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The Departed (2006)
The best movie I've ever seen, that I also didn't like....SPOILERS
The acting, direction, cinematography....all first rate. Technically, a brilliant film. The tension built up nicely. The film didn't seem two and a half hours in length.
Unfortunately, the payoff didn't work for me and the film, as a whole, was bleak and cynical. I had emotional investment in only one character, Costigan, and he gets his brains blown out. OK, OK...I'll admit, it was nice not to have the typical clichéd ending. Costigan would have been greeted by applauding cops, like Sullivan was. Then, on the verge of a big promotion, would have handed in his shield and walked out onto and down the street.....camera rises...fade to black.
So, I'm OK it didn't end that way. But holy moly, everyone gets shot in the head. Just as a matter of fact, it seems. There's no real "good guy", again, not necessarily a bad thing. However, you MUST be emotionally invested in someone. For me, it was Leo but just barely.
Essentially, everyone was a rat. That was pounded into my pointy little head from the first frame and then pounded in again and again and again. That's a lot to wade through just for that message.
Ultimately, the film felt like a waste of time. Everyone dies. Well, except for Dignam. And...every cop is dirty. Not just a little dirty....but shoot the other cop in the head, dirty.
Big disappointment. Maybe my love of 'Goodfellas' is blocking me. But I don't think so. It was one of the best films of the 90's.
An amazing film
So Oliver Stone throws every conspiracy theory he can think of, into the story. So, he uses dubious sources. So he takes "dramatic license" at every turn, self admitted I might add(on feature length commentary). This movie is just fantastic, hypnotic. Anyone interested in the JFK assassination, should NOT end their research with this film. That would be a huge mistake. However, they should definitely BEGIN their research with this film.
Great performances all around. Costner is quite good as Garrison. Decide for yourself, Garrison the hero? Or Garrison the nutjob? Stone paints him as an American hero, with nary a blemish. Perfect in nearly every frame. Pesci is his usual "over the top" brilliant. Tommy Lee Jones is both normal and utterly creepy and corrupt, as Clay Shaw/Bertrand.
See this film. Then do some digging on the net. Still, there will be more answers than questions. But it's a fascinating journey.
A total misfire
Perhaps I'm just too stuck in the past. I've never read the book, but I love the original film. Wilder just cannot be replaced. His Wonka was NOT weird, he was just putting on an act to push the kids and parents to their respective breaking points. And it worked.
In the original film, the ultimate prize was a secret until the end. In this one, we know some kid is getting something pretty special.
Johnny Depp's Wonka is just a freak. He would have little to no chance of becoming ANYTHING in life. I happen to love Depp, but this performance was bad and tough to watch. One or two amusing lines and nothing else.
The ending of the original film is much better. A better morality tale, if you will. Handing the everlasting gob-stopper back to Wonka, was perfect.
So this one is closer to the book? Hmm...guess I'll have to skip the book then. Of course, Dahl wrote the screenplay to the original film, so what to think? Hmm again.
Sorry, the original is a twisted bit of confectionery magic. This one is missing an ingredient or two.
In Search of... (1976)
I originally watched this show, because I was 11 years old and a Trekkie. Anything with Shatner or Nimoy, and I was there! Still am, actually. However, I really became hooked. I found the speculation fascinating and educational. Now, these shows are wonderful to look back on, because they are so dated. There will always be new information coming about old topics. Amelia Earhart is a good example. There will also be instances where we learn just how flawed science can be. And why we should proceed cautiously when science instructs us on a subject. Case in point: The episode dealing with the "coming ice age"...haha. Yes, only 30 years ago, this was the thinking. Get ready, in 30 years we'll be looking back shaking our heads at the thought of "global warming".
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
If you're watching just for the effects, don't bother. There are few and far between. This is a standard, run of the mill, disaster movie. However, it does have a nice left-wing twist, if you're into that sort of thing. See, America is to blame for everything in this movie. Yep. And, we really get our comeuppance, boy howdy! We ignored scientists so long and in this movie, they all get to say "nananana, we told you so"! Unfortunately, this sort of junk science is perfect for Hollyfraud. Also, unfortunately, the uninformed and ignorant will take it as gospel.
Grade: *1/2 out of ****
One of Scorsese's best
I actually prefer this film to Mean Streets or Raging Bull. Ellen Burstyn was always a personal favorite and she is absolutely brilliant as Alice. This film bears no resemblance to the sitcom that would spin off from it. This is a textured, touching and humorous look at a woman's journey BACK towards independence. It is far superior and a much more mature film than, say, Thelma & Louise. If you're looking for female "empowerment" movies. Alice is reality. The fine cast also includes, Harvey Keitel and Diane Ladd. Both in fantastic performances. This is just a great movie and very overlooked. If you're getting into Scorsese, don't miss this one!
The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (1981)
This is such fun. I first saw this in school, no less! This is exactly the type of "documentary", Ed Wood would make. The cheesy special effects, the fantastic use of stock footage. And "Criswell predicts"...um, I mean Orson.
Looking particularly bloated. What a shame. As for the subject of the film? Pfft. Bunk. Just live your lives and get over it. You'll be dead soon enough, don't worry about it. Trust in GOD, not some loon.
Of course, Orson said..."Keep one eye on the quatraines and one eye on the morning paper"! Actually, I'd put more faith in Orson, than in some French "prophet". What a shame ol Orson let himself go, physically. But I digress. Just watch this film for the fun of it. Nothing more.
Van Helsing (2004)
Boring, loud and obnoxious
Being a fan of the classic Universal horror pictures, I was both dreading and looking forward to, this movie. I walked out after one hour. Loud, no sense of direction, dark, horrible CGI and terrible acting. Particularly on the part of Richard Roxburgh as Dracula. The "brides" were laughable. The Wolfman was a total waste. Another example of too much CGI, not enough real makeup. I'd rather watch The Howling. Most of the CGI scenes were dark scenes, especially the Wolfman scenes....always a sign of trouble.
I recommend avoiding this film and sticking with the classics. Go get the Monster Collection DVD and see the difference between great cinema (The Bride Of Frankenstein) and this wretched waste of time (Van Helsing).
28 Days Later... (2002)
This is not a typical zombie picture. It is a film about human nature. The ugly side of humanity. It is well worth checking out but don't expect another "Resident Evil". It is NOT boring. It is quite thought provoking. Shot on DV, you will get used to the "look" of it before you know it.
The Core (2003)
In a word....FUN
Illogical? Ridiculous? Improbable? All yes. And, who cares. I consider this a latter day "When Worlds Collide". Classic 50's sci-fi brought into the 21st century. It was cornball and all the other words I described but it was a fun time at the movies. Unlike some films of this kind, The Core is not just eye candy. The effects serve the story.
Don't look for logic. Look for fun. You'll find it.