Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Absolutely stock-standard sports movie.
There is absolutely nothing in Hoosiers that is original or innovative. it follows the standard formula for a sport movie: unorganised, undisciplined team is miraculously transformed into a team of disciplined, hard working champions in a matter of weeks. throw in a cheesy undeveloped romance and some opposition from some redneck townspeople and you've got the blueprint for years of predictable sports movies to come. there is nothing different between a film such as the Might Ducks and Hoosiers, except that Hoosiers did it first. does this make it a better film than mighty ducks, or any of the million sports movies that came after...? in my mind it does not.
Sha shou de tong hua (1994)
pretty bad Andy Lau vehicle
ATOKAR was made pretty much just before Lau cracked the big time, and I'm pretty sure its one he would rather forget about. Feels very rushed with plot holes and a lazy story. Pretty standard HK action, not horrible but far from great. Oh, and Anita Yuen was so miscast as a pro killer, she looks and acts like a librarian more than a cold blooded killer for hire. Worth a viewing though. I don't know if it biased my opinion of it, but the English subs on the DVD i watched were incredibly shoddy, some of the worst i have had to endure. One other thing that struck me was the rating: MA15+. This movie has necrophilia (implied not shown), graphic violence, an old woman being killed with clingwrap, a young girl being forced to drink a bottle of antiseptic: these things just wouldn't get past the censors in the West, these scenes would be cut or the film given an R18+ at the least.
Wo de fu qin mu qin (1999)
beautiful visuals cant make up for a lack of plot
Having heard many good things about this movie, as well as being a fan of Yimou's and being totally infatuated with the gorgeous Zhang Ziyi, i was quite looking forward to this. But the plodding story (or lack of) really hurts this film's credibility.
The story: a son returns to his village after hearing his father (the village's teacher) died. His mother insists on having the father's body carried back to the village as part of a Chinese superstition. The son then has a flashback about how his mother and father met and fell in love, which makes up about 3/4 of the movie. The problem with the flashback is that it moves VERY slowly. Ziyi sees the teacher and immediately has a mad crush on him, and proceeds to basically stalk him (in the nicest possible way). She secretly follows him, and basically watches him from afar for most of the movie. She cooks him dinner, he gives her a hair clip and he goes away to the city. She continues to pine for him, and eventually they are reunited and spend the rest of their life together. If it sounds like I'm glossing over the details and simplifying the plot, its because this is exactly what Yimou does. This 'perfect love'(which is obviously what Yimou was trying to make this relationship) is never given any real detail or depth because the two 'lovers' exchange about 20 words throughout the whole film; most of the film contains shots of Ziyi secretly watching the teacher. Their relationship is flimsy at best and is given no chance to blossum and strengthen, which could have been the heart of the film. Instead we get MANY shots of Ziyi in close up running through lush beautiful landscapes as she pines for this man she doesn't even remotely know. For some reason, Yimou decided to focus on the period before their relationship blossumed into true love, rather than when they are reunited and able to spend their life together. The film really suffers because of this, and the only reason i sat through the whole thing was Ziyi's beauty and the locations which are pretty breathtaking.
Batoru rowaiaru (2000)
not without its flaws but overall a great movie
Wow. My first Fukasaku, and what a ride it was. Despite being well prepared for it, having heard and read so much about Battle Royale, it still managed to strike a powerful chord in me. Even though the premise is beyond stupid and completely illogical the fact is the game is a fascinating one with many different options available to its contestants. Suicide, hiding, building alliances, going on murderous rampages, making a plea for peace, even overthrowing the system and trying to work out how to get the necklaces off: all these options are explored by the divergent personalities which make up the class.
I think the greatest thing about BR is the fact that it forces the viewer to think about what they would do in such a macabre, insane situation (despite the fact that such a ludicrous act would never be passed in any country). The scariest and most disturbing aspect for me personally, was that i could not decide what i would do in this situation. Immediately i thought i would do the noble thing and refuse to kill anyone, but then as the movie progressed i was forced to reconsider: being honest with myself, i had to admit i probably quite easily (if put in such a situation) kill some of the a$$holes who gave me hell back in high school. In the end i realised that one cannot possibly know their reactions and the decisions they would make until they are placed in such a situation.
Now to its flaws. The biggest one would have to be the ludicrous premise. How getting one randomly selected class of junior-high students to kill each other in a game of last man standing could POSSIBLY alleviate unemployment or youth rebellion is totally beyond me! The winner is supposed to then go back to normal society and become a productive member of society??!! They could only become two things: either they get a taste for killing and go onto become f&**ed up psychos, or they are so emotionally scarred by the experience they become just as f&^%ed up and have a nervous breakdown or something. I think fukasaku should have thought of a different premise for the game, something more logical and believable. Also, its just a little hard to believe the parents of Japan are fine and dandy about the fact that their kids could be picked at random to undergo this experience (a horrible grisly death at the hands of their classmates) as part of the government's brilliant plan to curb youth rebellion and kids skipping school. I've heard of suspension of disbelief but this is ridiculous!!! These flaws stop BR from being a brilliant movie and relegate it it to simply a very good movie. I think its still essential viewing for lovers of Japanese cinema though.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
such a love or hate movie
and i am firmly on the latter. i walked out of this movie thinking it was average, but in the three days since, I've realized i was way too easy on this steaming sentimental, emotionally manipulative pile of clichés. Clint has retained the same mood and overall atmosphere of mystic river (which is a lot better than MDB), obviously hoping to gain the same success with a few more Oscars, which he will probably win (much to my chagrin): the sadness and tragic ending felt so so similar to MR.
Clint cant act. there i said it. seriously, i think his directorial skills (which are far from amazing) more than outdoes his acting skills. i mean he delivers his lines the same as when he was playing the man with no name. but hey, if it keeps getting him lots of money and awards, well more power to ya old timer. this is one of my major problems with MDB: not one of the three leads (freeman, Eastwood, and swank) are pushing themselves or their acting skills to a level deserving of the accolades and overwhelming praise being heaped upon them. swank has played this role before, freeman has played this role before, Clint has done this role before.
the 'humor' in this movie was lame as hell. really lame. super-duper lame. so forced and artificial it felt like a bad sitcom. Clint and Morgan arguing over brands of bleach. Clint and Morgan talking about holes in his socks. half a chuckle was all this movie could elicit from me. and the biggest lamest attempt at humor in the movie was the character "Danger", a scrawny young redneck with dreams of being a great fighter when its obvious he would get whipped by my grandma. the joke about how he is bewildered about how ice could get in a bottle was not funny at all. I'm sorry Clint but not even southern rednecks are that stupid to not know that water freezes into ice, or maybe you mean to tell us they don't have fridges in that part of the country yet??? incidentally, the whole subplot about danger was totally irrelevant and out of place with the rest of the plot, it felt like filler big time. the characterizations and broad stereotypes Clint labels the 'trailer trash' family and danger the 'stupid redneck' with were pretty offensive.
the first two acts play out like a cross between Rocky and Girlfight. Clint doesn't want to train Maggie because she's a girl. eventually he agrees and trains her up until she gets a title shot against a dirty German fighter during which the movie enters the third act with a major twist in the plot. sounds a bit uneventful huh? well it is. apart from the training some other minor events happen (like Maggie buying her mom a house) but nothing happens really; just training and fighting until the third act. during the title fight i was absolutely incredulous that the fight wasn't called on a disqualification. the German girl pulls some dirty moves that, despite me not being a boxing aficionado, I'm pretty sure would get her disqualified immediately. i mean come on, if pulling moves like these didn't get you disqualified every pro fighter would be doing them. also, the fight scenes were fake as hell, no thought or effort was put into the fight choreography. its very obvious that swank spent all her time working out to get a buff body rather than actually look like she could throw a decent punch, she didn't look like she was a competent boxer let alone the unbeatable champion she is portrayed as. not one of her fights are won on points, every one is a knockout usually in the first round. how freaking realistic.
in conclusion, I'm amazed at the positive response this movie has gotten. i guess people really do equate a sad and tragic ending with greatness. Mystic River moved me, i cried several times during the film. this movie left me unmoved, its emotional manipulativeness and hollow sentimentality was something even Spielberg would gag on. i really hate to simplify movies but in this case i think it stands true: MDB is just a Rocky ripoff with a tragic sad twist at the end.
South Park (1997)
the most juvenile but still one of the funniest
SP is sooo immature and juvenile but still makes me wet my pants at the age of 23. the only problem is that it has taken the same path as the simpsons: it goes for shock value nowadays rather than comedy. there is a noticeable trend towards more shocking violence and disgusting situations than early episodes. its an obvious sign of parker and stone's running out of ideas and i have no doubt it will go the way of the simpsons if it continues. whereas the simpsons took a few seasons to warm up and find its feet, SP started at its peak and has steadily gone downhill. if trey and matt care about their creation more than the money they should give it one or more seasons then stop.
the greatest comedy of all time
let me clarify that. what i mean is its the greatest of all time because every episode is "Gold Jerry!Gold!" but more than that, they refused to stay on just for money, they actually cared more about the integrity of the show more than getting a million dollars an episode (unlike another show about a yellow skinned family). other comedies have tried to copy the seinfeld magic (Phoebe from friends is just a lame, weak attempt to emulate Kramer) but no one could play george better than Jason, ditto for most of the rest of the cast. the fact is seinfeld is the REALEST comedy ever. the cast are not that good looking, and every episode is usually centred around the character's insecurities and foibles/pecadillos that we all possess. i love every character on the show for this reason.
The Simpsons (1989)
probably the greatest show ever (pre 2000)
there's no denying it. the Simpson's is a mere shadow of its former glory. of course its a universal constant that what goes up must come down, and the Simpson's reached their peak about series 3-6. i cant even watch the first threes series any more because i have simply thrashed them to death, i must have seen each episode at least 40-50 times. but thats why i love the Simpson's with such a passion: i grew up with them.
with its reliance on violence and lame jokes that a writer for "Friends" would balk at, the Simpson's is just a money making machine now...no inspiration or comic genius is apparent and yet, somehow it still remains watchable.
the second best show on TV
i freaking love Oz. lets get that out of the way straight up. but the fact is its lack of different locations is a serious detriment to the show. this in turn means we get a lot of the same situations recurring throughout the seasons. i mean, i cant remember the last episode where someone was not murdered or at least had the crap beat out of them.
there are very few characters worth liking in Oz, most of them are very ugly people, inside and out. Beechers transformation from alcoholic lawyer to psychotic product of the prison system is quite heartbreaking, yet at the same time quite amazing in its fluidity. the interaction (usually of a violent nature) between the groups in Oz (hispanics, blacks, Nazis, Muslims, outcasts, gays, guards, administrators is nothing short of enthralling.
Oz comes so highly recommended. amazing TV. when i think about it I'm glad we live in a time where such confronting, complex dramas are able to be shown on TV. ten years ago i don't think the sopranos or Oz could be shown in all their foul mouthed, violent glory.
The Sopranos (1999)
the greatest show on the box
well i can remember when the first season was on TV and i purposely avoided it thinking it was crap. BIG MISTAKE! as soon as i started watching season 2 i was hooked with a passion and have been ever since. The Sopranos offers the viewer some of, if not THE deepest characters on a television show. the psychology of these characters is quite amazingly complex and i take my hat off to David chase and his crew (not to mention the amazing cast) for pulling it all off with style and finesse. all the characters on this show have deep issues and most of them are not the simple clichéd mobster stereotypes (with the exception of Steve van zandt, but i love his OTT pout and stupid mannerisms).
The beauty of the show is its ability to introduce several new pivotal characters each season, and we see during the course of the season how these characters interact with tony and others. Richie aprile, Jackie jnr, tony blundetto, Janice, ralphie, Johnnie sac, furio...all these characters enrich the show and always keep the overall soprano story interesting and drama packed.
i could write a thesis on this show but all you need to know is that the sopranos is the greatest show on TV. if you disagree, well... expect a visit from some of my goombas!