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Elephant (2003)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A disappointment as huge as an Elephant!, 14 June 2004

"Elephant" tells the story of high school students who are bored with school and some who are mocked such as nerds, naïve students, etc. It also tells the story of some who are successful such as the jock and his girlfriend and good-looking girls, though some of them have bulimia.

At the beginning of the film we see a blond guy and his father's story as well. He was drunk and had some serious issues at home. It would have been very interesting to know what happens next, but at the end this is not convincingly explained or justified, so the story of this blond guy is pointless and annoying as well.

In "Elephant" all we see are dull and long shots of students walking through the campus and doing nothing. The camera films them from behind making this look like a gun chasing them, but still it doesn't work to add any power or interest to the movie.

After all of these dull, uninteresting and pointless scenes. We are shown the story of two guys. One who plays the piano and the other who plays violent computer games. They're bored with school and seemingly annoyed by life.

As a result of their `supposed' boredom, they order some rifles on the

Internet. They receive them and what happens next is that they begin to kill all people at school with those rifles, but before that they have a gay scene, which by the way is completely unbelievable. These guys didn't even look like they were kissing. I don't even understand why many people make a such big deal about a scene that is poorly done. This is one of most contrived and disappointing scenes ever. This scene has no depth, no explanation or justification. It seems it was just added to impress people and it did, but unfortunately it didn't work for me. It left me cold; however the scene in which we see the guy playing violent games while listening to the the piano music is beautifully done, original and interesting.

After the gay scene, these two guys get on the car, get to school and begin to kill people as if they were crazy. This shooting is not believable or convincing. It looked like "Scary Movie 3". All of this blood seemed just red paint and the victims didn't look as frightened as they should be. The acting is not believable either. These youngsters don't know how to

handle the emotions well and they make this film an overdone and simplistic drama, which looks like a comedy instead. Nothing is shocking or convincing. On the contrary everything is annoying and implausible. Why on earth would those two guys want to kill so many people? Just because they played violent games and were bored and mocked? Not strong reasons to believe. Anyone can play violent games (I used to), be bored or mocked, but it doesn't mean they just go out and kill people. It might have happened in real life, but it doesn't mean Gus Van Sant can carry out this convincingly; however Michael Moore in his successful documentary `Bowling for Columbine' did.

We needed to know more about the guys' background. We needed to know what happened after all these killings and ultimately we needed to know why it's ridiculously called `Elephant'.

I didn't get the meaning of Elephant at all, and even if there was one it's completely farfetched! The only conclusion I drew about the strange title is that it's called that way because the disappointment and the contrivances are as big as an Elephant. 3/10

18 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
Unbelievably disappointing, over praised and ridiculous!, 11 December 2003

"Mystic River" has received rave reviews around the world. It's been called one of the best pictures of the year and it's likely to get the Oscar. Why? I'd say it's because "Mystic River' with its fake power fooled people and critics as usually bad movies do. The perfect example is `A Beautiful Mind', `Forrest Gump', "Titanic", etc. `Mystic River' is fake and disappointing. Aside from the predictability and triviality, I found the acting unconvincing.

I can honestly say that "Mystic River" is one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life. It pretends to be so moving, dramatic and powerful, but it fails in all counts.

`Mystic River' tells the story of three men who had a difficult childhood. One of them was `supposedly' raped, and the others had different problems. As time went on, one of them had problems with his missing wife and the other with penal antecedents.

Let's begin by the countless mistakes: 1. At the beginning of the movie we see these three men in their childhood. 25 years go by, but the characters look terribly old, especially Sean Penn's. It's ridiculous they'd get so old, while Kevin Bacon's character looks rather young. In fact much younger than his friends.

2. The movie is overdone. There wasn't a scene that I found powerful or completely believable. Sean Penn is annoying. His performance is over the top, without his showing any real feelings. He tries so hard and makes it what it is `A mess'.

3. Tim Robbins also overacts. He is too ridiculous and his lack of seriousness as an actor is evident. He was `supposedly' abused as a child, but eventually he marries and has a child. He keeps his frustration inside himself, but then he shows his anger by killing a man who was abusing another child. That's too much easy and farfetched. Oddly enough it happens the same day, in which Penn's character's daughter is brutally killed.

4. The wives are completely disagreeable. They just keep sobbing and hugging each other making this an annoying flick. I'd have felt for them, but the story is so contrived and pointless that it's hard to do so.

5. The score is dull and lacks liveliness or even a dramatic touch to make it at least more powerful, but it's the same foolish music over and over again.

6. Kevin Bacon's character is a waste of time. I don't see the point of his being in the movie at all. The whole movie would've been the same without his presence. It's contrived that he's a murder investigator and that he has a missing wife with a child and at the ending they just appear again like a fairy tale.

7. The ending is terribly weak, predictable, bad and laughable. It left me with the feeling as if it were good to take the law into your hands and kill the suspects of the murder of your daughter, and then feel proud of doing so. Then at a parade Kevin Bacon's character with his wife and child happily smiles at Mr. Penn's character. It's just corny and completely annoying. In a way it reminds me of the triviality of `The Hours', but in a masculine version. They are both disappointing and gushy and they're both over praised.

`Mystic River' without a doubt is a huge disappointing. The fact that it was shot in 39 days says so. It was a haste effort with no depth and accuracy looking contrived and unbelievably trite. 3/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not What I Expected!, 12 October 2003

Once I found out there was a movie called "The Pianist" and that it won la palme d'or in the Cannes Festival, I wanted to see it as soon as possible, especially just after learning Woijeck Kilar was providing the musical score in this movie. That's one of the main reasons I thought it'd be my favorite movie. Unfortunately it is not.

I must begin by saying that the movie has some quality and is really interesting because it's based on the true events of a War survivor, which is worth watching; however, I found the movie very simple. "Simple" is the word I must use throughout this review, because the movie tells a very dramatic story, but the acting is shallow and Adrien Brody really doesn't show dramatic expressions or sadness. He's too simple and quiet while losing everything and being a survivor of War; he acts as if nothing happened. He's too quiet, and uninteresting. When playing the piano his facial expressions seem to be dissembled, instead he seems not to really feel the music he's playing as any great pianist would.

Adrien Brody's last scene where he's found by the police who want to catch the Germans and says "I'm cold" is overdone, It's not moving as it pretends to be; on the contrary it's pretentious and really unbelievable. Adrien Brody annoyed me with his quietness, he should have shown suffering and dramatic expressions without him overacting, but he didn't. He was too calmed, it seemed he didn't realize he was In a War. I knew he'd win an Oscar, even though his performance wasn't so good, however I'm happy that he did, because he's young and needs to take on more important roles to really show better acting skills.

Another disappointment of this film, is Kilar's music. As I mentioned earlier, I thought his music would be as beautiful as the musical score he provided in 1996's "Portrait of a lady". however, his music in "Portrait of a Lady" puts the music of "the Pianist" to shame. The music in "Portrait" is way more beautiful, interesting and dramatic; however, in "The Pianist" it's dull, simple, and with no depth. The music played by Adrien Brody is not really one of the pieces I like, it's too quiet, simple and romantic, which I dislike; however the music in "Portrait of a Lady" is a triumph, because it's so dramatic, and so beautiful that you can't really stop listening to it, especially the shubert's part played by one of the supporting characters in the movie.

Of course "The Pianist" is not a total loss at all. It really shows very sad scenes, one I can remember is when the Nazis threw a person in a wheeled chair out of the window. Another great scene is when the people had nothing to eat and were really starving. I also liked the scene where the little boy tried to cross the wall and was trapped in it and Adrien Brody tried to help him.

To me the greatest scene was when the German was touched by Adrian's playing, and helped him survive. That was really great and shows the complexity, sadness and realism of War.

The pianist has very disappointing parts. It's not really what I expected; however it's still one of the best movies of 2002 and deserves all the praise it received. 7/10

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Without a doubt! The best movie of 2001, 19 June 2003

"Mulholland Drive" is one of those movies that'll really make you think about everything you see in life. It's an inspiring film that deserves all the praise it has received. The film is so mysterious, interesting and disgustingly beautiful. I say, "disgusting" just for the love scenes and some gore, and adult stuff, but it just shows two human beings loving each other.

After reading so many comments on this movie, it's hard to believe that many people hated and insulted the movie, but of course "Mulholland Drive" isn't everyone's cup of tea. Its abusive themes, sex scenes, confusing story, and unhappy ending are some of the reasons why the movie is disliked by others.

"Mulholland Drive" does have a point. It really has a story to tell, and it's not an overly simple or an incoherent story as many people state. It's really a powerful and inspiring tale, that of a woman who wants to be a recognized actress in Hollywood with a lot of fans and money. "Mulholland Drive" shows her dream, her impossible dream in Hollywood. We all dream of having something we don't have right now. What's the problem with this movie, then? Dreams are beautiful, surrealistic, and unavoidable. That's what happens to Diane Sewlyn (perfectly played by Naomi Watts) She dreams of being the actress she cannot be. Her life is a misery because of losing the part to her lover Camila/Rita (Laura Helena Herrigan) and then she hires someone to kill her, and what we see after that is Diane's dream She dreams of not letting Rita die and living with her and falling in love with her again. She dreams of having another opportunity in life.

That's my interpretation of the whole movie; however, some other people could say that it all happens in Rita's imagination after the accident. That is a possibility as well; however, my interpretation makes much more sense, and provides an explanation of what the whole story is about.

The opening sequences are excellent, so full of horror, action and mystery. The first scene where you see Diane as an actress is amazing. The second scene where you see a car being hit by another car driven by a lot of drunken young people is a perfect beginning as well. Those scenes are so intense that you really want to know what's going to happen to Rita. But the best scene of all is the scene where the bum appears; He is appalling; you wonder what he is doing in that movie. What scenes! I love the scene when the bum first appears, because you learn that even in Hollywood there are penniless and frightening people, and also that Hollywood is not what it pretends to be -- "A great, rich city of dreams".

Naomi Watts gives a pitch-perfect, emotionally devastating performance. It's the role of a lifetime. Her facial expressions are totally convincing and strong. The part where she's in Silencio's club is perfect. Her expressions are dramatic without her overacting. Her eyes turn red and she is quite equal to the complexity of her role. Another of her amazing scenes is where she's feeling jealous because Camilla/Rita is kissing a man. She doesn't ruin any scene; She is totally believable in the whole movie. She should have won an Oscar for best actress in a leading role. She puts Halle Berry, Sissy Spacek, Nicole Kidman, and the other best actress nominees to shame. They don't really match the complexity of Naomi's character. Naomi is just perfect for the role. At the beginning you can accept her as a beautiful, dreamy, happy, tender and nice woman called Betty who just arrives at Hollywood, and at the end you really accept her as the bitter, jealous, frustrated and hateful Diane Sewlyn. Naomi's performance is without doubt the best of the year!

Laura Helena Herrigan is also a revelation. She's not as good as Naomi, but she also gives a very strong and convincing performance as Naomi's lover. Her scenes in Silencio's club are excellent and also when she opens the blue box her performance is believable and dramatic. Those scenes are so intense, dense and unexpected.

The direction is stunning as well as the editing and the musical score. "Mulholland Drive" succeeds in showing how fake Hollywood is. It also shows poverty, jealousy, violence and the unhappiness of some people in the so-called `City of Dreams'.

The ending is perfect. The final scene is brilliant because you see Diane's dream getting crushed and also the final cut where a person says `silencio' in an evil way is totally interesting and believable. It shows the dream is over and that everybody and everything must be in silence!

David Lynch has created a masterpiece; I haven't seen any other of his movies, but if they're similar to Mulholland Drive, he must be one of the best directors in film history. The women he chooses are so good looking that it's hard not to pay attention to their story. Mulholland Drive is a triumph, and without a doubt the best movie of 2001. 9/10

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Unrealistic and farfetched, however it has some merit!, 9 June 2003

"Gangs of New York" is not an easy film to watch. It's excessively violent. There's a lot of blood and some disturbing scenes. I don't mind any of those things as long as they are not farfetched as they were in this movie. The violence is so farfetched that you think it's only a movie and that there is no way it could have ever happened. The whole thing goes beyond being realistic, so it becomes forced and unbelievable.

The love story becomes predictable and uninteresting. We don't really seem to have any reasons to care about the love story of Amsterdam and Cameron's characters. It all becomes too farfetched. Daniel Day Lewis is not as great as many people are saying. He seems to be too prepared for his performance, so that it becomes what it is, only a "performance".

Leonardo Dicaprio is miscast. He's much better doing other kinds of dramas or comedies like "Catch me if you Can". You're so used to seeing him as the nice boy that it's hard for him to fit in this part. However, he's passable as well as Cameron Díaz. Her performance is good, though she needs a better script to really show better acting skills. Her performance in the knife scenes is very powerful and strong. Her eyes turn red and when they do, it means they're really getting into the role as if they were living the drama itself.

Martin Scorsese annoys me as always. He annoyed me with movies like "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Age of Innocence". He seems not to believe in God, since you see Amsterdam throwing the Bible into water (a gratuitous event) and you also see a family praying for their safety, but just as they finished praying, the War begins and people destroy their house. It's as if Martin Scorsese would've said to people "don't believe in God, throw the Bible into the lake, or see that God doesn't do what we ask Him to do). Those things really annoyed me in this movie, and they were gratuitous events. The movie could've been the same without those scenes.

"Gangs of New York" has some good points as well. There are some gripping scenes like the knife throwing scene and the fight between the butcher and Amsterdam. Cameron's performance is outstanding, and Leonardo's return in movies is nice to see. The story is predictable, but you really want Amsterdam to win, so it doesn't bother me.

Overall, "Gangs of New York" has many flaws, but it has good points as well, so it deserves a 6/10

The Ring (2002)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Naomi Watt's second triumph!, 9 June 2003

After her pitch perfect emotionally devastating performance in 2001's "Mulholland Drive". Naomi Watts comes up with another triumphant film, which is "The Ring". Although "The Ring" is not as powerful and inspiring as "Mulholland Drive". "The Ring" deserves the highest possible accolade as well.

The direction is simply superb. Once you see this movie, it gets its hooks in you. I saw it at midnight about two months ago, and I thought I'd fall asleep, but I didn't. The story was so clever, that it doesn't let people close their eyes for a minute.

The opening sequences are excellent; you really understand the story once you see them. You see two young girls kidding each other about the videotape that supposedly kills people, and they find out it's true and then they get killed. Then, Naomi Watts' presence in the film makes you watch without getting bored or annoyed for a second.

The surrealistic video is so interesting, as well as the whole story. It's not a movie in which monsters kill others, but a psychological horror story that'll make you think a great deal about the complexity of Samara's personality.

It also has the most unpredictable and brilliant scenes in film history. For instance the scene where the horse is chasing Naomi's character is great. You'd never expect that. You say in your mind, "Wait! It's not her time to die yet". This scene is so full of horror, mystery, seriousness, etc. Another excellent scene is when she tries to find out about Samara's life and then a man kills himself in the bathroom. However, the best and scariest of all is when Rachel falls into the well and also when Samara gets out of the TV.

What scenes! Besides its wonderful and dark photography, and strong acting by the majority of the cast, this shows the dark side of a little girl who could be so tender, but has reasons to kill even the nicest person. It'll make you think of how far a person can go because of being ignored by their family or other people.

The final scenes are very unexpected, and understandable. If you really pay attention to this movie you'll understand the whole thing. Without a doubt "The Ring" is one of the most interesting and clever psychological horror movies ever made! I could say it's the best movie of 2002, since most of 2002 movies are very bad. An example would be the corny "The Hours" and the overrated "Lord of the Rings".

Naomi Watts has become one of my favorite actresses. She's reached perfection and respect with "Mulholland Drive" and "The Ring". She's given the roles of a lifetime, and she'll be getting fantastic offers, which she obviously deserves. 8.5/10

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not bad, but dull, 9 June 2003

"Adaption" is not a bad film; it really focuses on Nicolas Cage's character when he is trying to adapt a book writen by Susan (Mery Streep). The story shows us the struggle a man has to go through to achieve his goal; however there are some unsatisfactory performances. One of them is that of Nicolas Cage. He's too obvious for the part. He doesn't really do anything original enough to make us care about him. Most of his fantasies are farfetched and Nicolas Cage isn't quite interesting enough to pull it off. He overacts most of the time. He needed to be more confident with his character and not to make a mess with it. The scene where he's sweating to write the story is overdone: he tries too hard and ruins the scene.

Chris Cooper is good, though he's too exaggerated in his appearance, but then he shows his great acting skills; however, his performance in American Beauty was much more challenging and interesting.

Meryl Streep is not a disappointment as she was in "The Hours". She is perfect for the role. She really understands her character and shows maturity in her handling of it. She was the only one who really made me care about the whole movie.

The movie has some merit. The story is interesting, since it shows the way some screenplays begin to be written. However there are some dull and unnecesary moments like the main character talking to his imaginary twin, which becomes really farfetched.

The movie isn't one I'd recommend; however, if you want to see some good acting by Streep, Cooper and a cameo by John Malcovich you must see it. Otherwise, don't watch it because it drags on without really saying anything and some of the scenes are very farfetched. This is not worse than "Being John Malcovich", but it isn't much better either. 6/10

The Hours (2002)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Two Hours of complete nonsense and triviality!, 6 June 2003

Once I found out Stephen Daldry was directing a movie with the breathtaking Nicole Kidman, I couldn't wait to see "The Hours" as soon as possible. I thought I was going to congratulate everybody in this film, but unfortunately it's so disappointing I can barely find anything good to say about it.

Let's start with the mistakes: The three leading actresses are good, but they don't seem to show us why they suffer so much. There is too much needless suffering and it becomes annoying and just ridiculous.

Nicole Kidman's performance is not heartbreaking like the one she gives in the beautiful "Portrait of a lady" (1996). Her deep voice in this movie is just annoying and she doesn't seem to do much here. She's very simple and says nothing but the most conventional things. She's not really interesting enough to care about. Virginia Wolf just seems foolish to commit suicide instead of looking life in the face, as she says herself.

Julianne Moore's facial expressions are too farfetched. When she's in the bathroom, her performance is shallow and pretentious. Her kiss with another woman is inexplicable and annoying. There are not enough reasons to know why she did such a thing, neither are there strong reasons why she left her son.

Julianne's son in the movie gives the worst performance. He ruins every scene with his unconvincing crying. This boy really needs to take some acting lessons. When a boy cries, you can feel it and see it on his face and in his eyes, but I couldn't see anything like that in him. He's just shallow and his tears seem fake. What a disappointment! Of course he's just a kid, and you obviously can't expect a very convincing performance from a seven-year old boy, but still.

Another weakness of this mess is Meryl Streep. She's the one who makes this movie corny, sappy and completely annoying. Her performance is too exaggerated, and again there are not enough reasons why she suffers so much. I didn't care what her purposes were, or why she was homosexual. When she talks about her supposed unhappiness, she just looks ridiculous and it's not moving at all. Her supposed sufferings just made me laugh instead of touching me.

Well, after the story of these three stupid and supposedly unhappy women is told, you see Virginia committing suicide by going to a river with stones in her pockets to drown herself and that's the end! What a shame! I wish movies like this would never get made. As soon as "The Hours" ended I wanted to run off desperate crying because I had thought it was going to be my favorite movie. What a complete shame!

If you really want to see a movie showing a lovely and heartbreaking performance by Nicole Kidman, you must see "The Portrait of a Lady." She's the most beautiful woman on earth in that movie and she really has reasons to suffer a lot. She has married a devious man because of accepting the advice of her duplicitous friend (Madame Serena Merle), and her supposed friend and husband make her life a misery.

"The Hours" lacks what "Portrait of a Lady" has: intelligence, beauty, wonderful costumes, coldness, seriousness, etc. While "the Hours" is overrated, "Portrait of a Lady" is sadly underrated. It's a shame that people love a sappy movie like "The Hours" and fail to appreciate a terrific movie like "Portrait." ". I'm glad Nicole got the Oscar for "The Hours", but she deserved it for "Portrait of a lady." At least she's now getting the recognition she deserved for that.

I don't share the view of people who say this movie is very gloomy and depressing. The whole thing is just laughable. I wasn't moved at all by this, perhaps only by the scene where Julianne Moore is very old, but that's all. Ed Harris is good, though he seems to overact a little bit. However, he's the only one who really seems to have reasons to suffer and commit suicide.

Overall, the movie is one of the worst I have ever seen. I thought I'd love it, but surprisingly I disliked it. To me "The Hours" alongside the "Lord of the Rings" are two of the most overrated and disappointing movies of 2002! The only things that "the Hours" has going for it are its nice musical score, and Nicole's presence in the film. That's why I rate it a 4 out of 10!

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Worse than the first one!, 6 February 2003

Well, I must stress that I didn't like American Psycho I. I thought it was confusing and ridiculous, but I must write that I liked Christian Bale. He was a great psycho and he made it worthwhile.

Now, that there is a sequel. I wanted to see it, because I thought it was going to be better because the main character was a teenager, but unfortunately it didn't succeed. The girl, though good looking, isn't as scary or convincing as her role demands. Her performance is shallow and she can't do much with the horrible script she was given.

I kept wondering if it was a comedy or a drama. All I know it's very disappointing, and predictable, and not even worth watching. 3/10

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good, but there were some disappointing scenes!, 1 February 2003

`Hilary and Jackie' is based on a true story. It's an interesting movie about the lives of two sisters. They like each other a lot, but suffer from different situations in their musical life. What I like about this movie is that the story is well told and there aren't bad or good characters, just humans who show real emotions and frustrations.

Emily Watson is terrific. Her academy award nomination was well deserved. She really succeeds at playing a very complex and physically demanding role in this movie. Her character reminded me of her performance in `Breaking the Waves' which was somewhat similar.

Rachel Griffiths gives a pretty good performance as well; she really knows how mature her character is. She is able to be very convincing as a woman who'd give anything for her sister.

`Hilary and Jackie' is not a romantic movie. The acting is outstanding, but there could have been better character development. For instance, the director could have shown the real reasons why Jackie hated the cello or why she behaved in a strange way.

The story is tragic and appealing, but sometimes it lags without having the need to. Some of the disappointing scenes are Jackie being disturbing and they made her look really bad in the movie. Jackie's behavior was the most disappointing thing in this movie, instead of showing the great artist she was, they showed her as a neurotic and naughty person. In Addition to that the movie really doesn't need to devote so much time to showing Hilary and Jackie's lives as little girls. It wasn't necessary. The movie has some flaws, but it is worth watching. 7/10

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