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Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
10 first half, 8 second half
Script = super, super sleek Chemistry of characters and actors = perfect 10 Originality of story = 10. Writers knew how to walk that incredibly narrow line between being over-the-top versus instilling real feeling in the characters' sense of danger while simultaneously wondering whether to hold their marriage together
Vince Vaughn = perfect 10 for charm and wit and charisma
I watched this the first time on DVD rented from the library. As I always do, I watch with the subtitles on, so I don't miss a word. When the movie ran again last night on cable TV, I could not hear a lot of the lines. So, audio balance was not good in a number of spots.
Also, after the Smiths join forces at the "end of Act 1", then the basic humorous plot of the story falls out - that of them both being spies, married to each other, and trying to kill each other. Hence, the 8 for "Act 2". On the other hand, I am not sure how much longer the screenwriters would have been able to drag that particular plot point. The pacing for the entire movie is, also, a 10 out of 10.
Typical rightwing religious Hollywood garbage
I just finished watching this movie on TBS and I feel sick. I have never seen a movie with such blatant proselytizing as "Starship Troopers 3: Marauder". One could argue that the Federation Network television deliberately parodies current television propaganda hypocrisy and contradiction of glorifying both extreme militarism and religion. However, the "real" parts of this movie - the parts that are NOT meant to be parodies of television propaganda - are what are most sickening of all. Specifically, the religious nut girl at the end repeating some prayer over and over, and forcing her agnostic commanding female soldier to repeat this fantasy nonsense. I have never cared less about a character as the characters in this movie - including the non-religious ones. But, that female religious soldier I actually was HOPING would become bug soup.
In greater detail, this movie makes a horribly lame attempt to draw some kind of phony distinction between a "true" religion versus a religion based upon mind-control by bugs. But, there IS no distinction. ALL religion, ALL belief in "god" is mind control!
The CGI effects were laughable. They were as bad as "Shark Attack 3: Megalodon". But, at least THAT movie must have cost much less to make than "ST3:M".
The hypocrisy is never addressed of a people or species or government that glorifies fighting and killing for what you believe in such as freedom and justice (and lower taxation) but then murders a peace activist, and calls them a "terrorist", for fighting for what HE believes, such as not having a wasteful intrusive repressive government that hates freedom of speech. The murder by execution of the brave female officer who informed the black male officer of the soldiers stranded on the planet is never resolved.
The acting, the falling down whenever a bug comes up from underground and shakes the earth a little, is pathetic.
I kept hoping for some redeeming qualities to this movie, but they never came. So, 1 out of 10, even though it deserves a 0.
Year One (2009)
Good lines, should be longer
Script: 9 out of 10. The lines and gags were clever and unexpected. They were not all fart, pee, or poop jokes. But, I felt the lines kind of rambled on as silly narrative from the Oh and Zed characters - which I certainly do find humorous, but is better suited to a Christopher Guest mockumentary.
Actually, my score of 9 for the writing includes the deleted scenes an alternate ending. Those deleted scenes and alternate endings raised the average. Without them, the script is really about an 8.
I agree with Director Harold Ramis's opinion that he wanted an alternate ending which shows empowerment by the Sodomites, rather than an act of God saving them. However, I disagree with his opinion in the audio commentary that the alternate ending (which features the destruction of Sodom) to be darker or more cynical than the theatrical ending. Dramatically, I thought the deleted scenes and alternate scenes were either better or would have filled in some very minor continuity problems in the theatrical ending.
Set: 10 out of 10.
Costumes: 10 out of 10.
Clearly, a lot of work went into both the set and costumes.
Movie length: 6 out of 10. Storyline should have returned to their original village. I suppose this belongs under the script category.
For reference: I saw this movie (so far) only on DVD, not in the theater, including all the special features.
I still recommend this movie. I liked all the actors and writers taking a chance on a "period" piece like this, even as a farce.
Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
Characters: 10 Story: 10 Story originality: 10 Sight gags: 10 Sight gags originality: 10 Jokes: 10 Jokes originality: 10 Speed: 9 (a little too fast in places to be able to catch everything) Come to think of it, compared to most CGI movies I've seen, I should take that back, and give "Monsters vs Aliens" a perfect 10 for pacing during their visual gags. Guess I felt I had to be critical and find SOME fault with this movie in order to remain "objective". Nope - I really cannot find fault with this movie.
Watched it on DVD, with the English subtitles, to make sure I don't miss anything.
Best gag (as it makes a point about when it is necessary vs unnecessary to a story's plot or a character's motivation): Gallaxhar in the cloning device
Good basic story
Gave this a 10 to counter the ridiculous number of low scores given. Hopefully will average out to a 7.
Not heavy on the CGI. Only at the end, during the expected mummy-on-mummy battle, was there significant use of CGI.
The yetis were a very clever, original idea.
In contrast to the second mummy movie, the plot was simple. I think the writers wanted to get away from over-complicated story lines (although the second mummy movie was good precisely because of interesting and complicated plot lines).
My only complaint was that the storyline was too predictable, and some concepts overly borrowed from other movies, such as using a diamond to locate the fountain of immortality.
Like all the mummy movies, I like that this movie starts out by showing that all the supernatural powers have a root in some realistic non-supernatural human drama or injustice, in this case, enslavement and burying dead slaves inside a wall.
Transporter 3 (2008)
Slick, tight action thriller!
I always have to leave room for great films of all time. As an action film, Transporter 3 is great. The action is fast-paced, exciting. Jason Statham's and his foils' martial arts abilities are stunning. The fight choreography was less inventive than Transporter 1 & 2. I enjoyed the pro environmental, anti "let big companies do whatever they want even dumping toxic waste into the ocean message. So, the moral battle of each of the Transporter movies is unique: from human trafficking to fighting biological warfare to fight toxic waste dumping.
I absolutely hated Valentina's character. She was annoying and childish. I would have dumped her in a heartbeat. But, she was supposed to be. She was played admirably by Natalya Rudakova.
The plot hole of why use the Transporter at all is explained in the film. The villain, Johnson, explicitly tries to get another driver, in one nail-biting chase scene, whom Frank Martin promptly kicks out of the car.
If there is a plot hole that needed filling, it is Leonid Vasiliev's use of extra-legal means - including hiring a crew to hijack and killing a policeman (?) to get their GPS and go after Martin. I had slightly hoped that that issue would have been addressed at the end of the movie. But, it was by no means sufficient to enjoy the overall thrill ride of the direction and editing.
The edit cuts were too short most of the time during the fight sequences. I felt they should have been more than just a half second long in many places.
The movie scores high marks for making use of many locations.
OK, but a point off is taken for a physics plot hole: if air from car tires is sufficient to lift a car out of water when the air inflates giant bags, then it would be sufficient to lift the car out of water when inside the tires. Nevertheless, I applaud the writers and directors for coming up with unexpected visual gags.
The House Bunny (2008)
I give "The House Bunny" a 9. It is very well written, with interactions among many different characters. I actually would have preferred a little more character development (or de-development) from the "villain" characters, one of whom is played by Beverly D'Angelo.
Normally I would rank slightly lower a movie that resorts to so many popular musical numbers, such as three from The Ting Tings. However, "The House Bunny" makes efficient (appropriate, is perhaps a better word to use) use of all the background music.
I watched "The House Bunny" on DVD, and all deleted scenes and featurettes. I was glad to see that it broke the 90-minute mark, but only just barely. I did come away from the movie feeling that it was a female-empowerment movie, for, even when women are cast as the main villains, the movie promotes a certain level of feminism.
Quite surprising that most of this movie's ideas sprang from one mind - the mind of Anna Faris - since most movies these day employ a team of writers, but perhaps less so for these broad universally-appealing comedies.
I did feel there was an inconsistent absence and re-appearance of the character Lilly. I noticed in the featurettes and many of the posing shots that she was mysteriously missing. So, I was a bit confused at times whether she was a member of Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority or not.
Anyway, point is: I did laugh at a lot of the lines and even the sight gags. At no point did I feel embarrassed or the need to turn away and think "this is dumb".
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
One new idea, some muddle, unresolved
I scored a 7 out of 10. I watched on DVD, so I saw the entire unedited movie. I watched again just now on television.
Overall, excellent acting.
In all three movies, the idea is explored that both the physical "real" world and the Matrix worlds have deterministic rules but both worlds have beings with consciousnesses inhabiting those worlds. Hence, those consciousnesses, which have free will, contradict the deterministic rules. The philosophical concept added to the original and "Reloaded" in "Revolutions" is the concept of Neo's mind separating from his body in the real world, since, if it can happen in the Matrix, why not in the real world? After all, both worlds are electromagnetic stimulation of the senses.
However, even after having seen all three movies in order, I still do not understand what exactly the program Smith does when it occupies some other Matrix inhabitant's matrix-constructed body. Does that kill (I assume) the person in the real world?
I also like the concept of the Matrix, Agent Smith more specifically, affecting or infiltrating the mind of a person in the real world. This concept was initiated in "Reloaded" and developed in "Revolutions".
There are other very small plot points that were not made clear, in "Reloaded" and in "Revolutions", which I really wished had been made clear by the end of the trilogy. Specifically, did Zion not have an EMP weapon to disable the sentinels during the big underground battle scene? Why did they have to wait for the Nebakenezzer to arrive to set off the EMP?
However, my BIGGEST disappointment with this movie is that it felt completely unresolved. I expected and wanted to see all the individuals unplugged from the Matrix. The architect and oracle in the coda of the movie try to explain it away by saying they'll unplug those who want to be unplugged and questioning how long the peace will last. Well, obviously, peace will not last long as long as people are still plugged into the Matrix against their full knowledge and will.
Otherwise, plot makes sense in "Revolutions". It moves along at an appropriate pace. I don't want to fault the movie too much, given the tension and excitement it creates. I admit that I felt slightly better about it upon a second viewing. But, I still do not understand why the biggest plot hole - immediate unplugging of all people - was not resolved at the end of the trilogy.
Idiocracy.. it's got what ..uh. brains need!
I saw "Idiocracy" with my girlfriend tonight, and it's got sh*t and stuff, oh.. and she's not really my girlfriend, but she sortof hangs out with me...but I seen it already alone.. so anyway, "Idiocracy", is NOT a d*ck and the reason I give it a ten is because of the reason that it is AWESOME and it kicks ass face.
So, you see, the writing is like... got things in it that are cool, and the acting people in the movie.. the people playing the movie.. the guy in the movie is really good, and like Costco is this place where you can buy sh*t and stuff and it's in the movie two.
Also, the pretty girl is good, but then the president Comacho comes in and tries to save the world, but he needs help from this really really smart dude, but they have no food or anything and have to eat dirt or something.
And the scenes are really futuristic like out of that movie about that big black box thing with the monkeys on it. I think the writing even won an Academy Award from FOX News even, because they don't talk all f*ggy and stuff.
So, I think that this movie should .. everybody should see this movie, because something about people DOING IT (huh huh) and the world ends up this way and sh*t.
The Simpsons: Coming to Homerica (2009)
Rapid-fire quips as always!
"The Simpsons" has never had any general decline in quality over 20+ years. Instead, it has continued to monotonically increase for all time, even if it must of necessity asymptotically approach a large, nonzero limit. After all, there exists a finite rate at which funny jokes and story lines can be delivered and interpreted to the human mind.
"Coming to Homerica" is jammed packed with witty clever unexpected quips. My only reason for scoring "Coming to Homerica" an 8 instead of 10 out of 10 is that those quips are 8/10 funny to 2/10 merely clever and witty. In fact, this is the reason ANY "The Simpsons" episodes would score less than a 10 - never because "the writing is less than perfect", but merely that the writing is on a scale from 0 representing all brilliant but not funny wit to 10 representing brilliant and funny wit.
One of the dumbest comments one can make about any TV show or movie is that the writers live in their "bubble" world while everybody else lives in "the" real world. Everybody lives in the real world AND in their own bubble world. Writers are no exception. Hence, one can not please everybody. "The Simpsons" had an episode about comic book writers which stars Jack Black (I tried to search, but I cannot find the episode's title). I never heard of these comic book writers, and I have no interest in comic books, yet I enjoyed this episode immensely.
Each "The Simpsons" episode has time to examine only ONE slice of life on this planet, and whatever period of time the writers choose. So, it is extremely unlikely that that particular slice of life and time will be relevant to your own bubble of life. An intelligent viewer will be able to appreciate the episode nevertheless, precisely because the writing of "The Simpsons" is so brilliantly universal and timeless, even when dealing with dated subjects.
I have no interest in the issue of immigration, as I am busy with animal rights. We all have time and energy to tackle only one or two issues at most in our lives. Nevertheless, I found "Coming to Homerica"'s wild ride of a storyline to be great fun.
The only other reason for me to give this episode less than a 10 is that the episode got too sentimental right at the end. That could be a fault of the subject matter of immigration, rather than the writers.