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An Honest Review
I know, I know, I worked in history, the Iliad is a classic...yadda, yadda, yadda. Don't worry I'm not going to hate on it for historical inaccuracies and I won't hate on it for really not following the story.
I mean, it's Hollywood, historical accuracy can only go so far for entertainment reasons and, well, the real Iliad reads like, well, like rape porn. There's a reason you only get the abridged version in school and a reason that you'll never see an accurate unabridged version on the big screen...unless Paul Verhoeven is attached to direct.
I am going to hate on the film though. Brad Pitt looked great, kudos to really trying for the Greek God look. Unfortunately that doesn't really make up for a poor performance. We know he can act, we've all seen it before, but he just did the action movie phone in here and that took away from the film as a whole.
I wouldn't blame him though. Wolfgang Petersen is really at fault here. The Iliad is one part history--in the Jewish Biblical sense, one part super hero book, and one part sex.
He cut the sex.
And the rest he couldn't exactly get a grip on. He went for classic epic ala Ben Hur instead and that's not really the Iliad. It need the surreal godly pantheon to keep it interesting and fantastical and he cut the bulk of that for more realism and, well, and it failed.
The result was a boring film that was trying to be both melodrama and action pic. The reality is that the Iliad is only a melodramatic classic because of age. In reality, well, it's an action/adventure tale of supermen and gods that inspired people like Alex the Great. Approaching like a classic work of art just, well, it just makes it long and boring.
The action was there, but done in a choppy half-hearted way, as if Petersen wanted to rush it as fast as possible to get to the melodrama and make the film an epic as modern lit saw it and not, well, the Homeric adventure poem it always was.
It drags until the end with understated characters that are nowhere near the demigods they are in the poem...and then falls flat at the end, killed by too much realism.
An Honest Review
It doesn't flow right.
Bette is hysterical as always and her voice carries and carries the film. Barbra is more than adequate as the ultimate WASP that befriends a normal person enough to drop the pretentious attitude at certain times in her life, only to adapt it later.
The ending is as heart-wrenching as you would expect.
But the film as a whole suffers from pacing. The length of time it covers and the stretches that are actually shown, along with how the film is divided doesn't sit right with the audience.
As much happens in a few months as in a few years and we are left feeling like time has been distorted a little too much
An Honest Review
It is so hard to write honest reviews about Nolan films without coming under the radar and getting attacked by Nolan fans. It's an odd bunch of people, not unlike the TEA Party in the US, where any criticism is pounced on with uncompromising gusto? "You're an idiot if Taxi Driver is your favorite film, Nolan didn't direct it!!!!" Fortunately Memento is one of his movies where I can safely say it's worth 10 out of 10 without feeling like I am selling out to they sycophants.
For starters Guy Pearce does an amazing job and that is generally not the case in his movies. The Hurt Locker, The Proposition, L.A. Confidential, there are very few movies where he was actually believable in the part. So we have that and it generally takes a competent director to bring it out of him.
Then the plot itself, what is it? Comedic mystery? Would that be a decent enough title for it? It weaves itself in and out of the story, taking time to use Leonard's peculiar memory to it's best comedic effect.
The plot heavily revolves around his extremely short term memory and, because of that we get to see the movie through his eyes and all the complications that come with it, both in their most brutal and their most brutally funny as he attempts to solve his wife's murder and gets exploited along the way.
It's just a great film, funny and violent, like I love them.
An Honest Review
It is sort of a typical 90s sci-fi/quasi horror movie. One of the movies that could only really get made in that decade where they were green lighting things that otherwise would have been shoved aside and giving chances to new actors, new directors, new writers, and new ideas.
Film back then, well, it was free and the last decade of actual art in cinema.
So....that being said, the movie isn't art.
But it is original. You don't see movies like Convergence every day.
You get a feel that it is trying to be "The X-Files" and you get a feel that it is trying to be "Kolchak." And you get a feel that it is trying to be "The Paper" all at the same time.
The premise is what sold me on it. Tabloids in the era where I would pick up the Weekly World News to read about Bat Boy. You never believed any of it but, yet, well, it was trash and entertaining.
That was back in the day when tabloids weren't even trying to disguise their stories as the truth. Now they are and politics is suffering for it.
But back then, you could read it for what it was...trash.
Convergence is a "what if the tabloids actually reported the news?" sort of story. "What if the Weekly World News had real reporters on its staff and not just sci-fi and horror writers trying to make a living?" It makes for an entertaining film, or at least a film that you can safely roll your eyes at, and still enjoy for what it is.
It entertains, and that is all you need, right?
Highlander: The Source (2007)
An Honest Review
I was excited about it.
I mean...there was still the"Another Highlander Movie...it's going to suck" feeling. You just know it's going to be a piece. The series was good, the original was good, but they never seemed to actually make another good Highlander movie.
But, at the same time there was no Connor. It was the cast from the series. A part of me wanted to believe that they were going to finally give the audience what it wanted...
You know, a Highlander movie staring Methos, Amanda, and Joe.
Nope. We did not get that.
We got a movie that felt way too much like Highlander II: The Quickening and we all know exactly how many people actually liked that.
It looked a but too much like a low budget Highlander II.
It had a plot that deviated away from the Highlander myth a little too much...just like Highlander II.
It had the supporting cast, or at least some of them, that we loved...but they were under-used just like Highlander: End Game.
So, all hopes aside, in typical Highlander fashion, what you have here is a movie with everything that everybody hated about the Highlander sequels.
Highlander: Endgame (2000)
An Honest Review
So 14 years have passed since the first Highlander movie...in which Connor won the prize but yet still spawned 2 horrible sequels that retconned it and then retconned it again.
But in that time they created Highlander the Series...with Duncan and that was actually good. It still ignored the fact that Connor already won the game, but it stayed a heck of a lot truer to the original and was actually amazingly good up until the final season...which was made to find a spin-off and it showed.
But because the series was so good, and had so many fans from the first Highlander movie and developed so many fans of their own...they decided to make a movie...
Connor was in the first episode of the TV series, but it really came into it's own in the 6 years that followed and...well...it grew apart from the original film.
Plus, despite the fact that 14 years had passed between Highlander and Highlander End Game, Christopher Lambert who plays Connor aged 50 years and he's supposed to be playing an ageless immortal.
It really could have done without him. It should have done without him.
But they threw him in there anyway.
And they tried to twist a story around the both of them, Connor and Duncan that never exactly worked. Whilst doing this, they sacrificed screen time for the supporting cast of the TV series that the fans all came to know and love.
What they gave was a promise of turning the series into a movie franchise. What they returned was a movie that was afraid to let Duncan and the supporting cast stand alone (even though they did for 6 years) and made a film about an aging immortal and his cousin.
Needless to say it failed and the producers, making just as many mistakes as they had in Highlander II--albeit entirely new ones--and in the process lost the opportunity to make the series into a movie franchise.
Had they stayed with the theme of the television show, stayed true to those types of stories, it all would have gone over better. There were more stories to tell and they had a great cast to use.
They blew it.
Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)
An Honest Review
The Highlander movies are a great explanation why people like me throw out a lot of hate about remakes.
We are going to take what you love, ret-con away all the things that you loved about it and remake the movie only worse.
The joke is that the movie was actually titled Highlander III: The Apology.
Now, for those of you that haven't seen them, or don't read my reviews it worked like this.
Highlander was fantastic and the game was over at the end of the movie. Connor won it by taking the Kurgan's head and he claimed the prize. It was a stand- alone and the audience adored it...myself included.
Highlander II was a sequel, and because the first one was a stand alone and the game was over leaving no room for a sequel...they did a retcon, made them all aliens, and took away everything the fans and critics loved about the first one. Just like remakes and reboots tend to do.
Highlander II realized the mistake of Highlander II and they did yet another retcon, ignoring the abysmal failure of Highlander II and brought back the things that the fans loved about the original...but, the original was a stand alone, so they retconed the ending again to give us a third movie and it didn't work.
It did not work.
Again, these are movies about immortals, there are thousands of years in which to make a movie...but instead of doing the obvious thing they did a retcon, of a retcon and it doesn't exactly work.
But it didn't fail as much as Highlander II, and they didn't bring Sean back from the dead again, so...we were stuck with the TV show to redeem it all.
An Honest Review
And somebody in Hollywood said: "Highlander one was a stand alone film, and it turned out really good and people absolutely loved it. It was one of the most popular movies in the box office and made a lot of money." And someone else from Hollywood said: "Great Point. Let's take everything that everyone loved about the first one and retcon it away into something entirely different and try to make more money." How the heck did that happen? The Game was one in the first movie.
And it is a movie about immortals. They literally had all of human history in which to make another film and stay true to "The Highlander." Instead they destroyed the franchise on its second outing. "Rape" would actually be an appropriately weighted word for what they did to it.
And the fans, the critics, and movie goers in general all hated it.
It wasn't redeemed again until the TV series did it right once more.
An Honest Review
Man did I ever love this movie when I was a kid. It's one of the first things I remember seeing in the theater.
Dad never censored me as a child...it would probably be a major crime today to take a 6 year-old to see a movie like Highlander. People afraid it is going to warp the child's mind and make them shoot up a school or something.
I never wanted to shoot up a school. I mean, now that I am 37 I'm starting to fantasize about pulling a "Falling Down" but....that is more of a societal thing. And, yeah...back to the review.
Queen...you can't ask for more in a soundtrack than Queen. I mean, Freddy is still one of the best singers the world has ever known and, movie grabs you from the opening lines.
"HERE WE ARE BORN TO BE KINGS...." Thanks to Freddy you know from the start that you are in for a ride.
And the script. It's a Gregory Widen story and he is one heck of a great writer isn't he? I mean, the stories that he comes up with are really out of this world. Backdraft is really the only grounded one of his major motion picture scripts.
Let's do a story about people that live forever, who are all stuck in a game where only one can win, and have to chop off each others heads to get the prize. It's not everyone, just a few people and they really don't even know why they are part of the game. It was just explained to them by the other immortals that taught them and the ones that really knew how it all started are probably long dead.
That is one heck of a pitch. It is almost too unique for its own good.
And, wow, it turned into a great movie. So much fun to watch.
But wait, there is more, they use swords and we are going to cast someone that is myopic in the lead...and the insurance is probably going to go through the roof.
No, we aren't done yet, the myopic swashbuckler, he's French but he's going to be playing a Scot. And his teacher is an ancient Egyptian pretending to be Spanish, played by a Scot and the villain is a Russian played by an American pretending to be a punk.
But it all worked.
What you have is a movie that lives up to the band that scored it. It is smart, fun, adventurous, unique, so devastatingly unique that it almost hurts.
It's like everyone went to a museum, dropped acid, and decided to make a movie and you just have to love it because so really crazy things are happening and...who doesn't love swords?
Batman Returns (1992)
An Honest Review
When I was a kid I wasn't much of a fan. I didn't like it like I did the original Batman and walked away really only appreciating Michelle's outfit.
I mean...I was 12 and...hell, I still appreciate it.
Thank you for that Cat Woman outfit.
But I was 12 then and it was sort of disturbing and they made Danny DeVito look absolutely disgusting and I was so not a fan of that at 12...which goes to show you how things change because now I love how they made Danny DeVito look positively disgusting.
Now I appreciate the stellar job they did in transforming him, and now I love how he took to the part and...well, I have so much respect for what he did with that role. He was his own kind of crazy. He did a better job than Jack did in the first one and Jack is always a pleasure to watch.
So now that I am 37 it's still "Thank you for the Cat Woman outfit," with "DeVito was awesome in this!!!!!" screamed at the top of my lungs.
And of course you still have Keaton playing Bruce Wayne playing Batman, which adds even more depth now that the series has continued and....Walken.
Walken is like Jackson, you'll sit through a crap movie because he's in it won't you? I know I do.
And all in Burton's beautiful world.