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Logan's Run (1976)
Not that good
Don't watch it if you're about to turn 30! Seriously, I didn't find this movie very entertaining. The first part, when Logan is a respected Officer (a top rank Sandman) and assumes his hedonist way of living felt contrived. It got better when he joins the refugees (Runners) but not by much. Then, there are all these campy sci-fi elements to consider, which don't fit so well (flashy colors, endless laser firing scene into the extermination arena)... I am sure many will disagree, but this is how I felt about it anyway.
I usually don't mind at all dated effects in 70s/80s flicks by the way. As a side note, Peter Ustinov had its moments as the Old Man. The discussions from this moment on succeed in straightening the movie somehow. Even though many years separate them, I was reminded Equilibrium (2002) while watching Logan's Run. You might want to check out the former for a more consistent man-in-authority-joins-the-rebellion type of movie.
Rather bad adaptation, a few fine moments
Actually, despite a few flaws, this remake (or adaptation) would be rather entertaining, if it wasn't for J. Travolta horrible character as Edna Turnblad, as many reviewers pointed out. Also, I wish they had dropped that 'negro day' fuss. Fortunately, from a purely glamorous perspective, Amanda Bynes looks awesome from start to finish.
More a feel good musical spiced up with nonsensical discrimination issues than a full fledged movie with an actual script, character development and so on IMHO. I would rather use the term distasteful than awful to qualify it. Fun, but forgettable songs and uneven individual performances. Don't be fooled by Christopher Walken presence, even he cannot redeem this movie effectively.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Fun, no "hidden message", brilliant dialogues, a bit too many clichés
*SMALL SPOILERS AHEAD*
Was IB entertaining (is that a "bingo" ;) ) ? Yes, it was, but to me its "replay value" is quite low. Despite the sense of details in reproducing the costumes and the SS decorations profusion, it should be mentioned that this is not a historical movie at all, and it relates to WWII in a rather lousy way. Also, except from the beginning of Chapter III, I didn't find the references to Spaghetti Western movies that overwhelming.
It could be fun to spend a few moments trying to designate to which movie this specific sequence relates with your friends, but Q. Tarentino is smart enough to avoid the "bad remake" pitfalls by quickly switching to another reference just when you were about to find out a blatant similitude.
Most brilliant scene(s) INMHO ? 3 actually : N°1, the Tavern bloodbath, obviously. The Italian speaking imbroglio just before the movie in the movie begins, where Col. Hans Landa irresistibly confounds Lt. Aldo Raine and his two acolytes. Third, possibly, the discussion between Shosanna D. and Pvt Zoller at the café, where the latter maneuvers to have her admit she should be grateful for the attention he pays to her charms.
The German Officer dialogues are delightful overall (except when Col. Hans Landa is explaining by the ending he's in fact seeking protection from the Allies, I found that a bit antinomic coming from a cruel Jew hunter, wasn't he trying to know who was really at the head of the Basterds commando just before that ? I would like to add I also found this part confusing).
That's where the problem lies. Christoph Watlz shines partly because the other actors are not really convincing, including Brad Pitt. This said, as some critics noted, all those who play the other German officers are quite good, including Sylvester Groth endorsing a self-assured & cynical Goebbels.
Melanie L. gives up trying hard to act naturally during her last scene. When she orders her pretender to go away, she sounds like one of those dumb female bouncers that are to be found in front of discos in Paris, telling people to stand out the line because they are not enlisted.
I don't really get why some people (excluding teens) expected "more action" from the Basterds. To me, seeing them in their unidimensional roles, molesting Germans or obeying to their leader for a few minutes was more than enough (exception made of the preparation of the operation in the hideout).
The good : IB is fun, has witty and overall brilliant dialogues, some good action scenes.
The not so good : Should not be considered by critics as a War or Historical movie at all. Some sub-par acting and gratuitous violence (in the broad sense).
My grade : B, A- if you have especially enjoyed watching Kill Bill.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
A mesmerizing movie from beginning to ...near-end
I am not your strong nationalist type, yet I enjoyed Pearl Harbor tremendously. One of the reasons virtually anyone could endure a watch or two of Pearl Harbor is for its incredible cast. Cuba Gooding Jr., as a patriotic cooker, Jon Voight as the unforgiving President with guts, Dan Aykroyd as the intuitive and barely able to get himself heard of subordinate, the list goes on forever.
Secondly, CGI-based special effects in P. H. were used for the better. That is to say, if you tend to agree with other reviewers about the script sounding dull at times, I could nearly allow myself to suggest renting this movie solely for those amazing scenes bearing special effects. The hovering over the fleet scenes and the subsequent bombing are remarkably rendered, blended with black & white presumably historical footage transitions.
The photography, the nurses and soldiers uniforms, the make-up, the settings and the soundtrack of Pearl Harbor are nothing short of extraordinary to those eyes and ears. Kate Beckinsale looks gorgeous and most of all sincere all throughout the movie, thus one can't help but feel bad for her when she swears she was not intentionally doing harm to Rafe while he was away. Another movie in which one may find echoes of Rafe / Dany somehow confrontational friendship is Gattaca.
Of course, you get your moment or two of bravado, especially when some of the pilots attempt to climb into their planes after the zero's attacks over the bay is acknowledged. Such is the case when Tom Sizemore runs for cover, grabs his gun shouting "I need more ammos, ladies!" but that should not distract viewers excessively.
Concerning the ending of the movie, the predictable nasty counter-attack in the "an eye for an eye" tradition, I feel it could have been cut off or shortened. We know for a fact that Americans would have their revenge on the japs after that massive blow, anyway! **Review hopefully slightly improved over the previous one, or let's say rephrased**
Batman Begins (2005)
Thou Shalt Be more a Bat than a Man, my young Friend !
Katie Holmes was really convincing as a decided and courageous defender of Truth. She seemed almost unstoppable, at times. It left me hoping for more scenes depicting her romance with Bruce. She's a better girlfriend-dating-a-superhero than K. Dunst, mainly because she doesn't fell into Batman's armored arms as fast as Mary Jane does in Spiderman's web. (ok, that was an easy one...)
I should address a special mention to Gary Oldman's acting parts, whose ambiguous smile always have you wondering on which side he stands.
The training sequences of Bruce were dealing mostly with physical abilities. They could have brought more intensity to the film, if they were targeted at more fascinating aspects of Martial Arts like the respect of the opponent, or the use of its strength to defeat him.
Not that there was not a few interesting monologues made by Qi Gong, as he was having Bruce to bite the dust, but the whole thing was too shabby to make it look like an apprenticeship which is supposed to require devotion and patience, even in the most modern sense.
The fact that the Master to whom Bruce saves the life is committed to Gotham annihilation by mass-destruction weakens the plot (but we could guess that this strong character was to be somehow "recycled"). Fortunately, we happen to know about his betrayal near the ending. The vengeance scheme is twisted, admittedly, but not as awkward as giving the mannered, evil-minded attorney the reputation of a super-villain.
What problems is Batman trying to solve exactly, and in what order ? Is the investigation purpose only a matter of knowing who takes the order from whom ? Is it about stopping the mafia drug deals, understanding the creeping menace which would lead to the unfortunate quarantine Gotham ? Is Bruce trying to get revenge via the Batman because he suspects his father's death was more than just the result of a shot from the gun of a demented burglar ?
Or is he simply trying to persuade Gotham authorities that his futuristic black outfit and his bat-shurikens are of some use, and that he shouldn't be fined when exceeding the authorized speed, behind the wheel of the Batmobile ?
The hidden assets of Wayne's corp. scenes (in a James Bond fashion), with M. Freeman didn't really work for me... Nowhere in the beginning of the movie can it be taken for granted that the unlucky father secretly "planted" a seed for his son to become a super-hero.
I could also mention the numerous cutouts that occurred when Bruce was given the chance to address the public (his guests, Wayne's board of directors), but I realized soon enough that the focus was on the flying and hiding capabilities of the Batman. So let's watch the man fly, hide, and hit his opponents behind their back... Bruce Wayne wasn't fully incarnated by Bale imho, despite Alfred's efforts to contradict him, for his own good.
By the way, was the Batmobile really similar to a "tank" as a cop said on the talkie ? It looked like a customized buggy to me. Speaking about bolides, I felt that "Batman Begins" bore more resemblance with Fast and Furious at times, than with Tim Burton's evocative and meticulous Gotham City recreations.
However, for about one action-packed hour (corresponding approximatively to the middle of the movie) , you will hold your breath and get the impression that you are actually watching the "Beginning" you were hoping for. Yes, that's kind of frustrating but no doubt the whole thing could have been worse...
Oh, and for the next episode, don't give us of this "two-faces" villain I read about, please provide us with the deceiving Joker and his schizophrenic rictus, in full !
Watchable but a lack of depth
You enjoyment of "the Phantom Menace" will depend on your state of mind. I better appreciated it by following the plot in a somehow passive manner. Again, it's the loose acting behind the characters that make the story lag behind....
The "pairs" are much too polished and similar in temper to be trusted "Padme and "Any" (sic), Qi-gong and Obi Wan, Darth Sidious and his apprentice... And CGIs everywhere my friend, not only in the air and on the planets, but also under the sea (was this scene a advertising for Marinas ?). One thing I hated was the costumes of the Queen soldiers, and their exaggerated non-violent behaviour.
We feel that Qi Gong is being threatened by an invisible menace by his lack of attention : for example in the presence of Anakin, hence the title, I presume.
I would say that the weakness of the whole Star Wars trilogy is its predictability, and its strengh lies in the philosophical, ecological and mystical implications of the concept of "the Force".
So why such a high grade ? Well, because *something* had to be done for the fans back in 1999, and I am sure G. Lucas prequel needed some more time to reach the heights of IV,V,VI in terms of character development and narrative depth.
A last quibble, if I were a kid, I would only buy the plastic characters, 'cause the flying saucers look too futuristic to me. Hey, give us back x-wings, t-fighters and al, so that people spend time building those things with their own hands ! Oh yes, the lightsaber battle that concluded the movie was breathtaking and moving, I fully agree with that.
Is this Boy our last Hope ?
No, there is another !
Because every Star Wars fan had to have an opinion about I, II & III and because that opinion was biased since we missed so much the atmosphere and the characters of the original trilogy, I will state the good points of "The Return of the Jedi" and a few corresponding bad points of the prequel. Of course, I loved the music, the special effects, the two droids, but this has been overly debated elsewhere.
What we get in the original trilogy and in this particular movie : - A strong ecological concern - Anti-militarist positions - Fascinating insights about the Jedi Order and the Force - Cute creatures - Harrison Ford's smile - A killer scene : Near the ending, when Vader looks alternatively at his son and at the Emperor. The lightning of the lethal bolts reflected on his Black helmet. And when he grabs and betrays his Master to save Luke, thereby risking his own life ! Oh, boy !
What is wrong in the prequel INMHO : - the whole "human factor" element that the original cast was able to push forward is somehow missing - The Force seems to be more about superpowers and somersaults, than about wisdom - Too many Jedis at once and too many Light Sabers on the screen - The lack of experience of a few actors too often threatens the coherence of the plot
By the way, if you enjoy the theory of the Force as explained by Obi Web (Obi Wen, I mean) and Yoda, then you should read a few books about Buddhism and the forms it took in Ancient Japan.
The magic of Star Wars, IMHO lies mainly in the continuing spiritual heritage from a master to his apprentice, from a father to his son, albeit the difficulties. "De mon âme à ton âme", (from my soul to yours), as would write Bejard to the late Zen master T. Deshimaru.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
He wants to blow his head out but he might as well blow yours first !
7 ? well 6.5 actually. An entertaining and funny movie about a blind and retired lieutenant who has a plan, and what a plan ! When a college student comes in to assist him for the week-end, he executes his project by picking up the boy to New York, and there he realises some of his dreams in his company, sleeping in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, driving a Ferrari with his assistance, ... He quickly establishes a close relationship with Charlie Sims, but at the same time he challenges him, because his behaviour contrasts so much with what we expect from a blind man.
On Charlie's side, we learn that he witnessed some stupid joke some that some of his pals made on the Dean and that he hesitates to tell what he saw or to shut his mouth.
First the flaws : First may be Chris O'Donnell is an improbable mate for Al Pacino, he gives on the emotional level what he misses in character.
Then, I don't feel that being such an intransigent and sometimes arrogant person is a real lesson in life and the much debated ending seems to indicate that the Lieutenant has high moral standards. Come on, I know it's only a movie but where have you seen a blind man so interested in women, cigars, and so on... To me it was often like Al Pacino playing his usual nervous and macho male just wearing black glasses, rather than the role of an humble and aging blind man, like the one we imagine living in the backyard of the "Flinstones" house (his niece's).
The good : Al Pacino takes so much pleasure in his role, that we enjoy the improbable situations, and that even makes us understand somehow his nasty playing with Charlie's nerves.
All the fuss about the joke in the College yard may be an excuse for the Lieutenant to get involve in the process and make his radical but brilliant speech in front of the Disciplinary Comitee. Well, that's OK for me, but my advice is to focus on the moving moments of the interplay between him and the student, and of course all the amusing tricks he pulls and the surprises he creates, and yes, he must be a great Tango dancer in real life too.
Zong heng si hai (1991)
Great action film packed with romance
Sorry, guys for the trivial summary ! This is my first review on IMDb, plus I am a Frenchman.
It was only when I understood the purpose of this movie, that I was ready to rate it.
During the movie, I enjoyed the quality of the picture (colors and lights are great, the music is good too)... The gunfights were OK to me (It's not a typical John Woo bullet-filled movie, and that's a plus to me), the accent of the french businessman funny, and the stupid jokes of the 2 thieves were "cool", the way they defeat their enemies surprising...
So I was saying to myself : this was an-above-the-average Kung-Fu and mafia movie when suddenly... I got it ! This movie is full of... love ! John Woo shows his love of Paris, his respect for friendship, the way he would like handicapped people to be treated, and many other things... So, in my opinion, this movie beats every Jackie Chan movie, because it is filled with humanity and humility.
I am glad I watched this gem and I recommend it to you.
My only complaint is that it's a tiny bit too long.