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A twist for the sake of a twist (spoilers), 1 January 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS It's a good enough movie, but the alleged cleverness of the "twist" has been blown out of proportion.

Regardless of whether or not you correctly predicted that Bruce Willis' character was a ghost (I did early on), when you think about it, the twist doesn't mean much. Never is a particularly great deal made of why nobody notices Bruce Willis' presence. Never does the fact that he is shot early in the film have any strong effect on his relationship with Cole. This jumble of clues is never presented as a mystery to be solved, and thus, the little paradigm shift in the last minute doesn't really solve anything, and feels tacked on. No wonder why some people didn't see it coming - because the story's structure never even proposed that such a revelation was at all necessary. At least in "The Usual Suspects", the final twist actually answered a question that was posed throughout the entire film. At least in "Fight Club", the revelation near the end gave the movie its meaning.

Okay, so Dr. Crowe's a dead guy. So what?

Here, Shyamalan's just playing for shock value and lasting impressions. Though when I look at the other comments posted here, I'd have to admit he did that quite successfully.

5 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Erin Crock-o-spit, 1 August 2001

There are truly bad movies. Some of them are at least enjoyable, in a Mystery Science Theatre sort of way. But then there are bad movies that try to pass themselves off as good, in which even the flaws turn out to be flat-out annoying more than entertaining.

"Erin Brockovich" is of the second type. In fact, it's the worst of the second type of bad films to be released in 2000. Here's a brief summary of some of the reasons why:

- Six hundred innocent lives are at stake. The audience is supposed to care. It doesn't. That's the first sign a movie like this is in trouble.

- Julia Roberts is a good actress, but she comes off as over-acting because of the banal dialogue. No, sorry, "dialogue" implies interaction. All we have here is Julia Roberts dishing out lines that basically say, "look Ma, I'm acting!" and show off her talent to memorize tedium.

- PG&E is portrayed as an evil, evil corporation. That's not the part I have a problem with. I have a problem with the fact that its representatives are portrayed as drones that serve as nothing more than voices for the evil, evil corporation. Faithful representatives, to be sure, but this was done better with stormtroopers and Star Wars.

- Long and boring. This is a dramatized by-the-textbook retelling. "Gettysburg" and "Anna and the King" also suffered from this, but at least they were visually interesting. Visually (and musically), "Brockovich" plays like a Seinfeld episode without the humor. Or the character design.

- It's just so COLD. And the characters are all flat. (That's right, I called Erin Brockovich flat.) "Tough biker who likes kids and is a sensitive guy on the inside" is NOT character development - and everyone else was worse.

I gave this an IMDB rating of 2/10. I'm a nice guy.

Red Hot (1993)
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful story of music, love, and piracy, 29 March 1999

"Red Hot" is a film that excels in almost every way in realistically portraying the life of a Russian teenager introduced to American culture, and how it affects others around him. It is truly one of the most well-written films I have seen in a long time, and it definitely has a place on my personal Top 50 list. Considering how many films I have seen, it is remarkable that it places even nearly that high. The love story behind it all clicks together with ease, as does the plotline involving music. I can easily relate my own personal experiences to those of Alexi, the main character, excepting the ending sequences (without giving too much away).

Overall, "Red Hot" is a terrific film, and the only place where it suffers is the fact that virtually nobody I know has seen it.