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Pelrad

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71 reviews in total 
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Star Trek (2009)
21 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Pubescent Trek, 21 May 2009
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've seen all the Star Trek movies, all episodes of the original series, and all episodes of The Next Generation. When I first heard about the premise for the new film, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand I thought it would be interesting to see how the original gang came together and some background of the original characters. But on the other hand I wondered why they were reverting to the past instead of moving forward with the saga.

The opening scene was visually stunning. And, visually, the film was a treat, comprising a heck of a lot of detail. But when the pubescent characters were gradually introduced running around recklessly with their teenage hormones, I began rolling my eyes. If the casting director had chosen good actors, things would have been much different. Simply put: the actor who played the young James Kirk can't act. Many of the actors were television stars. And bringing second-rate TV actors onto the big screen is never wise.

The other thing that I resented was the young Spock character. The actor did a fairly good job, but what was so admirable about the original Spock and arguably the draw of the original series was his lack of emotion. And using this against Kirk and especially Bones' emotional reactions was appealing. Any show works best when the characters are diverse rather than redundant. When you employ cultural imperialism by making Spock give in to the inferred superiority of Earth or human culture, you not only make things less interesting but give people a bad taste in their mouths. The film seemed to be saying, "Let's test Spock's logic by destroying inferior planet Vulcan and his mom and have him finally give into our superior human ways by showing lots of emotion." What adolescent stupidity! Finally, time travel has been done too much in Star Trek films. The story could have been just as good if the Enterprise had encountered a formidable ship from an alien race of the present. They did it obviously just so that they could have the older Spock in the movie. I thought it would have been better had they just opened with the old Spock as a narrator, reminiscing about old times and then saying, "I bet you are wondering how it all came together and how the original crew came together on our first mission." And then the movie goes into the story.

To sum it up, visually the movie was fun at times. But with annoying teenage recklessness, bad acting, Spock's outbursts, cultural imperialism, and tired time travel, this was a bad Star Trek movie.

15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Finally a Film About China the Chinese Love, 25 June 2008
10/10

There have been many films about China that the Chinese themselves didn't like. They didn't like Disney's "Mulan", they didn't like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". This list goes on. Westerners have westernized the stories or included elements culturally offensive or unintelligible, and humour that, in the Orient, just isn't funny. Well, all that has changed. Last night I went to see Kung Fu Panda in Shanghai (in English with Chinese subtitles). Shangahai is the biggest city in China. The cinema was packed. And from start to finish there was non-stop laughter, excitement, and joy. The humour was universally funny, the culture was dead-on, and the story hit home with the Chinese. They could relate to the characters and their situations. They laughed. They laughed until they cried. Visually, the movie was just beautiful to look at. As an adult, I usually don't enjoy watching cartoons. But this one was more fun I've had at the movies in a long time. The timing of the film's release with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing coming up is perfect. A job well done to all involved with the making of this little gem!

A Series with Some Promise Crumbles Like a Tower, 5 January 2003
5/10

The sequel to the fairly good "Fellowship of the Ring" falls apart at the seams, as most sequels do. While the irritating close-up of the supposedly powerful ring every ten minutes in the first film is removed, we get a character, more annoying than The Phantom Menace's Jar-Jar Binks, continuously saying "precious, precious" over and over and over again with a voice like someone scratching their fingernails down a blackboard. I wasn't intrigued by a single line of dialogue nor by any of the wooden characters. This is basically "The Mummy Returns" linked with what some consider to be classic literature, simply to give it credibility, and devoid of any interesting plot. Here's the plot: "Oh, look, there are some monsters. Let's go slaughter them. Ah, done. Oh, guess what! Some more monsters! Let's kill them. Oh, and you wouldn't believe it. More monsters...". Do yourself a favour and go for something with a bit more substance.

From Silver to Gold: The Strongest Entry in the Series, 27 July 2002
8/10

I have seen a lot of movies in the cinema over the years. This one had the audience laughing harder and more often than any other movie I've seen in history. Much better written the the previous two Austin Powers movies, much more energetic, with never a dull moment, with a clever opening and a surprise ending, this really confirms the brilliant comedic mind of Mike Myers. Just awesome.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Jet Li and Gigi - Need I Say More?, 15 July 2002
9/10

This movie is quite a treat. Li does an action-COMEDY film for a change! All of the actors in this one are just superb and well chosen. Before he dies, a Japanese tycoon, expecting to be gunned down, establishes a big reward in his will for the man who takes out his assassin(s). Of course, he does end up being killed, and a cool level-headed dude, in charge of acting upon his will, takes charge of the task and spills out the rules to the band of hitmen eager to win the reward money. A hillarious fat guy, pretending to be a bigshot conman, but who is quite unsuccessful in the trade, takes the rookie Jet Li under his wing hoping to cash in. His lawyer-daughter, played by pop superstar Gigi Leung, tries to straighten out her pop, and begins a platonic romance with Li. The movie's action, comedy, and acting are first-class: it'll have you in stitches at times, such as the teddy bear scene. However, it would have been nice had the romance between the Li and Leung characters been further developed: the ice skating scene was a real delight. Nevertheless, this was one of Jet Li's best movies and certainly a different turn for him.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The Most Pathetic Movie of 2001, 8 July 2002
2/10

This is the only movie I've seen in the cinema (and I've seen many), that I actually walked out of the theatre. I was so bored, it was painful. The first 45 minutes were excruciating with really bad dialogue - not a single line of any wit or interest. It was supposed to be a comedy. No one in the theatre laughed at any point. After the murder finally occurred, I thought things would pick up. But they didn't. With all the new technology out there in the electronics and photography industry, this movie looked like it was filmed with a 1960's camera - the resolution was dull and gray. The actors themselves seemed like they were sleepwalking. No energy, no emotion, no interesting conversation or characters. Boring, lifeless, apathetic drizzle. 2/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Melodramatic Sci-Fi Soap Opera, 25 September 2001

The fifth and worst of the Star Trek TV series, which, since Star Trek: The Next Generation, have consecutively gone downhill since the passing of original creator Gene Roddenberry, plays like an over-acted, melodramatic soap opera, combining 22nd Century technology with 18th Century behaviour.

"Enterprise" is a prequel to the other series, taking place in-between present-day and the time portrayed in the original Star Trek series with Captain Kirk. An almost all-male crew begin humanity's first trek into outer space onboard the NX-01 Enterprise with Captain Johnathan Archer, played by Scott Bakula, best known perhaps by his lead role in the late 1980's TV series "Quantum Leap".

One would expect the crew to behave as would a team in any workplace in the real world, but we find them as red-faced hotheads constantly exchanging insults and throwing temper-tantrums. When the telling of a good story is suffocated by such characters, wholly lacking in self-confidence, that either trivialize or spazz out at every situation that comes their way, the viewer is simply left frustrated. "Enterprise" just doesn't take itself seriously, the most essential component of any attractive drama.

Turning the Tables on the Critics, 8 August 2001
9/10

Rush Hour 2, easily the best movie of the summer, had me in such stitches that I went and saw it again the same weekend. Consensus seems to be that it is better than the original with which I heartily agree.

I was disturbed in noting how the general public has been responding to this film in comparison with the critics. Everyone in the cinema was rolling with laughter and on a high after the movie ended, unanimously talking about how great it was. In contrast, half of the critics seem to be giving it great reviews and half bad ones.

Let's turn the tables on the critics.

It is to be expected that some will love a movie and some will hate it; but what is startling is seeing the same movie on a critic's Ten Best List for the Year show up in another critic's Ten Worst List of the Year. This was the case for several movies last year.

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly regarded "Dancer in the Dark" as the best movie of 2000, while Time Magazine listed it as the worst movie of the year. "O Brother, Where Art Thou" was seen by Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune as the best movie of 2000, while EW's Owen Gleiberman regarded it as the year's worst movie. Gleiberman listed "What Lies Beneath" in his Ten Best List of 2000, while Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times listed it as one of the worst of the year. The fact is that these people can't agree on anything.

It is appalling also that critics obsessed with a paralysis by analysis end up contradicting themselves. The aforementioned movie critic Roger Ebert gave as his primary reason for disliking "Rush Hour 2", a scene where the Chris Tucker character distracts a small army of security guards, by making a big stink about being treated unfairly because of his race, so that the Jackie Chan character can infiltrate the back rooms of a casino. Ironically, this was EXACTLY the same tactic that the Danny Glover character used in a scene in Lethal Weapon 2, a movie which Ebert gave 3.5 out of 4 stars. Go figure folks.

So ignore the critics and go out and enjoy Rush Hour 2.

Surprisingly fresh and captivating (9/10), 13 July 2001
9/10

Luc Besson's "Kiss of the Dragon" wasn't above average in the action department, but it had a heck of a good thriller-like plot, and really good dialogue - much less cheesy than most films of the genre. I also liked the fact that it involved non-American cultures - Chinese and French - for a change. It doesn't hold back from over-the-top bloody scenes, which some may like and some not. I just loved the ending, during which we find out what the 'kiss of the dragon' is. Wow, what an ending! The corrupt French police chief was one of the most evil villains I've seen yet. And Jet Li could pull the third layer of skin out from under the first two on a rabid pit bull in heat without a scratch. 9/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Is it just to use cinematography as the sole criterion for "best film of all time"?, 30 April 2000
6/10

Citizen Kane **½ / 4

This film is regarded by some as the greatest motion picture of all time. Most of these cite their one and only reason as its innovative and influential cinematography. This raises the question: is it just to use the latter as the sole criterion for stamping a film with the "all time best" label? A further question that may be raised: does a movie that is technically brilliant qualify as great without due regard given to its ability to entertain?

Although the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and judging motion pictures is as subjective as it is objective and an art as much as an analysis, I'd like to identify several elements, which are universally considered to make a movie great: the enjoyment one is given by its plot, dialogue / script, musical score, depth of character, solid acting and directing, and cinematography.

In my view, an all time best film must be outstanding in all of these; Citizen Kane was not. Its plot was overtly dull and unsophisticated: reporters review the boring life of an uninteresting man who rose to prosperity. Citizen Kane had no memorable dialogue whatsoever (compare it with "Casablanca" in this department); its script was nothing special. Its musical score was a far cry from the creative genius of someone like Ennio Morricone, Leonard Bernstein, or even John Williams. There was absolutely no depth of character in the film-none that appeared had any heart or appeal. Its acting was only satisfactory. Mind you, the actors did not have very difficult roles to play. Because of this, one could not direct praises towards the director who had an obviously unchallenging job. This leaves cinematography. Influential? Yes. Innovative? Yes. The greatest of all time? No. Even "Touch of Evil", another Orson Welles' classic (and much, much better than Citizen Kane), had far superior black and white photography and use of shadows.

Does all of this mean that Citizen Kane was a bad film? No. Citizen Kane is an average film and, though overall boring, generally deserves a marginal "thumbs up".


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