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The Karate Kid (2010)
You gotta be kidding me
What a waste of 36 bucks. And that doesn't count the popcorn and drinks. Somehow I got dragged into this movie by my kid and was prepared to see a Will Smith horror of a remake but figured I take one for the team.
It was worse.
Not only was the charm and creativity of the original completely absent from this gratuitous Smith family showcase, but the whole premise was preposterous. Although they claim he is 12, the actual actor is 10 going on 11 and so frail that you fear his limbs are actually going to snap should he land a blow in real life. Totally miscast project with such a offensive plot to actual Chinese culture that I have to believe it will be changed dramatically for Asian release or simply only available on bootleg in China.
Even if there was no original charismatic "Karate Kid" to compare this to, it was way too full of Will Smith ego and nepotism to be seriously considered as a piece of legitimate, quality film.
Guo nian hui jia (1999)
truly moving and engaging.....
When enjoying a film outside of the Hollywood genre, I must avoid the trappings of comparison which will ultimately elevate my perception of the quality of the movie. Once I was immersed in Seventeen Years, it was impossible not to come to the conclusion that Hollywood is betraying the viewing public with mindless waste, poor actors and little or no texture to their films..... The concepts of family angst, betrayal and bittersweet redemption are revealed through a wonderfully talented cast, playing out their roles with beautiful subtlety and believability. The story is heart wrenching yet encouraging as the guard (Li Bingbing) and her charge (lin liu) travel on a leave from prison to the home of her mother and step father, the father of her step sister whom she accidentally killed. The interaction between the two women (li/lin) is thoroughly heartfelt and you are unable to resist lin's tragic character. This film should have been nominated for more individual recognitions but it was politically incorrect in it's homeland China so as we all know, Hollywood only rewards it's own and Seventeen Years is an incredible treasure that many are not aware of outside the international community. I highly recommend and adore the vision of Zhang Yuan and this work of cinematic art. Please see it and share this with those who love a quality movie.
The Weather Man (2005)
As a big fan of both Nick Cage and Michael Caine, I almost feel bad for them after watching this movie. This is a thin script punctuated with moments both seemingly uncomfortable just to keep you awake and then surprisingly introspective. Cage plays an almost cartoonishly out of his element Chicago weatherman whose life is a jumble of confusing and uncomfortable bumbling moments. Caine plays his disappointed, almost otherworldly successful father who is constantly stressing Cage's shortcomings while dealing/not dealing with his own personal crisis. It seems as though they made this movie in reverse. Put a cast together for an idea then write a disjointed and unfulfilling story that has a few moments of connection. (Not nearly enough to justify making this movie, though.) I gave it four out of ten only because the screen presence of Cage and Caine kept me interested enough to finish watching.
The Benchwarmers (2006)
A perfectly reasonable stupid movie....
Entertaining feel-good faire about a landscaper (Rob Schneider) and his two nerd best friends (Jon Heder and David Spade) who take on the bullies of their state in a winner-take-all baseball tournament. The hook is that all the bullies are 12 years old or under. You pretty much get what you expect: stereotypical good guys vs bad guys , fart jokes, large breasted women WAY too hot to be interested in the likes of the downtrodden three, a good 80's-90's Adam Sandler-esquire soundtrack and numerous sight gags that make you squirm in your seat. What was unusual was the movie was actually pretty good. All the actors played their parts reasonably well and Heder was hilarious. (Although I half expected that there was some sort of product placement for a tanning system in this movie as everyone but Heder appeared to be way too healthy looking.) Definitely worth the price of a ticket.
Against All Odds (1984)
80's love over all
A perfect expression of the 80's standard of misfit meets beauty and love overcomes all. Rachel Ward is devastating with every look and Jeff Bridges is rough and tumble with a heart, even though the beard needed to go. With an enchanting and heartfelt soundtrack and incredibly beautiful scenery, the actors show passion through a seemingly unrealistic storyline. Rich girl hooks up with hood, leaves, hood hires former hotshot friend to find her, finds her, falls for her, they get caught, everyone might now die. Happens every day. Fortunately for the film, Rachel Ward absolutely stops your heart every moment she is on the screen and Bridges is very believable. James Woods is as creepy as possible and nails the part of the villain.