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Whiteboyz (1999)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Haha, take that white aspiring rappers!, 31 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Whiteboyz is a film that was long overdue, even in '99, and informs the audience of the important lesson that white kids should stop emulating black pop culture. Unfortunately, Whiteboyz is less of a scathing social commentary and more of a lame comedy. The story revolves around "Flip", a white gangster-rapper wannabe that lives in rural America. Flip looks like Gomer Pyle except he wears baggy clothes, talks like an idiot, and is much less likable.

Flip is somewhere in his mid to late 20s and still lives with his parents, and as to how he wasn't thrown out by now is a mystery to me. Flip has a lot going on in his life right. He just recently got his girlfriend pregnant and she wants an abortion while Flip sees things differently. After all--why wouldn't a jobless, aspiring-rapper with zero talent make a good father? We can hardly blame her, after all no woman should have to carry Flip's child. It's too cruel of a punishment. Flip is also surrounded by his equally white wannabes who constantly refer to each other as 'dogg' spelled with two Gs because it is so very gangster (I'm sorry, I meant gangsta) to misspell things.

Flip and his posse of losers enjoy talking like idiots, getting drunk and possibly high at parties, and shooting at cornfields. They then get it into their skulls that they should take a road trip and invite the only person of African-American descent in Iowa along with them. But where should one go? California? Florida? No, Flip and his crew want to go to a harsh, poverty-stricken ghetto in Chicago to get a taste of the wonderful 'gangsta life'.

After all, who doesn't dream of living in one of the worst neighborhoods in America? A place riddled with drug dealing, violence, and economic hopelessness...where can I sign up! Now the humor of the film obviously stems from the portrayal of the white wannabe rappers and I don't know what's sadder about the whole thing--that I actually sat through and listened to all of their dialogue, or that there probably really are people out there as annoying as Flip and his friends.

It's at this point Flip and company leave cozy Iowa for the 'real deal' streets of Chicago. They arrive, giddy at their gloomy surroundings. Flip enlists the company of some guy to track down drug dealers, since dealing drugs is the first step on the "how to become a gangster-rapper" handbook. The man Flip enlists is quite disgruntled, who wouldn't be if these guys showed up on your doorsteps, and demands a twenty. Eventually Flip is brought to room where three angry-looking drug dealers/gangsters/loan sharks size up Flip and are irritated by his drug dealing diplomacy skills.

So the three of them beat up on Flip and it is truly a sweet, sweet moment if it is only so brief. We finally get to see what Flip deserves for trying to be the next Eminem. But it's three buff guys against one Flip, as if they needed anything more than a 13-year-old kid to put Flip in traction. It is in this moment that Flip realizes that men that deal drugs and carry guns aren't the nicest of fellows and manages to get away until the police show up and start firing wildly into the air.

This is ultimately the moral of the story, but it still comes off as incredibly trite and has a "TV movie of the week" feel to it. The man who helped Flip gets shot by a cop and soon dies while Flip weeps for his fallen comrade who he's known for all of ten minutes. Should've asked for overtime pay. Thus Flip and his buds flee all the way back to Iowa, where they stop the car in front of a bridge and Flip throws his gun over the side, symbolizing his giving up of his rapper dreams.

Except he still dresses the same and talks in a stupid accent. A man died and he was nearly beaten to death and he still hasn't learned his lesson, and to top it all off he now has a hallucination sequence in a cornfield when he returns home. The ending of the film is left open for interpretation, with Flip doing a rap which thankfully I do not remember the lyrics. Is he the next rap super star? Or is he still jobless in Iowa? I hope it's the latter.

In the end if you were expecting Whiteboyz to be the wakeup call for wannabe rappers in white neighborhoods it'll have to wait. Still, this film is worth catching on cable just to see Flip get a proper beatdown.

228 out of 392 people found the following review useful:
When Art Attacks, 16 March 2006

2001 is the perfect movie for a certain group of people. You know who they are. Over the internet, in your college maybe--a student or possibly a philosophy/art/film professor. A person with a passion for avante-garde films with wacky imagery and little else. They're the type of people who find a college thesis' worth of material from the dialogue in the Matrix sequels, they're the ones that boldly declare a film 'art' and anybody else who disagrees with them 'just didn't get it.' 2001 is art alright. The kind of art that I can only liken as being assaulted and nearly beaten to death by an Andy Warhol painting. Yes this movie is art, and you will hate it for that.

This is a shame since normally I like Stanley Kubrick movies, but 2001 is an experiment in film-making and nothing more. The plot is incredibly vague, revolving around monkeys battling a black monolith, a mission to space, and a computer program called Hal going insane since that's what most self-conscious computer programs do. The film is then peppered with other psychedelic imagery that are supposed to convey grand ideas. They'll only convey those types of things if you're pretentious and into that kind of thing, otherwise you'll view it as utterly pointless.

2001 revolves around these whacked-out, LSD-induced images to string together some kind of story that interests you. It does not. A parade of shots that have little to do with one another and randomly show things happen does not a movie make.

There are no doubt going to be people out there who will try to explain 2001's plot and why you should accept it as being a wonderful film. The thing is this: much like if you have to explain a joke then it isn't funny, it's the same thing with movies. If you have to explain to someone the plot and its various interpretations, then it isn't a good movie.

Ultimately I can't change the opinion of the viewers and critics that loved 2001, but if 2001 proves anything it's this: keep your art to yourself.

47 out of 89 people found the following review useful:
"And The Batman? He's sitting at home, washing his tights!", 16 March 2006

Ever since the 1992 animated series of Batman, I've watched every single appearance he's made on the TV since then. From the Animated Series to The Adventures of Batman & Robin, to The New Batman Adventures, and yes even Batman Beyond and the two incarnations of Justice League. I can safely say that The Batman is nowhere near the level any of those shows.

The problem is, even judged on its own merits, The Batman falls incredibly short. But I tried to put all that aside and remain objective about the show. I mean, it's Batman right? Nope, it's not Batman. Rather than follow in the footsteps of its predecessors, The Batman ignores all the Batman cartoons that came before it, which is well over a decade's worth of animation.

The series starts off with the third anniversary of Batman's birth and we are introduced to a much younger Bruce Wayne, this also marks the first confrontation between the Joker and Batman. Unfortunately, everything that should've made this a memorable first encounter is lost in favor of silly action sequences, lame dialogue, and one of the worst artistic revisions of a villain I have ever seen.

Another problem is that's pretty much the summary for most of the episodes, even though the series is around its third season. While the episodes have improved slightly, it's a very small evolution and a good 90% of the episodes boil down to Batman versus the villain of the day.

The sad part is the show actually has a bit of promise, such as a decent revisioning of the Clayface character. But otherwise, every other part of the show is weak. I'll start with the character designs. Now we can all say we'd like some new and improved designs for the characters, something we haven't seen before...but there are some things that are just sacred, for instance, the Joker.

There are so many ways I can describe how awful the design is, but I think I'll go with this: he looks like a rejected Street Fighter 2 design for Blanka. The first time you see the Joker your eyes will immediately hurt. Not only that, his puns are horrible, for some reason he knows kung fu (along with every other villain, even the Penguin), and his plans are pointless and silly along with a voice that doesn't fit at all.

The rest of the designs are just as awful including a bizarre-looking Bane and a Marilyn Manson style Riddler. Yeah, I'm still trying to figure that one out too. And Batman resembles some weird looking bird more than a bat as well as having an unsuitable voice. The characterizations are off as well, showing both Bruce Wayne and alter ego Batman as boring individuals.

The animation just doesn't suit the show and never gives off any kind of a dark atmosphere. And the funny thing is, there are twice as many fight scenes in The Batman versus all the other animated Batman shows, but they come off as pointless, hollow, and inexplicably boring.

Batman relies much less on his detective skills and more on stupid gadgets that only serve a purpose for only one or two episodes.

Batman: The Animated Series was the highest point of Batman's animated career, and while it's arguable which of the spin-offs will be ranked below it, I think we can all agree that The Batman will be at the very bottom. A low point for the Dark Knight that years from now when the series is over will be spoken only in hushed whispers.

"Oh, THAT Batman cartoon" they will say with a disgusted tone.

From the animation, to the characterization, to the story lines, and even the action--The Batman fails in every regard. The series stands as a testament to the creative genius and hard work, along with superb voice acting by the likes of Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, that went into the creation of Batman: The Animated Series and its subsequent follow-ups. The Batman merely serves as a brief footnote in the bat's history that dishonors all those that have come before it.

Elephant (2003)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A film sure to touch some people...just not me, 16 March 2006

Elephant is one of those movies that typically gets good recommendation because of its subdued style of filming and cast of non-actors as well as its dealing with delicate subject matter. Elphant depicts life in a high school, its students, and the events leading up to a Columbine-like killing.

The cast of characters is supposed to represent a hodge-podge of typical American teens, and even shows some of what the teen killers day are like. Ultimately, the characters fall into the typical stereotypical teen roles: there's an ultra-geeky girl, pretty socialites who are anorexic, and so on.

Elephant is a slow paced movie, so a lot of the scenes feel unimportant and carry little weight. All this would otherwise make Elephant a pretty mediocre film, but it's when it comes to the depiction of the killers that I have a problem with.

I understand it's difficult to depict something as tragic and recent as a high school shooting and that there's no way not to offend anyone, but Elephant goes out of its way not to give any kind of an explanation as to why the two teens go on a rampage. "It just happened" isn't good enough, and the characterize of them is just ripped-off from news speculations when Columbine happened.

They both play a 'violent' video game which looks like it could've been played on a Super Nintendo, as well as engage in a very questionable shower together with hints at a homosexual relationship. It's at this point the film stops being subtle since you can clearly see the two kids kissing in the shower. Oh, yeah, and one of the kids plays piano for no apparent reason.

In the end, Elephant is one of those movies with an attractive artsy wrapper, that if removed will show it for the empty film that it is.