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The Godfather (1972)
Old School Movie Making
You want story? You got it. You want characters? You got it. You want intrigue and movement and music and gala? You got it. This is the template for how movies should be made. You love/hate the people. You feel their lives. You believe and cast aside doubt. You get wrapped up in the thing. This is what a movie is supposed to do.
It's more than a mafia movie, it's a movie about family and loyalty, about love and determination. There is no comic relief, except Luca testing his devotion to the Don, and then tragedy. Yes, a very tragic movie but very well done. There are triumphs. There are falls. All very well mixed and very well done. Excellent work done on the costume and general set work. It draws you into the time and place, as a good movie should. No cheap shots, no pandering. Just very good cinema. Bravo.
The Collector (2009)
Disjointed, mumbled lines, silly to the extreme
I rented this so I could have some background before watching the sequel. "The Collector" was a jumbled mess. Clumsy and inept character introductions, poor acting, mumbled lines, often the darkness was simply too dark to see what was going on. If this was "horror" then at no time did the masked dude scare me. He was actually quite silly looking. And many of the traps were asinine, like something a 5th grader would come up with. Not scary, not thrilling, not even believable. And in the middle of all this, enter some criminal element thread that was completely disjointed from the plot. It was just cut in there, clumsy to the point of painfulness. Again, a prime opportunity for extremely poor acting and the director didn't disappoint. I admit I liked the first "Saw" movie, but none of the rest of them. I guess I'm just not a "traps" sort of movie fan. I'm a fan of solid characters and dialogue, strong plot development, believable situations, etc. Ya know, movie stuff. I tend to hold my nose and cut short films like this. Indeed, I turned it off somewhere in the middle, or perhaps two thirds of the way? I don't know. I stopped paying attention at that point. My crackers and peanut butter became more interesting. Let the fanboys have their "Saw" copy. I'm just done with it.
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)
Surprisingly disturbing; Old school horror
Thankfully this has been released on DVD. I never saw it on its TV release, so unlike so many others I didn't watch this as a child. I'm in my 40s. I watched this on my laptop, alone, in bed with the lights off. It was really awkward in places with cliché remarks from an old man about leaving things alone, don't go there, I'm warning you, etc. Other difficulties with this movie is the same with many other movies of this nature: just get out of the dang house already. Why continue to stay when all this is going on? But all that aside, this movie disturbed me. I had trouble sleeping with the lights off afterward. That is the ultimate tape by which any horror movie should be judged. And this was indeed "horror," because there were no "feel good" threads, no comic relief, no happy endings where some cute child saves the day. It's dark the whole way through, I mean that literally as well: the house always seemed dark or too dimly lit. And the music was very well done.
My pet peeve with modern horror is that the genre has become nothing more than gory comedies with large waves of laughter and cheers ringing through the theater over and over. That is not horror. I also hate the constant "gotchas" that litter modern "horror" films. The old school horror films always make you think something crazy is about to happen, but it never does. This is "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" in a nutshell. You are constantly worried about something jumping out at you, but the director never uses such cheap "gotchas" to fool you. So the suspense rides and rides and rides. That's not to say that this movie doesn't show you some creepy things, it surely does. Even if it is dated, I found some of the images exceedingly disturbing.
Bottom line: if you like modern horror/comedies you will not care for this film. If you like dialog and increasingly building suspense, dark and non-comedic film... try it.
(and it was very weird seeing Mattie Ross through the shower curtain. I felt like a dirty peeping tom.)
Time After Time (1979)
Quaint and rather unbelievable, leading to a political commentary
The opening "Jack the Ripper" scene was cliché and not worth watching. At times the movie is mildly humorous but IMDb's classification as "Comedy" is wholly off base. I rather enjoyed the lighthearted fun up to the moment when the movie showed its true colors. The political commentary was unwelcome and uncalled for, equating the ability to buy firearms with the senseless violence of "Jack the Ripper." They must think I'm dumb, because the makers of the film would have me believe that 1979 America was somehow more violent than the 1890's. Really? Accessibility to guns increased violence? Really? It amazes me how people don't realize how terribly violent mankind's history has been, all throughout the ages, and what a twilight we currently live in. I wonder how long Jack the Ripper would've had success if all of his potential victims had been packing heat. Firearms are the great equalizer, something socialist movie-makers don't want people (women) to know about. Needless to say, I did not make it past the point where the anti-gun sentiment was puked upon the audience.
The Fourth Kind (2009)
How can you review a movie that is unwatchable?
I rented this. Put it into the DVD player. The first seconds made me nauseous. Is this what cinema is coming to? That we have to have some pale Gothic-looking chick start the show with an idiotic introduction? Aren't we WAY past the day when some goober comes out and says, "the events you are about to see are real, no really, they're really really real, and disturbing too, don't forget disturbing, and I just sorta wanted to warn you ahead of time that this is real and documented and backed up with evidence and it's disturbing, and in case you weren't paying attention for the first second or two: this is based on a true story that is documented and real, and it's disturbing too." Well, cut that out and maybe you have a great beginning. But no, it continues. A faked interview is next, complete with a purposefully compressed and padded video, complete with the typical zombie-eyed and traumatized weird person who's talking in a traumatized monotone.
I yanked that disc out and stomped back to the video store. I demanded a replacement movie, and they gladly let me swap this non-movie for something else. It seems the teenager working the register totally agreed with my opinion that this non-movie was cheese and quackery. It would be laughable except I didn't find myself laughing. I was ticked. Who are the people giving this the thumbs up? Who are you? Where do you live? What other non-movies do you watch? Are you really able to get past such a flop and travesty? Right out of the gate like that? Not me. If a movie sucks - I yank that sucker. I've all but deserted the theater for this very reason. The jerks that own those joints won't give me refunds for trash like this. I've been burnt to many times. So I rent only. At least the teens at the rental store have sympathy.
(Hilarious. IMDb said I had "prohibited words" in my review, but I have not idea what they were. Had to got back and get rid of some of the more choice and proper words, watering it down so the faint of heart don't get their little feelings hurt.)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Excellent Performances Marred by Buffoonery
The movie starts with promise. I knew enough about the movie to know that it involved Nazis. We see the proverbial dairy farm in France, a father and three daughters, then the Nazis make their debut. The opening scene is gripping and terse, very legitimate. It is also brutal and believable. All throughout Christoph Waltz shines as the brilliant and merciless Col. Landa. He is truly the bastard of the film. Others submit masterful performances: Mélanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl. I especially fell in love with Mélanie's character, her mix of strength and tragedy (and beauty) was very well done. That red dress!
There are some great looks (scenery) and some well crafted sets. Kudos to the set designers. There were moments when this movie had award-winning flair, dialogue, etc. But...
Brad Pitt was a buffoon, and this was intentional. It was painful to watch Pitt ruin the mood and the movie. His accent was ludicrous, his behavior entirely unbelievable. His character, as well as all the "basterds," were wholly out of place. Theirs was a comedy, a joke, a mockery which had no place with the rest of the film.
So this movie gets a 5. It gets a perfect score for the serious parts of the film, a zero for the abject ridicule of the dire and serious subject matter. I may actually watch this movie again - but I will not tolerate the insolence Brad Pitt participated in. Hopefully the chapters (DVD) will allow me to skip through and witness only the acceptable cinema. Trash the basterds.
Alas, what else could be expected from Quentin Tarantino? Brad Pit and Tarantino can now put on their resumes: "I made light of WWII, the Holocaust and the deaths of millions upon millions of innocent people."
EDIT: I reread my review and worried that people might misconstrue how I feel about Brad Pitt the actor. Brad has put in some masterful performances in his time: Se7en, Legends of the Fall, Fight Club. There are others too. Brad is easily one of the better actors of our time. So much more the reason to hammer him for his part in this film. You reach the heights - be careful not to fall.
As for Tarantino, I loved "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction," the latter being one of the best of the decade (my opinion). His later stuff... not my bag.
Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)
What the heck is this?
Well, I have to say I only skimmed this thing. Is it a movie? I don't think so. It's more like silly horror theater. Once the initial faux cartoon intro was over and the prose began, I quickly felt sorry for the actors. I literally squirmed in my seat. Adults participated in this? Adults? I'm serious. I really felt bad for the poor saps who had the singing/poetry parts. I really just couldn't bring myself to watch much of it. And not because of gore or "horror!" But because of shame and embarrassment.
There has never been a moment in my life when I didn't know about the major schisms between my fellow members of the human race. Obviously I've just been reintroduced to one of those schisms. The fact that people find enjoyment and entertainment in this... and adults at that! Well, one good thing about it is that I will never find myself among such people. Creepy, gross and embarrassing lot.
Hey, I ain't knocking horror films. Most of us enjoy a bit of horror now and again. But the mix of weirdness, horror, singing, Goth make-up, death, prose, medical fascism, etc... this ain't "horror." It's something else. Obviously I don't know what it is, I'm not in that bag. I'm glad I was able to scan through it and quickly get rid of it, never ever never to ever witness it ever again. Truly, I'm sorry for the people who participated in this film. Honest, I am.
Yet, there are extremely high reviews for this. Maybe you're one of those and you'll cream over this. Please steer clear of my house, thank you very much.
The Mind of Manson (2007)
45 Minute Commentary
Yawn. Only MSNBC could make Charlie Manson boring. Long drawn-out supposition and ignorant commentary with very brief snippets of Manson trying to give an interview. I watched this thinking it would show the interview. It did not. In fact, MSNBC did everything in their power to NOT SHOW the interview. The constant interruptions became unbearable. Both of the MSNBC commentators were weak, their insights hardly insightful, as they continuously make childish observations after every few seconds of Manson. Yuck. A total waste of resources, but I expect nothing else from any mainstream media source. It's all bad. Any sense of objective and intelligent journalism has long since left the mainstream. But of course Americans eat it up. They no longer have the capacity to know the difference. A harsh statement? Hardly. Outlets like MSNBC, CNN, FOX, etal are doing a booming business. I rest my case.
Why call this Beowulf?
Wrong name for an average movie. I lost track of all the embellishments about 30 minutes into it, turned it off after Beowulf met up with Grendal's mother (in her lair). To name this "Beowulf" is ridiculous. Will there ever be a film that actually tells the story of Beowulf? No. Not as long as films are made to please the ignorant masses. This flick is about making money - not about making film or telling a proper story. Pass, unless you weren't interested in seeing the story of Beowulf.
Well, IMDb needs some more lines of text. I mean, really, when a movie completely removes the air from your pool toy - what can you say? After the film "Beowulf and Grendal" totally let me down, I thought this one would be different. WRONG! This one was probably worse. I could go into detail about every single embellishment, but other reviews have done that already. My biggest complaint was that Beowulf wasn't nearly big enough. He should have been huge, like the biggest man on earth. His arms and chest should have been massive. In the real story Beowulf held Grendal by the hand during their entire battle, then he literally ripped Grendal's arm off. Ripped it off with sheer strength. And what happened to the firesnakes? Didn't Beowulf have to swim through firesnakes to get to Grendal's lair? Nevermind. I'm sure this is enough text by now. Read some of the "Hated It" reviews to see all the "mistakes" this film made.
Be Patient - Wait Till the End
Just like a lot of people who have written reviews for this film, I found it boring and gross - in the beginning. Rest assured that this is exactly the effect that was intended. The people involved in the story are hopelessly lost souls, eeking out pathetic lives as best as their frail minds can manage, so it's bound to be a bit difficult to watch. If you can believe it Ashley Judd often appears unattractive! Rarely do movies that start like this pay off, and I am brutally critical of movies that waste a person's time, but "Bug" gets decidedly wicked towards the end.
I can certainly believe people walking out the movie theater during this film. Today's modern theater-goer has to have adrenaline pumping action and lots of cutesy teenage sexual escapades. This movie has none of that. So stay home and rent this one if you can't bear to sit in the theater to watch... well, to watch theater. Because "Bug" is theater. Creepy theater.
*****Spoiler***** It's too bad that the schizophrenic in the film mentioned "The Bilderberg Group." Bilderberg is truly a dark and sinister blot on the earth, a mass of corporate billionaire war-mongers. It almost seemed like the makers of the movie were trying to demonstrate that anyone who believed in the Bilderberg Group was a dangerous psychotic. Well, People, Bilderberg is easily verifiable. There are numerous people who have dedicated their entire lives documenting and studying this nefarious group. They have written best-selling books and are certainly not at all like the schizoid in "Bug." I wonder if some Bilderbergers helped produce/finance this film...