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Re-watching Gremlins after many years, I found myself a little bored with the opening of the picture. The first 30 minutes range from good to bad, I found the characters boring. But once the Gremlins come into play, things get much better, infact, I couldn't stop laughing at the juvenile jokes and stupidity. The Gremlins are the stars of the show, I didn't particulary care for main human characters...they seemed so poorly written, or lacked good direction.
The photography is servicable, but the directing seemed a little uninspired to me.
The Gremlins are excellent puppets, you do believe that they exist. Technically, the film is fine, but I wish more thought was put into the characters, and the first 20 minutes were condensed into something more interesting than the usual introductions.
Die Another Day (2002)
A total disgrace, James Bond has been murdered, and unfortunately, I witnessed it on the big screen. I simply cannot believe what I watched unfold before me. To say I'm disgusted is an understatement; I'm livid that the producers, Barbara and Michael, let this offensive film ever be shot. As a Bond fan, I was expecting Michael's experience to bring Bond back to earth and give Pierce a spy adventure, instead we get a boring Triple X-esque movie, which panders to the lowest common denominator AKA MTV crowd. Bond has always been a unique franchise, you can always distinguish a Bond picture from the rest, but today, that's not true - Bond has become generic, an action hero, lacking a style.
There are 8 fundamental problems with Die Another Day: 1. Invisible car - Bond has had some outrageous gadgets, but this one is FAR OUT and does not belong in the film. 2. Christian Wagner's MTV pretentious editing calling attention to its self - "hey look at me, I'm MTV" AWFUL. 3. Some terrible blue screen work - Bond surfing on ice water? pleeeeasssseeeee! 4. Plot is boring once we reach the ice palace. 5. Villains are boring. 6. Jinx has little to do unlike Wai Lin from Tomorrow Never Dies 7. Bad writing, scenes lack cohesive binding 8. David Arnold's score (please bring back John Barry) is totally drowned out by foley work. 9. Madonna's song is awful, the worst of the 20. Why did the producers let her? Because she sells records? The marriage of the song and score are no longer part of the Bond tradition since Goldeneye. 10. M doing the same thing again!!! YAWN!!!!! Give her a bigger part
There are some bits in the film, some okay, some brilliant:
The pre-credit sequence is exciting. Bond getting captured - finally they made it happened, but spoilt by getting it out of the way too early. Bond looks healthy, I mean 14 months didn't take much out of him? John Cleese as Q, he makes the role his own. Difficult act to follow, but he manages it. Thank the lord that he doesn't act like a buffoon! Brosnan is comfortable. Pike is a terrific catch, beautiful Bond girl. A lot of the minature work is perfect. David Tattersall's photography is good, as you would expect from a BSC member!!! Moneypenny gets a funny sequence...but out of place, totally detatched from the film. Nice homages to previous films, it's unfortunate that those scenes were some of the best in the entire picture.
As I said, Bond has lost the identity, arguably Britain's favourite son has been sold out to the teen audience. Where's the class? Bond should appeal to all ages, it's that reason why the franchise has been so successful. I'm all for Bond going into new directions, but certain elements can't change, but there is plenty of scope to explore. Licence to Kill is the perfect example of exploring Bond and keeping it in line with the series. Goldeneye was the last decent Bond film. Pierce Brosnan deserves a better script. I believe it's time to bring in new writers and ask John Glen to return, he made 4 decent Bond films, lets bring back experience!!! Oh, bring back the character down to earth as well. Bond is human, not a Superman!!!
I'm really disappointed in Tamahori, I still think he's a good director, but maybe he has been found out on the biggest stage?
So, Die Another Day is a colossal disappointment, can it get any worse? Yes, it can, if the producers decide the fate of Bond is now in the hands of MTV!!!
15 Minutes (2001)
One never gets tired of a social satire on the media, which affects our lives, weather we like it or not. The media manipulates to make you believe things, it pays through the nose to get ratings, even if it means hurting their best friend.
15 minutes is about fame, it shows that evil crimes = money for film studios, book publishers etcetc
15 minutes may not be a perfect picture, nor is it focused, but damn, it really is reflective of today's world.
The film is part thriller and part satire, sometimes the film gets lost but it does work well. Can't believe how underrated this picture is.
De Niro and Burns are excellent as are the villains, who you really hate them!
Overall, excellent direction, but the writing could have been more polished in certain scenes.
Joy Ride (2001)
Joy ride is fun, this one is made for a Friday night with your friends. I do recommend that you don't think too much, there are plot holes, but some can be accounted for if you think after you've watched the film.
The film is tense, there's some excellent editing to keep the picture flowing. The film does use the DUEL premise to a certain extent.
The direction by John Dahl is superb, but I guess the screenplay wasn't always perfect. The film required a bit more thought, some scenes were very frustrating to watch.
The acting is actually pretty good, there's a lot of chemistry between the characters.
Overall, a fun picture, which deserves a rental.
3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)
Disgusting piece of cinema
UGH! Horrible is not the word for this horrendous trashy garbage. I simply cannot believe why the director, Demian Lichtenstein decided to direct this the way he did!
From the opening crap CGI-fest, which was so pathetic, I thought I was watching a video game. The whole style of the film is disgusting, at times it was mimicing John Woo's style, then suddenly it all slows down to a snail pace. The whole set-up of the picture is wrong, instead of trying to have a serious attempt, the film mixes in pop video junk and violence. The film could've been good action fodder!
The acting is rather bland, even Costner's bad guy does nothing, he has hardly any good lines. Kurt Russell can star in better movies than this! Cox was the only redeeming thing about the picture, she is very hot here. The kid does a pretty good job with the material.
I'm not even going to bother to put down the screenplay and music. This is a bad movie, certainly deserves to be locked away forever in the vaults.
Switch your brain off and enjoy this foul-mouth experience. This is a very entertaining picture. The plot is not important, come on, this type of film is just a chill-out! The story is very simple, and you have a fair idea how it will end. The film is about the journey, the characters they meet on the way. Cameos from Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will have you in fits of laughter!
Is Jay a strong lead character? Probably not, but I didn't care. Silent is a good sidekick, though. At times the film seems to be pushed towards the folks who know everything about the previous films, so for newbies, I suggest watching Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma first. Of course, there is a lot of crude and immature jokes, but you can't help to laugh at it all.
The acting is actually very good, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith are very comfortable in their roles. Watch out for the hot looking ladies, you can't miss them!
The direction is pretty good, this is Smith's biggest film to date and he does take care of things very well here.
Jay and Silent Bob is fun, forget the plot, it's not important. Just enjoy the adventure.
Adventures of Don Juan (1948)
Errol Flynn is once again cast in a swashbuckler, this time playing Don Juan. The film isn't fantastic because it's a bit hard to believe the whole Spanish material. The accents are way off, but it shouldn't hurt your enjoyment of the picture. Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk and Robin Hood are tough acts to follow, but Don Juan is still a decent feature for a Sunday afternoon with the family.
Errol rocks in the role, although don't expect anything knew, the plot is very simple. The fight scenes are quite fun as well.
What stood out for me was the terrific Korngold-esque score by Max Steiner. It's fantastic, rousing and a lot of fun.
The direction and screenplay are decent.
The Adventures of Don Juan doesn't provide much new material for Errol Flynn, but you can't help but enjoy the picture especially if you love his previous work!
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Entertaining Post-modern picture
Post-modern? YES Enjoyable? YES Over-the-top? YES Moulin Rouge is an excessive piece of film-making. Make no bones about it this film doesn't break much new ground - It uses old ideas, classic songs and bright colours to throw you into a chaos world. There isn't much to say about the plot, the film is about set pieces, it's loud, everything is big, everything is theatrical.
The film is about love! The first part of the picture is interesting but so damn excessive, it's all a bit too much. 100 shots in 1 minute is headache-inducing! Tailor made for the Mtv generation!
The film does work despite the post-modern ideas. I think the eye-popping features have to be the extraordinary sets! There's so much detail, without it, the film would be flushed down the toilet!
The acting is okay, only Jim Broadbent really shows the class. Nicole Kidman is very sexy, fits into the world perfectly. Ewan is okay but seems a bit lost with the material.
The direction is hyper-active, it lacks subtleness. Where the film does not work is the MTV editing, it's rubbish. There's no need to edit like this, it's worse than Michael's Bay cutting. Just because you can edit so quick doesn't mean you should. I know that the director wanted the film to be hyper but please! Where's the control?
The use of classic songs sang in operatic fashion is quite fun, I don't think I've ever seen it done like this before.
Overall, Moulin Rouge is entertaining but lacks a strong story, I guess it's all about the experience!
Ghost World (2001)
It's about time we had an attempt at a serious teen picture, Ghostworld is an interesting piece which should be viewed! It's not an over-the-top happy picture, but a true reflection of teens who do not seem to fit into the world. The picture follows 2 girls who are eccentric, have their own views on being cool and not following the typical trend. I guess they are attempting to find their place in the Ghostworld.
The film's screenplay is very good, act 3 does suffer, it seems a little tagged on and does drag at the end.
The direction is simplistic but very effective, don't expect any elaborate ideas, this is text book stuff.
As I said, the film does suffer towards the end, but there's lots to enjoy. The characters are rich and interesting.
The acting is top draw! Buscemi is terrific, the role was made for him. The acting by the girls are awesome, especially Thora Birch who just fits into this world like a glove.
Forget the current teen dross, this one is a very decent look at teens who rebel against the norm!
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
An all-time low?
After a lacklustre debut in Live and Let Die, Roger Moore is back as 007. The Man with the Golden Gun is a weak film, all the potential is replaced by boring exposition and boring set pieces.
There's nothing very interesting, they had Christopher Lee, but didn't make good use of him. He had nothing to do, even the finale was flat. Roger Moore was getting more comfortable, but he seemed to be doing a Sean Connery Bond instead of adding something unique to the role. Moore's style would change in 'The Spy Who Loved Me'.
The Bond girls are boring, Maud Adams has little to do. Britt Ekland is very average, nothing to shout about. The Nick Nack character is boring. Boring is the operative word to describe this film. Don't get me started on JW! Not a very funny character, why he's here is a mystery!
The direction is lazy, the script is terrible. Mankiewicz went in the wrong direction. The film is very cheap, didn't have a sense of size to it.
Overall, Moore's 2nd outing is boring and lazy. The potential to have Lee and Moore at their best is not realized on screen.
Things were about to change, Moore relaxes to become a fun Bond in the next film... ...The Spy Who Loved Me!