6 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
A Perfect Title -- SPOILERS
19 June 2007
The title not only provides the film's name, it eloquently defines the film's three acts:

Act 1: "Where the Truth Lies ... hidden" -- A great tragedy causes the downfall of two flawed "heroes". A reporter endeavors to uncover the hidden truth.

Act 2: "Where the Truth Lies ... because the truth tells lies" -- Facts intermingle with perspective to deceive the observer. Context untangles the knot surrounding the truth.

Act 3: "Where the Truth Lies ... ready to pounce" -- Though "the butler did it" his sadistic greed threatens the innocent. The truth is held back to protect the them.

A very tidy plot and well told story. It would have been perfect if the director did not allow his infatuation with beautiful women to color the story. Beautiful sex scenes provided a glossy patina to what should have been seedy debauchery. Female characters were not allowed to fully reveal the concupiscent flaws of the "heroes". For example, Alison Lohman uncovered her charms but not her claws. She should not have been directed so cautiously.
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Best Dragonball Z Episode Ever
8 November 2003
The magic of the first Matrix was found in its silence and austerity regarding its philosophical underpinnings. This allowed the viewers to participate vicariously by grafting their own stories into the gaps. While "The Matrix" focused on creating questions, "Reloaded" and "Revolutions" preaches with answers that corral the storyline rather than expand its possibilities. Neo is the Messiah and `Revolutions' is the best episode of `Dragonball Z' ever. Not mentally challenging but one helluva ride!
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Magnolia (1999)
Brilliant Cinema--Just Give Up
20 May 2003
Life can seem like a very long trip through the labyrinth but there really is an overall plan. Magnolia brilliantly weaves the maze of personal dramas humans create for themselves--that endless slogging of expectation and disappointment. Then, at just the right moment, the movie borrows from the musical genre to allow the central characters to experience an epiphany. Striking just the right cord, the scene is dark yet hopeful. This leads to the climactic reminder that God is still in charge.

Yes, Tom Cruise ripped me apart by revealing a depth of pain very few people can tap let alone express. However, the movie delivers its most poignant scene at the end. Melora Walters' character, Claudia, has spent an entire life numbing herself to those around her. During the final scene her suitor comes to deliver a message that is drowned out by the soundtrack. We strain to hear the words just as Claudia strains to let the words through. But alas, the words are not important--the message is important. Claudia receives it loud and clear. Brilliant cinema!
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Can't Wait for Revolutions
19 May 2003
The Matrix-Reloaded

The most intriguing attribute of the first film was its ability to allow the viewer's predisposition to define the film's message. It forced the audience to juggle many thoughts and observations without letting us resolve them into simple plot and character devices. The film's most powerful statements were never directly stated at all. Like a good mystery, clues were given but the truth remained hidden - often in the viewer himself.

The extreme popularity of the first Matrix film handicaps the second installment. Two clichés describe the situation perfectly: 1) "familiarity breeds contempt" and 2) "expectation is the death of happiness." The success of the first film earned the Wachowski brothers the right to paint with many more colors but the size of the canvas remains fixed by the first film. Tough job and a job well done!

Just like the first film, The Matrix - Reloaded asks questions and promotes themes. Although the dialog sounds like freshman philosophy students the messages are not trivial. The focus remains on asking the right questions rather than finding the right answers. At the risk of creating a diatribe here are some themes well handled in this film.

1. Cyber Integration: The implications to integrating the information network with everyday life has vast consequences. The definitions of privacy, power, skill, defense, and currency will change drastically as their traditional boundaries of influence morph to accommodate a new paradigm (as I said, freshmen philo).

2. Machines Have no Passion: Machines and their attendant programs know only their purpose. Even the Oracle cannot transcend her purpose, but, the humans in Zion can revel in public passion and private intimacy. Great juxtaposition!

3. Philosophy vs. Spirituality: While the machines understand and design philosophical constructs they lack the ability to synthesize spirituality. They simply do not understand a purpose greater than themselves let alone submitting to a higher power.

4. Freedom of Choice vs. Predestination: Philosophers have argued these ideas as a zero-sum game in which the two cannot coexist. The conversation between Neo and the Oracle does not avoid this question.

5. Death: Is the world so constrained that death is merely deletion from the matrix?

6. Love is a Choice: Neo must choose between love and purpose. He chooses to prioritize love over duty and willingly endangers himself and Zion. This is not a zero-sum game.

7. Winning the War Is Not Destroying Your Enemy: Man still depends on machines in Zion, the machines still depend on man in the Matrix. Coexistence seems necessary.

In conclusion, The Matrix and its sequels are e-ticket rides I want to enjoy repeatedly. Can't wait for Revolutions!
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Solaris (2002)
What if the Creator is me
11 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
--Spoilers below--

The popular theme of `I am God' is taken to extremes in Solaris. The movie depicts a world built upon a nihilistic point-of-view. In the absence of objective truth, humans are left with only their subjective perceptions and the entire life experience becomes an object of humanistic creation. Therefore, human existence lies within boundaries of the greatest aspirations and the basest desires, yet; the existence is constrained by the finite capacity of the human mind. The philosophy can be summarized as, `We cannot create anything greater than ourselves.'

The corporeal visitors in Solaris come from the memories of a human host. Solaris seems to analyze dreams during sleep then creates the visitors based on those dreams and memories. The central character, Dr. Kelvin, experiences the Solaris effect via the visitation of his `resurrected' wife. She has been dead for years but Solaris creates her exactly as he remembers her-and therein lays the rub. As an extension of his memory she is more automaton than human. The familiarity of her physical appearance and social responses are comforting and intoxicating. Yet the overall experience lacks the lightness of spontaneity and serendipity. Dr. Kelvin becomes trapped in a `heaven' of his own creation.

There are many other themes depicted in the movie related too this central theme. If you enjoy movies that require the audience to feel and think about what they feel--then see this movie.

Best Regards, Darth87 December 2002
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All That Jazz (1979)
One of My Top 10
14 June 1999
I first saw this film as a senior in high school and was blown away. Not only did the dance and choreography knock me out but the images sent my mind reeling.

Here it is 20 years later and the film still grabs me emotionally and visually. Gideon lived his life to excess and conveniently avoided intimacy with anyone or anything. His long line of female conquests were simply a part of his personal opiate. The death sequence was especially tragic. The three most important women in his life beg him to live. Yet he has never built anything of substance to anchor him in their world. Ultimately, Gideon succumbs to his wandering ways and falls into the arms of the beautiful angel of death (a stunningly virginal Jessica Lange); ironically, becoming the seducee rather than the seducer. Gideon's death is proclaimed by two juxtaposed images. Image 1: Gideon gives into the charms of the angel of death and goes to her smiling. Image 2: The body bag is zipped around Gideon's corpse.

Now that's cinema!
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