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10/10
An intelligent movie with wisdom on romance
20 March 2011
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a rare movie with an intelligent script that studies the pain of romantic relationships and breakups. It's quite philosophical and requires thinking. The editing and storytelling styles are unusual which could be challenging to some viewers.

In order to understand some of the philosophical ideas behind the script, one needs to be familiar with existentialist philosophy and the ideas of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who pioneered existentialist philosophy. Nietzsche believed that pain is essential to human experience. People should not numb their pain. Instead people should use their pain to cultivate their character. He likened the pain to the roots of a plant; the deeper they go, stronger the plant will be. In short, pain builds character.

The other concept of Nietszche that stood out to me in the screenplay is the eternal recurrence of events. Nietzsche suggested that events in the universe could be repeating themselves in endless cycle which he called "eternal recurrence". Charlie Kaufman probably named the title of the screenplay after this concept. We all know that he knows about Nietzsche as he is quoted a couple of times in the movie (the lines from "Beyond Good and Evil).

The other existentialist concept is the world is what you make of it. It is how you see it and it matters more how you see it than it being an independent reality. If someone erases you from their memory, that doesn't take anything away from the goodness of memories themselves. If they mean so much to you and still a part of you then that's all it matters. Well enough with the philosophy...

This is the story of romantic couple, Clementine (Kate Winslet) and Joel (Jim Carrey), who go through a breakup. Joel finds out that Clementine had a procedure done to erase all memories of him and their relationship. He decides to go through the same procedure and remove her from his memory. However, during the procedure he comes to a realization. This realization is the wisdom of the movie. It offers a great message inspired by the aforementioned philosophical ideas.

I think Eternal Sunshine is a great movie and a rare cinematic art. If you love literature, philosophy and intelligent film-making, the chances are you will like Eternal Sunshine.
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The Invasion (I) (2007)
7/10
Delivers some new ideas but still falls short
13 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
As you probably know, this is the 3rd (or 4th if you count the TV film) remake of the original movie. I had high expectations but then again, when was I ever pleased with a remake? Actually the 78 version of the same movie is quite good but probably the definitive version of the story. **************The following Review contains MILD SPOILERS************* The Invasion changed some essential, basic elements of the original movie and took the plot to a different direction. For instance, aliens are not copying bodies anymore. Instead, aliens are just virus that take over the body during sleep. This allows the possibility of treating the victims. In the original, once the body is duplicated, the original body is disposed of and gone for good. Once the alien has taken over, there is no turning back. The invasion, on the other hand, allows treatment and this idea brings something fresh to the plot. I kind of like this new perspective. However, I didn't like the way aliens were contaminating the coffee and offering them to people to pass the virus over to them. Those scenes didn't work for me. I thought it was silly, not mention disgusting in some scenes.

I also didn't like the use of CGI to display the victim when taken over by the virus. I think a good makeup would do the job perfectly. But instead, they used CGI to give the effect that virus has taken control of the body showing person's face in a cocoon. Those scenes didn't work for me.

I think Nicole Kidman was the best thing in the movie. Her acting was great as usual. But I didn't like the way the script was written for her kid that he had to say "I love you mom" like 5 times in the first 15 minutes. It seemed as if they couldn't think of any other conversation between them.

Some scenes were nicely done but there is one particular scene that was silly. One of the kids is attacked by a dog; it happens all so fast, in a split second you see a ferocious dog (obviously shot separately), and then kid holds the dog's jaws together, that was a poorly executed and poorly edited scene that ruined the continuity of the moment. To make matters worse, when they take the boy home with blood on his face, they find out that he has not even been bitten, that it is not his blood. So whose blood was it? That was a very silly scene.

One other positive thing I can say that this movie has more light than 78 version. You could see better.

If you really want to see this story in the way it functions as a dark science fiction movie, I recommend The Invasion of The Body Snatchers 78 version.
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Carrie (1976)
8/10
A Horror Classic
13 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Carrie is a bona fide horror classic. In my opinion, it is one of the best Stephen King's adaptations ever made (if you are a Stephen King fan like myself, you know how hard it is to adapt his books to big screen). Brian De Palma did a terrific job of bringing Carrie to life.

This is a story about a very vulnerable girl with a super power: she can move objects with her mind, known as telekinesis. Her mother kept her sheltered. Piper Laurie portrayed Carrie's mother really well, a religious fanatic who has lost touch with reality. As a result, Carrie is disconnected from society and not living a very normal life. She is constantly bullied at school by other girls.

The score is one of the most important elements of a movie but this is especially true in case of horror movies. Carrie's score is just amazing. You can get chills just by listening to the soundtrack. I especially love the way how the score sets the atmosphere of the scene. I have seen many horror movies but Carrie is special in the way how the score sets the tone so perfectly well. SLIGHT Spoiler ALERT******One of my favorite scenes is right before Carrie is crowned home coming queen; there is a dreamy music playing intervened by ominous music and it switches back and forth creating drama and suspense at the same time.

I think Carrie deserves a minimum rating of 8. They don't make horror movies like Carrie anymore.
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Inception (2010)
8/10
A Christopher Nolan Classic - one of the best movies of 2010
21 January 2011
Let me start by saying that Inception is not a movie for all audience. If you are familiar with director Christopher Nolan's style and vision, you know what I am talking about. And if you don't know what I am talking about, you should probably stay away from Inception.

Christopher Nolan's movies are quite complex, multi-layered, story- within-story type of movies (remember Memento?). You will probably have to watch it a few times to put it altogether and even then you may not be able to solve everything as some things are still left to viewer's interpretation. If you are looking for a movie which will make total sense, stay away.

You must believe the logic of the movie: there is a device that enables a person to enter the mind of another person while he is dreaming. The purpose of this is basically to intercept the creation process of the mind that occurs during dream state and steal ideas from subconscious. When the mind is in a dream state, it continues to create and at the same time observes what it creates. These two processes happen concurrently, we don't even notice. The movie also introduces the idea of planting an idea in someone's mind, a process called inception.

Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) accepts the mission to do an inception in the hopes that he can return to USA to his children, puts together a team of experts and plans the heist. The rest is a lot of action sequences that go deeper and deeper into subconscious.

I think Inception is a very well-crafted movie, action scenes are amazing, especially the upside-down fight scene in the hall. I also like the editing, sound editing and sound mixing. Even though the concept is not totally original, the screenplay and its execution is quite stylish and unique. Most people criticize this movie being too similar to The Matrix but I disagree. Entering another realm which looks like reality and being bound by the rules of that realm are probably the only common trait both movies share. Inception sets itself apart from the Matrix with its unique style, and totally different plot.
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9/10
The Best Movie of 2010 - Contender for Best Picture Oscar
21 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The King's Speech is, in my opinion, the best movie of 2010. It is the story of King VI's struggle with his speech impediment and his therapy sessions with Lionel Logue, a speech therapist with unorthodox methods.

Colin Firth is amazing as King VI. I have never been a huge fan but in this movie he just raises the bar to whole another level. Characters with impediments are quite common (Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot) but Colin Firth's portrayal is truly unique and stands on its own. Geoffrey Rush is also magnificent and his talent shines with all its glory. He makes it look so effortless and yet the expressions he portrays in the movie are so subtle. I think both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush deserve an Oscar. They have great chemistry.

Story is very intriguing as it is based upon the true story of King VI who was suffering from speech impediment which prevented him from pursuing the crown or even wanting to pursue the crown. What makes this story different from the other movies with challenged characters is that at the end ****SPOILER***** the character makes a break through and turns into a different person.

Screenplay is very well written and should be nominated for Best Original Screenplay as it is not based on previously released material. Costumes, art direction and the score are equally impressive and well-done. I also liked the cinematography and wide-lens shots. There is one particular scene where King and Lionel are talking and Lionel stops to fall behind and the camera is focused on King where the image of Lionel in the background becomes blurry creating a sense of isolation.

If you like drama movies with historical context, great acting which will inspire you, you will surely enjoy King's Speech.
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8/10
One of the Few Good Remakes- A Sci-Fi Classic
21 January 2011
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the remake of 1956 movie by the same title and considered to be, by many fans, to be the definitive and the best version of the story.

The movie begins with images of plasmas from an alien world floating out into space towards planet earth. Then the rain comes and we see an odd organism growing on plants' leafs. Before too long, people start to act strange, they group and exchange plants, they act indifferent to their surroundings, they are emotionless, almost robotic. A group of characters who are not affected soon find themselves a minority in a world that is changing rapidly.

One of the greatest appeals of this movie is its socio-political resonance. It can be interpreted as a state of minority versus majority, us versus them and individualism versus social conformity. It shows how we try to turn the others into a version of ourselves because we can't tolerate the otherness. And maybe this is a universal common trait of all beings whether alien or human. Even though the commentary is about humans, it is actually alien organism that takes over human bodies (snatches human bodies - hence body snatchers).

The movie also questions how much we should sacrifice to achieve harmony in society. Should we preserve our individuality at risk of conflicting with other members of the society, or should we just join the majority, think like others, walk like others and talk like others do? Like all great science fiction movies, the story is social commentary on the state of the world. This is probably the reason why there are so many versions of this movie. And most recently in 2007, another version was made called "The Invasion" starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.
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9/10
A Sequel that Measures Up to the First Movie
20 January 2011
Imagine a sequel that is almost as good as the first original movie, or even better. That's not very easy to do. Most sequels are terrible, made only to bank on the original movie's ideas without introducing anything new.

T2 Judgment Day is not an original movie because of its plot, or its idea but it is actually groundbreaking in terms of special effects. I do not like movies that rely on special effects alone for its appeal. There must be more to a movie than just special effects. And T2 delivers it.

T2 is a special movie: This is, I believe, the first time CGI was used. Prior to T2, you could easily make out the image that was pasted to the film. The graphic image would stick out like a sore thumb, its contour easily traceable by naked eye.

With T2, CGI (computer generated imagery) technique has evolved to such a level that creating any image and adding it to the film became possible. And this is done so well, there is really no way of telling it apart from the original film like you could do in movies prior to T2. Contour lines are no longer visible, they are much smoother and blend with the original film.

As for the story, it is almost the repeat to the original movie and there are many parallel scenes. Again two characters fighting each other for the fate of Sarah O'Connor, wait, this time for John O'Connor (Sarah's son); that is one main difference. So we have a new character added to the story. We have a more sophisticated terminator, T1000, the indestructible liquid man - thanks to CGI effects. We get to see the character who is responsible for building the micro-processor that gave birth to SKYNET, the evil mainframe that declared war on humanity.

One thing I would like to emphasize is the performance of Robert Patrick, the actor who portrays T1000. His acting is simply fascinating and, in my opinion, is the reason why this movie works so well. A lot of the people are impresses by the CGI, rightfully so, and forget to give credit where its due. Robert Patrick brought T1000 alive. Without his impeccable performance, the movie would fall flat, even CGI couldn't save the movie. His brute looks, his robotic but finely-tuned moves, his cunning ways were just what this movie needed.

After T2, there were two more franchise movies, T3-The Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation.
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10/10
One of the Greatest Modern Science Fiction Movies
20 January 2011
It's not easy to write a review about a movie I have seen 27 years ago. This movie is quarter-century old. It's a great combination of action, science-fiction, mystery and romance. Fundementally, it is based upon a futuristic science fiction idea.

The present time story begins with two guys appearing out of of thin air, searching for Sarah O'Connor. One of them is a tough guy, full of muscles, who seems to kill anybody on his way without any hesitation or remorse. The other is a mild character with somewhat more delicate features.

As the story unfolds, you realize each character has his own agenda about Sarah O'Connor. One of them is protective of Sarah while the other is trying to terminate her - hence The Terminator.

Why The Terminator is trying to kill Sarah is the mystery of the movie. It ties to the introduction in the beginning of the movie when we are given a glimpse of the future when mankind are battling with the machines for their survival.

Overall, Terminator is a great motion picture, a combination of familiar sci-fi elements put together in an original script packed with entertaining action sequences. Arnold is perfect for this role. Its almost as if the role has been written for him. Its success has been confirmed by later sequels (T2 Judgment Day, Terminator 3 The Rise of the Machines, and Terminator Salvation).
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10/10
One of the Best War Movies ever - true masterpiece of cinema
16 January 2011
The Thin Red Line is a true masterpiece of cinema. When I watched it in theaters in 1998 I absolutely fell in love with it. I recently purchased the Criterion Blu ray release and realized that after 13 years, I am still very much in love with this movie.

The Thin Red Line is not a typical war movie. It is not driven by action alone. It explores the duality of nature and draws parallelism between the struggle within nature and the struggle within each man. It achieves this through poetic cinematography, philosophical narration voice-overs, great battle scenes and great casting from the best actors in the business.

The duality of nature is presented from the opening shot. A crocodile leaves the shore and moves into the water. The setting is a beautiful island. There is something about watching the most horrible event in all humanity, war, within a setting so beautiful, it touches your soul. Where the nature lives in harmony, soldiers are fighting a war. This duality continues all throughout the movie and never ceases to amaze. One of my favorite scenes is when the soldiers are walking through the grass, an aboriginal Indian is walking the other way, and when they are in the same frame, soldiers look like the alien element and the Indian seems to perfectly mesh with nature.

The other unique aspect of The Thin Red Line is that it gives us the inner thoughts and feelings of the characters. Often, people put up a facade and keep their feelings inside. This is another duality the film presents through voice-overs. Soldiers do not always think about winning. They are human beings and they often dream about being home, going home, and they fear. In that regard, the movie is very realistic.

The Thin Red Line also explores the morality in times of war, and the difficulty of making the right decision under extra-ordinary circumstances where the given objective (a military order) could compromise the sacredness of human life. This struggle is presented through the conflicts of colonel Tall (Nick Nolte) with captain James Staros (Elias Koteas) and sergeant Welsh (Sean Penn) with private Witt (Jim Caviezel).

One indisputable fact is cinematography of the film is absolutely fantastic. The trees, the water, the hills, birds, all the colors of the island come alive (even more so on the Blu ray). The casting is one of the greatest ones you will witness. Two-times academy winner Sean Penn is here, Elias Koteas, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson, James Caviezel, John Travolta and George Clooney make brief appearances as well (also academy award winner Adrien Brody has brief appearance and John C. Reiley and Jared Leto)
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Heat (1995)
7/10
Heat doesn't provide much heat
25 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I saw Heat when it first came out to theaters back in 1995. I also recently saw The Town. Many people claim Heat is the better picture and that Town took its story and basic plot elements from Heat.

Even though there are similarities, I think The Town doesn't deserve most of the criticism and Heat doesn't deserve most of the acclaim. In my opinion Heat is way too long. The director (Michael Mann whom I like) wanted to show too much about the personal love affairs of the characters. I know this was done for the purpose of character development but it was too shallow and didn't develop anything. It was too shallow because the problem of each love affair was the same: character's job (either police or criminal). And the same thing was repeated for all 3 characters, Vincent (Al Pacino), Neil (Robert De Niro) and Chris (Val Kilmer). They all have problems in their relationships. I think the movie is trying to do too much; it should have either focused on the relationships of characters and made it a drama or should have focused on the crime aspect and made it action/suspense. For example, in the beginning we see Al Pacino making love to his wife, taking a shower, all long scenes, and then there are scenes where his step daughter Lauren (Natalie Portman) is arguing with his mother because she is unhappy about her father. I thought these scenes really didn't add anything to the story.

I also think the some scenes in Heat is too much Hollywoodized - it's funny because most people actually make this accusation about the Town. My examples are ******SPOILER ALERT*****: Robert De Niro is supposedly a very disciplined character (so disciplined that he can leave everything behind if he senses the heat around the corner). But then we see him slapping one of his team members in a diner where everyone is watching. Tom Sizemore gives a dirty look to one of the patrons. I thought this scene was totally Hollywoodish to show they are really tough guys. Why would a disciplined criminal would beat up his team member in a diner? That would draw attention and is risky. Later we see them outside the diner trying to finish up the job. They are about to take care of the guy but they lose him, right in front of their eyes. All these scenes made me dislike The Heat. Also at the very end, it is the wrong guy who gets shot. It is the wrong guy because he had major advantage over the other guy who should have been the one to get shot. That scene was poorly designed*******.

There are good things about heat. It is a fine crime/drama. Robert De Niro is great although I find his romantic affair to be unrealistic and lack of feeling. I think Heat probably deserves a rating of 7. I also predict that within a year or so, The Town will surpass Heat's rating.
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The Town (2010)
8/10
The Town is a successful crime thriller
25 October 2010
The Town is a crime thriller about a team of bank robbers in Boston area. The story centers around 3 main characters, Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) and James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner). Doug and James are professional bank robbers but they are opposite characters. Doug, even though a criminal, is portrayed as a likable, charming character. We see more of his positive qualities: he refrains from harming other people. Doug, on the other hand, is a truly corrupt character who enjoys hurting other people.

A lot of people point out the similarities between The Town and Heat and claim The Town is an imitation of Heat. Although there are some similarities I think this is inevitable since both movies are about a team of bank robbers and there will be bank robbery, shoot-out and car chase scenes and a romantic love affair always adds a flavor to stories. I actually liked The Town better than Heat. I thought Heat was too long; the story was drawn-out needlessly which ruined its pace and took away from the action. The Town, on the other hand, focuses more on the action. I also think action scenes in The Town are better and more suspenseful.

If you like crime thrillers, you should definitely check this one out. You will find The Town is a decent, well-directed, entertaining movie.
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Repo Men (2010)
6/10
Repo Men entertaining but not original
14 October 2010
Repo Men is a futuristic movie about a company that sells lab-grown internal organs to their customers. When customers fail to pay, Repo Men claim the organs that leads to the termination of the client (since the organ is what keeps them alive). Since the organs are very expensive, it is very common that customers can't keep up with their payments and end up dead.

The story develops into more chase-action sequences in the second act when Repo Man, Remy (Jude Law) needs a heart himself and predictably enough can't pay it back. It is a classic story of hunter becomes the hunted or killer becomes the victim. It has science fiction elements and driven by action scenes. It is entertaining. The problem is that there is nothing unique about it.

At the end, you may feel that you watched slightly different version of another science fiction or action movie you have seen before. I don't want to tell you the names of those movies in case you have not seen them (or if you have seen them, you will probably guess how this one may conclude). I think 6 is a fair rate for this movie.
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The Messenger (I) (2009)
7/10
Emotionally intense about destruction of war
14 October 2010
The Messenger is an emotionally intense movie. It shows the destruction of war extends far beyond the battlefield and hits the families at home. Staff Sergeant Will (Ben Foster) and Captain Tony (Woody Harrelson) team up as Casualty Notification Officers. Casualty Notifications Officers notify the next of kin on the death of their relative. When they hear the news, families are destroyed.

The first and second acts of the movie feel a little repetitive as they go from one family to the other and repeat the same generic script to each family. Each scenes is well-done and the acting is great. The dynamics between Will and Tony is also well-contrasted. Tony is a soldier who mechanically follows the procedure without getting his emotions involved in the case whereas his younger partner Will is new on the duty and displays emotions.

Overall, I thought this was a decent movie with great acting. The third/final act may leave you a little dissatisfied as it doesn't have a climax. The story is plain simple. Since there is no conflicts, there is no climax either. I think it may have worked better if there were a conflict between the two main characters which would be brought to a resolution. Or if there were flashbacks to what they experienced during the war, the actions scenes could add some depth to the story. But then again, this is a low-budget movie that draws its tone from acting alone.
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8/10
A movie about origins of facebook
14 October 2010
The Social Network is a well-made movie about the origins of facebook. The movie begins with Mark Zuckerberg (to-be creator of facebook) having dinner with his girlfriend and this opening scene perfectly introduces Mark's character and sets the tone of the movie. He is an intelligent kid who is not socially adept. You can tell this by the way he talks to his girlfriend and what he does after the dinner. He goes to his dorm and writes bad things about his girlfriend on the web and insults her publicly. He also breaks into the school's database server, steals people's pictures from the directory and sets them up on the web in doubles as part of a competition to pick who is the hotter girl.

The Social Network shows how someone, while creating a brilliant tool that minimizes the distance between people, is creating a distance between him and the people around him. That is ironic. It also makes you question if morals and smart business decisions should always be in agreement. Because the decisions he makes are actually earning him benefits as an entrepreneur but creating conflicts with the others. I found myself wanting to side with him because he is a clever guy but he also has a way of looking down on people in a condescending way or pretending as if they don't exist.

The movie also makes you think the delicate connection between an idea as inception and its execution. You may have an idea but if you don't have the ability to execute the idea and turn it into a reality, you will be dependent on someone else. The executing ability could be better than just having the idea. I think this is a movie that anyone can appreciate and will find its subject matter interesting. After all Facebook has revolutionized how people socialize today.
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The Prowler (1981)
7/10
A Typical 80s Slasher (Friday the 13, Halloween)
14 October 2010
The Prowler is a typical 80s style slasher movie, along the lines of Friday the 13th and Halloween. The movie begins in black and white footage of world war II and it cuts to a scene where we see a letter read by Rosemary as voice-over. This is a break up letter to her boyfriend who is in the army. Then we get to 1946 where a graduation dance is taking place and that night Rosemary and her new boyfriend gets murdered by a killer who is dressed up in army outfit. 35 years later, there is another graduation dance and that's when our mysterious killer shows up again to murder more people.

The Prowler delivers some suspense and gruesome scenes of people being murdered. However, it falls short on other accounts. The two main characters, Mark, the cop and Pam try to reveal the mystery behind the killing in 1946 and its tie to the current situation. But the plot does so little in explaining the connection. At the end, you will probably understand the connection but it would have worked better if two characters uncovered the truth at the same time when the killer's identity is revealed. It felt like that part of the movie was missing.

If you like slasher movies, you should give this a try. I have not seen My Bloody Valentine, to which this movie is compared by other reviewers, so I cannot say which one I like better. I saw The Prowler 25 years ago when I was in my early teens and it stuck with me for its gruesome murder scenes. I recently watched it again. I didn't remember the title, so I had to do a little digging on the internet. It was shown in Europe under the title of "Rosemary's Killer".
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Antichrist (2009)
4/10
Lars von Trier should stop making movies
2 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I hate it when directors try so hard to be artistic it comes off as pathetic attempt. Lars von Trier is one of the most superfluous directors of his time. His previous movies "Dogville" and "Manderlay" were basically theatrical plays. Filming a theatrical play like a movie is somehow supposed to be original and artistic?

This movie begins with black and white slow-motion shots of a couple making love when their baby crawls out of his crib and makes it to the window and finally falling to his demise. The shots are long in slow-motion topped with a classic opera score. After this, it cuts to the funeral procession. We see mother grieving and she is traumatized by what happened.

Then the couple decides to take a trip to the mountains to get away from it all and try to come to terms with what happened. The movie is very slow. This could have been easily a 40 minute TV episode. There are only 2 characters husband and wife; husband is trying to analyze the psychology of wife who blames herself for what happened.

Towards the ACt 3, the conclusion, we get a clearer picture of the psychology of the wife; she has been in that cabin before for a research; she studied the medieval concept of woman being evil. And the audience is left with a question of whether she actually let her baby die intentionally or if she lost her mind and only thinks she did. Either way, the movie is way too stretched out and takes forever to get to the point. Like Dogville and Manderlay, this could have stayed as a theatrical play. That's why I think Lars Von Trier should stop making movies and get into the theater. His artistic vision is not cut out for motion pictures.
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1/10
This movie should be in the bottom 100 not in top 250
2 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I cannot believe this movie is in top 250. There must be a lot of people who are suckers for vampires. This movie is absolute trash. It offers nothing original or exceptional. Acting is horrid. Kid actors are so bad it almost feels like amateurish High School play. There is no conviction in their acting. But the real problem is the plot. There is really nothing in the plot that drives any kind of emotion, whether suspense, drama or sadness. Is this supposed to be a love story? OK, I get it, it is intentionally left to interpretation, wow that is just brilliant. Just write a stupid screenplay that doesn't make any sense and say that it is open to interpretation as if that will qualify it for some sort of artistic achievement.

This is a story about a vampire girl (Eli) and a boy (Oskar). There is absolutely nothing special going on here. Oskar is a shy boy who gets bullied by some kids at school. Also, there are some gruesome murders taking place in the town. All of these get connected at the end in the most predictable fashion. Except, there are those instances when the events make no sense whatsoever.

SPOILER ALERT ****** It turns out that the serial killer (Hakan) is actually vampire's assistant (wow!). And he kills people to feed her because you know being a vampire is not easy and she cannot always kill people by herself. Apparently she needs Hakan's help but then she kills him later! in the most stupid twist I see in any movie. I guess the writer didn't have any material to surprise the audience and just wrote it up this way.

There are a lot of scenes in the movie that are designed to shock the audience but don't make any sense. In one scene, Hakan captures a teen in school and ties him upside down to kill him while his two friends are waiting outside (of course when friends decide to check out on their friend, this creates a suspense but a fake one). It is all so contrived. In another scene, Eli bites a victim who turns into a vampire and later gets attacked by a dozen cats - what's that supposed to be, scary?

I think vampire genre is dead. I think they should stop making vampire movies and TV shows. This whole vampire thing is done to death. It feels almost like 5 out of 10 movie has vampires in it. Vampires have become salt and pepper of Hollywood. I can picture bunch of producers sitting at a table somewhere saying "Let's put a vampire character in this movie, will sell well". I just can't take it anymore. They destroyed the vampire genre. And this movie is supposedly add something new to the vampire genre but it comes across fake, contrived and poorly executed. Just because you make a vampire out of a 12 year old girl and make her friend with a boy doesn't really add much creativity to the genre, I am sorry. This movie needs to drop out of top 250.
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Extract (2009)
8/10
an unbiased review: Excellent film
20 September 2010
I claim that my review is unbiased simply because I didn't know anything about the director. I read all the negative reviews and see that people are frustrated because they compare it to his earlier works which are supposedly funnier.I must confess that I didn't know anything about the director, The Office Space, etc. That's why I had no expectations. I didn't expect this movie to be funny either. OK, so it is not funny in a way like a comedy sit com is funny, jokes are not laughable. This movie has dark humor; it is situations and what happens to people that makes it comical and even tragic.

Main character, Joel, is the owner of an extract factory that he built from scratch with hard work. He is having some marital problems; his wife is not having sex with him anymore. In the meantime, a young, attractive temp, Cindy, gets hired as an employee. Joel turns to his bartender friend, Dean (a very comical role by Ben Affleck) for advice who talks him into hiring an amateur young stud, Brad, to seduce Joel's wife. If his wife gives into temptation then it is only fair for him to do the same, a seemingly logical way to guilt-free cheating.

I really enjoyed this movie and it somewhat reminded me of American Beauty (maybe because it was about problems of classic suburban families). It successfully portrays flaws of people, such as prejudice, sexual temptation, addiction, greed, ambition, career aspirations, and being intrusive, and most of all, miscommunication. I am really sorry that people didn't enjoy this as much as I did. If you can view this without any expectations you may find that is a quite remarkable film and definitely deserves a rating higher than 7.
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Dead Snow (2009)
4/10
Well-executed but very predictable and non-original
20 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I find it hard to believe that the current rating for this movie is 6.5. I can understand that there are a lot of zombie and gore fans but I cannot understand why people are satisfied with such cliché and predictable plots. This movie offers absolutely nothing new except making zombies out of Nazis. The classic story of Evil Dead (funny because one of the characters actually mentions Evil Dead, it is such an obvious tribute) bunch of young people going up to the mountains to stay at a cabin and they get attacked by zombies who are supposedly the Nazi soldiers who took refuge in the forest during world war II. Yes, there is a lot of gratuitous gore, people's faces always covered with blood (not sure why they wouldn't wash their faces with snow, that to me would be an instinct) but I guess these guys like blood on their faces. Also, not sure why anyone would want to fight with a zombie knowing that you cannot actually defeat a zombie by beating him up (common knowledge). This movie reminded me of "The Cabin Fever", a similar attempt at making something new by using old familiar horror elements. There are so many stupid moments in the movie, I am not sure I remember them all. These guys have cell phone but for some strange reason they don't think of using it until they burn down the cabin. A zombie sticks his fingers in the nose of one of the victims, and opens up his head like a melon, I mean the victim's head cracks open in the middle like a melon; in another scene bunch of zombies tear up the limbs of a victim, not sure how that is physically possible. I know zombies are not supposed to be realistic but that shouldn't mean every physical law should be compromised (the original Night Of The Living Dead was pretty good). Only 4 points that I give is because of the location they used (makes it interesting, a zombie movie in the snow), and some scenes are pretty well-crafted for a Norwagian picture. Other than, this is a mediocre movie. You won't find anything new in the story.
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8/10
Lean, mean ultimate kick-ass machine we know as Bruce Lee
16 September 2010
I love Bruce Lee. He was the greatest martial artist ever. His technique was immaculate, almost divine. Leonardo Da Vinci painted, Mozart composed and Bruce Lee kicked ass. It is ironic that this movie is both, a celebration of his career's peak point and also a mourning since he died unexpectedly after making this movie.

Bruce Lee is Lee who is seeking revenge of his sister's death (a theme that resonates in Asian movies; in his first 2 movies, The Big Boss and Fist of Fury, Bruce Lee was also seeking revenge). Probably the most complex plots of all Bruce Lee movies, Lee goes undercover to Shaolin temple in an island to monitor the activities of a man named Han who is suspected to be involved in illegal activities such as opium trade. Han runs a martial art school on the island. Bruce Lee is joined by two other major martial artists, John Saxon and Jim Kelly who play contestants in a deadly tournament that will take place on the island.

As you can guess, all hell breaks loose at the tournament where we get to enjoy marvelous martial art moves. Bruce Lee shines with his amazing technique. It is so unfortunate that this is the last Bruce Lee movie. If he had lived, I imagine that he would have made tons of great martial art movies. He became a legend with only 3-4 movies and is still considered to be the greatest. He was the lean mean ultimate kick-ass machine. If you like ass kicking, you will love Bruce Lee.
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Fist of Fury (1972)
10/10
2nd major movie of Bruce Lee
16 September 2010
This is the 2nd major movie from Bruce Lee after "The Big Boss". Bruce Lee is Chen Zhen who comes home to find that his teacher is dead. He reasons that his teacher was a healthy man and deduces that there must have been a foul play. He decides to stick around the school and look for clues.

Seeking revenge of a loved one is one of the essential themes in Asian movies. There are also American movies that work that theme (Charles Bronson's Death Wish franchise seems to be inspired by this concept of revenge and chasing down the bad guys).

Bruce Lee's martial art technique is simply immaculate, almost divine. Leonardo Da Vinci painted, Mozart composed and Bruce Lee kicked ass. This movie has more action and fight scenes than his first movie, The Big Boss. He takes on several different prominent opponents. I could have given this a 7 rating but the way the fight scenes are choreographed, I think it deserves an 8. Brucee Lee was really one of a kind. He is dearly missed.
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The Big Boss (1971)
9/10
The movie that kick-started Bruce Lee's career
16 September 2010
I believe this movie, "The Big Boss", was the first major Bruce Lee movie and it hurled him to international stardom. This is an essential movie because it showcases Bruce Lee's talents early in his career and thereby it is also probably responsible for triggering the phenomenon of martial arts movies. Don't expect too much from the story. It is a simple plot but still engaging.

Bruce Lee is Cheng Chao-an, a simple factory worker. But there is something shady going on at the factory. Soon Cheng makes a startling discovery that will make him go on a crusade to seek revenge and justice.

Everybody who is familiar with Bruce Lee knows what to expect and that is the martial art fight scenes. Bruce Lee's technique is unmatched and simply amazing. There was nobody like Bruce Lee and there will never be another Bruce Lee - he was one and only.
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6/10
disappointing
15 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw the trailers, I was excited. My mind went to another French movie, the biography of Edith Piaff "La vie en rose" which was great. This is a very flat movie. I really wanted to see how Coco Chanel built her empire. The movie doesn't show that at all. It doesn't even do a good job of showing her potential as an artist.

**Spoilers** She comes up as a very simply woman who is strangely content with being a mistress. All we see is her moving around in a great mansion, a hopeless romance, falling for the wrong guy and not realizing her dreams of marriage. And there are those short scenes where we see her tailoring a dress but that is it. It is only at the very end of the movie, maybe the last minute, the movie gives a glimpse of what she has become in the later years but even that is so lacking in spirit and very vague.

I have to say this is a poorly made biography about somebody whose character probably has more spirit and inventiveness than what this movie portrays. I like Audrey Tautou but she is not giving much life to her character which is probably due to the way the script is written. She doesn't have much depth.
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10/10
Put the lotion in the basket!!!!!!!
13 September 2010
Silence of the Lambs is probably the best movie of its kind. Its sheer intensity is unmatched. It is a superbly well-written story that involves multiple very dangerous characters, most notorious of which is Dr. Lecter (Hannibal). An FBI agent, Clarice Starling (wonderfully portrayed by Jodie Foster) needs to extract information from a dangerous psychopath Hannibal Lecter (amazingly brought to life by Anthony Hopkins) about a serial killer called Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine).

There are so many elements that make Silence Of The Lambs chillingly scary. Buffalo Bill chooses young female victims and skins them. He kidnaps the daughter of a senator which quickly prompts an FBI hunt. Agent Clarice visits Dr. Lecter who is held in a maximum security prison to ask him questions about Buffalo Bill's psychological profile because he was Dr. Lecter's patient many years ago....when Dr. Lecter was a normal human being (if you can call it that).

I have always found the idea of a psychologist going insane and becoming a human eating monster very scary. I mean he is supposed to be the expert about human behavior to cure psychological disturbances and he is the most disturbed of all. However, he is equally brilliant. Dr. Lecter's brilliant mind brings depth to his character. Clarice's difficult task of understanding and deciphering the mind of -not one but- two psychopaths creates multi-dimensions.

I don't want to say too much about the story and what happens next. But let me say that the movie is full of suspense and literally breath-taking moments. After 20 years, I have not seen any other similar type of movie that I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed Silence of the Lambs. This movie completely changes the serial killer characters in movies and adds depth to them in an unprecedented fashion. Killers in movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Halloween (the major horror franchises) gave us faceless monsters with no character depth. They wouldn't say a word or even make a sound (this was probably done to disassociate them from regular human beings). Even though this seemed to have worked, Silence of the Lambs' depiction of killer monsters in more elaborate fashion works even better.
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The American (2010)
7/10
slow doesn't always mean boring
12 September 2010
George Clooney plays Jack, a weapon/firearm expert that crafts weapons with his hands. He works with special clients who custom order their weapons. The movie begins in Sweden where we quickly learn that Jack is in a shady business. He is not really an assassin but can become one if the circumstances call for it. Due to the dangerous nature of his job he is paranoid and leads a lonesome life; the movie shows his psychological state very well. From Sweden, he travels to Rome, Italy and gets another assignment from his boss, Pavel (Johan Leysen). The most part of the movie, the 1st and 2nd acts, is about him crafting the weapon, his relation with Father Benedetto and Ingrid (Irina Björklund) an Italian prostitute at a brothel Jack regularly visits in a little Italian town.

I think this is a very well-made movie, despite its slow pace, it shows the character of the hero and builds suspense slowly but maturely, and shows love can bloom in the most unexpected circumstances (I think that was the most positive part of the movie). I only wish that it revealed more about the dark relations of his boss to the clients or how he had foreseen some of the things that were going to happen; I am still not clear on some of the things. But I still enjoyed the movie. Its feel and look reminded me of a Jack Nicholson movie from 1975 titled "The Passenger" even the stories are totally different. If you like more action and suspense, you may want to see "In Bruge", a movie about 2 assassins who are on an assignment in Bruge.
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