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lazy remake of episode IV. Star Wars in name only. Abrams ruins Star Wars.
First off let me say that I actually enjoyed the prequels. To be sure, they had an overabundance of CGI and some wooden performances but they had the involvement of George Lucas. And he was true to his original vision. All of the situations in the prequel trilogy were in his early drafts back in the 70s. Of course they weren't as good as the originals but how could they be. I hated JJ Abrams Star Trek movies he essentially destroyed the franchise by disrespecting the fans and the material. Here he does the laziest thing imaginable. He recycles the first film(which by the way is the best one to me at least-better than the Empire strikes back because it is the only film in the series which stands on its own. There were a hundred different ways they could have gone with this and he chose to remake Episode IV. Daisy Ridley is good but the character of Finn was a joke. And Kylo Ren?! Are you kidding me? Say what you will about Hayden Christensen in the prequels at least his fall had resonance. Kylo is a joke. Why does he wear a mask? He doesn't need it. Other reviewers on this site have mentioned the plot holes and I will only touch on it briefly. Finn knows how to use a lightsaber?! And Rey knows how to use the force so quickly?!. Even if she is Luke's daughter which I suspect she is she shouldn't have learned that quickly. Lawrence Kasdan who was the co-writer should be ashamed. I think he did it for the paycheck This movie is a cash grab nothing more. It will make a ton of money and sell a lot of toys. The worst part was the death of Han Solo. This was such a cheap moment and played strictly for shock value. This character, one of the greatest in movie history deserved a better ending than this. This is cynical lazy filmmaking. It is essentially a bad fan made film. The best thing about it was the use of practical effects. The original trilogy(and to a lesser extent the prequels) gave you a sense of another time and place. This movie didn't There was no magic. The worst part was how did the First Order come to be? The Empire was destroyed at the end of Return of the Jedi. Was the Republic that careless that they would have allowed this to happen again? This movie is Star Wars in name only. If you want to see the real story watch the prequels and the original trilogy. George Lucas was involved in those films for better or worse and they are his movies. This is a copy and a cheap one at that.
The best horror film of the year.
People have accused the film of being one sided. Well, considering that Sea World declined to be interviewed for the film, it is kind of hard for the filmmakers to be balanced. And the main character is unable to speak for himself. A previous reviewer stated that this film will not win any Oscars but it is eligible for the best documentary Oscar and CNN which aired it on it's network is increasing it's visibility. Tilikum, a 12,000 pound orca who is responsible for 3 deaths over 20 years is the main focus of the film. I had the pleasure 20 years ago while whale watching off the coast of Orange County, California of encountering 2 wild orcas. This was pure happenstance, we were looking for the Grey whale. Seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat with the erect dorsal fin standing as tall as a man was a humbling experience. But in captivity you are stifling the animals natural instincts, You can't deny 65 million years of evolution. If the film does win the Oscar and I predict it will, hopefully it will change peoples views and be a force for change. This is one of the best films of the year documentary or otherwise.Update 2015-Sea World saw a drop on attendance at all of it's parks after the release of the film. A number of Rock and Roll artists cancelled performance at the parks in protest. In November of 2015 Sea World announce plans to end Orca shows at it's San Diego park. So the film has had a substantial impact. It is probably one of the most influential documentaries in history. It is more relevant now in light of these recent event.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Great family film.
"Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
A review by Craig Barron.
In "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", a 1988 film by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Castaway,
the Back to the Future trilogy) Zemeckis masterfully combines animation and live action in one of
the most technically challenging and innovative films ever made. It the not the first film to mix
live action and animation together but it is hands down the the one that does it best. It succeeds,
however because the filmmakers don't show off their technical expertise we also get a very
witty and sharp satire that affectionately parodies the film noir genre as well as the detective
dramas of the 1940s.
Bob Hoskins as the detective, Eddie Valiant, gives a flawless performance one of his best.
And Christopher LLoyd creates one of the most memorable screen villains of all time as the
menacing Judge Doom. The big reveal about his true identity (which I won't spoil here) is
delightful and given the identity of the actor playing the role a natural one as well.
My main complaint about the film, ironically enough is the actor who provides the voice of
Roger comedian Charles Fleischer. I found the voice the be somewhat annoying and grating.
This however is a minor quibble as this is one Zemeckis's best films and one of Disney's best
Zemeckis has always been an innovator in the use of special effects in his films and this one is
different. A superb family entertainment for both adults and kids alike it it highly recommended.
The Kid (1921)
Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid" Chaplin's first feature length film is also his most whimsical. Showing the tramp in a somewhat darker vein (Smoking, engaging in petty theft etc) it is also the only one in which the character gets to be a father figure to an adorable little tyke played touchingly by Jackie Coogan. This film is not as accomplished or as revelatory as his later work ( "The Gold Rush", "The Circus" or his great masterpiece "City Lights" but it does demonstrate his matchless gift for physical humor. It features one his most accomplished bits of slapstick as the tramp fights a bully who is larger than he is. Chaplin when he started this film had just experienced the devastating loss of his infant son and the resultant end of his first marriage. I believe this film represented a sort of catharsis for the filmmaker as well as a sort of wish fulfillment, The film is unique in that at the end the tramp is reunited with his son and with the boys mother. Although not shown it is implied that they will all live happily ever after as a family unit. Thus the film marks the only time the tramp had a completely happy ending. Interestingly Chaplin, an aetheist films with religious imagery. It is interesting that this non religious man was one of the most spiritual of filmmakers. In the end the film is about redemption. The tramp is redeemed by his love for his son and the boys mother who abandons him at the beginning achieves her own redemption when she is reunited with her lost son. The film contains a charming dream sequence which although somewhat silly is full of pathos. Although not as good as Chaplin's later work his genius shines through and this is still a beautiful story about the healing power of love.
Les Misérables (2012)
You won't see a more thrilling piece of cinema this year
"Les Miserables" is the most thrilling piece of cinema i have seen all year. Director Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar for the "The King's Speech" has succeeded brilliantly in bringing the hit musical to the big screen. The only weak link is Russell Crowe who is a mediocre singer. His acting however makes up for it. Hugh Jackman is a revelation as Jean Valjean. His singing gets better as the picture progresses. As for Anne Hathaway they should cancel the best supporting actress category and just send the Oscar to her already. When "One Day More" started the my hair stood on end. I saw the stage version 3 times and wondered how they would pull this off but Hooper makes it dazzling. After the screening people cheered and clapped. The live singing was revolutionary but it worked. This is one the best films of the year and one the best musicals ever made. The finale with the entire cast singing is the most exciting ending you will see in a film this year. The order of the some of the songs have been changed but this is actually an improvement. Even if you don't like musicals you will like this film.
One of the best musical scores in TV history
Another user on this site has commented on something about this episode that i noticed when i first watched it on DVD. Due to the higher resolution of the format there are certain shots when the actors faces are in shadow and you can see they are not made up. This is not enough to ruin the episode however as I'm sure when it originally aired it was a stunner. The one element however that makes this episode standout is the reveal of Janet Tyler unmasked. The camera pushes in and the doctor looks over his shoulder revealing his features. The director Douglas Heyes stages this so well it rivals the unveiling of the monster in "Frankenstein". The strongest element however is the music during this sequence by the legendary Bernard Hermann. Pay attention to it the next time you watch it. Low dissonant percussion. Even with the twist ruined by the DVD's higher resolution this sequence with this music makes up for it the music sends shivers down my spine. One of the best scores in TV history. The music starts at exactly the moment when the doctor looks into the camera. It raises this shocking scene into the stratosphere. Never has been music been used in a film or television show so effectively.
The first Bond film with a legitimate shot at a best picture nomination.
Bond is back in the most spectacular fashion imaginable. In his 3rd outing as Bond, Daniel Craig now owns the role and is likely to have it for as long as he wants it. Director Sam Mendes, an Oscar winner for "American Beauty" has given us the best Bond film since "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Bond has never been so human. Mendes's background as a theater director serves his especially well here with the spectacular entrance of the best Bond villain ever, Silva, played brilliantly by Javier Bardem. He also reintroduces the classic Aston Martin DB5 in another brilliant entrance. Judi Dench as M does her best work in the role and her final scene is one of the most poignant in the series history. Lest we forget this is a Bond film and as such has its share of great action sequences, the highlight being the best precredit sequence in series history. Ben Whishaw makes a delightfully droll "Q" and the final scene is utter perfection. This is one of the best films of the year and may be the first Bond film with a legitimate shot at a best picture nomination.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The greatest superhero trilogy ever made.
With "The Dark Knight Rises" Christopher Nolan brings his Batman trilogy to a triumphant conclusion and completes the greatest superhero trilogy ever made. Christian Bale does his best work yet as Bruce Wayne giving us the most human and tortured Bruce we have yet seen. Anne Hathaway does some of the best work of her career as Catwoman. Joseph Gordon Levitt gives a career best performance as John Blake, an idealistic Gotham cop. I saw the film in IMAX really the only way to see it. The opening plane hijacking ranks as one of the greatest action sequences in history. In my review of "The Dark Knight" I wrote that the film was about the choices made by Batman and Commissioner Gordon. Here we see the consequences of some of those choices. Gordon has lost his family and Bruce has lost himself. Bane represents the most lethal villain Batman has ever gone up against. Tom Hardy gives a great performance as Bane, while not as memorable as the late Heath Ledger's towering performance in TDK, he is still a chilling creation. The only major flaw for me was that the film almost seems overstuffed. There is almost too much going on. TDK was more streamlined and had the most visceral storytelling of the trilogy. However TDKR is still one of the best films of the year and again Nolan provides the most thrilling ending of the year. Not as good as TDK but a more than worthy ending to one of the great film trilogies.
True Grit (2010)
Shouldn't call it a remake
I saw this film on the second day of general release. Turner Classic Movies had shown the original the night prior so I decided to see the new version and compare. First off it's important to note that this should not be called a remake. Other users on this site have mentioned that is isn't as good as the original because it has many of the same scenes and dialogue. Of course it does it used the same novel as its source material. It is not uncommon for a noteworthy novel or play to be filmed more than once. Look at the number of versions of "Hamlet" or Sherlock Holmes films out there. This new "True Grit" must be judged on it's own. And on that basis it succeeds brilliantly. And yes it it better than the previous version which let's face it was really not a very good film. The production values were amateurish and the acting with the exception of Kim Darby was hammy. Those who call it a classic are allowing their admiration of John Wayne to cloud their judgement. Wayne made better movies and gave better performances in a number of films. "Red River" and "Stagecoach" come to mind. The Coens version succeeds because it has much better acting and production values and more importantly it follows it's source much more closely and places the emphasis where it belongs on Mattie. The titular grit doesn't refer to Rooster but rather Mattie. And despite Jeff Bridges top billing the real star of this show is Hattie Steinfeld who makes a spectacular debut. Jeff Bridges however does do an excellent job and if his performance seems less memorable than Wayne it's precisely because of the understated manner in which he plays it. Wayne was hammy and mannered, Bridges is all gravelly menace perfectly conveys Roosters boozy weathered demeanor. This is the best western since Unforgiven and one the best films of the year. Especially noteworthy is the cinematography of Roger Deakins and the score by Carter Burwell. Note: I am in the minority when it comes to the Coens, I don't find them to be the most brilliant filmmakers out there the only film of theirs I have liked outright was the hysterical "Raising Arizona". IMHO they are hit and miss filmmakers but with "True Grit" they have a hit on their hands.
Nolan misses the mark.
First off I think it's important to state one thing. I am a fan of Christoper Nolan's work. I think "The Dark Knight" is one the best films of the decade. His follow up however while visually exciting wastes a lot of potential. The ideas is very intriguing but Nolan doesn't explore it to it's full potential. I mean we are talking about manipulating dreams here! They could have had bullets flying out of their eyeballs or fingertips. For that matter why use bullets at all? This is the same problem I had with the vastly overrated Matrix. The world of dreams is by its very nature illusory and vague. People say something feels dreamlike but the only thing that is ever truly dreamlike is a dream. Hitchcock's "Spellbound" with it's brilliant sets by Salvador Dali and Wes Craven's original "Nightmare on Elm street" are in my opinion the best portrayals of the world of the subconscious. Craven in particular with the lighting and camera angles really gave it a dreamlike feel. Nolan is a visually interesting filmmaker but here he misses the mark. However one misfire doesn't mean the end of him or his career. All good directors have had the occasional dud. Does anyone remember Spielberg's "1941" Nolan is a good director who has made good films in the past. One film does not define him. People who rate this as a masterpiece are looking at it through the haze of fanboy admiration for Nolan's earlier work. Judge it independently as you must with every film. Nolan has made good movies in the past and will do so again. This one however while visually dynamic falls short on story. And the surprise ending hardly original. Bottom line=fast paced action but not nearly as visually interesting as it could be