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Cruel Intentions (1999)
This is a horrible film. There is relly no reason you should see this, especially since the three other adaptions of the novel are so much better. Bad acting, bad directing and a horrible performance by Ryan Phillippe (or however you spell it) and it doesn't help that it has horrible acting. One great addition to the film though; SPOILERS. There was a great choreographic moment when Sebastian got plowed by the taxi cab!! I loved his twist on the top right before he flew face first into the street! It also had really bad acting...
Awful, Scattered with a horrible plot
What was John Singleton thinking? I don't know... First of all the original "Shaft" worked only because of the time period it was made in and I only realized this 1/2 way through the awful new one. The story is introduced with Christian Bale's rascist Walter Wade J.R. as the main villain in a pumped up opening scene that promises, at least, a decent action-revenge plot. But instead, mid-way through the production, the filmmakers decided that Jefferey Wright's Peoples Hernandez was a more interesting villain (they are right) but they then reduce Bale to a minor part,(eliminating an end scene which was a key to why Bale chose the part) Bale's reduction is espcially disappointing because they easilly could have worked out a sort of partnership between the two villains. They even suggest it in the film, but never followed up on it. This leaves a week plot which gives Jackson nothing much to do other then ask a lady bartender if she wants the "L.D." However much worse then anything I've mentioned so far is the completely idiotic and unsatisfying ending which looked like it was thrown together quickly so Singleton could get this crap done with as soon as possible. And in the end I felt and learned nothing more about John Shaft than I saw in the 5 second commercial on FOX. Wright and Bale remain the real stars of the movie, you almost feel bad because they are so much more intriguing then Shaft himself which I'm sure was not Singleton's intention.
Final Destination (2000)
Great Beginning, Decent Middle, Satisfying Ending
"Final Destination" is definitely a cut above the rest. It approaches it's story professionally, making every death count. I admit, however, some of the dialouge is pretty bad. But besides this, and an ill-timed scene with Tony Todd, "Final Destination" will take you on a satisfying, and wild trip. Director James Wong does a great job of portraying Death as a mysterious and powerful force. Devon Sawa was perfect in his role, as well as the rest of the cast. TIP FOR VIEWING: (Mild spoilers!!) Pay attention to the tag lines. It all makes sense in the end.
The Faculty (1998)
Ill-Conceived Concept was Doomed from the Beginning
"The Faculty" was not entirerly Robert Rodriguez's fault. The story is ludicrous and its attempts to "poke fun" at the '50's alien flicks fail miserably. I knew this was going to be a real bad movie, and knew which audience this was aimed at when I saw the comercials for it on TV, which said; " Dimension Films presents "The Faculy" Starring Tommy Hilfiger Jeans." I couldn't believe Rodriguez went from "'Dusk Till Dawn" to this crap. The opening scene was pretty cool, but everything else from the script to the acting was bad. (Particularly by Josh Hartnet as Zeke) Kevin Williamson should be banished from writing movies (Stick to Dawson's Creek pal,and tough luck with "Teaching Mrs. Tingle":) ), and Rodriguez should never have been reduced to this. Better luck next time, Bobby
The Beach (2000)
Exceptional First 1/2 hour; Loses it's Focus in Middle
Being a big Danny Boyle fan, I was a little disappoiinted by "The Beach." However, I must say the first 1/2 hour was as good as any work he has done in the past. The beginning let's you get to know and identify with Richard (Leonardo Dicaprio) a lost, uncomfortable American traveler, who, like so many is anxious to try something "new." The script by the always dependable John Hodge captures Richard's mood perfectly. Another fantastic element of "The Beach" is Robert Carlyle's appearence as Daffy, a spontaneous and exciting character who remains the real center of Richard's state of mind throughout his wild stay on the beach.
After the first hour, however, the film begins to stumble as Richard's mood begins to shift and this transition simply feels too rushed. Dicaprio turns in a good performance, however the other characters remain rather flat. Even though the film is strictly about Richard and what he represents, they could have built more on his relationship with Etienne (Guillame Canet) and especially Francoise, (Virginie Ledoyen) not to mention the others on the beach. The film is also tremendously visual, as Boyle continues to make the settings just as large a part of the story as his characters.
By the end the themes feel complete,(They are reminiscent of some in "Fight Club" in an odd way) however the story comes up short.
A Life Less Ordinary (1997)
Interesting, and Underrated
" A Life Less Ordinary" is a very underrated film, which undeservedly got bashed by the critics. It is strange and original, with great chemistry between McGregor and Diaz. The only thing I didn't like about the movie was the "mission from God" with Holly Hinter and Delroy Lindo as angels. They played their parts well, and most of the time it works, but what happens at the end to them is stupid. However, besides that very minor set back, the film offers a unique and fun adventure. 7/10 stars
Waiting for Woody (1998)
Pretty Good for a Short Film
"Waiting for Woody"- slightly above average short film whose cameos ultimately make the movie. Grant Heslov fit the role well. Some of the jokes lines are hilarious, while some don't work at all. Also, the "audition" scenario has been done before, and better. 6/10
What Were They Thinking?
"Texas Blood Money" lacks eveything the original had. It easilly could have been rescripted, and at the very least, could have been watchable. Nothing intigures the viewer, and the Titty Twister looks horrible. No one seems to have tried on this one, which is surprising considering it was exec. produced by Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Lawrence Bender. A very large letdown that displays minimal talent for director Scott Spiegel, who Quentin Tarantino credits with starting his career. The 3rd is at least a DECENT addition to the "FDTD" legend.
"Go" is another movie that should have never been. To sum it up quickly; it's very trendy, we don't care about the characters, so their little conflicts are boring creating no suspense. The movie isn't funny, and the script isn't serious enough to fully entice the viewer in what's going on. Even Liman's first effort "Getting In" was far superior to this.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Great Atmosphere Makes "FDTD" one of the best of it's kind
To call "From Dusk Till Dawn" a B-movie would be wrong, although many consider it to be. I've been a huge Tarantino fan since "Reservoir Dogs" came out on video, and an equally big Rodriguez fan. If you know these directors beyond their films, you might know that they both share a passion for B-movie westerns and shoot-em-up gangster flicks. It seems that they combined both genres to help create "From Dusk Till Dawn," which at times SEEMS like a B-movie, only to add to it's feel. I was probably very lucky to not know what this movie was about before I saw it, which is rare. Therefore I was in for the surprise of my life when it turned suddenly from an intense "fleeing robbers" tale to a semi-horror movie. The whole film, from the very beginning has an EXCELLENT feel of creepiness to it. The film is excellently directed by Rodriguez, equipped with one of the best opening scenes I can rememeber.
(POSSIBLE SPOILERS) In the end, "From Dusk Till Dawn," is full of mystery in it's own way, with alot of questions for the viewer to ponder about the origins of the evil the Gecko brothers encountered, and the origin of the brothers themselves. I don't know about you guys, but those questions have always intrigued me. Maybe that's why "FDTD" has become one of my favorite movies since I first saw it in '96.