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The Postman (1997)
Couldn't make it to the end, sorry.
"Hey Kevin, You just won an Oscar and the hearts of American film lovers everywhere. What are you going to do next?"
"Throw away all that good will on clumsy post-apocalyptic Mad-Max wannabes."
I caught a viewing of this movie on TV recently (didn't cost me anything but time). As a movie fan, I enjoy epics and I really did try to make it through the end of this one, but I could do it. The frequent assaults of corny dialogue, compiled with bad direction, finally got to me. There's probably enough corn in the lines of this movie to feed a third world country.
**Spoiler warning** The only reason I stuck with this so long is because I figured there might be a decent final confrontation at the end. But no. Instead, what we get is a watered down wrestling match between Costner's "Postman" and Will Patton's bad guy general, followed by (you guessed it) even more corny dialogue.
Will Patton's a good actor, but in this film, he gets stuck with the thankless task of playing a military meanie who seems to be brutal merely for the sake of making the audience hate him. This character would have been more at home in a Jean Claude Van Damme film. Just like this film would have been much better of not being made at all.
V for Vendetta (2005)
"T" for thinking man's movie or "E" for entertaining. Take your pick.
This movie tries to be a step above the average tale of freedom-loving hero versus totalitarian government. It leaves you with plenty to think about. For one thing, the hero (Hugo Weaving) is a terrorist. Does that mean we can't root for him? Some may say yes, while others say no. I guess you could say one man's hero is another man's terrorist.
The government of V is definitely evil, however. Does that make this film a political commentary on our own governments? Critics of the current U.S. government will find a few parallels between the government of Adam Sutler (John Hurt) and Bush's administration. These are examples of things that may crop up in your mind when you watch this movie. But this is also a movie that can be enjoyed by people who just want to watch a film and enjoy it without thinking hard about it (There is no shame in this).
The movie itself is very well presented with an outstanding cast. Natalie Portman gets to portray a well defined character (as opposed to her character in Star Wars III) and she succeeds brilliantly. The rest of the cast shines as well.
Bottom line: If you are looking for a movie that makes you think, or something just to entertain you, this movie will fit the bill either way.
Eight Below (2006)
Should have gone more to the dogs
This movie is a very enjoyable story about eight very likable dogs and their struggle to stay alive in Antarctica. There is also a sub-plot about humans as well, but the movies true strength lies in the dogs. This is where the filmmakers missed their biggest opportunity. They should have given more time to the dogs and less to the humans. I can only imagine how embarrassing it must be for Paul Walker to get out-acted by dogs, but that's exactly what happens here. Don't get me wrong, he does a good job as the guide who was forced to abandon the dogs. But that is nothing compared to the emotion and feelings projected by the dogs.
A word of warning (Spoiler alert): If you couldn't handle the ending of Old Yeller, you probably shouldn't watch this movie. Some of the dogs don't make it and this film will do its best to make you weep for them.
What the hell happened?
After almost two full centuries of absence from the big screen, Star Wars finally comes back to the big screen. Not only that, but it also has a dream team of a starting line-up cast. Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman. There are directors out there who would probably sell their souls for a starting cast like this one. Add to that the prospect of improved special effects and you have yourself a movie with oodles of promise. So here's my question:
"What the hell happened?"
I've seen high school plays with better dialogue than the crap that haunted this picture. And who thought it would be a good idea to make Darth Vader a cute little kid? Although that idea doesn't suck nearly as bad as the true stain on the Star Wars legacy: Jar Jar Binks. Didn't anyone involved in making this film stop to realize how truly annoying this character was before the film came out? Not only does he get just as much screen time as the leads, but he also gets a lot of dialogue, which is really bad because listening to him is like listening to fingernails scratch chalkboard. Another area that the makers of this film totally blew it on was the villain. They create the impressive looking Darth Maul and then totally waste their creation. Bottom line: This film marks to low point of the Star Wars franchise. It is the only movie I don't own from it, with good reason.
The Musketeer (2001)
Welcome to sucksville.
Population: Anyone unfortunate enough to see this movie. I know a lot of people have been lining up to bash this movie, and as far as I'm concerned, it deserves every bad mark against it. It fails on every level. Acting: The good actors, such as Tim Roth and Stephen Rea, sleepwalk there way their roles. The lead actor's performance makes Hayden Christensen look like Robert De Niro. Fighting: There was a little potential here in the fight sequences, but they suffer from such poor lighting and they make no sense what so ever. Story: This is where the film really bits the big one. The writers took one of the most well-known adventure stories from classic literature and turned into this piece of crap that is recycled from countless action movies.
Bottom line: This movie makes Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland's version of The Three Musketeers look like Citizen Kane by comparison.
He's back. So what?
To give you a taste of how I feel about the latest addition to the Terminator franchise, let's have a look at the memorable lines that came out of them.
Terminator 1: I'll be back.
Terminator 2: Hasta la vista, Baby.
Terminator 3: Talk to the hand.
There's one of your problems. The first two lines are cool, but the third one is not, just like the movie. It doesn't even come close to measuring up. (the fact that "Talk to the hand" conjures up images of Fran Drescher really doesn't help it either) This movie is a very lame descendant of the other two. Everything good about this movie has been done even better in the last two, with the exception of the new villain, who is hotter than a four alarm fire. Nick Stahl and Claire Danes are okay. The problem here is Arnold. Whatever gift he had for playing this role is not here. Instead, he just looks and sounds ridiculous in this movie. Now, as far as the plot is concerned, what happened to the feeling of hope and the message of "No fate but what we make for ourselves." It is lost in this film, replaced with "No matter what we do, we're gonna get screwed by Judgement Day, anyway." Bottom line: This movie is not a worthy successor to the other two Terminator movies at all.
National Treasure (2004)
A watered down soft drink
For a movie that's supposedly based on finding long lost treasure, this one got awfully boring really fast. What happened? By the way, what happened to Nicolas Cage? The man could act once and he was capable of creating exciting characters. But not lately, and certainly not in this film. In this film, his performance is mediocre at best. As his love interest, Diane Kruger gets to look good and has a few good lines, but that's it. His sidekick is really annoying. All this I could forgive, if there was a plot or any excitement in this film. But the number of exciting moments in this film were too far apart. The villain is not very threatening and gets duped way too easily. I thought this guy was supposed to be smart. Of course, I also thought this movie would be more exciting than it was. With the exception of a few chases, there really isn't much to this film. Bottom line: It's a watered down version of an Indiana Jones flick.
War epic+Soap Opera Dialoge=Movie not easy to swallow
**Some Spoilers** I really wanted to like this film and that's how I went into it. I came out trying to figure out what the heck I just watched. This movie was like the lovechild of Gladiator and Beverly Hills 90210. It suffers from bad dialog and too much butchery of the original epic. I understand the need to make changes when you are making a movie out of something like the Iliad. But whoever wrote the screenplay for this went too far. There were some good parts to it, which kept me from fleeing the theater. 1. Sean Bean-One of Hollywood's most underrated talents, Sean shines as Odysseus. At least, the writers were smart enough to give him some of the best lines.
2. Eric Bana-He is perfect as Hector a loyal and tragic hero.
3. The fighting-There were some really good fight scenes in this film, some of them on par with the battles in Lord of the Rings. However, that is the only thing about this film that even comes close to touching any film in that series.
Now, for the bad points.
1. Helen-This character had some of the most vomit-inducing lines I have ever seen. What is this, a Greek war film or a Soap Opera? Her husband insists that he wants to kill her. I can't say I blame him. After listening to her talk for about five minutes, I want her dead too. I do not blame Helen Kruger for this and I hope she gets another chance to shine. I blame whoever gave her these lines and made her play such an annoying character. Are we supposed to believe that this is the woman that two nations go to war over? Sorry, no sale.
2. Brad Pitt-I don't know how much Brad got for this movie, but someone should see about getting that money back. As far as acting for tough guys goes, Pitt did a better job in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Here, he plays a self-centered jackass with pecs and that's it.
3. Orlando Bloom-Without giving away too much, I suspect most of the changes from the Iliad in this movie were made to suit Bloom's fans. If that's the case, then Orlando should not have been cast as Paris, because Paris is a very hate-able character, both in the movie as well as the poem. That is why what happens to him at the end is so hard to swallow. He lives! And gets away with Helen, the other annoying character. If the script writers wanted to change something, they should have had Hector live.
Bottom line-This movie is only a shadow of Lord of the Rings. Watch this only if you are really bored and have a high tolerance for bad dialog. Bana and Bean fans might like it if they skip certain parts.
Poor Karl Urban. His first staring role, and he gets upstaged by the rock. Urban's name is listed first in the credits and he is playing the top character. But pretty much every promo or major review calls this movie "Doom, starring the Rock" or "The Rock's next movie." However, if you consider the reception this movie has been getting, it might actually be better for Karl if he isn't singled out. Now, the movie itself isn't that bad for a project based on a video game. It's better than Resident Evil (which isn't saying a lot). Karl and the Rock play their roles as well as they can as members of an elite force of Marines, sent to deal with a "situation" on Mars that gets way out of hand. The rest of the squad's characters are pretty much one-dimensional and, like any good lambs to the slaughter, they stay that way until their time comes. For example, the jerk is a jerk, and so on. If you are looking for an action-horror flick with lots of blood and big guns, this is it. The problem as I see it is that a lot of fans of the game went in expecting more from the game ("get in the game" the ads promised)and the movie failed to deliver on a lot of those expectations.
Batman & Robin (1997)
A candy bar and a soda pop. That's what this movie cost me.
Normally, I'm not the kind of person that will complain about losing a buck and 50 cents. But in this case, I'm prepared to make a huge exception. This movie stunk so bad I was smelling it long after I left the theater. $1.50 is what I spent to see it, that's money I could have used to by a soda pop and a candy bar, gosh darn it. I'll take a sugar high over this piece of trash anytime. It's a miracle anyone involved in this turkey managed to salvage a career afterwards. It took eight years before the bat was able to show his face on the big screen again. Do not let Joel Shu-Hack-er anywhere near this franchise. Warning: Do not play a drinking game to the bad puns of this movie. You will die in the first hour.