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Gangs of New York (2002)
For the first fifteen hours I was sitting in the cinema, I was considering leaving, which I have never done before. I thought the plot was dragging and uninteresting, the acting was disappointing and there was nothing epic about it at all.
During the fighting scenes, I found myself getting increasingly angry. I thought it was gratuitous and done mainly for effect. I also didn't think the world needed to see images of people in downtown Manhattan covered in dust and blood. But his message did become clearer to me in the final shot, which did make me cry. Yet I still cannot decide if the intensity of the violence was necessary to proving his ideology. All I do know is that this was not the epic I was expecting.
Center Stage (2000)
I don't know what I was expecting when I hired out Center Stage. I have a habit of selecting teen movies with dance sequences, with fluffy story lines and predictable endings. I was expecting a teen comedy with Center Stage, and perhaps that's why I found the first half slightly disappointing. Plot mechanics and overtly stereotypical characters (what you would expect from a dance-related movie). But at some point Center Stage won me over. It could have been the amazing dancing by newcomers such as lead Amanda Schull, and the equally stunning choreography of the final dances. But there was something besides dancing...perhaps the frequent teen movie conceit of a girl reaching for her dreams, or the setbacks along the way, or perhaps the way in which it was completely predictable, creating a movie that is almost comforting. On some levels it is similar to movies such as Bring It On, 10 Things I Hate About You (incidently, the actress Susan May Pratt plays who plays Maureen (superbly) in Center Stage also plays Mandella in 10 Things I Hate About You). Of course, with the majority of the parts given to ballet dancers rather than actors, the acting in itself is not outstanding. But I feel that it pays in a movie primarily based around the world of dance, to have trained dancers acting that actors dancing. So, in my opinion, Center Stage is a movie not just for those interested in the world of dance (although of course these people would complete a large chunk of the audience) but a film for those who enjoy easy going, predictable, warm, teen movies.
Dharma & Greg (1997)
It. Is. Funny.
Sometimes there is no need to deeply analyse television. Whatever Dharma and Greg is saying about free spirited living isn't really the issue. This programme is a comedy. It makes people laugh. And, in my opinion, it does this well. The relationship between Dharma and Greg is admirable, an example of a strong, love-filled and happy marital life, which is what we need more of. So no matter what some people say about it, my advice is to watch it and laugh.
Natural Born Killers (1994)
There are the apparent reviews circulating of meaningless violence in Natural Born Killers, some may say inspirational to "wannabe" murderers. But without getting into the age old debate of the effect of violence on screen on real life, in my humble opinion I'd say this film is based more on the media, and Oliver Stone's rather harsh opinion on it. The "channel changing" video clips, Wayne Gale (superbly acted by Robert Downy Jr), the real news footage shown at the end; all presenting how we are spoon fed the modern world through a media filter. Are we naive enough to be completely desensitised by years of television? Does the news have no effect on us whatsoever? Of course the thousands of Mickey and Mallory fans we see congregated outside their courtroom present the people that do exist in our culture. I will stop with my personal analysis and simply say one more thing. The film is superb.