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I usually find Hallmark movies a bit schmaltzy, but the inclusion of Anna Paquin convinced me to give this a try. I'm glad I did. This was excellent, well-paced, and suspenseful. The character portraits were succinct but rich, and I found myself caring about what happened to everyone, which is quite a feat for a two-hour TV movie.
I won't give the plot away, but considering it's a WW2 movie about sneaking Jewish children out of a ghetto, you can probably guess where it's going.
Production values were excellent. It felt more like a feature than a TV movie. Give it a try.
The Lake House (2006)
Promising at first, but ultimately unsatisfying.
This could have been a really good movie. If only they hadn't cast Keanu Reeves (whose delivery was downright painful to listen to) as the male lead and...
*SPOILER ALERT* ... if only they had had the balls to kill off Alex at the end, the movie would have ventured out of the realm of escapist chick flick fluff and maybe would have been an interesting surrealist movie in the style of Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind or Abre Los Ojos.
... okay, maybe not ESTSM/ALO level, but it would have been a lot better than it was.
Yeah, the plot was... odd, to say the least, and I guessed the ending from the moment we saw the back of Alex's jacket in the first bus scene, but I still think it would have made a pretty decent film had it not been for Keanu's lackluster "acting" and the cheap cop-out of a resolution.
I wonder if the book is any better.
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Not bad for what it is, but doesn't live up to the hype
I finally broke down and watched this movie, just to see if it could possibly live up to all the hype. Not surprisingly, it didn't quite hit that balance between camp and classic B-movie gore. It obviously couldn't be good enough to be a "good" movie, but it also wasn't bad enough to be a great "bad" movie, and so I'll rate it as okay, but mediocre.
The main thing it lacked was more camp. With a name like "Snakes on a Plane", that's pretty much what I expected and hoped for. The weird attempts at pathos during some of the character deaths ruined that for me. If you're going for a camp horror film, with plenty of gratuitous nudity, profanity, and horror movie clichés, you can't then have "poignant" dramatic deaths without some serious eye-rolling on the viewer's part.
Bottom line, at times it felt as if it was taking itself way too seriously, which just seemed out of place for this kind of film.
The dialogue wasn't as funny as I expected, and save for that one great line ("I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!") it was pretty forgettable and kind of clunky. I literally just watched "Snakes on a Plane", and except for Jackson's infamous quote, I can't remember a single funny one-liner in the entire movie. And even that line was sort of dropped in there. (No comedic lead-in, Jackson just randomly yelled it.) The problem, I think, is that too much time was spent on plot development and exposition (why the snakes are there, why are they so violent, who's behind it all, etc.) which frankly, I couldn't care less about. I wanted Snakes. On. A. Plane, damnit! in all its crazy nonsensical glory, and while I did get my snakes on a plane, someone decided to splice in half of a Law and Order episode for no discernible reason.
I think casting Julianna Margulies as one of the female leads was a mistake. I think she's a fabulous actress, but she does her best work in serious or semi-serious dramas (ER, The Lost Room) and in what should have been a farce, she was just an inappropriate choice.
This movie needed to be more ridiculous and over-the-top, which seems like an odd criticism, but one appropriate for the genre.