Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Back to the Future
The Empire Strikes Back
It's a Wonderful Life
Mean Girls (2004)
Surprisingly Intelligent Film
Normally I'm not a big fan of stupid high school romantic comedies aimed at shallow teenagers that are based on pure fiction and only derive laughs from inane and crude humor. And that is exactly the type of movie I expected to see when some friends of mine dragged me along to see Mean Girls.
To my surprise, Mean Girls is actually one of the best movies I've seen so far this year. And it also features one of the most intelligent, honest and well written screenplays of the year (by Tina Fey of SNL). Instead of embracing and glorifying all of the teen stereotypes and cliches, this movie either sidesteps them completely or employs them in a realistic context.
There have been countless stupid teen movies to come out over the past few years, movies that are emotionally shallow and irrelevant. Mean Girls is quite the opposite, it's a genuinely funny, honest and positively inspiring movie (and I would recommend it to any teenager anyday over some of the tripe they're being fed like She's All That, Can't Hardly Wait, 10 Things I Hate About You, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, American Pie, etc). Overall I give the movie **** out of four stars.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Moving, inspiring and interesting...
I'm a big movie fan and I see a lot of movies, but I have to say that the Passion of the Christ is really hard to judge objectively as you would judge other movies. Focusing on things like the script, direction, acting and cinematography seem kind of trivial (although all are done suberbly in the film). This is more like seeing a disturbing or shocking documentary on a controversial subject, or perhaps having a heated debate with someone, that is to say that this movie is not entertaining, but it is very intense and very thought provoking.
In terms of the mood, visuals and portrayal of the time period, I can definitely say this is one of the most accurate depictions of a Biblical time period I have seen on film. This is also one of the most accurate depictions of a major tenet of the Christian faith (the death and resurrection of Christ), but this is the version most Sunday School's don't teach. Gibson has definitely taken some artistic license with the material itself, but the message is still retained.
Personally I would have loved to see a long sweeping character study of Jesus and his disciples, looking at the historical impact their beliefs had from many different perspectives. But that is not the movie Gibson intended to make and that's ok. I was profoundly affected by this movie, not really because of the movie itself but because it allowed me to gain a different perspective on many parts of the story and because of the thoughts, discussions and research that the movie inspired. Overall I give it **** out of four stars.
Either you love it or hate it, I loved it...
Magnolia is one of my personal favorite movies. But after reading some of the reviews here, and after talking to friends who have seen the movie, it is definitely not for everyone. A lot of people complain about a convoluted story, or pretentious direction, but to each his own.
Let me explain why I liked this movie... First off, I don't watch movies just to be entertained. Entertainment is part of the experience sure, but that is not the sole merit by which I judge a movie. Art is about creative, emotional, political, and surreal expression. Viewing/listening/reading art is about your personal interpretation of or response to it and about how it affects you. Second, I believe good movies are not defined as good movies because of what they are about, but because of how they are about them (hopefully that makes sense).
For some reason I was inexplicably drawn to Magnolia. All of the emotions expressed throughout the movie were so tangible and relevant to me. The style of direction and overall story arc of the movie is a bit exaggerated in comparison to real life, but the emotions expressed through the actors and the situations they are in are the most real and profound I have ever seen in a movie. The reason they were real, profound and relevant to me is because I could easily relate to most all the emotions and feelings in the movie, they correlate to feelings and situations I have experienced in my life.
I didn't just like this movie because of the emotional connection and intensity though, it is also an extremely well directed, well acted, well written, funny and entertaining movie. P.T. Anderson handles multiple characters and storylines with skill comparable to Robert Altman, and successfully creates one of the most amazing film experiences ever. But as I stated before, this is not the type of movie everyone will enjoy. People who only watch movies to be entertained, or people who require a coherent and straightforward plot will probably not like it. Overall I rate it **** out of four stars.
Best of the Trilogy
I have to try and condition myself to think of the movies separately from the books, because the books carry such a strong sense of nostalgia for me and because the movies are an entirely separate interpretation of the books than my imagination was.
I think Return of the King is definitely my favorite of the three movies. It's first and foremost a visually amazing movie. It's also extremely entertaining. I mean, how many movies get made about a medieval/fantasy/d&d type setting (a setting which I find very interesting), and how many of those movies are actually really good? Aside from the Lord of the Rings movies, not many.
Thinking about Return of the King objectively, it's definitely not the best movie I've ever seen, not even remotely close. But was it entertaining, was it visually stimulating, was it original and creative, did it bring back fond memories of reading the books? For me, yes it did, and that definitely counts for something. Overall I give it **** out of four stars.
Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman have done it again...
One of the most original movies (in that post-modern sort of way) since Being John Malkovitch. It combined reality with fiction in a way that has rarely been done before. Filled with satire and irony, while still maintaining an emotional appeal. I also thought the direction, acting and script were all excellent. **** out of four stars.
Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
Pretty damn entertaining...
Probably the best action movie I've seen this year. With Terminator 3 and Cradle to the Grave in second and third respectively.
I think I heard Roper say that Johnny Depp is turning into a Christopher Walken type actor where every part he does is interesting and fun to watch no matter how good or bad the movie is. I have to agree, he really makes this movie.
Once Upon a Time in the West was somewhat less than I expected (yet was still good). It had a very different feel than the first two movies, it was more stylish, had a more rounded story, and more interesting characters (all of which are good things), but it had less action (which was the disappointing part).
I might even be giving the movie more credit than it deserves because I so greatly respect Rodriguez's one man band operation. And I'm really glad that he's getting back to making good movies (after the Spy Kids series and the Faculty). Overall I give the movie *** out of four stars.
Ang Lee is a very talented director, and Jennifer Connelly and Eric Bana rarely choose poor projects to be involved in, but the end result of Hulk is a bit of a mixed bag.
When it comes to movies, action and special effects are completely secondary for me, so I was excited to hear that Lee had chosen to develop the dramatic instead of dumb down the movie for 12 year olds. I want a intriguing and involving story, and interesting characters that grow. Maybe my expectations were a bit high, and maybe I forgot how Ang Lee can confuse boredom for character development (anyone see Ride with the Devil?).
I thought the last 1/3rd to 1/4th of the movie was pretty good, lots of revelations and an over the top feel that is true to the comic book style. I thought the bright, comic book colored motif and the frame and panel camera effects were some of the most original and entertaining elements of the movie. But most of the first half of the movie is extremely boring. Too much stale dialogue and too many random events that don't contribute to the story or character development.
Overall I give it ** out of four stars...
Open Range (2003)
Costner doesn't suck anymore...
First off let me reiterate that Kevin Costner has made some of the worst crap I've ever seen in my life. A lot of movies I see are so terrible that they become funny, but Costner movies go beyond even that kind of bad. They go to the "make me want to tear my eyes out and jam a hot poker in my ear" kind of bad. Here are some examples:
The Postman - Does anyone else remember before this came out that there was actual oscar buzz about it? It was long, boring and almost as entertaining as dog crap. Waterworld - What a colossal failure. One of the most expensive movies ever made, along with a very original story somehow got turned in a steaming pile of poo. And numerous other Costner movies have sucked, he even tarnished Sam Raimi's career with For Love of the Game.
So with all of that said, my expectations weren't extremely high for Open Range. I had read some good reviews, but I still was skeptical. After I saw it what was the end result? One of the best movies of the year!
This is by far one of the most compelling and original westerns since Unforgiven. Sure there have been good westerns since then, but Maverick was more of a comedy and Tombstone was more of an action flick.
The acting is first rate, coming mainly from the central Duvall and Costner characters. This is a movie about the characters, and the plot follows the characters, so the story doesn't have that epic feel of a Sergio Leone western. But unlike some of Leone's work, this is not a cookie cutter, Clint Eastwood shoot 'em up, spaghetti western (even though it does feature one of the best shootouts I've seen in a long time). One of the main things I also noticed about the film was the realism. The sets, the dialogue, the characters, the gunfights, everything seemed to bear more resemblance to the actual "west" than most people like to imagine.
Most of the complaints I have heard about the movie revolve around the love story. Many people say it seems forced and unnecessary. I did enjoy most of the love story aspect of the movie, but I do agree that much of it seems tacked on for the sake of a well rounded story. And without revealing anything about the movie I will also say that I didn't think the ending really fit with rest of the movie, it seemed a bit over the top.
Despite the shortcomings, this is by far one of the best movies I've seen this year. I give it **** out of four stars.
Matchstick Men (2003)
Not having read the book, I didn't really know what to expect, but this is one of the most surprisingly good movies I've seen this year. It could have easily been just another con artist (or David Mamet ripoff) type movie, but no, they went the extra mile here.
I think the thing that impressed me the most was the script, especially how they handled the ending. Nicolas Cage is also one of my current favorite actors, he always does a good job and almost always makes good movie choices (I think he redeemed himself for Windtalkers by doing this movie and Adaptation). Overall I give it **** out of four stars.
Depp makes this worth watching...
Fun stuff, and I think Depp is definitely the best part about the movie. My major qualm with the film is that it was way too long, this could have been cut down to a 90 minute non-stop adventure movie. But instead it gets a little repetitive and unnecessary at times (fighting the undead?).
The second major annoyance was that the fight scenes were shot too close. The cinematography was very fast paced and close up (remember Moulin Rouge?), there are really no long drawn out panoramic shots here. This may seem trivial, but I had trouble following the action, it seemed very rushed and inconsistent.
The acting was pretty good, given the fairly straightforward, cut and paste adventure movie script. With the exception of Depp's eccentricity, the dialogue is mainly to advance the plot instead of develop any interesting characters. Geoffrey Rush overacts as normal but is an entertaining villain. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are at times a bit stale, but otherwise do a decent job with the material.
Overall, Depp is entertaining, and good swashbuckling action is rare these days. I'd give it *** out of four stars...