Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
Riveting documentary that explores the flaws found in the Illinois
criminal justice system and how the governor, George Ryan, was left to
singlehandely decide the fate of over 150 Death Row inmates. The
filmmakers superbly tell the tale of how local journalism students
discovered multiple people sentenced to death in Illinois were
innocent. As the stunningly emotional clemency hearings are held, the
film takes a step further, exploring the whole ugly issue of the death
penalty in the United States. The depth and complexity of the subject
matter will be appreciated by those interested in sociology and law
enforcement, but the film's real draw is its powerful human drama.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Because Ganja and Hess had shots that are out of focus, male nudity and just
about no narrative sense, many are quick to call it a masterpiece. I'm
afraid I don't fall into that camp.
Sure, Ganja and Hess is "different," but that doesn't make it good. The best kinds of "different" films are the ones that challenge the norms and conventions of moviemaking while engaging the viewer emotionally in some way. It could be funny, sad,exciting, scary, enlightening, or just plain entertaining. The point is, it should affect the viewer somehow.
Watching Ganja and Hess is sitting for almost two hours waiting for it to end. There's barely a story to follow and the characters are just there. Even Duane Jones, so magnetic in Night of the Living Dead, can't do anything for his role. It doesn't help that the movie is so poorly filmed you can barely ever get a good look at anyone.
The movie makes a crucial blunder from the first sequence. Silly little subtitles tell us that Dr.Hess Greene was stabbed and now has a craving for blood. Did it ever occur to anyone that we might like to see this scene? The scenes of violence that are present in the film have almost zero effect because there's not really a context for any of it. As the movie goes on, the vampirism is downplayed in favor of...something, I'm not sure what exactly. All I know is that the movie frequently and jarringly shifts perspective and different narrators come in and start talking without actually saying anything. Ganja and Hess is a shoddy, ill-conceived and painfully tedious experience.
So why a 2 instead of a 1? Well, there were brief moments where I liked the soundtrack.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Land Before Time
This is not your typical run of the mill children's animation film, but a very beautiful and touching tale of grief, friendship and hope. Don't expect the bright sunny attitude of other animated movies, some scenes are so drenched with bleak hopelessless I would not want very small children to watch it. This isn't the first movie to feature a dead loved one, but it is one to delve into the grief of the characters convincingly. You may not think animation can get to you, but some of the scenes chronicling a lonely Littlefoot combined with James Horner's evocative score may get to even the most jaded filmgoer. The animation isn't on par with something like The Lion King or Spirited Away, but it's moody and atmospheric, suiting the plotline.
Forget the insipid sequels. Forget Roger Ebert's idiotic review (he faulted the film because he didn't think the dinosaurs should talk)and enjoy one of the most powerful animated films ever made. If 2-D animation had this kind of punch nowadays, they wouldn't have to worry about the overbearing accomplishments of movies like Shrek and Monsters, Inc.
Some movies suck and are a chore to watch. Other movies suck and are a blast! The latter sums up Commando quite well. Artisically, sure it's a piece of crap, but who cares? I rarely have such a good time watching a movie.
I'm not sure if Arnold though this was serious material, but I don't and so I can really enjoy it. So many moments are just liberating and exhilerating in their sheer badness. Arnold and Alyssa Milano petting a deer, the fact that John Matrix can throw off eight guys but still struggle against Bennett, an overweight loser in chain mail who fancies himself a rival for Arnold, Dan Hedaya's horrible accent, the pointless nudity during the motel fight, all of it contributes to a wonderful time.
For sheer laugh out loud fun, Commando delivers the goods. 10/10