Reviews written by registered user
|29 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think it's no news to anyone that the horror genre has been slightly
lacking in recent years. All we see is sequels, prequels, and remakes
anymore, and fans are sick of it. Thank God there's movies like Scream
4 around to remind us how terrible modern day horror films really are.
Now, the first Scream was a pretty clever horror flick. A slasher movie
where the main characters know the rules and clichés of past slasher
movies. It's no wonder people call this "the film that brought an end
to the slasher genre". Then part 2 came out, and I really enjoyed that
one too, maybe even more than the original. Then the 3rd one came out,
and we thought, "This is getting kind of old". Then, like most
franchises of the 80s and 90s, we got the delayed sequel, Scream 4 (or
Scre4m for those who are impressed when the sequel number is fused with
the title), which people should be calling "the film that brought an
end to the horror genre in general". I thought that this was a very
entertaining movie, and I only watched it because I knew it was going
to be dumb, but my God, there is so much this movie gets wrong.
First of all, I'd like to say that I didn't hate this movie, I found it pretty entertaining, and there are definitely worse horror movies out these days, I just want to point out what's wrong with this film, because it belongs to a famous franchise.
First of all, I immediately lose interest from the opening scene. Phone call, "Who is this?", "What's your favorite scary movie?", stab stab. But there's a twist; it's all just a movie. Then one of the people watching the movie stabs the other one in another twist. But oh no, it's two girls watching two girls watching two girls get murdered. It's a movie within a movie within the movie. Next, the killer comes in and kills the girls, but why should we care. All the excitement was already faked out twice, so who cares if these two girls we don't even know get killed in forgettable ways? Moving on.
One major flaw this movie has is that it's just predictable and forgettable. After the opening scene, I had this movie figured out. I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I could even predict what some of the characters were going to say next. Also, there is not one memorable kill in this movie. Say what you want about the "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th" franchises, but at least they make their kills different from the previous films. I get it; it's making fun of slasher flicks. Well in slasher flicks, the killers usually use more than a knife. It takes all the fun out of the genre, and it gets old real fast.
The main thing I hate about this film is how pretentious it is. It's big on bashing remakes and reboots, and it acts like it's this groundbreaking, intelligent, post-modernism horror film with something to say, when really, it's just all the same crap we've seen before. This film acts as both a sequel and a remake, but this movie doesn't really add anything new. You've got Sidney, the friends, the expendables, the family, the press, the cops, the horror movie nerds, the "obvious" suspect, and the killer, add a few classic horror references and horror fake outs, and that's it. Yes, just like every other movie in this franchise. Even the "climax" is a rip-off of the first film, and it comes off as lazy rather than clever.
And possibly the worst thing about this film is the killer's motivation. I know I'm spoiling it, but I have to say something about this. First off, there are two killers, and their reasons for killing is probably the stupidest in the whole franchise. The one guy wanted one of the victims to "show interest in him", and the girl was jealous of Sidney's fame from her encounters in the previous films really? That's it? That's why these people kill? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. That's not the motivation of a slasher movie villain, that's the motivation of a Scooby Doo villain. And what makes it worse it that the Scream movies are supposed to be more realistic than other slasher films. These villains aren't at all believable, and their motivations don't make them the least bit sympathetic. I would buy it if they were portrayed as mentally unstable, but no. They killed because they wanted something they could've easily gotten if they had just spoken up.
The problem with the Scream franchise is its refusal to change. The heroes never change, the fact that the killer is always someone new makes the villain very uninteresting, and the whole self awareness aspect of it all just takes the fun and charm out of all slasher films. I think the film tried to say something about how our society is obsessed with tragedy and violence, but all I got from it was, "All horror movies today suck, and audiences are too stupid to see that". Only one problem Scream 4 that's exactly what you are. It's a cliché, unoriginal, bad (yet still enjoyable) horror movie talking down to other cliché, unoriginal, bad horror movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Detour in another one of those movies that I didn't expect much from, but it really surprised me. Usually with b-movies from the 1940s, they're really not that good. The sound is usually bad, the picture is kind of faded, and the story usually sucks; but Detour is a very well done movie, and shouldn't be overlooked. The movie has a great story (and I won't spoil it), and the actors do a great job, but the movie does have flaws. For one, it's very short. I actually wished it were longer because I was enjoying it so much (that's not really a flaw). Also, it is very low budget, so the sound and picture is far from perfect. Another thing is the narration. In the movie, the main character is narrating in his head. I actually find that very odd. I mean, in Double Indemnity, the main character narrates while confessing what he did, and in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the man is telling his story to the police. In this movie, he's kind of just talking to himself, but he talks as if he is talking to someone. Now what about the movies strengths? For one, the main character is very likable. It's cool seeing what he's like in the start of the movie, and how the events that happen change him through the course of the movie. Second, I like the personality given to the female lead. Usually the leading ladies in this genre are smooth, sexy, and mysterious; in this movie, she's just an awful person. She isn't very beautiful, she's very bitter, and you just want her to get what's coming to her. It's funny, with a few changes to the script, this movie could've been a romantic comedy road trip movie. I also very much enjoy the story, how one little mistake can spiral out of control and turn into such a mess. Detour is a very good movie. It may be short, it may be low budget, and it may be flawed, but for a 1940s b movie, it's very well done.
The Big Combo is one of those film noirs that's built on clichés. By 1955, everything in the genre had been done, so what does The Big Combo have to offer that sets it apart from the other movies of its kind? It has the look of every other film noir, it has the pacing of every other film noir, it has the characters of every other film noir; so what makes this one so special? I would have to say the hero/villain relationship. Out of all the film noirs out there, this movie has the best rivalry between protagonist and antagonist I've ever seen. The film has all the genre clichés, but the outstanding performances by Cornel Wilde and Richard Conte really make this movie so much stronger. Lt. Diamond is a great character, and very complex. I love how he's a good cop, but at times he lets his emotions get the better of him. I like Diamond a lot, but it's Mr. Brown who steals the show (for me). He's just a perfect villain. It's one of those characters that you love and hate at the same time. I love how suave he is, I love how egotistical he is, I love evil he is and how much he loves it; he's just an amazing character. I really love villains that are extremely full of themselves. Watching these two play cat and mouse with each other is the highlight of the film. One's good, and one's evil; but they go above and beyond the average hero and villain. The Big Combo really surprised me. At first I thought it was going to be an average detective movie, but then it really picked up and through a lot of curveballs. It got much darker than I expected, and it ended up actually being unpredictable. And even though the film is built on clichés, it's still a great movie. Some of the shots are just amazing (especially the last one), and the side characters are great and memorable as well. This is a very underrated film, and I think it should be more well known. It may be cliché, but it sure is awesome.
I don't have much to say about Psycho because it's already so well known, and I'll probably ruin it for those who haven't seen it; so I'll keep this brief. Psycho is probably the greatest horror movie of all time. It broke new grounds in film violence with its famous shower scene, and launched the slasher genre. No more atomic age, bring on the psychopaths. Now, this movie isn't like The Exorcist or The Shining, where you'll have nightmares over it; but unlike those movies, this movie keeps you on edge constantly. The whole time, there's just this nervous energy, and you never know what to expect. Hitchcock always believed that there's no terror in the bang, just in the anticipation of it. There are these long scenes that just have you biting your nails the whole time. By the end of the movie, you'll be wondering what happened to your fingers. The movie doesn't rely on cheap horror movie gimmicks. It's not gory, it doesn't use jump scares; the horror lies in the dialogue, the performances, the cinematography, the lighting, the music, and the story. This isn't the scariest movie I've ever seen, but I still believe it's the greatest horror movie of all time. Why? Because it's the classiest the genre has to offer. Today, the horror genre is so dumbed down, and so unoriginal, that it's nice to look back and see that the horror genre can be done well, and respected for something other than blood and nudity. Psycho is one of the greatest, most suspenseful, most controversial films of all time, and I love it. Hitchcock really knows how to bring on the scares.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I love Woody Allen. He's one of my all time favorite filmmakers, and one of my main influences. What I love about Woody Allen's films is that they're so simple that they're ingenious. Annie Hall is the prime example of that. The film is simply about the relationship between Alvy Singer and Annie Hall, and that's pretty much it. But here's where Annie Hall differs from other romances; it goes into great detail about relationships in general. This movie gets how relationships work down perfectly, and captures every little detail. Any one who's been in a relationship can relate to what happens in this movie. It's definitely not 100% realistic. This movie bridges together Allen's early, over the top, cartoony films, and his later, more dramatic, realistic films. Which is why a lot of people say this will always be his best movie. The film has a realistic tone and setting, but there are a few moments that contrast perfectly with the realness of it. Woody Allen talks to the camera, he becomes a cartoon character, the characters enter flashbacks, and at one point, there are subtitles that show what the characters are thinking while they're talking to each other. It's moments like that that make this movie so fun to watch, and Woody Allen's classic social commentary dialogue really brings up some good points about love and relationships. I also love how this movie's paced. It's only an hour and a half long, but it gets so much done in so little time. A whole relationship condensed into a little over 90 minutes, and it's still one of the greatest on screen romances of all time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Do the Right Thing is one of the most obnoxious movies I've ever seen. The cinematography is extremely surreal, the characters are very over the top, and there isn't much of a story. But who says that's a bad thing? First of all, I love the cinematography in this movie. It's very unique, and really puts you in the madness of this film's world. A lot of the time, it feels like a music video, and it keeps you on edge throughout the whole thing. Second of all, I love that the characters are over the top. Like I just said, it really puts you into this mad world. Most of the characters are obnoxious, a lot of the characters are racist, and a lot of the characters aren't really likable; but then again, so are most of the people on Earth. Third, there isn't much of a story, but then again, why should there be? This is another one of those movies where it's all about the experience. This movie doesn't have a three-act structure. We're not rooting for anyone, we're not taking sides; we're just sitting back and letting the message sink in. What I love about this movie is how it doesn't tell the audience how to feel. It doesn't force people to take sides. It just presents you with racism, and lets you decide how to feel about it for yourself. I've heard people say they hate this film because the characters are unlikable and mostly racist Hi, welcome to planet Earth. Can I take your coat? Um, hello, these are real issues people. Racism is real. Police brutality is real. Riots are real. You can't hate this movie just because you don't like being shown what the world is really like. I'm not saying you have to like this movie; but I can't stand when people completely miss the point of a movie. Of course there's racism in the movie. It's a Spike Lee movie. I'm not really big into Spike Lee movies, but I appreciate what he puts into his movies. He's not forcing us to identify with or like these characters. He's not saying, "Whites on this side, blacks on this side; let the games begin". He's just letting us know that stuff like this happens everyday, and it could happen at anytime and anywhere. It's a very hard film to watch, but that's what makes it so memorable. I can't even think of another movie about racism like this. Oh well, bottom line; I think this is a good movie, and addresses the issue of race in a very interesting way. I would say this movie is for everyone, so you can hate this movie if you want; just don't hate it for stupid reasons.
Taxi Driver is just an awesome movie. I can't really think of what else to say about it. It's an awesome movie, and everyone knows it. But what makes it so awesome? Well for me, there are a lot of things. First of all, Robert De Niro is always awesome. This was the movie that really kicked off his career, and he's what makes this movie. Second of all, I love how dark and gritty this movie is. I know there were movies in the late 60s and early 70s that were really violent, but Taxi Driver took it to the next level with its gritty cinematography, realistic setting, and amazing performances. This movie feels so real, that it's actually kind of disturbing. Just like Midnight Cowboy, this is an ugly movie, but that's where a lot the appeal comes from. Third, I love low budget movies that become iconic. It doesn't have the perfection and class of The Godfather movies, but that's what makes it so effective. The low budget look and ugly tone make the movie seem all too real, and not to far off from reality. It's actually very inspiring for anyone who wants to become a filmmaker. Fourth, it was one of the first movies to show the hardships veterans of the Vietnam War had trying to fit back into society (the dark tone of the movie emphasizes how tragic a thing it is for soldiers who have returned home). Soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War were often protested, so I'm glad this movie addressed how difficult it really is for them. Taxi Driver is just an all around great movie. It may be dark, it may be bloody, it may be a little too "real" for some people, and it may have almost gotten President Reagan killed; but if you're looking for a movie that defines awesome, then Taxi Driver is that movie.
The Graduate is one of my all time favorite movies. I saw this movie for the first time in high school, and I've always just been drawn to it for some reason. Actually, the first time I saw it, I was really confused, but I still loved this movie. At the time, I never watched a movie like it. The subtle comedy was something I never saw before, the story through a lot of curve balls my way, and it's somewhat depressing; but this movie just has this hypnotic effect on me. Now that I'm older, I can see why I love this movie so much. I'm Benjamin Braddock. Never before have I related to a movie character so much. If you want to know what I was like in high school, just watch Dustin Hoffman's performance in this movie. I know exactly what he's going through. Feeling alone as the future approaches faster and faster, hoping all the answers will come fast and easy, making decisions without thinking of the consequences, and having a new outlook on life; this character is so identifiable, that it's scary. I also love the music and the cinematography. They complement each other perfectly. They really enhance the mood of the film, and make it feel so much more real. The movie also has a lot of awkward moments. I've seen this movie so many times, but no matter how many times I see it, those awkward moments are still just as uncomfortable. And why shouldn't they be? The film deals with a very heavy, very real, and very uncomfortable subject, so those scenes are very necessary. The scenes may be awkward, but hey, so is life. It's a great movie, and I really can't think of another movie like it. It has a great, subtle, dark sense of humor; it has very heavy emotions, the main character is great, the side characters are great as well, and it takes a lot of risks. It's another one of those movies from the late 60s that definitely broke new ground, and paved the way for modern day cinema. It may not appeal to everyone, and its unique style may throw a lot of people off, but to me, this is one of the greatest movies of all time, and it'll always be one of my favorites.
Easy Rider is another one of those movies that changed a lot in the late 60s. It's definitely a movie that's more of an experience, rather than a traditional story. It's basically a road trip movie, but it doesn't have the traditional three-act structure. It was very anti establishment, and must have been very shocking for the time. Making the main characters hippie bikers, showing nudity, and having people tripping out in a cemetery is pretty hard-core, but that's what makes this movie so great. It's one of those movies that needed to be made, and it brings up a lot of thought provoking things about freedom, the American Dream, and society. It's a movie that's fun to watch, but at the same time also very hard to watch. What keeps you watching are the characters. Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and a very young Jack Nicholson are all amazing, and after a while, you feel like you're on the road with them. The film doesn't glorify the biker lifestyle, but it doesn't portray them as horrible people. The film isn't saying that this is how you should be; it's saying you should be whoever you want to be. One of my favorite quotes from the movie is, "'All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a hair cut'. 'What you represent to them is freedom'". And the ending is another one of those endings that's very unsettling, but it makes the message of the movie so much stronger, and leaves a bigger impact on the audience. Easy Rider is a great movie, and definitely one of the most necessary movies of all time. It's so different from any other movie that came out at the time, and just watching it makes you feel rebellious. I don't think it's a movie for everyone, but I think most people can get behind what this movie is saying.
To me, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is one of those movies that stand between Classic Hollywood and New Hollywood. It has a cheesy, lighthearted tone to it, but it also broke new grounds for the modern age of cinema. Before this, movies about race were much darker. You had The Intruder (1962), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), and In the Heat of the Night (1967); which are all amazing movies, but a little dark for the everyday moviegoer. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner deals with the issue of race, but it does it in a way that isn't intimidating, and it doesn't force the message on the audience. It's a lovable movie, and it has an amazing cast. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn are amazing as the parents. These are two of my favorite actors of all time, and just like Bringing Up Baby, there's just a grand presence to seeing two legends work off each other. Sidney Poitier is perfect as the daughter's boyfriend; and I love how he's portrayed as the perfect man, but at the same time, he has that "I can explain" look for most of the movie. Katharine Houghton is amazing as the daughter. She's so energized, and so naive that it's hard not to love this character. One thing I really like about this movie is how race neutral it is. The parents aren't racist, they're just afraid of how their children will be treated in society; which is something I think a lot of people at the time can relate to. The times were changing, and this was the perfect movie to address this issue. It's funny, it's dramatic, it's touching, and it's smart; it's just an all around great movie. It may be corny to some people, but to me, it's a timeless movie that still holds up to this day. It's just one of those movies that brings a smile to my face, and reminds me of the important role movies play in all our lives.
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