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Occupation: Dreamland (2005)
This is a terrorist movie
I don't have to say anything else. This movie supports terrorism and ignites terrorism against the United States.
They interview only American Amry personnel that are all, to a man, express views that are:
1.) Lazy 2.) Anti-American 3.) Pro-terrorist
Now it shames me to to see these people operating in our Army. But of course these are the people that these terrorist "film-makers" chose to focus on.
These so-call film-makers are terrorists in that they give material support to terrorist activity.
Then i realize that it is our Marines who really do the real fighting.
The State Within (2006)
An Openly Biased, Anti-American Screed Well Executed
THE STATE WITHIN is possibly the most biased piece of work to come out of the BBC in many years.
Once again, the members of the US government are warmongering death-profiteers in collusion with the Military-Industrial Complex.
It's bad enough that Hollywood continually portrays the US government as the hidden enemy and industry as either their masters or loyal servants in the subjugation of third-world nations for the sake of making a buck.
However when the British do it you have to begin to wonder who your real friends are? Sure, they can cry all they want about "literary license" but can they really claim that this type of propaganda has no effect in the West and all over the world?
Then there are the social commentary that the film-makers decided to throw in. Multiple scenes of men making out with each other. Multiple weepy speeches about how the death penalty is wrong.
Why not take all of your obvious talent and make something that is a little less politically-motivated?
Harsh Times (2005)
One is for Awful
This film is nothing more than a bundle of clichés wrapped in random, senseless violence and served with a side of banal dialogue that sounds like it was perhaps written by a 12-year old who got his hands on a Cyprus Hill CD.
It's goofy, sad, laughable and pathetic at the same time. Quite an accomplishment.
The seedy world of the LA "loser-drug-booze" culture might be fascinating if there was a point to all of this GutterVision. But there is not. And a character study with no characters - just stale, posturing retreads from better movies - is just an embarrassing waste of everyone's time.
Voices of Iraq (2004)
Unvarnished Glimpse At Reality On The Ground In Iraq
In their own words the Iraqi people describe their lives under Saddam and after the American invasion. While some reviewers claim this is US-sponsored "propaganda", I would say that scenes of Iraqi women weeping over their family members accidentally killed at a US checkpoint put that distortion to bed.
Then there are the well-to-do Iraqis who would like to go back to the way things were under Saddam.
Don't forget the Shiek who is extremely critical of the Coalitions forces for "kicking in doors" in Fallujah and "killing people, not just muhajadeen." Yes, the documentary is distributed (not produced or conceived) by Voice of Freedom but only because no Hollywood studio or video distributor would touch it.
Why? Probably because they are only interested in continuing the big lies of Michael Moore and the left-wing press in furtherance of their political objectives.
They would rather you think that Iraq is some chaotic battlefield where terrorists are fighting on behalf of the Iraqi people against an oppressive imperial American army. If you are of this mind-set then this movie is not for you, go re-watch F 9/11 or some other conspiracy piece because you aren't ready yet.
What you will see in this film is Iraqis going about their daily life, something you won't see on the TV news, where "if it bleeds, it leads".
Obviously Iraqis claiming that Saddam was supporting Al Qaeda and that they were "all over the country, flush with money" have to be taken with a grain of salt.
However, the Feedayen torture and execution videos or footage of Saddam's palaces packed with Unicef Food Aid boxes, Porsches and cases of expensive liquors will be an eye opener for most people.
Then there are the interviews with Saddam's former torture victims, the man who attempted to assassinate Uday Hussein, college graduates, Marsh Arabs attempting to recover from genocide and many others who appreciate the freedom our soldiers have given them.
Seeing the testimonies of ordinary Iraqis just one day after their first free elections was inspiring and humbling. How Americans can watch this and not be moved to aid those around our planet who are truly oppressed and truly tortured is beyond me.
Perhaps it time to abandon our selfish cynicism and emotional irony, see with a clear eye and act from a pure heart. Bush was right: the seed of democracy is planted in the Middle East and will never be uprooted.
Mystic River (2003)
It's The Thought That Counts?
An otherwise beautiful movie completely ruined by a cynical and nihilistic ending. If anyone can legitimately explain the motivations of Laura Linney's character in characterizing the misguided and ultimately evil actions of her husband as heroic, then they are either a suicide bomber or the screenwriter.
Where is the feeling?
The points of departure that characterize the differences between Episode One and the original trilogy are vast and puzzling.
First of all, the incredible lack of defining attributes (even archetypal ones) for any of the characters. Everyone seems to be a reserved, conditioned automoton lacking any human qualities.
Secondly, the childish, sketch comedy humor that would be more at home on a FOX sitcom. Jar-Jar is clumbsy (ha-ha), Jar-Jar got farted on (ha-ha), Jar-Jar steps in dung (ha-ha).
Thirdly, the immature plotting style that ends up leaving everything to fantastic coincidence. I demand someone to show me the equivalent of Anakin's joyride or Jar-Jar's "heroics" in the original trilogy.
And finally, a reliance on computer generated effects to cover up the first three departures.
The Episode One effects have an completely different feel that those of the original trilogy - instead of existing to augment the story they exist to mask deficeits (what's up w/ the two underwater monsters?). Of all the people that I have seen this film with only one person I know actually liked it.
He claims it is better than A New Hope because of the effects - bigger battles, more aliens, faster vehicles, cooler fight scenes. etc. To me SW movies aren't about the how "big" Lucas can go w/ his set pieces but rather the feeling you got from watching them.
Episode One is completely devoid of feeling on any level.
All in all, however, this film towers above the conventional trash churned out by Hollywood. For true Star Wars fans it is an opportunity to have a good laugh ("There's always a bigger fish" --- did he actually say that?) and hope that Lucas can muster some of the same emotions that made Episodes 4-6 so great in the next installment.
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Easily Worth A Thousand Viewings
Some people may complain about the slower pacing of "Barry Lyndon". They are missing the point : this film is not about moving from plot point A to plot point B in the most efficient way possible - you want that, go see a Ron Bass movie.
"Barry Lyndon", unlike many movies which trip all over themselves to twist the audiences expectations, does take it's time; but it is for the journey that we must embark. Every character, every set, every line of dialog, every frame has been touched by a craftsman unequaled in his lifetime. From the highly detailed production design to the flowery, and at times, comical dialog Kubrick has created a true vision of life in aristocratic Europe. Everything in this movie is perfect. It could almost be a documentary.
But instead of celebrating the chivalry and heroism of the period, Kubrick peels away the layers of legend to reveal the true nature of kings and generals. He satirically castigates royalty and soldiers alike as petty and decadent rogues, who pay lip service to honor while stealing all they can to support their lifestyle (or "the manner with which they'd become accustomed"). And Barry, being from humble roots, is all too eager to play the game in exchange for a place at the table.
The film is both a literary and visual masterpiece. The former is likely due to the abilities of W.M. Thacker who wrote the book upon which the movie was based. Only a novel could be so rich in detailed subplot while maintaining it's overall theme. The latter, is all Kubrick - always a visual genius, the man invented a new lens system so he could film the whole thing with natural light. Amazing. At certain points in the movie, you will be wondering if that river or meadow in the background is a matte painting or if, in fact, a place that scenic does indeed exist.
I've seen the movie three or four times, I watch key scenes over and over again. To me, it's one of the funniest movies ever made. The fact that Kubrick, with his dedication to truth and reality and meaningful storytelling, directed it, also makes it one of the best
Get Carter (1971)
An Unwatchable Exercise in Art Deco Filmmaking
I don't understand it at all. This movie has been universal lauded by critics and the general public alike as a quality film. Well, I think each and every one of these people owe me an apology. This movie is terrible. There is no other way to describe it.
This is not the precursure to "Pulp Fiction" or "Lock, Stock, & 2 Smoking Barrels". This is the precursure to a high-school sex-ed film.
The plot is paper-thin, the flow is stagnant, the characters are weak. The British seem to have a template for making serious-minded crime drama : Get a brooding lead, throw in a bunch of "colorful" characters that pop up to reveal key plot points, play some jazz improv on the soundtrack and film it as a still life. The whole movie is michael caine asking questions about who killed his brother to a different person each scene. Just plain boring. I'm not sure if I'm watching a portrait or a movie!
It's supposed to be about crime, right? So where are the insider secrets? Where are the tricks of the trade? These things are inherent to all crime films - I want to see detail...Carter could be a investment banker: you can't tell because he never does anything!
To make a long review short, if you like plot movement or interesting characters or, I don't know, movies in general, then don't rent or buy this "film". You'll suffer through each scene wondering if this is the scene where it gets better only to discover that they all ...
It's cinema improv born of the sexual revolution and the 70s. It has something to say but nothing to show on all level.
We Should Have Known
After sitting through Episode 1, with it lifeless acting, atrocious dialogue, highly contrived action and poorly designed aliens, what were any of us thinking?
I guess we held out hope that Lucas would come to his senses and devote less energy to creating digital "worlds" and invest more in what makes a movie a movie --- a believable plot, quality dialogue, competent direction and some type of emotional resonance.
Attack Of The Clones barely qualifies as a movie.
It is as if the computers came up with the digital worlds before Lucas wrote the script. Instead of human actors with special effects we have computer generated images with human effects. The people in this movie are the window dressing.
When Special Effects replace reality they cease to be "special". When actors must react with and talk to what amounts to empty space, their actions can never be truly natural.
But forget about the clunky CGI-Human interaction. Pretend the battle scenes don't play out like a bunch of people in a Virtual Reality simulator. You can still salvage something from the story, right?
Maybe an interesting character or dynamic or an original and unseen development or even some high drama.
Not a chance.
It basiclly boils down to the dialogue and delivery, both of which are so "on-the-nose" that they will be forever included in screenwriting books as How Not To Do It.
This is the most expositional movie in recorded history.
The dialogue is unbelievably simple-minded, expository (in the worst sense) and downright stupid. You'd almost believe that English is a second language for Lucas.
If the Phantom Menace was written for 10 year olds, Attack of the Clones was exclusively intended to be beamed into the womb for fetuses.
The...awww, you know what...who cares? No one listens to critical commentary any more anyway.
Idiots will pump up his movie based upon one or two 1 minute scenes that involve their favorite characters "kicking ass."
Where was "kicking ass" in the first trilogy? I tell you, it didn't exist. Why? Because those stories were about something more than the battles and shooting and the fighting. Their was real drama, real danger and real fun.
AOTC is not fun on any level --- how many times can a person force laughter before they begin to feel as fake as what they are viewing?
All i can say is --- the emperor, along with his slavishly loyal fanbase, have no clothes. AOTC is false storytelling at it's worst.
And the action? At least there is good action to rival the first trilogy?
The action is terrible for the most part. Actors fighting thin air that is later made into monsters or droids or clones in Lucas' computers. And you can tell.
Natalie Portman aims her gun at nothing in particular as she stares into the middle distance. Jedis run around (and sometimes through) non-existent obstacles, blocking non-existent laser bolts that were not added later.
The attempt to blend live action with Total CGI doesn't work --- on any level.
I really hope this movie stands as a lesson for some filmmakers out there. Just because you can make it in a frigging computer doesn't mean it will be believable on screen.
Yes, some of the static sets are mind-blowing but again, who cares? If the characters are as lifeless as droids, no matter how good the background looks --- you don't have a movie! You have a special effects reel, you have a proof of concept.
Wow...here i go again...I just can't stop slamming this movie...but then again...
Lucas doesn't owe me anything and even if I felt he did, the original trilogy is more than enough to cover three terribly crappy prequels. And it is not all Lucas --- it's his visual effects people, his designers and his writing partner --- his committee, if you will.
But then again...
Lucas is in charge and he must accept responsibility.
See George, After Episode 1, I wanted to like AOTC but had no expectations of a return to greatness.
Now after seeing it and writing this cathartic commentary, I'm just completely indifferent.
Who really cares anymore?
It's obvious, Mr. Lucas, that you don't, so why should we?
A Great Idea Predictably Made Mediocre
In the last few years we have seen a number of fictional "institutions" destroyed by Hollywood (or its agents) for commercial gain. We start with originals like Star Wars, continue with re-makes like Oceans 11 and end the 'sell-out' season with "Spider-Man".
This movie is for people who don't want to think or to encounter challenging characters/situations while sitting eating there popped corn.
Everything about this movie is bland and homogenized to the point of lacing any impact what-so-ever. Things happen, things even occur, but your investment in the people (characters) involved is minimal : everyone is a complete cliche - Parker : the loser nerd (who is too dumb to invent his own web-slingers - like he does in the comic), Mary Jane, the misunderstood tramp next door, Flash, the bully and Harry, the rich kid who doesn't want to be rich.
All these characters are just flat, cardboard cut-outs that are propped up to facilitate us all getting to the next movie. Weak. When your movie is nothing but a set-up for the sequel with a bunch of characters no one cares about...what then?
Well then --- EFFECTS. Yes, Spiderman swoops and crawls believably and leaps less-believably and --- WHO CARES? Spiderman should never be an effects movie. It can't hold it's own against Star Wars, LOTR or even The Matrix. It only has ONE TRICK --- this guy is like a spider --- WHOO-hOooooo....
But people will like it for the effects - either because they can not articulate their dissatisfaction or because (as many of us) they are afraid to disagree with popular or peer opinion.
People will fear to say anything against a movie that has such obvious appeal to --- WHO?
Why can't Hollywood make a super-hero movie that is real and that has real people and that is somewhat challenging? Why can't they focus a little more on the psychological and not the effects?
I guess they did and its called "Unbreakable".
And speaking of effects --- they are pretty much lame. You view these effects as an outsider - watching another play a video game instead of yourself. The fight scenes are shot in an elevator. The flight scenes are shot in a hanger. It all seems fake and plastic. They did not make it real.
So - to sum up - weak. lame, trash. Not even on the level of X-Men.