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ssunzhong

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4 reviews in total 
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15 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
No Excuses, 26 March 2011
2/10

In the past, one could've been forgiven for thinking that Zack Snyder had a measure of talent. His remakes and adaptations had been enjoyable movies at the very least, even his polarizing big screen version of "Watchmen" could be admired for its effort and faithfulness. Without seeing what original ideas could spark from his imagination, Snyder fans could always argue that we've yet to see his full potential. Now we have.

Sucker Punch is very light on words. Its first line of dialog is heard fifteen minutes after the opening frame and the characters don' talk much for the first half hour. Thank God for it because once you hear that first line, you'd wish Snyder had stuck to making this entire thing a music video with explosions. I'd offer examples of the gems that are sprinkled through this work of cinematic genius, but after eight hours my brain's gone and erased every memory of the few spoken lines in order to preserve my sanity. Suffice to say that Snyder appears to comes from the Lucas school of screen writing. Step 1) State the obvious. Step 2) Make everyone talk like badly translated manga characters. Step 3) Squash all ambiguity so the silly audience won't be confused.

The horrific dialog is the most obvious sign of an incompetent writer, but that's not the only problem. A bad writer with a bad idea will never get made. A bad writer with a good idea will get re-written. A bad writer with a good idea who also has money to produce will get his script made as is, to hell with any criticism. Because it's a BAD writer with a good idea, he or she will magnify every flaw with poor or stereotypical execution and corrupt any good by being too obtuse. Such as the case here. The story operates on three levels of reality, the insane asylum, the burlesque club, and the violent world. The first is absolute reality, the third is the protagonist's imagination (I think), and the second is never explained.

In fact, for those who thought that "Inception" was confusing, at the very least it jumped between three levels of reality without confusing us as to why they're there. "Sucker Punch" in the meantime, lost me on its very first dive and then keeps diving, hoping that the endless amounts of skin and stylized action would make me forget the lack of explanation. It didn't work. By removing the context of what the main character is doing and by never explaining whether her friends are actually insane, we don't whether or not to root for her. In fact, in the very act of NOT explaining, Snyder's managed to make all of his fantastic actions scenes utterly meaningless. Why do we care that she's fighting?

Sucker Punch could've been something great. Not Oscar worthy perhaps, but with little effort it might've been the most entertaining film of the year, raked in at the box office, and become a fan classic. It still might rake in at the box office, but it will never see the light of day again. Zack Snyder had all the money he could've asked for, a great cast that wanted to do something good, a production and effects team that wanted to do something good... and instead he made this. An incoherent, overblown, excruciatingly cheesy fallacy of a movie that fails at the most basic aspects of storytelling. No excuses, Snyder.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Could have been so much better.., 3 April 2010
6/10

This movie had great moments, no doubt about it. Its source material also had great potential. Its set pieces, visuals, and overall artistic direction were all fantastic. Most of the cast are also well-chosen actors with good ability. The problem here truly is the writing. Not that it's bad, it's just...well...lacking. Lacking in focus, lacking in rhythm, and lacking in character development. Perhaps the greatest flaw is in the fact that all the supporting characters are far more interesting and textured than the main character.

Truthfully, I don't know if it's Sam Worthington's acting, Leterrier's directing or just the material; but Perseus is just a flat, boring character for most of the movie. I mean yes, he makes decisions, he moves around and he fights but there's little to no emotional investment in this. I can't tell what he's feeling at any given moment, no matter how earth-shattering the events are around him. Consequently, I can sympathize or empathize with him as a human being. His characters opinions and decisions also very often seem out of the blue.

And then there's Andromeda, I mean jeez talk about wasted opportunity. This girl is hardly in the movie! Alexa Davalos can act, and the character had huge amounts of dramatic potential. A kingdom falling apart, parents who dared challenge the Gods, and the duty to end it all by sacrificing herself. There's great stuff here, but sadly either the writers or the director decided it wasn't important enough to show us.

Time management seemed to have been a really big issue here. Or just focus. They had two hours to set up the players, build up to climaxes, and tell us a story. In my opinion they spent far too much of it showing us inconsequential things. I don't want to spoil anything, but really the entire twenty-minute opening of the movie could've been shortened by half and/or merged into the next twenty minutes with nothing lost. Because the didn't do this, I had a feeling they were forced to wrap up the climax and conclusion in far too sloppy a manner.

Great action, good atmosphere, just wish they did the main character more justice. Hell of a supporting cast though.

Amelia (2009)
89 out of 113 people found the following review useful:
A Highlights Reel, 25 October 2009
4/10

I was very disappointed with this movie. It's an honest statement and I am prepared to explain why.

This film had so much on its side. Excellent actors, a fascinating subject, in fact the whole thing reeked of Oscar-Worthy... until it actually showed up in theaters. Perhaps it really did try, and I can tell that it was MEANT to be an awards movie. It couldn't be further from worthy.

"Amelia" is a highlights reel of Amelia Earhart's life, faithfully chronicling all the significant events of the famed aviatrix's career. However, it is hollow and nowhere is this more apparent than in the depiction of Earhart's relationships. Or the lack of it. There's no buildup, no exposition, no sort of character interaction to motivate any kind of bond or love forming between individuals. Things just kind of... HAPPEN. Amelia falls in love, falls out of love, and falls in love all over again, all without any sort of event or prompt to motivate it.

In fact, that's the problem of the entire film. Things just HAPPEN with little or not buildup or motivation in between. Poignant moments come and go with no warning or conclusion, rendering them meaningless and out of context. It seems almost as though the director Mira Nair tried a little too hard in the wrong direction.

This is a biopic, not a biography. Plenty of biographies have been written about Ms. Earhart already, the facts belong there. This is supposed to be a movie, and whereas I have no quarrel with facts, they are not the most important aspects. Movies are supposed to be snapshots, truer to the SPIRIT of a character and the MESSAGE of a story than the events within. Events in and of themselves are hollow and meaningless unless the MOTIVATIONS behind them are explained. In "Amelia", they sadly are not, and we are relegated to seeing the brilliant moments of Amelia's life pass with emotionless detachment. Why? Because this movie makes no effort in building character, assuming that the actors' charisma and the fame of their names would automatically make us invested in their fates.

Ms. Nair, you were mistaken.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A 2-hour long wrestling match., 27 March 2005
1/10

I came into watching the Scorpion King with some expectation. After all, it DID hail as the prequel to the recent Mummy movies, which were personal favorites of mine. Not only that, it included two names that I have regarded with favor: Bernard Hill, and Kelly Hu. Both fine actors, but neither one could save this 2-hour long wrestling match from stinking like cowsh!t. Especially with the Rock at the helm.

This movie reeks with clichés; everything from plot to characters (EVEN TO THE ACTION SCENES!) seemed ripped straight from the Handbook of Hollywood Clichés. There's the muscle-bound and initially uncaring hero who miraculously decides to help the people in less than a week, there's the ultra-hot slave-girl/sorceress that we first thought was bad but who was really good, there's the eccentric old wizard type, there's the tyrannical villain, and then there's the cowardly and humorous sidekick. Good god! I'd be hard pressed to find any trace of actual WRITING in the script. I could type up something better than that with my eyes closed in ten minutes! If a movie's plot was a human body, than this one is nothing but a bare skeleton; an excuse to hang on bimbos and explosions. There are plot holes galore and plot points that are painfully overlooked, such as just how in the world Mathyus's sidekick escaped from being buried neck-deep in sand. It just happened, and it was left that way, never mentioned again. In short, this is pretty damn close to "Violence: the Movie." This is all not mentioning the terrible acting, especially the Rock, who seems to visually struggle with making some facial expressions other than the typical angry wrestler one. I almost cried out in agony when he gave the people's eyebrow. There's no character in Mathyus... he's just the Rock dressed up in period garb and without most of his trademark lines. Poor Bernard Hill and Kelly Hu. Being relegated to the background, they have important roles but not much to do. This is gotta be pretty sad for them because Hill actually CAN act very well (see Lord of the Rings and Titanic) but he gets less than twenty minutes of screen time in this thing. I can tell he had fun with his character and he steals every scene he's in. And Kelly Hu, one of the most under-appreciated actresses in Hollywood, fares no better. Instead of developing a serious female lead with strength and brains, she's forced into the confined role of a female lead you'd expect to find in an 80s scifi or fantasy movie. Indeed, there's practically nothing for her to do except endure the scenes where the director and producers mercilessly strip away unnecessary garments to reveal as much flesh as possible (as much as possible) and make her pose like a comic-book slut next to the Rock's bare torso.

Bad special effects, B-Movie action scenes and plenty of explosions; the Scorpion King is a mindless, story-less, message's, and altogether lacking experience that one should only watch on a Monday night when you've just been fired from a job and is only two hours away from being evicted. Even then, if you're an intellectual and actual WANT to watch a good movie, skip this one. It's frustratingly pointless, with large parts given to bad actors and bit parts given to good ones. Granted, the Rock's acting has improved, but I bet he'll be glad to forget this awful excuse of a movie.