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Making sense of the Village..., 31 July 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For starters, do not, and I repeat, do NOT (possible spoiler)walk into this film and expect to be scared to death. The Village should be viewed as a psychological drama. I think that the advertising campaign really betrays this movie for what it really is. Second, without giving away the big ending, I really cannot imagine ANYONE getting the end of this movie before the ending is finally revealed. I don't consider myself the "village idiot", but someone has to have a "sixth sense" to get the ending. If you truly got it before it was revealed, I applaud you.

Now, after that is out of the way, (possible spoiler) The Village was a sad, complex, yet hopeful movie dealing with isolationism and how our fear of the unknown can imprison and destroy us. Good performances is basically the glue that makes the story work, and thankfully, the performances are incredible. Bryce Howard is perfect as the blind heroine that makes the story believable and sad. Joaquin Phoenix plays the silent and brooding Lucius, with an almost puzzling and stunning brilliance. Easily the most disturbing and depressing character is Adrian Brody's Noah, a mentally retarded young man with feelings toward Howard's Ivy. The other supporting actors are excellent, with the shy and concerned Sigorney Weaver, as Lucius's mother, and William Hurt as the calm and knowing father of Howard.

Yes, there are a couple of scares at the beginning of the film, but please again, do NOT take this as a preview of things to come. I have been thinking long and hard about how i would rate this film. It did not live up to what I thought, yet it was superior in the areas that one rarely thinks of. SPOILER: There are two twists to the film: a large and a small. They both serve as a significant ADDITION to the plot. The endings to the Sixth Sense and Signs were impressive, yet really do not add anything to the core message. Unbreakable had a ending that somewhat added to the plot, but the movie was stupid anyway.

I'll wind this up with a rating of 8/10. I do recommend seeing this film, not necessarily in theaters, but at least once somewhere. And finally, and I'll say this one last time, (possible spoiler) if you walk into this movie and expect a mile a minute thrills, you will be severely disappointed. If you still want to see this different and intriguing film, then i highly recommend it.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A Fascinating Descant into Madness, 13 June 2004

Hurricanes, Bickering Egos, heart ailments, and even war were all obstacles that Mr. Coppola had to overcome in making one of the most pivotal movies of the 1970's, and possibly the best film about the war, no, the experience in Vietnam, Apocalypse Now. Hearts of Darkness details the emotional distress and utter insanity of Francis Ford Coppola as he worked for three years to put the massive project on screen. Along the way, budgets spiraled, heat insued, and rumors of failure were abound, as Francis Ford Coppola tried to finish the nightmare that was Apocalypse Now. As the story begins, we see that Orsen Welles attempted the Heart of Darkness Story, and did not succeed, and how 30 years later, it turned into Apocalypse Now. The ambition of Francis turns to dread and near suicidal tendencies as the first film of his movie studio, American Zoetrope, is plagues with problems: typhoons wreck most of the sets, Martin Sheen has a Heart Attack, The film goes 15 million overbudget, Marlon Brando is unprepared, and a Phillilpino war against communism causes many shots to be ruined. Interviews and retrospectives give shed light on the hectic shoot that lasted 238 days.

7 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Not quite enough, 21 April 2004

"Bang Bang, Your Dead" is an intriguing idea yet never driven home. The actors try their best to make use of the tame script that is "family friendly". The basic plot involves a loner (Ben Foster) with a somewhat disturbing past involving a bomb threat and a history of being teased and bullied. He finds a haven from the constant barrage of insults and bullying by becoming the lead in the controversial new play "Bang Bang, You're Dead", led by the cliche "teacher who cares". Unfortunatly, things get worse at his school, and he falls in with a group of fellow losers known as the Trogs, and they wage an all out war on the Jocks and popular people, and tensions arise to the point that could lead to an explosive end.

The movie holds back too much to be taken seriously. The dialogue seems to be trying its best to stay in the PG category, and the Jock crowd seemed awfully two-dimensional. Many of the characters seem cliche and annoying, and the ending did not live up to the title. By the way, if this guy is such a loser, then how is he able to start reltaions with a semi-attractive girl? Kudos should go out to Ben Foster, who makes the character as believable as possible. Some things can be overlooked, including the stereotypical high-standard parents and often laughable ideas of bullying and taunts. If someone walked through my school, they wouldn't hear "idiot" or "worthless". You would probably hear more profanity than a Scorsese film. Overall, an unbelievable portrayal of high school life, with little realism and carboard characters that could have been more detailed and complex.