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11 reviews in total 
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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Look deeper, beneath the absurdity., 12 November 2008

Firstly I'd like to say that "Aqua Teen" is one of the funniest animated shows, mixing absurd situations with absurd characters who do absurd things. But great comedies (which this is) are more than simply absurd, they're smart. They bring us into the world of the cartoon and have us relate to each character. So I'm going to look into why this is a "great" animated comedy, merely because of its characterization.

Carl is a poor, single, overweight man on welfare whose main cares in life consist of the cardboard cutout of a girl advertising beer, his car, lawn, swimming pool, and reminiscing of the old days, when he would get hammered and go to rock concerts. The interesting part about Carl is that he never admits to any kind of friendship with the Hunger Force, yet they are in his swimming pool almost every episode, and all of them, through all the bickering, get along. Even though Carl is always apparently miserable, his true joy comes from the friends he presently has, which he never addresses. How many people do you know who want to go back to the "good ol' days" when everything was simpler and sweeter, but fail to see the good things in their present life until they're reminiscing about it twenty years down the line?

Shake is funny. Very funny. Perhaps the funniest character in any cartoon show ever. This is achieved in an ingenious paradox. While he is cruel (esp. to Meatwad), self-indulgent, and egotistical with absolutely no sign of empathy, he is the most likable character in the show. Why? I think it's because of his simplicity, like a more intelligent form of a child (aren't children selfish and always unsatisfied?), and who can blame a child? All you can do is laugh at their behavior.

Meatwad is also like a child, but instead of being the kind that doesn't share (like Shake), he is the kid that gives his toy truck to the new kid in school to play with in the sandbox. While Shake is the most likable, Meatwad is the most lovable, and is even more-so because he is missing a brain (does Shake's intelligence give way to vice? If one looks at the episode where Meatwad becomes smarter than the other two, it would seem so). But we can never "like" Meatwad, because we can't associate with him in his stupidity, we can only love him like a small, cuddly dog. Meatwad's voice sounds like a mixture of Yoda and Terrence from SouthPark, which is, somehow, indescribably perfect.

Frylock's character acts many times as the mediator in arguments. He is highly intelligent, humane, but at the same time conceded in his intelligence and humanity (when Meatwad gets a brain and surpasses Frylock's intellect, Frylock becomes jealous and angry). He is individually the least funny of them all, but this is on purpose. He is the sanity in the absurdity, accentuating that absurdity.

Perhaps the best aspect of the cartoon is its lack of development. Nobody changes (at least in character) from one episode to the next. Carl is still poor and resentful, Meatwad is still lovably stupid, Shake still conniving and hilarious, and Frylock still intellectual and, well, normal.

It is impossible to keep a straight face during any episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force (most especially when the Mooninites make an appearance). But if one allows himself to watch with an active mind, you will see a satire on human nature, which inclines the characters to do some absurd things. But are we really ones to laugh at these characters in their absurdity? Wouldn't we be actually laughing at ourselves? Of course! That's another part of the genius. It takes human faults and shows how stupid and fruitless they are. And by laughing at ourselves, we are in fact reflecting upon ourselves.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Road to Perdition--9/10, 11 November 2008

"Perdition, n. The fact or condition of being completely destroyed or ruined; utter destruction, complete ruin." This word, so kindly given a definition by Oxford English Dictionary, fully embodies and is also the antithesis of the film "Road to Perdition." At first one may say that the entire film is one long road towards destruction- the destruction of a man's family, then of his morality. Or maybe it implies destruction of a hit-man's ex- employers by the ex-employee. Or it could be the destruction of all the hopes and dreams of a man, followed by the destruction of those who destroyed the hopes and dreams. The point is, these forms of perdition are not what the film is meant to be about. Yes, vengeance is part of it, but it's not the point.

Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is a mercenary who is part of a mob, where his Dad's (the late Paul Newman) the boss, and brother (Daniel Craig) his associate. After his wife and one of two sons is killed by his brother, also intending to murder Sullivan and his second son, Michael and Peter (Liam Aiken) go on the run to primarily escape danger, then go on a mission of revenge- both corporal and pecuniary.

Throughout the film, Michael kills men practically in front of Peter, robs banks with the help of Peter, and, alongside Peter, is shot at by a sociopathic hit-man (who happens to have an interest in the art of photography and played by Jude Law). The thing about these horrendous acts by Michael in front of his young son, who is merely a child, is that the audience supports each one after the other, smiling at the bank robberies and satiated by the coldblooded murders of his enemies. Through all his faults, Michael is our hero. He steals the money for revenge, not greed (as shown when a hefty sum is left for a pair of Good Samaritans). While he kills for redemption, the man chasing him kills for pleasure. Michael had the same profession his sadistic chaser (Jude Law) has (coincidence?).

And Michael truly loves his son- probably the only thing he does love. He doesn't know him well at first (he has no idea what his son does in school), but soon he knows his son more than any other ("You're more like me," he says to Peter). Michael is a man filled to the brim with hate for his family's assassins and love for his son. In the end, it is the hate that is destroyed. It is assassinated. It is removed by (who else?) his only son, who in the end performs an act that, in itself, defines the movie: the question of morality in murder is finally answered.

A Method From Philosophy, 27 September 2008

Rene Descartes wrote the famous "Discourse on Method" to pursue answers to philosophical ambiguities, as well as to find a way to live using those answers. Philosophy is many times merely used in movies to be intriguing ("Waking Life" did this to my great annoyance) and to make the moviegoer think about "far-off" and "crazy" concepts just to do so. While there is an entertaining aspect to this approach, it lacks depth. "I Heart Huckabees" looks into many of the existential concepts of "Waking Life," but puts them in the context of real life- real emotions and real consequences. It's suggested method of living without human drama may not be practical to be followed completely, but it does show some insight into the insignificance of many situations we are constantly immersed in in our daily lives, and suggests that people lighten up when bad things come our way. This movie just put me in a great mood after watching and also hit that philosophical spot in my stomach.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
same feel as mystic river, different take, but just as great, 12 June 2008

First of all, I would just like to extend an apology to Ben Affleck for having the predisposition that he was solely of mainstream Hollywood, in the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez. Although that may have been true of Affleck's past as an actor, as a director, he rivaled if not surpassed Sean Penn's masterpiece take off of a Dennis Lehane novel, "Mystic River." Along with his brother, Casey's, performance and an incredibly well-crafted plot in a well-written screenplay, this movie is a masterpiece on its own.

I won't even attempt to dive into the plot, but merely say that an independent investigator, Patrick Kenzie (Affleck) and his wife (Michelle Monaghan) are hired to help find a seven-year-old girl gone missing in what is not as clear-cut case of kidnapping as they want to believe. The film heavily explores the theme of right vs. wrong, and successfully reaches its audience. Never have I felt so torn between two sides in a movie.

Enough said, though. Before I go too far, I just want to tell anybody who reads this to watch to movie. It was one of the better-spent hour and fifty minutes I've taken.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
equaled if not surpassed Ratatouille, 11 June 2008

I had the pleasure to see this film last night in theaters. I was expecting little. Maybe it was because Dreamworks hadn't really made films to my liking recently, or maybe it was because I didn't think Jack Black's comedic talent (what I thought to be a mix of his voice ALONG WITH facial expressions) would do well in an animated film. Well, Dreamworks delivered what I thought to be the best comedy I've seen this year (that's right, include the non-cartoons in this category).

The animation, firstly, was a major reason for the film's successful comedy. I was correct in saying Jack Black's facial expressions give merit to his overall performance, which is why the graphics and the perfection of just that in the visual characters had to be spot on- and it was. The script was surprisingly blunt and heartwarming at the same time. The voices were perfectly and hysterically matched (anytime Po the Panda's father spoke I couldn't stop laughing). The fight scenes were actually very impressive while maintaining the spoof-feel of the film, making them well-choreographed (if that's the term you use for a cartoon) and one of the funniest aspects of the movie.

In all, I couldn't stop laughing throughout the whole movie. Now I don't really know if it's a "great" movie in all aspects for it to be an Oscar-winner, but I think the laughter speaks for itself on the matter of whether to buy a ticket and see this movie as soon as you possibly can.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Not horrible, but most definitely not good., 8 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was watching this film from five minutes in to twenty minutes to go, thinking some incredible twist was on my hands. My heart raced, my palms were excreting sweat, and then... Nicholas Cage gave a right hook to Diane Delano's face... in a bear suit. What? And then bees swarmed. But the bees had nothing really to do with anything. But what about those flashbacks? No explanation. I don't know who could have fathomed this to be an adequate screenplay to act in, but I wouldn't have expected Nicholas Cage. Anyway, I gave this film a 5/10 because I was actually entertained for a little bit when I expected a better ending. But for the record, I'm being generous.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Crucible, 8 June 2008

If an equivalent of the Salem witch trials were being held today in some community, the charges of the executed would be laughed at. But at the time, the Puritan community felt so threatened by the "devil" (which, invariably can come in any form at any time and force people to falsely testify about a previous testimony that could have or could not have been true, thus making an educated decision concerning the defendant's guilt nearly impossible) that they would kill those they love if there was the slightest chance of his "presence."

Arthur Miller's writing, firstly, is drama in the purest form. There was not one point in the film that I was not immersed in the plot. The cinematography pleasantly surprised me. I was expecting a much more, well, play-like attempt in the film. But I guess the surprise was only mine in my film ignorance.

Daniel Day Lewis was perfect. He displayed Proctor's loyal yet skeptical personality, and, without the audience noticing, moved from being stress-free and resolved of his adultery sin with his wife, in the beginning of the film, to a man ready to do anything to save his wife's life, including kill. I also have to mention the actor who played Judge Danforth (Paul Scofield), for he was my favorite character. An image of justice, he did just the opposite in the play, ironically killing without remorse or hesitation in the name of God.

I am still trying to pick apart this film for all its underlying themes and motifs. But I guess that's what makes a great film; that it stays on your mind for days in everything you see and every decision you make. Read the play, watch the play, watch the film, or do all of these, for you won't regret its impact.

unbelievable talent, 29 May 2008

I just happened to come across this one-man-show on HBO, and I was hit in the face with true talent for the performing arts. John Leguizamo provided me with a fresh of breath air from today's Lindsey Lohans and the uncreative, less-than-quality shows and movies in cinema (and staged shows for that matter). He let me know that there is more to show business for an actor than choosing the right parts and getting lucky with a hit movie (granted, that may be part of it). For the main part, though, it is the skills needed to entertain, acquired through practice and hard work. I don't think I would be able to watch another standup for the length of this show. This show should stand as the epitome of great, contemporary Broadway.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A film that doesn't ask for praise., 28 May 2008

It seems that many of the films I've seen in my lifetime beg to be thought of as a "great film." They want the Oscars, so they go controversial, take radical cinematography approaches (which end up giving headaches and confusion), and have other overly-bold characteristics that take away from the true purpose of a dramatic film- to send a message that moves the audience. Maybe that message may be disturbing (like in "Requium for a Dream") or maybe it's insightful ("Into the Wild"), but it must have something that will stick with the movie- watcher for days, and have them question ideals, conformities, or whatever it may be.

That being said, The Terminal is one of the best dramatic films I have ever seen. Not because of Tom Hanks' incredible performance, and not because of the lighting or the shooting sequences. The reason why I loved this film so much was because of its many messages, a major one being that one can still have age-old integrity and honesty in a world where it may serve you better in the short-term to make an invirtuous decision.

Tom Hanks' character, Viktor Navorski, is an intercepted voyager from the fictitious country Crocasia that is intercepted at an American airport's terminal because of his country's civil war, which forces the American government to label him as having no current citizenship. Throughout his long stay in the terminal, during which he fashions meals out of free snacks, learns the English language (okay, a little far-fetched, but it had to be done), and makes numerous friends simply on the basis of his honesty and trustworthiness. I'm not going to go too much into the plot, but I can say that it is NOT a Romance. Some descriptions of the film may give that suggestion, but the plot centers around friendship, not relationship.

Viktor's constant acts of kindness to those who don't plan to give him anything in return (for instance when he hilariously offers a gigantic fake fish to the airport manager that is keeping him locked in the terminal), and his simplicity in morals personally moved me to a point of realization. We all know what the right and wrong things to do are. Even if we may habitually do the wrong things, we do know they are pervasive. Steven Spielberg shows in this film that living a good life does not take the genius of a philosopher or the experience of a priest, but merely making every decision the way we know is the right way. This film doesn't ask to be held up for acclaim; it just asks to be watched and learned from.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Daniel Day Lewis made my year, 27 May 2008

I recently saw a "pay-per-view" of "There Will Be Blood" and I was stunned. Not blown away, not taken aback, not shocked, not horrified, but stunned. Going into the film I knew that Daniel Day Lewis' character Daniel Plainview would be (or end up being for that matter) a man with no empathy, but only his lust for wealth. I saw Lewis in Gangs of New York, but failed to recognize his supremacy as an actor, for I was young. In this film he may have given the best performance I have ever seen. Throughout the film Plainview is, in one aspect, simple (or "plain"). Never does he give the appearance of deception, which is I'm sure is his goal as an entrepreneur. He knows what he wants and he knows what he doesn't want (an example would be when he walks away from a prospective oil project in the early moments of the film due to the chaos among the townspeople). Plainview works patiently and smoothly until he gets what he wants. This is obvious in his actions of building the oil rigs and even in the way that he speaks. But when needed to achieve his ultimate goal, he takes violent and even deadly measures. Daniel Day Lewis acts the Plainview character to perfection, even down to his display of impatience for people when he bites his cheeks and moves his mouth about in frustration when in a conversation. I can not even really begin to describe why Daniel Day Lewis was the most believable as I have seen an actor unless you have seen the film, which I suggest any readers who haven't already do right away. As a film, there was no cohesive plot, there was no ongoing score (a trend, along with "No Country For Old Men," that I am thrilled to see, as it accentuates the performances), there was no twist or surprise ending. There was only the deterioration of the humanity of a man and its effects on his family and others. That is why I was stunned as the credits rolled; I knew what was going to happen, but was still captivated nonetheless. In the last scene, all of Plainviews choices made throughout the film are shown to truly make him the man he becomes- evil and unremorseful.

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