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Imagination at it's finest!
I come from the school of early Tim Burton, and Jim Henson- two of my cinema deities from my earliest memories- and this is the first time in a long time that anyone has managed to touch on that magic for me.
I'll do my best to convey what a fantastic movie this is, without really revealing too much of the plot- because I think that this movie is best experienced not really knowing anything. You come in the same way the main character does- not knowing anything of this world.
While sitting in the theater, I recalled memories of the intensity and heart of "my first movies" such as E.T., The Secret of Nymh, The Dark Crystal, and Edward Scissorhands- movies that touched upon something that was at once so rooted in human emotion yet so fantastic and unimaginable. I can absolutely say that "9" is now considered one in that catalog of visionary and hallowed movies.
Guaranteed some will have a complaint with the length (a seemingly short 79 minutes considering the scale and impact of the story) but I think that a movie can be an epic without needing to be over 2 hours long, or a HUGE amount of unnecessary back story and origins that's only purpose is to make the story SEEM grandiose. This movie is a complete work of art- from the obviously eye-catching visual style and composition of what you see, down to the basic story and character development that you feel. In 79 minutes this team managed to harness my imagination and senses without having to dumb-it-down for the audience, or use any of the old gags that many bigger studios seem to rely on to sell tickets (thankfully there are NO cheesy gross out jokes to appeal to a typical cable-fed attention span). Instead they took me to places that I had never thought of, but will never forget. My most respectful nod to everyone involved.
Absolutely do not miss this one.
United States of Tara (2009)
Take the show for what it is...
...and that is a really excellent series. Everyone that seems to be complaining about the series seems to have a problem with Diablo Cody / Steven Spielburg specifically or just not able to suspend belief for 25 minutes to just enjoy the show. It is a smartly written, entertaining, touching, heartfelt, awkward and funny story- amazingly told by all actors involved. Contrary to what some people think, this show does NOT just go for the obvious comedic gags about dissociative identity disorder. it gives it a subtlety that makes you see it as a reality and not mere entertainment value. You feel uneasy every time something could set one of Tara's alters off, because you feel just as helpless to the change as someone in Tara's position must feel. Upon watching the first couple of episodes, I dubbed it "Sybil meets Weeds with dissociative identity disorder instead of pot" and that's a definite compliment. If you think you could enjoy it- check it out. If you have beef with Diablo/Spielburg or the accuracy of depictions and the American family- just shut up and change the channel.
The Wicker Man (2006)
worth taking a look
I managed to get into a screening of the remake of the wicker man the other day, and have to say that i was pretty entertained by it. Being a life time horror movie fan, and having (obviously) seen the original, I was interested to see what this new school would bring to the story. From what I can see on the message boards, it looks like not many of the die-hard wicker fans are too enthused by the idea of a remake, but for the most part their fears can be put to rest (if they will allow). The remake DEFINITELY retains AND even ADDS to the the atmospheric slowly boiling sense of dread and and wonder (I.E. WHAT THE F**K!?!?), leading up to the inevitable ending which left me with a much more haunted feeling that even seeing the original for the first time.
I do have to warn you that if you are not a Nicholas Cage fan, this will not be a role to win you over- there are parts where it is painful to watch him. Everything else is relatively flawless though- if you let yourself get into the movie, you honestly feel as if you are on an isolated island where the "old ways" are still very relevant to society, something that even the original couldn't seem to do if you looked closely enough. The story is definitely fleshed out a bit, and if you're open to a new take on the story I think you'll have a great movie-going experience. I think that the important thing to remember here is that it's a movie- a brief distraction from real life whose purpose is to entertain- NOT a commentary on paganism.
This "remake" actually manages to stand on it's own as a new entry into the horror archives. Does it have its problems? of course it does, what movie doesn't? remake or not. It reminded me of the differences between the original Ringu and the Naomi Watts/ Gore Verbinski version- i think both are outstanding entries into the horror world, both offering many different things. Of course there is always the one that came first, but sometimes the "original" can be re-tooled and have new life breathed into it.
As a side-note- even if you HATE what they've done with the story/actors they chose- the cinematography is absolutely otherworldly here, with very little emphasis on special effects, and much more creative uses of natural landscapes and tricks of light- i give THAT a 15!
Great movie for what it is
I really liked it. If you like movies like Equilibrium, Underworld, Aeon Flux, Tank Girl, Elektra, Resident Evil or any other screen scorching eye candy- you'll enjoy. It's entertaining, doesn't dull down with too much forced and heavy handed storyline, and looks absolutely amazing. Milla did a great job (as usual) and everything about the movie was really genuinely fun. They don't push the whole "vampire" thing too much so as to make Violet too much like Bloodrayne or the chick from Underworld and it works a lot better than both of those movies. Aside from a few fangs here and there, you almost forget the vampire aspect of the movie. I enjoyed Aeon Flux for what it was too- and UltraViolet had a very similar feel to Aeon. The futuristic "dipped in plastic" metropolis with people so clean they're dirty in charge. the fight sequences were absolutely beautiful masterpieces with Milla at the center showcasing some amazing moves (very reminiscent of Equilibrium). So if you have a less than wordy review for why it "sucked" or why you didn't like it and everyone else should agree with you- chances are you should have the stick surgically removed from your A$$! Accept it for what it is- an entertaining and really fun ride of a movie. So if you're up for that, go check it out. Everything that they've gotten wrong with movies like Elektra- they definitely get right with Ultraviolet.