Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
This film is really pretty awful, but whatever feelings of 'shockingly
bad' are generally overcome by mundanity (in other words, it is not a
'so bad it's good' kind of film, rather it's one that continually
leaves a question mark in the back of the mind, and as a result perhaps
it's why I sat watching the film to end, curious as to just how the
train wreck would wrap itself up). I recall laughing at the pranks as a
20- something, but whatever creativity that was present in the original
tapes it not present in the movie. Every joke and every scene is so
contrived that it is a wonder at all that Alan Arkin agreed to take
part in the "romp".
I'll give the film a little credit for offering a couple of laughs, but it is nowhere near enough to excuse itself for somehow wriggling its way into existence. As someone else alluded, this creation exists solely because some executive heard the product, thought of the genius concept "movie" and immediately saw dollar signs.
As for character development, it is of course non-existent, as the shorter, mullet-toting John Brennan generally finds himself spewing animosity to anyone and everyone in an awkwardly driven attempt to rehash nicknames and one-liners from the old tapes. Kamal shares less lines and mostly acts as the naive, passive sidekick stumbling into an absurd scenario involving mafia, sausages and lots of running away that ultimately makes no sense. Each scene is set up to derive from the previously established pranks in such a way that we always see the joke coming from a mile away.
I am at a bit of a loss as to how glowing some of these opinions are. All i can say is I hope the reviewers were either really stoned while watching this one or mistakenly watching a different movie altogether. But to each his own.
Bonus: William Hickey playing Don 'Uncle Freddy' Frederico
It is a mistake to label Daniel, the main character of this film, as
simply greedy and evil. He is as human as the rest of the characters in
the story (who are less developed), but his main flaw is his
competitive drive towards others, as well as his disdain for most in
general, which he admits to in a candid moment with who we assume to be
his brother. It is often directed towards the local religion, and
primarily the object of this disdain becomes a local self-appointed
prophet/young man named Eli, who, while perhaps considered innocent on
the surface, is equally self-serving and passionate with his own
visions of success in this small but developing town.
**Spoilers to follow**
Towards the beginning of the film, Daniel "adopts" a young boy whose father died in a tragedy during a primitive drill. Though it is later stated in the movie that he kept him 'as a face to help make money' this is not entirely true. It is evident throughout the film, but not at all times, that he sincerely cares for the boy and treats him like his own.
Daniel only slowly grows more viscous, cynical, and distrustful of others towards the end of the film. His paranoia proves accurate when someone posing as his brother comes to work alongside him at the oil site. The turning point is when he finds out about the betrayal and his dark-side takes form in physical reality.
The height of his paranoia and ugliness is revealed some years later as his son, perhaps the only person he has ever loved, sits down with him to inform him he has plans to move to Mexico with his wife and start his own company. Instead of embracing the move, he takes the opportunity to tell him the truth about their father-son relationship, along with every other mean thing he can muster with his imagination. And therein lies the most tragic aspect of the character and the movie. No doubt, he felt abandoned after his son grew older and married and now betrayed by his plans to move and set up a new drilling company. At this point he simply has not much else to live for, despite all the wealth he has accumulated. Sadly, his only trusted friend is his servant. He does take sincere pleasure in bashing, shall we say, the now older preacher, Eli. The end of the film comes and feels sudden and we are left feeling empty.
Daniel is an intelligent, intense character that was reliant only on himself, and at each step of the way he is personally involved in his work (in his unholy quest towards becoming rich). It is not disclosed why he never married or took on female companionship, and we can only venture a guess that it may involve trust or some intimacy issues, or perhaps he just didn't like others enough to allow them to get very close. When he perceives betrayal from those who do become closest with him (his brother - who is the impostor, and his son) he reacts with complete vengeance and no remorse. These two things drive him towards the edge and he becomes not only a drunk but psychopathic. The movie is a portrait of a flawed but not an altogether unlikable man--he did after all take on the boy as his own whom he protected and he stood up for the local young girl his son eventually married who was beaten by her dad for not praying--who finds the true success he seeks but sinks into despair and complete oblivion in the process.
There are perhaps other social implications to this but they are not readily visible. As a result, this is mostly a tragedy, sometimes slow moving at times, about the character Daniel amidst the reality of expansion in the west around the turn of the century leading to the wealth of our now heavily oil-based societies.
Perhaps Woody Allen ought to be praised for enmeshing two separate
tales into one almost cohesive whole. Yet, the feeling one gets when
progressing from this slowly evolving tale of romance into one about
double homicide is only emptiness. Nevermind that greed and
cold-blooded murder are all aspects quite contrary to the developed
character who commits the crime, who, up to this stark and desperate
turning point halfway into the movie, would have found it seemingly
impossible to defy the one thing he felt sure of and passionate about
in himself in order to save that which he, we are led to believe, cared
so little about: a comfortable, stable position in life. What should we
have gleaned from this, then, that men will throw away their most
precious desires (namely love) for money and a small emolument of
normalcy? But we already see that everyday.
It is too difficult to accept the premise of this murder based on desperation, or that the character could devolve so quickly into lies and callousness, and it seems that too easily real meaning here is traded, in turn, for yet another "shocking" turn of plot, all of which is wrapped up in the end with a few fine tethers which is, unfortunately, not enough to hold this nest of loose feathers together.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The whole story in this film, like all too many of its genre these days, is entirely structured around deceiving the viewer as to who the killer really is in the end. Basically we are given two possibilities. The movie goes out of its way to portray one as likely and the other unlikely. Then at the end we are thrown a loop, and the plot, which seemingly hinged upon one set of protagonist relationships, turns out to be false. At this point the movie becomes a let down and our worst fears are made true. Because it was an attempt to trick the audience, the likely scenario turned-upside-down becomes something of an unrealistic contrived premise. It is unfortunate that the movie did not attempt to offer a third kind of alternative as to the outcome. Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke's performances were both good. And the singular thing that I found interesting was the romantic relationship that was being established in the film. However, like most thrillers today, the movie has little room for romance (or intricate meaning). The moral we are left with apparently is that you never can truly know who you can trust, even with those whom you may have the deepest feelings for. In almost a rejection of spontaneous love, in the end good cop prevails over deviant criminal. Yes, a movie for our times.
This movie is, in a word, terrible. I enjoy a wide variety of movies, from the campy to the truly odd. This movie is neither, although from reading the hyped cover I thought it might be interesting. In fact, the material has potential but it was never acted on and, speaking of acting, there are some pretty bad moments of it present here. Lt. Lu - and his semi-intelligent narration - is the only thing going for the movie. It's too bad there was not either better acting and direction or an extreme lack of either so as to be comedically entertaining for the viewer. We have underdeveloped characters here who lend melodrama and inappropriateness to the whole misplaced amalgam. This piece is also very dated to the 80's. I rented this and was, sadly, unable to watch it beyond the half-way point. If you are looking for an awful but funny 80's disaster, this probably isn't your ticket.
Naqoyqatsi was a visually interesting film - most of the time. There
are certainly moments of beauty; it is in essence a ballet of motion
put to screen viewed through the eyepiece of various manipulated
patterns, which we are reminded pervade our existence, as we see with
the stunning Mandelbrot sequence. Yet this "ballet" at times does get
old. For instance, we could have seen less of the tunnel motion effect
and the flashing of ones and zeros.
The images were ever-interchanging and evolving into each other or into something different. I don't believe the editing was amateurish at all. As for the remark about the film appearing low-tech, as if filmed from a TV screen, those were intentional effects!
Where I seem to differ from others on this movie is with the musical score. I simply felt on the whole, structuring Naqoyqatsi with the Phillip Glass compositions and Yo Yo Ma Cello work - beautiful though they were - as the only sound dimension left the film somewhat flat.
What was lacking here was more artistic communication. This I believe could have been achieved with a more lucid sound content, as one possibility, in contrast to the long singular unfolding set of somber strings. It could also have benefited from a minimal narrative treatment, perhaps separating the film into sections with more meaning, or with some dialogue.
The theme elements treated in the movie were mostly evident, if not a little underdeveloped and foggy. The primary causes of misery and war today being: consumerism, conformism, over-competitiveness, and modern technology on overflow. These we see through flashes of violence, slow motion imagery manipulation, and various negative aspects of society (mixed with various displays of innocent emotions). The found images are sometimes commonplace ones. But usually they are re-introduced with a unique enough flavor. However, often I wished Reggio would have done more with his image sequences. Perhaps the film was too careful in attempting to be visually appealing yet startling, while it would have done better to lend itself a little more to some chance events.
Naqoyqatsi achieves some great visual feats. But for a montage of this length, more coherency and less filler would have been kind of nice.