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Gran Torino (2008)
Terribly embarrassed for my boy Clint
This movie is simply plastic, thin and irrelevant. It felt like pieces from 12 other movies patched together. Everything about the film is painfully predictable...there's nothing original about this. It felt like The Karate Kid meets My Bodyguard. Clint's racism and bigot-ism is SO one dimensional and over the top that it feels completely phony. His character arc(the transition from racist to racist with a heart) also feels quite forced. The acting was literally embarrassing for just about every character but Clint. No one could deliver a darn line in this movie. They all felt like first time actors!(their ethnic backgrounds weren't the reason...the Father and Clints son's were the same way and they were white.) The humor was so generic, completely dependent on the impact of one liners....situations quite void of laughs. The antagonists were only in the film just enough to know who Clint is going to have to face at the end of the movie, but nothing more than that to make any kind of impact in the film. How about giving them some personality and a reason to be the baddies they are? How about maybe attempting to make them come off 3 dimensional? They were terribly constructed and their overall impact was null because of it.
At the end of the day this is simply a fish out of water movie, like thousands of others, where an outsider gets to learn a new culture and try to save the day for them, the only difference it's being made and led by a legendary movie God who seemingly has finally gotten to the point in his career where he IS willing to make films WELL below his abilities if he has nothing else to work on. I used to think Clint was one of the few unwilling to sacrifice quality for screen time, but this movie has shown me even Clint is human. I can't emphasize enough how much I respect/love his work.....but this movie was awful...Im CONVINCED his worst. My buddy and I spent half the time cringing from how embarrassed we were for him, and the rest of the time making fun of it. It was that hollow and pointless. For people making it out to be like it's the next great cinematic piece of history....I have to ask if this was the first movie you've ever seen. I see about 100 films a year and I can say with confidence that this film had the most on the nose dialog, the most exposition, the most generic and predictable storyline, the worst acting.....all of the above. It all stemmed with the script. This was an awful script from beginning to end and even the great Clint Eastwood and his multiple talents couldn't save it. Why he chose to make this we'll never know. But please do not read these glowing reviews and get your hopes up when going to see it. I'm astonished by how people are gushing over this. I walked out in disbelief. THE MOVIE OF THE YEAR IS FROST/NIXON.
American Gangster (2007)
The movie falls flat...you want it to be more than it is
When you put two of the best actors of the past 25 years on screen together you expect to be riveted. I can actually say that neither had memorable performances. I'd go as far as to say it felt like both were going through the motions here. I saw this with a buddy and we both walked out feeling the same way..entirely underwhelmed. I couldn't identify one scene...NOT ONE....where I sat there and said "That's why Denzel and Crowe are who they are....there is their genius at work".
The movie is awfully slow at times and actually bores you with the amount of details given. The first hour is terribly un-engaging. There is nothing you see here that you haven't seen in Godfather, Goodfellas, New Jack City, Blow, Scarface, etc. It's basically all of those movies put together, but without any memorable scenes.
I'm sure some will talk about the violence scenes where Denzel has his fits of rage. I didn't find those moments overly believable or interesting. And what more is there to the movie in terms of powerful moments besides those? Even if those scenes did do it for you, unlike me, was there any other moments actually compelling where you say "Wow....that was amazing".
I was telling people before I saw this movie that I thought even the trailer seemed pretty flat...I wasn't excited to see this because the trailer did little for me, but I hoped that it was merely a case of not wanting to give away the good stuff. In reality, there wasn't any "good stuff".
I found all of the characters to be either one dimensional or cliché. I'll give the movie a 6 because it's not a "bad" movie by any means. It just falls way short of being what it wanted to be. When you look back at Crowe and Denzel's career, I wouldn't come close to mentioning this movie as one of their finest pieces of work.
Not to try to compare apples to oranges, but the story-telling, the acting, and the tension in Michael Clayton is far superior to this film. I wouldn't consider this for any major Oscar Nominations.
If You're Looking for another Braveheart or Gladiator, Keep Looking
This movie is awful and it had NOTHING to do with the violence like for many. I am a movie fanatic and I am most specifically a history fanatic. My fav. movies are time pieces. My fav. show on television is easily Rome. I can't tell you how excited I was about this movie. Unfortunately, it was utterly awful.
1. I DON'T CARE HOW VIOLENT IT WAS, that is not my gripe.
2. I DON'T care how historic it was. Most movies fall far short of what really happened...I get that. That is also not my gripe.
3. The dialogue was bar none pathetic. The worst i have seen in ages. People were laughing at the lines that many here have already made fun of. I rolled my eyes at least 10 times. "tonight we dine in hell" takes the cake.
4. How many times must we see the king shout to get his point across. It's supposed to be a Braveheart moment with the whole "Freeeeeeeeeeedom", but never once is it effective. It's not effective because he does it a dozen times and he does it in moments where it's not needed. We also don't care about him or his gang of suicidal warriors like we did William Wallace and his men. Why? Simple. the character development is terribly hollow. They force it on you that "Spartans can't afford to be emotional". Okay...and because of that, just realize every time you try to have your over the top powerhouse inspirational moments, they're not going to affe4ct us the same way as say in a Braveheart...because William Wallace WAS emotional...and we related to him...and cared about him, and we felt for him when he suffered loss...but in this movie...you don't allow us to gravitate to these characters. Bantering back and forth in play while they chop peoples heads off is simply not going to warm us to these people so that the "inspirational" moments have ANY affect. Like when the Captain's son is beheaded. In most movies your heart would be torn out in sorrow for the guy...but in this movie...it's just another head hitting the ground. They want to pull on your emotional strings, but they never pull it off anywhere and it's all in the setup and how much of a testosterone induced farce they set this up to be. It needed to have the dramatic pull of a Braveheart...a Gladiator...it had the storyline potential to give us that, but they butcher it from moment one and it's impossible to take ANYTHING serious.
5. The Persian king was pathetic. everything about him. he wasn't scary, he wasn't to be taken serious...he was a farce who liked to wear women's makeup. AWFUL. And how they did his voice so that he was to seem god-like...AWFUL. he seemed like a fruit-cake...nothing more. "i am nice. I will show them I am nice". that is when I said "that's it...Im out of here".
There was nothing to like about this movie...not a thing. I went in expecting it to be my fav. movie of the year bar none...and i actually walked out with 20 or so minutes to go. What a joke. I'll now go give it a 1/10 and the 1 is for the fact it was just under 2 hrs. if you're going to make an awful movie, make sure it is under 2 hrs please. They did, so they get 1 star instead of zero. Oh wait...there is no zero. My decision is even easier now.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
One of the worst movies I've seen in AGES
I really don't know what more to say...the acting is atrocious, there isn't ONE original thought or concept in the movie...there isn't even one funny moment. NOT ONE laugh came from me or anyone in the room with me. It was SO forced and painful...when there has to be TWO standout moments in a movie where the cast sings and dances to a song in it's entirety("Thriller" AND "Love is a Battlefield"), you know they're just doing anything they can to stall and get to the end. There were moments I had to close my eyes because I was so embarrassed for everyone involved in making this movie...cheesy and lame to the point of nauseating. And that it me putting it kindly.
0 out of 10 stars, and no....I'm not on a vendetta towards anyone involved with the making of this movie...it's simply that bad.
Topher Grace's Coming Out Party
Topher Grace steals the show in this movie...he really owns the screen and has a confident charm to him that you will see for years to come. I'm a HUGE Laura Linney fan, and this is a fine performance for her, but nothing you haven't seen before, as you grow to expect brilliance from her. The acting was fine all around, but I do agree the second half of the movie starts to drag and I think the relationship between Linney and Marcia Gay Harden takes the movie off track...it's not appealing. It's almost hard to buy the Gay Harden character all together.
Good Indie flick...a definite rental. This flick has more artistic value to it than Roger Dodger...more to it, but not as enjoyable interesting enough.
The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
As a screenwriter professionally, and a movie lover always, I am SHOCKED that I've seen 2 star ratings from acclaimed critics and only a 6.5 from the users on here so far. Call me crazy, but this movie was TEN times more thrilling and enjoyable than The Sixth Sense, and 100 times more enjoyable than Unbreakable. This movie kept you not only entertained, but freaked out, from beginning to end. I am SO EXCITED about this movie.
Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
Sleeper....in terms of it put me to sleep!
Boring. It put me to sleep. Choosing Colin Firth as the leading man was a bad call. He had as much life to him as a dead cow. I mean, there is only so much of an overweight Renee Zelweiger in panties you can take. After a point, this is just another routing love story that we have seen time and time again, but there are some naughty words and english accents thrown in. Yipee. What was the hype about?
If you're going into this movie expecting and wanting to see a story that can really happen in every day life, then don't see this. Lock yourself in a room and read the encyclopedia if you don't like to use your imagination, nor like to say"That really couldn't happen."...If you're looking for a cute date flick, this is it. Cusack has been better, and certainly been in more intelligent comedies, but Beckinsale is addicting in her role, and you just want these two to get together so badly...it drives you crazy every step of the way with how they come so close, but miss each other. You know the movie works when you feel this way.
Angel Eyes (2001)
They try to make this movie look like a paranormal thriller. Even the logline claims that Jim Caviezel claims to be J-Lo's guardian angel. Well, not only does he NEVER say this, or hint at it, but there is NOTHING paranormal about this movie. IT is billed as like a Sixth Sense, but the only similarity is that there is a beginning and end to the movie. Don't get me wrong...this is NOT a bad movie. This is actually a good date flick/romantic drama that can bring tears to your eyes, but you're waiting for the big twist or surprise the whole time, and there are none. This is simply a straight drama about a female Chicago cop who is torn by her damaged relationships with her family, and her love interest, a nice guy who walks the streets of the city without prupose, mainly because he's in shock from the death of his wife and child a year ago. That's it.....then the rest of the movie is how they get over their internal conflicts together. Case closed. one thing I did admire about this movie, outside of the likability of both actors, is that J-Lo's character DOESN'T rectify her differences with her family. It makes for a more believable story instead of a sappy ending, BUT...the way Caviezel's character comes to grips with his internal conflicts is way cheesy, with far too much exposition to himself at a gravesite. We've seen far more effective scenes in scenarios like this, where the character didn't have to spell out the obvious to us so blatantly. J Lo can act....so can Caviezel. I was rather impressed with J Lo's range....it could be her best performance.
Come Together (2001)
I had the pleasure of viewing this movie at the Austin Film Festival tonight and I can't say enough about how great this film is...every aspect. Jeff Macpherson, the writer/director, could do no wrong, Everything was done perfectly...the directing, writing and acting were phenomenal. The dialogue was simply brilliant. This movie went in EVERY direction that I wanted to see it go in...I had countless favorite scenes. You can basically sum this up as a younger generation's "American Beauty". What Jeff pulled off on digital video and a limited budget is an incredible accomplishment. All three actors you'll be seeing more of, there's no question, and expect to see Macpherson's name for a very long time. He's not only brilliant, but one hell of a person to. I had the pleasure of speaking with him before and after the screening, and he is simply one of the "good guys" and someone I will be following closely from this point on. The great movies find a way of hitting home to it's audience...tugging at their emotions, and this film did just that. I can't recommend it enough.
Way back when, there was no one more original, creative and witty. Now, the age is showing on Woddy Allen's sense of humor. It is far more simplistic and generic, and it's difficult to find much to laugh at loud at. I look aroound the crowd and MOST of the viewers are senior citizens, who keep coming back because they were around when Woody Allen was actually a genius of comedy. I think the elderly still enjoy him, for as you age, your sense of humor, more often than not, tends to soften. I think they enjoy the more innocent humor, and Woody Allen is definitely delivering that these days. I have gone to the theater for his last four movies, and each time, I walk away thoroughly disappointed. I do not know why i keep giving him another chance. For some reason, I expect him to snap out of it and rekindle what he used to bring to us, but I now fully realize, it's not there anymore. The storyline was simply dull, and the dialogue was just not funny. He missed 9/10 times on his "jokes". The king is dead.
Shanghai Noon (2000)
A Big Sleeper Surprise
I was thoroughly pleased with this film. The combo of Chan/Wilson is fantastic...better than Chan/Tucker in Rush Hour. Chan is Chan, always enjoyable. His stunts are slowing down, but he makes up for iut with some cute/funny scenes. HE becomes more comfortable witht he camera with every film he makes, and it helps his overall likability. Why this movie REALLY succeeds is Owen Wilson. This movie should push him over the top if enough people see it. He is LEGITIMATELY funny in his own "laid back cool guy" kind of style. Watching him rough it in the old west is hilarious, because you're thinking to yourself, this guy belongs on a surf board on the beach. He really pulls it off here...with fantastic one liners. The way he talks and approaches even the smallest of scenes is funny. His hamrless sarcasm is at it's best here. This movie is an exact replica of one of my all time favorites, "The Frisco Kid" with a VERY YOUNG Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder. If you have NOT seen that movie and liked "Shanghai Noon" The Frisco Kid is a must see. All they have done is replaced Gene Wilder's Polish Rabbi character with Jackie Chan's Chinese Imperial Guard character. They are both fish out of water characters who have to survive in the wild west. Owen Wilson has the exact same character as harrison Ford...train robbers with heart who ened up helping these fish out of water and gaining a friend and partner in the process. I would LOVE to see a sequel to this movie. "Rush Hour", while enjoyable, received too much hype and this movie received too little. I have recommended this film to several people in the mood for a light comedy. I look for BIG THINGS from Owen Wilson in the future...he is one of the funnier guys out there now, and he really does have a UNIQUE style to him that makes him very easy to like.
It's no swingers, but worth renting
I LOVED Swingers...it's one of my ll time favorites. Swingers had more to say...there was more heart put into that movie and certainly more of a point.You felt more for those characters, they arced more between the beginning of the movie and theend, and you felt they had more at stake and understood where they were coming from. they were three dimensional charctaers, where as in Made, they're pretty unsophisticated. Some of Vince Vaughn's bantering goes overboard to the point where you're really not buying his character and he starts to make you shift in your chair because he goes too far in his antics to the point where he makes you uncomfortable just watching him....he's almost too inconsistent in his behavior, where they have his antics like a roller coaster strictly for laughs, but they forget that their needs to be some believability with the actions of a character. I NEVER felt like these guys were connected...I just didn't buy it. I actually think they were pretty generic with the entire mob set uo...like they got lazy and were more concerned with making the audience laugh than they were holding some credibility. I never felt like they had a clear cut mission, nor was their mission legit. I never felt that they would have been in the situation they were in, and I REALLY feel that they wrapped up the whole mob mission with hardly ANY complications. It basically just ended, where they were let off the hook. The CONCEPT was far more entertaining than the execution of it. To me, these guys learned very little from the beginning of the movie until the end....and the plot was truly lacking any complexity. They were almost better off not ha ving a plot, and deciding that they just wanted to take a weekend trip to NY, because the way they set it up was not only unrealistic, BUT, they pretty much never jumped into what they set up. Vince Vuahgn is funny as usual, but not AS funny. Again, a little bit more creidibility and consistency with his actions......a little more understanding of WHY he is the way he is, and we might have appreciated him more. Favreau is TOO stoic in this film. He lets Vaugh dominate the screen time, where as in Swingers, his character spoke out more...put up more of a fight to Vaughn. Here, he just keeps his mouth shut and lets himself get trampled. Very surprising performance by Puff Daddy. Of course, he's playing a gang banger, something not unfamiliar to him, but NEVER did I think that he WAS NOT an actor. He seemed to be a natural...VERy comfortable delivering lines, face expressions, etc...I look for more from him in the future.
Bring It On (2000)
Are You Kidding Me
Anyone who took their time to write up a long review on this movie has problems. The movie is attrocious. Case closed. It is NOT funny. Anyone who found it funny has a very shallow/weak/unsophisticated sense of humor. The movie is quite cliche, though whoever liked this movie probably doesn't know what that word means. It was boring, unoriginal, over the top, and not in a funny way, and just a waste of time. There was not one interesting performance. Kristen Dunst is definitely hot, but that doesn't make a movie. It was trying to be "Clueless" and failed in every regard. This movie scoreas a 2/10, because Dunst is a sex object....outside of that, so sad.
Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
Shadow of a Movie
I went in with high expectations. I walked out in disbelief. The fact that this movie has averaged a 7 is an absolute miracle. The fact that critics give it 3 stars is disgusting. There seriously was not one redeamable quality in this film. I could care less about the characters, the message, the story line or the dialogue. This was a dark, BORING movie. There was nothing striking about it, and they literally just threw in the towel at the end and said"Lets get this over with." that is what the ending felt like. I Marvel at how some low budget independent films get so much recognition simply because they're trying to be "different". This movie sucked, plain and simple, and I'm not a simpleton. I'm a screenwriter and I love a variety of genres. I had HIGH expectations based on who was in this film and the premise. I walked out thanking the lord that the film was only 90 minutes.....the longest 90 minutes of my life. I am a HUGE Dafoe fan and I can honestly say that his performance is not only overhyped, but that I would vote for all four other best supporting actor nominees over him, and I was not high on Alber Finney or Jeff Bridges at all. I was hoping Dafoe's performance was going to shine above the others, but it just didn't happen. There was nothing wrong with his acting, but ther was nothing oscar worthy about his character. And for a movie that is supposed to be dark and funny, it simply was dark. I did not laugh once. No one in the theater did. A few walked out, and there was only a handful present. Do not see this film. It is the worst movie I have seen all year, and I've basically seen EVERYTHING.
You Can Count on Me (2000)
Yes...for the first time in a while, I was thrilled when walking out of the theater after seeing this movie. For the first time in my life, I opted to miss the Super Bowl and went to see You Can Count On Me, and I couldn't be more satisfied with my decision. It is thoroughly refreshing to see that a movie without a "High Concept" and without a big budget or special effect or gimmicks...that a movie based on a simple story line and three dimensional characters can get the recognition it deserves. The performances are WONDERFUL and quite deep. You understand what is going on in these characters minds when they are not speaking, which to me is a sign of fantastic writing. You are almost overwhelmed with each characters position in life and the complications, sorrow, and frustration that comes with it. I do not want to get to deep on this, but all I can say is if you are looking for perfectly executed simplicity in regards to the human spirit, then go see this movie. ANYONE in this world who is not necessarily satisfied in with elements in their lives and who relies on their family members to keep them standing should appreciate this move. We need more of these on the big screen. And for all of us aspiring screenwriters out there who want to write the low budget, character driven scripts but are afraid that if they do not focus on "High concept" scripts, that they will not get any notoriety, you must see what has been accomplished here.
The Gift (2000)
Good, Not Great
As my fiance mentioned to me, the movie keeps your interest the entire way through, which today with the state of movies being made, is an accomplishment, though I am sad to admit that. The performances are good, specifically Blanchett and Ribisi. Giovanni is one extraordinary talent and he demonstrates it here. He has a tremendous range in what he can accomplish. Blanchett is solid as the lead. While she does not stretch her talent here, she does what is necessary. Reeves, Swank and Kinnear all accomplish what you expect. This is a creative movie and there is solid tension, HOWEVER the climax is FAR to easy to predict and they give away the killer too easily, leaving little to the imagination. This movie was in desperate need of a twist at the end and it was never there, which took this move from very good to just good. Worth seeing, but nothing to write home about.
The Pledge (2001)
I love Jack and I love the work of Sean Penn. As a professional screenwriter, I have far more tolerance for character driven films than the typical movie goer. HOWEVER, this movie loses a ton of steam after the midway point, and more importantly, you're thoroughly cheated with the ending. I will not give it away, but you and the rest of the theatre walk out asking yourself why they had to finish the movie in the fashion in the way they did, and why you paid the price of a ticket to get to the end of the movie with out the answers you're looking for. Good performance by Jack, but the script is where the problems originate. This will not do well at the box office.
Up at the Villa (2000)
If this is a thriller, then I forgot what the genre is all about. This is a period piece, plain and simple...there is no sense of climax or anticipation or "thrill".....It's not a bad movie.....It's just a movie, somewhat on the bland side....To me, it's not much of a romance, for you really never feel that Kristen Scott Thomas and Sean Penn have much chemistry between them, like Thomas and Fiennes did in the English Patient. This is an average movie. If you like Italy, you like the WW2 time period, and you like Thomas & Penn, then you may enjoy this.
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
This movie falls flat
While the overall success of this movie cannot be blamed on any of the acting performances or the director, this is a flat, boring movie. it takes far too long to get into the heart of the story, and when you do, it doesn;t really pick up pace like it drastically needed to. My favorite movies happen to be time piece dramas.....it's not like I am an action genre fan. However, this movie is completely limited because of the script and the story line in genearl. It wouldn't matter who played the roles and who directed, the movie would have fallen flat. The biggest problem is that the movie focuses far too much on the overall theme......they try to smack you upside the head with the theme time and time again.....it is forced, and the theme is pretty generic......Worse yet, and most importqantly, the characters have no dperth to them......they are boring and you never quite fully understand where they were in the past to care about them in the present. They try to elude what these characters were like before we get to the present, but they do it in such a shallow fashion, that we never really know any of the characters, nor do we dare about them. Bagger Vacne(Will Smith) is a forced, generic, unnecessary character, just their to swarm us with his annoying logic on life...and we never know where he got this logic from....he is just a mystical chracter who we are not allowed to know anything about. Runnolph Junah(Damon) is scared from his past, and we know so little about that past when he was in war...We know he returns home a different guy then when he left and that he has lost his swing(he was an up and coming golfer legend before he went to war). Now he is home, a drunk, and trying to drink away the memories....He makes the transition from drunk to golfer again literally in the snap of a finger......it is VERY unrealistic. And Charlize Theorn's character, no matter how hot she is, is a waste as well....We never feel like we know enough about her and Damon's past relationship to care what happens with it now...Their romance could be the weakest, unbelievable portion of the filme. There is never a level of excitment or conflict that can make this movie anything but drab. A River Runs Through It is one of my all time favorite movies. In that film, a more boring topic than gold was chosen...that of fly fishing, but you cared about the characters...you felt like you knew them, and because of that, yoiu were drawn to the entire movie....The Legend of bagger Vance comes no where near achieving this. It is one of the biggest disappointments I've seen in a while for I was psyched to see it. It looks pretty on the outside, but it's rotten on the inside...a very shallow, one dimensional drab film.