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The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
"Family isn't a word, it's a sentence"
Before anything else, I'd like to tell you all that this is my first Wes Anderson film. I've heard lots about him, but never got around to his films. With the release of Moonrise Kingdom coming closer and closer, I've decided to hand-pick one of his "classics" and click play. Let's just say I've came out happy..
My favorite thing is Anderson's style. You can obviously tell his style in films, because their quirkiness is off-the-wall hilarious. He obviously has the sense of very subtle humor at times, but turns right back around and gives us a very dry sense of humor. I loved it, because it enhanced the film greater narratively and artistically.
I found the acting great. There's lots of well-known names in this gem, but none of them play their usual roles. Anderson made them play good to their part, and good to their material. I especially loved Bill Murray, who plays the not-so sarcastic one in this movie, which is different because in all his others, he played one. He had short-screen time, but the scenes he was in, keep all eyes on him.
The film had it's faults. Not sure if they were done purposely but they set off the mood (pun intended.) The film suffers from strange tonal shifts, that kind of give off the wrong impression. My brother watched the first twenty minutes, fell asleep, then woke up in the last twenty minutes. He thought he was watching an entire different movie! The first half is built of it's main source: quirkiness. But then the second half turns right around and turns melodramatic. Some scenes dragged out, the style seemed to fend out some great scenes, and blah, blah, blah. It still was a great film, which I greatly enjoyed.
For my first Wes Anderson film, I can tell what this man is doing and accomplishing. He feeds the film his style and projects it so it makes you feel an array of emotions. For my first Wes Anderson film, I liked it. It suffered from strange tonal shifts, but all else was great. It was quirky, witty, and had a subtle amount of poignancy.
I heard about this film beforehand, and found it to be really intriguing. It sounded like one of those films that makes you think, makes you wonder, makes you feel shame. I'm a big fan of these, because they don't attempt to "Hollywood" everything, and actually try to convey emotion from the audience instead of trying to keep everything secreted and giving the audience a half-assed attempt at something. So I finished watching it about ten minutes ago, and I was blown away...
Shame is exactly how I had foresaw. It was brutal, vulgar, and raw. It was one of those films you are embarrassed to talk about, but deep down understanding it's reasoning and meaning. I was, firstly, blown away from Fassbender's performance. He was spellbinding. Without him, I think the film wouldn't of gotten the same reaction it did. Whatever scene he was in, keep your eyes on him, because he knocks it out of the park, and gives a realistic and haunting approach that you will be thinking about for days. I loved Mulligan too, who gave a different performance then when I first saw her in Drive. It was interesting to see, and fantastic to see her with diversity. But what the film is built off of is it's context. I hear people complaining that the film doesn't even know it's own material, and I laugh at them. I found the whole entire film understandable and real, and almost to an extent where I can understand the character's feelings. Then I hear people saying the movie was just a porno in disguise. I laugh at them as well. I felt that the whole vulgarity of the film was a way to push realism, and make you feel like the character himself. I liked it this way, and can clearly see that the film deserved it's NC-17 rating... The film was slow, and was built as a character study. Some people can clearly be put off by this, but you need to know what you're getting yourself into. I loved it. Didn't exactly enjoy it (as it's not exactly an entertaining experience) but appreciated it's artsy direction and also it's clear understanding of an addiction. I thought they did it right.
By the end, I was shook and shamed. The film is not exactly what you see everyday, and that's what made me love it so much. It has almost perfect acting, a realistic approach, a slow but fitting pace, and a depressing and haunting atmosphere that will leave you with a scar for days...
"Hero to zero!"
I was afraid. As you would all know, Greek mythology has been twisted and turned by loads of people. So much, in fact, their original origins are unknown, because so many "remakes" were made. Worse, this was a Disney production. Disney surely has some great films, but others are cringe-worthy. So what would it be? I watched the film as a class study of Greek mythology, and I'm proud to say the source material hasn't been tampered with THAT much..
First things first: great animation. For a 1997 film, the landscapes were beautiful to see, and this is a person who's seen all the CGI-made films nowadays. My favorite design was the hydra, who seemed 3D-like. They did a great job visualizing the characters and their designs, almost making us forget the fact they were, in fact, animated. Second things second: the music. At first glance, you would never know this is an adventure slash musical film. I really enjoyed the gospel singers and the songs snipped in from Hercules and Meg. They were nice to hear, and the gospel singers enhanced the stories by adding a new form of narration. Third things third: the plot. This is where the film falls apart, for me, because the writers obviously try to lean towards their initial audience. They stripped away some of the Greek mythology by trying to make it a family film, but they end up stripping too much away. There was some clever jokes packed in, especially dozens of pop- culture references, but none of them made up for the fact that they took too much away.
Bad things stop there. Hercules was a very fun film that doesn't take too much away from becoming a fraud. It packs in clever references to Greek mythology, packs in lush animation, and packs in a key item in animations: heart. I recommend for anybody wanting to see a film that can still be enjoyable albeit forgetting some of it's source material.
Groundhog Day (1993)
"He's having the day of his life, over and over..."
I walked in. I had minor tad expectations. This was one of very few peoples favorite film, it had some good potential, and it had Bill Murray in it. How could anything go wrong? I sat down, turned it on, and took a swig at enjoying a mind(less) comedy...
I liked it. Groundhog Day has lots of heart, lots of laugh, and lots of sarcastic one-liners from Bill Murray. But as all this seems to come and go, there were some issues with it. The characters were really one-dimensional. Murray's character was set-up to be a jerk and learn a life lesson from repeating a bad day over and over again. The set-up was useless, and it was contrived. The movie was funny, but the jokes seemed to borrow and borrow from other films similar. Maybe it was because I've seen other modern tales ripped-off from this movie, that the jokes seemed not too smart, but good nevertheless. The film came off a little forgettable, as it gives a good moral lesson and then goes elsewhere; meaning comedy. Lots of it seemed a little preachy, the kind that tells you to get off your ass and live life, but it really didn't take away that much. And my last complaint was how it lacked depth. It sends a message, gives us a good laugh, then wraps up. The movie never gives us something to REALLY think about. The message could've been sugarcoated with more thought and process, but the final product wasn't as bad as my expectations thought it would be.
So the film was good. Although it was somewhat of a forgettable comedy, with a somewhat preachy moral message, it entertains and provides itself as a yearly tradition, and a good one at that.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
"An epic drama of adventure and exploration"
I've finally watched the so-called masterpiece known as '2001: A Space Odyssey.' My expectations were at the highest beforehand. This was, if you did not know, made by the king Stanley Kubrick. His movies are visualized so perfectly, atmospherically-made haunting, and just all around brilliant. And this is just from seeing The Shining and The Clockwork Orange. So I took advise and watched it at night, on my 60' TV screen. My mind was empty, ready to be fed brilliance.. Not only did the film feed my expectations, it fed my brain. As weird as that sounds, 2001 did much more than it was meant to...
AMAZING. My mind was shattered. Throughout the film, my heart was beating rhythmically to the silence. This film is slow, know this, but it's slow-pace is only to be of annoyance to Michael Bay worshipers. The film's slow-pace is very slow, but to a point where the suspense obscures what could be boring. And the film, in a technical point, was just awe-inspiring. This is a 1968 film. The special effects were stunning to see, and this is from a 90's kid. I've seen late 70's films that have worse special effects than this right here. That's quite the achievement, Kubrick.. Everything from set-design to acting was well- done, but the real film is underlying in it's story.. During the duration, I was confused. The film just made no sense. But that's the point. There has been theories, cult-ish nonsense about the whole 'point' of this film, but no one will understand their confusion. The movie was meant to make you believe it was nonsense, but the truth is never to be told. My confusion made me enjoy the experience more than anything. The film questions humanity itself, even questioning the meaning of existence, of life, all wrapped up in a brilliant sci-fi epic. It seemed like it had no point at first glance, but it's all inside the package. But the film is a experience, that everybody should experience once in their lives. I hate saying "I just saw 2001!" because that sentence, in my mind, wouldn't of made sense. It would sound illiterate. So, I am joyed to say, I have experienced 2001...
But all this brilliance is going to be claimed stupid. Mainstream viewers have already knocked off this film, stating it's prolonged scenes were pointless, the film having no point to it. But, truth is, this film right here as inspired sci-fi films of today. Even if you didn't enjoy it, you have to appreciate what it has done. It has created a universe worth seeing. It has created and planted the idea for Michael Bay to direct Transformers. All these sci-fi films nowadays, are inspired by the greatest sci-fi epic of all-time: 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Shrek 2 (2004)
"Once upon another time..."
Shrek was a fantastic animation. It had everything you would need to enjoy it and appreciate it, too. It was a satire of fairy tales and happy endings, one that is sure to make you laugh. But speculation was arise when a sequel was announced, because only bad thoughts came into my mind. Sequels are sometimes good, but mostly bad. And especially how Shrek was an animation, they always try to do what the first did best.. So instead of complaining and expecting another bad sequel, I sat down to watch it, not much in my mind.. I'm glad to say, all this build-up of bad thoughts simmer out, as Shrek 2 gradually places itself AHEAD of the first..
The thing I loved was how they can this one a modernized look at fairy tales. This could lead to some bad things, but they knew what they were doing with it. We have a Hollywood-esque "Far, Far Away" that is sure to have you grinning. It's just how they executed it, they did a fantastic job. And the animation improved as well. There was so much to look at, so much colors projected onto the screen, I was in awe how much they stepped up. And people who are expecting to see the 'magic' of the first disappear, you're in for a shock. The whole atmosphere was there, albeit it's modernized twist. We have the great somehow fitting music, the underlying adult jokes, and the characters are all there. Some things were downgraded, some things were upgraded. You are sure to enjoy it. And that's what I loved about it. You see the first Shrek scoring itself a satire, and the second doing this as well, but adding new things as well. And this was the point of sequels before, and Shrek 2 fits the definition. A bigger, BETTER film than the first, one that can use new things but succeed at doing so.
I loved it. Some things were changed, big deal. It all worked in it's own way. I recommend for fans of the first, and haters of the third and forth. It contains the same magic of the first (still succeeds at it's satirical view of fairy tales) but also works alone. Fantástico!
"One of the most legendary directors of our time takes you on an extraordinary adventure"
When I first saw the previews of Hugo, I was met with mixed expectations. It was that sort of thing that makes you half interesting, half "meh." It seemed like just another film to me, albeit the director Martin Scorsese. My expectations further went down when I kept scrolling through the forums, seeing the mainstream viewers outraged about how bored they were. And I consider myself a mainstream viewer, so this goes for me. When people review something, I have a 70% that I agree with them as well. But Hugo was way different than I would ever think.. It was, and I say this with all seriousness, a masterpiece...
The movie has a slow-pace, and there's no doubt about that. But it was no reason to call it "boring." The movie had me laughing, enjoying, and grinning throughout the entire film. And even viewers are calling the movie too long? Really? Dark Knight had a two hour and thirty minute run time. Avengers had a two hour and thirty minute run time. All the Transformers movies had a two hour and thirty minute run time. And yet people call this "long" because they weren't met with action-packed nonsense and cheesy one-liners. I loved this film, there's no way around that one.
The only thing I absolutely adored was this thing right here. People called this film a homage to this old French director. But the movie has far more to that. This movie is a homage to movies themselves. It's an entire two hour epic expressing it's appreciation and love for the power of film making. And it was meant for viewers like us, to appreciate how great movies are. But you're probably taking this as a bad thing, the movie has way more to that. Great acting, great story, and great lush directing. It's everything you would want a more. But maybe the film was too much for people to take. Maybe they expected way too much...
Side-note: The 3D! In 2D, I could already see this movie as good as it was, and the 3D is no enhancer. But adding onto the fantastic cinematography, the fantastic directing, and the fantastic environments: the 3D adds everything you want. And it's not that type of 3D that uses the old "pop-out" gimmick that makes us jump out of our seats. It's the kind that adds depth to the entire experience and appreciate how great the film was itself. And the 3D reaches heights films like Avatar had, maybe even surpassing it...
I loved this film. You read all these bad reviews, but Hugo is to be watched with an open-mind, and not exactly what you are getting from the previews. It contains everything you want and need from a movie: heart, depth, and the love and appreciation of movies themselves. Is that not enough?
"Murderers comes with smiles"
When I first heard of Goodfellas, I was intrigued. It wasn't about a a single part of a gangster's life, it wasn't about the one part where the gangster decided to move along, it wasn't all that sappy, stupid stuff. It was about the LIFE of a gangster, and that meant realism..
Realism is a change sometimes, because it's either overused or underused. People make it so hyper-realistic, it may be a bit boring. On the latter, they use so many things to make it unrealistic that it doesn't even make sense to watch it. But realism works as a counterpart, and it was a film by Martin Scorsese. Who could go wrong with that?
I turned it on, watched it, and enjoyed it. It worked as a gangster movie, but anything outside of that? I had some mixed feelings...
The acting was brilliant. Everything did such an amazing job, I was surprised at how good it was. Especially how I've heard some scenes were acted how by REAL gangsters. And some scenes weren't told to the background actors, so their reactions were real and surprised.. The screenplay was really well-done. The jokes weren't supposed to be laugh- out-loud funny, but the actors played their parts and perfected them. Their sarcastic behavior made it THIS much more enjoyable and I had a grin upon my face the entire time.. The thing that made this the best was how the whole film reflected of the entire life of a gangster, and how things go in between. Instead of believing I was just watching a movie, I believed I was watching the unfolding of a gangster's life. We have the start, the life of them, the ups and downs, and how everything just goes downhill. We go on an array of emotions and much more. Classic.. But there seemed to be a problem with all of this. Although the movie broke-ground for future movies, there seemed to be this blandness to it. I don't know what it was. I loved the movie as a whole, but looking as I hadn't seen it when it became a classic, it seemed a bit contrived maybe? It seems sad to say that because I wanted to like it more than I had. But something seemed wrong. Something seemed not Scorsese about it...
Bad things stop there. The movie really was great, and I really do recommend watching it. But as it receives such high praise, maybe I had too much expectation(s) to surpass the un-originality the film gave to me. But the film was good, no doubt about it.
Fight Club (1999)
"How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?"
You know, it's hard sometimes when you see this extremely thought- provoking movie that thought-provokes you SO much, that you have no idea how to start your review. Other movies have hit me in some emotional way, but Fight Club did it in a secretive way. A way that I don't know what exactly hit me, but I know something hit me.. So instead of blabbering on about how much it 'hit' me, how about getting into actual stuff?
The acting was surprising from both leads. Brad Pitt surprises me left & right, but this was the first time where I saw Edward Norton, and thought: "wow, he CAN act!" And he rightfully can. The plot, at first glance, may seem like your typical boxing movie that adds in one new thing and stamps itself "the best movie ever." Well that's not the case. In the first ten minutes, I thought I was watching an entire different movie. Edward Norton narrates every little thing he does, sees, or thinks. It was a really strange set-up, but the strangeness was intriguing.. Then there's the people who bash this film because they find out the twist, finding it silly. I'm sure none of these people ever heard of multiple personality disorder? I thought it was a surprising twist. And for a film like this? A fantastic twist...But plot, characters, acting, directing, sound design, cinematography, and screenplay do even qualify to compete with this film's brilliance. Strangely enough, you don't even know what was so brilliant about it. You just know that something was there that made you go "wow" and think and think. That's film-making.. But the whole atmosphere of the movie, the whole directorial style Fincher creates, is mystifying. He has created this genre that I can't even get a grasp on. And it contains philosophical elements as well, which further enhance the underlying brilliance of it all... And Fight Club also works as a comedy. A dark, dark comedy. Some parts are so devilish evil that you can't help but smile. Need more? Fight Club works as a counterpart. Let me rephrase. It works as a study. It works as a masterpiece. Everything and anything the movie contains was surely not what you'd expect. "Fight Club." You hear those words and think another attempt at creating yet another boxing movie. No depth, no substance. But when you see it, you'll understand. You'll understand a lot more of everything...
Fight Club is much more an audience film than it is a critic's film. Critics rate the film itself, not even attempting to appreciate it's social commentary or it's brilliant message to the world. But I did. You will too. Fight Club competes with cinematic classics. It works as everything it's not. It's a favorite of mine. A brilliant, clever film. A film that will engage you with it's warm embrace. To have you reconciling every bit and piece. So what are you doing reading this review on the internet? Get off your lazy ass, and get out there. Do something with your life. While your sitting here doing nothing but reading this film, people are appreciating this film, while you are just reading the synopsis, trying to understand something you can't. Signed, Tyler Durden.
Shark Tale (2004)
"A new school's gonna rule"
I had expectations. Whoa, whoa. Don't freak out like I said something wrong. The cast was the only thing building up my expectations. The animation thing was out of my mind. It was made by Dreamwork's too, which is the only animation company that has reached heights Pixar has. And it was a film with gangster sharks. If that's not enough, the man himself Martin Scorsese plays one of the main characters. So the film had loads of potential. Potential that could either be surpassed or smashed...
I didn't like it, at all. My expectations were completely crushed from just the first ten minutes. So I'm going to tell you why exactly not to see this film, because there is no exact reason to anyways:
Voice acting. It seemed liked the actors didn't even care. I mean the cast was built-up so well, this was the main thing keeping my expectations up and running, but no. It was the acting you see where you can hear the pain in the actor's voice, where they are waiting until their break-time to go out and escape this hellish film..
The animation. Really? This was 2004. Animation was just picking up, I mean tremendously. But Shark Tale completely reverses what it could've been. The CGI was lazily-done and the colors were off-beat. It was almost like watching a bunch of colors dancing. But not good dancing, I mean really bad dancing.
The story. Well, I can't even say it's the worst thing here, but it doesn't really attempt to tell a story. The film was meant to be a kid's version of gangster flicks, correct? Well, it's not. It's a disgrace to them. Almost like burning all the classics in your fireplace. It almost hurt seeing the plot mushed by the confused writers who have no idea what they are exactly doing. It hurts!
But the film isn't the worst one ever, and it has a few redeeming qualities, but not the kind that makes you want to see it. I love the gangster references, and I found some of the humor to be somewhat hilarious, but other than that? I was sorely disappointed with what could have been.. I don't recommend. Please don't see this, whatever you do, don't see this.