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They played this on the July 4th Twilight Zone marathon and this is, hands down, the worst Twilight Zone episode I've ever seen. It's completely out of sync with the rest of the series in its tone. Even though Twilight Zone is a pretty uneven series and many episodes end up being groaningly predictable, this one was completely out of place. Compare this to legendary episodes like "A Stop at Willoughby" or "Midnight Sun", and you realize there is no comparison.
Buster Keaton did what he could with such terrible material, and frankly it surprises me that someone of his historic comedy stature would stoop to the level of this episode. Even though he seemed to be giving it some effort, he MUST have needed the money... there's no other explanation.
Excellent, though neither Kaufman's nor Carrey's best
I've been a Kaufman fan since he was writing for television, and was blown away by Malkovich, like most everyone was.
It's truly shocking this movie is 200 places higher rated than either Malkovich or Adaptation among IMDb users (#35 on the top 250, compared to #208 and #235 respectively). I thought this movie was great, though not as inventive as his prior work. Actually, this movie is probably the most conventional movie Kaufman's written besides "Confessions".
Also, a shout out to those who think Spike Jones directed this, actually Michel Gondry did. Gondry has given us better crafted movie than Spike Jones has with Kaufman's scripts. This movie's full of fun visual gags. Still, I'd love to see what how Kaufman's scripts panned out if he ever paired up with a director that didn't come from the music video generation.
As far as performances go, the best aspect of this movie is Kate Winslet. The character that Kaufman gave her is spectacular, and she is awesome as usual. Carrey's character just mopes a lot. In the end, Carrey's performance in this movie is nowhere near his performance in.... ta-da... Cable Guy. Cable Guy is his best and most underrated work. Carrey was born to do goofy faces and over the top characters, why not appreciate the movies where he's at the top of his game? It's not exactly a subtle performance, but since when is subtle always better? Would we ask the Three Stooges to do Hamlet?
The Reagans (2003)
A well made, well acted, well shot mini-series subverted by its script
If you're reading this, you probably are aware of the controversy that kept this mini-series off of CBS. At the time, this movie was made out to be a character assassination. After watching it, I realize that's not what it was, and why Reagan supporters hated this movie.
The problem with this mini-series is that it's the dreaded docu-drama. Any insightful viewer who watches "The Reagans" will be left asking themselves how truthful this movie really was. This is the problem with the docu-drama in general. It's not a documentary, so it doesn't have to be held to any standard of fact (though Michael Moore somehow gets his movies labeled as documentaries, go figure).
So this ends up being a hodge-podge of things that have been inferred about the Reagans' lives from tell-alls and public record. The script of this film tries to neatly fit tidbits of the Reagans' lives into 15 second exchanges of dialogue. For example, it's been long known that Nancy is/was interested in astrology. The way we get introduced to this is having Nancy get told about astrology at a party in 1958 or something like that. It's just a little too neatly put together. It's similar with the dialogue between Reagan and his political advisor's.
Bottom line is, it's worth watching, though is too long, like mini-series always are. James Brolin does a very nice job of showing us the Reagan we all know. He also takes it past the Rich Little level -- he tweaks the character to show us someone that's just a bit deeper than the man we saw on television.
At the end, you'll probably be left thinking it was entertaining, maybe informative, but you'll want to read a more detailed biography that might be a little more rock solid in fact. Did Reagan really not want to get out of bed on the day of his inauguration? Once again.. very hard to believe.
Movies like this don't get a fair shake
This movie has a very interesting storyline but faces the challenge of being a cheaply made action movie. A movie like this doesn't get a fair shake because the production value is low. This is true even though we've had years of big-budget crap with unbelievably high production value and no story and no soul. People should be DEMANDING action movies with better story lines, which is what Aftermath offers.
Contrast this movie to the "indie" movies that often have less story and less production value, and you'll see it's actually a pretty well crafted movie. Still, compared to movies like that, you would have never seen this go wide in theaters. I'm not sure what came first, the public's unwillingness to see watch low-budget action movies or Hollywood's unwillingness to market them. Because they seem perfectly willing to push indie garbage like "The Good Girl" and the public seems willing to accept it.
I'm not saying this movie is the greatest movie of all time. But it does provide good entertainment and is well worth the investment of time when it comes on cable. It plays a bit like a long episode of the X-Files, and even has William "Cigarette Smoking Man" Davis from the X-Files in it.
Promising when you break down the basics...
When you break down this movie into its elements, you can see it's actually pretty promising:
* Evil genius - Yes
* Evil consequences of watching television commercial - Yes
* Underground lair - Yes
* Robots - Yes
* Rowdy Roddy Piper - No
* Vague connection to ancient rituals - Yes
* Patented John Carpenter synthesizer soundtrack - Yes
Sounds pretty good, huh? In the end, though, it's probably half of what it could be. Comes off as disturbing more than scary or a good sci-fi movie. Still probably worth watching as a diversionary horror flick; though if you're a horror fan already, you probably have seen it just because it's a sequel to Halloween.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Arguably Scott's best...
...but that's not saying a lot. This is the first movie he's ever made that's gotten any emotional response out of me. That was in the middle of the movie, when real-life tragedies (both Somali and American) were depicted. It's hard not to get a response out of that. The end was typical _cinematic_ tragedy brought upon us by the Scott brothers. Scott had to get in his slow motion overdramatic stuff, with kids running through the smoke of the battle and whatnot. Whatever.
But I will say that the Scott Bros. discovery and subsequent overuse of the long lens beginning sometime around 1985 was truly a benefit to this movie. War movies shot with a wide lens just don't work very well. Most of Ridley's new additions to his bag of tricks are direct lifts from other recent war efforts such as "Saving Private Ryan." There's one awkward editing moment that plays like something out of a bad music video -- when you see it, you'll know what I'm talking about.
The beginning focused on introducing us to the characters, who then promptly disappeared into a cloud of smoke. Josh and Ewan are among the few that are recognizable, but only since they're such big stars. I find it impossible to believe I'm saying this, but even MICHAEL BAY developed characters better in "Pearl Harbor."
On a casting note, I was very impressed with Eric Bana in this movie. Can't wait to see what he does as Bruce Banner.