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kevin22

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10 reviews in total 
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A movie for the rest of us..., 26 July 2001
8/10

While I am no longer 18, I still felt a deep connection with Enid and Rebecca. Ghost World portrays teenage life for the rest of us: we may not have been the most popular in school, nor did we particularly enjoy extracurricular activities, but we had distinct interests and ideas and didn't adhere to the conformist, corporate schema.

There have been numerous mediocre films made over the last four or so years (e.g. American Pie, Can't Hardly Wait, She's All That) attempting to appeal to the youth of today. Many of them are glammy `Hollywood' efforts: plot based, unrealistic drivel written by adults too far removed from their own high school graduation and first jobs to understand what being young was really like. Ghost World paints a realistic, unresolved portrait of the pains of growing up, ambivalence about one's future, and other everyday angst, thus separating itself from the norm. What's wonderful is that Ghost World is a mainstream movie, but not excessively so. It has such a wonderful balance of counter-culture and mainstream culture that I found myself not specifically focusing on the cultural criticism, but instead narrowing in on the richly nuanced characters.

Yi Yi (2000)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
perfect melancholy..., 2 December 2000
10/10

People often complain films today don't care enough about their characters; or that the screen is filled with too many clichés. At nearly three hours, Yi Yi gives itself the time to develop and maintain elaborate realism and a delicate pace. The film is brilliant because it is composed of many small interconnected moments, not one contrived string of plot elements.

The film includes grand moments such as birth, marriage and death, but most importantly it depicts everyday life. The wonderful cinematography quietly reveals modern and urban Taipei, a city whose architecture and landscape is as complex as its inhabitants. Yi Yi is a contemporary film which effectively shows the human condition all at once as precious and painful, ephemeral and imperfect.

Power in its ambiguousness..., 24 April 2000

From my point of view, the main themes of this film are unrequited love and the allure of physical beauty. I am sure there will be no strong consensus what the theme of this film is, especially since individual perception plays a crucial role on two levels. First, the boys try to interpret the enigma of the Lisbon sisters. Second, the viewer must also try to understand the Lisbon girls, plus interpret the boys' fascination with them.

While there are few truths in this film, and as uneven as I felt walking out of the theater, I truly enjoyed the experience. What made the film exceptional from what could have been just a decent film was the direction and cinematography. While retro-stylish, Ms. Coppola's portrait of the 70s spared the clichés, much like the film adaptation of Rick Moody's The Ice Storm was able to effectively convey.

The Virgin Suicides is dreamy, pensive, melancholic, dark, moody, humorous, equivocal, mystical and depressing. The range of emotions seem to flutter at random, unexpected intervals. I am extremely curious as to how the mainstream audience will perceive this film. Whereas last year's American Beauty asked the audience to "look closer," trying to dissect this film seems futile. True enjoyment of this film seems to come from letting the mystery be. Of course, this is only my perception.

Mausoleum (1983)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Before 'The Sixth Sense'..., 19 April 2000
9/10

I recently had the privilege of attending a private screening of the unedited directors cut of Mausoleum. Not having seen the theatrical version, I have no comparison to judge by, but what I can say is this...

This movie has everything one could desire from a low end horror/suspense film. From ample doses of misplaced eerie music to gratuitous nudity and generous views of some of the more upscale gated neighborhoods of Northridge, California, what more is there to ask for?! What makes this film a true underground classic, setting it apart from others in this category is the final shot, the twist at the end a la "The Sixth Sense" (or any other film which has a most unexpected and surprising "gotcha!" ending). I laughed a lot, I pondered the great questions in life, and after it was all over, I knew the journey was well worth taking.

Can all movies do this, class? Puts your hands down. We all know this homage to Hitchcock, De Palma, Craven and Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist is so far ahead of itself it's standing right behind you. Give yourself a golden star if you agree.

Begotten (1990)
13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Pure Nihilism..., 19 April 2000
5/10

As a fan of early filmmaking, I can appreciate the cinematography and overall technique in making this look primitive. However, my admiration ends there. I cannot think of another film in recent years which has disturbed me as much as Begotten, especially since I am unsure if what I was disturbed by was actually what was portrayed on screen.

Being alone in a dark forest without a flashlight, every distant sound and tree or rock in the shadows plays onto the imagination. After a while you begin seeing things which may or may not be there, and they scare the hell out of you! Most of Begotten succeeds in providing this type of paranoia.

Pornography, art, violence? This is the true avant-garde. Were the filmmakers joking when they made this or were they serious? One can only hope the former would be true.

Gummo (1997)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Beauty in the "ugly", 2 November 1999

I'm sick and tired of critics and others putting down people for enjoying this film as if they were in fact caught in some game of self deception. Surprise!!! This film does not follow a traditional narrative structure. If you can get past this, perhaps you might enjoy the film afterall. Those expecting a plot, don't. It is that simple. This is a post-modernist poem which paints a portrait of poverty, moral bankruptcy and ignorance. It also offers an untraditional representation of aesthetics. Then again, maybe it doesn't... . Put your own meaning into the film; don't take my word for it.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Saddened it didn't do better at the box office, but is this really a commercial film?, 11 January 1999

-Too mature for small children, but with a subject matter which doesn't appeal to the adult masses.

-Experimental on most levels: cinematography, lighting, effects, script writing. Even the same story would probably seem strange if it were made as a cartoon.

-With a hybrid of German Expressionism and dark comedy marketed in a family film package, there's bound to be trouble.

-Timing: couldn't have been worse. With "A Bug's Life" released the same weekend, families tend to pick an animated Disney film over just about everything else.

Overall, I loved the film. It is certainly one of the most innovative and entertaining pieces of movie-making to come out of the studios in '98. It is probably going to take strong word of mouth and a unique video marketing strategy to have another installment made. Regardless of its future, I applaud the filmmakers for making an audacious, thrilling, and heart-warming sequel instead of following a tried and true formula.

14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
A visual delight... perhaps Keaton's Best Short., 2 December 1998
10/10

Drawing from his experience in vaudeville during his youth, The Playhouse is one of Keaton's most autobiographical shorts. Keaton displays his inventive genius for visual effects in a dream sequence by playing the role of all performers in a minstrel show and its audience as well. Each Buster, from drum player to a Grandma Buster, has its own distinctive personality and character. This is truly one of the great sequences of Keaton's career.

Buster is awakened from his dream of grandiose, caught sleeping on the job. In the second part of the short, he plays a stagehand who gets into trouble both on and off the stage. From this point forward the short relies less on technical marvel, but remains equally entertaining. Keaton's facial impressions when dressed up as a monkey are priceless.

As with most Keaton shorts, there are many unique details which enhance the overall film, but are not essential to the plot. Some of the funniest shots in the film don't even involve Buster, specifically two hilarious Civil War veterans in the theater's audience, each with only one arm.

Buster's co-star in The Playhouse is Virginia Fox. She does a charming job in a dual role playing twins. It has been written that in his youth Buster had a fondness for twin performers and was known to pursue both sisters.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A flawed, but worthwhile light romantic comedy..., 16 October 1998
7/10

Just friends initially appears as another generic, feel good, cliché ridden, dating in the '90s movie. It essentially is this, but it also provides a solid character study of two people and whether or not they can remain platonic friends. "When Harry Met Sally" is a better film in the genre, but overall "Just Friends" is a decent light romantic comedy. I feel the bottom line is that romance junkies will probably enjoy it, while most others will likely become bored after the first 10-15 minutes.

Great special effects + weak script = mediocre film, 16 October 1998

This film is like a multi-million dollar Hallmark Card. Visually stunning, but void of original content, "What Dreams May Come" looks beautiful, but is limited to its aesthetics. This film could have been world's more philosophical, instead it took the mainstream, superficial American cinema shortcut. If Disneyland decides to create a ride based on heaven and hell, they could easily adapt this film's script to suit their needs. Albert Brook's hilarious and original endeavor into the afterlife, "Defending Your Life," is tremendously more inspiring and romantic.