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Chicken Run (2000)
One of the best animations I've seen
Chicken Run comes from the creators of Wallace and Gromit, that should say it all already. The animation is set at a chicken farm (yeah, or a "concentration camp", I got it). Most of the chickens seem pleased with their lives - although you get your head chopped if you don't give enough eggs - but Ginger is determined to get away. When Rocky, a flying yankie rooster falls from the sky and gets his wing hurt, flight plans seem to get more realistic. In exchange of getting a hideaway from the circus Rocky comes from, he promises to teach the chicken to fly.
Visually, the movie is top notch. The fact that you know you're watching a wax animation in the days of CGI graphics makes things more interesting. The characters look familiar from the first moment if you've seen any Wallace and Gromit before (and if you haven't, you should). There are lots of little details everywhere and you can say that lots of hard work was put into this flick. And those little details (like the use of "human" objects such as spoons) make you chuckle. There's probably a lot more to see than catches the eye on the first viewing.
I laughed many times during the movie and on overall, the jokes suit the movie. Of course there are some cliched jokes and characters but that can (mostly) be forgiven because these are stupid chickens (or rats) after all! You get to laugh at the expense of yanks and britons alike, since Rocky is a big-mouthed boy from the States and the rooster of the farm is an old British officer. However, at the end you'll see that to accomplish something great you need the help of everyone involved.
The movie connections are probably multiple. I'm just not good at catching these things but that Indiana Jones action scene was hilarious. The humans are not seen much and they just seem a big threat to chickens but their actions don't make enough sense. When you think of the concentration camp theme, the analogy makes their actions more sensible. Or maybe I just shouldn't think of things like this when watching an animation about talking chickens. And, when you try to look at human actions from the view point of an animal, barely anything makes any sense anyway.
Anyway, Chicken Run is an entertaining movie to watch and since it's an animation, you don't have to care about the plot holes or other shortcomings. I gave this one an 8. One of the best animations I've seen. Recommended!
The Long and Short of It (2003)
Nice little film with the message of helping each other out in a hard situation. You can almost touch the friendly and sympathetic atmosphere. Visually, it wasn't that special but still you can see that there's much more professional film crew behind it than with your average short films. And I think the music suits this one well. Of course we wouldn't know of this if it wasn't on the LOTR DVD but it made me smile, maybe even chuckle a bit and that's enough. Worth watching it again some another time, especially as this doesn't really take that much time out of your life.
Say Nothing (2001)
Not entirely bad but really not my cup of tea
We've seen a story like this before: a wife in marital troubles (played by Nastassja Kinski) engages in sex with a stranger (William Baldwin) and then wants to go back to her life with husband and girl. When she returns home she finds out that her husband has finally found a job. Everything seems bright. However, Kinski finds out that her husband's new boss is actually the stranger who still shows interest over her and seems to do anything to get what he wants. What to do? Say nothing?
I didn't really like the movie. While it wasn't just bad, it clearly lacked "that something". Maybe it should've focused more on what's going inside Kinski's head. Nothing to say about the actors themselves (I guess Baldwin was a good choice for the role of the obsessed boss) but the characters seemed somewhat stereotypical, acting the way you would see characters acting in your everyday TV films. Finally, the ending totally ruined what could have been an interesting plot.
In my opinion the movie tried to look cool, it had a bit of shaky camerawork here and there, some stills, fast cuts and glamour, but in the end I think it fits Spelling productions much better. Same goes for the music. Otherwise it didn't look that bad.
Some might like this but it definitely wasn't my cup of tea. To be fair, I don't usually watch much this type of thrillers. This one felt too long even if it was just an hour and a half long, I think it could've worked better as an hour long episode in some TV series. There was absolutely no need for some of the scenes, especially the shower scene.
My advice: Try before you buy!