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Star Trek (2009)
And I'm a trekkie from way, way back. I expected to see some disparaging comments from the radicals, but the depth of emotion on some of the rants I've read surprise me.
Take it for what it is; an attempt to reboot the franchise without all the continuity issues that would come from placing it in the same reality.
And a damn good attempt it was. Pine was excellent as Kirk. Not an impersonation of The Shat, but Kirk in all his arrogant, self-assured, horny glory.
Oh sure there were a couple of plot elements which I didn't entirely agree with, but hey, overall a lot of fun.
Tarzan Triumphs (1943)
Propaganda at its best (worst?).
I haven't seen this film in over twenty years, but I remember it vividly. I remember laughing all the way through. In its day of course, Tarzan defeating a bunch of bumbling nazi idiots was seen as a proper patriotic display. Now it is a wonderful example of propaganda and laughable in its lack of subtlety. The part that I remember most clearly is where Cheetah (the chimpanzee) gets hold of a Nazi radio and begins to chatter away on it. The Nazis on the receiving end assume it is the fuhrer and do the full Heil Hitler bit. Hilarious. If I could get a copy of this film I would use it in my film classes as an example of its era.
The Woman in Black (1989)
Oh, this is scary!
This is a lovely example of what a horror story should be. Good eerie atmosphere, simple effects, and heart-stopping tension. Obviously low-budget but this film uses that to its advantage. Instead of computer graphics, make-up, and gore, we get shadows, noises, and acting. Don't watch this alone.
Johnny Skidmarks (1998)
A poor Coen Brothers clone
This film wants to be a black comedy, but doesn't quite pull it off. It's like the director every now and then said "Oh yeah, it's a black comedy. Do something funny now". It just isn't consistent. Watch "Fargo" instead. I think Frances McDormand was trying to reprise her wonderful role in that film and picked this loser. And John Lithgow is capable of so much better. Not bad but very ordinary.
Somewhere in the Darkness (1999)
A fairly esoteric tale. Dark at times, but with relatively positive outcomes. I don't pretend to understand it all. it's one of those films where it could mean different things to different people.
Basically, the plot involves three people trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building. An old Irishman tries to keep the spirits of a small boy afloat, while an antagonistic individual tries to lower them. The shadowy lower figure, whose face is never entirely seen, is obviously a devil figure, while the old man with the white beard speaks of his experiences in the afterlife (read Heaven). Definitely worth a look.
Meet Joe Black (1998)
Tedium in the extreme
If there was ever a film that required an hour slashed from its length, it's this one. Now, I love a good romantic film, one that makes me sniffle a little, and this one started well. You know, a bit of true love and so on. But did it go on? And on and on and on ad infinitum. I was so tired of flowery speeches and interminable pauses full of "meaningful" looks, that by the end I was screaming for death to take them ALL! Mercy please. 3 hours! 3 bloody hours! It barely had the plot to carry it 1. Make the bad man go away.
Two Hands (1999)
There's something for everyone.
A wonderfully seedy look at Sydney, with some very interesting and realistic characters. There are also characters who are almost caricatures, but intentionally so. A dash of interconnectedness and some yin and yang thrown in make this an unusual film if you were only expecting a gangster flick. Pathos, comedy, love at first sight, and a happy ending. There's something for everyone.
What Dreams May Come (1998)
An interesting idea goes amiss
Being a BIG Robin Williams fan, and being a sucker for soppy movies (especially ones about love against all odds) I thought this would be the movie for me. Oh dear. It was heavy-handed, mushy beyond belief and, despite some interesting cinemaphotography, eventually tedious. Only one scene tugged my heart a little and that was where Williams' character was reunited with his daughter. And I'm a guy who cried at the end of Boogie Nights. Not one of Williams' best films.