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The ne plus ultra of bad
R.O.T.O.R. is one of those films us Homo sapiens should put into a time capsule so that future generations/civilizations can witness a glorious achievement in 'film' which captures the zeitgeist of the nineteen eighties. Forget the Berlin wall falling or the end of the Cold War, R.O.T.O.R. is the greatest achievement of 1989 and director Cullen Blaine was Man of the Year. Not only is this the cinematic gem the worst thing ever put on celluloid, it also shares the dichotomous distinction of being the funniest film ever made. A perennial favorite at 'bad movie nights with friends', this piece of solid gold belongs in a film museum somewhere.
Tengoku to jigoku (1963)
Solid, if pedantic, Kurosawa detective film
Taking his cue from American film noir, Kurosawa gives us a painstakingly detailed detective film. Though the setup is extremely deliberate, the film really picks up with the feverish pursuit of the criminal, with some laudable acting all around. Kurosawa deftly touches upon the economic divisions within Japan at the time as well as the sociological ills (heroine) facing the youth at the time. While Kurosawa's labored pedantry sometimes works against it, this is solidly directed/acted picture and a great nod to the film noir of the 1940s and 50s. However, I would more highly recommend Kurosawa's other detective film 'Stray Dog' which I felt was slightly stronger.
The Boondock Saints (1999)
Troy Duffy's "Boondock Saints" is an execrable mess filled with atrocious editing, a terrible soundtrack and appaling performances. After seeing this film I felt compelled to go straight to confession and receive expiation for my sin in buying into the overwhelming hype surrounding this 'slick, stylish film'. Everytime Mr. Duffy faded to black needlessly, I thought about denouncing my Catholicism. It gets three stars out of ten, one for the father, one for the son and one for the holy spirit. - Amen
Brilliance is irrelevant; a serviceable action film.
Given all the impropitious factors that were stacked against this latest installment I think the film works reasonably well and has at least the visceral appeal that a 170 million dollar blockbuster should have. Yes it lacks the artistry and elan that Cameron brought to the first two installments and yes it does simply rehash and expand previous action sequences that made the first two films so enjoyable. However I found the acting to be serviceable and the human element was palpable enough to the point where it did not feel like a completely boneheaded action film. My main qualm with the characters was with the TX who was not fleshed out enough and not nearly as menacing as the T-1000 from the second film. The majority of the action sequences serve to simply entertain us and do so in spades. However they were also a way to mask the fact that the story was incredibly thin and the dialogue laconic and derivative of the popular catch phrases established in the first two films. But in conclusion it must be noted that outside of the context of the first two films this is a summer action movie that entertains and even makes fun of itself to the joy of the viewer. The action thankfully does not really too heavily on CGI effects and ends up boing much more entertaining than 'The Matrix Reloaded' or 'The Hulk' by action standards. Compared with the first two films it is no more than a road movie with action sequences and minimal sci-fi elements thrown in. Not entirely forgettable but the second one is still by far the finest of the three. 6 out of 10, worth a look for entertainment purposes.
Road to Perdition (2002)
Muted drama's parts are more than the sum.
In short Sam Mendes chose to follow up his groundbreaking and stunning debut American Beauty with a more conventional crime drama. The early praises that this is the new Godfather are immature and not fair. You cannot compare an Italian mob story with an Irish one. You also cannot compare Irish father/son relationship with and Italian father/son relationship. Character's in the Godfather such as Sonny and Don Corleone are extremely emotional and expressive of their love, hate and mistrust for each other. A typical Irish father is quiet and less expressive of love for his son. Therefore the film cannot resonate on the emotional level the way the Godfather did.Leigh's character is wasted and the second half of the film lacks a strong antagonist. All we know about Jude Law's character is he photograph's dead people and has bad teeth. Also Sullivan would be dead if they wanted him bad enough.
second half saves the film from mediocrity. (Minor Spoilers)
The first hour of "Platoon" is so poorly written I thought this was going to destroy the entire picture. It is the most basic humanist story imaginable that a little snot like myself who has never fought in war could have predicted that the message of the film would be "War is hell" yadda yadda yadda Charlie Sheen is so unconvincing. I like how Stone chose to show his growth as a person and a soldier in the span of five minutes:
Sheen cruelly shoots at the feet of the one- legged civilian boy making him dance. Less than five minutes later he walks up a hill to see platoon men raping a civilian and suddenly he's mister humanitarian. "She's a human being man" yeah OK mr. humanitarian.
The drug use in the film was portrayed as playful and cool rather than the cheap escape it actually was. Also Stone paints the good and evil lines so obviously apart that there is no conflict for hearts and minds. War is about good and evil not good versus evil. The Vietnam war is a prime example of that.
On the upside however, willem dafoe was great as elias barns monologue on death was compelling and the closing battle sequence was the best depicted chaos of the Vietnam war. Probably more realistic than the order and battle lines depicted in most Vietnam films. However if you wanna a great film that says something more than "war is hell" check out Full Metal Jacket the best Vietnam film of the bunch. Overall not bad the second half of Platoon is better than the by-the-numbers first half. 6 out of 10
An average monster flick: no more, no less.
I dont really know what people were expecting going into this film. I mean the film is called "Godzilla". The jaded and privileged humans that we are ran ourselves into the theatre and shelled out seven bucks to see a cgi lizard tear up New York. We didn't pay to see anything more. Did you expect good writing, great score and cinematography? Yes the writing and sentimental moments were pure garbage and yes it does rip off "Jurassic Park", yes Godzilla looks stupid and unconvincing but that was always the appeal of the Godzilla movies. I mean take any of the previous Godzilla movies they're all lame but enjoyable to an extent. This one was just a little more lame and a little less enjoyable. Hey Jean Reno wasn't bad now was he? 5 out of 10.
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Great Kubrick twist on the costume genre.
The film is visually flawless, and its scenic beauty is shaped and manipulated very well by Stanley Kubrick. The plot is of little consequence, a simple rise and fall story which Kubrick tries to add flare and satire too. His attention to symmetry, lighting, and cinematography is impeccable. However it lacks that feeling of bold experimentation and excitement that is found in his more well-known films such as "A Clockwork Orange" and "A Space Odyssey". It is definitely not the most interesting Kubrick film simply because the material was not as strong or moving. Yet the Kubrickan elements found in all his works are portrayed with great effort in "Barry Lyndon". Kubrick works within the genre to make a more unconventional comment on the aristocracy of the times and primal human nature in us all throughout all walks of life. Kubrick uses the actors as mere pawns of their social and natural barriers. It is a period film without significant love interest or much action, a rare thing in the genre. This works to add a twist to the often stuffy and trivial crap that most period films put forward. Kubrick had a greater design for the film as opposed making a by the numbers costume drama. Not his finest but a must for all Kubrick fans and someone interested on a different and interesting take on the genre.
A mess of a film,offensive, last hour is the antithesis of the whole premise.5 out of 10.
For about an hour, "Pumpkin" is a witty satire that aptly depicts sorority life and so. cal suburbia, set to a great use of music and the wonderful Christina Ricci. For about the last hour of the film, it becomes a mess of all sorts: it tries to be a heart-warming film with a core when from the start it had been a smart satire that was supposed to defy a soppy romantic ending with disgusting cliches.
The writers of the film clearly have no grasp on how to make a cohesive story. With in the course of two hours (or however long and drawn-out this film was)virtually all the characters were completely inconsistent with what their character was supposed to be. The boyfriend whom at the start seems to have his head on his shoulders in comparison with Caroline, is then abruptly shifted to be the jerk and back again. Pumpkin's mother at first was portrayed as a caring mom who had done a great deal to help and encourage Pumpkin. By the end of this mess she is portrayed as heartless and misunderstanding. The scenes of the special games were completely offensive and were obviously used for cheap laughs.
Also the fact that the filmmakers do not show the love scene between Pumpkin and Caroline but they choose to show Kent having sex shows that they could not poignantly portray a real romance between the two characters and that the story was all based on improbable whim and unlikelihood.
The sad part about the last half of the film is that the very people it satirizes would love the audience-friendly ending. The mushy and implausible conclusion would have sorority girls swooning like no other.
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Decent well-paced sequel, cant top the orginal however.
It was quite a task for writer harold ramis and director Ivan Reitman to follow the success of the sci/fi comedy hit "Ghostbusters" because usually most sequels have an air of pomp to them and lose track of what the original was about. However the writer/director chose to make a well-paced sequel without trying to do to much.
The writing focuses on wise one-liners that work pretty well keeping in line with the wittiness of the first film. The love angle between Lewis and Janine was a little silly and overwrought and took away from some of the adventurous feel of the first film. The sequel also lacks that "us against them" vibe that made the first so enjoyable. However I applaud the writer/director form very playfully staying within the same story and not trying to do too much. The special effects were virtually unimproved on from the first film but this gave an air of normality to usually bloated sequels. The romance between Murray and Weaver was amusing and the performances of all the cast were on par with the first. Also Vigo made a much more scary and funny villian than the pathetic Zule creature from the first.
Although it cannot create the fun and excitement of the original "Ghostbusters II" will not disappointment fans of the first films sly humor and cheesy/entertaining action. Not bad at all: 7 out of 10.