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Awful simply awful
I had high expectation going into the movie "Elephant" and was extremely disappointed. This movie is a look in the day of a school shooting, much like Columbine. It takes the audience through the high school and some of it's students, basically their day to day activities following up to the shootings.
The movie has been praised for its unbiased look at theses events. It's true it doesn't take any sides and offers no real explanation for the horrible events that transpired. It also doesn't show anything about the students involved either victims or victimizers. This movie was painful for me to watch. There is really nothing good I can say about it. But there are lots of things that I can complain about. I am still baffled at the praise this movie received and maybe I just don't get this style of film making but this is the worst movie I have seen in a very long time and I believe it deserves to be in the IMDb bottom 100.
My first problem with the movie is its pace. It has very long sequences of people walking around, nothing more but people walking around and we see every step that person takes from point A to point B for no good reason other than to see them walking. There is also a one minute sequence showing the sky and clouds, nothing more for a full minute. Again, maybe I just don't get these films but that to me isn't artistic or edgy it's pretentious and boring.
The film makers try to create an atmosphere or reality and in my opinion they fail miserably. The "objective" view they try and create just takes away from the story they're trying to tell. Essentially, the people watching the movie don't care what happens to any of these characters because we don't know any of them. How are we supposed to care who dies if we don't find anything about them besides how the back of their heads look when they walk? The only thing that we do learn about the students are a group of "popular" girls who are superficial and don't eat and then throw up what they do eat. It doesn't show us anything, not the people being attacked nor the people attacking. So we are left to believe that theses two kids who know nothing about just woke up one day and decided to shoot the school. WHY?! What took them to such horrible and violent actions? This bothered me so much about the movie, and it bothers me even more that no one seemed to mind. While other movies are attacked for their lack of character development this one is praised.
The last thing that bothered me about this movie was the acting. If they were trying to make this look real they should have hired actors that could actually act. I swear the dialog sounded like that of a soap opera. It was terrible, not like they had a world shattering script to work with. The most random things happened for no good reason. There's a scene where a boy is crying and this girl enters and asks him if he's OK and that he's crying and that's it, that's the entire scene. Nothing really happens through out the movie.
This movie had the potential to be great. And I get that the film makers wanted to show us a glimpse of the school shootings and still remain objective. That's fine but they could have told a story while they were at it. They could have gotten the audience invested in the film by showing us the lives of these students, who they were, what they did, what they were going to do. Most importantly they could have showed us why these two teenage boys decided to shoot up their school. Instead we get over an hour of people walking and extremely bad acting. So disappointing.
The Nanny Diaries (2007)
I loved the book The Nanny Diaries, I lost myself in it, the story of a student taking care of a 5th Avenue family's son and all the mishaps that happen was truly a delight to read. So when I heard about a movie adaptation I couldn't have been happier. When they started announcing the cast I was pretty pleased with the choices, being a big Scarlett Johansson fan I knew she could pull if off. Then the movie came out, it suffered from bad reviews and low ticket sales, so my hope that the movie would be as good as the book were dampened, but I was still interested in it.
Well, I finally watched it and I feel so disappointed in this film. The cast are all great and they all did an adequate job. I liked Scarlett Johansson as the lead. The real problem of this movie is that it really strays from the book. I have no problem when film adaptations of books are done differently, if I enjoy the book I might enjoy the movie as well no matter how much the film is changed, as long as those changes are positives one. In this movie the changes were not positive.
It tries to be quirky and funny and really bombs in the humor. And it's source material is both quirky and funny and all the changes they made really made the humor feel forced. That might the problem with this film, it tries to hard to be funny and it just bombs. The magic of the book just didn't translate into the film. What made the book good isn't present here and it's a shame because it is a really fun book to read and this is a really boring movie to watch. The changes in storyline weren't what bother me so much, but the fact that they took something original and turned it into something generic.
The film does have it's saving graces. Johansson and Evans are both very charming in the film and the rest of the cast do a good job. But what they succeeded in doing, at least for me, was establish a relationship between Annie and Grayer. I really bought their relationship and could see how much they meant to each other. Their relationship was truly touching and believable. Unlike the book, which leaves things pretty unresolved, maybe that gives it a touch or realism, this film gives us the perfect happy ending, were the bad guys are reformed and our heroine has found what she was looking for.
I didn't hate the movie, it's fine, it just drags a little. The book is just great and I was hoping that it's film adaptation would live up to it, but it didn't. It's sad to see that something with so much potential was ruined by trying to make it commercial and what ended up happening was that the ruined a great opportunity. Don't let this movie fool you, it is nothing like the book. And though I cannot recommend this movie I do recommend the book to anyone.
A Disney Classic
The first thing I have to state is that I am a big Disney freak. I grew up watching all the classic Disney Princess movies. My favorite movie of all time is Beauty and the Beast and in my home I have a collection of all these films from Sleeping Beauty to Pocahontas. So I might be biased in my review because this movie is made for people like me.
The movie has a simple story line. Giselle (Amy Adams) is about to marry Prince Edward (James Marsden) until his evil stepmother (Susan Sarandon) throws her down a well and she ends up in New York City. She befriends Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter and they help her on her quest to return home. Anyone who's seen a Disney film can probably figure out the rest. The movie starts out classic Disney style with the old animation that just isn't around anymore. The music and characters are all reminiscent of those movies I know by heart. I didn't feel Enchanted makes fun of these movies but is a sort of homage to them.
The performances of this film are all stellar. Amy Adams is wonderfully charming in her role as Giselle. She is truly enchanting and it's practically impossible to not to fall in love with her performance. She is flawless just like you would imagine every Disney Princess would be if you ever met them in real life. James Marsden is the same way, he plays Prince Edward like a true Prince Charming. Patrick Dempsey isn't known as "McDreamy" (as nauseating as that nickname is) for nothing. He is truly dreamy and plays Robert perfectly, he may not be the typical Prince Charming but he'll make you fall in love just the same. Susan Sarandon is fine but isn't really the stand-out in the movie.
I'm completely geeking out over this movie but if you enjoy watching an uncomplicated love story with no cynicism whatsoever, just some laughs and great musical sequences. Then Enchanted is the movie for you. It's been a long time since I have fallen so head over heels in love with a Disney film so I am very happy this movie came out. See it and fall in love all over again.
American Gangster (2007)
One of the best movies this year
Here's why this movie is different than most: it takes time to tell the story. It doesn't rush through character and plot development but takes you through the journey.
The movie doesn't tell you personal details of the characters life, it shows them. And thus it gives the viewers the opportunity to get to know the characters and to understand them. It gives the viewers the opportunity to experience the full movie and not the cliff notes versions. Most movies just don't do that anymore and I was pleasantly surprised to see it in this movie.
The direction, as always, is topnotch. The acting is unbelievable. Both Crowe and Washington have the opportunity to overact but neither does. They are both on point perfectly. Washington has the type of demanding screen presence that blows everyone else out of the water. Here's the thing with Russell Crowe, he is great at period pieces, he just has a look about him that feels like he's from another time, so this character was just perfect for him.
The movie is truly a delight, so much so, that you can forgive all the nudity and violence because it just adds to the realism the movie reaches for.