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no better example of how not to create suspense
It's significant that nobody has bothered to review this 2006 disaster in IMDb 2 years down the track. Yes it's that bad: 60 minutes of boredom - nothing happens - followed by 20 minutes of utter confusion. The incompetents who made this think that suspense is generated by not revealing anything as the so called plot attempts to progress, but all that does is create confusion. When things finally start happening nothing has any rhyme nor reason. You constantly wonder: What is this? Why did that happen? Who is this person who just appeared out of the blue? Why are they doing that to that person? It's as though a quite reasonable initial concept was handed to a final-year film school class for an end of year project with the threat that the worst entry would be produced to show future students how not to do it. What I'd like to know is who was it that was stupid enough to get sucked into financing this amateur effort and then let the wannabees that put it together work in a vacuum? Wasn't anybody available to point out the glaring deficiencies before it was released? Amazing! 1/10.
The List (2007)
Ultra Boring and a Nothing Ending
Ignore all the bible bashers heaping praise on this - it is a complete waste of time. It doesn't get to walking pace till 3/4 through and then limps along to a dissatisfying conclusion. If that's not bad enough, you hope at that point all the gaps in logic and disjointed plot turns will come to fruition, but no, you get some meaningless message of 'faith heals all' and no plausible explanations. There's these wishy washy attempts at justifying some magical powers the protagonist and antagonist seem to have (yes, you guessed it, one's the devil, the other's from the good side) with no substance behind them. This flick deserves only to be shown in Cloud Cuckoo Land. The rating people gave it above seems to suggest the church crowd have flocked to this site in numbers - either that or some miracle has occurred. I give it 2/10.
The Lodge (2008)
movie category: the dumb genre
Either this was written and made by three 15-year-olds or they were targeting the double-digit IQ audience and spending the minimum required to somehow show a profit at straight-to-video. It's a cynical attempt to get some product out there without too much effort or creative ability.
There are holes in the script large enough to fly a dozen jumbos through. The acting is ordinary, but not helped by the stupid script, so I wouldn't condemn these unknowns, who probably worked for peanuts. But pay peanuts and... you get flicks like this.
Then there's this attempt at a twist ending that's so ludicrous you wonder if perhaps it was supposed to be a satire all along!
Maybe I got the maker's ages wrong, they could be younger - whatever, they're certainly not the sharpest knives in the drawer, pardon the expression.
Avoid if you've got any taste and a life.
A Truly Wonderful Movie
It's been 24 hours since I watched 'Smokers' and it's still near the forefront of my mind the best indicator of a film's quality and impact. This has moved me to write my first appraisal for IMDb, because when maybe wanting to do so in the past it's the minimum length required that's put me off. I guess I'm just too busy normally and I'm not certainly putting IMDb down over the prerequisite the administrators have their reasons and in my opinion it's one of the world's best websites; in fact, my favourite.
The film is about weed and every of its socioeconomic aspects from the street up, built brilliantly into a story. Whether you're a pothead or not is irrelevant: it's a wonderful journey the filmmakers take you on, and they do so in true style. I've smoked my share in the past so can closely identify with the theme, but haven't for quite a while now. Grass is great for inspiring extraordinary creative thought, but has the opposite effect when you need to be organised and productive in implementing the results of that creativity. Hence my current abstinence. The director/writers highlight this superbly in the scene they keep flashing back to with the two guys running off at the mouth getting high in the toilet classic verbal diarrhoea.
The points that make this movie great:
1. It has that rare quality of unobtrusive camera work. You feel like you're a fly on the wall witnessing life as it is. This is incredibly hard to achieve, and most, even movies with vast budgets, don't attempt to do so for that reason. Examples that have achieved this successfully are Taxi Driver and Cuckoo's Nest in the past, and the best example of all: Easy Rider. The latter had a similar effect on me as a kid as Smokers had yesterday. Yes, folks, we're at genius level with this film. Modern examples are Alpha Dogs, the best film of the last 12 months, and Valley of Angels. Add Southland Tales and you've got the four quality movies of the recent past forget the cr*p that's dished up at the Academy Awards, which is usually only useful for highlighting the films you should avoid.
2. The seamlessness these two clever filmmakers have created is also borne out in the highly talented cast and their superb performances. I've never seen any of them before, so where have they been hiding? The casting people responsible are nothing short of gifted and highly empathic, but it was also the excellent real-life script and the genuine dialogue that allowed the cast to reveal its true worth. Again you felt as though you were right there on the street with them. I'm in awe of how the writer/directors managed to draw out such convincing performances - check out the brothers doing street rap. If you didn't know better you'd be convinced you were watching actual events through some magical hidden camera. This was, of course, the genius of Easy Rider, another low-budget screen gem. I'd love to know how they did it or have been there when they did.
3. It needs to be said that all of the above could have been tainted had the lack of mega-buck initial investment affected the cinematography and camera work, but not so. It was beautifully and accurately filmed, which enhanced, not detracted from, its true-to-life theme. Clever and accurate editing bore this out perfectly. And what better setting than filming it among the unique diversity that is modern day New York? Well done guys, a joy to watch!
4. All good films require a hit-'em-between-the-eyes ending and Smokers does not disappoint. I gave it a 9/10. I can't wait for Alex Foley and Mike Hull's next offering. You guys are gifted.