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dxgarten-2

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8 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A good social commentary on human conditions, 28 December 2003
9/10

This is one amazing film that unfortunately will simply be passed off as a shock/slasher flick by some people. The truth is, there are some philosophical commentaries in the film. About the failure of the education system, the generation gaps between the younger people and the adults, human's mentality of survival of the fittest. The film also shows what happens when paranoia and suspicion wins over logic and common sense and when selfishness takes over basic human compassion.

I really like the fact that this film, unlike many other film that are created these days, made me think about life, about the friends that I have, as well as about humanity in general. These days, most films are all about big action scenes with little to no meaningful story behind it. Battle Royale, OTOH, use the action scenes to actually support the story it wants to tell. The violence in this film is used to illustrate the madness and destructive nature that humans can unleash upon one another if they let paranoia and fear of others overwhelm them.

Those of you who haven't seen this film before better off not reading too many of other people's opinion of the film. Go watch the movie, think about it, and see what you get out of it. Don't let the hype or the cynicism over this film influence your judgment prior to seeing this film.

19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
A stand out 'piece of life' anime, 2 February 2003

This is one of the best storytelling I've seen in any popular entertainment be it movies or television series. What originally look like a Ranma 1/2 clone turns out to be something of a character study where every single character shows painfully real emotions and feelings.

The show started out with the main character, Tohru Honda, stumbled onto the Sohma's family house after she had set up her tent in the surrounding forest area that is owned by the Sohma. Tohru later on is offered by Shigure, the owner of the house to stay with him as well as two other Sohma members, Yuki and Kyo in exchange of doing household chores.

After only one day, however, Tohru finds out that the Sohma is not your usual family. They hide a secret that no person outside the family has ever found out until Tohru accidentally uncovers it.

"X" (2001)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Their destiny was foredained, 29 October 2002

At first "X" may look like about the fight between two opposing force, the Dragon of Heaven (Ten no Ryu) and the Dragon of Earth (Chi no Ryu) to prevent or cause the destruction of mankind. However, upon close inspection, it's actually more about the fate of those individuals who are unwillingly chosen by 'fate' to represent each side of the opposing forces.

The series is dark and depressing but all in all presents excellent character development and plot that stands above and beyond the movie version of the same name. A knowledge of "Tokyo Babylon" prior to watching this is helpful in understand some of the characters in here but is not extremely necessary.

An bland Sci-fi flick, 23 June 2002

Don't be fooled. This is definitely not up in Blade Runner's class. It

has potential to be one but unfortunately there are too many plot

holes to make the film truly succesful. For example, I found it

ridiculous that the entire pre-crime unit would fully support a

system that actually only relies on ONE pre-cogs to determine a

future killer. So much so that if she's taken away it's enough to

shut the entire system down as proven in the film. Why would

anyone with a brain let them get away with this? And it's not like

this is one of the 'secrets' that Max Von Sydow's character hides

from everyone in the pre-crime dept. If that had been the case, it

would have been acceptable. But the fact is, even the drug

administrator person who takes care the pre-cogs know that only

the female one is the key to everything.

To top this off, the idea of using pre-cogs to see future crime itself

is a bit stupid. The older woman in the film mentioned how

pre-cogs are originally children who has this 'gift' of being able to

see future crimes. Now, surely there aren't that many pre-cogs

even in this futuristic world, unless they are an entirely different

race to human. But they are just human with 'future-vision' ability.

The problem is, what would happen if the female pre-cogs and her

two other counterpart dies? If they are human, surely sooner or

later they'll face the same fate as the rest of other humans: death.

What will happen once they are dead? Obviously they can't be as

easily replaced as pencil because otherwise they would have had

a substitute when John kidnapped Agatha (the female pre-cogs).

So the entire idea of pre-crime and precogs is already shaky from

the start.

Acting wise, Colin Farrell shows that he really is indeed, worth all

the 'upcoming star' hype. The guy's got talent and I found his

gumshoe-like detective is reminiscent of old film noir detective. It's

a shame that he's not the main character in this film because it

seems that Farrell's character, Ed Witwer is the sharpest, more

interesting one in comparison to Cruise's character, John

Anderton. Speaking of Cruise, he does his usual patented 'tough

guy' action here role. Nothing outstanding but decent enough,

especially compared to the acting skills displayed on recent films

like Star Wars episode 2. The problem with Cruise, however, is

that he is not the sort of guy that audience can easily identify with.

I think something is wrong when you want the main character to

indeed, commit the crime that he's been accused of. It also

doesn't help that Anderton isn't exactly the sharpest knife around in

the film. He doesn't even figure out who the real problem maker

behind his problem is until his ex-wife set him free from the

lifetime imprisonment that he was facing due to the crime

accusation. Samantha Morton and Max Von Sydow do very well

especially with the limited amount of screen time that their

characters get on the film.

Action and CGI-wise, the film is mixed bags. There are some

impressive moments (ie. the spider tracker sequence) and some

dull or jarring moments. I understand that Spielberg wants to

emphasise the fact that in the future, the distinction between the

rich and the poor is even wider. But the special effects used to

show the 'richer area' is so jarring that I originally thought that the

pre-crime is actually a futuristic police department that can go back

in time to save other people. This is due to the fact that the world

of the 'rich' (exemplify by hi-tech expensive apartment) such as the

pre-crime detectives' like Anderton and the world of the 'poor' (who

live in your normal-looking house) are so different that when the

film switch from one area to the next, it feels like I was watching

two different film in two different time frame.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Empty and hollow..., 18 May 2002
1/10

To say the least. And to think that I actually went in with a really low expectation really upsets me even more. I am especially annoyed with the dialogue which seems so childish and sometimes cheesy and cringe-worthy. Maybe it's just me but I can't stand the way Obi-wan and the rest of the Jedi keep saying "Padawan". It sounds like an unnatural way to talk to me.

The next would be the script itself which is very predictable. I managed to easily guessed the outcome of the majority of the plots without too much difficulty and without any surprise. I really enjoyed the original three due to the 'surprise' element that often pops out from time to time. Well, George seems to be getting lazy lately since this movie is just way too predictable. There's none of that eye-opening situations like Han rescuing Luke during the death star battle or Luke found out the truth about Darth Vader, etc.

I also hate the way Lucas write the Anakin character. Whatever happened to the "Your father was good man" statement uttered by Obi-Wan in Episode 4? This Anakin is certainly not a good man that Obi-Wan mentioned in Episode 4. Yes, he's protective of the thing that he has relations with (his mom, Padme). But being protective doesn't equal a good man. All that I see from this Anakin is a rude, childish, and often appeared idiotic man. He doesn't have a sense of responsibility, he throws tantrums like there's no tomorrow, and he doesn't seem to have a sense of loyalty and friendship. I can't count the many times I feel embarassed for him everytime he tries to be authoritative but ended up looking like a fool. I know he's supposed to fall to the dark side, but I expected that him to be a much more grey character where you can actually see the bad as well as the good sides of him. The Anakin in "AOTC" doesn't have an ounce of good sides, IMO.

My next complaint would be the supposed world of the Star Wars universe that is presented in this movie. Lucas really has outdone himself in terms of excessive use of CGI. Instead of being awed and impressed by the vistas of the world he created, I ended up feeling like I am forced to sit through an endless slideshow of CGI worlds. Not to mention the many films that Lucas chose to 'steal' as an idea for his Star Wars world ("Blade Runner", "Matrix", "Gladiator", "The War of the Worlds" just to name a few). I am all for imitating. After all, people say it's the sincerest form of flattery.

But come on! If you want to imitate "Blade Runner", can't you at least do it better? I see "AOTC" world and I see "Blade Runner" world and even with the acid rain in "Blade Runner", I would rather visit the world of "Blade Runner" than this fake CGI world that Lucas has created. At least when "The Fifth Element" imitate "Blade Runner" futuristic city, they do with flair and style and a slight innovation (the moving Dim Sum boat, etc).

Unfortunately, this column is too short to talk about other things that disturb me such as the no chemistry on between N.Portman and H.Christensen, the unbelievable number of flashing lights from weapons, light sabers, and action scenes that seem to be designed with video games portability in mind (so they can make video games that feature similar situation to the film). Honestly, I didn't have and never have the problems with the first three originals. Maybe I am just getting old (if 27 years old is old) or I am just not the audience that AOTC is aiming for.

"Angel" (1999)
An excellent noir series to accompany Buffy, 21 May 2001

A word of warning: anyone who watch "Angel" with "Buffy" mindset would be very disappointed with this show. These type of viewers can only blame themselves for expecting another round of "Buffy". However, the truth is, "Angel" was never meant to be another "Buffy". Yes, some of the elements are similar. The feel of ensemble show, the recurring villains, etc. But "Angel" is also meant to be darker, noirish and not as cheery and light as "Buffy".

The show started off weakly, originally intended as nothing more than "Angel the Vampire Ranger" with a new damsel in distress to be rescued every week. Cordelia was nothing more than annoying secretary whose task is to be the comic relief of the show. While Doyle, well, he was Doyle. He has no use in the show other than to be the person who has a crush on Cordelia and to provide the 'vision' of the week so Angel can rush in to save the damsel in distress in the vision.

Halfway through season 1, however, a change happened, they scrapped the original plan to make "Angel" a damsel in distress show, and decided to make the show darker and more noirish. This leads to Doyle's demise and a lot of fan's angry reaction. However, despite what some people said, the demise of Doyle was the best thing that ever happened to this show. His demise allows Cordelia to be 'gifted' with the vision, allowing her to grow as a full-fledged character as opposed to the cardboard cutout comic relief that she was in the first half of season 1.

Doyle's demise also facilitated a way for Wesley to appear on "Angel". Unlike Doyle, Wesley is a much better foil for "Angel". His background as an ex-watcher to both Buffy and Faith back in "Buffy" season 3 opens up an opportunity for two of the best "Angel" episode: 'Five by Five' and 'Sanctuary', none of which would have been as impactful nor emotional as it was, if one of the characters was not familiar with Faith beforehand. Wesley is also full of character development opportunities that Doyle never had. Wesley's self-doubt is much more interesting to watch than Doyle's fear that other people would not of his half-demon side. Wesley also fills in the position that was never occupied while Doyle was around: that of a competent researcher and magician.

In addition to this the show's gaining its noir-ish element by adding both Lindsey and Lilah, the two representatives of W&H. Lindsey is a very interesting character whose ambiguity towards good and evil provides an interesting counter perspective to Angel's own dual personality (that of Angel and Angelus). Lilah, on the other hand, is a good example of film noir femme fatale: a cunning, survivalist, willing to do anything to achieve their ambitions-type. Gunn is also another good character that was thrown into the cast early in season 2.

The storyline itself varies from dark to light, although it has never been as light as "Buffy". The highlights of season 1 includes "I've got you under my skin", "Five by Five", "Sanctuary", "Blind Date", and "To Shanshu in LA". Season 2 hightlights include the Drusilla and Darla two parter "Reunion"/"Redifinition", the stand alone "Are you now or have you ever been?" as well as "Guise will be guise", "Reprise", "Epiphany", and "Disharmony".

"Angel" (1999)
An excellent ensemble show, 25 June 2000

This is an excellent show where each individual character has an important function on the show. Angel, Cordelia, and Wesley works very well together. And unlike what other people have said, I must disagree and said that Wes is a much better character for "Angel" than Doyle ever was.

In fact, I found that the early episodes of Angel up to "Parting Gifts" rather boring and lacking direction. So, it was to my surprise to see changes happening to subsequent episodes and to see that the characters have grown beyond what they were early in the season.

11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
An impressive ending to an excellent series, 18 June 2000

This is an impressive ending to the excellent Evangelion saga. Everything that you thought should be in the last two episodes but were not there is here from massacre to evisceration. This film, however, is not totally different from the last two episodes. It basically shows what happened in real life before and while Shinji performs his self-assessment in episode 25 and 26. Many of the scenes that are shown vaguely in the two episodes are clarified in this film (for example, the Misato and Ritsuko scenes).