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Carnival of Souls (1998)
Take everyone's advice
There are many people who have unrealistic expectations for a sequel, remake, or reboot. In some cases, perhaps they fell in love so deeply with the original that no film could impress them equally, or near equally. There are also cases where a film may have a low rating but be horribly good, or just misunderstood. Let me assure anyone who reads this that neither of these scenarios apply to this film. It is just unequivocally BAD, and this is one case where everyone is RIGHT.
However, you may have appreciated the genius of the 1962 version to such an extent that you're willing to take the risk. That was my case. Here is what the 1998 version has in common with the 1962 film: a girl crashing into water, the same girl having what appears to be some psychotic breakdown, and a girl who eventually realizes that she has died. On the surface those appear to be similar enough to make this interesting, but it simply ISN'T. The acting is one level above bad, the characters are simply uninteresting, and the plot is convoluted. On the other hand, the brilliance of the original was in its dead simple, incredibly effective, no-frills execution that seemed unlike anything before or, to some extent, after it.
Here is my genuine advice. Most people probably started with the black and white 1962 release. If you're really yearning for a new take on the film watch the colorized version of it rather than this; it will be more fulfilling. Whereas the original had me captivated from start to finish, I fell asleep on two separate occasions while trying to finish this (no matter how bad a movie is, I generally see it through to the end).
If you've seen both the color and black and white release of the original, then simply watch one of them again. Go read a book. Slam your head against a wall. Really, pretty much anything is more stimulating than watching this.
Not just for kids
Like Fetih 1453, this film about Said Nursi, one of the 20th century's greatest Muslim leaders and thinkers, symbolizes the reawakening that Turkey has been experiencing in recent years: namely, that its historical greatness is rooted not only in morality, but also in the unconventional THINKING that it spawned. The film exposes the hypocrisy of so-called progressives whose idea of advancement comprises nothing more than mimicking contemporary superpowers; faux-liberals who smash anything that threatens the mediocrity and underachievement that typifies their rule and existence.
While Muslims around the world celebrate and remember Said Nursi, no one remembers nor celebrates his oppressors; and no one (outside of Turkey, for certain) celebrates nor remembers the specter whose photo hangs above their hollow heads until this day. The tactics the Turkish government employed against the sheikh are no different than what we see happening against President Morsi and the Muslim Brothers in Egypt today.
Who is the target audience for this?
If you've been following Wikileaks from the start there's absolutely no new information here.
If you know nothing about it, this documentary is hardly an impartial introduction and features a bunch of bitter people cashing in on their past relationships with Assange (or Manning). The director hoped he would get Assange to 'star' in this pic, but when Assange demanded fair compensation, he decided to make a smear piece instead.
I'm sure Gibney knows that, from the film's marketing and packaging, MANY individuals will think that Assange was somehow involved in the film's creation before buying a ticket or paying for a download. Those people will be sorely disappointed after realizing they have lined the pockets of a disingenuous filmmaker. The pathetic edit of Jullian dancing to Lady Gaga is a great illustration of Gibney's journalistic integrity and the idiotic, lowbrow audience this is targeted at. GARBAGE.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Unlikeable, clichéd characters ruin it
A whore, Shaggy from Scobby Doo, a racially ambiguous faux nerd, and a supposed virgin who's -- actually not. None of them have any redeeming characteristics; none of them would be particularly missed by society. In fact, forget the Gods, can I kill these people myself? The world is better off with monsters at the helm, assuming that they intend to annihilate both the film's creator and any critics who praised it.
The occultist allusions, and the concept of human sacrifice for an elitist group's advancement are the sole interesting elements of the picture. Unfortunately those ideas are left unexplored in exchange for special effects and horror clichés that caused Freddy Krueger to walk out of the screening.
Fetih 1453 (2012)
Flawed, but commendable on some levels
I was incredibly eager to see the film, but finding an official release date for the DVD or a place where I could buy it in Egypt seemed impossible. Alas, I managed to get a copy.
Let's preface this by saying I love Turkish culture. A picture of Abdul Hamid II hangs on my wall. I even enjoy the 70s and 80s exploitation flicks, and definitely 70s Anatolian rock. Fetih is a bittersweet affair for me. On one hand it represents the country's ascent over the past decade; on the other it unfortunately falls victim to imitating a western style medieval epic -- a played out genre that ordinarily bores me to no end.
The introduction of an obligatory love triangle between a good and evil suitor signaled that some disappointment was in store early on. The five-second closing shot was like dumping a bottle of ketchup onto an overcooked steak: it took an already mediocre meal and made it even less appetizing.
I don't really care for CGI in general, but each time the director used it there was no mistaking it. That might be forgivable in a fantasy film, but not a historical one.
Some of you may claim that historical inaccuracies for the sake of entertainment are just the nature of the medium; the problem is this that these men were so pivotal in history that spreading a distorted image (even if done graciously) is disrespectful. When twenty-year old viewers become seventy, this film's portrayals will be stuck in many of their minds -- accurate or not.
This will not be the last Turkish blockbuster. It needs critiqued honestly to push Turkish cinema forward, though. I wanted to give this a 10/10, but in the end it's so dumbed down that it's merely a slightly above average movie. There's some great Turkish films out there: Jan Jan and Propaganda are two I've watched recently -- two pics that are uniquely Turkish; Fetih feels more like a generic American war epic but with Turkish characters.
If Adam Sandler films are 0/10, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest a 10/10, Fetih is a 6/10. Its importance lies more in what it signifies in relation to Turkey's modern resurgence as a great nation and the Islamic renaissance occurring in places like Egypt, not so much its content.
The Terminal (2004)
Turned a fascinating story into complete drivel
It's a shame that Spielberg transformed Mehran Karimi Nasseri's real life nightmare into a sappy love story with a happy ending.
Nasseri was an Iranian who sought political asylum in Britain, but lost his visa while in transit. Britain forced him to return to his previous connection in France, where for eighteen years he attempted to wade through bureaucracy and even a short stint in prison.
Except for a couple of months in jail (it may have been less), he resided at the airport the entire time, ordering the same exact meals from the airport's Burger King each day. He loved economics and became extremely well-versed in it during his stay.
A lawyer at last was able to help Nasseri obtain legal status. Nasseri, who claimed to be the son of a British mother and Persian father, refused to sign a document with Mehran Karimi Nasseri written on it, but insisted it read Sir Alfred Mehran -- his 'true' name. He subsequently returned to the airport.
So the story is really much darker, with a touch of mental illness involved. The fact that this was even allowed to happen, and that a sick man was not tended to for so long is where the real drama lurks. Mehran was eventually sent to a French halfway house after spending almost two decades on the same bench.
Spielberg, felt he had to anglicize Mehran and transform him into essentially Andy Kaufman from Taxi. It became a quirky little film rather than something that could have been more akin to A Beautiful Mind with a touch of bureaucratic torture involved. Maybe someone could have told the story correctly and intelligently, though I doubt they will in fear of copying Spielberg's bastardization of the man's life.
Not worth the time. Read a book instead.
The movie begins with this long haired, dorky kid whose an Iranian-American in search of his ancestry -- or something. His older brother gets hospitalized and begins relaying the story of Omar Khayyam to the kid. Surprise though! He dies about half way through and so the kid makes a trek to London to hook up with some old lady who has a copy of the book -- because no one else on earth could possibly possess such a thing.
Lady tucks in the kid in front of the fireplace. Kid somehow ends up in Iran talking to his grandfather with a horrible, indistinguishable accent (by the way, everyone has a horrible accent in this movie) who completes the story for him.
Meanwhile, the actual tale and life of the man gets lost between all this garbage. Is it there to fill time? I have no idea. I was tempted to stop the film after about 15 minutes but decided to see it through to the end. Glad I didn't pay for it.
The only thing amusing about this is that the Sultan looks sort of like Steve O, but probably doesn't do anything demented involving staplers. This pic is bad even by after school special standards.
Pick up a translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and read it instead. Nice movie for 5 year olds -- I guess. Creators were no doubt well intentioned, but when you're dealing with a man of this stature there's no room for error, otherwise it's just flat out disrespect. If you are a lover of Islamic culture and history just avoid this.
Hmm -- and some of these overly positive reviews seem mighty suspect, especially when a couple are structured identically.
A Day Without a Mexican (2004)
Watch this, only if there's nothing else to do.
I just finished watching A Day Without a Mexican, so my comments are fresh.
As some other reviewers have mentioned, this film had the potential to be much more in terms of social commentary. The fact that it went in a comedic direction isn't bad in itself, it's just the execution of everything seemed so flawed.
There were chances to make statements, and to be relevant; one can still do that while still being funny. It's just -- I never laughed during the entire film, and I never felt as if any point was driven home, so it failed both goals.
I won't call this a bad film, but it's certainly not worth the $4 rental fee. If it shows up on TV for free, go ahead and watch it, otherwise find something else to spend your money on. Stereotypes can be used to convey a serious message (see Hollywood Shuffle), however I'm not sure what this film's message really was. Was it that Mexicans are a cheap economic revenue? That they're our maids, and token love interests?
As for bad acting, I can get over that. The problem is with the script. The initial idea sounds great, but the initial idea needs followed up with original and clever thought; that's where this film went downhill quickly.