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Corny, but OK for kids and a few cheap laughs
So I won't try to tell you that everybody is wrong and that this is a great movie. Watch the preview, and you'll see it's only a couple steps away from Power Rangers cheesiness.
However, a la crappy and corny kiddie stuff, kids do love it and there are a few funny asides and inside jokes for comic and movie fans throughout the script as well as with the casting. If you like Balls of Fury and the "Fill in the Blank...Movie" parodies (Epic Movie, Scary Movie, Superhero Movie, etc), you'll probably enjoy this one a little bit.
It's intentionally awful and corny, and obviously cheaply made, but it was worth the 4 bucks I paid for it to have a less serious superhero movie to serve as a bit of a gateway for my 3 little boys so that they can enjoy the better stuff with me when their attention spans grow a bit more! I gave this a 5 because it's tolerable and entertaining, even though it's pretty juvenile in its intentional silliness. Most of you will probably rather watch it after a few beers, but if you have kids that aren't ready for the Dark Knight and Watchmen yet, this is a decent kid-friendly compromise :)
Fly Me to the Moon (2008)
Voices killed the animated fun
The animation in this wasn't too bad, and the story wasn't the most original concept (surprisingly sentient characters, in this case flies, piggybacking on an existing human story or adventure), but still entertaining enough for a kiddie/family cartoon movie.
What made this awful was the voice acting by the kids that voiced the three main characters. All of the others were passable, but dialogue between those three made me feel like I was sitting through a table-reading in a second grade classroom.
I don't know if it was bad coaching or directing, or the kids themselves (who sounded just fine in the live-action features I've seen featuring them). Regardless, this was one prime example of a studio being so obsessed with finding a voice that was even mildly recognizable that they passed on quality.
That awkward line-reading made it almost seem as though they made the rest of the movie and then found kids to read the words that had already been animated, or as if they just plugged in dialogue from a read-through when they auditioned. All entertainment would cease as soon as the main characters started talking, and we just sat and waited impatiently for them to finish awkwardly pushing out their lines.
Ugh. Good job pushing this piece of crap instead of funding 3 or 4 other productions that may have been worth watching.
White Man's Burden (1995)
One of the most underrated and amazing movies I've seen
As some others have mentioned, it's shocking how few people have heard of, let alone seen, this film. I will admit that its social relevance would have likely had greater impact had it been made at least two decades earlier, but the discussion surrounding the more implicit racial tensions that exist in our supposedly politically correct modern society rather than the explicit ones that we are intended to believe are now solely a part of our sordid past may hold even more importance to some viewers.
Indeed, it is probable that many find the reversal of events depicted herein to be the result of overactive imaginations, delusions found only in cinematic representations of cross-racial interactions. However, having witnessed similar circumstances and having known a considerable number of people whose accounts are fascinatingly similar to the tendencies portrayed, I found it to be a very accurate study of our human need to find fault with another for whatever reason is most readily available to us.
The role reversal played out far better than in any movie that comes to mind as of this writing, and the acting and overall experience served to support the writer/director's vision perfectly.
I obviously gave this film ten stars, and would (and always do) recommend it to someone willing to have an open mind who chooses to further their understanding of underlying social structures in a more visceral sense.
Dark Country (2009)
AMAZING and incredibly undervalued.
I was expecting so much less! I'm sure that sounds terrible as a first line but let's be realistic...a B (or C) list actor has his directorial debut, and it goes straight to DVD? Yep, when I saw it for 4 bucks, I figured I'd see if it was entertaining enough to be worth the few dollars. What a shock! Though I guessed the "twist" early on, my wife (who is usually right and I'm usually wrong about such things) got us on a roller-coaster of a dozen possible plot twists...this had hints of Hitchcock movies and Twilight Zone episodes, mixed with a bit of the Tarantino/Rodriguez/Miller flavor of more recent films noir. I haven't underestimated the likely entertainment, suspense, and overall value of a movie this much in years. I will tell you this, though...if you expect tons of effects and blockbuster styling, you'll be disappointed. But if this type of movie (and the nostalgia of creepy suspense without all of the Hollywood hype) is up your alley, you're going to LOVE it! I know they made a "Twilight Zone" movie, but if they hadn't, this would have been the perfect submission for a full-length feature under that banner!
No Reservations (2007)
The most predictable movie I've ever seen.
If you've never seen a romantic comedy before, then this will delight you to no end, as it has all the necessary components: great acting and dialog, witty banter, chemistry between all members of the cast, and a nicely weighed smattering of heartfelt (and even sad) moments.
The problem is, if you've seen more than a couple of others in the same genre, you will likely - as was I - be bored to tears watching No Reservations. It was worth it for the couple of laughs and great performances, but I doubt I'll watch it again.
Fans of either of the leads will doubtless enjoy it at least a bit, as they complement each other so perfectly; and who knew Lenny Kravitz's daughter was 20 years old already?! (She's in it very briefly.) Overall, I gave this a 5/10 due to the redundancy, but if it's not your usual fare, it will probably seem more like a 7 or 8 to you.
Southland Tales (2006)
The absolute weirdest thing I've ever seen.
The 8/10 rating I gave this is fairly arbitrary, as I have no points of reference or comparison. This is, quite honestly, the most bizarre movie I have ever seen.
At different points, you think of it as sci-fi/apocalyptic narrative, parody/satire, drama, action, comedy...my brain is still sorting it out. I've seen a lot of weird movies, good movies, bad movies...this is nothing like any of them.
The weirdness goes way beyond the whole "independent film creativity" thing. You really just have to see it to understand what I'm getting at.
As far as other points...the actors all did well, and it's a veritable who's who of B-list actors (just check the cast list on this site). Justin Timberlake is shaping up to be decent, though I prefer his craziness hosting SNL, the ESPYs, etc. Regardless of what you think of any member of the cast, throw it out the window. Their characters, though well acted, are as insane and bizarre as the rest of this movie.
The only true downside is that the editing, directing, and such made it difficult to discern at times when we were shifting temporally. You couldn't tell if something was a flashback until a few scenes later, if at all. Not like Tarantino's patchworks, this was just plain confusing. I wonder if they did it just to make you watch it again...either way, I will, and not just to sort out the time sequence.
The worst of the recent Marvel movies (by far)
I've only flipped through a few of the comics, so I can't make any statements about the relevance of the plot to the stories. I don't think the relevance is the biggest thing to be worried about.
Aside from the gratuitous (though nice) boobie shot and blood, this isn't even worthy to be called a horror flick. The script is atrocious, though not an excuse for the acting. One odd thing is that the random supporting characters did a better job than did the main ones. With Marvel's budgets for other movies, why couldn't they afford anybody that could act for this one? I know "horror" movies tend to promote "unknowns" (Depp and McConaughey spring to mind), but lots of them can actually ACT in such simple settings even when they aren't future superstars.
The plot was also nonexistent. What you read on the DVD case, IMDb, etc. is about it. Dude gets hired to be a sheriff. Weird stuff happens in the town. Dude investigates. People die. The end. Some of the character interactions made me think there might have been some sort of conspiracy, revenge from a guy who becomes Man-Thing, whatever. Nope. Just a crappy "it's protecting sacred ground" explanation, and a couple of dudes who were shown to be "bad guys" at the outset. A possibility of more, which I won't spoil or spell out, but it wasn't delved into enough to make it worth a crap anyway.
No fact-checking above the 4th grade level, either. Area 51 is in Roswell, NM...not Nevada. And water cannot protect you from a 500+ foot explosion that takes place 30 feet away from you.
Since they spent so little on everything else, you'd think they could spring for some special effects. You'd think wrong. There were a couple of cool shots, and then about 5 minutes (if that) at the end that were decent action/effects, but that's it. If not for that, this would get a 1/10 instead of a 2/10 from me. Worth watching once for the teeny bit of coolness when you actually see more than a tentacle (yes, they actually made him look good during those 5 minutes). They probably intended the audience finally seeing Man-Thing to be climactic, but instead, you just think, "now, why didn't they have more of THE TITLE CHARACTER in it?" And I must restate another reviewer's question...why didn't they investigate the swamp during daylight hours??? Not really even worthy of the Sci-Fi 2am slot.
Achieved their goals, but that wasn't enough
Though I was thoroughly disappointed in this movie, Ang Lee and company did accomplish what they set out to do. Instead of a film adaptation of a comic book, they tried to make an actual comic book on screen. The editing, cinematography, etc. were very cool in that sense, because it was quite literally like watching a live-action comic book.
That is about all that I found interesting. The acting, delivered by some very talented folks, was very flat and unconvincing. The plot and villains were uninteresting. The CGI, though well done, was just so sensationalized that it seemed ridiculous. It's worth watching, but definitely isn't on my "must-have" DVD list. Catch it on TV if you can, as Sci-Fi runs it once in a while. Let's hope that the new one turns out as a better overall movie, even if it's not as artistically unique as this was.
I Am Legend (2007)
One of those "good, but also bad" movies.
If you've read other half-positive, half-negative reviews on this, I'm probably backing most of what they've said.
The acting was great. That's about it. This is yet another fight-the-whole-world, everyone-else-is-a-zombie movie. It had some great thrills - I practically jumped out of my seat a couple of times.
But overall...it could be Resident Evil 4, or 28 months later...or...you get the point. It had very little to contribute as far as giving a fresh, new idea in the recent "zombie film" obsession.
It's worth a look, once. After that, you might as well give Resident Evil or 28 Days Later another spin in your DVD player.
I'm usually pretty picky about what I watch in theaters, and actually got some recommendations for this one, so I paid the ten bucks each for tickets. What a waste...like I said, worth it just once, but wait for the dollar theaters. I wish I had. This is the worst movie I've seen in the theater in at least 2 years...and though I don't see everything right after it comes out, I see quite a few. I think the last time I was this disappointed for the price I paid was Star Wars Episode III, but at least THAT had some expectations attached.
This baby is a renter or dollar-theater movie, at best. Bad (video game) CGI, stereotypical plot, nothing new. Will Smith made it worth that one viewing. That's about it.
Legends of the Fall (1994)
I was shocked to see that this film was so poorly rated on IMDb. It came out when I was in high school, and through all of my education and the time that has passed, it is still, by far, one of the best I've ever seen. Nothing "new" pops up when you watch it multiple times, it doesn't have much deep philosophy or anything. However, it has everything anyone could ask for; love, violence, revenge, family values, politics...everything. Quite incredible. Even if you hate Brad Pitt, which I did for quite some time, you can't help but be completely mesmerized by this movie. If you are among the unfortunates who have yet to view it, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Don't bother renting it, because I can all but guarantee that you will want to buy it anyway, in order to watch it over and over. I've probably seen it at least fifty times, and it never fails to satisfy. Drop the 5 or 10 bucks for the DVD, and thank me later!