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John Adams (2008)
A love story for the ages, my friend
When the final episode ended, I cried. Not because it was sad (it was); not because it was emotional (it was); not because it gave you a swelling of pride (it did)... No. I cried because it was over.
The highest compliment I can give any story, be it a book or a movie, is that I don't want it to end. This was the case with John Adams. A show that I had high expectations for - and that it met easily. I wished it was 14 episodes instead of 7.
This was nothing short of a triumph. The production and cast were outstanding. Some people would argue that Paul Giamatti was miscast. And those people would be wrong. This is arguably the finest work he has ever done, and that's saying a lot because he has done some great, great acting.
There is only one complaint that I can make and that is that the story peaked too early. That zenith is reached at the beginning of Episode 4 during the reunion of John and Abigail after they had spent so much time apart. This was quite possibly the most touching love scene I have ever seen.
That was the heart and soul of the series. John and Abigail's unconditional and unbreakable love was the anchor that held all the turmoil and upheaval in place. Weaker men and women may have crumbled under such pressure, but they survived. The admiration and dedication they had for one another came through with a blinding radiance. It was not and over the top, grandiose, passionate-kiss-in-the-rainstorm kind of love story, but one that was far more subtle and real. I can't think of anything more beautiful and romantic and loving as the simple act of John calling Abigail "my friend."
What historical inaccuracies there may be are irrelevant. Even if only half of this story is true to history, this man deserves far more credit and respect than we have given him. So HBO turned a bloodless ship to ship encounter into an action sequence... big deal. The spirit of the moment is what matters, because we can never truly know what happened at every moment or know every thought and emotion.
And what emotion there was. Because if this show, this story, can make even a cold blooded cynic like me feel patriotic, then it sure as hell has done something right.
The Punisher (2004)
Old vs New
Man, this movie was so grim it was almost hard to watch. I tell people, "Yeah, it's a good movie. But you won't have a smile on your face when it's over."
This is just one dark, brutal, harsh movie. The violence was so hardcore I'd almost say it wasn't entertaining in the same way I'd say Saving Private Ryan wasn't entertaining, yet good.
But as for New Punisher vs Old Punisher? Well, New Punisher is obviously a better movie, however, I do feel that Old Punisher captured the spirit of the comic better, as well as the psychotic - sociopathic personality that was Frank Castle. It was more dark and gritty. Plus, Dolph just really looked the part.
New Punisher had too much daylight and pseudo-alcoholic-brooding from Jane, who is a great actor. I really hope that if there is a Punisher 2 (and there probably will be if other non-hits get sequels, like Resident Evil and Underworld), it improves it the way X2 was a huge improvement over X-Men.
I guess the main problem with New Punisher is that it's an origin story, where as Old Punisher was just kicking butt like a pro. And I really don't like the fact that New Punisher just revealed himself to the public. I mean, isn't the fact that Frank Castle is alive supposed to be kinda secret?
I'm glad that John Hensleigh, a great veteran screenwriter, got to direct this and not some music video lackey. Hopefully he'll do part 2 if it comes.
Wow, I'm surprised. I was worried after the first ten minutes or so, but this movie ended up pretty darn good.
It can't really be compaired to the massive budget original, which was an epic war movie, this is more like Starship Troopers 1.5. For the meager budget, they squeezed all they could. The bug FX were great overall, but they couldn't afford a real big scale story with huge battles like the first. Even with these glaring limitations, I think they pulled off quite an entertaining movie.
The first few minutes are chaotic and full of straight to video acting, er, over acting as it would be, but once things settle down it gets pretty good. The actor who played Dax I found to be especially good. A very comanding screen presence. I'm interested to see if he's done much other stuff. He reminds me of a younger, more buffed Michael Ironside.
I thought it kept the spirit of the first movie as well, though not quite as overtly cheesy.
Never mind that it's straight to video, this is a surprisingly well made movie worth checking out.
Predator 2 (1990)
Want some candy?
I've always loved this movie ever since I saw it way back in 1990 at the theater. Predator is great, but part 2 is equally great. It may not be quite as primal and fast paced, but it more than makes up for it with well developed characters, a more detailed back story and compelling setting, and a deeply developed story. If the predator wasn't in this movie, the story set up would make for a great movie on its own.
You may not realize it when you're watching it, but the climax of this movie is nearly 45 minutes long! Starting from the subway shoot out, the tunnel chase, the street-roof chase, the slaughter house fight, the roof top fight that spills into the apartment building across the street, the elevator shaft, and finally to the Predator ship itself. It is a breathless series of action sequences strung together so well that it's almost astonishing to look back on it and imagine such effort was crafted to make this movie.
This movie would never be made today. A sequel without the main character from the fist movie? A whole new setting? This would be seen as too great a risk, but in 1990 movie studios were still run by creative people, not accountants. This movie is a true, unsung classic of sci-fi, coming from an age when great care was put into genre movies that had strong stories, good characters, and dialogue that didn't sound silly and forced. Lines weren't meant to become one-liners, they were just so memorable that they ended up that way.
"You can't see the eyes of the demon, until him come calling." "Okay P-ssy face, it's your move." "Danny Boy."
And of course...
"Want some candy?"
Granted, those aren't as good as the classics from the first Predator, like:
"You son of a bitch!" "I ain't got time to bleed." "Knock Knock." "Stick around." "If it bleeds, we can kill it." "You are one ugly mother f---er."
and of course...
Last but not least, the music score from Predator 2 is one of the best ever. Alan Silvestri hasn't topped his work from this movie which has to have one of the most complex, layered, and just flat out astounding main themes ever composed for an action movie, or any movie.
And of course, it had the cameo that sparked the whole Alien vs Predator phenomenon. If it weren't for Predator 2, god knows where we'd be.
Connie and Carla (2004)
So bad, it makes you stand up and say Wow, that was bad!
This movie was bad.
There should be a new word that means both bad and wrong...
This movie is badong.
Oh man. Bad.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
I couldn't help but think I'd seen this movie before. Then I realized I had. It was called Braveheart: A movie about a man who believed in something that the powers that be did not like, so they killed him. More or less, they are the same story.
But Passion had no story. As someone else said in a comment, it's about a guy getting his ass kicked for two hours. I have no idea why he's getting his ass kicked, so why should I feel for him?
This movie would have been so much better served had it been about the teachings of Jesus and his story - why he angered the powers that be so much, and then have his punishment in the end - now THAT would have been a movie. Alas, all it boils down to is a climax with no rising action.
And it drags on and on. How many freaking times can he drop that big heavy cross in slow motion?
There were touching moments, and technically it was extremely well done. The score by John Debny was fantastic. The first 30 minutes or so features a great moody atmosphere. But as a story and a movie as a whole, it felt empty.
The horrific violence has been overplayed. Yes it is violent, but it's more gory than violent. I've seen worse, more gruesome movies than this. I only winced once durring this, compaired to Saving Private Ryan which made me lose my appitite.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
The backlash to the last two Matrix movies baffles me. Matrix Reloaded may very well have been the most anticipated movie EVER, and in hindsight, it was impossible to perfect on the first, but is still outstanding once you got over the initial shock of it not being better than part 1.
What I think is that since the first movie was limited in expectations, not to mention the limitations the filmakers had themselves, many people were able to grasp its essentially freshman collage philosophy. However, once it became a hit, the brothers were able to unload everything they ever knew into Reloaded and Revolutions, and most people weren't able to keep up. Therefore they felt stupid, and they hated the movie for making them feel stupid.
All I have to say is that it's better off that part 2 and 3 weren't what we expected them to be. If you want a movie to be EXACTLY what you expect and predict it to be in every way, watch LOTR. The genius of Matrix 2 and 3 is that they were total curve balls - exactly what we WEREN'T expecting, and in the years to come, that will be its legacy.
I'd say that within five years, all those bashing 2 and 3 will eat their words, since they'll have plenty of time to watch and understand them.
Bad Boys II (2003)
If you hate Michael Bay, why did you see this?
I've never understood this bizarre hatred of Michael Bay that so many so called film ethusiests have. I mean, what is it about HIM that struck a coard with so many? People don't bash Simon West,Martin Campbell, Tony Scott, or Dominic Sena the way the bring the hammer down on Bay. It's not like he was the first guy who was really good at style over substance. I for one am gonna defend the guy here. And no, i'm not some idiot teenager who thinks Charlie's Angels is the best movie ever made. I am an avid film watcher. I probably see close to 100 movies a year IN theaters. Big movies and small alike. I appreciate any genre of film if it's done well. But obviously my first love is, and always will be, action. And I think Michael Bay is one of the best action directors around. As good as James Cameron, John Woo, Ridley Scott, John McTerninan, John Frankenhiemer, and any other guy named John.
Is Bad Boys II too exrtavigant? Too explosive? Too indulgent? It's not your money, why should you care? BB2 is action filmaking in it's purest, most volitile form. I can't remember seeing an action movie with this much, well, ACTION in it. This thing drills you like a jackhammer in a way that The Rock could only dream of. It comes close to the "Enough Already" level of action as in Armageddon, but holds off with all the humor brought by the stars. Was there one too many car chases? Yeah, probably, but I'm not complaining. Two and a half hours looks just fine too me. Personally, I like my action movies to exhaust me.
And what action it was. The car transport chase is easily better than anything in the Matrix Reloaded and even T3. Not only that, but it's great to see full blown R rated action in all its bloody glory again. Ahh, just like the good old days, when men were men, and action movies were all rated R.
Look, if you're all about hating Bay, and blaming him for all of scociety's ills, as well as acusing him of being the antichrist - then what in god's name are you doing watching this movie? It's been pretty well established since The Rock, and especially Armageddon, that you don't like the guy - so why do you keep going to see these movies if you know you're going to hate them? Do the rest of us a favor, get off your high horse and drop the condescending art house jerk act, it's as old as the first Bad Boys, but not as enjoyable.
Love it or hate it, it's like nothing you've ever seen
There appears to be only two opinions of this movie, based on what users have already posted. You love it or hate it.
Me, I loved it. Forget what others have said. This is a solid movie, very well acted. The effects are just fine, and not really that important. And the story was just out of this world. I mean crazy. I can't imagine anyone not being stunned by the sheer jaw-dropping uniqueness of this story. It's almost insane how original it is.
This is one of those movies that gets dogged when it comes out, but mark my words, ten years from now it will be considered a groundbreaking classic. Snooty film enthusiasts will scoff at the notion that it didn't do well and was poorly recieved, when they will most likely be some of those who bashed this movie. This will be just like Blade Runner, or Point Break, or Strange Days - mixed views upon their release, but now regarded a classics of their genre.
Uh... Magic werewolves?
This is hands down, one of the strangest movies I've seen. I don't mean strange like David Lynch strange - I mean strange for no reason. The weirdness of this movie doesn't even begin to make sense, nor does the plot.
This movie is bargain basement in almost every way. Barely watchable at that. The effects are awful (and nonexistent in one scene where there's obviously supposed to be some). The actors make cardboard boxes look like Oscar nominees. Even the werewolf makeup is weak - a fatal flaw for a werewolf movie.
What I found most confusing was that somewhere between The Howling (a good movie) and this one, werewolves became magic beings from Transilvania? Uh, these are werewolves, not vampires. Then there's this cult which somehow summons the ancient werewolf queen, or something. Some blond woman who spends most of the time walking around in a hideous leather outfit that belongs in a very, very bad music video. The night scenes are so dark you can barely see what's going on.
And then who can forget the immortal line "That dwarf is staring at us." Classic.
Surprisingly, what this movie does very well is the editing. You have to see it to understand what I mean, but I thought the editing was really cool. Quick cuts to close ups for a second. Repeatedly cutting back to one scene towards the beginning. Etc. Also the music is pretty good, by eighties standards.
That is not enough to recommend it though. By all means, avoid this movie.