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Cutthroat Alley (2003)
I feel used and abused...
For a laugh, some friends and myself decided to rent this movie, tag line "Scream meets Boyz In Da Hood". We watched it. Prior to this night, my worst film ever was Jeepers Creepers. This has now been bumped down to 2nd place by Cutthroar Alley. This piece of Ghetto Oscar nominated fecal matter is a prime example of why certain people should for health and safety reasons stay away from cameras and digital filming equipment.
This film should be banned. My eyes are forever scarred by the 2hours that we had to endure. I shall never get these hours back. I am currently seeking counselling. My friends are all dead inside.
The filming is abysmal, a blind man could edit better and as for the Casio 808 soundtrack with free appearances from rappers who never made it, what else can be said. And worst of all, is the propaganda on websites from obvious family members who say that this film is da bomb. Call po po please for these fools! I am a film buff, i know a bad film when i see one, i grew up in the 80's, I endured films like Fright Night, Prom Night, Swamp Thing, Return of the Living Dead, Critters 2, Ghoulies, and Last House on the Left. This film makes those look like insightful documentaries, worthy of Oscars and Sundance Festival Awards.
Do yourself a favour...never see this film...
Here Endeth the lesson!!
High Fidelity (2000)
Do you even know your daughter?!
From the onset lemme say that I have read the Nick Hornby novel and seen this film twice. There are people out there who have an aversion to this film because the book is set in London and the film is set in America which seems to imply some kind of sacrilege. I must say that I was one of the more optimistic, especially with John Cusack's involvement as behind the scenes as well as in the forefront. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, it achieves one of those rare feats in that it is as good as the film. John Cusack has been doing melancholy from the beginning,One Crazy Summer, Say Anything spring to mind, but he has made that successful transistion from teen to adulthood, eloquently seen in Gross Pointe Blank.
This film embraces the fact that the shop, Championship Vinyl, is not based prominantly in a high street, but in a back road on North London, hence this translates to a back road in America and it translates well, nowhere in evidence is the feared American gaudiness, but the evidence that everyone involved was very aware and handled said material with care.
This film achieves the rare feat of inviting you into a characters life and before you realise it, you are concerned with their welfare and what happens. Also the humour is not played with a heavy hand, there are genuine laugh out loud moments, one of the side splitting moments are the 3 imagined confrontations with the new age Tim Robbins.
It's a love story,a real love story, hell I am going one further and saying that this is a life story, we know people like these, we have friends who have these relationships and it makes a change to see reality on screen. Bravo to Nick Hornby for the book and John Cusack for another great movie.
So it begins
Let me start off by saying that it is a very hard thing to translate a book into a film format. It can be a huge success or a great failure. It is also made alot more difficult when the book in question has an absolutely phenomenal fanbase. Harry Potter has this, hence any director who was gonna tackle this task, had his or her work seriously cut out for them.
Speaking as someone who has read all 4 books and been captivated by them, I was hesitant to see this movie, but upon viewing it had it's great moments and failures. First of all the actors who played the 3 main characters achieve the great feat of bringing Harry Potter, Ron Wealsey and Hermione Granger to life in realistic fashion. Emma Watson as Hermione is the annoying know it all, Rupert Grintt is great as the boy who wants more yet doesn't have enough as Ron and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter does steal the show, with the right amount of surprise at his wizard status and yet the lonely child orphaned at an early age.
The setting, in several locations over Britain, adds to the magic and sheer monstrosity that is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I was taken aback by the Quidditch Match. For the one thing, I was happy that I hadn't clearly imagined it while reading, because the filmed scenes filled in the necessary mental blocks.
I did note that there were several chunks of the story missing along with certain characters, but the film's current running time is 2hrs plus and taking into consideration that this is a CHILDREN'S film, the running us quite long. If the whole book had been filmed, I gurantee that this would definately be a 3hr plus film.
For the most part the film is a spectacular effort, especially from Chris Columbus. It has the appropriate darkness, as well as the fun and light hearted element. I found that those who complained were often speaking from the point of view of those who had read all of the novels and found that they possibly couldn't figure any edits that were justifiable. However the point is that as well as this being a kids movie and essentially a childs book, that is not how all the books are, they grow as children grow, which is why i will reserve my judgement for the film as a series until such time as they appear.
Let me first commence by saying that Ridley Scott is an action director, he naturally excels in this area, it must be in his genes, because the intial shoot out with Starling is evidence of the fact that Ridley has talent. The point is this, this film is a thriller/horror/whatever, but anything but an action movie, the action is a sub plot, a mere distraction from the bigger picture. And to be honest the bigger picture is all mouth and no action.
From the very beginning with all the talk of Jodie Foster walking from the picture I was very skeptical. I read the book and understood why she walked. In the book it seemed that Harris hurries his way until he gets to the most graphic parts, which he seems to salivate over.
The film has this same feel. The scenes of Florence are beautiful, but that is not enough. It hurries to get to most graphic parts of the film. Hannibal himself, loses his intrigue, they make him 'acceptable' by focusing less on that fact that he is a serial murderer and insane and focus more on the fact that the people he attacks 'deserved it'. He loses the dark intrigue and appeal and even wisodm that had been his trademark in Manhunter and Silence of the Lamds and instead just becomes a gimick, condescending in nature and well wasted.
Julianne Moore looks uncomfortable in most of her scenes and I understand why. She is wearing the huge shoes of Foster and doesn't quite fit, she does try though, but it isn't good enough, she is missing that something that Foster had and as a result, the relationship between Lecter and Starling is missing that something that was evident form Silence of the Lambs.
Ok. I have heard some people say that this film isn't that gruesome, who are they trying to kid, I mean I am not someone who faints at the sight of blood but this was too much. Mason Verger didn't look as bad as described in the novel. However, the face cutting part, the disembowellment and of course the infamous ending were all TOO MUCH. Speaking as a woman who enjoys her fair share of violence on screen, this was gratuitous and in fact I would be very happy never to see this again!
The Night HE Came Home!
I'll start by saying this, I am very gald that HE came home because as a result, movies of this genre were never thesame. First off the bat let me dismiss the rest of the series that followed this, especially HALLOWEEN 3 SEASON OF THE WITCH & HALLOWEEN:H20. These examples were in a word, pathetic, but I am not here to speak about those films, I'm here to sing the praises of the original classic! This film combined with Friday the 13th confirmed the era, it upped the ante and made horror directors have to work on their contributions. In my opinion the beginning of the film begins in typical stalker fashion, but when the murderer is revealed to be a knife wielding child in a clown suit, the audience becomes uncomfortable, it's a urban myth on film. Attend to your children or they will become deviant murderers.
The sheer idea that evil can be born into a child and linger and fester to become an evil force is unnerving and is probably more frightening to the audience than the actual murders that are committed on screen. Carpenter captures the mood in every scene, when the Jamie Lee Curtis character feels afraid and enclosed on an open street in broad daylight, the audience feels that with her and the classic ending of the villain-ain't-quite-dead-yet, which has been used in multiple films over the years, still unnerves me when I watch it. When I fist saw this movie, I knew in my heart that at the end of the movie, the villain would die, so when Jamie looked out of the window and saw an empty space where Michael Myers should have been lying, I shouted "NO!" with her,because that meant that he was still out there.
Halloween is a classic for both Horror and John Carpenter, an achievemnet he has rarely attained to since.
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988)
Ain't no-one layin a finger on my baby!!
This film is joke!! Nah I'm serious, this film, is one of those films whereby, myself and all my friends MUST watch it, wherever it comes on. I could just sit here and list the classic scenes: the neighbourhood inner city games ("I want this sh*t clean!"), the bar scene and bedroom scene ("don't make me hop after you!"), Kung-Fu Joe's ambush ("u think u can take on Kung-Fu Joe, master of Kung-Fu, Ju-jitsu and all other sh*t you ain't never heard of!")Pimp of the Year, Hammer and Slammer's demise, the take away scene, this is a classic spoof movie, up there in my opinion with the great spoofs, like Airplane!
"Everybody will laugh at you!"
It's funny how 5 words can mean so much to a person. I will never forget the image of this pale girl, with a look on her face of horror, embarassment, shame and raw emotion, covered in blood and through her eyes, the whole gymnasium, stands and laughs heartlessly at her humiliation.
Carrie was a landmark for me, as I'm sure it was for a certain Mr King. It displayed for the whole world to see that school,(high school, secondary school) could actually be hell. In my mind Sissy Spacek was born to play Carrie White. She encapsulated all the emotions and feelings so well, your heart couldn't help but go out to her. In my mind this is a horror, but not in the sense of Carrie White's telekinesis, but of life, and of the people in it. Those who just wanna push things that little bit too far, for some nondescript reason. The girls squealing for Carrie to "plug it up" when she gets her first period and has no idea what it is, and when they start throwing tampons at her, is alot more frightening than most of the episodes of Carrie's telekinesis,(with the exception of the 2 final incidents). Piper Laurie's excellent portrayal of the religiously fanatical Magaret White, her determination that Carrie is first dirty and polluted which eventually gives way to her belief that Carrie is evil, is disturbing viewing especially considering that at the crux of this all, Carrie is her child. A WORD OF WARNING: De Palma's version differs from Stephen Kings novel, however that does not make it bad, since the initial essence is there. Carrie is an unfortunate victim of circumstance, trapped in a world that she does not control, one thread that is evident in both the film and the novel is that Carrie's ultimate empowerment and her decision (arguably based on instinct and reaction)to initiate it, leads to destruction of the town and finally of herself, but throughout the whole thing she remains, unsure and often even unaware.
Carrie is a victim you care about and you understand the revenge she exacts upon her classmates and the redeemed Sue Snell(Amy Irving), however, you get the feeling that Snell's attempts to bring Carrie happiness is slightly a case of trying to forgive herself for descending into madness in the girls locker room.
The final scene (one of the best classic endings of a film ever:discuss!?) is a final triumph for Carrie, her final revenge, her gift to Sue Snell, her legacy. But throughout the whole film, never was this more a case of just an innocent victim of circumstance. A triumph for King and De Palma, (plus a chance for De Palma to home his skills down, in particular his trademark split screen filming). If any parent ever said life was easy for kids, sit them down and make them watch Carrie.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
If Sean Cunningham, John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper defined the horror genre in the late 70's, early 80's then Wes Craven destroyed it, not only once, but twice, with Scream. However, before Scream, there was A Nightmare On Elm St and before there was the ghostface, there was Freddy Krueger, bastard son of 100 maniacs. Up until this point, horror was very predictable, most films adhered to the 'rules' of horror (if you have no idea what the rules are, they are simply, the 'virgin' survives, if you have sex, you die, if you drink or get high, you die and never say, "I'll be right back" cause u won't, for more details, see Randy in the Scream Trilogy). In 1984, this little film came out about a murderer who killed you in your dreams.
It was a seemingly simple concept, but it was terrifying to see the main character Nancy, (played brilliantly by a young Heather Langenkamp) battling not only her adversary, (the irrepressible Robert Englund) but the trauma's of her alcoholic mother, smothering and absent father, their divorce, her idea that she might be going crazy and sleep, as she deduces from fairly early on that if she sleeps, she dies. Nancy was a character that you cared about. She wasn't devoid of emotion or reduced to simply running and screaming from her attacker, she had emotion, she had issues, she was like most teenagers in America.
The film begins pretty typically enough. Freddy Krueger stalks those who according to the rules, deserve what they get. Freddy himself is frightening, with a very limited dialogue and terrifying persona. In later sequels, he becomes a humourous villain, but in the first of the series is where we see Krueger at his menacing best. But somewhere along the line, it all goes haywire, culminating in the death of Glen (Johnny Depp)Nancy's boyfriend, polite and sweet who doesn't have sex during the course of the film.You find yourself saying,"hey this can't be right, he shouldn't be dead". But that is exactly the kind of reaction that Craven wants from you.
The horror, doesn't end with the apparent death of Freddy, Craven still pays homage to the typical ending of his genre, with the 'he's-not-quite-dead-yet' ending, but it is the way in which he does it. Craven makes you comfortable by having you believe that everything is ok, that it was all just a lil dream and dreams can't really hurt you, that is until the very end. It shocks you, leaving to come to your own deductions, similar to the ending of The Exorcist, it is up to you to judge who triumphed, good or evil.
When you think about it, what was worse for Nancy, the stalking of Freddy or her gradual sleep depravation, how long can anyone survive in their right mind with no sleep. Plus it also demonstrates that at the core of those sleepy American towns, something is rotten. The image of these surbanites in the form of Nancy and her friends parents, forming a mob and setting fire to Freddy Krueger, is in a sense more frightening than the child molesting, murdering image of Freddy himself. Craven like Stephen King, likes to illustrate in his work that some of the most horrid things happen in small quite towns. Maybe because around these times, America was reeling from the emergence of numerous serial killers. Whatever the reason, this film is a classic for so many reasons, and I dare anyone to tell me different!!
The Green Mile (1999)
One of the best adaptions of a King novel
I have read my fair share of Stephen King's work and I know that I am not alone in thinking that there are very few good films based on his work. Misery and Dolores Claiborne were very good, but this film has outshone the both of them. This tells the story of Paul Edgecombe and his time as an officer on death row during the depression. the film details the events that unfold when convicted murderer John Coffey arrives on the 'Green Mile', the name given to the death row section because of the green linoleum that leads to the chair. Darabont has taken the time and effort to let a truly captivating story unfold and is very faithful to King's Novel and it's spirit, however it is the acting that completes the essence, Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb and Michael Duncan Clark as John Coffey bring King's work to life and as a result, make the audience a part of the events that proceed. Excellent too is the supporting cast, as I often found myself thinking that the actors were exactly as I had imagined the characters in my head when I had first read the novel. This film was probably one of the few gems to come out of 1999.
Great film, not up to the standard of Smith's previous work
Those of you who are fans of Kevin Smith's previous works (Clerks, Mallrats & Chasing Amy)may find this area familiar in some parts and unnerving and perhaps even commercial by comparison. Dogma sees fallen angels Bartleby and Loki (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon)attempting to make their way back into heaven via a newly instituted catholic dogma. The problem with this lies in the fact that if they are successful, they would have overturned a ruling by God, hence God is always right and if proven wrong would result in the undoing of existence. The familiar presence of Jay and Silent Bob is comforting and ensures that some of the essence Smith's earlier work stays put, however at times this film dissents into areas that seem out of Smith's depth. There are some surprisingly touching moments which implies that Smith gave a great deal of thought, similar to that of Chasing Amy. In general it is a great all round cast, (Linda Fiorentino,Chris Rock, Alan Rickman) and it is obvious that whilst writing this Smith had his tongue firmly in cheek.