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The Village (2004)
Just watch it and learn something
I've just watched the movie for the first time and I have a confession.
I knew there were a lot of people who didn't like this film. I knew there was going to be a twist at the end.
What I didn't know that I would spoil the film for myself.
I had completely forgotten about the supposed year of 1897 shown at the start, so while I was watching the rest of the film I tried to work out the twist based on how the village related to the present-day. My very first suspicion was that the village was some sort of sociological experiment that kept a community living as if was the 18th or 19th century. I wasn't too far off. The revelation that it was 2004 failed to shock me (I thought it was the present-day all along not because I actually worked it out but because I had no reason to believe otherwise).
When I found out about the tombstone's date all I could think was, "What was the need for giving us that information?" It would have made no difference if we didn't know it was 1897 and it slightly devalued the film. It was a bare-faced lie to fool us. But because fate allowed me to ignore the lie, I am not angry. It shows our friend Shymalan made a huge error. What if there are others who have perhaps missed the opening minute? As an experiment, show this film to someone (with some degree of intelligence) who hasn't watched it before, but from after the funeral scene. I bet they won't find the it's-2004-twist surprising.
For me this film was about innocence lost and going to great lengths to regain it. It was an extreme thing to do, but understandable. Adrien Brody's character harboured the two sides of every human in their extremes - the completely innocent and the insanely violent.
The connotations become more and more obvious as you think about the film, which in the end is a very entertaining commentary on the modern-day world.
Despite everything, a very good movie.
A flawed masterpiece...
In fact the flaw was too great that it crushed the masterpiece.
I am writing this review after maybe two or more years since I last watched this film, but many things stick out in my mind, including the one thing that ruined this movie.
Firstly, this film is very good at pulling you into its world early on and you endear yourselves to the story very quickly as the humour helps the opening act along.(Billy-Bob steals the show, but Bruce gives a near-perfect performance too)
The plot of the film is straightforward - albeit told in a complex manner, (ie, the news report AFTER the events) but this adds to the mystery. - and is overall an original take on the crime/heist/comedy genre with an inspired choice of actors.
However, this is where I feel the film fell from being a memorable comedy to one that no-one really remembers only a few years later.
Where the choice of actors in Bruce Willis and Billy-Bob Thornton to play these roles was nothing short of genius, the selection of Cate Blanchett must rank alongside the greatest casting cock-ups of them all.
Now, I'm the first one to say Blanchett is a fantastic actress, but this role cried for someone like Meg Ryan. Blanchett's portrayal of the female lead continued to annoy and her introduction just halted the progression of the story. Her sobbing seemed faked, her mood swings unjustified and you just could not sympathise with her whole character.
What the casting department should have looked for was an actress with an innocent charm and too likable to be annoyed by.
Blanchett does not have this 'innocence' or 'charm', which is why I kept on wondering about Meg Ryan in this role (perhaps with her 'Innerscape' performance in mind).
BANDITS: Every time I think of this film, I can't help but think of the single mistake that undermined what otherwise would have been a classic. For shame.
So bad it IS good. **HERE BE SPOILERS**
It's become a classic. The film has a recurring catchphrase that I don't know whether I like or loathe:
"You're an asshole" "You really are" "I mean it"
I'm guessing that this was the filmmakers secret weapon.
But the BEST bit about this film was the big guy that was working in the diner and decided to follow the "baddies" to the ghost town.
We only see him in three very short, but very, very crucial scenes from here on in.
Scene I: He is seen modifying his hammer
Scene II: Some time later, he is sharpening a sickle or something (I don't know, maybe he was a commie)
I mean these two scenes would not be included if he had a minor role to play, right?
So here is his big moment in scene III...
Scene III: The guy turns up in the heat of the battle between good and evil. With his hammer in one hand and the sickle in the other he is about to deliver the final blow.....
But is wiped out by one of the zombie cronies that was hanging about.
All that suspense built up... and for what?
And to cap it off, watch the credits roll, with names like The Priest and Animal guy going on and on.
where were THESE people?
Seriously, though. This is one film you HAVE to watch.
A great start to the weekend
Ahh. I almost forgot about ZZZap! and all the other Friday shows that followed. For me, this was the start of the weekend after school on Fridays. For as long as i watched it, the show never changed yet continued to mesmerise.
Cuthbert Lilly - A failed Sting impersonator, trying to make his way in the world doing different odd-jobs here and there.
Smart Art - The big blue cloaked fellow whose magic pen brought cars and washing machines to life.
Daisy Dares You - The mischievous hillbilly that dragged schoolkids into insane challenges.
The Handymen - A blue glove and a yellow glove joining forces in the only real competition to Blue Peter's 'here's-one-I-made-earlier' malarkey. THE HANDYMEN MADE CHOC-ICES, RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES!!!
All these were separated by 30 seconds of guessing an item from close up, usually bubble-wrap or a BIC biro.
Friday TEA-TIMES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
ZZZap![1993-2001]: You will be missed. R.I.P.
I had the fortune of watching this on opening day, before anyone got to ruin the fun.
If anyone reading this has not watched it, see it now. Do not let any reviews sway you.
The building up of events in this new trilogy has been perfectly timed and I do not think many people appreciate the subtlety in episodes I and II.
Revenge of the Sith is far from subtle and unleashes itself so that brain dead viewers have something to think about too.
Every minute of this film is meaningful and does what was expected of it and more.
It is sad to think that there will be no more Star Wars from now, but where could the saga go from here? I for one hope that this is now the end.
Pyaar Ka Saaya (1991)
For those of you who haven't seen this...(SPOILER)
...it is a Bollywood re-make of "GHOST" - Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze - with nothing much changed except with some songs put in.
My memory might be a bit dodgy cos it's been about 10 years since I watched this but it was like a dubbed version of the Hollywood version - I can't remember anything different happening!
The settings are the same, the characters the same, the story the same - just all Bollywoodised. Rahul Roy as Swayze, Amrita Singh as Whoopi Goldberg and Mohnish Behl as the best friend/turned villain. Even the ghost guy from the subway is there (played by one of the bad guys from "AGNEEPATH")!
Worth watching if only to p*ss yourself from laughing at the blatant copying that Bollywood at the time was prone to.
One thing was different - the title: shouldn't it have been called "BLAA"?
The Raggy Dolls (1986)
It's back on TV!
I remember this cartoon from about 15 years ago when I was 4 yrs old. Imagine my surprise when I saw it on a DVB channel called POP. It was just like going back to the good old days of Rainbow, The Family Ness and other great kids shows.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
I Can Only Speak For Myself...
Many readers will want a fair view before they see the film. All I can say is watch the film for yourself.
I can only show you the door - you must walk through it...
JUST MAKE SURE YOU WATCH THE MATRIX BEFORE WATCHING RELOADED!!!!!!!!!
I have just watched The Matrix Reloaded and I found it to be a brave attempt by the makers to expand on the greatness of The Matrix...
I don't want to ruin the film by hyping it up but I truly believe this film was great.
The easy thing that the makers could have done is essentially re-make the first film and play it safe as in the Die Hard series (Don't get me wrong, I love Die Hard, but they all used the same formula).
However, they actually went and made a true sequel where the atmosphere of the first film is retained but the story is taken to a new level. This was a big risk, but it paid off thanks in part to great special effects.
If you can get past the first 30 minutes or so (which aren't too bad) you're in for great viewing.
The story is simple enough if you pay attention. The action sequences are great and the film unfolds at a fast pace so it doesn't drag on. There is also some humour that doesn't spoil the flow.
One other thing... I also find the story of The Matrix running along the same lines as the Star Wars trilogy (The Force, The Matrix, The Jedi, The One, The Dark Side, The Machines). Don't be put off - as long as the connection isn't too obvious, I think that this is a good thing.
Never Been Kissed (1999)
I wish I'd watched it 4 years ago.
I'm not a fan of teen "comedies" but this was on ITV at the weekend so I thought I'd give it a go. I didn't know much about the film except that Drew Barrymore (I'm not a big fan) was in it and what genre it was classed in.
About an hour into the film, I considered switching off because the plot was too outrageous and the characters so 2-D and typically American, but I watched it through and although the ending was a bit too over the top and predictable, I found Drew's speech about high school never changing hit the mark. It was true for me particularly as it is my last week at college - that's UK college, like high-school in the US - and I saw her stereotypes of school. It made me realise I wasn't gonna be in school any longer (sniff) and that school is probably the best time in life.
Personal thoughts aside, this isn't as good as She's All That but fun to watch anyway. 6/10.