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justine_3

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5 reviews in total 
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The Others (2001)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Promises more than it delivers, 26 November 2001
5/10

This is director Alejandro Amenábar's first feature film in English,

having previously worked in Spanish, and certainly the film does

have a European quality to it, making a welcome change from the

recent crop of Hollywood thrillers such as What Lies Beneath and

Unbreakable. However, this is not to say that The Others is an

outright success. Nicole Kidman deserves credit for taking a

chance on a relatively unknown director, but despite when of her

best performances to date, her character is too neurotic and her

religious fervour which she inflicts upon the children, prevents her

from gaining our full sympathy.

However, the main reason that The Others disappoints is that it

simply isn't scary enough. The children lack any kind of creepy or

eerie qualities, so we never believe they are malicious, which

would have added an extra dimension to the suspense.

Likewise, the servants are too homely to ever really be scary and in

particular for a British audience, Eric Sykes as the gardener is

never going to be spooky. The children's allergy to light was

intended to subvert the horror convention of dark bringing fear and

light bringing salvation. Unfortunately, this doesn't quite work and

instead just seems like a convenient device to allow most of the

film's action to take place in the dark.

Nazi occupation of Jersey is mentioned, but doesn't form a major

part of the plot, which is certainly a missed opportunity to explore

more interesting themes than the straightforward supernatural line

the film chooses to follow.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Amazingly bad, 19 November 2001
1/10

There are two things that I don't understand about this film.

Why was it made? Why is John Carpenter so keen on being associated with it?

B-movies from the 1950s have a cult following with people

enjoying them for their bad acting, poor effects and stupid plots.

There are good reasons why these films were so bad - a lack of

money and limited special effects technology. But there is no

excuse for making films like that anymore.

John Carpenter seems to have had a hand in every aspect of the

film- the credits were full of his name. If a director wants to

disassociate themselves from a film the name Alan Smithee is

used - if ever there was a time when a director should have used

this option, Ghosts of Mars is it.

The acting was pretty awful, but anyone would have struggled with

a script that didn't contain a single original un-cliched line of

dialogue.

The music was alright - again by Mr Carpenter - perhaps that is

where his future lies.

Magnolia (1999)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Less than the sum of its parts, 24 October 2001
3/10

I expected great things from this film, not from the hype (I've learned not to pay much attention to that), but from the opening sequence about coincidences. This part promised a thoughtful original story, when really all it turned out to be was a third-rate Short Cuts. The acting was great, but I felt that casting Tom Cruise was a bit of a cheap gimmick, deliberately setting out to make viewers marvel at Tom Cruise acting well and against type. The bit where everyone sings made me cringe and seemed like another needless gimmick. As for the ending, I think the director must have suddenly realised that it had already dragged on for three hours and he needed to end it quickly.

Requiem for a Plot, 17 September 2001

Like the three young actors who star in it, this is a good looking film and the director has done a great job with what is, in my opinion, an unremarkable storyline. The music video style may seem at odds with the serious message of the film, but I think that this is the only way the director could inject (pun probably intended) some interest into an uninspiring plot. We all know about the dangers of drugs and the comparison between addiction to illegal and prescription drugs is one that has been made plenty of times before so I think that any film about drugs/addiction made these days needs to offer something more.

I don't think that you necessarily have to care about characters in a film, but you at least have to be interested in them. Whilst the mother is a fairly sympathetic character (and fantastically acted), her fate is pretty obvious from the start, so seeing her pop pills soon becomes boring and the other three characters are weak, in particular the girlfriend Marion who is nothing more than a series of cliches. I lost interest in all of them for the middle section of the film and although the sheer brutality of the climax drew me back in, it didn't compensate for the boredom that had gone before - perhaps this is a comment on the boring repetitive nature of addiction, but it doesn't make good cinema, no matter how fancy the editing techniques are.

Comparisons have been made with Trainspotting, which to me is a far better film, not only because the characters are more realistic and interesting, but because its portrayal of drugs is more honest, showing that people take drugs for pleasure and not always end in tragedy. In comparison Requiem comes across like a reactionary education film.

Taxi (1998/I)
20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
A breath of fresh air, 10 September 2001
10/10

I normally avoid action films and car chases bore me, but I watched Taxi on a friend's recommendation and have to say that it is one of the best films I've seen in a long time. Everything about it is pure class which may be something to with it being French. The premise of the film is beautifully simple - a speed-freak taxi driver Daniel and an inept policeman have to work together to catch some bank robbers. The relatively trivial nature of their mission is the perfect vehicle (excuse the pun) for the ever-so French humour of the script. They aren't out to save the world or stop evil for the good of all mankind (as is too often the case in American action films), but both want to stop the criminals for their own purely selfish reasons. In this setting the witty banter of the heroes is perfectly natural, especially compared with the cliched one-liners said in the face of doom found in most films in this genre.

A mismatched pair of heroes is pretty much standard in action films (Lethal Weapon being the most famous case), but here is works well as they manage to be more than just stereotypes and are believable even if their circumstances aren't. Both characters come across as real people, flawed, but likeable, especially the roguishly charming Daniel.

Despite being an action film, special-effects are kept to a minimum and although they are a large part of the film, the high speed car sequences are never self-indulgent, peppered with humour and brilliantly directed so as to hold the attention of even of the most "seen it all before" viewers (i.e. me).

All in all a refreshing change from Hollywood comedy or action films and one which I would happily watch again and again.