was good all around. But, they could have given Maggie Gyllenhaal more to do. She was in very few scenes it seems. Heath Ledger as the Joker was great and the bittersweet aspect is that he is not around to receive the praise he richly deserves. It is a little longer than I preferred and some edits could benefit the film.
"Batman Begins" was a very good film. Christian Bale did another great job and Liam Neeson was a good villian. I was soured on the story after the series of films from the 90s. I am glad to see it is less campy and more involved emotionally.
"Iron Man" was a very good summer hero movie. It moved well and Downey did a great job. Like Trent Reznor, he is living clean and his work is benefiting for it. I really liked Chaplin but his work wander soon after. Good story.
"Nacho Libre" WTF?
"Atonement" was a film that I had reservations about watching. I have come to the conclusion that I prefer Ms. Knightly kicking a soccer ball or as a pirate. Of course, I was wrong. It is a great story.
"There Will Be Blood" was another great Daniel Day-Lewis performances. Not as strong at "Gangs of New York" but I liked this movie better as a whole. Great job by Paul Dano but Ciarán Hinds was under utilized. Oil has been and remains a bloody mess. Also, makes you think of milkshakes in a different way. Happy ending....this is Upton Sinclair. There are not happy endings.
"Michael Clayton" was worth the ride. It starts slow but builds a dramatic tension that is well worth the effort. He is truly a "fixer". Very strong performances throughout. Not sure what Clooney has to do to win more Oscars.
"Juno" was great movie that dealt with a sensitive issue. Ellen Page was great and the soundtrack is a must have.
"3:10 to Yuma" was great western with excellent casting.
"Eastern Promises" was silent and slow. I usually love the director's work but I found this lackluster as a whole.
"Sweeny Todd" is a musical and I typically do not like musicals. "Rocky Horror" and "Blues Brothers" are my exceptions. This was dark, bloody, and beautiful. If you like other Tim Burton pictures and you understand his style, this is his finest film. If you are put off by blood and darkest, this is not for you.
"No Country For Old Men" was a great movie. It appears to be a getaway picture as the main character finds money and has to escape a trained killer. But, it is more than that. It is a mediation on evil and its constant presence in our lives. Also, this film shows the weight of choices and the latent aspects of making choices. Very good performances throughout and not a scene was wasted.
"American Gangster" was based a true story. It shows how a man became more powerful than the Mafia (which does not exist) through the drug trade. The beginning is slower than it needs to be. Does every cop have a bad family? The performances were stronger than the overall film. Supporting cast did a good job and it had a great gritty feel. The film addresses how racism is functional and dysfunctional. Functional for a criminal element to expand and dysfunctional as the cops don't look where they need to with a clear eye (racial profiling not working as always).
"The Lives of Others" was a very good movie. Sublime. Scary. True? It is a quiet film that keeps your attention.
"Turistas" was not terrible. But, is that a reason to see this film? The movie posters say "go home" and I would only recommend watching for free at home. Nothing new here but the cast is fresh. To sum up: Brazil, organs, bikinis, and bad lighting.
"1408" was a decent Stephen King film. It was not near the Shining but when you strike gold early it can be hard to find the vein again. Cusack is looking older and since we are roughly the same generation/age, that worries me. Man loses faith in human kind, debunks ghosts, checks into 1408 (13, get it?), and deals with demons. Samuel Jackson is there because the man never stops working.
"Bourne Ultimatum" was a great conclusion to the series. It has been awhile since I saw the second film in the series so I missed the initial connection that is the first half hour of the last film. Please watch the second one before you see the third is my advice. Matt Damon and the rest of cast did a fine job. The shaky cam worked but there was a scene or two that I would have preferred a wide shot. Great film.
"Hot Fuzz" was a good film. I was not that impressed by "Shaun of the Dead" but this similar cast of characters did a good job using subtle and not so subtle jokes about the "cop film" genre. It was fun to note which films they were referencing and the acting was good. There were a few laughs and it was enjoyable.
"The Simpsons Movie" was very good. Neale is not a fan of the series so she saw "Ratatouille", which she said was a good movie with a good message about accepting differences. "The Simpsons Movie" continued familiar storylines, ran through well known physical comedy, and helped a limping series get some new life. The plot was environmental, took some indirect shots at the current leadership of our country, and gave organized religion its needed ribbing. I would only recommend if you were a fan.
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was another good film in the series. The best film in the series being "The Prisoner of Azkaban" and the least repeatable for viewing is "The Chamber of Secrets". The first thirty minutes of the film were slow and we do not look forward to the fierce family that gives Harry a roof. Don't house fires happen in their neighborhood? But, the movie picked up when they got back to Hogwarts and quickly got uncomfortable when the Ministry started to run the school. We saw the film in an IMAX theater and the main battle sequence was in 3D, which was fantastic. It is nice to see the maturity and development of the characters. The small explanations regarding the history of the older members and some background on the school professors were interesting. Overall, very good film. The series is developing nicely.
"300" was a good film about...... SPARTA! Madness? THIS IS SPARTA! Do you like Steve Reeves movies?
"The Queen" was nicely done. It was not too bio-doc and not too sentimental. However, not enough corgis.
"The Illusionist" was beautifully shot and well acted. The ending was cleverly done.
"Little Miss Sunshine" has a very good message. There were excellent performances throughout. Toni Collette was great, again (Hours, About a Boy, Dinner with Friends, & the Sixth Sense). We are not convinced it is 'movie of the year' quality though.
"The Ringer" was not as bad as I thought it would be given the talent and subject matter. Brian Cox shame on you.
"Miami Vice" was less than a good bust. Crockett....shave. Tubbs...no thanks. I'll stick with the 80s, Phil Collins cameos, and a croc on a boat.
"Archangel" was a good movie for Brit TV featuring Daniel Craig. Nice thriller.
"Da Vinci Code" was a good story. Believable? Possibly. Raises questions? Sure. The truth? Not convinced. Well worth a watch.
"Casino Royale" was a great Bond film with an actual story. The action and lovely people have been great but this film helped make Bond more human, less agent. Daniel Craig did a fine job and has been good in several past films such as Road to Perdition, Tomb Raider, Archangel, & Munich.
"The Final Cut" was about memory but this film was very forgettable. Direct to DVD maybe.
"Borat" was niiiccceeee. The film is an excellent example of how to use a character like 'Borat' to expose deeper darker truths about US culture.
"United 93" was ok. It did reflect the confusion of the day. The confusion of the day was the scariest thing.
"Matador" was ok. It was watchable but not compelling to watch again. Brosnan's performance was good and Kinnear was his usual self. But, the story did not draw me in.
"Doom" was seen as homage to my love of the video game. They turned it into a zombie film and there was little evidence of the fps aspect of the original game.
"Pride and Prejudice" (2005) was good and moved well. The camera work followed and the acting was good throughout.
"POTC: Dead Man's Chest" was well done. We had to see it twice because the dialogue was muddled at the first viewing, which made the motivation unclear. Also, the game played on Davy Jones' ship and the issue with the "jar of dirt" was unclear the first time. It is recommended for fun and about the only good movie this summer.
"Walk the Line" was a very good movie. I do not think anyone warranted an award but the story was good. The music was classic Cash.
"The Interpreter" was decent but I would not recommend it due to its obivious formula and typical characters. There are several Pollack films I enjoy but there are also several that I take a pass on.
"Good Night and Good Luck" was good albeit short. The point was straight forward and the cast was recognizable (Clooney has friends). The performances were good, the story differently paced, and the directing acceptable.
"Munich" was very good. The pacing could have been tighter but the story and the debate about the Middle East well done.
"Brokeback Mountain" was well done. Basically, a love story but one that society looks down upon. Good performances by the male leads but the women are not on screen enough to notice. The mumbling by Ledger was troublesome but appropriate given the character. Also, Wyoming....boring.
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was very good. Of course, the comparison comes to the original Wonka and it was not equal value. However, it was full of good performances and well paced. I think a breaking point for many people is how they feel about Tim Burton's style and perspective. I was not a big fan of "Big Fish" but "Ed Wood" was great. Overall, Depp carried the film.
"The Ice Harvest" was simply terrible. One of the worst films I have seen in the theatre. It stole from film noir badly and attempted to be crafty. It was rather sad to see Cusack have to do this.
"50 First Dates" was fun. Not bad for Sandler.
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" was good. The story has matured and the characters have hormones now. There were a few scenes that were advanced for younger viewers. The dragon scene was tired. The ball scene was also rather lame. The acting was good and actors did explore new emotions for a Potter film. The effects were well done especially for Voldemort. The maze scene was fantastic. Overall, the series was moved in a better direction and Newell did a fine job.
"The Exorcist: The Beginning" was good as a prequel. Yet, none of the films after the original were able to capture the pure fear that many people (including myself) experienced while watching the first one. This film is worth your time as a decent prequel but not as a stand alone thriller/suspense story. The scenes featuring the confrontation between Merrin and the demon were formulaic. Yet, the background material on Merrin and the history of the region were interesting.
"Amityville (2005)" was not good...not even close to the original.
"Crash" was great. The film makes many important and realisitic point about race in America. Was Sandra Bullock in this film? On my suggestion, Neale is watching Cronenberg's "Crash" as well.
"Constantine" was good. The plot was decent and the acting was above average for the genre.
"Hide and Seek" was a mess. Bobby D...what happened?
"White Noise" was a waste. We have all made mistakes, Michael Keaton has made more serious ones.
"Boogeyman" was mostly flashy camera work, effects, and peering through cracked doors. It was short and left several questions unanswered.
"Joyride" was not joyful nor that scary. There were opportunties to stop the chase at several points and the film ignores those options.
"Club Dread" was an excuse to shot on location, I guess. Super Troopers had a few laughs but this was simple, unimaginative and conventional.
"Thunderbirds" was a mess. Bill Paxton is on a downward spiral (see Club Dread). I was a fan of the 60s show when I was I younger but this was obvious and tedious.
"Closer" was well done. Not too complex and scene organization was nicely sorted. Acting was strong throughout the cast...Portman and Law shined.
"Star Wars: ROTS" was simply excellent. Best one in the new series and almost better than Empire. Sure the dialouge is still wooden but overall great film.
"The Alamo" was ok. As far as modern westerns, it was nothing close to "Tombstone" or "The Unforgiven". There were a few too many speeches and the pace was a bit slow. Thornton and Quaid did fine jobs and Davidson was decent. The battle scenes were well played.
"Ring 2" was not as good as the first. The plot attempts to explain the origins of Samara's evil nature but I was left mostly in the dark. It seems that the explanation was lost in translation so to speak. Watts does a fine job, the effects worked well, and the atomsphere was tense. But, the film followed a similar arc as in the first film and some avenues were not explored enough (i.e. Sissy Spacek's character). Also, the son's dialouge seemed purposely vague to the point of being distracting rather than informative. The inclusion of male figure for Watts' character was unnecessary as like the red shirts on Star Trek, we just knew he was moments away from a body bag. Worth seeing if you liked/loved the first one but not anywhere close to same satisfaction.
"The Incredibles" was very good. However, they could have cut a half an hour and it would have been better. Also, it was not as good as Ice Age or Toy Story. I believe they were stronger scripts. The visual just gets better though.
"I Heart Huckabees" was great. I need to go practice rubber ball technique.
"Alien v. Predator" was terrible. Why do I do that to myself?
"The Forgotten" was ok, nothing like a rehash of an X-Files episode. This could have been better in numerous ways.
"The Eye" was good. The visual was well-done and the smaller parts well performed. The doctor seemed young for the role. Good mood but not as sinster as similar films. Worth checking out.
"The Core" was one of the worst sci-fi films I have seen. I lack the words to describe how bad it was given the cast.
"Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" was very good. The gender politiics in the film are essential to understand to get the film. Yes, there was a time when women were not allowed to read the news and the sexist attitudes that are spoofed in this film are the actual joke. Some men are really pigs and their time to rule passed decades ago. If you did not laugh, you do not get it. Please put down that Maxim magazine, stop drinking that Bud, and realize that there are other things to watch besides sports. May I recommend Intro to Sociology 131? I'll save you a seat.
"Sideways" was excellent. The texture and depth of the story was brillant. I wish I could of had a glass of wine while watching the film but I am currently finishing phase 1 of the South Beach diet. I have to admit that I am not familiar with the work of Virginia Madsen and I do not recall why this role is a "comeback" for her. When was she here? Still, the entire cast did a great job, the story was something most adults could identify with, and the it was paced well.
"Meet the Fockers" was not as good as the original and it seems the series is over, which is good. The simple differences between the two families was the main focus of the attempted humor. There were a few laughs but the simple puns, pokes at gender sterotypes, and awkward moments became tiresome.
"The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" was was flat and unamusing. See it for the technical skill not for the humor.
"Elf" was good. It also had heart. Hey, this that Amy Sedaris?
"Collateral" was good and well-paced. Once again, Mann delivers.
"Star Trek: Nemesis" was bad. I admit I liked "Wrath of Khan" but why is it so hard to make another good Star Trek film.
"3" was a good TV movie. However, the lack of vlear timeline, secondary character development, and assistance for non-NASCAR fans (like myself) was difficult for me to follow.
"Van Helsing" was decent. Not a train wreck of a film but the plot holes and unclear motivation of why monsters would work together is troublesome. Kate's accent was not annoying but was that botox in her upper lip? Hugh does a fine job and there were comedic moments. It seemed like a late 1800s James Bond at times but overall to predictable and too dependent on CGI.
"National Treasure" was a Dan Brown novel? No. It just seemed that way. Not a mystery treasure hunt like Indiana Jones but fun.
"Bridget Jones Diary: The Edge of Reason" is an example why sequels are often criticized as attempts to 'cash in'. Same story, lousy singing routine and same laughs.
We saw "The Grudge" at 12:15PM, which was deliberate. I like 'smart' horror films because they scare me and exposes sociological aspects of what scares us. In the case of The Grudge it has to do with infidelity (alleged) and memory. It was good not great and not about the gore. Therefore, I did not want to be surrounded by a bunch of hormonal frustrated, identity issued, flippant teenagers. Unfortunately, many of them do not know what horror is and think laughter is the remedy to cure their adolescent confusion about serious issues. For example, when a person commits suicide in a movie it is not funny. However, since they may know that suicide is the biggest killer of teenagers, they think that laughter is their best defensive. Well, at the 12:15 show, there were only two frustrated teenage boys that took a break from aimlessly wandering the nearby mall to watch a film, which afterwards they wandered into another theater. Since they have been raised on repetitive slasher films (Friday the 13th Part 24), pointless remakes (Dawn of the Dead), and horror-light (Scream & Scary Movie), they do not know any better. Well, I will discuss this in class so I am reaching my part of population. The future just may have a chance.
"The Ladykillers" was good yet not so good. Nice comedy, decent performances (Irma P. Hall was the best) throughout, but did not contain enough robust scenes. Considering it was Coen Brothers film, it should have been stronger.
"Hero" was good. Several strong characters and their stories are woven together which leads to a fantastic finale.
"Nightmare on Elm Street" was ok. It was not as scary as the first time we watched it. It had easily been 15 years since either of us had seen it. Some films maintain their fear factor (Exorcist, Hellrasier) but Freddy became more of dark comic than menacing child killer. Remember the Freddy Saturday morning cartoon? On the other hand, how the Freddy breakfast cereal?
"Hellboy" was ok. Strong characters, good story, and good effects.
"Taking Lives" was decent. It borrowed from similar films. The performances were good and Jolie was reliable. The twist was evident.
"Cold Mountain" was better than expected. A good story, which borrows from recent and classic literature. Jude Law does a good job, Zwelleger is adequate, and Kidman does her best.
"The House of a Thousand Corpses" was classic gore. It steals from the right sources. Yet, I lacked interest. It seems more one-track fun house rather than free wheel horror trip.
"Death in Gaza" was unblinking and direct. Before anyone dismisses a group as inhumane, you must look at the conditions and the reasons for their conditions.
"The Trials of Henry Kissinger" shows that the people hands are dirty. Surprise? No. Is it happening today? Yes. Why? Us.
"Wonderland"(aka the Wonderland murders or Four on the Floor murders) was a gritty and graphic depiction of tragic events. Once again, the billion-dollar adult film industry often perceived as sexy and seductive has its slimy and consuming underbelly exposed. John Holmes (Faust?) gets everything he wants only to have it all dragged away by drugs, anger, and fear. There are good performances throughout (Kudrow!) and the directing was well done. There was a very good supporting cast.
"Butterfly Effect" was good. I have to admit that any film with time travel I will eventually see and want more. It is such a difficult concept to accomplish because of all the continuity and details that must be attended to for it to work. The story was well done and the scenes worked well together. The acting was stiff at times and with the exception of Kutcher, the future of this cast is not destined for better opportunities. Their fare is largely mediocre (more Starsky & Hutch & Shaker Height) as well as some teen movies (more Varsity Blues & O). I recommend this film because it accomplishes what it intends to accomplish and has some heart. The reason (albeit absurd) is to make things better for a woman he loves.
"American Wedding" was a terrible piece of "chocolate truffle". I was witness to the unrated version and it was hastily thrown together. The first installment had something but the series faded quickly. There are plenty of gross out jokes but they are predictable and without conviction.
"Bad Santa" was funny. Billy Bob did a great job. The Kid was good and Lauren was sweet. A few cheap shots but still fun. Neale spotted the babysitter from "When A Man Loves A Woman" after several years. I am glad that Murray and Jack passed on the role.
"The Village" was very good and well-done thriller. I was not a fan of "Unbreakable" or "Signs" but "The Sixth Sense" was excellent. Phoenix (formerly Leaf) did a great job (again), Brody was a great special person and the more established cast members were excellent (Hurt, Weaver & Jones). I had about half of the twist figured 30 minutes into the movie and Neale caught on later. She did catch the M.Night appearance before I did though. In all, a fine film and an excellent examination of how some grieve in a unique way.
"The Station Agent" was a quiet film with alot of heart. Bobby Cannavle did a decent job, Patricia Clarkson was fun, and Dinklage was excellent. There is many miles of walking but in the end, trains and blimps are cool.
"The Bourne Supremacy" was quite a ride. The storyline takes a direct right turn early in the film and sets the course of Bourne throughout the rest of the film and possibly trilogy. The camera work was well done. The tight framing of the fight scene and car chases worked. The performances were good and Joan Allen did a skillful job.
"Cabin Fever" was yet another reason why I am emabrassed to say I like the horror genre. It steals (badly) from several films and disappoints (hopefully) everyone.
"Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" was a mess. A reason not to visit the theater from May to August.
"S.W.A.T" is proof that Samuel Jackson should say 'no' more than 'yes'.
"Bad Boys II" was another illustration of how Micheal Bay convinces people to give him large amounts of cash, he makes a mess (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon), and the process repeats itself. Spectacle? Sure! Intolerable and barely watchable? You bet.
"Cold Creek Manor" was predictable and at times laughable.
"Miracle" was great. Well-paced, good performances, and an excellent sports film.
"The Four Feathers" was a waste of time. The sand dunes were the most interesting part of the film. Djimon Hounsou was playing the same part he did in Gladiator.
"Shrek 2" was fun and Puss in Boots was a great character.
"The Order" was simply terrible...simply a sin.
"Haunted Manison" was not memorable.
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was better than the previous Potters. The directing was better and the themes were more mature.
"Malibu's Most Wanted" was offensive and just plain stupid.
"Gothika" was not scary nor interesting. Oscar winner Berry? Why?
"The Empty Mirror" was very strange.
"Darkness Falls" was a terrible, terrible film.
"Thirteen" was well done and powerful. Did I mention we are not having children?
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" was excellent. Carey and Winslet did a great job. The style of film making is not for everyone but it was a remarkable film about memory, loss, and life.
"Basic" was ok. There were some problems with the plot and we figured out early on that there was a twist coming, which did not necessarily make the film enjoyable to watch.
"The Gift" was well-done and powerful. A good doc discussing issues surrounding HIV and a subset of the gay population.
"Bowling for Columbine" was good. Moore does his usual good work and smudges a few corners to make a higher point.
"Lost in Translation" was good. It captured the isolation and loneliness that hotels can be.
"Bruce Almighty" was very funny and one of the better Jim Carey movies. Although almost everyone I mention this film to immediately states their not a fan of Jim Carrey movies, he has done much better work than Ace Ventura, In Living Color and it was several years ago. I believe it is that film or comedic style that people associate with him and it is not completely accurate given his performances in The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, & the Majestic.
"Monster" was excellent. We create our monsters. Charlize Theron disappears in the lead role and does an Award winning performance.
"The Life of David Gale" was very good. Spacey and Winslet have good performances and a clear argument against the death penalty is made.
"Gods & Generals" was good. The acting was good especially notable was Stephen Lang as Stonewall Jackson. The battles were well staged. The film does run long and there are several verbose speeches. In all, this film not as good as Gettysburg or North & South as portraying the battles on the home front.
"Daredevil" was ok. If you like, any of the leads (yes, I watched it because of Jennifer Garner), then it is worth a look but not up to par with recent adaptations of Marvel comic heroes.
"Underworld" was ok. There is many storylines at work and familiar vampire themes. It is all action and visuals, which are very good.
"Pornstar: The Legend of Ron Jeremy" was revealing and there is no cheap pun implied in that statement. Rather, the documentary showed how many misguided people want to be him while Ron would like to be happy and have a family. He is not truly happy yet he is rich which is not enough. The industry is brutal and that is no secret except to the thousands that seek out jobs in adult films each year. It was an informative film and worth watching.
"Holes" was good and better than most films aimed at young adults by Disney that I have seen. Voight made some unusual choices with his character and Weaver does a fine job. The younger actors were all capable. I enjoyed the blending of the two stories and was satisfied with the unlikely ending.
"Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life" was almost unwatchable.
"Big Fish" was good but we could not tell you why..exactly. It was an interesting story and filmed very well, Tim Burton always does a good job. There were good performances and the ending was very touching. But, it was so odd.
"Old School" was ok. There were some funny moments and Vince Vaughn plays a great jerk but we have seen that several times. Will Ferrell gave the best performance. However, this was no "Animal House", which we just purchased the Double Secret Probation edition.
"Paycheck" was not worth that much of my paycheck. Mr. J-Lo and star of "Gigli" should focus on writing another script like "Good Will Hunting", that was good, this was not that good. Uma Thurman...I still do not get it.
"Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World" was a great film and another strong performance by Crowe. We look forward to the sequel.
"Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" was very good. The battle scenes were a bit long but the plot was strong. Overall, this was a well-done series of film with great performances throughout and an enjoyable story.
"The Last Samurai" was another film featuring Tom Cruise playing a person that is Tom Cruise. Did I mention Tom Cruise was in this film? Also, forget the historical errors at the base of this film. Before I mention more about how Tom Cruise was in this film, I will switch gears and point out how this film simplifies and insults Japanese culture. Tom Cruise playing Tom Cruise is so bright that he can absorb Japanese culture, modern & Samurai, in the space of a few months and then become the hero of the rogue Samurai while beginning a relationship with the widow he created. The battles scenes were well crafted but rent "Rashomon" or "The Seven Samurai" instead.
"The Wizard of Oz" was a good film. As far as musicals go, I could tolerate it. Remember my love of musicals begins and ends with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Singing in the Rain for me is like swallowing expired milk. Oz is a disturbing place and Kansas is too for that matter. One is populated with plastic flowers and bizarre costumes and the other is a wasteland. Dorothy must get home but is it because she no place else to go? Wasn’t she running away? Why would you want to return to an aunt and an uncle that would so quickly give your dog over to the authorities to be destroyed? These are only a few concerns with the film. It is well-done and Judy Garland is excellent. The interaction between the four main characters is superb. But, the witches and the flying monkeys are sinister. The symbolism ranges from drug-induced to promoting consumerism. I suppose most children miss the subtext of this film but it sure to give this adult a nightmare.
"Bend it like Beckham" was a good film. It was a feel good movie. It uses some typical themes and situations to make familiar points. The soccer scenes could have been shot in a less chaotic way. Simply, it had heart. Why could not they get Beckham to do more than a walk through?
"Matrix Revolutions" was simply fantastic.
"The Transporter" was good but like the Italian Job not memorable.
"Intolerable Cruelty" was cruel and intolerable. The title is correct. If cheap stereotypes and suffering is your idea of a good time, you will enjoy this film. However, it is not an inaccurate description of a section of society. That is quite sad. I told Neale I loved her last night.
"hurlyburly" was good. Penn and Spacey provided good performances. It was a glimpse into the chaotic lives of several people headed further into an abyss of pain and sorrow.
"Formula 51" was terrible. It borrowed from other successful filmmakers and their recent work (Guy Ritchie most notably) to gleam a bit of money. It turned out to be rather sad to see Jackson waste his talent on such derivative fare.
"The Hours" was very good. It was a well-done exploration of depression, suicide and relationships. Julianne Moore and Ed Harris offered the best performances as the three stories were woven together.
"Hamlet (1948)" was the best film verison of the Bard's classic.
"Scotland, P.A." was good but not amazing by any means.
"A Murder of Crows" was contrived and predictable.
"Gods and Monsters" was very good. McKellen and Fraser did well.
"Blue Crush" was like cotton candy...colorful but lacked substance.
"Seabiscuit" was a nice story...too bad they made a movie about it. It was not bad per se but way too wholesome and centered on one main theme, which the writer (& director) needed to reinforce in every scene. The first 45 minutes was confusing due to the multiple cuts between the characters. The racing scenes were excellent and McGuire did well but Bridges was playing the same character from his last three roles. He has done better and remains overlooked. The film became enjoyable when Seabiscuit made his appearance. Chris Cooper did not do too much but was acceptable.
"When a Stranger Calls" was good. The first 30 minutes are excellent suspense but the rest of the film seems like filler.
"Monsters, Inc." or "How the Darkside uses capitalism to terrorize youth" was decent. It did not hold our attention as much as "Ice Age". I also enjoyed "Toy Story" much more than this film. I do appreciate that Pixar chooses serious themes to incorporate into its films.
"Unfaithful" was good and better than I expected. I found the ending fitting and Lane's performance well done.
"Murder By Numbers" was better than expected. The sub-plot muddled the main storyline and they did little to explore the minds of teenage (or otherwise) killers. Yet, watchable and a nice change for Bullock.
"28 Days Later" was a well done film. For me, the key element of zombie films is that they strip away the typical assumptions of the characters daily existence and thrust them (and the viewer) into chaos, which either consumes them or compels them. These films boil down the essence of the film's plot to survival and disregard the creature comforts and soft downy pillows we typically surround ourselves with on a regular basis. The material confronts the viewer to examine the environment around us which was once kept at arm's length and is now bearing down upon us. In doing so, these films always make a political statement about human inequality and violence. It shows us that we are not as evolved as we think we are as we are still relying on violence to solve our problems and not that precious intellect we like to hold so high. The violence in "28 Days Later" was not glamorous and was extreme because if you have used terms like "smart bombs" or "targets of opportunity" in the last few months and not smirked, it only confirms our need for films like this one. The violence here is the violence that we have in our global society yet most of us (if we have the choice) push it to the edges of our reality. The horror genre often gets dismissed and rightfully so with stuff like "Jeepers Creepers 2" or "Freddie vs. Jason" getting summer movie dollars. But, it is a rare film like "28 Days Later" that gets it right. Was there anything really new in it that we have not seen in "Dawn of the Dead" or "Day of the Dead", well, no. But, the main male lead did us the evil to do good, which was a nice twist to the formula and teh zombies had speed. Careful viewers will recognize Christopher Eccleston from the BBC's "League of Gentlemen".
"XXX" was ok. For me, this film was more enjoyable than "Lethal Weapon" and its various sequels. I am not sure way "Lethal Weapon" comes to mind but it does. Maybe it is because of the overblown action sequences and lack of real plot. Vin cannot act but that is hardly a requirement for an action star. He makes money and a sequel cannot be too far in the future. By the way, Prague, the main setting for the film, looks really happening. Note to self: schedule trip to Prague.
"Ice Age" was very nice. Good job, nice story, and sweet graphics.
"Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" was really not that interesting. When the most interesting thing about a film is the water animation, I cannot get excited about it.
"The Fluffer" was decent. It was not "Boogie Nights" but also provided an interesting story about a unique part of the film industry.
"About Schmidt" wasn't really about much. Nicholson has done better (albeit not recently) and Bates did well but the combination of heartwarming with heartbreaking themes added up to an unspectacular film.
"The Italian Job" was a good film. However, it will be quickly forgotten and does not stand out among the 20 or so heist films released within the last 5 years.
"Chicago" was a good film. I do not prefer musicals but this one was well-done.
"The Matrix Reloaded" was good but not better than the original. Decent action sequences but nothing you have not seen before. The action detracts from the larger questions being discussed in the film, which is a bad choice. The plot purposively dilutes the focus of the major themes to add the mystic of the film. Its vagueness is rewarded by fans and fresh meat for discussion forums. It begins slowly but does deliver in the end. It still lacks in character exploration, beyond the surface studies, and the dialogue could use a few rewrites. The themes are interesting but need more attention. The cameo by Cornel West was very special for me. It is nice to see one of sociology's great minds in a major film.
"The Ring" was definitely a psychological thriller. Some reviews even labeled it a supernatural thriller and I would not argue with that description. It was well-paced, built a creepy atmosphere, and used sound/music very effectively. The level of tension was sustained throughout the film and it does not let the viewer down easy. The ending left me uneasy yet wanting more. Very well done film and I would not be surprised if a “Ring 2” is waiting for us. If so, I will make a copy and pass it on.
"One Hour Photo" was a very good film and Williams was impressive. The film could have taken another direction after Sy starts to loose control but it went in a different direction that was more effective. The face of evil may just be checking his smile before he takes your order and it could just be that friendly clerk around the corner you have seen a thousand times. The visuals were well done and the acting strong throughout.
"Road to Perdition" was good but not amazing. It looked great and the scenery was well-done. However, Leigh and Law were underused and should have been more central to the storyline.
"About A Boy" was good. It was a nice change to see Hugh Grant try a different character.
"Minority Report" was a very good movie. The choice of colors was distracting but the camera work and story was tight.
"Spiderman" for a blockbuster summer movie was decent.
"Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" was good. More action than the first but the storyline of the first was more cohesive. The many cuts between characters/scenes were distracting. Yet, it was a quality sci-fi film. In addition, the CGI was well done.
"Gangs of New York" was brilliant and one of Mr. Scorsese's best films. The casting of DiCaprio was questionable and the love story not necessary but still a wonderful overall performance. Daniel Day-Lewis never disappoints.
"Die Another Day" was the best Bond featuring Bronsan and Halle Berry's character was a welcomed addition to the series. They took some chances with this Bond film and upped the special effects, which helped distract from the rather bland plot. The dialogue was not close to anything Q designed in the lab but the camera work very thoughtful.
"Monster's Ball" was nothing special. Berry did well.
"From Hell" was a decent film. Nothing too surprising in the storytelling and does not necessarily unearth any new information on the Jack the Ripper investigation. The film does look very impressive and there are decent performances. Yet, there is very little suspense in the storytelling and the film could have taken more chances in its design to make it a better film.
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" was not as impressive as the first one. The first one was not necessarily impressive on its own but it was entertaining. After leaving the theatre, I felt compelled to address people by their full names for the same annoying reasons the characters in the film need to remind its viewers who is being addressed in every scene. Unless the next one promises a departure from the following model I will not give the next one even a chance. As far as I can tell, the model is as follows: Harry POTTER with annoying family, Harry POTTER! at school, Harry POTTER! encounters conflict...something evil is a foot, there is a sporting event, Harry POTTER!! fights it out in the basement, and Harry POTTER!!! wakes up a hero once again, and credits. I gave it a chance and it still is not as bad as The Phantom Menace.
"Legally Blonde"was just bad.
"Mulholland Drive"...silencio. "Absurdity is what I like most in life, and there's humor in struggling in ignorance. If you saw a man repeatedly running into a wall until he was a bloody pulp, after a while it would make you laugh because it becomes absurd. But I don't just find humor in unhappiness - I find it extremely heroic the way people forge on despite the despair they often feel. Like the character in 'Eraserhead' -he's totally confused, yet he struggles to figure things out and do what's best. Isn't that fantastic?" --- David Lynch, courtesy of The City of Absurdity
"Nightbreed" is a classic. Excellent.
"The Sum of All Fears" was a decent story and had good performances all around. Yet, I could not get over the problem that Jack Ryan was in his 50s back in the 90s and that today Ryan is my age. A few characters from the previous films make an appearance. Overall, I feel that the continuity should have been worked out.
"Panic Room" was good. It was good to see Jodie Foster working again and it was a well-paced story. The camera work was impressive. But, I felt that there was something missing from the back story (or lack there of) and the last scene seemed dry.
"The Last Castle" was okay. Redford provided a good performance and despite being an older man provided a very convincing performance in a few physically depending scenes. However, his work in Spygame and The Horse Whisper was much more enjoyable. James Gandolfini was decent but playing the same role he has in other films (side note: we saw The Juror recently). The supporting cast was unremarkable and so was the development of the plot. In the end, the sacrifice of Irwin's character, the destruction of the prison, and the removal of Winters amounted to very little. Where were the reforms? Where was the real change? Why did Irwin take from these men?
"Behind Enemy Lines" was a perfect example of a “popcorn movie”. It was over salted, loaded with fake butter, and a few good kernels, albeit a many unpopped. Wilson and Hackman have made a few good movies lately, even together but this must have been a favor they owed somebody.
"The Straight Story" was a heartwarming story. It was very quiet and peaceful. The finale was perfect.
"Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1971) was a brightly colored mess. Having read the story, this paled in comparison.
"Changing Lanes" was decent. The film features two men during the worst day of their lives, in which they have a chance meeting (car accident), and learn, in the end, their behaviors have repercussions. They spend the majority of the film terrorizing each other and in the final minutes regain their forgotten sense of humanity. The social fabric is torn and mended. Yet, I feel taken advantage of by this movie.
"Insomnia" was very good. The story was well done and the performances very convincing. However, I would have not used the flashes to explain what Pacino's character was thinking. Robin Williams was good as a killer and Hillary Swank did fine. Martin Donovan had a small role but it was good to see him in a major motion picture.
"Made" was decent but nothing special and obviously attempting to capture the distant afterglow of "Swingers". Some scenes were forced and for the most part the dialogue was not imaginative. However, Vince Vaughn (Ricky) had some priceless lines: "Yeah, that's my per diem, and who do I give it to?" and “[after a pottery clerk throws an ashtray on his table] There's a nice way to do that!”
"Thir13en Ghosts" was another example of why the horror genre gets so much criticism. It was just bad.
"Red Dragon" was good. It did not topple "Manhunter" because William Petersen was more believable in the role of Graham than Edward Norton. In addition, the original, despite its 80s feel (more centered soundtrack presence in the film and bold colors similar to Mann's "Miami Vice"), did set a creepier atmosphere. Finally, Tom Noonan was creepier and more disturbed than Ralph Fiennes' version of the Tooth Fairy.
"The Gift" was well done. Great atomsphere, good acting, and an efffective thriller.
"Something Wicked This Way Comes" is a classic. This is the perfect time of the year to see it.
"Heartbreakers" was a decent comedy. Weaver and Hewitt did a fine job but the supporting cast wasn't that interesting. But, the exceptions were Sarah Silverman as a friend of Jason Lee's character and Shawn Colvin as the minister.
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was fun. I doubt the powers of Windex but not love and family.
"Artificial Intelligence: A.I." wasn't a bad movie but it wasn't that good either. We both like Spielberg and I love many of Kubrick's films. But, this movie is full of heartbreak and loss. There is very little hope in this film. There is plenty of pain, rejection, and despair. If Spielberg injected the feeling and sentiment that was lacking in Kubrick's original vision of the film, then I thank him because without those touches this would have been a horror film. We both understand the point of the film ('real' vs. not-real, what is human?, what is love?, etc.) but the last hour of film left us emotionally drained. Maybe I haven't had enough time to reflect but it is safe to say I will not be able to rewatch this movie for quite some time. In homage to other films on the subject of 'real', this film is full of elements from other films.
"FearDotCom" was simply the worst movie I have ever paid to see.
"Tortilla Soup" made me hungry. There is alot of good food made during this movie. It was a nice story about a Mexican-American family and their changing lives. Nothing surprising really happens during the film but it is a well-done story.
"Blood Work" was a film that left me drained and disappointed. Eastwood is paid to squint and does that throughout the film. He still has good work left in him and several of his recent films have been very good. However, no new material or twists are contained in this crime/psychological thriller. It simply needed a plot transfusion.
"Antitrust" was a thinly veiled swipe at Microsoft. Pointless.
"A Beautiful Mind" was a great story about a person dealing with a disease. But, the film should have focused on Nash's wife rather than him or at least more balanced between them. She was the more interesting of the two and we learn very little about her unless it is in reference to her husband's problem. Sure he is unbalanced (like the film) and dealing with his grasp (or lack there of) on reality but what about her? Otherwise, beautifully shot.
"The Fast and the Furious" was neither fast nor furious. No dialouge, plenty of cars, and aimed at adolscents. Gave it a chance but would have rather passed on this ride. Vin Diesal, according to celebrity news, was able to race his salary right out of the sequel so this fanchise will probably filed next to "The Skulls II" and "American Psycho II" by next summer.
"Men in Black II" was something to watch, which means we were in the mood for a movie and it was the only thing vaguely viewable showing. Nothing good or terribly bad, just like air-popped popcorn.
"The Fourth Protocol" was a decent suspense-thriller. Yes, a film that was released in 1987 but new to us. It provided suspense with Brosan and Caine's characters attempting to reach their competing goals but offered little about their backgrounds. We gather that each character is excellent at what they do but why was Caine's character so despised? Was it because of the 'changing of the guard' in the service? Each character (Bronsan's Petrofsky & Caine's Preston) were struggling against the respective bureaucracies of their countries. Yet, we learn very little about that despite its centrality to the plot. Bronsan says surprisingly little in this film and Caine offers one cutting observation at the film's conclusion. Overall, the cast was supberb, including Joanna Cassidy of Six Feet Under.
"Bourne Identity" was an okay film. It was nothing new. Matt Damon and Franka Potente give good performances but there is little we learn about them. Matt Damon is a capable action star (despite his atypical "action star" frame) and Potente should be given more opportunities to prove herself after the great "Run Lola Run". If the film or book for that matter wanted to reach for something besides a predictable spy-thriller it could have explored the matter of personal identity (myth or not?) and Bourne's struggles to gain it back. Rather it bearly touches upon that point and opts for chase scenes. However, the soundtrack was well-done and I bearly noticed how Paris became Prague (due to costs).
"Sunset Strip" was a marginally okay film. The plot is 24-hours in the lives of the characters and their attempts to "make it" in Holloywood. The film seemed more about the clothes and atomsphere than the characters. In fact, there is little development and alot of cliche to fill in those gaps. At the end of the film there was a brief explanation on what happened to the characters later in life and I asked out loud "who cares?"
"Summer Catch" was miserable. Enough Lillard. Enough Prinz.
"Following" was a good film. Chris Nolan made a solid effort and crafted a good story. At a well-paced 70 minutes, the film makes it statement and moves on, much like Cobb in the film. The audio wasn't as good as the film and I to rewind on occasion to make sure I caught the dialogue.
We saw "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" last night and if it wasn't for the last 30 minutes it would have been one of thee worst films I have ever seen in a theatre. It could have possibly beaten out "Dr. Giggles" as the worst film I have sat through in a theater. Why I saw "Dr. Giggles" is unclear but I believe it was at least free. Anyway, I really like the original Star Wars trilogy and I have seen them recently so this isn't a distorted childhood memory at work, they were above average (not great) movies. But, Clones and Menace are really not good. I was interested in how the story develops but the writing in these films and "ready-for-console-gaming" scenes are just not good. Will I see the four remaining films? Oh, yes. But, unless something changes at Lucas Films, these movies just pale in comparison to the majority of sci-fi action films today (Matrix, LOTR, etc.)
"Black Hawk Down" was an average film. I didn't have high expectations but I was interested in how the cinematic portrayal of the flawed 1993 operation would be adapted for the big screen. I was surprised to see that the film starts with "based on a real event" and then immediately plunges into Somalia. I was surprised because I didn't believe people had to be reminded that the subject of the movie was indeed real and there was no substantial backstory to how we got there. I was also disappointed on how little (if any) we learn about the characters (US and Somalian) in the film. For example, the snipers that volunteer to guard the downed copter despite the fact they were facing certain death are probably the most interesting characters, yet the most underdeveloped. The action scenes (75% of the film) are good but not up to par with "Saving Private Ryan". There is also no discussion of how things have changed in military operations (between multiple elite units) since Somalia. I was under the impression that since Panama and in Desert Storm the military has streamlined how elite units work together to be more effective. Also, I recently learned that people will get the chance to see if they can make the raid successful in a late fall release of the video game by the same name.
"Training Day" was a good film. The best performance was definitely Washington and he was impressive in his first (?) major role as a bad guy. Ethan Hawke was better than usual. Our expectations were not high for the overall film but it was an above average cop movie. Plus, nice performances by Macy Gray, Snoop, and Dre. Since I was a long-time fan of "The X-Files" I take pride in being able to spot support characters that had appearances in "X-Files" episodes. "Training Day" had two such appearances: Nick Chinlund (the infamous Donnie Pfaster) and Raymond Cruz from the La Chupa Chabra ep.
"Shrek" was a good film. I could see how kids would enjoy it as well as parents. Nothing necessarily new in the storyline (i.e. don't judge by appearances) but the animation, writing, and voice acting was well done. We both enjoyed the many cameo appearances by past and present cartoon/fairy tale characters.
"Royal Tenenbaums" was a well written and wonderfully directed film by Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket & Rushmore). The acting was great, especially Gwyneth Paltrow and Owen Wilson, who had the highlight of movie with Richie's (Owen Wilson) meltdown on the tennis court. I still believe the Academy overlooked Hackman's excellent performance. Overall, the story moved very well and I could have spent many more hours with the fascinating Tenenbaums.
"Ocean's Eleven" was okay. Better than the original? Maybe. Yet, Soderbergh's homage to the 1960 original was more style than substance.
"Anniversary Party" was good. Directed by the two main stars of the film (Cummings and Leigh) and proof that films can be done quickly but cheaply on digital video. The basic story revolves around the personal problems of the two main characters and their circle of friends that come to celebrate their anniversary. Good performances but an expected ending.
"E.T" was good but mostly seen for sentimental reasons.
"State and Main" was very good. I have been a longtime fan of Mamet's work and this film represented a different direction for him. Movies about making a movie can be difficult to do but this film accomplished a humorous and insightful examination of that task with great one-liners and subtle emotions. Rebecca Pidgeon, Macy, and Hoffman are great in their respective roles. However, I feel that the story could have tightened in places.
"Dude, Where's My Car?" was not as bad as I thought it would be but also not that good either. Nothing more than a stoner comedy with the all to typical addition of some gross out gags. I had low expectations and those were fulfilled.
"Unbreakable" was unwatchable. The plot was not that interesting and the pacing was very slow. I found the choice of camera angle more distracting than useful. There is only one scene that peaked my interest but that soon faded. Willis' quiet reserved acting seems like he genuinely lost interest in this project halfway through filming and Jackson's character comes off as more confused than aware.
"Harry Potter" was good. An interesting and more complex story than I anticipated. The acting was well done and the CGI worked well. The pacing was good and I am curious about how the series ends just as I am with LOTR.
"Lord of the Rings" was very good. I haven't read the books but I have it on good authority that the film was very close to the original text. It is a fascinating and interesting tale. I definitely was pulling for Frodo and the fellowship of the ring to achieve their quest. My only problem with the film is having to wait another 12 months to see the next installment, LOTR: The Two Towers.
"Memento" was a great film and a great puzzle. A review of this film will not make any sense unless you have seen the film (several times too). I recommend you follow the suggestion of LA Film Critic Andy Klein found here: Salon Review of Memento. Neale wasn't as impressed as I was but I prefer non-linear storytelling (e.g. Lynch) more than she does in my movies. Read my explanation: Chris' "memento".
"Spy Game" was enjoyable. The scenes between Redford and Pitt worked very well. Redford carries the film and does a great job doing it. The dialogue was exact and believable. Tony Scott's choice of camera angles/motions was interesting but slightly overused throughout the film. Probably, the most powerful part of the film is how Redford's character solves the main problem and how easily he does it alone. Also, this film encouraged us to check out an episode of CBS' "The Agency" which was no comparison to this film despite having the same writer/screenwriter.
"Don't Say A Word" has a tagline that says "When the daughter of a psychiatrist is kidnapped, he's horrified to discover that the abductors' demand is that he break through to a catatonic young woman who knows a secret." Well, that is pretty much it. Michael Douglas, Famke Janseen (as Douglas' young movie wife...yeah, ok), and Brittany Murphy star in a predictable story that falls within developing film category of "psychological thriller". Like film noir, this genre is getting rather crowded recently with lackluster pieces of work. If the genre started with the works of Hitchcock and Bergman, then screenwriters and directors need to review their DVDs of those classics. The genre of psychological thriller seems to mean mix equal parts of fear, anxiety, and suspense then stand back and watch a predictable story unfold. The actors do an acceptable job with a script that has all its secrets unlocked even before the lights go down.
"Traffic" was a very good movie that accurately, IMO, illustrated some major problems and realities of our current (and future national drug "problem"). However, I feel the strength of this movie was it handled the subject matter very honestly without being 'preachy'. The performances were also outstanding.
"Hannibal" was a good movie. Not better than "Silence of the Lambs" but if it had that would have been a real surprise. The plot depended on developing the relationship between Hannibal and Clarice, which occurred in a predictable fashion. However, the acting was convincing and Gary Oldman did a fantastic job.
"Being John Malcovich" was a great movie. It perfectly captured the idea of wanting to be someone else for 15 minutes and what the implications of that choice could be. A must see.
"Exorcist" was still scary. It was a treat to see it on a large screen with the proper sound effects. By the way, I was saddened that some people think it was a comedy. Don't they realize that 25 years ago this was the film censors thought would ruin the American filmgoer? Guess not.
"One of the Boys", which is a great film with convincing acting, excellent writing, and a compelling plot. This is a film that you must see. Simply, this film deals with a person trying to find out who they are and be who they are, which is the journey of the main character. This was based on a true story and it is accurately depicted. Enjoy.
"Scary Movie", which is a movie that pokes fun at the recent revival in horror films (see Scream or Last Summer). Although funny and at times gross but funny, I was amused. But, I was left wondering who was the real target of the joke: the movies they mocked or the viewers that see them?
"Fight Club". Good. I can't talk about fight club though.
"The Contender". Well done. This was a good movie. Many reviewers commented that the film was overly liberal. But, I did not see this film as being overly liberal. I saw a film that made a strong political statement about the issue of privacy and our reasonable expectations about having it. This film was well-written and acted. Joan Allen did a wonderful job.
"Blair Witch Project II: Book of Shadows". Not good. The film is nothing more than an attempt to make more money. The plot does not reveal anymore about the Blair Witch or its haunting. The acting was passable. We left the theather having learned nothing more than when we came in and were not even amused by what we did see. I had some hopes that the director would help the overall mood of the film but I was disappointed.
"Existenz". Very good film. Cronenberg does not disappoint but he doesn't present anything new. His last few films have been challenging and well-done. This is well-done but not challenging.
"8MM". I believe the tagline was "Some truths should remain hidden" and they were right. This is a dark film that leaves you feeling dirty and confused. There isn't anything wrong with that but not to much right with it either. Cage shows his range, which saved this movie from being a complete diaster like "Snake Eyes".
"Sleepy Hollow". This was a visually dazzling film with great sets, rich colors, and nice camera work. However, that cannot carry a whole movie. Well-acted at times but predictable to the finish.
"The Green Mile". Once again Stephen King wanders away from his usual fare and writes a story free from evil cars, dolls, or manisons. Yet, the same moral strutcure and message remains ever present in his work. There is good and there is evil. Never, does he discuss the gray area, which is much more interesting between the two extremes. This film also gave us another annoying mouse besides Stuart Little to hate for a few hours. The hour (or so it seemed) devoted to the mouse took away from an already weak script.
"The Matrix". A very good movie. Visually dazzling from start to finisg plus a good script. Unlike, "The 13th Floor" is film rose to the challenge of its subject manner. Many good performances as well.
"Pecker". Would the old John Waters please come back?
"Pushing Tin". Most of the actors in this film made better movies within the last few months and this film ended their streaks. This film had a great cast but they had nothing to do while on screen. Predictable from start to finish. The best part of the film was the brief time spent on development between Thorton and Cusak's characters. Instead of a emotional journey and deep personal development, they do the macho-thing and play in jet exhaust.
"Dogma". Is this the same Kevin Smith that did "Clerks" and "Mallrats"? Well, yes. This is a good movie. Funny and smart. Personally, I do not see why Catholic organizations are upset about Smith's film but let "End of Days" and "Stigmata" go without picketing. Smith uses this film to analyze and question his own belief system, which is the real heart of this film. His comedic writing and unique point of view about the subject matter made this an enjoyable film. Probably, one of the most spiritual comedies in recent memory.
"Dazed and Confused". I really do not see why people get so excited about this film.
"American Beauty". Simply, a great film. Well-acted, well-directed, and provoctive. Without giving away the plot, this film directs our attention at the tension and danger lurking just below the surface of American middle-class suburban life (see "Blue Velvet" or "Happiness" for a similar style).
"Red Violin" A good movie. Nice unfolding of the plot. Yet, predicatble in many places. Worth your time.
"Double Jeopardy". What? Why? This was a mistake on a day I suppose to see another film but missed it. "DJ" is an average TV movie script that somehow got mistaken for a motion picture and released in theatres. Again, why?
"Blair Witch Project". Scary? Well, no. Full of tension, convincing performances, and suspense. Yes, yes, and yes. This film was very well done. Since this film has become a summer "hit", I have learned more about the making of this film and that allowed me a deeper appreciation for this style of filmmaking. The two directors took an idea and developed it into a unique cinematic experience for the audience and the cast. I could see and feel the stress the actors were under as they created and executed the scenes. In many scenes, I received the impression that the actors themselves were not sure where the weekend in the woods would take them. In all, well done and a great idea.
"The Sixth Sense". Luckily, I do not see dead people. If I did, I would not have the strength and courage as the young star in the film. Yes, I caught on to the secret surrounding Bruce Willis' character but it did not ruin the story. There were plenty of scary scenes that helped move the story along, not just shock the audience and send plenty of patrons screaming for the exits. The film also makes a good point about the differences between people and that those differences are not easily explained, despite their appearances. Again, well done.
"Limbo". A nice quiet film. It attempted to capture the moments in the lives of its characters. These moments are unexpected, not planned, and fleeting. Despite the efforts the characters made to plan and order their lives, they were simply in limbo as to how this particular moment would develop and lead to something else. Yet, they could not count on any moment leading to another. There was waiting, there was hope, but most of all, there was change, fear, and wonder.
"Waking Ned Devine". Yes, I finally saw it. What was the big deal? Old island folk steal some cash and get away with it. Ok, there was a naked old man on a motorcycle. So? I missed the excitement about this film. Not bad, but not that good.
"South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut". If you like the TV show, you will love the movie. If you do not like the TV show, you will not like this film. If you watch the show, but do not tell anyone because you are afraid your so-called friends will judge you as liking "silly humor" than you need help. I can't give you any help but I can say this was a funny film that was just what it was titled: bigger, longer, uncut, and FUNNIER than the TV show lately. I liked.
"Summer of Sam". Spike Lee is a great director and writer. But, he makes mistakes (remember, "Girl 6"? no, you probably don't). "Summer of Sam" is a long, badly acted, wandering, tedious, and annoying film. After about an hour of rushed lines and tiresome 70's "Greatest Hits" in every scene, I wished the actual Son of Sam would burst into the theatre so something interesting would happen in relation to my viewing this film. Nice idea but this project wasted its opportunity to make that idea into something worthwhile.
"Rushmore" was a film that had a heart for young love and its heart breaks. If you can accept Max Fischer as the 15 year-old ringmaster of the lives he touches then this film has something to offer you. Bill Murray was great in a supporting role. Very nice and a few laughs.
"Austin Powers:TSWSM". Ok, you have to be a fan of the first Austin Powers to appreciate the second installment. There were some truly funny parts and some parts were forced. In a few cases, I could see the gag coming and that ruins the joke for me. Overall, Dr. Evil was the most interesting character and we learned more about his brand of evil. Also, Mike Meyers did an excellent job of switching between the characters he played and separated the scenes very well. In my opinion, the funniest scenes involved the rocket and I will say no more as not to ruin it for anyone else. Worth your time if your into some crude humor and simple fun.
"Star Wars: TPM". It was a great looking film but the digital characters (i.e. Jar Jar Binks) really didn't fit into the movie. Even George Lucas has not figured out how to make digital characters truly believable on the screen. The story was predicatable and there were no surprises in the unfolding of the plot. Personally, Jar Jar Binks (designed for the real kids) and the young Darth Vader were annoying. The overall acting in the film was wooden. The exceptions being Liam Neisom and Samuel Jackson but they did good jobs because they are experienced actors that made the best of a shaky script. I imagine that Lucas gets very little critical review before putting the script and actors on film as far I can can tell from the finish product. Ok, I did like it but it wasn't great. But, has any of the Star Wars films been that great? No. However, I look forward to where the overall story is going and how the sequels will help clarify the vision of Lucas. In short, I grew up with Star Wars (toys, etc.) and it still captures my imagination despite its shortcomings.
"Election" was a tough film to like. Despite the hype that this film has gotten, I really didn't see why it was so favored. Simply, another MTV production that wants to shock and go for the the easy laugh. Furthermore, mean high schools kids really isn't that funny for me. Also, can anyone answer why Mathew Broderick has committed career suicide in his last three or four films? What happened?
"Bulworth" was very funny and a great satire. Warren Beatty keeps surprising me with the roles he takes, which shows his range and wit. Overall, this was a great film about politics of our times. However, the relationship between Holly Berry's character and Senator Bulworth only hurt the intergity of both characters. Predictable ending too. Yet, many laughs.
"Dead Man on Campus", ok it was a late night. Not great, a few laughs. But, why do mean college kids make me laugh and mean high school kids (i.e. "Election") don't? Maybe it was my mood. Nothing exciting in this film, wait til cable if you ask me.
"Jerry Springer's Ringmaster", again, it was late at night. Yes, the same old typical Jerry Springer "lovers' battle" story that we have seen on the show many, many times. Yet, I wanted to know if this film would take itself too seriously or be itself? Well, it was itself. Yet again, nothing special and wait until cable, basic cable!
"Ravenous" and "13th Warrior", oh the joys of late night cable. Both films dealt with cannibalism and how people reacted to the issue. Both films had the same answer: kill people that eat other people (some taboos will never change, I guess). As I was watching these films, I kept asking the same question: why was this film made? They take a very simple idea (to eat or not to eat people), find an appealing location (mountains), and waste a good deal of money on a film that will probably not do very well. Is there a large group of moviegoers want to see the issue of cannibalism explored on the big screen? Obiviously not. Please take this money and spend it on something else.
T O P