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triple8

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
surprisingly disappointing., 22 November 2007
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

I was really disappointed in this movie and I read some of the reviews and it appears I am not the only one. While I would not rate this a 1 or a 2, or even say it was bad or horrible, it WAS a major disappointment as well as one of the more baffling movies I have seen in awhile. At times it almost seems rather funnily disappointing, as if it was done deliberately. While that's obviously not the case,(who sets out to make a disappointing film ON PURPOSE?), I was left at the end not just disappointed but completely weirded out.

Where to begin? Well.....first is the lack of storyline development. There were many aspects of the movie that were interesting but it seems like they were developed in a way as to make them as uninteresting as possible. I was actually very interested in the marriage of Marie Antoinette and thought that the performers' did a good job. But just when the story was at it's most interesting..after all the time spent(a lot) on this plot line..it is just done. And in a "blink and you might miss it" kind of way. It is beyond disappointing, it is really really annoying.

Add to that, the lack of dialog. And what little dialog there is,can be quite mundane at times..and much of it is kind of muted. Asia Argento's character provides some brightness and drama until..HELLO!..She is written out of the movie very abruptly. In fact a lot that happen in this movie is abrupt. That is the perfect word to describe this movie. Whether it is writing various characters' out of the script, resolving long plot lines in the blink of an eye, or ending on an unusually rosy, Abrupt(yes-there's that word again) light, it seems Marie Antoinette is all things abrupt.

Except of coarse, for the food. I must not forget to mention that as the long, drawn out(extremely drawn out) scenes of brightly colored food, delicious treats and people chewing, did seem in fact to be a major focus of the movie and if some of the important story lines and characters, were shown in half as much detail as the glowingly beautiful arrays of goodies this probably would have been a halfway decent movie. Alas that was not to be.

Now for the good. I loved the photography. the brightly colored hues did not just pertain to the food but to the whole picture. If there had been some depth and substance to the film it really could have been great. The visual style was wonderful but very little other stuff was.I did however appreciate the use of music and though many don't like current music being used in a period piece, I sometimes do and just thought the song selections fit here.

I do disagree however with people who did not think Dunst did a good job. I think she did. She is not one of my favorite actresses either. But she brought a sweetness and lovable mischievousness to the role and by the abrupt end, was able to have introduced an element of sober solemnity. I would rate her performance as one of the highlights of this movie.

My vote ultimately is a 5 of 10. It isn't horrible but is sure a long way from being good and is a major disappointment.

Fracture (2007)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
a good though not great movie elevated because of Hopkins and Gosling., 22 November 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

I really enjoyed Fracture though I did not think it was a 10. Since psychological thrillers are one of my favorite types of films, I have seen a lot of them. This would not fall among the best though not many really good ones have come out lately so it definitely makes an impact.

Without getting into the details of the plot to much, here is what I liked about it. The film pits Gosling against Hopkins and their both among the most talented performers around. They share a screen really well together and I throughly enjoyed watching the cat and mouse game they indulged in. The movie also had a few surprises....just when you think you know exactly what is going to happen next, it sort of goes off in another direction. And Fracture is one of those films that keeps you glued to your seat. And I have to Say I have been sort of disappointed with 2007 in terms of new movies so it was great to see this type of film.

But there was some things I did not like as well. First off, the movie does not tell you anything about Hopkin's character. One knows even less about His wife. One knows even less about their marriage. What kept her with him? Was he abusive? Had she loved him once and just fallen out of love? I have to say the film provides woefully little detail about major aspects of the movie.

Then there is the fact that the audience knows from the beginning who the shooter is. I could not help thinking how much more genuinely suspenseful it would have been if we did not know for sure who did it. And the cat and mouse game as interesting as it is becomes a little repetitious. There is a feeling that the movie will end with Hopkins being found out because as the movie progresses his behavior gets more audacious and it is a rare movie that would end with him NOT having a final showdown with Gosling. So watching the movie, as interesting a movie as it is, also tries one's Patience at times because it becomes a series of near misses of Golsing trying to Bring Hopkins to justice. Even though some of the twists and turns do not go in the expected direction, as I mentioned earlier, there is something sort of predictable about the movie as a whole and something oddly repetitious about it.

Then there's the romance between Gosling and the female lawyer. It didn't really serve a purpose and was kind of a distraction. This was such a good movie in a lot of ways. But I did feel some things were lacking and my overall vote would be a 7.5 out of 10.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
There were times I loved it, times I hated it, most moments fell somewhere in between., 19 August 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

I had heard such awful things about Factory Girl I went in not knowing what to expect. I had hoped it would be a masterpiece. I got something that fell short of both "dreadful" or "excellent".

First the good. Some great acting. Guy Pierce was the standout as Warhol and Sienna Miller, who I have only seen in one movie "Casanova" was excellent. It wasn't just her acting. She has an amazing screen presence, a charisma that makes it difficult to look away while she's on screen. I will admit I would not have expected that mainly because I knew little about Miller except as Jude Law's ex. Not making assumptions would have been good in this case because she was purely outstanding and even academy award worthy. I guess I shouldn't always judge an actress by her gossip.

Also great was the atmosphere of the time period. And, though the movie starts out almost clinical, as it goes on, one's emotions do get involved mainly do to the depth of feeling in Miller's performance as Factory Girl starts getting more involving. By the end you feel very involved and very sad.

Now the bad. I mentioned the movie starts as "clinical". I am not sure I even know what I mean by that except maybe that it feels so IMPERSONAL. The film skips from one thing to another and many of the scenes are so short that nothing whatsoever feels developed. The characters don't feel developed. Edie sure doesn't despite Miller's great performance. It seems she meets Warhol almost immediately and we don't even know much about who who she is yet. Plus the meeting between them isn't developed. And forget the meeting between Miller and Christainson. Plus I really didn't buy Heydon in this role. He came off as trying to hard. But the characters just aren't developed. neither is the movie as a whole. It seems at times you don't know anything ABOUT anyone. Plus the whole movie just seems so MOVIEISH. The quick scene after scene change definitely contributes to that as you always know your watching a movie. You feel at times like this movie is a quick moving impersonal docudrama.

Even the Factory isn't developed as much as it could have been nor are any of the people there. I will freely admit I absolutely HATED this movie when it first started and as it went on I began to doubt I would make it through the whole thing. I really disliked it.

But it does change a bit and become somewhat more interesting. And the fact is, although it takes an awful long while, one is eventually pulled into the movie. I must comment on the intensity of two of the scenes toward the end, both between Warhol and Edie. These scenes are heartbreaking and really show how great performances can save a film and how good the whole movie could have been if all of it had the same depth and soul as a few standout scenes.

So this is definitely a movie I would say was love/hate for me but mostly somewhere in the middle. I would rate it a low 7 and say it is definitely worth checking out as long as one does not expect something perfect.

Bandidas (2006)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
not awful but not great either., 19 August 2007
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

With Bandidas, I had a difficult time keeping my attention focused. It's not that this is awful or even bad. But somehow I thought it would be better then it was. I did not know a lot about the plot before seeing it. Mainly I knew it was a period piece and Penelope Cruz and Selma Hayek starred as two women who became outlaws. I thought it sounded interesting, particularly since "Thelma and Louese" is my favorite movie in the world and it sounded like this movie had a similar premise. So I tuned in and was pretty disappointed overall.

I had wondered whether Bandidas would be played as a drama or would go into more of the comedic. Unfortunately it does both. And I say unfortunately because I didn't think the film worked very well combining drama with comedy. The drama was very intense and then suddenly it would go into not just comedy, but camp. Hayek and Cruz did not played off each other well at all. To the contrary, some of their scenes seemed very forced and I found myself losing interest. There was also a lot of fighting between them, kind of mock fighting, which seemed kind of silly and actually made it difficult for me to take the movie very seriously at all.

I think it should have stayed a drama or been more of an adventure/comedy. There wasn't much adventure that I could see although the scenery was absolutely magnificent. But the movie was just not very enjoyable. It was almost impossible for me to buy into the premise. This seemed more like just a vehicle for Cruz and Hayek and they seemed more like actresses dressed up in period costumes then outlaws of any sort. And though I like both, their characters were not developed all that well. I really could have done without all the arguing between them as it became rather tedious.

It was also slow moving and there was little tension. I generally don't like movies that combine camp with serious drama so that may have been part of the problem but I also think this just wasn't all that great. I'd rate it around average.

takes me back a bit to "Wedding Singer"., 19 August 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

I enjoyed Music and Lyrics which was a surprise because it looked absolutely awful in the previews. But I found it much better then average. This is a movie that actually wound up being better.. far better..then it looked which is a surprise because it is usually the other way around.

Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant have a great deal of chemistry and make their budding relationship feel realistic and sweet. Their one major love scene is pretty short and not at all graphic but manages to be more sizzling then a lot of love scenes that do have the other above mentioned elements.

Drew Barrymore seems to star in a lot of movies that recall the 80's and that is just fine with me since that was a time period loved. There are several aspects of this movie that remind me of "The Wedding Singer" which is one of my all time favorite romantic comedies so that definitely works in this movie's favor. It also gives a look into the music business and I found a lot of this movie surprisingly poignant.

Basically this is a movie I was sure I would hate that I found to kind of adore. It is sweet, flows very well and feels natural, and has an enormous amount of depth and a surprising amount of humor(there are many things played for laughs that are indeed actually funny). In addition the music featured is great, very 80's and it's a lot of fun to see Hugh Grant seeing. The music is very reminiscent of "ABC", "Wham" and many other bands from that time period and the relationship between Grant and Barrymore's characters is one that the audience gets invested in. The supporting cast is excellent as well.

I would give this an 8.5 out of 10. I wish the previews had been a little stronger. I'd have probably seen it in the theaters. This is definitely a must see for romantic comedy lovers and fans of the eighties.

Accepted (2006)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
not realistic in the slightest but a perfect "guilty pleasure" movie and actually quite funny in some areas., 21 July 2007
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

This is the sort of movie you couldn't call outstanding or a perfect comedy but it's fine to watch if your just going for something light with some laughs and a great message at it's center. It's about a kid who doesn't get into any of the colleges he applies to so he starts his own make believe college. Originally this idea is known only to him and a few friends. but with a fictitious website and an actually physical location for the college,things start to spin out of control and soon hundreds of kids who didn't get in anywhere else are showing up at this fictional college ready to start class.. and what interesting classes they are too!

This premise is really REALLY good, very creative and the movie's message is absolutely great. And the movie itself actually isn't bad. In terms of humor, I thought the beginning and end were quite funny and fun. Unfortunately the middle has some problems as it drags quite a lot and isn't as funny as other areas of the movie. There's a lot of attention on the daily life at the college only some scenes go on a really long time which I think could have been shortened a bit and there is no realism to some aspects of the movie at all. Yet, in a way, it doesn't really matter. The movie has fun with itself and it's a nice hour and one half of laughs and fun. There are worse ways to spend some time.

I liked the ending. Predictable as anything but it works so well. For me movies I think are good I rate a 7 and REALLY good or excellent an 8 or above. The rating of 6 is for guilty pleasure type movies-just like this one. I think this actually could have been a classic comedy because of the great premise and the message to it. Good teen comedies that do comedy well and have a message..and a good one at that..are not plentiful. But I just thought the movie as a whole could have been funnier and there could have been some attempt to explain some of the plot holes and develop some of the characters a bit more. Also I will say I don't think the title was a great choice..it isn't all that attention getting and I was having problems remembering it myself. But I liked the premise, enjoyed the movie and laughed many a time. Not perfect but pretty funny and it's strongest point is the great message that has plenty of basis in reality and I must say I would have appreciated a movie like this when I was in High School. And darn that school looked fun! I'd actually give this a 6.5 of 10. It's both funny and sweet and sure has a great premise. Better then what one might expect.

Aquamarine (2006)
a really fun movie., 15 July 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

I am a big movie buff and I watch all kinds. That definitely includes movies that maybe classified as "teen movies" or "movies for kids". I am well past my kid years but I think there are many movies' whose target demographic maybe "kids" that can still be enjoyed..and enjoyed greatly..by other age groups. Aquamarine is such a movie.

This isn't a movie that's going to win any Oscars. It has a sweet simple plot(two young girls find a mermaid who can't stay on land unless she finds love). No heavy complex movie here. And it's delightful. I not only throughly enjoyed Aquamarine I'd watch it again. (And will.) There is another mermaid movie "Splash" that I have seen many a time and which remains one of my favorite, if not my favorite, romantic comedy. Aquamarine is not in that league but it is a delightfully fun, summery, purely enjoyable type of flick that's perfect for a day when one wants a movie to watch but doesn't want anything to heavy. There is nothing here except fun, winsomeness and a refreshing sweetness that one does not get much in movies these days. I would definitely recommend it.

Sara Paxton plays the mermaid, Aquamarine and she does a great job. Everyone else is good as well. There's not a lot to say about this, it's pretty much what you see is what you get. Aquamarine starts a bit slowly(and there are some cheesy moments to be sure) and also some moments where one might question why they are watching this because of the cheese factor, but the movie's so lovable and has so much charm that you just get into it. It's a breezy bit of summery fun that develops it's characters well, actually has some unpredictable moments, has a sweet message, and even some really great lines(I love the line about love as magic.) For adults who still like the occasional or more then occasional kid movie this is a wonderful choice. For kids this is a wonderful choice. It's also a great family film and even fun date movie as well as a great one to watch with friends since friendship is such a strong theme of the movie.

And of coarse the mystical element is there. Mermaids and the sea. That quality is there and it did take me back to Splash a bit. Sure this movie isn't going to win any Oscars but it doesn't need to. It does what a movie like this should do and that's good enough for me. I've already recommended it to several people.

One of my favorite elements of the movie are the Star Fish(those beautiful Star Fish.) The magical Star Fish are absolutely adorable and add greatly to the story.

So go ahead and watch this-it's a pure delight. My vote is 7.5 out of 10-I wouldn't even mind a sequel!!

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
I liked the premise, just wish it had played a little differently., 15 July 2007
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

I sure didn't expect so many negative comments on this movie. Although I didn't love it myself, I wouldn't call it the worst movie ever made. I'd actually give it about a 6 which basically means I neither loved it nor hated it. I really liked the premise and I sure felt the poignancy but did not really love how the movie played out in general.

In case someone is reading this who has no idea what it is about and does not mind major spoilers, I will say only that it concerns three individuals in the sex industry, Valentino, Mary Carmen and Gary. Valentino is bi sexual and having a relationship with both characters and they become a sort of little family, particularly when one of the characters becomes very ill(with something that appears to be Aids though the word is never really used). Anyway..this is their story-theirs and a few supporting characters along the way and a dog....Anyway....

First the good. The performances ranged from good to outstanding with Salma Hayak being the scene stealer. Although the main characters are in the sex industry this movie's major focus is not sex, although some of that is certainly present. It is more about how the characters' relate to each other and the interaction between Mary Carmen and Gary is pretty interesting and for people who like to analyze human behavior in movies, there will be a lot to analyze here.

And then there's the poignancy itself. I was very moved by the story. It was very sad and the performers do a very good job in portraying the range of emotions their characters are feeling. I really felt a lot was well done and really don't think this film deserves a below average rating.

Now the negatives. I felt the way the movie played was just to arty in tone. It didn't need to be because the story was there. It took away from the story though. There was a lot from the imagery to the individual scenes themselves that just reeked of an arty experimental quality that was distracting and took away from the movie.

I also felt that there was just to much squabbling between Gary and Mary Carmen and frankly, the movie just wasn't very enjoyable to watch as a whole. The whole subplot with the dog disappearing(and his journey and re appearance) I didn't feel added much. I felt the strength of the film was the human element to the characters, the clear feelings of both love and anger that were so apparent-not much difference from many real life relationships..and the ability of the movie to immerse one in it's plot, even if it isn't much fun to watch overall. But I think I would have liked it more, if it had toned down some of the arty aspects and some of the previous stuff mentioned.

I would neither recommend this movie or not recommend it. I liked the premise and appreciated the movie even if it isn't one of my favorites. My rating's a perfect 6.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Really really disappointing., 15 July 2007
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

I gave Ocean's 11 a 9 out of 10. To say I loved that film is an understatement. I skipped Ocean's 12 but felt compelled to see this mainly because Al Pachino was in it. Maybe I shouldn't have because as far as I am concerned he was the only good thing about it.

All the wit, all the cleverness, all the charm and the great one liners, the excitement, the wonderful, energetic atmosphere....all that is gone. It's like everything that was good about 11 was cut and in it's place the direct opposite was done. Very disappointing. Except of coarse for the exceptional Mr. Pacino who of coarse, is wonderful but I do think he's kind of in the wrong movie. What I didn't like is listed below.

I liked Ocean's 11 because it was a "caper film"..and an incredibly clever one. What was clever about this? Not much. (And not much "caper" either.) Instead we get a series of jokes and pranks, some of them more annoying then funny, a series of short quick scenes(seriously-did any of the scenes last more then a minute?) I was getting a little dizzy with all the quick takes. And the movie drags too. I kept waiting for something to happen(or at least something with more interest then what was happening.) I think the original premise was good but at least make the "revenge" story a bit clever or different or INTERESTING. This was ordinary and even a bit below ordinary. In Ocean's 11 we get something incredibly complicated but exciting,with incredible energy. Here we get jokes and tricks and stunts about smells and rashes and a lot of the central plot didn't even make sense. (There is a difference between plot holes in the movie and the movie itself being one long plot hole.)I could go on but why bother? Suffice to say this was not what I expected.

And the absence of Roberts is disappointing as well as the fact that Clooney and Pitt do not even appear to be acting half the time rather then basically playing themselves or just being cute. The whole movie was a letdown.

The positives? Al Pachino, Al Pachino, Al Pachino! It was great seeing him in the flick and whatever else I say about it, seeing Al in it was maybe worth seeing the movie. In fact even though I basically disliked Ocean's 13 intensely it is not unwatchable and maybe major Pachino fans should check it out. But it is nowhere near the level of 11 and I'd rate this a 4 (am giving it an extra point for the Pachino factor.)My vote is 5 of 10.

Exotica (1994)
Almost to deep if there is such a thing-great movie., 15 July 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS:

It was almost inevitable I'd get around to watching Exotica. I have heard nothing but outstanding things about the film for some time now and it's been on my radar as a film to check out. Although I had heard great things about it I did not know much about the plot. My thoughts after seeing it are many.

First of all, the movie is fantastic. Yet I didn't think so at first. I will freely admit that it starts slowly and a certain amount of patience is required when viewing it. If it had been almost any other film I might have given up myself and turned it off but I had heard so many great things from critics, friends, IMDb reviewers and such, I felt almost required to sit through it. So I did. The plot unfolded in a way that is certainly unconventional and the story, which was mildly interesting becomes gripping.

Even though I listed "spoilers" I don't want to say to much about the plot. I will comment that it was almost impossible for me to understand the whole film to the end and even now there are some things I am unclear on. Some might call the end a "twist" but it is more like an unraveling.I am sure many people have seen a movie they found so intelligent but also so complex, that even at the end, there were things that they were unclear on. That is how I feel about Exotica. This film certainly deserved the incredible reviews it received.

I found the characters to be believable, the acting to be exceptional and as Oscar Worthy as anything I've seen lately, and the writing to be basically remarkable. There is such a human sadness to the story that it is not easy to shake it off after the film is over. This is a must see for indie purists, film buffs in general and for people who like movies about life, emotion, and the human soul. It is an unconventional movie with a biting sadness through the whole film that is palpable.

Negatives? Not to many. If this movie is viewed by someone who hates slow moving films or hates movies that don't explain everything right away this might not be for them. I will freely admit I am a fan of the above mentioned type of films (SOMETIMES) and I like many indie films but even I had problems with Exotica and were it not for the outstanding things I have heard about it I may have written it off. (IMDB reviews had a little hand in that). In addition I don't think one should be in a strongly sad state of mind when they view this. This film isn't just dark, it's VERY VERY VERY VERY DARK and puts some other pictures I think of as dark, to shame. So one should make sure they are in the right mood when watching this as gloom permeates throughout and it can be a little tough to take.

I would firmly recommend this film. Many have described this film as "brilliant" which I thought was a little excessive but even as I thought that, I couldn't quite convince myself. My ultimate rating is 8 out of 10. One of the best I've seen lately with some of the best acting I've seen in years.


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