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American Psycho (2000)
A waste of a good book...
Prior to the film's release I remember reading an interview with director Mary Harron who was commenting on the rumor that Leonardo DiCaprio was supposed to star in American Psycho. She stated it would be totally wrong and ruin the book for what it is. After watching this movie, I can say that its the director and her whole crew who ruined a book which could have been made into a good movie. First off, the movie has no feel to it..one would think it would be easy to re-create New York in the 80's..instead it is so obvious that its Toronto being substituted for NY and the director's lack of attention to detail ruins many shots. Extra's have 1999 clothes, haircuts and I could swear I saw an extra with the latest model cell phone in the back ground. In addition, the manner in which it was shot felt like I was watching a Canadian made for T.V. afterschool special.
Secondly, besides the faults of the set director, etc. The casting director should never work again! Christian Bale delivers such a mediocre and dull performance its a wonder how he ever made it into acting. This is the type of role an actor could really set his mark with for years to come...instead Bale proves that either he is not ready for these kinds of role's or he's just not made for serious roles. The director refused to cast a big name in the starring role...little did she realize that there is a reason Leonardo Dicaprio, Edward Norton and Matt Damon are paid the big "bucks"..they can act and deliver amazing performances. When she can finally look beyond her "Hollywood is evil!" approach she might start making decent movies and not ruin a good book. If you have not seen this movie..avoid it...its a TERRIBLE attempt at making something different and original..in my opinion..the director was too novice for this type of film and really had no clue where to go with it! Avoid this movie!!
Three Kings (1999)
One of the years best
Personally I thought that 1999 was a disappointing year in cinema with the exception of a few..this is one of them. I thought it was a great script, great visuals and had great direction. Clooney was superb, Wahlberg was better than usual and Ice Cube actually acted for once. I must admit the story began to get a bit too hero-ish towards the end but in the whole sphere of things it kind of fits in. The camera shots were refreshing and I think it did what Platoon did for Vietnam..told the true story. Bravo to David Russell
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
Visual masterpiece, Great Actors...
Bringing out the dead is not for everyone. Either you really love this film or will hate it. If you like Martin Scorsese films and appreciate the great talents of Nicolas Cage this film will be like a "feast". This is probably Nicolas Cage's greatest performance since his days as Sailor in "Wild at Heart" or Ben in "Leaving Las Vegas". This is a part Cage was born to play: a miserable, gloomy man who hates his job and is going through his own personal hell. In addition, the feel of this film is incredible. The support cast with the exception of Patricia Arquette is incredible. Tom Sizemore, Ving Rhames and John Goodman all shine and leave you asking for more. The story is not really the issue here. Don't expect some deep plot with twists and turns...its about the hellish life of a paramedic and his own world. Appreciate it for what it is. Grade: A-
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Much ado about "NOTHING"...
This was one of the most disappointing films in a long time. After all the hype and people going on about this film I finally watched it and left the theatre convinced those other people were talking about another film. The script was extremely clichéd, characters so unreal and situations out of a bad after school special. I enjoyed Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's other roles (notably Chasing Amy & Rainmaker) but this was terrible. There were simply too many unanswered questions and ridiculous events. Next time Hollywood wants to feed us this crap, they should take into account that we are all not so moronic to eat it up.
Casual Sex? (1988)
Not all that bad...
Though I would not think of watching this film at the theater, it's not all that bad critics made it out to be. Some situations are fairly funny, the story takes wild turns and more importantly, it is Andrew Clay's best performance. Behind the x-rated nursery rhymes and sexist jokes he can act if given the right role (like most actors!). He is the only true "Good" thing about this movie and steals every scene. Remember this: years from now when another Tarantino-esque young director has his way, Andrew Dice Clay will be given a juicy role and make a a-la-Travolta comeback.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Regardless of whether you like war films or are against violence on film. The first twenty minutes of this film are incredible. It lets us realize why it is important to remember our past, honor those who fought for our respected countries and why under any means necessary nations should aim for peace above all else. With Saving Private Ryan I have newfound respect for Spielberg as a film maker, the fighting scenes show that no man is a hero and no man is above any other. The camera, the action, the effects, etc left the audience speechless. Hopefully, this film will open up people's eyes to realize that remembrance day is more than just wearing a poppy (in Canada that is) or watching veterans gather together.
Johnny Stecchino (1991)
Roberto Benigni does it again
For anyone who questions Roberto Benigni's talent as a comic, rent Johnny Stecchino. In Life is Beautiful Benigni showed us his gift as a director/storyteller/artist, in Johnny Stecchino Roberto Benigni demonstrates why a nation of 70 million (Italy) have loved this man long before North America saw Life is Beautiful. Johnny Stecchino was written and directed by Benigni and exemplifies his genius as a physical comic and comedy writer. The story is hilarious and will have you dying of laughter. By the way, if you really have no knowledge the Italian language you may miss some key one-liners which simply cannot be translated but you will get the overall "gist" of this extremely funny film.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Spike Lee at his best...
Do the Right thing is without a doubt Spike Lee's greatest film to date. John Turturro, Danny Aiello, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito and Ozzie Davis are all superb. The only flaw was Spike Lee who has too big a role and plays it with too little experience (as an actor) and gets overshadowed in every scene. The dialogue between the Italian and African Americans is superb, Lee has certainly captured the mindset of many different nationalities living/working together in a small suburb. If you have not rented this movie, do so. If you're a fan of comedy, drama or even great cinema watch this movie. It certainly will be worth your time.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Not for the amateurs.
If you're one of those whose idea of great cinema is happy people in happy cities with happy endings, Pulp Fiction is not for you. For the cinema "buff" who will appreciate something different and not be threatened by something out of the mainstream watch Pulp Fiction. Nearly 80% of independent films have an element of Pulp Fiction in them. Be it the dialogue dealing with pop culture, in your face violent scenes or the new film noir look which Tarantino invented. One can appreciate this film for many reasons. For one, Tarantino does not treat the audience like total idiots much the way most directors do. He will let us judge things on our own and more importantly he does not attempt to save the world. Every scene was skillfully thought out and perfected. If his style offends you then perhaps you can rent "The Sound of Music" or "Pretty Woman" and get your spirits up again!
Things to do in Denver is one of those well written, well acted and overall good movie which for some reason comes up short overall. This is not a Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction but it is fairly good. The one-liners, mannerisms and expressions are truly original. Some actors such as Andy Garcia and Treat Williams play their roles to perfection. However, this small film tried too hard. The romantic aspect was copied from virtually every film noir and conclusions seemed rushed and not really thought out. All in all however a good film due to the great dialogue from Scott Rosenberg.