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The Blair Witch Project (1999)
There are several ways to look at this one.
This is the film that inspired the 'home video' movies like Paranormal Activity and such, but unlike them, this is an original film. It doesn't follow the normal criteria of a horror film of any kind. Some argue that it goes back to older horror movies around the time period of Dracula and Frankenstein because it's not graphic or big on visuals, but it builds suspense throughout the whole film. If you like a typical horror movie, avoid this one. The main premise is consistent throughout as well, but there's no sign of a moving story, so again, it's based on your preference. Most of all, people seem to have strong opinions on how scary this movie is. If suspense and anticipation is what's scary for you, then you will have a great time. If you're more into action, visuals, and stories, avoid it. Personally, it's not my cup of tea.
Django Unchained (2012)
As I think about it more...
Normally I would never do this prior to seeing a film, even a Tarantino film, but I got really hyped up and couldn't wait to see this. I really wanted to like it by any means necessary. And for a while, the film stood up to the hype. At least up until they finally get Django's wife and then Schultz shoots DiCaprio and stands like an idiot. From there the story, and the rest of the film altogether, lose meaning & value. I liked everything before that point, though. It was very stylistic, it was humorously violent and dark, and I actually payed attention to everything the characters were saying. Once they traded for Broomhilda, the movie should've ended. It should have only been a few minutes after that point to wrap up the film. I talked to a lot of people about Django after I saw it, and one of my friends made a sound observation that the last third of the film was more under the control of Jamie Foxx than Tarantino, and the quality dragged because of it. It was slower paced and had less clever dialogue. A lot of reviewers here have already made their observations about how unrealistic the ending was, so I'll leave it alone. I have a similar dilemma with 'Gladiator' in that I despise the first half-hour of it, much like I can't stand the last third of Django, so I never watch the whole thing. Still, I like when Tarantino actually lead production and I absolutely love DiCaprio's character. If you haven't seen it yet, I would definitely recommend it, but stop watching once Schultz & DiCaprio die.
Jersey Shore (2009)
Should be Banned from TV
I normally don't have a problem with stuff like this. Usually, I can watch any reality show and laugh at the stupid problem that the characters make up. But somehow, I just get irritated when I think of Jersey Shore. It's not entirely because it's bad, or that people actually watch it. The problem arose when I saw people taking after it and acting like arrogant idiots. I'm 17, and I can safely say, for the sake of everyone older than me and every generation to come, I apologize for my generation because clearly, if we are able to sustain a show like Jersey Shore, then we are the worst that humanity has to offer.
I propose that we Ban Jersey Shore from Television.
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
The last 15 minutes is why this is a classic
I had to watch this movie to see it all the way through. I had seen IMDb's impressive 8.2 rating (and I have come to trust their rating system), which was enough for me to at least consider. The first time watching this, I made it about 70 minutes before I stopped watching because, and maybe it was because my expectations were heightened, I was bored. The cinematography, acting, plot, and settings were about average, but not enough to keep my attention. A month later, the rating rose to 8.4 (this was back in 2011), so I though maybe I was missing something. I still had to persevere through two thirds of the movie before it really got interesting.
But now I had reached what gave this film the praise it deserves. Everything they had given you before the final 15 minutes is simply the facts you needed to know, and then they throw you what is possibly the greatest twist ever. No spoilers here. I stared at the ending credits the entire time because I was trying to wrap my head around what I had seen. It was unexpected, made perfect sense, and made the actions of the characters far more reasonable than anything I could think of. And I KNEW this twist was worked on for a long time because once the credits were over, a final slide popped up and said, "If anyone you know has not seen Witness for the Prosecution, do not tell them the ending."
If you can buckle down and watch this thing to the end, you will not be disappointed.
White Chicks (2004)
It all depends on your taste.
Despite the rating I gave White Chicks, I don't hate this movie.
As many other people have already said, this movie is not, nor is it attempting to be anything close to ground-breaking or thought-provoking. It's just trying to be funny.
Now because this movie has only one purpose, there is going to be a split crowd. You'll get people saying that it is either the funniest thing ever or too stupid to sit through.
The whole movie is centered around one joke: The joke is that two tough black guys are acting like spoiled white girls. Again, some people love that, and others like me don't. A movie similar to this that I love is one called "The Stupids", which is about a family that gets itself caught in the middle of a government conspiracy. It's not a gripping story, the message is non-existent, and the only thing that "The Stupids" is trying to do is make people laugh. The joke in that movie was that the family was so stupid that they solved every problem the wrong way, which I think is absolutely hilarious. It's so absurd that it almost generates a forced laughter.
With movies that live or die on a funny premise, it all comes down to the viewers reaction to that initial joke. This is the area of film where most guilty pleasures spawn from. Now, I admit that "The Stupids" is a bad movie, but I can that over and over because I like the joke that it presents. I don't like the premise of White Chicks, but not because it's a bad premise, it's just not to my taste. If you liked "Daddy Day Care", "Are we there yet", "Norbit", or anything where a black comedian takes advantage of situational humor, you'll probably enjoy the comedy in White Chicks.
Quite a picture...
Seeing as there are several ways to rate this movie, I'll try each point of view...
The movie itself: It is sporadically paced, the plot is strange enough to cause interest, the acting is indescribably bad, the musicals are a pain to sit through, etc... Kind of like Ed Wood but minus the sincere effort. 2/10.
The genre: Specifically, B-movies that came out of nowhere right about when the Film Noir genre ended it's run. Among others (Monster a Go Go, Manos, and Plan 9), this one was laughable at least, so if the quality sucks, you can argue that it was intentional. For the sake of pity, 5/10.
The cult following: Basically the same with other B-movies, you will have that unknown group of people take a real liking to this movie because of what it may have been trying to do. 7/10.
The experience: Boring, confusing, annoyed, and yet I could still find myself chuckling, even though nothing was funny. It's so bad that I physically could not react normally. 1/10.
Overall, I think the most appropriate rating would be a 3 or 4 out of 10, but due my personal opinion, I'll go with the 3.
Needs to be canceled
A lot of people I know watch and/or complain about this show, and judging by the ratings it has, everyone hates it. So why is it still around? The most common reason is because it's a means for people to get away from their real lives for a short time, but that's a terrible reason, because by doing that, you're not helping anyone except the Kardashians, who clearly don't need anyone charity. Stop watching the show. If you want to drown out real life by watching TV, that's fine, I do that a lot, but it should be something that is not of the real world, otherwise you're just making your life look worse by comparison. Watch something like Breaking Bad or Friends or even Spongebob, but don't watch reality TV. It's pointless enough as it is.
High Noon (1952)
Not to my taste, I guess...
Whenever I watch a movie, I know the difference between when it's bad and when I simply don't like it. I feel the same way about 'High Noon' as I do with many Hitchcock films. From a technical aspect, it's nearly perfect, but I don't find it very entertaining.
'High Noon' won an Oscar for best editing, which was well deserved as the editing was by the books. However, in my personal opinion, it had too much structure and no style. I like films like 'Lock, Stock, & 2 Smoking Barrels' or 'Magnolia' because they are a little more eccentric with the way the film progresses, not just with each shot but even the plot overall. 'High Noon' is very straightforward and keeps a steady pace, never seeming to speed up or slow down. This makes sense seeing as the film is in real time, but with so few actions this gets tedious very quickly.
Again, I will acknowledge that 'High Noon' is very well done. It might be my disinterest in Westerns, or that I like character studies and intertwining stories and than a straightforward plot, but 'High Noon' just isn't to my taste. The character development is at a bare minimum and the acting is very stale.
The acting is what reminds me so much of Hitchcock in that the characters follow the story ever so precisely that they don't stand out on their own. Some people prefer that, I don't.
From a critical view, I'd give it an 8 or 9/10, but from a personal point of view, I didn't find it very entertaining. 5/10.
The General (1926)
Before Sullivan's Travels, there was The General.
I am a huge film buff, and I have great appreciation for silent films and I am always open to watching one at least once. But at the same time, I, like many people, prefer talkies to silent films and I tend to not be as entertained in terms of content. But this is one of the few exceptions. This and some of Charlie Chaplin's work are part of a small list of silent movies that I love re-watching.
Let's look at the content of it: You have a periodically correct setting of the Civil War, complete with costumes, guns, resources, and trains. No expense has been spared in terms of visual entertainment, because during the 78 minute version I have, an epic chase scene between two trains unfolds, cannons are fired with cannonballs that seemingly explode on impact, and a burning bridge collapses as a train rides over it. The General is on par with many modern-day action and adventure movies in terms of eye candy that it offers. The story is solid too. You have Johnny Gray, an engineer who is denied the privilege to enlist in the Confederacy. When his train is stolen by the Union, he goes by himself to get it back and also save the girl he loves. He finds out about a surprise attack that the Union is planning, and now the pressure is on to warn his town of this attack. It's shot beautifully, not just as a silent movie but a movie in general, with many moving shots. I can think of only one other black and white movie with this much action and work put into it, and that would be Sullivan's Travels. There probably are others, but I don't think you'll find any other silent film with this much work put in.
Deconstructing Harry (1997)
I have been looking forward to seeing this film for quite a while, and when I finally had a chance I was pretty quick to take it up. As I started it, I regretted it immediately, I was bored and annoyed. Towards the end, it began to grow on me, but a lot just didn't do it for me.
What I liked: I absolutely love the concept and the story. I have not seen any like it. What I like most is that while there is an actual plot and external events, it's more of a character study. They take an unlikable character and give him plenty of depth and sympathy to make up for his brash decisions and opinions. I love Woody Allen as a writer. I also liked the short stories; how they were narrated, the actual relevance they had to Harry's problems and friends, and how they were somewhat diverse. It wasn't just about the message. I both liked and disliked the scenes where they would cut to the same shot. It is very reminiscent of Jean- Loc Goddard's Breathless, which at times gave it a very relaxed, more realistic feel, considering that you could interpret that there were probably moments of silence between conversation, like something that happens in real conversation. However, when you cut in mid-sentence or make too many quick cuts, it's distracting and annoying to try and listen.
What I hated: While I love that film is about Harry Block, I hated him. His guts, his obsession with sex, and the fact that he is so damn awkward. I hate Woody Allen as an actor. I appreciate when people stutter, pause, mix up words, or ramble in movies because that's what people do in real life. However, Woody Allen takes it and makes it absolutely obnoxious. His arms flail around, he never makes eye contact (or keeps his eyes on the road while driving).
Overall, the word I would use to describe this movie is 'inconsistent,' with some scene being very funny and entertaining, while others made me want to scratch my DVD apart.