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My user comments -
How i rate films:
9= Must See
7= Very Good
3= Just Watchable
The Wicker Man (2006)
A horrendous movie that delves into the 'so-bad-it's-good' category
Some films are bad. These bad films usually just get forgotten about over time, however some films are just so bad that they go full circle to being good. Examples of this include Battlefield Earth, Silent Night Deadly Night 2 and perhaps the most famous of all, Plan 9 From Outer Space. The Wicker Man is one of these movies.
The original 1973 The Wicker Man was a horror classic that played on some very real fears that built themselves up to an unforgettable conclusion. It was a must-see movie. This is also a must-see movie, but for different reasons. It is flat out hilarious. I have never laughed so much at a supposedly serious movie in all my life. The plot involves Nicolas Cage as a police officer investigating a missing girl case on a remote island, which follows a strange cult that incorporates human sacrifice as one of it's traditions. No originality is present in this remake, except the fact that the cult is an all-female cult who believe men are inferior. The blatant sexism here is preposterous.
Nicolas Cage used to be a good, respected actor. His previous films such as Raising Arizona and Face/Off were critically acclaimed and liked by many. However in the decade of the noughties, it all went sour. National Treasure was good natured fun that audiences loved but critics hated and with films such as Gone in 60 seconds, Con Air and Knowing it was clear that his career was dwindling and this movie did for Nicolas Cage what jumping on the couch on Oprah did for Tom Cruise.
Let me just give you some actual samples of dialogue from this film and yes, these are actual lines from the film: ''No, not the bees, not the bees! Aaaaaah! They're in my eyes, my eyes! Aaaaaah! Aaaaaah'' ''What you got in there(a bag), a shark or something?'' ''Off the bike. Get off the bike. (Shouting and holding gun)Step away from the bike'' This film also has the infamous ''How'd it get burned'' rant by Cage who also proceeds to punch women while wearing a bear suit. The film is worth seeing for it's comedic value. I rate it 1 out of 10 because as a horror film, it fails on almost every level. It is not scary, thrilling or suspenseful. Forget Borat, Superbad, American Pie or Hot Fuzz. For a truly great recent comedy, check out this movie, you won't be disappointed.
Unfairly criticised entry to the Alien series
I have long considered the first Alien movie to be one of my, if not my all time favourite movie. The sequel, Aliens was the rare sequel which came close to being almost as good as the original. The third entry in the series was a film which I once did not care for. I will admit that the theatrical version of this movie is not exactly firing on all cylinders. The studio had butchered David Fincher's work into a near-incomprehensible and deeply flawed movie. The film became dismissed by a lot of people as a misstep in the Alien franchise and rightly so. However...
In 2003, with the debut of the truly excellent DVD known as the Alien Quadrilogy, I discovered a so-called Assembeley Cut of Alien 3 which included around half an hour of new footage. I watched this cut and was very surprised with the result.The assembly cut of this movie was a better movie than the theatrical version. Here are several ways in which the assembly cut triumphs over the somewhat dire theatrical version: The pacing. In the theatrical version, the pacing is very convoluted and is not worth following. The special edition (assembly cut, whatever) has far better pacing. We are given an explanation to several things such as how Paul McGann's character dies and whole new interesting subplot involving the capture and subsequent escape of the alien. Many people complain about the cgi, when in reality the movie only had one single cgi shot, the rest was heavily animatronics.
The movie still has it's flaws, it's never fully explained exactly how the egg got on the ship, but as far as third entries into a series go, it's not bad. In short, if you watch a version of this movie, make sure it's the assembly cut. If you've only seen the (admittidly poor) theatrical version, seek out the assembly cut before you give this movie a 1/10. You probably won't regret it.
Lucas did okay...just
This was the first Star Wars film I'd ever seen, I saw it aged 5 at the cinema. At the time of course, I thought it was amazing and couldn't wait for a sequel to come out. But when I asked several years later, it turned out that their had already been other Star Wars movies, which I promptly watched and enjoyed. Then I compared Episode 1 to the originals and realised that the originals were leaps and bounds ahead of the new Star Wars. In fact, I soon realised that Episode 1 had a lot of flaws and I just forgot about it completely.
Recently however, I re-watched the movie again on TV and whilst the flaws were apparent I realised that this Star Wars actually had some things going for it. The flaws of this movie have been addressed on over a million occasions so I'll focus on the positive points mostly.
Here are some points I want to bring up, some negative some positive.
1) The acting. Some of the actors do try very hard to give a good performance, i.e Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor. Both of whom are very good actors and try their best with the scripts they have been given. However, even though the Star Wars prequels have gained notoriety for their truly awful and cringe-worthy dialogue. The Phantom Menace is probably the least cringey movie in terms of dialogue out of the prequels. There are no moments where you start shouting 'Noooooo' at the screen, except for two particular characters which I'm just about to get to.
2) Anakin Skywalker. A number of people consider Jake Lloyd to be the reason that Anakin is such a terrible character, but I myself blame George Lucas. Anakin serves almost no purpose in this movie. Why is he even in this movie? I know Lucas must have wanted to throw some homages in, which he does successfully with Yoda and Jabba the Hut. However Anakin is not necessary and is portrayed as one of the most unlikeable and annoying children in cinema history. Bad choice Lucas, bad choice.
3) JarJar Binks. What a lame, cringe-worthy and pathetic excuse for a character. Lucas has created characters like this in the original trilogy, with far more success. I'm talking about C-3PO, in the originals he was always getting into absurd situations and managed to be annoying in a GOOD way. But JarJar Binks just has no appeal whatsoever as a character and should have lost the stereotyped Jamaican accent. The only good thing I can say on behalf of JarJar is that he does play a role in the plot. He isn't just (horrifically failed) comic relief.
4) CGI. This was made in 1999, a year before the new millennium so cgi was an inevitable inclusion. However the cgi in this film is not terrible. It was nice to see a non-cgi Yoda for the last time and also George Lucas uses the cgi in a way to improve the story and introduce new landscapes. The only scene of gratuitous cgi was the pod race scene. It looked cool for the first lap, then it just got boring.
I personally don't think that the Star Wars prequels are terrible, well okay they are terrible when you dissect them and discuss them at great length. However they do have good watch-ability factor, JarJar, Jake Lloyd and bad dialogue aside.
I rate this movie 6/10 for the potential that it has and for the things that it has going for it. I don't think that it's in league with the originals, how could it be? I believe that prequels are often doomed from the beginning. Movies which HAVE to end a certain way often have a lot of restrictions and have difficulty turning out the way people want them to. However taking this into account, I think Lucas did okay.
Disappointing, but judge it for yourself
The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was a welcome return to the action/adventure genre and was a movie that I thoroughly enjoy watching. The second movie was not as good as the first, but fun nevertheless, a few minor flaws, but nothing that was not forgivable. This movie, however just takes the rip completely.
I will organise this movie's flaws by way of points.
1) The opening scene. The film opens with a bunch of pirates (including a child) being hung. I gather that this was to establish the darkness of this movie, but how exactly is it darker than it was in the previous movies? They hung pirates in the first movie, so how is this worse?
2) One scene involves Eliabeth finding her dead father on the way to Davy Jones' locker and tries to save him, but the voodoo woman does not let her. Um....why not? They brought Barbossa back from the dead, and they are about to bring Jack back from the dead, so how is this different?
3)Chow Yun-Fat. Chow Yun-Fat is NOT in this movie. He appears briefly at the beginning and once again at the end, barely doing or saying anything. It would not have bothered me if he was supposed to be just a cameo appearance, but no. This movie was marketed as starring Chow Yun-Fat, he appeared in the trailer, on posters, on the sides of buses and even on the cover of the DVD. It reminded me of when Darth Vader was put on posters for Revenge of the Sith when he was barely in it (I mean the actual Darth Vader, not Hayden Christensen). Chow Yun-Fat was in this movie for nothing more than publicity.
4) The locker. The whole scene with Jack in the locker was flat out ridiculous. Jack is there with the Black Pearl. But wait, why would Jack still have the Pearl if Davy Jones spent the whole of the last film trying to get it off Jack? Then Jack gets out the Pearl and for no reason starts trying to move it with all his might. Then a million crabs come to life and start moving it for him. I watched this scene in total disbelief that this scene had actually been written by someone and made it past production. It was just ridiculous and non-sensical.
5) The pirate's code. I know that the code was touched upon in the first movie, but it was referred to and I quote ''more like guidelines than actual rules''. So why have these guidelines transformed into a full-blown code that all pirates live by? And why would pirates want to live by a code anyway? They live a life of freedom and lawlessness, so why, why would they have all these rules? They even have a big meeting and establish several 'lords'.
6) The boring-as-hell pirate's meeting. This scene was so boring, repetitious and redundant that it may as well not have been in the film at all. It got the film nowhere, it had no payoff and should have been completely removed from the film during editing.
7) Not faithful to the source material. We all know that the Pirates of the Caribbean films are based on the Walt Disney World ride, which I myself have experienced on several occasions. In the first movie, the writer's had been heavily influenced by the ride and managed to transcend the fun of that ride onto the audience. The second film did this to a forgivable lesser extent. However this film bears no resemblance whatsoever to the ride and captures none of the imagination or fun of the ride or the previous movies.
8) Redundant special effects. The special effects in this movie obviously had a lot of work put into them, but the effects themselves were absolutely ridiculous. Case in point, one scene involves the voodoo woman growing to enormous size (somehow managing not to crush the relatively tiny ship). Then she shouts something incoherently and, get ready for this, I kid you not; she dissolves into a million tiny crabs and vanishes into the ocean. Where is the sense in this scene? Where is the logic? I really should be typing in all capitals here, but IMDb disapproves. This scene was ridiculous, non-sensical and above all, retarded.
9) Length. I think that saying a film is too long is a bit of a lazy criticism, I mean look at The Godfather or Lord of the Rings. These movies can weigh in at up to 3-4 hours long, but captivate us nevertheless. This movie is just under three hours long and trust me, it feels much longer. The pacing of the movie is atrocious and a large number of scenes simply go on far too long.
Some people live by the logic that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. So I must give the one thing I thought was okay in this movie. The acting. The actors in this movie give their best efforts with the preposterous script that they have.
This movie grossed around 950 million dollars worldwide, which is typical of a blockbuster sequel. However I was surprised to see how many people actually liked the movie. You may be one of those people, who right now is sitting awe-struck in front of their computer thinking ''why are their people like you in the world?''. If you are, then fine. I am just giving some warning to those who have not seen the film yet.
I rate this movie at 2/10. The only reason it does not get a 1/10 is because of the efforts put in by the actors and special effects artists. Rent it and decide for yourself.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Emmerich has proved himself the master of disaster
Okay, so some may argue that the plot has some issues to resolve, or that the acting could have been more convincing. But when you watch this movie and take it for what it is, it's a blast!
This is a popcorn movie, much in the style of Independence Day and the forthcoming movie, 2012. You cant treat these movies as deep or thought-provoking. They are made purely for audiences to have a good time. Emmerich(who directed the previously mentioned films) has proved himself capable of making a great summer blockbuster without resorting to cheap, unfunny humour(ahem, Michael Bay).
When you watch this movie, treat it as a fun movie, enjoy the special effects and sit on the edge of your seat as the disasters take place. You wont regret it!
Strangely comical in parts
I recently have started to work my way through the Planet of the Apes sequels and with the way the last film ended I found it hard to believe you could really make a sequel, but they did. This movie takes place on present day(well, the 70's) and works surprisingly well. The ending is very much in the spirit of the first film and lets you reflect on how the film sees humanity. It's not without it's flaws and it spends too much time showing the apes in human society. But this is probably one of the better Ape sequels and if you are a fan of the first film, then you shouldn't give this a miss.
6/10 - Good
King Kong (2005)
Wow, a remake which respects the original and is also a good film in it's own right
I'm sure that we are all aware that the last ten years or so has not been a very imaginative time in terms of movie remakes. Most recent remakes are simply quick cash-grabs with no intent other than profit. But here, with Peter Jackson's King Kong we have something different. It is clear that the director has a lot of respect for the original(it's his favourite film) and succeeds in making this remake a fitting tribute to the old classic, King Kong.
This film is very entertaining, even with it's three hour runtime. The performances by the actors/actresses are all brilliant and technical aspects such as special effects and music are all handled well. This film has a heart, which is something rarely found in the action/adventure genre. It would take one heartless individual not to be saddened at the film's climax. I had a good time watching this movie and hopefully you will to.
8/10 - Excellent
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Not as good as it should have been
I'm sure everyone remembers the controversy that this film caused during it's release. By the hype this film was receiving, everyone was sure that they were going to experience something big. Truth is though, this film is nothing more than a flat, mundane piece of cinema. The problem is the lack of any real mystery in the film. You don't really get involved with the film or the characters and by the time the climax of the film comes along, I didn't really care.
Unlike the film National Treasure, which had similar flaws. This film takes itself too seriously and could have at least tried to be fun. I'd recommend reading the Dan Brown book, which is a good adventure novel. But the less said about this film, the better. It is watchable at best.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
A Genre of it's Own
When I think about what makes a film good, I base that on whether it has the ability to do either of the following things: be entertaining or be thought-provoking. Some films rely almost solely on the entertainment aspect, such as Independence Day or The Day After Tomorrow whereas others require lots of thought and study i.e 2001 or practically anything by David Lynch. Pulp Fiction achieves both these aspects to the extreme.
The film contains a decent number of scenes where the characters have lengthy conversations about every day, generally mundane topics which may sound boring but trust me it's definitely not. Quentin Tarantino is an expert at film dialogue, the characters in this film could be talking about something like paint drying and still have you clinging onto every word that they say. None of these characters are stereotypes in any way. For example, I'll try not to give anything away, but in one scene you have two hit men having a conversation about fast food joints just before they commit a brutal murder.
This film has been analysed and pondered for at least fifteen years now and there are still aspects of the film which no-one can even begin to comprehend. Nevertheless, this film is still hugely watchable. Even with it's sometimes painful scenes of graphic violence and downright human depravity. But don't let that put you off, Pulp Fiction is a rich cinematic experience and a film that you won't easily forget. A definite must see.
10/10 - Classic
My Favourite Movie
Alien well and truly is a landmark piece of cinema. In the late 70's, film goers had been shown aliens as friendly visitors from outer space, in films such as Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Nothing could prepare audiences for Alien. What is it that makes Alien scary? It's a combination of expert directing and set designing skills along side the spine-tingling atmosphere that Ridley Scott creates. The scenes on the alien planet are disturbing in a sense, the derelict has a dark and brooding atmosphere which plays to the audiences fear of the unknown.
The most memorable scene in the film by far is the chestburster scene. This scene had squeamish audience members puke in the aisles and some people never return to the movie because of that scene. The chestburster played to the universal fear of birth, something that deeply disturbed some viewers. After the chestburster, there is actually very little blood in the film. Ridley Scott uses the technique pioneered by John Carpenter in Halloween which is to show as little as possible and leave it to the viewer's imagination.
The alien is only on screen for a few moments in the film, but it makes one hell of an impression. The alien is well and truly alien, it could never be mistaken for a human and at no point during the film does the audience identify with the alien.
After years of debating on whether my favourite movie was either Alien or Jaws, I finally came to the realisation that it was Alien. This is without a doubt a film that will be remembered for a long time and not easily forgotten. I don't expect you to consider it you favourite movie, we all have different tastes. But at least appreciate this movie for what it is; a cinematic tour-de-force.
10/10 - Classic