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Ten lines is what IMDb requires for a review. So here goes... 1: Stupid. 2: Stupid. 3: Stupid. 4: Stupid. 5: Stupid. 6: Stupid. 7: Stupid. 8: Stupid. There, that should do it.
OK, when did the world begin to accept filmed folderol such as this movie as valid entertainment? You think the ancient Romans were cruel? At least they tortured the few people participating in the action, not the thousands in the seats. Stupid actions, stupid plots, stupid lines delivered over and over with out-of-the-box steely eyes, cars explode, buildings explode, computers explode, sandwiches explode...
There are so many science fiction stories and movies that tell of a time where the dazed hoi polloi are driven sheep, told what to do, what to eat, say, think...and these are meant to be stories of horror, a warning of what society could become if we don't all use our giant brains and actually think.
No thinking in Mission: Impossible. Just things blowin' up. The cinematic equivalent of a Saturday night demolition derby in some clusterfark Southern town made of mud. Duh. BOOM. Duh. BOOM. Duh...
Brad Bird must have a pod in a basement somewhere. This can't be his work.
It is with immense sadness that I eject "Rango" from my Blu-Ray player to send it back from whence it came. And in hindsight, I regret not making it to the theater when this was released. I spent nearly a year ignorant of the magic of this film, a time when something untoward might have happened to me and I could have left this world without having a chance to have seen it.
Get the picture? Often, one can get a better idea of what is great about a film by reading the negative reviews, most of which, for Rango, consist of terrified parents who didn't pay attention to what movie ratings mean. "PG" means that, "some scenes are not suitable for children". What that actually means is, SOME SCENES ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN!!!!!! The movie is gritty where it needs to be gritty, coarse where it needs to be coarse, and terrifying when it intends to be terrifying...and all the more brilliant for it.
Pixar does make fabulous animated films. I was overjoyed by "Monsters, Inc", touched by, "Nemo", and thrilled with, "The Incredibles" but Nickoldeon has financed what is surely the finest animated film of all time. All work in it is spectacular, from the tiniest details to the phenomenal voice-acting. Bill Nighy's briefly seen but essential character rates, to me, as one of the most frightening villains ever put to the screen, such was his performance. The detailing in all of the characters regarding movement, idiosyncrasies, and texture are astounding. In extreme close-up one character, speaking in great fear, has his eyes blinking appropriately to convey his feelings. But one eye, one time skips a tiny, tiny bit and executes a partial double-blink. It's barely perceptible but it conveys the effort this character is having relating his tale. It's something an actor might understand but surely not an animator? But no computer made the decision to animate it that way. That is an example of the depth to which Rango has been produced.
The backgrounds, the texture and feel, the music, the classical Greek convention with a inspired Southwestern twist (you'll see) gives sharper viewers a decent idea of how deep this story will go beyond the obvious.
Rarely, RARELY have I watched any film I liked a second time IMMEDIATELY after finishing it the first time but I began the second, stop-and-go-back viewing the next morning, seeing a thousand things I had missed while watching wide-eyed in the moment on the first go-round. I can imagine that the same Puritan-type parents who whisked their kids straight from the theater and hurried post-haste to post a "don't waste..." on IMDb about this movie are the children of those equally horrified parents who did the same (minus IMDb) when they ran screaming from "Fritz the Cat" in 1972 wondering what the "X" rating was for having probably assumed it meant "Xtra nice for kids".
For you parents who don't know your ABC's well enough to have bothered to understand what "PG" means, for you, there's a big, purple, stupid dinosaur waiting to hug you. For the rest of us who bothered to pay attention, there are amazing films like Rango. Watch it once, watch it again, and marvel at the true mastery of the state-of-the-art
The Princess Bride (1987)
Read the "haters reviews"
I'm sick and decided to take a few films from the local library to kill some daytime. "Why not see 'The Princess Bride' again?", I thought. I was surprised to see how old it is already. The movie is fun and funny. But reading the reviews from those who hated it seals, for me, why it is so good. This is a film from a book, and a pretty good book at that. The screenplay was, refreshingly, written by the book's author, William Goldman, so what was filmed was OK by him. The Haters make several common errors in their misunderstanding of the film.
1: Who ever said this is a children's film? It's a contemporary fairytale peppered with irony, and only one person who didn't like the film said he had read the book. You need more sophistication to understand irony. The satisfaction depends on knowing how things normally go, how they could go, and why opposite outcomes are funny, not visual punch lines to obvious jokes. If you don't read and don't listen well, you'll not enjoy this movie.
2: Plenty of people complained about the scenery, acting, and costumes. They entirely miss that what we see on screen is the story as imagined by a young child as he hears the book read to him. That concept allows for certain inconsistencies and stylized actions, such as scenes where others complain about a certain creature looking "obviously fake" It's intentional.
3: Most people complained about Wallace Shawn being annoying. That is absolutely so, he is so damn irritating that I usually go elsewhere when his face and voice appear in anything. He's like ketchup on pancakes, just doesn't belong and ruins the whole thing. He is not at all what the book character was supposed to be and I can only assume that Rob Reiner owed him a big favor. I remember being hugely disappointed when he showed up and it took me several minutes to regain my attention to watching the movie.
But, golly, the rest of the movie is so fun and freewheeling that you'll be left behind if your imagination needs to be spoon-fed every morsel. We who love it, love it, and we understand why. For the rest of you, there's reality TV.
Cedar Rapids (2011)
Is this funny for church goers in the mid-west?
Seriously, someone read this script and decided to fund it? For what reason? The laughs simply aren't. Ed Helms may have been perfect for the Daily Show but he is not leading man material. His face isn't funny. His voice isn't funny. His mannerisms aren't funny. He just can't carry a movie, there's really nothing there.
We're supposed to believe that a 35+ year old insurance salesman is so non-worldly, he can't figure out what a prostitute is, yet he's busy in the opening scene with his elementary school teacher, Sigourney Weaver, who sleepwalks through her lines in obvious boredom. John C. Reilly unimaginatively plays the most obvious over-the-top crass salesman who checks all the boxes of this type of over worn character. The other actors fill their respective spaces, with Ann Heche being especially creepy.
Everything that happens is as predictable as sundown, no surprises at all. Oh my, Ed Helms doesn't do drugs, but here, he's going to...and we have to sit through that 15 minutes section of the movie. Golly, the head of the seminar is crooked...and we have to wait while that plays out letter-by-letter. Heavens, there's cursing and shock value lines as out of place as Stephen Hawking at a quinceañera. It seems as if it was written by a hayseed as clueless as the main character. Honestly, he reacts to a "black man" in his hotel room as if it was an outtake of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" that they scrapped because it was too stupid...in 1967.
Like a bad car wreck covered by yellow sheets, "move along people, there's nothing to see here!" I'd almost rather see a Matt Damon film.
When in Rome (2010)
Water would be more nutritious
Hollywood brings yet another pointless re-assemblage of stale ideas, preposterous events, plot loopholes, and ridiculous conveniences though which one could drive a galaxy, and I don't mean the Ford version. Nothing worth mentioning, really, but for one brief restaurant scene that was truly funny for its concept, though not its execution.
Girlfriend insisted so we went to the screening. Saw it for free and I was still annoyed. Will rue the lost ninety minutes on my deathbed. Being stuck in traffic with a full bladder would have been preferable. I suffered so you don't have to.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Exactly what I expected from Speilbore
On my deathbed, I will have many regrets. One prominent in my mind is the $15 Speiberg still owes me that I spent to see A.I. Now, adding to the tab is "War of the Worlds", a perfectly good book and seminal 50's classic film blasted to smithereens by Spielberg's Death Ray of Boredom. Let's admit that, with a decent movies such as "Schindler's List" and "Amistad", it's hard to go wrong, unless a little song-and-dance or comedy were included as people were killed. Even Spielberg isn't that stupid, but he simply has no sense of what causes suspense in a film. Aside from the endless plot and logic holes that destroy the story faster than any invading aliens could, (no one on Earth ever noticed hundreds or thousands of fifteen-story metal machines buried in the ground?) and the vending-machine acting performances I find the main problem here is that the important conflict (for conflict is what drives characters to move through the plot) is between the aliens and the people of Earth. Instead of spending film time developing the "us-versus-them" convention that is demanded by this story, Spielberg wastes the energy on developing conflict between father and son, husband and ex wife, main protagonist and stranger, etc. He gets so distracted with those relationships that it's possible the aliens could have gotten bored and gone home, and we wouldn't know about it because we're forced to watch Sentispeilbergmental plot-diluting scenes. The end of the movie, which should be based on the the relief that everyone on Earth still alive is now safe, is passed over in favor of a smarmy father/son reconciliation of a schism that should never have happened. Spielberg's greatest clue of how to handle this story is right in the title, "War of the Worlds", not "Jimmy and Jenny learn to like Daddy again." I have generally found that this is the main problem with all of his films. Think of the Velociaptors-in-the-kitchen scene from "Jurrassic Park." How stupid would it have been to have the two kids arguing over something mundane instead of trying not to be eaten? It would have robbed that whole scene of any direness crucial to its effect. Spielberg does exactly that with much of this movie.
Lastly, a plot hole that made us laughing in our seats. Everyone is hungry. Robbie has brought only bread, peanut butter, and condiments as sustenance. Rachel is allergic to peanut butter. Ray is furious. He throws the slathered bread onto the window resulting in a lucky once-in-a-lifetime adhesion. Hunger! What will they eat! Where will they find food? This all takes place in the kitchen of an obviously well-stocked home. Personally, I would have looked in the refrigerator, duh.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
The shizzle be all frizzle!
SPOILERS - Another dumb movie. Director Roland Emmerich claims that he knows about all of the implausabilites which provided the story line, but that they were necessary for dramatic effect. Anybody can write a script like that. It takes talent to tell a story within the confines of reality, even if it's to take place in outer space with Imperial Storm Troopers. It's OK if Imperial Storm Troopers can shoot hand-held laser weapons, but we'd all cry "foul" if they were able to take a direct hit without injury. Here's a movie where 10,000+ years of climate change occurs in weeks without justifiable cause. Silly, silly, silly. Buildings freeze solid in seconds, yet Dennis Quaid can WALK 200 miles because he has a really good parka. People are freezing their butts off in the street while only two stand around the barrel fire keeping warm. The vice-president and government cannot be convinced that anything serious is happening in the world because they apparently have no access to CNN. And on and on. Rant follows.
I was dragged to see this by the girlfriend. On September 11, I watched 3000 real people die by a horrible terrorist event. Why do we need to have disaster movies made at all? Do we all feel better seeing films where people deal with terrible problems just so we can say, "Whew, glad that wasn't us!" I said that when the towers collapsed, when the Pentagon was hit, and when the plane crashed in PA. Go see comedies and laugh. There is no glory in dramatized disaster. There is no glory in death. There is no glory in war. It is juvenile to think that death, disaster, disease, or any pain and suffering is anything but horrible. Ask anyone who's been in the infantry in the army how fun it is to be in a firefight. Reality is far more tangible than dramatized terror. Try watching the news or read some articles on real science, instead of paying for the ignorant gruel served up by Hollywood, as I did today.
Rant over, for now.
As in, "Aw, some movies are good, but this surely isn't one of them."
Brad Pitt is good, but here he's met his match. This part is well beyond his abilities.
Why the English accents? Why English actors? A thick German accent would have made just as much sense and been much funnier. Or Japanese.
The Greeks addressed royalty as, "My Lord?"
Orlando's ear points were missing.
Geez, imagine the footage they didn't include!
Needed a car chase.
Well, they got the "dead" part right. Dead awful.
Dirt, grime, violence, death, drugs, murder, booze, sex, gambling, swearing swindling, treachery, capital punishment, and crime; that pretty much sums up the first five minutes of "Deadwood." So where to go from there? I dunno, repeat the first five minutes until the hour is up?
"Deadwood" tries so very hard to be one of our beloved HBO series but misses the target by a mile. From the opening music which is a disguised Western-style version of the opening music from "Six Feet Under" (it is, listen closely) to the highly dubious contemporary cursing lifted from "Oz", to the endless violence of "The Sopranos" (and "Oz"), Deadwood forgets to build characters with more than one personality trait. Even by the end of the first half-hour, it's pretty easy to figure out what any given character will do next. The result is a procession of mono-dimensional entries and exits as the story requires. No one is likable, therefore we don't care what happens from scene to scene.
Not likely to be around for long, I reckon'. Time for "Deadwood" to git outta town.
Lackluster writing, mediocre acting, and simply not funny.
I'm pretty sure I'm simply too old now for anything but a decently written and executed film; neither quality is in abundant evidence in "Elf". I really don't mean to insult all of you who've found this movie to be entertaining, but; you are all really easily amused. This is simply not a funny movie. Anything which could be counted as a joke can be seen coming as if it was a flaming asteroid about to hit Earth. Will Ferrell is just not funny (not in this movie, anyway). James Caan walks through his lines, Mary Steenburgen really has no lines worth saying, and Bob Newhart's portrayal of an Elf who doesn't show too much emotion only drags things down even more. (MINOR SPOILERS) The story is inconsistent: Buddy's character has a particular reputation regarding his performance as a toymaker in the North Pole, but in Manhatten he displays the opposite qualities. James Caan wants Buddy out of his life forever, yet completely changes his mind moments later for some feeble reason given by his son: "Buddy was right" or some such nonsense.
There are a couple of laughs but out a whole professionally produced movie, they are not nearly enough to carry the day. Director Favereau has done far better work. What happened here isn't clear. One high point, though, is Zooey's lovely singing voice, especially during the credits with Leon Redbone.
Geez, I must sound like quite a Grinch, but if you've 12 or under and you've never seen anything else, perhaps this is a funny movie. "Elf" is is one Christmas present which needs to be returned for store credit.