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Fair Game (2010)
The movie is an almost complete fabrication
The story would have been very exciting if it were promoted as a work of fiction--which it is. However, this is supposed to be historical, and therefore needs to be judged on that basis. And on that basis, it is a complete and total waste of time. This follows in the tradition of movies like JFK, which can be entertaining as long as you consider them pure works of fiction, but have little basis in reality. Unfortunately, most people who see this movie will trust that it is mostly factual, rather than almost completely fictional, and end up being worse off and less-informed than before they sat down to watch it. The editors of the Washington Post, hardly a right-wing neocon publication, absolutely eviscerated this film for its bogus inventions of political fantasy that it tries to pass off as factual. Therefore, I think it was a complete waste of my time to watch it, and would be a waste for anyone else. Either you are already subscribing to the alternate reality promoted in the movie, in which case you don't really need to see it, you don't really know about the facts, in which case you are going to pick up a false story, or you know what really happened, and you are going to sit there wondering what planet the people who made this film were living on. It is really that bad. If you've got a political axe to grind, I recommend getting a bumper sticker, don't waste your time with this ridiculous movie.
The Prestige (2006)
Great movie, ruined by the "ending"
I say "ending", but since the ending is given away about 2/3 into the movie, its not really at the end. That is just where it is confirmed, to those who were in disbelief that such a great film could be utterly ruined.
Plot lines are elsewhere, I am just going to explain why you should skip this movie. First, I will admit that except for this truly fatal flaw, it is an excellent movie. And that's why this was so incredibly disappointing. The movie takes place in the 19th century. Here on earth. And there is a central mystery that is woven throughout the film, and you wrack your brain trying to figure it out. You follow every twist and turn, scrutinize every detail, develop and evaluate theories on what the answer could be, and eagerly anticipate the revealing. And then, all of a sudden, its science fiction. They had a cloning machine. How completely cowardly a solution that was. If you are watching Star Trek or something, you know that you are in the world of science fiction, where anything goes. A cloning machine is a formal possibility, and if that ends up to be the explanation, you fully accept it because it makes sense in that reference frame. But it is entirely out of place when you are supposedly in a "period piece." Turns out, it was never a period piece, it was science fiction pretending to be a period piece. That's dumb. You can't develop some clever puzzle, and then wimp out and never solve it, but instead just invoke science fiction. Extremely lazy and irresponsible.
This reminds me of another terrible move, The Forgotten. Same exact fatal flaw (except the rest of the movie wasn't that great either). There's a mystery, with clues and evidence that are seemingly impossible to reconcile, and you can't wait to find out how its being done. And then, they tell you its aliens from outer space. Gee, thanks. Stupid stupid stupid. Its more angering with The Prestige because it was so much the better movie, and they ruined it for no reason. A cloning machine over 100 years ago? How freaking stupid.
Primal Fear (1996)
Boilerplate courtroom drama
I can't for the life of me understand how anyone could say this movie was "unpredictable" or had any twist. The story played out precisely as you would predict it would from the moment the plot is set up. I'm sorry, but there was just nothing interesting in the movie, it seemed like it followed the checklist of courtroom drama flicks, without deviating from the path one inch to give you something unique or interesting about the film. Go ahead and see the film for yourself, but every moment a new piece of the plot comes on screen, think about exactly how you think it is going to work out, and you will be right. It is just that predictable, and it was annoying that the filmmaker obviously thought it was something clever, when in fact it was nothing of the sort. I'll agree that Norton's acting was impressive, but I'm not sure its worth sitting through this 2 hour dragger just to see that.
The Village (2004)
Do not see this movie, under any circumstances, it is a waste of time.
I'm not exaggerating, this movie is a complete waste. There is nothing redeeming about it. It is boring, it is pointless, it is unfulfilling. Do you like scary, suspenseful movies? Definitely don't waste your time here. I scare easily. This movie didn't have the slightest hint of a scare (a jolt of loud music here and there doesn't count).
Don't believe me? OK, ask yourself this: why do you want to see this movie?
Is it because you think it sounds like it is a really interesting flick? No, I doubt it. Like me and scores of other people who have been posting theories about the movie prior to its release, you want to see the end. The trailers were a riddle, and you want to go to the movie to see the answer. Now really, is that any way to market a good movie? No. Its a trick to get you to shell out money to find out the ending to a tantalizing clip in a trailer. A cheap trick. It won't work again.
Summary of the movie? Old-fashioned people live in an old-fashioned isolated town. No power, no cars, no nothing, just as it was in, say, 1897.
Nobody leaves the town because nobody goes in the woods where scary things live. Scary things have agreed to leave people alone, as long as people stay out of the woods and leave scary things alone. By the way, throughout the movie they call these scary things "those we do not speak of". But they speak of them (and little else) throughout the whole movie, so that seems ridiculous. Eventually someone gets hurt, and there is a reason to cross the woods to get to a town, because in towns there is medicine.
If I could keep you from going to this movie by giving away a spoiler, I would. But I can't. There is no "spoiler". Its a movie, like any other movie. Yes, it has a plot, a resolution, and an ending, and you don't know these things right now. But it has nothing surprising or shocking. No, there is no twist.
Oh, OK, MAYBE you could call some part of it a twist. But you've already figured it out. Trust me. Try this. You know what's in the trailer. Now, think of the absolute simplest, most-straightforward, uncreative explanation you can imagine. Got it? No, wrong, you are thinking too hard. It isn't that complicated. Release your mind. Still don't have it? OK OK, try this, pretend you are 12 years old. NOW, what would the simplest most obvious ending be? There you go, you got it. Aren't you glad I saved you $10?