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Let those who enjoyed this live long and prosper...even though they're in denial.
I enjoyed the original film for it's sense of fun and it's wonderful off-the-cuff characters. If we learned anything from Lethal Weapon 4, it's that just copying what worked in a previous film is essentially making a mockery of your franchise. First of all, this script is fantastic...for a geek-fan in his first year of film school. For anyone else it's utterly horrendous in every way imaginable. I have never witnessed so many cliché's operating all at once. Sure, many of our favorite characters are back, but watching them all yell incoherently and blather profane language with no purpose or direction is just boring. This particular comment is mainly directed at the cops who's collective acting is a horror to behold. I don't know what happened with Willem Dafoe, but his absence is sorely missed. Julie Benz is nice to look at, (and wonderful on Dexter) but having her do a Kyra Sedgwick impression from "The Closer" was an embarrassing move on the part of Troy Duffy. The boys were adequate, I guess. Sean Patrick Flanery must have had some plastic surgery done to his face over the years cause he looks dreadful, but it is what it is. Another buzz kill was Clifton Collins Jr., a gifted actor who somehow thought that in order to replace Rocco, he needed to yell allot and make stupid faces. Most of the blame falls on Duffy's lap though. The guy must have just stood there while his actors were taking his already crappy dialogue and making it worse. This is where Willem Dafoe would have been of some use. What a waste. Having said all this, I will have to check this out again when it hits DVD. Here's why: This movie was so boring, so bland, so utterly unconvincing that it caused a patient film lover to get up out of his chair and walk the hell out with 30 minutes left to go. I will see the ending eventually, but no matter how good it might be, it cannot make up for the total disgrace that preceded it. Now, I don't begrudge Troy Duffy making a third film. The guy does have some talent hiding somewhere. I just hope he examines this lazy retread and dares to do better. He was HUNGRY when he made the first film. Troy, do us all a favor: GET FRIGGIN' HUNGRY AGAIN!
This Is It (2009)
This is truly it!
Forget everything you think you know about Michael Jackson. Forget the scandals, the surgeries, the rumors, the mysteries. Just accept that we're all innocent until proved guilty in America and let it all go. Michael Jackson was the greatest dancer in the history of mankind. This documentary shows that hours before his death, he remained the greatest dancer in the history of mankind. He was a revelation, pure and simple. And the greatest achievement in Kenny Ortega's simple, elegant tribute is that it allows the viewer, without a shred of distraction, to witness the process of an artist. Sure, some of the footage is a little amateurish, as this was meant for Michael Jackson' records more than anything else. But that's the fun of it. The viewer gets to witness the raw nature of the artist rather than the glossy outcome that would have been the final product. If you're concerned that the film will be an act of gross exploitation and an attempt to squeeze every last dime in the wake of Michael Jackson's death, know this: I haven't the slightest doubt that Michael would have wanted his fans to see this footage. Of course it's exploitive, don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise, but so what: All documentaries are exploitive to some degree and tasteful exploitation is better than tasteless exploitation. This is a film about the process, nothing more. We're just lucky that this process happens to revolve around the finest entertainer of our time. If you're even the slightest fan, this is a must see. If you're not, I dare you not to be won over. Also, if you're looking for signs of fatigue from Michael Jackson, you will be disappointed. In fact, if there's one thing that bothered me about the film, it's that Michael was in such terrific shape that it's angering to think he died so close to the finish line. We don't have many great entertainers left in the world. And the fact that at 50 years of age, operating at about 80% energy wise, Michael blows the top 10 pop singers of today out of the sky, is rather remarkable. Prepare for an emotional and downright exciting concert-film. "This is it" will show the world that with all the noise, all the distractions, all the craziness: Michael Jackson still had it. And then some...
Little things don't ruin movies, unless you want them to.
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ain't' perfect, but if you're going to tell me it's not an Indiana Jones movie, you're too angry to accept reality, pure and simple. As a whole, it's good old fashioned, familiar entertainment. And whether you like it or not, the other films were modeled to be exactly that. Granted, "Raiders" is on a whole other level because of the sheer brilliance of the execution, but let's not forget these were (and remain) no-more than expanded serials with better production values.
Now, let this geek get something off his chest: In my humble opinion, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" is one of the greatest non-stop action movies of all time, and a master-class in showmanship. So, you won't hear this tired line from my ass: "...guys, at least it was better than Temple Of Doom!" As far as I'm concerned, INDY 4 is easily the weakest of the four films. It's not even a discussion. But honestly, did any of us expect it not to be. We just wanted it to be damn good, yes? Well, IT IS DAMN GOOD and I'm tired of hearing otherwise from whining nerds who look to criticize.
Why is it that when you ask a fellow Indy-file to express their disregard for this latest installment, all they can come up with is, "The monkeys sucked!" or "The gopher's were awful!"? It's because THINGS have corrupted our movie-going experience. We're too consumed with THINGS to appreciate the broader package. Yes, the gopher's were unnecessary but for heaven's sake, lets not forget about the terrific overall opening of the film. Of course the Tarzan homage was completely unacceptable, but are we so consumed with disgust about it that we're blind to the equally terrific tank chase that surrounds it.
Oh yes, I almost forgot about the (supposed) grand failure of INDY 4: ALIENS. OK, let me tell you something you already know: The INDY films have always reflected the period in which they take place. Are we so hung up on aliens that we don't recognize this? I think we all agreed before seeing the movie that it was best for Harrison to age naturally in this one. The man is 65, and it's only natural for his character to be living in the late 50's. Martians and flying saucers belong to the 50's and whether you want to accept that or not doesn't remove it from the equation. And don't give me this lightweight, "It was too implausible" monologue. If you buy Nazi's being exploded by a demon-angel, hearts getting ripped out while the victim is still alive and a cup of Christ curing a gunshot wound, you can handle a damn alien. Sure, the CG on the alien could have been better, but narratively, it was a perfectly acceptable MacGuffin.
At the end of the day, this movie has plenty of wonderful scenes, some jaw-dropingly spectacular ones (the motorcycle chase that ends in the library) and some flaws to go with it. Indeed, I could have done without all the boring archaeological exposition in the middle section and some of the overt ADR was irritating. Sure, Ray Winstone wasn't given much of a role and Marion was underwritten. But hey, some folks hate the way Marcus was treated and can't stomach all the slapstick comedy in Last Crusade. I'm one of those folks, but I would never classify Last Crusade as anything less than a terrific movie!
I'm also tired of hearing about Frank Darabont's draft. I read every page and while it starts off well, it gets mighty boring mighty fast. I won't cover Shia, John Hurt and Cate Blanchett because I thought they were all quite good (especially Blanchett). And don't even try to tell me Harrison Ford didn't bring his game because he most certainly did, AND THEN SOME.
Of course this is all one man's opinion, and if you truly hated the film, you're entitled. But I'm also entitled to tell you why you're wrong. INDY 4 captures the spirit of Indiana Jones, without being every-bit as good as the previous films and STILL manages to stand on it's own two feet as solid escapist entertainment. As someone who was not in favor of a fourth installment initially, I would actually welcome a 5th installment. And the critics of this film don't have to admit it now, but you all know you'll be standing in line with me if it happens.