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Believe the hype
It really is a completely bad-ass, well written, perfectly paced, excellently cast thriller.
Liam Neeson much to many people surprise (including mine) is just as solid, if not more, in this role as Daniel Craig in Casino Royale or Matt Damon in the Bourne films.
Definitely worth checking out. Hope the studio gives this a wide release in January and the film gets its due.
Solid thriller, high recommended, I only watch a handful of action flicks a year because the majority are such crap, but this one was damn good.
Lake of Fire (2006)
Lake of Fire - An Intelligent, Objective, Fairly Unbias....mess of a film
Like the other reviewer here, saw this today at a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Wow. Definitely an intense film. Intense because it certainly lays out the discussion on abortion in a fairly unbiased objective way. The first hour will leave you think "hold on a second, is this a Pro-Life film/propaganda masquerading as a serious documentary" but then through the rest the argument becomes more open minded as Kaye presents interviews with both ends of the argument.
The problems with the film is more in technical elements of a documentary. It is outright...too long. Certainly lengthy interviews and discussions with subjects about abortions, their roles in the pro life or pro choice movements will feature people speaking grandly and passionately, but at least 10 interviews could have been cut out entirely, or shortened significantly. As such, the pace of the film lags, sometimes you are compelled and moved and disgusted and laughing, and at other times the lull of certain interviews just detract from engaging in the film. Editing is somewhat sub par, pacing isn't great. The other weakness is that a lot of the content show is out of date, lots of coverage of events in the early 90's, etc etc, just seems not really fitting to discuss and analyze the abortion debate with figures and topics from a decade or more ago. Covering Roe vs Wade is key, there seems to be only one event discussed from this century. Kind of odd.
Otherwise, its a great topic to discuss, its an important film simply because he did pick good people to showcase on the topic. The film is startlingly because Kaye does show....abortions, repeat, you will see aborted fetuses in this, you will see the process of abortion and believe me plenty of people in the audience had to avert our eyes for a number of scenes in the film. That being said, it didn't seem like those images were there simply for shock value. Its more a strength that Kaye made a film that absolutely does not hold back, from either standpoint. The most absolutely inane and outright ridiculous evangelic, extremely fundamentalist Christian pro-lifers are given screen time, as well as the more moderate, intelligent, well spoken representatives on the Pro-Life side. At sometimes it might seem as if there is a Pro-Life bias, but when the entire audience is laughing at the ridiculously, narrow minded diatribes found in some of the interviews with the Pro-Lifers, its easy to see Kaye put them there, unfiltered to balance things out a bit.
The film....doesn't seem to have a good sense of direction. There are some shocking revelations (Roe, as in the woman who won an appeal to have an abortion legally in the famous Roe Vs. Wade case, is now working with a Christian group AGAINST abortion).
Anyways...cant think of what else to say. Good film, a few flaws, somewhat shocking at times, but interest topic for sure.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Absolutely entertaining, intelligent and visually stunning.
I thought it was completely awesome and very very entertaining.
People that are claiming they didn't enjoy it or it diverted from the comic book too much have to realize that the movies still have to be completely accessible to everyone. You can't make a $150 million movie and then just try and appeal to the purists.
I think it was an epic storyline, intelligent ideas were posed, obviously had some cheesy Hollywood-isms but that is unavoidable. The effects were amazing and it really did look like the first full fledged superhero flick were the effects were able to capture everyones powers and potential visually, you just cant have too many FX shots in a movie like x-men, because its a movie where basically two waring factions of mutants do battle....the effects were never excessive or cheesy.
Even the scene where the 7 remaining X-Men are going to do battle and Wolverine utters the phrase "as x-men" for the first time in the series was cool in the same sense that there was some comeradary in the animated TV series, that moments was actually sweet but cool.
It's too bad they had to offer Storm so much screen time, because Halle Berry gets bloody annoying sometimes.
Obviously a lot of people preferred aspects of the Bryan Singer movies (the first two) mainly the deeper character development. Whereas X2 was all Logan, at least this one delved pretty deep into Jean Grey, and still moved the pace of the entire big story of the X-Men along very effectively.
and ultimately I hope its the last one unless they get an unbelievably great script with like Gambit and stuff for the next one. .
The Aviator (2004)
Brilliant Film Making, Unsympathetic Storytelling.
A somewhat hard picture to judge. Overall I would say I enjoyed it. But then again, most Scorcese stuff will never be garbage, or never really be uninteresting. To be honest I thought The Aviator was a more interesting story than Raging Bull. Maybe because stories about boxers never interested me. Maybe that's why I think The Aviator was a far better film than Million Dollar Baby.
So the Aviator is a sub-par epic, by an incredible filmmaker and storyteller. The production values, acting, etc etc are excellent. The story of Hughes is just too sad and screwed up to be as memorable as something like Goodfellas or Taxi Driver. The movie isn't just well done because its a Martin Scorcese movie and people automatically give it props, it is definitely worth seeing. He's mastered elegant, original storytelling, I just think the angle to take on someone like Howard Hughes was the only misstep in the film.
Maybe I have a weird lust for long epic movies, but the ending just felt so unsatisfying. Because the movie makes his character seem to interesting, and the film just ends when he's what? 40. If you become engaged in the story (as I did), You end up thinking..." do I have to read a Howard Hughes biography to know what madness, and ridiculously admirable ambition and...more madness came to this guy for the rest of his life??!?" I guess so.
I think the ultimate annoyance people had with the movie is...its ability to showcase Howard Hughes massive weirdness, but nobody really feels empathetic to it. It's like watching some ranting homeless guy downtown rant on about the government and society. You know that he might actually be making some sense, and he might be right, but you still want to beat him until he shuts up and stops acting so ridiculously strange. There's a very minute audience that kind find empathy for germaphobes. The empathy for his struggle against pretty obvious government misconduct in his business, is diminished by our lack of empathy for his eccentricity.
DiCaprio was fantastic though. Probably the strongest performance of his career. Scorcese not winning the Oscar seems...unfair but almost just. The academy has a very stubborn manner of reflecting its honors on those who are making their best work, not work of brilliance, but declining brilliance. Clint Eastwood was making his best work as a director, and Scorcese well...his work in Goodfellas was worth two Oscar's...but his work on Aviator wasn't quite worth one.
19 Months (2002)
An unbelievably contrived, annoying film.
Ambitious, I admit. I wish these kinds of films wouldn't advertise themselves as documentaries.
Because "fake documentaries" are probably the most irritating sub-genre ever.
Poor acting, poor strict, the entire production and storyline just reeked of corny, film-student, low-budget Canadian crap. I tried to endure through most of it, "Rob" nearly made me stab the television a number of times. A character so irritating, He could only exist in fiction. Oh wait, no even fiction; mockumentry.
Completely unrecommended. This is the kind of stuff that only belongs on Movie Network On Demand, and anyone viewing it and paying to view it, is a victim of a tragedy.
Festival Express (2003)
Opinion from a complete non-fan of the music....
Before seeing this film, I was a completely novice to The Band, Grateful Dead, Janis. I'm 22, I didn't grow up with this stuff, my only knowledge of The Band is that Scorcese directed a film on their last concert. I have a few hippie friends that endless blathered about the brilliance of Janis, which fell upon my deaf ears. I was expecting Festival Express to be this dull, venture into 70's nostalgia crap and tedious jam band boredom.
Oh...how my opinion has changed. I mean, its nothing like the music I love (90's alternative stuff and electronic stuff) but the performances are so absolutely incredible and passionate. In reality, its a film for musicians more than fans, people that who have, even for a moment, felt the sheer exhilaration of collaborating musically with people and it being perfect! Festival Express feels exactly like that. You see it in their eyes in these performances. Janis may have been.....kind of crazy, but in the track in the film ("cry baby"?) I can completely see her absolute passion for music and her amazing showmanship (or show-womanship). Festival Express is the best example of a completely non-contrived and purely candid look into these bands. Even if they are brief glimmers of their natural selves.
I think the die-hard fans who are criticizing the film are asking too much. If I can wait 30 years after the demise of my favorite bands (Radiohead, Tool, Nine Inch Nails)...to see an amazingly honest and brilliantly shot look into their touring lives, I would be very very grateful, not critical because the damned filmmakers didn't get everything I wanted. The interviews with the performers and particularly the promoter, are fantastic. Not only are they a good dose of humour, but...its so easy to see WHY they are saying this tour was absolutely special and unique and memorable. It's right there on film, this was the pinnacle of that era and that place and that mentality and musicianship that was going on. You have to appreciate what Festival Express showcases. You might not like every bit of music (I didn't) but I can appreciate the total intensity and passion of the performances.
Shichinin no samurai (1954)
Incredibly Overrated...the 6th best film ever? pfft.
I cannot really understand this film ranking as the 6th best ever made (according to the Top 250, not that we should treat that as the god of public opinion).
Beyond the character depth, cinematography and supposed classic action pioneering. I found it to be a very minimally entertaining film, I understood the characters and their motives but the pace is excruciating and the character just grow weary. It's not that its incredibly dated, its just that when watching something like The Last Samurai, the connection and the influence to Seven Samurai is easy to notice. But regardless of the technological advances in the 50 years between the two films, Last Samurai was just as engaging as this. I can't see some ocean of brilliance in the Seven Samurai, its kitsch is its appeal, the heroes grow tiresome. I know I can't accuse it of being cliché because it created its own spawn of wannabe samurai flicks...but its not a masterpiece of epic proportions. And its certainly not the sixth best film in history.
Human Traffic (1999)
The only film that ravers actually respect.
Well, I should say, "the only film related to club/dj/electronic music and raves...that ravers respect".
Seriously now. It's a gloriously fun, fast paced and fairly accurate portrayal of the night of a raver. Albeit, its in a club, its in Wales and its somewhat dated. The film leaves out some of the sketchier elements of club life, but doesn't disassociate from them altogether. It presents a idyllic yet serious portrayal of the ups and downs of the characters lives.
At the core of the film, and the best element of Justin Kerrigan's script, is the characters, eccentric, unique yet completely understandable and accessible. This film simple would not work and be infinitely less entertaining were it not for Jip, Koop, Nina, Moff and Lulu. Viewers can deny the political and social implications of the subtext of Human Traffic as a drug film, Trainspotting wannabe, important peg in British youth culture circa 90's, BUT....they can't deny that these are engaging characters.
It's frantic, its brutally honest, it's sobering, it's over the top, but its a great comedy.
Raves are a complex thing, so are the drugs that are taken at these events, so are the people you will encounter. But from someone who has gone to parties, become jaded and still goes...Human Traffic is the best snapshot that could be taken of the subculture. Just whatever you do, avoid "Groove" as its the antithesis of all that is good about Human Traffic.