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This movie was the epitome of melodramatic suck.
Terrible movie, in my opinion, and it doesn't rate any higher than a mediocre 5.0.
Things that sucked about it:
1. The acting was awful, especially from Brad Pitt, who I usually enjoy. He was so unbelievably bland. I think he may have been doing his Keanu Reeves impression, actually. Seriously though, if this is Achilles, then there's no reason at all to believe he did anything to be remembered for. Pitt is woefully miscast and did nothing extraordinary. Hector's wife, Andromeche (played by Saffron Burrows) was equally awful. Also, her story was so predictable and badly acted ... "no, Hector! You'll be killed! Don't go fight ... stay ... stay for our ... our son! Ohhh! *faints from fear*" Lame.
2. Peterson and Benioff changed so much stuff from the original story that I was sickened. Paris did not steal Helen from Menelaus; she was given to him by Aphrodite. Hector did not kill Menelaus; Menelaus lived throughout the war. Briseus was not Hector's cousin and she was not a disciple of Apollo. She was the daughter of an Apollonian priest and she was given to Agamemnon who then gave her to Achilles (and later took her away from him and then gave her back again later). Briseus did not kill Agamemnon either; Agamemnon survived the war, only to be murdered by his wife and her lover (read his tragic story in "Agamemnon" by Aeschyclus). In fact, Peterson ruined Agamemnon's credibility and story in this movie. He wasn't the power-hungry barbarian they made him out to be. He was a leader who commanded respect. He was also a fighter. He did not sit back and let others do the work. He was a strong general and a king who clashed with Achilles, but had everyone elses respect.
3. The scene where Odysseus comes up with the idea for the Trojan horse was ridiculous. I could almost see a lightbulb flash over his head and hear "ding ding ding!" in the background.
4. Paris lives? Huh? In the epic poem, Paris is MURDERED BY MENELAUS!!! Paris living through the film made absolutely no sense. He already handed off the sword of Troy to Aeneas (which is correct ... Aeneas was given the sword of Troy, just not by Paris ... sidenote: Aeneas goes on to found the Roman empire in Virgil's "The Aeneid"). What sense did Paris being alive at the end of the film make if he already handed off the sword of Troy?
5. For an epic, Troy the city seemed like it was no bigger than the size of Bumsville, Idaho. We see about 5% of a city, including an incredibly bland temple and a sparsely populated courtyard. Where were all the Trojan soldiers that 12 hours earlier were guarding the walls with bows and arrows? In the epic, the siege of Troy is much more chaotic, with Greeks killing Trojans, Greeks killing Greeks (accidentally), Trojans killing Greeks, and Trojans killing Trojans (accidentally).
6. There's more chemistry in a meth lab than there is between Paris and Helen. "Everyday I spent with Menelaus I just wanted to walk into the ocean!!!" It's one thing to just say that, but you have to make us feel and believe it. "I can hunt deer and rabbits!" Of course you can, Paris. Of course you can.
That's about all I got for now. This movie was the epitome of melodramatic suck.
With great power (139 million) comes great responsibility (Raimi)
There is a scene in director Sam Raimi's Spiderman which pays homage to a film of his past, Evil Dead II. The scene I am describing is where Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) first tests out his powers, as he jumps from building to building in street clothes, inexperienced. When he gets the hang of his powers, he designs his costume meticulously. This scene is a spiritual homage to Evil Dead II's Ash, as he builds his chainsaw weapon and saws the barrel off of his shotgun.
And with this, Raimi and Maguire break free of constraints in the film. Maguire's Peter Parker is larger than the movie. He seemingly lives in his own world, where he freely interacts with what goes on around him. Young, in love, and going through a life-changing experience, Maguire fills Spiderman with wonder and excitement. And many critics thought he would not be able to do it.
A film adaptation of Spiderman was long thought an impossible, daring feat. Although Superman, Batman, and X-Men have come before this film, Peter Parker was always the most human of all comic-book characters. Bruce Wayne was a bloodthirsty vigilante. Clark Kent was a larger-than-life man with very little weaknesses. The X-Men were un-human characters who relied on each other for strength in battle. Parker has no alliance, only a sense of duty and responsibility. Raimi's Spiderman (which cost roughly 139 million to produce, plus marketing) is a film that shows the struggle of a young man, tackling many responsibilities with an actual concern for his family, friends, and even the strangers he protects.
After being bitten by a genetically altered spider during a class field trip, Parker begins changing. He goes to bed sick and wakes up healthy. He no longer needs his glasses. He has muscles. But what sets him physically apart from other healthy people are his strange abilities: he sprouts small hairs on his hands with allow him to climb walls and his wrists have mutated into web-spinning devices. His new powers not only allow him the chance to make some money for himself, whether through wrestling or taking photos of himself, but they also offer the chance to win Mary Jane over, which he will try to do several times throughout the movie.
When Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) dies, Peter must re-evaluate his life. Some of Ben's last words to Peter were `With great power comes great responsibility.' This becomes Peter's mantra. It defines what kind of a hero he will become and how he will treat those around him. Saddened by his uncle's death, Peter Parker does indeed become a hero. The people of New York grow to love him. Crooks, criminals, and enemies fear him.
While all of this happens to Peter Parker, filthy-rich businessman Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe) is facing some harsh realities. If Oscorp, his company, loses a military contract from the government, the he will be finished. Determined not to let this happen, he experiments his company's new serum on himself. A horrible accident ensues, which leaves Osborne as the multi-personalitied Green Goblin. The Green Goblin is set on destroying the competition, and does just that.
Osborne's son Harry (James Franco) is Parker's best friend. And when the Green Goblin learns that Parker may be Spiderman, a game of cat-and-mouse ensues. The Goblin cheezily terrorizes New York. He destroys J. Jonah Jameson's (J.K. Simmons) offices, hospitalizes Parker's aunt May (), and takes Mary Jane hostage. But instead of coming off as a twisted villain with clear goals, Dafoe's Goblin soon degrades into a cheesy, poor man's Jack Nicholson as the Joker. The Green Goblin is neither scary, nor menacing. He's cheesy. As cheesy as the skeleton army in Raimi's Army of Darkness, even. Dafoe as the human Osborne is good, but as the mutant Green Goblin, he's bad. Quite possibly, the Green Goblin is what keeps Spider-man from being a great movie. While Tobey Maguire is very believable in his role, Willem Dafoe is not. Dafoe gets considerably less screen time, but his tongue-in-cheek insults and varied actions come off as second-rate and hold the movie back.
Still, the movie has its share of positive moments. The entire first half is great. Maguire flawlessly transforms into the wall-crawler. The supporting cast, particularly J.K. Simmons as media mogul J. Jonah Jameson and Dunst as Mary Jane are very good as well. The second half, while not degrading into a cheese-fest entirely, has some great moments. Spidey, as he swings through his urban jungle, is portrayed exhilaratingly. Good money was spent on decent special effects, most of which take place in the second half. Unfortunately, though, the film does not contain its magic throughout the entire movie. And in the end, Parker is the only character to learn a lesson and then live it: with great power comes great responsibility.
Resident Evil (2002)
A great genre film
My review (*SPOILERS ABOUND, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM AND YOU DON'T WANT IT SPOILED!!!!!*)
I just saw the movie, fellas, and I must say that it wasn't so bad. There acting was very decent and the story was great (the amnesia thing was played well -- it was never so "all of a sudden" and made for suspense). Some parts of the movie were just fodder (the dog scenes), but some parts were great (the laser wire scene, the scene where Michelle Rodriguez goes nuts with the machine gun, the scene where the licker mutates).
My only problems were that people died so suddenly. The black man should have lived longer, because he did a great job of being in control of the group. I was pretty disappointed when he died, even if he died in a horrendously cool fashion.
One good thing about the movie was that there wasn't any camp. No winking or purposely bad acting or comedy. It surprisingly took itself pretty seriously. The film also had the great sense of "panic" that the games have, and the ammo conservation suspense from the games was present as well, which just made the film more believable. The super computer thing wasn't played out so badly either. There was a reason why it made the labratory go haywire, it didn't just do it for no reason, in some sort of self-righteous, anti-technology statement like I thought it would.
Overall, I probably wouldn't go see it again, but I'd buy it on DVD if it had a lot of cool extras. It was infinitely better than Tomb Raider and more accessible than the techno-jargon mess that was Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. I went in expecting a crap-fest of bad CG and poor acting, and I got decent acting with a decent story, cool, non-cliched characters, and AN AWESOME FREAKING ENDING. Talk about Omega Man with Charleton Heston here. It was just neat.
My final rating: 3 and a half stars out of 5. I recommend it to everyone here if you're into genre films. Its no Dawn of the Dead, but its the 5th best zombie film I can think of right now.
*Note: *SPOILERS* abound throughout this post, but many of you have already read the books, so it only matters to those who haven't.
Okay, I have to say that my favorite movie of this year was not unseated. What I will say is that I now have a second favorite movie this year. LotR was pretty damn good and worth seeing, despite its over-ambitious pace and washed-up cast.
First of all, the good. Ian McKellen was tremendous. He steals EVERY scene he's in. His wizard was so believable. Near the beginning, when Bilbo is contemplating keeping the ring for himself instead of passing it on to Frodo, McKellen really shows why he's been dubbed Sir Ian by the queen. As Magneto, McKellen wasn't given the chance out-act his coworkers because of the shoddy script, but he has many lines and stands as the most important, best acted character in the movie.
Elijah Woods' portrayal as Frodo is decent. He's shown up by John Rhys-Davies and Billy Boyd (two of his Hobbitt friends) though. Sean Astin's Samwise Gamgee was really disappointing, however, and proves why Astin hardly makes any movies anymore; he can't act very well. Astin and Woods spend most of the movie crying or whining about something, as do Boyd and Rhys-Davies, but at least the latter two are hilarious.
Upsettingly, Cate Blanchett and Liv Tyler weren't given enough screen time to do anything with their characters. This was one of the biggest shames. Tyler's love scenes with Viggo Mortensen's Strider were touching and believable. Blanchett, as an Elf queen, is absolutely beautiful. She is the most beautiful on-screen actress in recent memory. Too bad the girls didn't get much screen time, but perhaps we'll see them in the next two movies.
Sean Bean (Boromir), Viggo Mortensen (Strider), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), and I believe Andy Serkis (Smeagol) were great. Next to Gandalf, they were the best characters in the movie. I hope for big things out of each of their characters in the next movies (except for Bean's Boromir, who dies heroically).
Most reviewers have slammed the film for its incredible length, and I'm going to be no different. It is too long. Some scenes (such as the scene where the evil Saruman destroys a mountain to block off Frodo and company and another where Frodo is attacked and stabbed by a ringwraith and is saved by Tyler's character Arwin, which I believe wasn't even in the book) were just unnecessary. I have no major complaints, just that that these scenes interrupt with the pace of the movie, making it seem somewhat clumsy and laborous. Had it been cut to a more lean 2 and a half hours, it may have been better.
However, some scenes which were fantastic were cut waaaay too short. The opening scene, which tells of the forging of the evil ring was too rushed, as was the end battle. I just felt kind of disappointed, because the battle scenes in the middle of the movie were so well-done and their timing's were just right, but then the end battle is abruptly cut short.
Despite minor complaints, I felt this movie was absolutely terrific. Many movies claim to the be the next big Star Wars Trilogy in the making, but Lord of the Rings is really going to do it. Forget about the kiddiness of Harry Potter. The wizards, orcs, dwarves, elves, and hobbitts of middle earth are much better peoples. Simply put, I can't recommend this movie to all of you enough. It's the second best movie I've seen this year, and the BEST fantasy movie of all time.
5 stars out of 5
I can't wait for the next one.
Jui kuen II (1994)
Chan's best, and the best Martial Arts film in years.
This movie is Chan's best film and outshines every Martial Arts film ever made. I know it is a bold statement, but this movie must be seen to be believed.
*Possible Spoiler* 'Legend' starts out simple enough, a father and son (Chan) are returning home to Hunan from a trip. But when his father's ginseng is mistaken for an ancient relic, Chan gets in over his head.
What follows is the an orgy of fists, fighting, and fury in the best coreography in movie history as Chan fights off gangsters bent on getting back the ancient relic to sell to a British museum. The film begs to be seen, and must be seen, if not only for Chan's physical performance!
I highly recomment this gem of a picture. It is a shame that it didn't win over Box Office appeal when it debuted in America in 2000. It has found a home on DVD, however. Hopefully more people will witness Chan's humor, charm, and acting abilities in one of his non-American films. If you have been witness to "Shanghai Noon" or "Rush Hour," prepare to see a whole new level of Chan.
Day of the Dead (1985)
Shocking horror that isn't as good as the first two
I'm going to be a part of the popular crowd and say what you've read a million times; This film isn't as good as the first two.
*Spoiler* We start out in an abandoned city, with some of humanity's last members. They've taken shelter in a missle silo/record-keeping building. If you've seen "Dawn of the Dead," you'll most likely be bored by now. Yes, the first hour of "Day" is mostly talk, boring talk. I remember hating this film the first time I saw it, but it sank in later on. The conclusion of the film (and the conclusion of the whole series) is very anti-climactic, but somehow happy. I dont think I've ever seen such a rushed ending. The acting in "Day" is not bad. The special effects are not bad. The movie is not bad. But as a conclusion to the greatest horror trilogy of all time, it falls flat on its face.
One of my all-time faves
I first viewed Trainspotting in 1997 when it was released on video in America. I was stunned by the graphic use of heroin, the superb acting, and the horrible conditions in which the addicts lived. Throughout all the death, horrid conditions, and drama, the movie's main point appears; Choose Life. Our anti-hero, Renton (played by McGregor in his best performance), goes through the life-changing experience of becoming just like his parents. In which lies the satire of the film, the escapists look for a way out, but end up working 9 to 5, choosing life, and wanting a big, bleeping television.
Better Than Chocolate (1999)
Funny and truthful
I hadn't seen a convincing movie about homosexuality since "Chasing Amy." I rented "Better than Chocolate" with a few other friends thinking it would be terrible, but it ended up being like "Chasing Amy Lite." The social commentary, comedy, and storylines are similar, it isn't who you love, it's how. They are both about liberating sexual experiences, and they are both good, funny films. This being said, "Better than Chocolate" is the less superior film of the two, but still worth a watch. The comedy and lessons on life should be seen by all.