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Big Fish (2003)
big fish - small return
One word: "cute". The movie is cute, the characters are cute, the moral is cute... damn, mr. burton, you went soft!
Visually the movie is strong, and i think it was well done all around, but as the third act started i was wondering where all this was going. While it did start to loss me, the ending grabbed me and got me back. It wrapped it all up very nicely and drove the message home in a pretty powerful way.
With that said, and while there were several enjoyable "burton" moments, i just felt like i was watching a "nice, cute" kids movie. Why did they bother with the pg-13 rating? Cut 3 swear words out and about 5 seconds of film, and this thing is PG and more directed at its target audience. I really am a fan of Mr. Burton's work, but i think "beetle juice" was edgier. And i read that someone thought the movie was violent? Did i miss something?
Its nice, its sweet, its sentimental and gets a few laughs; but i have to say that i expected more. My vote: less cute, more burton.
Love Actually (2003)
This is some good cheesy love, actually...
Going beyond the typical love story and the dreaded "chic flick" label is always tough. Essentially, there has to be a certain amount of "feel-good" cheesy stuff that makes these movies sappy and lovable. I was happily surprised to see this film, what may be wrongly classed as a "chic flick", having equal parts of comedy/drama and a great balance of "cheese" and reality to make it thoroughly enjoyable.
The visual tie-in of the Airport arrivals and the line that "Love is actually all around" is really poignant. After that, each story represents a piece of the spectrum of how powerful this love can be. What you end up with is a lot of fun, and hardly any opportunities for the story to drag; it clips along and entertains throughout.
If this movie was filmed in the US, they would have plucked one story out of it and cast Sandra Bullock and the dude of the month, and it would have been total garbage. (Gotta love the portrayal of the US president, hilarious ;)
the worst is the best
Come on people - it's part seven for god sakes! Of course it is going to be one of the worst movies of all time, but that's what makes it so great. But what I think people are missing is that this is one of the funniest squeals of them all. The effects are pretty good and the kills are top notch. (the sleeping bag against the tree [also relived in Jason X] has to one of the best of all times) Some of the greatest nonsense ever.
Minority Report (2002)
Everybody loves Spielberg...
...except for me. Well I don't hate the guy; he has made some of the best films of all time, but also some of the worst. This one falls somewhere in-between. I did enjoy parts of the film and the effects, but it did fall short of my expectations. But its not all Steve's fault, I would have to blame Scott Frank's script for most of the flaws.
How many times did we have to hear, "My father once told me
" or "Some-one once said
"; did every character have to have at least one line of grand insightfulness? And I guess I never really bought Cruise's character to be this distraught, unbalanced individual. It all seemed too cut-and-dry for me (well, it's a Spielberg). The film also never seemed very confident in its story telling. Taking a very serious premise (though far fetched) and adding in campy violence and a few gross-outs, it just seemed totally out of place. I also thought just about every bit character was completely over done. I could not stand that wheel chair cop guy, not only was he cheesy but in a wheel chair, in 2054 when humans could get a new pair of eye balls if they wanted? Come on people
It was so poignant to see this film now, with all the strife that is taking place in Israel. To say that this film is a must see is an understatement; it should be mandatory for all Palestinians and Jews to see it together. We can only hope that its projects like this that will open the rest of the world's eyes and let them understand what life is like there. People who only watch CNN in the states will never understand what it means to be apart of this world. It's just too bad that so many millions will be in line to see "Star Wars" next week, and maybe less than 1% of those people will see this film. In a perfect world, it would be the other way around. But until the generations to come find a way to stop harboring hatred and to stop continuing a way of repression and violence, this is the world we will be in. It will take a long time, but I hope some day we will all be able to put our religious differences aside, and realize that we are ALL right.
What an inspiring and terrifying film. It was so well documented, almost every scene and every word is important. A brave project with a wonderful message; I can't say anything bad about it.
Ching se (1993)
What the #$%! did I just watch!
This film was wacky, weird, and just plain nutty. It absolutely amazes me how Hong Kong Cinema, and Asian cinema in general, tries to pull off such lavish and fantastic movies on such small budgets. I can only imagine how much money a Hollywood exec. would think of throwing into a picture like this. When some guy is China is saying, "Hmmm, you need a giant talking snake, huh? Give me $20 and a new bicycle and u got it by next week."
What a wild ride, (got lucky and saw it on the big screen) but what would you expect from Tsui Hark. The guy is just awesome with the camera, its so kinetic, it can make the weak sick. The story line of this movie is also kinetic - part myth, part fantasy, part romance, part comedy, with a little bit of kung-fu thrown in as well. I loved the setting; the canal town, it was really beautiful. The effects wern't bad either.
The whole move is basically about the struggles of female sexuality in a male world. I think the points of the story are great, but the action is just so nuts, its almost hard to watch. Seeing Maggie Cheung and her co-star slither around on their bellies was really funny. The two were quite sexy together, and there were some fantastic scenes in the movie, but, I think it was just a little too much for me to take. I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping for a little more action than the silly comedy. Fans of the fantasy genre should get a kick out of it. But, I'd rather see some Wu-tang clan stuff, or just watch Maggie Cheung for 2 hours. (oh - the title song will haunt you!)
El espinazo del diablo (2001)
A fierce, violent film, the Devil's Backbone packs a serious punch. Del Toro's direction is superb. The tension and suspense are paced perfectly. Unlike most American horror films, the situations never seem forced or too over the top. The story is also great. The setting allows for many war references, as we see the internal struggle of the orphanage juxtaposed with the war is Spain raging beyond its gates. The symbol of the large, disabled bomb that stuck into the ground in the middle of the orphanage's court yard, becomes a center piece of the action, and also foreshadows the violent sequences that are to take place in the films stunning climax. All this is supported by a near perfect cast, especially the two lead boys who both deliver great performances. No character seems to be incomplete, they are all well written and each important to the story.
This film was getting compared to "the Sixth Sense", but frankly, it blows it away. This film is much scarier and much more polished for an adult audience. One of the best horror films I have seen in along time. Believe me, there are plenty of times to wince and throw your hands over your eyes. This film is worth hunting for.
Waking Life (2001)
There have been maybe a handful of films throughout time that could actually transcend the screen as you watched them. What I mean to say is, to witness something that is more than just film, more than just a story with a plot, theme and characters. Waking Life is one of these special films; it is a series of powerful ideas placed into a beautifully painted package.
I was lucky enough to see this film on its opening night at the Chicago International Film Festival. It was great to see Richard Linklater introduce the film and then answer questions afterward. Some of the most insightful things he spoke of was his collaborations with the many actors on the dialog. As he came up with specific characters, he chose the actors that best fit the scene, and then allowed them to bring their own ideas into the dialog. (ie: the scene with the scientist who discusses his theory on evolution was actually a bio-chemist discussing his real ideas) I think that this allowed the film to take on a very real identity, as you plunge into the complex ideas presented, and then become mesmerized by the beautiful animation. I can't wait to see this film again. I might have to view it a few more times to be sure, but I think this is one of the best films I have ever seen. >
Jidu zhongfan (1998)
A good movie, but not an "action" film.
Ringo Lam has made a decent drama here, not an action film. The only real action sequence comes at the end of the movie, and while it is very strong, the rest of the film deals with the ideas of loyalty, friendship, and morality. The main character is trying to start a new life after just being released from prison, he was convicted of murder at a young age, but after some strings were pulled (without his knowledge) he is free after 12 years. But before he can start this new life, the triad pulls him back in, and wants him to commit another murder, or face the consequences. What ensues is an "on the run", fugitive type story, that has our main character fleeing from the triad, the cops, and his best friend. A pretty solid film that tests the themes that are present in many Hong Kong stories. A tough, gritty film with a great "action" ending, and of course, a strong performance from Simon Yam.
Gan dan xiang zhao (1987)
A new look at the same old story.
Sworn Brothers stands out from the crowd of Hong Kong films with the same themes because it's just a bit more brutal, and just a bit more entertaining. The name says it all, "sworn brothers" one is a cop the other a crook, bla, bla, bla, uncle gets hurt, brothers go to war. So the plot is not new, but with some exciting action sequences and over the top violence, the film rises slightly above the endless HK flicks that deal with the same subjects of honor, loyalty and family. (OK it's no John Woo flick or anything, it's just fun.)