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The Great Gatsby (1974)
It's not just a horrendous adaptation - it's a horrendous film.
How people are giving this atrocity higher than two stars (which is quite generous) is one of the great mysteries of this world. As a huge fan of the original novel, I decided to give this film a try. The original novel is as deep as the Pacific Ocean, rich in detail, complexity, plot and characterization. This has the depth of a kiddie pool.
There's nothing about this film that is remotely worth praising. The pacing is slow and dull, the cinematography is like watching a high school student film. The acting is so wooden I've heard rumors that they build tree houses from it.
Look, making a book adaptation isn't just recreating what's on page to screen. It's so much more than that. There has to be richness and detail in setting, understanding of characters and motivations, and a grip on the basic message of the novel. The movie doesn't have any of that. It clearly wanted to sell itself and did a horrendous job at that (it was a box office bomb and poorly reviewed for a reason).
My biggest issue here is that the "Roaring Twenties" aren't roaring. The setting in this film was clearly done with minimal effort - almost all the buildings are Victorian style (not Art-Deco or Gothic, which would have been more familiar in that period), the clothing is not remotely twenties, nor is the hair and make-up. The color of the film is so drab and dull. One of the greatest things about this decade was the emergence of freeform Jazz, and the movie hardly understands that. Yeah, everything looks old, but it doesn't work. To make a film adaptation of this novel is to make the Roaring Twenties ROAR. Go all out with costume, hair, music, sets, it's part of what makes the novel great. Nothing about that is here.
The on screen colors are like a funeral home, even the famous party scenes (I love how everyone does the Charleston at completely random and inappropriate times, and that's the only dance everyone knows. Apparently it's all that existed in this world).
It misses the point of the novel. After the film is done, the "credits" are laid over a bunch of people having fun on a dock and some women singing a fun beach song. I was in shock from the horrible film and then was put into a coma. Honestly, how can such a famous and well-known story be completely missed? It's like trying to shoot Godzilla and accidentally shooting your best friend.
I've seen some poor adaptations before and this is so high on that list we've had to add a second floor. Please do not watch this film. The fact people on here have given it higher than a two is unforgivable and impossible to understand why. Nostalgia, perhaps. I refuse to let this horrendous film into my life any longer. I advise you to do the same. Shame on these filmmakers.
White Frog (2012)
A 93 minute film screaming to be more, more, more...
I enjoyed this film. Not an ounce of me regrets seeing this film (perhaps a small ounce, because it's 2 AM and my sleeping schedule is pretty horrific), and it certainly is going to stay with me, because the message behind it is pretty strong and it's a gem on Netflix's Gay & Lesbian section compared to some of the garbage offered there.
The performances are great, and I especially was impressed with Tyler Posey, who came off as ridiculously realistic and hardly seemed like he was "acting". All the actors seemed pretty good to me. Performances were no problem here.
The story itself is quite charming and worth sticking through: a boy with Aspergers idolizes his older brother, who is tragically killed in a car accident (don't consider this a spoiler, as it happens about ten minutes into the film and the entire plot revolves around this), leaving him with parents who have little idea as to how to connect with him. He begins to take comfort in his brother's friends, who take him under his wing as he learns more about his brother than he expected as he searches for answers and closure.
I enjoyed the film - honestly, I did - yet it has flaws that hold it back from being a "good" movie to being a "great" film. Simplistic things first: editing was not as fine tuned as it should have been, the sound editing and effects weren't particularly impressive, and the cinematography felt uninspired unless it was attempting for the "Indie" style.
Things holding it back: - The screenplay. It's not a bad screenplay, but the film lacks development of the friends of his brother (who are pretty central to the film) and often adds in characters and plots that don't seem to flow and may be tacked on. Scenes aren't developed - there's some sections of the film that can be used for incredibly strong character development, but the scenes seem to be cut short and nothing really adds up. It gave it some realism, but a strong in-depth look at the characters seem to missing. - Direction: again, nothing stands out. The actors are fine, but they all seem to be lacking instruction, physicality, line delivery, etc. This really held it back. For a first time feature it was passable, but in the future, get the actors to do more than "act". They need to flow and become the characters. Some actors have skill at this (i.e. Posey) and others need direction. Give it to them. - Certain things in general: because of the pacing and lack of development, there is no sense of connection or understanding what the characters are going through. I fell in love with these characters, but I should have been bawling when it ended. I felt a strange sense of sadness, but that was it.
I appreciated the focus an Asian-American family without having their race be part of who they are. How many times in movies are the Asians either villains, humorous, or "traditional parents with Americanized children"? I applaud the filmmakers for this alone, because there simply has to be more of this.
It's a great watch, but it screams to be let out of it's cages and be free. It begs to be on the level of Perks of Being a Wallflower in terms of impact and coming-of-age, but it doesn't hit the marks. It's ambitious yet leaves me wanting more from everything. Why are the characters the way they are? What makes them certain ways? How does their environment affect them? I wanted the friends to be more impacted by their friend's death (considering, you know, he's one of their best friends - especially a CERTAIN FRIEND) and have that be explored, but it never was.
Had this film been made years in the future when the filmmakers were more advanced and skilled, it'd be perfect. We have to settle for it being good, not great.
The Poseidon Adventure (2005)
One of those "eh" films.
First of all, let me just say people overreact ridiculously to this film. I've seen it a number of times in the past few years, so I know it well enough to know it isn't the worst film in the world.
However, that's not to say it isn't bad, or isn't laughable at times. This is one of those films that's fun to put on on one of those "curl up on the couch and watch a bad movie" sort of day.
For those familiar with the classic disaster film "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972) or the most recent remake "Poseidon" (2006), it's the same story - on New Years Eve, a cruise ship capsizes while hundreds of people celebrate the holiday in the ship's ballroom. A group of them decide that, instead of sitting and waiting for help, to climb up, through, and find a way out of the ship before it sinks would be the smarter idea. The original film was a massive smash hit that can be claimed to be the "classic" disaster film. Sure, there were disaster films before that, but the original film is what set the genre in motion. Certainly without it, films like "The Towering Inferno", "Titanic", "The Day After Tomorrow" might not have never existed.
So what do we have here? Like most NBC projects, you've got a great idea, a decent cast who desperately needs direction, yet you hire a terrible director and an even worse screenwriter. I'm going to start and say this - the writing in this film is an absolute joke. It's hard to believe that, at some points, the director didn't have scenes cut or the studio didn't step in and stop things from going bad to worse.
There's a hilarious attempt at "realism" here. The original film has the ship capsizing due to a massive tsunami wave - unlikely, yes, but explained well enough so it's passable. But this... I'm not sure why they did what they did here. Instead of a massive wave, it's a terrorist attack. Stay with me here - terrorists are working on the ship and have bombs hidden in kegs of beer, yet only one bomb detonates on one side of the ship, and we get a bunch of bull---t science exposition about how it "can happen" even though it'd be obvious to an eight grade student it can't happen. This idea backfired sharply.
We've actually got some veteran actors here, and some aren't bad. Rutger Hauer, who does well with what he's given. Adam Baldwin shows his teeth a lot. Steve Guttenberg being Steven Guttenberg. Alexa Hamilton gives everyone bizarre looks as she turns her head slowly (about eight times in the film). C. Thomas Howell, however, is the most natural at what he's given and does fine. The younger actors, however, are literally CRYING for some direction here, but it's like the director is just sitting back and eating a taco while watching his film sink. It's awful to see at parts.
The characterization... wow. Not only are the majority of characters uninteresting, the ones that have potential to be interesting are either annoying, one-dimensional, or begin to do things that have no real purpose. None of the characters ever act like they're in a disaster. It just seems like they're going through a haunted house at Six Flags. Belle Rosen starts nearly every sentence she says with "My husband Manny..." and goes to worship him like he's the sun god or something. The good characters are good, the bad characters are bad, and there's very little in between.
And for a disaster film, there's no tension or horror. It's really, really easy to figure out who's going to get killed off in the main group - character's with few lines, or with little to do. It's really as if they had little left to do with the characters and just killed them off for the "shock value", but considering they die and no one ever mentions them again, it's a bit pointless. We also, for the first time, get to see the rescue operations taking place outside of the ship. This adds an extra 20 minutes in run-time with a bunch of characters we don't care about (but they try to get us to) and takes away any mystery if there's help outside of the ship. A big plus the 1972 film had was that it focused on what was happening inside the ship and only that - we had no idea if there was help outside at all. Was it all worth it in the end? Did it all come to a dead end? , in this film, you KNOW who's going to live and who's going to die. NO risks are taken.
Now don't get me wrong, this film does have quite a bit of positive aspects to it. For a TV miniseries, the effects are quite good. Surprisingly good in some scenes, in fact (and surprisingly bad in other scenes - it's odd). The set pieces are well done, such as the ballroom and some other places. A lot of it seems to be like they modeled after Cruise Ship Tycoon or something, but it's passable. There's also some clever references to the original novel here that other films haven't done yet, and some subtle references to the original film that make Poseidon fans a bit more excited. Some scenes are even very well acted and well done. The capsizing scene is quite effective as well, though a bit silly at times. Give credit where credit is due.
Overall, is it good? No. Perhaps slightly enjoyable. Such a thing is rare, considering this film is pretty much hated among both the Poseidon fan community and just humankind in general, but it's fun to watch every now and again. It's quite a good lesson to aspiring filmmakers on how not to make a disaster movie.
I Am Number Four (2011)
Poor adaptation which lacks imagination and heart...
Let me just say the first thing. I've finished the book as of last night and watched the film today. And let us sum it up quickly before I go into detail. Never since Percy Jackson have I been so frustrated and disappointed with an adaptation, one that shouldn't have been such a cliché, amateurish film to begin with.
So let's start with the plot: John is an alien from the planet Lorien. Him and his "father", Henri have come here after their planet was destroyed. Along with John, nine other children were able to get off the planet with their guide/mentor (aka their own Henri), and the planet was destroyed by the Mogadorians, a hostile alien race with little remorse, sympathy, or anything redeemable. They use up all resources (including that of their own planet) to advance their society. The Lorien race, however, has a race which have abilities to do other things in battle, such as control the elements, telekinesis, speed, etc. The Mogadorians plan to colonize Earth next, yet with the Nine who got away on Earth it is impossible, as they have the chance to defeat them. So, one by one, they have to kill the survivors, who have to be killed in order of a "number" they were given back on Lorien. They have a kind of protection unless they are killed in order. John blends in with Earth while also learning about himself, his abilities, friendship, the works as the "invasion" begins. Simple enough, nothing complicated, right?
Nope. In this movie, we're given little to no explanation other than characters shouting exposition at each other in order to advance the plot. By doing this we miss information that honestly could be useful to the viewer to, you know, understand what the hell they are watching.
Let's start with the script. It includes classic lines, such as: "It's not you, it's me!" "I can't stop thinking about you."
Let us talk about characterization for a moment, too. I get that there is ONE alien in the movie, yet NO ONE in this movie acts seemingly human. They say things that sound like high school English papers (similes, metaphors, etc.), don't react like a, well, human would in most cases, and chances we have to develop characters are just wasted and burned right in front of your eyes. It's actually depressing to watch at times.
Alex Pettyfer. Yes, he's attractive. He's hot, actually. He's tall, muscular, confident looking, everything someone likes to look at when you're people watching at the mall.
But this is the problem. I can't take the situations seriously. There isn't any way that someone who looks like Pettyfer would be an outcast, would be picked on, have few friends, etc. In some scenes, he attempts to look insecure, in hiding. No. He looks stupid. Especially since he's got perfect hair, teeth, and looks.
Henri is annoying as hell. All he does is complain. For a "mentor" he does a terrible job at it. Annoying. Annoying. Annoying. Seriously, I found little reason to care about whatever happened to him. Sometimes it felt like the actor just wondered on set after four days of confusion and played the character. I'm not even joking. Watch it with that in mind.
Sarah (played by Dianna Argon, of Glee) actually has some things going for her that are, once again, washed away. She's a stupid Bella Swan like girl in this, without much depth or even any kind of interesting aspect. She just takes pictures of everything. Why? We don't know. And she falls in love with John after like, two days. She even invites him to dinner after he watches her in a store and follows her down the street. But it's cute to her, she's so kind.
Everything feels scripted. Nothing feels natural. Only one thing does. Jake Abel, who plays Mark. Out of everyone, EVERYONE, he's the only character who is played with some depth and natural feeling to him. Abel was perfectly cast in this, similar as he was in Percy Jackson (another terribly directed fantasy flick where he just seemed... oddly great, even given crappy scripts).
There isn't any mystery to this. We know what the Mogadorians look like in a few minutes. We know the dog is something special. We know Sarah and John are going to get together. They don't let us play with imagination. Any interesting plot lines are just taken off quickly. One scene in particular: John begins his legacies (some kind of alien puberty), and Henri tells him he needs to control it! ...like he does two seconds later. So, no, we never get to see him learn and gain control. He's automatically an export, as proved by his "running through the forest while learning abilities" scene that looks strangely familiar to Avatar.
Speaking of, WHAT is with the back flips the aliens do in this movie? It doesn't look cool - it looks like a stupid waste of time and money.
So, in the end, it's just a repeat of Percy Jackson, Eragon, etc. Great source material taken by untalented people, who, as a result, make movies that are forgettable, cliché, bland, and stupid at times. All the time the books are sitting next to you, literally screaming "WHY CAN'T YOU JUST USE ME?!?!"
Les roseaux sauvages (1994)
A decent movie. No more, no less.
I've been a bit confused as to some other reviews I've seen on this site. Most call the film "beautiful" and a great realistic love story. In some cases they seem to right, but in other cases they aren't.
Let's start with the plot: It's 1960's France, and we've got three guys at a boarding school. François (our main character), Serge (our main character's love interest/lust), and Henri (some kid with a radio). François is in some kind of borderline relationship with his best friend, Maïté. They're at a wedding of the older brother of Serge, even though we aren't totally sure who knows who and how they were invited there. I'll just assume that Maïté's mother, Madame Alvarez, somehow knows Serge's brother. Anyways they go through a horribly shot wedding (more on that later), then go. We get some dialog in which François claims Serge is "weird". Serge's older brother says something about being attracted to Madam Alvarez, and that she can help him get out of going to the war in Algeria. Oh, and he attempts to almost rape her, but don't worry: it's never brought up again.
Anyways, Sergi seduces François one night, and it all goes from there. That kid with the radio is involved too, don't worry. Henri is apparently a Fascist from Algeria (strange, considering he's about as North African as a taco) who is always eager for news from there. It all goes from there, I don't want to give away too much.
Okay, now let's start with my first problem: the cinematography. Some call it "beautiful" and it looks like "summer" and so "pure" all the time. Okay, no. It just sucks in this movie. NOTHING is unique about it. I could pick up a camera and make a movie in the same place with the same outdoor light, and it'd look so "artsy" to some. It is just... nothing. Nothing looks pretty, nothing looks unique. It's just average.
And don't get me started on my main problem: the editing. The GODFORSAKEN EDITING. It's just awful. There are no transitions, at some points it seems to cut in mid-conversation.
Let's use an example. At the beginning, there's a scene with Madam Alvarez is dancing with Serge's brother at his wedding. First of all, they are dancing incredibly quickly for a waltz, and they spin and spin and spin. We're with one camera angle (never cuts to another), so it's almost like both are trying to talk, but the other person continues to block them with their head. The scene ends with the two talking, only it's his shoulder covering half her face and his, well shoulder. It just looks terrible, almost unprofessional.
A lot of elements seem tacked on. There's a whole sub plot with Madam Alvarez as well, with her going crazy over something (I'll leave it to you to see). Only there isn't a reason for it. At all. There isn't any resolution to her problem, no relation to our main characters, it's like they just wanted to add more drama, but it seems like two movies that were accidentally edited together when they should have been separate.
The acting is quite good, though. They all seem to know their characters and do perfectly fine with what they have. I wouldn't mind seeing most of them in other films.
But the direction that everyone calls "fantastic" isn't really that. Half the time the characters do things for no particular reason, leaving you wondering their motivations for half the things they do.
While it isn't a bad movie, it isn't good. It's entertaining, but just an average piece of film. Nothing special. Go ahead and see it if you want to. By seeing it, you won't gain anything. By skipping it you won't miss anything.
April Showers (2009)
I Regret Calling This Film a Masterpiece
This is my second review of this film, and in my previous one I called the film a masterpiece. After reviewing the film a good many times, here's a better conclusion I've come up with.
First, let me say this is not a bad film. It is very far from that - but it certainly has its flaws. A film based of the Columbine High School Massacre isn't exactly at the top of many people's lists of films to see, and I think we can all understand that. Many of us remember that day much like we remember 9/11. Where we first heard the news, who we were with, etc. And with the recent Ft. Hood shootings, we do remember these things. This is the main reason why this film has caused a bit of confusion as to why it would be made. Why would anyone want to capitalize off the deaths of teenagers? April Showers is not that.
The story is of Sean (Kelly Blatz), a senior at Jefferson High School in the last weeks of school. Within the first few minutes, we learn of romance troubles between him and April (Ellen Woglom). This is the first part where the film goes wrong. Not that we have a romantic subplot, but as we learn its a love triangle between Sean, April, and Vicki (Janel Parrish). But wait, who's Vicki? I had to go online just to find out who she was, then to discover most of her parts were cut from the final film. Why? Now we have a love triangle that is only one sided. This causes confusion throughout the entire film; now that Vicki isn't part of it, what is April so ticked about? Why is Sean confused? We don't find out. The only mention of it is with a conversation Sean has with Mr. Blackwell (Tom Arnold), giving us a glimpse.
Then we have our second mistake. Once we meet all our characters for a minutes, the worst possible thing happens - a shooter goes on a rampage throughout the school, killing many fellow students and others. During this shooting, I struggled to remember most of the characters names. Why? Because we only saw them once, and for some less than a minute. Alas, the mistake. Lack of character development, and this carries through the entire film. April Showers is a film where the characters a key, so we need to connect with them. The reason we can't is the film jumps into the action much to soon. When a central character dies, one who we've only seen, not even a line from, how do we feel sad? Sure, the scene is sad, but the impact isn't there. We don't feel like we've lost anyone, its just like watching a sad news story. Since we didn't know who was killed, we don't feel sad for them. This seems to be for most characters in the film. What happens to us, then? We're taken through an awful experience of a film. Not because the film is awful, but because the event is awful. We're taken through nearly two hours of confusion, depressing events, and people fighting with each other. But at least we don't... oh wait, we have. We through a religious message into the film. There isn't an issue with this, unless, like this film, your shoving the message down the throats of the audience. This doesn't exactly help us out any more.
We don't even have anything comedic in the film. Yes, I understand, this is based off a tragedy, but this is a movie. The audience needs a breather, a little laugh would be fine, if not, you end up with what this film came out to be - just plain depressing and even, at times, boring.
But here are some positive sides to this - the direction is solid here, and I'm impressed how well Andrew Robinson did, considering this is only his second film. The film has a very, very impressive score to go with that, one of the better I've heard from an Indie film, certainly in my top 10 scores. The cinematography is what really puts this film together, very impressive award-worthy work.
As for our acting skills. Being an Indie shot in the middle of Nebraska, its, at times, what you expect from certain actors. But our lead actors, let me say, are fantastic. If it wasn't for them, how this film remains watchable would be lost. They should have a bright, bright future here, as most of these people should.
It's a film with no real character development, a confusing plot(s), and no conclusion. That doesn't mean the film isn't watchable - I certainly recommend it, as it will give you a first hand account of a school shooting, and the credits, showing the names of all who died was genius to the film, where it really packs the emotional punch. Don't expect a masterpiece, expect a well done Indie with flaws.
Without a doubt, MUCH better than High School Musical
I was "eh" on this film until I bought the soundtrack for 12 bucks at a local Wal-Mart, and I was surprised to find that the songs were actually not just great, but Spectacular! (Yes, that was cheesy, quiet now). They are actually rock songs you would accidentally find on limewire and fall in love with. They're just plain better.
Nikko (Funk) is a wannabe rock star with his eyes set on the future, but when he is dumped by his band, he meets up with Courtney (Sursok) who invites him to be in their show choir, Spectacular! to win a music competition. But the rival choir, Ta-Da!, has other plans to win the music competition, with Royce (Curtis) and Tammi (Justice) in the lead of the show, and they plan to win for another year. Nikko completely changes what the band once was, but will that be good enough to win? Okay, I won't lie, the situations were not exactly original, but it was pulled off in such an original way. And the acting in this film is incredibly impressive for people this young. Props to Simon Curtis and Tammin Sursok, who I believe made the film. And Nolan Funk's rock voice was what made the film a hit for me. The only thing a bit disappointing was Victoria Justice, who plays her part well, but has about 10 minutes of screen time in this 90 minute movie, and she doesn't really seem like that "bad girl" that Sharpay Evans was in HSM.
The direction is, at most, basic. The editing is decent, and the placing of the songs is great, however, "Everything Can Change" has got to be one of the most boring finales ever done. They just stand there in the studio and sing. I figured it'd be some "You Can't Stop The Beat" or "Hot Honey Rag", and explosive incredible finale! But it wasn't.
All in all, it was a great, entertaining film, and I will be the first in line for the DVD, because it's one heck of a TV movie.
Quite possibly the "King Kong" of this generation
Wow... just, just wow. This film was, without a doubt, one of the most incredible films I have seen in recent years. I expected something along the lines of Emmerich's Godzilla, but I was very wrong. From the moment this film starts, it's addicting. You immediately begin to wonder about these characters, will they live or die? Cloverfield is about a group of people who are throwing a going away party to their friend Rob, who is leaving to Japan for a business promotion. During the party, however, all hell breaks loose when an "earthquake" strikes the city (New York City). After an explosion, and the Statue of Liberty scene, they go on a journey to find Beth, Rob's ex-lover, who is trapped in her apartment.
Acting was very good from everyone is the picture. With no-names running the show, I was surprised at how good they were, considering monster films can be some of the hardest films to act in. And with a 30 million dollar budget, they did a lot. That is very little for a film(the average is about 70-100 million). J.J. and his team did a fantastic job on this film. With the mixed reviews, I was worried about everything that would happen, would it be worth the money I paid for a ticket? Guess what? The answer is, without a doubt, yes.
J.J., Mr. Reaves, and everyone else involved, I hope your proud, because it was one hell of a ride.
Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)
Taught me the Magic of the Movies
One of my Favorites.
The film is about Pete Riley (Handley) who works at a huge Megaplex, where things begin to go wrong. His siblings (Smith)(Wachs) are two movie lovers, like myself, who want to save the Megaplex. If that isn't enough, the place is about to have a huge premiere for the owners film. Crazy huh? Anyway, the acting is pretty decent, some fiction mixed in with Non-Fiction. It's got to be one of the best and most remembered Disney Film.
Micky Rooney is in it! How much better can it get! One for the family, this film. It's entertainment on all levels.
Disney better continue to play this film, because if they don't, I have no idea whats going on in their heads.
The Best Episode Of "The Suite Life"
When I first heard there was going to be a episode like this, I thought to myself, "Oh God. There Out of ideas." But then I heard Mark Indelicato was guest starring. He is in the TV show "Ugly Betty" and I've seen Ugly Betty a lot, almost all the episodes. I thought again, "Wow. This may be good." Mark has an amazing singing voice, however, he doesn't really use it a lot, or what I mean by that is you can't hear it due to London.
In this episode, Maddie and London's school (and now Zack and Cody's school because they are in High School) are putting on a production of High School Musical. Maddie decides to try out for the role of Sharpay. However, London steps in and decides to do the same. Cody decides to try out for Troy, and Antonio (Indelicato) goes for Ryan.
The singing, dancing, laughs, excellent. This was an amazing episode. Don't miss it.