Reviews written by registered user
|40 reviews in total|
If you can believe any of these people are real writers, then you are
far less cynical than I am. Would Scribners really publish the
sexploits of a 19-year-old? Would Stephen King call a 16-year-old to
tell him how much he loved his story? Not in my world where there is
something we call, reality.
Yes, this is about different types of love. Strangely, all of the love connections shown here are dysfunctional. Maybe that's the point that the filmmakers are trying to make. Who knows? All the actors seem to be acting out their roles well enough; however, they seem to have no inclination to interact with anyone else. Maybe I was not in the right mood for this film, but I never felt any true connections between any of these people. All attempts to wring feelings from us, the audience, just fell flat because, in truth, we had very little sympathy for anyone. Maybe it was because they were trying to cram too much into one movie. Maybe if they had focused on just one or two of the relationships, we would have developed some emotional connections with the participants. As it eventuated, however, we ended up stuck in an emotional limbo that did not, in any stretch of the imagination, approximate love.
This could have easily been subtitled, 'A Portrait of a Narcissist'.
From the beginning of this film, it is clear that Jobs is concerned
about one thing - Jobs. Jobs is presented as an unethical manipulator
from the beginning of his career, cheating his best friend, Wozniak,
played by Josh Gad, out of money that was rightfully his. As Wozniak
says to him as Wozniak finally leaves Apple, "you are the beginning and
end of your own world".
I have no qualms about seeing Jobs portrayed as a heartless manipulator and charismatic, deluded, visionary leader. I do have problems when the writers/director try to redeem him towards the end of the film. After seeing Jobs basically stab every friend he ever had in the back, we are suddenly supposed to feel sorry for him when the same happens to him. It must have become clear to the director that this angle wasn't working so he added sad music to help us feel sympathy. The same thing happens when Jobs returns to Apple. We, I guess, are supposed to feel inspired. Again, inspiring music plays in the background.
I'm glad to see Ashton Kutcher return to a serious role, however, I couldn't shake the long term association I had with him in romcoms and TV sitcoms. His acting was unconvincing. He made a great attempt to replicate Jobs' mannerisms to the point where, at times, it looks like a parody and it's hard not to laugh.
So, as a portrait of a narcissist and an encapsulated history of Jobs and Apple, this has some entertainment value. Otherwise, look elsewhere for Jobs.
I like reviewing movies that produce widely diverse reactions as to
their quality. Some say this movie is a work of art done in a Lynchian
style. Others say this film is total nonsense. I simply say that it is
a pretentious attempt to emulate the Lynchian style. The
misunderstanding seems to be that anything remotely weird must be
attributed to David Lynch. Weirdness, however, is not a value in
itself. I could find that in a circus freak show or on a New York
subway. True, Lynch's characters are odd, but they are not one or two
dimensional. His movies are often an exploration of the extremes of
good and evil. In order for good to look its best, it must be
contrasted with pure evil, which explains some of Lynch's more violent
characters. This is the main problem with 'Only God Forgives;. There is
no redemption. The policeman, played by the deadpan Vithaya
Pansringarm, is, I suppose, the closest we can get to a hero in this
film. He metes out a peculiar form of sadistic justice, cutting off
various body parts with the same expression that he maintains when he
speaks to his daughter or sings karaoke. Also, Lynch's films, no matter
how dark, are often touched with a certain twisted humor, there is no
humor to be found here. If, however, you do find humor in this film, I
would suggest speaking to a psychiatrist at once.
I now should address the film's artistic merits. Basically, it uses a technique that I refer to as, 'fill in the blanks'. In this technique, common to artistic films, two characters simply stare at each other in silence. The point here is to make the viewer imagine what they may be thinking. I applauded the use of this technique in the film because it gave me time to go to the kitchen and make some popcorn. When I returned, the two characters were still staring at each other, possibly trying to remember what their next line was. Because this technique allowed me to get a lot of things done without missing anything in the film, I rated it higher than I would have.
Much is made of Ryan Gosling choosing to be in this film. Why? He has always been willing to take a chance with films. I have no idea why he chose to be in this one, however. Maybe he lost a bet. In any event, he's not required to act, so he doesn't. He, in keeping with the other characters in the film, keeps the same frozen expression throughout. Besides, he only says about five words so, whatever they paid him, he made out pretty well. In truth, the role could have been played just as well by Chuck Norris, except that he would have shown a far greater emotional range. At least the poorly choreographed fight scene would have been more believable.
I wouldn't watch this film again and would not recommend it to anyone. It was far too brutal for me and some of the torture scenes seemed far too gratuitous; brutality for brutality's sake. However, since you really don't care about anyone in the film, it really doesn't matter if they get tortured or not. Besides, by the end of the film, the only real victim of torture was me.
In physics, one of the main problems is how quantum and Newtonian physics relate. If the ambiguity that exists in quantum physics is transferred to the real world, it could mean that this so-called real world is built on an insubstantial foundation. Now, what the hell does this have to do with the movie? Well, I saw this movie as an attempt to reconcile a number of polar extremes. For example, there is a heated discussion on whether it is possible to combine the romantic stage of love with the mundane elements of married life. Where precisely do the two break down? Another discussion tries to solve the dilemma concerning how one should live life. Should you follow your dreams at all cost or compromise on a more practical route? For this is, despite a few scenes, a movie based on serious discussion. Yes, there is some black humor thrown in and a few other action elements, but these don't make up the crux of the film. The two main actors manage to pull it off as two old friends who have gone separate ways and chosen different lifestyles. Both of their philosophies are tested in the crucible of a desert survival scenario which forces them to confront what precisely those values are that are worth living and dying for. I was doubtful about watching this movie and there are times that things get a little ridiculous. In a real life survival scenario, they would have died a long time ago. But was this real life? After you finish the movie, take some time to think about quantum physics and reconciling polar opposites.
I thought I might be the only one who found this film interesting since
I spent 7 years in Japan and happened to be there when Emperor Hirohito
died. At that time, there was a renewed discussion of how much he was
responsible for beginning World War II. In the end, it seemed he was
more or less strong-armed into the war by right wing politicians. True,
he could be blamed for being weak-willed, but he did not have the
mental constitution to be an emperor in the first place. If he could
have chosen, he would have been a marine biologist, as marine biology
was his hobby and passion. There was no more confusing and cathartic
time in Japanese history than when MacArthur and the American military
came in to occupy Japan. The entire society had to re-evaluate itself
on all levels. How could they, the greatest people in the world, be
conquered by such an uncultured civilization? This question persists
until the present day.
It was not clear at the beginning of this film whether it was a true story or a story based around true events. If the fact that it was a true story had been made clearer, it would have been more compelling. Nonetheless, it did capture most of the turbulent elements of that time. The love affair, that parallels this story is a good one and one that exposes the prejudice that existed against any Japanese woman who dared marry outside her culture. Eriko Hatsune was perfect in the role of an intelligent woman caught between tradition and emotion. Unfortunately, Matthew Foxx (General Bonner Fellers) acted as if he had been hit by a tranquilizer dart. Tommy Lee Jones overacted the role of MacArthur and was equally unconvincing.
Be warned. This is not an action movie,though a few action scenes exist. This is mainly a movie based on philosophic discussions, psychology, and cultural misunderstandings. Still, it offers a good view of an important time in world history.
The good news is that this is a pretty good comedy. The bad news is I
think it's supposed to be an action movie. Actually, I'm not really
sure if the director or actors are quite sure of what kind of movie
they were making. At times, it seems like the actors are suppressing
smiles in what should be dramatic moments. That brings up the ultimate
question: Why did good actors accept roles in this movie? Aren't they
getting better offers? Certainly, being in a movie like this can't
advance their careers, just the opposite. My favorite actor in this
movie was Lance Reddick (General Caulfield) who does a convincing
portrayal of a talking statue.
So what did I get from this movie? Well, first of all, I learned that it's relatively easy to break into the White House with all kinds of weapons, including missiles. You know, you'd think they'd spot this but, I suppose budget cuts are to blame. You kind of know where this is going when Channing Tatum (Cale) brings his irritating daughter, played by Joey King, to a big White House event. You know she's going to do some amazingly stupid things and cause a lot of problems for everyone, but, you're, I guess, supposed to think she's so charming and perky that you forgive her. Well, I kept hoping she would be hit by a stray bullet, but, no luck. In fact everyone gets killed in one shot except Channing Tatum who is more indestructible than Superman. Some of the action scenes are, quite frankly, hilarious. But, without the special effects, some of which are good, I would have rated this lower.
Anyway, if you're a fan of fairy tales, this may be a movie for you. But, to be honest, Humpty Dumpty had more unexpected plot twists.
This is the best film of the "Before" series. I would give these films
a rating of 7, 8, and 9, respectively. Before Midnight is, by far, the
most serious of the series and asks some fundamental questions about
love, romance, and long-term relationships. For me, the main question
asked by everyone in this film was: Does romance endure or is it killed
by time and the routine of daily life? Women, as delineated by Julie
Delpy's character, Celine, are trapped by their mothering instinct to
care for those around them. They both love and resent their children at
the same time and feel trapped in their roles as unappreciated
caregivers. Men, according to her, are dominated by their desire to
procreate. Women worry that they will lose those physical attributes
that led their partners to pursue them in the first place. Celine
continually questions enduring love in the face of this deterioration.
Of course, if she is right, if romance was initially only based on
physical attraction, then, women do face a grim future. Men are seen as
biological robots, unable to stem their drive to procreate with
younger, more attractive females. Indeed, at the beginning of the film,
the future of love and sex is discussed and is predicted to culminate
in some sort of simulated reality without the need for biological
sexual partners at all. In this case, what is the purpose of love and
romance? Do they only exist as some biological scam? Is their purpose
only to induce a sort of biological temporary insanity that leads us to
procreate and continue future generations and the species in general?
The answer must be, yes, unless there is some other, for argument's
sake, spiritual component to romance that lets those infected with it
see beyond aging with all its physical decay. This seems to be the
foundation of the debate between the two characters and whether the
ending of this film solves this debate, I leave to you.
Those familiar with the before films will understand its almost improvisational style, however, it is mainly the acting ability of the two main characters that give it this dimension. In truth, it is a clearly thought out exploration of love in the face of reality, a reality that becomes increasingly challenging with time together and the necessity of caring for children. This is not a film for those looking for a rom-com but for those who are more interested in the deeper meaning of relationships. It is certainly a film that will give you many ideas to ponder and, perhaps, make you reconsider your current role in your relationships.
As I live outside of the US, I had no idea this was a series. I watched
it as a movie and, as such, it was one of the best films I have seen in
a long time. Milo Ventimiglia holds it all together. I predict future
acting awards for him. The supporting actors also do well. The story
will pull you in from the very beginning.
Briefly, those chosen must perform for the watchers, who, apparently, have the god-like ability to know all and see all. We are never really informed as to who the watchers actually are, only that they use a system of cameras to watch those chosen murder for their amusement. If there is a weak point, it is accepting the power of the watchers.
This film may slip under the radar, but it should not. If you have not seen the series, watch this film. I rarely rate films this highly, but, trust me, this one deserves it.
For a science fiction film to work, you need two things: science and
fiction. If the science is too difficult to explain, you will lose half
your audience. But you also need good fiction, a good story. If the
story is not compelling, the best science won't hold it together. In
this film, the science behind it is given in the first few minutes of
the film. Pay attention. If you don't get it, you will find some of the
things that happen very confusing. You can decide whether to believe
this science or not. In truth, the science can be dismissed, but if you
want to enjoy the movie, just pretend that it works.
Let me make it clear up front that I liked this film. The story is basically that of a man who goes against all odds to be with the woman he feels he is destined to be with. In that respect, it is not unlike thousands of other films. What is particularly compelling is the differences between the two worlds and the special effects needed to highlight these differences. This must have been a directing nightmare as every detail in every scene had to be carefully thought through. It was well done. I wouldn't waste much time trying to find contradictions with the science behind it.
Now, for my one objection. A good story has an ending that follows logically from the facts. I felt that there was an original ending and the current ending, which appeared to have been grafted on as an afterthought. Of course, I'm not going to reveal the ending but will only say that this grafting was likely a concern for the box office. If it had been more honest with itself, I feel it would have been a better film, and I would have even rated it higher.
If you've never read the novel, you'll have a much better chance of
liking this film. That's because the film basically focuses on the
Gatsby-Daisy love affair and avoids going too deeply into any
philosophical/psychological areas that the novel tries to bring to
light. Yes, it is a lavish production that would continue to be so even
if the 3D glasses were eliminated, which they should have been. Before
seeing the film, I had doubts about the sound track which included
compositions by Jay Z. Oddly enough, the sound track worked and was not
distracting. However, I wonder why director, Baz Luhrmann, decided to
add modern music to a film obsessed with recreating the atmosphere of
the 1920s. Perhaps financial reasons were behind it, or maybe he just
wanted to lure in the younger audience.
The acting was good enough. DiCaprio played a kind of Gatsby but failed to bring out that sense of melancholy and longing that you find in most Fitzgerald characters. His Gatsby was interesting if lacking in depth. I had trouble with Carey Mulligan as Daisy. She was a little too "girl next doorish" to make us believe that she was Gatsby's obsession. She simply lacked the psychotic proclivities that the novel's Daisy possesses and which underpin the somewhat confusing psychological attraction between the two main characters. Nick (Tobey Maguire) was more simple-minded than in the novel.
But the people I saw the movie with, and who were not familiar with the novel, thought the movie was quite good. I can see their point and almost wish I hadn't read the novel a number of times. So I would recommend this movie for those not familiar with the novel and would warn those who know the novel about coming away from it with a sense of being unfulfilled.
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