Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
I don't see what the big deal was.
I went ahead and added a spoiler warning even though I figure that 99 percent of you already know what the film turns out to be about.
There were a lot of good things about this film. The acting from Morgan Freeman and Hillary Swank was superb. Clint Eastwood was excellent. And there were a number of scenes in the film that were genuinely great.
In terms of the euthanasia thing, I didn't have a problem with it. I thought it provided for some of the strongest scenes of the film, particularly regarding the scene where she throws her mother out because her mother was trying to get her to sign all her money over to her.
But in spite of all of that, the film only warrants a 6.
I found the film to be a bit insincere and I could see exactly how a lot of the scenes were manipulating me. And because of that factor, I don't think it lived up to its full potential.
Caterina va in città (2003)
This should have been a great film
I wish I could say that this was a great film because there really were a lot of things that one could like about it.
As it turns out, however, it is a good, but flawed film. I will give this film a recommendation, I think it is worth seeing.
The film made a number of incredible social statements. It really cuts to the quick about the nature of society, the people who can manipulate the system on both sides are in collusion with each other to keep their privilege. The people who are on the outside find themselves on the outside, looking in. They can be taken under someone's wing but they are never really more then a pet, the Jimmy Olsen to someone's Superman.
The film had spectacular acting, particularly from the lead.
So what then keeps the film from being great? One of the biggest problems comes from the episodic and picaresque structure of the film. It has the kind of structure that is more interesting because of its discontinuity then because of its continuity. And while it makes for a lot of interesting discussions, this could turn a lot of people off, probably even more then the subtitles.
Honestly, the problem is that it begins with Caterina being pulled in many directions and it allows us to see facets of her through these different social lenses. The trouble is that we never get a baseline reading on her in the beginning before she moves to Rome. This is done very well but we never get the impression of her as anything more then a tablet that the ideologies of others are being written on, even at the end of the film when she supposedly finds herself. I won't give a spoiler as to how but the ending that someone else commented was her in her element is really just another case of this.
You know what, I've changed my mind. This is a wonderful film to watch. Its a spectacular way to look at what life is really like when you are outside the powerful and privileged circles of society and you can only be influenced by the ideologies of others but you really lack any voice of your own.
Watch this along with Welcome to the Dollhouse and see what life was like for the rest of us. Let this film show you the social cliques, collusion and ideology and let Solondz show you the sheer cruelty of a society that, as J. G. Ballard said, normalized psychopathy. And see it for what it really is, not some sugarcoated network television version (I think you guys know what very popular television series I'm talking about).
All musicals are in the dust of this one
This makes Rocky Horror look like Cannibal: The Musical. And its ten times better then Phantom of the Opera. Seriously the only movie musical that even comes close is Moulin Rouge.
This is one of the best movies ever.
The camp value of this is just right. There's enough for it to be over the top and entertaining while it does not strive to take itself far too seriously and, refreshingly, no attempts are made at verisimilitude.
The soundtrack is filled with some instant classics like "Lonely Pew," "Listen to Jesus Jimmy" and the title track "Reefer Madness."
The acting in the film is top notch. Everyone is cast perfectly and the 30 year old Christian Campbell even works as a high schooler in a film this over the top. Amy Spanger was impressive (and I still can't believe that she's MARRIED to Michael C. Hall) and I had never seen her in a film before. Kristen Bell has superstar written all over her thanks to this film, a short stint on Deadwood and a hit TV series.
And it has Alan Cumming, what more needs to be said?
This was the perfect movie to come out at the perfect time (a time of strong armed moralizing with little actual factual backing), though unfortunately a lot of the people who would learn the most from the film are the type that the subversive camp would be totally lost on.
If Shakespeare had written a Western
Up until I saw Deadwood I would have thought the whole Western genre was dead (and I believe I even made a thread somewhere that asked if the Western was dead), but I was wrong.
Deadwood surpasses the Western while still being a Western. Its kind of the Western for people who don't like Westerns.
The world of Deadwood is not really one of black hats and white hats but really a world painted in subtle shades of grey where one has to choose between the lesser or two or more evils. This alone should put it above most Westerns.
And Deadwood really feels like the old west, you really feel like you are in the camp. It doesn't focus just on cowboys and Indians, horse thieves and other western clichés but the actual people and the place itself.
And the acting is, without exception, excellent. There is not a single person who is not believable in their role, they all seem to have stepped right out of the 19th century rather then an actor from contemporary times trying to recreate the old west. Particular kudos to Ian McShane (Al Swearengen) as one of the most fascinating almost Shakespearean villains on television, Robin Weigert as Calamity Jane and Brad Dourif as Doc Cochran.
The language of the show is so paradoxical. It mixes the high language of allusion, allegory and metaphor with a heaping spoonful of profanity (and don't get me wrong, there is a lot of profanity on the show) but it seems to work perfectly. I'm not sure how historically correct it is but it is probably a heck of a lost closer then the familiar "dagnabbit." The plots are quite intriguing but do require starting the show from the very beginning (you could not jump in halfway through and have any idea what was going on, a great strength and a great weakness of most HBO series). The show can be meticulously paced at times (read "slow" if you don't like it) but if you do like the show then you can say that it lingers on things.
Probably the greatest weakness of the show that I could see is that, besides Calamity Jane, most of the female characters seem to be quite passive. But this was the end of the 19th Century and the roles of women were radically different so I would say this might be more historically accurate though some feminists may disagree with me. But I do not see this as a problem, all of the characters on the show are intriguing enough to keep you watching.
Seriously, even if you have hated every Western ever made, watch the first episode of Deadwood, its worth giving a chance to.
Good but could have been so much more
I think that the film would have greatly improved had it spent more time delving in to Andre Stander's psychology or his double life as a police officer/bank robber. As it stands, most of the film seems to be about his bank robbery spree. The psychology of such a character is potentially fascinating but as it stands in the film, Andre Stander is not totally explored. He seems to do it more out of anger or thrills or boredom but it is never totally clarified which it is though it seems to be a combination of the three.
I know that there were a lot of real life events that constrained the ability to tell the story in the film and I understand that.
I wrote on another board that American actors could not do accents. I am not South African nor do I know all of the subtle minutiae of a South African accent but Thomas Jane seemed to pull one off. It didn't seem to disappear for a few minutes at a time or sound radically different from the other characters. Congratulations to him on an excellent performance.
Angels in America (2003)
First half amazing, second half not as great
First of all, I agree with what was said above about it being difficult to appreciate if you are a staunch anti-gay conservative who thinks that any representation of gays other then as some sort of evil predator is part of a gay agenda dedicated to recruiting Christian children into their lifestyle. Thankfully there aren't a lot of people like that who would even see this to begin with. If you see this as propagandistic though then you are really misreading it.
Overall, I think that it was a very well presented story. I have not read the original play though so I was not prejudiced in that manner regarding the adaptation.
The first half of this series blew my mind. The acting was superb from all in the cast, particularly Meryl Streep in several roles, including a turn as a rabbi where I had to see her in the credits to know it was her and Jeffrey Wright, two of the finest actors alive today. The plot seemed to flow perfectly and the magical realist feel of the picture worked wonderfully.
The second half seemed to slow down drastically. It was not able to hold my interest like the first half did. The plausibility seemed to suffer quite a bit. I fidgeted occasionally and wondered when it would end. It was by no means terrible (the worst ending ever going to the Marvel comic book 1602) but I could not in good conscience say that it was as good as the first half.
The first half receives a 9/10 and the second half receives a 7/10. With a heavy heart I give it an overall rating of 7/10 and while I would not normally recommend something with that rating to everyone, I do give this my blessing and recommend that everyone see it.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
So much potential
I gave the movie a 7 out of 10 overall. It seems to have so much more potential and it could have been ten times better with a few small changes. No spoilers but vague descriptions of things that happen in the film.
Now for the breakdown.
MUSIC: Gerard Butler's singing was better then it seems from the trailer. Overall though, it can be a bit too dense and blaring, the music can overpower the singing and it can be hard to understand the lyrics during a couple parts (really only when there are like twenty people on screen singing). Don't get me wrong, its a great musical but the music works better on stage. 9/10.
VISUALS: Great. The film looks incredible. 10/10.
STORY: Yeah, the story itself is nothing special, your basic love triangle between two equally creepy men. Schumacher does add to it a bit with a few flash forward scenes and a new ending but honestly, I don't think that, with the exception of the new ending, they add that much to the overall story. While it works for a stage musical to have less focus on a plot, in the film version it does seem weak. 5/10.
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Can someone actually film a movie musical that doesn't look like a stage musical? Moulin Rouge was the closest that a film has come but Phantom of the Opera, while it does do some brilliant tricks with the camera, still sets up almost all of its musical numbers like a stage show and not a film. 6/10.
CAST: Emmy Rossum is great. Patrick Wilson is serviceable but nothing exceptional. Gerard Butler actually surprises me but they could have found someone much better. The rest of the cast serves their purpose but, other then Minnie Driver, no one really stands out. The one flaw is that Emmy Rossum is like 17 and her two suitors both appear to be over 30, historically accurate yes but still creepy. I think that someone better then Gerard Butler could have been found easily and Patrick Wilson just seems kind of creepy when he is with Emmy Rossum, its too Lolita-esquire. 7/10
FILM ADAPTATION: Way too theatrical. I think that the film would have been better if Webber had used a slightly more hands off approach. It seemed to be set up like a musical for the stage rather then for the screen. 4/10
OVERALL: 7/10. Excellent film but filled with the potential to be much better.
Blade: Trinity (2004)
Inconsistent, should have been better
It was not terrible but I did feel let down. I liked the first Blade film and I really liked the second Blade film.
The only real positive of this film was Ryan Reynolds, I think this will probably be a breakout role for him and normally I find characters like the one he played in this film annoying--which should say a lot about the rest of the film. Wesley Snipes is no Lawrence Olivier but, after hearing that he stayed in character on the set, I am curious if that footage would not have been better then his actual performance in the film. The res tof the performances were mediocre, in particular Parker Posey who must have taken the role before realizing that she could not speak clearly with vampire teeth. The few cool things in the film (like the vampire pomeranian and Hannibal King's cool rifle) really went nowhere. The cinematography of the film seemed very stages and unnatural and the design of much of it seemed fake. The strangest thing in the credits is that:
*SPOILER* Kris Kristofferson gets second billing and he dies maybe fifteen minutes in the film and gets a couple lines of voice-over and a brief flashback, billed over Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey, Triple H, Dominic Purcell or even Patton Oswalt *END SPOILER*.
And the film just seems very inconsistent in many other ways, such as the heavy metal and techno that Abby listens to while she hunts through her iPod which apparently does not always impede her ability to hear things, of course that is only when she has it which does not seem to be very often and yet manages to come up twice in the film.
The worst thing though, by far, has to be Parker Posey's hair, a strange mix of Superwoman from the Crime Syndicate of Amerika and some 1980s runway model. It was so bad that it actually took me out of the film, especially when compared to all of the other vampires.
Haunted Junction (1997)
OH MY GOD!!!
That is what the main character screams quite often when the situations in the show get too bizarre (which is quite often).
The only show that really comes close to the level of random weirdness of Haunted Junction would be The Young Ones and that pales in comparison with some of the bawdier humour in this (such as Asahina's "shouta complex" in which she is attracted to little boys, the female version of the Lolita complex).
If "Must See TV" were this funny then I would watch it every week. You will laugh until you cry watching this. The only flaw is that there are only 12 episodes but too many more and it probably would have started to get repetitive.
The Life of David Gale (2003)
Ridiculous and Heavy Handed
Now I am prefacing this by saying that I am strongly against the death penalty but even so this film is absolutely ridiculous. It works in such a heavy handed manner that it ends up giving the complete opposite position that it should and making the anti-death penalty activists look like a group of insane zealots. By the end of the film it reaches Monty Pythonesque territory and comic book convolutions. So now only is this film heavy-handed but the heavy handedness actually works to push the exact opposite thing that it should.
Just...skip this unless of course the option is lethal injection or the gas chamber.