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A wasted opportunity
Like many others, I was really keen to see this film, in fact I bought it on blu-ray on the strength of the cast and synopsis alone. What a waste of time and money. An immature script filled with clumsily placed, secondhand one-liners and characters of no depth whatsoever. The only interesting character, whose story alone could have made a film, is killed off halfway through the film, leaving a sorry collection of aimless plot lines lazily trying to tie themselves up with some semblance of believability. Sorry to say, too, that the Indian actors had very little screen presence, except for the long-lost gay man, who was good without even speaking a line.
This was also one of those films in which you could tell exactly where the deleted scenes would have been, thanks to some very slapdash editing. The biggest disappointment of the year so far, by a long way, and a complete mess.
The Office (2005)
The non-alcoholic original
OK, so I know that it in America it's not considered good form to joke about booze on TV, and that if you come into work saying "wow, I got trashed last night" that you'll have AA pamphlets on your desk before lunchtime.
But that was such an integral part of the sadness of the David Brent character, that leaving it out just emasculated the script and the concept.
Never mind the lack of comedic timing, and the lame transliteration of British humour - what I would ask is why bother even remaking a groundbreaking TV show if all you're going to do is tone it down for fear of causing offence?
With a storyline that has so much promise, and as a tribute to the father of its genre (chambera/jidai-geki), I found this version of Ronin Gai to be both weak and disappointing. The editing and camera-work were dull, close-ups that were cried out for failed to materialize, the incidental music was irrelevant, and characterizations while promising, never attained their potential. The director was supposedly inspired to become such by Kurosawa's work, but aside from a few half-hearted rip-offs there is absolutely nothing of that great director's magic here. This is a bland samurai film in the extreme, and very disappointing.
The Four Feathers (2002)
A truly awful remake
I think that this must be the worst remake that I have ever seen, and by far the worst version of The Four Feathers. Badly paced, politically correct in a setting during which that term was irrelevant, and an outward display of bitter, onanistic self-righteousness from a director obviously battling his own demons. An exciting story sanitised and stripped of all spirit. Clearly the wrong material in the wrong hands.
Stolen Summer (2002)
Not what Damon and Affleck had in mind when they conceived Project Greenlight, I'm sure. Writer/Director Jones should have no problem getting work from Disney or the Hallmark Channel. Unbelievably saccharine effort with no innovation or style, barely saved from failure by a reasonable, if contrived, script. Next time, Project Greenlight should award $100,000 only, so we get to see some creativity, instead of copycat blandness.
Hart's War (2002)
Another Hollywood film about the US efforts in WWII Europe that features no Allied military personnel other than Americans. The Hollywood rewrite of history continues. Staggering. Oh, and this is an awful film in too many respects to mention here.
State and Main (2000)
This film has one of the most overly contrived scripts that I have ever come across. Too many self-concious, tired one-liners delivered by wooden characters. Surprisingly immature for someone of Mamet's depth of experience. And so many producers....it seems like they all lobbied to get there favourite little jokey saying into the script... A real cringefest.