Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Silent Hill (2006)
Let's establish this--I loved The Ring. This movie is, however, an abomination. It has just enough perverse artistry to sometimes be effectively sadistic in it's imagery. At other times the movie moves tediously over familiar gound. There is some adequate acting, but in my opinion the main character is weakly acted. If you'd like seeing people torn apart in the Coliseum, go to see this movie. Some scenes in this movie are the equivalent. It should be rated NC17 for VIOLENCE, but a guess a rating of R just for violence should tell you something. This is one of the one or two movies that I have seen in my life (and I've seen thousands), which I wish I had not seen.
Hard Ball (2001)
A little miracle of a movie: moving, realistic anduplifting
This film portrays the life of a group of boys who play one summer on a baseball league organized in the projects in Chicago. With out flinching an iota in portraying the material decay and the real fear of violence that permeates its setting, the film still shows the beauty of life--the importance of "just showing up" and trying. The young, unknown boys give outstanding performances which are matched by a moving performance by Keanu Reeves. Reeves, in his most emotive performance to-date, plays the team's coach who is redeemed by his contact with the kids, by simply learning to care about someone besides himself. Definitely NOT the "Bad News Bears," but a great movie experience for everyone--sports lovers or not.
The Watcher (2000)
Watching the "The Watcher" with Open Eyes--Worthwhile (spoilers)
Are You Watching "The Watcher?"
Keanu Reeves once said that you can go far in life by the simple act of paying attention. To paraphrase Morpheus in The Matrix, I would ask critics, "Are you watching The Watcher? Or are you looking at the woman in the red dress?" Are you seeing what is before your eyes, or bringing all your preconceived distracting notions to your viewing of the film?
Jettison preconceived notions about film technique being "self-indulgent" on the part of the director. You think a film has to be all in focus, on tightly matched stock, and with principle actors always lit? Oh you might make an exception for "Blair Witch" and Martin Scorsesse, but otherwise they blow off techniques as "intrusive." You enjoy Hemingway for his clear, clean, crisp prose. So, you'd blow off Virginia Woolf or Shakespeare because they demonstrate verbal exuberance and intricacy of technique?
The Watcher is exuberant in technique and therefore exciting--something is happening visually every minute. Like The Matrix used special effects, The Watcher uses photographic techniques, always pounding forward. This movie doesn't veer off the track of it's story, it doesn't mess around. That's why it can pack a wholloping story into 97 minutes. It's an odd word to use in the context, but this movie is PURE. PURE as in CONCENTRATED, 99 & 99/100% pure storytelling--in images & characterizations conveyed not just in words but strongly in the visual realm. Hey, one picture worth a thousand words; one sound-enhanced, talking, moving picture worth innumerable densely worded scripts.
And Jettison those preconceived notions about Keanu Reeves. He's playing Ted dude over the top, you say. He's wooden, walking through the movie? Where you paying attention? I think not. When he seems like Ted dude, he's playing off the persona. You say wooden, but I see subtle, playing off the everyman, ordinary guy quality he so effortlessly embodies. Reeves brought out multidimensions--he could make you laugh while you felt absolutely creepy. He looked charming enough to fool the girls, but with "something not quite right" about him--perfectly in character. And that dancing Reeves did--lithe and rhythmic, but at the same time skin-crawlingly CREEPY. Think Nicholson in "The Shining."
You want backstory on why Griffin kills? Check that notion. You want to spoil the core of the piece--the serial killer as an irrational, not-to-be understood force of human nature. This is how we see them, how they come to us over the wires and the airwaves--without their story told.
Jettison those preconceived notions about Spader's career crashing. Did you see the sympathy evoked for his in the camera, just by his demeanor and the way he speaks his lines. And yet, as with Reeves, there are resonances at play here too, with the not-so-good, the downright bad roles, Spader has played. The director, Joe Charbanic, said he wanted actors who could have interchanged the Griffin and the Campbell roles. He definitely got those actors. Casting can be an art too.
You critics said, it made so sense for Campbell stop pursuing his nemesis. He lacked motivation for quitting and then taking up detecting again. Hello? Did you get the intelligence of the script in just suggesting (not spelling it out) that for Campbell, in his awful professional detachment, pursing Griffin was just like a challenge, a game that kept him sparkling and alive. Until Griffin got jealous and murdered close to Campbell's heart, killing his enthusiasm for the game. It's more than both characters wearing surgical gloves that links the characters together. There's some depth here, something to think about, if you're paying attention.
The actors don't look good you say? There's faded glory there in Spader and Tomei, as the director intended. There's a charm oozing up from Griffin--heck, I'd dance with him as he was in the photo shop or on with the homeless woman. Your idea of beauty must be a very shallow notion.
There was some "falling out" with the director. Did that distract you? Oh, I think it did. When obviously Reeves is acting his heart out here, when obviously the director and cinematographer are enhancing every nuance of that performance by their art.
And checkout the homage to The Matrix. Betcha didn't even see it. Oh maybe you caught the Rob Zombie song, but did you see: the odd picture on the wall in the head detective's office (of a keyboard, reminiscent of pictures on the wall in the Metacortex building); the very evocative graffiti; the reflections in glasses; and the greenish phone that rings (not buzzes) waking a lonely guy from sleep in his narrow single bed in his cluttered solitary apartment. This is the kind of allusion to and influence from "The Matrix" that is a joy to see.
So to critics, are you watching, "The Watcher?" Or are you thinking about what you plan to write in your review?
The Replacements (2000)
Expected storyline, but completely unexpected hilarity
To work, comedy has to be unexpected. And that is just what makes "The Replacements" work so well. Oh, not that the storyline is unexpected, for from it. But the actual comedy embedded in that plot is often delightfully quirky and quite unusual in this extremely good-natured and entertaining film. The very first scene, for example, takes place in a completely unexpected setting and proceeds in a really odd-ball way.
As it is most times, Keanu Reeves acting is subtle. In this film you have to watch those eyes that are so eloquent when he's discouraged and listen to those little expelled breaths that convey so well (and so humorously) his state of mind when he's near the girl he's finds attractive. It's all there, and more, if you watch closely. Reeves is completely believable as a man who needs a second chance to do something he loves--play football. It's like he's a different person on and off the field--and that's exactly what the movie was trying to convey. The development (redemption is only too slightly strong a word) of Reeves' character is excellently portrayed. That struggle to overcome provides a good solid center around which all the hilarity revolves and becomes funnier in contrast.
Gene Hackman and the rest of this ensemble cast did a great job--everyone has his or her moments. If the movie has a weakness, it's the romance. Not that Brook Langton and Reeves aren't good in the clinches--they have a definite chemistry. But it seems like there should have just been one scene between them with some real substance.
"The Replacements" also succeeds well as a football movie. The great photography and sound; the inventiveness of the script in dreaming up unusual and funny, yet still plausible, game events; and the evident attention to training for and depicting the physical moves, all add up to a movie which sports fans will relish. And yet, the football plays, are presented so clearly that even someone who's not a knowledgeable football fan can understand everything that's happening, even the first time.
Comedy is tough--it's quite an achievement to have folks in the theater laughing for most of two hours. And that's certainly what the audience did when I saw "The Replacements." As well as cheering out loud for the "home team," clapping at the end, and coming out feeling like dancing to "I Will Survive" like they did in the movie. As well as feeling like we can survive and be ourselves--just like those scrappy, eccentric replacements.
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
Similarity to Hitchcock's Notorious
I haven't seen anyone remark on the similarity of the plot of MI-2 to the plot of Hitchcock's "Notorious" (1946, Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman). Both feature a male spy falling in love with a less than virtuous woman. Both have the male spy reluctantly asking his new love to seduce an old boyfriend for the sake of the cause. And both films even feature scenes at the racetrack where the woman meets up with the male spy to pass him information. Of course Hitch didn't have quite the same action punch. ;)
On Dangerous Ground (1951)
Minor masterpiece film noir/film blanc
I consider this short, unpretentious film to be a minor masterpiece. The movement from the familiar cityscape of the film noir to the white of the snowy countryside, from the damned, despairing world of the detective to the redeemed world of love offered by the heroine is captured in minimalist dialog and with outstanding cinematography. That one kiss at the end is worth a thousand sex scenes.