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Excellent Escapism & Great CGI Make For Solid Entertaining Film
Ignore a lot of these bad reviews. This film is genuinely entertaining. It's only a shame it wasn't released during the summertime as I think it would have done better then.
This film was a melange of concepts from Fritz Lang's Metropolis to Raiders of the Lost Ark to Lost Horizon which lends it a touch of class and an innonence that's sadly just lost on a lot of people these days. I'm thinking of the classic fun of films like Gunga Din, which just have a great broadly appealing sense of humor that serves as a refreshing complement to the action. It was also a great idea to film it in the sepia toned style which really adds to the feel of the film.
The one criticism I think holds true is that the acting is slightly wooden at times, particularly in the scenes between Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. But COME ON folks ... this is a homage to pulp entertainment and 30s sci fi, not Citizen Kane. The leads are meant to be stereotyped characters. And if you keep that in mind, Sky Captain crosses the line from mere pastiche to a brilliant homage to 30s fantasy fiction.
In my opinion, one of the best movies of the year, along with SpiderMan 2.
All things considered, half of a good movie
Dench and Broadbent do a fantastic job charting the devolution of Iris' faculties as she struggles with Alzheimer's; the problem with this film is during the flashback scenes. Winslet is average, not great in her portrayal, but that's partially because the script doesn't present Iris Murdoch in her early days as a very sympathetic character. Instead of coming off as a free spirit she's far more of a sexually confused egotistical dilantette who uses everyone around her. Scenes where Iris is supposedly revealing her shady past and her motivations fall completely flat...there's not enough of a sense of vulnerability or that she really NEEDS her husband. Ultimately that takes away from the Dench-Broadbent storyline. I felt badly for Broadbent's character as he clearly was in way over his head trying to take care of Iris, but I was puzzled as to why he stayed with her in the first place as she treated him so awfully when they were young.
The flashbacks also aren't handled quite right, the interaction between the "present" and past scenes is too jarring. I suspect that it was a conscious choice to do it that way in an attempt to describe the ravages of Alzheimer's, but the film really suffers as a story because of it. This film would have been better served as a straight linear narrative without the constant flashbacks, focusing on either the young or old stage of Iris' life.
Mean Streets (1973)
A warm-up for Goodfellas
There's elements of style here that Scorcese would later perfect in Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and Casino. The use of music in the soundtrack for this film is particularly effective even though the plot is ill-defined and meanders too much. Too many scenes don't advance the story or tell us anything new about the characters.
DeNiro and Keitel are both great in this film but their interaction is somehow less than the sum of its parts. I simply didn't find their relationship very believable...it's never explained WHY Charlie would continue to stick by Johnny Boy when he's such a loser with no respect for any of his friends. It's pretty obvious Johnny's spoiling to get whacked, and for a guy who seems to have as much going for him as Charlie does you'd think he'd leave Johnny to his fate.
In summary it's interesting as a sort of prototype Scorcese film but nowhere near as good as his 70s masterpiece Taxi Driver or his later work. I give it 6 out of 10.
Perlman was great...inspired casting there and throughout, but the film bogs down very quickly into a series of CGI fights. Hints of what could have been an exciting plot get smothered into the never ending fight sequences and mediocre, half-realized characterizations.
This movie's about a half hour longer than it should have been, and the CGI sequences don't really serve the story that well.
Fans of the comic should be satisfied...it isn't a terrible adaptation but as a movie it falls flat. They tried a little too hard with this one to merge the occult backstory with the requisite action/fighting stuff. I'd cut at least one or two of the fights vs the "hound of destruction" character. By the third fight it got to be serious overkill. I came very close to walking out of this film just because the third act goes absolutely nowhere.
Cross between 6th Sense and The Ring
Gothika tries hard, but it's nowhere as good or scary as either of those two films. Halle Berry is decent, but the supporting cast (Robert Downey Jr., Penelope Cruz, and notably Charles S. Dutton in a blink & you'll miss him performance) are a group of barely developed characters with no discernable motivation or explanation for their actions. There's a few suspenseful scenes in this, but it's largely derivative. The film completely implodes in the last 15 minutes when the true villians are revealed, and the ending calls into question several previous scenes. All in all, rather poorly directed with a paint by numbers script. Worth a rental I suppose, but I rate this a mediocre 5. Halle Berry can do better than this.
The Cat in the Hat (2003)
Another Seuss classic butchered
Saw this at a preview show last night. Terrible, unfunny, gross. It basically took all the worst parts of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and applied them to Cat in the Hat. Mike Myers has a few funny gags in the film but nowhere near enough to make it work. I don't think even kids would find this funny since there's a lot of adult-ish jokes that kids won't get, even 80 minutes worth of fart jokes and peeing dogs get old after a while.
PLEASE leave the rest of the Seuss books alone ... they aren't meant for live action adaptations.
This is literally the worst movie I have seen since Freddy Got Fingered.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Overrated, pseudo-mystical garbage w/great SFX
This movie was WAY too long. There's like a whole 35-40 minutes of actual story crammed into a two and a half hour long movie...Several characters serve no useful purpose at all whatsoever...Link's wife, was she necessary? What about the councillor and most of the people in Zion? Was there any need to show them in this film? They didn't advance the story at all.
In fact all the Zion scenes were a total waste of time, especially the much reviled rave scene, which does nothing but bring the film to a crashing halt for 15 minutes.
People who say this film is some kind of deep philosophical triumph just make me laugh....you people must experience religious epiphany reading cereal box ingredients. There's nothing original or groundbreaking about this film at all in terms of its philosophical stance, just a bunch of quasi-deep mumbling by the Architect which in the end amounts to nothing and/or contradicts everything they have said before.
Trinity and Neo have no chemistry at all together and are so wooden it's very difficult to care about what happens to them. In the first movie you could actually see them as people instead of some kind of CGI kung fu robot in leather. Fishburne as Morpheus is great as usual but is not enough to carry the film. Apart from Niobe's character there is no other performance worth mentioning.
Of course the SFX are top notch, but for what? Whatever shred of story there is is just a vehicle to get from one action sequence to the next. Were TWO fights vs hundreds of Agent Smiths really necessary, wouldn't one be enough? And then what's up with the fight with the guy who's guarding the Oracle....totally unneccessary other than to show off the same tired bullet time effect, which was used well in the first film but ridiculously overdone in this one. By the 7th or 8th time you've seen it done it's annoying. Not to mention there's no sense of danger involved at all. You KNOW nothing's going to happen to any of the main characters which totally robs all the fight scenes of any sense of drama. We already know who will win.
This movie was very disappointing. I enjoyed the first one a lot because it actually had a plot and a storyline that went somewhere, this was just pure crap. A bunch of action scenes and pseudo-philosophical garbage trying to pass itself off as a smart movie. I guess it is smart for an audience of braindead teenagers. Just stick with action, (you know, where something actually happens), for the 3rd part and maybe this series can be revived.
Terrible script & poor editing make this a poor clone
I just watched this on DVD last night, having seen it in the theatre. I was very disappointed when I watched the scenes that had been cut, as they fleshed out the story a lot more than the final cut. You learned more about the wasp creatures near the end of the film and why Dooku enlisted their help. Padme's character was a lot more established as well in visits to her parents house and in a confrontation with Dooku.
Many people have commented on the wooden acting of the two leads, which I somewhat agree with, but Christensen is not that bad an actor, and neither is Portman.
The problem with both this film and Phantom Menace is Lucas' dialogue. He writes lines which no actor, even in a fantasy movie, can say without sounding like they're reading them off of cue cards. This can be excused when the line is SF technobabble, but when it's supposed to be intimate romance it comes off as clumsy, forced, and utterly unbelievable. Considering that we KNOW the ultimate fate of each of these characters, these make scenes where they are put in peril uninteresting, since you already know they'll survive. Lucas really blew the chance at creating highly developed, memorable characters in my opinion.
In addition, both this and Phantom Menace sorely miss a solid supporting cast to the two cardboard character leads. Where is the Han Solo/Chewbacca/Lando of these movies? Watching the original trilogy, the chemistry between Han and Chewie gives the movies a much broader appeal than the soap opera Skywalker saga. Imagine the original trilogy with only Luke and Leia as the two main characters -- it'd be far less interesting!!!
Ewan McGregor is given a lot more to do in this film as Obi-Wan, and he acquits himself very well, although I think the scenes on the clone world would have been much better if he had been accompanied by Mace Windu. We almost always see Jedis travel in pairs, until Kenobi's solo visit. Christopher Lee does well in the limited screen time he's given. Samuel L. Jackson gives a one note performance as Mace Windu ... we're never convinced that he's as powerful a warrior as he's said to be. And when a CGI Yoda is the most expressive character in the film, you know something's just not right.
Lucas has really painted himself into a corner to deliver the goods in Episode III. In my opinion, to tie up all the loose ends he's created between Phantom Menace and this film, Episode III might have to be 4 hours long.
In summary, this is a decent film for fans of the Star Wars saga, and certainly better than Phantom Menace, but it still doesn't break much new ground. Compared to the colorful entertaining space opera of the first trilogy it's rather dull and predictable. Hopefully Episode III will give Star Wars fans a movie that can be held up to the high standards of the originals.
I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)
Three Good Performances Lost
Stephen Dorff and Lili Taylor and Jared Harris are all great in this film, particularly Dorff. But the film's biggest weakness is that everyone in the movie is so weird you don't really care what happens to them. Only Dorff manages to invest his character with enough humanity and vulnerability that you are actually interested to learn of his ultimate fate. I was kind of surprised to learn that Solanis is held up as some kind of proto-feminist lesbian guru when it is obvious she's only twisted and insane.
Imagine if the situation were reversed and Solanis was a man calling for the cutting up of all women and denouncing women as an inferior race. Such a viewpoint would be considered monstrous! Solanis is a crank and a fool, so it's impossible to take her character's world view any more seriously than the guy down by the subway station who mumbles to people who aren't there.
The entire Factory scene is rightly exposed as the pretentious, ridiculous collection of sub-mediocre talent it was. So the viewer isn't surprised when Solanis shoots Warhol, as he couldn't say no to anyone around him and surrounded himself with so many weirdos it was inevitable.
Would this film have been lauded had it been a biopic of Mark David Chapman? I don't see much difference between Solanis and Chapman frankly...both complete, colossal failures in life who managed to gain notierity through murder or attempted murder.
In summary, this was a well-executed take on a rather idiotic topic. I'd rather see the director use her talents to make a movie about people who deserve the effort. Not worthless no-talents like Warhol and Solanis.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Great, if you've got ADD
This was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It would have been better if the editor and director could have let a single shot go on for longer than a second. It's a jumpy addled mess that is derivative of so many songs & movies there isn't a single original thought or idea in this film. Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman can sing pretty well, but it's not enough to save this film.
Nothing personal intended here, but all you reviewers who say this movie is a masterpiece seriously need your heads checked. The sets & production are astonishing, granted, but seriously, the plot of this film makes Rocky Horror Picture Show look like Citizen Kane.
I can understand the "love it or hate it" comments I'm reading, but how anyone could consider this Best Picture???? Give me a break.