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Batoru rowaiaru (2000)
This movie was cheesy and exploitative, with ridiculous logic and little character development. The laughable subtitled dialogue may have been lost in the translation, so that's excusable. Characters' motivations were paper thin, and there was simply not enough time to lay it out properly, leading to ridiculous interactions between almost everybody.
Okay, now that is out of the way, I have to say I LOVED this film. The premise is courageous and exceedingly captivating. The young actors pull off their roles tremendously well, especially the principle characters.
Highlights for me: The frightened and spastic ways that the children handled the weapons, i.e. missing 'easy' shots that scared kids would probably miss, too.
The lighting/scenery. It set the mood perfectly. I'm no cinematographer, but I love movies like this that look beautiful and don't draw the mind away from the plot. Music was appropriate.
I believed the relationship between the male/female leads. That sounds simple, but is very hard to achieve in this context.
Several moments of subtle black humor that were not 'comic relief' as in most American suspense films.
Did I mention the premise? It took balls to make this movie, period.
As for the issue of a remake. Let Tarantino have a go at this one. But please, God, not Oliver Stone. I think an independently financed, reasonably-budgeted movie could happen. Who has the courage? Yeah, it will probably never happen.
If I ran the circus........
I suggest not doing a strict remake. I would cut down on the number of characters, probably in half, to enhance the characters. I would make it a long film, perhaps 2.5 hours, and do something the Japanese filmmaker didn't: Make it believable. Show these poor children as they descend into madness. Show the inner conflict more. Keep the ages of the kids the same, but find a couple very young-looking adults so that seduction can be used to it's full extent (you know which character I mean). It's an exploitation film, no doubt, so go ahead and show some skin, and throw in lots of stuff to make people cringe. And don't go overboard trying to make a social or political statement. It works just fine as a "what if" experiment.
I don't condone remakes in most cases, but there are filmmakers who could do MUCH better that the awesome original.
The Color of Money (1986)
A Perfect Slow Burning Character Study
I will start by saying I am a long-time avid pool player and gambler, and I hold movies of this genre to extremely high standards. The sole reason I cannot give it 10 stars is due to a huge number of inconsistencies as far as balls on the table changing positions during a scene, and a few examples of positional play that pros would never, ever make. The movie did highly disappoint in this aspect.
Nitpicking aside, this movie is a phenomenal character study, and VERY underrated. It is an absolute masterpiece so full of subtext that it deserves multiple viewings.
The basic plot is already well outlined in the other user comments, so I'll skip that. The performance by Paul Newman is probably his very best. Tom Cruise is perfect, Mastrantonio is perfect, and the supporting cast is perfect.
The atmosphere in all the pool halls is quite authentic- the actors and director certainly did their research. The various gambling scenarios and character reactions are very reasonable representations of what actually might happen.
Newman is controlled, prowling, and genuine- every line he delivers holds just enough back to make you realize there's more to what he's saying than the words. Watch his body language for a real lesson in acting. He keeps all the confidence from his role in The Hustler, tempered with wisdom of age and experience, and he is 100% believable. His transition from burned-out liquor hustler to rediscovering his passion for pool hustling is inevitable, calculated, saddening, and joyful all at once.
There's not much to say about the two lovers- they are perfectly convincing and masterful as well. No complaints. They are always there, always entertaining and filled with tension, but they let Fast Eddie steal the spotlight, because this movie is really about him.
I especially like the lighting and the camera angles. They capture the mood in just the right way without drawing away your attention.
It's hard to compare this with The Hustler, which I would also give 9/10. There are SO many unspoken nods to The Hustler that I was smiling all the time. Pay attention to The Hustler a couple times, and then watch this movie- you'll see what I mean.
Watch it, and don't expect everything to be obvious. You have to engage this movie and listen carefully to really understand the characters. Vincent's character is pretty obvious, cause he's written as a pretty obvious guy, but everyone else is deep and not so easily revealed (unlike almost every other movie ever made).
Great stuff- check it out if you appreciate this type of film- it's the sleeper hit of the decade.
The Eiger Sanction (1975)
I absolutely love this movie. The only reason I cannot give it a 9 or 10 is because the premise is just a bit too unbelievable. Eastwood is a stud for doing his own stunts. The climbing sequences had a few minor errors, but all considered, the most accurate movie adaptation of climbing with the possible exception of "Storm and Sorrow". I felt like I was there with the climbers, cold and scared and forced to continue. The dialogue on the mountain is "rock" solid.
If you're looking for a well-developed action flick with a dash of spy stuff, watch this movie. Eastwood has done so many great movies that it's hard to rank this one- it's not his best, but it is wonderful.
Vertical Limit (2000)
Why do people like this movie?
I bite my tongue when giving this a '3'. The premise is jaw-slackingly stupid. There are 30 technical errors in the opening rock climbing scene alone. K2 does not look like that- not even close. I counted 204 errors. I am a climber, so of course I had to see this film. I just don't understand how a climber or non-climber could get into this plot and believe any of the characters abilities, motivations or actions. The stunts were retarded and so beyond the realm of human possibility I laughed through the entire thing. Comedic value is the only reason I can give this a 3. Nobody acts like these people act in the mountains. Not emotionally or physiologically. Literally every use of climbing/rescue equipment was not only incorrect, but absolutely insulting to the intelligence. At least Cliffhanger was cool in that 'Stallone's a bad ass' way. This movie just stunk. Seeing Ed Viesturs (playing himself) refuse to assist in a high-altitude rescue in near-perfect weather was a slap in the face- the man has always shown bravery and selflessness in real life- they didn't need to portray him that way.
And I own the darn thing- so something must be seriously wrong with me :)
Good and Bad
Every time a movie comes out which features rock climbing and mountain travel/rescue, I cringe with anticipation, notepad in hand, and annoy all my friends with my nitpicking. So, let me get that out of the way first. I counted approximately 100 factual and technical errors related to geography, climbing, mountain travel and rescue. Let's just say it was atrocious, though not as bad as "Vertical Limit".
Viewed purely as a mindless action flick, I must say I was entertained. The film was visually stunning with engaging action sequences. The acting was superb- those poor bastards did all they could with their ridiculous characters and inadequate, clichéd script. Cheers to Lithgow, Stallone, and Rooker in particular.
I could be pretentious and pick the whole damn thing apart, but I think Renny Harlin did exactly what he set out to do- entertain.