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Oliver1984

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21 reviews in total 
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43 out of 54 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant movie, 16 March 2000



Menace was a brilliant film. There are many reasons to it, but I think what makes it so special is it's sense of style. It proves effectively that a gritty street-drama doesn't have to look bad in order to be realistic. Instead of using hand held cams and grainy film the Hughes' shoot their film with style, influenced by John Woo, and action-comics.

The violence used is also excessive and very graphic. There are brutal beatings as well as bloody shootings, all shot much better than your average action-movie. Like as in Dead Presidents, the directors aren't afraid of over-doing anything. Through slow-motion and impressive camera manoeuvering they're making great, exhilarating action.

Well, besides the violence the movie is great in many other ways. The shootings and bloodlettings are just to make it more realistic, which is pretty much the goal of the movie. In heartbreaking detail the main characters narrate us through youth criminality, drug-dealing, racism and a lot of other nasty stuff. The voice-over works really well, making Menace a sort of black "Goodfellas".

The story is great, in some points resembling some greek tragedy, with a storyline used successfully in other movies like Carlito's Way, Goodfellas, American History X and many others. It's about changing your life in time, before it's too late. If you don't change in time, all your past sins will come back to you. The movie is hilarious, sad, suspenseful and very educational for those who think there is racial equality in USA.

The Hughes' are young, aggressive and untouchable film-makers who intend to show you the real world, and do it with style.

Deep-going account of people under extreme pressure, 25 February 2000

I wasn't sure what to expect when I was going to see the Insider. I thought it was going to be a good entertaining action-thriller like Heat or Absolute Power, but wrong I was. The Insider proved me wrong about one thing, Michael Mann. Having made so many movies about bad guys getting shot, and sweaty cops screaming at each other, he underlines the facts that made his other movies so good, in the Insider. It's much more difficult than you'd think, and it presents Mann as a professional and experienced movie director, who finally gets a shot at what he really wants to do.

The Insider was entirely about people. There weren't any high-budget action sequences to boost the entertainment value. To make it even less commercial, it was filmed with handheld camera, and it didn't even try to look good, but to describe in detail the lives of the people involved. First I was uncomfortable with the filming style, but I soon realised why it was necessary. There was a certain realistic flair to it that made it even more touching, and it made the viewer either focus on the characters and the plot, or get bored.

The plot was very complex and it would have been very hard to follow if Mann wasn't such a good director. He has a firm grip of the cast, and doesn't let anyone overdo their performances. The dialogue isn't the hip, smart-ass kind you find in a lot of movies, but realistic and free of well thought out one-liners. They actually talk like real people do, and the humour is very low-key. The actors are in on it too, and no-one does more than his own part. The overall style is semi-documentary, touching th viewer on a deeper level, because these are real people.

The special thing about this movie is the way it depicts people. Usually in this kind of genre, the people are just tools used to get the plot moving, and machine guns and cars are the real protagonists. Michael Mann always portrays the people in bigger detail, and shows how the events affect them. In the Insider he throws away all the commercial gloss that remained in Heat (not much, though), and makes the ultimate Michael Mann-film, a humanistic thriller-drama at it's purest.

Besides the stuff above, Mann also delivers some intelligent media criticism, showing how capitalist executives can smother the truth and deceive the public in the name of the dollar. Great movie, but don't leave your brain in the coathanger when you see this one.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Highly Overrated, 25 February 2000

I guess when you hear Frank Darabont is making a Stephen King prison-movie, you can't avoid comparison with the vastly superior Shawshank Redemption, but the fact is that the only thing combining theses two movies are those three things.

Green Mile is a triumph in camera-work, direction and acting. The movies visual look is outstanding, and the actors deliver good performances. This is much courtesy to Darabont, since Shawshank also was well filmed and acted throughout. No complaints there.

But when it comes to plot it seems Darabont is trying to get away with the same thing he did in Shawshank, mixing a lot of sentimental crap in between, to make the movie more appealing to mainstream audiences. Where Shawshank was one of the rare movies to be overly sentimental, profane and grim at the same time (I still don't get how he pulled it off), and still being touching and entertaining, The Green Mile fails to do so. On one hand there are the graphic disgusting executions, and the tasteless barbeque jokes, and then there's a huge endearing innocent guy who's healing everyone. That just doesn't work.

There's probably more graphic violence in Green Mile than in Shawshank, but also more sentimentality, and besides there's a rather silly E.T wannabe subplot that's overshadowed by all of the other stuff going on. The result is a good-looking, entertaining, but empty movie.

Darabont is probably trying to make a statement about the death-penalty, but it isn't working the way it's supposed to. Just by having extremely graphic electrocutions of sympathetic characters, and inmate psychos sneering at it, it doesn't make the viewer think it's wrong. I think i actually heard someone laugh at the "barbeque-jokes", and that proves that the movie didn't do what it was supposed to. In the ending scene it's more effective even though the electrocution is shown off-screen, but it is spoiled by excess sentimentality.

The good part is that the movie isn't boring at all. It's very entertaining and the length doesn't seem to be a problem. Conclusion: to say it is an ultimate humanistic prison-epic is wrong, but to say that it's good, stylish entertainment is very close to the truth.

Godzilla (1998/I)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Incredibly BAD movie, 15 February 2000

As I see it there are three categories of bad movies 1) those that are boring 2) those that are unintentionally funny and 3) those that move you from the bottom of your soul by being so incredibly, mesmerisingly awful. Godzilla falls into the third category, and it's a straight insult towards the viewer by being as brainless and stupid as it is.

Godzilla is one of those "Independence Day"-offsprings that are trying to cash in on the publics craving for special FX and stuff blowing up. Godzilla's sky high budget goes alltogether to waste, and the director has only succeeded in producing a two hour long piece of S**t! The director has made a sloppy job on everything, I don't think he even spell-checked the script. The actors don't seem to know what they're doing, and they don't seem to care either. Same goes for the viewer.

The dialogue is some of the silliest I've ever heard, even the monster is more human than the main characters. The plot consists of people screaming, buildings exploding and high-tech babble, and it doesn't get any better towards the end, either. The result would be a very boring two hours, but there's one more fatal flaw.

The very fact that someone actually thought that this could be entertaining to someone is incredible! The huge underestimating of the viewer is to me very insulting, and the naïvity of the producers is unbelievable. How someone could invest 100 million dollars on this, is past my understanding, just think how many brilliant indie-movies could have been made with that money!

If you want to keep your faith in the future of film industry, don't watch this. If you're expecting another "Plan Nine", prepare for worse. There is no reason for someone to watch this, so don't. You'll end up wasting two hours of your life like me, and believe me you don't want to spend them this way!!!!!!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Apocalyptic Depiction of Youth, 10 February 2000

Doom Generation is a pretty sick movie in the sense of containing offensive and unpleasant audiovisual material, but the weirdest part is that it's actually very well done. Usually when you're watching violent movies of this caliber, they're pretty bad. This one is deliberately sadistic and horrible, and seamingly pointless in it's endless display of perverse sex and brutal violence, but well done as if it had something to say. Well, what is it?

Firstly, there are apocalyptic symbolics throughout the film (remember the 666 gag, for example?) and all the characters seem to represent the same age group. The title, DOOM GENERATION, gives us a clue of what this film is about, doesn't it?

Secondly, it's a road movie. The point with all road movies is to depict an inner growth in the characters, while travelling long distances. This movie deliberately doesn't let the characters grow more mature, or let the story get sappy. The characters encounter terrible things one after another, but instead of showing any signs of remorse or human feelings, it leaves the persons cold and without any feelings, thus depicting the numbness of the so called Generation X, that the characters represent.

The journey leads nowhere, and so do we, this generation, the director seems to say. A generation so jaded by such an evil world that we're living in today, can't possible go anywhere but further where humanity has gone since it's dawn, to the end. Sure, it's pessimistic, but it has got a point, not a nice one but worth thinking.

A word of warning should be in it's place, if you're thinking about watching this. Not only is it unpleasant in the graphical sense, but also very bleak and depressing, so if you thought "Kids" was shocking, think again before watching this one.

Thesis (1996)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good subject (contains potential spoilers), 9 February 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having seen a wide variety of spanish movies (Almodovar mostly), i was surprised at this one not being like any one I'd seen. Firstly, this one hasn't got a single transvestite or homosexual in it, and secondly it's strictly suspense, so people with euro-drama-movie-phobia can watch this one, too.

It deals with the subject of snuff movies as a reaction to the public's demanding of more violent material. It may be justified, since movies have been growing more violent through the decades. It's trying to tell us that the people that are showing it are as morally decadent as the ones that are making it. Good point, allthough the movie seems pretty superficial because it's guilty of the same sin.

The movie itself is a very good example of stylish and suspenseful moviemaking, and it's constantly entertaining without any dull moments. There lies the dilemma between theme/movie. The entertainment lies in the plot and in the stylish, graphic violence, and without it the movie wouldn't be as effective, now would it?

The ending sums up the entire movie, and makes it clear to everyone what it's preaching about, but at the same time shows the moral flaws of the movie itself. Maybe the movie is trying to make the viewer feel guilty for watching it, but at the same time it acknowledges the need for violence in order to make the movie work. That's pretty contradicting isn't it? Perhaps the movie is trying to prove how morally corrupt the world is today by presenting itself as a evil product of modern society. That's acceptable, but at the same time it proves it's own helplessness in front of the public demand, and that's not very useful.

It's a tough subject, granted, but if the viewer is able to put that aside he/she will find an excellent movie, a spanish Scream, if you will, in the footsteps of Hitchcock, De Palma among others. If you are a fan of thrillers, this is one of the decades best.

Extraordinarily Perceptive Movie, 9 February 2000
10/10

Office Space was (surprisingly) dismissed as a mediocre comedy, and before having seen it, I was very surprised at that since I knew it was penned and directed by Mike Judge himself.

I am a big fan of Beavis and Butthead, and thus I knew that Judge could never do anything mediocre and unoriginal. A great contradiction, you might think, but the fact is that B & B was a VERY funny and intelligent tv-series, even though most people considered it immature and offensive. The movie was even better than the series, and though critics didn't like it it had a huge audience who loved it, and for a reason.

Judge isn't afraid to dive beneath the surface, and reveal a world where no one is perfect, and to question the very society and the values that we are fed up with. Whether it's about work or adolescence, Judge refuses to compromise, and shows everything how it is. That's where the comedy lies, in the truth. Judge shows the neuroses of office workers, their bosses and their basic human desire for freedom, that finally drives the main protagonist to his own personal revolution against his work, the system, and most of all himself. And believe it or not, all this is hilarious!

Office Space is one of the few comedies that are to be taken seriously, amongst others like "Something About Mary", or "The Truman Show", and therefor I think it deserves a place besides the other more perceptive films of 1999 like "American Beauty", or "Happiness". Besides the screenplay is brilliant, and it will keep you laughing for days! Grrreat.

8MM (1999)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Controversial Thriller, 24 January 2000

One thing I can't understand is the understating of this movie. Critics claim that it was supposedly too long, and that it was bleak and relentless without a point. This only proves the age-old "USA vs. Sexuality"-dilemma really exists.

If a movie shows a considerable amount of skin, some people are going to hate it, but to say that 8mm does this without a point is a huge error. First, let's examine the surface of the movie. The subject, for one thing, is very controversial, and to make a movie about snuff is very risky, if you're planning on a blockbuster hit movie. This pretty much eliminates the accusation of the movie being sole entertainment.

The visuality is all together very dark, and sex is presented in a non-exiting manner, which proves that the movie isn't just another skin-flick, and anyone watching 8mm as a porn movie, should have his/her head examined. Also, the violence in the movie is ugly and non-appealing, reminiscent of another understated film, Fight Club. In other words, it doesn't exploit what it is against.

The plot is said to be prolonged and boring. If they had ended the movie where Tom Welles escapes the porno lair, having killed Dino Velvet, what would the film had proven? That snuff is morally wrong? That there are weirdos out there to take advantage of us? Please, those are old subjects, which needn't be reminded of. The story needs to go on in order to justify the sex and violence shown in it.

As Tom Welles kills Machine in the scary ending scene, Machine sums up the whole movie with his death line, and the ending shot of Welles' anxious face reveals to us the real message. Which is? Killing a man is wrong, whoever gets killed, and whoever is the killer. Every rapist, serial killer, mass murderer, is still a human being and no human is more worth than another. An old subject too, someone might say. Well, why does USA still have the death penalty? That's something a lot of people don't think of.

In bringing this message forth Joel Schumacher and Andrew Kevin Walker have done a nice job. Walker was all ready familiar with the subject in the equally controversial "Se7en", and Schumacher had touched the subject of social criticism and alienation in his most overlooked film, "Falling Down".

9/10

Interesting failure, 23 January 2000

Mickey Blue Eyes was one of those movies that was made because there was a craving for such a movie. After the very funny and successful Notting Hill, the public wanted Hugh Grant, and that's what the got. But what about the film?

The film itself is an utter failure, a potpurri of ingredients that don't mix, accompanied by an amateur director who doesn't seem to be in control of his material. The film begins as a mediocre romantic comedy, with scenes that audiences can't identify themselves with, and actors who have NO chemistry between them.

Well, you think, every film takes it's time to get started, but this one never does. The Mafia part of the movie is too cliched and superficial to even be remotely funny, and James Caan never seems to get into his part. Poor guy, he's had plenty of good parts through the years, that in Godfather for example...

The plot is incoherent and tries to mix romantic comedy, black comedy, drama, action and tragedy, thus confusing the public, not allowing them to get in the mood. The jokes are easily predictable and Hugh Grant doesn't even deliver them properly. Besides there are some offbeat characters who don't make sense, probably meant to be funny.

Somehow all this still is very rewarding. This movie is a failure up on the shelves with Showgirls, Godzilla, Casino Royale and many others. Film connoisseurs will spot the mistakes and talk about them for hours, or directors will watch it as an educational video how not to make movies. That's the pleasure you get out of this movie. I think very few will appreciate it for the romantic Hugh-movie it's supposed to be.

Brilliant, 10 February 1999
10/10

Before I'd seen this movie, I'd heard and read a lot about it. People were saying how sick yet intelligent it was. Well, I had no reason to doubt them having seen Braindead, Bad Taste and Heavenly Creatures, so I went ahead and bought it. It took me completely by surprise. I hadn't expected anything this good. I mean, there were zillions of funny jokes, intelligent criticism against mass media, and the photography and the puppets were beautiful. The film even had great symbolics, each animal represented a certain type of character (for example, a gossip journal reporter was a crap-eating fly), and the ending song reflects ironically upon the entire movie. Meet the Feebles will certainly make you laugh, maybe puke.


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