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15 reviews in total 
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The Skulls (2000)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
There are no spoilers, this movie spoils itself, 27 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's clear, just from my 10/10 review of this movie I have terrible taste. But I mean it. Please read my other reviews and don't trust a word. Seriously, this movie is a quintessential bad 90's movie. And I love it.

Suspend your reality for 2 hours and watch this movie. Joshua Jackson as THE athletic star of THE crew team at an Ivy League school (unnamed, but I think winking and nodding with the jerseys with Y on it say it all). I've never seen such a scrawny crew member in my life. Paul Walker as an IVY LEAGUE student. SUSPEND REALITY. It's worth it. Paul Walker is one of my favorite actors of all time because he cannot silent the surfer boy inside himself.

These two men, coupled with fraternity bro dialog, it has everything. Remember, skulls are forever. Skulls are soul mates. We are watching you all the time. You get 20g's and a car. An implied racially charged storyline. Did you know, that if you really wanted to find out who was a skull, you JUST have to take off their watch.

I spent the last 2 hours giggling like a little school girl and I couldn't be happier. There is nothing real about this movie but I don't think that's the point. Twelve years after its release, its laughable at best, but it will put a smile on your face the whole time.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Spoiler: this movie sucks., 25 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As I was watching this movie, I thought to myself, "this movie is barely worthy of a DVD release. I would never have put this in theaters."

Lo and behold, I was right.

If my comment doesn't tell you of the quality of the film, try watching the five American Pie movies that went straight to DVD and you'll find out after the first 10 minutes of the first one. Like Eye-see-you, they are all available on Netflix as part of there ever expanding catalog of dung.

Sly slurs his lines, per usual, which is all I ever ask of him. Everyone else looks vaguely familiar but I don't remember any of their names. Here's how I'll explain this movie. I literally think I've seen it before. But its an utter mess of a movie and people die in it so quickly its hard to even keep names straight.

I therefore watched it again, thinking I'd ever seen it because of how confused I was by it. It was only in the penultimate scene that I realized I had watched it before. But it was forgettable. And I'll probably watch it again someday, come to IMDb and find out I've already reviewed it.


Shade (2003)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
I add the spoiler comment, just to be safe rather than sorry, 25 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think that's a line from the movie. It doesn't matter if this catchphrase is or isn't, because nothing, not even a line up of sunsetting incredible actors could save this movie.

Man this movie is bad. I originally was going to give this 10 stars and trash Steven Soderbergh for copying the plot line, locations and the idea of twist after twist after twist. I thought this movie preceded Oceans 11, but when I came to IMDb I found this was released AFTER Ocean's 11. AFTER. I have plenty to say about how much I loathe Soderbergh, but one thing you can never take from him is Ocean's 11. It is one of the few perfect films of our generation.

The Ocean's movie (the first, 12 and 13 are horrific) set the bar on grifting movies incredibly high that one shouldn't even consider penning another one until you can match it, top it, or heck, just come close to its genius without copying it.

This movie could only copy the good ideas from Oceans 11 and get wrong everything else. Gabriel Byrne is too old to end every sentence with "baby" when speaking to his nominal love interest. Sylvester Stallone is watchable because he's an oaf. I will never believe him to be of any intelligence level that would allow for him to be the best card shark for say, 30 years. And Stuart Townsends smirk is lovable, but he really can't compete with Brad Pitt's. (For the record I think Brad Pitt is fine to look at and one of the most overrated actors in Hollywood. His acting abilities are such that when he plays a character, you can always tell that its Brad Pitt, thinking he's acting how his character should act. Its quite sad.)

This movie should been titled, Ocean's 14, the drama in real life. This was a made for TV movie version of what really happened to the crew. They all ended up washed up, selling each other out and the two aging but beautiful stars from Oceans 11 (George Clooney and Julia Roberts) end up with collagen implants and wrinkles, ala Sly and Melanie Griffith.

6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
This movie is the reason why not everyone is cut out to make films, 22 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't mean to belittle the director or anyone who worked on this film, because clearly it is a labor of love. A crew of people staying in the woods for 16 days filming a movie just as long takes guts. Unfortunately, the movie itself falls flat.

At the same time, this movie is the reason why not everyone should make films. The movie is full of unclear motivations, sloppy dialog, and a nonsensical script. I can't believe the number of times I heard the words "good people" in this movie. Not only is this colloquialism a baseless adjective, but I almost laughed out loud when it was used as a term for one person. It was little errors like this that are the movies ultimate downfall. However, the actors are remarkably good given the source material, but the plot itself makes no sense whatsoever. I started counting the number of times Julian ran off the screen for no reason whatsoever. I still don't know why any of them took peyote, given the events in the film. Yet, none of this needs to be explained...apparently.

There is no clear direction for the movie and the ending....well, it makes as little sense as the rest of the movie.

Might be spoilers from this point forward: Three men hike into the woods and Julian, the nominal leader, has something to prove, or learn of himself or, just to go bloody ape-sh!t? There's a thread of discourse that takes place inside the actors that never becomes clear, never is stated out loud and frankly, is the largest plot hole of the movie of all.

I say this for the same number of reasons as there are the cast: The first being, that the remarkably relaxed friend, John, seems to trust Julian with his life, who for all intents and purposes, appears one step away from insanity. I would never follow such a man into the woods for any reason whatsoever, but the beginning of the movie hints that something diabolical is going to occur later in the movie. John seems aware of this and trudges forward, like old friends.

MAJOR SPOILER HERE: The second is Paul. He struggles with a number of questions in the movie, but one thing he shouldn't have hesitated at was killing Julian, or at least getting the hell away, after witnessing Julian bash John's head in with a rock. These people set off into the woods and under a week later, he watches Julian take John's life. With a large rock. I don't care if John was dead anyway, a rational person (allegedly Paul) should have recognized that from that point forward, he was dealing with a psychopath.

Again, spoiler: And lastly, of course, there's Julian. Admittedly, Julian was the strongest actor of the three and I enjoyed watching him throughout the movie. I believe he acted out the part that the director intended for him perfectly. But that makes me question the director, not the actor. Why, oh why, did Julian go native in just about a week, kill his best friend, then Paul and end up running naked in the woods 34 days later killing search party members? The entire movie hinges on this and yet there is never any clear reasoning behind it. Again there are hints at his insanity from the get go, but any sane person wouldn't accompany this type of man into the wilderness.

My hat's off to the actors for being as apt at communicating the intentions of the director. Yet the film industry can only handle a finite number of one named celebrities, and one of those names is not Roze.

13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
I get it, the ideas, laid all out, but jeeze, pour me a cup of coffee while you are at it., 20 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Please note: I will keep my spoilers to one paragraph that will be easily seen. Please read my review until that point if you want to hear a perspective that did not love the film.

Synecdoche, NY is a film that, in theory, sounds great, but when shown to an audience ends up dull, patronizing, and repetitive. The ultimate flaw of the movie is the director and the incoherent story telling that takes place. I LOVE Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Charlie Kaufman, so I was very excited to sit down a movie involving all three. PSH and Catherine Keener shine, but Kaufman's directing is atrocious.

I'm sorry folks, but this movie is simply too confusing to be enjoyed. The idea of the movie is great, but when played out...ugh, it just really shouldn't have been played out. I thought the movie was 4 hours instead of 2 and checked my watch a number of times to see when it would end. There are a number of movies on life and death that do not (literally) require a scene that comes 3/4 of the way through explaining what the hell you have been watching for the last hour and a half.

I blame this on the directing and it being the debut of Charlie Kaufman as such. He was too close to the material and therefore couldn't tell what needed to be done to make the movie understandable, let alone enjoyable.

Kaufman attempts to weave an epic tale of a (sick?) theater director named Caden that takes us through his entire life. In the final act of his life, the last 40 years, he builds a replica of New York city to work through the issues he has through his life with, gulp, women. Sounds interesting enough, right? It would be if we were ever shown this overarching narrative. Instead we are shown scenes that put together, resemble this topic, but really just confuse the hell out of the viewer.


The movie was frustrating, to say the least. I'm not a lazy film viewer, but this one used tricks instead of good direction to tell the story. It was confusing for the sake of confusing, and quirky for the sake of being quirky.

For starters, is Caden sick? Of what? Is he terminally ill? My initial impression of the movie was that he was terminally ill given him urinating blood, being frail, having blemishes on his face, and his wife "fantasizing" about him dying so she can move on. But then why is he the last to die? I spent half the movie thinking that in the last scene we would figure out he was already dead because of the initial impression of how sick he was. But he lived! Longer than anyone else! Unfortunately, I think this was bad direction and missing scenes. It is the job of the director to explain whats going on in the movie and Kaufman either wasn't up to task or didn't recognize it because he wrote the story.

Next, why is the house Hazel purchased on fire? Not only is this stupid, it's never explained. Sure someone here is probably going to chew me a new one because I don't understand metaphors, but here's where I see a problem. The director tried to blend fantasy and reality, but then made everything that occurred "real." Having a house that was on fire makes no sense given that even the marriage dream sequence really happened. You can't ask me to suspend reality then punish me for doing so, which the movie did quite often.

Caden wins a "Macarthur grant" or some fellowship or something. Nowhere does the movie stipulate that this fake grant will allow a man to never produce another play in his life (except his weird 40 year opus that no one gets to enjoy) or have to support himself financially in any meaningful way again. I'd believe a million dollars, tops. How long would that last in New York City? Hmmm. Three years for one person living. But to refurbish an entire warehouse into a replica of the city as well as support the staff and himself until death? COME ON. Kaufman should recognize that this is just utterly ludicrous to believe we should take this "genius grant" at face value for not working for 40 years? At least try to explain it with a line or two of dialogue. Christ, you've gone on and on about every other imaginable topic that 2 sentences wouldn't kill you.

The time sequencing requires someone to explain what's happening near the end of the movie. That Caden couldn't handle time appropriately and is why there were jumps in years that were not consistent or formulaic. One scene moves the story forward a year. The next, 10 years. But wait, I thought Caden had AIDS, shouldn't he be dead by now? Move the scene to the beginning of the movie! I could go on and on: why would some freak follow Caden around for 17 years? How did Caden have his daughters diary although she left years before she could have written any of it when he was standing in the attic of his old home? All of it put into one movie just makes it...stupid. The last insult was the worst: Caden dies last!!! How in the hell did he outlive everyone? He was pissing blood at the beginning and seeing 5 or 6 doctors a week.

I think Kaufman as a writer succeeds in leaps and bounds. But he shouldn't direct his own pieces because it was pretty clear he felt he didn't need to explain much of anything and expected the reader to sit back and allow it to happen. Better luck next time.

21 out of 42 people found the following review useful:
Most original story since....Brick?, 6 June 2009

Rian Johnson has yet again come out of left field with another spectacular STORY driven movie charms as well as engages. In a summer full of sequels, prequels, and unoriginal ideas, PLEASE go support a director who is taking time to deliver new ideas to us, the viewing public.

There is nothing wrong with a good action flick, but there is something much better with a well thought out movie that takes us into a beautifully shot world of two con men. The director took the time to compose each scene in a unique fashion so the world we are in is 1 part 21st century and 9 parts timeless. Much like Brick, the story doesn't rely on technology, but it does casually remind us of the decade.

I'm not big on Mark Ruffalo or Adrien Brody, but they play their parts well. Rachel Weisz is the typical quirky pixie, but their characters are not what make the movie. Some people are faulting this movie for being predictable and it isn't perfect. (I give it a 10 because I want to impress upon people the need to support movies like this.) Remember though, every story in Hollywood has pretty much been told, but its how you tell it that matters.

The brothers bloom takes a typical story of two con men and turns it into a story for the ages.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Great Acting, Awful Story, 10 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I will first give credit to Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels as I actually enjoyed their performances in this movie. I do not like them in much, but I liked them in this. The children acted well, as well.

That is all I can say good about this meanderingly awful film that just SCREAMS disaffected white boy.

This movie is a semi-autobiographical film about 2 children growing up in New York in the 80's going through a divorce. My first question to Noah is: Brooklyn in the 80's, where are the black people and graffiti??? This movie is awful and I wish I hadn't wasted my time. I don't want to see a director work out his issues on film. In fact, I don't want to see another movie by a "white intellectual" from New York! There is nothing real about this movie and everything is just a prop in the self centered life of Noah Baumbach. There are no consequences in this movie. Women are treated poorly. There isn't a single minority in the entire city. Its a classic self centered script that tries to make up for its crap through obtuseness.

Seriously, skip this movie big time.

15 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Stinking pile, 2 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'll be honest, I slightly enjoyed this movie as it was playing. And I was touched by the ending. But thats it.

This movie is another in a long line of Clint Eastwood directed/acted movies where it is just another opportunity to further Eastwood's narcissism. I don't have a problem with redemption stories or flawed main characters, but its the fact that his movies are always about Eastwood. This is why a director who is acting in his own movies is no good. Its just no good at all.

I thought back to the other Eastwood movies. Million Dollar Baby is about Eastwood as the trainer, not the boxer. This movie is about an old war vet, not the community he lives in. On surface you would probably tell me that this is fine, but I think its very degrading. Eastwood had a family's house shot up, a young girl raped, another burned with a cigarette and almost killed JUST so he could go out and save the day. Million Dollar Baby is the same way where the movie is about the decision of a trainer, not the heartbreaking story of the boxer.

Now, a one off isn't bad. Even a two off. But every movie that Eastwood acts/directs, you end up with everyone falling into the background while Eastwood's ugly mug comes to the foreground.

Now I completely understand why the acting community loves him. Not only is he an actor turned director, but he has developed a manner to take an actor's ego to a new level. With this backing, the public supports him no matter what. I wish Eastwood would pick one or the other as I really enjoyed mystic river. But skip any movie that is the Eastwood combo.

22 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
I have bad taste and I enjoyed it, 27 February 2009

I have a habit of liking movies with low production value due to their craptasticness.

There is nothing about this movie that is good except for the fact that it tries so hard with its worn out stereotypes and shoestring budget. The movie doesn't portray reality or LA at all. Yet, in all its cheesiness, I found myself smiling. The scenes with Ross Patterson as Joey Zane are really funny. He's trying so hard and it shows.

The movie itself goes nowhere and ends where it starts: without any crescendo or plot succession. I guess these people are older and perhaps wiser, but I doubt it.

I give this movie a 7 for its bad dialogue, tired portrayals of artists, and quotes like, "I don't go to school. I'm a musician." If you like cheese and have a couple minutes to waste, this may be the movie for you.

7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
A spoiled movie, 18 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just finished this movie and I came onto to IMDb to commiserate with the reviewers that found this movie less than satisfactory. However, of the 10 pages of reviews, only a handful are negative. I feel that this movie is a great concept gone horribly awry and I want to warn those who are looking to watch the movie into the future.

I admit, I'm more inspired to write reviews when I don't like a movie than as to when I do, so my handful of reviews are all negative. Still, that doesn't mean I'm biased towards not enjoying a movie, but I often find more eloquent reviews of movies I do enjoy.

Paris je t'aime is the most pretentious movie I've seen in years. By using an "intelligent" concept and attaching some big talent to a couple of the WAY to many short stories, the movie ends up the worst of all worlds. It is art for arts sake, but something that a 2 year old could dream up and accomplish. Giving the director free reign of 5 minutes of screen time proves why there is a division of labor even in entertainment. Directors can't write, writers can't direct. (I'd like to throw in also that Clint Eastwood is overrated, but that is because he's an actor turn director {which rarely works, either}).

What ends up on the screen is a garbled mess of short stories that don't make any sense, are not completed in 5 minutes and in total, spoil Paris to me. Why call it Paris je t'aime when a more apropos title is cluster f*ck? There are only a couple stories that are watchable, most notably the piece by Alfonso Cuarón, but everything else will fall into obscurity. The Coen brothers short is passable, but can you name a movie of theirs that does not contain a scene with a pick guitar? It's as if all the directors decided on doing whatever it is they want to do and chose Paris as the place to do it. As we all love Paris, present company included, we are blinded by the fact that this movie SUCKS. In fact, I think they put the directors names on each of the shorts because directors saw how poor of a film this is and decided to make sure they were blamed only for their 5 minutes. Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

People, Natalie Portman is NOT a good actress. She is is not a pixie dream girl waiting to be yours. And Maggie Gyllenhaal, why?!? Are you people acting or just regurgitating performances from other movies? I'm looking at you Natalie Portman (Garden State, Closer), Elijah Wood (Sin City) and Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace).

One final comment on the acting: I give double kudos to Nick Nolte for acting and looking more humane than you have in ages or perhaps ever will again. Find his short on youtube as his 5 minutes are quite enjoyable.

Writing short stories is very difficult and only a handful of authors have gotten it right. I'm thinking of Ernst Hemingway, Raymond Carver, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Cheever, just to name a few. It is much harder than writing a full novel and only the truly talented can accomplish this. The same can be said about short films. It appears that only one director will live on in the annals of history.

If you uphold Paris as a gem to be discovered and reflected through your own lenses with your own story, then don't expect to enjoy this movie at all. The directors either didn't care or were lazy. In either scenario, by the time you are reading this it means you rented it. Praise be that you didn't pay 10 dollars a head in theaters for it.

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