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Rabid Man United fan... so I guess that's MY religion! [winkgrin]
Wheelchair-user from birth.
Post-1970 mainstream American cinema is my main area of knowledge.
Actors (in no particular order, unless stated... [smile])
Robert Downey, Jr. Paul Newman Russell Crowe Johnny Depp Al Pacino
Actresses (for talent reasons... [wink])
Susan Sarandon Emily Watson Jessica Chastain Samantha Morton Frances McDormand.
Maturity erases innocence...
I definitely enjoyed the second half less than the first... but the mom having a meltdown made it bearable, because it kind of brought things around full circle. She's upset that life has passed her by, and it just makes you wonder if he's going to be looking back on his life in 30 years, and thinking the same thing...
That's the point about growing up, I guess - you don't realise it's happened until it's already gone...
The beauty of the structure of this film is that it allows the audience to preserve moments that have already become foggy, for the characters.
There are slow spots over the runtime, but it has a stronger point than some of Linklater's other slice-of-life projects ("Slacker", for instance!).
Mr. Jealousy (1997)
Mr. Self-Absorbed ...
The narrator was beyond annoying - show, don't tell! It's forgivable if the narrator is there to establish proceedings, or is in fact the main character commenting on his own actions, but neither of those functions were in use, here... If you can't create interest in a character without telling us what he's thinking, your premise doesn't work for me.
The storytelling technique made the film as a whole insufferably smug; my opinion is that Baumbach has done much better work, and it's a shame, because I liked Stoltz and Sciorra together.
The subject had potential, but was ruined for me by a framing device that only serves to keep the viewer at arms length from the characters, instead of preoccupied with them. I couldn't gain any satisfaction from the optimistic ending, because I was constantly being told who the characters were (or weren't!) instead of being afforded the luxury of discovering them for myself.
Ted 2 (2015)
I, Ted ...
I don't expect it to make sense, it's a comedy; the real issue is why MacFarlane thought that the legality of identity would be funny, because it's... not. The philosophical semantics kill any laughs because they're so dry... All the amusing bits are cutaways and side gags of the type that MacFarlane is famous for, but they have nothing to do with the main plot, so a naturally lighter subject should have been chosen for the story, to make the whole thing flow better and feel funnier.
Macfarlane seems to think he can take heavy subjects like big screaming fight scenes, (a "Raging Bull" homage) and they will automatically be made funny because a teddy-bear is there... Not true; you have to be cleverer than that. He's a funny guy, but he surrounds his amusing ideas with belaboured bits that go on too long, and then has to use a pop-culture joke or a movie reference to reverse himself out of the cul-de-sac his singlemindedness has created... The longer a misfire goes on, the more you're likely to notice it; keep the attempts at humour snappier so that the duds are likely to slide off quicker.
Just because you've created a character and it's funny doesn't mean that everything you do with them is golden. He should be thankful for the few genuine laugh-out-loud moments he's got in the tank, because they get him out of jail and earn this movie a higher rating than it would otherwise deserve.
The laughs are there, but they're not as diverse as the first movie. It tries to be oddly serious and 'weighty', for some reason, and it's not a great choice. Recommended only for those who would watch Ted in anything!
John Wick (2014)
Got on my Wick...
You could have written this on the back of a napkin... 'Guy's dog is murdered; guy goes mental, efficiently killing those responsible. The End'. There's no colour to the story, whatsoever; there are only garish colours in the nightclub scenes. If all you need to think something is cool is to see people getting beaten up or shot, then join the Army...
Indiscriminately colouring random subtitles to look like comic book speech panels got old fast, too.
This is going to make me sound all 'get off my lawn' (if I hadn't already!) but action movies used to be done so much better... These days, apparently all you need to make a popular action film is some fast editing and fight choreography, with the barest hint of a premise that absolutely no thought has gone into fleshing out - the end result being that the finished product has less depth than a puddle. I must be demanding, but for what I want out of even the most streamlined revenge flick, that just ain't good enough!
It's a one-joke movie, and the joke is ancient - pun intended - "Old people are good at stuff; hur hur!" ...
Even the positive reviews I've seen of this only mention the great cast (which is true, even though they're all FAR too good for this kind of thing) and "Helen Mirren with a machine gun" ... I mean, the latter is NOVEL, sure... but, really?! That's all you guys want from a movie? You don't want, like, interesting characters, or a decent script that's more than tired one-liners and a jumble-sale of clichés?
Knock yourself out, I guess... It's 'Cocoon with guns'. I want to see more distinguished people in movies, but not when all they're there for is to prove that they can plod through exactly the same moronic drivel as the younger crowd... They really should be old enough to know better!
Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Back from the point of no return?
This is a great character study of a man sinking to the depths of depravity, being utterly corrupted by power - but no matter how low he goes, keeping faith that the redemptive power of religion can represent his salvation... It's raw and shocking, but heavy on symbolism and atmosphere, and strangely transformative... It's interesting to think about whether a life full of corruption can be redeemed by ignoring one's natural instincts in order to perform one good deed?
Here is my favourite Harvey Keitel performance... He's played his fair share of oddballs on the margins of society who are searching for meaning to their existence... but in my opinion, never more effectively than in this film.
Men, Women & Children (2014)
The Internet in itself is neither good nor bad; it's how it's used that matters Reitman tries to tackle the matter of how technology is retarding the way we relate to one another by OBSESSING over the way technology is retarding the way we relate to one another! He's the same type of shut-in; he's just stressing over the negatives rather than using the benefits to his advantage. By focusing so intently on little issues, he's making these problems out to be much worse than they are in reality, and demonizing and legitimising outlying cases.
He's just a little more sensible than Garner's 'overprotective mum' character, in that he understands that you can't put the genie back in the bottle and guard against EVERYTHING - but disappointingly, he seems just as pessimistic about future consequences.
It's hysterical paranoia from someone who usually strives to be such a balanced film-maker "Reefer Madness" for the digital age. A work that can only be viewed as laughable is the end result.
Not one of the characters in the film has a positive outcome from their dealings with technology It's a depressingly Luddite and reactionary film for something that was released in 2014, no matter how much he tries to jazz it up and make it feel modern by getting the Interfaces right and representing 'movement' through text in little tiny boxes! (annoying for those with poor eyesight, BTW - you constantly need to keep a look out for website addresses and abbreviated texts materialising all over the screen!)
It devolves a sophisticated and complex world, into so much alarmist shrieking. Reitman's previous work led me to expect something much more assured - and darn it, perceptive - than what we're left with.
Penny Serenade (1941)
Grant and Dunne give terrific performances, but the film is VERY selective about the events it shows versus the events it leaves out... Perhaps that is the point; to show us that when our memories are tied too closely to music, they end up something of a muddled mess...
The script spends ages on silly sequences with creaking staircases and a baby being given a bath (much as I loved the character of Applejack, the scene doesn't need to go on so long to show the audience that he is a more 'instinctive' parent than either one of our main couple prove to be... ) and yet, the most meaty plot development - the death of a child - is handled IN A LETTER?! Perhaps the Hayes Code couldn't be too graphic, but surely there are more poignant ways of communicating such a tragedy?
It's the same with the resolution, too - they are broken up by the loss until they get the offer of a second child... and then the movie acts as though this is the fix that cures everything!! We've invested our time in a kid you're prepared to forget about as soon as another one comes along; another one that we DON'T EVEN GET TO SEE!
Pick a tone and stick with it; it's by turns both screwball and tragic - and it does neither one of them very well.
There're a lot of good scenes played well by the main couple, but these little snapshots don't all blend well into a satisfyingly cohesive, whole movie.
All the heavy-hitters are here: Abandonment messing up family dynamics, repressed emotion breeding resentment, and pushy parenting and responsibility destroying a child's freedom to forge their own path in life... Lots of heavy emotional recriminations, shouting and crying scenes...
To some it may be too heavy and dark, but I don't know... I just like movies where an estranged family member wanders back into the fold and sets to right old grievances. That would never happen to me, since I prefer to get things off my chest immediately - but on screen, it makes for great drama to see complacency shattered!
Seeing Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman going toe-to-toe with each other is an acting aficionado's paradise.
Repo Men (2010)
It's not repossession, it's extortion!
The biggest problem for me is that very few people would agree to this, because very few people could afford it... You can't make the payments? You're dead. You don't get a new organ? You're dead. Either way, you're dead! Now how would you rather die? Naturally, or hunted down and carved open? I think most people would choose the former. The people who could afford it would never need to see the repo men... but the people who are too poor would never take such a risk, to begin with!
This could have been a really good movie if they had just made the price tantalisingly out of range, tempting people to make the gamble... Instead, they had to ruin a decent idea by over- exaggerating EVERYTHING to the point where it's too laughable to make a decent dilemma.
It's entertaining in a ridiculous way - but thought provoking sci- fi, this is not!