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The Wolfman (2010)
No more and no less than expected
Every once in a while, a movie comes along with what many people would call perfect casting. I remember when Jack Nicholson was first cast as the Joker for Tim Burton's Batman. Nicholson's portrayal was just what was expected from such a great actor in a signature role. But it was NO MORE than we expected from him. In a way, one could say it fell a little flat. Well, I feel that way about The Wolfman. First, Anthony Hopkins, one of the consistently best actors out there, gave the exact performance I would expect from him, commanding respect both as an actor and as the character he played. But it was nothing we haven't seen already. Reminiscent of Meet Joe Black or Fracture or Instinct. I'm also a fan of Benicio Del Toro, but his brooding and emotional performance was exactly what I went to the theater to see. I didn't see anything more. The same could be said for the script, a very straightforward storyline that was a bit predictable and sort of tired. On one hand, I commend the film makers for not overdoing the story with convoluted twists in an effort to be "original." But again, I wasn't surprised by anything in the storyline at all.
I was anxious to see this film, and overall I was very pleased with the cinematography, the performances of the cast and of course the special effects. But I did not leave the theater saying "WOW, that was even better than I expected!" like I had hoped I would.
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
Eastwood makes dull movies
Clint Eastwood's adaptation of "Flags of Our Fathers" was a great disappointment to me. The book put the story in chronological order, but Eastwood decided to hop all over the place creating nothing but confusion as I watched the film, and I read the book! He didn't identify who was voicing-over most of the time. Were they actors or real survivors? He seemed to be following the style of "Band of Brothers" in that regard, but he failed miserably. It's like he couldn't decide on the central theme of the movie, so he tried to cover every angle.
So I admit I went into "Letters from Iwo Jima" with low expectations. I found the movie to be very dull. The subject matter of World War II, and more specifically the Pacific war, is very interesting to me, and yet I could still not get into this movie. It was overly dramatic throughout most of the film, concluding with the shot when they find the letters buried in a cave, lift them out, and they flutter to the ground. There were no highs and lows to the storytelling, just melodrama with mood music behind it.
Critics and the public seem to be lapping up Eastwood's directorial works because he's turned into such a "sensitive guy", different from his on screen persona. And he seems to have responded by giving them sappier and more politically correct works. Well, I'm not buying it.
For the record, I didn't like "Unforgiven" either, and I never saw "Million Dollar Baby." At this point, you'd have to PAY ME a million dollars to go see it!
American Beauty (1999)
This is one of the worst movies ever to win Best Picture! Just bad Hollywood propaganda. The ex-Marine is a latent homosexual. Of course! The pot-smoking loser is the good guy. Of course! I actually read somewhere that this movie was a great depiction of life in the United States these days! Maybe in Hollywood! Annette Bening just walked through this movie. Is it any wonder she was nominated for an award the same year that Warren Beatty was getting a lifetime achievement award? Typical Hollywood politics. Kevin Spacey tried to be as mysterious and provocative as his character in "The Usual Suspects" but he missed dreadfully! And I didn't believe Mena Suvari as the vixen at all. It was even worse than "Crash," another horrible Academy Award Winner, but that's a different story.