Reviews written by registered user
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Absolutely heinous. That's how you can describe the "film" FINAL
FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN.
For one, if you did not play the game, you will not have a single clue as to what is occurring. Not one. I spent many hours on the game back in the late 90s, but even to a "veteran gamer" such as myself, Advent Children made no sense whatsoever.
Now I didn't go into the film expecting it to make sense. After all, it's a Final Fantasy "sequel" (a contradiction in and of itself) and I assumed its direct-to-video release would give it a more fan-focused edge.
Fan-focused? After watching, the correct term would be "incomprehensible." --- Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children follows 2 years after the epic battles of Cloud and his gang. Cloud is now retired, and the citizens of the Earth are starting to come together after a near-Armageddon. But children are orphaned and sick with some disease, and a triumvirate of three silver-haired men (two femme, one masculine) are intent on recovering the lost cells of JENOVA. What's JENOVA? If you didn't play the game, don't expect to learn about it here.
For some reason the children go evil, monsters run-amok in the metropolis of Midgar, and it's up to Cloud and his gang -- along with the reformed ex-villainous Turks -- to stop the silver-haired evil men (whose names are largely forgettable).
The plot makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The objective for our villains is to retrieve JENOVA cells to re-awaken the grand evil Sephiroth, which isn't very well explained. And the disease will somehow choke the planet's lifeforce. And children are there for no other real reason other than children are creepy when evil -- see CHILDREN OF THE CORN for details.
Even from a gamer standpoint, it's ridiculous and filled with holes. The world learned the evils of Mako energy because it caused the near downfall of the planet. And they're still driving cars, using cell phones, and so on -- with what? Ethanol? Cait Sith is a robot controlled by Reeve, and is still around in the flick? Huh? The lost city is a LOST CITY a continent away, and Cloud gets there on his bike? For fans reading this review: I'm not solely panning it for its complete inability to make sense to a new audience, but also its inability to make sense to the old, knowledgeable one.
So what's left? A lot of crazy, physics-defying fighting, with monsters dissipating into smoke, characters taking bullets and living -- all amongst and general chaos and disarray. Is there a point? Not really, other than to showcase computer effects and give some cameos for fans of the game (read: Unnecessary Aeris scenes, trip to "the lost city," the highwind, and so on).
It seems that Square wanted to contrast starkly with the more crowd-pleasing, slow-paced, haunted FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN by using "shock and awe" tactics toward its gaming audience with a veritable seizure-inducing panoply of shiny, rapid-fast images of characters TOTALLY KICKING BUTT.
But it was lost on me. ADVENT CHILDREN is a failure in almost every regard. Yes, the animation is nice, but the frames jumped and cut so quickly you can't really sit back and enjoy the scenery. Result? A dreadful, convoluted bore. You can split-second splice the frames all you want: it definitely didn't keep any of my interest. You may as well just had a long shot of the characters walking around a room with a rotating background scenery.
If you want a CG-animated film with a decent plot and stunning graphics, rent FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN. It's not perfect, but its worlds above this hyperactive mess.
*/*****, for the graphics.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a small preface: I am one of the most sarcastic, critical people on
the face of this earth. Even when I'm a fan of something, I'll tear it
to shreds. This November's RENT comes to mind.
But Silent Hill was definitely an experience. It had its weak points. It did have some bad dialog. And it did have some very blatant plot devices. But good lord, at the end will you ever walk away stunned. And I think that -- more than anything is the point.
The good: The visuals. Good lord, the visuals were absolutely amazing. Every character design, creature manifestation, and set were of the highest caliber. Silent Hill did create Hell. It was Hell. And it was a damn fine looking horror film. Bar none. If you want atmosphere, this film has it in droves. DROVES.
And really, that's it. The visuals make this movie, and they make it in every possible way. But really -- this isn't a drama, or a comedy, or action, or mystery. This is horror. Raw, suspenseful horror. And what more is there to horror than the visuals? Not much. Acting -- great for the genre. Script? Wobbly, but it worked. And that's about it.
There are a few negatives that are ham-fisted and did bug me throughout:
1. The OVERUSE of music! I know Director Gans wanted to use music from the games. And the music from the games is of high quality and very good. But there must have been 30 or so tracks squeezed into this flick -- most of it was ill-placed, and ridiculously short. Shot of Rose running from point A to point B: cue 15 seconds of random Silent Hill music track. It was suffocating and broke the tension of being alone in a ghost town.
2. Speaking of breaking the tension: the inane husband/Christopher subplot. It felt as though a producer said "We need subplots! And Men!" and tacked this in. Right as you were getting gripped into the terror of Rose's journey, it would cutaway to her husband searching for her, or looking through archived files. It would have made more sense for Rose herself to find some archive or record. Given that the town is some ethereal ghost-realm, it doesn't seem so out of place for a file to appear for Rose (and the audience) to piece it all together.
One gripping scene in the school was just butchered through the juxtaposition of the husband side-plot. Rose encounters one of the most -- if not the most -- terrifying creature in the film, and the tension is broken by splicing it with Christopher. AND there was ill-fit music for the scene, to boot.
3. Anna, the walking plot device (among others). The time devoted to the husband side-plot could have been better devoted to Rose uncovering the mystery herself. Some cryptic clues in the school transform into grandiose posturing and needless plot exposition. The character of Anna is worthless in this film, and her lines are so forcibly developed to introduce the film's religious base that it destroys much credibility.
Those are the three main gripes with the film -- most of which stem from just the overuse of loud, ill-placed music and the devotion on the side-plot: which seems more a studio decision rather than that of the scripter or director. Though I may be wrong.
The plot is cryptic, but followable. Forced, but man, it comes together in the end. And for the gamers who feel it was ruined: cry me a river. Silent Hill 3 was a tragedy of storytelling, not Silent Hill the film. The film improved upon this by droves: and Deborah Kara Unger's Dahlia was fabulous.
See this film. You will walk away dazed by the visuals. However, if you're going in a critic, there is enough to mock and not enjoy yourself. Do what I did: go alone, delve into the atmosphere, and by the end you will be absolutely stunned.
It earns every bit of its 9/10 for the horror genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
QUICK SUMMARY - RENT 4/10 (below average) ~ A musical that just isn't
fun. It doesn't celebrate the bohemian world, nor does it give any
reason to. To the contrary, it doesn't sink in to be an adequate
"portrait" of the lifestyle it tries to represent. Thus, like Harry
Potter 4, it's so embedded with the source material that it doesn't
dive in and do a complete transcription from one medium to the other,
nor does it step back and become its own. It's scattered and unfocused.
For performance, Rosario, Jesse L. Martin, and Tracie Thoms own their
roles, while Heredia is forgettable, and the last three are just awful.
Music for the "rock" songs dwarfs the vocals. Columbus does not do the
film justice. ~
Let me preface for the rabid fan crowd that I am a long-time Rent fan. If you look over my dusty yearbooks, you'll see several Rent quotations. In fact, my very best friend and I got "Seasons of Love" voted our class song -- in a very non-white, urban school which was not an easy feat. RENT was something to treasure.
And we despised the movie. I went with my very best friend (VBF), another Rent fan of ours and my 14-year old sister.
Across the board? Everyone found it awful. And for many different reasons. Make no mistake, this RENT is slick and commercial, empty and without soul. More importantly, it is. not. fun.
I disliked it because the characters were unsympathetic. I live in Lincoln Park, Chicago, so gentrification is a buzzword we hear a lot. Like many reviewers, RENT makes it hard to find sympathy for characters that will not get "real" jobs, go out of their way to be obnoxious (I'm looking at you, Maureen), and who whine to no end. The only characters that come off as likable and sympathetic are the two grounded, financially stable characters: the underused Joanne and Benny. Mimi and Collins add a pizazz of life to an otherwise bleak sextet of "bohemians." But on the whole, Columbus and the script fail to add what makes the Bohemian lifestyle good. How does it celebrate life? The characters spout off catch phrases about "measuring your life in love" and "no day but today" but to what end? They all seem just as selfish and whiny in the end as they were in the beginning.
VBF disliked it because of poor characterization and lack of character cohesion. Columbus frames "Out Tonight" as Mimi being empowered by her stripping, using it to give her enough chutzpah to ask out Roger. Later in the film, Mimi completely falls apart when Roger "leaves" her. For a character that's supposed to be empowered by this self-sufficiency, why does she suddenly fall to pieces when the prominent man leaves her life? To her, it was out of character. And she ABHORED the tacked on Maureen/Joanne "commitment ceremony" bit. Not only is it incredibly out of place, she argued, but also out of character for Joanne's conservative roots. Collins and Angel seemed so "buddy" and not like the lovers they were portrayed to be - constantly high-fiving and nudging each other. And Roger is screaming his love song to Mimi in the end, rather than playing it on his guitar - a nuance she found wholly irritating.
Our other friend hated the direction and (some) cast. Too many flashbacks and montages. One Song Glory was butchered with horrible flashbacks of Roger and his ex-girlfriend, April. Cheesy shots of the characters dancing in the streets. Awkward close-up shots of Roger screaming "Your Eyes" at Mimi. The HORRIBLE rendition of "What You Own." And she hated Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp. Idina is obnoxious, and gives no reason to gain all of the attention she receives. A character loved in the stage version becomes EASILY the most dislikeable in the film. Adam Pascal only got off slightly better, looking way too old for his part. Other friend disliked Collins as well, though VBF and I thought he was the best of the returning OBC. Different strokes.
My little sis disliked it because it was long and not fun. Here is the clincher. RENT is about CELEBRATING LIFE, but there is very little to celebrate here. Mostly because Columbus, et al, spend a huge chunk of the movie trying to develop the characters. I have to chalk it to him for this: they really tried to give Mark, Roger, Mimi, Collins, and Angel some (much needed) padding to their characters (Benny, Joanne, and Maureen got the shaft in the film). But it obscured the message.
Aside from "La Vie Boheme," RENT just isn't fun. Riots and whining, and drama, and anger without any celebration. We were supposed to see the budding romances, establish the drama, and then break it all down in the second act. Everyone was supposed to be devastated, and then we are supposed to understand the things that matter: life, love, and family. Not finances or securities. The message is gone from RENT, it's too dark to be fun, and not soulful enough to justify its darkness.
The music is all right, but there are too many songs crammed into the first act, leaving little time to explain the characters. Many of the songs were awkward when they started, only to let the viewer get into the groove so to speak halfway through. Then the song ends.
The rest of the audience? One fan gave an enthusiastic clap when the credits rolled, only to stop once she found out no-one joined her. Then a bunch of stifled laughters happened from the audience.
RENT was and is bad. I just hope people will listen to the OBC so I don't have to defend it at my high school reunion because of the film. Blugh.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
-=-=-=-SUMMARY: The movie leaves a lot to be desired. It nails its dark
ending, but the rest of the film is disjointed and without substance.
Why? It puts a little of everything in, rather than a lot of a few
things. "Star" characters Krum, Fleur, Cedric, and Cho get the shaft in
a big way -- but at least it looks pretty?-=-=-=-
I'm so sick of PR. "Goblet of Fire" comes out, and doesn't live up to the PR machine. This film was showcased as the TriWizard Tournament with some Yule Ball flavor. Instead, the film is schizophrenic and doesn't address either plot satisfactorily.
That doesn't make the film unenjoyable. It is well produced, with a high-and-shiny gloss that makes it picture-perfect. The locales are gorgeous. The cast is gorgeous. Ralph Finnes and the graveyard scene ending is done without flaw. But the whole picture is hollow. In short, it could have been so much better.
Take, for example, the TriWizard Tournament. Four contestants, three new schools, two new love interests -- and we learn nothing about them. Nothing. Fleur has a total of 2 lines. At least Clemency Posey tries to give the character a bit of dignity with some naturally added and improvised French to contrast with all of the sexism the gal faces. Viktor Krum is just for looks, as he literally has 2 lines. TWO. And the one he says to Hermione is barely audible. Cho Chang - with Katie Leung being subject to much controversy - gets three lines. Three. THREE! Cedric comes off as the most substantial character, which isn't saying much.
I don't blame this on director Newell, but rather the Potter source material as a whole. For one, fan boys and fan girls - hellbent on everything being lifted directly from Rowling's "divine word" - are crippling a potentially successful film franchise. None of these have been so glaring as "Goblet of Fire." Secondly, the film is handicapped by the ongoing script that is the Harry Potter novel series. "Lord of the Rings" it ain't. Whereas Peter Jackson, Phillipa, and Fran could take the trilogy and work around the major subplots, the HP crew cannot. No one knows what subplots JK will use, abuse, neglect, discard, or revive. What character will be essential? Which one is not? Since the screenwriters don't know, then it makes sense to leave in a little bit of everything, which takes away from the "whole lot of some things" essential to making "The Goblet of Fire" a stand-alone story.
It should have stripped to the basics: - TriWizard Tournament - Yule Ball, with some Cho/Harry, Ron/Hermione, Hermione/Krum characterization, with a bit of Patil twin thrown in.
And, in the end, the return of Voldemort. Instead, the movie attempts to juggle its insane cast: Snape, Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, Hagrid, Ginny, Dean, Seamus, Fred&George, Dumbledore, Moody, McGonagall, Flitwick, Neville, Rita, and so on and so forth that it cannot adequately address its new characters. And since so many of these new characters have never before appeared in a Potter film adaptation, they never receive sufficient exposition or introduction.
The Patil sisters are never expressly named; Parvati is only named outside of a scene. Never appeared in a movie. Cho Chang is never even given a named introduction. Never been in a movie. Cedric Diggory is never given sufficient introduction. Fleur and Krum have no lines, so it is moot. Madame Maxime gets a few awkward scenes with Hagrid. Karkaroff has a pointless subplot that goes nowhere.
Thus, the movies are becoming increasingly convoluted -- and for those who haven't read the books, it becomes difficult to decipher. Wait until Movie 5 tries to add in "Luna Lovegood." It'll be a field day for sure. The real problem is that Harry Potter isn't completed. We're leading to a Hermione/Ron romance, but we don't know if they will get together. This need to leave in a little of everything kills the films and, in turn, the films put a clamp on the direction of the stories. The insane market-hype that is "Harry Potter" is neither giving the film nor print franchises the creative space to grow.
The acting is still the same for the children - over-emotional. Mad Eye Moody adds character, charm, and much needed pizazz into an otherwise "color by numbers" tale. Hermione (who I adored in the 3rd film) and Dumbledore were very off - Dumbledore seeming irritable and aloof throughout, and Hermione overly shrill. Emma: chill with the eyebrows. Dan Radcliffe looks like a Harry Potter, but still struggles with the key scenes. Ron is Ron, though he isn't too likable in this film with his unnecessary melodrama. The timing is off -- the "guest" schools visit for an entire academic year, with one of the three challenges occurring in fall, a Winter Ball on Christmas Eve, and two challenges in the Spring. All of this time flies by with no character interaction, growth, or even any "Nancy Drewing" on the part of our protagonists.
C'est la vie, in the end it's all moot for the Potter fan. The film looks beautiful, but leaves a lot to be desired. The hardcore Potter fans (like my boyfriend and sister) don't seem to care. Even I, a non-hardcore fan, feel like there needs to be some sense of artistic freedom in these film adaptations.
Break-Down Pros: Gorgeous Cinematography, Special Effects Best of the Series, Costumes, Sets, and Characters look phenomenal, The showdown with Voldemort at the end is near perfect.
Cons: Still too many unnecessary subplots and characters, Not enough focus on our "new" characters, choppy scenes, over-acting from Emma Watson and Dan Radcliffe.
OVERALL: 6/10. You'll see it regardless. It's an entertaining time, but leaves a lot to be desired.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is a haphazard attempt to bring Bollywood to an American
You can tell the decidedly Indian flavor of the film by: 1. The Length Good Lord! Two hours!? Who in their right mind said to make a romantic "comedy" two hours long? And in these two hours, they still didn't manage to flesh out the central characters of Darcy and Lolita.
2. The Subplots Indian movies are long, and contain several subplots. Bride and Prejudice does likewise (with Jaya's woes, and Lucky's "romance") but it simply detracts from the main characters.
3. The Musical Numbers This is what makes so many kitchy Bollywood films enjoyable, but Bride and Prejudice is absolutely dreadful in this regard. Not one catchy beat, and only one short dance number (with the worst editing ever! One second, women are on the balcony, the next, they're on the floor with the men dancing. I thought the reel had skipped!). Not to mention the lyrics are trite and boring.
Oh, and don't forget the cameo from Ashanti (what?!) and the randomly placed black gospel choir. It's like I stepped into the music video for "Like A Prayer" -- but "Like A Prayer" was GOOD.
4. Indian characters Yes, this one is a given. Bollywood films = Indian characters, but every Indian character is so Western, every girl is so white, and everything is so decidedly digestible for an American audience that it undercuts the entire purpose.
Lolita has romances with only foreign, white men. She has dreams and fantasizes about a white wedding with a white man in a Christian church in what looks like a Dutch locale.
And then the character goes on ad nauseam about the "Authentic India"? About her "Indian pride"?
The writing in this regard is incredibly sloppy. Rai is not Kajol's Anjali from "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" -- THAT character had a love and nostalgia for India and truly critiqued western culture.
Rai's Lolita chides the American yuppie "Darcy," saying the room rates for one night at his hotels is more than "some of (the Indian guests at a rather lavish party) make in one month."
What hypocrisy! Throughout the film, all we see are slim, svelte, light-skinned Indian actresses, always with soft hair and designer cosmetics and clothes. Rai's character does not work (neither do any of her sisters), and the locations are predominantly in London, Los Angeles, the tourist-areas of Goa -- Rai even goes on a "date" in a private helicopter over the Grand Canyon!
Where is all of her "Pride" now?
The film has no message, is insanely long, and the musical numbers are a dreadful bore. There is nothing "Indian" about this film -- it is Bollywood exploitation at its worst. These girls are Western, this film is Western, and adorning it with vibrant saffrons, and having the main characters married on an Elephant at the end does not somehow make it the "Real India."
Still, 6/10. Production values are fair, and I was not horribly bored; there are some rather funny scenes. But the weak plot and the hypocritical prosthetylizing of race-relations remove this film from all credibility.
I just saw this absolutely atrocious film, and it was -- quite honestly
-- the worst movie I have EVER paid to see. And I own "Russian Ark," a
foreign film shot throughout the Russian Hermitage discussing Russian
history and culture! This is not about tastes or styles; I am not some
action-junkie bored by a "deep" movie. The fact of the matter is that
"Closer" suffers from a lack of characterization and -- more
importantly -- intimacy.
All of the characters are horribly unsympathetic, and worse -- unbelievable. What "Closer" does is bandy about a lot of useless exposition and little in the way of storytelling. Simply put, this film does not show, it says. We don't see any attraction between any of these characters -- the audience is simply told, ad infinitum, about love, lust, romance, and intimacy.
What then, can the movie possibly showcase? Drama. Endless, insufferable drama. And not poignant or beautiful drama -- but the worst kind imaginable. The drama you'd see in a reality TV show. The drama you'd see at a gay bar. The drama that most sane people will consciously try to avoid.
So we see mad fits of jealousy. Jealousy about -- gasp! -- sexual crossovers. Jude Law reprises his "Alfie" role to bring yet another unsympathetic user. Julia Roberts' motives make absolutely no sense. Clive Owen is really absent from any true character: he personifies a male-sexuality archetype. And Natalie Portman -- who is the source of ALL the film's decently acted scenes -- ultimately makes no sense.
In fact, her character said it best (and I paraphrase): "It's a lot of depressed people, made to look beautiful, so that it's all okay to the rest of us."
Yeah. That's "Closer" for you. A lot of depressed people -- filmed quite beautifully -- masking itself as casual, beautiful "art." How freaking ironic.
And beware -- you're treated to the most ludicrous cyber-sex scene in the world, as well as Julia Roberts talking about every scrap and tittle about her sexual life with Jude Law. Talking openly about sex is not "real" nor "honest" -- Howard Stern's been doing it for years, and he had to move to a satellite network to receive air time.
These Shadow Entertainment films are definitely good for one thing...
... your own "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" party.
The story revolves around the "most prestigious" sorority on campus -- Delta Delta Pi. The "Pi Girls" have a secret, though: they systemically murder scores of hunky muscle-studs and bake them into pies! Since the pies sell better than any high-school candy sale ever could -- and are oh-so-low in carbs (this is SoCal) -- why not do it?
Unfortunately, a meddlesome student named Tobias is on to the Pi Girls! But why oh why won't his University dean (there's only one) not take his claims seriously? And what has happened to his best friend? And why the hell is a 40-year-old woman still living in a sorority house? Tobias's meddlesome questions are posing a problem to the Pi Girls way of life, and he must be stopped.
This movie is BAD. And when I mean bad, it's like falling down in front of a bicycle, into a steaming pile of dog crap, while raining(!), and then you're struck by lightening and paralyzed for life.
It is that bad.
Take note of the "Dean's Office" -- aka, someone's parents' den in their SoCal home. I know my campus' administrative facilities have excessive interior windows, pink, wood-paneled walls, and a backyard lying outside. Priceless!
Of course, when I purchased this film, I didn't know that I was buying a soft-core porn. This isn't B-rate horror -- this is C-rate soft-core porn with some sadism thrown in. There is an obligatory strip poker scene, a "sexy lap dance!" that lasts at least 10 minutes too long, and you get to see some huge 40-year-old lady knockers at least 7 times.
But despite all of the bad: bad script, horrid acting, atrocious sets, lighting, and effects -- this movie is perfect for a dorm-room party. Your friends will die laughing at lines like "THE PENIS IS FILLED WITH GERMS AND SPERM!" and "HUHN-UHN!!! NO YOU DIDN'T!!!" and the crazy amounts of forced sexuality. It's a movie to knock, not to enjoy.
Oh, and the DVD is loaded with a slew of hilarious extras, although they are sometimes raunchy, disgusting, and -- even somewhat depressing. I'm a gay man, and I really didn't need to see 40 year old Julie Strain run around for 15 minutes with all sorts of (really bad) dungeon paraphernalia only to see her put the handle of a potato masher...
... well, we'll stop there. You can also see extended cuts of all of the "murder/seduction" scenes with Julie Strain, and they are disturbing. I didn't know if these hunky muscled twenty-somethings were really excited about Strain's dirty talk, but I think they were. My friends and I were in stitches.
And then there's a 20 minute video with Strain and one of the Pi girls at their (real) home which only made me feel more trashy than usual. It made my life seem like an A+ endeavor by comparison.
Bottom line: hilarious movie, hilarious extras, albeit there is sick, middle-aged-on-young sexuality, pointless and fake "gore," and acting that came straight out of a high school drama class.
Check out "Birth Rite" if you want more bad acting/plot/gore, less sexuality.
Ugh. Jurassic Park 3. Ugh. UGH!
I saw this with my boyfriend, and he kept asking me "No, seriously, have you already seen this movie?" It was so predictable, and throughout the movie I kept shouting quips at him "Do you think they're the parents of that missing kid?" "One phone call... do you think it'll be Grant's best friend Ellie?" "Do you think that guy took the Raptor eggs and that's why they're being followed?"
I'm not nearly as annoying in movies as I was during "JP3." Let's face it, even Sam Neill didn't save this movie. Besides, Sam Neill wasn't even THAT great in JP1.
If you ask me, this whole movie would have been better if Laura Dern was the protagonist, and she kept bitchslapping the whiny Tea Leoni every time she ran off screaming. THAT would have been entertainment.
JP3 was simply boring. The spinosaurus was so non-threatening it wasn't funny, and the raptors? They were portrayed more as "good guys" than the evil carnivorous beings were were made out to believe they were in the first two films. With no calm herbivore moments, JP3 looses all of its majesty and it doesn't portray terror well, if at all.
The rich couple: annoying. Who cares about their melodramatic "No, I love YOU" crap. And they aren't even RICH! Tea Leoni runs around screaming and crying and acting womanly. I swear, they NEEDED another woman... badly. Ellie Sattler, anyone?
The kid: ANNOYING. For one, I haaaate "Trevor Morgan" (better known to me as that ANNOYING child in the Disney flick, "Genius") and he does not make me like this movie any more.
Grant: Cheesy. I mean, this is corny as Kansas. "No, this is how you PLAY GOD." Puh-LEASE. He had no chemistry, his dino "knowledge" had no influence, and honestly, he added nothing more to this movie than a name. Blah!
Ellie Sattler: I LOVE YOU, LAURA DERN! Seriously, her 10 minutes in the film make up for about a good 30 minutes of this movie. You really want her here.
As for memorable scenes, the Aviary scene was awesome, but if you've read the original Jurassic Park novel by Crichton, you would realize that this scene is devoid of originality, and it was far more interesting with Tim and Lex.
All in all, this movie was boring tripe. Not even entertaining, and hey, I liked Tomb Raider. It's not like I'm against "mindless entertainment," but this wasn't even entertaining, it was just mindless.
I saw this miniseries when it first aired, and enjoyed it. It wasn't scary,
and it was long, but after seeing Kubrick's version I realized that this
version, the mini-series, beat Kubrick's "Shining" at nearly every
The only way I could ever see anyone enjoying Kubrick's "Shining" over King's is if they have never read the book. Let's be honest, here... Kubrick's version was about as thin as rice paper, and luckily, we had King remake the film to fill in the holes.
King's "Shining" was a great film, that captivated and EXPLAINED the reasons behind Jack Torrance's demise to total insanity. It explained why the ghosts in the hotel began to stir. It explained what the shining could be. This film not only did all these things, but it showed us a conflicting struggle inside of Jack... a "Jekyll and Hyde" of sorts, with what he knew was right, and what he told was right.
Rebecca DeMoranay was superb in this film. Shelly DuVall was terrible, horrible, and downright atrocious (and the fact that she had horse teeth didn't give her any credibility, either). Rather that whining and carrying on as if she was the 'lowly wife' throughout the film, as DuVall showed as Wendy, DeMoranay's Wendy fought for survival. She was terribly concerned for her son, and was devoted to Jack, but ultimately she had to choose. The stairway scene surpasses the one in Kubrick's version, hands down. If there was one thing I could choose as the best improvement in King's "Shining" from the original, it would be the portrayal (and casting) of Wendy Torrance. In Kubrick's film, when Grady told Jack that "his wife was most resourceful," it had me nearly in stitches. DuVall's Wendy stood next to the locked bathroom door screaming with a butcher knife in her hand, while DeMoranay searched furiously in the medicine cabinet for some means of defense against her derranged husband.
Courtland Mead shined as Danny Torrance. Kubrick's Danny had very little to do with any psychic power, while King's had EVERYTHING to do with it. Mead added volumes to the character of Danny Torrance, the character with 'the shining,' no less!
I was skeptical of the casting of Weber as Jack Torrance -- but he did a fantastic job! Nicholson (the ONLY good thing about Kubrick's film) did a great job, but he was mainly focused on an enraged side of Jack Torrance. Weber had to show two split personas: That of his enraged, abusive father... and that of the caring, loving husband and father that he had tried so hard to be.
Sure, King's adaption was longer... but vicious hedge animals are far better than an incredibly lame hedge maze. It stayed true to the novel, but that wasn't what made this miniseries work. What made it work was is strong characterization and it's back-story. Finally, we were able to see what the Overlook was all about, and what the Shining had in store for it. We learned how special Danny was, and how willing both Jack and Wendy were to fight for his possession. Kubrick had cinematography, yes... more cheap scares, yes... but King had a psycho-thriller, one that dealt with a man's mind, not with an elevator filled with blood.
Telling Lies in America... where to begin? It has an interesting
and an interesting plot. Bacon was great as Billy Magic, but Brad Renfro
REALLY wasn't convincing as an immigrant. Sorry Renfro fans, he wasn't --
unless he emigrated from North Carolina, which is highly unlikely.
This movie kind of flirts with the dirty side of the music buisness, namely the radio-end, and how Karchy Jonas (Renfro) gets caught up in it. He wants it all -- the all American dream. Money, Popularity, and the girl. As for the girl, Calista Flockhart gave a very convincing role (bonus points for her reaction about the Spanish Fly!), and even though I am the largest Calista Flockhart fan, she seemed a bit.. old for Renfro. She looked good in the poultry store, and on the date, but other than that she did look in her late twenties -- a little old for high-schooler Renfro.
And of course the movie wanted to make you fall asleep sometimes. It just became a bit too dull -- nothing very exciting happened. Although that blasted "Medium Rare" song sure does get stuck in your head. *grin*
So I would only recommend this movie if you're bored and have nothing to do, or if you're a big Flockhart/Renfro or Kevin Bacon fan... oh yeah, Luke Wilson, too.
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