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The Deep End (2001)
Why mysteries should conserve their energy
Perfect example of a movie that chooses the wrong direction. After a crisp and captivating first act, The Deep End stops trying with its unlikely character development and nearly illogical plot turns. Even Tilda Swinton loses the lustre that her caring central character should have provided throughout the film. The Deep End is a movie that is crying out to tell a dramatic, suspenseful story of family bond, but ends up watching a couple of Hitchcock films and calling itself an expert of the genre.
Fight Club (1999)
Promising philosophical flick that trips on its own pretension
The early stages of David Fincher's Fight Club make great promise to a movie that deserves more than what is unwound. Edward Norton and Brad Pitt both show their acting gumption, but it is lost on a convoluted message around halfway through and ultimately wasted during an ending that does no less than insult the viewer's intelligence. I've seen movies featuring giant bunny rabbits forecasting the end of the world that have more relevant things to say than what's presented here.
Grade A for those that are able to have nonsensical plot threads, piled in a messy heap, served to them with a shovel. Watch the first half hour and turn it off.
Promising elements... but come ON.
I was a tad bit excited to see this one, because I'm a fan of Blair Witch's orchestration. Of course, I knew that lightning wouldn't strike twice.
The only reason why the whole "this is real! trust us!" angle is such an insult to the viewer's intelligence stems from the fact that they COULD have done a real documentary, or at least put real people in a house with "spooks." Have you seen Scariest Places On Earth? I believe this movie was the precedent. The television show is far more effective because it uses REAL people. How hard could it have been to put that kind of thought into making a movie like this?
Instead we get an over-acting psychic and camera shots too slick for a ghost hunting documentary. Some of it works when the characters are put aside to the mystery of the house, fabricated or not, but the rest is pure gratuity. 3/10
Not scary, but there's more at work here...
Amidst all of the bad reviews from movie critics and internet hooligans (not an insult, I'm one of 'em) I see films regardless to establish my own opinion. If they were right, I join in the bash-fest. If I disagree, I post my opinion for anyone that cares to read it. So here we go.
I thought it was pretty good.
Hold up, let me tell you why. I'm not saying that it was excellent by any means. Some of the acting was horrible. There were certain scenes that should have been omitted completely. All in all, as a sequel to the first movie (which I really liked), it can't even be put into the same category because they use two completely different ideas. Yes, the movie is "Hollywooded" up in more ways than one, and it ruins a few areas of the movie in the translation.
But gang, it could have been a lot worse.
Aside from three of the five campers/housemates whose acting talent ranged from mediocre to just awful, I thought that both Jeff Donovan and Kim Director played their roles very well. I found that the movie outright avoided a lot of clichés that would have ruined it completely, overdone elements seen in 95% of teen horror flicks today. No killer is alive when they're thought to be dead, no one trips on every object in range when trying to make an escape, there's no danger of the "be right back" curse. The plot point of the group all being fans of the first movie worked, I especially enjoyed the part featuring townsfolk that were either fed up with visitors (there is no G*****N BLAIR WITCH) or all set to cash in on a money-making scheme. The innovative beauty of the first movie came from not knowing what surrounded the campers, but the second one offers a completely different removal of insight. I did not see the ending coming. I thought that it was, in itself, pretty clever.
Probably the biggest problem that I had with BW2 was that it wasn't scary. You expect a lot of suspense to lead up to a violent climax, but there isn't any. I would BARELY call this a horror movie. There are a few scenes that warrant an R rating (aside from the language), but they're mostly cut shots that contain imagery that has been far more disturbing in other films. Where the first movie creeped me out, this one did not perform nearly as well.
So yeah, it could have been better. They had a lot of options with this movie and made a few wrong choices, but I felt that I was left with a film that held up well enough in certain areas to warrant it being good enough to watch and not wish that I'd sneaked in the emergency exit door. I give it a 6/10.
American Psycho (2000)
All the things that make a story great
In the reviews that I have read on this film already, one thing is for certain: people are either going to hate or love this movie. I fall into the latter category.
Let me make it clear that I have not read the book. I feel at a disadvantage, because the book would obviously offer more insight into the mind of Patrick Bateman. However, this is the impression that I received from the movie.
I found that the plot and dialogue was very rich in satire and irony. I saw the movie a certain way through most of the film, finding my self sympathetic toward the character of Bateman. And then, suddenly, the viewpoint changes, and I felt as if I had been completely led astray to consider the actual content of the plot.
Most people find that the book/film is a comment on our society. I had a different impression. Watching this movie made me consider its face value in depth: a tale of a psychopath, trying to control urges and emotions of greed and disgust because they aren't socially acceptable. Bateman is worried to death about not being assimilated into a society that condemns the kind of person that he is. His murders are fabrications of his mind and a devious plan that can never come to fruition because it will prevent him from living life as a "normal" human being. Bateman's internal battle is brought to life majestically on screen. The movie does not go for shock value along the lines of gore and scenes that make the audience shield their eyes in disgust. This works well because the point of the story is reinforced, refusing to be buried under clichés, and is portrayed by scenes of sadistic humour and strong foreshadowing.
Great job by all actors concerned, Christian Bale in particular. 8/10