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The Deep End (2001)
First off, the film is flawed; no doubt about it. Very beautifully shot and a wonderful score, but the storyline left most people shaking their heads. But what fascinates me is how it polarizes reviewers and commentators (even on this site.) Check 'em out. There's something about flawed, character-driven movies that bring out the biases in viewers.
Those that hated the movie for all of its flaws (and there are many) seem willing to say anything to make you avoid this movie. Even claiming Wesleyan as a good Christian school (shoring up arguments about a homophobic subtext). Have they been on that campus? I cannot imagine anyone espousing hard-core Christian values being comfortable in the music program at Wesleyan.
Those that love the movie ignore the tiring, film-school glee with which the directors devise as many ways as possible to put water between the camera and the actors. Enough with the symbolism already; I get it!
My advice, see the movie (for free if possible, it may not be worth $8) and then read the reviews. Some of them will sound nothing like the film you saw.
Raging Bull (1980)
beauty; moral failings; broken noses
Robert De Niro is a brilliant actor. Martin Scorsese is a brilliant director. This much is clear. 'nuff said.
I am deeply troubled by what, to my eyes, is an attempt to find beauty and redemption in a flawed boxer. Some men manage to be flawed without hitting their wives. But I often find moral failings in Scorsese--this movie just fits his flawed guys thing.
But the most impressive part of the movie is La Motta quoting "On the Waterfront" to himself in the mirror. He is truly the one who should have looked out for himself a little bit. He is the reason he was not a contender.
This is neither romantic nor funny
Several times during the movie I wanted to turn to the person next to me and ask, "Why are we watching these people?" There seemed to be other, more interesting people around, why not them?
And I have never seen a bigger waste of Eugene Levy than this movie. That man can be funny. (In the interest of full disclosure I have seen none of the American Pie series; Levy may be bad in that too.)
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Always start with something positive: Helena Bonham Carter is fun to watch. The ape-like activities are very well done.
But for a movie with an ostensibly socially-aware theme, this movie is a pile of poo. This movie is not only offensive to female humans but female apes as well. Check out the three scientists' descriptions of the electrical storm in the early part of the movie. So much has been learned about the real power wielded by female apes that you'd think the writers could have done better than make the females just mating machines. Even Helena Bonham Carter's character is barely one iota removed from passive female status.
And my nominee for most superfluous character of the year is the teenage human boy on the horse. The moment you see him in the ruins scene you know exactly what he is going to do and exactly what the result is going to be.
And how many camera shots traveling up Estella Warren's body does one movie need? Pretty fortuitous tear in her bodice that reveals her cleavage, wouldn't you say?
I get more and more angry every time I think about this movie. Tim Burton, what's happened?
America's Sweethearts (2001)
disappointing and uninspired
Other than Christopher Walken's segments, I'm not sure there is anything in this movie which is not a rehash of some other flick.
John Cusack does nothing but use his "The World Has Beaten Me Up" face.
Julia Roberts does nothing but use her "What? I'm beautiful?" face.
Hank Azaria does nothing but use his "I can do funny ethnic voices" face.
Zeta-Jones does nothing but use her. . . ok, I've never seen her do a part like this before, but it's such a one-note performance that you just want her to go away.
Billy Crystal seems strangely listless, too, especially for a script he wrote.
I just hope that the John Cusack movie "Serendipity" which has a trailer prior to this movie, is better.
This is another movie where the producers/directors have a wonderful mental image of the movie they want to make, but never get a script for it. Bridgette Fonda is appallingly bad, and there is precious little she could do about it, given her lines. Whoopi Goldberg could have phoned in her part. The talents of John Turturro are so wasted you can't even tell it's him until you see the credits. Even Brendan Fraser's part is vaguely disappointing.
The visualizations of the nightmares, both in the drawn images and the moving images are wonderful--I found myself rewinding them and playing the, with the sound turned down. But the biggest nightmare is the script.
By the way, did anyone else notice that the image of Stu getting hit on the head while on the phone (from the trailer) is not in the movie at all? I hate it when they do that!
5/10 - worse, but for the imagery
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The movie is wonderful but the videocassette I rented has (amongst the trailers) some stuff that ruined the ending for my wife and me. I'm usually pretty good at figuring out movie endings before they happen, but my wife is decidedly not, so the stuff they say is too much (in my book.) But the movie itself is wonderful.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
morality play gone badly awry
Was this movie made entirely by freshmen philosophy majors? Has anyone over the age of 12 not foreseen the ending by 20 minutes into the film? Is the scene with the religious/scientific leaders doing the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" pose not incredibly asinine? Is every attempt at satire automatically "thought-provoking"? This movie's only worth is its musical score and its so-bad-it's-good quality.
Carne trémula (1997)
beautiful, assured, and problematic
His most beautiful film I've seen, with the greatest command of camera, story, and production in general. But why, oh why, does he need to believe that if the sex is good enough a woman will fall in love with a man?
Although very beautifully filmed, the film's message that a woman can be made to love a man, by force if necessary, is painful to watch. This theme rivals the "hooker with the heart of gold" myth for the title of Worst Moviemaker's Delusion. Maybe the moviemaker is very self-aware (after all, there is the character of the old director wrestling with his female fantasies) but Almodovar seems to learn nothing from his characters. It's too bad--I like Almodovar--but this movie is inexcusable.