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Army of the Dead, Army of the Dead, my god Army of the Dead!, 17 December 2003

So, this movie was insane. Physically draining. I was sitting so close to the screen (silly traffic) that I felt like I was inside of the movie. While not flawless, Return of the King was an amazing end to an incredible trilogy. Filled with Oscar- or at least Golden Globe-worthy performances, it deserves every ounce of praise it's getting.

Best stuff: Army of the Dead. Absolutely incredible. Interaction with Aragorn, taking down the Oliphant...don't have to say anything else.

Close second: Eowyn's fight scene with the Witch King. a.k.a. Miranda Otto kicks ass.

Peter Jackson rocks. He has done what no one before him ever has: come from relative obscurity to film not one but THREE epic films at once, satisfied both critics and die hard fans of one of the most popular series of all time, and refused to do it Hollywood's way. If you doubt this, I urge you to watch all the extras on the Extended Edition DVDs.

As for the actors: Sean Astin has broken free of Rudy and The Goonies, Viggo Mortensen has escaped B action films, and Ian McKellan, far from concluding his career, has become the coolest senior citizen on the planet. I even love Elijah Wood, who did a great job looking disgusting, evil and confused by turns. But to me, the standout in this film is Billy Boyd. We see his character grow up and really understand the world in this film. He is the deepest character of the Fellowship.

Oh, and thanks to Peter for bringing venerable British actors like Bernard Hill and John Noble to American audiences who had previously never heard of them, and also for Miranda Otto, who puts new Aussies like Naomi Watts to shame.

My votes for the Oscars? Ian McKellan deserves one this time, since they denied him two years ago. He might score the Golden Globe too. Viggo? Maybe...but he'll be beaten by Ben Kingsley. Sean Astin? Golden Globe I think. And Ian, Viggo, Sean, Billy, Bernard and Elijah should all be nominated for the Globes, regardless of who wins. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Give Andy Serkis an Oscar/Golden Globe. Since he's actually in this movie in the flesh, you can skirt the CGI objection and give it to him. He deserves recognition from someone besides MTV.

That's my two cents. Maybe I'll say more after I've seen it another 5 times...

0 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Thank god it's finally getting noticed., 22 October 2003

I saw this film about 4 years ago, right after it came directly to video, and since then I've made everyone I know watch it. Now it's everywhere, on sale in Target and Best Buy instead of buried at Blockbuster. I love Tarantino, but that doesn't mean I can't also love this film, which is funny, gory, and features great performances by Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flannery and a host of supporting actors. True, Tarantino makes funny violent films, but why does he get control of the market? Troy Duffy, who both wrote and directed, is an inspiration to all those aspiring film-makers who don't think they'll ever get their chance. While not perfect due to a tiny budget and short shooting schedule, the film delivers a great story, tempering violence with humor, and leaves one with a moral dilemma: is vigilantism good or bad? And if all that doesn't convince you to see it tune in just to watch Ron Jeremy, porn star extraordinaire, keep his clothes on as a mafia capo.

Oh, and watch out for the sequel, due in the next year.

Amazing Show!, 27 September 2002

I normally don't comment on shows, but after seeing that the featured user comment called it a very bad show, I had to respond. This show is incredible. As a fan of cop shows, I tuned in to the series premiere, and was instantly hooked. The characters are likable, the story lines aren't 'ripped from the headlines' constantly, and the setting of Las Vegas makes for some really interesting plots. The best parts of the show are the recreations of wounds and crimes, that track the bullet through the body or show people flying out of airplanes or off balconies. The dialogue is intelligent but they don't lose you in technical terms. While some of the timelines aren't exactly realistic (they get DNA results in 5 minutes from their tech wizard, Greg), the tension is well-maintained and the pacing is excellent. Unlike NYPD Blue, the balance storylines on the cases and the personal lives of the characters. This show should have won the Emmy for best drama this year, especially since West Wing of all shows did not deserve it with the lackluster season it had. Marg Helgenberger is the only one to receive an acting nom, even though the rest of the cast is terrific. At least they've finally added the medical examiner and the main lab tech, standout Eric Szmanda, to the opening credits. Between the solid cast and the incredible writing and technical aspects, this show stands to become the next Law and Order. It already has one spinoff. So, why are you still reading this? Go watch this show! If you haven't seen it before, TNN is currently (Fall 2002) showing the first season Monday nights at 11. However, you can definitely get into this show from whatever season it's in. It's definitely going to be around for a long time. Thank you Jerry Bruckheimer!

Spider-Man (2002)
Stan Lee should be proud!, 4 May 2002

Finally, an adaptation with some punch. Yes, there are a few details that have been changed, but all in all, excellent work. There are plenty of hilarious, surprising, and audience-jumping-in-their-seats moments. Lots of good set up: check the credits, Eddie Brock is there. J.K Simmons is the standout as Jameson, finally the man gets a good role. Willem Dafoe was the only person who could have played the Green Goblin, an excellent villain to chose. I was skeptical about Tobey Maguire, but he was an excellent Peter Parker, Kirsten Dunst looked great, good as MJ. The best part of the film? For Sam Raimi fans, it will be Mr. Bruce Campbell as the ring announcer, Ted Raimi filling in at Jameson's office, and Lucy Lawless virtually unrecognizable as the punk rock chick. For Spider-man fans, look to the great story set-up, and the scenes with his hokey costume. For action fans, the scene during the festival and the one on the bridge will prove amazing. The New Yorkers, throwing stones at Goblin, saying "you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us" is easily one of the best lines in the movie. Go see this movie! And then go pre-order the DVD.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A must have for any video collection, 1 March 2001

This movie was absolutely incredible, I own it, have seen it a hundred times, and will never get tired of it.

Kevin Spacey gives one of the performances of his life, and is backed by an amazing cast, including Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro before he was famous, Stephen Balwin in what is definitely the best role of his career, and Kevin Pollak, who is consistently hilarious. It features amazing dialogue, sound editing, and I won't give away the ending, but it is honestly the best thing I've ever seen. Chazz Palminteri is perfect as the cocky FBI agent, Dan Hedaya is on target as a NYC cop, and Pete Postlethwaite riveting. There is nothing bad you can say about this film. It's too bad Christopher McQuarrie wrote such a lackluster script for his more recent film, The Way of the Gun.

The plot twist that ends this movie is great even if you are looking for it, but when it surprises you, as it surprised me, it is absolutely astounding. The theatre emitted a huge "ohmigod" when the film came to its final 15 minutes. The audience realizes what's happened as the characters do, and thus are drawn right into the movie. This is the most original way to reveal a twist EVER. An absolutely original story, and worth it for the great performances alone. Rent it!