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Black Snake Moan (2006)
Wow... Much better than I was expecting...
I really didn't know what to expect with this movie. It was sold on its "sex" and Samuel L. Jackson, but it was so much more than just that. The reviewers obviously didn't quite know what to make of it, and sure, it's not the best film ever made (few films are) -- it's just really surprisingly great! It's great to see such an original movie made so well. It's quirky and unusual and completely original -- and best of all: It doesn't fall into the clichéd traps that you expect it to. It's not gory for the sake of it, the sex is actually a huge part of the storyline and it has a great sense of morality. Jackson and Ricci are both absolutely amazing, too.
It sounds odd to say, but Black Snake Moan felt like a FEEL GOOD version of a Hubert Selby, Jr. novel... Weird, eh? Criticisms? Well, I feel a bit torn about the ending -- it's the ending I WANTED, but was it completely true to the characters and setting? I don't know.
I do know that I'm extremely grateful that I forced myself to watch this based upon a recommendation -- and I'm recommending it to YOU now. You won't regret it.
Even if you don't completely love it, you'll definitely appreciate its non-Hollywood originality.
This is what you've been waiting for
Revenge of the Sith is different to the 'Original Trilogy', it's darker, scarier and there's absolutely no happy ending. It's also a lot more affecting and emotional that any previous Star Wars film. In fact, it's more potent than all the previous movies put together! Don't look for funny lines, amusing moments and a happy-go-lucky atmosphere, it's simply not here. What is here is possibly the best piece of the Star Wars universe ever made (yes, I mean it might even be better than The Empire Strikes Back!). But saying that, Episode III is different than all of the other Star Wars films, especially the 'Original Trilogy', and this might not be what some fans want.
A lot of the elements of what you _think_ a Star Wars movie should be like are not here. There's no safety net of the dashing rogue/smuggler and his 7 foot tall Wookiee buddy, who despite their supposed profession, are actually quite noble, predictable and safe. In fact I'd say that Episode III takes a huge departure from the 'Saturday morning serials' that it was originally based on. As such some fans might be disappointed. There are no cute and cuddly Ewoks here, nor witty banter and jokes in the heat of the action. When bad things happen in Episode III, they really happen.
Watching Hayden Christianson's tragic hero fall into the 'Dark Side' is a painful experience and it makes up for what people saw as lack of depth in the previous two movies, and explains a lot of the differences in tone, too. Episode I and II pack more punch after you've seen Episode III. The annoying bratish Annakin Skywalker is gone in this new film, he has reached maturity, and you can now see a clear arc of his character starting in Episode I. In a way, it seems like George Lucas has finally revealed his master plan, and against all expectations, it actually works! Episode III (and indeed the whole 'new trilogy') has a vastly different feeling to the older movies though, but this new tone fits the story of Annakin's fall from grace much better. I came close to tears a few times during Episode III, you could never say that about the 'original trilogy'. This is a new side to Star Wars that you may find cold and unyielding, but this is precisely how it should be.
I left the theater feeling very depressed and sad, not because Episode III didn't live up to my expectations, but because it was so affecting. You know Annakin is going to make the wrong decisions, but you just can't bring yourself to see how. Episode III is everything it should have been and more.
It hurt, I nearly cried, it was absolutely amazing. This is what you've been waiting for.
One word about expectations: While I've tried to avoid superlatives during this review, you can't help but feel an incredible surge of expectations when watching a Star Wars movie. There's one thing that this, and absolutely no other film, can ever do; and that's live up to the inflated expectations of the viewer! I know you want it to be great and special, but if you're expecting too much then you will be disappointed.
If you really want to enjoy Episode III then I'd suggest watching Episode's I and II a day or two before hand, and _really_ trying to enjoy them for what they are (instead of noting the differences between them and the 'original trilogy'). If you can't enjoy the Annakin's rise or political/Palpatine story lines then you won't enjoy Episode III, as this is the conclusion of those story lines. Also Episode III follows completely from Episode I AND II, and there are similarities in their tones much closer than that of the 'original trilogy'. You'll just have to face facts.
Remember: This is NOT a return to the halcyon days of yore, but a stunning end to a trilogy which a lot of vocal people didn't like. If there's nothing you liked about Episodes I and II and you're expecting 'A New Hope', or 'Empire', or even 'Return of the Jedi', then you're NOT going to like this movie.
If you realise that this new trilogy is different than the Luke Skywalker/Han Solo trilogy, then you will enjoy it for a what it is: A strikingly effective and downbeat ending to a much maligned trilogy.
System Shock (1994)
Brilliant but forgotten
This excellent ground-breaking game will scare the pants off you and delight you with its endless intricacies... it's a shame nobody ever bothered to play it.
This is an excellent mixture of Neuromancer, Alien and every other brilliant sci-fi you can think of. The voice acting was WAY ahead of its time and actually used this new fangled sound to tell plot and scare you senseless (while Doom was busy making simple explosion noises).
The only problem is that it looks a little dated now, but stick with it until the end and I'll guarantee you won't be disappointed!
Also check out the equally excellent sequel, System Shock 2. Unbelievable stuff!