Reviews written by registered user
|16 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Very few movies are made about disabled people. It seems to be a taboo
area that few filmmakers are willing to venture into, as they do not
want to make a tearjerker propaganda film that manipulates people's
feelings or appear to be too insensitive about the issue. This film
does neither; instead, through realistic characters, it takes the
honest approach and allows the audiences to examine the characters and
understand how they feel without the filmmakers help. Thus, it makes
the film enticing and provocative.
The film examines the different degrees and dimensions of both physical and emotional disability and how it affects those around them. It shows how some people are down on themselves and refuse to improve or become worst than they are. It shows how those disabled can increase pressure and frustration on those closest to them, and vice-versa, how those closest to them can cause them pain and suffering, even if they had the best of intentions. Finally, it shows that acceptance, both the disabled and those around them, is a process. It takes time and patience; if one does not have the patience, it is better off if that person leaves.
One thing to take away from this film, as it offers a great lesson: there must be a balance between positive and negative thinking. Being too positive and smiling all the time might not be such a good tactic in life. Just look at Marte. She tries to be positive in order to protect her partner's feelings; instead, he feels very guilty and does not appreciate her efforts. However, at the same time, being too negative will only sent one into depression, as Lillemor demonstrates. She is rather healthy, but because she is so down on herself, she thinks she is no better than the disabled people she associates with. Therefore, in the end, one must be both positive and negative. This way, a person would be able to examine the reality of the situation and have the courage to move forward.
If one has seen films made by Tsai Ming-Liang, one would recognize Lee
Kang Sheng, the actor and director of Help Me Eros, as he is the main
character in all his films. Thus, it is no surprise that Help Me Eros
feels like an extension of Tsai's films, as it mimics his style and
atmosphere. Sadly, Lee Kang Sheng has not learned his mentor's
directing touch. As a result, his work becomes a muddling piece of junk
and I consider it a complete failure.
In Help Me Eros, the film opens with a memorable opening scene, similar to Tsai's films, and appears to head in a promising direction. However, by the end of the film, the film bored me to death, as I struggle to finish the film, and I ask the question: Is this an art film, or a soft-core porn film? Even though its style is reminiscent of an art film, the director is unable to convey a message to the audience. At the same time, although the explicit sex scenes definitely belongs to the porn film category, they do not go far enough. Instead, they become out-of-place and unnecessary. Help Me Eros, in the end, is a hybrid soft-core porn and art film. Sadly, the result fails to deliver the mystique of either an art film or the "satisfaction" and "fulfillment" one get from a porn film. It is just a messy piece of work.
There is absolutely no point to this film. Don't bother with this film. Check out Tsai Ming-Liang's films instead.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was not expecting much from the film when I first rented it; I
thought it was just something to past my time with. After seeing it, I
am very pleasantly surprised by how smart it is. To a certain extent,
it is a "min-masterpiece".
Of course, this film will not make anyone's "Best Films of the Century" list. Yet, when you watch the film, it demonstrated the basic element of all the best films: "Show, not tell". It is apparent from the very first scene, as we see Dan, played by Steve Carell, pet the empty side of the bed and look longingly at it. Then he turns around, sighs, and goes to the home office to read letters asking for help. The camera then shows his column in a newspaper. Without a single explanation by anybody, one knows everything about Dan: he lost his wife, he misses his wife, and he is a self-help columnist for a local newspaper. So much information is shown in less than a minute. That, my friends, is film-making at its finest. Watch out for the director. He will be a good one.
Carell and Binoche is one of the smartest pairing in recent memories. Who would have thought this unlikely pairing (a funnyman and one of the most elegant leading ladies) would have such perfect and believable chemistry? I never liked Carell before, but this film shows he is quite a capable actor.
Of course, the thing that keeps it from being a "masterpiece" is that there is nothing that can be remembered about this film. It is part of pop-culture, a fad. There is no iconic scene or a life-altering message within the film. Although it touches on subjects such as love and parenting, there are no new revelations on these subjects and there are no new lessons to be learned. Instead, this is just a lighthearted fun film, as it pokes fun of the notion that newspaper self-help columnist might not be able to solve his own problems.
Thus, even if this film is very smart, from the casting to the directing, and it displays very good film-making skills, it is not a "masterpiece" because it lacks something that people will remember this film for.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Time Travel is always an interesting subject, as people are always
fascinated by it, and the possibilities are endless. However, at the
same time, the concept had been explored many, many times and a lot of
films are made based on this concept, such as 12 Monkeys, The Butterfly
Effect, The Jacket, 13 Going on 30, Big, the Time Machine, Back to the
Future Trilogy, etc. Thus, one has to be careful when one decides to
explore Time Travel. If executed incorrectly by either the director or
the screenwriter or both, it can feel tiring, unoriginal and trivial,
and the audience would not accept such a impossible idea. This film,
sadly, falls into the latter category, where both the screenwriter and
the director misused the idea, and as a result, it became a messy piece
The basic format is good, as a son estranged from his father, through some strange miracle, was able to travel back in time via the metro system, learn more about himself, his father and his family, become able to forgive his father, and in turn, become a better man. There is potential for it to be a heartwarming story that the audience will love and take something away from it. However, because of its execution and a couple of glaring mistakes, it became messy and the film jumped all over the place.
First of all, it was never explained why the main character was able to time travel. It seemed all of a sudden, he traveled back in time. He did not have a goal, and because of that, the film did not have a goal and became very unorganized.
Secondly, the time travel was very inconsistent. Sometimes it felt as the world he entered into knew of his existence, while other times the world did not see or even remember him. Thus, this inconsistency contributed to the messiness of the film.
The third and final problem happens in the subplot, as the woman the main character is having an affair with turns out to be his half-sister, and she kills herself when she grabs her pregnant mom, in a time travel experience, and plunges down a flight of stairs. Although an interesting concept, the revelation came a little too late for the audience to become relevant. Instead, it is seen to be a ruse to get the audience interested by the use of a taboo subject.
Furthermore, it is not clearly shown if she knew the truth or not. If it becomes clear that she knew, then it is understandable why she decides to kill herself. However, because of the ambiguity, the subplot seems irrelevant.
In the end, due to the poor script and even worst directing, a once promising film becomes a junk piece of work. It is not worth the time.
It was different and refreshing when I first watched it. If I wrote a
review the very moment I saw the film, I would have given it a 9 out of
10. Now, after almost half a year, the feeling has passed and I feel
the film is very overrated.
Ellen Page does give a very good performance. It can be seen she cares about the role and she gives the role all her energy and devotion. Yet...is her performance Oscar worthy? That is up for debate. Like the film, her performance is good but forgettable.
The rest of the cast is solid. Jennifer Garner does her job rather well, and is there a more awkward kid than Michael Cera? He is born to play Bleeker. Nevertheless, Diablo Cody does not deserve her Oscar. Truthfully, her writing is shallow and empty. There are more deserving candidates.
"Juno" is good, but empty. There is no deep or life-changing message within the film, and this film is just like the language within the film and the western culture: a fad. After the initial awe and surprise pass, it will not stand the test of time and will not be remembered.
I would recommend Waitress, because it has more "heart", or Knocked Up, because it is more funny. Juno is somewhere in between, and quite frankly, it remains there. It takes the quality of both films, but it does not exceed or stand out from either films.
I always liked Crowe and his films. Say Anything has the most copied
gimmick, Jerry MacGuire has witty dialogue and a pop culture line and
Almost Famous is a great and different coming of age film. Then he hit
Vanilla Sky...and let's say things went downhill from there.
Elizabethtown is a very disappointing film. It has all the Crowe elements that people enjoy in it: witty dialogue, cute characters that one cares for, a romance and a path of self-discovery and change for the main character. However, the film does not have a direction, as it starts out as a romantic film, and then in the last 10 to 15 minutes turn into a road trip film. The change causes the viewers, all of a sudden, to feel like they are watching another film, and it leaves them, quite frankly, confused and frustrated.
Another downfall of the film is romance, which is the essential to the film. First of all, a character such as Claire, play by Dunst, who is so cheerful and willingly engage in a conversation and subsequent romance with the main character, Drew, play by Bloom, simply does not exist. No person in the world is that friendly and that optimistic. Secondly, more explanation is needed for the romance, which is out of the blue. One second before the main characters are just friends, and a second later, they are attracted to each other. The whole attraction process needs to be there. Finally, the ending, where the two reconciled, does not make sense. Why would Claire wait for Drew at the end of the road trip? What did Drew learn about the romance during the road trip that will improve their relationship? Does Drew truly love Claire, or is he just grateful? These questions needs to be addressed, and sadly, they are not.
The acting is nothing spectacular. Orlando Bloom is passable as a leading man. He plays the part as it is written, which is okay, but he will never be an Oscar nominee or a winner. Susan Sarandon is good, because she is funny and has great timing for her role as a comic relief. But the last spot goes to Kristen Dunst, who is absolutely annoying. She loses her accent here and there, and her acting is over exaggerated and unnecessary. She may be the worst leading lady right now. Where is the talent she shown in Interview with a Vampire?
In Elizabethtown, it seems like Crowe is trying to duplicate and recapture his success by mixing Jerry MacGuire and Almost Famous, and the result is a film that is both confusing and frustrating. He could have done better, and hopefully, next time, he will just stick to one genre.
Guns, bigger guns, good gun fight sequences, sex and even more guns...
That basically sums up Shoot 'Em Up. The movie takes away most plot, most dialogue and most character developments (the key ingredients for a good movie, as some "experts" say) and all is left is an gun action movie in its purest form: a lot of shooting and even more shooting, plus a little bit of sex and a lot of one liners to save screen time for more shooting. For most guys and action movie fans, this is what they have been praying for. Indeed, even without most the key ingredients (plot, dialogue and character development), this is a very entertaining movie. It is fast pace and the gun sequences are amazing done. To top it all off, it has one of the most memorable sex scene (every guys' dream!) It will keep the audience at the edge of their seat, and they would want want.
Kudos to Paul Giamatti. He has done it again and prove once again he is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. He has manage to be both the menacing villain and the comic relieve at the same time, which is very difficult. Well done.
Clive Owens is good in his role, but it feels like he is just an extension of his character from Sin City. He is somewhere around a B to a C. Good, but not great.
Monica Bellucci. Beautiful. Just beautiful. She takes kinky roles. Pretty sure no one would complain.
If I have to pick a flaw, I will start with a question, and this goes for all action films. Why does the main character, like all action heroes, never gets hit but all his shots hit the mark? Mr. Smith gets shot millions of times and he is hit maybe just twice in the whole film. That is illogical.
Still, who cares? Good guy win, bad guys die. It is the Hollywood winning formula most viewers enjoy.
For guys (probably most of them are action film fans), it is a ten and maybe more. It is an action film in its purest form. What more can you ask for? So, it will be a 12 out of 10.
For gals, the violence might be too much. It is raw macho energy and thus, it might be a 4 out of 10 to them.
In the end, to balance both sides, I give an 8 out of 10. Now you can't call me a sexist.
I really believe this is the worst film in the series. The series
should get another producer/director and go another direction. The
film, simply, is trying to do too much. The director should have just
stuck with one major villain, like the previous two films, instead of
three. That way, the movie would feel less rushed and better developed.
Right now, the film has too many angles, themes and story lines to be
one coherent story. It is actually frustrating to watch.
The most disappointing part of the movie is how under utilized Venom is. For such a major character in the original comic book series and a character with so much potential, his screen time is laughable. I want to see more of him than the last 30 minutes of the film. It is understandable that the director is using the alien symbiote (since it brings out the bad side in people) to create an internal conflict in Peter Parker; however, having Sandman as Uncle Ben's original killer is enough (not so in the comic books). Venom would be better served if he is in Spiderman 4, and be the only villain in the story.
The only redeeming quality of the film is the impressive CG (computer graphics) and the last battle scene. That is money well-spent. Everything is smooth and realistic; it feels like a steal to pay only ten to fifteen dollars to witness such marvels in technology. Still, the battle feel a little bit too short. I wish it could have been longer.
The plot is only worth a 3 out of 10; however, with the technology, I would bring it up to 5 out of 10. It is an entertaining movie, but not an award winning movie.
This movie contained the best twist I have ever seen. It is the best
ending, one that was unexpected and came out of the left field. Even
with all the subtle clues throughout the movie, the ending was
unexpected. It is possibly the best twist ever created.
The problem with the film, however, was also with the great twist and ending. The ending would probably leave everyone dumbfounded and shocked. After the initial shock, however, came the resentment for the movie. The twist made the film, albeit the ending, useless. One would feel they had wasted 2 hours watching the film. The film was entertaining and gritty throughout; nevertheless, one would tend to question the film after it.
For those who have not seen the movie, I recommend it because it is indeed a great movie and a great script. Personally, however, I felt the movie was a complete waste of time and left me empty. The movie was for pure entertainment value and nothing else.
8/10, all because of the great twist.
My feelings towards this film was mixed. In a way it seems to be
overrated, just because it was Wong Kai Wei's first film and it was
probably his only commercial and gangster film. It was very typical of
Hong Kong gangster film in the 80s, with the same overplayed message of
loyalty and the main characters trying to prove their value being the
central theme. The story was plain and dull, and truthfully, it was
another one of the gangster films made in the 80s that is influence by
John Woo. Still, I feel this movie deserved some credit for being raved
about in certain circles. First of all, this was one of the better
gangster films out there, and even though the subject of loyalty seemed
overplayed, it was still touching to see the friendship of a boss and
his follower. Secondly, and very interestingly, the movie was filmed
with an artistic touch. I have rarely seen a gangster film
incorporating artistic techniques, such as the distortion of time or
using shots of nature, signatures of Wong Kai Wei's latter films, but
these artistic scenes became memorable. How could I ever forget the
scene where Maggie was walking gingerly through the door, stopped,
hesitated for a moment, but continued and slowly, but with class of a
true lady, make her way up the stairs? That scene was unforgettable.
Although the viewer could only see her back, but from her back, she was
still able to project the feeling of uncertainty, but in the end,
bravery for going after her love. Usually a scene like this would only
be seen in art films, and rarely in a gangster film. In this film,
however, the artistic touch only added to the movie's special appeal. A
lot of Wong's artistic shots were unforgettable.
The performances by the two lead actors, Andy Lau and Jackie Cheung, were solid and touching, but far from spectacular. A lot of times I feel their expressions, especially Lau, were forced. Jackie Cheung seemed more natural in his acting, but his expressions were exaggerated, probably exaggerated to enforce his aura of cockiness, an aura that was not believable. Future films of the two stars, especially the recent ones, had better performances, and the viewer could see their vast improvements. The performance of Maggie Cheung must be complimented. Her sweet naiveness was so convincing that I had a hard time linking her with the ditsy roles she took before, such as in the Police Story. One could tell big things were ahead for her, and her future success proved it.
Overall, very interesting film, but just another one of the 80s gangster film.
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