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The Insatiable (2006)
It's a B movie, so low-production value, some of the direction could have use a bit more transition scene to make the movie more fluid and the space more real but...
The characters development, which is central to the movie, is excellent and keeps you hooked in. The scenes between the two main characters are strong: they are supported by dialogues that are simple but effective and both actors doing a fine job.
I watched "Wanted", with Angelina Jolie, and "Insatiable" the same evening: the next day, "Insatiable" made a stronger impression on me.
Whoever made this movie deserves a bigger budget.
Pompous and missing the point
French movie-making at its worst. The movie draws an obvious parallel between the 1961 Algerian protests in Paris and an incident that affected the entire life of a man. The incident is portrayed as a bad memory that the culprit, then a six-year old child, has mostly forgotten until he starts receiving creepy drawings and videotapes of himself and his family, as if under surveillance.
From there, it goes nowhere. Characters start acting in startling and illogical ways, emphasizing a typical trait of French movie-makers who ignore the motivations of their own characters in order to make their point.
And the point is lost. The main plot is left unresolved. The viewers are probably asked to see another less than subtle parallel with the unresolved case of 1961. The end of the movie is especially uninspired and typical of directors who cannot "wrap it up" and finish elegantly.
As a political statement, it fails to carry its message across. As a study of character, it fails as it cannot explain or hint at explanations for the main characters' actions. As a genre movie, it spectacularly falls short of common standards.
The director might do well to remember that, when he is making a movie, he should ask himself with every frame why viewers might still want to watch. In our case, my wife wanted to watch a French movie because she is learning the language. In that respect, speaking in French, the movie was successful.
8 femmes (2002)
I stopped watching after 10mn
I started viewing it, being really indulgent with the corniness and the cheesiness of the dialogue in the opening sequences, because I like Francois Ozon, and then... they started to do the lip-sync singing... I ejected the DVD right away and returned the movie. I suppose it is trying to emulate some of those fifties' movies that were all charming and fun and everybody misses but I always really hated them in the first place and I don't really miss them. I still think Francois Ozon is a gifted, talented, hard-working director but he chose an "exercice de style" in a style that does not work well with everybody. Not with me, to say the least.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Heath Ledger nails the Wyoming guy
Easy pun... but appropriate.
Had I not seen Ledger in other movies and different characters before, I would have sworn Ang Lee just hired some local cowboy to play Ennis. He walks like a Wyoming guy, talks like one, stands like one, etc. I don't know how he did it. But he did.
Don't get me wrong: this is a very solid movie, which manages to appeal to everyone, although it would seem at first that it is hard to relate to (unless you are a gay cowboy in the closet). The story is moving, the cinematography fantastic, and all of the actors performing at an amazing level.
It's just that Heath Ledger is one notch above everyone else.
L'année des méduses (1984)
Not for everyone: one could almost dismiss it as a soft sexploitation movie from the eighties. But no.
This is about an obsessive little girl who is turning into a woman. The characters around her are here to reflect the wicked light she is shining, and emphasize facets of her personality, as she is wrecking havoc around her.
It is all then about the sexual desires of women and men. How they cheat. Whom they love. What it is that they want. What they would do to get it. Only one character is "not normal " in this movie, and this is the scary part: all the others could be us to some degree.
One flaw in this movie: the voice-over on two occasions. Obviously the director could not find a way could convey the message. Pity. Otherwise, it would have a perfect little venomous movie.
Along Came Polly (2004)
Mildly enjoyable comedy with a few Must See Scenes
This is your average date movie, nothing groundbreaking. Ben Stiller rehashes his usual underdog character and it is quite pleasurable to see him accumulates the many humiliations. Philip Seymour Hoffmans does the actor thing. Jennifer Aniston is doing Rachel making an impersonation of Phoebe, and she does it well to be truthful.
Special mentions go to:
- Hank Azaria, hilarious as a French scuba instructor. His accent is more French than French. Just pure genius. Must must see.
- Debra Messing, surprisingly believable as the shameless (ex?) wife from hell. She displays a mix of self-confidence, vulnerability, selfishness, and true concern that makes her character completely unsettling. Still, a great performance.
- Alec Baldwin in a bathroom scene... rather down played, but some actors make even the worst situations look natural.
Rent or cable.
A History of Violence (2005)
A History of Violent Movies...
So we know the story: an average Joe, loving husband, caring father, model citizen in middle America is attacked by thugs but he saves the day by defending himself and his diner when it was obvious he had no other choice and ends up killing the aggressors. He should go back to his family a hero. We have seen so many films like this one.
Yet it is more complex here. When someone dies, people have to live with it. When the hero kills a bad guy, is it because he is standing his ground like anyone would or because he is a killer, unlike anyone else? Can a normal man be a hero? Can we glorify him? Or does he have to be something different, hidden beneath the surface? The movie answers this question without a hesitation and it is not the answer we are used to. Some people will love it, some will hate it. I think a lot will miss the point. It is a movie about movies parading as an action flick.
The fights scene are flawless, some nervous comic relief sequences perfectly timed, the acting is brilliant especially with Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello and Ed Harris. An Academy Award of the Weird and Questionable to William Hurt who makes a pretty good impersonation of Will Ferrell (why? that is the mystery of the movie).
Otherwise, a good, solid movie delivered with precision in the execution y Cronemberg.
Grey's Anatomy (2005)
Awful - Something went wrong during Season 2
It was fun, it was witty, it was charming.
That was at the beginning of Grey's anatomy: during Season 1. Elle Pompeo was cute, Patrick Dempsey was handsome, and Katherine Heigl was gorgeous.
The second season turned the characters into selfish self-centered individuals that constantly whine about their own little selves. There is nothing enjoyable: every time a moral dilemma is presented, they make the wrong ethical choice in the name of love, friendship, whatever. Doctors must go wild when they watch that show. It is completely unbelievable.
Now, what happened to the actors: Ellen Pompeo looks like she has a stuffed nose all the time, Patrick Dempsey looks like he is about to cry on every frame, and they even ruined Katherine Heigl for me.
House of the Dead (2003)
Not a bad idea... but the script is awful !!!
OK we all read the reviews that it is bad. Yet, a lot of the flaming comes from people who in the first place do not appreciate B-action flicks.
So, let's be honest:
Pros: Jurgen Prochnow, good photography, okay directing for the action sequences (they are actually cheesy but fun), some cute actresses (Kira Clavel), gratuitous nudity in three separate occasions
Cons: Script is awful and characters are not consistent (e.g. the first death witnessed by the protagonists: one girl has turned in a zombie and twists the neck of one of the group of friends before she is shot by a cop: no one even looks at the guy who just died), the cutting and editing sucks and sometimes you don't understand what is happening (e.g. one second a guy is lying on a beach watching is naked girlfriend bathe, then the next second she starts drowning, and the next scene he has fallen asleep -- no sense of continuity)
So, it's not all bad, but what makes this movie tough to watch is that THE PRODUCTION DID NOT DO A GOOD JOB AT KEEPING AN EYE ON THE DETAILS. The movie is kinda fun but ruined at times but this lack of professionalism that transpires through the continuity inconsistencies.
And don't tell me it's because the budget is low. A movie like "The hills have eyes" was extremely low budget but there are no inconsistencies in the unfolding of the story.
Funny thing: in the DVD there is a documentary on Zombies in movie-making in which George Romero acknowledges difficulties to finance his own 4th "Dead" movie. And Uwe Boll has four projects in the pipe...
A Dirty Shame (2004)
Not dirty, but shameful
The premise of this movie is great: a suburbian neighborhood is slowly taken over by sex addicts. It works the same way as Invasion of Body Snatchers: the people are converted one after the other and have a sexual addiction revealed to themselves. Then they see the world only through the goal of satisfying their addiction.
The good: it is not sexy or enticing - John Waters stays away from the cheap sex flick. The addictions are mostly funny and come down to having regular looking individuals (Tracey Ullman case in point) looking gross as they totally get into their individualistic fantasies. Opposing is a league a decency that looks at the world not through individualistic eyes but trying to find what is good for all. The sex addicts take over when it the addiction becomes a social link between individuals.
The bad: the story ends after 30 minutes. John Waters then just recycles over and over the same jokes. It is like one of those "Naked Guns" flicks, except the scenes are less funny and less creative than in "Naked Guns".
It is all the more disappointing when you know how corrosive and disturbing John Waters can be. A fine example is Hairspray, that looks like a pretty harmless movie until it hits you a bit later and you realize how subsersive it is. Here it is like Mr. Waters did not know how to develop his point: the league of decency and the biblical references are under exploited.
Sadly, Johny Knoxville is a the best thing in this movie. Actually, I am being mean to him: he shows charisma and presence on screen and deserves a shot at more better parts in movies than what he usually gets.