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The Alamo (2004)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Deserves more respect, 18 April 2004

The Alamo hasn't received the amount of respect it truly deserves. It's been quite unfairly criticized by many, calling it an American Pride film. Of course very few seem to realize that this movie has little to do with America. This movie is about Texas seeking it's independance from Mexico to become a country, not a state. The movie is telling a true story of a fight for independence, and in my opinion it does it well.

The movie could have very easily become one of two things. It could have taken the road of a movie like Gladiator and chosen action over story, or it could have gone down the path of Gods and Generals and chosen story and character study over action. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with either style, except that it wouldn't have worked for this movie. Instead, the movie finds a perfect balance between the two. It gives you enough action to be entertained, while giving enough story and character building to make you actually care what happens.

The performances were spectacular. Billy Bob Thornton, who I normally don't like, plays Davy Crockett with a huge amount of charisma and class. Instead of playing him as the bear wrestling king of the wild frontier, he plays him as the Congressman caught in a fight that he didn't plan on being in.

Dennis Quaid plays Sam Houston with the most power he's displayed since Great Balls of Fire. His performance as the slightly egotistical, alcoholic General is near Oscar worthy in my opinion and deserves to be recognized as such.

Jason Patric gives my favorite and best performance in the movie. He plays by far the most complex character and never goes over the top with it. Every moment he was on screen my attention was completely on him. He was able to stand next to Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton and steal the show away from them. Overall, Jason Patric gives the best performance of this year so far, and I believe it will probably hold up as one of the best by the end of the year.

As far as I'm concerned, The Alamo did not dissapoint. It knew what it wanted to be and it did it well. The Alamo masters it's style and is the best it can be for the type of movie it is.

Not a complete waste of time (but pretty close), 10 March 2004

First off I would like to point out that I was actually looking forward to this movie. I'm a big fan of civil war movies. This was promoted as a civil war movie, but there was very little war in it. Aside from the incredible opening battle scene it wasn't a war movie at all. The real focus of the movie is on the romance, but the problem is throughout the movie you tend to forget that it's a romance.

At first this movie is quite an enjoyable movie. The early flashbacks of when they first met and when he first went to war made for a great story. I was actually enjoying the movie, but then enter Giovanni Ribisi. A gifted actor, who hasn't had a decent role in 5 years. Once his character is introduced the movie kind of falls apart. From that point on every single scene there's some other quirky character one of them meet. At the end the movie picks up a bit, but it's never able to completely stabilize.

Considering the talent the movie assembles, the majority of performances were rather bland. First off we have Jude Law. I think he is an amazing actor, but he was horribly mis cast. Jude Law is a very charasmatic actor who is best when he's playing characters with a lot of personality. Casting him as a quiet soft spoken guy was a horrible idea and a waste of his talent. Then Nicole Kidman, who is also a very good actress, but she was playing a character with very little depth. The circumstances around her character were interesting, but she was a very plain character. That brings us to the award winning performance, by Renne Zellweger. She was little more than comic relief in the movie. It just goes to show you, all it takes for an actress to win an award is to alter her appearance.

The only real life in the performances were the small roles of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Brendan Gleeson and Natalie Protman. The scene with Natalie Portman is probably the strongest point of the movie, but far too short.

All in all Cold Mountain was a pretty good movie, but I think that if Harvey Weinstein and Anthony Minghella were more concerned with making a good movie than winning oscars it good of been so much better.

8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Missed Oppurtunity, 10 March 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was very dissapointed by this movie. Not because of what it was, but because of what it could have been. The movie didn't seem to know what it wanted to be. The first half of the movie was completely different than the second half. I actually enjoyed the movie until the killing at the detox center started.

If this movie was a drama about cops recovering from their addictions I think it would have been pretty good. The problem was that half way through the movie became a whodunnit slasher movie. Jim Gillespie seemed to be stuck back in the I Know What You Did Last Summer mode and forgot that he was making a legitimate movie.

The worst thing about the movie was Tom Berenger. His character had no importance except to throw you off and make you think that he's the killer. It was a completely pointless character. I was however impressed by the performances by Jeffrey Wright (although they seemed to forget that he existed in the last 20 minutes), and Sean Patrick Flannery (first killed off unfortunately).

I think this could've been quite good as a dramatic story about a cop in detox trying to come to terms with his problems, but as a serial killer thriller this movie is a flop.