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Yes I said it. When a movie you anticipate has you anticipating for more and you're still pleased...well thats perfection to me. I felt like a kid watching Star Wars or Indiana Jones for the first time. It was fun and that's how I took it.
Hollywood managed not to screw this one up. Instead, they let Mr. Peterson do his job.
Why this movie is a winner with me is quite simple. Its mass and its production was quite impressive. For an epic picture done on this scale including the CGI, cinematography, and the intensity of the one on one combat scenes was more than adequate for the occasion. It entertained me. That's what movies are made for and considering its 165 minute span, I wasn't bored once.
Another reason why this movie was such a hit was due to the performances. Every actor convinced me of their role but it was both Eric Bana and Brian Cox's performances that stood out for me. You could tell every actor wanted in on this project and was proud. Every actor and actress gave their best.
As for Brad Pitt being considered a miscast, I had to see for myself. Its a shame when critics try to ruin a motion picture for you based on their prejudices. I would have missed another great performance out of Mr. Pitt. The dialogue was a bit challenging but he made up for it with the fight scenes and his charisma for the character.
I did feel the connection between his former role as Tristian in "Legends of the Fall" with the Achilles role. The expressions, the rebelliousness, the physical demands. He did good a job. Why all the down talk? He still brought in the dollars. Brad Pitt just has it like that.
Is it worth repeated viewings? I waited till the following Monday to see it again. However, I learned my lesson with the Matrix Trilogy burnout. Wait till video.
A Black Bold and the Beautiful Soap Opera
Motives is a souped up soap opera with a restricted rating due to graphic sexual content, more sex with a little violence thrown in . Everyone looked so pretty and the life these fine people lived definately makes you want to covet. It was an interesting film just easily one read like a Soap Opera hyped up in its own melodrama.
Emery Sims played by pretty boy Shamar Moore, is just that, a pretty boy who owns a restaurant business who's very wealthy and respected in the community. When a consensual affair goes wrong along with a murder investigation pending, Sims world begans to spiral down. But as the events unfold Sims begins to question the ones closest to him including his most trusted wife played by Vivica Fox. I thought her perfomance was bland in this movie as they made her into the attractive yet subdued nagging wife.
So yes its been done before and its all acting. Need I say two of Young and the Restless' (Moore and Rowell) were plucked from this sitcom. I also found the beginning subplot unnecessarily used for this story. I do however support the rise of more all star casts of African Americans in films whether their backed independently or not. I just wished that the storylines weren't so confined to stereotypes and overdone material. There's no slighting of the actors because I'm a fan of Fox and Rowell. And let's not forget the knockout performance from Mr. Joe Torrey himself. Just lose the material. You have a potential fan waiting.
The Last Samurai (2003)
Pleasing to the Eye yet questionable
This was yet another interesting film to watch and enjoy for the year 2003. I however, patiently waited for it to come to the dollar show. Initially, I thought it was another movie seen before. Another miss. So with a story as historically enriched and complex as this one, I can only give my perception of the film. *Spoiler Warning Ahead* My overall impression of the film was that the overall performances were admirable from everyone. I felt the fellowship, the honor, the courage and the fight for the Samurai tradition to prevail with a little Braveheart and Dances with Wolves thrown in. Hell even a taste of The Last Emperor. What I didn't feel was the story's credibility and ending.
Tom Cruise plays Nathan Algren who is a damaged war veteran who drowns himself in whiskey and despair. He is then called upon by Colonel Bagley (Tony Goldwyn) to train unskilled Japanese soldiers for war. During a fight, he gets kidnapped by the enemy Katsumoto and his men. Instead of killing Algren, Katsumoto (played very well by Ken Watanabe) spares his life "to learn his enemy". As a result, Algren learns to love and respect his enemy and joins them in the battle(s) to preserve their heritage. I'm missing some key points here but I'm sure its been summarized somewhere else.
What I found intriguing about this story is the respect and discipline the Samurai people lived by. The culture alone is so rich and unique. One of the driving themes of this story is the Traditional codes these Samurai people lived by. Once Algren is kidnapped, he is thrown into a world and concept unlike the life he knew. You could say that he is literally thrown into self-discovery, peace and through this peace, he discovers a life of simplicity and careful fellowship that it enriches his life. He becomes focused. I also found Algren's perseverance admirable.
So what are the things that turned me off? Tom Cruise being the last Samurai. In that last battlefield scene, he should have died but being Hollywood, we are forced to suspend our disbelief. I just didn't appreciate that. Then he limps himself in to give the Emperor Katsumoto's sword. He just comes out with a limp and tears. The Emperor should have just let him commit Seppuku. Then the Emperor decides to become a leader and deny a treaty they battled over. I'm not feeling that. Overall, a watchable film just not credible.
Lost in Translation (2003)
Pleasant to Watch
I actually found this movie to be enjoyable. I wasn't expecting the anticipation from this movie to appear so bleak, but it was pleasing nonetheless. The title of the movie speaks for itself as the story between these two lost individuals (Murray and Johannassen) occur as the translation unfolds, if that makes any sense. Being in a foreign land can be at times a bit confounding without having someone to connect with.
I guess what makes this story a treasure in all areas of film is that it was realistic. As human beings I think we all share the common humanity to relate to someone or something. The location was perfect for the title alone. The cinematography, the culture, the interaction between people in this film was phenomenal,simple, amusing, and confusing. I personally found myself in and out of both the leading characters emotions. I could relate. I could relate to the simple silence shared between the two. Sometimes more action occurs in one scene without dialogue and I found that impressive.
Although I'm not comparing Sophia's method of directing to Paul Thomas Anderson's, I do find that their styled use of story is similar and very interesting.
The Cider House Rules (1999)
Pleasant to Watch
The Cider House Rules was a feel-good-drama coupled with the controversial issues of pro-life/choice tipping both scales of the imperfections of daily life. It also shows a naive young man born and raised in an orphanage who by chance decides to depart onto a world of worldly discovery. What more to discover and experience than love and one's humanity. I found this film encompassing on these levels.
The cast (though I have been unable to get to the novel) I felt was agreeable in terms of the storyline structure. Erykah Badu's first time performance was very plausible and believable. Delroy Lindo and Michael Caine are always at their best. Tobey Mcguire was the "Prince of Maine, King of New England" who played this convincing character and held this young man's innocence at best. And what more can I say about Miss Theron.
I was overall pleased with the film as it read like a novel. I can't wait to read it.
The Cell (2000)
I liked this
Even though some of the themes have been done before, I was still very impressed with this movie. I can't believe I haven't commented on it earlier. I even liked J-Lo for the lead role. I was very impressed with the idea (even though it was fantasy)of literally entering a mad persons head. Although I'm glad we can't do that, its still nonetheless impressive.
I didn't feel anyone to be a miscast and the film wasn't boring. The colors, the imagery, makeup, costumes, the cinematography, the direction, the acting, J-Lo's ass, and storyline was more than enough to pull you in and keep you interested.
The only thing I would have added to this story was hopefully establishing a closer relationship between J-Lo and Vince Vaughn's character(s). I felt the scenes where she's in the man's mind should have been longer. They were so brief to me. With a story as intriguing as this one, I want all that can be offered and then some.
Final Cut (1998)
A Reality Show on Film
It was interesting none the less. I fell asleep on it the first viewing and sat through it intrigued by the second viewing. I personally detest reality shows. It seems television has found a way to drown its audience with enough sh*t. Anyways, this movie just shows how people act. It didn't surprise me at all. It just adds meaning to the phrase, "If I could just be a fly on the wall". The walls don't need to talk.
Cold Mountain (2003)
Another Good One
And I wasn't expecting to like this movie. I shunned away from it at all costs. Let's see, in quick summation of the movie, we have a civil war drama genre type film. Arguably considered a chick flick but whatever. We have war, death, saving graces, angels in the form of Renee's character and even Jude Law's character. Plus don't forget the obstacles between Kidman's and Law's character. Then we have the ultmate reason that drives this movie: Love. It was good. I never realized Jude Law was so pretty. Wonderful perfomances from everyone.
And the Oscar for Best Actress SHOULD go to...
Charlize Theron. Girlfriend got the job done. I doubt I could have gained thirty pounds, got my hair thinned out, flawless skin splotched, and played this damaged woman. It took ALOT of courage to pull this woman off. Plus it was much more enlightening to see another beautiful actress ( ex:Fawsett, Field, Streep, Berry, Kidman)deglamorize herself for such a tough role. These are the roles that receive recognition and demand respect. I'm impressed.
I was very pleased with Miss Theron's performance in this film based on the female serial killer Aileen Wournos. I also don't want to forget Christina Ricci. She did a good job as supporting actress. I dragged anybody I could to see this movie and it was only playing in two theaters. This movie was awesome. Though very disturbing in some scenes, I managed to bear through it. Some will argue it was a movie begging sympathy out of us, another chick flick, and it did. But this movie showed me (just like Gia along other sad movies in this genre) is that there are people who hurt like this everyday. We ignore them, pass them off, tip our noses up or turn our heads away from them. Yeah Miss Wournos was wrong for her actions, but she could have been helped. She could have been helped. Her life was a testimony and I'm proud to have seen it.
Chasing Liberty (2004)
And those were the two words that popped into mind as the credits rolled. This movie obviously targets teenage/Moore fans (the second one being my reason). I like Moore and will support her in every movie she's in. As for the rest of the cast and story line, I'll be brief.
So we have Mandy playing a spoiled ass daughter of the President who wants "freedom" and challenges her parents as well as the secret service by running off with some photographer cutie who happens to be the secret service. I could buy the story and they gave us adequate European coverage of the usual. It was amusing to see the formalities intended as Mandy tries to have a decent date turned disastrous. Her leading guy was cute but anorexic. Speaking of skinny,it was really good seeing Annabella Sciorra again. She got caught up with the rest of Hollywood though on the "skinny" issue. What's wrong with a little curve.
Now my gripe with this movie is that Moore's character was a little to "free" to me. Maybe I'm out of sink with the way teens act today, but she couldn't have gotten away with the stuff she pulled. Trying to be grown. My thing is realistically, she couldn't have pulled off this damsel repressed teen in distress crap because it was a movie. That "protection" she so ungratefully takes for granted is for her ass, not to "repress her". She better be happy someone was with her stupid ass. But then again, that's why she knew she could get away with it. Some people cool with that I guess.