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27 reviews in total 
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Signs (2002)
Swing away... ***Some spoilers ahead***, 19 September 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well this took a long enough time - figuring out what Signs was maybe about. After reading some of the more perceptive viewers' comments there opened a welcomed possibility of Signs not being simply a hole-plotted, square-moralizing ridicule of a film.

At a surface level Signs is well made. It has good actors, good atmosphere and a bad plot. But what if alien invasion is not all we are looking at? Maybe this is reaching for the impossible, but if the director was not leaning toward these possibilities while making the film, the very least he would probably say is: Believe what you want, it's good you have imagination, I wanted you to think!

So, to those possibilities: There's been suggested that the whole invasion - or at least certain parts of it - were imaginary. Some have commented that most of the on-goings were just dreams of the little girl or possibly even the father initiated by the family trauma and somewhat claustrophobic living arrangement. Aliens represent fathers inner demons, plot-holes little girl's imagination. In signs there wasn't a real twist in the end (how conditioned one gets just after two films!) unless you count the silly "baseball bat-asthma-total redeeming of faith"-concoction. So MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, the whole film was but a big twist. Or maybe not.

K-PAX (2001)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
"Good ending" doesn't save a bad film, 7 July 2002

This movie was trying to deal with questions far too big for its calibre. Producers must think it adds some sort of value and depth to an otherwise hollow Hollywood flick, if you spice it with this kind of bulls*** philosophy. Fine. The problem is, that this movie was not genuinely touching or poignant, just manipulative. Everything is said out loud so that the "hidden message" won't escape any viewers. That can be seen as underestimating your audience. How irritating when you notice that someone is trying to teach you something by telling an a-b-c morality tale. Why does every second Hollywood movie have to deal with the questions of life and death and everything in between anyway? Even in the very end, where they put a viewer to decide "by himself" which explanation he wants to believe. Cripes, who cares? This movie wasn't even entertaining enough to be watched just for the fun of spending time on the sofa.

Spiritual journey, 7 July 2002

This movie can be recommended to anyone who has 3 hours to spare, but if you try to hurry this or think you're looking at a war movie, it may not be very satisfying. Terrence Malick has a way of showing us the nature and how inseparably a man is a part of it. At times the presence of war seems almost incidental.

Memento (2000)
Seize the minute, 15 June 2001

A man wakes up in an anonymous motel room and has no idea what he's doing there and why. According to his own notes he has lost his ability to create new memories due to a serious accident somewhere in the past. Fairly original premise with interesting development, if you're willing to forgive about one million leaps of credibility. That's right, one should not concentrate on finding possible mistakes in the script or flaws in the overall idea because this film doesn't rely solely on it's convoluted screenplay or a single idea (like for instance The Truman Show did), but also has atmospheric power, good casting and directing (as did for example The Usual Suspects and The 6th Sense). The ending is a bit blunt, leaves you wanting to know more although supposedly you learned everything along the way. Interesting - if a bit claustrophobic - but memorable? Relying on our individual memories, time will tell.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
These are the things I can't do without..., 15 June 2001

British cult writer's novel successfully translated into American movie. A proof that addictions (particularly those for women or vinylrecords) appear in the same manner universally? And maybe this being an American film rather than a British one also softens it a bit.

John Cusack's role as slightly neurotic, semi-philosophical, soul-searching discophile is complemented with Jack Black's bravado as a motormouthed, elitist know-it-all vinylwiseass. There are plenty of other enjoyable performances as well, like Catherine Zeta-Jones in her usual self-confident and ignorant mode.

This romantic comedy has comforting, joyful elements, and it gives a nice perspective to small but important things of life (like proving that American comedy doesn't have to mean cartoon-like characters and complete lack of credibility!). It can make you a bit melancholic but still oddly contempt. And without diminishing the value of the religious-like approach to vinyl as a format I am tempted to say that the music itself makes the most of it here. Especially like that Stevie Wonder's proge'ish loop-song "I believe" in the end! Definitely a movie to be watched over and over again!

American unbearable lightness of being!, 11 April 2001

The name and the cover give an impression of something of a dull teenage romance-comedy, but what do you know. This is actually a very likable film - with a weird sense of familiarity. It can easily be recommended to a wide range of audience, not only for those who have lived the era. Cast is charismatic and youthful, and the story is simply ingenuous and made with such sincerity one rarely sees anymore, at least not in Hollywood. Every story has been told a thousand times maybe, but if you find one that still feels fresh, you know you've hit a classic!

Traffic (2000)
Fighting the faceless enemy, 10 April 2001

Downright, unassuming look at the grim reality of drug business and it's side effects in the present day U.S. Time for the newly appointed, conservative "Drug Czar" (Douglas) to reconsider his ideology and morals in the world where drug traffic, national economy, government action and human tragedy are hopelessly intertwined. Pretentiousness and overacting are effectively avoided, pacing is slow but manages to carry through the long duration. Benicio Del Toro in an Oscar-winning role as a Mexican police officer proves to be worth the praisal; his repertoire of characters played seems effortlessly versatile. The ending is especially good and peaceful.

Hannibal (2001)
And the hunt is on, 6 April 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


It was a bit difficult to like this movie. Not only because it's difficult not to compare it to the Silence of the lambs, but also because you're not sure it could actually stand alone on it's own feet. And you will never know.

Makers must have been under constant pressure, especially Julianne Moore, who fails to be very Starling-like. Original Starling is somewhat complex a character, balancing with feelings of insecurity and ambition. In Hannibal it looks as if her authority and femininity problems have been solved by making her an anorectic... and that is the very problem: Director has really taken everything out of Moore's beautiful, thin figure; she is much less three-dimensional than Jodie Foster's Starling, because Fincher uses her more as a slim body and long, girl-like hair than as an actual character.

On the other hand Hannibal's character is too mystified. Not very scary, but more familiar, friendly, eccentric food-loving uncle from Italy. Or your regular sexy bad boy.

The merry kitchen scene near the end is quite funny, but is followed by the worst scene in the whole movie. When Hannibal ties Starling to the fridge door from her hair, she decides to tie them together with handcuffs. She is drugged, but still, what a lousy judgment from an FBI Agent! I don't buy it. She must know that Hannibal has to break free, and that means someone is about to loose a hand. Even if she knows it's not gonna be hers (as did the audience), it still makes no sense.

Furthermore, there was no evidence of such development in their relationship during the couple of hours that would lead us to believe she was not physically afraid of him. That makes the handcuffing business even more suspicious, after all, this is one of the most wanted HUMAN EATERS of the 21st century we're talking about... That scene reminds of Fincher's Alien 3, where Ripley has a close encounter with an alien. Coincidentally the alien decides not to eat her, because she is carrying their baby. Blah...

Still, atmospheric, well made and with some good moments. Eminently re-watchable.

Journey you might not want to take, 2 March 2001

Brian De Palma doesn't follow the rules of Hollywood-storytelling, and sometimes it really pays off. Not this time though, this mission is doomed right from the opening credits.

All the main characters are introduced socially at the very beginning, but their lives and destinies remain irrelevant to a viewer throughout the whole film. As fellow human beings they seem merely boring and clishe-like, as astronauts plain stupid! Sometimes they act reeeally slow, sometimes they just make too irrational decisions considering they are in fact astronauts!

Choices of actors are odd as well, and the rhythm of the story is weird; you never get the feeling of "take-off", things just happen and it feels like there's no timeline. Maybe that is supposed to state the surreal feeling of someone traveling through emptiness towards something called Mars? Then again, why is there this awful music when there should be silence instead? The biggest mistake of Mr. Palma however is making superb actor Gary Sinise look so bad! I mean, take a look at his hair and make-up... mon dieu.

On the cover of the DVD there are two astronauts staring at the camera trying to look frantic and intense. Well, to me it seems that the only thing echoing inside those helmets is one question: "WOA..?"

Mercy, mercy..., 3 January 2001

Welcome to Ridgefield, a small mulletheaven in the middle of the minivogue-shaped timeline - 1985. Robbie Hart, a former lead singer of a spandex-friendly glam-band "Final Warning", is making a living as a local wedding singer. Life is moving on track, if a bit one-track, until the day he gets ditched at the altar at his own wedding.

Hearty and funny (although extremely calculated) love story set in the middle of all those amazing but frightening 80's ideas and items that we don't necessarily want to be reminded of...

Adam Sandler is a natural comical phenomena, and almost all the other actors seem to be in the right place as well. Too bad for the female lead cast though. Drew Barrymore looks and acts as if she's in another movie entirely. She must have some hellowa contacts down in Tinseltown...

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