Reviews written by registered user
fortymilliondaggers

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21 reviews in total 
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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
a complete waste of time, 22 February 2009
1/10

This film has all the merit of a poorly acted high school play. I have never encountered a more boring interpretation of any of Shakespeare's works.The editing of Shakespeare's text has resulted in a compete loss of dramatic interest. The acting is poor at best with the actor portraying Angelo as the single person in the film who should not be completely banned from ever taking a role on film or the stage. Although even he left something to be desired. The over-dramatic zealousness in Isabella's character was ridiculous and resulted in a lack of connection from the audience to her situation. Other than the unnecessary inclusion of physical assault upon her by Angelo I would not have been able to feel any pity for her. The Duke appeared sleazy and completely devoid of any redeeming features, despite being the closest thing to a 'good guy' in the play. I do admit, however that the total failure of this film to entertain or convince may have had something to do with the ridiculous direction. There were superfluous hand gestures, pacing and facial expressions which made an attempt at showing this play in a naturalistic setting a total failure. There was not a single positive thing to say about this film. I was sorry to have wasted an hour of my time on it. (yes it's longer than that but I had to skip ahead in a few scenes as I could not bear the cringe factor.)

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
There are far better heist films out there, there are far better films., 13 December 2004
3/10

Oceans 12 attempts to continue where the remake left off. A few years later, revenge comes searching for those who robbed the casino. It's up to Hollywood to travel to Europe with a star-studded cast in order to sell it back to ignorant Americans in what advertises itself as an exciting heist movie with twists and turns (read false endings, self-obsessiveness from the cast (loads of in-jokes and cameos) and boring dialogue.) I don't mean to say Oceans 12 should've stuct to a formula when I say every heist movie needs four things: whipsmcracking dialogue, a great cast, a good score and a great final heist scene to which the entire film was spent building up to.

This film had just one of these things: the music was impressively chosen and arranged, but the dialogue lacked a sense of humour and seemed over indulgent, the acting talent were spread too thinly resulting in non-existent character development and the number of times the movie promised to cut its losses and end but did not meant it was unable to sustain a tension every good movie of this kind needs to sustain interest.

Simply put, it was boring in all but one scene when it truly found its style, but not until the famous laser scene towards the end of the film's final act in which a far more skilled thief than our protagonists displayes how he cracked impenetrable security showed to us just what we were missing in a beautifully choreographed dance sequence between lasers. It has to be seen to be believed, however, it was too little too late and we were then treated to another twenty minutes of plod.

Oceans 12 has virtually nothing to offer anybody when accounting for its 2 hour running time. There are far better heist films out there, there are far better films. Period. This is not worth your money, nor the money spent making it. * / *****

Trekkies 2 (2004)
5 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Comparisons to the first are inevitable and not favourable., 13 December 2004
3/10

This reprise of the 1996 film 'Trekkies' was an unnecessary undertaking in light of the success of the original which was more concerned with the Star Trek phenomenon in the United States whereas this film expands its reach to the rest of the world. In this way, Trekkies 2 lacks focus and direction and is overall less interesting because, despite obvious language differences, are essentially the same as the American Star Trek fans exhibited in the first film.

This fact is one of Trekkies 2's only preoccupations and as a result is unable to provide Nygard with as compelling material as the first. He is less focused as well, deciding to introduce each new city or nation with an superfluous stereotypical montage of its major attractions which adds nothing to our understanding of Star Trek fans or the series itself. This film misses the real story of how these differences in nationality effect each individual Trekkie's response to the Star Trek universe. This was not adequately explored in the first, nor this film.

The problem really is that Nygard had created such a fascinating documentary on this subject matter. Part of its appeal was its relatively short running time combined with sprawling structure, great interview subjects which contributed to the feeling of a vast subculture around Star Trek and, as all documentaries should aim to do, a resulting urge to learn more about Star Trek outside what the film presented to us. Bettering his 1996 effort was always going to be difficult as, despite tackling a more expansive geographical area, it seems to be more restricted and scraping the bottom of the barrel. It betrays the virtues of the original.

** / *****

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
American film sold to the world, 2 December 2004
3/10

This film was quite obviously made for American audiences and has been sold onto the rest of the world. Regardless of what it is, a typical action/thriller starring Nicholas Cage (something similar to Gone In 60 Seconds meets Tomb Raider, but that's not the point) which wouldn't have been released outside of hte USA had the international film distribution networks not been dominated by Hollywood.

Essentially, this movie typifies everything wrong with the international film market; cookie cutter, derivative and tedious cinema making millions of dollars around the world due to sheep mentality amongst international audiences while other, greater films go unnoticed, unfunded or without distribution deals.

This is not good enough and is really just more of the same artistically bankrupt, soulless cinema the US film industry has been exporting for years. It thrives on the concept of film as a spectacle which has been highly successful over the past few years, most notably in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and it looks brilliant (needless to say for Hollywood, high production values prevail) but this adds very little to the end product. I could not connect to its characters making for a very slow hour and a half.

**/*****.

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Represents as narrow a view as the network it represents, 2 December 2004
6/10

This is an interesting and highly flawed documentary. It is difficult to takes its message seriously when considering some of the techniques used to debunk the 'fair and balanced' slogan Fox News employs, including many used by Fox itself.

For example, the documentary criticises Fox News for allowing only a small panel of experts, however, so does this documentary where it interviews mainly ex and current producers and reporters and media activists. In the former two categories, it never really gets to the crux of the issue: why a self-proclaimed journalist aware of the 'obvious flaws' of working within the Fox News Network would subject themselves to such an organisation and its conditions of journalism.

It is difficult to feel any kind of solidarity with journalists/anchors' such as Jon Du Pre who, in this documentary, is shown to have fabricated news on Ronald Reagan's birthday. The questioning of the cost to this individual is never asked and the film as a result is never able to examine what effect this has upon new, emerging journalism. The real questions which should have been answered in 'Outfoxed' remain to be asked. Unlike 'Control Room' which reported on the equally biased Al Jazerra news station, 'Outfoxed' was unable to attribute a human cost to the popularity of the Fox News station. It eventually deteriorates into a call to arms against the evil right, to complain to the station, to 'make your voice heard.'

A film such as this has to convince the viewer that its form, the documentary, is above the media it attacks - disposable cable television news - and is instead art with a powerful message and ultimately no matter how well edited this film is, it is not good film-making because it is absolutely unconvincing to those outside those interviewed.

* 1/2 / *****

Bad Santa (2003)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Genuinely funny, 2 December 2004
9/10

Billy Bob Thornton plays a criminal Santa Claus who only works as a santa in different cities' malls for the opportunity to crack the safe at the end of the season. He's an alcoholic, abusive, foul mouthed, chain smoking arsehole who when teamed up with a 3 ft elf and extremely obese kid make for some very interesting viewing.

Timing in this film is impeccable. The film doesn't exist in any kind of rational universe - inconsistencies are a dime a dozen - but it's very easy to sit back and behold every curse known to man. Superb performances and characterisation make Bad Santa one of the funniest releases.

*** 1/2 / *****

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The film Kevin Smith would've made..., 2 December 2004
6/10

I just watched Garden State, about Zac Braff playing some guy called Largeman a 26 year old aspiring actor (only roles he can get are as a 'retarded quarterback') who returns to his hometown in New Jersey or something and meets Natalie Portman's character Sam, compulsive liar amongst other things in a doctor's waiting room.

It is frustrating in this regard when the relationship with Sam was developed so extensively when over the course of a four day period it was unacceptable for me to believe that a character as reserved as Largeman could fall so deeply in love with Sam. It just seemed unreasonable. The death of Longman's mother, the driving force of the movie, doesn't seem to have received enough attention, nor does his father having sent him away to boarding school soon after his mother's accident. For that matter, Longman seems to have too many close acquaitances in the town for somebody who has not returned there since being sent away. There are too many inconsistencies or unclear plot devices for me to be convinced this story was an accurate or naturalistic depiction of real life.

This film comes out roughly a decade after Kevin Smith's defining indie classic and I was thinking through this one – if Braff's character is 26 in this film and Clerks came out ten years ago, Braff must've been 16 when Clerks came out. It probably was a large influence – you can tell this even without that perspective. It smells of Kevin Smith's film. They're both set in New Jersey, for instance, and both use the post-adolesence chain store worker as comedic cannon fodder in some form. They both introduce comedic motifs and both appear to provide a voice for their respective generations – the issues remain the same. What's missing in Garden State is difficult to grasp, perhaps it's the cinematographic and scripting clichés or perhaps it's the sometimes pretentious view it takes on life. Perhaps it's that some of the jokes fall flat on their face (but are more than saved by Garden State's best moments). It features an intrusive soundtrack all similar songs, the gentle strum of an acoustic guitar and singer-songwriter's musing vocals. It reflects Braff's efforts in creating this film which he directs, writes and stars. The film is really told through his perspective as the camera blurs as he takes drugs, the sound come into focus as he put on headphones and fade out as he hangs them around his neck still playing and the world whips by at tremendous speed as he rides his motorcycle.

Braff, has said of Garden State he wanted to replicate the structure of life, introducing characters you meet and then never see again. In this he's successful in creating a general mood of unpredictability, but not in making us wish we did not have to leave these characters behind as a really successful film of this sort would. Largeman himself also remarks 'this is real life' in the superfluously clichéd ending I just knew I think why this film is worth its salt at all – it's OK but not as great as the praise its been receiving – is that its heart is in the right place. I look forward to an improved Braff in his second film, whenever it comes out, because he has displayed his talent in Garden State. Braff is young, funny, talented and cool and will make a quality teen commercial hit (in the same vein as Mean Girls). ***/*****.

Cinemania (2002)
6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Extremely unsatisfactory, 21 November 2004
6/10

I like documentaries where they go beyond the subjects and in a film about obsessive compulsive, reclusive people the film should actually explore what it is about them that makes them want to see five movies in a day. Why did there people get this way? Instead, Cinemania skirts over its incredibly interesting subject matter. I wanted more - do these people really like cinema or has it become their way of creating an illusion of normal functioning. The filmmaker has merely scraped the surface over its incredibly thin running time. At least it sticks to the old maxim to keep em wanting more, however, not, as here, at the expense of a sophisticated examination of social misfits and their place in the broader concept of human nature. It's fascinating, but unsatisfactory.

*** of *****

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Trash, 23 October 2004
4/10

This movie misses its mark. Awful direction helps most jokes fall flat on their faces. It's meant to be a lightweight, enjoyable, accessible movie one can just kick back to, but instead is a mishmash of ideas, characterisation and egos vying for stardom. There are some great ideas here - Hunter Thompson provides great subject matter for Murray - yet the execution is lackluster relegating the film to be untimately only for fans of Murray.

GRADE: C-, but not in an Ed Wood film kinda way. Its a lesser movie than one of them because it tries and so failing after that is in many ways much much worse.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Trash, 23 October 2004
4/10

This movie misses its mark. Awful direction helps most jokes fall flat on their faces. It's meant to be a lightweight, enjoyable, accessible movie one can just kick back to, but instead is a mishmash of ideas, characterisation and egos vying for stardom. There are some great ideas here - Hunter Thompson provides great subject matter for Murray - yet the execution is lackluster relegating the film to be untimately only for fans of Murray.

GRADE: C-, but not in an Ed Wood film kinda way. Its a lesser movie than one of them because it tries and so failing after that is in many ways much much worse.


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