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Silly but lovable
After 'lurking' on the message boards for this movie and reading everyone's comments, I decided to comment on this movie.
The plot is silly. There's no denying it; this movie was obviously made solely for the special effects and not for any sort of plot or character substance. The Helen Hunt - Bill Paxton - Jami Gertz love triangle was transparent from the beginning and probably should have been avoided, but hey. It makes for some funny dialog.
The characters were outlines, but overall they were fine. Neither Bill Paxton nor Helen Hunt were particularly sympathetic or effective - the dialog didn't help much - but the supporting cast was decent, though they were trying too hard to make themselves interesting. Jami Gertz made the most of her role, as did Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The dialog was useless, no denying that. It IS pretty fun to listen to, however. There's just something about a cheesy line like, "Rabbit is good, Rabbit is wise". The movie could've done with a few less "Sonofab****"s from Bill Paxton, but whatever.
The 'bad guy' element that was Jonas, Eddie, and the rest of the 'corporate-sponsored' black-van-driving rival team was completely unnecessary and was obviously put in at the last moment. I liked it, though, and my favorite characters from the movie ended up being Jonas and Eddie. So, no loss there. It's silly, but bearable.
I love this movie. I've watched it so many times that I wore out the VHS version and had to buy the DVD. It's a really silly movie with stupid dialog and poor acting, but I can't help but like it.
King Kong (2005)
The Big Screen's the right place for this big ape.
Peter Jackson's rendition of King Kong is seamless, beautiful, and inspiring. When I went to see this movie in the theater, I was prepared for a Jurassic Park type romp with little story. Needless to say, I got way more than I expected!
The Good: The casting is spot-on. Jack Black as the diabolical, blinkered movie producer injects a sense of muted desperation throughout the film. Naomi Watts was perfect as the beautiful Ann Darrow. Her connection with Kong was wonderful, especially in the well-designed 'skating' scene. As a big fan of Adrien Brody, I was pleased to see him in the part of Jack Driscoll. His melancholy performance once again lit up the screen. The supporting cast made names for themselves as well, bringing out the humor and camaraderie of the movie.
The action scenes were incredible, though a tad unbelievable. Seamless cinematography really made all of the action pop. The color was lush and the sound was excellent.
The story was not left by the wayside as it could have been. The bonding between Ann Darrow and Kong was well done; not overly sappy, but not skimped on, either. The conclusion of the movie was not enough to make the audience burst into tears, but it was sufficient to pull at their heartstrings.
The Bad: Certain scenes were a tad unbelievable. When Kong first takes Ann into the jungle as his sacrifice, he stands atop a cliff and roars for approximately three minutes while throwing Ann around in his hands. The scene is slightly redundant and I was very surprised to see Ann still alive (and conscious!) as a result. Kong also manages to defeat three Tyrannosaurus Rex at once, though the manner in which he does it is pretty cool.
Certain gory scenes are a little over the top, such as when Kong kills a Tyrannosaur by ripping its jaws apart. Kong: *ROAR!* (rips dinosaur's jaws apart) Audience: EW!
Bottom Line: A+ An amazing tribute to a long-standing fantasy story, Kong is worth every penny you'll pay.
Though Munich is well intentioned, its thinly-stretched plot and absurd length ultimately kill it.
Steven Spielberg, why? The General Gist: What could have been a gripping, provocative, inspiring thriller instead became a listless, inconvenient disaster that left this reviewer looking at her watch instead of the screen. Though the previews for the movie promised an action-packed, suspenseful saga of the revenge of the Jews in the aftermath of the 1972 Olympics, Munich turned out to be one hour of serious material, and a further one hour and forty three minutes of senseless droning.
The Good: More or less historically accurate, Munich addresses a fresh topic, which is a relief in a cinema world dominated by sequels. Though not particularly insightful on the Israeli/Pakistani conflict, the movie may get a few gears turning in the minds of movie goers who are not CNN regulars.
Also in Munich's favor is its pull-no-punches approach to the violence inspired on both the part of Avner's team and that of the nameless Palestinian threat. Definitely not appropriate for the squeamish, there is no omission of the pain that comes with war in this movie.
Cinematography: Munich shines on the big screen. Vivid coloring and slick action shots bring the story to the viewer, and the sound is clean.
The Bad: Two words: Too long. Munich drags on and on, painfully limping through enough storyline to comfortably fill an hour's worth of film. Though the action scenes are brilliantly done, there are too many of them, and they are all the same. Munich brings a Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith quality to the big screen; there are so many places where the movie could have ended, and just refused to die.
The main characters are as a whole unsympathetic. Ayalet Zorer shines as the beleaguered wife Daphna, and Mathieu Amalric is suitably slimy as Louie, and this is where the nods end. Eric Bana fails to put protagonist Avner into more than one dimension. The supporting cast, while inspiring fleeting feelings of camaraderie, isn't given enough to do. The plot regarding these characters is also a little wacky, as three of them die, two inexplicably. The 'evil' Pakistani terrorist group, Black September, fails to inspire even a twinge of dread in the audience's heart. A strange sub-plot involving a Dutch assassin serves as a reminder to Avner that he's not invincible, but it comes out of left field and forces the movie on for another thirty minutes.
The ending is another sore spot to this movie. Having lost almost his entire team to the throes of war, Avner returns to Israel for a debriefing, which he refuses to give for an unexplained reason. He has moved his wife and child away from his mother land to Brooklyn, also for uncovered motives. Stranger still, instead of exorcising his demons with meaningful dialogue or resolving what he's done with his civilian life en route to the arms of his lovely, pregnant wife, Avner finds catharsis in a series of weird flashbacks while having sex with said wife, leaving this reviewer more than a little confused. The thing that ruins the conclusion more than anything else was that there really wasn't one; the movie literally fades away into the Brooklyn sunset.
The Grade: C- Though Munich is a fresh idea and has good intentions, a thinly stretched plot and the absurd length of the movie ultimately bring it down. It's the first movie that this reviewer has ever wanted a refund for.