Reviews written by registered user
|5 reviews in total|
I saw this Law & Order Criminal Intent episode this afternoon for the
first time and was struck by its similarity to the Season 4 X-Files
episode called "Paper Hearts" -- so much so that I immediately watched
the X-Files DVD afterward to be sure. Not only is the storyline almost
identical, but entire sections of dialogue were lifted almost
line-for-line from "Paper Hearts."
My fiancé hadn't seen the X-Files episode before and was amazed by the parallels (or, as he called them, the ripoffs) when he watched it. I was able to predict just about every plot turn beforehand by remembering what happened on the X-Files episode!
I can't imagine we are the first people to have noticed this. Just out of curiosity, I've spent some time this evening searching for a six-degrees-of-separation kind of thing between the writers of this ep and of X-F, but haven't found any yet.
Of course I went into the premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival hoping to
like it. Still, I'm not sure I would have liked anything on the screen
because it was David's; I have a highly-developed sense of being able to
cringe in empathetic embarrassment when someone I like royally screws
something up. So while I wanted to like what I saw, I also prayed I
have to cringe anywhere along the line.
I needn't have worried. It's a lovely piece of work. It's just sweet enough to grab at your heart; it's just gritty enough to have its feet firmly on the ground. The writing is 'lean' in the best sense of the word: there is not an ounce of fluff on it; nothing gratuitous that was tossed in for the easy laugh or for the cheap pathos of the moment. Every word in the script, every shot in every scene, earned the right to be there.
What I loved about David's writing in his two X-F eps, I loved here too. It's character-driven, not plot-driven; so while he definitely has an idea of the story arc, rather than having a sense that he molded the characters' actions to fit the plotline, you feel he presented these characters with this situation and let them tell him how they handled it. Because of this,
you don't see actors reading lines -- you see living, breathing people, having lives. In many films you can spot one or two actors who achieve this through their own talents, but when it's everybody in the production, you have to assume it was the writing and direction that gave them their wings.
These people must have loved working for him. He has said that he didn't really have a hard idea of how the lines were supposed to read or how the scenes were supposed to be played; he just wrote down the words and let the actors take them. And he was smart enough to assemble a group of actors who could not just take them but could run with them. If Anton Yelchin in particular is not considered for some awards for this performance, it will be very surprising indeed.
The camera work and editing are marvelous. Again, he was smart enough to hire very good people, but we saw the evidence of his good eye in those two X-F eps, and it's a cinch he didn't have to hire those people to make up for anything he was lacking. Right from the get-go, the visuals of the opening scenes are so engaging, and it stays that good throughout. Like the writing, the cinematography and production are very purposefully done, and all work toward achieving a particular effect.
So, okay. It wasn't as good as I hoped it would be... it was better. :-)
Whew. Maybe if I had never read the book and didn't know what the tale was supposed to be about, I could have sat through this film more patiently. But to me it seemed overlong and overblown and rather far from the *spirit* of the original work. I am not a slavering Tolkeinist (no offense meant -- trust me, there are other things I am a slavering -ist of ), so I didn't need a word-for-word transcription, but I was disappointed.
A new and James Bond-esque twist on an old idea, 'Cats & Dogs' is a little
uneven here and there, but many parts are hilarious. The humans, who are
little more than unsuspecting patsys for the animals in charge, are goofy
and likeable. The animal effects are great -- you haven't lived till you've
seen cats driving a stretch limo. ;-) The megalomaniac cat alone is worth
the price of admission, and gets some of the funniest lines in the movie.
human actor could pull off a line like "Evil does NOT wear a bonnet!" and
have it work!
One thing that makes the movie so kid-friendly is that, even with all the espionage and intrigue going on, no characters get killed. (Heck, that made it *me*-friendly, too, and I'm 40! :-) )
Not a parent, and you'd feel silly going by yourself? Borrow a kid from one of your friends and have a good laugh. This is a funny movie that's worth seeing.
I had expected a great deal more from this film. I thought it was overlong,
with a meandering, confused plotline -- they could easily have tightened it
up by forty minutes. I felt it would have benefitted greatly had the
filmmakers not pulled their punches, and instead delved into the darkness
and angst that they only flirted with. The 'Joe' character, especially,
could have been much stronger had they been willing to portray him more
fully than merely a cute, non-threatening foil for 'David.'
It also bears mentioning that the film simply shouldn't be seen by young children -- in the theatre where I saw it, many children started to cry in several places, and some of their parents wisely carried them out.