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12 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Length matters, 23 July 2001

Meet Joe Black had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it failed one of the most important tests of filmmaking: the length test. It was much too long to keep me entertained.

When I went to see this movie, I had no idea what is was about. For all the trouble I went through while watching the film, I'm still glad I saw it. I liked the message it presented. It was new, and it was presented in a rather unique way. Sir Anthony Hopkins, as usual, performed tremendously. I saw this as a rather unusual role for him (at least from the films I've seen). He lights up the screen every time he appears in this movie. Brad Pitt also gave a good performance. He has real acting potential if he settles down a little bit (Check out Fight Club and Snatch.). Cinematography was well done. It added a subtlety to the film that I thought was necessary.

Unfortunately, the film was too drawn out. The love scene should have been a minute long...not 15 minutes long. It became unnerving after a while. The scene of the accident was just ridiculous. It completely halted the mode/tone of the film. It made me realize that we were watching a movie...bad move. There were moments of lengthened silence and dialogue that were also not needed. The film should have been 2 hours long...not 3 hours.

The ending was fitting but much too melodramatic (and drawn out). That's why I consider the music to also be a weakness in this film. It added to the melodrama, which there already was enough of.

In short, the movie shows potential and has many memorable scenes (The first meeting between Pitt and Hopkins in particular is quite good.). However, it loses its power the longer the movie goes along. For a three hour movie, this is not the trend I wanted to see.


2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Questionable, 22 July 2001

Blade Runner has received mainly above average reviews from critics and has become somewhat of a classic with time. I recently watched this film and am wondering why.

Not that I didn't like it...I actually find some levels of brilliance in the film, especially for what period of time it was shown in theaters. However, what was brilliant to me was visual. What wasn't was the story behind it.

Harrison Ford, Sean Young, and M. Emmet Walsh had good acting performances; otherwise, the acting was not too special to me. If you want good acting in a similar film to Haley Joel Osment in AI (I use similar loosely.). Overall, acting was good, though. Cinematography, special effects, and music were dark, mysterious, and very appropriate. However, the plot was muddled.

Perhaps this blurry storyline was what was intended. But, while watching the film, I became rather nonchalant to the characters. I didn't take sides in the film, and close to end, I simply didn't care (with the exception of the one brilliant scene with Sean Young, who suddenly became very philosophical). Overall, I found the movie too mysterious. If it was trying to say something, I to this day have no idea what the intent was. The ending (Director's Cut version) was weak to me. Honestly, it didn't do anything for me.

Special effects are a tool to be used appropriately in movies; however, I think in this film, they became the overpowering appeal. The human/Replicant storyline didn't fulfill its role. This is unfortunate because I think this film has the potential to be a masterpiece. Unfortunately, chances of this are as dark as the city of L.A. in 2019.


The Score (2001)
Solid entertainment, 22 July 2001

The Score has three actors of three generations...all with amazing acting ability. In a sense, this is a score for the movies today. Finally we see the young and old Vito Corleone together. Finally we see the present Robert De Niro and the future Robert De Niro together. This movie, although far from great, compliments these three actors nicely. Frank Oz, a very good director of such films as In & Out and Bowfinger, takes on drama for the first time and succeeds.

The heist genre of films is an interesting one, but it has left its days of innovation. So if one was expecting great things from this movie, they might be a tad disappointed. Really I see this movie as a tribute to the genre...not an addition to it. It follows its genre in its classic style; it does not become wild in its plot; it does not have a gunfight/car chase/deadly ending. The Score is pure and professional. It's solid entertainment.

Acting, well...I think this basically goes without saying...was excellent. Norton and De Niro were both as solid as ever. They fulfilled their roles realistically and completely. However, Brando, who seems to have lost his acting talent since The Godfather continued to show this downward trend. Angela Bassett, in all of her talent, had a cliched and one-dimensional character. Unfortunate, too, because this role could have been written into something special. Supporting performances were excellent. This was the key to making this film an acting gem.

Direction was also a plus in this film. This was a very quiet, tense, suspenseful film. The ending sequence was just amazing to watch; it was done with such efficiency and vision. It also had suspense, some twists and turns, but nothing too fantastical. It stayed on task, and that was the key to this movie. Bonus points to the music, which was tremendous and very appropriate.

Weaknesses existed. Angela Bassett's character, Brando's acting performance, the lack of innovation (which I tend to look for in films), and the plot itself (nothing special) were all setbacks in this movie. However, I found plenty of entertainment in this movie. It was completely involved making me so, as well. For that, this movie is a pleasant success.


Pi (1998)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Excellent, 22 July 2001

I would have never watched this film had it not been for a chance meeting with a friend who happened to have the movie with him at the time. I had heard of it but knew nothing about its content. Imagine my surprise when what I saw was some of the best filmmaking I had seen in quite a while.

What I really enjoyed about this film was its complete innovation. A film looking into the dark and deep depths of insanity is usually done through the outside world...through outside eyes looking in. This movie, however, was the complete reverse of that look. We look at insanity through the eyes of the insane looking outward. What we saw was disturbing, heart-wrenching, and brilliant.

Acting was tremendous in this film; there were very few speaking roles, but they were all done excellently. The music was a perfect addition to the film. It supported what we were seeing to a tee. The black and white just added crudeness, honesty, and mystery to what we were seeing. It almost made me think that Maximillian Cohen saw the world in black and white...with a lot of gray in between. A great way to show us his world, in other words. Cinematography was brilliant, and the screenplay was very well written. All come together to make quite a memorable film.

Mark Margolis gave one of the best supporting performances I have seen. I question Sol's motive in this film. Was he the voice of sanity? Reason? Was he himself insane? Whatever the case, he brought at least what seemed like a little more sanity to Maximillian's life.

Another memorable performance (or scene, if one can look at it that way) is that of Stephen Pearlman. Playing Rabbi Cohen (Notice that this is the same last name as Maximillian.), the scene can be remembered for its sheer acting talent and for the message it brought. Is religion in itself insanity? What was the religion's main goal here? To know the name of God no matter what? How far would they go? Would they care that something happens to whoever was in the way? This scene basically shows what Maximillian was seeing...the world was after him, after his knowledge.

Contrast that to his personality: He saw society as constantly "chasing him" and unacceptable. So what were we seeing throughout the film? The world coming after him? Or what appeared to be the world coming after him?

This brings the bigger question...what did we see which was sane? Insane? That is the real beauty of this film. It makes you think on a basic level about insanity. Can we really draw a line between it? What causes his insanity? His quest for more knowledge? Or is that his mode of medication?

A lot of questions are presented in this film, but that was the intent. Our job is to think about it, and after seeing this film, it has consumed my mind. Perhaps as consumed as Maximillian's mind was. Hmm...


0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A question mark, 20 July 2001

A.I. is a movie I still cannot figure out; meaning, I have no idea how to interpret what I saw, whether I liked what I saw, whether I "got" anything out of what I saw. I think I need to see the film 2 or 3 more times before I get a lasting opinion as to these things...however, I can review the movie based on its surface.

Overall, this is a very good film. The storyline is understandable yet still complex. The imagery is one of wonder and beauty. The acting (as usual in a Spielberg) is excellent. Haley Joel Osment is perhaps one of the best actors out there today. The music is subtle and complementary. Some of the scenes are almost jaw-dropping in their power or beauty. This film has real potential for brilliance.

However, I don't think it made it, and I don't think it ever will. One reason is that I'm not really sure what the vision was here. Kubrick and Spielberg have two clashing directing styles...and I see many elements of both in this the point where it actually impedes the movie. With 2001, there was one vision...that of Kubrick's...and it is masterfully shone. We may interpret what the movie showed in numerous ways, but the movie was also telling us what to interpret. That is 2001's brilliance. AI didn't seem to grasp what was to be interpreted...machinery? Human extinction? Human feelings? The difference between humans and machines? Add to that the ending, which I thought was completely unnecessary (and completely Spielberg, obviously). The ending does nothing to promote the questions I believe were intended (a major difference between this movie and 2001). To me it was shown to make the audience weep...and to get a good feeling out of a somewhat dark film...something I call "Spielberg sap."

I also think that AI was attempting to say something as answer a question. This is especially seen at the end of the film. The problem is you can't answer a vague question very well. And that is the major problem of the movie.

The message it brings may be fuzzy, but there are several aspects of this film that shine. The performances of Osment and Jude Law were simply brilliant. William Hurt and Frances O'Connor give solid supporting performances. The special effects were dazzling and yet still appropriate. For as long a movie as it was always entertaining.

AI succeeds at the basic function of entertain. It also provokes thought, encourages discussion, and exceeds the average of filmmaking today. However, the clouded message that this movie brings makes the title not only suit the movie but the message/questions presented by it as well: artificial intelligence.

Rating: 7/10

24 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Good action flick, 20 July 2001

If I were to make a quick summary of this movie, it would be "a good, but not great, action flick." I don't think this movie was intended to be innovative, to be great, to be memorable. What it was intended to be was entertaining, and it lived up to this expectation.

Harrison Ford is the master of remaining as low-key as possible. He has had so many films where he can over-emphasize, over-dramatize, and simply over-act. Ford has the maturity to keep this from happening, and he does so again in this film. Ford is supported quite well with such actors/actresses as James Earl Jones (reprising his role as Greer from The Hunt for Red October), Samuel L. Jackson, and Anne Archer. For an action flick, acting is much above average.

It was also suspenseful...thrilling. I thought the ending had a nice build-up and climax. I realize this is different from the book's ending...but remember, these are two different visions...not the same one. This brings up a big point in movie-watching: Comparing a movie to a book is the worst thing you can do. They are two completely different genres. More importantly, as I said before, they are two different visions.

I'm not a big action fan. I used to be, but anymore most stories are the same. To this end I would say Patriot Games is fairly mainstream. However, it was always fun to watch and sometimes thrilling to watch. I'm also not a big Tom Clancy fan, but I've given the movies based off his books a shot because again they are different visions. The result is (at least with Patriot Games) a good film to watch on a Saturday night with a bowl of popcorn. Don't expect great things, but don't expect to be disappointed, either.

Rating: 7/10

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Worst Movie Ever, 20 July 2001

I have seen around 350 movies in my lifetime. Not a lot of movies if one thinks how many movies have been made...but the number turns out to be big when watching this movie.

Why? Because I haven't walked out on any movie I've seen...except for this one. I couldn't make it to the end; I have never seen something so painfully awful.

The acting was just horrendous. The direction was thoughtless and wretched. The special effects were not at all realistic. The music was painful to hear. The makeup was disgustingly bad. The story was something that could be exceeded by a 3-year-old. Am I making the point?

How did this ever become a film? I would even think Hollywood has some standard of quality...

I never saw the end of this I don't really know what exactly happened. I think the "evil" planet blew up or something...the only thing that I had wished was the movie somehow spontaneously combusted. That would have had me cheering.

Rating: 1/10 (completely worthless)

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A masterpiece, 19 July 2001

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest is my all-time favorite film. This movie excels on so many levels: acting, cinematography, storyline, directing, music, and intelligence. Added together, this is one of the most amazing movies to ever hit the big screen.

Jack Nicholson is amazing as McMurphy, who's "crazy to be in a loony bin like this." That loony bin is where the story is told; it is one of isolation, of human fears, of human mind, and of human triumph. Nicholson has had many great performances, such as Chinatown and The Shining, but this is the movie that made his mark. He is very convincing as a maybe-crazy, maybe-sane man.

Then there is Louise Fletcher as the calm and very consistent Nurse Ratched. Her performance was simply brilliant. Supporting performances from Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, and Brad Douriff are also terrific.

The storyline is one of thought provocation. After watching this film, one should (and hopefully will) wonder who was crazy and who was not. Many of the people were simply scared of society, others couldn't handle their fears, some were legitimately "out there," but who exactly knows? That is the beauty of this film. It asks many questions: What makes one "crazy"? How has society defined it? How do we react to it? What can we do about it?

One Flew also contains the best climax to ever be shown on screen. It is probably the most powerful moment to ever be viewed. The ending is also tremendous and tremendously performed.

Cinematography was excellent and added to the feeling of isolation. The music was terrific; I recommend owning the soundtrack. Milos Forman did a tremendous job in bringing everything together to make this film a simple masterpiece.

Many people wonder what class this film belongs to: comedy, drama, or comedy-drama. This is a question mark because there are elements of both comedy and drama, but it can be viewed, I think, in all three ways/styles. I can definitely say, though, that this film is a classic.

Rating: 10/10

An epic disaster, 19 July 2001

Pearl Harbor is a movie that defines an epic structure...the build-up, which many times involves a romance, the event to be viewed, the response, and the happier ending. That is definitely a broad and hideously worded definition of its structure, but the point is made. What epics require that Pearl Harbor simply did not deliver on is a reason to stay in your seats for around 3 other words, epics need good plots, good characterization, and good development.

This film had little good in it. The acting was sub-par, to say the least. Ben Affleck has had good performances, such as Dogma and Good Will Hunting. He has also had bad ones, such as Armageddon. This one, though, was the worst I've seen. Of course, I don't know if anyone could act very well with the screenplay he was given. Josh Hartnett wasn't much better, but he was evenly more poorly written. Kate Beckinsale just wasn't at all convincing.

The storyline was awful. The love-triangle story that emerged was the most melodramatic and unnecessary plot that I have perhaps ever seen. This film was searching for tears, but it only made me wince with pain.

If those two things weren't bad enough, the handling of supporting actors was worse. Tom Sizemore, a very capable actor (Check out Bringing out the Dead and Saving Private Ryan.), had too small of a role. Cuba Gooding, Jr: ditto. Jon Voight, the best acting performance in the movie, was much under-used. Alec Baldwin did as good a job as he could have with as poorly written a character as he was given. Simply put, a movie all should have said no to.

The battle itself was too long and too uninvolved. Was it me, or did I just see the same thing for 40 minutes? All I saw was people dying, and all I felt was boredom. Sure, people dying and things blowing up were what they saw too...but they felt it, they endured it, and they were angered by it. This should be felt by the audience, too (I was actually feeling guilty for not caring that much for the battle as I was watching it.)...and the last thing I was thinking about was enduring more. I was becoming angry...but not at the attack...while watching this film.

So what were some goods of the film: Hans Zimmer delivered musically. He had a subtlety that few musicians have anymore. He made the Japanese sound ominous but not menacing...appropriate, I think. Special effects were great...but you have to have something to back it up. Jon Voight was excellent as FDR. Why did I not see more scenes with him in it?

The attack on Pearl Harbor was an event that changed America forever. Many soldiers and civilians died, and all that were there were psychologically never the same. This movie did not show this at all...and that this wasn't shown makes this movie simply one of the worst failures ever to be displayed on film.

Rating: 3/10

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A good Saturday afternoon flick, 19 July 2001

I am a huge Indiana Jones fan; I bet I've watched the three films at least a dozen times each. What makes me come back and be thrilled time and time again is the use of imagery, the quality of acting, the thrill of suspense, and the sparking of imagination.

This prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark is very similar to The Empire Strikes Back in its tone...they are dark, mysterious, and much more subtle than their counterparts. Doom is a good film, but not anywhere close to Empire or to the other films of the Indiana Jones trilogy. Why? Because it simply was too different from the original. I saw Indiana Jones in two different ways with two different films. Mainly, this is because he had a different female partner...two completely different characters as well. Even more importantly, he was fighting two different enemies, and as a result, it used two different "archeaologoical finds."

It also lacked the story development that Raiders had. Raiders' power was its ability to constantly and convincingly bring action to the screen. This film lacked that style, and it hurt itself as a result.

Honestly, I found this film too dark as well. Perhaps I'm expecting too much of a "good-feel" out of this film, but that is what this genre is all about, I think.

Kate Capshaw did a decent job as Willie, but she at times was way too overdramatic. She was the exception rather than the rule, however. Harrison Ford gave his usual quiet, but awfully convincing performance. Ford's gift as an actor is to not over-emphasize. This film could let him get away with that, but he still chose not to. It made his performance so much better.

There were other bright spots...the enemy was well-defined and was well-presented as ominous and completely convincing. In a good-vs.-evil genre, this film made it easy to distinguish between the two. The story itself was very easy to followThe special effects, which were somewhat unrealistic, still added rather than subtracted from the film. The music by John Williams was also excellent. The opening scenes were by far the best of the movie and very classic in style. This movie got your interest immediately. The most important thing: This film is complete entertainment. Not once did I feel bored.

This film fulfills its basic function: to entertain, to thrill, and to provoke imagination. In this mode, it is a success. However, compared to the other two Jones films, this film is a bit of a disappointment. But it is guaranteed to be entertaining, and for that reason, I recommend it.


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