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Irish Jam (2006)
Much better than expected
Saw this lurking in a corner of the DVD store and borrowed it on a whim. It was much better than I expected. Eddie Griffin was funny as usual, the beautiful Ann Fridel was great.
Quick outline - village pub in Ireland is about to be sold to greedy land developer. To prevent this, the villagers decide to have an international poetry contest and give the pub to the winner. Ghetto hustler Jimmy Tha Jam(Eddie Griffin), on the run from various creditors and ex girlfriends, somehow wins the contest. Much culture-clash humour then ensues, but Jimmy eventually gets the villagers on his side. Much better than I'm making it sound here. Not too many clichés around, which is nice.
Not to take anything away from Ediie, but I think if Will Smith had done this movie, it would have been huge!
Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
Sorry - I Liked It!
Apologies to the haters - I liked it. Sharon Stone looked great and played the part to perfection. She looked liked she enjoyed every minute of it. While the movie looks cheap, it is very funny and deliberately so. The movie does not take itself very seriously at all. The audience I saw it with had a ball.
*S P O I L E R A H E A D*
At first I was wondering why they picked such an ordinary-looking (boring, really) guy like David Morrissey for the male lead. But it was great fun watching him disintegrate. His character is simply no match for Stone's. She plays him like a chess grandmaster or concert pianist at the top of her game. Great performance from David Thewlis as the suspicious, grumpy cop.
I think the Hollywood establishment has a real problem with 40-something actress being hot. Forget the critics - as an earlier comment said, Great Popcorn Flick.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Disappointing , Offensive
No one would have believed, that in the early years of the 21st century, someone would begin a movie with a voice-over stating that no one would believe aliens were watching us.
No one would have believed that Spielberg would come up with a movie worse than "1941" or "Hook".
No one would have believed that Spielberg would shamelessly exploit the imagery of 9/11 for financial gain.
Spielberg put this movie on hold when "Independance Day" was released. He should have scrapped it altogether. Unbelievably bad.
I mean, come on! This is not some rinky-dink first time director. This is SP E I L B E R G,!!!!!!!!!!!@!!
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
Sharp, Witty, Excellent!
From the opening scene with Pitt and Jolie and the unseen therapist, it was clear that this movie was going to be a cut above the usual fare. It did not disappoint. Sharp, witty, smart writing, excellent performances. I'm not a fan of either actor, especially Ms. Jolie, but I must admit they both impressed me in this one. Great support from Vince Vaughn as well. Effective soundtrack, too.
The movie is like an extended metaphor for the trials and tribulations of modern marriage. Fortunately it does not lay its message on too thickly.
Yes, it does have quite a few plot holes and is a bit long - but all in all I enjoyed it.
PS - what happened to the "steamy sex scene" with Pitt and Jolie? Was it censored? The movie still worked well without it.
The Forgotten (2004)
Screw the critics! I like it!
Screw the critics! I like it!
*MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
Great little movie with lots of scares, thrills and (slight) surprises. Fine performances from Juilianne Moore as a mother grieving/searching for her lost child who may or may not be dead or may not have even existed at all, and Alfre Woodard as a tough-as-nails police detective who's wondering why the NSA is so interested in a minor domestic matter, until she gets literally yanked off the case.
While it's true that there isn't much plot here beyond a typical Twilight Zone/X-Files episode, I like the fact that the movie keeps it simple and avoids descending into a typical special-effects extravaganza.
The movie also doesn't take itself too seriously - best line:
"Uh Oh. I think I'm I'm having a National Enquirer moment here..."
Also, if by any chance you're a research scientist worried about your funding, do yourself a favour and skip this movie as it doesn't paint your profession in a very flattering light.
Fei du juan yun shan (1978)
Cool movie! Features a long-haired 24-year old Jackie Chan, great costumes, an improbably complicated plot, a bizarre song in the middle, American-Indian Mongol hordes, pre-Matrix "bullet time" fx, and much more.
Basically, Jackie and cohorts - the magnificent bodyguards of the title - are hired to guard and transport a valuable cargo over some dangerous, bandit-infested mountains. Of course, nothing is what it seems, no-one can be trusted and there appears to be a lost tribe of American Indians wandering the hills.
The version I saw was subtitled - it was fun hearing the original Chinese. Maybe that let the humour come out more. The movie doesn't take itself too seriously and only gets serious at the very end.
Well worth a watch.
WW 3 (2001)
Oh my God...
Was in the middle of watching this (under the title "Winds Of Terror") on video, when I started to get a sinking feeling... This wasn't made BEFORE 9/11 was it? Came here and so it was. All I can say is...
Oh. My. God.
All the FBI and CIA had to do was watch this. They even name Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. So, sorry, the excuse of "nobody could have seen it coming" won't wash any more.
BTW - this movie is also heavily influenced by Richard Preston's "Hot Zone" - even to the point of borrowing whole chunks of text and dialog. Preston was the guy who woke up the Clinton Administration to the bioweapon threat.
Conclusion - you don't need to see this movie. You already saw it on 9/11 and the Anthrax attacks after. Let's hope there isn't a sequel in the works...
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
The Saddest Movie Ever Made!!! (*Minor Spoilers*)
Oh... my... God... - this has got to be the saddest, most heartbreaking movie I have ever seen. I am not the sensitive type but this movie is simply too much to bear. This is what "Bicentennial Man" tried and failed to be.
The plot is basically "Pinocchio" - the-little-manufactured-boy-who-wished-he-was-real - given a Sci-Fi spin. This story about love (as opposed to a love story) features all the Spielberg trademarks and at its center is an absolutely riveting and frankly, stunning performance from young Haley Joel Osment. There are a few inconsistencies - namely, he can feel pain, but apparently not cold. Also, his face melts if he eats food, but he can survive indefinitely underwater. However, these do little to distract from the steadily-increasing sense of doom, gloom and overwhelming sadness. The movie has a happy ending of sorts - but even that will leave you if not in tears, at least more than a little sad for the movie's narrator - Teddy, a plucky "SuperToy" Teddy Bear.
While it is a phenomenal movie and one of Spielberg's best, it joins the ranks of movies that I simply cannot bear to EVER watch again. These include "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (too grim), "Casino/Goodfellas" (too violent), and "Saving Private Ryan" (WAY too violent).
What you can't see CAN hurt you! Classic action/adventure...
This is how it's done - simple, effective and absolutely brilliant!
A group of American commandos led by Arnold Schwarzenegger
are in Central America trying to clean up yet another CIA mess
when they find themselves stalked by a mysterious adversary who
possesses almost supernatural powers. Is it, as the locals
suspect, a 'diablo' (demon) seeking their souls? Or an
extraterrestrial head-hunter, packing some very advanced military
hardware and a keen sense of fairplay?
A great ensemble cast, sparse, effective dialog and stunning
visual effects combine to make this movie pack one hell of a
punch, even 15 years on. No time is wasted trying to explain
anything. Director McTiernan fully understands that movies are
stories told with pictures and keeps the action flowing. Still, the
movie manages to score a few anti-American political points while
hiding a subtext about technology vs primitivism. One of Arnold's
P.S. The technology used by the Predator is not as far-fetched as
you may think!
Brilliant but Revolting
This film was beautifully made - wonderful direction from Scorcese, amazing acting from DeNiro, Stone, Pesci et al. But...
This is one of the most disgusting and revolting movies I've ever seen. I had to take a bath after seeing it. Right through this movie, I kept asking my self, "Do I REALLY want to know about these lowlifes??".
I promised myself that I would never watch it again - I'm only posting now after having recently read the book of the actual events. Far, far worse than "Goodfellas" (No, I'm not talking about moviemaking here).