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The Jar (1984)
yeah it was pretty bad
Hello, this is Paul who was in the Jar, and many thanks to those of you who actually saw this movie.
I have to agree, it was one of the worst movies ever made, but because I was in it, I had to give it a 4.
Okay, my acting was horrible, but in my defense, most of the movie was shot in one take. We shot the movie in two stretches of two weeks. If you look closely, you will notice my hair is longer in some scenes than in others. One stretch was shot in the fall, when my hair was longer, and the other stretch was shot in the spring, when my hair was shorter. Then we did some pickup shots later in the summer.
We hardly rehearsed any scenes at all.
All I can say is, we did our best with what we had.
If I remember correctly, the movie was shot on a budget of about $200,000.
Oh - yup, we dubbed all of the dialog. We would shoot from 5 or 6 am until it got dark, then go to the sound studio and dub until 1 or 2 am, then get up and shoot the next day.
The director decided he didn't want the 60 hz signal so he could sync the recorded voices to the film, so he and his assistant ended up cutting little pieces of tape and splicing them together to at least try to make the sound match the movie.
In Bruce's defense (the director) he was a decent photographer. I think he and the script writer had a vision of what they wanted the movie to be. If I remember correctly, they were trying to portray various incidents of inhumanity and how inhumanity could pass from one person to the next.
So if any of you know of sci fi cons where they would like commentary on what some consider to be the worst film ever made, send me an e-mail.
In Bruges (2008)
Not as good as I had hoped
I had high hopes for this movie. Roeper and Whoever made it sound as though it was one of the best movies of the year, and hilarious.
It was pretty good, but it was not great, and I don't know exactly why.
It had a few laughs, but it was not a comedy.
Two hit men go to Bruges (pronounced Brooj) after a hit. The person who hired them sends them there, supposedly for a little r & r after a hit. One of the hit men, played by Brendan Gleeson, soaks in the history. The other, played by Collin Farrell, is bored to tears, until he meets a local woman. She has an ex-boyfriend. She also deals drugs to a movie cast and crew, who are filming in Bruges.
We don't know why the hit men (well, actually, the hit man - Farrell was the hit man, Gleeson was the person who recruited him) were hired to do the job, or why the hit was commissioned, but this was not important anyway. Ralph Fiennes plays the guy who called for the hit.
oh - there's also the hostess of the hotel (or was it a b & b) where Farrell and Gleason are staying in Bruges. She's pregnant.
I'm not going to say too much more, because to do so would give away too much of the plot.
The acting was fine. Gleeson especially shines. Ralph Fiennes is properly menacing. Farrell does a pretty good job as a novice hit man. The women are fine, although they really aren't given much to do with their parts.
The movie was entertaining, and it held my interest, and it was a nice change of pace from a Hollywood story, but I can't highly recommend the movie.
It was worth the price of a matinée, plus a medium popcorn and soda.
Spoilers ahead - This movie is a piece of garbage!
I didn't think a movie could be as bad as Dungeon Siege or Dragon Siege or whatever it was called, but I was wrong. I'm going to give lots of spoilers, so no one is ever tempted ever to watch this stinker.
There were only five people in the theater when I saw this movie, and for good reason.
It kind of wanted to be a Mad Max sort of movie but it's just a mish mash of crap.
It has a great cast - Rhona Mitra and Bob Hoskins - but what a waste! It starts okay - a deadly virus outbreak in Glasgow Scotland (those darn Scots!) causes those darn British (those darn Brits) to build a wall all the way around Scotland so no one gets in or out. 30 years later (or maybe it was 29 years later) the virus is discovered in England. Lo and behold, satellite images show (are you ready?) PEOPLE ALIVE IN Scotland!! Naturally, the good Prime Minister of England (played by Dr. Bashir, Alexander Siddig) wants to send a small team into Scotland to find out why some survived. He asks Bob Hoskins to find someone to lead the team. You think maybe he'll choose Rhona Mitra, who was separated from her mother in an evacuation of Scotland and wants back in so she can look for her mother? In the meantime, we are treated to fingers graphically being cut off in closing doors, a rabbit graphically being blown to pieces by an automated guard tower, the graphic sight of the leftovers of a road kill cow, people being graphically beheaded, another one gets graphically barbecued and a piece of his flesh is offered to Rhona Mitra, who by now has been captured by the survivors in Scotland, and other gross bits. One of the other prisoners is the sister of the leader of the gang of survivors, and they are both the children of Malcolm McDowell, who plays a scientist who survived the virus. As it turns out, science had nothing to do with the survival. It was all natural selection.
oh yeah - I forgot to mention - the good PM gets splatted with infected blood, so he graphically commits suicide.
Anyway, Rhona Mitra and some of the guys in her team - the vehicles in which they travel to Scotland are super armored impregnable forces but somehow a rock manages to shatter a windshield of one of the vehicles - so some of them are captured by Malcolm McDowell - and they get thrown in his prison - oh Malcolm tortures his own daughter - and Malcolm lives in a castle and they all dress in medieval garb - oh why go on? We have no idea where anyone gets gas, or electricity, or food, or medicine ...
Avoid this movie! Save your money!
Starting Out in the Evening (2007)
A page turner of a movie!
Unlike many movies, I found myself continually wanting to know what happens next. I was not watching a movie, so much as seeing the writing process examined, explored, and enacted on the screen. The director doesn't mind taking his time to allow events to develop and unfold, and he takes us along with him. Music is used sparingly and effectively - he has faith in his actors and his material. The attention to detail was wonderful - Leonard Schiller wearing shirts and ties many many years old, using spoons and tea cups from another era, sitting on a couch from the 40's, reading by lamps with pleated shades, walls and cupboards painted many times over, using a typewriter (hearing the clack clack of the keys was music), contrasted by Heather's tic tic on her laptop, her messy bed in the background, typing by a stylish modern lamp. Lauren Ambrose was the perfect counterpoint to Frank Langella, and the subplot with Lili Taylor as Ariel Schiller and Adrian Lester was touching and effective. At all times, the actors were perfect. They should all win Oscars, but they won't. Please don't be fooled by the paltry box office take of $600,000 - this movie is worthy of box office 100 times what it took in.
Anyone with a love of writing, good acting, and wonderful direction should see this movie. Even having Schilling's body begin to fail him rings true, and is not played for pathos.
All in all, one of the most enjoyable movie experiences of 2007.
The Night Listener (2006)
Very well done! POSSIBLE SPOILER
I enjoyed The Night Listener very much. It's one of the better movies of the summer.
Robin Williams gives one of his best performances. In fact, the entire cast was very good. All played just the right notes for their characters - not too much and not too little. Sandra Oh adds a wonderful comic touch. Toni Collette is great as the Mom, and never goes over the top. Everyone is very believable.
It's a short movie, just under an hour and a half. I noticed the general release version is nine minutes shorter than the Sundance version. I wonder if some of the more disturbing images were cut from the movie.
The director told a story and did it in straightforward fashion, which is a refreshing change from many directors these days who seem to think their job is to impress the audience rather than tell a story and tell it well.
Do not be sucker punched by the previews and ads. It is not a Hitchcockian thriller. See The Night Listener because you want to see a good story told well. If you go expecting Hitchcock you will be disappointed.
My only complaint with the movie was the ending. The director could have left a little more to the audience's imagination, but this is a minor quibble.
Lady in the Water (2006)
A Terrific Movie! The best of the summer flicks CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS
I saw this tonight at a preview. It is the best of the summer flicks so far, and would be the best movie of the year if not for United 93.
From the previews, I was not expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised.
The movie is based on a bedtime story M. Knight Shyamalan made up for his daughters. M enjoys telling modern fairy tales, and this one is a doozy! (note - there is no twist ending) This is his strongest movie since Sixth Sense. I enjoyed Unbreakable and Signs (I didn't see The Village), but neither movie lived up to Sixth Sense. This one didn't either, but only missed by a little.
During several scenes, the entire audience (and the theater was packed) was completely silent, with the exception of a crying infant whose parents mistakenly brought to the theater. This should give you an idea of the involvement of the audience in the movie.
I'm not going to tell you anything about the plot, because I would not want to give anything away.
I found the fairy tale to be contrived, but the way in which M let the story unfold was terrific! In addition, he knows a sense of humor will help along a movie, and several of the scenes (including the very first scene) had the audience laughing out loud! M put himself in the movie in a part which left me wondering if he has had visions of his own future. He was quite good. In fact, the entire cast was terrific, and included outstanding actors such as Tovah Feldshuh, Sarita Choudury, Cindy Cheung, Bob Balaban, and Mary Beth Hurt, among others. oh, and Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of Ron Howard.
Lady in the Water was definitely worth the price of admission plus a large popcorn and medium soda. I would have given it a large soda if M had left a little to the imagination at the end of the movie.
A terrific little movie!
I saw a preview of Word Play. From some of the PR, I thought it was some sort of thriller, but actually it was a documentary about people who do the New York Times crossword puzzle (well actually crossword puzzles in general but the NYT puzzle seems to be the creme de la creme). and it turned out to be a thriller of sorts! This was a very good movie! Anyone who has ever pulled their hair out over some of the clues in the NYT crossword will enjoy this movie, and be impressed by the puzzle solvers.
Jon Stewart is on hand to provide comic relief.
The movie covers just about everything you ever (or never) wanted to know about crossword puzzles, including bits of history and how the puzzles are made.
The central theme of the movie is a crossword puzzle convention and competition. We go behind the scenes and meet Will Shortz, the NYT crossword puzzle editor, along with several of the contestants and crossword puzzle writers.
who'da thunk Bill Clinton, Jon Stewart, the Indigo Girls, Mike Mussina (pitcher with the Yankees), and Ken Burns (documentary film maker) would share a love of the NYT crossword? This was a very enjoyable movie, and well worth the price of admission.
12 and Holding (2005)
Almost an excellent movie
12 and Holding was wonderful. The direction was some of the sharpest I've ever seen, allowing us to experience the story without having it shoved down our throats. The characters were terrifically drawn, showing the way 12 year olds commit acts without considering consequences. They have a goal, they do whatever they think is necessary to achieve the goal, they do not consider what might happen as a result of the action - this is true to life. Even the parents are seen from the point of view of the kids, namely as non-understanding grown-ups, not necessarily adversaries but not allies either, yet adults in the audience completely understood and related to the actions of the parents.
speaking of the audience - it is rare to have a packed audience totally silent, as was the preview audience in attendance when I saw the movie. In fact, total silence happened many times during the movie, as did collective gasps.
which begs the question - why do I call it an almost excellent movie? One very important pivotal plot development simply did not ring true for me. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER ALERT!!! I did not believe the young girl would steal a gun.
This was unfortunate. On the one hand, this did not spoil the movie for me and I would highly recommend the movie. On the other hand, I wish this particular plot element had not been included. The director and script writer could have found other ways to arrive at the gun's plot element. In fact, it would have been more effective to have a different plot element other than the gun, which surprised no one in the audience.
Otherwise, the movie was excellent.
see it if you must but only if you must - POSSIBLE SPOILERS
I saw this at a sneak preview. If you like adrenalin fueled racing sequences, this movie is for you.
If you like a movie with terrific dialogue, great performances, and social responsibility, skip it.
most of the dialogue seemed to be taken from junior high school blogs on myspace - 'you and me are alike' - 'you have to find your place in the world' - these aren't exact quotes, but you get the general drift.
In the first two FAF's, we had undercover cops working to right wrongs. In this one, it's simply a kid with angst and then lots of kids in Japan with angst and they get out their angst by racing and wrecking hot expensive cars through the streets of Tokyo with absolutely no regard for anyone else on the road or pedestrians or destruction of property or threatening the lives of bystanders.
I fear we will have a repeat of reckless driving as was inspired by the first two FAF's.
this movie was worth the price of admission, which for me was nothing since it was a free preview.
The Omen (2006)
I saw a sneak preview of The Omen tonight. At first, I couldn't tell if it was going to be a spoof of the original or if it was going to be a serious remake. Audience members were laughing at parts which were supposed to be serious.
and then ...
the entire audience jumped.
and a little while later jumped again.
by the end of the movie, the audience was cheering and totally wrapped up in the movie.
The director did a great job of pulling us in.
Does everyone already know the basic plot? If not, I think it's best if I don't say anything about the plot, so I don't give away anything.
Mia Farrow was great in her role as Damien's nanny. Julia Stiles was the one who was unintentionally funny at the beginning of the movie, or maybe it was intentional, because she ended up pulling off the role quite well.
but the movie belonged to Liev Schreiber. He wisely did not try to do the same as Gregory Peck, and was excellent in the role.
It's worth seeing. Be forewarned - the movie is much more graphic than the original, so don't take the kids.