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John Q (2002)
Another dramatic cliche
It is really sad that a lot of today's writers and filmakers need to copy so much from glorious films of the past like "Dog day afternoon" and some others from more recent history, and then have the straight face to sell their movies as great original stories.
For John Q., a movie with a story that in the beginning is sold as a real life event but when you watch it, is just all but an endless collection of cliches and holes in its' script that only made it look nothing but a very annoying soap opera. And finally but not least, a good cast is not able to save anything. ......But by the way...Save what????
Hacerse el sueco (2001)
A nice and light comedy...
`Hacerse el Sueco' is the story of Bjorn (Peter Lohmeyer), a big German thieve who escapes to Havana, Cuba after being chased by justice authorities in Germany. Over there in Cuba he passes off by a college Sweden Literature professor (supposedly invited by Sweden embassy) to make a literature and social research in that location, just as a cover to safely return to his usual business.
Concha (Coralina Veloz), Alicia (Ketty de la Iglesia) and Amancio (Enrique Molina) is the Cuban family who offers house rental to this stranger who suddenly starts to change the world of these individuals and others involved in a very colorful Cuban neighborhood, a place where all action takes place.
The movie is a good Cuban production that reflects the reality of Cuban society these days with a very effective touch of light comedy and sometimes very ingenuous situations.
All characters perfectly complied with the purposed of the script especially Enrique Molina who gives an excellent, very real comedy performance as a frustrated waived ex-cop who needs more respect from people around his neighborhood.
The vision and narrative of director Daniel Diaz Torres is also quite effective since he based the movie in capting a natural comedy out of a dramatic Cuban reality.
Unfortunately, and this is the low point of the movie, the film took too much of unneeded film time, getting to a point where the resources of comedy, didn't help Diaz Torres that much since they had been repeating a lot specially after the second half of the film.
Menos es más (2000)
More of the same!!
There's not too much to say about a movie that is really a combination of so many repeated cliches, one after the other.
This is one of those two best friends stories where one of them has always had hidden love feelings for the other but is not corresponded like that due to a "super girl" that gets between them... and you should know the ending.
The movie itself does not have anything more than ordinary to show. Throughout the whole movie it just seems that you are in a film version of an MTV type of musical story or program or just another episode of dumb Latin soap operas.
The story is totally dull as well as the directing work of Pascal Jongen who does not make anything worth interesting. Finally, the acting performances are maybe the worst I've seen in my entire life.
One Night at McCool's (2001)
Nothing much to say......
There's always one of those days when you find a piece of "comedy" & "entertainment" film that simply does not entertain you or make you laugh at all, either the story, the characters, the gags used, etc.
One night at McCool's is just a sample of a tragic try to make a very crazy movie with a dark comic atmosphere that in my opinion just didn't work at all.
Liv Tyler, Paul Riser, Matt Dillon, John Goodman and specially Michael Douglas, make one of the worst all-around cast performances I've ever seen in my entire life.
Ocean's Eleven (2001)
What a pack of thieves!!!......
We've all seen and heard great and not-so-great stories or films about big thefts, great robbers and their abilities (in most of the cases) to fulfill impossible missions and also making us (in some good way) identify ourselves with characters not supposed to be doing good things after all. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1970), Bonnie and Clyde (1968), Bandits (2001) are only few samples of such lovely connection.
This time we have "Ocean's Eleven" the follow-up and highly anticipated film from the critically acclaimed and academy award winning director of "Traffic", Steven Soderbergh who makes a truly enjoyable movie and accepts the challenge (like not so many directors) to take this group of big stars to work this good as a big team for a big production.
The story is simple. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a nice modern gangster who rounds up a gang of associates to make a huge theft of the three major Las Vegas casino's (Bellagio, The Mirage, and the MGM Grand) simultaneously during a boxing event. These gang associates are form by good actors such as Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Elliot Gould among others.
Director Soderbergh makes a very light and all-around well-done film with a very nice comic atmosphere that has no exaggerations in its plot.
The cinematography is very elegant and pretty effective for night-time in Las Vegas' environment. And finally, but not the least, the actors performances which without any hesitation you could say that are one of the better all-around cast performances seen for a long time.
The only observation I would say it is the fact that there are very few sections of the movie where there's a little bit of extra fantasy for certain situations but Mr. Soderbergh cover them all with a sense of humor that is truly magical.
Behind Enemy Lines (2001)
Could have been better....
(Check for a very little spoiler at the beginning)
`Behind Enemy Lines' is just another nice-ending US-against-the-world military & war story about an endangered navy pilot (Owen Wilson) who is shot down and strongly pursued by rebel troops at enemy lines in Bosnia just after being caught taking air pictures of a secret base.
Although Enemy Lines follows all kind of military clichés to the fullest, the movie is a good all-around technical production with a nice dark-blue cinematography based in cold & isolated mountain landscapes (already seen in another similar film like `Enemy at the gates') and the use of very good sound effects which are effective throughout the whole movie.
This movie could have been a better film if the story would have showed us something more interesting and Owen Wilson would have showed the audience the portrait of a real navy soldier.
Rat Race (2001)
Ladies & Gentleman...start your engines......
Rat Race is a comedy about the story of 6 strangers who are gathered (by chance) for a crazy winner-gets-it-all 2 million dollar race to Silver City, New Mexico, and all the things that could happen on a very wild road.
Most of the cast which include names such as John Cleese, Whoopie Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson and John Lovitz who all gave that extra character diversity that the film needed. Other names include Seth Green and Cuba Gooding Jr. in one of the stupidest acting performances I've ever seen in my entire life.
Some of Rat's jokes and comic situations were very funny but most of them just seemed to be forced all the time, taking away a great deal of originality.
Music is life...........
Songcatcher is a fantastic film about understanding culture and people throughout the beauty of music and the poetry of songs. Every beat and word represents something that in many ways is so personally related to people's lives, history and emotions.
This is the lovely story of Dr. Lily Penleric (Janet McTeer) a preeminent teacher musician who impulsively decides to run to visit her sister at a struggling rural school in the Appalachia, right after being denied of an anticipated promotion where she teaches. Over there (in the mountains) she founds a new meaning to her life by finding love and discovering very culturally important Scott-Irish ballads that she might use to save her promotion.
The whole cast performances are awesome, especially Janet McTeer who comes back with another tremendous performance and Aidan Quinn who hasn't been this good so far.
Writer/director Maggie Greenwald gives us a very fresh and tender story that describes so well all characters, situations with the very real and touching concept of music.
Finally, but not the least, David Mansfield music is fantastic. He amazingly takes excellent care of every musical detail related to the lives of these beautiful characters.
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Not exactly what I expected.....
Jeepers Creepers had a strong reputation as one of the scariest movies of 2001 and got a few good reviews too.
Jeepers is a horror movie about two colleges students Trish and Darry who find and become the chase of an evil creature on their way home from college. This creature eats humans to regenerate itself and its mission will be now to get something from Trish's brother Darry. A thing that surprisingly will be shown at the end of the film.
As a major horror movie, Jeepers' special make-up & visual effects are very good also the sound effects and score are very effective all the way.
But trying to mix extended doses of black humor to an already very weak story, makes the movie even more vulnerable, and of course, when that happens, most of the time, the film does lose its nature.
The dialogues are poor and seemed to be designed for `I-know-what-you ' minded teenagers who by the way are the target of these types of films.
Jeepers Creepers have a very few good moments but the whole movie didn't move ahead and was not what I expected.
Faa yeung nin wa (2000)
Love at its finest.....
Kar-wai Wong's In the mood for love is a very interesting expression of the beauty of love and relationships that goes beyond standards.
The whole point about this movie is the elegant and unique way about how this increasing and strong passion is beautifully described between these two strangers who both have to live with a great deal of disconformities with their spouses in each of their marriages. The story is quite simple but very rich in well-defined details based in an excellent cinematography (Christopher Doyle & Ping Bin Lee), a beautiful score (Mike Gallaso) and a magnificent direction, that all together make the whole movie an unforgettable experience.
This is definitely one of the better movies of 2001.
Another romantic cliché about destiny....
We've all had the chance to taste some of these so called romantic comedies where you know from the very beginning of the film what's going to happen not only at the end but throughout the whole movie, and Serendipity is unfortunately not one of the exceptions.
Warning.... watch out for spoilers here.
This is the corny fate love story of two strangers: Jonathan Trager (Jhon Cusak)and Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale)whose lives are meant to be reunited after years of being separated.
No matter that both of them have years not seeing each other and are just hours before getting married as separate couples.... they really think is important to try again and find a precious relationship that was lost one day without names or telephone.
This is where fate and coincidence play hard on them to keep these guys apart one from the other and get to the end where they finally find themselves...... and that's it.
This movie is one of the most preconceived films I've ever seen in my entire life. Everything is the same cliché and Kate Beckinsale and John Cusak give one of the worst performances of 2001, etc..
Joe Somebody (2001)
Firstly, I need to ask myself a question
Is it really that Hollywood thinks people (at least with half a brain) would truly feel satisfied with enormous clichés stories like `Joe somebody' and others around??
For you to have a glance of what I mean, just check this out Joe Scheffer (Tim Allen) is a typical office-kind-of-guy loser and a very peaceful man who has perpetually worked at Minneapolis Pharmaceutical, as a producer of promotional videos for the company. One `fine' day, office bully Mark McKinney (Patrick Warburton), beat up Joe at his own parking lot in front of his daughter in a dispute for rights of parking space. Of course Joe's reputation goes down badly and so he starts taking some kung fu classes with former `action hero' Chuck Scarett (James Belushi), just to learn how to kick back.
Her daughter and girlfriend advice him not to fight back and leave things behind, as a `mature' attitude, but As you know he will eventually experience all of that training packed with all of the same burned jokes related to preparing a loser to kick back, and would get his revenge, just in time before McKinney comes back to work after some weeks of suspension.
After this, all is left are annoying sequences, related most of them, to a very dull and corny `fight' directed as a maybe a Rebel-without-a-cause wanna be duel. This situation will lead us to one of the tasteless clichés endings I've ever seen in my entire life.
The movie spend most of its time presenting the same sequences over and over, which to be honest, never changed at all after the first 15 minutes of the movie. It seemed there was no room for something else than that, and of course it killed the movie so bad. The dialogues were so poor and became even worst at the end.
The only good thing is in their soundtrack, which has very nice and fresh songs that couldn't do much for the movie. It's too much weight to carry on, right?
Actually, I haven't answered myself the question above, have I?
El cielo abierto (2001)
Watch out! love might surprise you......
"El cielo abierto" is an excellent story about finding true love in difficult situations.
This movie tells the story of Miguel, a tormented Psychologist -portrayed by Sergi Lopez- whose life falls apart after being abandoned by his "beloved" wife, but until the day he finally meets Jasmina, one of his patients' relatives, everything begins to change.
Jasmina tenderly creates an honest and beautiful bond by helping his mother-in-law overcome a very serious health problem and helping Miguel to forget his recent love failure while falling in love with him too. These situations will hardly test Miguel just when his wife returns from a trip and he has to choose between his old love and this lovely but weird Jasmina.
"El cielo abierto" is a fantastic and fresh story that really stays away from the never-ending endless clichés about romantic comedies.
Corky Romano (2001)
More of the same????
As I've said before, Saturday Night Live is a great comedy show if we start from the concept that most of its people know how to handle this type of live show and their actors/actresses perform very well just what is needed for every detail of their comic, crazy and sarcastic performances on TV. Unfortunately, I wouldn't say the same for most of this actors, who just cannot repeat themselves in movies as successfully as they do in SNL.
We've already seen the examples of huge failures like "The ladies man', `Superstar' and `A night at the Roxbury' where Tim Meadows, Molly Shannon, Chris Kattan, Will Ferrer and other SNL fellows, worked in dull and nonsense extensions of their Saturday Night Live sketches and honestly weren't funny at all.
This time, Chris Kattan is back as Corky Romano in another family & Mafia situation, where Corky (a veterinarian assistant) is called for his family to get undercover as an FBI agent and eliminate crime evidences that supposedly have his father and family as big gangsters.
This whole story is a huge comedy cliché that cannot stand by itself and what is even worst, very dull and packed with bitter-tasted jokes. Chris Kattan gets you tired with the same stupid face gesture from the beginning until the end of the movie.
There are very few laughs but in general the movie is a total waste.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Pixar is a monster......
Animation films have become more popular than ever these days not only among kids but among adults too. Part of this success is direct reponsability of major animation studios like Pixar, who always find a way to renovate itself in every aspect.
This time Pixar comes with Monsters Inc., a unique and beautiful story where action takes place in Monstropolis, a city of "nice and colorful" monsters that need to produce all its city's power by scaring human kids at night all over the world. Monstropolis' power company is Monsters Inc. and its top scarer employee James P. Sullivan finds himself in a wild and beautiful journey, just when Boo, a two year old kid, enters this odd world, threatens the whole city and changes Sullivan's life for good.
Monster's animation is so amazing that all its character's gestures or other any small detail is shown in such a realistic way that really move ahead from animation hits like Toy Story II. The whole script a way very original, formed by a lot of funny gags related to past movies, and of course, Randy's Newman music is at its best, never so amusing, touching and delicious.
Monsters is a delicate, warm funny and very touching story that deserves being one of the truly beauties of 2001.
The Others (2001)
Definitely better than the rest.......
Any film, doesn't matter what genre, country or story, needs to have a magic that only comes true when every single thing coexist in such a good cinematography harmony, that without any hesitation, becomes itself in a great deal, so better than the rest.
That it's why "The others", the Hollywood film debut from the acclaimed Spanish/Chilean director Alejandro Amenabar, have such of an amusing magic that definitely makes you want to say that real horror films are back.
The story takes place in a old and creepy house that is home of a very religious educated woman, Grace, and her two children, who by the way, have a terrible skin condition that makes them extremely allergic to sunlight and force them to be condemned to darkness. Everything changes until the day Grace receives the visit of 3 strangers who come for a housekeeper job being announced and by coincidence, after this hiring, she starts feeling the sensation of being haunted by "ghosts" in this old house. This situation takes us to a journey of emotions, most of them scary, breathless and claustrophobic to get to an end which will be unexpected, very chocking and surprising. The others is a very deep original production so smartly written, effectively and elegant directed and so amazingly acted that it is definitely one of the best horror movies ever.
Amenabar takes good care of every single detail of the movie, taking them to a magnificent level that only masters like Hitchcock were known for adding such a deep suspense and make a film so intriguing and very unpredictable.
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Planet of deceptions
It has been always very delightful to enjoy Tim Burton's unique and talented way to show his artistic view of very interesting stories and not so usual portrayed characters. At least that began to create all the excitement for "planet of the apes".
This time Mr. Burton comes with a script that basically represents the main concept of its predecessor, but the story since the beginning until the end, never gets to reach the ground.
Burton handles the audience with the help of a very dull and confusing plot that ends in deception as well as most of the actor's performances. Not even the costumes, the very great art direction, the excellent makeup and Danny Elfman's good piece of clear score, can save it.
The only possibility of salvation for this movie is wait for that ape to come back and once again rule the government.
The Wedding Planner (2001)
Another Romantic Cliché......
The wedding planner starring Latin beauty Jennifer Lopez & U571's Matthew McConaughey, without a doubt -in my opinion- has had a few interesting expectations in terms of the possibility to have a fresh script and a nice screen chemistry going on with this two actors, and why not to say that....... But that presumption is really far from reality.
Lopez plays Maria Fiore, this successful and very smart professional of the wedding business who always seems to find the right way to get all their customers satisfied & happy about their nuptial festivities, and of course, is meant to accidentally and finally -after so many years of loneliness- finds the love of her life and eventually had to become the planner of his own wedding with a friend of hers. This would be Dr. Steven James, (who happens to be one of the worst of all McConaughey's characters maybe ever played by the actor).
The whole film unfortunately follows endless clichés that makes it 100% predictable and boring.
I guess we all already know what's going to happen when weddings and love are mixed together. We've had enough.
The Ladies Man (2000)
A poorly-extended SNL sketch.....
Saturday Night Live is a great comedy show and so are most of its late-night scripts for sketches like "The Ladies Man".
This is not the case with this new film version of this SNL sketch where its main character Leon Phelps (Tim Meadows) plays this "sex God" who has his own radio program to help people (mostly women) in need of sexual advice and, one of a sudden, seems to be trapped in a world of females, sex and "adventure".
This whole story is such a Preconceived one and even worst very stupid and full of bitter-tasted jokes.
Finally but not the least, the actors performances, which has been one of the worst I've seen in years.
Christina's House (2000)
The worst movie I've ever seen in my entire life!
Yes, without a doubt (Christina's House) is the worst movie I've ever seen in my entire life!
Filmakers really disrespect the audience by making movies like this and expect people to enjoy them.
Entre las piernas (1999)
Full of sensuality
The story of this movie, which tries hard to avoid following concepts of other movies related to infidelity in today's modern society, really falls in providing a clear and definitive message to the audience.
The story seems interesting just from the beginning when a group of people -who take assistance in a rehabilitation center for addicted to sex- express their personal feelings about their lives and their situations, just as a psychological and deep profile of every individual. This is interesting since Manuel Pereira (Director) starts to have control of all these situations.
But this is not going so far just when alternative plots "with some psychological twists" began to surface the main story and overcome it. So the story that began from exploring the world of this addicted people turns out to become a confused film with unnecessary plots that makes the movie with no clear interpretations at the end of it.
American Beauty (1999)
This is Beautiful....
Real situations and real characters in life will always be something worth to pay attention since they are part of our lives. This is what we see and feel everyday.
American Beauty is an excellent story (Allan Ball) about the beauty and rising misery of the human society these days as we know it.
It deals with so controversial issues as Homosexuality, drugs, domestic violence all covered with plenty of good black humor and irony. But all perfectly managed by such an extraordinary and visionary director who will let us discover the real meaning of that beauty. His name is Sam Mendez.
Sam guided a talented cast who in my opinion gave one of the better all around performances in the history of movies, and that's where the success of this movie is at. From Kevin Spacey to Allison Janney, they all were perfect.
I truly recommend this beauty and fine piece of Filmmaking and hope Mendez continue with this excellence in his next movies.
Woman on Top (2000)
Original writing it is not a issue here
I do not intend to offend the fans of Spanish beauty's Penelope Cruz but the outcome of this so called romantic comedy turned out to be just a mix of a lot of things seen so many times in other movies.
Woman on top really lacks of original writing. It seems that the only thing that matters here is to force introducing Penelope's undeniable beauty to the audience so bad that it gets to the point when the hole story gets so silly and repeated.