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jasonw-5

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18 reviews in total 
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"Kyle XY" (2006)
7 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
This show is awful, 24 July 2006
1/10

Wow... what is happening to creativity in television?!? This show is one of the worst things I have ever seen. The concept is unengaging, the acting is horrible and the whole thing stinks like an after school special! There is absolutely nothing fresh here. I swear the actors are reading off of cue cards just off camera. What's with every character having to pause and stare off camera every 3 minutes? Oh, wait... they replay all the episodes on ABC Family? Now it all makes sense. Thank god for HBO and Netflix because network television has reached an all-time low! I highly suggest spending your time elsewhere. I know I will be.

12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A western with subtext that lives on., 10 May 2005
10/10

A truly great film that needs multiple viewings to really capture the depth and subtext that exists within each character. John Wayne's Ethan Edwards is such an unlikable character struggling with so much inner turmoil over hatred toward Indians, contempt towards a military that surrendered to the North and forever pining for his brothers wife that only John Wayne could have pulled off the role. Anyone else would have been despised by audiences of the time.

Director John Ford holds back nothing as he captures both the darkness and the beauty of the rugged old west, setting his film deep in Monument Valley and easily making you forget the fact that the film takes place in Texas. The reasoning behind the lone star location reinforces the independence that these men are striving for, fighting not only to live free of government control but free of fear from the natives that surround them.

Make this film part of your library and it will easily become one of you favorite films.

JMW

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Never lives up to the capable cast, 28 December 2003
4/10

It begins with a rather impressive list of literary characters played by a formidable cast of up-and-coming actors and one very established favorite, Sean Connery. An impressive cast gathered for what could have been a stronger film. The story, fictional heroes and villains teamed together to battle an enemy of mother England, has great potential. And therein lies the problem with the film, it is great potential wasted as too many under established professionals attempt to step outside their comfort zones.

Thirty minutes into the film you've been introduced to all the characters and a complicated story of intrigue is about to develop. Unfortunately this is where things get drawn out, cheesy and just plain forgettable. By the end it's a cliché action-adventure with a creative group that ends up trying too hard. For instance, the special effects team goes over-the-top in creating a comparable foe for Hyde ruining the impressive work done up to then. By concentrating more on story, the filmmaker and his team could have had more pride in creative characters without the crutch of special effects.

As I write this I still have twinge of interest in the literary characters brought to life for me once again. If a sequel were proposed they would need to go back to the drawing board rather than trying to improve upon what's been started.

Paycheck (2003)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Rip it up along with Woo's DGA card, 26 December 2003
2/10

If you like bad movies make sure you see this one. The acting is horrible, the direction is cliche' and the story has been brutally turned into a mirror image of what Hollywood believes the future will be like. The world that sci-fi writer Phillip K. Dick created is a darker and seedier world rarely represented correctly in today's films. Our future, if the cyberpunk generation is to be believed, is a dark and grimy world that has the individual person constantly in search of personal gratification and wealth. This future will be ruled by technology but not in the antispetic way so many filmmakers have created. Look to films like Blade Runner, eXistenZ and others in the cyberpunk genre to see how Dick saw our future.

Instead of a creative look at our future involving a man left to solve his own mystery we are left with a typical action thriller that looks no different than every other film out there. John Woo attempts to pay homage to Hitchcock, most notably in the appearance and actions given to Ben Affleck's character, but in doing so he cheapens the work of a great director and only reinforces the fact that he should quit making films and move onto something else. Affleck and Uma Thurman are only along for the ride and I can only assume her performance in this film will destroy any chance she has at winning her most recent Golden Globe nomination.

Resist the temptation created by what is a creative story and instead invest the money in a boxed set of Phillip K. Dick stories. Trade one bad movie for a future filled with multiple nights of enjoyment.

0 stars - DO NOT SEE!

Blood Work (2002)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Poorly written and terribly predictable, 7 March 2003
3/10

I can only hope the book was better. Unfortunately after seeing this film I don't really have a desire to read the book. The plot was as predictable as they get and I spent the entire film looking for Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke thinking this was a new episode of Murder She Wrote. Clint needs to accept the fact that he's too old to be Dirty Harry again and just stay behind the camera. I'm as disappointed as the next guy that he never one an acting Oscar but making junk like this isn't going to do it for him.

3 out of 10

John Q (2002)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
You will love this film but be prepared for the many melodramatic moments., 14 February 2002
7/10

3 out of 4

`How's it going to end John?'

`I don't know.'

This exchange more than sums up what could be called the most emotional film of 2002. John Quincy Archibald (Denzel Washington) is a dedicated father and blue-collar factory man who can't make ends meet. Following his 9-year-old son's collapse at a baseball game it becomes clear that he will die without a heart transplant. Unfortunately, John's insurance isn't adequate enough and the hospital is sending his son home to die. For John this situation is unacceptable, forcing him to take the hospital's Emergency Room, including his son's cardiac surgeon (James Woods), hostage until his son is placed at the top of the waiting list for new hearts.

From the very beginning, the film is an up-and-down ride of emotions. An honest and hard working family is faced with more heartache than anyone could ever imagine yet I believed every scene. The filmmaker succeeds with his intention even though it involves perfectly placed, poignant moments meant to resurrect themselves during the final scenes of the film. Those final scenes will leave you bathed in tears but are sappy and at times a little contrived. The overall feel of the film, the message it delivers and the cast delivering it far outweigh its small downfalls.

With its ever changing moods `John Q.' places you in the hospital with a wide variety of characters, all coming together to either support John Q. or to fight against the decisions he has made and outside the hospital, where the police and the media battle each other's goals, reminiscent of `Dog Day Afternoon', in their own attempts to end a tragedy that's been set in motion with only the death of a boy, his father or a hostage to stop it.

Washington's performance in this film only reinforces the reason he's been nominated five times for an Academy Award. There is never any doubt that John Q. is willing to risk everything, including his own life, to make sure his son is given a heart transplant. The question that always surfaces when films of this nature are made becomes easy to answer as John Q. explains why it has to happen his way.

It may be a given that a film involving bureaucratic HMOs and a hypocritical government system lends itself to preaching and "John Q." does become preachy. But if you're willing to let the message of the film slide off of you, temporarily, what remains is a heartfelt plea from a father to save the one thing that means the most to him, his son's life.

Disappointed in Crowe, 13 December 2001
2/10

1 out of 4

Audiences in search of a mind trip filled with mystery and suspense… need to see something else. Vanilla Sky takes you on a mind trip all right, but its ever-changing narrative and uniquely mysterious characters are only contrived elements in a story that lacks focus. After two hours of questions, the premise of the entire film is summed up in ten minutes of flashbacks and explanation physically ripping the wind out of any hope you may have had for it.

Tom Cruise plays David Ames a millionaire magazine publisher with the world at his feet. Beautiful women want him and success has never come easier. Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz) is one of those women but is unwilling to share him with his new love interest, Sofia Serrano (Penelope Cruz). Julie causes an accident that leaves David with a mutilated face and ever-present migraines. His world is falling apart around him and nobody has the answers.

Cameron Crowe is generally a brilliant director. Say Anything, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous are great rides into the lives of their lead characters… what makes them laugh and what makes them cry. That sense of direction is evident in Vanilla Sky but too little emphasis is placed on the relationships. Instead Crowe focuses on a mystery about murder and betrayal reaching outside of his comfort zone and failing.

Some of the performances are good but too many are awful. Cameron Diaz stretches well in a `Fatal Attraction' evil that transcends her `girl next door' persona and Jason Lee shines as David's best friend and confidant with a quick wit and irascible charm. Cruise gives us nothing new with his rich kid who can't seem to control his life character and the other Cruz is just downright unwatchable as an unintelligent waif riding on the coattails of everyone she meets.

If you're dragged kicking and screaming to this film you had better be prepared to sit through hours of strange and unengaging drama only to find that the wait was never worth it.

Shrek (2001)
The whole family should enjoy this cute story., 18 May 2001

3 1/2 out of 5

Children's stories and fairy tales are rarely complicated. A simple moral, teaching kids (and even adults) life's lessons, is best told through unique characters and comical situations. Shrek has a good grasp of this concept making it a truly enjoyable film, one with a message.

Shrek (Mike Myers) is a large, green, ill-mannered and downright gross ogre who spends his time eating slugs, washing up in his stinky swamp and scaring the town folk who misunderstand him. His life is simple and that's the way he likes it. But things change when his humble home becomes a haven for fairy tale creatures banished by Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). In order to regain his life, Shrek, along with unwanted help from Donkey (Eddie Murphy), must rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from the mighty dragon and bring her to Farquaad, a name which needs careful pronunciation in a PG film.

Missing are the wonderful Disney tunes you've come to expect from animated classics, but on the other hand Shrek's writers know their competition and do a fair job of making fun of what's expected. By mixing modern day culture (elevator music, parking lots and WWF wrestling) with classic fairy tale standards a cute and entertaining story is told. The best lines are given to Donkey where Murphy's comic nature allows him to steal the show.

Overall the animation was slightly wooden (no I'm not refering to Pinnochio's cameo) and I had trouble with the voice Myer's gave to Shrek. His higher pitched Scottish inflections reminded me too much of characters he's played in the past. Also be prepared for some off-color humor that will more than likely slip by the kids unnoticed unless it happens to be the bathroom kind. It's a must see for families.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Fails on so many levels, 12 March 2001
3/10

The Caveman's Valentine seemed intriguing. In my mind Samuel L. Jackson has done a good job of picking his roles and by pairing up with Kasi Lemmons again I figured this one would be a success. Did I expect too much? I don't think so.

This film lacks any kind of reasonable plot development. The obvious twists and turns are cheap rip-offs of today's modern suspense thrillers. I can only assume the book is a wonderful telling of a man's personality disorder because the film is not.

What convinced these great Hollywood talents to partake in such a poorly conceived film is beyond me. Wait for the remake.

1 frame out of 5

The Pledge (2001/I)
Strong performance by Jack Nicholson, 5 February 2001
8/10

4 out of 5

Sean Penn has a brilliant eye for film. Visually, Penn takes us into the mind of retired detective Jerry Black as he slowly becomes obsessed with tracking down a killer that everyone else believes has been caught.

Although The Pledge is being marketed as a high-paced thriller it may disappoint viewers to learn that its more of a character study of Black. Nicholson's performance is almost perfect. He takes the audience along with his character who never seems to realize how strong his obsessions have become.

Overall an interesting film that raises many questions about what makes a man become who he is.


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