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Marathon Man (1976)
Nonsensical drivel. Larry Olivier's performance is notable only for his melodramatic death. It's definitely true that Hoffman has improved as an actor. The plot is convoluted and nonsensical - only a buffoon would find it remotely intelligent. As with so many movies it relies on rather clichéd devices to ensure success: a car chase, bare breasts and guns. Oooh!
The music is interesting - some bizarre electro-acoustic music, usually ruined by the acoustic element. Some of the cinematography is interesting with some creative shots that show some artistic bent. I agree with much of the comment that remarked "a b-movie with a actors" - it certainly appears to be somewhat reliant on the star-studded cast. Sadly most cinema fans are suckers for that.
Ill Fated (2004)
Anyone who says 'Ewww' isn't reviewing this too well.
Another solid and entertaining effort from an impressive Canadian film scene, and it certainly isn't humiliating to any 'canucks.' Deliciously dark humour runs throughout the movie punctuated by the wonderful scenery around. The main character is bemused all the way through by the bizarre antics of the small minded folks he has to patiently survive around him.
The character of Barb is really well acted, as is the character Earl - who just can't keep his dick in his pants and the horrifically funny ending is perfectly placed. There are some flaws and failings such as the completely over the top Grandpa and a viewer must wonder whether Barb would really put up with the violent idiot stepfather for so long.
Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006)
What about the rest of us?
I'm in, ahem, spirited energy land here - I liked it and wish that we could see more of this stuff, instead of so many US imports. Virtually every joke is cheesy and lame but there is always a joke at the expense of another. The acting is perfect for the film and the anal Toronto cop is well played as a stooge to the more gallant Quebecois cop.
The plot is diverting enough. It unravels nicely to allow some amusing Hockey jokes, which will obviously have mass appeal across Canada. I'd advise viewers not to leave too quickly as the dream Canadian hockey announcement is made. The premise itself is believable enough not to affect the film.
It's just one of those movies that makes you feel pleasantly entertained with a good few laugh aloud jokes.
Boring, boring, ...
Lots of teeny/twenty something viewers will wax indignant if one can't see this as a brilliant piece of art. However, if Larry Clark is a genius then why does he deal with the blindingly obvious? Virtually every kid I know has behaved like this; I behaved like this when I was a kid - jeez I'll bet even some of our parents did. Okay - apart from the murder part. It does misuse the 'based on a true story' to portray events - from what I have read it is very, very loosely based on a true story.
Anyone who has watched other people taking drugs knows how boring it is, and the sex is only there for titillation. Most of the nude scenes have little to do with the plot and yes - they do seem to point at the fact that the director is a pervert. There simply is no need for us to see Bijou Phiip's crotch in 'that scene' - it has been clearly established at that point that the character is a tad slutty.
Well those who love it have little understanding of art and those who rail against it are reacting in a way that gives Clark the publicity that he wants. If you want to watch a pointless masturbation epic rent it. If you're a little more grown up I'd give it a miss.
Isn't satire supposed to say something?
It seems that western film viewers are divided into two camps: the critics who attempt to judge according to elitist values, and the 'what the heck? It's just a movie...' camp. I guess the point is with a satire it's supposed to attack values in order to make an audience want change. The sad thing about this movie is that it doesn't attack anything obvious. North American audiences (generally) have long been expected to idolise computer 'enhanced' women (er ... just about everyone in movies), computer-generated women (Lara Croft, anyone), and plain old animations. (I swear I know at least two men who thought that the Little Mermaid was hot...)
So, the main premise of the film is stupid. The satire is limper that a six week old lettuce leaf. Pacino is awful and unconvincing - mind you, I rarely find him convincing. And yet again we are expected to believe that a much younger woman falls for him (again) thanks to the cunning manipulation of the daughter. Why is it that these kids can always solve problems so easily? Maybe the next movie by this writer will be gently and humorously criticising the church for being single minded and corrupt, or shoppers for being gullible, or big businesses for selling us things we don't need. Come on - let's find a new target and at least strive some kind of originality.
Morvern Callar (2002)
Very very bad.
There are a lot of pretentious people out there who will pretend that this is endowed with some kind of beautiful meaning, and that ignorant fools like me don't 'get' it. Obviously this means that we should stick to Hollywood dross.
It has every, a-hem, artistic cliché in the book - I guess it is good that the director is one of the chosen few. Almost a self parody drowning in its own pretense.
The director of the (almost equally embarrassing) movie 'Ratcatcher' returns with another piece wallowing in artistic nonsense; it is difficult to understand and apparently is a study of alienation. The best way to describe this film is alienating for its viewers.
Hangman's Curse (2003)
Appalling exploitation flick.
This movie is specifically designed for a certain audience who will see little fault in it - unfortunately it has little to recommend it as a work of art.
Ridiculously contrived, with enough plot holes to make a swiss cheese the film starts with a nonsensical 'drug bust' scene. It is clear from this very early stage that the film has absolutely no grasp of reality and is intent on inventing scenes to appease the prejudices of its desired audience.
We are asked to believe that a squeaky clean family are in fact representatives of a group named Veritas, who uncovered the truth about various incidents (surely a different group would run a drug bust? and how many dealers blurt out the entire hierarchy of their organisation to people they haven't met before). In an attempt to be objective one must willingly suspend one's disbelief, which is fine until out heroine screams because she has seen a hockey mask on a wall - must have been some rigourous training there, eh? This film sends all notions of brave women back to the dark ages and becomes a moray of subtly prejudicial statements and comments aimed at selling a certain lifestyle.
The contradictions become numerous: bullies who change their money grabbing ways within 5 minutes of meeting the (tough and highly trained) girl, 'tough' Gothic types who won't even defend themselves in the face of bullying. the genius nerd who is, in fact, a bitter and twisted psychopath.
As for the plot itself - it lurches from an interesting idea to plain laughable. Unfortunately relying on bizarre misinformation about one of the most maligned of creatures.
Facts mean nothing in the face of pushing the twee and cheesy message. Avoid at all costs - even if your pastor tells you it is worth watching. Let's have some dignity here, please.