Reviews written by registered user
|9 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It doesn't deserve any special attention, obviously not for any redeeming qualities but nor is it particularly bad either. Don't take me wrong, it does miss the mark almost entirely, although the budget can be clearly seen throughout from the star-studded cast to the various and elaborate set designs. The special effects are OK too; what this movie lacks is any kind of imagination or shred of originality to lift it up from it's generic trappings that most mediocre movies fall victim to. A movie about killer apes, it's gotta be at least kind of cool, right? There is maybe about fifteen minutes of screen time that even involves said killer apes, let alone shows them, and it is (of course) wedged somewhere in to the latter portion of the third act. There is a friendly gorilla who is a consistent character throughout the movie. Amy, the "talking gorilla", is about the only thing (besides Tim Curry) that won me over, but after about the first hour, it actually begins to feel like a movie about people with a gorilla character, not a movie about gorillas. You know the kind of bad movie in which after a long while, you notice it's just been different scenes of the characters talking to each other the whole time, well after it should have started to deliver? Yeah, if you've seen a lot of movies, you know what I mean. Congo could have easily had about twenty minutes shaved off, being stuffed full of useless and distracting development. My review (if accepted, after I write this) will likely be wedged somewhere in the back, never to be read by anyone else who grew up with the name Congo in the back of their mind and are curious about that 90s blockbuster about killer apes, and will be put behind the apparently favored "it's fun to watch" reviews, but let at least one person tell you; it's silly, it's convoluted and pointless, it's disappointing. It just kind of insults your intelligence and for the time period that it came out, it could have been at least a little better.
In sharp contrast to the majority of advocates for this movie, I can provide refutation to the idea of its esoteric appeal because I also have worked in my share of restaurants and found no pleasure in watching this sleaze. You don't have to have such experience to become easily nauseated by the superficial atmosphere of community and collectivism that is about as force-fed in this flick as a real dead end job. I will not bother to write much about this one because it simply doesn't deserve the attention, and aspire only to warn others to avoid it unless they happen to be a preteen or otherwise entirely devoid of taste. If it weren't for the competent editing and cinematography this movie would have scored absolutely no stars from me, but instead I give it two for the effort. In a nutshell, the funniest actors in this movie (Long, Faris) play straight roles that brink pretentious, and the wild card in Ryan Reynolds is under utilized by a typical typecast of being "the dick". And WHAT a dick he is. His character would be the sole source of WAITING's sexist undertones if the women characters weren't so poorly written. The plot is shallow, as expected, but is made worse by the futile effort to portray a seriously conflicted protagonist who juggles a mirage of "important" choices. The intended setpiece is a scene consisting of the restaurant staff collaborating to botch the dinner of some unruly customer in the least imaginative, yet most disgusting way possible. Yes, the sole source of amusement in this movie is gross-out humor, placing it in the category of the lowest form of entertainment there is besides pornography.
The damning evidence, pointed one way or the other, is not to be found in Bloomfields' "Kurt & Courtney". There is no smoking gun contained in the last few frames or words. I believe this film maker had honestly set out to dig to the bottom of the supposed scandal, perhaps even moreso excited about the prospect of finding this intangible truth when many attempts fell through in the past. At this, he does appear biased at first; his initial questions have a tendency to steer his interviewee toward some desirable response, but as the film progresses and his attitude and convictions sway, you find that he wasn't trying to force an answer but rather he is quite graceless at interviewing. Half of the time I wanted to yell at him to stop interrupting. The backdrop of the film is Courtney, not just in her important link to the story but in the climate she distantly molded before the filming even began. In some obscure legal context, she tightens the screws from an affiliated production co. on Bloomfields project and ultimately has them cut off. Needless to say, she has a tendency to pick on little guys (shown in the film) and intimidate/threaten similar journalists who show interest in getting near the same subject at hand. The film, and all of the "evidence" within, becomes about Courtney. Insinuations about her past in relation to how she handled Kurt poses some interesting perspectives on a possible agenda she had been harboring. Not to mention her violent disposition (rolled in to her constant death threats to various journalists and people they reached), and the near-smoking gun of a half-assed confession from El Duce on the subject of being approached with the kill contract. A lot of it is incriminating, none of it evidence. But Bloomfields project, truncated as it feels, was not at a loss for purpose. Despite a lack of forensic proof, and the shaky testimony of peoples involved, Bloomfield carves out a clear and infallible MOTIVE for the murder of Kurt Cobain, and that is perhaps this movies achievement. It is worth it to watch and judge for yourself.
I hope my girlfriend isn't reading this.
She was so taken by this movie that she spread her influence over me and now I have seen it as well. I have to admit I was pretty disappointed. This story of the life of an Iranian girl growing up into the oppression of her home country seems like it would be about that, but somehow this film manages to be about nothing despite so much going on. What it does succeed at is merging the story of a nations inner-struggle with a tender coming-of-age tale. You will find the beginning is full of stories of danger, heroism, and romantic notions of heroes and evil within the oppressive state. These elements should have retained the spotlight. Because the more the movie progresses, the more Marjane soaks up the narrative herself as we follow her on her aimless path. You will continue to follow her as she grows up and experiences all of the perfunctory nonsense that goes with it, and just as you start to wonder what's the point, you'll realize it's too late and that even if there is a point to be found, you've already lost over an hour to this shortsighted narrative.
Although the political element is truly engaging, instead the majority of the focus is directed towards Marjane and how she feels about herself for most of the film. What results is a shamefully self-indulgent narrative, resonating the facade of genuine anguish and concern, which is only sympathetic posturing. Coupled with the touch of the pretentious attitude of a bleeding heart, it can be nauseating (this shows most when Marjane blows up at her new foreign friends). Indeed, the sheet of illusion is as thin as ice, and just as transparent.
While I am actually reluctant to condemn this movie, I just find it hard to say good things about it. I would certainly be singing a different tune if I was a female viewer, because the film quite blatantly appeals towards women. The majority of the personal side of the film relates to womanhood, like puberty, maternity, love from a womans perspective, and a small deal of girl talk. As a man I wasn't that taken aback, even when men were slandered by the characters. It's only that when nothing else in terms of a structured plot is going on elsewhere, I have to ask, "what's the POINT"? Of course the audience should be put on a personal level with the characters. But balance is important. Was Marjane as much or more important than the turmoil in her country, the central backdrop of the story? I don't think so, personally, and I think it's a shame she had to hog the spotlight. What's left of what could've been a much more important movie is a better-than-average chick flick, something like the Ya-Ya Sisterhood of the traveling war refuge.
In all, the major flaw was a lack of plot. There is no discernible arc to follow, no direction, no point. And all the time throughout, Marjanes' insignificant self-distractions force our attention away as well and overshadow a far more interesting story.
I used to watch this film as a kid almost regularly. Undoubtedly I was
unconsciously infatuated with the vibrant colors, playing against the
cold and grainy 'black and white' backdrop. I watched it again
recently, however, and it seems apparent to me that this movie has much
more to offer me as an adult than the special-effects gimmick.
The story is strange but somehow not all too original. A brother and sister who are polar opposites get sucked into their television set one evening just as a "Pleasantville" marathon is set to start. The show, per its' name, is a mega-sappy boomer-era sitcom comparable to the likes of 'Leave it to Beaver', and this is the world they find themselves stuck in. It soon becomes evident that if the pair neglect to play along with every little nuance of the "Pleasantville" episodes, it's entire universe would cease making sense. Desperate to keep the innocent folks of Pleasantville intact, David struggles to keep everything routine and orderly like the episodes he's memorized, but Jennifer, known as the school slut back in reality, has other plans.
The running time for Pleasantville stretches just over 120 minutes, and while it feels about as long as it is, it is time well spent. The characters are written with remarkable emotional maturity, even for the surreal P-ville residents, some of which are borderline childish in their ignorance ("WHERE'S MY DINNER?!"), but even such a disposition is portrayed with honest human emotion and a belief in goodness underneath it all. The director commands a subtlety from his actors, and manages to succeed in having them play their sappy archetypes and be themselves at the same time, coming across with a humble ignorance that offers a rich duality. For while they are merely people trying to be people on the inside, the impostors amongst them are people trying to be Pleasants.
The colors. Oh, the colors! The use of color is definitely worth mentioning, not just because the film revolves around it. The director knew that if he were to perform a visual effect like this, it would have to be spectacular, quite literally. A burning tree glowing against a pale picket fence, pink cherry blossoms in a gray lovers lane, and (to me) most memorably a black and white greaser runs a vibrant-colored comb through his black and white hair. The effects are done with technical proficiency to the effect of beauty. But the colors are loud in multiple ways because they say so much. They spring up in any of the town residents when something happens, and just what that is could be discussed amongst the audience. On the surface, the colors change when a person changes; a routine, a feeling, a way of thinking. Underneath, a passionate moviegoer can look inside these characters, find the humanity, and pick out how they feel like a familiar outfit. It is in these moments of relation that we connect most with the Pleasants, and it is also when they receive their new colors. I think it was these kinds of moments that inspired the color in Pleasantville, the moments of purity. Another interesting perspective I had of the concept was as a kind of reflection of American culture, ranging from the 1950s generation gap to the later civil-rights movement (check out the "No Coloreds" sign in a store window).
I won't try to nutshell the movie, since the characters endure a whirlwind of change and turmoil. Suffice it to say that it's full, rich, sensitive, and funny. It manages to say a lot and it looks damn good doing it. This one stood out on its' own, even within a period of cinematic revival and new ideas spawned by special effects (but not TOO MUCH fx). Yet one more reason why I miss the 90s'.
Black Death is a hidden gem, as others have put it, and far from the
Hollywood slop it so sharply contrasts. It could not be much more true
to its' name, which is quite possibly the bleakest title a film can be
given, while it feels genuine to its period backdrop. Everything here
feels true to its' nature. And there is no excess of special effects or
melodrama, or anything watered down, and instead the story is full of
In 1348, the young monk Osmund finds himself conflicted at the films start, as his secret love Avrill is fleeing their plague-ridden city and provides him the choice to meet her in the marshland. Upon asking for a sign for guidance, his monastery is visited by Ulrich and his party of Christian fundamentalists. On a mission to a village beyond the marsh in search of a necromancer and any other witches to stamp out, he asks for a guide and young Osmund obliges. Thus begins an ugly and gritty crusade across an English countryside that is riddled with fear, intolerance, and the Black Death.
The struggle is personal as well as conceptual. For Osmund it is personal, as his love for Avrill causes him to question his own faith due to the charms and tricks of the pagans (huge plot twists underly this theme)and the brutality of the band he guides. And then the bigger picture, the struggle between the Christians and the pagans, is tastefully portrayed with an objective narrative. In the film, there are cruelties and acts of brutality inflicted from both belief systems. This was perhaps my favorite element to the movie. While personally I rooted for the pagans against the tyranny of the church, I found that my brother and I could argue over who was the demonized side, and the writing offered no kind of resolution. That the oppression of the church and the clandestine nature of the pagans only fueled one another is probably truer to history than textbooks will ever show, this movie portrays the idea brilliantly (despite the dark feel).
If you think the movie sounds interesting, and are interested in it for plot, substance,and a gratifying experience, check this one out.
'Just Friends' surprised me off the bat with its' great cast, off-the-wall antics and comic proficiency. Personally, I am somewhat of a purist when it comes to humor; I watch comedies to laugh, nothing more. 'Just Friends' serves that purpose with utmost effectiveness. The quality of the humor is almost spoof-like. The jokes are loud, colorful, and zany, with the comic timing to match. Fans of David Zucker and similar film-makers will be pleased. Of course, to make a movie so effectively funny, something else must suffer; the plot and the progression of the movie is arguably weak. However it leaves nothing to be desired. Like I said, I watch a comedy to laugh, and in that regard plot is not important. It is almost heartwarming sometimes to watch this film and be entertained on such a pure and uninhibited level. The creators of this movie really want to make you laugh and feel good, and that's what a good comedy oughta be about. If you are like me and just want to laugh, put 'Just Friends' on the top of your "To-See" list.
The Rocky saga is undoubtedly my favorite movie franchise. Having
watched the complete saga maybe four times now, I certainly know the
appeal of each movie individually and their strong points. Now in a
series of (mostly) great cinema, it's hard to play favorites. But it is
my honest opinion that ROCKY III is the best of the Rocky saga.
Compared to the first two films, our favorite southpaw emerges in this movie a new man. In fact, almost everything about this movie seems matured compared to the previous ones. Rocky himself is famous and successful, his features have hardened, and he looks more like a grown man. He and Adrian now reside comfortably in their opulent mansion with their son, and we see that Rocky has really made it this time. It seems no one can take the belt from him. Even the picture and soundtrack has become more fine-tuned than in the previous ones.
The most striking of these changes is the underlying depth to ROCKY III. To be vague, a black force cuts into the happiness Rocky obtained and a heavy turn of events turns his world upside down. It is in this installment that we see Rockys inner demons full force as he confronts his feelings of fear and inadequacy, making this the darkest Rocky flick by far. Some characters never change (good ol' Paulie...) but others develop into stronger and more stimulating characters. Adrian, no longer a bystander, is the only one who can understand Rockys' strife and in helping him analyze his feelings, she becomes his partner instead of his sidekick during a very well-written scene that I feel is Adrians best moment (and a great scene altogether). Apollo is back this time as well, but not to antagonize Rock but rather to help him train; a complete 360 for Carl Weathers' part. He's apparently come to peace with some things and isn't the same egocentric prima donna he was before.
Like in the first one, Rocky has to prove it to himself again. Only this time, the stakes are much higher; not only is his success or self-worth on the line, but the very composure of our most lovable character is worn down as he tumbles into the abyss of his own mental inhibitions. This time ROCKY encourages us to peer into our heads as well as our hearts. Just as we experience self doubt as we get older, Rocky does himself; WHY am I happy? What do I have that's actually MINE? Am I competent? Am I man enough?
Undoubtedly the deepest of the series, ROCKY III exploits all of the strongest traits of the saga and uses them to coin interesting changes. The acting, screenplay, and direction are all top-notch, and besides seeing man-thighs flopping around a couple times I have not one complaint about this movie. Guaranteed the only Rocky movie to make your hair stand on edge, this is the quintessential installment if you ask me.
Bill Zebubs' "Metalheads" is a comedy about a trio of shmucks, with
what many refer to as a Greek tragedy undertone. But don't let that
fool you; to many this film should be straight-up funny.
Protagonist Bill, played by director/producerwritereditor Zebub, is a grungy jobless dirthead with an obnoxiously needy girlfriend Elaine, who is the second member to the trio. The third member is Rich, a (literal) jerkoff doper who only mixes things up between the group. Elaines' main concern seems to be her underachieving boyfriend and the fact that he doesn't have a car. She harasses him about this many times, epitomizing her desire to be treated with some glamor. Rich plays the simple "best friend" role, but he becomes a kind of catalyst after a day of psychedelic-induced mania between the three. After this shakes things up, Bill goes "rampaging" with a local tough guy (credited as "Evil Metalhead") who leads him on a warpath of debauchery. We see Bills' true colors as he confronts the things Evil Metalhead makes him do.
There are so many novelty laughs in this flick that I wouldn't be surprised if it became a cult sensation and was quoted a lot. The stealer of the show is Zebub himself, whose poignant mannerisms make you wanna laugh and even throw back a beer with him. Most the rest of the cast weakly carry their roles; Elaine sounds and acts like a hack actor, but she holds her own. Rich was not portrayed so much better, but there is that perfect blend of character and blandness to him that is just right for the doper friend shtick. Then there is Evil Metalhead, who does a perfect job of being a badass.
As for content, the scenes run together seamlessly, often with brutal metal music in the background or just in plain noticeable volume. There is the occasional sex appeal gimmick, with naked women dancing to doomy music often. It has its' place in the movie but is arguably over-exploited. What's very strong are the thematic elements to the story, and it is peppered with foreshadowings of mystic happenings, giving the film a deeper layer (go figure!). Other strong points are Zebubs strong visual transitions and settings, and the many laughs to be had throughout. Things that could have been improved include editing; there were pieces of dialogue that would have been funnier if edited around differently. Also I suppose the casting could have been better but it's up to you to determine if that really matters in a low-budget flick like this. There is an ending about as "Greek" as it gets, and many will find one aspect to it rather satisfying (I know I did) yet cruel while the very last moment of the film will have you slap your knee laughing.
All in all, I'd have to say this movie was a VERY pleasant surprise, and I was thoroughly entertained throughout. If you like "Clerks", or Bam Margeras' "Haggard", then this film is right up your alley; depraved character-based humor with a metal edge, and a whole lot of "wrong-ness". You don't have to be a metalhead to get a kick out of this fun and original comedy.