Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Patriot (2000)
I normally do not comment on films that have been reviewed to death, but I had to comment on "The Patriot". Part of the reason is because too many of the bad reviews on here have nothing to do with plot (which, yes, was a tried and true formula), acting (which was generally outstanding throughout) or filmmaking (I have finally been vindicated in my opinion that Roland Emmerich is a great director, as long as he doesn't write the script). Unfortunately, most of the opinions have to do with badmouthing America. I expected the Brits to be upset about their portrayal, but, unfortunately, I find the usual chorus of American whiners upset because the Americans are portrayed as good guys. Heads up: This is not the worst, most evil country in the world. Quit apologizing for everything some dunder-headed ancestors may have done.
Soapboxing aside, Tavington, though historically being a decent person and surviving past the Revolution, makes a great villain, and it is him and the character of Benjamin Martin that make this film. Otherwise, it is true that it would have just been beautifully shot fluff with some great battle scenes. The most glaring error I found (being a straight historian rather than an expert on military and footware minutiae) was that, since the director is German, he failed to portray the fact that it was German mercenaries hired by the Hanovers who were responsible for the real atrocities committed against the colonists. Also, the Tory sympathizers were worse than portrayed, and were traitors in the most heinous sense.
Still, the movie never claimed to be a history lesson, and succeeds as a big-budget crowd-pleaser. It also the best movie that Emmerich has made so far, and here is hoping that he wisely sticks with filming other people's scripts.
Never mind the whining, here's the review
As can be expected when a sequel comes along to something popular, the usual chorus of whiners and naysayers pops up to try and derail it, simply because what preceded it just happened to BE popular.
Perhaps it was a mistake to rush BW2 into theaters a mere year after the original, since there is no way most people will give it an objective viewing. Many fans of the original film will go to the theater just to come out say how much they hated it.
However, the only real thing wrong with BW2 is that it DOES kind of feel like a rush job. Artisan should have waited another year to let their merchandising campaign run its course so everyone would finally start recovering from their hatred of seeing all these little stick figures everywhere. It would probably have also been a better time to interest people in seeing the new film.
That said, it is a pity that most of the people seeing this will only be there to rip it. It was a surprisingly intelligent film, not so much horror as mystery. What happened at the end? Who knows. It will probably be left unsaid, unless the prequel shines some light. For an amateur cast, the acting was well done, and Joe Berlinger definitely has a good, if spare, directing style. And, as for showing the blood, this really doesn't show much. The same scenes are repeated, over and over again, and only in flashes. In terms of horror movie gore, BW2 is still mild, and what is left to the imagination is still the most important part of this movie.
This film is, foremost, a gangster film, but Zhang Yimou tells it from a much more interesting angle. As far as the plot about moles and trying to find the traitor in the group, it's old hat. What isn't, however, is seeing how the children, practically enslaved by a triad boss, begin to slowly turn into the type of people that Tang and Bijou are throughout the movie.
Another refreshing change was, despite Tang's wealth, the triads are not romanticized like the mafia often is in this country. Tang, unlike Vito Corleone, is a ruthless killer, born and bred, not a family man forced into a situation.
What impresses me most about Zhang Yimou's films are the cyclic nature, where everything comes full circle in the end. For many, the colors and political messages are the topic of discussion, but watching events carry out within a restricted time, and follow the Eastern idea of cyclical rather than linear time, is more interesting, since these characters continue to develop in one's head even after the movie has ended.
Cecil B. DeMented (2000)
It doesn't have to be gross to be good
This is definitely one of Waters' best films, ranking along with "Hairspray" and even "Pink Flamingos". I have no idea why people say that this film isn't gross enough. In fact, the mild violence is an homage to such movies as "El Mariachi", where grievous gunshot wounds, due to a low budget, end up being little specks of painted-on blood.
The movie send-ups were great, and Melanie Griffith played her best role ever. There is just so much packed into this film that to dismiss it as Waters "selling out" means that the viewer just didn't pay too much attention.
Also, I have seen many critics panning this movie. However, it sounds like times other great movies have been panned: the director is starting to become TOO successful, and therefore the leftist media feels they have to move in for the kill. No one is allowed to be successful AND good. It is too bad that Waters, in some ways, is becoming a target for the very people he stands up for in this movie.
Gojira ni-sen mireniamu (1999)
Gott in Himmel!
Despite the fact that some of the dubbing in this movie was done purely for comic effect (and generally succeeded), this is the first Japanese Godzilla film in a LONG time to get theatrical release in the U.S. without some idiot producer cutting in scenes of some washed-up American actor looking pensive. The cast is all Japanese. "Godzilla 2000" is almost given some respect as an actual foreign film.
Not that it really needs any respect. Seeing the real Godzilla, rubber suit and all, is enough. The first scene with the Big Green One is a doozy, and the film keeps going from there. The few parts that drag are easy to ignore, since the characters in these movies say basically the same things all the time.
The fight at the end is worth waiting for, as Orga is an even more interesting monster than Desuturoyah was. The special effects are improved on. It's probably just one or two movies away that Toho figures out how to perfectly integrate the creature, model and digital effects so that it looks almost truly realistic.
That is also important... Godzilla does not need to be CG. In fact, quite a number of American movies that use CG look worse than this. The matting is cleaner. The discoloration in matted figures, though, still needs to be worked out.
Despite this, "Godzilla 2000" is one of the few things worth going to see at this time.
Pretension, thy name is Julie Taymor
Why, why, why do directors feel they have to add their own pretenses and rubbish to perfectly good Shakespeare plays? This is a question that may never be answered, since it has done more to confuse movie-goers than to actually when the Bard any new converts. I was looking forward to seeing this update of "Titus Andronicus", but it turned out to be just another misguided mess.
This is quite unfortunate, since most of the actors (save the two playing the brothers Chiron and Demetrius) are in fine form. The cast is generally well-chosen, and, although I generally dislike too much updating, I appreciated the set design. Quite a bit of the costuming and setting reminded me of the most recent "Richard III".
What the play did not need were further "artistic" flourishes. The "surrealistic" scenes were nothing more than recycled Ken Russell hallucinations, this time with a rote techno-metal soundtrack. The Roman orgy scenes were merely gratuitous, and the ending shot was completely incongruous and useless.
The most frustrating thing for me is that Taymor's version is not bloody enough. A scene that was supposed to involve two severed heads being revealed as a punctuation to Titus' final revenge is not even included.
This film could have been so much better if Taymor had ended her artistic ambition with the set design and costumes, and had not continued to interfere every time things started getting good.
The Cell (2000)
Tarsem Singh obviously has some directing talent, and there are a number of interesting and engaging visual moments. However, as far as movies go, this is just another cliched, and ultimately dull, serial killer film.
The worst part is not, as other people have said, Jennifer Lopez's acting, but rather Vincent D'Onofrio. I can never stand it in real life when people mumble, and I cannot stand it with movie characters either. There have been so many mumbling bad guys it is simply an annoyance rather than a character aspect. Also, he goes around singing a stupid children's song, something that serial killers seem to have been doing ever since Stephen King came along.
The singing is just one example of how this movie just rips off other sources in the vain attempt to find anything interesting. The trapped girl could just as well be the victim in the well from "Silence of the Lambs", just as D'Onofrio's character, when there is some enunciation, might as well be Buffalo Bill reincarnate. The torture scenes were too reminiscent of "Seven", and we're given another killer that we're supposed to feel sorry for just because he was abused.
Sad to say, even "The Hollow Man" was better than this.
Satan heart Saddam
As a rule, I don't like musicals. Especially musical cartoons, since most of what Disney spews out is so politically correct and lovey-dovey that I'm surprised it doesn't gum up the film projector with all the sap. "South Park," however, IS what I want to see.
I do have to say I am one of the converted. Even though many of the recent episodes have been kind of lame, when it is good, it is one of the funniest television shows around. There is lots of toilet humor, but the best parts have always been strange little bits that just come out of nowhere.
The "South Park" movie makes up for the current episodes, since it is obvious that all of Trey and Matt's creativity has been focused at making this movie something worth paying money to see. The situations are absolutely outrageous, the musical bits all work, and there's plenty to tick off everyone on both sides of the political spectrum.
The only major problem is not enough of Chef who, even though he is a minor character, is one of the best in the show. The parts he is in are great, of course.
From what I understand, quite a bit had to be cut out of this movie because of the MPAA freaking out. It will be interesting to see if a director's cut makes it to video. Either way, this is probably the funniest comedy that is going to come out all year, and one of those strange, warped pictures that everyone will want to see again and again.
Why can't American television be like this?
The closest that American television has even come close to "The Kingdom" was the recent Stephen King mini-series "Storm of the Century." Still, even this was nowhere near as engaging as this Danish mini-series. Practically none of this would ever get through through censors here.
Loopy hospital drama, restless spirits, an incubus, Voodoo... it's all here, it all makes perfect sense and it is a series that leaves one screaming for more when it ends (I will be scouring this city for "The Kingdom II" before the week is over). I won't ruin a bit of it, other than to say the closing scene shocked me so much that my original critical summery cannot be printed here. Truly amazing film-making, and definitely a glimpse of what television could be without all the censors and constant pandering to the lowest common denominator.
The Mummy (1999)
Surprisingly engaging F/X movie.
When I saw the advertisements for the remake of "The Mummy," I could do little more than roll my eyes. I am a fan of the original, mainly because of Boris Karloff's portrayal of Im-Ho-Tep, back from the dead to resurrect the woman he loved. All this remake seemed to be was a bunch of silly special effects thrown together to catch a few of the pre-"Star Wars" summer movie dollars.
Well, it does have a lot of silly effects. Unabashedly silly, and hilarious. Not too mention the movie is exciting, engaging and all around a great action-adventure movie.
Brendon Fraser is great as a two-gun American treasure hunter leading an expedition to the ancient City of the Dead in search of a golden book. Of course, through the course of events, all hell breaks loose. The story from that point, with some interesting diversions, follows the original rather closely, although with nowhere near the sexual tension.
Although a great monster for the movie, Im-Ho-Tep in the original was a well-drawn character. Arnold Vosloo comes nowhere near the performance of Boris Karloff, and is in fact more like Gary Oldman's portrayal of Dracula in several cases. Still, when he can raise sandstorms and skeleton armies, I guess no one would ask him how he feels about his lot in life... or death.