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The Best Movie of the Holidays, At Least That I've Seen.
Doubt has great ideas behind it, great acting, some smart compositional choices, and an interesting message. It doesn't condemn the Catholic Church, nor does it praise it. All it does is present a situation that is unbiased, and works from there to allow the mind to create conflict.
I recommend it over Benjamin Button, the more popular "insightful movie" any day. Overall, an eight out of ten does it justice because it truly does deliver, and is interesting throughout.
It is slow at parts, and that is a complaint many have, but I didn't have that complaint at all. I thought it was paced perfectly for what it was presenting.
An Idea That Could Have Become Great....
But it doesn't really. I give this a five for the promising premise and great makeup, effects, and production design. But unfortunately this goes nowhere. It gives no real insights that it claims to make, and doesn't really have any interesting plot lines in the entire almost-three-hour running time. It'll probably get the makeup Oscar, and there was some good cinematography work, but really, it is a dud of a movie that fails to deliver anything interesting in the end. It's all premise and no substance. Though many others have already done this, I have to compare it to Forrest Gump. They both promise similar things, and are both often overly sentimental. Gump delivers, though, and that's what makes it the one to watch. Button doesn't deliver.
It's almost simple fun...
...but sometimes it goes too far. There are some really well choreographed scenes, especially toward the beginning, and some well-designed sets, but it unfortunately goes into crazy-land from there. I'm not a hater of this one, because heck, there was some fun in it. So go with it, even in the ridiculously far-fetched scenes. I'm the first to criticize George Lucas, the biggest sellout in history, and Stephen Spielberg definitely has his flaws, but you know, it's good to see Indy back, and there was some good stuff in this movie, so I'm going to say, yes, it's sometimes embarrassing, but it's possible to watch for fun (with some exceptions).
An Unitentional Social Commentary
I'll start with the good in this movie- the production design and some of the supporting acting.
Now the bad- pretty much everything else
Everyone says, no, you've got it wrong because it's truly beautiful. Well, I hate to break it to you, but I am a film lover who does like touching, beautiful dramas. I'm not some guy who sits around criticizing movies. But this is just disturbing. The message of this film is basically "Americans can fall for soap-opera material that looks like a movie, and it can become the most overrated piece of trash of all time". I mean seriously, it's just a really shallow and overly-touchy love story with really obnoxious tendencies to take itself waaayy to seriously. Honestly, James Cameron directed Terminator 2, which I thought was really fun and enjoyable because though it had a coherent story, it was purposely far-fetched and seemed to understand that. Titanic is three-and-a-half hours of pain-inducing mediocrity (except for the previously mentioned design), with completely over-the-top sappiness and the cheapest tricks in the book as far as getting a simple-minded audience to feel really tingly inside. And this won 11 Academy Awards? I've got a review for the only other movie to achieve this feat, Return of the King, which I didn't like either, but I've got to say it was better than this. My only question is, why, America? Why does crap like this become so acclaimed? I think the reason this won all those Oscars was its popularity. And why is it so popular?
In conclusion, Titanic is a bad episode of Days of Our Lives with a little spicing-up of the visuals and a little more emotional manipulation. But it amounts to what should have been a little blip on the radar that everyone understood as mediocrity. Instead people consider this "art" and "beautiful, powerful, compelling". So the only productive thing this movie has really done is to show us that America has pretty low tastes in entertainment, and seems to think that it's somehow artistic.
Good art direction and visual style prevent me from giving this a lower rating. By the way, this opinion applies to all of the Lord of the Rings movies, not just this one.
TLofR is a hugely overrated trilogy, with a hugely overrated director. I like the books, but I'm not such a fan that I will hate anything that is different from the source. These not only drop the poetic and beautiful style of the books, these movies wrench them into by-the-books action movies, with overly dramatic acting and dialogue that is common in most modern historical epics.
Legolas is transformed into a typical sci-fi/superhero character who does flips and slides down stuff while managing ridiculous feats that just embarrass me. He's also played by the king of pretty-boys, the great Orlando Bloom. Meanwhile, Aragorn, who is probably the best of the main characters, is still very much the wise, down-to-earth, gritty hero a la Obi-wan- Kenobi or John McClaine. Gimli, in true Hollywood fashion, becomes a sidekick. He's the short fat guy who makes little self-deprecating comments that rarely are funny and actually seem to insult the audience.
This, like the other grossly overrated movie, Titanic, is a movie that plays off people's stupidity. It uses the cheapest way possible to get wide popularity, mainly with the most stereotypical, overused trash that makes up the components of your typical crowd-pleaser. It just makes it worse when people consider this "amazing", "original", "unheard-of", "unpresidented", etc. Hello! Get a life, this is your typical action flick that has one goal: to be popular without any real originality or creativity. That said, whoever did the production design on this did a good job, and that's pretty much the only award this film deserves, even with the flashy CG that seems too animated to work for such drama. I know people in the Academy can see this too, but why did they vote for this. Next time, give 11 Academy Awards to something that truly deserves it.
Curious George (2006)
A Great Show for Kids
There are three types of young kids' shows on TV these days. The first is the hypnotic category, which has constant noise, motion, and repetition to keep kids' attention (a la Barney, Teletubbies, Backyardigans). The second is the "treat kids like they know absolutely nothing" category, in which shows "talk" to the viewers and ask completely mindless questions that are so obvious they can't be answered wrong (Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, etc.). The last and smallest category is the "simple story" category, in which shows teach young viewers with simple, easy-to-follow stories that can hold attention and entertain. Curious George is one of the few shows in that category, and it still teaches lessons in math and logic, which I don't think should be important in a kids' show, but which PBS and many parents believe are very important. Curious George is simple and nice, and I can appreciate its value even though I am neither a parent nor a sub-six year-old child. The animation and design are good, especially compared to the other PBS and Nick shows out there, which just goes to show that the makers actually care about what they are making. Yes, there is a very annoying character: Bill, a bratty know-it-all kid who drives me crazy. Even still, I'm not going to complain, because I doubt he annoys little kids like he annoys me. If you look at the other comments I have written you can see that I can be harsh, and I hold high standards, and this show meets them. If you have kids, and especially if you are tired of the hypnotic shows and the obnoxious shows, this is good, simple, well-done entertainment for kids.
Barton Fink (1991)
One of the Coen Brothers' Best, and One You Shouldn't Miss
This is one of those movies that gets better the more you think about it. First of all, the directing and writing is amazing, which gives this movie its ability to mean completely different things to different people. The acting is great. John Torturro and John Goodman are amazing. The cinematography and art direction are also excellent. But what really gives the movie its power is that much of the background action is symbolic, and often only affects one character in a scene. This makes you question what is real and what isn't, giving everyone a different idea of the meaning of the movie. Meanwhile, the surface plot is about an arrogant writer who advertises himself as a writer "for the common man" but can't even recognize his neighbor who really is the quintessential "common man". This movie ranks with the Coen brothers' best, and is tied for my personal favorite with The Man Who Wasn't There. Regardless, this is a must-see for anyone who is interested in great film-making, and should definitely be used as an example in film classes.
Family Guy (1999)
As Bad As A Show Can Get
Everything about this show is terrible. Its premise even sets itself up to get cheap laughs with bad writing. A "disfunctional family"-theme has already been used too many times, most notably by the Simpsons, which is an excellent show with great writing and many laughs. Meanwhile, Family Guy has about five minutes of story in each episode, with tons of celebrity jokes and random flashbacks thrown in. Now, if this was original or funny, sure, I'd think it was clever. But no, it's not funny at all. In fact, the only reason the episodes are like this is because it is the easiest way to effortlessly crank out episode after episode of this junk. Much of this show is unoriginal, and what is original is just lame. It is also amazingly crude and irreverent, which again can be fine if it's still intelligent. Animation isn't everything either, but from an artistic point of view, this show fails also, proving yet again that Family Guy strives for as many cheap jokes and easy shortcuts as possible. People enjoy this show, and I don't really care, because people can enjoy anything they want, no matter how much it aims for the lowest common denominator. But no, I don't recommend this, especially for anyone who wants to someday study film or become a writer. This is cheap entertainment that aims low and has found success in this. The fact that this is so successful says bad things about America.
The Mummy Returns (2001)
One of My Least Favorite Movies Ever
From the start, I hated this movie with a passion when I saw it. The only reason I rented it in the first place was because the first was enjoyable and fun, but this was unbearable. Brendan Fraiser and Rachel Weiz's son was stubborn and over-courageous, which would be fine if he could shut up with his lame comments every five seconds. His British accent (where'd that come from?) didn't help matters. The story in this sequel is considerably worse than the first, which was never great but could at least grab attention. It's always a bad sign when somehow people are able to be brought back to life over and over, therefore killing excitement or suspense during action. In the end, I didn't have any more endurance and the last ten minutes went right over my head (but what I do remember wasn't any good either).