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Farm Sluts (2003)
nihilistic and unsatisfying
while well-made, this short lacks a final turnaround. not only that but the story spirals downward without purpose other than to spiral downward.
a man gets fired due to a misunderstanding involving a porn site. then he accidentally kills his dog, and his wife leaves him due to a misunderstanding with the aforementioned dog.
he goes to live with his parents, but each time he is so miserable he wants to die, there is a misunderstanding and he looks like a pervert.
finally he succeeds in killing himself, but a necrophiliac has his way with him at the morgue.
in short it's the story of a man who is unlucky at every turn. there is nothing to redeem the story, or give a sense of closure. in the end he finally dies, but the film's not done torturing him.
it's not the unhappy ending, it's that there's no punchline to make it work.
The L Word (2004)
i'm a straight man who watches it for the right reason
i checked out the show, to be honest, for the reason you might expect. and for that purpose i was pretty disappointed. but i'm not entirely crass and i continued watching. now i'm a cinephile who doesn't make a lot of time for TV shows, but this was a truly terrific achievement.
this is a top shelf, highbrow, a-class, quality show for intelligent people almost exclusively. the characters are well-developed, and backed by nuanced performances. the dialogue rings true, never TV-like at all. and the story arcs are present without that pesky soap-opera feeling.
on top of that, the shot selection and cinematography are freewheeling and experimental(sometimes to a fault-as in the rotating camera in the Chinese restaurant-but no matter). the show is more than worth an hour out of my week.
that damn theme song however is the worst. so ham-handed and silly, ugh. it practically undoes all the subtlety of the show when it wails "this is the way that we live!!" not to mention that awful list of verbs in the middle. and such a long song too! that and the sometimes equally obtuse selection of music for the soundtrack is the worst bit.
Adequate movie getting a bad wrap
There are two things weighing this movie down for most everyone (everyone snobby anyway). there is a) the fact that it's based on a comic book to which it is disloyal, and b) the fact that keanu reeves is in it.
to address a: i'm sure the comic "hellblazer" is terrific and don't let me be the one to tell you not to bother with comics, it's just that i'm a movie-oriented person, and the movie constantine was pretty good regardless of what might have been different, or even better in this comic i never read.
to address b: ho ho he sounds like a surfer. ho ho he's an airhead. that was funny to say back in 1992, but he's had a long tenure acting and he's not bad at it. just lay off the man and enjoy the movies.
the rest is all just a fairly good action movie. there are several real eye catchers like a guy getting hit by a car in the beginning, with unexpected results. the exorcism. some other stuff later.
there's an appearance at the end by a character and actor you probably won't expect(unless you check the cast in advance). i was delighted by both.
the action isn't all-out guns blaring brainless junk. it's more subdued and there's a lot of time between these scenes. sometimes there was a feeling of void where more action might go, just to balance out the deliberately slow pace. one more scene would have probably done it.
and sometimes it does feel kind of silly, but hey that's what you're paying for.
Blue Moon (2000)
i rated this a 4. i don't normally watch anything of this caliber, so it's not every day i dish out a 4/10 rating. but oh what a pile this was.
first of all i had trouble finding it because i had no idea what it was called and the year threw me off. the look of the film seems to date it around 1990, but it's ten years newer than that. for a 2000 film it looks awful.
moving on, what a stupid idea. a couple meets the older versions of themselves. shmaltz ensues. the goal of the movie seems to be to provide smooth transitions from one cliché to another, then another, repeat ad nauseum.
despite my contempt for it however, it held my attention fast. i felt stupid for that and still do. i suppose though that that's the idea of lowbrow garbage like this (yes lowbrow; it's not crude, but it still appeals to the lowest common denomenator), you just watch with your mouth open while your brain falls out unnoticed.
if you're fond of the status quo and don't like challenging yourself, this padding should keep your senses occupied for long enough to be bombarded with 20 tampon commercials.
i have to say i didn't care for this, and it's not because i get off on seeking out supposedly great movies and complaining about them. usually i agree with critical acclaim. in this case i think the films is hugely overrated. the screenplay, while intelligent, is nothing but a string of well-written angry monologues. i have only so much patience for this in a linear movie.
the story is not meant to be realistic. the satire is cartoonish and absurd if you think too hard about it, and i'm guessing my qualms with the style of storytelling weren't helped along by the fact that i didn't believe the story (satire or not).
so what it ends up being is a scathing look at the way they made TV shows back before i was born, and could not yet have made the decision to not watch TV shows anyway.
to the 20 and under crowd, i don't think this movie has anything to offer you, despite the critical BJs it receives in this and so many other forums.
it wasn't what i expect and i guess that was the problem. i guess it seemed compelling because of the really serious, and polished-looking cover art.
well it's not serious, and it's not polished; it's shot on video. it's a lot of killing zombies, and i think there might have been characters in there, but i might be wrong. yes i can be, and am wrong. it was just zombie-killing.
and there's a place for movies like that. so i'm not complaining i suppose.
Super Troopers (2001)
Super Troopers has little going for it. It's got a cast of amateurs with no comic timing plus genius, Brian Cox in a role of which, frankly, he should be ashamed. Cox can play comedy, in the subdued "Rushmore" he gets some of the biggest laughs. His role is strictly by the numbers and makes way for the aimless comic flailing and groping of Broken Lizard.
they stick mainly to the obvious. drug references: funny. loud voices: funny. occasionally they land on something worth a laugh. when the cop peeks his head around the car to fit in one final compulsory "meow," i laughed. i also laughed at the entire bar of soap in the guy's coffee. i also had to contain my anger as the remaining hour and ten minutes didn't have a single laugh.
willfilly being shot in the crotch isn't funny, but the concept yields itself to any number of approaches that would have been. as a method of interrogation it might have been funny... something like that.
but most offensive to comedy everywhere is the group of stoners making the worst possible pot jokes on the planet. "the snozberries taste like snozberries" has to go down as the worst, most unnecessary reference to another movie in history.
in conclusion i hate it. and i hate you.
The Village (2004)
because the buildup to it is thrilling, it works.
The trouble with The Village, as I suspected would be the case is that it's being sold as a horror movie starring Joaquin Phoenix. Didn't the bro population realize when tiffany didn't jump terrified onto their crotches during Signs that the sixth sense guy doesn't really make horror movies? He makes M. Night Shyamalan movies, which are a different thing.
Now the movie was good. That said, I think you're all going to hate it.
Yes it's centered around a huge plot twist AGAIN, like you're hoping. And yes, I like the twist. What I like about it is that it prompts discussion afterward, and because it makes you go back and reprocess everything, and because the buildup to it is thrilling, it works.
Again an important note is there's a brief maybe ten minutes of the film where you think the twist has happened and there seems to be no point in watching the movie. In order to survive this part I'll tell you in advance (no spoilers) that the movie flounders (At the point where Michael Pitt chickens out), but sort of recovers when it explains what the deal is.
But the problem around this point is it really feels like it's being explained. And not only that but the plot doubles back in time and has totally unnecessary voice-over bits that really give the feeling of a drunk guy telling a story, leaving an important part out and then going `before I tell this next part, I forgot to tell you that ' Then the developments unfold in such a way that the writer's hand is clearly visible, thumping a few really clunky plot devices together and they don't quite fit (for later reference I mean Adrien Brody and what's under the floorboards, for one thing) but when it's over I smile I grin and I walk out of the theater because the twist got me, kind of.
So what you know about the plot is that people in the village are afraid of some kind of creatures in the woods. Now, knowing what you know you'll probably almost start to guess the plot twist correctly that's why I said it got me kind of.
Of course the other reason it works is because Night is so well-versed in the tricks of the trade. His moves all give the sense that you're being manipulated in every way imaginable and having a good time at it. He takes all the tricks, the frustrating camera angles, slow reveals and explosive rack focuses and throws them all together so that rather than feel cheated you come to enjoy being tricked. That's the fun of his style.
And once again great casting fills in the space left by some of the plot holes. After this you'll be saying `Joaquin who?' yeah he's kind of forgettable in the movie but there's this actress, Bryce Dallas Howard (seeming WAY too old to be Ron Howard's daughter) who absolutely knocks it out the park as his blind love interest. A stellar blind performance: convincing without being cloying and begging for sympathy, yet strong without being a joke.
Adrien Brody is in it (who knew?) as the village idiot. He'll knock your socks off until the plot is in more way more control of the character than the actor is.
This is not the best example of what Shyamalan can do, in fact it's his worst so far, but it's valuable because since the plot is so transparent this time around, you can really study how his mind works.
Lost on most
the humor in this movie is like mixing "curb your enthusiasm" with "mr. show." that's probably a bad idea. and since those are a half hour show and a sketch show it's fairly clear that feature films are not the right format for it. even run ronnie run, the mr. show movie, changed the style of its humor a little.
but i love that kind of humor. and i loved this movie. though, sure i'm weird. so since i liked it, and i'm weird, does that make it good? i guess not.
christopher walken delivers a showstopping performance as the j man. he may actually have more screentime than jack black.
the story doesn't make any sense, and isn't supposed to.
i apologize for liking this movie.
Time Bandits (1981)
i'm not going to try and convince anyone this is the best movies get. it's not. it's a little awkward toward the end, but then it ends with a "bang" and totally redeems itself.
but not even a 7.0 rating? are you joking? this is a GOOD movie. at the very LEAST it's a cute adventure if a little dark. i gague the value of movies like this (sometimes). anything with a 7.0 or better on this site is probably worth seeing. anything below that probably requires special interest in the subject matter to be VITAL. this movie is VITAL. it's practically the quintessential wierdass movie. i'm surprised, considering people's recent tolerence for quirkiness that this isn't on the top 250.
tell your friends to log their high votes for this movie and put rank it where it belongs, at least among gilliam's best.