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My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Girl running out of options breaks away, finds romance & comes home.
This film is charming, to be sure. It would have been much stronger if we'd taken the time to find why the two lovers had so much in common. I personally didn't believe the two were well-suited for one another. All I know is they made out in his car - he was a vegetarian school teacher (but how good a teacher?) and she was ... well, a travel agent. I really didn't see a thing that these two had in common - nor did I believe their marriage was going to be a good thing.
We could have seen a little less of the Greek father's moaning - we knew he was old-world and not accepting of the whole marriage - and we could have found the two lovers doing something that showed they were not only well-suited for each other - but were inseparable.
I would have enjoyed seeing their time together at the museums, or the ball park, or a blues club. Anything that said - these two need to bet hitched. To me this story was contrived and forced on us. It had mountains of charm and wit, great dialog, and beautifully executed. But what it lacked, in my view, was total substance. It's as if we're just supposed to understand these two are meant to be together.
I know the film didn't follow the usual pattern: boy gets girl, loses her and gets her back. The filmmakers almost went down that road and it was refreshing to see other obstacles like cultural heritage getting in the way - but not blocking the marriage. I just wanted to get to know my characters more and that wasn't happening.
Scared My Kid Silly
The dinos were really great - their movements and their characters interesting but here is where I had a problem. For one thing, it is for kids but I didn't stop to think it would scare my four 1/2 year old. there were other kids his age going in and it seemed like a good idea. T-Rex terrified my son. I kept having to soothe his fears and once we got past that it was okay. Simple little story, great animation ... not sure where this film belongs, though. It was impressive to look at, though. I think the right age for this is between 7 and 10 years. My kid couldn't grasp the plot points - having to get to the nesting grounds and the meteor showers destruction ... right over his head. I couldn't help thinking that we now have the technology to make a real epic dinosaur film - perhaps without dialog. Now there's a challenge.
Gladiator (2000) An Epic For The Ages
It's brutal, dark, gritty, ugly and nasty and beautifully and lovingly executed. The DVD will immediately be inserted into my library. Oscars will be raining down on this group of filmmakers. This is an epic film for the ages. Yes, it's not intellectual. I would have liked to have been given more info on the guys and girls in the chariots and how they came to be in the games. The playing field was not level - that's for sure. But who were these people with the chariots, the shiny armor and bows and arrows? They had court advantage and yet the fillmmakers decided not to enlighten us. Crowe, as always, was terrific. This guy has it all. And hey, Phoenix was damn good in this. He delivered the goods. Don't read the reviews, just go see this film. I came out of the theater grateful to be alive in this century, knowing I would have lasted about two seconds in that arena. Man's inhumanity to man. The horrible thing is, these games actually took place!