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In the Electric Mist (2009)
This is bad movie. There is no denying it as much as I'd like to. Tommy Lee Jones is about as good as he possible can be with the script they gave him, and he had a couple of decent action sequences that felt really out of place due to their acceptable quality.
Somewhere along the line someone figured that all of the shortcomings of script could be counteracted if they were to hire every single workhorse actor in the business, unfortunately even truly, deeply talented actors like Goodman, Beatty, Sarsgaard, Gammon, Steenburgen, MacDonald, Pruitt Taylor Vince, and lest we forget Mr. Jones himself can't fix the wooden dialogue, and plot progression that went absolutely nowhere.
In fact at one point I looked up, sure that the movie had been running for the past 2 hours only to find that I was 51 minutes into it.
Perhaps the most painful point of the movie was the subplot about the ghost confederate soldiers that seem to be of little to no help to the story. Other than slightly detracting from the confusing business at the end with the picture. *if you haven't seen this movie disregard this past statement which may seem tantalizing and know that it is not, you will not understand it any better after having watched the movie.
The most interesting thing about this movie may be that it is actually a sequel to the movie "Heaven's Prisoners" starring Alec Baldwin in the same role carried by Tommy Lee Jones in this movie. I may have to watch it now, first to see if it is as bad as In the Electric Mist, and second because I can't seem to (no matter how hard I try) break my man crush on Alec Baldwin.
Daddy's Little Girls (2007)
This is not a bottom 100 movie.
This movie was not exactly my cup of tea. It had some moments where i thought the direction was lacking, some parts of the plot where weaker than others, but the main focus of the movie (Monty's attempt to gain custody of his children) was actually quite engaging. I don't like romance movies as a rule and i don't think that the romance aspect of this film really helped it any way, but it was what it was, and it was not a bottom 100 film as it's current ranking would suggest (overall 2.5, #81 bottom 100, June 24th 2007.) could the screenplay have used some redrafting, revising, and editing? yes. Should Tyler Perry have sought a more experienced director for collaborative help? it wouldn't have hurt. Is this a bad film? Absolutely not.
The acting by the principle cast was very strong, considering the up and down nature of the script they carried it off well. Idris Elba was fantastic in portraying his role, i felt that some his back story was weakly written and flimsy but he made the best of it and he was believable and natural in the "here and now" of the film.
If you are one who likes sentimental films about strong morals and family you would enjoy this film. it is watchable. and the journey taken by the Monty is intriguing. I feel the movie could have been better, but if this is what Perry feels he was shooting for then so be it. but it isn't a bottom 100 film.
Reign Over Me (2007)
Second comment about this film.
I wrote my first comment just a few hours after seeing the Riegn Over Me in the theatre, now that i have had a few months to let it simmer in my brain, and with the DVD release date just around the corner I decided to update my comment a little.
I still feel like this movie stands with the great dramatic work of all time, and certainly is arguably the best movie concerning 9/11. But i've had time to stew and think about exactly why i enjoyed this movie so much.
The Acting: Adam Sandler has grown into a truly powerful actor. When you stack this against his back catalogue of movies it is far more comparable to "Punch Drunk Love" (personally a bit to weird for me to really enjoy it) which is important because it was really the first movie to really break his mould that he had made for himself; and "Spanglish" which again was pretty far from his safe zone of crazy tom-foolery (yes i just said tom-foolery.) Without giving away to much of the plot I will just say that his performance is delicious red cherry on top of an already strong film. One of my theatre directors used to tell us that theatre is all about taking risks, and you can't take a much bigger risk as an actor than Adam Sandler did for this film. He pulls off such a deep, rich, and complex performance and makes it look like he was born in that skin, that is to say even though you know that it is Adam Sandler on the screen you don't recognize him as anything but the character (which is incredibly hard for A-list actors to do.) I hesitantly say, and have since i saw the film, that he gives the best dramatic performance by any actor in the last 5 years, and without a doubt stands as one of the best of all time.
Don Cheadle knows how grab a movie by the balls and make it amazing, he proved that in "Hotel Rawanda". But in this movie it wasn't necessary for him to do so, and he showed that he is just as good at taking a backseat, doing his part, and letting someone else's stunning performance shine through. He does have some nice character conflict and the problem's faced by his character are not insignificant, but he gives them exactly the perfect amount of weight to let them move the film along, and not slow it down. Again you catch yourself forgetting that this is Don Cheadle and thinking that it is someone who could quite easily be your neighbor.
Jada Pinkett-Smith has over the past few years been delivering some wonderful supporting performances, such as in "Collateral" and her limited but ever so important contribution to "The Matrix" Trilogy (I suspect that she is to busy raising her children to accept any bigger roles.) and in this film she gives the same strong dependable performance that you would expect.
And all the other Actors give equally well rounded performances that only benefit and never diminish the film.
The Direction: Mike Binder, the writer/director of this movie did a great job, a breakout job in a sense. I haven't seen much of his previous work but i do know that this is an exceptional job, by anyone's standards (and if not for the entire package, definitely for the writing.) I don't know much of him as a director but it seems like he must have just let the actors go and discover their own characters, in any case it worked. I also noticed that the shots and the cinematography where subdued and traditional, just enough to show the story, no more, no less. In all his most important contribution, after writing and finding backers, was stepping back and not getting in the way p.s. a little on screen cameo never hurt no one.
The Writing: The general plot points tended to be a little predictable (cliche isn't the right word) There isn't much in the way of suspense or surprise, but i don't think that it was necessary to this film. The true power of the screenplay comes from the character development, and the poignancy of the relational connections and the moments there-in. It is the actors job to bring it to life, but without a solid base the actors tend to spin their tires.
So even though it may be a bit straight forward, would you want it to be anything but? if it ain't broke don't fix it and this writing was strong enough as it was.
So in conclusion, this a great film. when it comes out in late July i advise you to watch it. I know i'll be buying it right away.
May all you journeys be fruitful and your homecomings sweet. thank you.
Day Break (2006)
I fell in love with this show, and now that the series is concluded we can only hope for the best for the cast and crew. That they go forth and produce more brilliant shows such as this one. This series will not be brought back like other great series such as Firefly and Family Guy, now that this one over it will stay over. There is just not any room to bring it back, the final episode gave it a good send off and 'essentially' (for all practical purposes) closed the book. A few questions remained unanswered but not many. This is a great show, and I recommend it to anyone. Think of the thirteen episodes not as a failed TV show, but as a brilliant narrative full of twists and turns that will suck you in and not let you down. Terrific character arcs, plot lines, decisions, and of course consequences. Farewell Day Break, we will miss you.