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Life as We Know It (2010)
Interesting from a sociological stand-point
As far as romantic comedies go, this is neither the worst nor the best that I've been forced to watch. Surprisingly the vast majority of the jokes in this film are actually decently funny, but the plot is mundane and silly. Why I'm writing this review, however, is because there is an aspect of this movie that is completely novel, one which I both respect and abhor. Of any romantic comedy which I've seen, this film is interesting from a sociological stand-point in that it is unabashedly honest about what women actually want and how they function and feel about relationships. Most movies of this kind have the soft guy who cries with her and shares his feelings and then dies and she's left alone blah blah blah, romeo and Juliet types of love. In this one the guy is a promiscuous lady's man(tramp) and an immature jerk who treats women like tissues, she's a prude and a home-body and through a ridiculous turn of events they both become the caretakers of a baby and are forced to live together (it's a cheap substitute for them symbolically just having a baby and frankly a very very unbelievable set-up, but what kind of film are we watching here?). What's interesting is how this all plays-out. While she gets to keep everything in her life exactly as it is (plus one baby), he has to lose his independence, his promiscuous ways, and is generally castrated and put into this father role. When he revolts from this (don't worry I won't give anything away) he's framed as the self-centered one and treated accordingly. Now I'm not saying that some of the issues explored in this film are or aren't true, or how things should play out. All I'm saying is that this is the first movie aimed at a largely female audience that I have ever watched which is so brutally honest about what women want and how they think relationships should work. The type of man the lead character chooses, what is expected of both of them in this new situation, how she reacts to episodes in the film that negatively or positively affect him or her, it's all a very accurate depiction of how women feel. Now this leads to my split opinion on this movie - 1. I respect it for this honesty, to lose all the Hollywood trappings and left-over chivalric, courtly notions that are no longer relevant to our society and relationships is very truthful, but on the other hand 2. The movie shows a completely biased view of these things. The man's side of any event that occurs is never balanced with the woman's, if anything it is demonized. the man is a caricature of men, a mix between what women want from a man and how they think all men truly act. It makes me worry that a generation of young girls will see this film and think that it's okay to always feel these ways, demand all these things, and expect a man to comply as easily as and in the designated manner that this one does. Ergo my mixed feelings on this film, part of me respects it's honesty while the other part of me is disappointed at how much the film caters to a one-sided perspective. For men out there being forced to watch this by loved ones, know that of any romantic comedy it is quite bearable, but also keep an eye-out for the messages it conveys, you might learn a thing or two about your significant other.
The Gift (2000)
A Better Score
This film certainly deserves a better score than it has received on here. Despite growing up with the Evil Dead movies, and enjoying the two decent films of the Spiderman franchise, this is definitely my favorite Raimi film. It's actually subtle, which is a hard thing for that director. The story is spooky and well paced, even if mildly predictable. And perhaps most importantly the entire cast is not only well chosen, but each puts in a very good performance (yes! even Keanu Reeves is actually acting in this movie, I know that's hard to believe but it's true). It's too bad the CG dates itself so poorly, because that is really the only shortcoming of this movie. I probably pop this into the machine once a year, which is more than I can say for any other Sam Raimi film.
The Gypsies of Svinia (1999)
This is an engaging documentary from a good professor
David Scheffel is a wonderful speaker, and if there is one thing that becomes apparent watching this film and hearing his talks, it is that the man really tried to help a helpless group of people. Sadly things didn't go so well, but such is the way with many of these projects and attempts. If every anthropologist was doing this kind of work, and if every human being tried to act this way, the world would be a much better place. This movie is shot well for a documentary based out of Kamloops BC. And I was very glad that he was able to capture some beautiful Romani music along with all the other footage he intended to get. Nice work, eye opening.
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
Glaring problem makes for difficult enjoyment
You know what, aside from a few bad clichés and a couple poorly acted scenes the general story-line of this movie would have been great, save for one problem. The real trouble is that this problem isn't just a little problem but a huge one. How am I to take any part of this movie seriously, or to take any comment that stresses the director's eye for authenticity seriously, if the entire Russian army is British???!!! A movie like this would have done well to have proper language speakers and subtitles, but if the filmmakers feel they have to pander down to a stupider, less forgiving audience then they could have at least gotten the actors to speak English with Russian accents, maybe even some Russian extras... You know what, even if the director felt that bad accents might mar the quality of the performances, fine, have them all speak in British accents, but stay consistent! All the Russians are British, except Ron Pearlman, who is an American doing a British accent, playing a Russian (!!!). Then the first German voice we hear is speaking English with a German accent, but then after that, all the Germans are British,except for Ed Harris who keeps his American accent (too tough for ya huh buddy?). Then some German extras speak German (only some), the Russian musicians sing in Russian, and, the piece de la resistance, the Germans and the Russians can communicate with each other whenever they please (Ed Harris to the little boy who I have trouble believing is fluent in German and a couple other times as well), yet they need translators in the Russian army to decipher German messages... huh? no kidding?... It's unavoidable really, the mess that this whole language thing produces makes it hard to take any scene in this film seriously. I don't even want to get started on how much it ticks me off that Hollywood loves representing every other language on the planet with British actors (it's different, but everyone can still understand it without using any part of their brains). Terrible, just plain terrible. I bet the real Vasilii Zaitsev is rolling over in his grave.
Waters doesn't always work
I'm a big fan of Cry-Baby. It was a great movie where the characters were ridiculous, they all had some quirky idiosyncrasy and it all fit because it was set in the 50s and while telling a good story and being "just plain weird' it was a musical, which generally are a little weird, and it managed to indirectly make fun of the cheesy movies about teens that were played in theaters in the 50s... I thought John Waters had done all this intentionally for that film. I was wrong, it turns out he does that for every film of his, and Cry-Baby is simply the one time when it made sense. Pecker is a terrible mess of a film where these kooky character types just walk around spouting lines that make sense for their weird characters and then every once and awhile a straight character is introduced so that the story can just barely follow a very tired and clichéd plot line. This movie was equivocal to watching a grade 8 acting class play an improv game where they are all zany people for different reasons and must interact. It was terrible, and full of wasted talent. The modernity of the setting and the lack of the musical element should have evoked a change in his style, sadly it did not. This film was just stupid. And when you get passed the quirks of the characters, you realize how vapid and bland the story attempted to be, I say attempted because it seems as though the players are acting independent of the plot through the entire movie, there is no cause and effect for events, they simply happen, so that the movie can seem like it's actually going somewhere. If you've heard any good things about Waters and you are curious rent Cry-Baby, stay far away from this mess.
AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)
My list of why this movie was a waste of my time. (spoilers)
As an avid fan of these two series, and having waited quite some time for this film I tried to ignore all the bashing it was receiving online and view it with an open mind.... Knowing these movies and having a set of expectations for this film, I present to you my list of reasons why this movie blew.
1. The tone of the movie was all wrong, these are slow, suspense-building, dark movies, not bash 'em up popcorn flicks... my prognosis-- wrong director.
2. Where are the marines??? why was this movie set nowadays when it could have been fifty times better with the space marines???
Now we'll get a little more specific-
3.Why did they choose all the actors except for Lance Henrickson to suck? Was there method to this madness?
4. Why is Mullet from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrells a geologist? Why is he even in the movie?
5.How come the Archaeologist seems to know everything? I'm an archaeology student and the facts he's provided are believable for science fiction... but then he comes to these insane epiphanies from those facts, that no person could do. Especially the whole ten minute shifting pyramid thing (speaking of which didn't some of those ten minute periods seem really short while others were tremendously long?)
6.How come Sanaa Latham never seems phased once by any of the terrible things that are occurring, I'd be soiling myself in this situation, she stays cool???
7.Ms Latham also impales two aliens (something I doubt she could do considering their exoskeletons) yet she's never burned by the acid... wouldn't it just be spewing out of them?
8.Ms Latham is kicked against a wall by a predator yet she doesn't seem hurt or even really startled (see #6)
9.How do the aliens gestate so quickly compared to the other movies? the face huggers are birthed, plant their eggs, the aliens hatch and then grow full sized in like an hour.
10.Why do there seem to be more aliens running around than there were people to birth them?
11.Why did that new predator have a crappy like dollar-store Hallowe'en mask instead of a real predator mask? And okay, I can except that maybe they make new masks now, but at the end the predator takes his mask off and his mouth looks way different than the predator from the first movies... have they evolved since we last saw them?
12. Why do the predators have new ships that look nothing like the originals? as well as a new graduated hunter sign that they put on their helmets.. I don't remember the predators from the first movies having those on their helmets.
13. In predator 1 & 2 the preds see through their masks in a blue heat-vision, yet in this movie they use a red and green vision the whole way through... until the end where suddenly we're back to blue... And why when the explorers are carrying the predator plasmaguns, can the predators see the guns in their backpacks with a perfect outline, as though the guns have their own heat signature?
14.We all know that the aliens strength comes in their numbers... yet two predators are killed instantly by a handful of aliens..especially considering that later we see a flash-back to a stupid past back story/history (don't even get me started on that blasphemy) where three preds are wooping like a thousand aliens. And one of the predators is destroyed by an aliens inner mouth going right through his helmet (don't remember them being that strong).
15. Also the predators are supposed to be the perfect hunters, calm and collected... yet here they run around in this mad killing frenzy, just wiping out everything.
16. The predator dissattaches his little wrist computer and it detonates... yet in predator 2 the predator sets his detonator and then his arm gets cut off and the explosion never occurs, suggesting that the explosives for that device are on the suit and not on the computer device. can you say continuity? Also the new throwing discs-lame
17. How come she gets a way cooler gift from the predators than Danny Glover did??? lame.
18. Such an exciting ending... ooooooh a Predalien on an predator ship... what's gonna happen? can't wait for part two.... here's part 2, the predators find the predalien and kick it's woosy @$$ because there are a lot of them and only one predalien... the end
The real question is who allowed this garbage to ruin two amazing series(es?), why did anyone allows this yo-yo to direct and why did I waste my money on this garbage?
The actors in the predator suits weren't even trying to act, the CG was terrible like all CG is (directors and SFX wizards used to know how to make believable stuff without computers watch any Stan Winston movie for examples) The queen alien danced around like an idiot dinosaur from jurassic park and then died. Predators did not teach us how to build pyramids and then get worshiped as gods, they are interstellar hunters, they hunt the indigenous life on planets, take their trophies and leave. They go to other planets for other life... they don't bring it here. This is a huge atrocity in these movie genres and now any subsequent movies will have to make-up for the mistakes made in this film! Where's Sigourney? Where's Arnold? Where's James Cameron? Where's the taste? Where's the gore? where the hell is my money???