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The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
...an agent impaled the Oracle with her own arm after ripping it out of its socket? Wait, I think I dreamed that. Oh yeah, remember when Morpheus jabbed a ballpoint pen into that French dude's windpipe? What's that you say? I dreamed that too? Nuts. Ooh, remember when the film reached a satisfying conclusion that made me feel like I hadn't just wasted two plus hours of my life while still leaving me anxious for the third one? Aah, hell with it.
The best film I've seen in a long time
This film, the first Polanski made in English, works so well, and for so many different reasons, that I felt like I had to watch it again as soon as it ended.
From the first moments of the movie, Polanski sets up the key conflict, cutting between shots of Catherine Denuve's gorgeous face and of the things she is seeing, all of which are almost frighteningly ugly by comparison. After fifteen minutes of this, it becomes clear why Denuve's Carol is unable to cope with anything in the world around her, and why she is so dependent on her sister and her attractive female co-worker, who provide the film's only beauty other than Denuve. When her sister leaves her alone, her surroundings decay further into ugliness, sending her deeper into her madness. I loved the way that despite Carol's growing insanity, Polanski keeps going back to closeups of her face, which remains beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that no one can seem to notice that she is clearly very deranged.
The only question the film left me with is this: How could Carol possibly survived for an entire lifetime up till the point where the film began?
White Heat (1949)
While reading the comments for this movie, I was shocked to find that not a single person had anything bad to say about it. Now, I liked the movie, but calling it the greatest or even among the greatest gangster movies of all time is absolutely ludicrous. I found it to be a pretty well put together cops and robbers thriller that had some exciting moments and some good scenes. However, Cagney's acting is completely unworthy of all the accolades it has gotten. He's wooden and uninteresting at all moments when he's trying to show any emotion beyond crazy. For example, when he finds out his mother has been murdered, he staggers around a little and punches some guards, as I'm sure the director instructed him to, but you get no sense of any sadness. Also, why bother showing the extent to which he takes the undercover cop under his wing only to have the cop coolly put four bullets from a sniper rifle at him without so much as a blink to show that he regrets having to do it. I guess what I'm saying is that if this movie were robot theater, where emotions are of no importance, it would be terrific, but as a human I just wanted a little more.
The Devil's Advocate (1997)
Charlize Theron has a nice body
That's about all I can say about this movie that is positive. Her and Keanu's sister. I saw this movie in the theater, and have seen it twice since, and I still can't figure out what people see in it. It's just plain awful. The dialogue, and the acting is completely abominable all around. Keanu's lack of emotion is unusually irritating, as is Pacino's shouting for no reason, and Charlize Theron....gets naked. People consider this a good movie, and I will forever be baffled as to why.
A flawed masterpiece
I just saw Suspiria for the first time last night, and I was extremely impressed. Every shot is beautifully photographed, all the sets are great to look at, and it's well paced enough that you can really get caught up in the suspense of what's going on. But what about that music?
Almost everyone who commented on this movie praised the music, but I felt that it ruined many key scenes. Sure, it's creepy music that lets you know that something tense is going on, but that's not necessary in this film at all. Example: There's a scene where someone is being chased through a large building, and she manages to put a latched door between herself and the killer. As she searches for a way out of the room, the killer attempts to lift the latch using a straight razor, causing a bone-chilling scraping noise. This would have been one of the best scenes I have ever seen in a movie if all you could hear were the girl's struggles and that scraping. But no, there's this horrible music blaring so loudly that you can think of nothing else. This happens all too frequently in the film, where the characters are in total silence, trying to listen to something like footsteps or snoring, which you couldn't possibly hear while watching it because of the music. Abominable.
Too long?! Did I just say that? Yes, I am certain that Magnolia would have made a better two hour movie than a three hour one. But, I was not bored once through the entire thing. It was just too long because there were some scenes so terrible that they should have been edited out of the movie and burned. I liked the movie. I thought that there were more good scenes than bad. Tom Cruise's scenes (until he started to cry, then it hit bottom) were great, and John Reilly's cop was an amazing character. The game show scenes were also very well done. But the scene where Phillip Seymour Hoffman starts talking about how "this is the scene in the movie where you help me" was ridiculously awful. The group song did not function well on any level.
There were also scenes that were utterly unconnected to anything else. What was the point of the little kid's rap about who killed that guy if no one for the rest of the movie will care about who killed him?
In short, the movie would not have been too long had he replaced all the bad scenes with less bad scenes, because, as I said, I was not bored at any time. 6/10
Why, George Lucas, Why?
Oh, I remember my youth so well. I used to think of the Force with great awe, as something mystical that could never be explained. Then I saw The Phantom Menace. I can't even begin to imagine what would posess George Lucas to want to ruin one of the greatest movie myths of all time, and explain the Force as something biological, which can be determined by how many parasites you have living in your blood. To explain the Force is a crime against cinema, and therefore this movie is an embarrassment, an abomination. No amount of cool light saber battles or pod races can ever change that. Add in Jar Jar Binks and a huge cast of unnecessary CGI characters, and you have one of the worst movies of all time.
American Pie (1999)
Garbage, the worst movie I've ever seen. Ever.
Never before have I seen a comedy that fails so miserably as this movie. At least, I assumed it was a comedy, despite the fact that there was nothing even remotely laughable in it. Anything that may have had even a small amount of humor was beaten to death by the commercials, so when it came up in the movie, all I could do was groan. For example, all the jokes throughout the movie about the one kid's slut mom, and how everyone wanted to nail her were wasted, because everyone already knew that whateverhisnamewas would get her by the end of the movie, because it was in the commercial. Same goes for the infamous pie scene. If you want to shock people, don't show an edited, less interesting version of your shock scene in all the trailers, or put it on all the posters. Perhaps had I not expected a pie to be molested, it would have been funny, but as it was, the scene was dull, at best. I've seen "Batman and Robin," and "Chairman of the Board," yet this holds strong to the title of worst thing I've ever seen. I wish I could give it negative stars, it was just awful.
Barton Fink (1991)
Great. But it's no Big Lebowski.
Sure, this film is fantastic. The first time I saw it, the ending (not the crazy fire part, but the last ten seconds or so) made me laugh so hard. It's the best ended movie that there's ever been. The Coens create a great, moody picture, with some really interesting characters, and I have no problem rating this movie a 10 out of 10. But, the Coens' real gift is comedy, so they didn't hit their true brilliance until their best flat out comedy, The Big Lebowski, the best movie ever made.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Not as good as everyone says
When this movie was in the theaters, EVERYONE was talking about it as if it were the greatest thing ever made. And then the oscars came about, and it won all kinds of awards that it didn't deserve. Gwyneth's performance was adequate. Judy Dench played the same character she always plays. The direction was also merely acceptable. The only award it deserved, and the only reason the movie was above average, is the screenplay. Tom Stoppard puts in all the little Shakespearean touches that are just great and gives it just the right whimsical tone. This movie was fair.
Starship Troopers (1997)
The GREATEST war movie of all time!
"Starship Troopers" is a nearly perfect film. Never have I laughed so hard as when I saw this movie in the theater for the first time. Not only does it possess some very clever satire on fascism and society's need to have an enemy, but it also scores big laughs by being so over the top and absurd. The violence was not horrifying, as some have claimed, because it was so graphic that it became a joke. No one sitting in the theater when I saw it understood that having arms and legs and torsos flying around during all the battle scenes, along with the overdramatic music in the background, could only have been put there to get a laugh. And the finale, where they capture the brain bug (which, naturally, is shaped like a giant brain, I mean, what's funnier than that?) by throwing a giant net over it had me laughing so hard I was unable to see straight. Four stars, excellent holiday fun.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
One Fantastic Movie
I love the Coen brothers. I once thought to myself, how can they top Fargo?
This movie does it. All the performances are great, and allow you to get a real feeling for the characters, even if, in cases such as John Turturo's, they are only on screen for a few scenes. The script is amazing in that it keeps you guessing, introducing surprises all the way through, not just one Kaiser Soze-esque twist, but dozens of them. And the direction is ingenious. Any film maker who wants to insert a dream sequence into his film MUST watch this movie, because they can't be done any better.