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The Nativity Story (2006)
Nice touching, simple story
Well the movie doesn't claim to be the, "incredible super dramatic and awe inspiring story of the birth of Christ", it's just called "The Nativity Story". Thats basically what it is, the story of the birth of Christ. I found it to be informative, while also providing some insight and perspective that isn't mentioned in the Bible. What was it like for Mary to carry the burden of a child born out of wedlock in those times? Thats something the Bible never really touched on, but we see it in this film. This is a great family film for any religious person to see, whether Muslim, Jew or Christian. Theology is a wonderful subject to explore. I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in the subject of Jesus Christ, if your not then you probable would find this movie boring.
TNA Impact! Wrestling (2004)
An enjoyable alternative
I have to admit I did not start watching TNA until they debuted on Spike TV a few months ago, but I have been impressed. As a lifelong WWE fan and wrestiling fan, I have enjoyed different aspects of all different promotions throughout the years. WWE has excelled in the "larger than life" entertainment aspect of wrestling. WCW when it was successful featured what WWE was doing, just with different characters. ECW was of course the outlet for furstrated fans who were sick of what the big 2 were doing. Then you have TNA, which is building a grassroots organizations based on one thing, IN RING PERFORMANCE.
The bottom line with this business is that in the end, it all comes back to how you can perform in the ring. TNA is wisely signing younger, smaller wrestlers and featuring a different type of in ring style than what WWE is doing. At the same time, they are not trying to compete with WWE, which is extremely smart. TNA is akin to what ECW was in the 90s, not in terms of style, but in terms of its approach to its place in the world. What I mean by that is that even though TNA has people like Jeff Jarrett, Raven, Rhino among other WWE or WCW guys, they realize that they cannot be going head to head with WWE.
I certainly enjoy watching TNA though for the action and its unique in ring content.
Looking back this episode is much better
This episode of the Star wars saga was criticized by some when it came out for having wooden dialogue and too much digital landscaping to be any good. I wasn't overly impressed with it myself, but having seen all 6 films now, AOTC is actually a very important and well done section of the overall series.
Lucas has said time and again that this movies are meant to be seen as one long film, not to be taken as 6 individual movies. This particular installment features so much that affects every other episode. The discovery of the clones, the immaturity and arrogance of Annakin, the beginning of the clone wars. All of these events happen in this one movie, which is actually a lot more than what happens in some of the other films. I don't consider this to be the best of all 6 by any means, but it is certainly not nearly as bad as some people make it out to be.
Hell in the Pacific (1968)
Rare and forgotten Lee Marvin Picture
I only discovered Hell in the Pacific after searching for Lee Marvin films as I have become enamored with his work as of late. I thought this was going to be a war movie from start to finish, which I'm not always a big fan of. I am glad to say I was surprised and very pleased with this film.
This is a rare work of film that uses two actors, limited dialog(half of it in Japanese), and only one location. There have been many attempts at making movies about people stranded on islands, but this one pulls it off in a way no other has.
Thsi is a film about not only survival, but overcoming prejudice towards ones sworn enemy in a time of war. It is about moving past the fears of what you do not know, and using what you do know and the basic need to survive to pull through and band together.
I was more enthralled by this movie with almost no dialog, than I have been with movies that have won screenplay Oscars. To me, this is an example that if you have the right actors, the right story, and the right setting, dialog is not always necessary.
Fantastic Four (2005)
Disappointing...to say the least
I have to say I had high expectations of this movie coming into it, probably because I hadn't read any reviews of it yet. After leaving the theater, I had that empty feeling, much like the one you get after you eat Chinese food. I was full for a minute, but 20 minutes later I was hungry again. This movie left me hungry, and not for a sequel, I was hungry for more content and more substance to the actual film. It was basically a movie about really cool superpowers and what the 4 of them do with it. There was almost no attempt to make us love the characters or understand how they really really dealt with these new amazing powers. The movie was way to short and basically had the feel of something in the making for over ten years that had dozens of scripts changes and in the end was finally put into theaters just to get it out there.
Are you kidding me?
Most people would think that it would be impossible to screw up a movie about gun carrying hot girls in schoolgirl outfits who are spies with one of them being a lesbian. Well, anyone who thinks that has never seen this movie!! I would be willing to accept that the movie didn't have as much sexy lesbianism and schoolgirl outfit hotness if it had anything having to do with a story, or good acting!! There was absolutely no establishment of the characters, nothing to make the audience feel attached to anyone in the movie. What goes on at the D.E.B.S. academy? I would tell you but we never get to see anything other than a couple scenes of the four girls talking to Michael Clarke Duncan, who it looks like gets transported around in some sort of "beam me up Scotty" fashion. I would tell you for sure but again its never established if thats a hologram or not.
The worst part of the film would have to be the lesbian tease. If anything could have saved this film from the absolute doldrums of movie history, it would have been some decent lesbian love scenes! It doesn't even have so much to do with the lesbianism as it would the love story. I have never been less interested in two characters falling in love in any movie I have ever seen in my life! There was so much potential to this movie, but it all was lost 5 minutes into it.
The Longest Yard (2005)
Tough to do a remake
This has certainly become a trend in Hollywood lately, remaking classic films with plot revisions and new actors. Occasionally it works, but for the most part, remakes need to be avoided at all costs, this is my opinion with "The Longest Yard".
The original film is considered one of the greatest sports movies of all time. Paul Crewe takes a rag-tag bunch of convicts up against a well oiled machine of a football team, and on shear determination and the fact that this is their only chance at glory in their prison lives, beats the guards. Classic of course, timeless story, so why not remake it with a more comedic twist and more action packed football scenes including pro-wrestlers and ex-pro football players? The filmmakers got the football scenes right, but not much else.
The great thing about the first movie, was that you really felt for the prisoners who were seemingly up against insurmountable odds, not only on the football field, but in life. I never really felt that was established in this movie, which moves way too fast to establish anything.
Quite a few scenes were changed, sped up, or completely removed from that were in the original version that took away fro the story in this movie. In this one, Crewe becomes too well liked too quickly, while in the first one, he goes through a long period of earning himself in prison. It never really established Crewe's downfall from pro-football and how much of an impact his point shaving scheme had on his life and those around him.
I give this movie a 6 only because the action was up to par and the football scenes were better than the original, which they should have been considering they had a bigger budget and bigger effects.
the worst part of this movie is Sandler and Chris Rock. You would think that these two comedic all-stars would be able to write much funnier lines for themselves, but they don't. I have actually been very disappointed by all Chris Rock films, he's a great stand up, but horrible actor.
If you want to see a great football movie, rent the original "Longest Yard".
The Hours (2002)
Much better than I thought
I'm an action, comedy, sci-fi movie type of person, so when I watch a female based drama such as the Hours. I expect to be confused and disappointed. Needless to say this was certainly not the case with this particular movie. Very rarely have I seen such a film that tells multiple stories, in different time periods and geographic locations, like this movie did.
There are connections with all three of the major characters, played by Meryly Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore, who all could have been nominated for Best Actress as they all played equal roles in this film. The ending of the movie brings about a revelation that makes you say, oh, now I get it, at least I did. I strongly recommend this film for anyone looking for a gripping human drama that is relatable to any generation.
Love Actually (2003)
Did I miss something?
I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into watching this film, I just rented it to see what it was all about. I did expect a total love story with a bunch of different characters, which is what the movie pretty much is. I expected more of a connection between all the different stories that for me didn't quite play out the way I expected. I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of British comedies, a lot of the humor just doesn't make sense to me, which might have been my major problem with this film.
There were certain elements that really bothered me about this movie though. At the beginning, we see the characters being introduced. One scene has Colin Firth saying goodbye to his girlfriend, saying I love you about 27 times while doing so, while on his way to his French cottage to work on his novel for several weeks. For some reason he falls in love with his Portuguese housekeeper who he never says a word to because, alas they don't speak the same language! We never again here from the girlfriend the rest of the movie as he runs off at the end to marry the housekeeper, because he has finally learned to speak Portuguese. That didn't make much sense to me, but I guess running away from someone you say that you love is funny to some people, not to me. I guess the point of that story was that true love exceeds culture and language.
Another story that bothered me was the one involving the best friend of a newlywed groom who is secretly in Love with the bride. The bride, Keira Knightley, finds this out when she comes over to view the wedding video, shot by the best friend in a stalker-like fashion where every single frame is a close-up of the bride. She apparently find this to be cute, and doesn't run off in a terrified state of "oh my god this guy is obsessed with me"!! They don't run off together but still remain friends, for some reason.
I think I need to watch this film again with someone who understands it because I felt like a lot of the humor was over my head. I guess since I'm not in love, and rather cynical about it, I didn't quite get a lot of this movie.
Best sequel ever!
"Star Wars" broke all the rules for cinema and provided the entire world with a new way of making and watching movies. It also left everyone wondering, how are they going to top that? With "The Empire Strikes Back", George Lucas delivered one, and arguably the most successful sequel of all time. "Star Wars" was, with the exception of "Jaws", the first real blockbuster film, and Empire was without question the first blockbuster sequel.
This film took all the storyline elements of the first film and took it to an entire new level. It took the special effects in the first movie and advanced them even further, with the help of a much bigger film budget this time.
We all know what happens, Luke trains to be a Jedi, finds out his father is Darth Vader, and nearly falls to his death while trying to escape the Dark Lord. Leia and Han fall in love, and Han is put into carbonite at the hands of Vader and Boba Fett, with a little reluctant help from his buddy Lando Calrissean. The character of Lando was in interesting and often overlooked element of this film. When we first meet him we think he is Han's friend and Billy Dee Williams does a great job of concealing his intentions before handing him over to the Empire. Of course Lando was in a bad spot, if Darth Vader told you to do something, would you say no? Most people contend that this is the best "Star Wars" film, its debatable. The original is always going to be the first one that comes to people's minds when thinking of the whole series. However, if Empire is number 2, its a close number 2. The deepness of the story in Episode V goes beyond what was introduced in Episode IV, which is the reason many claim it is the better of the two films, and the best of all 6 films.
Nevertheless, Empire ranks right up there with some of the greatest blockbuster films ever, and its hard to argue it is the greatest sequel ever made.