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Checking the Gate (2003)
Another movie about a movie
Another movie about making a movie. They say 'write what you know' but did we really need another movie filled with producers and screenwriters and casting couches and shots of the Hollywood sign? The naked actresses might keep a 13 year old boy watching. But it is not the nakedness but rather the the bloodshed and portrayals of rape and drug use that make this movie true pornography. The Vatsky brothers had a few funny moments - if you think rape and murder and blood are funny. They have their own web site at www.vatsky.com, and show scenes from this movie on their demo video, as if they are proud of Checking the Gate. Checking the Gate is a film industry term for making sure the camera isn't dirty and ruining the shot. They didn't need to bother checking for this film. Why 3? The movie was odd enough to what to see where it ended.
Bleeding Iowa (1999)
Elvis with Guns instead of Guitars
An imitation Elvis movie updated for today's lust for blood and violence, with guns instead of guitars. The plot summary itself is a spoiler and ruins any chance of this 'thriller' being very suspenseful. Soapy dialog, cast members who pose instead of acting. The only actor that created a character instead of a caricature was David Schultz, who played FBI Agent Derek. The movies is supposedly set in Iowa, but the accents when they didn't sound fake sounded Southern. Could it be the casting folks and the director and the actors think Iowa is a Southern state because it has farms? Do they know that there are farms even in California, not all that far from Hollywood. This is a 3 and not a one only because there is still a touch of suspense in wondering exactly how (and when!) this will end.
The Phantom Planet (1961)
Seen as History it's a great way to spend some time
Judged by viewers post 2001, post Star Wars, post War of the Worlds, even post Star Trek, of course this movie will get bad reviews, for unscientific plot holes, for poor special effects, for bad acting, for dumb costumes, for simplistic sets, even for Black and White filming.
But this was made in 1961! Seen as a moment in the history and evolution of Sci Fi on film, it's a great way to spend some time. It's available as a free legal download too. Go to www.archive.org and check under Feature Films to find the movie available as part 1 and part 2.
The captain's tape recorders anticipate Kirk's "Captain's log". The cheap special effects had to be inspirational to the makers of Dr. Who. And it's a pleasure to have to use your imagination instead of having to be spoon fed with spectacular special effects.
To hate this movie is to hate a jazz 1940s jazz piece because they used acoustic instruments instead of synths and cut to vinyl instead of digital to CD. Look beyond the limitations of the error to the art, and you'll find a 5 out of 10, not a 1. As the co-pilot said....
Batman Begins (2005)
Fantastic fantasy rises above its genre
Went in expecting a couple of hours of fluff action movie escapism, and instead was treated to the best film of the summer.
Having villains who have honest motivations you can almost agree with, and heroes whose vigilantism you can almost disapprove of makes for a movie asking real questions about what is "right" and what is justice vs. vengeance. It's not every movie that shows both sides of a war.
Great and unexpected plot twists, incredible action sequences, especially the big batmobile chase, lush filming, all the explosions an action film should have, and yet a thought provoking story of loss and love after all. A perfect 10, hit out of the park!
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
beautiful film glorifying domestic and gun violence
Trying not to write any spoilers, but the film is so predictable that just mentioning Pitt and Jolie is a huge spoiler by itself. Another shoot-em-up glorifying death and violence - including domestic violence - as a way of expressing love, set as a contest between the *** Possible Spoiler? **** CIA and Mossad, or is it FBI and Charlie's Angels? or is it Dumb and Dumber?
They say they cut out a sex scene to get a PG rating..but left in people getting murdered by the ***** Spoiler? **** hundreds. Hollywood still doesn't understand that violence is the real pornography. Save you money and go to an adult theater if you want more wholesome porn.
Keeping Track (1986)
Must be Kidding
Margot Kidder and Michael Sarrazin give fine performances as innocent bystanders who become investigators, caught up in a robbery and murder with international implications. Margot is great from the start. Sarrazin starts off cartoon-like but quickly grows into the role of an expert investigative journalist who becomes part of the story he is investigating.
The plot is fine thriller material too, but unfortunately, the film covers too much too quickly and as a result is deeply flawed. It's as if a fine four hour thriller was chopped in writing or in editing to fit in an hour or so, leaving nothing but the clichés of the medium. There is nothing that Kidder can do to save this chop job of a film.
Good film worth you money and time.
Cher was excellent - Kept forgetting that this was the pop diva. As the director said in his commentary on the DVD: her eyes are so expressive that you know what she is feeling. Liam was excellent: not a word spoken but you knew his thoughts as well. The only negative - political incorrectness: the obligatory chase-the-woman with a knife scene and it takes a MAN to save her (twice!), and it took a man to feed her the tips that let her crack the case. The movie I'm sure was supposed to show Cher as the heroine but it is a creature of its time and its writer's time, so of course it takes a Man to save the day. Not any different than The Lion King, when the woman's main role was to find a man who could save the day for everyone. The anti-climax, the last two minutes of the ending also came a minute too quickly - you'd think there'd be a thank you before cutting to the chase. The Director said this was written by Cher herself - so you now know she was a great actress in this movie but should have left the writing to the writer. Oh well. Movie still great!
Wonderful blend of visual, cultural, aural, sexual, nonsensical.
A movie that everyone interested in bollywood, or film in general, should see. Wonderful visuals. Interesting snippits of bollywood culture - is Boom really the typical Bombay/Mumbai man? Ai, Ai, Ai, typical or not he is fun to watch and listen too. The easy blend of English and Hindi puts "spanglish" to shame. Click those subtitles "ON" when you watch! The sexual innuendo from "Later" to "give her a kiss" are pretty innocent and mild by Western standards, and thus so fresh and refeshing to a porn-raised western audience. The dance scene could have been the inspiration for the hallucination scene in the Big Lebowski (except that Lebowski is from 1998, five years before the 2003 Boom). To top it off, the plot shows women as intelligent, self-assured, and in charge - even women thought of by others as dumb eye candy only. It also shows the impoverished worker as capable and smart, while the weathly gangsters are the stupid ones. This is a Democratic movie and sticks it to the rich Republican gangsters of this world. Of course, the unneccessary on-screen violence, drug use, and death ruins those parts of the film, but that's why we have eyes -- just close them for a moment here and there, and enjoy the rest of this treasure of a film.