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Immortel (ad vitam) (2004)
I thoroughly enjoyed Bilal's graphic novel when it came out, and was amazed when I saw the trailer for this film, and even more so when I found that Bilal had directed it himself. The film, however, was a major letdown. The visuals are nowhere near the rich and gritty texture of the original artworks, and the story is poorly told. Bilal seems to have chosen to focus on the more esoteric aspects of the graphic novel, and he doesn't do a very good job at it, either.
The most enjoyable part of the original graphic novel was the friendship-hate relationship between Nikopol and Horus. They were both out of their right time and place, forced together by circumstance. Most of all, they were funny and likable. Not so here. Nikopol has no discernible personality whatsoever, and Horus is a pompous twit who just wants to get laid. Even though the film is French, Horus doesn't have to be!
We have all seen films we enjoyed, but wouldn't recommend to everyone, for some reason or other. I wouldn't recommend Immortel to anyone, except maybe as a warning not to overreach your talent and resources. Bilal's a master storyteller, but obviously not a master of every visual medium.
The worst TV show that actually was
A cavalcade of pilots that never made it, this is one of the most cynical, exploitative and revealing pieces of network TV you're ever likely to see. The networks should have the the common decency to bury creative efforts that somehow failed, instead of editing them for silly bits and adding an utterly inane and obnoxious commentary track.
P.S. The American pilot episode for the popular British show Red Dwarf is in this show, listed as a failure. The original Red Dwarf was one of the biggest hits on British TV ever, running for six seasons, which shows there was nothing wrong with the premise, rather the utilization by the network in the US version. It is a terrible thing to stomp on someone's creativity in this manner.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Of all the films on my shelf, this is the one I watch the most. Every moment of The Big Lebowski is a gem. Bridges and Goodman are hilariously funny. The only real flaw is a somewhat unengaging plot, but in the company of The Dude and Walter, you hardly even notice. The Coens really are the greatest living filmmakers.
As far as I'm concerned, no other actor played Holmes better than Jeremy Brett. In the early series, it was almost as if one of Sydney Paget's original illustrations of Holmes had leaped out of the pages of the Strand Magazine and onto the screen. Brett also brings a much-needed comic streak to the role. As the years progressed, however, his interest in the character seems to have waned somewhat, as his portrayal grew exceedingly more eccentric. Supporting cast is great, particularly Charles Gray as Mycroft Holmes. During the course of the series, Brett had two Watsons, David Burke and Edward Hardwicke, with the latter being the most memorable.
Star Trek: Generations (1994)
Not as bad as you might think.
For some reason, this is regarded as an unworthy Trek movie; lacking in action, and so forth. I find it rather odd that Trek fans tend to glorify the action-fuelled Trek films, and slag the more cerebral, slow-paced entries. What made the two good Trek shows (TOS and TNG) good, was dialogue, character interaction, and surprisingly bold philosophical ideas. This film has all of that. (If you just want action, avoid this one.)Kirk's demise is tastefully and movingly handled. Many people feel he shouldn't be killed off, but then, Kirk always used to point out that he was only human, didn't he?
The Matrix (1999)
I side with the negative crowd on this one; with the risk of sounding pompous I have to say this: To believe that this is a brilliant film suggest a low level of education and an underdeveloped personal philosophy. There, I've said it. To question the realness of reality is a 400-year old Cartesian idea. Actually, it was explored more interestingly in the old Star Trek episode "Spectre of the Gun" in 1969. The rest of the film is an obvious rip-off of "The Terminator" and all of John Woo, which are far more interesting movies. The film ponders too long on the central premise, and there isn't enough action to make it a good action movie, either. Still, overall production design is great, but the acting is wooden, and Fishburne makes for an unconvincing guru. All the good scenes were revealed in the trailer, so there's not much else to do than just sit in the theatre and feel patronized by the whole thing. At least, that's what I did. The whole thing just isn't half as clever and original as it wants to be.
First film ever.
This is the first film ever; a one-minute shot of the workers at the Lumiere factory leaving for home. The workers, knowing they are being filmed, act tough for the camera. That's about it. The audiences at the time were thrilled.
The Prisoner (1967)
A unique achievement in TV.
By many considered to be the best TV series ever, "The Prisoner" is a unique achievement. It was the brainchild of executive producer and star McGoohan, who had complete creative control over the series. It is, in essence, a massive critique of society's institutions and ways of constraining the individual. "The Prisoner" manages to be both the most paranoid and the most uplifting series ever, as the hero, the individualist, refuses all cooperation with his oppressors. It starts out as a spy story, and ends with an absurdist theatre-piece in two parts. "The Prisoner" makes "Twin Peaks" seem obvious, "The X-files" cosy and "Star Trek" childish and mundane. You will never see anything quite like it.
Enter the Dragon (1973)
One of the great action classics.
One of the great classics of the action genre, Enter The Dragon is set apart by Bruce Lee's charisma, Lalo Schifrin's wonderful, funky score as well as great costumes, sets and fight sequences. Granted, you could argue that this is a terrible film. All the actors are awful, wooden dialogue is delivered with hopeless timing, and it has the look and feel of a 1970s TV movie. But then, this is exactly what makes it so cool. A definitive must-see.