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Tomorrow by Midnight (2001)
Feels like a student film with a budget, but very good.
The tone of 'Tomorrow by Midnight,' which I watched as 'Midnight 5' just gives me a feeling that it was concocted by some film majors as a student film project and someone managed to give them funding beyond natural student film means.
The plot struck a cord for me for MANY reasons. First of all, I'm a film student myself, and secondly, I work in a video store. For those who have seen this movie, you'll be able to tell why I found this ironically relevant. The plot is a brilliant sequence of comedy, rampant discussions on films and life and how the characters are incapable of telling the difference sometimes in how they view reality.
And then the twists start to come in...
Overall, the film is somewhat grimmer than I expected based on the trailer, but well acted and thought out. The script is crisp and fast, as is the pacing. A very well done film, which can best be described as a black comedy with a moral or two thrown in. I approve.
Empire Records (1995)
A funny, enjoyable, (not mentally taxing, but what the hell) movie.
Empire Records chronicles a group of misfit teenagers who all work in a music store. For the most part the characters are original and funny, and so is the plot.
There are a few problems with the movie, mainly due to Hollywood attempts to add drama, which more or less fall flat. Aside from that, its a good watch. Not as good as Can't Hardly Wait, but still great fun.
The character of Lucas is brilliant, summoning superb one liners, and all the characters are crisp, with dialogue that sounds spoken rather than rehearsed, (for the most part)
Part of the humour from me is that I KNOW people who are scarily close to these characters, but that may just be me.
The music is good, the acting is perfectly good, the script is fun, and aside from the blatant Hollywood 'insert drama here' moments, all is well.
See this film.
A very fun movie, for a variety of reasons. Much better than I expected.
I went to Ever After with a group of friends, and I was fully prepared to gently heckle. To my pleasant surprise, it was totally unnecessary.
The acting was good, the plot was clever, the script EXCELLENT, with Drew Barrymore having some wonderful lines...
Some parts are dubious from a perfectly logistical perspective, for example, why does everyone have English accents (occasionally wobbly, too) in France? But during the film, I was swept up in the plot and never even noticed until afterwards.
Ever After is that kind of film. Yes, it is flawed, and these flaws I admit for several of them. But during the film, I genuinely did not notice. All I noticed was an interesting story, and lively characters.
See this film. Drew Barrymore has a wonderful character, full of life, spirit and passion. One of the plot points I like, is far from being love at first sight, initially she finds the prince boorish and distant from reality, and only after repeated encounters does she begin to like him.
I challenge anyone not to have been swept up in certain scenes (won't say which ones, to preserve plot, but you'll know them) and remain completely emotionally distant. Having the character of Leonardo Da Vinci as the Fairy Godfather was masterful.
Perhaps I am merely an incurable romantic, but perhaps not.
See this film, and sink into a colourful and rich world of passion, spirit and romance.
Practical Magic (1998)
Uneven and flawed, but nonetheless amusing.
Practical Magic doesn't know what audience it is catering for. There is precious little magic, and having seen the trailer, it certainly isn't the comedy that was advertised.
The film is significantly darker and more dramatic than that, but still manages to pull some laughs.
I think it was the script that accounted for that, all of the main characters get some great one-liners, but the rest was uneven. It couldn't decide whether it was a romance, a comedy, a tragi-comedy, or a horror. One scene late in the film of the excorcism of a the ghost of a serial killer is VERY out of place, and for some reason is played with almost a comedy atmosphere. Doesn't work.
It is still an enjoyable film, and one of the odd category that I have discovered: You watch the film and get absorbed into it, although noticing glaring problems like the excorcism, then step out from the theatre and immediately many more holes appear.
Its not as bad to watch as it is to read peoples accounts of the flaws, let me put it that way. The experience is better than it sounds, despite problems.
It had elements that could have been made MUCH creepier, but which were smoothed over, especially the line "There's a man under the roses. They grew over night..."
Sandra Bullock actually acts quite well in this, because the character is not allowed to be perky and cheerful, thus forcing her to act. She does this quite well. Nicole Kidman and the aunts are all colourful and interesting.
A definitely watchable film, but be prepared for some flaws in the finish.
Can't Hardly Wait (1998)
A brilliant and amusing teen movie for this generation, with characters who I know in reality.
As mentioned in the admittedly ridiculously long title for this review, part of the fun is that various characters in the movie(save for stereotypical details) are the people who I know!
I KNOW a group of rabid white-homies who walk the walk, talk the talk, and wander around like complete fashion victims. They saw this film, they said, and I quote, "'ey that film sucked A**, ma bruthas!" Anything accurate enough to irritate people that it gently pokes fun of (admittedly those guys have NO sense of humour about these things) is good enough for me.
I also know a group of people who'd have been relegated to sitting on the pool house roof discussing X-Files trivia. The thing that I object to is, that they don't LOOK like that! Geeks are NOT all weedy and wear thick glasses; the personality is close enough, but they can be quite normal. However, that is a tangent, and will be finished NOW...
On to the actual review, at long last. The accuracy of teens of this age is hilarious, and really adds to the film. Aside from the stereotypes, someone did their homework.
The entire yearbook snapshot of each character, giving us a glimpse of their personality was done brilliantly, and I loved the quotes at the bottom. Very clever touch.
The movie was touching and very funny, and as I have mentioned repeatedly, very true to life. Life doesn't work out like in TV. Life is messy, with lots of trailing edges and unfinished subplots. People have argued against the ending, but what the hell. *grin* Preston deserved a happy one.
All of the characters are well acted, and well written. Seth Green is hilarious as the white homie, Kenny, and all the other characters are of similar standard, especially Charlie Korsmo as William Lichter, the geek (ACK! STEREOTYPES!) who crashes the party in a bizarre sabotage attempt, but by the time he leaves the party, he OWNS it...
Jennifer Love Hewitt's character had terrifyingly little to do in the movie, more of someone to be pined for by the good guy than someone of moment, unfortunately. She did well with what few lines she was given, breathing real life into the role. Pity she didn't have more to say...
Lauren Ambrose is brilliant as the caustic Diane, and acts very well, especially in the parts where no one she knew was around, and she sat, or stood, in a massive group of people, and yet was totally alienated. I've seen people do exactly the same thing, and have exactly the same expressions on their faces. Good job.
See this film. Hilarious, well acted, and well written. Someone needs to DEAL with certain filmic stereotypes, but that's a personal gripe that others probably don't share.
SEE THIS FILM! You won't regret it. .
Beautiful Girls (1996)
A believable and very enjoyable look at life in the burbs.
One of the lines in 'Beautiful Girls' is "Nothing changes in the burbs but the seasons." It's true. The film uses ice and snow cinematically in the same way that 'The Ice Storm' uses it, to show timelessness and complete lack of change. It works very effectively.
The plot is of a pianist (Willie) returning to his home town in the burbs when he reaches a turning point in his life. Nothing has changed. His friends are the same eccentric goofs that they were in high school, with no direction whatsoever. Mostly they're still bachelors chasing girls who they deem to be worthy. One of the points of the film is guy's occasional obsession with screen sirens and such, that blinds them to the wonderful women right in front of them. Of the guys, only one, Moe, is married. He is viewed either as a role model, or in the words of the obsessive Paul, "Like a retarded guy. He doesn't know what he's missing out on, so he's content despite his handicap."
Willie has to decide whether he should marry his long-time girlfriend, and has come back to his roots to seek answers. His friends lend moral support, but due to their social immaturity, the choice remains entirely up to him. One of the fascinating characters is played by Natalie Portman, a 13 year old girl with 'an old soul' who Willie is fascinated by. Now now, don't panic... They're soul mates, not lovers.
A fascinating and truthful film with very believable characters. All the characters are flawed and thus more believable. Willie procrastinates about marriage even though it's obvious he cares for his girlfriend; the ideal of marriage freaks him out, even though he's not a womaniser. He wants to keep things fresh on a daily basis, while he thinks marriage would be dull routine. Birdy knows he's stupid for seeking his old girlfriend, but more or less can't help himself. Moe is happily married but tends to put his buddies above his homelife. And Paul... Is just Paul.
The title is misleading. It's more of 'Eccentric Middle Aged Guys With Personal Problems Procrastinate About Life' than 'Beautiful Girls,' but which is the more marketable title...
Very good, very truthful, very well acted film, and the script is fresh and new. It doesn't SOUND like a script, it sounds off-the-cuff and spur of the moment, which is important.
See this film.
Near Dark (1987)
A cult film classic, although flawed, that is eminently watchable.
Near Dark is stylishly directed, well written, and enjoyable to watch. It's very easy to sink yourself into the velvety world of the night and see from its perspective.
One of the pleasant parts of the film is that traditional good guys and villains are continually switched around as the film progresses. Sympathy for the nomadic vampire group shifts throughout different parts of the film, playing with your emotions. A nice touch, well done.
The two main characters, Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) and Mae (Jenny Wright) are excellent in their parts and know their characters well. Bill Paxton enjoys his role as the wise-cracking and unstable spur-sporting Severen and gets some brilliant one-liners. In general, the script is crisp and well written.
The movie is flawed in parts, but I don't feel that that makes it any less enjoyable, just marks points that could be improved. For example, it is NEVER explained how you turn a vampire back into a human. It just happens, and that is irritating to an otherwise well thought out film.
Basically, Near Dark drips atmosphere, and sinks you into its world of shadows, passion and blood. It's actually more of a love story than a horror story, and gels both genres together well.
An occasionally (and vexingly) flawed but otherwise spectacular piece of vampire lore.
Lexx: The Dark Zone (1996)
Original, epic, bizarre, and incredibly unlike anything seen before.
I have to congratulate whoever came up with 'Lexx.' It is the least Hollywood influenced series I've seen since Babylon 5. The story and costumes are completely new, the acting perfectly suited for what is needed, and the effects certainly enough to fascinate viewers.
One of the scenes I liked best was in Episode One, which has a His Shadow ship attacking the homeworld of the Brunnen-G. Kai and several other ships fly to attack it, all chanting the same war song in time with each other. Very creepy, very poignant, and very rarely seen before.